December 01

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Home for Thanksgiving!

Many people were thinking I was crazy to go home for Thanksgiving for 2 reasons: 1. I would only have 3 weeks left of my assignment and 2. Recognizing what little time I had left and the difficulty of having to leave my family again. The reason why my trip home was scheduled this way was because my son, AJ, wanted me home for Thanksgiving… end of story.
The excitement to go home was unbelievable- I hadn’t been able to truly see and touch my children for over 5 months. I have never been away from them this long. So, I couldn’t get home fast enough. I was a bit nervous of my adjusting considering I had been living in a 3rd world country and alone for the past 5 months.
But seeing them when the three of them picked me up (AJ, Frankie and my husband Alex) at the airport was just heartwarming and peaceful. There is that feeling of deep comfort and safety. You can see from the featured image, my daughter made a sign with my nickname on it- it was suppose to be like the drivers putting up signs looking for the person they are picking up.. too funny!
I was exhausted from my trip but we had an action packed evening of indoor soccer and dinner with my extended family- my mom, dad, sister, her husband, my dog and my grandma. Needless to say I may have been tired but my heart was full. I had a great sleep in MY (shared) bed!
In some ways it was like I never left! Getting the kids on the bus in the morning for school, helping with lunches, attending the parent/teacher conferences, sporting events, jumping on the trampoline, playing basketball in the drive way and just being with my family. AJ ended up getting sick so I was able to be mom and take care of him. I wonder if his body was just waiting for me to come home to be sick :-)
The time difference was a bit tough but I tried to stay on the east coast schedule to maximize my time. I enjoyed just listening to everyone’s voices, hearing their laughs and taking my morning walk/run with my dog.
There is a different appreciation for everything in your life when you are away from it as well as have another way of living to compare. I am not sure how all I have experienced is going to show up for me everyday once I return home from my assignment but I do know it is hard to focus on gifts and over indulgence of the holidays when you look around you with those who truly have so little. I even question the need for all of it. We have so much in our lives that just being together really is the true gift. I know many of us think and believe this but yet there is still the pressure of Christmas. I was feeling this myself as I make a picture book of the year for my children and give it to them at Christmas. I know it is one of their favorite gifts because when they open it Christmas is on hold- they literally drop everything and go through the book. I love watching them crack up over the pictures or recall the memories over the past year. I even catch them often times in their rooms looking at the past picture books just reminiscing and reflecting on their lives. I was scrambling to try and get all of the pictures together to get the book in place because I normally do it Thanksgiving weekend. I finally gave up because I was leaving the day after Thanksgiving and my time had just run out. My focus was to spend time with my kids and my family and this gift will just have to wait. You see we are given gifts all year round, not just at Christmas and often times those gifts do not need to be unwrapped.
Instead of having a career goal or even to lose weight this year, try seeing all of the 2015 daily unwrapped gifts in your life. This is what I have been experiencing over the past 6 months… the gifts in my life every day. As I write this I think about the Advent season, which is practiced in the Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the second coming of Christ. So, during this Advent season also think about the preparation and deeper connection to yourself, those around you and our environment. Find a way over the next days, starting today, December 1st, to be more mindful, open and conscious to the wonders surrounding you in your every day; you don’t need to go anywhere to tap into this beauty that sits within your life right now. Send me a comment on how you are going to tune in and begin this preparation starting today. An example of what this looks like for me is the picture of my husband and me on our date this past week to one of our favorite spots. Cultivating my marriage by making time together a priority :-)

Alex and I kissing
For the beginning of Advent let me start you off on the intention for December and today; December 2014- “This month I realize that it is my birthright to love and be loved. My belief is contributing to world peace. Happy holidays to me and to everyone in the whole world!” The only thing I would add is not only world peace but finding peace within ourselves, once we can locate this inner peace can it begin to change the world….the change begins with self. Today’s intention, December 1, 2014: “I accept opportunities when they come my way, I feel so confident about my future!”
Feeling blessed, loved and prepared 🙂  Leaving my family was hard but realizing my inner strength is priceless.
In munay-
m

P.S. I had to share Frankie made me the coffee mug with a sunflower and put on it: “I have gone to Africa”, what a beautiful way to support me 
pic with Frankies mugFrankie Aj and me outsideintention Dec