December Gifts to Gratitude

Oh December! As much as I love this month of holiday giving, shopping, baking, decorating, and constant chaos, I miss the simpleness of being with those I love. It’s been tough getting excited for Christmas, and I think it’s because of the commercialism, the stressfulness of finding gifts for people who may not need anything, but there is that sense of obligation to buy gifts because it is that time of year. Boy do I sound grumpy!

I reflected back to October when I shared my daily gratitude journal. That month made me realize what I have in my life and how much people give me every day.  I don’t mean gifts in the physical sense, but what they have given me from their heart. I’m talking about what they have taught me and how I am a better person because they are in my life. For December I am focusing on what people have given me and how grateful I am for that.

My gift to them? I want to let them know. So each day I am sending a letter to someone in my tribe with a word that describes them to me. So far I have come up with courage, determination, laughter, honorable, and enduring. Sitting down and thinking about what my friends and family bring to my life is the best gift I can receive.

If you’d like to join in with my December Gifts to Gratitude, here is what I’m doing.

First, I write a letter to that person. Yes, a written letter addressed and mailed to them! Personal mail is a pleasure to receive, especially when we are inundated with catalogs! I’m personalizing them with some fun stickers and the word I associate with that person. Then I write a letter to them explaining the gift they have given to me, what they mean to me, and why I am grateful to have them in my life.

Letter with the ornament I write the person’s name and word on.

Next, I write their name on an ornament that I purchased at Michael’s (which are half price right now). I write their name on one side, then their special word on the other. I want them to remember why they are special to me, and it can be displayed in their home if they like.

Finally, in order for me to keep perspective this month and remember why I am grateful, I am writing their name on my own ornaments and placing them on the tree in my library. This tree is topped by an angel that my son, Nick, made so it’s a special tree that also reminds me of the amazing gifts he has given him.


Another option is to cut out a tree or Menorah from paper or write in the people who have given the the greatest gifts of their time, their heart, and their love. Decorate in your tradition. Ornaments could be strung from lights with people’s names or photos. What an amazing visual that would be!

No matter what we believe or how we celebrate the holidays, it all comes down to sharing your love with others and letting them know how much you care every day of the year. That is the greatest gift and makes me grateful.

Step Back Saturday–House of Truth

Last night I had a dream in my childhood home in Greenville. This dream made me think about the Greenville House, and how patterns and themes are developed from our dreams if we pay attention and record the details.

I have dreamt of the Greenville House many times. The first was when I was about 8 or 9 and living there. I dreamt that skeletons walked the house, and I was the only one living there. This was one of my strongest and reoccurring nightmares, and after my father died, the house did feel empty.

I often dreamt of my dad after he passed. My dad died when Stephen was two months old and Nick was two years old. When Nick was ill at age 12, I dreamt of my dad holding him in the living room of the Greenville House. I thought it meant Nick would be healed, but really my dad was bringing him home.

I met many people living and those who passed on in this house. It became a place where the truth, no matter how hard, was shown. I named it the Greenville House of Truth. What was dreamt there synchronized with my life or prepared me for what was to come.

I would never have noticed these patterns if I hadn’t tracked or titled my dreams and followed the Dream Lightning process that Robert Moss developed. Why is this important? Because when I dream about the Greenville House, it’s like a telegram or a FedEx envelope being delivered overnight. It’s urgent, and I need to take action now.

When my dad is in the house, I’m on high alert. I’m not sure what my dream from last night meant, but at least I’m paying attention and am open to the messages.

First and foremost, keep your journal by your bed and record your dreams as if you are describing a movie in the present tense. Title each dream. If you notice that many of your dreams are in a certain setting, then make a subtitle. For example, I’ll title a dream, Tsunami: Greenville House of Truth. This creates a pattern that I pay more attention to. Do you recognize this reoccurring setting? Is it in this reality or only in your dreamworld? Does it vary? Who shows up there?

Journal about the patterns and themes and what this place means to you as the places and people in our dreams can guide us in our everyday lives.

Shedding Winter, Sprouting Spring

Photo by Alysia Thomas

Spring is finally here, but there still is snow on the ground! What a perfect time to shed the winter blues by clearing your house, body, and mind.

All winter, I’ve been slowly working on clearing my house. It’s turning out to be a long-term project, because some weekends are filled with other activities. But I use my journal to track what I have done (which makes me happy) and to see what else I need to do. I broke it down into rooms. For example:

My Bedroom:

Clear out clothes we don’t wear anymore.

Clean off my dresser and throw out all the socks that are missing their matching pair!

Organize the bags of gift bags and wrapping paper that I keep in my closet.

Get rid of outdated medications, organize linen closet, and clean our cabinets in bathroom.

Purchase new curtains, sheets, and comforter.

Get my husband to repair the ceiling from a leak and hire a painter for the walls.

Hang pictures on the wall.

I’ve done everything except the ceiling repair, painting, and purchase of curtains and bedspread. Now that my room is clear of clutter, I try hard to keep it that way. I feel a sense of accomplishment as I check all the finished items off in my journal. I have done this for each room in the house. The storage room, family room, dining room, library, and all the bathrooms are finished. I still have a lot to go, but it’s a process that I’m enjoying. I falter on a lot of the papers that I have stored and probably don’t need. The historian and hoarder in me holds on to everything.

Clearing my body is always an interesting spring project. I try to maintain a certain amount of exercise throughout the  year, although winter is the hardest. As the weather gets warmer, I naturally want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and start my flower and vegetable gardens. As a sufferer of allergies, I really have to watch what I eat in the spring, so clean eating is essential.

I started an annual fruit cleanse last year during my yoga 40-day personal transformation program. It was a three-day cleanse where I could only eat fruits and veggies that had seeds. I made delicious avocado and tomato salads with olive oil. Drank Naked juices and as many fruits and veggies as I wanted. I felt full of energy, and my allergies were at an all time low. Combined with hot yoga, my body was renewed and sprouted back to life!

Clearing out my garden and prepping it grow my vegetables is a ritual that both my husband and I enjoy. It’s therapeutic to weed and enjoy the food that came from my planting.

Being in my garden clears my mind, which is a positive form of therapy. There is something about new life coming forth and enjoying the warm rays of sunshine while I relax in my back yard. Being outside and walking my dogs calms me and sparks my creativity. Finding stillness in meditation is the perfect way to clear all the clutter, negativity, and stress that I feel as I begin my day. I’d like to try it before I go to bed as well, but am working on that.

Photo by Alysia Thomas

As I think about spring, I am hopeful that the new space I have opened in my home, my body, and mind will create new opportunities and relationships that empower me and my life purpose.

What are you ready to clear out of your life as you say goodbye to winter? What are you welcoming in to grow? What opportunities are opening as you create space? What rituals do you practice to welcome in spring?