For the past 3 months, I have been keeping a gratitude log. In it, I add a quote for the month, and each day I write down 3 or more things I am grateful for… It could be anything from coffee to a text from one of my kids to the ability to cook to polar bear adoption to writing to getting a good night’s sleep. But 3 things, at least.
I started the log because I wanted to learn how to be more grateful, to be more consciously thankful for every day things. I can get so stressed out about money or the lack there of, about family, about writing, about our most recent political election. I wanted to teach myself how to take the simple things and be thankful. How to smile when things feel most unsettled.
Has it worked? I don’t know. I’ll admit that some days I struggle to find 3 things to be grateful for, while on other days, like today, I struggled to stop writing all the things down.
I am more aware of things like my impatience and my rush to judgment. I am more aware of the things I can’t control and the things I can. I am more appreciative of friendships and the relationships I have with my kids. I am more aware of things that I like and that make me smile. So, in those respects, yes, perhaps a daily gratitude log has helped me become more aware of things around me and more self aware.
This is an image I colored a few months back on a phone app. I don’t use it anymore, but I thought it was pretty and wanted to share it with you.
In the USA, it’s Thanksgiving Day. As a nation, we have a lot to be thankful for. We also have a long, hard road ahead of us. I am grateful for many things about this country, but I am not so grateful about others. I am, however, hopeful that in the coming weeks and months, I will continue to add to my gratitude log and find myself more open and compassionate.
I think we, as humans on this planet, could all do with a little more openness and compassion toward one another, the animals that share this world with us, and the Earth itself.
It’s over. The holidays.
The tree is down. The lights turned off. The village packed. The decorations put away.
The music is no longer playing and the movies have turned to non-holiday romance. The following list are the final holiday movies I watched from Christmas to New Year’s. Overall, I LOVED them. The majority of them. Some, I’ve really disliked. But overall, I can’t wait until the holiday movies start all over again in 11 months…
A Christmas Mystery – High strung, overly dramatic newspaper reporter is looking for someone who sent her mother Christmas cards every year. She’s baffled that they weren’t signed with anything more than a printed heart and hires a PI, thinking her mother had a boyfriend who would want to know she’s passed away. Enter former Marine PI who… I’m thinking this one might be a DNFW… Did not finish watching. This is the 3rd movie on ION Television that I’ve watched this year. They need some help with casting. Some help with dialog. Some help period. It’s awful, really.
The Flight Before Christmas – Cute little movie. Girl is dumped right before Christmas and decides to take a flight at the last minute across country to visit her family. She meets up with a man who has been trying to make a long distance relationship work for 5 years. Mishaps. A meddling ‘Santa’. The Winslows from Family Matters. This little movie was fun.
The Spirit of Christmas – Paranormal. Ghost comes back for 12 days before Christmas every year. A lawyer is visiting his manor to sell it for the family trust. He trues to get rid of her. She doesn’t budge. While turning him and her around on Christmas spirit, the set to solving his murder from 95 years before and freeing him to move on. It was sweet and romantic.
Dear Santa – Rich, do nothing but shop girl intercepts a little girl’s letter to Santa asking for a new mom. She soon finds out that her parents are going to cut her off if she doesn’t find something to do or finds a man. Rich girl decides to follow the father and little girl around, then infiltrates their lives. She’s sweet enough, starts working in the father’s late wife’s soup kitchen, which comes complete with a gay too much lip gloss chef who’s too scared to strike out on his own. Rich girls shops in her closet for items to give to the homeless and shops in her pantry for spices and ingredients to give to the soup kitchen (Walmart brand, at that. Girl has never been in Walmart. Girl can’t cook either. But has a pantry full of spices and herbs.) in the end she gets the dad and daughter and supposedly changes. But the premise is a little… I don’t know. Bugs me.
Christmas Melody – My first issue with this movie was Mariah Carey. Why did they seem to show her in golden, angelic light every time she was on screen? Her character was bitchy and every movie has to have one of those, even Hallmark Christmas movies. My second issue was the final school festival song. Why do these movies have to out dramatize everything. It’s a small town elementary school production. It was to raise money, but it would’ve cost more money to put on than they’d ever make. I’d love a little reality check. I can suspend belief, but only to a certain point. The romance between single mom and music teacher was sweet. Oh and Folgers once again played a huge sponsoring role in this little film. Like right in your face huge. Subtle would work, too.
Christmas Belle – Dramatic much? Dear heavens… Grumpy man (beast). Too sweet girl (belle). Complete with a dog named Beast. She’s sent to settle an estate’s library. Lots of footage of the ‘beast’ running shirtless around the estate. A vineyard. A Christmas tree grove. ‘She’s gone back to the house.’ ‘I’m going back to the house.’ And a crazy ass overly dramatic proposal. Just… Wow.
The Twelfth Day Of Christmas – Secret Santa for all the right reasons. A really lovely, heartwarming movie… Aside, again from the obvious Folgers product placement, to the way Christmas threw up all over the girl’s house.
A Family For Christmas – Woman leaves to start a career. She was supposed to be gone 6 months. That’s where the movie starts out. Then skips to 10 years down the road. She’s still single and can’t see beyond her career. Her ex friends her on social media and memories pull her back in her mind. A Christmas wish later, she wakes up in an alternate life where she’s got a family and is married to said ex. She’s a full time mom, a wife, fully involved every minute of every day with her kids and family. Over several days, she learns that she really wants the ex and the family, but she also wants the career, just a modified version of the one she had. It was cute, but not one of my favorites.
I may give my thoughts on the Hallmark Winterfest movies, if I have time. I am looking forward to watching them. I never have before. But romance, even vanilla feel-good romance, makes me smile and fills me with hope.
I learned that I like a little reality in my holiday movies. I also learned I will NOT watch ION Television movies again. They were awful. I really like royal holiday movies. I’m not all that in love with Candace Cameron-Bure, but think Lacey Chabert is adorable.
Until next time… Have a wonderful January!
It’s the second installment of my Holiday Movie thoughts. I was near the end of my movie list on the DVR and had to record a several more so there’d be another post for next week.
It’s been interesting, I’ll say that. Some are really adorable and full of hope. Some are so over-acted, so overly dramatic, so overly cute that the gag factor comes into play.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed watching them, as I do each year. They require a definite suspension of reality and a fair number of them have a rather large contingent of unemployed right before Christmas executives and service workers who really luck into love,a dream job, a whole new life in the end. But, I guess that’s what hope and Christmas, and romance are for.
Tis The Season For Love – small town girl goes to follow her dreams in the big city, but they don’t pan out, and she goes back home for the holidays… Can you fulfill your dreams even if they’re not working out exactly the way you’d planned them?
A Star For Christmas – on ION Television… The cheesiest, stupidest, most painfully uncomfortable holiday movie ever!!! Can’t. Even. At. All. I’ve never wanted to toss my cookies during a holiday movie before, but this one, yeah. My eyes hurt from rolling in the back of my head so hard.
A Bride For Christmas – A bet on a girl. A puppy in a shelter. Runaway bride. It’s a cute one.
A Prince For Christmas – ION Television… I was a little scared with this one. I wanted to like it… It was a little over the top with the Prince riding to the rescue of the down and out woman. The happenin’ little town that is busy everywhere except the diner.
A Crown For Christmas – Such a cute movie! From. Hotel maid turned impromptu governess (and no hotel maid wears 2″-3″ heels while cleaning rooms and pushing carts for 8-12 hours a day) meets and falls for a King. Snowball fights. A bratty, little Princess who was lonely, and missing her mother and the relationship she used to have with her father. Gingerbread cookies. Singing of carols. Nighttime horseback rides. All complete with a crown coveting royally approved bride-to-be. It was fun and sweet.
Holiday High School Reunion – This movie was every reason I have not attended any of my high school reunions.
One Starry Night – Astronomer and rodeo cowboy in New York. Sweet, holiday romance. Soul mates. Wrong loves. Making wishes on stars. Dreams coming true. It only takes 8 seconds. Do you believe?
A Holiday Detour – Candace Cameron Bure is a Hallmark Channel staple in movies. She’s played everything from a doctor to a writer to the heir of a hotel empire… In this one, she’s a magazine writer for a bridal magazine, intent on the perfect man and the perfect wedding, rather than on love. The secondary characters, Frank and Maxine, were worth it. I wish Candace Cameron Bure would play someone vulnerable, with emotional range. Someone charming. In the end, it was okay, but definitely not my favorite.
12 Gifts of Christmas – Fun, unassuming movie with a lot of the feels. A painter meets businessman in a bakery. How could I not keep watching? So sweet and tender. Loved it.
Once Upon A Holiday – A royal princess from a small independent country ditches her security and staff. For being from a European country, that they all have American accents, is truly suspect. The acting is fine, except for the whole lead actress thing. She acts in little giggles, smoldering eyes, sultry looks, and stiffness that is uncomfortable to watch. Second holiday movie I’ve seen her in this year and she, just…No.
Despite some of my less than stellar impressions of a few movies, I am still in love with holiday movies. Are you watching anything fun this season?
I love holiday movies. They’re sappy and unrealistic in many, many ways. But they make me feel good. They make me smile. They ultimately are about hope and family and love and returning to the simple pleasures of life. They always pose the question of What’s important to you?
I think, given the state of the world as it right now, wars on religion, on sexuality, on basic freedoms and rights… Natural disasters and illnesses… It’s vital that we find comfort and smiles and hope wherever and whenever possible. That we find ourselves.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to list the movies on Hallmark Channel or on DVD that I watch, or that my family watches during the holiday season.
So far, I’ve watched the following. Yes, I know it’s not even Thanksgiving, but these help me me find the spirit, find the joy, find the smile that I miss being away from friends and extended family during the Season…
And, they simply put me in a happy, lighter mood. So, curl up and grab the remote!
Fir Crazy – Elise has corporate marketing dreams and while out of work at the holidays, reluctantly agrees to manage the family’s Christmas tree lot in NYC for the season. Along the way, she learns the value of friendship, kindness, and to be ready for anything.
The Thanksgiving House – Is this house the site of the first Thanksgiving? The local history teacher and historian thinks do, but when it’s willed to the previous owner’s niece, a hot shot lawyer, he may not have a chance to find out. Memories and the kindness of a mother who befriends her, the hot shot lawyer may find herself with a change of heart.
A Princess For Christmas – A total fairy tale.
A Royal Christmas – Another TOTAL fairy tale!
The Nine Lives of Christmas – Confirmed bachelor fireman meets matchmaking cat who leads him to vet student Marilee, who in turn teaches him that it’s okay to fall in love.
Angels Sing – Touching and full of hope when a man who hates Christmas learns valuable lessons about unconditional love and the ability to forgive oneself.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Another annual favorite. He’s a wanderer who meets a retired cop in the airport at Christmas. She’s uber organized and a single mom who’s struggling to meet expectations. It’s all about simplicity and cutting out the nonsense.
Ice Sculpture Christmas – When the slate is blank, or the block of ice, in this case, two people from two different worlds find magic in dreams coming true.
I’ll give weekly updates until Christmas and I urge you to find the kindness and hope in the season. And if you can’t find it, be daring and be bold and be the kindness and hope for others.
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Heated Holiday © Copyright 2015 by Mandy M. Roth
Stirring Up Trouble © Copyright 2015 by Michelle M. Pillow
Baby It’s Cold Out Bear © Copyright 2015 by T. S. Joyce
Hunted © Copyright 2015 by Chloe Cole
Vampire Games © Copyright 2015 by V. M. Black
When Darkness Falls © Copyright 2015 by Terah Edun
Christmas Past, Christmas Presents © Copyright 2015 by Carina Wilder
Wrapped Up © Copyright 2015 by Cathryn Fox
An Impossible Gift © Copyright 2015 by Cristina Rayne
Thief of Souls © Copyright 2015 by Jaycee Clark
A Glint of Light © Copyright 2015 by JC Andrijeski
The Clockwork Dragon © Copyright 2015 by Tasha Black
Blitzen’s Fated Mate © Copyright 2015 by R. E. Butler
Star’s Fall © Copyright 2015 by Jaide Fox
In Good Spirits © Copyright 2015 by Michele Bardsley
Midnight Before Christmas © Copyright 2015 by Renee George
Winter Blues © Copyright 2015 by T.J. Michaels
Wish Upon a Werewolf © Copyright 2015 by Elsa Jade
A Christmas Caroline © Copyright 2015 by Allison Gatta
Frostbitten Hearts © Copyright 2015 by Arial Burnz
The Lady And The Dragon’s Holiday © Copyright 2015 by Mandy Rosko
Not a Gentleman’s Christmas © Copyright 2015 by Candice Gilmer
Claimed by the Dragon King © Copyright 2015 by Dawn Michelle
The BBW and the Beast © Copyright 2015 by Sylvia Frost
Reindeers, Elves, and Cookies…Oh My! © Copyright 2015 by Lissa Matthews
Santa Shifter in Manhattan © Copyright 2015 by Lexy Cole