Mister Rogers’ holiday message is simple and clear.

“I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to give you for Christmas. I’d really like to give you something that just fits your own wishes and needs the way these shoes just fit me. I suppose the thing I’d like most to be able to give you is hope. Hope that through your own doing and your own living with others, you’ll be able to find what best fits for you in this life…I, for one, wish you good memories of this holiday. And I hope you’ll be able to look for all the different ways that people have of showing that they love you.” ~ Mister Rogers

Read the full text here — brought to you by mental_floss!

Something good will work…

I’ve always been a music fan.  While I have no real talent in that respect, I do love to listen to music. It has always played a role in my life. I was always able to find a song fit each situation.  Of course, when I was growing up we only had three channels on television and for a lot of years only a 19 inch or a black and white set so sitting and watching TV was not really a pastime. I suppose we had a Nintendo or Super NES or something when my brothers were little, but beside me typing away on the Commodore 64 gaming really wasn’t thing.  (This was before the internet, kiddies!)  The point is, I guess, that music was my pastime — I had hundreds of cassettes (yes, cassettes!) for my much cherished boombox.  Now I listen on a digital device like my iPod or PC or phone and the cassettes are long gone. I still have well over 300 some CDs in storage, and I am always buying more, and they all get transferred to my PC; not to mention the probably thousands of dollars I’ve spent on iTunes over the years. Well you can likely imagine the size of my music collection.  Though most often I revert to the songs I listened to in my teens I definitely like to listen to and own some of the new stuff coming out.

It was while listening to a newer song (not hot off the presses by any means ‘cause I am OLD) that I decided to write this journal entry.  Music still has the ability to make me emote.  The song I was listening to made me feel nostalgic, remorseful, full of longing and regret… so many things.  Then it made me laugh at myself that even after all these years I still feel the same way about some things or people that happened to me.  I still find the same things attractive, I still have that same little nagging voice in the back of my head that I did 20 years ago… maybe people really don’t change?

The track changed and the next song fast-forwarded me to only a few nights ago and a ‘heated’ discussion with my boyfriend. I would probably send him a link to the song on Facebook as a statement but it would be completely lost on him because he never listens to the lyrics or gets what I’m trying to say — but I would know, and the therapeutic effect wouldn’t be lost on me.  A few years ago I made a mix tape (actually burned a CD) for him but he never really understood the message even though I thought it was obvious.

Anyhoo… I am probably going to reread ‘Love is a mix tape’ which I highly recommend if you ‘got’ anything I just wrote (but seriously be prepared to cry).  Have a harmonious day!

Donation Time!!

Every year my company sponsors a giving campaign and each year I try to choose a different organization that I feel can benefit from the company match.  Last year I donated to the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services organization in Madison, WI.  This year I am happy to announce I have chosen to send my payroll deduction and match to the wonderful Heifer Team organized by Patrick Rothfuss and his friends: WorldBuilders!  Help spread the love around!

I have also setup a recurring matched donation for the Clinton Global Initative via the William J. Clinton Foundation!  Huzzah!  Changing the world a dollar at a time!

my opening statement

This is not the first thing that I have written to you nor do I intend it will be the last.  Recently, one of my favorite authors posted a blog about his writing to his son, you can read it here, it prompted me to try and spend some more time doing the same.

The tricky part here is always how or where to begin.  So I think tonight I will start with my eldest.

I know that right now you think that I am mad or unhappy with you.  Untrue.  You think that I didn’t enjoy having you and Fia here this summer.  Also, untrue.  I love you and Fia with all my heart and loved having you here.  Part of me wants you here always so I can take care of you.  But another part of me knows that you need to do your own thing now.  I worry about you a lot.  I don’t think some of your choices are the best – but I am making that determination from afar and with limited reliable data.  I hope that you and Fia are thriving and happy.  I hope that someday soon you’ll feel like you can come see me.   You will always be my little girl… no matter what you do or who you are with (or what I think of them).  Just don’t let anyone marginalize you or mistreat you or treat you like less than the beautiful girl that you are.  Remember, Moms’ always love their daughters come hell or high water.

To my middle child… you have a frustrating sense of humor that I don’t always get and consequently I react in all the wrong ways.  You remind me so much of my Dad or my brothers in some of the things that you say – it really makes me laugh and smile.  You remind me of my Grandpa sometimes when I look at you.  You and your baby brother have that image in common.  Sometimes it makes me want to cry.  I think a lot now about you going off to college, because I know you are smart enough to do it.  I think how I just don’t know how I will do without you here.  I’ve never told you this because I guess it was something that I didn’t want to admit or maybe that I thought would show weakness where I couldn’t afford it or maybe people would view it as selfish or wrong somehow.  But the truth is that for the last 15 years you have been my rock… my sticking point… my inspiration.  When I felt things were at their absolute worst you always brought me back from the brink.   I’m sure you never realized it but you always grounded me.  Maybe because it was only you and me in a sense… your Dad was never there and so you were 100% mine from day one and you gave me the unconditional love that I needed to keep going and I never had to share it with anyone.  I’m not doing a very good job of putting it into words; just know that you are my light. I hope that when you are off making your way in the world you’ll think to call your Mom once in a while.  I love you, Austina-ballerina.  Now clean your room! (-;

Now we come to my second life and double-trouble.  There are 12 years between you two and your big brother, whew!  I had started writing a book of how you came to be and it is half finished somewhere here on my computer.  Today though, my twin-kies, you are just three years old.  You fill the halls with laughter and nonsense and everyone needs that in their life.  I learned a lot about parenting from your brother and sister but not nearly enough to claim I have a clue.  You both surprise me every single day with things you do or say.

My Monkey, you are the master mimic right now.  And no matter how many times you do it, I will always laugh when you ask me if I am ‘ready to arm’.  You are an unstoppable force and some days I worry that if you bump your head in the same place one more time you will have a permanent bruise!  You tried to take your Gramma out with a hot wheel this summer… you’re definitely a little firecracker!  You are loving and kind and full of hugs and kisses.  And not unlike your big brother, when you think you’ve hit on something that gets a laugh you tend to repeat it a lot.  You are my precious little man and I love you.

My Princess you are the queen bee of the hive around here and frequently run your big brother ragged.  The other day you wanted something and I said I didn’t have the money and you informed me it was in my purse.  When I said I didn’t have enough you said that we needed to get some more then.  When I asked you where, you said to look in my pockets!  You have a little head wag and attitude and that defies me and makes me worry about what kind of trouble I have to look forward to.  You are smart and talkative – I love the way that you make up little stories when you are playing with your ponies and buffalos and other dolls.  You play along with my silly jokes on your ‘stinky’ brothers which is great.  You are a beauty who will break a million hearts and I love you!

That’s all for tonight.  I will try to make a habit of this so all the unsaid things get said.

Happy Yule! Merry Christmas! Welcome New Year!

Happy Holidays and a Shiny New Year filled with lots of love and good cheer!

  • The Ninth Pãramitã:   Loving Kindness (mettã) means ‘good will’ in all our actions.
  • My religion is very simple.  My religion is kindness. ~ The 14th Dali Lama
  • Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
  • You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Is there any one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout one’s whole life?  Surely the maxim of loving kindness is such. ~ Confucious

May your hearts and homes be filled with Loving Kindness now and always.

Love from Candi, Austin, Ellie, Marcus, Jose & Katey

This time of year it always seems we notice those missing from our lives a little bit more.  It seems harder to get on with the days without them here.  Hold your family close at the holidays and everyday… you just don’t know what’s around the corner.  So for all those faces & voices & hugs & kisses that will be missed at the table this Christmas – I still hold you all in my heart and miss you dearly.