Holiday traditions keep families together and we have ours. This makes the sixth holiday season that we have made festive decorations that now hang in the doorway to the family room and it has become a tradition with everyone contributing an ornament or two each year. It's so simple using the super sculpey that cooks in the kitchen oven on a very low heat and then cures and gets hard as it cools. This year we made Charlie Brown and his Christmas tree, Rudolph the red nosed raindeer, a Christmas candle and tiny tree, a nutcracker, a poinsettia, a Christmas basket and a holly branch to add to all of our other decorations from years past. Pretty soon the ornaments will extend all around the room!
We also made a "group" holiday wreath with everyone taking turns to add something to the wreath. It was fun watching the wreath build out. We made a few adjustments as some things didn't work and other things were added. In the end it had pine cones, bells, white poinsettias, little drums and sprigs of berries adorning the seasonal greenery. I think that it is a beautiful wreath and another beautiful holiday tradition. Happy holidays from our family to yours!
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to recycle. It's a revolving door with me. I give many things to be recycled and I buy many things from resale shops. I particularly love it if the resale shop benefits a worthy cause and many do.
I am in the process of fixing up my house in Sedona, AZ to become a short term rental and I have had so much fun scrounging the resale shops to do it. I am a huge animal lover and the shops that I like the best are the two non-profit shops whose proceeds benefit the animals, Second to that is the shop whose profits benefit abused women and children. I can also be seen browsing Goodwill where I have found many good secondhand books and cooking utensils. I totally believe in the concept that one man's discards can be another man's treasure. I don't believe in throwing anything in a landfill if there is any reuse possible.
With all the bad news of our consumer throwaway society and the pollution that it causes, particularly the plastic waste that is clogging our rivers and oceans and killing the marine life that feeds on it by mistake, we have an urgency to do something about it. California has just outlawed plastic bags for grocery shopping because of the trash they leave behind much of which ends up in the ocean. I am terribly concerned about the floating "island" of trash in the middle of the Pacific (and there are other such "islands" elsewhere). We produce about 300 million tons of plastic a year most of which is then discarded. It is estimated that 1 million seabirds die each year due to plastic pollution.
But all is not lost. Many are devoting their time and resources to finding solutions. A foundation called The Ocean Cleanup, founded by a young Dutchman named Boyan Slat, is one such organization tackling ocean cleanup. How are they doing this? Their method utilizes natural ocean currents and winds which passively transport garbage toward a collection platform. Solid floating barriers are used to trap the trash from the ocean avoiding the sealife entanglement that is a problem with nets. After capture the plastic is then removed mechanically and recycled by recovery vessels. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation is a testament to what human ingenuity can do when focused on a problem.
Whether is is a tiny effort like what I am doing in Arizona and California or a massive effort like what the Dutch are doing in the oceans of the world, what is important is the mindset of not throwing away but recycling and reusing instead.
As we go into the holiday season, I want to start by giving thanks.... for so many things...good health, a wonderful life and family and particularly for the wonderful children that are a part of our growing family. Children bring us back to the innocent and loving without boundaries and it it so wonderful watching them play and grow. Here in California, Thanksgiving is generally sunny and warm, but I remember wonderful Thanksgivings as I was growing up in cold Tennessee as well...what always makes it special is being able to share together.
My only sibling lives completely across the country and we don't get together too often but I can generally count on Thanksgiving and some birthdays to see him. This year was no exception... There were nineteen of us around the beautiful Thanksgiving table and among those nineteen were seven grandchildren from 3 to 8 years old. I grabbed the opportunity to get a picture with all of the children (except my grand nephew who was off showing some of his dancing moves to the music). My little dog Tinker got into the picture as well
I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season full of warmth and good cheer. Please remember to include a little extra for someone who may not have as much as you have with a gift to make their holidays a little brighter... it will make your experience even more wonderful.