Good morning, can you believe its New Years Eve? Woo hoo! We are invited to a small party and will likely go by for a part the evening. We always have an early dinner with my kids first in a restaurant we can all agree on, then they are free to go on with whatever plans they have. This holiday has been somewhat of a big blur…..between trying to start packing up, so much to do for our new house, prepping for the holidays, this has been a serious whirlwind of a holiday season. But it all got done as I knew it would. As much fun as it was and as enjoyable as being with my family was….I must admit I am glad/relieved its over. I am also glad to close the door to 2011, and am confident 2012 is going to be a fabulous year (and besides I love even numbers)! So when I think back about this last year, I reflect on things that I have learned and I always try to take a few things away with me from the old year into the new, that I learned being one year older and one year wiser. Here are my reflections of 2011……..2011……gotta admit, I am glad its over It really does pay to wait for what you really love and want, all good things come to those who wait, right? (I am talking to you, oversized subway marble tiles, reclaimed limestone floors and wire from the UK) Trust your instincts, they rarely fail you (I so believe in this and more as I get older) That it pays to try everything at least once (within reason), hey how else will you know! A few great friends can make even the worst day bearable If you have a health issue, dont’ think by wishing it away, it will go away…instead confront it, and seek to beat it at its own game by treating it properly Laughter really can be the best medicine The real meaning of Christmas will be unchanged whether you have 1000 twinkling lights and hundreds of perfect shiny ornaments or no lights and a few cheesy bulbs on a makeshift two foot plastic tree…its about the spirit and magic of the holiday as shared with family and friends above all else….. That its not the end of the world and I will not be judged by having ordered my Christmas cards (at least I got to this step) but never got around to getting pictures of the boys and therefore never sent them out……On the bright side, I have my cards already for next year and will be way ahead of the game! One less thing off my list for Christmas 2012…woo hoo! That sometimes the best gifts are really free…..forgiveness, understanding, lending your ear to someone who needs it, a message of support to someone in need, a helping hand No one will love you more for proving you can do it all, all of the time, be yourself and remember you are human not a machine (guilty as charged) It is vital to take at least a sliver out of your day every day to do something for you, it could be deep breathing, yoga, a walk, shopping, eating a box of chocolates, grabbing a coffee with a friend…the world will not stop just because you stop “doing” sometimes its more important to just ‘be” instead of “do” Tell those you love, that you love them and appreciate them and do it often, how good does it feel when someone tell you that? A M A Z I N G!!!!! To stop stressing over micro managing every last little detail (guilty as charged) for the most part, things really do have a way of working out as they are meant to be. All the stressing over Christmas, decorating, gift buying, my party, etc…..and it all worked out even better than I could have imagined, when you just “let it go”. Sometimes, eating something really indulgent like a small box of chocolates (preferably with oodles of caramel and nuts) or a little retail therapy (like buying something you really want or love) really can cure the blues or just a crappy day! That there is nothing wrong with going to a movie by yourself, in fact its actually quite relaxing! That the joy for me is so much more in giving than receiving…. That making lists rock! (and checking things off said list is even better)! That the world is full of need and that there is no amount of money that is too small to give, if we all realized that and everyone did a small part, I truly believe that gesture right there has the power to change things…..there is no amount to small, just give. That the older I get the more I see the beauty and magic in the simplest of things like nature, a furry animal as a best friend, a picture perfect sky, the first flakes of sparkling pristine snow blanketing the ground, the laughter from someone you love, a smile or kind gesture from a stranger or a beautiful and elegant bird perfectly still. That I truly have the most amazing blogging friends and followers. Your emails, messages, comments truly send me over the moon. You have no idea the joy I get in reading over each of them and how much happiness it brings me to hear about how you enjoy reading my blog, or have helped to inspire you in some way, that is the ultimate validation and for this I thank you! Time to start checking things off of my bucket list..not adding to it! There are no more vacancies, its time to spring into action! Can anyone relate to this? That it is way better to look at the glass half full than half empty…..power of positive thinking! That age really is a number, its so much more about how you feel That if you are blessed to still have little ones, with the blink of an eye they are growing up way too fast, and before you know it, their little play phones are replaced with real cell phones, their fisher price “keys” are soon real keys to the car and those little footsteps you used to hear when they got hungry late at night soon become big footsteps just heading out for the night at 11pm….I used to think it was such a cliche, to enjoy them and not wish their childhood away, and now finally I “get it”. What I would give for a time machine right this minute, I would trade all the beautiful things I have in a heartbeat to enjoy a few hours again with my kids when they were little, cherish every smile, tear, frown, tantrum and especially those priceless hugs! That life can change on a dime, so its best to really enjoy the moment and think often in a day of what your blessings are and to truly look at each day as a gift.That health is wealth, you can only fully enjoy life when you are feeling great That the simplest things like watching a movie with your entire family and getting to watch their expressions during the movie is like a priceless gift. That walking into a super organized closet is akin to winning the lottery…love that feeling when everything has its own little place! That life without great food is like the most outrageous closet without an amazing wardrobe, a killer handbag collection, drool worthy battalions of shoes and a jewelry drawer to rival Van Cleefs!! Life is short, enjoy good food! There…that’s my quote! That reading a great book is still one of the all time best bargains out there…whats better than getting lost in a truly great book! (except reading a book and a cup of Peets)! That you don’t get time back, so take a few minutes to spend with an elderly relative, or make a phone call to someone you know who is elderly and doesn’t get lot of company or who might be lonely…your call might be the best part of their day! That with all my complaining and nagging, of course I know I am extremely blessed to have my health, and have been able to build my dream house. Its been so much fun sharing it with thousands of people! Its been a long sometimes very frustrating road but believe me, I reflect often on how lucky I am to have even walked this road. That you can put the same amount of energy into being positive and nice or being nasty and negative, why not make it something good if you are going to expend that same energy That everyone is fighting some kind of battle, some very small and some monster sized, never assume anyone has it made in the shade, so best bet is to assume every ones got something they are dealing with..so proceed with care, tolerance and patienceThat when you look good, you generally feel good. I definitely have a little pep in my step when I walk out of the house dolled up, even it its a more casual outfit as opposed to the boring yoga pants getup. Sometimes, saying no to kids is the best gift you can give them at that particular moment. Your heart wants to say yes but your mind tells you to say no and to trust your instincts. Always listen to them, chances are you are onto something. That there is no such thing as too many pictures or home movies. You never get today back, so capture it on film and cherish it forever. That no day is complete without a beloved cup of coffee…my medicine! That texting should not be used for important messages like wishing someone a happy birthday or thanking them for a gift of kindness, making a major announcement, wishing them a happy holiday, or inviting them for a visit……some things absolutely must be said with the inflections and warmth of a human voice. Do you agree? But sometimes, you gotta admit, they are funny (especially when iPhone translates for you)! I have realized that with all the wonderful things I get to do, all the amazing places I get to go, at the end of the day, I am honestly truly my happiest when I am home with my family (all of us) Knowing my kids are home for the night…..priceless! And my final reflection is reflecting on how incredibly fortunate I have been to have thought to start up a blog almost a year ago, and to have stuck with it, even at times when I was worried “the well would run dry” and I would run out of things to say…..your motivation, support, beyond kind words and constant source of inspiration have given me a voice to feel free to express and has given me the motivation to continue doing what I do here. And incidentally blogging has become a big part of my life and part of who I am today. Never did I think it would take hold of me like this but it has opened the doors to many exciting future opportunities, treasured friendships and wonderful connections that I didn’t see coming. So…..thank you for the gift of helping me to find my voice. (And I didn’t even begin to tell you how much I have learned here) Any of these reflections resonate with you? What do you reflect on when you think of this year that is coming to a close? I cannot thank you enough for your friendship and support and would love to hear some of your own reflections.Thanks to each and every one of you for your support, guiding light and friendship. Wishing everyone a happy, merry and safe New Years Eve! Cheers to a spectacular 2012!