Share Your World, the holiday edition


It has been a while since I played along in Cee’s Share Your World Challenge, so I thought I was due. And since it is the holiday time, my blog has been all off schedule anyway. So, here goes…

What is your favorite holiday?

This is tough as I love to embrace each holiday’s special wonder. But, I think I will at least narrow it down to the last few months of the year…

Veterans Day is normally a solemn reminder of deployment that make me more appreciative of my current freedom. It also has become an annual challenge in completing a half marathon in honor of a fallen hero.

Then, there comes fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving. I know this clump of holidays is broad, but to me, it is really a three-month celebration.  Come September, I break out all the autumn decor. The house gets decorated with pumpkins, leaves and turkeys. When Halloween is over, Jack-o-lantern decorations get turned around to become regular pumpkins for Thanksgiving. The cooler weather calls for a bonfire where we can make smores and drink cider. Oh, and making black bean, pumpkin chili has become a staple. Then of course, there is traditionally a gathering of friends and family for a Thanksgiving meal, which is made while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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Thanksgiving weekend is also time to welcome in Christmas. The decor of the house all changes from fall to winter. A Christmas tree is put up and decorated. Little snowmen and lights adorned various parts of the house. And generally, tis the season to bake, and I love baking.

What types of food is associated with your holiday?

When I was little, Christmas meant cookies and candy. Not just any cookies and candy though. Christmas was specifically defined by no bake cookies and cinnamon hard-rock candy. I have made them every year in my home too. Now, my kids look at them as holiday treats as well. I guess it is safe to say, a tradition has been made.

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Do you travel for your holiday?

During my last part of the year holiday blitz, I do a little bit of travel. Sometimes it is just in the local area to explore what is around me. It never fails that I am surprised by all the amazing places I can fin within hours from my home.

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Other times, it it is somewhere more exotic and romantic, which is perfectly ok with me too of course.

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Is it a religious or spiritual holiday?

I cannot really separate those two things really. Now that I am truly working at being “present” in my life, I am more aware. I look at things now with more of a spiritual appreciation. And when I see things that way, I cannot help but give thanks to God for all the blessings he gives me. So, they are tied together.

Is there a gift exchange?

The only direct gifts happen over Christmas. However, the whole end-of-the-year-holiday blitz is full of giving. Veterans Day is full of giving thanks. I try to send out little reminders to my Army friends, letting them know how much they mean to me. And between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, I think I give out out baked goods and meals that I could probably take it as a tax deduction, lol. Yet, I really enjoy the joy of sharing and seeing the happiness it brings others.

How long does the celebration last?

Well, like I said above, my holiday blitz is typically from September to December. I mean why limit it to just one day?

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

This last week, I was grateful for my romantic vacation to Jamaica. The weather was perfect.  My company was adorable. And, our return home was safe and pleasant. What more could a girl ask for?

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This week, I am looking forward to some time with my loved ones. My sister and I plan on hanging out and baking up a storm, making smores, and watching some silly movies. Then, my dad, sister and boyfriend are going to enjoy a few meals together and exchange some presents for Christmas and Hanukkah. I am also planning on wandering around some Christmas decor to take some pictures. So fun, food, family is to come:)

May you all have a wonderfully happy and peaceful holiday too!

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2015 Wrap Up


It is hard to believe 2015 is over in hours. What a whirlwind year it has been. From moving into a new house to a variety of travel to meeting an amazing man, this year has had more than I could of imagined. It has also had a share of drama and stress. But hey, life can never be perfect.

One of the highlights of the year was the fact that I finished my first full year of blogging. I started in the fall of 2014 and wasn’t really sure how it would go. Now that I have a year under my belt, I wish I would have started sooner. One of my biggest fears was that people would tell me to stop writing. However, people of that mindset have stayed strangely silent while others have encouraged me to do more. (You followers have an odd sense of entertainment and I appreciate it!)

Over the year I have dabbled in some fiction, commentary, and even poetry. I have shared some stories from my past and present. It has been wonderful to finally start writing again, especially when it always seemed to be on that …one day I will…list. Well, one day turned into 2015 and I could not be happier.

So for my 2015 wrap up, here were a few highlights of my writing blog:

Top Viewed Posts

A story from my past: It Was My Fault He Punched Me.

A free verse poem about meeting a wonderful man: Falling Into You.

A fictional story about a dog and a dead lover who appears in the form of a bird. He’s Awkward and Cute and Breaks my Heart.

A found form poem on liars for Poetry 201: Keeping up With Lies.

A memory from a deployment, which was a Daily Prompt response: Falling on my Face in Iraq.

A haiku for Ronovan Writes challenge, which I tend to do weekly now: Growing Cold.

My first and only florette poem that had a serious topic-suicide: Hidden in the Dark.

My top One Word Photo Challenge (with commentary): Gentle Giants of Biege.

My story (which was in response to a Daily Prompt and The Seeker’s Dungeon) about meeting a wonderful man: From Blind Date to Fairytale.

A pet photo challenge: Lazy Sunday.

My top haiku that was several haikus together, which spoke on the death of a lover (fiction for me thank God): I Forget I am Alone.

My top Phoneography Challenge (which was my first real attempt a macro photography) that had an article with it. Now, I try to do this challenge, every Monday when I can: It’s all in the Details.

 

Phew! That is a scattered range of topics. But hey, those are my thoughts and blog. I can only be me.

 

Of course, I need to thank some people. My blog is growing and growing, but much of that has to do with other bloggers. So, there are some shout outs I want to give. Thank you so much to all of you who send people my way. I really appreciate your help in my writing adventures.

Top Referrers

Ronovan Writes

Lens and Pens by Sally

Hope the Happy Hugger

The Seeker’s Dungeon

Katzen World

Cee’s Photography

As for my followers, you are all wonderful. A few of you have given me extra feedback though. So, to you folks, I am extra grateful. Thank you so much for all of the input. It really has helped me learn and stay motivated. Those bloggers filling up my comment boxes include:

Top Commenters

Amy from The World is a Book

Dan from No Facilities

Janet from This, That and the Other Thing

Sally from Lens and Pens by Sally

Melinda from in medias res

Well, thanks again to for the wonderful blogging year. I hope to keep up the pace with some tweaks to the schedule as needed. Feel free to let me know what you want to see more or less of. Who knows, maybe it will prompt me into a new idea or remember a story.

Take care everyone and be safe tonight on your celebrations.

Happy New Year to all of you and your families. May 2016 bring you all that you desire:)

See you next year!

Nato

Christmas is Here


Christmas Eve and Christmas were a little different this year. The kids are older and were making their rounds to other parts of the family, so I had Christmas Eve and Christmas morning to myself. Therefore, I decided to use them wisely.

The much-desired white Christmas did not come. Instead it was replaced with a wet Christmas, a very wet one. So, on Christmas Eve, I ran around taking pictures of the growing water levels of a nearby river, ate a Mexican lunch with my boyfriend and then went home into a dessert-making/present wrapping mania.

Christmas morning I slept in for hours. It was a beautiful rare thing. By early afternoon I was cooking and prepping for dinner guests. We ate, drank and opened presents that evening and it was perfect. Though things are changing with time, I am realizing, life is still wonderful. It is just a different version of wonderful and that makes me smile:)

Here are a few pictures for you all to enjoy…

 

For more pictures of the flooding, stay tuned to my photography page, Michelle Lunato Photograpy. I will be posting some pictures there soon. There are a few up on my Instagram right now though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop the Greed


We all like our stuff. From our smart phones and TVs to our green cars and appliances, we are spoiled. We entertain ourselves with fitness trackers, Redbox movies and non-fat frappuccinos with extra whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

We run around stressed at Christmas as we decide what to buy who and when. But giving should be fun. At least it is for me and several others I know. Yet, when I go out into the stores, so many people look angry. And when I hear some people talk about Christmas, they sound so greedy.

We live in a material world. (Great, now I am singing Madonna now…) I get that. I just wish some people had more Christmas spirit and less greed. And if they had this longer than just the Christmas season, that would be nice too. Am I asking too much?

Perhaps. But all things are possible with God I believe. And if all of us spread joy in our daily actions, maybe we could start a wave of happiness. Who knows, maybe those ripples of goodness could spread across the world…

 

“Let us keep Christmas beautiful without a thought of greed, that it might live forevermore to fill our every need, that it shall not be just a day, but last a lifetime through, the miracle of Christmas time that brings God close to you.” ~ Ann Schultz quotes

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For Writer’s Quote Wednesday

and

Ronovan Writes’

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