Sunday, December 24, 2017

There's magic in the air

Can you feel it?

That anticipation?

There's magic in the air!

By now, Santa is making his rounds, presents are happening, and kids are trying to catch him coming down the chimney by leaving out cookies and milk.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm like a little kid right now. There's just something about Christmas that makes me feel young again.

I'm with family enjoying the magic of the holidays, and for those that celebrate, I hope you are having a wonderful holiday, too!



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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Self-Care During the Holidays

Remember to take care of yourself during the holiday season, or else you'll end up with "Frankenstein Coffee". Or worse, NO coffee!

You probably think I'm nuts, but read ahead. Imagine the following:

There I was, in PJs and slippers, hair askew, slowly shuffling into the kitchen while resembling the walking dead. One eye was half-open, the other one was closed, and I barely avoided knocking into things.

I managed to fill and start the kettle.

I managed to pull out the pour-over pot and the filter.

The water started boiling! Yay! Hope is nigh: soon, I will be caffeinated! I can do this! I am ready to tackle this Sunday!

*pulls out ground coffee*

Uh-oh.

I've only got a tiny bit of regular coffee left...

*roots around in cabinet*

...and also some weird vanilla stuff from Target that I didn't really like the first time I tried it.

Ok! I've got this! I'll just combine them. I'll finish up the regular stuff, and a scoop or 2 of vanilla on top will eke out a large mug. Should be drinkable, right? Whatever, caffeine is caffeine.

*coffee brews*

*pours coffee in mug*

Almost there!

*opens fridge*

Uh-oh.

I've only got a trickle of milk left, no half-n-half, and a smattering of what might be expired pumpkin spice Mini Moo's® rattling around in the drawer of the fridge. I honestly have no idea of their freshness status, because the box was chucked out long ago during an effort to neaten up the fridge.

I very sleepily attempt to give myself a pep talk: "Ok, Beth, this MAY be an emergency, but you CAN deal. How bad can half-vanilla coffee with potentially expired pumpkin spice creamer be? At least you have enough for a mug. Suck it up, suck it down, and get on with things."

Today, this is what "adulting" looks like in positively b.e.e. land.

Guys: If you know me AT ALL, you know that while I am an early riser, I am not exactly a "morning person." I literally stumble around with one eye half-open so I don't crash into anything, but that's it. Bare-minimum engagement with the world around me until I wake up is my modus operandi. I am nonverbal, nonvisual, and nonfunctioning. I do not even contemplate using actual words until I've been up for awhile and have started sipping the blessed, blessed bean.

If you're a guest in my house and you witness this, you get used to it. You know not to ask me anything complicated or try to have a conversation while I'm still waking up. If you need to know where something is, I can point at the thing you need, but don't expect much else. I may answer you with grunts and shrugs until my language centers come fully online.

Now, I'm usually pretty good at taking care of myself. I know what I need to do to get through any day, let alone the last weekend before Christmas. Taking care of myself usually starts with a cup of coffee. And yet (!!!), I had somehow, in the midst of all the holiday craziness, broken my CARDINAL RULE:

Always have coffee supplies in the house. Coffee. Half-n-half or milk. Sugar. These are the basics, right? It could be the apocalypse outside, but I will be fully caffeinated before handling all the zombies, is all I'm saying.

What happened that I have let such a travesty befall my house?

I had been so busy shopping for Christmas presents, prepping for Christmas visits, writing Christmas cards, doing this, doing that, doing the other thing--that I had completely forgotten to take care of my own needs.

Thankfully, my needs this season basically amount to shopping for more coffee supplies. And I am immensely grateful that that's all I need!

Hopefully, this was a humorous reminder to practice self-care over the holidays. Don't lose sight of what YOU need this season, ok?

Take a little time for yourself, sip some coffee (or wine), and take a breather. Things don't need to be perfect. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or nothing at all, this time of year has a way of getting us in a tizzy. The important things are family, shared traditions, and spending time with each other, NOT all the other stuff that gets us wound up, like shopping, parties, cooking, baking, etc. Those things are certainly fun, but sometimes they have a way of making us a little nuts, too.

Also, if you love the holidays, they go by so fast, don't they? Blink and you miss it! Try to slow down and take it all in.

For instance, sometimes after work, instead of driving straight home, I'll go the long way around and drive through extended portions of the neighborhood to look at everyone's lights while singing along to Christmas carols playing on my car stereo. It's a small thing, but it's a few minutes of "me time" that I cherish, and ensures I'm living in the moment without the holiday to-do list pressing in on me.

Comment below and let me know how you like to celebrate the season, what you're doing to get through it, or even what type of coffee you like!  Don't forget to share with your friends!

And whatever you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful rest of the year!

Oh, and while I may have just sucked it up and sucked it down, my Frankenstein coffee actually wasn't too bad, after all! Who knew?









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Thursday, December 7, 2017

T.G.I...T?

Tomorrow is Friday. 

How many times have you said the following in your lifetime: "T.G.I.F.!" Or, "Thank God It's Friday!"

I say it.
You say it.
We ALL say it, right?

When you think about it, though, what does that phrase get across, to you?

When I think about it, this phrase goes beyond a meaningless conversational cue meant to make random interactions at the coffee pot go more smoothly. 

To me, this phrase indicates that Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday only serve the purpose of being days I look forward to Friday and the weekend. Monday through Thursday are days to be gotten through, not days to be enjoyed and cherished.

Additionally, have you ever spent your Sunday dreading Monday? I know I've been there at times, and I have known many people who have this unfortunate attitude. 

And then you go back to work on Monday and ask someone how they are, and they say "Well, pretty good, for a Monday."

Why on earth are we wasting our time, our breath, and our energy on this?

Remember when we talked about how words have power? This is one of those situations. WE ARE WISHING OUR LIVES AWAY. We are wishing for Friday to come faster so it can be the weekend. We are wishing Monday wouldn't come and wasting our Sunday worrying about it. By speaking this out loud, we may be living in a technical sense, but not really living in a spiritual sense. In a fulfillment sense. In a grateful sense. We are just going through the motions.

God, how boring! 

I know some people would say that I'm taking this too seriously, that it's just a phrase, or a light conversational cue, and I take your point, BUT, hear me out. 

Last night was a rough one. I found out the shocking news that a friend had suddenly died. I had a fitful night, waking up several times, crying a little, wishing it had been different. But when I woke up this morning, this thought was in my head, and I really don't even know how it got there, but there it was: 

"What if T.G.I.F. could be turned into something else? 
What if we rebranded T.G.I.F.?"

How about: T.G.I.T. = Thank God It's TODAY?



Every day, I wake up, and I thank God for waking me up, for giving me another "today." So why would I spend all week looking forward to Friday, and then say "T.G.I.F." on Friday as if I couldn't wait for the week to end??? It doesn't make sense!

I'm going to implement this in my speech patterns. I'm going to re-train my brain on this. I plan on enjoying every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday. No constraints. No wishing my life away. From now now on, every day is T.G.I.T.

Look, guys, I know, at the end of the day, it's just something you say, and it shouldn't be a big deal, but I challenge you to use this post to think about what ways you are potentially wishing your lives away instead of living in the moment. I know I've identified one of mine. 

Try it out and let me know how it goes for you! Do you enjoy life in the moment instead of worrying about what day of the week it is? Or do you have a verbal or mental tic that is subtly telling you to go through the motions instead of savoring each moment? 

Comment below if you have any thoughts on this.


(With special thanks to some folks who helped me get my 
head straight on this one. W.L. and L.D., you rock!)


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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Today's Happy Thing: Crochet

Hi everyone! Today I'm going to post about something that makes me happy: crochet.

I first learned to crochet when I was participating in Civil War Reenactments back in the early-to-mid-1990s. I played a lady in the Maine State Ladies' Society, which was attached to the 20th Maine, Co. E. group of re-enactors. How I got into that is a long story, so I'll leave it out, for now, but I reenacted for a couple of years with this group. I was impressed with the dedication of its members to bringing history to life for the spectators who came to reenactments.

While there, I met a woman named Donna. Donna took me under her wing and taught me a little bit about a lot of things, including crochet. Being "in camp" with tourists coming by and asking questions about life back in the 1860s was very rewarding, but sometimes I wanted something for my hands to do during slow periods, and I wasn't much good at sewing. Donna handed me some yarn and a crochet hook, taught me a granny square, and I was hooked! (Pun unintended, but now that I see it, I'm going to let it stand!) Under her tutelage, I made my very first granny square afghan.

To this day, I still remember how to do a granny square the way she taught me. Since then, I've taken the time to learn some other crochet stitches, and have a desire to do some tutorials on them at some point, perhaps here (with photos) or on YouTube. I wonder: how many of you would like to learn those?

Donna is sadly no longer with us, so this is partially a tribute to her, a person who made a positive difference in my life by teaching me something that makes me happy. I'd like to think she's looking down and smiling when I complete another crochet project successfully. All of this is due to the foundations she taught me over 20 years ago. Thank you, Donna!

Here is a baby blanket I recently finished for a friend.

Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Worsted

Comment below and let me know: what is making you happy today (or this week)? And have you ever wanted to learn something like crochet?



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