I have to do a cleansing breath as I write this blog post….
It’s been a looong time since I’ve felt like typing a single word about my gypsy Santa Fe life. So much has happened this past year that it hurts my brain, not to mention my heart, to even try and reminisce.
So I won’t.
We’ve all had our lives turned upside down. Some have lost loved ones to this horrific, stupid, evil, bone-tiring, life-sucking virus. Some have lost marriages, jobs, homes, life savings, and their ever-loving sanity during this nightmare year. Trust me, I check the boxes of many of these.
But then last week I bought a set of those holiday popper things.
Trying to force myself to smile amidst the reality that my daughters aren’t flying to New Mexico for Christmas, I thought perhaps by just pulling apart paper and ribbon crackers might snap me back into my usual joy-filled self. Imagine Elf, as in the movie, with blonde hair and bigger thighs. That was usually me. But now I felt more like Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh, constantly filled with doom and gloom.
My purchase of holiday poppers was worth a try. I hadn’t partaken in this old-time tradition since visiting my sister’s house several years ago in Kentucky. The only thing I remember falling out of the poppers was a simple paper crown. Everyone, including the kids and our parents, all put one on their heads and the photos and silliness commenced. Just thinking about it makes me smile and how I wish I could time travel back to that day.
So when I tossed a box of poppers into my shopping cart last week, it was those very memories in which I was willing to purchase for a mere fifteen dollars. It was a cheap price to pay for re-imagined smiles and laughter with the people I hold so dear.
That same afternoon, after shipping jewelry orders and experiencing melancholy over Christmases past, I reminded myself that my body still needed food. I prepared a simple dinner for the Cowboy and I, as well as invited two of my dearest Santa Fe Covid-negative friends over for dinner. Even though candles were lit in an attempt to be festive, I could tell on the looks of everyone’s faces that we were tired.
Tired of isolating, tired of fear, tired of trying to wrap our brains around what is true or false and wondering if life will ever be back to normal. After the meal, we all enjoyed my Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake (homemade, mind you) and pulled apart the poppers as my last attempt at Christmas fun.
I was not expecting what fell out of my popper: a miniature pack of bowling pins, a teeny-tiny harmonica, a small kaleidoscope and yes, a paper crown.
Why on earth would the manufacturer enclose such a bizarre assortment of oddities? I couldn’t get my head wrapped around it and it bugged me. Yes, when one’s an artist, writer and jewelry designer, their brain goes off on wild tangents. I woke up in the middle of the night and quickly jotted a down a few things in my journal. That freaking holiday popper and its diminutive contents were screaming directly into my heart. After staring at the ceiling, talking to God and doing some serious soul-searching, here’s what these contents are still teaching me:
Tiny Blue Bowling Pins. They may be tiny but it reminds me that many of our problems are actually smaller than we think. Many of us are currently enduring inconveniences in which we’ll live through. I realize, however, that many have lost loved ones and my heart breaks. It truly does. But for most us, our troubles or hurdles are sort of like bowling pins. Some get lucky, can use a “ball” and knock over every one of life’s disappointments in one fell swoop. Money, luck, prayers, strength of will, etc. may contribute to a lucky strike that makes you feel like a total winner. But for most of us it’s not that easy. We have to roll ball after ball, knocking down or confronting one problem at a time. Often, the problems get swept away, only to be replaced with a whole set of new ones that seem to drop out of the sky. Mercy, it takes strength doesn’t it? But after looking at these tiny plastic pins I’m going to remind myself that I must keep these problems in perspective. I’ll take them one at a time and pray God gives me a stronger way of confronting them. It may require meds, therapy, talking to friends, working smarter, etc. But one way or another, those darn pins will be dealt with. How about we try it together?
Pink Kaleidoscope. Of course, this little plastic toy is nothing like the fancy ones I used to peer through at gift shops, where little pieces of colored mirrors move meticulously to form gorgeous patterns. Oh, if only it’s analogy regarding a beautiful life was that simple. But the kaleidoscope with the intricately cut plastic tip, did provide me with a clear reminder. I have a choice in how I view my life. And so do you. Often it may look like an absolute mish mash of dizzying troubles with nothing making a damn bit of sense. But it all depends on how you view it. We can look at our live as one heart-wrenching problem after another, or we can look at it as a color-filled existence that, while it often does provide clarity, we can remember that it won’t stay that way very long and to remember, “this to shall pass.” Trust me, when I was laying on a friend’s sofa last year, wishing my life could end, I wasn’t thinking about a pink plastic kaleidoscope and its lessons. But I sure wish I had. Perhaps, then, life could have been a bit more manageable.
Blue Harmonica. Oh, how I could so easily go on and on about this one, but I’ll keep it brief. This year seems as if more than ever we are all trying to toot our own horns in one form or another. Regardless of which form of social media, albeit political or provocative, it seems as if wants to be heard. From selling jewelry (yes, yours truly) to watching kids practically sell their bodies on-line, the entire process stirs within me a wide range of emotions. Regardless of the how’s or why’s we post online or in the background of those who do so, it’s often very exhausting. However, I’m learning, through receiving hundreds of emails and personal messages, that the people who need to hear my personal message will do so. God knows exactly WHEN and WHO we are to interact with, especially if it’s an attempt to do His work. Harmonica, er, horn-blowing can get way out of hand so remember who you’re playing for or if, perhaps, you should be silent.
Paper Crown. Why is it that regardless of the color or style of these popper/cracker things, there is always a crown. While I doubt the manufacturer even knows the reasoning behind it, I think I know the answer: it’s a reminder that we are a prince or princess to someone. Yes, every single one of us. In someone’s eyes, you are like royalty. You are loved and cherished whether you see it or not. It’s time to polish that crown and ALLOW yourself to be loved by others---most importantly our Savior.
Use the occurrence of Saturn and Jupiter drawing close as a wake-up call. Allow God to come close to you. This planetary phenomenon hasn’t happened in over 800 years! That alone is absolutely mind-boggling. Remember what I said about His timing being perfect? Think about that and remember you can feel peace as you’ve never before. Go look up at that brilliant blue sky and whisper “thank you, thank you.” Our loved ones might not be with us this year, but let’s close our eyes knowing they’re sleeping under the same star-filled sky as we are.
It’s never too late to open your heart, not to mention purchase a set of holiday poppers and experience JOY. New Year’s Day is just around the corner, ya know. If there was ever a time to celebrate and gain a new perspective, THIS IS IT my friends. Who knows, when you pull apart your own holiday popper, you might learn something from its contents as well.
It is my ever-loving prayer that you do.