Saturday, December 29, 2012

and a Happy New Year!

I had some good stuff that I wrote on my smart phone during Christmas. But my phone won't let me publish that. So I guess it's for my eyes only. 

One of them had the following iPhone photos. We went to an awesome party in the town of Belzoni (beautiful house, flavored popcorn, boiled peanuts, catfish bread, homemade beer, fun people), and rode down the street to look at a very obvious Christmas lights competition. I had to see what you think.

Contestant #1 had blow-up Santas, lit up trees, and a lit nativity scene.
Contestant #2 had a snow globe Frosty, a blow-up Nativity scene and a dancing Santa it looks to be on the front porch. 
Here's another one of Contestant #1 at an angle so you can see the blow-up penguin. Wouldn't be the holidays without inflatable creatures in yards. I say this one is the winner. 
Hope you still have a little Xmas spirit in you to take in these pictures. I can't get enough of Christmas lights. I was worried about missing this holiday phenomenon since I don't have many houses around me. But I can tell you that I saw many thrilling displays! Thank goodness. 

It was an especially sweet Christmas for me. My mom came here to visit, and having here was sincerely a delight. That was the best Christmas present I could ask for. It's a long drive so I'm grateful she made it here to see me. I won't forget this one. It goes down in the books. 

Right after my mom left, I had a little day to myself. And yesterday, two of my closest friends Mary Brette and Stuart drove from Nashville to see me! We stayed up last night talking by the fire. I made some stir-fry dish out of what was in the fridge. This morning we had coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice. Oh, this is the life.

Today we all go down to New Orleans to see other friends. We have a wedding tomorrow night, and then will stick it out for New Year's Eve. Can't wait to be in the big easy.

I hope you have a very Happy New Year! I pray it will be prosperous, peaceful and joyful.

Love to you and yours!

Liza Jane

Saturday, December 22, 2012

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

I work part time in retail, and I love the people I work with. I've worked here since May. After 9 months of Boo Radley behavior in my little house on the farm, I picked myself up and drove to a town close by, Greenwood.

Turns out the good people at Smith & Company needed somebody to help them out. All of a sudden, bata bing bata boom, I got a little work family. Plus getting to know Greenwood people, who have been very friendly.

This is my first work experience in retail, and I've loved working in a store during Christmas time. There is a solid sense of solidarity because of the high energy involved during this most wonderful time of the year. You get to see people smile when they buy something for someone they love, and you try to add to that cheer..

It's so laid back that big Jackson gets to come to work with me! And he loves all the attention he gets, lots of love to go around in here. And for a dog that was made for love, he has made a lot of friends. Not a surprise because that happens to be the friendliest creature made ever. He is making quite a name for himself here in Greenwood, pretty famous I would say. And has made a couple of sales.

I love this place, these people, this town...and it's been a spunky Christmas season working in retail! An experience I would recommend.

Living in the country can remove you from certain holidays but no, I work at Smith & Company, and I hear and see Christmas all the time.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Liza Jane

Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

Today is the winter solstice. Goodbye Fall, hello Winter. 

Also, apparently it's the end of the world. 

So why not show you some beautiful pictures? A couple of weeks back when we were Birmingham for my cousin's wedding, we stayed with a friend who has a gorgeous home. Because I'm in love with landscapes, gardens, trees and the like, I naturally took a trillion pictures.

I love this gate, I love this rust. 

Beautiful should see the inside.

A nice little sitting area to enjoy the end of fall.

Mossy stone steps and statues. 

Little fish pond area.

Damn this tree is lit up.

Saint Francis bird bath

I had to go stand under that tree.

Then we took a little trail up the hill...

Petals all over the ground...

I liked this oddly shaped tree. 

So long Fall, see you next year! (if it's not the end of the world) 

So then we decided to get a tree on the way back to Mississippi in Alabama.

Which beautifully shaped Christmas tree will be ours?  

Here comes the Christmas tree farmer!

Shot by shot of the action so you know exactly what happened when we bought our tree. 

I just really like taking pictures of this Christmas tree family. Might get you in the spirit. 

And that's the one we want! 
And so we found this guy, went to his tree farm, picked the one above, cut it down, strapped it to my 4-runner, and brought it back to live with us or die with us. It is decorated and lit up right now. It happily gives us oxygen and makes us merry.

I think this might be the birthday of my blog. SO thanks for reading! Hope it just gets better and better!

Liza Jane

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blue Christmas

Coming back from Colorado was the perfect storm. It was a great trip that I will never forget. Skiing was so fun, friends were awesome, the Ritz was great, and it snowed a ton. The perfect trip.

Coming back was another story. It was the perfect storm. We missed our flight departing from Denver. My fault completely. So we got a flight to Dallas-Fort Worth, but missed our connecting flight to Jackson. So we had to stay in Dallas. 

We could not be confirmed on a flight out to Jackson until 3 Monday afternoon. But we were told to get on standby for the three morning flights that were full. We finally got on the one that left at 1. When we got to Jackson, our luggage was not with us, surprise surprise. And my keys to my car were in my bag. I'm a smart one. But luckily, I left the car unlocked! Yes, for 5 days I left my car unlocked in the Jackson, Mississippi long-term parking at the airport. Unbelievable. 

Add the wrong time of the month with some marital strains, plus the stresses of Christmastime and missing work. Plus hanging around the airport with every screen buzzing about the massacre of innocent children, and you've got a perfect formula for an uncontrollably emotional Liza. I could not, for the life of me, be positive. My impatience and self-doubt were through the roof. I was argumentative and cried probably 17 times. I am just now recovering, and I still don't think the buoyant me is back yet. 
No help to anybody, except maybe someone saw me and thought it was a good example of what not to act like.

I wasn't a monster or anything, but I'm definitely not proud of my behavior. But it was what it was.

I'm so thankful to be home after all that. Grateful to be home for Christmas. Still some emotional remnants brewing, but everything is slipping back into place. 

You can't help what you feel. I tried my best to accept it, but it was very hard Sunday night and all day Monday. I think about what people associated with the shooting are going through, and I am ashamed to take one day or person for granted. When you feel negative, negative instances occur. Something I know for sure. 

I said Let It Snow, and that it did (also snowed a bunch in Vail the days before we left).

But it is no help being hard on one's self. There is so much suffering, and mine is inadequate compared to what's going on in the world. Take my own pain and multiply by 7 billion for the world, and that's why I have to be strong in times like that. I can't serve when I feel depleted. It was all an immense learning experience. I can call it a nightmare all I want, but it is nothing compared to the real nightmares all over the world. My stresses of finding the perfect gift for someone are nothing compared to the stresses of violence and grief. All about perspective. 

So today I am grateful for my life, for the traveling experience I just had. I still love to travel even through all that happened. Unconditional love. 

Sun sparkling on the water. One of my favorite displays where I live. 
I am home, witnessing as I write this, the little private show God puts on in my backyard just for me. I am forgiven. Always. So are you. Let's start having a merry Christmas. 

Liza Jane

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let It Snow

After posting yesterday's post, driving up a mountain, I was completely oblivious to what was happening in Connecticut. But here's what I have to say about it.

At the core of everything, is Life. Respect for it or love of it or complete disregard for it or hatred of it (which is ultimately hate for yourself if you hate another Life). So everything anybody does is either an affirmation/uplifting of Life or a degradation of it. It is choosing love or fear as a motivation for your actions.

This guy was obviously in an extremely fearful state, in the deepest recesses of insanity. This is what lack of love will produce..a murderous insanity and debilitating fearful dysfunction.

As someone who loves children, this event broke my heart. I don't have children but when I heard about this, I gave thanks for my future babies and held them close in my heart. I can't imagine what the parents of those children are going through, what the families of those killed are walking through right now.

And so, all I can do is send my heart's compassion to them. When one person suffers, the world suffers. We are all connected. I send those children and everyone involved as much love and light as I possibly can.

Why do these things happen? Only the Creator knows the details. But I choose to trust. Everything is connected, and our minds can't comprehend what this means.

On a different note, it is snowing here in Vail. Very cold outside. We're extremely blessed in our accommodations. I won't even get into that right now. It's too wonderful to even speak of at the moment.

But I'll say there is nothing like being here with some of your closest friends. My skiing is coming back to me. Jessie and I are sticking to greens, and I'm proud to say that I didn't fall once!

Well, I fell in the the bar during apr├Ęs because I walk like the monster of Frankenstein in my ski boots. Add a little melted snow on a tiled floor, and you've got yourself an ugly spill in front of 50 or so people packed in a little bar. People were saying "eeww" and "ooohhh" and a lot of laughing. So because I knew everyone was still watching, I did a little bow and thanked them for their accolades.

That's all you can do. It's like skiing down a steep slope. Let it happen. Let it be. No matter how embarrassing, how utterly disgusting and dark like the shooting in CT.

Let it snow.

It is what it is. Something will come of it. Be compassionate and loving to the people around you, and it will spread in a big ripple to those who have lost so much.

Now to practice what I preach...

Liza Jane

Friday, December 14, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

Blogging from my phone...not sure how this will go. But so far so good. Really technology has gotten so amazing.

Here in Denver, riding through snowy mountains, twisting up into higher elevation. It's gorgeous and now it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It feels like it too, might I add. I'm so layered it takes me a half hour to use the restroom.

We got into Denver late Wednesday night (or early Thursday morning) and had a great day with our good friend Baker in Denver and the outskirts. Boulder is a fantastic town, and we had just enough time to walk up and down Pearl and spend way too much money.

Then we drove up over the town and look a good picture on a mountain. Then we headed back to Denver to see the Van Gogh exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, which was so wonderful for me. I really really like Van Gogh and have appreciated his work ever since going to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. So fun!

Jessie and Harper got off work, and we had a decadent Italian meal at Osterio Marco on Larimer Square. The BEST quinoa salad I ever had EVER! And the butternut squash pizza- not bad at all.

So so unbelievably happy to be with some close friends. Friends who know exactly what you're thinking from the look on your face ...a lot of laughter, fun, comfort and joy.

Feeling the love and feeling very good! I pray you are too.

I just looked up! We're in Vail! Got to open my eyes now. Have a beautiful weekend!

So happily,
Liza Jane

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Joy to the World!

My cousin Eric is the most laid back human being on this planet. He's also the nicest. At times like this, when I am on the phone with every company that has anything to do with my life, hustling around the present side of Christmas, rearranging my house, packing and unpacking, yata yata yata, etcetera, I wish I were my cousin right now. He is probably somewhere with a big smile on his face thinking about how happy he is.

Part of that could be the fact that he's on his honeymoon right now. Part of that could be that he just married a great girl. But he is always that way...calm, happy, peaceful. Comfort and joy. It was a happy wedding, a tad bit emotional for me because Eric is like my brother. He IS my brother. It was also a lot of fun. Talk about being with the family during the holiday.

Enjoy the following pics of the groom and the bride. And family and friends.

And all the fun. 

The bride (in blue), Allie and one of her maids of honor, Ellie at the Bridesmaid's luncheon.  

The girl found an orange cream cupcake!

Family: Chi, Allie, Aunt Ogi and me. No I'm not pregnant. 

Ogi at rehearsal dinner.

Eric and Uncle Chip rehearsing. 

Little Charlie wondering what the heck is going on. 

What is going on?

Oh that's what's going on.

Some cute guy trying to talk to a girl that can't hear all that well apparently at the rehearsal dinner.

Cousin Jenny, Suey and me. 

Caught this moment before the ceremony. Too precious not to snap...

All these were taken on my iPhone so they are probably blurry and weird. The first dance...

Father daughter dancing. 

Cousin Jenny with Ella Grace. Obviously fighting back tears.

Sweet Eric

Mother son dancing...wimpering like a baby. I can be so embarrassing to me. 

Suey dancing with her children.

Dancing the night away

Pretty ladies!

Hi Jenny! She looks like Reese Witherspoon. Exactly . 

My beautiful fun. 

Nothing like seeing a beautiful bride having fun and dancing, radiating with JOY

Dana and Suey. Friends. 

Goodbye Eric and Allie! One last time, Hotty Toddy!
There you have it. It was a lovely weekend. I am very blessed. I had the honor of reading at the ceremony, and I didn't say something completely obscene in front of everybody. Or mess it up and run off the stage crying. Or pause for a really long awkward time while I try to find my spot again. Or laugh. I just did it, and as Will said, I nailed it. I did it for Eric and Allie.

Birmingham was beautiful. More on that later. We're off to Colorado! Time to take it to the slopes. And I really need to pack so I'm off to the next busybody thing on my list with the faith that everything will slow down.

Hopefully, I'll bring the people in my life comfort and joy the way Eric has. 

Liza Jane