Thursday, December 1, 2011

Trim A Tree With Friends

Deb: Over this year and a half that Barb and I have been doing our blog, I have come to see those of you who read us as more than bloggers, writers, followers of the blog.

Through all the turbulence and joy of the last year, you have become so much more. You have stood with us in many ways. You have been advisors, shoulders, supporters and friends.

And it is in that spirit that we would like to have a small piece of your hearts in our homes for Christmas, and as the Old Year becomes New.

Colin and I have a little tree that lives in our bedroom at Christmas. Each year I decorate it with colourful glass birds of every description. This year I would like to decorate it with you and your thoughts and wishes. Not just wishes for me or for my family, although we will accept with grateful thanks, but anything you care to say.

In essence, it can be anything your heart desires. It can be a word, a phrase, a quote, a prayer, a hope for the planet, for her people, for each other or for yourselves. It can be funny, silly, irreverent, heartfelt, or whatever comes to mind. Basically, the sky is the limit.

I will print each one out, place it on a Christmas tag and tie it on our little tree. Barb will do the same with the wreath that adorns her front door. Just before Christmas we will post photos of said boughs brimming with ... you!

This unique, talented, exciting group of people should be together for the holidays in some form. This might bring us a little closer to that...


  1. Mary-Jo you are the first. And it is perfect. Thank you.

  2. Give someone the gift of your undivided attention.

  3. DEB AND BARB.....I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH....!!!! I am not a regular reader of your blog...but I come here whenever I remember you guys.... but lemme tell you something it took me less than a week to fall in love with you guys... and I guess thats important :D !!!!!! I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas... and a delightful year ahead !!! this is my note...
    "YOU PAINT YOUR OWN FUTURE.....SO PAINT IT THE WAY YOU WOULD WANT IT TO BE....I'VE PAINTED YOU GUYS IN MINE......I'LL SEE YOU THEN..!!! LOADS OF LOVE... SHALAKA"..... I am really sorry if it sounds kinda lame.... I just went on writing... and this is what popped in my head !!!! :P

  4. That's the cutest idea ever! It brings tears to my eyes...and makes me feel so loved. *sniffs* Thank YOU!

    I wrote a christmas poem. I want to share it with you. Hope it's not too long...

    German: Am Ende des Jahres

    Am Ende des Jahres
    zurück blicken auf den Weg,
    der hinter einem liegt.
    Sich erinnern, inne halten.
    Aufatmen. Durchatmen.

    Am Ende des Jahres
    Hoffnung schöpfen.
    Einen Neuanfang wagen.
    Sich freuen, auf das was kommt.
    Sich leiten lassen,
    einem Stern folgen.

    Am Ende des Jahres
    an einem Ziel angekommen sein.
    Stolz sein,
    etwas geschafft zu haben.
    Hindernisse überwinden.
    Nicht aufgeben.

    Am Ende des Jahres
    einem Wunder begegnen.
    Keine Angst spüren.
    Sich überraschen lassen.
    Staunen, glauben.
    Vertrauen haben.

    Am Ende des Jahres
    einfach Mensch sein.

    English: At the end of the year

    At the end of the year
    look back at the road
    that lies behind you.
    Remember, pause.
    Breathe. Breathe deeply.

    At the end of the year
    gather hope.
    Start anew.
    Look forward to what will happen.
    Be guided by someone,
    follow a star.

    At the end of the year
    reach a goal.
    Be proud
    of something you achieved.
    Overcome obstacles.
    Never give up.

    At the end of the year
    come across a miracle.
    Don't be afraid.
    Be surprised.
    Be astonished, believe.
    Have faith.

    At the end of the year
    simply be human.

    In case that's too long...I wish:

    Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes, neues Jahr!

    (Merry Christmas and a happy new year)

  5. Mary Jo stole mine, now I have to come up with aother!
    Love Denny

  6. Joy and happiness

    An I want to say that I hope each and everyone of you have an amazing Christmas filled with so many memories and happIness .

    Happy holidays to you and your families Deb And Barb. I hope this Christmas comes with a lift time memories.

  7. The greatest gift is a friendship you never knew you'd have.

  8. Oh, dear. I've been mulling on this for 2 1/2 hours. There's so much emotion, responsibility, and fervent meaningfulness wrapped up in this. There's so much love that it almost hurts. It feels like my love for y'all is so big that it's going to tear my chest open and erupt as a staggeringly blinding light.

    OK, this is what I've come up with, though it still feels wholly inadequate.

    If y'all want to go with fancy, proper quotes, use these.

    For Deb and Colin's Tree:
    "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 NRS
    (because that's exactly what y'all do to the utmost)

    For Barbara's Wreath:
    "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman
    (because you are such a vibrant example of this and are so lovingly helping me on my path toward the same)

    But, if y'all just want plain ole words from me, I keep coming back to the simplest option because it is the most real from me to you. It's a whole lot of meaning in a little bit of words. For both tree and wreath, simply:

    "Love and Hugs"

    Those are the warmest, snuggliest, happiest, lovingest, truest words I have in me.

  9. Friends come from strange places and I found both of you on Facebook and I am sure glad I did. I love you both without ever meeting you, yet! But that will happen.

  10. Wow everyone, the tree us coming to life! Becki we will print the beautiful poem in both languages. I LOVE every single one! Thank you!!!

  11. From Norway with love: GOD JUL OG GODT NYTTÅR. I read your blog every day, you are both an inspiration to me. Love Anette (23) Oslo

  12. For both of you:
    Thank you so much for your blog! It has helped me through many troubled times. Thank you both for thinking of us despite never knowing us before!
    -Kelly from NJ-

  13. Thank you for letting me and mine be a small part of your holiday celebration. It has brought a small smile to my face. My Christmas spirit has been dampened. Seven years ago, my dad lost his battle with cancer just before Christmas.

    When Odin was younger, he became very upset when I broke out the decorations because I was changing something. I reached a point where I got rid of my decorations - we weren't home (celebrating with family) and it wasn't a battle I wanted to wage. Now, he's asking why I don't decorate. So, I think I'll find a fibre optic tree (I'm allergic to fir trees *sigh*).

    But, getting back to the topic of your post, here are four quotations I try to live my life by. Feel free to pick and choose...

    "You'll see it's all a show/Keep 'em laughing as you go/Just remember that the last laugh is on you." - E. Idle.

    "What has happened, has happened. It's where we go from here is what counts." - author unknown

    "There are many ways to skin a chicken." - me

    "It's not enough to bash in heads/You've got to bash in minds." - Captain Hammer.

    Now, I hope I won't become very disconcerted when heading to the bakery section of my grocery store and see Colin's smiling face promoting a bakery product... :)

  14. Here's an aside... some "Good News" from me... :)

    I have secured a new, full time position which starts in the New Year. And, I'll get a break before I start the new position. :)

    Full-time employment? That is a first for me. Dangnabit, I must've grown up a bit more ... don't wanna grow up... :)

  15. *happy gasp!* SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

    *runs across the internet to tacklehug Jo*

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *hugs hugs hugs*

  16. Congrats Jo!!! That is so exciting!!!!

    I'll put my contribution to the tree in quotes, but I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoy lookiing forward to reading this blog. It has changed my perspective on so many things and it inspires me to think and love deeper, and to just try to be a better person. I hope that both of you ladies and your families have a wonderful holiday season! :)

    This quote is from one of my favorite Josh Groban songs:

    "Believe in what your heart is saying
    Hear the melody that's playing
    There's no time to waste, there's so much to celebrate!
    Believe in what you feel inside
    Give your dreams the wings to fly
    You have everything you need if you just believe."

  17. Congrads Jo. I'm so very happy for you.

  18. This is not original, but it always lifts my spirits so mayhap it will lift yours when seen on your tree and wreath:

    Bippitty Boppitty Boo -- Ba Doo!

    xoxo Love You Gals

  19. Steph (formerly just S)December 1, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    This is a wonderful and lovely idea!
    "Love wholeheartedly and without restraint."
    Simple but meaningful.

  20. donna munro jnbaptisteDecember 1, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    merry christmas to all my love ones above

  21. Yay Jo!!! Good luck on the new job! I have a few contributions to give to this tree full of hopes, wishes or whatever.

    My wish is that for everyone here to make at least one person smile. Whether it be you tell them something funny, or you're just in the midst of good company. This is something that as a student nurse I am working on every day, even when I don't get positive happiness all the time (stay tuned for my latest blog post).

    I'm kind of tired right now, but I'll think of something else later :]

  22. Rigel, LOVE that verse from Matthew 5:16, because oh my goodness, you are SO RIGHT!!!!

    I finally remembered what else I was going to put on here. It's a quote from a song I just heard today.

    "Go to work. Do your best. Don't let your praying knees get lazy and love like crazy."

  23. Ok, last comment and I promise I'm done.

    Happy belated birthday to Colin :]

  24. Congratulations, Jo! :) You don't have to grow up. :P

    Deb, glad you liked it. Hope you take some pics, once the wreath and the tree are finished!

  25. Oh my goodness, everyone! I've been busy aaaalllll day and just got back to read all these. I am all verklempt now. Seriously, you guys are amazing!! And thanks to those who "came out of hiding" to play along. Can't tell you how much this means to me. This idea of Deb's has got to rank right up there as one of the all time greats. Must stop weeping.

    MJ, DKO, Patti: simple, perfect, heartfelt.

    Shalaka: welcome! thrilled you found us!! And thanks for the wish. Becki -- I love these poems. That you composed them in both languages is so beautiful.

    Denny, if you can't come up with another, I'll write it twice, one from each of you. Lyndsie and Erin: again, perfectly simple loveliness.

    Rigel, you broke the seal with this one. Thank you. So so much.

    Madge: thanks! You too!! xo

    Anette and Kelly from NJ: welcome!! Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts with us!

    Jo, Jo, JO!!! First, great wishes! Second AHHHHHHHHH! Awesome!!! Congrats! Yay!!!! xoxo

    Holly, seal swamped by now... thank you. And thanks for your song excerpt. Perfect. Kate, Steph, Donna! You guys ROCK! Thank you, wouldn't be the same here without you. Kelly, you can leave as many posts as you want! Thanks for the wish -- that's a great one -- and a good reminder. Will catch up on your blog later. Becki, yup, that's the plan (to post the "after" shots).

    LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!

  26. Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune--without the words,
    And never stops at all,

    -Emily Dickinson

    Thank you, Deb and Colin, for being in the right place at the right time when I don't believe that last line.
    Love and Hugs,

    Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune--without the words,
    And never stops at all,

    -Emily Dickinson

    Barb, thank you for the special surprise of your hugs and friendship. It hits a gal in just the right way. Hugs to you this Christmas season.

    (Once again, the timing here is perfect. Yesterday I started a partial hospitalization program involving group therapy, one-one one "are you safe today" sessions, and meds management. It's daily instead of once a week. I signed a contract with them agreeing to seek help through a hot-line or emergency room before I did any harm to myself. There is no one outside the psych/medical field I can call my support person. A few on-line friends are my support, and now, this group is, too.
    (Another bit of "bless him" trivia: Other than my daughter, the only other physical contact I get, or ALLOW, is the hugs from Colin and his co-workers. Means a LOT. They all have really comfy jackets, too. :))
    Words aren't always enough, but they do satisfy the need.
    Thank you thank you Thank you.

    Dawn xo)

  27. PS I needed to let some tears flow, so thank you. I feel a bit lighter now.

  28. All you do is make people laugh.
    Thoughts are focused on nothing except what's going on up onstage.
    There are other people enjoying the same thing.
    There is friendly contact.
    There is support given and taken, sometimes without anyone ever knowing.
    There is no judgment.
    There is no negative thinking.
    The drive is not as lonely.
    The future does not look as hopeless.
    In the black of life, there was some light.
    And all you did was make people laugh.

    ---Dawn Milam

  29. Easiest thing I've ever written.
    Okay, now I'm done posting. :)

  30. What a wonderful idea!

    What a gift to be able to put something on your tree and wreath. Here's mine:

    If love is the treasure, laughter is the key.

    - Yakov Smirnoff

  31. Never give up on your dreams!
    Merry Christmas.

    Love Molly and her family

  32. Dawn!! Stop, you're killing me too! Okay, first off, thank you. Truly. (sniffle) And your poem is beautiful -- it fits in nicely with Lisa's offering.

    And btw, Dawn, I have a friend (a healer) who says that if you don't cry, the pain "crystallizes" in your chest. That feels so true. So let it out, baby.

    Molly, that one is perfect coming from you!!

  33. Oh, and I meant:

    Love [COMMA] Molly and her family. It wasn't a command for you to love me. :) Funny how big a difference in meaning a little comma makes. I love the example "Let's eat Grandma" and "Let's eat, Grandma." Big difference!

  34. Ha! That made me laugh, Molly! It reminds of when my friend signs off, she often signs: love me (instead of love, me). It's one of my favourite exhortations ever. So rest assured, FROM you or TO you, it's all good :)

  35. Barb, I guess that's why sometimes our hearts melt. Now I know the true meaning of "a good cry." *sniff* *hugs*

    (and I'm glad you like the poem.)

  36. This post isn’t for the tree or wreath, just to simply express my gratitude. I have been reading this blog for a short time now, after discovering it via Colin’s twitter, and finally got the courage to actually post a reply. I wanted you guys to know just how much your blog means. By sharing what you all are going through somehow helps me deal with the depression and other things I have going on in my life. It is hard to explain, but posting a reply and talking to someone REALLY helps. It is easier to talk to people online rather than in person for me. Regardless of whether or not anyone ever reads this, it is helping me. Even just having something to look at and keep up with everyday helps!
    So thank you so much!! You will never know how something so small can help so much!

    -Kelly from NJ-

  37. As I type this, I have an apartment full of teenagers who are playing Skylanders and ChickChickBoom on the Wii, eating chili and snickerdoodles, and burping rootbeer. There are also comic books. Everywhere.

    It is loud here.

    Given that I am apparently residing in bedlam for roughly 4 hours, I'm suddenly feeling inspired to up the silliness quotient of the tree and wreath. If some of the greenery begins to bend too far under the heavy emotional load, here are some lighter weight ornaments. ;) Obviously, I don't expect you to print any of these out. I'm just goofing off a little.

    "No matter where you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzai (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension)

    "Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. According to this morning's sample, it would be a Twinkie 35 feet long, weighing approximately 600 pounds." - Egon Spengler (epic geek stud of the ages) (Ghostbusters)

    "You were expecting a bloke: beard, Bible, bad breath .... And, instead you got a babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom." - Geraldine Granger (The Vicar of Dibley)

    "I never sleep, I don't know why. I had a roommate and I drove her nuts, I mean really nuts, they had to take her away in an ambulance and everything. But she's okay now, but she had to transfer to an easier school, but I don't know if that had anything to do with being my fault. But listen, if you ever need to talk or you need help studying just let me know, 'cause I'm just a couple doors down from you guys and I never sleep, okay?" - Jordan (the most fabulously awesome character in Real Genius) (Back when I was in my first 2 years of university, ages 17-19, my best friend Andy sometimes called me Jordan because I was a little bit like her.)

    "I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage

    "Rude and not ginger." The Doctor

    And, specific to this blog:
    "Guess why I smile a lot. Uh, 'cause it's worth it." Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

    And, just for Deb:
    "I've got the most scathingly brilliant idea!" Mary Clancy (The Trouble with Angels)

    Now, if you'll excuse me, a couple of cookies tore as I was moving them from the baking sheet to the cooling rack. I must dispose of the evidence. ;)

    p.s. One more quote for Deb's tree:
    "Who says pale Canadians can't breakdance?" - Drew Carey

  38. Something else to add...just for anybody! Heard this song just now and I love it! :)

    "So I'll say Merry Christmas
    I'll wish peace to you
    I'll hope for the hopeless, your dreams come true.
    And I'll pray for the laughter
    I'll sing through the tears
    I'll say Merry Christmas for all the world to hear."

  39. Holly -

    Actually, I thought of you and your sister and Christmas music just a few minutes ago! When I had dropped off our guests and then was heading to the grocery store to get a can of tuna to help our scaredy cat recover from the invasion, I was listening to Air1 and totally singing along and wiggly dancing in my seat to the Me in Motion cover of Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.

    While I do prefer the old Brenda Lee version ( ), I gotta say, the new one is so fun!

  40. Kelly from NJ, we are all in this together here at TMA. And if you were to go back and read all our comments over the year and a half (not that I'm suggesting you do!), you'd see how there are a lot of TMAers who find it sometimes easier to chat here than elsewhere -- and that's how a community has been born. An amazing supportive wondrous community. Thanks for joining it!!

    Rigel, aw, your evening sounds adorable!! Kiss the kids for me. Thanks for the great quotes.

    Holly, a great one!

  41. Rigel, first off, Mythbusters quote FTW!!!! :D

    Second, LOVE AIR1 (though I prefer K-LOVE just a wee bit more.) I do prefer the old Rockin' around the Christmas tree! :]

    Oh man, I haven't seen that Action Replay in a long time. I DIED!!!!! Thanks for the laugh. I need to go to bed now...been awake since 5...AM.

  42. "All you need is love." - The Beatles

  43. Hi gals--

    This one's for Debra's tree. "Hang in there." It don't sound like much but it's one of my favorite quotes by Colin.

    Barb, I think this is from Del Close but it sounds like you. “Fall, then figure out what to do on the way down.” I love it for so many reasons.


  44. Hey Barbara... !!! I just read your reply ...."And thanks to those who 'came out of hiding' to play along."....I couldnt stop laughing ....... COZ THATS ME !!!! :D... I love you guys hope you have a lot of fun.....

    And Deb.... hey !!! I was reading the Sanity clause post ... Gosh i loved the picture was the one with Santa and Bairn sitting right there...So adorable....!!!! I hope its not Late to wish Colin Happy Birthday....well BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY written birthday wishes all over My facebook wall... and his facebook page...but i found everyone wishing him here and i was like "DAMN....WHY DIDNT I THINK OF THAT??"....:P....lolz...anyway.... you guys have fun !!!!! Love you both <3!!!

  45. I love love LOVE this idea! so beautiful!
    I have two quotes, first one sweet, second geeky can't let Rigel have all the fun lol ;)

    "Peace and love to all"

    "Stay shiny"

    Looking forward to the photos! :)

  46. A poem from Tolkien - who never fails to bring out a little sunshine.

    In Western lands beneath the sun
    the flowers may rise in spring
    the trees may bud
    the waters run
    the merry finches sing
    Or there may be this cloudless night
    and swaying beeches bare
    the Elven stars as jewles bright
    amid their dancing hair

    Though here at journeys end I lie
    in darkness buried deep
    beyond all towers strong and high
    beyond all mountains steep
    Above all Shadows rides the sun
    and stars forever dwell
    I will not say the day is done
    nor bid the stars farewell

    Love from Norway, no signs of snow :(

  47. Kelly, hope you're having a good day today! Rigel, another great quote, thanks!

    Sara, I LOVE that one. That does feel absolutely perfect -- and may need to become my daily mantra. Shalaka, so glad that gave you a laugh. And just want to say again how trhilled we are to have you here. (and it's never too late to send birthday wishes...) Elle, these are great ("stay shiny": yes!). And Annette, he is a master and this is a beautiful tree-poem, thank you!

  48. Barbara....I LOVE YOU .... i am really excited to be here too....!!!!! you guys are just great !!!!

  49. I love this too! But, oh the pressure!

    I'll be back with something witty, clever, deep. If not, hang this on the tree. ;)

  50. This is such a great idea! I love it!

    My quote, from a favorite song is :
    "You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in that tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang. Sing it anyway!"

    I know I kind of pop in and out of the comment sections, but I do keep up on reading your posts. It's something I look forward to after a long day of work. :) They bring out my contemplative side and they never fail to lighten my heart! Thanks so much for that!

  51. Gae, if you can't think of something else, I am SO putting that on my wreath!

    Tomine, excellent quote! Thank you! And thanks for your lovely thought at the end. xo

  52. What a wonderful idea.

    From my fav movie, Auntie Mame:
    Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.

    Rosalind Russell

    Have a wonderful hoilday season

  53. Barbara, in fact I only wrote a German poem, because my mom wanted one for her christmas cards...
    And because I really liked it, I just tried to translate it (some words/terms are really difficult to translate...but I hope it makes sense after all).

  54. "Dreaming is free." Debbie Harry

  55. This song keeps resonating w me recently:

    The Best of Times Is Now.
    What's left of Summer
    But a faded rose?
    The best of times is now.
    As for tomorrow,
    Well, who knows? Who knows? Who knows?
    So hold this moment fast,
    And live and love
    As hard as you know how.
    And make this moment last
    Because the best of times is now,
    Is now, is now.
    Now, not some forgotten yesterday.
    Now, tomorrow is too far away.
    So hold this moment fast,
    And live and love
    As hard as you know how.
    And make this moment last,
    Because the best of times is now,
    Is now, is now.

  56. A few Christmas Haiku, with love from me to whomever, just read the darn things. :)

    Listen! I hear bells!
    Here come all the shiny gifts!
    You sleigh me, Santa.


    Dashing through the snow.
    Santa is coming, my dear.
    Are three ho's enough?


    It's snowing outside.
    I need something to keep warm.
    Hugh Jackman...Naked.

    Favorite Christmas?
    Fireplace burning, Nat King Cole,
    Hugh Jackman...Naked.

    I don't want visions.
    No Sugarplum fairies, thanks.
    Hugh Jackman...Naked.

    Hey Santa Baby,
    I want one thing only please
    Hugh Jackman...Naked.

    The halls are all decked,
    The fireplace is brightly lit,
    WHERE the HELL is HUGH??!!


    Hugs & Ho's,
    (Canoodles for Dawn *inside joke*)

  57. Again, genius comedy -- and perfect poetry, I might add -- thanks to Karen Frazier!

  58. A Christmas Haiku! perfect Karen!!! Thanks

  59. Drink a little, laugh a little, love a lot.


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