Thursday, December 22, 2011

Decking the Halls with Old and New

Every year, in our old home, we had two trees set up for the Holidays. One would be the “pretty” tree, as my daughter used to refer to it, which I used to set up in a formal dining room – really just for eye candy. The other, over sized tree, stood tall and wide in our family room…and that was the one with the character. That was the one that every year, we all decorated together – with a wide assortment of family ornaments, hand-painted masterpieces and representations of milestones that continued to grow as our family grew and the years went on. 

When we moved, I had no problem tossing the boxes filled with the ornaments that used to hang from the formal tree. I did however keep those sentimental pieces that had defined our Holiday tradition for so many years. Needless to say, the old wooden horses etched with my first daughter’s birthday, the old rain-deer crafted from pipe cleaners and even a dried up orange covered in cloves that has since lost its once warm scent, remained with me.
This year, when I pulled out the box the box of Christmas stuff that had made it to our new home, my young granddaughter was right there with me. Each ornament that we pulled from the box had a crystal clear memory attached to it – a story about her mother, her uncles, her grandfather and myself. 

As she listened (as well as a five year old could), in her hand she held that little rain-deer made of pipe cleaners that her mom had made back in first grade, looked up at me and asked, “Dee, Dee- can I make you a new ornament for your tree?” 
I couldn’t help but smile. There she was – this little girl, reminding me that while there is so much of the past to treasure – there is also so much of the present to live. 

That afternoon, amongst a tree full of memories past – we hung our most recent masterpiece – a wooden sleigh made from popsicle sticks with a picture of me and my granddaughter glued on top.  

And, I have to say, sledding down this thing called life has never more fulfilling…

Get In On It

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mingle and Jingle All the Way

Happy Holidays everyone! The season is here and across all our communities, the wreaths have been hung, the lights have been lit, and we hope that all of your Holiday shopping and festivities have been joyful so far!

It certainly is a great time of year to be living in a 55 and over community. Residing in a community like this one, you’ll always have a close group of people around you – even if you’re loved ones may not be nearby.

At Jensen Communities, we encourage you to embrace this network of people –invite your neighbors to your home for a Holiday party, gather a group together for a festive feast, or join together to help those in need. Everyone here is at a similar point in life – and especially during the holiday season, there is so much opportunity to learn from one another, to connect and to share with one another all the inspiring memories, delicious food, and festive times.

So, go on, get dressed up, meet new friends, and lean on those around you and connect with your neighbors – you never know what the magic of the season might bring!

Joyfully Yours,

Jensen communities

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Givin’ a Little Something Back

I admit - there have been a lot of times in my life where I may have lost sight of what this holiday season is all about.  In the past, like many of us, I used to get caught up in day to day life around this time of year. I’d get easily stressed about the hustle and bustle of the season, wondering if I’d find and have enough money to get everyone on my list what they wanted for Holiday gifts; stressed by all the chaos and the overwhelming flood of family.

Maybe it’s the time in my life, but with Thanksgiving behind me and Christmas approaching, I’d like to do things differently and think that now might be the time to remind myself of what the Holidays are really about.

In the spirit of the Holiday season, I decided last week, to make a day a little bit less about me and a little bit more about someone who could use a little “lift” about now. So, I decided to take a few hours of my day to volunteer my time at our local food kitchen.

Just like it was when I used to volunteer as a little guy with my mom and sister, the moment I stepped into the kitchen, I was immediately brought back down to earth. As the line passed through and I filled up each plate, I was humbled – by the men and women, (most my own age,) who made me feel so grateful for my own life and for the chance to step back for a bit and really think about what matters.

Whether you give your time to a local children’s hospital, donate to Toys for Tots, or even reach out to someone you know who may not have a close support system around them, I encourage you to do it. Get out there and really experience what this season is all about. Not only will feel your own spirit lifted, but you’ll lift the spirit of so many others who may not have all that you do during this time of year.

A grown man lifted,

Flyin’ Free