Black Friday

29 11 2013

People set their alarms for 3 am on this day after Thanksgiving. I didn’t even turn mine on.

People line up outside of retailers, shivering and soaking, to find the best deal on the newest gadgets. Maybe they just want to stock up on socks.

It’s the biggest shopping day of the year. Supposedly, people are spending all this money on Christmas gifts.

Why do they call it “Black Friday” anyway? This name holds a portent of evil for me. Black is bad.

I think the name might be from the point of the retailers. They are going to “be in the black” after they sell out their stock.

Maybe it’s because the sales all start when it’s still black outside.

I know for certain I won’t be darkening the doors for any of these sales. I believe I went to one store about 15 years ago (for the socks) and since I went at a reasonable hour (10 am), most of the stock was depleted.

That was enough for me. It seemed like a waste of time.

Mr. Wonderful went out several times when he was hoping to purchase a game system for our kids or some new release games and movies for an ultra-low price.

Most of the time, he struck out too. He didn’t line up outside the store. He pulled up at 6 am when the doors opened. By the time he got inside, the crowd-drawing items were sold out.

He even stood in line for over an hour one time to purchase two games. Crazy, isn’t it?

Now, he’s all about Cyber Monday. I’m happy to let him do the shopping. I do the wrapping once everything arrives on our doorstep.

My idea of holiday shopping: filling my online shopping cart with gift cards from Amazon. It’s a gift that would delight me. It’s even on the list I received from my niece and I know my nephew happily spent the one I gave him last year.

When it’s black outside, I’m asleep.

My plans for Black Friday are the same every year. Clean the house and put out the Christmas decorations. Eat Thanksgiving leftovers (usually with my in-laws).

In this way, I can honestly answer the Capital One query: “What’s in your wallet?”  with: The same amount of cash as the day before, thank you very much.

You can find my blog posts on my author website at: http://sharonleehughson.com/blogs/

This is the last new post for this blog. All future posts will only be available at my website. Please click the link and follow my blog from my website by entering your email address and clicking the “subscribe” button. Thanks. 





Thanksgiving Past

27 11 2013

 

At least 10 Years Ago

At least 10 Years Ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

2011

2012

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 





Life’s Unseen Blessings—Are We Really Thankful?

27 11 2013

Here’s a post from my writing Jedi Master, Kristen Lamb, that completely echoes my Sentiments about the holiday coming up tomorrow. It is one we should keep in our heart daily and all year round.
Thanks for emphasizing this with your usual panache, Kristen!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

I make it a point to begin every day with an attitude of gratitude. I think it is important, especially these days where it seems like every commercial tells us we aren’t thin enough, rich enough, successful enough, happy enough. We always need more “stuff” to be enough.

I wrote a blog ages ago about focusing on success, that we tend to drift where the eyes focus. Race car drivers learn that if you want to cross the finish line, never ever take your eyes off the goal line. Look at the wall and you will hit the wall. I believe everything is that way. If we focus on where we are lacking, we run the danger of being ungrateful for what we have, and that can be an extraordinarily defeating way to live.

Lately, I’ve had a hard reality to face. I’m so busy potty training the toddler…

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Reflections of an Open House

25 11 2013

Welcome to our Open House

Welcome to our Open House

For a week before the big day, I deep-cleaned some room or focused on brightening the appearance of another room. My son got enlisted to scrub floors (in addition to toilets) and dust off the ceiling fans.

I’m not saying I own too many pairs of shoes (an impossibility in my world), but I had to remove all of my boots so the floor of my closet was visible. Apparently, anything that looks like clutter has to go!

In the hours leading up to the event, every floor got cleaned and every surface was set to sparkling. Lit candles added wonderful atmosphere. Fresh-baked peanut butter chocolate chip cookies invited people in to stay.

Time to Start

My husband agreed to be the guide of the upstairs and I would be the official greeter. He put a movie in the DVD player – something that seems to be happening in every house we’ve walked through – and settled in.

Hubby's view during this event

Hubby’s view during this event

I parked myself with my iPad in a chair facing the front door. Breathing deeply, I practiced my casual, welcoming smile and greeting.

We’re ready. Let the games begin!

After 1 Hour

My husband comes down and snags a couple cookies. He gives me an encouraging grin.

I decide to read a collection of short stories on my Kindle application. This way, it should be easy to set things aside when people show up.

Ready, set…Begin – anytime now. May the odds be ever in our favor!

After 2 Hours

I’m reading the encouraging comments from my friends on Facebook. I’ve moved to the kitchen counter so I can visit blogs and post comments. After all, I have a platform to build.

At the eating bar in the kitchen

At the eating bar in the kitchen

Apparently, things started happening in The Avengers because I didn’t see my husband for quite some time. Later, I learn he has fallen asleep.

Must be rough.

After 3 Hours

I’m pacing to the front windows every few minutes. I stare out at the Open House sign and mentally will people to pull up. Apparently, this is not one of my super powers.

Every sound outside perks up my ears, and I think someone is finally coming to see all this work I’ve done. All this cleaning and straightening won’t be for nothing after all.

My husband comes downstairs and reminds me that most people will come later. Any time now, they’ll start showing up.

After 4 Hours

I must have been insane to dedicate five hours on the second day of National Novel Writing Month to something like this. Who knew it would be a total waste of time?

Even real estate agents plan to get paperwork done or catch up on reading when they host an Open House. Why did I expect anything different?

Okay, I didn’t. I did hope someone would come to see the house, though, even if they were just out for a drive and saw the sign.

Instead, I wasted hours cleaning, straightening and fretting about every little piece of lint in my house. Further, I didn’t get to meet my writing goal of 3,000 words for the day because I knew I would be a bear if interrupted during my writing time.

When someone asks if we’re having another Open House, I don’t feel like slapping them anymore. I laugh. Sure, if I want to waste a week of my life. Why not?

Do you have any experiences with trying to sell a house? Maybe you’ve experienced another time when you’ve gone overboard preparing for some event and then it failed to meet your expectations.

Of course, I’ve talked about that whole expectations thing before. What was I thinking?

You can find my blog posts on my author website at: http://sharonleehughson.com/blogs/

Beginning in December, all my future posts will only be available at that site. Please click the link and follow my blog from my website. Thanks. 





I’m Thankful

22 11 2013

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I’ve mentioned this several times, but it bears repeating. I’m even looking forward to it this year when I’m going to be the hostess.

I’m not the hostess with the mostest, I can tell you. I’m the hostess who serves crunchy baked potatoes. Or doesn’t have enough of the main dish to go around. Or stresses out so much about every little thing that she can’t enjoy the moment.

Not this time. This time, I’m counting on my sister to bring her awesome cornbread stuffing and taco dip. My mom will bring green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. My husband will help me hoist the hefty turkey into the oven at the appropriate hour so it finishes cooking by 2:30, when everything else can then go in the oven to be cooked.

It’s not about the stuffing. I love stuffing. I could eat turkey and stuffing slathered in homemade gravy and nothing else and feel extremely thankful. I repeat: it’s not about the stuffing.

I love Thanksgiving because it reminds me to be thankful. I may be thankful to the many people in my life who love me, but most of my thanks go heavenward. After all, I wouldn’t even be breathing if it weren’t for the Almighty God who holds creation in the palm of His hand.

I’m thankful for my husband. He’s a great provider for our family: financially, spiritually, and physically. That’s why I call him Mr. Wonderful.

I’m thankful for my sons. They work hard in their endeavors. They have brilliant minds and entertaining personalities. Watching them conquer the world makes every sacrifice I made for them worthwhile.

I’m thankful for my sister. After all, she’s the one bringing the stuffing. No, kidding aside, she inspires me to be my best, to try things that scare me and most of all to follow my dream of becoming a published author.

I’m thankful for my mother and stepfather. Mom has been fighting cancer for several years and she inspires me to keep going forward when things seem impossible. Her strong personality is the cornerstone of my own willfulness. (Really, that’s a good thing.) My stepfather has stood by her and loved her through all of these trials. Thank you.

I’m thankful for my nephews and niece. They’ve faced difficult times these past few years and it hasn’t stopped them from becoming the people God wants them to be. They make me proud to be an aunt.

I’m thankful for my home. It’s big enough to host this host for Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m thankful for more than I could list in this post without losing the interest of my readers. Suffice it to say, I’m thankful that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I’m thankful that God plays an important role in my everyday life.

I’m thankful that I can pursue my dream to be a published author. I pray every day: “Lord, let me use this gift for your glory.”

You can find my blog posts on my author website at: http://sharonleehughson.com/blogs/

Beginning in December, all future posts will only be available at that site. Please click the link and follow my blog from my website by entering your email address and clicking the “subscribe” button. Thanks. 





I Like mine with Chili

20 11 2013

Fully Loaded Baked Potato

What do you like on your baked potato?

You can find my blog posts on my author website at: http://sharonleehughson.com/blogs/

Beginning in December, all future posts will only be available at that site. Please click the link and follow my blog from my website by entering your email address and clicking the “subscribe” button. Thanks. 

 





Commercialism: Christmas and Beyond

18 11 2013

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

Two weeks before Halloween, I walk into the local WalMart to purchase some mums. Through the sliding doors and into a time warp.

Five artificial trees decked in lights sparkled to my left. Ahead, rows of wrapping paper, greeting cards and ornaments announced the Christmas season. Uh, what was I looking for again? Suddenly, I’m overtaken by disorientation.

It used to happen on November 1st. Halloween candy and costumes at discounted prices sat beside all the Yuletide trappings. In my mind, even that was too early.

What about Thanksgiving? This is my favorite holiday. This preference has only a little to do with the fact that I love stuffing. And nothing at all to do with college football games (just another form of commercialization, I say).

In American society, every little event is a reason for marketers to put up a promotional display.  Lose a tooth? Here are some envelopes signed by the tooth fairy.

This lambasting from marketers doesn’t just happen inside retail outlets either. Vendor carts at home shows try to sell everything from central vacuum systems to yard maintenance services. In the mall, walking down the expansive thoroughfares reminds me of going to the carnival.

“Care to get your hearing checked?” “Ma’am, one moment and I can show you how to look ten years younger.” (Does he really think I’m going to listen to him after he just called me OLD???)

You’ve been there. You know what I mean. Even your child’s Saturday soccer game is subject to people peddling shirts, snacks and soda. Can’t we just watch our kid without someone trying to extort a dollar?

Commercialization minimizes the significance of events. Maybe you disagree, but it only took one bridal convention to convince me. I didn’t want people hawking their photo services or cake flavors. Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events and should be treated with respect and awe.

Courtesy of embedded-lab.com

When they replaced “Christ” with an “x” everywhere to make advertising easier, my temperature spiked. Then they told me saying “Merry Christmas” was politically incorrect. Offensive even.

The fact that I’m offended when Santa and snowmen are made into ten-foot-tall yard ornaments, while locating a lighted nativity set is like searching for a needle in the haystack? Whatever. My problem, not theirs.

Once all this hype begins, I tend to stay away from retailers and watch even less television until after January 1st. All these advertisements and extra emphasis on shopping drains the significance of this holiday for me. You know, the religious aspect.

I’m not trying to push my idea about focusing on family and faith during December on anyone else. It sure would be nice if I received the same sort of consideration from those who want to push shopping and Santa and reindeer to the forefront of my mind.

Turkey and stuffing are great, but Thanksgiving is about sitting around the table with people I love and sharing our blessings. My favorite Christmas tradition centers on reading Luke 2 by the light of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

I don’t want to think about Black Friday or post-holiday returns. Come January, I don’t want a credit card bill that makes me consider a second mortgage.

What is the sign of commercialism that bugs you the most? Maybe you disagree with me. I’d love to have a conversation about it.

You can find my blog posts on my author website at: http://sharonleehughson.com/blogs/

Beginning in December, all my future posts will only be available at that site. Please click the link and follow my blog from my website. Thanks. 








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