31 December 2006

Happy Maine New Year ~ 2007

The countdown has begun and Maine is getting ready to usher in another new year. Although the world is an imperfect place and 2006 has had its share of ups and downs, most of us agree that even during the hard times, life in Maine is the way life should be.

Happy New Year, friends.

Copyright © 2006 - Paulla Estes

24 December 2006

White Christmas?

I blame Bing Crosby for our fixation on a White Christmas. Especially in places like here in Maine, we not only hope for a White Christmas, we expect one; and many of us are quite disappointed if it doesn't happen.

Yesterday I was doing some last minute baking for Christmas, and it was nearly 50 degrees outside and raining hard. My husband and I had been grumbling about the weather, the warmth, and the lack of snow, when the radio began to play the song, "Let it Snow." It begins with the words, "Oh, the weather outside is frightful..." and I began to laugh.

The weather outside WAS frightful, even though it felt tropical by Maine standards at this time of year. But it made me stop and think about how silly it is to get caught up in unknowns at this time of the year. Here I was surrounded by family in a cozy home with plenty to eat, and I was griping about the lack of snow.

I sat down to read and I pondered the real meaning of Christmas. I encourage the rest of you to do just that. Whether your Christmas is white, green, or tropical, put aside the desires and expectations given to us by the media and Hollywood, and remember why we celebrate.

Merry Christmas from the beautiful coast of Maine...

Copyright © 2006 - Paulla Estes

21 December 2006

Blue Christmas

We're just days away from Christmas now, and all over Maine, one will find twinkling lights, greenery draped decoratively over doorways and fence posts, and Christmas decorations galore. Yet not everyone is in a celebratory mood.

Many Mainers, and people all around the country find that the Christmas season can be a painful time, if they have experienced grief or loss. For those who have lost loved ones, gone through a divorce, experienced a job loss, had health problems, or had some other type of pain, Christmas might conjure up feelings that are nowhere near the Norman Rockwell type holiday that the media and advertisers pummel us with from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day.

For those who are feeling blue this Christmas and have little desire to sing the carols or attend the parties, Blue Christmas services can be found all around the state of Maine.

And with this being the shortest day of the year, many of us find that we suffer from Winter Blues. While the days will begin to get progressively longer after today, the darkness will still be with us for some time, in addition to the weather becoming colder and colder. If you or your loved ones suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, discover the book, Winter Blues which will teach you how best to deal with it.

During this time of sometimes-difficult holidays, darkness and cold, Maine can feel like a depressing place to many of our neighbors. As you celebrate the holidays with your family and friends, remember to reach out to those who are hurting and show them with the Christmas spirit is all about.

Copyright © 2006 - Paulla Estes

18 December 2006

Reprieve from the Cold

I always find that not long after Halloween and the switch back from Daylight Savings Time, I sort of go into hibernation mode. Even with the onset of the holidays, I find that with the shortened days, sudden cold and darkness, my creativity juices seem to flow much more slowly. Although I still have to work, all I really want to do from November to about the end of March is curl up with a stack of good books and a cup of hot cocoa, and have someone notify me when winter is over.

But this year is different. While the darkness has been unavoidable, the cold has been minimal. We have only used our wood stove a couple of times so far this year, which is much less than normal. Just this past week, we've had temperatures in the 50s and we've turned off our heat altogether.

It might not feel much like the Christmas season, but it is much easier to hang Christmas lights on the house while wearing a sweater and no gloves, rather than being bundled up like an arctic explorer. And it does still get down close to freezing at night, so hot cocoa is still a very viable option. :)

The cold will be here soon enough. Until then, I think I'll go out for a walk!

Copyright © 2006 - Paulla Estes