A Creative CAT

Let me render my heart this morning…

Today I started my day journaling.  For me, this is the only way I can make sense of the million thoughts that circle in my head all day long.  What stood out this morning is:

The creative mind is like herding cats.

I’m a cat in the cat/cat herder philosophy.  Back up:  I should explain the philosophy that came about on a trip to NOLA.  My husband is a cat and was frustrated by attempting to keep a group of cats together.  In total annoyance he yelled, “Y’all I feel like I’m herding cats!”  The cats busted out laughing.  We spent years coming up with truths about this philosophy.  If you are a cat, you can never be a cat herder… you just don’t care that much.  If you are a cat herder, you can never be a true cat… because you just can’t trust the cats to be in charge.

Back to my morning.  I found myself anxious about all the ideas that I have and how to achieve them.  Fear crept in, as it always does.  This creative life is FULL of insecurities. Then it hit me… BAM!  Insecurities don’t have a chance when you have a tribe!

I stopped what I was doing and immediately messaged my two BFFs, Michele Savoldi and Kelly Blanton.  I wanted to thank them for being my cheerleaders and let them know how they keep me inspired.  Thank GOD we met 8 years ago!  The love of family, a great help mate and a tribe is the wonderful foundation that God has blessed me with.

I felt this truth bubbling up and the need to write about it, hoping it might touch one of you… dear kindred spirits.

So… I sat down at my desk to punch it out before the idea had time to fly the coop.

Before I could get my Internet to come up I noticed my trash needed to be taken to the road.  The cat in me was off…

I took the trash to the road.  Let Jack out and checked his food situation.  Meandered into my garden.  Dang, the carrots aren’t ready YET.  Took a few pics.  Realized how good the garden is to my wellness.  Decided to share it in a Ripl (a great app by the way).  It had been updated, so I needed to sync with Instagram again.  Forgot my password.  UUGH.  Finally got it uploaded and posted correctly to all my social media platforms.  Sit back down to type.  I see a color test to take to determine my personality.  I am 40% blue (TRUE) and 40% red (TRUE).  GREAT!  I hate that I am that personality.  Watch a video on Yellows.  I wish I could be more like them.

I’m back to the blog with even more evidence that I am a cat.  MEOW!  Let’s herd me in.

These tendencies of mine can be downright maddening.  I also tend to be a little hard on myself.  I’m learning to like (because love is too strong of a word) who God created me to be.  One of my Mom’s favorite sayings is, “Go with the flow and you’re sure to grow.”

This reminds me of a TEDtalk I watched a long time ago.  (oops just got sucked into FB briefly while searching for this video). Elizabeth Gilbert gave an awesome TEDtalk “Your elusive creative genius.”  She is the one who influenced my decision to sell my car and travel to Costa Rica to spend a month at a language school to find myself.  Didn’t find myself, nor learn Spanish… but that’s another story.  Here’s a GREAT quote around the 2min marker, “What I have been thinking about lately is WHY.  Is it rational, is it logical, that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work they feel that they have been put on this earth to do?  And what is it specifically about creative ventures that seems to make us really nervous about each others mental health in a way that other careers don’t do?”   I want to personally thank Elizabeth Gilbert for giving me permission to speak to my creative thoughts.  For example, “Hey creative idea, I’m a cat… please stay with me until I finally sit down to work on it with my full attention.”  I’m busy going with the flow.

So, I hope this speaks to one of you precious creative souls.  Believe it or not, it’s only 9:52 in the morning.  I have a WHOLE day to be a CAT.  I’ll choose to show up for my job and keep plugging away at my creative ideas.  Despite the fact that I will get sidetracked by paths that lead to unexpected places.  I’m a stubborn CAT! “¡Olé!”

Please let me know I’m not alone… share in the comments or comment on a social platform.  I’d love to hear from YOUR creative stores!  Beyond my two BFFs, I know there is a massive TRIBE of us!

~Tiff

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky.

Road Therapy

 

It is time for this road warrior to hit the open road.  The Road has a way to clear my active mind and set my soul free.  I’m off to see family and friends, hunt for treasures, experience spring for the second time, and then to come back to Burton recharged by the adventure.

Don’t get me wrong!  I’m not escaping from anything.  In fact, I’m torn between wanting to stay put and the call of the road.  I’m hoping to use the endless hours on the road to listen to books on tape and get infused with new ideas.  Road therapy is part of my creative process.

I’ll share my adventure on Facebook and Instagram @2Flownthecoop.  AND…You’ll be the first to see any cool piece I discover.

Are you looking for a certain piece?  Email your item or list of items to Eckhardt.tiffany@gmail.com  I’d be happy to text you pics of finds that might work.

The Coop

Jeff will be the ring master of this shit show (might even wear the socks) Saturday and Sunday (May 20 & 21, May 27 & 28).  Marlene will keep Flown The Coop open Thursday and Friday (May 25 & 26).  They will be happy to see you!

The Coop will be closed June 1rst – 4th.

Road Trip Therapy

I hope you are able to hit the road soon!  I’d love to hear your stories from the road!  What has the road taught you?  What treasures have you found?  What are your fondest memories of the road?  Where do you plan to take off to this summer?

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

 

 

A Feel Good Experience

e88c7da511340f6f93482e1b771d52a3I am one of those crazy people who actually believe in changing the world.  Well, at least in making a difference on the local level.

I aim to make shopping at Flown The Coop a “feel good” experience!  First by supporting local makers, creators and entrepreneurial friends… the backbone of the American Dream.  Shopping small and local not only makes a difference to creatives, but also to Burton’s economy.  Earlier this year I turned my attention toward ways I felt could directly contribute to my community.  I made the decision to donate ten cents for every dollar spent at Flown The Coop to the Bridge Ministry of Burton, TX.

The Bridge Ministry of Burton,TX. is a collaboration of thirteen churches in the Burton area.  There are six ministry teams within the Burton Bridge Ministry; Seniors, Children and Youth, Helping Hands, Community, Corner Shoppe and Manna Ministry.  This type of community outreach is rare and could only be accomplished by people who believe in making a real difference.

Today I had the privilege of lending a helping hand to the Manna Ministry, a Food Pantry led by Karen Nelson. This dedicated team meets at the Food Pantry at 5:30 am every Tuesday.  Together they unload the delivery truck, organize items and greet their clients with dignity and respect.

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Carolyn’s Country Corner

 

The Manna Ministry feeds over 200 households every month.  Most of the volunteers know each client by name and are interested in their families.  Carolyn is in charge of the miscellaneous items donated by local grocery stores.  They call it Carolyn’s Country Corner and is filled with “exotics.”

 

 

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Karen Nelson saw the need to create Manna Ministry in June 2014.  She is responsible for following all state and local guidelines, keeping records, volunteers and storing the donated food.  It is not uncommon for a neighboring Food Pantry to call Karen throughout the week with donations.  This week she picked up a load of sweet potatoes discarded by a Houston grocery store due to a damaged shipping box.  They were good looking sweet potatoes!

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I’m sure I’ll be back to help out at the Manna Ministry Food Pantry.  I left feeling good about serving my community.  Burton is truly a wonderful community to live, work and serve in.  It is my hope that you feel it too, whether you are a local or a welcomed visitor!

Stayed tuned as I visit the remaining five ministries, and a sneak peak of exciting projects in the works!

#BringmetoBurton

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How are you attempting to change the world?  Share with me!  I’d love to root for you!

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

~Tiffany

 

 

 

Resilient

“When we face a decision to fall back or press on, the whole universe holds its breath.”  John Eldridge

Let that sink in.

Fierce or Resilient?

My 2017 Pinterest Board was labeled “The year to be FIERCE.”  What was I thinking?  The Board should be labeled RESILIENT.

It’s hard to be fierce when you are recovering from a major surgery, then break your arm and face another health scare all in the first quarter.  I’m not a sick person!  Dealing with doctors is not my favorite thing to do.  Up until this year, I have avoided the doctor’s office (except for the yearly well visits required by insurance).  Good health was a badge I wore proudly!

Finding a doctor was a frustrating ordeal for me in 2016, followed by various issues that led up to surgery on January 9th that didn’t go as planned.  Six weeks later, I was disappointed to learn that the doctor who did my surgery was moving to a different health care system and would no longer accept my insurance.  When a new and potentially scary health issue arose, I was more defeated by the necessity to find a new doctor than I was the scare.  Even more aggravating is the system that requires a regular doctor to order tests, who will then inevitably need to refer me to a specialist if there is a problem.  I spent a couple days deciding wether to press on and have the new issue looked at ~ or fall back and ignore it.  Side note, I never made it to my follow up appointment for my broken arm.  I figured that they would just confirm what I already knew, it’s healing fine and just be careful.

As if walking through an internal struggle about health issues and recovery wasn’t enough, I had to add shame and embarrassment by transparently posting my dismay to Facebook, along with a sad picture to emphasize just how miserable I felt.  Why do I always feel the need to air my emotions so publicly?  I feel like a whiner just explaining my situation.  I have friends and family who are quietly walking through FAR WORSE.  Fortunately, I discovered most people didn’t see it as a character flaw (craziness displayed on the porch with a cocktail) and sent massive words of encouragement.  This embarrassment was a wake up call to me and was the catalyst into a life lesson.

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I now have both.

Proper perspective is helpful when faced with the choice to fall back or press on.

Resilient

re·sil·ent
adjective
        (of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.  strong, tough, hardy
AKA – FIERCE

Resilience is an important life skill that is not taught in school, or comes naturally.  It is only learned by walking through rough stuff.  Although, it would be helpful to teach children to look at the world honestly and not expect life to handed to them.

I had expectations that I would hit 2017 with fierce determination.  I am truly happiest when I am fiercely pursuing an idea.  My ambitions were to conquer fitness and weight loss, and had grandiose business dreams for Flown The Coop.    Reality was a healthy dose of adversity; physically, emotionally and with my business. The combination has given me a fresh lesson in resilience.

I am a “glass half full” type of girl who is currently working on the idea of happiness.  I’m learning to align my expectations with realty, an essential skill in withstanding or recovering quickly from difficult conditions.  I generally see life through a lens of possibilities and abundance.  The lesson is:  pray, do your best and let go of the outcomes.  I am not in control.

There are two ways I look at adversity.  I’m doing something right and am a target, or I’m doing something wrong and am being punished.  I chose to believe that I’m doing something right.  I didn’t come this far to fail now.  I am learning to dream big dreams and make exciting plans for the year, with the expectation that there will be bumps in the road.  It’s not healthy to avoid trials.

I’ve had plenty of time to analyze life while recovering from surgery.  It is encouraging to think there is a host of witnesses in the universe holding their breath; waiting for me to flip a switch, to embrace my life as it is and live in the flow.  They are cheering me on!

I’m not a quitter.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Philippians 3: 12

Trust In You by Lauren Daigle has become my anthem.

Yeah, I know most people don’t put their struggles on the Internet for the world to see.  My hope is that transparency will encourage you.  Life isn’t always what it appears to be on a polished Facebook or Instagram account.  Going for dreams and pursuing ideas is the sweet spot in life, full of promise and excitement.  Equally important are the seasons that stretch us and makes us stronger.  In 2017 I will be Fiercely Resilient, while I give myself permission to cultivate dreams with my expectations balanced in realty.

Your Word

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What is your word for 2017?  I’d love to hear about your goals, dreams, visions, and even setbacks. Let’s cheer each other on!  If you are faced with the decision to fall back or press on, I will hold my breath and cheer for you!

~Tiff

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

Texas Antiques WeekSSSS!

It’s that time of the year again!

“It’s my favorite holiday!”  Marlene Kahanek

It’s my favorite holiday too!  I love the spring antique show!  Bluebonnets will be in bloom.  The weather is unpredictable, BUT IT’S NOT HOT.  Excitement blows with the wind as trailers packed with treasures begin to ascend upon our beautiful countryside.  I’m convinced that even the birds are singing about it.  What I look forward to THE MOST is visiting with friends who make their bi-annual pilgrimage to Texas to shop for their stores, find out what’s new in design trends and to be inspired by a creative community.

Flown The Coop will kick off our show March 16th and run through April 1st.  We’ll be open 9am – 6pm daily.  This spring we’ll host a St. Patty’s Day Karaoke Party in the back yard on March 17th 7:30pm.  The Kountry Karoake Chick will bring her show to our back yard stage.  Bad Girl BBQ will be here serving AWEsome BBQ!

GRAB YOUR BOOTS, or some comfy shoes, a coat (or shorts… who knows), a good hat, sunscreen, AND a good friend!  Hope to see you!!!!

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Flown The Coop will close for ONE weekend, March 2nd – 5th.  

Sorry for the inconvenience, but this shop girl is taking ONE weekend off to visit family.

~And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

Spreading Wings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all of my wonderful customers {dear friends} for helping me put Burton on the map during the spring Texas Antiques Show!  Each show just keeps getting better.  Karaoke Night and White Linen Night were both huge successes.  Karaoke Night felt like a scene from a Reese Witherspoon movie, as I watched guests approach The Coop carrying their lawn chairs and coolers to listen to Karaoke singers in the back yard.  The community did not disappoint on White Linen Night either.  Loved seeing the crowd dressed in white enjoying Libby Koch, Bad Girl BBQ and of course all the talented artists who participated.

It was an exhilarating and exhausting three weeks.

Now that I have had time to catch my breath, I am ready to take on new and exciting things at The Coop!  The past few months I’ve been exploring high quality and light hearted items that compliment our “Industrial, Vintage and Homestead Goods” core products.  I promise to never stray too far from our core, but would also like to

be delight and frolicsome, I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.

Have you ever felt like an underdog?

I confess that I often feel like the underdog as I forge my way in a secret town.  The underdog is a role that many entrepreneurs can identify with.  We march to our own beat and take the path least traveled.  Part of my mission at Flown The Coop is to promote fellow entrepreneurs and underdogs. I wholeheartedly believe everyone can achieve a dream by hard work, persistence, determination and being flexible to market trends.  It also helps when your small business community focuses on discovering ways to support each other.

I am so proud of the variety of talented people featured at The Coop.  Our vendors are dear friends who are chasing a dream and the majority of them are local folks.  We currently offer tee shirts designed by Sugar Pie Tees and Display,  Pamela Fagan Hutchins fiction and nonfiction books, artwork by Humble Donkey Studio, Lazy Bee Honey and honey jams, lavender products by Lacey Farms and sugar scrubs by Massage Therapy by Emily (my daughter).

In May The Coop will add jewelry created by Anastasia Gregoire.  Anastasia designs jewelry from vintage silver platters.  Stayed tuned on our Facebook Page for details!

New to The Coop: Boomtown Coffee is now sold at The Coop in one pound bags of whole been blends {Ethiopian Amaro Gayo and the very popular Darkness blend}.  You can now buy THE coffee voted number one in Houston at The Coop!  {EEKS!}  Jeff and I made Boomtown part of our daily routine when we lived in the Houston Heights.  Our son, Hayden, roasts coffee and is a barista for Boomtown.  We love this company and are thrilled to bring the Boom to Burton! #BringmetoBurton #BringtheBoomtoBurton 🙂

Items Just for the FUN

I am open to any idea that will make our customers smile!  A few months ago my daughter texted me a picture of novelty socks that she insisted we carry at The Coop.  So I did.  The first weekend we sold ten pairs.  SO FUN!!!!  I love watching people read the socks.  Most of them supports my sassy side.

When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead. ~ Hemingway

Spreading my wings

Despite my love for The Coop and my beloved secret town of Burton, I need to fly free from time to time.  In May I will hit the road for a buying trip to Ohio.  I have several stops planned along the way and will see my favorite pickers once I’m in Ohio.  I hope to bring back amazing Industrial and Vintage finds.  You can follow my journey on our Facebook Page and Instagram.

Contact me if you would like me to hunt for something specific for you!  The Coop will be open while I’m on the road.  But please call or check our FB and Instagram for possible closings.

That’s the scoop on The Coop!  I’m excited to spread my wings with new ideas, products and an upcoming road trip.  Hope you have something zesty to pursue!  I’d love to hear about your adventures.

Dedicated to those who can’t be caged,

~ Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

 

Exploring The Back Roads

The Local Experience

I love to travel, preferring trips spent exploring back roads and discovering local hot spots.  No matter where I go, I always spend the trip wondering what it would be like to live there.  Several years ago Jeff and I realized a dream trip to Italy.  One of our best decisions was renting an apartment in Naples for a week.  We thoroughly enjoyed walking to the neighborhood markets and bringing food back to prepare in the kitchen.  Every evening we saw the same couples strolling down the street as a part of their daily ritual.  By the end of the week we felt satisfied that we immersed ourselves in the local experience.

Back Road Dreaming

As a dealer who set up in Warrenton at Bar W twice a year, I often wondered what it would be like to to be a local in the Roundtropolis.  I found it was difficult to immerse myself in a local experience.  I was there to work and had so little time to get away from my booth.   After a day selling junque, my friends and I would go to our favorite local restaurants, which were always packed with visitors and dealers.

I woke up early some mornings to spend time exploring before I had to head to my booth.  On those early morning road trips, the back roads seem to be calling this road warrior to the country.  A dream to open my own store in a small community was developing.  I was willing to answer the call, but the dream felt just too far out of reach.  And really, did I want to be “caged?”  Could I live in the country?  What did locals do for fun?

Where The Back Roads End

You know the story… dreams do come true!

After a full year, I can honestly say that living on a back road is more than I could have ever imagined!  Our friend Abbey Road coined the phrase, “Where The Back Roads End.”   Burton IS where the back roads end!  Life travels at a slower pace out here.  It is not uncommon for people to stop by The Coop just to shoot the breeze.  I love the sense of community!

We are supported by the most generous and hard working people.  The business owners of the Roundtropolis understand the need to promote each other, which has been helpful in growing Flown The Coop.  I showcase several local entrepreneurs, a local author and a local artist in The Coop.  The creative community is flourishing on the back roads!

Our social calendar is never boring.  I am so grateful to live in Burton with so many kindred spirits who enjoy life!    Here’s one of my Facebook posts from February 8th:

For those who wonder if country life is boring… We started the weekend Friday at ROYERS ROUND TOP CAFE and then dropped by a friend’s house to sit by the fire for a bit. After another great day at The Coop, Saturday evening we went to Saddlehorn Winery for wine tasting and sang carpool karaoke on the way to a Mardi Gras party at The Stone Cellar. Sunday I worked in my garden (this weather is awesome) and then went to a Super Bowl party at The Cottages on Mill Creek-Round Top Lodging.

Exploring the back roads for yourself

Wether you need to recharge yourself in the quietness of the country or you’re in need for an adventure, exploring our back roads will not disappoint.

When you hit the road, I hope you make your way to Burton.  We are located half way between Houston and Austin on 290.  It’s where the back roads end.  If you want the local experience, stop by The Coop to ask for directions.  I would love to visit with you!  I try to keep up with what is going on, where to eat, nice places to stay and who you need to meet.  I’ll point you in the right direction.

You never know what you’ll discover off the beaten path.

Happy Trails,

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

Answering The Call

 

My restless, roaming spirit has called.

“Traveling is like flirting with life.  It’s like saying, I would love to stay and love, but I have to go; this is my situation” Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

The Coop is currently at an all time low in the junk department.  While I love pouring over beautiful catalogs, ordering from a catalog pales in comparison to the joy I experience junking, and meeting up with my friends who deal in the coolest junque!  “Chief Junker” is my favorite hat that I wear at The Coop.  Returning to The Coop with a trailer load satisfies my restless, roaming spirit with adventure.  I hate to leave my beloved Burton, but I have to Fly The Coop.  This is my situation.

The Coop will be closed January 14th – 23rd

Jeff and I are answering the call with a road trip to Ohio.  Armed with audio books and a journal for my crazy ideas, we’ll hit the road next week.  The hours on the road often feel endless.  If I’m lucky, we’ll stop at a few interesting places on the way.

I know once we make it to our destination I’ll have plenty of treasures to pick from.  I have an idea of what I’m looking for, but am always open to the unexpected.  On our last trip Jeff bought a stack of eight foot church pews (the seats and backs, without the ends) from our friend Ken.  I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea.  They took up a lot of room on our trailer.  There were enough ends to make four pews.  Jeff cut the eight foot pews into four foot sections and added a galvanized detail to the ends.  The finished product turned out fantastic.  The owners of The Grand Texana saw the pews Jeff crafted and commissioned him to make eighteen short pews out of the remaining stack of eight foot pews.  I shared this story with Ken.  He laughed and reminded me, “Tiffany you weren’t even 40% on those pews.”  Lesson learned.  Jeff and I will never question each other’s wisdom or sanity when junking.

I am on the hunt for specific treasures for a few of our customers.  I enjoy the satisfaction of finding the perfect piece and their delight when it is delivered.  Email me what you are looking for at eckhardt.tiffany@gmail.com if you are interested in this service.

Remember to stayed tuned to the Flown The Coop Facebook Page and Instagram account @2FlownTheCoop!  We’ll share our adventure on these two platforms.

Flown The Coop Reopens January 28th

The doors will reopen on Thursday, January 28th.  Will you answer the call to fly the coop?Plan a road trip to be the first to pick from the treasures we bring back to Burton.  While your here, show off your wings by taking a picture in front our Gen.U.Ine Free Spirit mural.  Tag them with #2Flownthecoop so we can celebrate all our free spirits!

#BringmetoBurton

Happy Trails!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky.

Hit the road!


Happy New Year!  Time for new year resolutions?  I’m just wondering how we’ll top 2015 and what 2016 will bring?

2015 was a fantastic year!  Jeff and I love our Burton home, community and have enjoyed building our little store, The Coop.  So much so, that I had a hard time hitting the road.  This road warrior has been content to stay close to home.

As I ring in 2016, the old familiar need for adventure is beckoning me.  Time to fly the coop!  This month Jeff and I will travel to my home in Ohio to hunt for junque (fancy junk).  Stayed tuned to our Facebook page and Instagram @2flownthecoop.  We’ll be announcing our crazy January hours, posting pictures of our finds and planning an upcoming preview party at The Coop.

I’m also itching to do a remodel project.  Over the past 26 years, Jeff and I have remodeled five homes (two unlivable historic homes).  Watching reality tv has been killing us.  We’ll scratch that itch this year with plans to transform our garden shed into a Guest House.  It’s my desire to have it ready for the spring Texas Antiques Week (God willing and the creek don’t rise).  Don’t worry, we’ll share the progress with you.

One resolution:  I have every intention to blog more in 2016.  I’m not a professional writer.  I simply enjoy sharing this crazy journey with you.

I’ve declared 2016 to be The Year of JOY.  I will capture all the moments of joy in a mason jar.  Follow my The Year of Joy 2016 Pinterest board as I learn what living with joy is all about.

What are your hopes and aspirations for 2016?  I hope you FLY FREELY with a Gen.U.ine FREE spirit!  Truly LIVE the life you’re given!  And remember, we’re all in this together.  So, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Avett Brothers songs, The Once and Future Carpenter….

Hitting the road… Living the life I’m given,

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

Traditions

This Christmas has been an emotion roller coaster for me as I reminisce Christmas memories and focus on creating new Christmas traditions with Jeff.  Doubtful I’ll get through writing this without becoming a sappy mess.

Growing up my Mom made sure my sister and I had perfect Christmas memories.  We grew up making more cookies than our neighborhood could eat, stringing popcorn and cranberry garland, visiting Santa at my grandpa’s Masonic Lodge, driving to downtown Columbus to see the lights, decorating the tree and waking up to a living room full of presents on Christmas morning.  I’m sure it was very similar to our friend’s Christmas, but it was magic to me.  This picture cracks me up… not sure why I was shooting my sister a stern look.

When Jeff and I were raising our little family, I was either really into Christmas or the biggest ba-humbug in history.  I never felt that I could live up to my expectations and was exhausted before I even attempted to gear up for Christmas.  Somehow, we managed to create a few traditions that stuck over the years.  We made cookies (always buckeyes), hunted and cut down the perfect tree, decorated the tree, topped the tree with a lift from Dad, and a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve.  Most years the kids opened all their presents before Christmas because Jeff and I simply could not wait.   Cutting the tree became an all day event, as I insisted on hunting the tree farm until I found the perfect tree, regardless of the weather.  As the kids got older, the traditions were for my benefit.  Yep, the kids were having a blast!

The year before we all flew the coop…. oh boy, did the years fly by.

Over time, I experienced my favorite traditions in other ways.  Like the year my sister and I baked cookies with my Grandma.

My Mom now makes Christmas cookies with Emily, my daughter and her friends.

Emily and Jacob (daughter and son-inlaw) have started their own traditions, including cutting down a tree from our favorite tree farm.  Emily posted to Facebook, “We got a Christmas tree. I was channeling my mom and made us walk all the way to the back of the tree lot, in the cold to find the “perfect” tree. Good memories.”  LOVE that girl!

I LOVE the smile on her face!

Last year Jeff got to place the star on the top of our tree for the first time.

This year I went shopping alone for our trees (yes I said trees, meaning two for our house and five for The Coop) and bought them from a big box hardware store.  GASP!  After all these years I discovered that I can get seven trees for the price of one.  However, it will never have the same magic.

This year Jeff and I started a few new traditions.  He joined me in making buckeyes.

We went to see The Nutcracker at The Festival Institute in Round Top.  Jeff and his mother, Ginger, had never seen The Nutcracker.  None of us had experienced The Festival Institute.  Wow!

This was my first year to decorate The Coop.  I honestly enjoyed transforming The Coop, making ornaments and hosting Christmas At The Coop.  I look forward to Rocking Around The Coop next year.  Great memories to build new traditions upon!

I miss the traditions of my childhood and the ones Jeff and I created with our kids.  It is heartwarming to watch my adult children maintain some old traditions, while creating their own.  Jeff and I have whittled down the traditions in our empty nest and have enjoyed a slower paced holiday.  I’m insisting we wait until Christmas morning to open our gifts, a first for us.

The traditions are fun, but it’s the people I created them with that is priceless.  I’m so grateful for a rich life filled with family and friends!

May your holiday season be full of joy!  In the midst of a hectic season, I pray that you savor time with loved ones and make memories to last you all year long!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing, “YES” in the sky!