Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Simple Living Holiday Edition: How To De-Stress Christmas

Last year I had a wee little freak-out on Christmas day.

After months of shopping and cooking and card-writing, the actual BIG DAY was a disaster.

Everyone was in a bad mood, especially ME!

I decided that I was going to make some big changes this year and turn the whole holiday around for my family.

Here's my plan for the 2018 HOLIDAY SEASON...

1. Cut out the cards.

Every year I spend a ton of time attempting to find the perfect family photo (you know, all four of us with our eyes open...good luck with that!), and then I have to design a card, order the cards, go to the post office, stamp/address hundreds of envelopes, etc. I hate it. Cards are expensive. They are wasteful. Bottom line: WHO CARES!

They're out.


2. Focus on experiences, not gifts.

My kids are not little anymore. Christmas morning is a big deal when your kids are young. All those presents under the tree...their eyes light up. It's magic! And fun.

Then...your kids grow up. They want gift cards and a new iPhone.

Last year there were too many gifts and a lot of complaints, and I'm done with that.

This year, I am replacing the gifts with experiences.


***Attending the Nutcracker Ballet

***Glass-blowing class for the kids to make a tree ornament

***Attending the light show at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

***Going to a musical performance

***Winter hike in the woods/Owl Prowl

***Make hand-made wreaths/holiday flower bouquets

***Make (and give away) Christmas cookies!

I think my family will appreciate this. We need to spend time together. That's more important than stuff.

3. New Christmas Eve tradition, inspired by Iceland.

It's called Jolabokaflod. It means Yule Book Flood. Icelanders exchange books on Christmas Eve and spend the evening reading.


Unfortunately, even though my husband and I adore books, my kids are less excited about them.

But, I will not be deterred!

I am going to get my son books about the environment and science and photography (his passions) and my daughter books about style and fashion and art (her passions) and my husband travel journals and books about fly-fishing (his passions), and I'll give "Santa" a list of books I'd like, too.

I think I'll add holiday books to the list as well. It's nice to collect books about Christmas/other holiday traditions.

This is just one more reason to love Iceland!

4. Establish new/old Christmas morning tradition.

When I was young, my family had a fairly formal Christmas morning breakfast. My mom set the table with her Christmas china, and we had a full breakfast and hot chocolate and Christmas candies.

It was super sweet and lovely.

My family has gotten into the unfortunate habit of attacking the tree and gifts first thing.

I don't like it.

So...it's out.

We will be reinstating the "Christmas Breakfast" tradition at our house. The kids can help. I have A LOT of Christmas dishware.

This is a more relaxed way to start the day.

Less about the stuff, more about the experience.

5. Edit the decorations/stuff.

I never saw a Christmas shop I didn't like. 

We have nutcrackers and angels and elves and snowflakes and Santas and lights and big trees and little trees.

And...cripes. It's just all too much!

So, I'm learning to "edit" with my decor. EVERYTHING does not need to be displayed every year.

(Repeat that three times and make a wish!)

Last year I chose a few select things to put out. It looked a lot better, and it was easier to clean up after Christmas.

This tip brought to you by Project Runway. EDIT EDIT EDIT!

How about all of you? What do you do to decrease your stress over the holidays?

Let's chat!



Monday, November 12, 2018


God reached down

God reached down

He grabbed the shoulders of that tree

He shook and shook that tree

It's time to let go, He said

It's time to let go of the dead things

But the tree held on

The tree held on to the brown of the earth, gold of the sky

Jewels so red, fire so orange

The tree held on

God grabbed those shoulders and shook so hard the air made noise

Tree fingers shook in the wind

Danced like a ghost

Trembled and cried

The time had come

Time to let go of the dead things

The tree lost bits of the brown earth, pieces of the gold sky

Scattered the red jewels, shocked the orange fire

God reached down and shook some more

The shoulders bent under the will of God

Lost the last of the fire and jewels, the earth and sky

Until only the skeleton remained

Shocked by its nakedness, stark barren exposed

God reminded the tree

The buds were there, hidden waiting ready

For the time when God would reach down and unfurl those buds

For the time to embrace the live things

For the time would come.

"God reached down" by Nina Roth Borromeo, ©2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Joyful Writing Month JOYWRIMO Has Commenced!

Time to start our new November project...JOYWRIMO!

A whole month of being happy. Can we do it?


The rules of this game...none. Anything goes! Here's a link to explain what this is all about.

Do what you can, when you can. No guilt. Reach out for support.


✵When you find joy, your writing shines✵

I thought we could start off the first day by sharing what we find most joyful about our own writing, our own writing process.

I see a lot of folks talk about FEAR when they start a new project. They say it's the worst part of writing a book. The very beginning.

Oddly enough, I have the opposite experience!

My favorite part of writing a book is the beginning.

Probably because I'm a "pantser" not a "plotter." For me, it's an exciting time. I have no idea what's going to happen. I have no idea how these characters will grow and develop.

It's like making new friends.

And discovering a story you didn't know existed.

I love this feeling!

This is my most joyful part of writing. Discovering a brand new world.

How about you? What brings you joy with your writing?

Let us know!

Join my posse on Facebook!


Love, Nina/Penny