Life Lessons From A Christmas Tree Farm

The Christmas season here in south Georgian Bay, as I suspect it is elsewhere is going “full-bore” and outright “pedal to the metal” as we speak. Christmas parades(both day and nighttime) or some COVID-friendly version are happening every weekend(including around here). In addition, there are a wide variety of Christmas markets, tree lighting ceremonies, and Christmas/holiday interactive light displays to name just a few things to ramp up your Christmas spirit a degree or two.

This upcoming week, Lynn and I will make our annual trek out to a local Christmas tree farm and cut a smallish Christmas tree for our living room. Where we go is a small family-run (“labour of love”) enterprise located one town over from us here on the shores of south Georgian Bay. In fact, we’ve been making this our go-to spot to cut a Christmas tree, since we moved to our current “old homestead.”

Our living room is quite small, so any tree of a larger girth takes up most of the room, leaving no space for anything else or anybody. One year, the tree was so large, we had to go outside in order to change our minds.

But, there is something about trudging through the frozen acreage of a Christmas tree farm with the sole goal of finding the perfect tree for your home. That one heavenly specimen will be the crowning glory of your household Christmas decorating extravaganza.

Getting that perfect tree, whether it is a pre-cut or one you cut yourself at a tree farm is one of those special enduring Christmas traditions that bring families and friends together like no other.

As much as a few hours spent at a Christmas tree farm can and does create memories that last a lifetime, Christmas tree farms can also leave us with several valuable life lessons.

How you ask?

There are four life lessons I’ve learned over the past few years from cutting our own Christmas tree that you can learn as well.

Life Lessons From A Christmas Tree Farm

Learn Never To Settle For Second Best

I hate to admit to this, but it is often my inclination to pick the first or second tree we happen across. Not sure if it is due to laziness or to save time, but that has been my “modus operandi” in previous Christmas tree cutting excursions.

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But, it is always Lynn, who says, “let’s take a look over here or there. I bet there is something better.” So, we search for as long as it takes to find the perfect one. Often slogging through the snow, covering each acre of the rather large tree farm. It always takes more effort; always takes more time, but it is always worth it in the end.

The lesson here is to put in the effort and go after what you want. Doing and getting the best, always takes effort.

Don’t settle for what you may think is the best thing, just to save time and energy. By taking that approach, you’ll always settle for second best.

Put the time and energy in to reach your goals.

Learn To Take Care of People and Things

Simply put, Christmas trees need love too.

needles

Your Christmas tree won’t do or fare very well if you just plop it into a corner of your living room like a worn-out and tired old umbrella when you get home. Propped up in the corner and left there with no care and love, it will simply wither away and drop its needles in a day or two.

In order to thrive and survive, Christmas trees need a certain level of care and attention once they make it into your house.

Assuming that either you’ve made or staff from the tree farm have made a nice clean cut of the tree trunk, a Christmas tree once inside needs two things.

water

First, it needs plenty of water(a freshly cut tree can consume up to four litres or a gallon of water in the first 24 hours after coming into the house). Secondly, not to be placed near a heat source, like a heating duct.

After that, you’ll need to take care and ensure the water level never falls below where the tree was cut and to make sure that it isn’t drying out too fast.

As with Christmas trees, similar concepts apply in regard to the relationships we have with others in our lives.

Healthy relationships, whether they are with our spouses, our children, our siblings, or our friends, all require a certain level of attention, love, and care in order to thrive and survive.

In fact, each relationship will require and have its own unique elements that are essential in order for it to survive. We wouldn’t or shouldn’t expect a healthy relationship to be the result of “plopping a person into a corner of our living room and not providing them with a certain level of love, care, and attention?

Like Christmas trees, we need to learn to care for, love, and treat ourselves and others in the way we and each one of them deserve.

Learn to take care of and love others.

Learn The Value Of Teamwork

In our family, cutting a Christmas tree is a two-person operation.

Now, that is not to say that Lynn or I couldn’t head on out all alone and cut a tree. We could, but the result may not be what we were looking for; which is the perfect family Christmas tree.

In order to find and cut the perfect family Christmas tree, I need to have Lynn with me.

cutting

First of all, it is much more fun to have her as a co-partner in the endeavor. It would be an understatement of the largest magnitude to suggest that by having Lynn along, she will “keep things interesting and fun.”

From past and often extensive experience, the words “interesting and fun,” hardly begin to describe an outing with Lynn to cut a Christmas tree or any outing for that matter.

Secondly, we play off or use the strengths and skills each one of us brings to the table in order to find and cut the perfect tree. I’m more of a hands-on and practical tree cutter, while Lynn has the forward visualizing process to see the finished product.

As an example, once we find the tree we want, Lynn has the ability to creatively visualize the tree decorated in our living room before we even start to cut it in the field. I can’t do that.

no man

The strengths and skills of a group are always better than the skills of one person.

In other words, you always can’t do and be everything on your own.

You need others in your life.

When we work and cooperate together in a group, everyone involved has a much greater chance of success because each one of us brings unique skills that work towards getting the task accomplished.

The strength and skills of a group are always better than the skills of one person.

Learn To Treasure Every Moment With Loved Ones

At some strange level, cutting a Christmas tree out in the middle of a snowy and frosty Christmas tree farm is simply an exercise in “cutting a Christmas tree.” A job that simply needs to be completed by someone. Nothing more than some random physical activity undertaken for an hour or so, to accomplish a specific purpose.

But, it is way more than that.

And we know that, because many of us go out and cut a Christmas at a Christmas tree farm, year after year. In fact, it can be one of the most anticipated and treasured outings during the Christmas season for many families.

memories

We do it, yes to simply get a special Christmas tree, but more importantly, and whether we know it or not, we are creating memories.

Memories created with loved ones, that will last and endure the test of time.

When trekking out to cut that tree, we learn to treasure and value each little moment as they happen during that adventure. Whether it happens to be your spouse singing wildly away at Christmas songs or perhaps the farm dog that follows you along the way. Regardless of what the moment looks like it isn’t the point.

The point to be learned for each one of us is the value and importance of our loved ones and the little things in life that happen with them along the journey we call life.

We need to learn to treasure and embrace those seemingly insignificant moments. Those are the ones, that often and usually create the most enduring and heartfelt memories.

Treasure those tiny cherished moments created with your loved ones.

This Christmas, when you head on out to cut your special family Christmas tree and you’re all bundled up and carrying a thermos of hot chocolate to ward off the chill, remember these four life lessons:

  • learn never to settle for second best
  • learn to take care of people and things
  • learn the value of teamwork
  • learn to treasure every moment with loved ones

–as always with love–

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Happy and Grateful or Grateful and Happy

Although this post is a couple of years old, it is a message that is timeless. Or at least I think it’s timeless. And along with being timeless, the marriage of gratefulness and happiness and how the two concepts interact or should interact is perhaps something we should all take a close at.

I wish I had taken the opportunity to snap a picture of the following quote on the sign that ultimately inspired this post.

grateful1

Ironically, the sign was on the property of a large car dealership on the busiest road in the City that I work in.

Not only is it a place that sells cars and trucks, but apparently they are also delving into life inspiration and inspirational quotes to brighten our day.

Regardless of the car dealership’s motivation for having the quote at the edge of the road, the quote and the words within it, should if nothing else cause us to pause and think about the meaning behind them.

The question is, “are happy people grateful, or are grateful people happy?”

Here in Canada, we’ve passed through the “Thanksgiving Holiday” and are now pressing wildly along and riding the gut-busting roller-coaster of the Christmas season. To our friends south of us, they are in the midst of their Thanksgiving celebrations, which thus heralds the start of the holiday season south of the border.

So, what a perfect time of the year to take a short look at “are happy people grateful or are grateful people happy?”

Often at Thanksgiving dinner or certainly at some point during that time, people sit back and either ponder to themselves or say out loud “what they’re thankful for.” We go through and express gratitude for things like “what we have or been given” or “thankful for the people in our life.”

Thanksgiving and all it entails go hand in hand with expressing gratitude. Just try it for once!

grateful3

Now, on a bit of a send note for a minute or two( and not trying to make it more complicated than it already is), “gratitude” gets its meaning from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.

If we think about it for a second, doesn’t gratitude wrap itself around all three of these meanings?

Gratitude is being thankful for what we get or receive in our lives. When we express gratitude, by default, we are acknowledging the source of whatever we received. The source of goodness or whatever it is we received, often is found outside of ourselves.

pooh

Therefore, expressing gratitude helps us to connect to something bigger than ourselves as individuals. It could be other people, a higher spiritual power, or perhaps nature.

In a nutshell, expressing gratitude moves us along to feel and have more positive emotions; to be thankful for the good experiences in life. Gratitude or expressing it helps to improve our health; deal with rough stretches when they occur and help to build strong relationships.

All of that sounds like someone who is hap, hap, happy.

Conclusion – gratitude is associated with happiness

Okay then.

Have you ever come across someone who was truly happy, yet felt ungrateful for the blessings or the good fortune in their life?

Likely not.

It is akin to “I’ll be happy when…….?”

Unfortunately, in many respects, we live in a society where the “I’ll be happy when attitude prevails. The “when” in that statement makes that whole approach to happiness – exceedingly elusive. “When” is “when?” When or how do we know when we’re there; when we’re happy? If we don’t know or have any concept of what or where “when is”, how do we know if or when we’ve arrived there?

That philosophy puts us in a place where we could never be happy, peaceful, or fulfilled in the present. we’d always be chasing something we can never catch.

It is grateful people who are happy.

gratitude 1

It’s as simple as that.

Remember…

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Next Number Please

I originally punched this one out way back in November 2019……you know before the world caught of fire with a global pandemic. I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now.

Regardless, the holiday or Christmas season for 2021 is upon us. As a side-note, if I’m in a “poopy mood”, I often refer to it as “the season of excess.”

Given the craziness that can surround and potentially trap us until at least New Years Day, it is almost enivatble that one can start to feel lost. Not necessarily in a physical sense, although I suppose that is certainly possible, but more is a sense of “you” – who you are as a person.

Although it can be challenging, you are more than a number on a shipping reciept or more than a lost face in a crowd of lost faces.

Read on.

Whether we like it or not, the holiday season is upon us.

Not to sound like an old curmudgeon, I suspect that most of us are starting or will soon feel just a bit warmer in the depths of our hearts. That warm and fuzzy feeling, knowing that Christmas, friends, family, food, parties and such are peeking their noses out from around the corner. All of it ready to explode upon us a furry of activities and diarrhea-related overindulgences resulting from the numerous trip to the party buffets and pub crawls.

crazyWith the craziness that can surround the next six weeks or so, it is easy to get lost or certainly feel lost.

Not in a physical sense, but in the sense as a person, as “you.”

You know, waiting in line for “your number” to be called. Not your name to be called, but some random ticket you’ve yanked out of a machine of the wall “to be called.”

The delivery company asks for the shipping number when the package you order isn’t delivered on time or gets lost. They don’t care about your name necessarily, because “the system only tracks a number they tell you.”

This can be the season to feel lost in a crowd. Just simply a number in the mass of humanity.

But, you do have a name. Others have a name as well.

And we know that people are much more than numbers. Our name is “who we are” to some extent. It can provide a glimpse of our heritage, where our family might be from.

There is a lot associated with our name.

With being more than simply a number; than simply being lost in a crowd.

lost 2

But, what if for eternity, all you are known for and remembered as is simply “a number?”

From June of 2017 – Just Another Number.

You have a name; a history – but no one knows it. You as a person are unfortunately and sadly now and forever known and remembered as a number.

Is that what we would have wanted or desired?

Is that what others would have wanted for us?

If at no other time of year, we need to remember that people, whether they are strangers or those we know, that they are far more than a number.

Far more than a face lost in the crowd.

I think that says it all.

At This Point In Time

Well, it’s been almost one month, a big four weeks more or less, since I’ve posted anything.

Yes, we were on vacation for the first two of those weeks and unfortunately, I’ve been back at work for the last two weeks.

To be honest here, the thought of creating any type of content(of any description) literally would ramp up my already throbbing anxiety new and really exciting levels of distress.

So, no new posts in a month or so.

And the reality is, I’m not sure of there will be anything of creative writing substance coming from yours truly in the near future.

I really do feel burned out in the blogging realm.

Not so much in the writing world of things, but exceedingly scorched as it relates to the blogging universe.

As I look back, I’ve created over 900 blog posts(and yes, some of them are updates and re-posts), but nevertheless those 900 have in many respects drained the tank.

I will admit that this feeling of burnout isn’t entirely due to simply blogging and writing. Much of it I suspect falls of of where I’m at in my life at this moment.

Which in many ways feels like burnout…….which it probably is.

So, what happens next?

I don’t have an answer for that, other than to say we’ll see what happens as time marches on.

I have decided at this point to point “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” on an extended “leave of absence” so to speak.

I really do appreciate and have a heart full of thanks to the many, many of you who participated perhaps just once or often on a weekly basis or somewhere in between in making “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” a wonderful exercise in creativity(on your part) for over a year.

I don’t think I’m at the point yet of completely abandoning my blog and blogging altogether.

I am really proud of what I’ve accomplished in the wonderful and often frustrating world of writing and especially in terms of “justabitfurther” as an entity within the blogosphere.

Writing, blogging and creating poetry has forced me to look very deep within myself and often having to come to grips with what is/was hidden within the crevices of my soul.

This isn’t goodbye post or anything close to that(at least I don’t think it is).

What I think it ultimately is or will be……is simply part of the evolution of “justabitfurther” as a blog “organism.”

Life moves on and changes are part of that process we call living. This is part of it.

So, not goodbye….but how about I’ll catch up and talk to you all later.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt – Week 44

We’re now into the second week of April and as the saying goes – “spring is well on it’s way.”

Nevertheless, it is Tuesday and that means “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt.”

Art(including pictures and images) should evoke an emotional response in those who are viewing them. That’s why art can leave such a long-lasting and poignant imprint within the depths of our psyche

Your challenge or writing prompt is this:

  • what emotions or feelings get evoked or aroused in you when you look at this photograph taken by Lynn

Remember, the goal isn’t necessarily to tell me and others exactly what the picture is.

The creative goal for all of us is “what does the picture evoke in you; what emotion; feeling; memory or whatever it may be – what does it arouse in you and to share it that with others.

Our Week 44 picture is pretty much as it looks. A disposable masks tossed into a snowbank. Over the past year, we’ve literally come across hundreds, if not thousands of these types of masks simply discarded and tossed into trees and bushes or dropped on the ground.

Even in some pretty challenging places to get into, we’ve found at least a mask or two or three.

It appears that disposable masks are the new take-out coffee cups and cigarette butts of trash.

A few points to help along the way:

  • write a post on your own blog and create a pingback to link back to the original post(this one)
  • I’ll reblog your post on my blog when I get the notification
  • write an original story; perhaps your own thoughts; maybe some poetry or even a simply one word response. Maybe even post that says “it does nothing; means nothing”
  • regardless, whatever you write must encapsulate the emotion or feeling evoked or aroused in you from the picture
  • no limit on the length(I guess)
  • keep it a “family friendly” as possible(not looking to delete or not approve stuff)

Be sure to tag your responses with:

#lynntuesdaypictureprompt or

#ltpp

Looking forward to your thoughts!

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt – Week 43

This is first post for April. Let’s hope “April showers will bring May flowers.”

Nevertheless, it is Tuesday and that means “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt.”

Art(including pictures and images) should evoke an emotional response in those who are viewing them. That’s why art can leave such a long-lasting and poignant imprint within the depths of our psyche

Your challenge or writing prompt is this:

  • what emotions or feelings get evoked or aroused in you when you look at this photograph taken by Lynn

Remember, the goal isn’t necessarily to tell me and others exactly what the picture is.

The creative goal for all of us is “what does the picture evoke in you; what emotion; feeling; memory or whatever it may be – what does it arouse in you and to share it that with others.

Our Week 43 picture is a grouping of stone landmarks know as “inukshuks” or singular an “inukshuk”. They are stone landmarks or cairns built by First Nations)FN) people of the northern Canada and used originally as navigation elements that would stand out on a frozen landscape. They are also to mark sacred locations of FN peoples.

They have also become very popular or unpopular depending on you one talks too. Lynn snapped a picture of these at Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve located not far from our house.

A few points to help along the way:

  • write a post on your own blog and create a pingback to link back to the original post(this one)
  • I’ll reblog your post on my blog when I get the notification
  • write an original story; perhaps your own thoughts; maybe some poetry or even a simply one word response. Maybe even post that says “it does nothing; means nothing”
  • regardless, whatever you write must encapsulate the emotion or feeling evoked or aroused in you from the picture
  • no limit on the length(I guess)
  • keep it a “family friendly” as possible(not looking to delete or not approve stuff)

Be sure to tag your responses with:

#lynntuesdaypictureprompt or

#ltpp

Looking forward to your thoughts!

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt – Week 42

This is our last post for March. Wow, now that is hard to believe.

Nevertheless, it is Tuesday and that means “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt.”

Art(including pictures and images) should evoke an emotional response in those who are viewing them. That’s why art can leave such a long-lasting and poignant imprint within the depths of our psyche

Your challenge or writing prompt is this:

  • what emotions or feelings get evoked or aroused in you when you look at this photograph taken by Lynn

Remember, the goal isn’t necessarily to tell me and others exactly what the picture is.

The creative goal for all of us is “what does the picture evoke in you; what emotion; feeling; memory or whatever it may be – what does it arouse in you and to share it that with others.

Our Week 42 picture is obviously an old abandoned boat in rather rough condition. Lynn took this picture from the same salvage yard she took last weeks picture.

A few points to help along the way:

  • write a post on your own blog and create a pingback to link back to the original post(this one)
  • I’ll reblog your post on my blog when I get the notification
  • write an original story; perhaps your own thoughts; maybe some poetry or even a simply one word response. Maybe even post that says “it does nothing; means nothing”
  • regardless, whatever you write must encapsulate the emotion or feeling evoked or aroused in you from the picture
  • no limit on the length(I guess)
  • keep it a “family friendly” as possible(not looking to delete or not approve stuff)

Be sure to tag your responses with:

#lynntuesdaypictureprompt or

#ltpp

Looking forward to your thoughts!

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt – Week 41

March is starting to come to and end, but it feels more and more like spring each day. Which is a good thing.

Nevertheless, it is Tuesday and that means “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt.”

Art(including pictures and images) should evoke an emotional response in those who are viewing them. That’s why art can leave such a long-lasting and poignant imprint within the depths of our psyche

Your challenge or writing prompt is this:

  • what emotions or feelings get evoked or aroused in you when you look at this photograph taken by Lynn

Remember, the goal isn’t necessarily to tell me and others exactly what the picture is.

The creative goal for all of us is “what does the picture evoke in you; what emotion; feeling; memory or whatever it may be – what does it arouse in you and to share it that with others.

Our Week 41 picture is a forty gallon drum full of old golf clubs. Lynn took this picture when she went on a outing to a local salvage yard with the camera club from out town.

A few points to help along the way:

  • write a post on your own blog and create a pingback to link back to the original post(this one)
  • I’ll reblog your post on my blog when I get the notification
  • write an original story; perhaps your own thoughts; maybe some poetry or even a simply one word response. Maybe even post that says “it does nothing; means nothing”
  • regardless, whatever you write must encapsulate the emotion or feeling evoked or aroused in you from the picture
  • no limit on the length(I guess)
  • keep it a “family friendly” as possible(not looking to delete or not approve stuff)

Be sure to tag your responses with:

#lynntuesdaypictureprompt or

#ltpp

Looking forward to your thoughts!

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt – Week 40

We are well into March and things appear to be clicking along just fine.

Nevertheless, it is Tuesday and that means “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt.”

Art(including pictures and images) should evoke an emotional response in those who are viewing them. That’s why art can leave such a long-lasting and poignant imprint within the depths of our psyche

Your challenge or writing prompt is this:

  • what emotions or feelings get evoked or aroused in you when you look at this photograph taken by Lynn

Remember, the goal isn’t necessarily to tell me and others exactly what the picture is.

The creative goal for all of us is “what does the picture evoke in you; what emotion; feeling; memory or whatever it may be – what does it arouse in you and to share it that with others.

Our Week 40 picture is pretty much as it appears. A traffic signal light attached to a tree in the forest. It is located on a home that are friends of Lynn’s cousin. This driveway into this family’s rural property was an eclectic variety of weird and wacky, yet brilliant art displays. Although perhaps not the clearest or sharpest picture in terms of focus, it should be fun to tackle.

A few points to help along the way:

  • write a post on your own blog and create a pingback to link back to the original post(this one)
  • I’ll reblog your post on my blog when I get the notification
  • write an original story; perhaps your own thoughts; maybe some poetry or even a simply one word response. Maybe even post that says “it does nothing; means nothing”
  • regardless, whatever you write must encapsulate the emotion or feeling evoked or aroused in you from the picture
  • no limit on the length(I guess)
  • keep it a “family friendly” as possible(not looking to delete or not approve stuff)

Be sure to tag your responses with:

#lynntuesdaypictureprompt or

#ltpp

Looking forward to your thoughts!

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt – Week 39

Into the second week of March and things appear to be clicking along just fine.

Nevertheless, it is Tuesday and that means “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt.”

Art(including pictures and images) should evoke an emotional response in those who are viewing them. That’s why art can leave such a long-lasting and poignant imprint within the depths of our psyche

Your challenge or writing prompt is this:

  • what emotions or feelings get evoked or aroused in you when you look at this photograph taken by Lynn

Remember, the goal isn’t necessarily to tell me and others exactly what the picture is.

The creative goal for all of us is “what does the picture evoke in you; what emotion; feeling; memory or whatever it may be – what does it arouse in you and to share it that with others.

Our Week 39 picture is also from Nova Scotia, but is of the harbour portion of the village of Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s Cove is most famous for it’s lighthouse perched on a rocky outcropping at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. However, the real beauty of the village is found in the houses and fish shanties that sit along the sides of the harbour.

A few points to help along the way:

  • write a post on your own blog and create a pingback to link back to the original post(this one)
  • I’ll reblog your post on my blog when I get the notification
  • write an original story; perhaps your own thoughts; maybe some poetry or even a simply one word response. Maybe even post that says “it does nothing; means nothing”
  • regardless, whatever you write must encapsulate the emotion or feeling evoked or aroused in you from the picture
  • no limit on the length(I guess)
  • keep it a “family friendly” as possible(not looking to delete or not approve stuff)

Be sure to tag your responses with:

#lynntuesdaypictureprompt or

#ltpp

Looking forward to your thoughts!

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —