Tuesday, December 1, 2020

THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS LIES IN YOUR HEART!

 

It's that time of year...

HO HO HO…..

I L-O-V-E CHRISTMAS TIME!

We may be in a pandemic but one can still find ways to celebrate the season...

An average day in December is….Fuel up with the BEST CHRISTMAS COFFEE under the sun…HO HO Joe’s!

I put it in a paper cup from Starbucks (you know the really pretty festive ones) and I stroll outdoors to get some fresh Christmas time air.

Of course this year is a little different with the pandemic and we simply can’t be too careful. But, if you are creative you can find ways to still get out and a little about, from a distance with your mask.

I get in my car and blast every Christmas song known to man. And I collect Christmas songs so I have a pretty ginormous selection!  See if you can find “I’m gonna tell Santa Claus on you!” or Christmas in Boston.

Or how about Merry Christmas All.  And another hidden classic is…Reindeer Boogie! Then again, has anyone had the pleasure of listening to James Brown’s Christmas CD? It’s super festive and funky!

After I deck the halls, I usually deck myself with holiday earrings with reindeer or wreaths or my snowman pins…I am also known to wear a Christmas bell around my neck or on my finger! And of Couse my seasonal hats.

Keeping up a strolling tradition in Newburyport

And I simply saturate myself with holiday joy!!!! I am told it’s contagious. And I do love spreading joy…..

 

Run run Rudolph!

I had traditions with Ming and Aunty about selecting our tree. There is a farm in Wellesley Mass that is awesome and even though I get my tree there every year I don’t even know the name. I would always cry tears of joy when bringing it home and staring at it after it was all decorated. Ming even got teary eyed too.

Same sign every year...

 I might venture out to get one by myself this year. Once I set it up it brings me enormous comfort and joy! Don’t you just LOVE your Christmas tree?! Some of you may recall that Ming and I called ours Puffy Green!

Ming assisting with Puffy Green

And our Aunty loved Christmas trees so much she would always gaze adoringly at ours and you could see how much she appreciated the season and the truest meaning behind it all. She passed this love for Christmas down to her daughter, granddaughter, grandsons and myself. And now we see this affinity for the season in the great grandchildren and so on….I call it the magical Christmas legacy.  

Pure Magic

And my sweet mother has always been doing the same (her mother was Aunty’s sister)! We have Christmas in our blood. My mom tells me that her dad LOVED Christmas too! He and my late Uncle D would always sing through the season. I really wish I had a photograph of that!

Even my friends are festive!

 One very early memory was one Christmas eve I had to be no more than seven and I stood on Aunty and Uncle D’s stoop and we sang It came upon a midnight clear before heading next door the annual Christmas eve bash of another Aunt and Uncle’s home. Grand times for sure.

Christmas Prelude ~Sleigh ride w Aunty

Do you have any Christmas Traditions that you can share?
Will someone please pass the Gambino Prosecco

This year I can’t fulfill all of mine since they involve being extra cozy with friends and family…but, I have managed to make a few safe plans for the season.
With my precious Sisters at Christmas

And remember even when it gets tough at times (I can assure you I am not pinging off the walls with glee every moment) I just remember one of my favorite sayings;

THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS LIES IN YOUR HEART!!!! It’s true. Just take a moment to recall the wonderful and precious Christmas’s past….the magic is in our hearts and our sacred memories. I also love making new memories each year!

I praise God that I have a healthy family to celebrate with (even if I can’t hug and kiss them this year). My entire family (extended as well) excels at making Christmas memories! I think most of us do.

 And of course for all of those Christians…we know the real reason for the season!  Can you give me one ginormous Alleluia!

 

WITH LOVE, PEACE, AND JOY…

RENEE AND HER CHRISTMAS ANGELS….


Friday, November 27, 2020

RENEE'S FAVORITE THINGS....AKA MY CHRISTMAS WISH LIST!


 Every year around this time Oprah publishes her Favorite Things list, and, so do I! The only thing different between her list and mine is….mine is two-fold. My list serves as great gift ideas and my own Christmas Wish List! So, if there is a Santa out there, please listen up! I am sure Oprah has stocked up mile high with all her favorite things, but I am simply dreaming, wishing, and drooling for mine.

Yet, even if I don’t receive any of these wonderful items (it’s fun sometimes to wish and dream) I will be happy for anyone who does….the following make great gifts for all those who have been really good this year.

And of course, there is no greater gift then L-O-V-E, and it truly is better to give then to receive, But, in the meantime…

Renee’s Christmas Wish list and Gift Suggestions in no special order….

Slip on Uggs/Ugg Boots in any color or style!  They are just so comfortable I have worn the two pairs I have had (both gifts) completely out.  I just love them and they are one of the coziest products on the market. Make someone blissful. I hear Santa wears these in his sleigh!


How about 100 per cent cotton pj’s? These are pure comfort and joy! I have been sleeping in Ming’s and Auntie’s pajamas for years now.  How about Geisha Flannel Pajama’s from Cat’s Pj’s…but anything pure cotton makes me smile, even long johns would be nice.

 And I-pad/tablet. I may be the only one on planet earth in a developed country without a lap top and microwave but I don’t think I can go without a tablet much longer. I dream of searching the internet and listening to podcasts on one. I can only imagine it must be a great way to get through the pandemic.

The Power of Now CD/Book. I follow Ekhart Tolle (ET) and am currently on full scholarship floating through his Being the Light Course. Anyone on the path who wants to deepen their spirituality ET is a must! Oprah and I agree…ET is the man! Truly one of my top five books of all time! I’ve taken it out of the library ten times. Buy it for yourself! Buy it for everyone.

I have been savoring and relishing green and white teas since 1997…it’s my favorite drink, with select coffee as a close second. And like high-quality tea, high-quality coffee is expensive these days, especially the coffee I would like to enjoy more often. I might add that since I research things for my blog Ageless with Aunty, I can say for certain I have not found a better coffee anywhere on earth then these two:  HO HO Joe’s. This top-notch coffee is utterly sublime. The smell alone is worth the price. It’s a coffee from Cape Cod (a company called Beanstock) and the Ho HO Joe’s features hints of chestnut, a subtle touch of vanilla, with a cinnamon background. Aunty loved it. My coffee connoisseur mother loves it, and so will you!  There is also a super fabulous coffee called Ming Tsai’s Mushroom Coffee in regular or decafe. Both of these blends are outstanding and would make a great gift.  I know it’s just coffee but try these and your spoon will swoon.


One hard to reach item is this Japanese incense that I adore. Since it’s only available in Japan maybe Santa will grab me a batch while he’s on that side of the world.  Its’ called Lisn by Shyoeido and this particular one is Sound on Wave!!! It’s alluring and sensuous and simply sublime. It carries me away….a great stocking stuffer too (if you can find it).

And speaking of carried away someone recently told me that you haven’t lived until you taste a 20 year old Borolo Wine. I think they might be right. I have to say just hanging out with my foodie and wine loving family (aside from Jules, my sister’s own personal prosecco rose) I have fallen head over heels for Borolo, Burgundy and Bordeaux (Red) wines.  I only recently realized how amazing these top quality wines actually are. And now I dream of them.  I hope Santa will stop by with a bottle of one of these gems for me. I have been exceptionally good this year! And, if you don’t believe me as to the quality of these vintages hear what Wine experts say…

Traditionally crafted, this opens with classic Nebbiolo aromas of leather, tilled earth, dried rose petal, ripe berry and grilled herb. The ripe palate delivers mature black cherry, crushed raspberry, black pepper and baking spices alongside firm but refined tannins." - Wine Enthuiast

The finish goes on forever….

Spanx jeans or leather leggings. I had no idea this company made pants! My sisters wear them and they look great! Santa you might want to get a pair for Mrs. Claus.

Books Books and Never Ever enough books…. Santa, you are smart so you know how important reading is. Help me complete my library with… The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wholleben, (the whole planet should read this gem), How I Built This by Guy Roz, and the 100th Annual Edition of the 2021 Writer’s Market!!!! By now the entire world knows my dream is to get my writing published. This book will help me make it happen real soon!

And speaking of writing…Well, for over ten years now I have been coveting stand up desks!! I know Santa wants me to be healthy and sitting at your desk all day certainly is not.  I hear that UPlift desks are the best!  They even have a hammock so you can relax and chill in between all your standing and editing. This would be a divine gift for the hardworking writer or computer geek in your life. My hands get tired too from all the typing. So, Santa, I’ll gladly take a roller ball pen if the desk can’t fit into your sleigh.


How about a Fit Bit!  Now this is a gift that WILL make you feel like you can live forever. Santa I’ve got to find a way to get one of these. Do you have one? You should definitely get one for yourself. WE need you to be around for a long time.

And since I do plan a socially distanced visit with you Santa one has to be extra warm and comfy when visiting the North Pole, and given this pandemic I am not planning to be indoors very much this winter (except my own home) so, how about a Canadian goose down coat. I hear they are the warmest EVER!!!!  Someday my coat will come.

How about giving someone a personal organizer!  I save a lot of things. I still have some of Aunty’s clothes, Ming’s things, and the tags from my mother’s Christmas gifts, and so much more. An experienced professional organizer would literally help me clear my path to success.  REALLY! Sometimes I think it would save my life! If you know someone who doesn’t like to throw things away, now this is a great idea.


And if Santa wants to be extravagant this year… I could surely use a new car. I love Honda’s. Ming had one, I had one, and well, they are simply awesome.  I can only imagine the feeling of owning a new car since I have not ever had one. I drive a great deal to see my family and I could get there much more safely in a new vehicle. My old clunker is ready to retire….so before you retire Santa, consider granting me this wish. You don’t even have to leave your home. I hear they ship cars right to your doors these days. I’ll take a Honda Accord in any color. Heck, to show you I am not greedy at all, I’ll take four new tires for my 15 year old Ford or another year of Triple A! 

Last but certainly not least, since it’s been a tough year for all of us….How about a real magic wand?! I know of only one in existence with only a few available. And who couldn’t use a golden Magical Wand about now?! I happen to know a funky fairy God-mother who has a few for sale, so just ask me for the info.

And, if you don’t want to get me that real magic wand I have no problem with a Wine Wand which pairs perfectly with that fine wine you will be bringing me. (I have allergies and placing a wine wand in my glass of red makes the sulfites magically go away and I am a really happy sipper). I can tell you exactly where to get one…you take that third right on Mains Street across from Rudolph’s Pub and next to Herbie the Dentist, and there you will find the Total Wine store on the North Pole! Cheers.

Santa you don’t have to spend a lot…I will still be very happy with a few stacks of yellow lined paper, postage stamps, Elta MD body lotion, any faux candles (I love the ones that flicker and look real and even tiny ones too), or any socks, undergarments, long sleeve tee’s that are 100 per cent cotton. It’s all about comfort.

Thanks Santa! I will keep up all my favorite holiday traditions this year even if I have to do them from a distance and with a mask on. Nothing will ever stop me from celebrating.  I love the holidays and I love you!  And I particularly enjoy giving and receiving gifts…..we are all kids at the holidays… and about now we ALL DESERVE some joy!

Truth be told…it was really fun to put this list together BUT the greatest gifts are those you cannot buy, like A phone call or visit from a loved one, time with friends and family, getting to spend time with the little ones that I love. Nothing can top that feeling of love and time with family and close friends. Merry Merry and happy giving and receiving and memory making! Please wear your mask, that is the BEST gift you can give the world this year and it cost you nothing.

Added note: Once again my friends and I are giving to the less fortunate. I may not have a new car or a really warm coat, but, I have food and a roof over my head and in tough times, my sister’s hand me downs. Let’s be extra grateful this year that we have each other and we made it this far…..With health, family/friends, and faith, we have it all…..please share what you have now more than ever!

 

In deep humble gratitude,

Renee Faith

 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

GIVING THANKS IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

 


There IS always something to be grateful for.

 

The more you count your blessings the more blessings God gives you to count.

 

Being grateful is the main ingredient to being happier.


Every day is Thanksgiving really.

 

Happy Thanksgiving and I am grateful that you are (still) reading Ageless with Aunty!

 

Angel Aunty thanks you too….


I am so thankful that Aunty's spirit is alive and well and watching over me always and forever....

She has so much love she's watching over all of us! So don't worry...something beautiful is on our horizon.

And, I am deeply grateful that my precious mother is still alive and I will see her (from a distance) on Thanksgiving! Like Aunty, she's a holiday!


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A BEAUTIFUL LIFE, A BEAUTIFUL DEATH...

 

ANGEL AUNTY….PASSED NINE YEARS AGO TODAY…

 

Many of us do the best we can and keep striving to be and do better. I know of one person who did even better than the best they could for everyone, with every breath they took, every day of their life…

That was my late Aunty Helen. She was the most Christ-LIKE of any human I have EVER known. She graced our world for 88 years. It was nine years ago today, November 18, 2011 that she passed with me right by her side as close as I could be…

 

When I remember over the years hearing anyone say  that so and so had a peaceful and beautiful death I really didn’t understand it. I have also heard people say As in death as in life. I take this to mean that you do reap what you sow and you take that with you. Since Aunty truly did exemplify loving kindness and was remarkably virtuous, never ever harming anyone, she crossed over with ease and grace (if death can be easy). I could sense, and almost see the angels and her ancestors waiting for her with open arms.

 

If death can be beautiful then Aunty’s was. It was a Friday night. The house had been set up for Christmas early that year when I realized Aunty was going to pass. She LOVED Christmas trees so much that Ming and I had to have one set up for her. Some of my favorite Christmas memories are her admiring our tree with such delight and wonder. (Like my Mother, Aunty is Christmas to me)

 

This particular evening the lights were twinkling and shimmering brighter than before. The air was filled with divine music and some of Aunty’s favorites like Snatum Kaur’s devotional music, Andrea Bocelli, and soft angelic Christmas Hymns. The songs seemed to be coming from another realm and suddenly sounded symphonic even from my portable CD player. The room that she was lying in was illuminated only by candle and Christmas lights. Around six pm. Ming came over. After hugs and kisses for both aunty and me, he of course went into the kitchen to prepare dinner, yet he kept checking in with me and Aunty. He so loved Aunty too!

 

I sat by Aunty’s side while she was resting. I held her hand and our already extremely close bond intensified and became eternal in the following moments. I had set up pictures right by her bed of her late husband, her late daughter, her mother and father, her grandchildren and great grandchildren (all whom Aunty utterly adored and lived for). As the candles flickered, the lights twinkled, suddenly the soft Christmas music deepened and became spiritual…a greater force seemed to be setting the tone for a most perfect cross over to the other side for an angel named  Aunty.  

 

It was around quarter of seven on what felt like a holy Friday evening. Ming came into the room and said his good-byes to Aunty full of tears. He told me, “Sweetie, its’ time.”  He went back to the kitchen. I have to say, there was nothing at all morbid or scary. As a matter of fact, everything became elevated. Aunty started moving her mouth as if to say I love you VERY MUCH and I will always be with you. To me it seemed like she was smiling.

 

What happened next will always feel like a miracle to me. I was as close to God, the angels and the saints as I ever was. As her precious spirit was starting to leave her body so it could soar for eternity…

What came out of my mouth were PERFECT words. I assured her with conviction and beyond any doubt that I would love her forever and that I would see her in heaven. I thanked her for her love and her life of true self-sacrificing love; the love that she gave me, her husband, her daughter, her parents, her brothers and sisters, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren, her friends, and anyone who she had ever known.

 

I reminded her how much we ALL love her and ALWAYS will. I assured her that her husband, daughter, brother and sisters, mother and father WERE WAITING for her. She smiled and smiled again. She was completely at peace saying I LOVE YOU. I hugged her and held her and she took her last breath in my arms. And not surprising to me at all, even in death she assured me that she would always keep an eye on me and on all of us…as she kept one eye open.

 

Then as if she were a saint, or because she reached a Bodhi-Sattva state, I anointed her with lavender oil. I carefully poured some into my hands and gently rubbed her arms and legs and Ming helped too. We prayed and we wept and we lit even more candles. We stayed by her side.

 

I think it’s noteworthy that she passed at this time of year. She was so in tune with nature and even her passing was a sublime nod to her alignment with God, the very force of life and she was so in sync with the seasons themselves. According to the One Willow Apotheacaries dying in Autumn represents; A time of harvest and longing, celebrations, endings and melancholy, autumn is a potent mixture of all the exquisite fulfillment and color that accompanies the ritual of dying. It reminds us that dying is, in truth, a time of the deepest abundance and celebratory release.

 

Till this day I light a candle every single night for Aunty! EVERY single night. And because I knew that she was going to pass, I had a few months to prepare, I took in all of her essence. I paid close attention to everything about her and with that, even in this moment, I am able to fully feel as if she is right here with me. I feel her love and it warms me and comforts me just as it did when she was in human form. I believe this is one of my greatest blessing! This blessing continues with Aunty and Uncle D’s great-grandchildren and the children they are bringing into the world….it’s a lasting legacy of love that they started. They live on in their offspring’s offspring’s offsprings…etc… My hope and prayer is that for generations to come they realize from what greatness they came.

 

Not too long ago when I did a post about Aunty her granddaughter said it best, “I miss everything about that woman!”

 

God Bless all of you and thank you for reading this about our Aunty. I can assure you she loves you too. Let’s all take a moment to fully remember our loved ones who have passed. Think about what it would feel like if they were here in bodily form….their scent, their look, their actions, their smile. How they made us feel. Their spirit is surely alive! Know that they still LOVE us and that one day we will see them again. Like Ming said, “For the time being If you listen and breathe deep you will hear them speak. Love NEVER EVER DIES!”

 

 


Saturday, November 14, 2020

MING AND I....and I MISS HIM!

 

I REALLY MISS MING! I miss how he had a tiny blue baby teddy bear buckled safely into the back seat of his car from the day I met him!

 

I miss how he would ALWAYS play me Beatles music (ever since our first date) knowing I LOVE the BEATLES.

 

I miss how he would buy Persimmons (please try this most delectable fruit if you haven’t) This orange color gem is superb. He would carefully and patiently wait days or weeks while the fruit would ripen. It has to be soft to the touch. He would always tell me “you have to wait Sweetie!”

And when we waited it was a perfect succulent treat! I bought two last night and I can hear him saying to me “My Sweetie has to learn patience.” So, I will wait till it’s just right!

 

I Miss how he would call me “Sweetie!”

 

I miss his healing. He was a true healer. He had opened his own Tao Health Center back in the 90’s. He was well versed in health and wellness. And if I ever had any ailment or discomfort he would sit at the side of the bed with his hands over me and pray and speak and channel some healing force. Miraculously given the power of his love and his healing touch whatever was bothering me always went right away!

 I miss how he would bring home lots of healthy food from his favorite store Trader Joe’s. I can still see him carrying the heavy bags of food up the stairs.

He had suffered with heart disease for over twenty years and NEVER EVER EVER complained! He even insisted on carrying the groceries.

Of course I helped too but he was a true inspiration.

 I miss sharing a huge bowl of popcorn with him while we watched our favorite movies like Totoro, Ponyo, and Miracle on 34th Street. And he LOVED ELF!

 I love how he would tease me by saying how well he knows the streets of Boston. “I know them better than my sweetie does!’ He LOVED driving and we drove all over New England together.

 I miss how much he loves Christmas and how every year we called our tree “Puffy Green!” I miss watching him treasure and savor his Aunties black rum cake each year at Christmas. She would wrap it in wax paper and put it in a tin. (I still have a few of the tins).

He handles it with great care and would carefully unwrap and have a little sliver a few times a week so it would last a long time. And apparently the run was a great preservative.

 I miss going to the Cape with him every June! We’ve been to every part of the Cape Together over the years. One favorite spot was Mattakeese Wharf restaurant at sunset.  He had discovered it in a magazine and I said it can’t be too good if they have to advertise. Well, Ming was right again! Having a cucumber martini on a summer night by the sea with your loved one by your side while your just caught fish is cooking, that is a perfect summer night.

 I miss hearing him say “Did you call your mother?!” He LOVED every single person in my family and they loved him! We all miss him dearly. My mother and my dear friend Gracie still have long conversations about him. And I honestly can feel him smile from heaven when we do. And even now as I write this…he is happy. I only wish I had honored him more while he was alive. 

 I miss how much he loved his own family. He would always call and visit them and I have to say his family is simply wonderful just like him! Thankfully I still keep in touch and visit them. They make me happy too.

 I miss him buying all kinds of Christmas gifts for EVERYONE EVERY YEAR…even a pen, a book, a pet rock, a picture frame, or some little thingy. If I thought the gift was just too silly to give like a screwdriver, or a small address book, I would say don’t put my name on it. He would laugh. And turns out it became a thing. Everyone looked forward to Ming’s presents. 

 I miss how he loved to dance. He loved the time we got invited to a private club in NYC and stayed out till three a.m. He was in his glory…he loved to have fun! I miss dancing with him at our friend’s summer barn dances. He was the first one there and last to leave.

 I miss how he would always prepare healthy meals. He probably spent most of his time in the kitchen. He often shared that one of his favorite memories was sitting in the kitchen watching or helping his mother cook.

Sometimes I would laugh and say “Please make something other than beans and rice!” And the day he passed he had just finished making a pot of rice.

 I miss him letting me drive his shiny blue Honda the one with the tiny blue teddy bear buckled in the back seat.

 I miss hearing him listening to his sacred Indian flute music, or playing his drum.

 I miss how he would be one of the faithful few who would ALWAYS COMMENT on my blog. That really meant a lot to me.  If anyone goes back to read www.reneegold.com  it’s called Ageless with Aunty (during the 2010-2018 posts) you can see his kind comments with almost every post!

 I miss how he would take me to our North Shore beaches every summer weekend. We had our ritual; sitting, sunning, me walking, him swimming, then into the car he would have a gallon of water ready and wash the sand of my feet (or aunty’s or my friend’s). This most kind gesture speaks volumes. He was humble and most kind. Then off to the Causeway restaurant. I keep this up with friends now. I hope there a family member out there who will join me in re-creating a Ming day.

 I miss how he would call me EVERY DAY!!!! He genuinely and completely loved me. And I loved him too, but, I didn’t fully realize just how much until he was gone.  And now I love keeping his memory alive. I more than realize what a blessing he is and was!!! Yet, I do have to say, he did drive me crazy at times!!! However, a close friend recently said, “It just worked for you. You two had this dynamic that just worked! And apparently it did. I truly feel blessed.  He actually was quite precious.

 As I write this I am wearing the Ralph Lauren pajama’s I bought for him at our last Christmas together. And I wear his blue jacket with Indian Feathers on it, and sometimes his slippers. He called them his “kitchen slippers.” They almost fit me…but they sure do keep me warm and cozy. Just like all these absolutely cherished memories.

 There are endless things I could say. WE had so much in common and were always making plans. We did a whole bunch of stuff together. We always had something fun, spiritual, deep or frivolous on the agenda.

 Ming has always been my teacher. He taught me a lot and still does. Even now after writing this I feel he is helping me to send a message. PLEASE if there is a kind, wonderful person in your life who really LOVES you don’t take them for granted EVER! If you want to be honest, it’s always the nice people, the ones we know we always be there and truly care that we sometimes take most for granted. This is a reminder directly from heaven…Let’s all try to give a little more love today most especially to someone you know truly loves you and someone you may have taken for granted. I hope you can do this before they too go to heaven….

 Love, Renee