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Handmade gifts don’t need to be complicated to be meaningful

Last week I kicked off holiday festivities by meeting my always-delightful friend Michelle for lunch.

Every few months, we both brave SF Bay Area traffic for 45 minutes to split the distance and meet in the middle for lunch.

Among the goodies she bestowed upon me was a clove-studded orange featuring my initial.

Do you know the word “verklempt?”

It’s Yiddish and means to be overcome with emotion.

That first whiff had me conjuring up fond memories of creating these pomanders as a child, ~60 years ago.

School or scouting projects, they were carefully constructed and proudly presented to parents as a gift and a great way to make your home feel – and smell – all warm and cozy during the holidays.

I could not get enough and would surreptitiously take a hit off it during lunch.

👃 Olfactory euphoria!
😍 Memory magic!
🙏 Gratitude beatitude!

Folks on I680 who drove next to me en route home were probably wondering what the heck was wrong with the lady in the red car rapturously sniffing an orange every so often.

Let them wonder.

I was overjoyed and reminded once again of the simple sounds, smells, and tastes that make us feel loved, comforted, and in a safe space.

👉 👉 👉
May your holiday season be split between feeling loved, comforted, and safe – and offering that same feeling to others in your orbit.

Would you believe that I train with the Spartan Racing Crew on Sunday mornings at the local park?

Well, “train with” might be an exaggeration.

More accurately:

On Sundays, I walk to the park several blocks from my house to check in with the Spartan Crew that trains there.

Not familiar with Spartan events? Think American Ninja Warrior meets Navy Seal Obstacle Course…

Audrey Hipburn (my new hip) will be 4 months old on Friday; she and I have worked up to an almost-one-mile walk daily.

The Spartan trainer sets up all sorts of obstacles (ropes and rings hanging from trees, duffel bags filled with rocks, etc.) and lays out an exhaustive agenda on his whiteboard.

I didn't bother telling him that the first item ("1 mile run") needs a hyphen 😂

Those hardy youngsters (mostly 20s to 40s) enthusiastically greet me every Sunday and ask when I’ll be ready to join them and train for a Spartan Race.

Yeah, hardy-har-har.

This past Sunday, I was delighted to tell them I'll miss this weekend’s check-in because I have signed up for an event this coming Sunday.

An annual local 5/10K walk/run fundraising event added a new option this year, which they dubbed the “Short Walk for All Abilities.”

.5 miles, billed as “Walk or Roll: Walk, Scooter, Wheelchair” (or, in my case, “Cane”).

I sure hope this “inclusive” option concept becomes a trend.

👉 👉 👉 When everyone else’s audacious goals seem out of reach, find (or create) the audacious goal that works for you.

A year from now, Audrey and I may even be signing up for the 5K walk 🏃‍♀️👟

What audacious goal could be in your 2024 plans?

Here's to memorable gifts (sniffable or not),

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