This Christmas….

 

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Sitting in my living room looking out at the blustery snow storm outside, I am pondering what Christmas is like for you this year.  Each year the “feel” of the season may be markedly different from the last.  I have a dear friend who, last year, grieved her inability to carry a child; this year she is in her first trimester of a stable pregnancy.  I have a colleague who is walking through the first Christmas without her spouse by her side.  I have a client who is reveling in the birth of her first grandchild and yet another who just found out that she will no longer have her job in 2016.

The “feel” of the holidays can ebb and flow against the filter of what’s presently taking place in our lives. We all want to be sensitive to others while also being grateful enough to celebrate the joys in our lives as well.  This can be a fine balance that I have not mastered but attempt to be mindful of.  Five years ago was a “blue” Christmas for me as our family was walking through the pain of a dramatic loss in our family.  I don’t think I was resentful of the joys others were celebrating, I just didn’t have the enthusiasm to celebrate that year, I understand the challenge.

What I have learned over the years is that there is always elements of our lives we can be grateful for–some unchangeable areas where our gratefulness can be expressed:

  1.  We have an amazing God who loves us, forgives us, gives us grace, and watches over our lives every single day!
  2. We live in America.  We are not a perfect nation and have much to learn but as of today, we are free to worship, to work, and to travel freely.
  3. We all have friends.  Some years we may not have as many friends as we’d like but if we were honest, we all have one or two dear people who love us and this is a real gift!
  4. If we are breathing and our heart is beating, we still have life within us and the opportunity to love and impact the lives of others around us.

I don’t know what your holiday filter is for you this year but it is my prayer that you will take some time to ponder, even list, the good things in your life as you navigate Christmas Day.  May you begin a New Year with a fresh perspective, renewed hope, and a grateful heart.

Merry Christmas to you all. 🙂

Being Mindful on Valentine’s Day~

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For so many, Valentine’s Day can be sweet, romantic, and full of warm remembrances of years of marriage or a meaningful relationship!!  Valentine’s Day can be a celebration of a marriage or a relationship that has weathered obstacles and stood the test of time.  These things are certainly “celebration worthy!”

However, there are those who walk into a very romantic holiday alone either by singleness, divorce, sickness, or loss!  I can only imagine the loneliness that is experienced by those facing these particular situations.  Valentine’s Day can, frankly, be a sad and lonely day! 😦

I am sensitive to the seasons of life that others may be in. I don’t have all the answers….solutions…or wise words. BUT I do know that in the midst of sadness or loss during a very Hallmark Holiday: I would wish all those feeling lonely or sad the HUGE knowledge that they have a Saviour who loves and adores them!! That they are fearfully and wonderfully made; they matter!!  This is my heart today.

imagesAppreciate and be thankful for what you have; be mindful and sensitive to those who are challeged~~reach out, include, invite! 🙂

10 Tips To Help You Become An Unhappy Person

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We have all met people who are simply unhappy…..all the time.  What I have learned over time is that there are similarities between people who are chronically unhappy.  I would like to give you 10 quick steps to become an unhappy person yourself, read on!

1.  Look for the worst in every situation. Point out what’s not working, what’s not being done correctly, and why these things will never change.

2.  Worry about things you cannot change. Spend sleepless nights worrying about things you didn’t cause and cannot fix.  Worry about climate change and the government. Unhappy people fill their thoughts with what will go wrong rather than what could go right.

3.  Believe that most everyone cannot be trusted. Watch cautiously for people to want something from you.  Believe that everyone in your life is telling lies about you or to you.

4.  Spend enormous amounts of time on Social Media.  Compare your unhappy life with everyone else’s perfect life. Allow yourself to resent the happiness that others are experiencing. Compare everything from your body size to your pocketbook; recognize that life is just not fair.

5.  Refuse to exercise or eat well. Choose a sedentary life and fill your body with foods that make you feel tired and unhealthy.

6.  Fill your conversations with gossip and criticism. Spend the bulk of your time putting others down, making fun, and telling untruths.

7.  Set unrealistic goals and then fail at them all. To be truly unhappy, put undo pressure on yourself to real goals that stretch too far, too fast, and too costly.  Once you have failed at these you can berate yourself for the failure.

8.  Don’t get needed sleep.  Stay up late into the night on your computer and television. Sleep deprivation can be incredibly helpful on your goal to being a truly unhappy person.

9.  Worry about what everyone thinks about you. Fear anyone’s opinion, assume others don’t approve of you, and be certain that all those nameless, faceless people are talking poorly of you.

10.  Choose to do life without faith in an amazing God.  Allow yourself to believe that you were NOT created for a purpose.  Believe the lie that you are on this life journey alone.  Truly unhappy people are people without hope.

OR

Choose Happiness!

Do the opposite of each step!

Life is short~Live and love every day!

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We can be so clumsy~

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I love the Christmas season; it can be such a joy-filled time.  But, every Christmas hasn’t been a time of celebration for me; there have been a Christmas or two that have been really tough to get through. The darkest Christmas season for me was the first year after my dearly loved nephew had passed away.  My heart was broken and full of unanswered questions. Celebrating felt odd, it felt wrong.

Over the past month I have seen many blogs expressing that we need to be especially careful and mindful of those who are experiencing a Christmas season that is full of difficulty.  Sending “Merry Christmas” cards may not be the best choice.  Pictures of all our happy celebrations on Facebook might be insensitive….

Certainly, it is valuable and necessary to celebrate joy, to share love with those around us, and to express thankfulness for all the blessings in our lives BUT how do we do that while being kindly sensitive?

I don’t have all the right answers, but I think we can be clumsy.  I would never infer that we would choose to be insensitive; yet I think that we can be…especially in this season. Perhaps, if we just asked the Lord for extra wisdom He can help us navigate this season with celebration and grace.

For the mother that just lost her child, for the woman whose husband is suffering, for the family that just lost their home, for the couple whose marriage feels hopeless, and for those who are simply lonely……I will try not to be clumsy with your heart; especially in this season.  Please forgive me if I miss the mark.  😦