Tag Archive | holiday

A Special, Precious Moment … with Love


Jesus-Mary-Joseph-manger-sceneWe live all year for these moments – these special Christmas moments. Whether in the hearts of children looking forward to Christmas plays, cookies, and visits from Santa to load the tree and stockings. Or whether in the hearts of compassionate adults looking forward to time with family and friends, special songs, and thoughtful giving to those who are less fortunate. These longings, traditions, and special celebrations are what we measure a year by sometimes. The waiting makes them both fleeting and precious. Sharing a smile and a surprise is the fun part. We spend time in labors of love by baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and random acts of kindness.

All this joy, and yet it is not enough.

Because Christmas, while it is celebrated in these and many other ways, is not complete until we reflect on the TRUTH. Take a moment or two as you hustle and bustle about your day to remember why we even have this holiday at all. That tiny baby, born so long ago with one purpose – to redeem and save the souls of mankind. With reverence for the season, I share with you 2 great songs – from a parent’s perspective.

Cozy Introspection


Today is the last day of my 3 week vacation. I’ve never splurged with this much time off at once before but with vacation time that I would lose if I didn’t use it, well I HAD to use it. And I’m glad I did. The first week was busy prepping for Christmas. The second week was slow and casual with time visiting with friends and family with whom I seldom get to enjoy in an unhurried and quality way. And this week has been preparing to move my daughter to her apartment for her co-op semester and me setting intentions for my 2013 year ahead. I’ve been busy in a lovely way and I don’t regret one minute of taking the time off.

Today, as I wrap up my time off, I’ve had the pleasure of sleeping in, enjoying an at-home massage, and some day dreaming of the year ahead. I have much to be thankful for and more to look forward to. Here’s a few:

> I start a new job (same Company) on Feb 1.

Wedding-Ring-Ceremony1> My son will be getting married in July to a lovely girl and that will be a wonderful celebration.

happy-birthday> This will be the big year of birthdays in my family – Grandma turns 90, Mom turns 65 (yes, I am adopted lol) , I turn 50, my sister and her husband turn 40, my other sister and her husband turn 30, my son turns 25, and my cousin turns 20. We will have a wonderful celebration for all those milestones.

> My 50th birthday will bring an opportunity for me to give back with plans for my “Great Giving Day of 2013″ where I will perform 50 acts of kindness on my birthday 8-13-13.
forbesprettiest-towns-05-g> And during my daughter’s final co-oping semester I will meet up with one of my dear friends for some rest and relaxation in Cape May, NJ. I have such a love for Victorian era homes and decor and this little town has long been calling my name to come for a visit.

I’m sure God has other delightful surprises in store as well. As I sit by my cozy fire with my cup of tea and sweet dogs by my side, I can say with great appreciation that life is good. Vacation was wonderful and I have much to be thankful for.

Count your blessings too, and be blessed.

A Special, Precious Moment …


Jesus-Mary-Joseph-manger-sceneWe live all year for these moments – these special Christmas moments. Whether in the hearts of children looking forward to Christmas plays, cookies, and visits from Santa to load the tree and stockings. Or whether in the hearts of compassionate adults looking forward to time with family and friends, special songs, and thoughtful giving to those who are less fortunate. These longings, traditions, and special celebrations are what we measure a year by sometimes. The waiting makes them both fleeting and precious. Sharing a smile and a surprise is the fun part. We spend time in labors of love by baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and random acts of kindness.

All this joy, and yet it is not enough.

Because Christmas, while it is celebrated in these and many other ways, is not complete until we reflect on the TRUTH. Take a moment or two as you hustle and bustle about your day to remember why we even have this holiday at all. That tiny baby, born so long ago with one purpose – to redeem and save the souls of mankind. With reverence for the season, I share with you 2 great songs – from a parent’s perspective.

With all you are and with all you do and believe, I pray that you be blessed. Merry Christmas!

1462.john316christmas.jpg-550x0

 

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme ….


This year I find myself in quite the different holiday mood. I have several friends that I have always enjoyed the sharing of Christmas gifts with. We don’t spend a lot of money but we do try to find the “right” something for each other. We top off our little celebration with the “breaking of bread” as we share a lunch or dinner to catch up and enjoy the holiday lights and music. It makes for a really pleasant spreading out of the holiday and is probably a part of your routine Christmas as well.

0912_money-gift_485x340And yet, this year, something feels to be different. My soul’s yearning to make a bigger impact in the world is growing. And the only thing I can think of is that I feel I have too much this year. I certainly have all that I need and I have enough of the “I wants” to satisfy my heart. So this year I’m shifting out of the usual mode of the gift giving tradition with my friends. I’m still sharing the gift of time but I’m asking them to forgo the shopping for some nice little gift that I don’t actually need and I’d like them to make a donation to the poor as their gift to me instead. I want to play a little part, even if it’s just a catalyst part, in helping us all help someone in need. And the beautiful thing I’m finding is, that at my suggestion for my gift they are delighted to not shop for a trinket and to also not receive one. They are asking me to do the same thing on their behalf. I love my friends – they see the best and brightest intentions and they magnify them. I am blessed.

So, to all my internet friends, in addition to any regular charitable giving this year that you are inclined to give, I ask that you consider joining us to exchange a different kind a gift. A gift of generosity. A gift that can change a moment in someone’s world. Give the gift of charity, request the gift of charity, and be blessed.

Music that Moves Me ….


rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-nyLast week I was watching a TV program with the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in NYC. That tree is an iconic symbol of the season in the US and over the years the lighting ceremony has turned into quite the celebration with the songs of the season. I saw some favorite singers and some newbies that come from the various singing competition shows that are ever so popular these days.

What struck me that night was that this time of year is even more joyful as it allows for songs of faith to ring out from every corner of our culture. What a blessing when I hear praise and glorification going on by some of the most famous of people.  Some even unexpected people.

Recently this video has been going around FB and I wanted to share it here for your enjoyment as well. I must say the ending gave me shivers and my heart was moved – be sure to stick with it until the end!

Enjoy this medley of lovely Christmas songs and be blessed! 

 

Season of Beauty – original poem


SEASON OF BEAUTY

It isn’t the twinkle of lights in the city that brighten the holiday season,

  It is the smiles and gestures of charity from you that give the days their meaning.

It isn’t the songs that bring out the joy on the lips of all the people,

      It is the words of kindness that you are spreading that creates a joyful ripple.

It isn’t the food, cookies, or nog warming the hearths of the homes,

But rather the touch of a friend, or a hug that shows them they’re not alone.

It isn’t shoppers who bustle about, that create the atmosphere and energy,

It is the quiet connection of hearts and giving that melts the frost in the air.

I have a part, and you have a part, in bringing the season to life.

It is our union of spirit and not our religions that actually fuels the light.

It is the love in our hearts that we’re willing to share that creates a sense of community.

Believe you can spread the light and the love and we’ll all have a season of beauty.

~ Barbara Bernard Miller

A Victorian Christmas Carol, Thomas Kinkade

Reach Out and Touch …


In a crowded town on the first day of December the weather was unusually warm here. The sun peeked in and out and I found myself grabbing over and over for the protection of my sunglasses. It doesn’t feel like the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas. Oh, the Christmas music is playing on all my favorite radio stations. And the shops are decorated and the billboards are touting the season. But something was amiss today.

alone2After some welcome reflective time spent in community, I realized as I turned to go home, that the emotion closest to the surface was loneliness. Not because I am physically alone in the world – I have my wonderful children, friends, and family who love me. But a deeper melancholy – one that speaks of the soul. One that soaks in the realization that in spite of what I own and who I know, I am travelling on this life journey alone. I am influenced by others and seek to do the same. But I am learning my lessons, one at a time, on my own. I am opening my heart to greater awareness in solitary cadence and with a rhythm all my own. This is not the loneliness of the heart, this is the loneliness of the mind when we realize that we are surrounded by a voice, our own voice, narrating our life one thought at a time.

Perhaps I am alone in these thoughts as well. In that moment I knew that I had a choice to make. I could focus on the solitary emotions of the journey or I could relish the connections of the heart. And that is what I chose. I chose to connect with the woman at the restaurant where I picked up my dinner. I chose to connect with my son who is rarely home when I am. I chose to connect with my dogs who make home just a little bit warmer. And now, I choose to connect with you. This is the only thing – the touch of other solitary travelers, that chases the loneliness away.

On your solitary journey, when the melancholy sinks in a little too close, reach out and connect and be blessed!

Grateful for YOU!


Today, like so many other people, is my favorite holiday. In the US the 3rd Thursday in November is “Thanksgiving Day.” Oh, it is the feast to end all feasts. It originated in the humble beginnings of our nation as the settlers and American Indians came together in peace to celebrate and share the bounties of the harvest. Those are honorable and neighborly roots – some of the best of our national history.

Today, every family has their traditional fare in which turkey, stuffing and all the fixings and side dishes are featured at the table. Cooking and planning takes days or weeks and not hours. There is nostalgia as traditions are repeated year after year. Favorite dishes might only show up on this special day. And in true US fashion, the fall event is punctuated with parades through the streets and on TV to usher in Santa to the season, lots of American football games to rally the men around the TV, and all the fun (and sometimes crazy) dynamics that family gatherings seem to produce. Oh yeah, and the insanity of the kick-off to the holiday shopping frenzy (not my favorite part I must say).

That’s the logistics of the day. And while I love and cherish the traditions of the day, the real reason it is my favorite holiday is that, at its heart is the spirit of gratitude. It is a day for THANKS giving and not gift giving. It’s a day where people come with hands full of offerings and not open for receiving. It is a precious day set aside to be thankful and for that reason, today, I count my blessings.

Here’s a few for this year:

> I am thankful for God and my faith. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that gives me eternal life, hope, and daily guidance. Without it, I am a shell of  a human and I am grateful.

> I am thankful for my job and that both of my children are once again gainfully employed as well. I am thankful that hope and perseverance will rule the day and others I love and care for will also find employment. It is my prayer and my belief for them.

> I am thankful for the love of my family, where I have 2 Grandmothers, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my dear sisters, their husbands and my precious nieces. And a brand new dose of gratitude for the newest, my 2 day old niece Abby. What a lovely addition to a wonderful, loving family.

> I am thankful for the reunion with some precious members of my original family. The healing is complete. The appreciation has begun. I am grateful and blessed to have more family to love – Shirley & Lynette.

> I am thankful for my friends who have held my hand and my heart through thick, thin, joy, pain, fear and fun. They are precious in every way. I am especially grateful this year for Jeanie, my oldest and dearest friend who has fought the valiant fight against breast cancer and won. Praise God for that special blessing!

> I am thankful for new acquaintances who have come into my life in varied and surprising ways – from my summer intern Ellidia, to friends across the nation and across the globe that I have connected with over the year.

> I am thankful that in my country we can dissent with passion, speak out our minds and our hearts, and peacefully shift power and authority in our government. Agree or not on the choices, we democratically and peacefully shift.

> I am thankful for those that serve – military, police, and fire fighters. They honor us with their daily sacrifices and they serve to protect all that we hold dear – our ideals as well as our lives. I am deeply grateful.

> I am thankful that my education and experience have given me success in my career and my skills are sought after by those who offer opportunity for recognition and new growth.

> I am thankful for my spiritual sisters and brothers who come into my life daily, weekly, and monthly in loving and supportive ways. I especially treasure my Wise Women & Bill friends who speak only of love, acceptance, gratitude, and friendship. They feed my soul and my heart on a constant basis and bless me in countless ways.

> I am thankful for this platform and the virtual friends who I have met online. You have broadened my world, allowing me to see my life and talents differently. Not only do you listen but you also contribute to my world. Especially you Dan – you have opened my eyes to how blessed I am in big and small ways. Your humor and your loving, generous spirit bring a light into my world and I am grateful.

This is just the beginning of my grateful list. As I prepare the meal for my family today I will continue to joyously and gratefully say prayers of “Thank You.”

I wish you all an awakening to your heart of all that blesses you – the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual gifts that make you “you” and your life so precious. Happy Thanksgiving Day … be blessed!

 
 


 

My Sincerest Sadie Hawkins Leap Year Proposal


Happy Leap Year Day everybody!

I grew up hearing a bunch of the fun stories of Leap Year Day. You know the ones about Sadie Hawkins and women having the right to ask a man to dance with her, or the ultimate – to marry her. This was a rare and extraordinary day. There were even laws and consequences for the man if he turned her down back in the middle ages. While that’s cute, it’s clearly an outdated tradition.

What I like about it though is that it was, at the heart of it all, about the freedom to create new possibilities. Or said another way, people felt like they were able to break out of the ordinary boundaries without reprisal.

We no longer need an every-four- years kind of day to propose. However, there might still be a need for some of that unabashed freedom. We might take advantage of this unique day as an opportunity to break out of our modern-day boundaries. We are creatures of habit after all. And, despite how far we’ve come socially and culturally, we sometimes find it difficult to do the out of the ordinary because of what people may think or say about us.

This year I’ve decided that I will use Sadie Hawkins Day to play a game of “What If?” What if I allowed myself to dream big and do something I’ve longed to do but not had the courage to try? I can think of a few things that would fall into this category. Can you? Just like people didn’t actually marry on Feb. 29, but rather made the commitment to do so, I don’t have to actually accomplish the thing today … just commit to do so. I think I’ll use the rest of my day to decide which extraordinary thing I’ll commit to.

I’m proposing with all my heart: Will you, my dear blog friend … will you be extraordinary with me? Say yes and be blessed!