Holidays – your favorite time or your worst nightmare?

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It’s that time of year for candlelight and warm beverages and heart-warming stories. Do you have happy memories from your childhood holidays? So many people don’t–and it often makes their adult holiday times less than enjoyable.

I’m glad to say my childhood memories are mostly positive. With nine living kids in my family let me tell you, when we came down on Christmas morning, it looked like heaven had opened up and dropped a giant bag of presents on us—all piled under and around the multi-color lighted real tree. Even though none of us received a lot, the combination of a few things for each of the nine of us added up to what looked like a mountain of treasure. Plus, many of us were close enough in age that we could look forward to potentially sharing goodies with each other. Another favorite tradition for me was getting the honor of moving Joseph and Mary one step closer to the manger each day, then putting the baby Jesus into the scene on Christmas eve. Oh, and of course singing hymns together that night.

Do you start celebrating early so you can get more fun out of the season? In Chicago we have a radio station that starts playing only Christmas music from November 1st on! Do you try to make your present-day holidays fun despite not-so-happy memories? Or do you just struggle to get through these days and hope not to get majorly depressed? Are you religious and hope to spend extra time attending services? I’ve sung in a choir at a few times in my life—I have some fond memories of singing during Advent and at Christmas night celebrations.

If you’re single and don’t have a family (or have one that you don’t care to see) while all your friends disappear into theirs, this time of year can be crummy. If you’re single and want to create a special time, find some other single women (I know it can be hard; some single women are reluctant to identify themselves as such) and plan a story-sharing evening. Make it a potluck gathering so no one person has to do too much work. Share good memories of holidays. Share ideas for making the end of the year special and for celebrating the beginning of the new year. Encourage each other. Get to know each other better. Plan something fun together—bake something together. Go ice skating if you’re still young enough, or drink hot toddies if that feels better. Or maybe drink hot toddies and then go skating… Doesn’t matter. Whatever feels good is good.

What do you do for fun or satisfying ways to make this time of year special?

Patinoire du marché de Noël : Plaisir d'hiver 2006

Image via Wikipedia

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Mother's day a cry for peace

The woman who was responsible for initiating the celebration of Mother’s Day, Julia Ward Howe, had in mind a noble purpose when she called for women’s unity back in 1870–the start of the French/German war and a few years after the nominal end of the United States Civil War.

Today is a good day to share with you her impassioned cry for the mothers of the world to come together and end the reckless disregard for life and limb that is the horror of war. Our hearts–and all women give birth, whether to babies, ideas or both–may well be crying the same things today:

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”

Thanks to Cat Thompson of Emotional Technologies for sharing the mother’s day peace manifesto link.

God bless mothers today.

Stick to love

Got this quote in the email today. A thought-provoker…

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

What makes people choose hate? Well, for one thing, it can feel very energizing. When we think about it, we can see there’s a big difference in the type of energy you feel with hate than what you feel when practicing appreciation, gratitude and love. Energy comes in the wild, driving kind, the passionate kind that involves all your sexual being–that’s the kind hate summons up. And it can make you feel heatedly alive.

But energy also comes in the quiet, enduring kind. The kind that fuels us through personal health challenges or the protracted illness of a loved one. The kind that helps us get through loneliness or depression. The kind that gets us through life’s rough spots, hopefully in one piece. The kind we feel when we forgive those who do not understand or even acknowledge the challenges we face.

But Dr. King refers to hate as a burden. Yes, the burden of finding fault and blaming others also demands a lot of energy. It’s ironic that we can fire ourselves up with hatred but then must continually pay the price of anger and judgmentalism in order to keep it going. So give yourself a break. Today, just choose love.

From my house to yours…

I wish every single woman a world of joy this holiday season. I wish you homemade cookies, candlelight, and love to share with friends and family.

Here’s to peace in our hearts all year long.
Barbara




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