Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Upcoming "New" 30 Day Blog!!!!

Well, just 1 more day and we will be entering a New Year. I was considering whether I wanted to do another 30 day Blog challenge but as I thought about it - it occurred to me that one of the things I most want to accomplish this year is to simplify my life.

So I decided that my 30 day Blog would not be a challenge but "30 Days to a Simpler life" I will also "hopefully" have some "guest writers" during this month and in fact if you have a great suggestion that you don't see here and would like to share please e-mail me and I will post it or at least leave a comment to help the rest of us.

The "30 day" Blog will start on January 1. See you next year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas thots

I really hope you did not start reading this post today with the thinking that it will be a serious reflection on Christmas because it won't. I will do that another day. Today I was thinking about all the funny stuff we do at Christmas and why we do it.

I would love to hear some comments on what you do that is funny, tacky or different during Christmas.

First, as I stated in my last post, we sang Christmas songs at one of our gatherings, in one of the songs "We wish you a Merry Christmas" it says,

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer We won't go until we get some; We won't go until we get some; We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here

for some reason I needed to know what "figgy pudding" was......I asked the group and no one knew or seemed to care in fact they all looked at me like I was a little strange to even ask (maybe I am) I went home and googled it and found the most fascinating facts about "figgy pudding" . Here is the site I found that had the best info on 'figgy pudding"

So now that this was taken care of the other Christmas issue was, is it ok to be a little tacky at Christmas. Well, years ago when I was younger I was always the person with the flashing earrings and necklace and the sweater with all kinds of Christmas stuff on it but as I became older and more "refined" I began to be more sophisticated in my Christmas dress.....but this year I realized the real me is the fun, tacky Christmas person I used to be and the more sophisticated person was who others wanted me to be so this year as you may have noticed in my previous posts....I pulled out the cheap target Christmas earrings, I wore a shimmery Christmas top and topped it all off with reindeer antlers. I decided I would rather be me, have fun and just enjoy myself than worry about what other thought - next year I may even pull out the light up necklace! Just some Christmas thots........ :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hope during the Holidays

I was reading my niece, Chayil's blog this morning, , which by the way is a great blog to follow - she is a young mom that has great insight on life, family and God. Anyway, she posted a song by Selah called, "Unredeemed" and it got me thinking of all those who have lost someone or something this year. This Christmas may be different, someone may be missing, so I have listed some tips to help those in those situations this year.

I do know what that is like as in 2005 we lost our dad and that Christmas was different, both he and my mom were not there as she as very ill. I remember the feelings of having to go through the motions of Christmas for everyone else but feeling sad and somewhat disconnected. It wasn't the same and in some sense has never been the same since. But we do adjust and move on although we never forget - the memories become more sweet than sad over time. I am posting the song at the end of this post as I think it is so appropriate for this subject today.

10 ways to move through grief during Christmas

1. Don’t put excessive expectations on yourself. Don’t expect the holidays to be the same.

2. Rest. Cut down the Christmas clutter and limit activities

3. Rearrange furniture to reduce “absence” reminders.

4. Avoid sugar highs and lows because they naturally induce emotional lows. Also, steer clear of overeating and under-sleeping. Eat well-balanced diets. Some mood enhancing natural foods include yogurt, green tea, omega-3 rich foods (i.e. salmon, cod liver oil, etc.), and lower sugar dark chocolate.

5. Talk about your loved one. Spend time talking about the memories, the times they were with you, the funny things they said and did. This is the best way to grieve is to talk and laugh and enjoy your memories. I few tears are ok too as you reminisce.

6. Admit grief. Trying to move forward while denying the reality of grief causes one to fall face forward. Does your face smile while inside you are crying? Give yourself permission to cry. Jesus wept. Weeping releases excessive tension.

7. Forgive and receive forgiveness through Jesus. Release everything to the Lord, including any so-called regrets about your departed loved one. If there are those who have hurt you this year or you are estranged from those who previously spent Christmas with you - choose to forgive and let go.

8. Reach out to others that are going through hard time and hang around kids this Christmas. It may not feel easy. It may even feel impossible. Ask Jesus to love through you and get your eyes off your problems and on to Him and others.

9. Understand the concept of new normalcy. New traditions and expectations may seem hard if not impossible, but God gave you your previous normal. Ask Him to give grace/hope in the face of the new normal.

10. Remember: Trials don’t indicate a reduction in God’s love for you. He loves you and promises to make things right in the end. Spend time focusing on His unchanging love for you. This is a hard one but I can tell you from experience that it is so so true.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, ESV)

Holidays include lots of grief for relationships/loved ones that left, forsook, or died. But let's focus on the essence of Christmas: the present of Jesus' presence in our lives!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How to Avoid Holiday Stress

The holidays can bring out the best in us. A peaceful snowfall, a twinkling star, and magical memories make us look forward to the holidays with fondness.

But for many of us, the holidays mean stress—and lots of it. Over-eating, over-shopping, over-spending, over-committing, and generally over-indulging can put you over the edge. Even seeing “beloved" family members can spark conflicting emotions and threaten the peace.

Consider these top holiday stressors from a 2004 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA):
  • Lack of money (61%)
  • Pressures of gift-giving (42%)
  • Lack of time (34%)
  • Credit card debt (23%)1
So resolve this holiday season to reduce and better manage your stress, and enjoy the holidays in good health!

See stress for what it is. It’s no wonder that 93% of Americans say that perceptions, thoughts, and choices affect physical health. How we perceive stressful events can set us up for health or harm.

Stress happens. Viewing normal life events as uncontrollable, personal attacks can drive up your blood pressure, and jeopardize your health. But seeing normal life events as—well, normal—empowers you to better manage stress for your health.

Eat, drink, and be merry—within reason. The holidays are meant for celebration, not overindulgence.

Exercise for your heart’s sake. When the stress seems overwhelming, take an exercise break. Just 30 minutes a day—a brisk walk, a run on the treadmill, or strength training—gives you a powerful tool to fend off stress.

Exercise not only helps you manage weight and is good for your body, but it can help you de-stress and clear your mind. And with a clear mind, you can make better decisions about what’s good for you this holiday season.

Rein in the shopping. Instead of searching out the latest gadget or this year’s “must have" toy....just stop. Limit your gift-giving to an important few. Stay home and shop on the Internet. Or go to the mall at the least busy times.

Better yet, give the gift that everyone treasures: time. Plan a family vacation, treat friends to dinner, take a little one to a favorite museum. Memories are not found in things, but in the time you spend with those you care about most.

Give unto others. Smile at a stranger, donate food and clothing, help at the homeless shelter, wrap presents for children who would otherwise have none. Take the focus off yourself and put the spotlight on someone else.

Get the attitude for gratitude. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for and add to it every day. It doesn’t have to be big, just meaningful. Holding a kitty, watching a sunset, giving someone a hand, keeping your sanity—just be thankful for the opportunity to live!

Make it real. Even though Hollywood has convinced us otherwise, Christmas is not about creating the perfect family holiday. It’s about enjoying what’s here and now. Keep expectations real, and don’t try to solve long term issues at the family dinner. Allow your gathering to have its own life—as individual and genuine as your family is - whatever that may be.

Remember the Reason we celebrate: Although I listed this last it is really the most important of all. The phrase we hear every year is so true and one we must keep in our hearts this time of year. "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". In a world and country that more and more is trying to make us forget what Christmas is all about and why we celebrate. Let us this year be more aware then ever and more vocal about it then ever that the reason that we celebrate Christmas is because we are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus!

Many of these principles we already have applied to our lives during our 30 days of happiness challenge so we are more ready than ever to do them now when they will help us the most.

9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christa]">[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:9-12

I borrowed a few points of this post from

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Visitor

It has been very quiet in our house this last week as our son was married and moved out of our home on Saturday. My hubby is loving it as he loves his space and quietness. I do not love it as I love people and activity and feeding people so it has been a little lonely for me. Not only did my son move out but all his friends that came by every night and his now wife and son where in and out on the weekends so it has been a big change. A good, healthy one but a change.

So a few days after my son moved out my daughter called me to let me know they suspect their smallest daughter may be allergic to the new kitty their family has just bought. So we have agreed to have "Boots' stay at our house for two weeks to see if that truly is the problem.

So for now, Johnny room now has kitty toys, a kitty bed and a little box in it and I have a little companion that makes some noise, I can feed and keeps me company when I'm at home. We will see what happens in a couple weeks - I'll keep you posted. But for now I thought I would share this: (Sorry all my dog loving friends and family but truth is truth!) :)

The Top Reasons to Own a Cat

  • One of the best things about cats is how clean they are. They never really require much grooming beyond brushing . The fact that they keep themselves very well groomed makes them easy for anyone to own a cat because one is not required to set aside time to bath and groom them like one would have to do with most dogs. They are quite easy to keep looking wonderful, and most of that is done by them.
  • They know instinctively when their humans need more attention or would like to be left alone. A cat will rub against your legs or jump in your lap for cuddling to take your mind off your problems. Rubbing a cat’s silky soft fur is an excellent stress reliever.
  • Dangling a yarn strand for your cat and watching as they chase the string can help keep human’s from sitting in front of the television frozen for hours at a time. When the household cat decides to catch a mouse and puts it out of its misery that is also a plus.
  • Not only do cats know how to out wit mice and dogs, but they are very intelligent about what to eat and not eat. They know they are a carnivore. They are not like dogs and will not be tricked into eating unhealthy food.
  • Dogs will pester people into petting them whether you are in the mood or not. Not a cat. They instinctively know when to pester, and when not. They knows whose lap to jump into and whose not. They know who is receptive to cuddling, and who is not. They interact with humans in a way that is consistent with the human’s behavior.
  • They have been known to fall out windows from seven floors and survive. They can leap and climb tall trees and usually find their way back down to safety.
  • A research scientist and a bio-acoustic specialist who has done studies on various animal sounds. Her findings are absolutely amazing, and demonstrate that the frequency of a cat’s purring is good for healing muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones. It is also thought to be beneficial for other types of healing and stress relief. More information can be obtained from logging in at Fauna Communications Research Institute.
  • There have been many stories of cats that have tracked their human families down and joined them after being separated. There’s a one liner that goes something like “A dog has an owner, but a cat has a staff” but it is not really that simple. There is lot more to a cat than its aloof reputation.
  • So next time your cat jumps in your lap and wants a little attention stop and think about what a wondrous creation a cat really is.