Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Miscarriage Matters Radio



Miscarriage Matters Radio   Tune In Tonight
Whenever we face a mountain in our life that we cannot move we find ourselves journeying on territory we never hiked before. We need a guide who has gone that ...way before us and gotten to the top. We all have climbed our personal mountain, through hardship and heartbreak, but we made it to the top. What we want you to know is that you will get to the top of the mountain too. Moreover, at the top of the mountain, you will see a clearer view, that will give you the opportunity to find a new path and walk again with more hope for the future.
On our show Healing together the topic will be It’s a new season: A time for hope
In this program we also would like to invite you to share your personal story, comments or questions.
You can send your message to our email miscarriagemattersradio@gmail.com or call us during the live broadcast at (845)-241-9893
“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
To listen to our show, follow the link:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/…/its-a-new-season-a-time-for-…
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THE BEST PRESENT EVER


There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
What was the best present you ever received; the one you will remember forever? Many years ago my husband and I decided to give the gift of presence instead of presents to our ever growing family for Christmas. It was a wise decision and has borne tremendous fruit. We gather at Christmas to celebrate God’s love, the gift of family and life as we live it. Then in the summer we rent a beach home and our seven children, sons-in-law and grandchildren and gather together again. My oldest daughter reminds us each year, “No more presents. All the cousins want to do is be together. It is the best present ever!”
Picture this: seven close-together siblings, some with spouses, some without, coming from all parts of the country, with the sole purpose of being family. Add to the scene twelve cousins ranging in age from 9 months to 14 years being present to one another. How would you like to open that under the Christmas tree? I agree with her, it is the best Christmas present ever, for all. Picture perfect in every way!
I, a fly on the wall, get great enjoyment by watching my three married daughters step into my “shoes,” and embrace their vocation of wife and mother. A godly pride swells up in my heart as I silently thank God that I chose to lay down my life to be a stay at home mother to a very large family. I laugh to myself remembering when I used to say, a mother’s middle name is “Sacrifice.” I, who was not given a middle name, took it on for my own. Let’s face it, mothering a large family is a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of giving beyond what you have. I cannot complain; God’s grace was always sufficient, His wisdom readily available, and besides He answers my prayers daily. I often say to the mothers I mentor, “God taught me everything I know!” That is a fact. I, who had barely babysat, knew nothing about being a wife and a mother, God had to teach me everything.
The fruit I bore in my vocation was planted in my soul by the hand of God the day I held my firstborn. God planted within me a “mother’s heart!” That heart was watered with a mother’s tears, weeded by the word of God, and tended in prayer. When my daughters come to me and say, “Mom, how did you do it with seven,” I don’t even have to pause to remember.
My ready reply is, “I prayed a lot!”
In disbelief, they repeat the question, “No, really how did you do it?” I affirm the answer this time from the depth of my soul, knowing how much prayer is needed sometime to see you through a mommy day and other times to see you though a mommy minute. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. No, it is for those who are prayer warriors and know what it means to be raising a soldier for God.
Seasons come and seasons go. God is the one who changes the season; we just need to flow with His Spirit. There is a time for every season under heaven, “a time to be born and a time to die.” Just about the time my last baby was in fifth grade I became a grandma. It was tough. My husband and my hearts were still healing from the loss of our baby boy Zachary who left this world way too soon. I was still in the thick of parenting myself. With mounds of laundry, endless carpools, and dishes that never seemed to end, I was already living beyond what I could humanly do. Let’s just say that growing a grandma’s heart took some time and a lot of prayer.
While enjoying a pause in my life at the family beach trip, I took time to reflect. My firstborn grandson has become such a part of my heart. As I watched him lie in the sand and let all the cousins pile dirt on him, a smile grew on my face that lasted the whole day through. My eyes turned then to the ocean waters where almost all of the granddaughters were jumping in the waves. I had to join them. When I did I flashed backed to the days when I jumped in the waves with their moms.
Earlier that day one daughter with her three daughters and I spotted a turtle on the beach. The five of us steadily followed the turtle and followed in the footsteps of grandma Fran. My mother-in law always took the time to pause and enjoy the smallest bug or the most beautiful rainbow. Slow but steady was her theme song. Her observant eyes, and willing pause, left room in her day to, enjoy the moment and never be too busy to care. I was thankful to be in the footsteps of such a giant of a good example of grandmother-hood. My oldest daughter was busy posing the grandchildren for a picture that will be remembered for generations to come. Each child gave their best smile, all except one. This grandchild earned her nick name of “Sassy” as she looked at her aunt, showed her attitude and just walked away. Her independent spirit has won the hearts of all. I had to say to the oldest daughter, “She should have been yours!”
I was both astounded and blessed as one grandson took extra special time to make sure he had a moment to get to know each of the cousins, from the tiniest baby to the eldest. His charming smile and kind heart was noticed. It delighted my heart when another granddaughter was filled with the joy of being family. From the moment she arrived she was so glad to be with her cousins. When I lived near her I would tell her, “The girl cousins are your sisters.” She has brothers who adore her, but girls need sisters too.
Later at the pool was a time to cool off, kick back and enjoy. It refreshed us all just to be together. Our sons-in-law joined our youngest son, the playful one, in entertaining the “troops,” better known as the grandchildren. Truly, attention from the adults is the children’s favorite “toy.” I am blessed that each son-in law that God has given us embraces family bonding. We were all delighted when my sister arrived. The beach trip is never complete without her joining in the celebration of one crazy big family.
One daughter held her baby girl 24-7, and I thank the Lord that she too took on the nickname, “Sacrifice.” I wanted to tell her to treasure the moments, they go by fast, but I held my tongue. She already knew it; this baby is her sixth. Later on as I watched my baby girl and youngest son cook one of their dad’s favorite meals, I was glad that I spent the time when they were children to teach them how to cook. They all grew into responsible adults. At our beach trip each family takes a turn cooking and cleaning up.
The day went by way too fast but not without one last unforgettable memory. Even though it was way past my bedtime, we all gathered around our summer birthday grandchild to sing “Happy Birthday.” An aunt had baked the cake, chocolate of course. Then if the celebration was not enough, our middle son arrived from Hawaii to join the family. As he hugged each child one by one and all his siblings, a tear of gratitude welled up in my eye. Yes, a family beach trip is the best present of all. You cannot put a price tag on spending quality time together to build family.
Our beach trips together are filled with joy, love and peace. We eat, we drink and we are merry. Everyone brings something that no one else can bring, themselves. Everyone takes home something that no one can take away, a memory sowed deep in their heart. We are family. We laugh together. We cry together. We work together. We play together. When one is down, we gather around. When one rejoices, we rejoice with them. When one is sad, we dry their tears.
In this world that gets so busy with life as they know it, a beach trip is just what the doctor ordered for a family to heal on the inside. When we take a pause and are present to one another, miracles can happen, memories are made and hearts are healed. All will agree that we always receive more than we give when we are together. The grandchild that I affectionately call “Miss Sassy,” who is old beyond her four years, spoke a piece of wisdom to me this beach trip. I said to someone, “Have good day!” She looked me in the eye and speaking with authority said,  “Nana, every day is supposed to be a good day!” I tucked those words in my heart as my souvenir, to be treasured for a lifetime.
I wondered what the rest of my family would bring home with them once we said our goodbyes. What do I hold most dear? The final goodbye says it all. Watching each cousin, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, son-in- law and parent giving a farewell hug, was our way of saying, “Thank God for family.” Many of us wanted the beach trip to last forever.
My season of motherhood ushered me through the door of grandmother-hood. I must admit each season has its own blessings. The sacrifices you make in one season of life will bear fruit in the next. It is worth the effort. Lay the foundation well. God will cement it with His love. Seasons come and seasons go. You just have to flow with God’s Spirit. Treasure the season you are in. Enjoy the present of being family. If watered with tears, built with God’s wisdom, and covered with prayer, then cemented with His love, it will become the best present of all. What, or who, will be under your Christmas tree?
Copyright 2016 Ellen Mongan


About Author



Ellen Mongan is a Catholic writer and speaker who has been married 41years to Deacon Pat Mongan. They have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. Ellen is the founder of Sisters in Christ, Little Pink Dress Ministry, and Women-Fests. She blogs for Elizabeth Ministry, is a frequent guest on WBPI TV, and the co-host of My Miscarriage Matters Radio.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

THE GIFT


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The old adage goes, “Do not look a gift horse in the mouth!”  What is your gift experience? How do you receive gifts?  Do you quickly return gifts or treasure the gift with all your heart? Do you use the gift right away, or set it aside, unused? Do you share your gifts with others or hoard them for yourself? Do you set aside the gift without a bow, but open the beautifully wrapped one first? Do you re-gift? Are you a gracious giver? Are you a grateful receiver?

Gifts come in all sizes, various prices, and varieties. A gift once opened may be treasured the rest of your life. A gift maybe treasured because of the giver. My husband surprised me one birthday with two unexpected presents. I was overjoyed. The gift he gave was a pair of pink skinny jeans and a blouse. It meant something, though not because pink is my color and I love clothes; it was meaningful because it was the first gift he had purchased in over thirty years.

You know, people are a lot like gifts. They too come in different sizes and personalities. Each person you meet can become a treasured gift to you, if you open the “gift” and get to know their story. Yes, everyone has a story to tell. If you take the time to listen they will usually open their hearts to you. If the gift is left on the shelf, it will never be unveiled. You can actually damage the gift if misused, whether it is a stranger, a friend, a child or spouse. People need people to become alive.

You need all kinds of people in your life to thrive, and to be healthy and whole. Some people  encourage. You especially need these people when you feel that there is a black cloud trying to rain on you. You can easily spot them because they smile as they say things like, “We need the rain.” Some people are exhort, who point out your defects. You need them to rub off your rough edges. These people are a blessing in disguise. They say things like, “Are you going to wear that blouse?”  You do not have to ask, “Why do you like it on me?” because of the way they say it, you know. Some people teach you skills. Some share their talents with you. Some people are just good examples. You will want to follow in their footsteps. Some people you can laugh with. Call them when depression tries to set up camp in your heart. Some people you can cry with. These people have climbed the mountain of suffering and made it to the other side. They are also the people who give you a hug when our hearts cry out, “Does anybody care about me?” They are usually the only ones who notice you have a tear in your eye. Some people are too busy to notice, usually because they need a hug themselves. When in doubt, hug the busy and grumpy people, just in case. It may help them to open up their heart. Love heals!

Do not miss the gifts within your own home. Maybe you have never taken the time to treasure the gift of your child, your parent, your siblings or even your spouse. Maybe even the gift you have failed to unwrap is the gift of yourself. Take the time today to do it, because it is never too late. Slowly, carefully, and diligently, unwrap the present in your heart. Then go and make a difference in the lives of others.
As you journey the path of your life, look for the treasures in the hearts of the people you meet along the way.  It will be amazing how many gifts you will get to know if you take the time!  When treasure hunting for gifts, don’t only open the ones beautifully wrapped. All gifts count, even the ones without the “bows!” You may find a bigger treasure in the one wrapped only in white tissue paper. Once built up with love, a less-noticed gift can grow to be the most treasured gift of all. Take the time to unwrap the gift slowly and carefully so that you do not break it, or crush the inner treasure of the heart, or ever get to really enjoy the inner beauty. All gifts should be treasured, not re-gifted, or set aside alone on a shelf to collect dust. Shower all you meet with encouraging words, listen to their story, be the good example, and let them know you care.

Everyone has a story to tell which is worth listening to. Everyone has a hurt that needs healing. Everyone has a gift to share with the world. Everyone is on this earth to make a difference. As we treasure the gift with love, and pour out our gifts upon them, we enable their gifts to grow. They then become confident enough in their gifts to share them with the world. Go on a treasure hunt; see what gift you can discover each day. Take the time to look beyond the outer wrappings to see the hidden person within. Once these gifts are revealed you yourself are more empowered to make a difference in this world. Who knows? You may even be able to throw the world one big surprise party, with gifts alive everywhere. Until then strive daily to treasure the gifts in all you meet. This is what makes the journey of life charming and worthwhile. Journey on!

photo credit: 05 01 2016 No 5 via photopin (license)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Hang Out at Catholic Mom

CatholicMom.com. Join our team of contributors each week for a lively conversation on all things faith, family and fun from a Catholic perspective. Share your feedback here in the comments or use #CMHangout to be a part of the conversation.103 Articles

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

REJOICE! REJUVENATE! REJOICE!




DEAR READER,

I  am very blessed to blog for Catholic Mom. Please check out their website- CatholicMom.com
They have some great articles. Here is a reprint of my article. Read  and pass it on.

Joy to the world the Lord has come!”  Christmas, a favorite time of the year, has come and gone. Hopefully the zeal to live the Christmas message still remains. The joy that fills your heart has a way of fleeing as the last guest wave’s goodbye. The skip in your step is absent. Your smile is fading and the alarm clock seems to be going off way too soon. Your days are starting without you. Your get up and go just got up and went. What is the matter, you ask yourself? You look in the mirror and don’t even recognize yourself. You wonder what happened to the Spirit of Christmas; has it “past?” You feel like you have been on a treadmill nonstop for an entire month. Sad to say you did not even lose a pound. You have shopped until you dropped, wrapped thousands of presents, cleaned, baked, decorated, hosted, and enjoyed family and friends. Now the focus on Christmas has been replaced with New Year’s parties, New Year’s resolutions and life as you knew it before Christmas. You realize that you are too tired to even think
.
“Help!” you cry out into the silence. You are irritable, overworked, and sleep-deprived. Of course you are; join the club! Christmastime can be exhausting. It is the time of year that you add another entire life to your already busy, full, blessed, life. What is a woman to do? Solutions sail through your head like “visions of sugar plums dancing with glee.” Run away to an exotic island all by yourself? No; your family would miss you. Sail away on a Caribbean cruise? Can’t do it!  Money is scarce due to Christmas generosity. Go around the world in 80 days? Who would drive the carpools or fix the meals? A thought brings you back to reality; wait a minute, I love my life as a mother and wife! Before you say, “Stop the world, I want to get off,” the reality, I am just exhausted, hits you.
Don’t let the Christmas rush sail you into a season of winter blues. After the Christmas holidays exit, be sure to usher in a time of rest and relaxation. It is time to slow down and rejuvenate! How do you do this when everything is calling your name? You have less time, less energy, and less sleep but more commitments, and why rejuvenating* never finds its way to the top of your to-do list. Never do you need to restore more than when you are in a busy season, like Christmas, a new baby, a move, or a wedding. This is sound advice, but rarely do women heed it. However, if one takes the time to restore and rejuvenate, energy increases and time is better managed. Then you  can  look in the mirror and recognize yourself again. If you take the time to rejuvenate you seem to accomplish more in less time. This, I assure you, is the formula for healthy living. In order for you to take care of your family well, you must also take care of yourself. This wisdom is only learned through experience. Do not let guilt paralyze you and drag you into the land of “down on yourself.” To avoid this, take the time to rejuvenate. You will be happier, healthier, and better equipped to serve your family. I challenge you to try it and see for yourself.

Everyone is different. All women restore in different ways. So learn to do what helps you rejuvenate best. Here are some suggestions:

IT’S ALL ABOUT ME DAY: Take a mental health day. Schedule in your calendar once a month, perhaps on your birthday number, a day all to yourself for doing what you like to do. Avoid work and increase rest. It will do wonders for you.

PRETTY UP DAY: Take a Spa Day complete with a pedicure, a manicure, and a massage. Feeling well groomed does wonders for any woman. Now that you are all dolled up and relaxed, have a date night with your mate: dinner for two at your favorite spot.

LETS DO LUNCH: Take time for lunch with the girlfriends. Do not invite just any one to lunch, but invite girlfriends that know your faults and like you just the way you are: girlfriends that you can share anything with because they, like “Depends,” never neither leak nor judge you. They know how it feels to be up with a colicky baby for way too many days. They remember how hormones have a way of coloring your world grey. These rare friends are a fine treasure needed in life to help you find the road of acceptance and love, when your world is falling apart.

ROAD TRIP: Take a get-away weekend. The change of scenery will change your life. Things always look better when on vacation.

MAID-FOR-A-DAY: Every mom needs help now and then. Have a maid you can call on when you need her. When your to-do list never seems to make it to the finish line, it is time to wave the white flag and call the maid. Don’t put it off until tomorrow; get help today. If something has to give, let it be the housework because babies cannot wait.

MOMMY TIME: Everyone needs a mommy to nurture them. Plan a trip to see your mother, mother-in-law or mentor. Pick the one who will love and support you most. Be encouraged, built up, get advice, throw your cares to the wind, and be the princess of the day. Let the love of one who cares about you put that million dollar smile back on your face.

MOVIE NIGHT: Take a break and watch funny old movies. Laugh until your sides hurt. Try viewing those where moms are in the character list. “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Sound of Music,” and “Mary Poppins” are my personal favorites. Don’t forget to pop the popcorn!

ALIVE, HEALTHY, AND FIT: Join the gym and make a commitment to be there weekly. My friends coined this phrase, “Exercise and prayer are a girl’s best friends.” Moms need them both in a huge dose. Then you will feel good inside and out.

LET THE SUNSHINE IN: Sit in the sun and make a list of all the things you cannot get done. Show the list to your best friend. Let her help you decide what is attainable. Make a new list with columns for “important,” “urgent,” and “unimportant.” Last column is “someday/maybe”? If your list is too long, destroy it; relax and enjoy the sunshine.

GIRLS NIGHT OUT: Leave the children at home with a responsible adult and give yourself a needed break. Just relax and enjoy the girl-friend time together.

YOU TAKE MY BREATH AWAY: Plan a date with your mate. Hire a babysitter for your children. Then fix a special meal, light the candles, and use the good china. Dress like a lady, buy a new dress, put on the high heels and wear his favorite perfume. Treasure the moment by enjoying alone time together. Remind him that he is still the one who takes your breath away.

REST IN THE LORD: Take the time to nourish your spiritual side. Take time each day to stop and pray. Retreating with God in prayer puts peace into your world. Go to daily Mass, find a spiritual director, join a Bible study or join a ministry, and get to confession. Putting God first restores you from the inside out.

FIND A PRAYER PARTNER: Having a woman to pray with every day will become a blessing in your life, beyond compare. Prayer partners encourage you when you are down and remind you of God’s goodness. You do the same when they need to be encouraged most.
Last but not least, and my personal favorite, RETREAT WITH THE GIRLFRIENDS: When I need to rejuvenate, I go on a retreat with my three best friends. These weekend away retreats are a treasured time that I look forward to, and essential to my life. Even Jesus had to get away to pray. I highly recommend retreating with the girlfriends. I try to get away on retreat at least twice a year. Just like the disciples Peter, James and John did women need to go to the mountaintop for a retreat with Jesus. You will come back renewed

Taking the time to rejuvenate will bring the joy and the life of Christ back into your world. You will have a new skip in your step. Your smile will reappear. You will awake ready to start the day, serving the Lord with gladness. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, so take the time to rejuvenate when you need it most. Slowing your life down after running on the treadmill of life way too fast, for way too long, is part of healthy living. It helps you to be a better you. Then you will be a better wife and mom too. Save this article for the days you need to rewind your life to a place of rejuvenation. Then rest, restore, relax before returning to life as you know it, as a brand-new you. Never forget everyone needs nurturing, love and care. So whatever you do, take time for you!

Psalm 23 encourages, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul.”
Rejoice! Rejuvenate! Rejoice!

*[Rejuvenate:  to make (someone) feel or look young, healthy, or energetic again: to give new strength or energy to (something). (www.m-w.com)]

Copyright 2015 Ellen Mongan
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Monday, January 11, 2016

THE BACKPACK

The Backpack



As we begin another New Year, it is a time to begin anew.  A time to access what went right. What went wrong?  What did not get off the ground at all?  As 2016  takes flight let’s attempt to glide through the year as if on the wings of an eagle. Hopefully this article will give you some flight instructions because our estimated time of arrival into 2017 is already less than a year away. How time flies. All aboard and welcome to 2016.

Just a few short months ago, a new school year began.  Many backpacks were being filled with the essentials needed for the first day of school.  Now as this New Year begins I’d like to ask you a question What essentials are necessary for us to pack into our lives in order to live a healthy, happy, highly productive year? I have come to the conclusion that if you desire your year to be successful, you must travel light. You must eliminate some of the things from your life that are weighing you down. It is the time to take an honest assessment of your life.  Do you walk through life with a backpack of bricks on your back or are you free as a bird? The lighter your heart is the easier it is to take flight.

So what is in your back pack?  Let’s take a look. Is there worry? Anxiety? Fear? Self-doubt?  Disappointment? Anger? Bitterness? Be honest with yourself because everyone seems to have a brick or two in their backpack. Some people are brick collectors. Other people have even strapped on another’s pack on their own back and are carrying two. Life has taught them that sometimes burdens become so heavy that you can cannot carry them alone. Sometimes our backpacks are so heavy we cannot carry them alone either. Your desire is flying through the air with the greatest of ease but those heavy bricks have weighed you down. You are unable to leave the runway. What a New Year’s gift it would be to you to be able to fly through life as free as a bird. What has grounded you? Is it problems within or problems without? Have you single-handedly taken on the cares of the world? When lending a helping hand to one in need you must guard yourself from stepping over the line from burden-sharer to burden-keeper. Everyone needs a little help from their friends, now and then, but avoid taking on a false burden. It never helps anyone. Being an enabler will fill up your backpack faster than you can say, “My plate is already too full!

Do you know that the bricks in your backpack are seen on your face? I bet you thought that they were covered up behind your smile. What you think you have carefully hidden comes into clear view the minute that you open your mouth. The words you speak out reveal what is inside.  In fact when you least expect it an imaginary brick full of words that you can’t take back pops out of your backpack and hits someone right in heart. They almost never see it coming. They don’t even know what hit them.  I can tell you first hand that the bricks you least expect hurt the worst. Most do not have the Southern Charm to politely say, “Duck! Brick coming your way!” Once that brick is let out of the bag, there is no stopping it. Unfortunately, a brick or two lands in their back pack. You may never know how heavy a load they packed on until the day they are pushed to the limit; they may throw an invisible brick full of hurtful words back at you with full force. This time you feel the pain and feel the weight of the words heading toward your heart. So how do you avoid packing bricks or heaving them others?
  1. If a person seems to always rain on your parade, always have an umbrella handy or make encounters short but sweet.
  2. A hurting person hurts people. Lead them to a counselor or they will lead you to having to find one for yourself.
  3. Guard your mind and you will guard your heart.
  4. If you can’t seem to forgive, talk it out with one who can listen and give you wisdom.
  5. Write down past hurts. Recognizing the problem is one step closer to the solution.
  6. Call, write or visit people you need to ask forgiveness of.
  7. Keep a Memory Box for yourself filled with cards and letters that will uplift your soul. Look through it on a challenging day rather than throwing a pity party.
  8. Surround yourself with positive friends that encourage you.
  9. Avoid controlling people who won’t let you be yourself.  In a relationship two people’s opinions count.
  10. Cultivate a thankful heart.  Voice gratitude out loud and through the written word by sending letters, cards, and e-mails.
  11. Read Gary Chapman’s Book, “The Five Languages of Apology.“
  12. Guard what is coming out of your mouth.  Ask a good friend to give you feedback.
  13. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  14. Focus on others and not yourself. Become a generous giver of your time, talent, and treasure.
  15. Think the best. When in doubt ask questions. Bringing things in the light puts out the darkness.
  16. Avoid judging by trying to see things through others’ perspectives.
  17. Practice patience.
  18. Remember the relationship is always more important than who was right or wrong.
  19. When tempers flair and bricks begin to fly, learn to close your mouth and open your arms in understanding. Sometimes the best you can do is hug at the line.
  20. If at first you do not succeed remember tomorrow is another day.
After you have emptied you backpacks of the bricks that weighed you down you have room to pack a much lighter load. Try filling it with joy, kindness, patience and peace. Then add a little laughter and friendships to keep, and soon you will be flying as if on the wings of eagles. Pack your backpack carefully and you will have a healthier, happier, more highly productive year. Fasten your seat belts now because 2016 has already taken off. Please enjoy your  flight!

Friday, December 11, 2015

SANTA NEVER STRESSED

Have you always prepared for Christmas in the fast lane?  Are you so busy getting ready for Christmas that you are too exhausted to celebrate Christmas?  Do you begin to rejoice when the last carol is sung, the last present opened, and the last guest says farewell?  Have you always wanted to simplify Christmas, but never really knew where to begin?  Then read on because this article is for you.

On that first Christmas morning, the day of our Savior’s birth, what words did the angels say?  If I recall it was, “Peace on earth, good will towards men.”   Now if Christmas was going to have a theme song that would be a good choice.  I am convinced that the angel’s words are still pertinent for today.  We all could use a little more peace in our hearts, in our lives and in our world.  Let’s seek peace!

Mom, have you ever lost your peace?  Peace isn’t something you can purchase, but oh what a treasure if you posses it.  I aim at living a stress free life.  I say, “Let Peace Reign.” all year long, but especially at Christmas.  Let’s be honest with ourselves, no matter how much we desire peace, keeping our peace at Christmas, can be a major challenge.  Why?  It seems like we have just finished doing the Thanksgiving dishes when, “Black Friday” shopping is in full swing.  Did anyone bring the thanks?  Now to our already full life of carpools, jobs, homework, and fixing meals, we add shopping, wrapping gifts, Christmas parties, decorating, and the list goes on.  It seems like we add another whole life to our life.  Secondly, as great as Christmas is, it has become too much.  Yes, Christmas has become a season where there is too much to do and no time to do it in.  Somewhere along the way we have all spent so much time planning and preparing for Christmas that we have become too tired and too overwhelmed to enjoy it.  Even sadder, we have lost the true meaning of Christmas. We sing Christmas Carols together like, “Joy to the world… but are we living a life of joy?  It seems like the only one who is smiling is Santa Clause.  Why are we not humming in our souls, “TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY?”  Why is Santa so happy?  It is because his helpmate, Mrs. Claus had it all covered.  She has been very, very busy, making a list and checking it twice, shopping, wrapping gifts, and packing Santa’s sleigh with a bag full of toys.  All Santa needs to do is, make sure that his red suit fits, hitch the reindeer to his sleigh and shout, “On Dasher, On Dancer, on Comet, On Vinson!” If Santa’s GPS is working, he will be down every chimney in town before we even wake up to say, “Merry Christmas.”

 So what is the solution to Christmas stress?  Simplify!!!  It will take some time to think, time to pray, and time to vow to change.  So..., before the season begins, take some time to decide what to change and how to go about it.  First, think about, what is important and what is not?  Do you want to start something new or do things the way you have been doing?  Put some ideas on paper, and then make a plan.  Just having the plan on paper is not enough; you have to make it a reality.  Christmas cannot happen on its own.

Did you ever hear the expression, “Change is good?” or “Less is more?”  Be open to change!  What is your biggest Christmas stresser?  What can you do about it?   Life is too short.  Remember Santa never stressed and besides, no one wants to be around a grumpy Mrs. Clause!

Here are some suggestions to simplify:

A wise woman said, “Ellen, your expectations are so high that no one can meet them, not even yourself. Are your expectations attainable?

Take yearly reality check? What are your circumstances this year? Are you pregnant? Do you have newborn? Are you moving to a new home? Are you healthy in mind, body and soul? Lower your bar if necessary, and be realistic.

Before you shop, do your homework. Think lists, read sale catalogues, check online, research yard sales, and network with friends.

“If mom did everything she would be dead.” Learn the four letter word H-E-L-P!! Use it often and learn to delegate. This is a great opportunity for you to draw out the gifts of family member and friends.

 Rotate the place to celebrate as a family. House hopping for holidays is a sure recipe for holiday stress If at all possible, goes see your parents after Santa has a chance to come down the chimney, and has left with his reindeer.. Being home for Christmas gives your child great joy and peace.

Less is more and more is less. Do a few things well and a lot of things, do not do at all. If it is too stressful just say, “No?”

 Learn to enjoy God’s presence and people’s presence, more than presents. After all, what is more important? Never before have people meant so much as at the holidays. All of our days are numbered. Treasure the moment and make memories that count.

Shop early or better yet, shop year round.

Watch what goes in your mouth. Think healthy living. My friend Salle says, “It not a diet, It is a Live It.” Go on a live it and avoid the having to be the biggest loser after the New Year begins.

Watch what comes out of your mouth. Think positive speech. Guard your thoughts and it will guard your heart. Positive speech gives you grace, joy and energy needed to get everything under the Christmas tree.

 Do not take on any extra commitment after December 1. If you focus on Christmas alone you will make it to the finish line. Learn from the book, “The Tortoise and The Hare.” Pace the race, do not race the pace.
  Shop early or shop late if you want to get everything finished, for there is much too much to do in the middle. Trust me on this one.

. If you lose your peace stop, slow down take a breath and pray. Keep Christ in Christmas. He is the reason for the season... Put Him first and He will give you the peace that passes all understanding.

 Use the Christmas Season to cultivate a thankful heart. Be the gift of THANKS--LIVING that the world needs.

Learn to barter with other moms, babysitting, wrapping, shopping, and baking errands. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In other word, one woman may love to shop another bake.

 Write a family newsletter, complete with family pictures. It will be of great joy to those who receive it.

Do not compare yourself to others. You be the best you, you can be. Avoid jealousy; never try to be someone else.

  Do not forget the poor. Include your children in whatever you decide to do.

Shop ahead, bake ahead and cook ahead.   Mail early, wrap early and deliver early.

Avoid giving to get, and learn to give to bless. Be a cheerful giver and grateful receiver, no matter what. Be a blessing to all you encounter.

Give gifts from the heart. They are the best gifts of all.

22. Give random gifts to the people God puts on your heart, even if they are not on your list. Do random acts of kindness.

23. Instill family traditions.

24. Wrap each child’s gifts in a different color of wrapping paper.

25. Draw names where ever possible. Draw names with family members, with co-workers and with friends.

26.  My best stocking advice is this, “Keep it simple.”  I had to cut out stockings all together in order to keep my peace.

27. One of my friends used to give her children three gifts per child, in memory of the three kings.  If you think that that is simplifying Christmas, consider this, my husband and I would only give our children one gift each year.

28. Make the food simple. Our family Christmas dinner was appetizers and finger food when the children were young. Remember when in doubt order out. 

If you are stressed to the max, take time to Rest, Refresh and Restore because there is always tomorrow to finish, unless of course it is already December 24th. . Then, hurry up there is work to be done.  Santa is about to come to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  If you are really, really quiet, you can almost hear the angels singing, “Peace on earth, good will towards men.” This is only in the silence of your heart.  Take the time to, “Be still and know that, He is God!”  Life is a gift that is why we call it the present.  Take time to enjoy the moments. We are too blessed to be stressed. Merry Christmas to all!