Sunday, December 09, 2012
BANISHING HOLIDAY BLUES
A case of the holiday blues probably has as many causes as there are sufferers. Your personal experience dictates what you find stressful, as well as how you handle anxiety. Understanding the basic reasons people can feel sad during this "happy time" will help you see that you're not alone! If you are suffering from a bah-humbug attitude, try to incorporate these spirit-generating ideas into your season:
1. Banish resentment. If it is an obligation, reconsider your need to do it.
Will Aunt Sue really perish without your chocolate meringues?
2. Avoid common stressors.
Do parties make you panic? Skip them altogether or be selective about where you go to deck the halls.
3. No competition.
Why does this year need to be better than that great Celebration of '87? Try not to get into the pattern of outdoing yourself every year.
4. Shop online.
There are no long lines to contend with in the virtual malls of the world, and fewer sights, smells, and sounds to overwhelm the senses!
5. Shop ahead of time.
For those overwhelmed by tasks, shopping all year round can help alleviate last minute stress. Of course, it may be too late for this year, but take this tip with you into the new year.
6. Lasso the credit cards.
What is a reasonable amount to spend on the holidays this year? Now divide by the number of gifts you must buy. That's your dollar limit: Stick to it. Unfortunately, spend-aholics are likely to use the holidays as an excuse to buy. Remember: Credit card bills can lead to post-holiday blues.
7. Rejuvenate your spirit.
Reacquaint yourself with the church or synagogue; or shine up your spirituality with a class on visualization or meditation. Get out of your own 'little world' and contribute your time or money to those in need. Make a donation in someone's name to an organization you know he or she would like to support.
8. Avoid commercialism.
Take the kids to a free Hanukkah menorah lighting or Christmas caroling in the park. Or meet new friends by joining up with the neighborhood carolers.
9. Make' yourself' the gift.
Have the children gather unused toys for donation. Or do something with those years of piano practice by organizing a holiday concert at a nursing home.
10. Ban martyrdom.
Why not take others up on their offer to help? You are not a bad hostess if you let Aunt Mary bring the dessert, have your brother-in-law scrub the casserole dish, or put the teenagers in charge of wrapping presents.
11. Find time for you.
Pamper yourself with a half-hour pedicure or get a massage. Does painting give you pleasure? Then make the time to do it!
12. Declare victory over vices.
There is no harm in a little fudge or an occasional glass of champagne, but think moderation. Too much alcohol or sugar can alter moods and disrupt sleep patterns.
13. Avoid weighty issues.
Guilt is a likely byproduct of overindulgence. Give away extra treats that arrive as gifts and don't make three batches of peanut brittle. Holiday salads anyone? Three well-balanced meals will help keep your moods at an even keel. If you have a momentary lapse of judgment, don't sweat it. That's what those nasty New Year resolutions are for.
14. Keep it moving.
It's easy to shelve plans to work out during the hectic season. But resigning yourself to the couch will only make you feel worse. Twenty minutes, three times per week, should continue to be your goal. Get out and do! Activity, either social or physical, will do more for the spirit than watching the Brady Family Special.
15. Surround yourself with love.
Avoid inviting people to your home out of obligation. It may be difficult to turn away a relative, but it is worth your sanity. Make the holidays special for the kids. By reinventing the season, you escape your own childhood issues and you won't transfer the blues to your children.
16. Expand your support system.
Friends may be busy with their own families, but that doesn't prevent you from making new friends. Take a class or join an online chat group. Post on message boards when it's convenient for you to talk!
17. Laugh often!
Rent funny movies or surround yourself with those who make you laugh. It's not easy to laugh and be depressed at the same time.
~By Lisa Allan, Oxygen.com
Sunday, December 02, 2012
A BASKET OF BURDENS
Some years ago a group of conventioneers gathered at a ski resort to conduct their annual meeting. Hundreds of conventioneers came from every part of the country. Young and old, rich and poor, and in all shapes and sizes. They shared common interests, though their backgrounds and careers were quite varied.
Twenty of the conventioneers were put up at a large bed and breakfast near the outskirts of town. After a few days, the guests became better acquainted, friendships developed, and a camaraderie was felt within the group. But one night the stories around the fireplace took a different twist. The conversation turned serious when Mike, a young man in his 20's, confessed that he had just been diagnosed with cancer. While it was treatable and he stood an excellent chance of being cured, he was nonetheless distraught. A middle aged couple, Tom and Cheryl, offered their support and understanding. They had just been informed that their child needed a kidney transplant. The news had been emotionally devastating to the family. A woman tearfully explained how she had recently lost her husband to a car accident. Another person told that he had just lost his job and was at wit's end. The evening turned gut wrenching as others began to describe horrible aspects of their "normal" lives or lives of their loved ones. From depression and drug addiction, to eating disorders and relationship problems — no one seemed immune from some sort of hardship.
Finally, an elderly gentleman — a man who was at the convention by himself and only known to the group as Mr. Hayes, interjected himself into the conversation. Mr. Hayes had a distinguished look about him, and while no one knew exactly where he came from, he spoke with a gentle voice that engendered confidence and assuredness. During the past days, he had smiled and laughed, evidently enjoying the company, but he had not said very much. People just looked at him and thought he was a "nice old man." After listening to everyone's concerns and problems, Mr. Hayes looked over at the hostess and asked her if she could get a paper and pen for everyone in the room. She returned in a minute, complying with the unusual request. "Do me a favor," Mr. Hayes asked. "We're going to try something and I need your cooperation. On the small piece of paper please write down the 3 biggest problems or burdens you are facing in your personal life right now. Don't sign your name. We'll keep it confidential."
When everyone was done writing down their problems, Mr. Hayes asked everyone to fold their paper and place it in a small basket that was placed in front of the fireplace. There were curious looks throughout the room, but again, everyone cooperated, wondering what would happen next. Mr. Hayes shook the basket and held it above everyone's head as he walked around the room and asked each person to pick a paper from the basket. After he was done, he sat back down and looked around the room. "Friends, open the paper and just read to yourself the problems that you chose," Mr. Hayes explained. "And please, be as honest as you can." Then, Mr. Hayes glanced at the woman sitting on his left and asked, "Lisa, would you like to trade your burdens that you wrote down with those that you chose from the basket?" Lisa quickly replied,"No!"
Next, Mr. Hayes asked the man sitting next to Lisa the same question. "Would you like to trade the problems you wrote down for those that you chose from the basket?" Again the reply was "No." Mr. Hayes went around the entire room. Everyone had a chance to respond. Remarkably, the answers were all the same — no, no, no, no, no... Comments ranged from "I can deal with my own problems, but I can't deal with what I chose out of the basket," to "Wow — these make my problems look like nothing. Forget this."
Mr. Hayes settled back in his cushioned rocking chair and asked, "Do your problems seem so difficult now when you see what others must endure? Most of you wish you were in someone else's shoes, and yet, when you get a chance to trade your problems for theirs, none of you are willing. "Don't you see? Tonight you've learned, by your own admissions, that despite the hardships you face, and despite the worries that grind away at you and cause you to lose sleep at night — despite all that — you've come to appreciate and understand the simple fact that the problems you face are nothing compared to what others must deal with. In light of everyone else's problems, your own problems seem manageable. If nothing else, that's something to be grateful for. Sure, we like to complain. It's our nature and it's also therapeutic to express ourselves and get our frustrations off our chests. There is nothing wrong with that, and in fact, it can be a healthy thing to do. It helps us sort things out. And heaven knows, we can always find something to complain about."
The group found themselves mesmerized with Mr. Hayes' comments, with several people shaking their heads in agreement, as if something amazing had just dawned on them. "But friends," he said, "the burdens that have been placed upon us are there for a reason. Because without our problems, we would not search for answers. And if we led our lives without searching for answers, we would never become better, or stronger, or more understanding. Sometimes it takes a serious problem to wake us up to what's really important in life. As an example, you'll find that many of the answers you're looking for can be found by helping others facing similar problems, and that act of service is what's really important. You see, the key to your enrichment, to your happiness and peace, is to take the problems you have and look at them as a chance to find an answer. Learn your lessons well, and then to take those lessons and answers and use them to become a better person — for yourself and for others. I'm not saying you have to like the challenges you face. No one does. But you can look at those challenges as an opportunity to do some good.
"Now with that in mind, remember this... Some people let the world and the problems they face dictate what they think and how they live their lives. And yes, some people just love to wallow in misery. But if the truth be known, it should and can be the opposite. You have the power within you to change your world and put your problems behind you as you move forward. Ironically, the power to do that comes from the very things you see as problems and setbacks. That's what most people don't understand. For every setback you experience there is an equal or greater blessing that accompanies it. You may not realize this, but your struggles are allowing you become a better person each and every day. You just have to open your eyes and see it. The blessings that come from your struggles are sometimes hidden and many times you have to look long and hard. But by finding them in due course, and by counting those blessings, you will discover a secret of the ages, an undeniable truth, which seems to have escaped most of humanity. That secret is very simple: The more you count your blessings, the more blessings are bestowed upon you. If you don't believe me, just try it and see what happens."
The group was spellbound, just staring at Mr. Hayes, reflecting upon his words, his sincerity and conviction. His comforting knowledge seemed to vanquish the stresses and worries which had infected the earlier conversation. Mr. Hayes took his last sip of hot chocolate and excused himself to retire to his room. Those present continued to discuss what they had learned, and by the end of the evening, all had concurred that Mr. Hayes had hit on something. Each person was able to discuss a problem they had which could be turned into a blessing.
The young man who was diagnosed with cancer was determined to use his experience to educate others on the importance of early detection. The couple with a son who needed a kidney transplant dedicated themselves to join the campaign to encourage others to sign donor cards. The woman who had lost her husband decided to carry on his memory by volunteering to pick up where her husband had left off in his community work. The man who had lost his job, told himself that he would use this opportunity to do what he had always wanted to do — write a book that he had been thinking about for years. Rather than dwelling on their problems, everyone had learned to use their problems as a stepping stone toward bettering themselves and helping others. Rather than getting wrapped up in self-pity, the experience of confronting their problems and seeking answers proved to be a valuable lesson indeed. Someone commented, "Now I finally realize what looking at the glass as half full means."
The next morning at breakfast, the hostess reported to the group that Mr. Hayes' room was empty and that he must have left very early. During subsequent conventions though, the friends often reminisced about their gathering at the secluded mountain resort and of their fond memories of the fireplace conversations and the time their problems ended up in a basket.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
I Live in the Land of Thankfulness
I love the Land of Thankfulness where blessings overflow.
I claim it as my native home, most charming land I know;
And if I've need of anything, no matter what it be,
I just give thanks with confidence and see it come to me.
I like to live in Thankfulness! Would live there all my days;
Would let its spirit stir my soul and fill my heart with praise.
I questioned once how I had found a place of such a kind;
Knew I'd discovered it, because I'd thankful thoughts in mind
Oh, come with me to Thankfulness! We ask this of you:
That you be always thankful, friend, but this is all you do.
And if there's anything you need, no longer doubt or fear;
The thing you seek's awaiting you, it surely will appear.
Copyright © 2004 - Frank B. Whitney
Founder of Unity Publication "Daily Word"
The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the
thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron,
so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
~Henry Ward Beecher
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by
a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with
deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
~ Albert Schweitzer
Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be
for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.
~Konrad von Gesner
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it ...
is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
~ William Arthur Ward
If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is,
"thank you," that would suffice.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial
into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it ...
would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way.
In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer,
you must truly appreciate what you already have.
Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
~Gladys Berthe Stern
Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion.
Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception.
Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude.
Every virtue divorced from thankfulness
is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.
~John Henry Jowett
When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.
~ Anthony Robbins
The hardest arithmetic to master
is that which enables us to count our blessings.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget
that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
We can only be said to be alive in those moments
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Let's be grateful for those who give us happiness;
they are the charming gardeners who make our soul bloom.
Real life isn't always going to be perfect or go our way,
but the recurring acknowledgment of what IS working in our lives
can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.
~Sara Ban Breathnach
Make it a habit to tell people thank you.
To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the
expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those
around you, and you'll soon find many others around you.
Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.
~ Ralph Marston
No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.
~ John Greenleaf Whittier
~ Gathered from all over the Internet
Thanks for dropping by...
blessings and hugs..............lita
Sunday, November 18, 2012
WEATHERING THE STORM ...BE RICH IN ANY CLIMATE
The secret to being rich lies in remembering that
friendships are priceless, time is invaluable,
health is wealth, and love is a treasure.
Create a nest egg of beautiful memories
that you can dip into from time to time
to ease any sorrows.
Have the kind of remembrances
that raise you up with their worth
and keep you there with their wonder.
Always have a supply of hopes on hand
to help you plan your tomorrows.
Remember that when you invest in your dreams,
it is impossible to overpay.
Give away smiles,
and watch them come back to you
a hundred times over.
Stuff your pockets with kindness and optimism;
there is nothing more precious in the world.
I'm sharing this advice with you today
because you are a treasured piece
in the puzzle of my life.
thanks for dropping by....
blessings and hugs..........lita
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Brighten YOUR Corner!
Eric Peterson/ Livingston Enterprise
We cannot all be famous or be listed in "Who's Who",
But every person great or small,
Has important work to do.
For seldom do we realize the importance of small deeds,
Or to what degree of greatness
Unnoticed kindness leads.
For it's not the big celebrity in a world of fame and praise,
But it's doing unpretentiously
In an undistinguished way.
It is the work that we're assigned, unimportant as it seems,
That makes our task outstanding,
And brings reality to dreams.
So do not sit and idly wish for wider new dimensions
Where you can fantasize about
Your many good intentions.
But at the spot you are right now begin at once to do
Little things to brighten up
The lives surrounding you.
If everybody brightened up the spot where they are standing,
By being more considerate,
And a little less demanding,
This dark old world would very soon eclipse the evening star,
If everybody brightened up
The corner where they are!
Brighten up YOUR corner TODAY!
~By Helen Steiner Rice
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