“Count your blessings instead of sheep” – Rosemary Clooney sang this Irving Berlin song in the movie White Christmas. In the hustle and bustle and yes, stress of the holiday season, this is great advice.
So often we lay in bed worrying about packages arriving, money spent, who should sit next to who at Christmas dinner and whether Great Aunt Betty will forget to add the sugar to her cookies again.
Wouldn’t counting your blessings be a better routine after you crawl into bed?
1)Thank you for the giggles I shared with my daughter today.
2) Thank you for Taco Tuesday with family.
Recently, in our lives there have been many things to grieve, divorce, death, relationships, world problems and the current state of America.
We aren’t going to offer an opinion on the world’s problems or America; politics or otherwise. We’ll leave it to the media and the internet to misinform you.
It seems as we age that sorrow comes into our lives more often. We shed more tears, reminisce more often, sit alone in silence. It may seem odd to find joy in grief, but it is usually there nonetheless.
Both Sherry and I have lost both parents; we both took care of our aging parents at one point. If at first this seemed somewhat of a burden, in the end in it was a blessing. It allowed them to stay in their homes surrounded by the things and people they loved, letting them be at peace.
For us, the gift was the ability to move forward in our relationships with them, seeing them not so much as a parent but as a friend. I’ve always felt that it helped me to repay the years that they devoted to me even though they did not expect any payment.
In divorce, after grieving your loss, there is a sense of freedom, a re-bonding with yourself and friends that may have been neglected along the way. Your bond with your children changes as they see you in a different light.
There is pain in loss and we are all entitled to experience it. Feel, bemoan, embrace your grief and when you are ready actively seek out the joy that your loved one, your ex-spouse, or ex-friend left in you. Rejoice in your memories and get out there and make more!
Here’s to a happy life! 🍾
MaryBeth & Sherry
We’ve reached that phase where life starts to come full circle. Whereas you used to take your children to your parents for baby-sitting now they bring their children to you. And just like you did, they give you instructions on how to care for your grandbabies. It doesn’t matter than you managed to raise them pretty darn good, their way is the formula you must follow now, or at least until your children are out of earshot!
The first time we watched our granddaughter, my step-son gave us very clear instructions. We were to hold her on our shoulder and walk continuously as this is what she preferred. If on the off-chance she fell asleep, we could sit, but under no circumstances were we to allow her to see or hear the TV. (Boy, did she have them trained!)
We willingly obliged, right up until their car pulled out of the driveway. Then we sat, talked and cooed to this wondrous little doll until she fell asleep in Papa’s lap. At that point we turned on the TV, relaxed and watched. Naturally, as soon as we heard the doorbell ring, signaling her parents return, we shut off the TV, arranged that precious bundle on a shoulder, walking to the front door as if we’d been walking for hours.
Another sign of life’s circles is to us the tougher one. The caring for aging parents. I helped care for my Dad for 7 years before he passed. This journey is at time frustrating and unwelcome, other times it’s laughter and joy. At all times, for us, it is an act of love. Caring for aging parents can seem like a labyrinth for which there is no exit and a new surprise at every turn.
Often, there is anger from your parent because the tables are turned, they start to feel like the child and you the parent. It doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to understand why this is so difficult for them. If there is a defined illness or pain, they become irritated with new regimes and medications. Your parents feel the lack control and they have to idea how to get it back. There might be a loss of activities with their contemporaries, making them feel isolated and confined. If their journey includes dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory or cognitive loss of any kind, they may not understand what’s truly going on.
Coming from that perspective helped me to better understand my Dad’s disposition and make an effort to focus on laughter and helping him take part in those things he could still enjoy. Being surrounded by his family made him the happiest.
All in all, being on this side of the circle (yes, the older side, haha!) is one of the most rewarding parts of your family life, helping you to see your parents in a joyful new light, having your children as friends and allowing you to spoil your grandchildren. Actually, there’s no reason you can’t also spoil your parent at this time, I know mine certainly deserved it.
How do you or your family deal with this new aspect of life? Let us know in the comments, you may help someone else gain new perspective.
Here’s to a Happy Life! 🍻
Hmmmm – Laughing Yoga? Ok, let’s give it a shot, I tell MaryBeth. I’ll pick you up. She gets in the car and I start to laugh. Got to love it when you look like the Bobbsey twins and you really didn’t plan it! Turquoise shirt and black yoga pants – we were ready to go and already had our first laugh!
It was interesting and different. I guess there is a yogi who started this and there really was a lot of laughing and silliness. Had to look it up after class to find out more – Laughter Yoga (Hasyayoga) is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter, it is based on the belief that forced laughing leads to contagious laughter and that it has the same physiological and psychological benefits.
We totally get that – it does help your mental state. MaryBeth and I can start to laugh about something stupid and silly to the point of tears rolling down our faces. Usually it’s an inside joke that just keeps snowballing. You know the feeling, afterward, you think, that was really dumb. Funny but dumb.
For us, it’s more stress-reducing to go out with people we know and laugh; the sharing of stories we all know and embellish on, the good-natured teasing, and the unexpected snort while laughing that evokes even more hilarity.
The people in the class have been going every week were very nice and like it; we say “good for them”! We don’t have to like everything we try. We just have to try it!
Here’s to a happy life!
We often wish that our parents and grandparents had kept a written account of their childhood for future generations.
Day 9 1/2 – Write – Our 12 Days of Christmas are written to help you find serenity during this hectic holiday season. Keeping a diary is a wonderful way to not only reflect back on your day and express gratitude but to preserve your history for future generations.
Our advice would be to keep a separate piece of paper nearby if you feel the need to vent, then destroy it just as soon as you’re done. No need to save that for prosperity’s sake.
The journal should include names, whether they are a friend or a relative, dates and the experiences you shared.
We’d love to know how our childhood Christmases were different from our grandmothers.
I know that my parents grew up during the Great Depression so they usually received a hand-carved toy, rarely was it painted. On really good years they also received an orange. I don’t know if anyone came to visit, what they had for Christmas dinner, if Santa Claus was a fixture in their childhood.
Writing about everything you are grateful for helps improve your attitude.
Purchase a beautifully bound journal, have everyone in the family write a memory in it, add a few pictures, pass it down through the generations. Or start a private family blog where everyone can add their memories. Family members can read it anytime they like.
Documenting your family history is a truly a gift that keeps on giving.
It’s a time of holiday cheer and partying with those you hold near and dear, noise is all around us. As we head down the home stretch, take a little time to enjoy the silence.
Day 8 1/2 – Silence – Silence is a gift we rarely get to enjoy at any time of the year. During the holidays, finding time for a little silence seems crucial.
Silence gives us an opportunity to unwind, to de-stress. Turning off the TV, stereo and phone, blocking out outside noise is a blessing we should all give to ourselves.
When my children were younger we would gather in the living room with only the lights of the Christmas tree on, find a comfortable place to sit or lay down, relax and contemplate.
Being silent doesn’t actually have to be meditation, it can be prayer, reflection, or simply breathing. Practicing yoga in silence is lovely.
Sitting in silence, holding the hand of a loved one is not only soothing but healing. It creates a strong bond between you. It transmits the energy of love.
One of our favorite ways to sit in silence is around a campfire, the crackle of the fire keeps us aware, the dancing flames keep our eyes focused but relaxed. The smell of the campfire can conjure up old memories, the warmth calms us.
There is a full moon on Christmas Day, if it’s not too chilly, try sitting outside in silence, bathed in its light.
Try silence if you can, for us it brings a more individualized meaning to peace on earth.
Today is the last Saturday before Christmas to shop. It’s going to be crazy out there. We’ll keep it short and simple today so you can get on with it. 😉
Day 7 1/2 – Random Acts of Kindness – whether it’s holding the door open for someone or allowing the over-burdened person in line behind you to go first, acts of kindness will brighten your day just as much as it will theirs.
Giving a stranger one of your smiles may be all it takes to improve their day, adding a compliment would be icing on the cake.
Researching this blog we came across this site – RAKing. We haven’t printed the cards as they suggest yet but we are practicing what they preach.
The world is an uncertain place. Kindness makes it feel safer. Anita Rodrick said “The end result of kindness is that it draws people to you.” and “If I can’t do something for the public good, then what the hell am I doing?” Both of these quotes say it all.
Isn’t this what Santa is all about? Giving, otherwise defined as kindness?
This holiday season spread kindness as far as you can. Please share with us your acts of kindness. We welcome new ways to practice RAKing.