holidays

Finding Authentic Joy Amidst Chaos

“Joy to the World!” Every song on the radio, department store window, advertisement on television, and passerby on the street seem to be proclaiming “ ‘tis the season to be jolly!”

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Trick or Treat

In honor of Halloween this month....

My daughter is at the age where she LOVES Halloween...so much so that she was insisting on going to the Halloween Super Store (or HSS for short) in town last week (Yes, a full month early) to shop for her costume. Any later, and we run the very significant risk of them running out of all of the good costumes. So, off we go. If you haven't ever been to one of these super creepy, and a little disturbing, Halloween Mega Marts you should go one time in your life. I don't love 'em myself and Halloween's never been my favorite holiday (I'm much more of a turkey/Santa kind of girl) but it is an experience. And like any experience, I believe there's always a lesson or two to be learned. Here's what I got from this most recent adventure:

1. Just because there are lots of options, it doesn't mean they are all good choices. In the HSS, there is an overwhelming number of things to pick from. Scary, gory, funny, cute...you name it, they've got it. Fortunately for the mother of a 7 year old, most of the kids stuff is grouped at the front of the store so we didn't have to venture too far back and we were pretty quickly able to find a satisfactory costume. In life, we're often faced with a variety of options, some of which may just not be the right one for us. Being able to weigh the pros and cons of a decision is an important skill. Taking the time to think through what makes the most sense at the present moment then accepting our ability to decide helps to ensure, as much as possible, that the decision we're making is the best one.

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An Attitude of Gratitude

In lieu of the upcoming holidays, I felt compelled to blog about what it means to be thankful and furthermore, how to develop an attitude of gratitude. By now, you have probably heard the countdowns begin: 5 days until Halloween, 30 days until Thanksgiving and 59 days until Christmas. When hearing those numbers, it is easy for us to feel these days approaching quickly and often times, we feel stressed and crunched for time. With the Thanksgiving countdown, we are faced with planning a meal or organizing a family get together, while Christmas involves decorating our house, shopping for gifts, and many other special traditions. Even though these countdowns may prove helpful to some, I have recently found them to be more anxiety provoking, than useful to my life.

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Balance Is The Key
During the holiday season, we can often be pulled in two opposite directions, which causes inner conflict and stress even among the calmest and optimistic people. This past week, for example, has been a time of both being thankful and of wanting more- for less! 
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Simplify the Holidays

Simplify the Holidays

Contributed by Wendy Carlton

The holiday season is officially in full swing. While these months full of holiday spirit can be merry and bright, the holidays can be stressful and overwhelming. There are checklists of things to do and places to see -- light displays, Santa, Elf on the Shelf, and cookie swaps. Sometimes these “helpful resources” can feel like a frequent reminder of all of the things that you aren’t doing for your children and family. Every year gets a little busier, and possibly a little Pinterest-ier...

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