A New Year, a new you

Throughout the year, amidst the myriad of challenges, we anticipate the winter holidays, and then before we know it, they’re over, leaving us to marvel at where the time went.  And with a whoosh, in rushes the new year.  We determine to make resolutions; promises to ourselves.  Be a better person.  To love others more deeply.  Work harder.  Learn a new skill which you have been itching to do your whole life.  Lose weight.  Work out more, or even to begin a exercise regiment.  We seek ways for self-improvement.  Some we wind up sticking with while others are quickly tossed to the side.

Gazing into a mirror, we try to summarize the events of the recent past.  What we did wrong.  What we did right.  Those we may have inadvertently offended.  Those we may have encouraged along the way.  We are filled with hopes and fears of what the new year may throw at us; either a raining down of blessings or a crashing head-long into heartache.

Nobody, we understand, can accurately see into the future, though there are a few that insist they can.  If it were possible to project ourselves to December 31, 2015, what would we encounter?  Would we discover a life that had been more fruitful, or one that was awash with pain?

I, for one, do not wish to see what the future holds for me, for we know that our lives are filled with hope-filled moments and shattered dreams, triumphs and disappointments.  What type of person you are determines how well you deal with these issues, when life turns itself upside down.  It’s easy to be joyful and happy when life is at it’s best, but when life bombards you with painful moments when we least expect them, it is almost impossible to keep smiling through the tears.

I believe we need to embrace the beauty that surrounds us.  We need to forgive others for the wounds they have caused us.  Not only does forgiveness fill us with peace of mind, it protects our sanity as well.  And holding grudges is bad for your health, or so I’ve read.  It is cancer to your soul.

So in this coming new year, I implore you to take time to enjoy the little things in life we often take for granted:  watching the sun rise, hiking through a blooming meadow bursting with color, to immerse yourself in a good book, drink a glass of fine wine, bask in the warmth of a sunny July day, or just spending quality time with those you hold dearest.

Don’t lose sleep over the things we can’t change, or worry about things that will most likely not happen.  I am guilty of that myself.  Give up bad habits and embrace healthier ones.  Even small changes like going for a daily walk can do wonders for the body, not to mention the soul.

Here’s wishing you all, my friends, a very healthy, safe, and joy-filled New Year.  In addition, may it be filled with good memories, an abundance of love, and peace; and may sorrows be subtracted.  Blessings.

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Everyone’s Back Home Once Again.

Have you ever had a loved one go away for a few months?  Have you ever known the fear of:  what if they never come back?  What would your life be like?  How would you go on with your life as usual?  My son was gone for four months and it wasn’t easy.  I eased the pain by not focusing on it.  I eased the pain by writing letters to him, or hearing his voice on the phone, or chatting on Facebook.  It lessened the loneliness; sure.  But all the letters, calls, and chats did nothing to completely erase the ache in a mother’s heart of not having her family complete.

And forget about the holidays.  Thanksgiving wasn’t all that much fun.  Yes, I still had much to be thankful for, but the day didn’t have the same feel to it that it normally did.  There was someone missing from the table.  Missing them so badly in fact that we didn’t even sit at a table for dinner but in the living room, watching t.v. to bide our time.  Bide our time until we saw him again.  My younger son.

Now, we are a complete family unit once again.  And this is one happy mama.  To be able to hug him, and talk to  him face to face again, to see him, to hear his voice and his laughter.  It is a blessing to behold.  And then it reminds me of all those out there in the world that do not have that opportunity to hug their loved ones.  Those who won’t be home for the holiday, or ever again.  That’s what frightens me.  How would I deal with that if that ever happened to me?  To my family?

I truly cannot fathom that emotion since I’ve never been through it.  And quite honestly I never want to have to go through that ordeal.  To those who have had that baptism by fire, I am truly sorry for your loss.  I can never fully grasp the grief and heartache that you must live with each and every day.  May you find peace.  May you find comfort.  My prayers go with you.

Happy Holidays

Well here it is, another Christmas is soon upon us. This year it will definitely be harder to celebrate due to my father-in-law’s death in July.  We would spend it with him and now it will just be the four of us here.  It will be sad as there will be one less setting at the table. But then again, with everything that has been happening lately, there are many households around the nation that will be feeling the same sorrow.  But that is not what I want to write about. There is enough heartache to go around lately.  I want to bring some holiday cheer, or at least try.

This is the festive time of year to enjoy time with loved ones.  It should not be about finding the ‘perfect’ gift because, let’s face it, there is no such thing.  Instead of making yourself anxious by fighting the crowds in the stores, the obnoxious snarls of traffic on the road, and the constant exhausting running around trying to do everything, just take some time to s-l-o-w down.  Please.  For the good of your family and for the good (and sanity) of yourself.

We don’t exchange gifts in my house any longer, and as a family we are good with that.  It might sound clichéd but I am happier just to spend time with my family, loving them and seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter.  I revel in it.  Life is so precious and, sadly many times, painfully short. Love those family members who are around you.  Stop focusing on what you are getting and instead do some giving:  of your time.

Some family members you only see around the holidays.  For some families it’s a time of warmth and blessing, and for others a living hell.  I can’t even begin to understand how some families can’t seem to get along, but I know that it happens. That’s so sad.  To struggle with forgiveness at this time of year must be incredibly hard to bear.  I pray that these families can find the strength to reconcile, to finally have peace in their lives and in their homes.

So come on, blast those old favorite Christmas carols, and belt them out as loud as you can.  My favorite has always been Nat King Cole.  He had a spectacular voice.  So calming, I think.  Have some eggnog, sans the rum if driving, please.  Be safe out there, dear friends.  Go to Christmas Eve service if you so choose.  Gather with other who worship the way that you do.  Always more awe-inspiring to share those precious times with like-minded people.  Exchange gifts.  Be thankful for each one,  even if it’s not the ‘perfect’ gift that you were expecting.  Have a wonderful hearty meal and save room for dessert.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, whichever you prefer.  God bless you and protect you during this season.  May your hearts be light.  May your wishes and dreams all come true.  May love surround you and wrap you snugly.  May peace reign.  And,  if you are needing to or needing it, may forgiveness be given or found this precious season.