72. Surviving Christmas

Just like the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  For me, anyway, it seems like December is just a little bit better than every other month.   There’s something about Christmastime that makes everything better.  That being said, December is also filled with stress for most people.  All the gifts you are expected to purchase, and extra holiday food you consume, which leads to credit card bills you have to pay, and weight you have to lose.  We find ourselves doing things we wouldn’t otherwise do, like having dinner with lots of friends or relatives, and trying to survive the whole ordeal.  It is a test of our inner strength, surviving uncle Joe’s political commentary, and grandpa’ s racist jokes.  Or whatever your situation, there is always a friend or relative you can count on to keep things interesting at your holiday get-together.

One of my favorite people, author and life coach, Martha Beck, came up with a way to not only survive your holiday dinner, but have fun with it.  She came up with a bingo game that you play with your friends, either out in the open, or on the down low.  You and your friend or friends, print off a blank bingo card, and fill it in with things you expect to happen over the holidays.  You know, like your friend Rachel brings her famously hated trifle for dessert.  Or, your daughter talks about something you did to her twelve years ago.  Whatever it is, you know what will likely happen, because it happens every year.  You and your friend play together, and whoever gets bingo first wins.  You take your own personal bingo card to your holiday dinner or party, and whenever something on your card happens, you cross it off.  So, when you usually would cringe at what your aunt Sue just said, you are now excited because that means you are one step closer to bingo!  What do you win?  Maybe the loser takes the winner out to dinner?  You and your friend decide.

So, if you want a little help to make it through this holiday season, try Martha’s bingo,  and maybe a few prayers wouldn’t hurt.  Try to ignore all the stupid things you are bound to hear, and see at your dinners and parties this year.  Just make a mental note for next years bingo card, and try not to roll your eyes too hard, you might hurt yourself!

Busted...repeatedly...DUH!

 

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71. The Magic Of Christmastime

The world is a much more magical place than we often realize.  Fairies, angels, energy, etc…  It’s all there, all the time.  That’s right, I believe in fairies.  Even the flowers in your garden are filled with magic.  One woman recorded her flowers, and the music they somehow produced!  Maybe the music is always there, within our flowers, but we don’t think it’s possible, so we don’t listen to them??  Once you catch a glimpse of the magic, everyday life will change for you.  Suddenly, the worlds problems of politics, and wars, and crime, etc, won’t interest you as much.  There is so much more to life than what the current President just tweeted, and what’s the latest news on E! 

The magic of the world during the Christmas season is just a little bit more noticeable than in other times of the year.  There is something about December, people are maybe a little nicer.  The air is a little crisper.  Things are just different in December.  Of course, it can be a bad time of year for those who have lost family.  For many reasons, many people are much more easily depressed at this time of the year.  So, if you are not one of those people, you should go out of your way to help others this time of the year.  Maybe you could donate your time or your money to a local charity.  Do something to share the magic of the season.

Expect to see and experience magic, and you will.  Your life is supposed to be filled with magic, each and every day.  It’s not a thing of the past, that only existed back in the times of alchemists, and when Christ was born.  It is a thing that exists today.  We seem to have just forgotten how it works, or that it’s possible.  Like the way the pyramids were built.  This knowledge seems to have been lost over time.  Magic, and the belief in magic has been lost over time.

Magic is not just things appearing out of nowhere. It’s not getting other people to do what you want.  Magic is what happens when you connect with the magic of the world.  Magic is me going to Wal-Mart and running into only kind and happy people.  Finding not only a penny, but finding $50 on the ground, at my feet.  Magic is getting to the movie theater late, and finding the perfect accessible seat just waiting for me to fill it.  Going to a concert, and running very late, but making all the lights, and getting to my seat three minutes before the concert starts. Things just work out for you.  Magic is having someone come to your house and cut your hair when you can’t get out to the salon to have it done (thanks Greg)  That’s magic.

So, believe in the magic of Christmas,  but not just at Christmas time, the whole year through.  Share the magic whenever and wherever you can.

 

 

 

 

70. Have Fun!

Whatever is going on in your life, don’t forget to have fun!  Fun is really what it’s all about.  Well, not totally, but I believe it’s meant to be a big part of your life.  Somehow fun gets lost in the midst of all the learning we do in school, and in the midst of the myriad of rules we learn to follow as we grow up.  What better time of the year to have fun than in this time of so many holidays, in December.  I’m sure there are more, but here are just a few of the days that are celebrated in December:

  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Christmas Day (Christian)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
  • Kwanzaa (African American)
  • Omisoka (Japanese)
  • Yule (Pagan)
  • Saturnalia (Pagan

Everything in life should be as fun as possible.  Yes, everything!  I may not love having to go to the dentist or the doctors office, but I do love seeing my dentist and doctors.  I mean, checking in with them, to say hi for the year, and talk with them a little.  I make it fun, by rewarding myself for going with a trip to Starbucks, and maybe to a restaurant on the way home.  I guess that started when I was a kid.  If I went to the dentist for a check up and had a good report of no cavities, I got to go pick out something small I wanted at the store.  Usually, that would be a new outfit for my Barbie doll.  To have no cavities at my dentist was rare.  I found out years later that the first two dentists in my life were not the most reliably honest practitioners.  But, I do remember getting quite a few Barbie outfits, so maybe the rules of getting a present were not all that strict.

Everything should be fun, including work.  I mean, sometimes work is just work, but if you love what you do, then the bits you aren’t fond of will not be so bad.

Just because you don’t feel well, doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun.  Your idea of what’s fun might change, it might change drastically, but you can still have fun.  I think it’s fun to go to Wal-Mart now, something I only did out of necessity in years past.  I can have fun just sitting inside my house in my chaise, covered up and warm in the winter time, listening to Christmas music playing through my new Echo Dot, and working on my blog with the help of my eyegaze computer system (thanks Team Gleason).  A new thing I’ve discovered that is fun, is my Echo Dot.  I may never get everything figured out that it does, but I am having fun trying.

I have a friend who seems to have more fun the older she gets.  She has so much energy,  the fun never slows down for her!  I have an aunt and uncle who seem to have more than their fair share of fun, traveling every few months to some sunny destination!  They are doing things the way they were meant to be done, finding fun whenever and wherever possible.

Having fun makes your life less stressful.  You don’t worry as much about the troubles of the world when you are busy having fun.  It’s not that you don’t care, but you don’t worry.  Life seems just a little bit, or a lot, better when you are having fun.

What does this weeks video have to do with this blog post?  Nothing.  I just love the new album by John Prine.  Music is fun for me.  I inherited a love for it, and maybe even a little talent.  Find what makes your life fun, and enjoy it everyday!

52. It’s All About The Journey

Life is all about the journey.  Every time.  In every situation.  Whatever you are doing, the path to get there is always more important than the getting there.  What happens on your way is always more fun than the destination.  Or,  at least it should be.

I love,  love, love Christmas!  It is by far my favorite holiday.  I start the gift buying, usually in the summer.  Just one gift here and there,  whenever I run across something someone would really like.  I start decorating early.  Soon after Halloween,  I get out a few Christmas decorations.  I totally skip Thanksgiving.  I mean,  we celebrate Thanksgiving,  but aside from a family dinner and putting up a fall wreath,  I move right onto Christmas.  I really enjoy anything and everything about Christmas.  The music,  the decorations,  shopping for gifts, baking special Christmas cookies,  etc..  I used to love going to church on Christmas Eve (it’s hard for me to go out in winter now), because I loved the Christmas hymns.  I mean, I loved the whole evening, getting to see friends,  and hearing the message of Christmas,  but I especially loved the music.  However, when it’s the middle of December, the closer Christmas actually gets,  the more I want to slow it down,  because I know it will all be over in one short day.   It’s the journey that I enjoy so much,  not Christmas Day.

When you watch a movie or a television program,  it’s the figuring out of the who-dun-it that you enjoy,  not the actual answer to the mystery.   When you go on vacation,  you should enjoy the entire trip,  not just the beach,  or the museum,  or the restaurant,  or the tour you took,  but the entire trip.

So,  if you’re not enjoying yourself yet,  you should probably start really soon.  You can’t wait until you retire to start enjoying life,  or wait until you get the job you want,  or the house you want.  If you are sick, you shouldn’t even wait until you are feeling better to enjoy your life.  Start right now.   Slow down, and notice life.  Pay attention.  It’s easy to get so caught up in the busyness that is your life that you forget to have any fun.   I must admit that I used to be like that.  Married, with two young children and working forty hours a week at a job with a round trip commute of 90 minutes every day,  I was always on the go, and never slowed down enough to even think about what I was doing,  let alone enjoy myself.  Well,  I’m sure that’s not totally true.  But, looking back, life was a bit of a labyrinth that I seemed to go through without a lot of thought or reflection.  Until ALS entered into my life, and brought it to a screeching halt.  At least at first.  A serious illness has a way of bringing life to a stopping point,  whether you are ready for it or not.  It somehow makes you stop and pay attention to everything a little,  or a lot,  more.  Actually any sort of tragedy,  not just an illness, has a way of making you stop whatever you are doing and pay attention to life.

So,  try not to wait for a tragedy or illness,  stop and pay attention to life before something forces you to.  When I was a kid,  I lived in a haunted house.  That’s not that big of a deal,  it just meant that my great-grandfather who used to live there,  still either lived there,  or visited often.  But,  what that led to was a lot of talk amongst my parents about things like,  did you see that light just go off when we drove into the driveway?  And,  conversations about odd things that happened.  I didn’t really understand any of it,  but I came up with my own theory that if I believed in ghosts,  one would not find the need to prove their existence by showing up in my room late one night.  So,  if I didn’t want to see a ghost,  all I had to do was believe in them.  I didn’t realize at the time,  that the older gentleman who I saw standing at the end of my bed all the time,  checking in on me,  could have been called a ghost,  but that’s another story.

Maybe a similar approach to health and avoiding tragedy would work.  Don’t wait for bad health or tragedy to strike,  don’t wait to be forced to slow down and take a break.  Enjoy today.  Stop and smell those roses!  Really, just enjoy the journey!  That is what it’s ALL about.  If you aren’t having a good time in your life,  you are doing it wrong.  No worries though!  Just change it up!  Change whatever you need to,  to enjoy yourself.  Start anytime.  If you make a change and that doesn’t work out for you,  try,  try again.

Slip slidin’ away,  slip slidin’ away

You know the nearer your destination 

The more you’re slip slidin’ away 

These lyrics from a song by Paul Simon remind me to enjoy the journey of life.  It’s easy to get caught up in your destination,  whatever that may be, health, or the perfect job,  or a certain amount of money,  whatever your goal.  It’s easy to let your quest take over.  Before you know it, it has become all about the destination and you have forgotten about the journey.  Life is all about the journey.  We have to remember that.  Don’t wait to live your life after you accomplish the goal.  Don’t wait to be happy after you get better.  Don’t let life slide away from you, enjoy every slippery minute!  

31. He Who Must Not Be Named

 

Words are powerful.   We have to make sure we give power to the right words in our life.  If you know anything about the Harry Potter book and movie series, you may know that there is a wizard who other witches and wizards are so fearful of, that they won’t even speak his name.  Harry Potter is often scolded by his teachers for daring to utter the name, Voldemort.  They fear the power held by the name when spoken aloud.  Harry is always quick to point out that he isn’t afraid to say his name.  Harry believes that by not saying the name Voldemort, they are giving Voldemort even more power.

I think Harry was spot on.  Too many times have I felt the fear cast by the words, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (say that fast,  ten times),  or ALS.   It is referred to as one of the worst diagnoses you can receive.  One of the worst diseases you can have.  Hearing ALS referred to in this way, over and over again gives the name a power over you that it should not have.   

I, like Harry Potter, think that people give way too much power to the name of a disease. Think of Cancer, for instance.  When you find out that someone you know has been diagnosed with it, upon hearing the word, Cancer, don’t you immediately get a sick feeling in your heart, or maybe the pit of your stomach?  That is the power and the fear held by the word, Cancer.  Power that would be much better off placed elsewhere.  Power and energy you could be using to get over, or through, your illness.  Don’t give your illness or disease any more power than it deserves.  Don’t be afraid of the name and all that the name entails.  You will be ahead to actually forget about whatever it is that you’re dealing with (as much as safety possible) ,  and just go on with your life as normally as you possibly can.  

Any negative word can hold a type of power over us.  These words can make us feel doomed,  like we have no chance of success.  If you believe you will fail at something before you even attempt it,  chances are you will fail.   But,  if negative words can hold power,  so can positive words.  If you believe that you will achieve your goal,  just believing it will go a long way in making it happen.  Pay attention to the words and the stories that are running through your mind,  often non-stop.  Are they positive messages of health and happiness,  or are you constantly worried about test results and thinking of the aches and pains you have?  Maybe not just the stories in your mind,  but the stories and the words you use to tell others about your life.  When someone asks how you are,  what is your first response?  Do you tell them about how bad you feel,  or about whatever bad thing just happened to you?  Or,  do you talk about the good things that recently happened in your life?  

Is your glass half empty,  or half full?  Some days it may be hard enough just to find your glass,  I know,  been there,  done that.  But,  try not spend too much time focusing on the negative.  Try to give more power to the positives in your life.  It really can make a huge difference.   Make every story floating through your mind,  one that you would be willing to put in your yearly Christmas newsletter.  You know,  those often funny and maybe annoying letters people like to add into their Christmas cards to let you know how great their lives and their families lives are going.  You rarely read anything negative in those letters.  Somehow the people in those letters never have anything bad happen in an entire year!  So, go for it!  Focus on the positive,  and just skip over anything bad that happened.  Give power to the positive words and stories of your life!  Try to make every day a Christmas newsletter day! 

28. Believe

Believe.  A popular sentiment this time of year.  I do,  Believe.  I believe in the magic of the Christmas 🎄 season.  I believe all year long.  I know that the world is a much more magical place than we give it credit for being.  The magic of The Universe is always there,  if you just believe.

There is a book called Fairy Faith In Celtic Countries,  that talks about the belief in magical creatures like Fairies and Elves,  in Celtic countries.  The stories were gathered by the author who went around the country side at the end of the 19th century,  talking to older citizens of small towns.  He heard stories of things,  magical things that happened to these people,  or to their parents or grandparents.  Back when people believed in the magic of the world.  I read it years ago.  It’s a wonderful book, if you want some proof that magical things just might be real.

I know a person who Believes so strongly, that miracles happen in his life on a daily basis!  Big miracles.  Miracles,  like someone showing up and offering their services to care for him,  a person who has ALS,  when he  had no idea where he was going to find the help he needed.  Then,  another person came into his life,  to care for him.  Oh,  and I might mention that his body is healing itself.  I don’t mean the scrape on his knee is healing itself ,  I mean he can hold his head up after years of not being able to do that due to ALS.  He can take a breath on his own after years on a ventilator!  Really huge miracles!  Miracles are happening so bigly (that’s a word now,  right?) in his life,  he is writing a book about it.  I can’t wait to read it!

Miracles are right there just waiting for you to believe in  them,  so they can appear before your eyes.  There’s even a book written called,  A Course in Miracles.  It’s what I would call,  a very “woo – woo”,  deep sort of book.  Maybe not for the beginner who is not so sure about miracles.  On the other hand,  Pam Grout ( who,  if you read my blog, you know  I love , love) wrote a series of books called E-SquaredE-Cubed,  and Thank and Grow Rich,  all about the miracles that are just waiting for you.  All with easy to do experiments that allow the Universe to prove to you that it’s there and just waiting  for you to Believe.

If you have seen the movie, City Slickers,  you might remember how Curly talked about the secret of the Universe being just one thing.  Well,  I think that secret is simply to Believe.  To believe that absolutely anything is not only possible,  but probable.  Believe in ,  Matthew 21:22 – “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”.   I think it is the ancient secret of Alchemists,  and how the Egyptians built the pyramids,  and how everything that seems impossible is somehow possible.  Okay,  I’m guessing the Egyptians had a few other tools other just belief,  but you get what I mean,  right?  Somewhere along the road between the time when Egyptians built the pyramids, and Alchemists were walking the streets of every town,  we lost that magic.  But,  every Christmas season we are reminded that magic and miracles exist.  We are reminded that miracles happen on a daily basis.  I am reminded that every day that I wake up is a miracle for me,  because many doctors  (not mine),  believe that people don’t live for years and years with ALS.  Much of the time,  that is true.  But, I believed it didn’t have to be true, and Believing is a big part of making it so.

My wish,  is that everyone who reads this, will try to hold onto some of that Christmas spirit, the magic of Christmas, and let it extend past Christmas time and into the New Year. Greet each new day with the same excitement,  hope,  and Belief,  that you feel during this time of year,  all year through!

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