Tis the Season

So it is the time of year when the days are getting shorter and shorter, its getting darker when we go to and come home from work.  Pretty depressing right!

But, luckily, we have many reasons to celebrate in this dark time.  I think that we as cultures intentionally at some point in our history, put celebrations right at this point in time to have something great to balance out the darkness.

So Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa?  What are you celebrating?  What are your traditions?  How do the holidays help you practice being grateful?

One of my favorite traditions is baking povitica, a Russian bread, that we make at the holiday time.  The smell is wonderful, and waking up early to eat a warm slice on a cold morning is a great memory that we renew every year.

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Singing for Fun!

We went Christmas Caroling this weekend, and a weird thing happened that I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

We were at this house singing Jingle Bells, and we finished and the lady said it was nice, but could we sing a Christmas Carol instead. She was quietly asking to hear a song about Jesus.  So we met her needs.

But, for me, the idea of giving to others, seeing their needs and helping them out fits beautifully in the celebration.  The Jesus story, Santa, trees, lights, it’s all Christmas.  It’s about sharing, generosity,  love, joy, family, friends, mystery, and impossibilities.

But, it was really fun, the weather was perfect, and we had a fantastic group of singers.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

First World Problems

I have a friend who often uses the phrase First World Problems.  I think he is right.  So often, we think we have a real problem, when in reality this is nothing and could not be more insignificant.
Example, this morning, I arrived at work early and the elevator was locked in the parking garage.  I had to walk all the way to the front entrance to get in.  Sometimes things like that can piss us off, but in reality we can just as easily be grateful that we have  a job, that there was a door open, that we could go get a cup of coffee instead, there are so many options.

 

Did you have a first world problem today?  How does perspective help you be more grateful?

Honestly?

Exposing the real you, being vulnerable, honesty…

I found this song today, that talks about the freedom of exposing yourself to a friend and having them love you.  Love the actual you, without the masks we wear to hide ourselves.

I have a few friends that I feel loved enough to let down my walls, my guard, my mask, my protection and to just be me.  To just be.

When I became a parent, I struggled with feeling so alone.  Wanting everyone else to think I had everything together and not letting them know about the things I was struggling with.  Since then, I’ve learned how valuable friends are and if you let people inside your life, they encourage you, love you, and help you succeed.

When have you let someone know YOU?  How did it work out?

Making Someone’s Day

This week, my daughter REALLY wanted a sandwich to take with her on a field trip.  But, not just any sandwich, a pizza sub from subway.  With pepperoni, cheddar cheese, on flat-bread and toasted.  And chips.  She had $20 she received for her birthday.  She would pay for it herself.

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She called me in tears because she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to have it, since noone was there to take her to the store.  But, super parent to the rescue, I picked up her sandwich and chips and her day was made.

She also has her first email account, and the first email she ever sent said…”thanks a lot. love you. thanks for the sandwhich. 😛  :)”

Best Parent Evah!

My New Necklace

Today, my daughter gave me a necklace she had made with pony beads.  She had used every color she had to make the necklace.  She had worked diligently and tied it together.  I was preaching the sermon today at church and she insisted I wear it, since she had wanted me to have a nice necklace to wear.  lol.

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I am glad that she is giving and thinking about others.  I’m also glad that the bead colors she has did not clash with my outfit.  😀
  Sometimes accepting a gift graciously is also a form of generosity.

Happiness

This week a friend sent me a video of a TED talk on positive psychology.  The part that I loved talked about happiness.

According to the video, there are three main components of happiness.

First, there is positivity.  This describes the happiness that you get when you eat a piece of chocolate, or receive a thoughtful gift, or hear a funny joke.  This type of happiness unfortunately is difficult to maintain.  After several pieces of chocolate, the happiness dissipates to nothing.

Secondly, there is focus.  We don’t even think of this as happiness usually.  This is when you are completely engaged in an activity, like a game of chess, or solving a problem at work, or playing a musical instrument.  In reality, you are so in the moment you don’t seem to be feeling that many emotions at all.

Finally, there is meaning.  When you are living a life that is meaningful, when you feel like the actions you are doing are helping others, that can be a type of happiness.

And what they discovered is that the people who rated themselves the most happy had all three aspects in their life.  But, those who only had one aspect were the happiest when it was a meaningful life.

For me, this resonates.  My happiest times in my life have been when I am engaged, visiting people in nursing homes, working with youth groups, involved in my church, and having healthy relationships with others.  When my life is slow, I find a project that will allow my hours of focus and planning, because it’s more important to my wellbeing than doing things that are pleasurable.

What about you?  If you could do something pleasurable or something that takes intense focus or something for someone else or for the good of the world, which would you prefer?  Why?

Here is a link to the site and the video.

http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology.html