R E S P E C T

Yesterday was “Pink Shirt Day”, and so I am inspired to write about something that I strongly feel is a key in fighting, not just bullying, but also ignorance; racism; and other phobias that modern society faces.

I support the Anti-Bullying Campaign wholeheartedly. But let me suggest that this year’s motto of Being Kind is not just a one day thing, but a life-long, everyday way to live.

From my perspective, there seems to be a lot of “it’s all about me” (and if it’s not about me then why should I care) mentality, in recent times.

I strongly feel that if we encourage, teach and live with Respect, (as defined in the dictionary: valuing other people & property; consideration; thoughtfulness; courtesy and politeness), we could have a huge positive impact on all of these problems!

But “bullying” doesn’t just happen to children or youths, and no matter who you are it is unfair…

Have you ever used your position at work as a superior to force someone a lesser position to do something that was not their responsibility or hinted of a reprimand if they failed to comply? Have you ever been disrespectful to a server, store clerk, or bus driver, just because you are having a stressful day? (Were they not quick enough? Did they make a mistake?) Have you ever been rude or needlessly dismissive to a child just because he/she was bothering you?

I am embarrassed to admit it, but I have occasionally treated someone like their feelings just didn’t matter to me. But I have also taken the time, when the situation has allowed, to go back and apologize for my bad behavior at these times. Although I am aware that apologizing does not fully mend the feelings that I have offended, it is at least it is an acknowledgment that at that point in time I was wrong. I also continue to make intentional daily effort to be respectful despite my mood or circumstance, and usually manage to succeed in this area.

Imagine people feeling good about the way people have treated them and in turn treating others fairly & politely. As an added bonus people would begin to feel good about their selves too, which would escalate into more caring about others; more people caring about them; and so it continues to grow!

If we can learn to respect not only ourselves, but other people too, there will be less needless hatred, hurt and shaming.

So to end this blog I want to encourage you to #BeKindAlways

 

 

 

What is HAPPY anyway?

Are you happy yet?

I think that we all want to be happy. Don’t you? I just wonder about how we define “happiness”.

I know that not every day is wonderful, but if I decided today that I was unhappy I would begin to desire it; I might even focus so much attention on the need to be happy that I would overlook all the good things are happening right now. This would most likely lead me to making myself miserable in my desire for what I assumed I didn’t have. This would be a terrible mistake – and would waste today’s precious joys because in my mind I decided that they weren’t enough for me.

Sometimes happiness is more like contentment, I think. Sometimes it should be more about being in the moment and really living the day rather than letting it pass by in the endless pursuit of a better one. Some days are amazingly wonderful (the kind that overwhelms us with excitement & bliss), but they are few and far between, (which is why they are so special). But if they became the usual day that happened most often, would they not also lose their particular kind of special and become just another day? What would happen to our perception of happiness then?

Maybe happiness isn’t as elusive as we might think. We woke up today, so we are breathing – this is cause for joy. The sun is always shining, even on cloudy days it has made an appearance somewhere and this pleases me to think about. Knowing that my family loves me makes my heart feel good. Aren’t the simple pleasures that come to us almost daily, (a good tasting meal; a flower blooming; a bird singing; payday; a hug; a kiss from your dog; a smile from a stranger), are these not all a cause for happiness?

So I am encouraging you to please stop trying so hard to find your happiness and realize that you can be happy, right now, because you already have it inside of you – Let your happiness come out and play today!

New Years Every Day

It’s December 31st again, and I’m sure a lot of us have already planned what we want the New Years to be…”better than last year”, is a common theme. Even if the last year wasn’t too bad we always hope for new and better.

I’m also sure that most of us have spent some time planning our resolutions for the New Year… I want to get healthier; skinnier; find a better job; make more money; save more money; spend more time with family; drink less; quit smoking; go on more vacations, or that one dream vacation;… and the list of possibilities is endless.

I just want to say that every day can be New Years Day! Each and every day of the year/your life is a gift – it is a clean slate every time you wake up – and each day is what you make it to be!

So instead of all these lofty resolutions, that so often we can’t live up to (followed by our own discouragement and self-punishment that eventually lead us to give up on our plans; our hopes; the new year in its entirety) let’s live each day with renewal of energy and dreams.

Leave your mistakes and shortcomings in the past, take only the lessons you learned into your future. Leave regrets behind, as you cannot change what you did or didn’t do yesterday. Never let fear stop you from trying again.

My only goal this year is to “do better today than I did yesterday.” To help this along I plan to wake up every day with this thought:

Today is the first day of the rest of my life, how can I do my best in it?

Good luck to all your News Years plans, but remember to keep your resolutions simple and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t “fix” everything on January 1st.

Happy New Years to You!

To the laughter we will miss.

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As I reflect on the tragic passing of a man who brought joy to the lives of millions, possibly billions worldwide, I am reminded of how fragile we, as people, really are.

Imagine being able to make people laugh in almost any circumstance, or at almost anything; imagine being so effortlessly able to make people feel at ease that they are not daunted by your immense stardom. Then imagine the greatness of these gifts being intertwined with the hidden story of a man that fought loneliness and depression for years. This is the same man that struggled multiple times with substance abuse but could somehow translate this sadness in such a way as to make it entertaining for the rest of us.

As I think of this, I am drawn to wonder… did he know how much he was appreciated by all of us that needed his spontaneous gift of humour to make our lives a little less serious and stressful; did he know how much we cared? And the more irresistible question, at least in my mind, is would it have made a difference in his if he did?

Why is it that we often wait until people are passed on to compliment them; share our feelings about them; or just to honor them, their lives and their special talents? Maybe it is because we often don’t realize how important they are to us until they are gone  – whatever the reason is – Could we make even one person’s life better with a little praise face to face, a pat on the back, or a simple hug?

So my point today is twofold:

  1. My thoughts and prayers go out to the personal friends and family that are mourning the death of a one-of-a-kind talent and real person (father; husband; friend), in this time of sorrow.
  2. Don’t wait to share your true feelings, appreciation and caring with someone until it is too late to tell them… it might have the power to change their life, (but even if it has only the limited effect of brightening but a single day for them, it will certainly have the ability to remove a future regret from yours.)

***

 May you rest in peace Robin, you will be missed!

Thank you for years of laughter!

 “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”

~ Robin Williams (World’s Greatest Dad)
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change this world.”

~ Robin Williams (Dead Poets Society)

 

The Cross I Wear

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I see that in recent years it has become quite fashionable to wear a cross as a piece of jewelry, or even as a theme (I have noticed many entire outfits with several crosses printed all over). I like to see the cross “in fashion” as I have been wearing one myself for many years and will continue to do so even after the fad is gone. But I often wonder if the people that are wearing them have any reason to do so other than it being the latest trend?

The longer I wear my cross around my neck the more personal meaning and comfort I find in it. So as I have begun to reflect on my own little cross these thoughts have drawn me closer and closer to the comfort it brings me.

My cross is rather large (I usually like to keep my bling rather understated), it’s about an inch and a half long but not heavy or bulky. I was not looking for a cross (or any other jewelry) the day I saw it in a display and immediately fell in love with the delicately carved filigree and the thinness of its design. It is silver because I do not fancy gold, nor could I afford one this lovely if it was made of gold or platinum. I have been endearingly referred to by my family as a “wallet friendly” person, (which sounds so much nicer than cheap), so when I peered at the back to see the ticket it filled my heart with joy to see $12.99 and right then I knew I had to have it! I brought it home and frantically searched through my jewelry box for a chain to put it on, when I found my old silver chain I did not hesitate to remove the bangle hanging from it and add my new cross. I do not ever take it off and have no use for any other necklaces; chains or pearls, no matter what my outfit may be. It hangs about 2 inches below my collar bone and is just as appropriate with a party dress as it is perfect with a t-shirt.

I often find myself holding it and gently rubbing its surface between my fingers and have noticed that although it is very beautiful to look at it has a much rougher and bumpy feel. It was then that I noticed the similarities that this little piece of metal holds to the message of my Saviour, the One my cross represents… He is the most beautiful and loving gift that any Father could ever give to anyone, but at the same time His life and especially His death, although for glorious outcome, was not glamorous nor could His death be described as anything other than a tortured and humbled way to die!

I also mentioned that it was thin and not a weighty piece, and so over years of wear it has become more concave and formed to the chest bone that it rests upon. In a manner of speaking it hugs me just as someone who cares for me and loves me would always be there with a ready hug and/or guidance if I ever needed. It is never a heavy burden to wear, just as the One it represents is never a burden to me or something to be ashamed of!

It happens to be silver and so was the blood money for His life. Although it is made from a precious metal it was not expensive to buy, and since my Saviour is precious to me I am often amazed at the gift He gave to me – it, like all gifts should be, was totally and completely free! Mercy and grace are far more valuable than any expensive object made or owned by any human on this earth! The fact that it cost me little means that it could have belonged to anyone and this is also true of Him – He died for everyone, (and anyone that calls upon His name can be saved)!

I referred to my cross as lovely and I can think of no better way to describe Jesus than perfect love! (Jesus loves everyone even if He doesn’t love everything we do – and as an exclamation point at the end of His love for us – He was not only willing, but literally did give up His life for mine; for yours; for everyone. So that I would not lose my life, He sacrificed His for me!

I have been wearing it ever since that day I brought it home and sometimes wonder what I would do if it ever broke or got lost, but then I remember that I never need to worry about my God giving up on me; He won’t change His mind and has promised never to leave me!

I often find myself gently rubbing my cross between my fingers when I am worried; when I pray; when I am just thankful to God; and when I am reflecting on my Saviour; and the longer I wear it the deeper meanings I find in it and the more I am grateful for all The Cross has done for me!

Happy Easter everyone!

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And to those of you with faith: He is risen!

To rest of you: If you are looking… Jesus’ forgiveness is just a prayer away… find a “Christian” church (Baptist; Mennonite; or whatever you are comfortable with,) in your area or online that can help you find peace for your soul; joy for your spirit and hope in life everlasting. Remember that with God on your side you will never be alone!

 

 

Just for Today

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It’s the beginning of March and for most of us our New Year’s Resolutions are stalling by now, with the anticipation of the new beginnings now wearing on our hopes. It is because of this waning resolve, because of our daily trials and self-doubts that I write this article to offer encouragement to anyone that needs to be reminded that every one of us struggles at different times with reasons to continue trying; to carry on; and to keep fighting for our dreams, whatever they may be.

Some of us may be struggling with a mountain of debt and financial/job worries; while others are fighting to fulfill a desire in our hearts; and others may just be trying to find our purpose in life. There may be some of us dealing with health issues, weight loss problems and fitness goals; while others may be dealing with loss; depression or loneliness. There are so many issues that often come up in life that I cannot think of one person that has never had to deal with at least one of them, (for some of us it may even be several at a time). I know this list is far from inclusive, but whatever you are currently fighting probably seems like the worst trial ever because you are in the middle of it now.

I have heard several clichés for these types of struggles, and often I flinch when well-meaning people recite them to me during my times of turmoil. (We have all heard them… everything from “keep your chin up”, to “never give up”. For those of us with a belief in God  there are many more than even these, and although I never doubt these Biblical verses and quotes, they can get difficult to hear repeatedly when I am in the midst of one of life’s storms.) Then there is the added annoyance of all the generic advice and pre-packaged formulas on how to fix the problem.

I’m sure that most of us have heard of “S M A R T” goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (for those of you who have not), but I am equally sure that some of us have difficulty following through with that concept from beginning to realization. Having said that, I do think that there is value in having an end goal and then breaking it down into manageable, orderly steps. But that does not make it any easier to stand at the bottom of a mountain and maintain confidence in one’s ability to reach its summit. And this is where the problems for many of us lie…

I have often even heard it thought of as laziness or poor planning and for those of us who suffer from lack of “follow through” we can be our own worst enemies. We get down on ourselves, our abilities and tend to think that things will never change, so we often just give up.

A better approach (for me at least) is to cut myself some slack. I cannot change what I did or didn’t do last year, yesterday or even a minute ago so I am not going to spend this moment or any of the next punishing myself for my own feelings of failure. My aim is to work on just this day; just right now and let the past and future take care of themselves. There is some value in my knowing the bit-size pieces that I must take in order to reach the end goal, but I can’t do them all at once, so I want to focus on just one – the one I need to do now.

If I only get one thing done today I will still be one step closer to my goal than if I spend my time wallowing in my failures instead. So for today, right now, I will attempt to do just this one thing, and although it might take me longer than some to conquer my mountain, I am confident that I will get there too!

As I sign off I remember one of my favorite sayings (not because it’s a particularly happy thought, but because it rings so true):

“Anything worth having (or doing) is never easy in the getting, but that is usually what makes it worth it.”

So whatever you are going through I wish you luck, and the fortitude to find your own way through whatever it is.

A Little Christmas Spirit Anyone?

I must say that my heart is breaking more this year than any other year that I have seen…

In years not so long past I have packed the family into our van and driven around the city singing Christmas carols while we stared at all the pretty Christmas lights, but this year there are blocks and blocks of houses without so much as a single string of lights. (It used to be that even apartment buildings had lights on almost every balcony but now they are just dark, cold cement towers in the skyline.)

This year I have been bombarded with all kinds of retail advertising telling me to selfish; and how much I deserve something special for Christmas, and worst of all how I should get it for myself because of all the hard work I am doing. Btw…the hard work is called life. (It is our responsibility as people to care for others, not just at this time of year, but especially and more so at Christmas!)

I have been to the busy shopping centers and endured the line ups trying to find that perfect little something that will light up the face of someone I care for. I have stopped at my favorite coffee shop; grocery store; bank; and even greeted my regular bus driver, but not once this season has anyone wished me a “Merry Christmas”? (Are we not supposed to be even friendlier at this time of year? Is the joy of this season not supposed to remind us to care; to share; and to be happy in doing just that?)

Here it is 10 days before Christmas and I just want to stand in the middle of a crowd and yell, “Merry Christmas,” at the top of my lungs! “And while I have your attention, can I just remind you all that this holiday is about love! It’s not about buying the latest and greatest and most expensive things, (things which will be obsolete by next year anyway…but that’s for another story about consumerism…lol). The Christmas season is not about spending until you drop and worrying about how you are going to pay for January’s bills; it’s not another excuse to buy a new outfit and stylishly go to all the parties – it is about spending time with family and friends to share memories of the past, while making new ones that will carry you through the times when life gets in the way of enjoying these pleasures”.

Turn on your radio and listen to the words of the old familiar Christmas carols…hear the meaning; watch an old classic Christmas movie or cartoon and remember when you were a child…even I, who didn’t have much of a family life, looked forward to the Christmas holidays. (We never got spoiled, actually my family was never on the leading edge of technology or fashion trends but we were a family, if only for that one brief time of the year!) I even remember the playful smile on my father’s face when we opened our brand new game system, only to find out that our parents had been playing it every night after we went to bed for that last month. I miss dinners at my grandparent’s house, even though they always wrapped all the presents at once and then forgot which package was who’s when they went to label them. I have tried to share these values with my kids… we decorated cookies and made funky ornaments for the tree and yes, even as adults, we still sing Christmas carols! These are the special things and happy times that I want to share with my new little grandson, but I am scared that in a few more years no one will remember any of the holiday cheer and traditions that have been part of Christmases past since our parents and their parents were young.

So to all of you, no matter what your background or religion, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and may your New Years be full of Joy, Peace and Love!

Life’s not fair (but it’s not all bad either)

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In my soul I feel compelled to write on this topic and pray that it will encourage someone today.

I have no idea why things happen in this life… I cannot say why life can sometimes do a complete 360 in the blink of an eye, but I can say with sureness of heart that all these trials can be good for us if we chose to think beyond the problem. I once heard a saying that went something like “Problems are merely possibilities waiting to be discovered.”

Now this is where the challenge lies! Sometimes it’s so hard not to focus on all the negatives: Why me? Why him/her? What do I do now that I can’t do ____? Who am I if I am not (your career; your spouse’s mate; mother/father; son/daughter; ____ )?

Whatever your challenge, whatever it has changed in your life, or the lives of those close to you…these are the things you need to forget about because there is no place for the pity and depression that comes from focusing on them. Remember that your circumstances and/or trials do not define the person you are…your inner self is who you are, (meaning how you think, how you feel, how you love, what you do with your free time and resources, and so on). Nothing that changes in the world around you has the power to change who you really are unless you let it. And this point bears repeating: Your abilities may even change but you are still you (unique and special and you)!

If your life has changed due to some tragedy the only thing to do is move on… This is the part that takes commitment because it requires that you focus your attention on what you can do and enjoying every part of those things. Be thankful for what you have and persevere through the bumps, mountains and mole hills in this life with dedication and hopefulness. Perhaps the storm you are navigating is temporary, but perhaps things will never be the same again…what then? Do you throw away the rest of your life because mentally you can’t get past the fact that it has changed? (I truly hope not.)

I would also encourage you not to waste your precious time trying to figure out how this problem came to be, (depending on the problem you may most likely never know), and even if you do figure it out it is not going to change the present. Life changes all the time, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, the best we can do is do what we can do and always look for ways to find joy; peace and love.

I can say all these things because I believe them! I have experienced tragedy and personal misfortune and the only thing that has gotten me through all these things is my outlook. Sometimes I fail in my ability to retain peace and hope but never love or faith. My trust in my God keeps me strong and from worrying about all the things that I cannot (and never could control). I get nudges from loved ones when I get on the wrong track and immediately attempt to rectify my thought patterns. Again, I stress the point is that this is not always easy, but it is always worth the effort. (And just as worthy is realizing that I was never really in control of most of the things that I thought I was in control of anyway…the length of mine or anyone’s  life; the choices my children make; and many more similar things that cannot be controlled by any person throughout history.) We are what we are and we can only do what we can do – the rest is up to powers beyond our control and there is freedom in letting go of the control we never really had.

I know someone dear to me who is struggling so hard to be the person she used to be that she is overlooking the things she still is (loved; helpful; mother; wife; friend; mobile; creative; faithful; trustworthy, etc.). I don’t know if she will ever be the same as she was, and I am almost positive that she will never hold the same professional positions that she fought so hard to attain in her life, (as she has suffered a form of brain injury during an accident), but I am sure that she can adapt and enjoy the new life she has when she lets go of the past! I do not pretend to know to what extent she will be able to function or if she will ever work again, but she is very hard on herself for all the things she can’t do, often with little regard for the things she can. (With further adjustments and adapting to new ways of doing things, who knows how far she will take this new life and what she will accomplish in it.)

We all seem to struggle to some degree with change because it is unknown, uncomfortable and sometimes scary, but no matter what the issue I/you face, we can get through if we look for reasons to continue. The young mother trying to complete school to better her life and her child’s; the single mother whose husband inexplicably fell out of love; the devoted husband who suddenly lost his wife to disease; the father and provider who lost the security of a job he has had for years due to recent cut backs… none of these things matter as much as finding the reasons to look forward with hope for good things and/or better times and a genuine appreciation for what you still are; can do; and still have!

Because of my most recent health related misfortune I am planning to start a new career, new hobbies and adventures and am excited to be planning them. Something I probably would have never gotten around to if I hadn’t been stopped in my tracks – so there is always a silver lining to every cloud! And I think that at least in my case, this was the point: I needed to stop what I was doing because I wasn’t doing the things that really should have been doing or even the things that were important to me personally.  I made excuses for why all those other things (job included) were so much more urgent than even my own family, and kept saying that eventually I would get around to the things that were more meaningful and fulfilling but not what I considered tangible priorities.

Whether or not you have a faith, you might simply be needing to make a life change and everything that’s going wrong might be leading you in that direction until you have no choice but to listen and switch directions.  You might consider it coincidence, or just plain unfair, it does not matter… the best advice I can give you is to: live simply, live purposely joyful and I wish you well no matter where you are or what you face this day.

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Thank you Father God that Your word confirms “that if You bring me to it, You will see me through it.”

A New Year – An Improving Me

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Well here it is a new year, and I haven’t written anything in just over a month…not for a lack of ideas but because of lack of inspiration. Now before you question the difference, let me explain my take on this dilemma: I have ideas all the time, but sometimes lack the words to adequately explain them without sounding like I am telling you how it is or should be, and I never want this little blog to sound like I am forcing my opinions on anyone.

Finally, I got inspired to be honest with you about my thoughts and plans for myself, in this brand new year and beyond.

There are many things that bother me about people’s behaviours. (All people but not all the time, just every now and then, we all can do these things and I definitely include myself when I say, “all people”.) And so I write not to complain about others but to draw my attention to what I consider to be my own shortcomings, and my resolution to put my best attempt into making efforts to change the things that I don’t like about myself.

1)      Be my word…

It has always bothered me when anyone says something just to satisfy the other person without meaning what they have said. As far as I can tell we are only as good as our word, but often people will say things just to end a conversation that they don’t want, or with good intent on doing something but then never following through (whether it be an offer of help or a promise to not repeat a behaviour that they have apologized for and then shortly after disregarded). I don’t want to be a person who says all the right things at the right times and then forgets about the conversation as soon as it is over. I want to know that if I make a promise I am going to make my best effort to keep it, (or at least, have a seriously good reason as to why I let that one slide)! When I apologize I want it to be sincere, whether I meant to cause the offense or not is not the issue. (A sincere apology includes an honest and real attempt not to commit the same infraction again, and that is what I strive to do not just for today but forever.)

If we continually never follow through with our word, people will eventually stop believing anything we say. Conversely, if we live up to our word 99% of the time we will be more likely to receive acceptance and or forgiveness the 1% we mess up or let someone down.

So I guess in summing this topic up, that it is important as I am trying to be true to my word that I take time to consider my words before I say them, so as not to say something in the heat of a moment that I will regret later; or make promise, threat or statement that I know I will never carry out.

2)      Be the example I want to be…

It has often perplexed me that we can say to someone else to be one way (do or don’t do something) but we can do the exact opposite of what we are saying. Somehow, we justify this behaviour with the statement: “Do what I say and not what I do.” I never understood this logic that seems to make hypocrisy as normal as breathing. (Parents often say this to their children, not realizing that the main way children learn is by example, and so if you say something to them a hundred times while continuing to do what you don’t want them to do, they are eventually more than likely going to imitate your unwanted behaviour.)

Even as adults we are influenced greatly by our environment, which includes the people closest to us, so we should (as a race with conscious and feeling) want to bring out the best in those around us, and thereby example the best we can be for them!

In closing, I need to remember that I cannot control what other people do; think, or say…but I can control my own behaviour, thoughts and words. My choice is to not let circumstances dictate who I am, or how I behave. My goal for this coming year is to be the kind of caring and committed wife; mother; sister; friend and co-worker that I would be honoured to have in my life.

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(As a Christian, I personally gain a lot of direction and instruction from the Bible.) So for the purpose of aiming to be a better person, here are a couple of thoughts that give me strength and offer me hope. My aim is to reflect these attributes:

 ~ In His life on earth, Jesus was compassionate, loving and forgiving to all while still living truth and this is a model I am always striving to emulate with my life here on earth.

~ We are asked to do everything as if we are doing it for the Lord, Himself… and in my perception the Lord deserves nothing but the best I have, so if I do something it is worth me putting 100% effort into, no matter what or when. (This includes following through on commitments that I make.)

Thank you for listening to my journey of growth and change, (as time goes on I am sure there will be more I learn about myself). And if any of this benefits you in any way, then I am more than grateful to have been given the opportunity to share these feelings with you.

Reflections

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I cannot explain fully the emotions running through me last night…

Picture a peaceful evening in the living room in front of the fire, my husband and I decorating our Christmas tree while Christmas music plays in the background. My youngest son, now 20, joined us only to fall asleep and nap on the couch beside us.

The lights on the tree are twinkling now, and I wish for the days when my children were young and at home with us every holiday. As we hang up handmade bobbles one by one, I remember how happy they were as we made the holidays special together. We decorated, shopped, drove around the city looking at pretty coloured lights and singing Christmas carols, and on Christmas Eve we prayed together in church.

I remember being able to fix all their problems by holding them tight and kissing them better. They were so innocent, so easy to make happy and so mine to protect, (and I did to the best of my ability). Now they are grown, making lives of their own, with their own mistakes and triumphs along the way (and all I can do is watch and hope that I did enough for them; taught them well enough to help them along their journey through life).

As tears of sadness mixed with tears of joy, I laughed and smiled with my husband as if he knew my thoughts and shared my feelings of longing to recapture years gone by. Time goes by so quickly and things that change are beyond our control. This year our oldest is spending Christmas in her new home 13 hours away, (my sister lives near her). My other son lives 4 hours away, (part by boat and part by land); his job will keep his visit short this year. And even as I think about it the time is coming near that I may have to share even the precious time we have with his girlfriend’s family, as I am sure one day they will be my in-laws.

I think again of Christmases not so long ago, with all our family gathered here, faces that we miss (both living and those no longer here on earth), the times of joy and laughter, and love beyond compare.  My littlest child, now fully grown, I see sleeping like an angel, all his cares and stresses washed away as he peacefully rests after a hard day. Someday soon he will take to life on his own, (though I do not know yet where his life will lead him, I am optimistic that he will be okay as he makes choices and deals with life’s ups and downs, as do we all).

I can no longer keep them close, nor protect them, the only aid I can offer is to pray for what is best, and hope that they remember as fondly as I the times we used to share!

The tree is complete, we now sit together admiring our handiwork and anxiously await the coming of Christmas Day. My husband and I, together and happy to be so in love; I am sure that even when we are old and grey we will sit on our couch together, one wonderful evening in December and admire the decorations, as we wait for the holiday to start (and perhaps the patter of grandchildren come to visit us)!

Written with love… to all those I hold near and dear in my heart forever!