It’s t-minus two weeks until the big day, which means, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the pace of most of our already hectic lives is approaching warp speed. Schedules packed, to-do lists long and growing, rest and patience harder to come by than daylight during your evening commute. Good news: you can still boost your immunity against holiday overwhelm. It’s a simple procedure. Just take in the good. That’s it. No matter the level of holiday hyperactivity around you, simply notice the good. Early and often, for about 30 seconds each time. This inoculation against holiday overwhelm costs nothing and the people around you don’t even have to buy into it – or even know you’re doing it – for it to be effective. (Bonus: they’re likely to benefit from your good-seeking, whether they’re aware of it or not.) Stuck in the express lane at the grocery behind someone. . . .Read more . . .
I took a walk in the neighborhood where I grew up last weekend. You’d think I’d walk there more often, since it’s right next to where I live now, but it had been years since I toured the old stomping grounds. I was struck by how much smaller everything seemed. Except for the hills. I was blown away by their enormity. Hills I flew to the top of on my Stingray bike as a kid were suddenly big enough to make my quads scream in pain. The houses, though? And the yards? Definitely smaller. And exactly when did all those vegetable gardens start popping up in all those tiny little yards, anyway? They sure weren’t there when I was a kid. Of course, the gardens are all fallow this time of year, littered with dying leaves and the remains of Halloween pumpkins. Bare. Quiet. Still. The bike-riding kid version of. . . .Read more . . .
A month from now, it’ll all be over. Today’s the day I can’t not hear my dad’s personal holiday litany, in his voice, inside my head. With variations – two months, two weeks, a week – it was as much a part of my holidays as trimming the tree and wrapping gifts. It’s not that he was a Scrooge-like Grinch. Quite the opposite. He LOVED the holidays. Especially the choosing and giving of gifts. I grew up hearing about how, when my brothers (12 and 14 years older than me) were little, he and my mom finished Christmas shopping together before Thanksgiving because my dad’s work schedule was so hectic in December. As the branch manager of the local post office, his Decembers were a blur of long lines of usually stressed-out and sometimes downright nasty customers from the time he unlocked the door in the morning until way after. . . .Read more . . .
Feeling wiped out by the holiday frenzy already? It’s just getting started. Holiday commercials since Halloween, crowds raging and carols blasting in every store, schedules becoming more packed every day – no wonder we’re feeling the crunch. It doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, if you cooked, visited, traveled, or shopped yesterday on Thanksgiving, it makes sense that you’re tired. But that doesn’t mean you’re destined to constantly feel frazzled and exhausted for the next 40 days, from now until the first of the year. Begin to create a holiday season of more comfort and joy – and way less stress – by resting a bit today. And reflecting on the fact that it doesn’t *have* to be a nonstop season of overdoing, overeating and overspending. As a church musician, I’ve long been familiar with the joke about the seven words of church management: that’s the way we’ve always. . . .Read more . . .
A joke went around social media recently about how the temperature went from 90 to 55 like it saw a state trooper. It made me laugh, back when if still felt like late summer. A week into running the heater daily and noticing the sun set earlier and earlier, I’m no longer chuckling. Autumn. Not a huge fan. Fall colors? Yeah, they’re nice. That magical feeling when you can go outside without being suffocated by stifling, humid air or being bundled up as if en route to the South Pole? Love all 15 minutes of it. The inevitable weeks and weeks of darkness and cold? Nope. I accept that change is inevitable, but I doubt that I’ll ever celebrate the cold and darkness of fall and winter. No matter how much I whine, though, there hasn’t been a single instance where my complaining stopped the darkness from getting longer until that glorious. . . .Read more . . .