Have You Been Good This Year?
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Reblogged: This post speaks to everything I am feeling today and I couldn’t have said it any better.
Peace and love to the families.
Today we grieve, as we have done so many times in the past and only hope we don’t have to encounter again in future. Today we mourn loss, we beg for answers, we cry from the depths of our hearts in the face of tragedy. We hold our babies and hug our friends and kneel to pray.
In the moment after our initial reaction to senseless violence there is a vital step we take. Two paths wait there for us as individuals and as a community.
Down one path we react. We allow anger and fear to rise above all other voices and we choose to hole ourselves up in our homes, away from the world, disconnected from our neighbors and we call it safety. In reaction we ask for more guns, more security, more decisions made in fear and scarcity of hope. We decide on this path that…
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Not a typical 14-year-old boy. Not typical Western problems.
Not letting a lack of education or a language gap stop him, William Kamkwamba, faced with poverty and famine, searched for a solution and found one.
A 22-year-old William shares his story. Enjoy.
Which scenario do you prefer?
I know, some of you are saying that you can’t have scenario 2 without putting up with at least some of scenario 1. And I agree, but it’s a matter of perspective. In order to obtain, value, treasure, in fact, even notice scenario 2, you need to be aware of it.
Some people get so caught up in the first scenario. They stress about every detail and then realize that they didn’t enjoy the festivities.
Keep the children in your lives in mind as you prep for the holidays. Who are you going through all these motions for anyway?
Be mindful of your mood when children are present.
Be mindful of the traditions you want to build with them, and make sure you make time to do them, with them.
Be mindful of their enthusiasm and don’t dismiss them because “you aren’t feeling up to dealing with that right now”.
Get down on the floor with them as they sit and look up at the tree and admire all the ornaments.
Get out their favourite holiday books and read them over and over again.
Get out your grandmother’s cookie recipe and let them help you mix, cut and decorate the cookies no matter how much of a mess it makes.
And maybe most importantly, get a good night’s sleep, each night, so you have the patience and stamina to see what they see because
before long, they won’t see it quite the same way and you’ll have missed it entirely.
Regardless of faith or religious conviction, it’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of the holidays and forget what the season is truly about.
Here are 5 ways to renew your faith in the spirit of the season:
There are many opportunities to lend a hand at this time of year. Food banks, toy drives, parades, local concerts, homeless shelters, church collections for needy families to name but a very few. But don’t let your volunteering stop on December 26th. Winter itself provides ample opportunities to flex your volunteer muscle. How about shovelling snow for seniors in your area? Volunteer with Meal-On-Wheels. Join with the local senior’s center and offer your services to drive seniors to appointments. And of course food banks and soup kitchens need volunteers year-round.
2. Start A Drive
Hook up with a charity and host a local drive, be it for food, school supplies, medical supplies, clothing, diapers, what-ever. Get others to help you with collection, packaging and delivery to the charity head-quarters.
3. Donate Items
This is a great one for children. Ask your children to sort through the toys they no longer play with. Take the gently used ones to the nearest donation center. Have your child accompany you to the center and ask them to put the items in the box or give them to the person at the door. Your children will be proud that their toys will go to good homes and be loved by other children.
4. Opt to Give Gifts of Hope
Instead of buying Aunt Marge yet another scarf and Uncle Fred the usual wool socks, donate the money you would have used to purchase those items to a charity. Give Aunt Marge & Uncle Fred a card with a hand-written (or computer generated) note stating that on their behalf, you have given the gift of hope, and in some cases, the gift of life, to someone who needed it most.
5. Focus on Giving
As each of the other points demonstrate, giving of yourself, your time, your gently used items, and/or your money can all be great ways to keep and instill the reason for the season. And if and when you do exchange gifts, always remember that it is better to give than receive. Focus on the joy you get when you watch someone open the gift you have selected especially for them because you wanted to get them something, not because you had to get them something. And focus on the joy they get from receiving it.
Bringing Joy to the World, either close to home or far away, will bring joy to your world.
Before I introduce today’s Bright-Side of the Web, if you celebrate Hanukkah, I want to wish you peace and love and a very
In today’s Bright-Side, National Geographic photographer, Paul Nicklen, shares his awesome (literally, awesome) photographs and his adventures as a wildlife photographer in the arctic and antarctic.
If you can’t spare the time to watch the entire program, be sure to watch the first five minutes, although I’m sure you will have a hard time pulling yourself away.
Our polar ice is melting and something must be done. Paul Nicklen will show you why.
Share your comments on this video.
The winter holidays of “kiddom” * likely conjure up some of your best memories of childhood.
Gathering at the local toboggan hill, you lined up at the top, mounted your trusty sled and raced your buddy to the bottom both seeing if you could break the record for who would go the farthest and the fastest only to run back up and do it again. Or perhaps you both piled onto the same sled, rushing to get your feet in, legs wrapping around legs, pushing yourselves forward with knitted mittens caked with tiny damp snow balls, tumbling sideways off the toboggan as you neared the finish. You would both grab hold of the rope and scramble up the hill again, toboggan in tow.
Making snowmen at morning recess and hoping the big kids didn’t knock it down by lunchtime.
Writing letters to Santa, wondering if he’ll have time to reply and desperately hoping you’d been good enough all year to get your wish which you revealed in confidence to the big man himself.
Excursions to the tree farm to select the perfect specimen to grace your home for the holidays. One worthy enough for the home-made ornaments.
Rushing through dinner so you wouldn’t miss a minute of your favourite holiday classic.
And on Christmas eve, tuning into the radio to listen to the reports from the airforce on where they last spotted an unidentified object flying through the sky which every kid knew without a doubt or hesitation was Santa, then racing off to bed “uncharacteristically early”*.
In our house, as the Christmas cards arrived in the mail, my mother would tape them to the wall behind our dining room table. As the month passed, the collection grew. Bright and cheery images added to the holiday decor. Inevitably, there would be at least one pair of matching cards, sometimes two, and we would make a game out of trying to find the match.
On Saturday mornings, my father would get up early and drive my best friend and I to the local outdoor skating rink, often arriving at 7:00am. (at least that’s how I remember it). The place was vacant. We had the entire rink to ourselves. He would leave us to skate to our hearts content. Where he went, if he even went anywhere, I do not know and never considered until only a few years ago. All I knew was, we were alone, we always felt safe, and we were given the freedom to do what we loved. We would practice our twirls and try to add jumps and would race from one end to the other. My father would arrive to pick us up again just as the official public hours would begin and snack bar would open. We rode home with dreams of olympic glory in our futures; the next Dorothy Hamills.
When my children were small, I began the tradition of giving them one new ornament each year. As we decorated the tree as a family, just before the final one was hung, I would present them with that year’s ornament. My hope is that when the time comes for them to have a tree of their own, to decorate with a family of their own, that they will begin their new lives built on happy memories. Hanging among their shiny new ornaments will / that each ornament they unwrap from their past will recall a happy memory from their childhood days which they can use as a base from which to branch out.
What’s your happiest holiday childhood memory?
Enjoy this illustrated video featuring a recorded narration from 1929 of
A.A. Milne reading from “Winnie-the-Pooh”.