Regain the wonder: creating new traditions

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‘Tis the season once again. And this year, no doubt, many of our traditions will look different. As we navigate the pressures inherent with the holidays—amidst the added stressors of an ongoing pandemic—I’ve found it helpful for my own mental health to adopt a spirit of wonder and possibility that exists beyond the norm, or the “way it’s always been done.” For example, rather than rush through a harried month of December, my family created a new tradition: the Advent “tree.” This entails a small, makeshift tree onto which we clipped little notecards—dated from Day 1 to Day 24. Each morning, we read a chapter from the Gospel of Luke, and afterward we open the corresponding day’s card to view that day’s activity. Some activities include completing Christmas word puzzles, setting up our nativity scene, “attending” an online concert and baking loaves of bread to share with family and friends. A simple and sweet way to slow down, connect and reflect.

What’s your favorite tradition?

The end: starting over in 2021

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During this past year, I’ve brainstormed a lot: potential stories to explore with my writing, how I envision my future self, my goals in five, 10+ years, etc. Which has prompted me to take a deep dive at how I’ll use my time going forward into the new year. And when so much in our daily lives is out of our control, I can rest in the knowledge I’m free to choose how I’ll spend that time. One thing I’m excited about includes beginning 2021—and each consecutive day—traveling through the “Bucket List Journey by Annette.” On her website, Annette introduces readers to 365 days of soul-searching tools and inspirational activities to start living out our own bucket lists. While each of us possess a litany of commitments, we also get to choose possibilities. So, as humanity awaits the traditional ball drop at midnight on Dec. 31—preparing for a better year ahead—I invite you to do the same.

How will you start over in 2021?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The meaning of Christmas

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Christmas 2012

 

[Image credit: Beachinaball]

Christmas, for some, is just another day marking time on the calendar.  For others, the main focus is steeped in a religious celebration with its myriad traditions.  The word Christmas may denote hope, second chances, thankfulness, time with loved ones.  Or it may mean shopping malls, long lines, Santa Claus and all the other holiday trappings.  For me, Christmastime signifies several things.  It takes me to the end of another year of dreams dreamed — some fulfilled, more still hanging in the balance.  It reminds me of a halcyon time in my childhood that my mother was so much a part of yet absent the past four Christmases.  And there’s a hole in my heart that can only be filled with family and friends who reside further than I can drive in a day.  But I also look forward with expectation to what the New Year will bring.  And I’m grateful every day for the good news and the continued promise of Someday.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Discovering Easter in every day

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[Image credit: Jeroen van Oostrom]

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.
~ S.D. Gordon

For some, Easter is a religious holiday, dressing up in new finery.  For others, it means family gatherings and egg hunts, baskets brimming with chocolates and jelly beans, or an all-you-can-eat brunch after church.  In my home, it’s a little bit of everything.  For me, personally, it’s mostly about what S.D. Gordon talks about in the above quote: new life.  Every day we have the opportunity to celebrate this concept, because each morning that we’re afforded the rare opportunity to open our eyes to the risen sun, we have a chance to go after our chocolate-covered or caramel-coated dreams and be the person we were meant to be.  Yes, sometimes there’s a bad egg in the bunch.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate something as simple as the beauty of another new day to love and be loved — to make a difference in someone else’s life.  Let’s start by having a Happy Easter and go from there.

What is your most memorable Easter tradition?