Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Holiday Reflection Time

This time of year always brings out the glad and the sad at full face value. Not that the sadness is not present throughout the year, it’s never fully gone as a widow, but it is more subtle than during the holiday season. I choose to see the good in life and can push back the sadness that comes when I think about my late husband. During the holidays when there is a conscious direct acknowledgement of family, gratitude, precious time and life, gifts of grace, and joy, reflection is more direct than over the previous many months. Such deliberate consideration of life comes when my young daughter asks me to write down what I am thankful for, complete with justification. It comes when visiting the house of friends for Thanksgiving dinner and watching the interactions of couples and children. It comes with the time off from work and school and the ability to sleep in and have lazy mornings and time for pensive thought.

It is during such times that I am reminded of how grateful I really am for all that I have. It is also during these times that the underlying sadness of what is present consistently decides to rear its head directly and gives me pause. I have now been a widow through two holiday seasons, with young children that would be thriving with my late husband’s attention and love. We have lost much, especially when I think of potential future – what would my children’s personalities be like with Jim in the picture? What lessons are they missing out on that Jim would have given that I cannot? Will they be at a disadvantage compared to their peers because they didn’t have his attention, direction, and love? Will they grieve as they age and feel a gap in their lives?

The ultimate question becomes one of provision – that is, will I be able to give my children all they need to be successful, thriving people? With this mindset, the goal of helping my children do just that takes center stage and sadness once again gets its rightful place as a backdrop. The reminder that there is so much good in the world still overrides the sad card. The holiday months bring out a more direct attention to what is good and what is possible still – not what is lost, as much as what is to be celebrated. My late husband Jim is to be celebrated, the amazing new opportunities that have appeared in our lives are to be celebrated, and the excitement of what is to come is to be celebrated. During this time of year I am reminded of gifts to celebrate – gifts of people in my life, gifts in the form of reminders at the precise moment I need them, gifts in the form of grace, gifts in the form of Jesus coming to earth. And because of this final gift, we are guaranteed that we will see Jim again and that for now he is active and joyful in heaven.  I now understand that Jim wants me and our children to be happy on earth.  I did not know this last holiday season.  I do realize that this holiday season.  And that is a big cause for celebration for us all.

My 7-year old daughter's reminder that life is to be celebrated

My 7-year old daughter’s reminder that life is to be celebrated

Fancy Nancy Teaches Resilience?

Cover of "Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Chri...

Cover of Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

I read Fancy Nancy’s Christmas book to my daughter the other night.  The tragedy that occurs in the story is that the very fancy, sparkling, tree topper tumbled to the ground and broke into many small pieces.  Nancy was devastated! Shortly after this event, her grandfather arrives at the house and the site of the disaster and makes the comment “When life gives you eggs, make eggnog”.  After Nancy inquires what this means, the grandfather explains that when life gives you bad things, make the most out of them (my words, not the exact words of the character).  I reflected on what a simple, profound statement this one.

I next considered how children in general seem to bounce back from such stress quickly.  They are resilient beings by nature.  In the story, the next scene shows Nancy, her grandfather and her little sister making a new tree topper out of materials already in the house.  Nancy becomes excited because she is going to make a heirloom for the future.  The smashed fancy tree topper is already forgotten.  Nancy gets it: “Why stay stuck on the bad? Make your own future.  Concentrate on the good around you.” (again, my words, not the exact words of the character)

So, how do we lose this innate ability to bounce back quickly from sadness and stress?  I urge you during this season of joy, a season grabbed by children, to reflect on being a child, in all sense of the word.  Take the time to count your blessings and to make a heirloom from what you have.  Take the time to see the joy in the season and the joy around you.  Take the time to be resilient.  It is part of your being.  You may have forgotten how to be resilient, but it is there.  Pull it out and claim it as your own again.

My family’s story of resilience is about to be released in book form December 17thMiracles for Daddy: A Family’s Inspirational Fight against a Modern Medical Goliath tells the story of my husband’s illness and our struggle to gain footing again.  It is my family’s story of making eggnog from eggs.  It will inspire you to do the same.  To count your blessings and to see the good, the miracles, those that are present around us all the time.  Pre-order your copy today and save 20% (click on book image to the right).

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