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Monday’s Random Thought December 27, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 10:48 pm
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I live next door to a Jehoviah Witness Meeting Hall and they don’t believe in celebrating holidays because they believe every day should be celebrated. Although I am not at all close to being a Jehoviah I like that rational but only for a short time. Taking out time to celebrate special days: birthdays, National Holidays, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, St. Paddy’s Day gets us out of the ordinary routine and reminds us to pause and celebrate, honor and be grateful. I do like however the idea of making ordinary days special and celebrating whenever possible.  Maybe I should start a new religion….IrishWitness.

by J.G. McGlothern


My Favorite Things December 24, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 3:08 pm

Every other Christmas we load up the kids, the dog, stuff the car and  head to the other side of the state.  On the other side of the mountains one can pretty much be guaranteed a White Christmas.

Here we are this year, with my husband’s side of the family, surrounded by horses, acres and acres of snow, and laughter, so much laughter.

Our Christmas over here is different than the every other year at home.  Each celebration offers tradition and it’s own joys – each different, each treasured memories shared.

The year we stay home is filled with Christmas Eve mass, singing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus, my mom’s manger pie, my side of the family.

I appreciate taking a year off from one side of my family’s traditions to experience the other.  My kids get to experience both.  Christmas with formality, Jesus, tradition and Christmas with walks in the snow, rides on snow mobiles and horse back, ping pong competitions, movies and lots of just hanging out with one another on the ranch.

I couldn’t pick one over the other.  Both together now make up the way we “do” Christmas – both with family – both with joy.

One year it’s fudge and Bushmill’s with coffee, the next lebkuchen and mulled wine.  A sit down meal in the city and buffet style in the country – both with mouth watering food, both over stuffed with deliciousness.  Next year we will dress up and head to church, this year we dress in layers and head out to feed the horses and play in the snow.  Neither way better than the other, both honoring the Christmas Spirit, both celebrating with family and embracing the season with wonder and joy.

One year isn’t my favorite over the other – both have my favored parts, both balance out the other, both bring out the possibility of hope – the wonder of love and the magical celebration of Christmas.

by J.G. McGlothern


Monday’s Random Thought December 20, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 9:46 pm
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What gift will you give to yourself this Christmas season? And I’m not talking about the kind you wrap. I’m not suggesting going shopping.  Instead what gift can you give yourself permission for this year?  Is it time to sit, time to do nothing, forgiving yourself that one thing or perhaps letting go of doing something that you think “should” be done and giving yourself the gift of…..letting go, just being, allowing yourself to say no to other stuff and yes to yourself.  Radical thought, I know.

by J.G. McGlothern


Sing Loud December 19, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 10:58 pm
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In the movie Elf, actor Will Ferrell tells us in his character role as Buddy the Elf, The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is to sing loud for all to hear.

In a few hours my family will be doing just that. In our new family tradition, tonight for the second year in a row we will gather with friends and do just as Buddy suggests, Sing loud for all to hear.  Dressed in Santa hats and reindeer antlers we will hit the streets and carol in the hood. It is true what Buddy the Elf says, it is impossible to be in a glum mood when you sing Christmas songs.  I’m not in a glum mood but others can be for I am fully aware that the holidays can be hard for many – uncomfortable feelings resurface, bad memories emerging.  Until I had children, Christmas was not my favorite.  Bad Christmases past needed to be put away for good and new traditions celebrated.

What would happen for those who don’t love the season if like Buddy they ate lots of sugar, sang loudly and smiled? Would the little annoyances vanish with any sadness?

All you can do is Deck the Halls, Jingle those Bells and Hark like an Angel to find out.  For it’s the little moments, the sounds and smells of the season, the small wonders that can bring out Buddy the Elf in all of us.  And singing loudly is pretty much a guarantee to scarring those bad memories back under the stairs and making room for a bit of cheer.

 by J.G. McGlothern


Santa Baby December 17, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 1:52 am
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I had my panties all in a bundle over Santa Claus earlier this month.

At the age of 4, my 11 year old sister set me straight about Santa and although I have forgiven her – the scar is deep, and the pain resurfaces every December.

Not for the reason you’d think either.  For I now know that Santa is real in the heart of the believer  — but where I get stuck is “doing it right” for my two children.

I asked a group of mom friends about the rules: 1) Do I have to get the exact thing they ask for? 2) If one kid gets the exact item asked for in their Santa Letter does it matter if I don’t for the other?

You are over thinking Santa, my wise friend lovingly told me.

That was spot on and got my panties in order again.  You can’t over think joy – you can’t plan happiness.  Just like you can’t plan disappointment.

I put a lot of energy into wanting to do it “right” for my kids so they wouldn’t have the same disappointment I experienced.  I vividly remember friends’ parents asking me to “lie” and “pretend” I didn’t know about Santa, because their children still believed.  The weight of that responsibility left a whole in my gut.  Then back at school after Christmas vacation when the dreaded question came, What did you get from Santa?, I “pretended” the gifts from my mom and grandparents were from Santa and the fib made my skin itch.

I am fully aware my children will have their own story of their bubble being burst but I need to let go of doing it “right” because the only “right” way is with my heart. And as my 9 year old daughter recently said, One man can’t deliver to the whole world in one night, that’s why Santa is a Spirit, mama.

Ah, yes the Spirit of Christmas. New beginnings, faith in the unknown, little joys, awareness of light and since all of that is too much for one Christmas stocking, it can spill over into other parts of the season in other gestures of love in other moments of grace without plotting and planning and definitely without over thinking.

by J.G. McGlothern


Oh! Christmas Tree December 15, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 10:49 pm
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Every year I try and talk my husband out of getting a Christmas tree. This year I used the strong argument that we would be out of town for a week and when that didn’t work I tried to persuade him into getting a small live one for a change. You know the kind in a pot that you can bring outside when you’re done with the holidays, then next year bring it in to the house again.

I say, It’s dead, we are killing a tree to hang ornaments on it for a few weeks.

He says, They plant Christmas trees for the this very purpose and nothing smells better than a fresh tree.

Then I say, I can buy you a pine scented air-freshner, I can even get the one in a shape of a tree. And besides I am the one who hangs all the lights and decorations, then has to take it all down.

He shoots right back, You yelled at me the last time I tried to string the lights on the tree and said it was your job ‘cause I do it all wrong.

This year hubby and kids brought home a tree while I stayed home and made a pot of soup.

It’s perfect. It took a jiffy to string the lights.

But wanna know the best part?  The kids’ joy opening up the boxes of ornaments.  The delight in seeing what lay beneath the tissue paper.  Their excitement, purely contagious.

Still wish we didn’t get a tree?, My hubby whispers in my ear as I hang another angel next to a photo ornament of our daughter’s first Christmas.

Like every year, I‘m speechless.

You forget the joy sometimes and just remember the fallen pine needles, the time it takes to take it all down.  Then you watch your children rush to turn the lights on every morning and take on the responsibility of watering it and you can’t help but love the Christmas tree in your living room. The small symbol of joy.  The cut down dead thing that makes the family slow down for a minute and read Christmas books next to it and reminds you to sip your tea slowly and sit a minute.  The dead tree that brings so much joy.

Oh, I hate it when my husband is right.

by J.G. McGlothern


Monday’s Random Thought December 13, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 11:15 pm
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You are your best teacher, our yoga instructor informed us this morning. We are here to guide you, make sure you are safe, but ultimately you are your best teacher. That of course got me thinking….

And I believe the best teachers, listen.

So listen to the wise whisper in your soul.  Hear the wisdom of your heart.  Trust your own teaching.

by J.G. McGlothern