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Out with the Old and in with the New December 31, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 11:44 pm
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The Christmas tree is on the curb, its needles already sucked up by the vacuum, and the snowman collection is carefully packed away. The stockings no longer hanging with care, but stored in a bin until next Christmas.

I am ready for the New Year.  I am not shutting out the past of 2011, not ignoring all it brought forth, just ready for what 2012 will bring. Open to possibility, anticipating with hope all that is to come.

Bring it.

by J.G. McGlothern


It Counts December 28, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 7:27 pm
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Yesterday in yoga class, the instructor echoed a thought that has been floating in my head recently. Particularly during Advent, the days leading up to Christmas.

It’s not the result that matters, but the effort that counts, she told us as we moved into the next pose.

For Advent, the four weeks before Christmas I wanted to meditate every day.

I feel so much better, guilt evaporated, knowing the efforts, my intention, that matter most. So I didn’t meditate every day. But the intention and effort were there. I paused in the car before getting out to breathe and meditate for a minute. I stopped and made consensus effort to be. I wasn’t on the couch meditating for twenty minutes every morning like my ambitious goal that’s for sure.  But I was aware of my intention and didn’t stop making efforts toward my desire.

As we close out one year and gently lead into the next, remember, it’s the effort that counts, so don’t stop reaching toward the next thing stirring in your heart.

by J.G. McGlothern


Monday’s Random Thought: All Wonderful December 26, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 7:27 pm
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My heart is still full from the previous days of celebrating with family and friends on this day after Christmas. It’s just after 11 AM, still in my new robe from my sister, my cheeks are damp. I have just watched It’s a Wonderful Life with my kids. They are 10 and 7 and have never seen the classic film. My daughter bailed out just before George and Mary Bailey started having children. My son stuck with it but played football behind the couch. But then just at the end, right before ZuZu’s petals show back up in George’s pocket, they both snuggled in with me. Just in time to hear the bell, when Clarence gets his wings.

Mom, this is the eighth time you have cried today, they informed me. Yesterday my tears passed the number eight right during the last scene of the film Secretariat, when all of us, hubby too, were snuggled on the couch. Tears flowed yesterday all over happy moments, moments that filled my heart to overflowing.

James Stewart’s portrayal of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, is my reminder of how we all touch each other, how vital we are to others.  The people who rub us the wrong way and challenge us are just as important as those who make us smile and warm our hearts.

Whose life will you impact today on this Monday after Christmas? Who will touch your heart and bless your life today?

It’s all wonderful, it’s all good this life. I’m almost speechless, but as the tears flow, there are two words I can say, loud and clear, Thank You.

by J.G. McGlothern


The Twelfth Day December 25, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 11:17 pm
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Adorned in our converse tennis shoes, Santa hats, carrying our umbrellas my little family and I trekked around the corner to deliver gift number 12 to our unsuspecting neighbors.

Six years ago we were the receivers of the 12 days of Christmas, (https://heartwriter.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/faith-in-santa-tradition-part-i-by-j-g-mcglothern/). Every day starting on the 14th of December we received front porch surprises. One gift the first day, two the second and so on until Christmas Day, the 12th day. The following year we surprised a family two streets away and this year we chose friends who live around the corner and who have two teenagers.

On the first day of Christmas at 6 AM I snuck out into the dark of the morning with our first package, addressed to them, wrapped with love and care.

There are no rules really, except to have fun and like Buddy the Elf, spread Christmas Cheer.

My kids were just as excited about Santa’s visit as they were about being secret Santa to the May Family around the corner.

The list we made up as we went included:

One White Candle

Two Ornaments

Three Cardinal Bird Candles

Four Paper Doves (made by my 7 year old)

Five Chocolate Star Cookies (made by Trader Joe’s)

Six Satsumas

Seven Christmas Carols

Eight Christmas Words

Nine Surprises (ornaments, tea, hot cocoa, drawings, etc)

Ten Peppermint Candies

Eleven Tealights

And today after first attempting delivery at 9 AM noticing the house was dark, and their stockings were still full, (remember they have teenagers) we came back at 11 AM with 12 “Santa Whiskers”, homemade cookies, singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas to a smiling family of four on their front porch.

After catching up, laughter and gratitude expressed our neighbor hollered out, the one unwritten rule as we walked back home, Next year we will have to pay it forward.

Oh, yes, the joy in paying it forward, giving exceeds the joy of receiving. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

by J.G. McGlothern


Whose Way? December 24, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart,Observation — heartwriter @ 1:30 pm
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Our kids borrowed my alarm clock a couple of days ago. They have been waking up early wanting to know the time. Anticipation of Christmas? Perhaps.

At 4 AM, less than an hour ago, it went off. Hubby was quick like St. Nick and darted to their room before they heard the alarm’s blaring beeps.

If it were my way, I wouldn’t have heard the beeping and would still be asleep, like they are all snuggled in their beds. Can’t get back to sleep so I am here at my blank page. Anticipation of Christmas, perhaps.

Last night was our annual “caroling in the hood”. (See previous year’s posts on this tradition: https://heartwriter.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/sing-loud/ and https://heartwriter.wordpress.com/2009/12/25/singing-love-tradition-part-iii-by-j-g-mcglothern/).

My friend and I started this three years ago, but last night she couldn’t attend, at home sick, we caroled to her instead. Her family wasn’t the only family who couldn’t participate. Four of the five families who join in, could not last night. Skiing, sickness, and family events kept them all away.

A new large group of us gathered. I was thrown off a bit by our not used to singing together, and our off key renditions. The folks who offered us cookies and smiled from their front porches didn’t care that we were a bit off key or that others were singing different lyrics than the rest. They were grateful for the voices outside their door. The new group was carried away with the spirit of song, perhaps joyful with the anticipation of Christmas.

We caroled to my sick friend and her family. They sang along from the front porch. Perhaps, if it were her way she wouldn’t have been ill and her family would have been with us walking the streets belting out Christmas Carols.  But from my vantage point, looking in, they were snuggled and warm, together in their living room. Smiling when she gave us bells to use for the rest of our caroling adventure, I could see she had surrendered to being ill, she was already on her way to recovery.

Tomorrow morning both of our kids are getting a clock for Christmas. One to hang on the wall for his new found curiosity with time. And one to light up digitally for her need to know the time in the dark of the night. (We will cover the alarm part with tape.)

When traditions go differently it is a reminder for me to let go, to surrender to the spirit (the Holy one, and the Christmas one too). When we get sick we shift our outlook, slow down. When we are awake when we would rather not be, we are aware and being asked to give up our control.

In time I am learning all this. Not the way I planned of course, but the perfect way indeed.

by J.G. McGlothern


Monday’s Random Thought: Expression December 19, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 11:33 pm
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I have been seeing frowns on people faces and thinking, wow, They look mean, I better stay clear.

Then I throw those thoughts out the window and smile at them. The result is miraculous. They smile back. I discover they are lost in thought, concentrating on something not in front of them, not mean at all.

Makes me wonder how often do I wear an expression on my face that makes people want to stay clear of me?

Our facial expressions mean far more than we know.

This weekend I made a snap judgment about someone I met while traveling back East. When I introduced myself, we were at a party, I got a cold, quick, might I say snotty response. Hours later, into party mode, she saw me from across the room and smiled at me. A big wide, warmish smile. Could have been the booze warming her up. Or it could have been that she truly isn’t snotty, rude, cold, an East Coaster…I just caught her deep in thought, being critical, lost in the past or future.

by J.G. McGlothern


It’s A Beautiful Day InThe Neighborhood December 18, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 2:57 pm
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There is something of yourself that you leave at the meeting of every person. Mister Rogers

Yesterday walking through the Pittsburgh airport for the first time in my life I was delighted to discover by the glassed display in my path, that this is the home of Mister Rogers. The sneakers wearin’, sweater changin’, big hearted man, coined many phrases and touched numerous souls with his authentic living. He didn’t just want children to feel loved and special, that was his hope for everyone.

I took a moment to look at the display in the airport then caught up to my husband. In the airport restroom as I washed my hands I noticed a lovely white haired woman dressed in a festive red coat about to depart the restroom with toilet paper on her shoe.

Excuse me mam, you have toilet paper on your shoe. Together with my cowboot wearin’ foot , we removed the t.p. from  her Mary Jane loafered heel.  You would think I just handed her a diamond broach. Her face lit up with gratitude. Exiting the airport, my husband and I passed a security guard behind a desk, Merry Christmas, the young man greeted us. I stopped in my tracks and paused at his desk.  Touched by his spontaneous Christmas Spirit I responded in kind, Merry, Merry Christmas to you too

It’s the little gestures, the small acts that get us to the beautiful places. I am going to remember the words of Fred Rogers that I accidently discovered yesterday. I will try to leave my best self with those I meet and I will embrace the sides they share with me with a bit of Christmas Spirit and an open heart.

by J.G. McGlothern