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Monday’s Random Thought: The Gift of Solitude December 28, 2015

Filed under: From The Heart,Uncategorized — heartwriter @ 7:05 pm
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A short amount of time on my own was the gift I was given and the gift I received with open hands Saturday night.

Here on Maui during our Christmas family vacation I needed to be alone on Saturday evening. I needed a recharge and I knew it would happen if I spent a little bit of time on my own. My kids wanted to swim at the condo pool, hubby wanted to read his book and my mom asked if I would drive her into town for Saturday mass at the local Catholic church. When I dropped her off I noticed  there was a dead end road headed toward the beach. I followed it and parked the car. Thirty minutes until sunset, an empty spot on the beach waited for me. I kicked off my flip flops and let my toes sink into the warm sand. Walking toward my spot, the one waiting for me, I found not one, not two, but five heart rocks. Brown coral. White coral. Big. Small. My symbol. My affirmation.

I sat down smiling holding one of my new coral hearts. The sun was slowly making her way down to the horizon. As she dropped down so did my shoulders. My pulse slowed. My spirits lifted. Me. Alone with God. Alone in Mother Nature. Oberving. Letting go. This. Is. What. Recharges. My. Soul.

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This heart rock was too big for my pocket, but the time I spent holding it, looking at it was gift enough.

When I picked my mom up from church an hour later and greeted my family back at the condo a piece of the beach was still in my heart. The sound of the ocean. The dance of the sunlight. The hearts scattered in the sand.  Holding this in my heart, my time alone, I was ready to be more present, more available and engaged to those in front of me.

Does time on your own with you and you alone lift your spirits and support you in being more present to others? Does it recharge your batteries? How will you listen to the nudge to be in solitude today? Will you notice you aren’t the only one who will receive the gift of your time with yourself?

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On Christmas day I received two gifts at the beach. My mom and my son both found rocks with my name on them.

Hi,  I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Life Coach, Retreat Leader and Writer. As founder of my retreat business, Mama Needs A Refill, LLC, one way I know I fill my cup is by showing up to a blank page to write. Thank you for stopping by and reading my Random Monday Thoughts, because I will be honest that fills my cup too, knowing others are reading my filled page. Life is too short to blog about anything else unless it touches my heart. Please know I appreciate you joining me on this journey whether you visit every week since I began in 2008 or this is your first blog stop.

Interested in life or spiritual coaching or want to learn more about my retreats in Seattle, please find me on FaceBook, www.FaceBook.com/MamaNeedsARefill or visit my website: www.mamaneedsarefill.com)

 

Monday’s Random Thought: On the Rise December 21, 2015

Filed under: From The Heart,Uncategorized — heartwriter @ 7:01 pm
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Yesterday’s morning hike on Maui….heart leaves, of course.

Saturday morning flying to our Christmas vacation destination my kiddos watched the inflight disaster movie San Andreas. Think an earthquake of high magnitude, explosion, drama, flooding, death.

The events of the movie were told to me in bits and pieces throughout the rest of the day. My youngest wanted to know about the likely hood of an earthquake. I could hear the gears in his brain kicking into place with his curiosity. He is a worrier with a lot of anxiety especially under certain situations. Tired and hungry.

The next day we ventured to the Iao Valley State Park on the island of Maui to check out the Eye of the Needle, an extension an extinct volcano. Not only does the park provide beautiful views of the Needle, lush terrain, gorgeous trees and flowers there is a rapidly flowing river. Along the lookout spots and near the river were warning signs telling us about flash floods. My curious son wanted to know any details I could provide about a flash flood. The warning sign even said to be aware of “imminent death” on the ocassion of a flash flood. We kept on the winding path discovering new birds and taking in our surroundings. At the fork in the road we could go back the way we came or head down a new path. My mom and daughter headed down the new path and my son waited for me to catch up to him. He wanted to go back to the car immediately. The switch had been flipped and for reasons I would soon discover his anxiety had completely washed over his being.

He agreed to wait at the fork in the road while I ventured down quickly to update the rest of our family we would be back at the car. On my return to him he asked what was at the bottom of the path. When I told him about the trees and plants he took a deep breath.

No river edge? He asked.

No. I assured him.

Based on an earlier conversation he had assumed we were going to wade in the river. He went on to explain that the warning signs reminded him of the San Andreas movie he had seen the day before.

Ahhhhh. I got it now. He went to his fear place. A big screen of disaster one day and a real life warning sign in his face the next. A dangerous combination. Fear it grabs ahold of you when you least expect it. Messes with your head and elicits eradic behaviour.

With facts he calmed down. Finding his breath he refocused.

What tools do you use to find your center again when fear gets inside of you and plays for real not for fun? Is the fear helpful, getting you where you need to be or is it keeping you from the present moment, grounded in the truth before you?

It wasn’t raining, the sky was blue, no signs of a flash flood, we weren’t far from the car. The facts of the present moment. Breathing in his surroundings he found his calm self. Not jumping on his worry train I kept my peace. Together we found Grace.

Hi,  I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Life Coach, Retreat Leader and Writer. As founder of my retreat business, Mama Needs A Refill, LLC, one way I know I fill my cup is by showing up to a blank page to write. Thank you for stopping by and reading my Random Monday Thoughts, because I will be honest that fills my cup too, knowing others are reading my filled page. Life is too short to blog about anything else unless it touches my heart. Please know I appreciate you joining me on this journey whether you visit every week since I began in 2008 or this is your first blog stop.

Interested in life or spiritual coaching or want to learn more about my retreats in Seattle, please find me on FaceBook, www.FaceBook.com/MamaNeedsARefill or visit my website: www.mamaneedsarefill.com)

 

Monday’s Random Thought: Good Greetings December 14, 2015

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 6:32 pm
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Good Morning, that is how the father of an old boyfriend greets strangers and loved ones no matter the time of day. I remember him telling me, It gets everyone’s attenion, especially when it isn’t morning. It makes everyone feel good.

I thought of him and his positive greeting on my morning walk. Everyone was out today. I saw and greeted more dog walkers than usual on my stroll through the neighborhood. Lots of random conversations with new faces. I reminded myself to pause, be in the moment with them and not rush off down the street.

I may see them again and I may not. If I do I know the names of their dogs. And I remember the good feeling I experienced as we shared a moment together standing on the street corner. Feeling good doesn’t last all day long. Other feelings will come up and I will honor and acknowledge their presence. But that moment of connection that all began with Good Morning, will leave a positive mark long past the morning hours.

Greeting another with a simple, Hello, can make a profound difference in both the one greeting and the one being greeted. We honor the presence of another and say so much with just a couple of words.

Who will you greet today? Whose presence will you honor with a simple, Hello?

Hi,  I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Life Coach, Retreat Leader and Writer. As founder of my retreat business, Mama Needs A Refill, LLC, one way I know I fill my cup is by showing up to a blank page to write. Thank you for stopping by and reading my Random Monday Thoughts, because I will be honest that fills my cup too, knowing others are reading my filled page. Life is too short to blog about anything else unless it touches my heart. Please know I appreciate you joining me on this journey whether you visit every week since I began in 2008 or this is your first blog stop.

Interested in life or spiritual coaching or want to learn more about my retreats in Seattle, please find me on FaceBook, www.FaceBook.com/MamaNeedsARefill or visit my website: www.mamaneedsarefill.com)

 

Monday’s Random Thought: Light Up December 7, 2015

Filed under: From The Heart,Uncategorized — heartwriter @ 5:38 pm
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The season of lights. So fun to see all the lights illuminating in the dark this time of year. We usually don’t put up Christmas lights except for the ones we put on the tree. This year we aren’t getting a tree since we will be out of town for a big chunk of time.

Our 14 year old daughter ordered her own Christmas lights this year and didn’t really read the fine print which resulted in a very large delivery of lights to our front door. Her entire bedroom is adorned in white lights. She graciously gave me a box of lights so we too now have lights bordering our front window. It’s amazing how little light bulbs can light up your mood, view and perspective. It’s a very dark morning here in Seattle, so of course I have the lights on in our front window. Maybe the little tiny light bulb will light up someone’s day when they walk or drive by. Just like I am lit up inside when I see the the light of another shinning through the dark.

We must be light for each other. We must shine our lights whether from a string of tiny bulbs or from the brightness we all carry within our hearts.

Hi,  I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Life Coach, Retreat Leader and Writer. As founder of my retreat business, Mama Needs A Refill, LLC, one way I know I fill my cup is by showing up to a blank page to write. Thank you for stopping by and reading my Random Monday Thoughts, because I will be honest that fills my cup too, knowing others are reading my filled page. Life is too short to blog about anything else unless it touches my heart. Please know I appreciate you joining me on this journey whether you visit every week since I began in 2008 or this is your first blog stop.

Interested in life or spiritual coaching or want to learn more about my retreats in Seattle, please find me on FaceBook, www.FaceBook.com/MamaNeedsARefill or visit my website: www.mamaneedsarefill.com)

 

Faith in Santa – Repost December 2, 2015

(It’s not Monday and my thought is not random but rather continuous and reflective. Playing Christmas music, sitting in our decorated for the season home, I thought of this post I wrote six years ago. I wanted to share this especially to any of you who are not in the Christmas Spirit, skeptical or already overwhelmed with the season before it is here. Many of you, after reading this in the past have wanted to do your own “Twelve Days of Christmas” so I share this now, with plenty of time for you to plan. Spoiler Alert: Beware of little eyes who still hear the sound of Santa’s Sleigh Bells before reading this to them.)

One Christmas Eve when I was four years old my eleven year old sister told me in the dark of her room in one long breath that there was no Santa, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy.  Lying in bed that night I still tried to hear Santa’s sleigh bells but when the sound never came, I stopped believing.  Then in grade school, friends’ parents would ask me to “pretend” that Santa came to my house because their children still believed.  I remember Tanya’s dad from the yellow house up the street pulling me aside and politely telling me, “Santa comes to our house, so please, for Tanya’s sake, pretend he comes to yours too.”

Christmas began to take on a sleigh load of negative feelings and with its imminent arrival every year I grew to fear Christmas. Raised Catholic my mother did a wonderful job to teach our family Christian beliefs about Christmas.  I learned about Jesus being born in a manger, the gift of peace, and the joy of giving love to others.  Sitting in church on Christmas Eve nights I would imagine that I was part of the manger scene.  Sometimes I was Mary, absorbed in the true beauty of it all.  And sometimes I was one of the Wise Men traveling from afar, following the star with great anticipation of meeting the Messiah.   This part of Christmas gave me peace and kept my faith alive.  Back in school after Christmas break, the anxiety started all over again, I had to invent gifts that Santa brought.

Years later, as a parent with the birth of our children, I struggled with how to celebrate Christmas without bringing Santa into the whole thing.  How does one raise children to focus on the beauty that Christmas offers, when the commercialism of it all is shoved in your face?

Four years ago, when my children were four and one and a half years old, I received a precious gift.  I met Santa. On the morning of December fourteenth as I collected the morning paper from the front porch I found a small poinsettia on our door-mat, wrapped in gold tissue and tied with a red ribbon. In meticulous printing our last name was written on a tag in unfamiliar handwriting. Opening the tag made of silken, creamy white paper, I searched for the giver’s name and only found the words, ‘On the first day of Christmas the McGlotherns received one poinsettia…’   Who could this be from?

The next morning, a bit earlier, as I opened the door to collect the newspaper sitting right next to The Seattle Times sat a beautiful gift bag bearing two delicately wrapped hand-dipped, off-white candles. I placed them in silver candlesticks next to the poinsettia in our front window.  The same precise manuscript indicated the gift was indeed for us with the message, ‘On the second day of Christmas the McGlotherns received two glittering candles…’   Were the three dots a sign? An indication of a promise?  Perhaps more to come? I ran to the calendar and counted.  Ten more days until Christmas. The twenty-fifth would be the “twelfth day.”   Not knowing any history about a “twelve days of Christmas” tradition, I was curious.  Is this a celebrated tradition I don’t know anything about, similar to the “Secret Santa” tradition some celebrate in the workplace?   On the third day of Christmas “three tinkling bells” waited on our doorstep.  Hanging them from the tree, in the front window, I wondered who could be doing this. I never heard a car, voices or footsteps.

Our four-year-old daughter, started coming into our room every morning with the question, “Have you checked the front porch yet, mama?”  I was trying really hard to curb my enthusiasm and wait until she could be the one to check the door. If I woke first I would avoid the front room and busy myself with undone dishes, cleaning fingerprints off the refrigerator, anything to keep myself from going to the front door and turning the knob.   Each morning continued to greet us with beautifully wrapped surprises; candy canes, homemade molasses cookies, walnuts the size of small apples, Satsumas as sweet as summer, and chocolates that were too irresistible to stop at just one.  On the fifth day of Christmas we opened a box with a photograph glued to the lid.  The picture made me stop and look closely.  It was a picture of a handprint in the snow, a child’s handprint, with the five digits perfectly imprinted into the white, glistening snow. Inside were five homemade snowflake ornaments hanging from delicate pink thread.  I knew the giver was creative, thoughtful and most of all believed in Christmas.

Soon my friends and family all knew about it and would brain storm with me to decipher who these thoughtful surprises were from.  My neighbor even volunteered to stalk my front porch every morning. Although I was mostly content not knowing the giver, I was still curious.

Through all of this excitement, I forgot I didn’t believe in Santa. I forgot I hated Christmas.  Each day was offering me a new joy besides a surprise gift at the front door.  I discovered the great delight of baking sugar cookies with our four-year-old daughter. In years past, the baking was a chore. Christmas shopping wasn’t a burden, our list was short and family received homemade gifts.  Our friends received a Christmas card with a handwritten message.  Even the cold, grey weather was comforting.  I didn’t long for the colors of springtime; instead I found solace from the dark sky and consolation from the light of a simple white candle. I never once turned on the television, so I wasn’t aware of the Christmas sales, hot items of the season or the temptations of the last minute shopper.  Evenings were spent reading Christmas books, listening to the Nutcracker, playing games and coloring.  I taught our children about my childhood traditions of putting evergreen on the fireplace mantel, straw in the manger and hanging mistletoe in doorways.  My husband strung lights, hung wreaths, and helped our children hang their stockings. He helped our daughter write her letter to Santa. I saw how Santa could be brought into the season without being the main focus and without corrupting my mood or Christmas spirit.  We talked about Jesus’ birth, buying a goat through the Heifer Project, making gifts for family and what color of sprinkles our friends would like on their cookies.  All our daughter wanted for Christmas was a pants belt and for her brother to have his own doll.  Santa’s job would be simple.

By the tenth day of Christmas, the day we received ten walnuts and a silver nutcracker, all of our friends and family knew about our morning doorstep surprises and wished they had done something like this. They all responded with passionate wonder.  I want to do that, they all echoed.  Without these exact words their responses were saying: I want to reach out, I want to give, I want to believe and share in the spirit of the season.

On Christmas Eve, I went to bed listening for sleigh bells believing that if I was supposed to find out who was behind the mystery I would.  At five in the morning our son, hollered out in his sleep.  His cries woke me and although he fell back to sleep easily, I lay in the dark, tossing and turning.  Like many children around the world that morning I hopped out of bed, unable to keep still.  I went into the living room and turned on the tree lights, lit the off-white candles in the window and sat down with a cup of hot tea and my journal.  The tea went cold before I had a sip and my journal remained unopened.  I went back and forth to the window, peering out into the dark morning, I kept opening the front door.  I even stood on a chair to peer out the window at the top of the door.  Nothing.  I wrote a note to the mystery elves, telling them that if I never found out who they were I wanted them to know they changed my Christmases forever.  At eight o’ clock, when my family was awake pulling a pants belt and baby doll out of their stockings I checked the door one more time.  Empty except for my note.  Did they forget?

Forty-five minutes later, with Christmas wrapping strewn around the room our coffee mugs empty, I heard singing outside.  “Honey”, my husband said gently,  “You are going to want to answer the door.”  The caroling was coming from our front porch.  Opening the door, I was surprised to see my new friend Erika, her husband and their three sleepy daughters. I collapsed into Erika’s arms, “I’m so glad it’s you.  I never even thought of you being the ones, “I wept softly. We wiped each other’s tears of joy.  “You helped me to believe in Christmas again,” I whispered.

That morning and now, Santa for me is just another way to bring giving into the Christmas season.  Not getting, but giving.  We can teach our children the beauty of simplicity by example.  The following Christmas, we did the same for an un-expecting family a few blocks away.  And the smiles on their faces told me I was helping to carry on a tradition that was drenched in love and sprinkled with the true spirit of the season.

 

Hi,  I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Life Coach, Retreat Leader and Writer. As founder of my retreat business, Mama Needs A Refill, LLC, one way I know I fill my cup is by showing up to a blank page to write. Thank you for stopping by and reading my Random Monday Thoughts, because I will be honest that fills my cup too, knowing others are reading my filled page. Life is too short to blog about anything else unless it touches my heart. Please know I appreciate you joining me on this journey whether you visit every week since I began in 2008 or this is your first blog stop.

Interested in life or spiritual coaching or want to learn more about my retreats in Seattle, please find me on FaceBook, www.FaceBook.com/MamaNeedsARefill or visit my website: www.mamaneedsarefill.com)