As unbelievable as it sounds, 2015 is on its way out. Most assuredly, this year has come with its sparkles, fizzles and everything in between. There is a knack to letting go and moving forward. It’s not always easy for me. How about you? This may sound logical but it’s not simple: Letting go of hurtful memories, grudges or misplaced guilt encourages forward movement.
What is the secret to living more freely? Try some of these:
In March 2015, the end of Cornerstone caused a loss of $50,000 for wishes. In May, wish expenditures were capped. Any additional wishes would need to be fully financially sponsored. This has thrown New Hope’s Wishes for Kids into a transition period. Since the loss of this revenue, God has answered prayers and new wish sponsors are in place.
Twenty-two wishes had been completed by the end of June. Since then, eight more have been completely sponsored through the generosity and compassion of corporate and individual donors. Now a total of 30 children have received their wishes. We want to say thank you to the following sponsors:
I am frequently asked, “What Wish have you granted that stands out from the rest?” It’s a difficult question, because there are so many and each one holds its own charm. Every child is unique and I like to think that their wish is the best wish each and every time. However, I do have some pictures and stories to share…
Listening is a fine art that requires focus and genuine interest. Frequently, I have found that I am forming a response in my mind rather than listening to the person who is speaking to me. Sound familiar? We are anxious to provide an answer from our wealth of knowledge, while the speaker, our friend, may not want an answer at all.
When your partner, child or best friend comes to you pouring out a complaint or concern, their greatest need is to be acknowledged. The best way to do this is to “reflect” what they have said. In essence, you are holding a verbal mirror up so that the speaker knows you heard him and he also hears himself more clearly. It requires listening very carefully. Whatever your mate, child or friend shares, share it back in a paraphrase. They will know that you actually listened and heard their complaint. This opens the door for more conversation. Details can be added, clarified and anger diffused. Eventfully, they may even ask for your opinion.
A Gift List may contain an I-Phone, I-Pad, Laptop, car, trip, cruise or another lavish item you’ve longed to possess. You may or may not receive these. Don’t despair, think about the best gifts you have received?
When I consider that question, I find that the very best gifts aren’t tangible items at all. Sure, I loved my first two-wheel bike, but the day my Dad sat in the middle of our living room floor to play jacks and marbles, I felt like the most special daughter ever! TIME is a gift that we are not required to give to other. Family and friends can get so caught up in their responsibilities that they do not have “time” to spend with loved ones. Time is what life is made of and meant to be used wisely.
There are hundreds of pictures on Pinterest showing how to decorate with twinkle lights, fairy lights, and icicle lights. They come in every color, combination and shape imaginable. But WHY are we drawn to their display? Here’s a possible answer in case you are seeking one.
Like the stars in the heavens, or millions of phones lit up at a concert, or decorations at weddings, during holidays or for no purpose other than beauty, I think we are drawn to the light that illustrates the power of one when joined with many to make an impact.
One candle in a room lights a corner; 4 candles lights a room; many candles light a home. One person brings kindness to a dark corner of this world. Four people lift up a neighborhood. Many people bring healing and wholeness to a community.
How do you shine? Everyone has a light inside, though some are dim and others have nearly gone out. Will you help revive that one? Some show kindness; some offer structure and direction; many have a heart for hospitality. We are a huge collection of broken pieces to create a mosaic of purpose and provision.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, there’s the prevalent question, “What does it mean to be thankful?” Defining words include gratitude, appreciation, acknowledgment, recognition, approval, positive reception, admiration, enjoyment, pleasure, and praise. These terms can get lost in daily living and never be more than a passing thought. How do we live thankful lives every day?
Food! We love it!
Especially during the holidays, we look forward to the delectable legacy of Grandmom’s homemade Pound Cake, Aunt Suzie’s mashed potatoes and Uncle Ron’s mouthwatering deep fried turkey! And if we can have it all as well as eat it, we are among the most fortunate. Not wanting to put a damper on the delight of chomping down on a crisp turkey wing, give some consideration for those among you who are not able to partake in a similar fashion. Be informed. Ask. Prepare ahead of time. Request parents to bring an alternative meal if necessary. Just be sure there’s an understanding prior to the meal. It may be less stressful for young children to eat ahead of the adults if they require feeding or supervision. That allows a more relaxing meal time for adults and children. Every situation is different, so the communication beforehand is vital.
Holiday movies, songs and clichés often present a picture perfect setting with angelic faces all aglow and doting parents lavishing a mountain of gifts and goodies for all. Let’s get real! I admit that as a young mother and wife, I tried so hard to provide that Hallmark day for my family. Was I successful? Well, let’s see…if we don’t count the times that the Christmas tree fell over smashing breakable ornaments and my screaming, “DON’T come in here! You’ll cut your feet! GET OUT!” Or placing the crockpot full of hot red cabbage not-so-gracefully on the white table cover and spilling it all over the table settings…or the times when children and their parents acted out of sorts. You get the picture.
We are NOT perfect people. Get over this fantasy. Provide what is possible—a good sense of humor, instant forgiveness, a sense that everyone is welcome and the day is for enjoyment—no need for a perfect performance. Expect a certain amount of spills, chaos and noise.
One way to avoid unkind or angry words is learning to communicate better. This happens through a change in the way we think and our expectations of others. While we may see ourselves as verbally astute, many people find it difficult to hold a conversation with others. This is especially true for children and adults who may experience the following communication challenges. Recognize that everyone’s brain does not work and process life exactly the same way. Embrace the differences instead of fighting them.
Are you prepared? Family get-togethers can often be stressful. Add in the needs of a child who may be physically, mentally or emotionally challenged, and the results may not be the warm, hospitable event each person envisioned. There are ways to prepare; in the next few weeks, I will be sharing ideas. Since every person is different and each family unique, these are meant as suggestions—take what fits and discard the rest—but give some a try.