5 Simple Ways to Keep Holiday Stress at Bay

The clock is ticking down and it’s time to fret… or is it? Often we begin our days wondering:

  • Are we ready?
  • Do we have gifts purchased equally and wrapped beautifully?
  • Is there food to eat?
  • Is there entertainment?

life goes onThe thing is — it doesn’t really matter if we don’t get mom’s mincemeat cookies made this year.
The outside lights don’t need to be hung.
The stockings can be lying on the floor with nothing inside – Nada – not even coal…

And still Christmas will come.

Here’s how to get through it all in a simple and joyous manner:

1. Ask

Yes, it’s that simple. Ask your children, siblings, parents and friends what it is they want. Their answers might surprise and they will certainly relieve you. You now have a valid list to work from. You may not get them just what they asked for but you have an idea of what direction to go.

2. Tell

Yes, another simple suggestion. Tell the people who shop for you want you want. You will take pressure off them and allow them to get you something that you really want.  My aunt told me a few years ago that she loved the calendars I sent to her but didn’t have a place to hang them. What she wanted instead was second-hand paperbacks. She loved mysteries and this way new and different authors would cross her path!

Wow, she opened a door for me to go to garage sales all year-long. I found out that if you send a box full of paperback books (which I did throughout the year) via Media Mail, the cost is totally affordable. (Remember, just media, nothing else for this price.)

3. Give

This simple tip is the essence of the season. Give of yourself. Give cards or cookies. It doesn’t matter what you give, it’s the act of connecting. Now more than ever it’s so wonderful to get a card in the mail or a make a phone call to someone ‘just because’.

4. Allow

Allow yourself time to feel the specialness of the season. And if you find some sadness pop up, allow that too. The holiday season is full of memories of people who are no longer in our lives.  Give yourself time to go to that place and remember them from long ago. Remember, their presence in your world helped make you what you are today – in one way or another. Watch inspiring videos or songs that lift your heart and remind you of the beauty in our world.

5. Move

Be kind to yourself and move. Take a walk, find some steps, do some squats, reach and stretch. And breathe. Tis the season for platters of cookies, bowls of dip, plates filled with appetizers and glasses bubbling with tasty concoctions. We talk, eat, drink and at the end of the day we feel larger than life. Time in motion is the best time of all.  We’re so good about giving time to others but rarely make time for ourselves. But that’s going to change – isn’t it?

Last tip of all — Go easy on yourself and allow time for true interaction with someone who needs to talk. That’s the best gift of all, isn’t it?

I still send out Christmas cards, don’t you?

There comes a time when there are no presents under the tree, no Santa visits and no gathering around the dinner table with generations of family members. What remains are Christmas cards. I love getting them in the mail and hanging them on my cupboards, windows, walls and then saving them for years down the road.

snowman cardI read a blog today asking if anyone still sends out Christmas cards… and I must say that I do.

I always begin with the Aunts (there’s not many of them left) … then I write cards to my siblings and their families. (Mind you if my parents were still alive they would top the list!)

Then I send out cards to my friends.

I must say that I am stingy about which friends get cards but all in all, if they’re in my address book they will probably get one.

What about you? Do you still send out cards? Would you like one from me? Send me your email address and I’ll be sure to write you, get your post address and send one off from me in sunny Colorado to you … wherever that may be.

I hope you take a moment and read the blog that inspired this post:

Does anyone still send Christmas cards?

And today I received this sweet eChristmas card!

Extreme Gratitude

I was lucky enough to find this sweet 10 minute TEDx presentation.

It shows the slow unfolding of flowers, movement of stars and ripening of berries. It’s the sort of video that gives me goosebumps.

My gift to you today is this video. I hope it makes you want to connect with someone you love, to look up, to reach out. So sweet and moving.

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials

Pinterest: My Visual Escape

Sometimes I just need to see pretty things.

I long to see magazine layouts, and bulletin boards of filled with creative images, fashions, recipes, scenery and all those things that boost my energy and make me want to put my fingers to the keyboard and post in my blog.

Colorado River Trail
Colorado River Trail: Click the image

And when I need that fix – I go to Pinterest.

At Pinterest.com, you’ll be able to see what other people admire and share too.

It’s an online scrapbook (sort of) filled with images, quotes, videos and links back to the original person.

It’s like a game of tag where I post a picture of something I love, or a place I went to or a quote I adore. Others see what I posted and repin it to their bulletin boards.

It’s a great place to get images for my blogs or get inspiration for a post. It’s an amazing place to visit when I have time.

And what about you? Where do you go when you need a bit of an escape? What sites have you bookmarked that speak to you? Care to share?

Museums Online: An Afternoon of Bliss

The internet is full of it, isn’t it?

San Francisco, CA USA museum
San Francisco, CA USA museum

You name it and you can find it on the web. Sweet, isn’t it?

Go to any search engine and enter ‘online museums’ and sit back and expect to be entertained.

At Smithsonian Museums you’ll find links to 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. Plan to have a fun-filled afternoon going to different and wonderful places.

Want to find a specific museum in the US? Check this link to see a list of over 1500 US museums.

For a world wide guide — go to Museumstuff.com or to Virtual Library Museum page.

Learning on the internet as in all aspects of life is limited by us. If we want to learn, read, grow and achieve – the resources are here.

Here’s a virtual museum full of people, colors, clothes and brand new to the online world. Take a look:

Have any favorite websites you visit on a regular basis to get your ‘learning fix’?

Unwrapping Christmas

The outside of my house is dark this Christmas season. No lights, no garland, no artificial Santa or Baby Jesus on my lawn.

Christmas WreathI have a lone wreath. Everything looks so sad.

In my world, Christmas is on the inside:

I love the Christmas season.
I love to get presents (SANTA, ARE YOU THERE?)
I love to decorate inside my house.
I love waking up to a lit Christmas tree and colorful lights inside my house.
I love playing Christmas music and singing along (if you sing really loud, nobody really knows that you’re off key!)
I love hot apple cider and pumpkin bread.
I love sugar cookies with icing (not so great about making them though).
I love having my family close by.
I love having friends over.
I love remembering Christmas past.

The secret is on the inside. The color, smells, sounds and feel of Christmas happens when you walk through the front door.

Come on in!



‘Tis the Season to Give

The season of giving is upon us, isn’t it and yet many people are cutting back on their purchases or trying to make them really count.

the pajama programOne place to give that will make a difference it to the Pajama Project. This worldwide organizations supplies pajamas to homeless children in shelters, those in domestic violence situations, and in orphanages. The website allows you to locate your local chapter as a way to keep your gifts in your community.

Imagine sitting on Santa’s knee and asking for a pair of pajamas? This request is so basic that it’s surely something we can do with ease. Check the website and see how you can join in and make someone’s night a bit more secure. Pajamas — not electronics, race cars, remote controls, Barbies or bears. Pajamas and books. Such a simple way to make an impression.



Here’s the news release:


Providing Sleepwear, Books and Comfort to Children in Need Nationwide

September 30, 2010 New York, NY  Ten years ago, one New York woman noticed children in shelters and group homes sleeping in their clothes because they didn’t own even one pair of pajamas. She filled a shopping bag with new sleepwear and books and began to hand them out to the youngsters, many of whom were abused, abandoned or neglected. Her non-profit Pajama Program marks its first decade of service in 2011.  The celebration kicks off this fall with a series of events beginning October 1, 2010.

Since its inception, the organization has provided 880,000 new pajamas and new books to children across the country, operating 79 chapters in 42 states throughout the U.S. The program serves children in need living in group homes and shelters. Most have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a parent tuck them in at bedtime with warm, clean pajamas and a story.           

Pajama Program’s mission becomes more urgent during the period it identifies as “Danger Seasonwhen the thermostat dips and the harsh winter months settle in. Starting October 1, Pajama Program works hard to heighten the public’s awareness of the need to keep these at risk children in warm, clean nighttime clothing and with a bedtime book to allay their fears.

“For so many needy and abused children, winter means endless cold and scary nights,” explains Pajama Program founder Genevieve Piturro. “The winter season is a particularly critical time when these children are most vulnerable to serious colds and illnesses. Warm, clean pajamas help to protect them against night chills and harmful conditions. Emotionally pajamas are a hug for children who feel lost and alone.”

The books the children read at bedtime go a long way in improving their reading level as well. Most have been removed from school for long periods of time and do not have access to books and their grade reading level is far lower than their peers.

Chapter Presidents across the U.S. identify “Receiving Organizations” in their communities where children in need are living. Together with volunteers, they organize drives and events to provide these youngsters with new pajamas and new books.

The need is great. There are more than 513,000 children in the foster care system in the U.S. and more than one million children who are not living with their birth parents. These children have been through great upheaval and trauma, without exception.

The Pajama Program meets the Better Business Bureau’s 20 charity standards, the highest ranking for non-profits. For more information visit the website:  www.pajamaprogram.org

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December Musing: Appreciation

Dec 2, 2911 calendarDecember 2, 2011

Today is one of appreciation.

Good health

Strong bones

Delicious books

Friendly faces

Precocious three-year olds

Blue skies

Warm house

Family and friends

I truly am blessed on this 2nd day of December!

something wonderful

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December 1, 2011: OMG!

Hello December…

December 1, 2011Here we are flipping the last page of our 2011 calendar and looking to purchase a new one for 2012.

My mind is not quite there yet. My mind still refers to things that happened in 1999 as ‘five years or so ago’ until I do the math. Ugh, where did the time go?

Like it or not, 2012 is coming and when it does I plan to be standing with open arms, ready to embrace a new year, new energy and meet new people – but for now, I’m holding on tightly to 2011.

I’m well, I’m working, I’m active, I’m reading, I’m writing. It’s all good and there’s much more on the horizon!

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A Decade of Technology Changes: What’s Next?

Do you ever wonder what’s the  next new thing to be invented, reinvented, produced and delivered to us? Ten years ago, blogging was something a handful of people did. Now companies, CEO’s, universities,  presidents, grandmas, cpu and monitoremployers, movie stars, quilters, news stations and teachers all have a reason to put their words in a post and hit the publish button.

I worked with a brilliant guy in my past and I often asked him this question – what’s the next new thing? Years ago he told me about a new concept called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) which was difficult for me to grasp at the time. Now, I use VOIP with Skype and my phone.

What’s the next new thing?

When I first browsed the web, Netscape was the only choice…Amazon was a place far away and Google was a funny word.

AOL had the market with the disks they mailed on a regular basis so we could connect to the internet.  Connecting to the internet meant dialing a certain number where everything took it’s own sweet time. While the computer was connected, the phone was unavailable.

In the past ten years, I’ve seen flash (or thumb) drives replace cds (which replaced floppy discs). With each year, the amount a flash drive holds increases and will soon be able to hold a terabyte of memory!

The big deal ten years ago was the Blackberry. Now a Blackberry is old fashioned compared to the iPhone family that continues to ‘wow’ the world. The ‘land line’ is a thing of the past as our children subscribe to cell phone use only. I recently discontinued my land line due to the cost and the handful of calls that I received.

Back then a chat was something I did over the phone – today it’s a text using dozens of acronyms. The preference seems to be to send a text rather than make a phone call.

We no longer need a VCR recorder because of programs like Tivo and On Demand that allow us to record a host of programs to watch at a later time. In fact, we can  skip watching TV and tune into our computers and watch our favorite programs on Hulu and other such programs.

Our televisions have gotten flatter and wider as have our computer screens.

Film cameras are no longer produced and digital cameras are being replaced by cell phone cameras.

A decade ago I was so cool jogging with my neat yellow Walkman. Cassettes were soon replaced by compact discs and now, thousands of songs are downloaded into a device as big as my thumb or onto my cell phone device.

Books were either hardback or paperback. Now, we have to decide if we want to use a Nook, Kindle, Sony, or some other type of e-Reader. Libraries are in the process of going virtual as well.

A social network was a gathering of people, like you might find at church or on a Friday afternoon meeting face to face, perhaps. Online social networks like My Space, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube and other sites allow many people to connect via their fingertips. They share videos, photos and information for their friends and family to see across the miles or across the world.

Oh my goodness! So much has changed, evolved, and emerged in so little time. What’s next?

If you know or think you know, let me know!!!