Thursday, November 18, 2010


When you are a child, the holidays are so exciting... you can't wait! Even Thanksgiving is full of anticipation and fun because you know that the family is getting together for fun and food. AND you had days off from school!

As we become adults we get to the point where the holidays are so incredibly stressful. You really can't enjoy them any more. Think about it.

When you were a kid the anticipation was simple - fun, food, friends and family. Christmas was time off from school, looking forward to your "surprises"... a new bike, a new Nintendo game.

As an adult, especially in the last couple of years when we are all going through so much financial difficulty, the holidays bring stress - so much stress. You can't wait for it to be "over". I think that is so sad.

You try to figure out ways to buy gifts you know you can't afford - to entertain your family with food and drink that you will buy by not paying some of your bills this month and hoping you can figure out a way to pay two months in January.

You make list after list of those that you HAVE to buy for. You add only the children at first, chastising yourself that you really can't do much more than that. But then you start thinking "What if so-and-so shows up with a present for me?" So now you add so-and-so to your list. You struggle and stress over this list over and over - adding people - removing people.... Why can't we just feel comfortable saying "thank you" for that gift without feeling like crap because we didn't give them one? Who are these people that are giving you gifts? Don't they love you? Don't they KNOW you love them? Don't you think enough of them and of yourself to accept a gift without having to give one in return because you simply can't do it?

And then of course you go into the "what do I get them" question that keeps you up at night! God forbid you buy them something cheaper than what they bought you!

I love Xmas. I always have. It's such a pretty time... people are usually nicer... I have time off from the stress of my office... I love Christmas music! But I hate the stress that we have created around the holidays. I HATE to feel that I HAVE to do something that I really can't do! I would not want a present from someone who has had to struggle and stress to get it for me!!!

Why do we do that? Why have we created such stress for ourselves at a time of the year when we should be stress free!!! The year is over, we have time off to relax... we have beautiful decorations, music.... For Christians, its the time to celebrate Jesus' birth... for everyone, it's the time to celebrate the end of a year - good or bad - and the beginning of new one.

CHRISTMAS IS NOT ABOUT PRESENTS!!! Not really. It's about saying "I love you"! You do not need to spend money to do that! A simple card, a handmade gift, a thoughtful gesture.... doesn't that mean anything any more? Is it more important to buy a present for someone than to do little things that show that person you love them?

What we all should be doing is sitting down to dine together with our families. Have fun with a karaoke machine! Dance to some great or goofy music. Take lots of pictures. Create memories! That would be the IDEAL Christmas celebration. Whether or not there are boxes under the tree.

Over the past few years I have strived to give gifts that mean something - regardless of their monetary value. Over the past 3 years I have made a memory book for my brothers - a book of our family during the previous year. I do it through Apple using the pictures I take during the year. My brothers treasure these books. My children, nieces and nephews who are now adults have asked that I make one for them as well for Xmas. We sit around with the books on Xmas day and relive the past year in our family. Lots of laughter and tears. It's a wonderful thing to do and everyone really looks forward to it. THAT is Xmas.

If you are one of the lucky ones that can buy gifts for everyone you love - good for you!!! There is nothing wrong with that! But if you are like most in this country during Christmas 2010, do yourself a favor. Love yourself enough to just say I love you. That really is the greatest gift you can give anyway!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Take a Deep Breath my Friends

So many people - both men and women - I speak to lately are so completely and totally overwhelmed. Life, finances, children, work - it seems like their lives - and mine - are in total chaos right now. It's no surprise that the holidays will make everything seem worse for those that are, or feel they are, in chaos.

I came across this video today and at first it seemed silly, but then when you really really listen to it, it is pretty inspirational. So for all of you whose lives are in chaos or who feel that they are totally overwhelmed and out of control.... this video is for you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Death and Dying

My father in law passed away on Saturday, November 6th. He had a stroke on October 5th and had been suffering for the past month so his death was a relief.

I remember when my father was dying I was shocked by the pure agony he had to go through before he died. The sense of total helplessness I felt to make his leaving easier for him. The desperate prayers that God would take him - would release him from the cancer that was so incredibly devastating.

If we had an animal in the condition that my father or my father in law were in we would put him to sleep. We would end the suffering humanely. Not only WOULD we do it, we would be EXPECTED to do it. We would be considered "humane" and "kind".

Yet we have to sit by the bedside of a human being and just let them linger in their pain, in their desperation to die. The fact that humane treatment is expected and demanded for an animal yet "unacceptable" for a human being just blows my mind.

Euthanasia is criticized as "murder" or "suicide". I have to believe that those who feel this way - who believe that euthanasia is wrong - have never held the hand of their father while he fought for a breath; while the pain was so all consuming he almost loses consciousness. I have to believe that those opposed to euthanasia have never sat in a dark room for days on end listening to the "rattling" of death - the unforgettable horror of listening to someone die.

Euthanasia should be a choice made by those that are dying; respected by those that are living and promoted by those that are alive today - because one day it may be you who lays in that bed asking someone - anyone - to end your pain.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A few days ago I told you about my client, "Martha", and her scumbag husband. Well, Martha was buried yesterday. She passed away peacefully on Saturday morning surrounded by her siblings, her father and her two oldest sons. The little one was not there and as of 20 minutes ago, nobody knows if he even knows his mother is gone. His father has not returned any telephone calls. This man did not go to the service nor let this family take this child to say goodbye to his mother. As feared, he is making it clear that this family has lost both this wonderful woman AND her youngest child.

I have been doing this for 17 years now and I STILL don't get it. I don't understand the reason for this type of cruelty. My heart goes out to this family and mostly to this little boy who has lost so much.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Halloween is meant to be a fun day for children. I remember when I was growing up there were so many kids on the streets that the traffic would be stopped at certain streets in fear of hitting someone!!! We all did stupid things. I remember one memorable Halloween when my brothers and I uprooted rose trees from a neighbors yard and threw them in the front seat of their car!!! They weren't very nice neighbors to start with and when they didn't have any candy.... well! That was the last straw!!!

Yes, many Octobers were spent stealing eggs from my grandmother so we can bury them in the backyard until Halloween day when we would throw them at the houses of those that in our warped little minds deserved it!!! Sounds bad - but hey, it was just once a year. Now, the fear is not rotten eggs or "tricks"... now we fear guns, and violence and being robbed by someone in a Halloween costume. Now we are afraid to let our children out of our sight.

Last night I went to "trick or treat" with my grand daughters and my nieces. There were very few children on the street and those that were were being closely monitored and chaperoned by adults. Every time my nieces or my grand daughter Kaitlynn knocked on someone's door I felt a tug of fear at who would open the door to them and what they would give them. Over protective? Maybe, but I really don't think so. There have been so many instances where drugs have been given to these children. I remember years ago there were people who gave apples for Halloween and put razor blades in them!

And sex offenders? There are so many out there (literally tens of thousands). How can you let your children go out on Halloween without you? I don't know why this realization made me so sad. It just did.

In the same way that our grand children or great grand children will not be able to see so much beauty on this planet, will never be able to appreciate all the animals that will be extinct... the demise of Halloween is just one more stab at innocence.