Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Wish for You in 2014

May you have purpose. May you start the new year -- and every day of it -- with a healthy mix of gratitude and anticipation. May you hop out of bed without aches and pains. May you wake up to good coffee and good people.

May you be somebody's person. May you forgive and forget. May you move on. May you laugh until you cry. May you cry without shame.

May you enjoy what you eat. May you remember that everyone needs a little sweets. May your life be sweet.

May you read good books. May you play with your toys. May you look up. May you make eye contact. May you listen. May you be heard.

May you realize it's not all about you. May you realize that sometimes it is. May you know, wherever you go, that you are necessary and appreciated and loved.

May you learn that starting and stopping are one and the same. May you never be afraid to stop. May you always be eager to start.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Fun: Best Holiday Card Ever

Thank you to Pattibeth for the card -- and to Kate for the photo!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Creativity Tips: The Theory of Infinite Creativity

I believe there is an infinite amount of creativity in our amazing world.

I know my share of that creativity, on any given day, is finite.

A few weeks ago, I was blogging daily again and loving it. I saw blog ideas everywhere I looked and couldn't wait to get to my keyboard and write them up.
I wrote the above copy MONTHS ago and never finished it. Why? I used up my finite creativity writing for clients. By the end of the day, I had no mojo left for blogging. All I really wanted to do was play mindless games on my iPad or watch endless episodes of The Big Bang Theory. (Sheldon Cooper literally makes me laugh out loud.)

I'm finishing the post now because we're coming up on a new year, so it's the perfect time to remember the whole finite energy business. There's an unfortunate tendency to want to change the world ... or at least ourselves ... every January. We're going to lose 30 pounds, run a marathon and never curse again.

Hmm. OK. We'll lose the weight. And run the marathon. That cursing thing? It's really sort of a cute personality trait, don't you think?

But, I digress, damn it. As you look ahead to the new year, give yourself full credit for all you accomplish and consider what gives you energy.

For example, I recently left one of Shanna Haun's circuit training classes feeling like I could conquer the universe. What makes you feel like that? Could you do more of it in 2014?

And can we all agree to simply enjoy those moments of doing nothing productive? Rest is rejuvenating. Trust me. I'm right on this.

Monday, December 16, 2013

This is NOT a Hanukkah Bush: 8 Tips for a Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

In our family, the girls and I are Jewish. Tom is agnostic. I grew up with Hanukkah gelt, latkes and eight nights of small gifts. Tom grew up with a Christmas tree, Christmas stockings and one glorious morning of gifts. Together, we have created holiday celebrations that honor our distinct childhoods and give Kate and Mary fun traditions and happy memories -- something their families can build on in the future.

If you have a mixed-traditions family, what works for us could work for you!
  1. Celebrate the similarities. Hanukkah and Christmas, as we observe them, are holidays of light and happiness, time to gather with the people we love. Put the iPads and phones away for a bit and focus on each other. Play a board game. Talk. Look at old holiday photos. Breathe.  
  2. Don't mush the holidays together. We have a Hanukkah menorah and a Christmas tree. We do not have a Hanukkah bush. That would offend my sensibilities. I realize my sensibilities might not make sense to you. I'm good with that. Leading us to ... 
  3. Accept that your holiday celebration will offend people. I'm waiting to see if my rabbi friends comment here or just let me know face-to-face how "wrong" I am and why a Christmas tree has no place in a Jewish home. Along the same lines, the fact that Tom and I have taken Christ out of Christmas undoubtedly and understandably irritates some Christian friends. That's the way it is and that's just fine.
  4. Let the children have a say. Early on, the girls decided they preferred to celebrate Hanukkah as a religious holiday and get all their gifts on Christmas. In effect, this has allowed us to celebrate Hanukkah in a far more traditional, non-American way. And it really boosts the gift count under the tree. 
  5. Enjoy the best of both worlds. Let's take food as an example. Latkes? Scrumptious. Big plates of Christmas cookies? Bring on the sprinkles! And we bake Christmas goodies for the neighbors. Tradition!
  6. Make your own traditions. We open gifts from Aunt Lynn and Uncle Paul on Christmas Eve. Then, the girls and I sleep in the living room, in hopes of catching Santa Claus when he comes down the chimney. This started when the girls were tiny. They still humor me with a Christmas Eve slumber party. And Santa Claus does a fabulous job of sneaking in with the big gift of the season.
  7. Decorate with abandon. You might choose non-denominational decorations -- snowflakes and snowmen, for example. At our house, the Santa Claus collection grows every year. I found my favorite dreidel in Israel -- instead of the traditional Hebrew letters signifying, "A great miracle happened there," the letters on this dreidel stand for, "A great miracle happened here."
  8. See the miracle happening here. When family and friends stop their crazy busy lives to share laughter and food; to create memories and traditions; to simply gather together and be -- this is a miracle. This is something to celebrate. 
Whatever you celebrate, however you celebrate, I wish you all the love and light of the season. And here's to a happy, healthy new year!

P.S. Yes. I did eight tips for the eight nights of Hanukkah. I didn't have enough to say for the 12 days of Christmas.

Every ornament tells a story.
"Nes gadol haya po."
A great miracle happened here!
Hey, Santa! I've been good this year. Despite the rumors ...