Posts tagged ‘Holiday’

To Resolve NOT To Resolve, It’s Not a Question At All

The dawning of a new year and this year, a new decade, is once again upon us. I could swear it was just yesterday we were all anxiously anticipating with trepidation the arrival of the dreaded Y2K virus that would accompany the new millennium. A new century full of potential and pitfalls at our doorsteps was a daunting, yet exciting, prospect. Now here we are knocking on the door of the next decade with the first 10 years already written. Those years have been ones of immense change that no one could have predicted with a crystal ball, not even the famed Ms. Cleo.

No matter how long the previous year seems as we navigate our way through it, looking back, it seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye, good times and challenging ones alike. Perhaps that perception is accelerated when viewed through the prism of age. I can’t swear by this theory, although in my case, it seems to be true. Time does indeed seem to fly when looking back on it.

I don’t usually tend to wax nostalgic, but the past year has been one of immense change, both for myself personally and for the world at large. Change, while sometimes welcome, is not always something that I embrace willingly. I’ve found though, that it comes along whether we are ready for it or not and you better be willing and able to hold on and roll with all that comes with it. The phrase coined by Thomas Paine “Lead, follow or get out of the way”, springs to mind when dealing with life’s twists and turns. Life marches on and you can either find a way to cope and enjoy it, or you’ll be left behind. It’s a powerful force that will not be stopped in favor our of inability to keep up.

In my life, I have the opportunity to interact with a broad spectrum of people. From the very young to those that have weathered many decades, one thing is clear. The world is definitely a very different place with very different mindsets from the one I grew up in. I know that this revelation isn’t something that is new amongst the generations that have come before mine. One thing that has changed drastically however, is the way the world views the future and the potential contained in it. Our willingness and eagerness to succeed and the coping skills that used to be fostered into our childhood lessons aren’t there anymore. I see faces with eyes that seem angry or worried or resigned to life rather than excited by it. The eyes are sometimes in the faces of those that are too young to have so much worry or no hope and drive for the future. So many divert those weary eyes and don’t know how to interact with everyone around them anymore. More and more people don’t look others in the eye anymore for fear of what they might see or give away in themselves.

I don’t mean to sound full of gloom and doom. Like it or not, and I don’t at times, I have never been able to fully extinguish that light at the end of the tunnel belief in my thoughts or in my own life. I’ve always known that every day is different and full of new possibilities. Some of those days will be worse than the one that came before it, and some will be so much better, you feel as if you are floating on air. That is the wonder of living itself. I will confess to wishing at times that life was not quite so colorful or full of the all the things that make me grow, while at the same time making me squirm from the lessons they try to teach me along the way.

The past year and particularly the last 5 months, have seen great changes in my life, some positive and some things that I would not have picked if given the choice. I lost a parent, moved to a new home from one that had been a refuge for the past 21 years and have faced a betrayal that I didn’t see until it rose up out of the blue. The past year has also seen the deepening of friendships that I didn’t know I needed, the memories made with children that are no longer small and constantly surprise and make me proud as they continue to grow into adults and precious times spent with my Dad that are priceless. I’ve learned to bend, learned to adapt. I had no choice and in doing so, have as always, learned about myself, my inner strengths and my resolve. Some things I handled well, others I’d probably do over and in a better manner, but that just isn’t something that we are afforded in life. You live and learn if you’re smart and use those lessons for the rest of your days.

Thomas Paine also said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” I believe he was right in this assertion. We all have within us the ability to make the best of whatever crosses our particular life path. We can make a difference in the lives of those around us if we put the effort into it, but at the same time, the sooner we realize that there are some things that are simply out of our control, the happier we will be. It’s a hard lesson to learn, particularly for me. I’m a nurturer by nature and at times a controller. It’s hard to let go and realize that you can only control your own path and hope that by example and deeds, your life will positively affect those whose paths you cross. I tend to want the best for those around me and to lessen the unnecessary pain of lessons that test the resolve of those I care for when it’s possible or when they will let me.

There’s that word again, resolve.

To me, it’s not something that can be done on the first day of a brand new year. It’s not something to pledge to blindly and stubbornly adhere to when you have no idea what the future may hold. Resolve, to me, is the backbone and strength to weather whatever storms and rainbows that appear along our journey on the road less traveled when they occur. In order to do that, you can’t lock yourself into a particular path or behavior in anticipation of things and events unknown.

This new year of 2011, as usual, instead of making resolutions, I intend to be resolute. To not just proclaim loudly or even privately to myself on a day that is meant to be full of hope and promise and without the constraints of a year yet lived, things that in a few weeks will be left by the wayside. Instead, I want to be resolute in the decisions I make throughout the year and see them through. To be firm and unwavering, yet not inflexible, and to make things happen that will benefit my life and the lives I touch daily. To do and follow through on the things I can actually accomplish right along with the occasional reaching for the stars and to not spin my wheels endlessly on lost causes. I’m resolute in my determination to screw up as little as humanly possible (screw-ups will occur) and to instead progress in positive ways, great and small.

So, once again, on the eve of the brand new year and brand new decade facing us, I resolve not to resolve anything. I’ll take things as they come and adapt, learn and hopefully grow from them as I enjoy all the nuances of life, both the good and the challenging.

To paraphrase the faux-wisdom that I not only have to say on airplanes, but also from a famous movie..fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night, ride and year. They all are, that is the only guarantee in life that we receive. Such is life, it is here to be lived and not observed.

The alternative is simply unacceptable.

Happy New Year!

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Easter Ain’t What it Used To Be

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I was raised to respect traditions.  I went through my childhood relishing in the fact that while the world around me was changing at a rapid, sometimes scary pace, some things in life would always stay the same.  Some things were so important, they always took precedent over any other in my life.  You could always depend on their very essence and the spirit of thought behind them.

It was a comforting thought to hold close.   Precious traditions to look forward to were a safe harbor I could count on regardless of circumstance or location.  While the manner or details of their execution might by necessity vary a bit  in form from year to year, the basic tenant of their existence never changed nor wavered.

As a result, I brought up my children with the same value system from my youth.

Even as parents around me found themselves too busy or too “sophisticated” to bother with silly things like building memories, a few of us still insisted on keeping to the things we knew were important.  Traditions like ensuring Santa always had homemade cookies waiting for him on Christmas Eve or throwing a special birthday party at home for our kids complete with games and/or crafts and handmade goodie bags filled with treasures where much thought had been given to their selection, started to become few and far between in modern day families.  It was easier to let Chucky Cheese or the latest mini-golf adventure park handle all the messy “details” of marking the birth of your child rather than being bothered with all that planning yourself.  Family time was quickly being relegated to whatever bits and pieces that could be crammed in around all the REALLY important stuff.  You know the ones, important things like working 80 hours or more a week for that 3rd or 4th car..for the 4 vacations a year or 2nd little getaway home.

Traditions got lost along the way in the rush to acquire more and more “stuff”.  We sacrificed what we thought were non-consequential little bits of our lives along the way so that we could hurry up and wait for all the “good stuff” to get here.  The only problem with that theory was, those “little bits” start to add up to a lot of time and missed opportunities we can never get back with those around us.  Hey, it was all for the greater good though..right?

Wrong.

Just take a long look around at what is happening in our country and in the world today.  Every day on the news there is yet another tragic story of a person or family suffering directly and personally, or indirectly through the actions of a stranger, from the effect that loss of family and tradition has had on society.  People are slipping through the cracks.  We seem to have lost our way in the rush to “improve” or “re-invent” something that didn’t need replacing in the first place.

Traditions matter.  To have something that can be counted on in some form or another from year to year, makes a huge difference in how we handle life’s little (or big) ups and downs.  We all need a support system or something to depend on as being solid…a foundation to quiet our souls when we need to believe in something.

That’s what a tradition is for.  Whether it be something silly that only you or your loved ones count as important or something as vital as a group we identify with and celebrate our mutual beliefs, traditions give us a place in ourselves that can never be erased.  They provide a warm secret spot within our thoughts where we can retreat to anytime the world seems to be collapsing around us. 

Traditions don’t have to be centered on religious beliefs.  It’s not a matter of money.  Special traditions don’t have to cost a penny, they can be from the heart.  They don’t have to be grand gestures.  They do however, have to be consistent..even in times of strife.

So,  even though traditions have to be changed a bit this year at my house, they will be celebrated nonetheless.  I’ll pull out my grandmother’s recipe for a traditional heavy lemon pound cake and make it to celebrate my Dad’s birthday, simply because it’s what he asked for.  I don’t care about the current trend of low-fat, low taste healthy, only eat what’s good for us, that is in vogue.  Tomorrow, as part of an Easter celebration, we’ll enjoy without guilt, a taste from our past and smile.  In that way, my Grandmother (Nana) will be with us as well.  I have no doubt that stories of past Easter dinners at her house will abound for my children to hear yet again and pass along one day to their children.  Tradition will continue.

I’ll put together Easter baskets with special treats or little gifts for my kids to find when they wake tomorrow morning.  I have never bought a pre-made pre-put-together store bought basket in my life.  No matter that they are going to be 23, 20 and 14 this year, they will be almost as excited as when they were little to see whatever has been “left” for them by a Giant Bunny that has hopped by overnight.  Forget the fact that they all stay up most of the night and that Mom in turn, will have to have little if any sleep in order to make sure a surprise is created..it’s worth it.  Their Grandmother (my mom), even though she’s not in good health, will still have her house filled with special decorations and more treats for her grown children and for the grandchildren.  Tradition will live on and be something they carry on with their families one day because they recognize the importance of something to count on, even if it’s silly.

To start the day I consider Holy, I’ll also fall back to my upbringing.  Even though I rarely attend church regularly anymore, the convictions and beliefs I grew up with are strong within me and are passed on to my family.  There are years I will attend a sunrise Church service at the mountain, other years I feel the need to be amongst a congregation of those I know and respect, and some years I spend the morning in quiet reflection and remembrance of what I believe.  Whatever form the day takes, it comforts me to know that some things never change, in spite of the turmoil in the world around me.  I don’t know the answers as to why things happen the way they do, many times to those most innocent or undeserving of the chaos, but I have an abiding faith that there is a reason for every event that happens and that I don’t have to know the reason.  Tradition of spirit and of your own soul is perhaps the most precious gift of all to nurture and not neglect.

So, Easter ain’t what it used to be anymore for many of us.  It makes me sad to see so many traditions falling by the wayside in society.  The loss of family time as stores remain open in the name of political correctness or convenience is troubling.  The cost to the family from the increasing isolation and loss of human contact in favor of digital ways of interacting…the loss of our very humanity in a way as a result, is a shame and dangerous for some of those amongst us.  Especially for ones with dangerous violent tendencies, such isolation has shown just in the past month with so many tragic shootings, what happens when people cut themselves off from others or when we don’t want to “interfere” in someone else’s business.

Traditions are important.  So go hide an egg or two, have a meal with your family or a neighbor that is alone, go to church..heck go to a baseball game.  Start your own tradition if you didn’t grow up with one and cherish it from this point forward.  Give yourself and those around you a glimmer of something to look forward to in years to come.

Give the gift of something solid to hold on to, of something to count on, to yourself.  In these uncertain times, it’s vital…whether we realize it or not.

Recognize the value of small things around you.  Small things are the ones that make the most difference to us all.

It Ain’t Easy Being Green, But It IS Apparently Very Stimulating

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Once again with the turn of the calendar, it’s the day to celebrate all things Irish and in the process, all things green.  Why Crayola alone makes 20 different green crayons in varying hues, so there must be something to all this green fever!

 

Our language is liberally seasoned with metaphors, idioms and phrases all revolving around our obsession with the color of money and luck.

We are taught that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but the green green grass of home is a good thing.

You can turn green with envy when the green eyed monster rears it’s ugly head.

Dr. Seuss pointed out that despite Sam I Am’s obsession with Green eggs and ham, that it’s probably not going to be a hot seller on the menu at IHOP or Waffle House anytime soon.

We wax poetic about the green green grass of home and how green the valley and play on fields of green while wearing green for luck.

We don’t know for sure, but it’s entirely possible that the Green Eyed Lady of Sugarloaf song fame…”Green eyed lady, ocean lady…
Soothing every wave that comes” might have been Green around the gills if she was prone to seasickness by that ocean.

You can be a greenhorn, have a green thumb, or wait in the green room if you are a celebrity.  You can get a green light to proceed in life or traffic.  We love to have plenty of greenbacks in our pocket, especially in this economy.

 

According to Celtic myths, the Green Man was the God of Fertility.

Green has long been considered a metaphor and symbol for fertility and this was evident in the fifteenth (15th) century as Green was the preferred color for wedding attire.

 

The symbolism attached to the color Green continues to this day even though it has now taken on more modern meanings.

For instance, did you know that green M&M’s have long been the subject of myth as they are considered, by some, to have magical aphrodisiac powers? As to whether or not this is true is, of course, subject to interpretation, but I for one, always save the green M&M’s to eat last, just for luck.  Apparently others must do the same thing because in 1996, a commercial was released that asked “Is it true what they say about green ones?”  Hey, can’t hurt to try and M&M’s are MUCH cheaper than oysters or that famed little blue pill (not to mention less slimy!).

Perhaps that why Kermit was always lamenting that “It ain’t easy being green” and explains why Ms. Piggy was always in hot pursuit of his cute little green tooshie.  He is, after all, the very essence and symbol of fertility and the perfect aphrodisiac personified in amphibian form.  I ask you, how could a mere female pig be expected to resist that??

 

Green occupies more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye than most colors, and is second only to blue as a favorite color. Green is the pervasive color in the natural world, making it an ideal backdrop in interior design because we are so used to seeing it everywhere.

A few fun facts all surrounding the color green that you might not know…

 

Interesting information about green:

  • Green was the favorite color of George Washington, the first President of the United States.
  • The color green signifies mystical or magical properties in the stories of King Arthur.
  • Green is one color that means “low” or “guarded” in the color-coded threat system established by presidential order in March 2002. This system quickly informs law enforcement agencies when intelligence indicates a change in the terrorist threat facing the United States.
  • Green is the color used for night-vision goggles because the human eye is most sensitive to and able to discern the most shades of that color.
  • Bright green is the color of the astrological sign “Cancer.”
  • Green ribbons have been used by a range of environmental groups to symbolize organ donation and transplant, awareness of Bipolar Disorder, solidarity with Chechnya, and support of farmers in America.
  • NASCAR racers have shared a bias against the color green for decades. Reportedly, it began after a 1920 accident in Beverly Hills, California, that killed defending Indianapolis 500 champion Gaston Chevrolet. It was the first known racing accident in the United States to kill two drivers, and Chevrolet reportedly was driving a green car. Tim Richmond once refused to drive a car sponsored by Folger’s decaffeinated coffee because the primary color was green. He wound up in the Folger’s regular coffee car – and its red scheme. But the fear of green cars is fading, primarily because sponsors are willing to pay $15 million to splash their colors on a race car. Greenis now the primary color of cars driven by Mayfield, Marlin, and J.J. Yeley.

 

Green in athletics and sports:

  • In auto racing, a green flag signals the start or resumption of a race.
  • The green belt in Judo symbolizes green trees. Just as a green tree is the tallest living thing, so should our own pursuit of knowledge be, aiming high and keeping the goal of our achievement (top of the trees) in high esteem.

 

Green as a signature color:

  • Kermit the Frog

 

Companies or brands identified primarily with green:

  • H&R Block
  • BP
  • Heineken
  • Starbucks
  • The Masters Golf Tournament
  • Rolling Rock
  • Garnier Fructis
  • John Deere

 

 

What it says about you when you buy a green vehicle…

There is no question that the vehicle you drive is an extension of your personality — an unspoken, but clear message to the rest of the world.

  • The message you send by driving a vehicle that is Dark Green: Traditional, trustworthy, well-balanced.
  • If, however, your vehicle is a Bright Yellow-Green, you give a different impression: Trendy, whimsical, lively.

 

 

The color green is said to affect us physically as well in these ways:

  • Soothes
  • Relaxes mentally, as well as physically
  • Helps alleviate depression, nervousness, and anxiety
  • Offers a sense of renewal, self-control, and harmony

 

 

Green is the color of the Heart Chakra, also known as Anahata.

This chakra is located at the center of the chest area and is linked to the heart, lungs, circulatory system, cardiac plexus, and the complete chest area.

The Heart Chakra bridges the gap between the physical and spiritual worlds. Opening the Heart Chakra allows a person to love more, empathize, and feel compassion.

Gemstones that will aid the Heart Chakra include jade and malachite.

And finally, just so we don’t leave anyone out…

 

Green around the globe:

  • Green is used worldwide to represent safety.
  • In several religions, green is the color associated with resurrection and regeneration.
  • In Ghardaia and other parts of M’zab, houses painted in green indicate that the inhabitants have made a pilgrimage to Mecca.
  • Green, blue-green, and blue are sacred colors in Iran, where they symbolize paradise.
  • As the emblematic color of Ireland, green represents the vast green hillsides, as well as Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick.
  • In Japan, green is regarded as the color of eternal life.
  • In Aztec culture, green was considered to be royal because it was the colour of the quetzal plumes used by the Aztec chieftains.
  • The solid green flag of Libya is currently the only national flag of a single color.
  • In China, jade stones represent virtue and beauty.
  • In Portugal, green is the color of hope because of its associations with spring.
  • In the highlands of Scotland, people used to wear green as a mark of honor.
  • There is a superstition that sewing with green thread on the eve of a fashion show brings bad luck to the design house.

 

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Personally given the whole aphrodisiac thingy, I’m thinking we should all dye ourselves green for the day.  Hey, if it works for Kermit, who are we to argue with success?? *wink*

 

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!