Friday, December 25, 2009

Wrapping it Up!

As the holiday season begins its inevitable crash into the New Year, I am grateful to have a moment of peace beneath the warmth of my down comforter.

From today's newspaper comes a story that wraps up Christmas with clarity and humor, helping to define the blessings that we often take for granted. 

A Chicago man came home to find his entire apartment wrapped up as a prank by his friends. It took 16 people and 35 rolls of wrapping paper to turn the apartment into a gift of many delights. For eight hours these dedicated masterminds wrapped everything from the couch cushions to the beer in the refrigerator. 

Although the owner has only managed to unwrap about 10 percent of the packages, he says each time he does, he finds just what he needs. I found this to be quite profound. Perhaps Christmas doesn't come with ribbons and bows, as the Grinch finally discovers. Perhaps it is a little bit more. A place to sit or sleep, a roof over one's head, a glass to drink water, a lamp for light to read. 

Bravo on a prank gone well! A great way to remind oneself of the gifts we already have. That's what a wise grandma would do. 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Cup Of Holly Jolly

I am, once again, graced with the wisdom of my friend, Dr. Hoolala. His words on gratitude provided wisdom to the Thanksgiving feast and now his wishes for the holidays are like presents for both Scrooge and Elves.

Here is the Doctor's prescription for peace on earth.

I can't remember the last time I wrote a Christmas wish-list. This year is different, I've been discovering what I want and learning how to ask for it. Are you ready? Are you really ready? Here's what I want:
Compliment a stranger and tell me how they react.
Volunteer for two or more hours at a non-profit that you've never heard of before and tell me what it was like for you.

Give a sandwich to a homeless person and tell me their name.
Ask a coworker what their dream job would be like and tell me about it.
Try to learn a song backwards, sing it at a restaurant, and tell me how people react.

Write an inspirational message inside a bathroom stall with dry erase marker and tell me what you wrote and where.
Think of a question you've never asked me before, and ask me.  Make it something that you really want to know, too.
That's what I want, any or all of those.  Take your pick.  My only wish is to believe I've made a positive difference in the world, and to help others realize that they too can be positive influences in the world.  If you get this message, it's because you've been a positive influence in my world.
Thanks for another year of tears and laughter,
Dr. Hoolala

Right back at you, Dr. That is exactly what a wise grandma would do.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On A Need To Know

Both of my parents are journalists. At one time, they owned a local newspaper, Mission Press, in Southern California. Everyday several newspapers were on the doorstep, morning and evening editions. The news was considered a sacred trust whose primary focus to inform us on a need to know basis. 

There has been a critical shift in the focus of the news. Today we are bombarded by news that on a need to know basis - we don't. At the top of that list right now - Tiger Woods. Why do we need to know this man's private life? Why do we need to know how many, who they are and where they met and what they emailed? Why do we need to continue the humiliation for his wife, children, parents? On a need to know - why do we need to?

Since there has been no criminal action, there should be a cease and desist order on this avalanche of this gossip column style journalism. Enquiring minds can find tabloid magazines who are in business to handle the scandals are available for purchase at the checkout stand. Making a conscious choice to give Mr Woods and his family privacy in this painful, none of our business moment and choose on a need to know basis, not to  - priceless. That is what a wise grandma would do. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Here I am bundled in layers of clothing, socks, gloves and sock hat trying to remember what my toes feel like. The temperature outside, although still in double digits, is no longer in the teens and plummeting as we speak. And as luck would have it, my heater is out. 

Why is it, when it gets hot the air conditioning goes out and when it is cold, the heat goes out? It's as if Mother Nature wants to remind us in no uncertain terms, that she is in charge. Despite our best efforts to remain comfortable, she can be a harsh mistress with us at her mercy.

But despite the fact that I can see my breath, I am grateful that I have shelter, food, water (albeit in buckets in the bathtub) warm clothes and wood for the stove. With the temperature below freezing both day and night, I can not help but wonder about those unfortunate souls on the streets with little more than a bush for shelter. 

Support local chapters of Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, warming shelters. Donate your extra blankets, jackets, canned foods, socks, gloves or start a clothing drive in your area. These items will be passed along to those in need. While you sip your hot chocolate you will be warmed by the thought that someone sleeps inside, has socks on their feet or a jacket to protect them. There but for the grace of God, go I...or you or a family, a child, the elderly. That's what a wise grandma would soon as the heat comes back on!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My husband’s aunt called the other night. Her tears drowned out most of her words, as she spoke of  her late husband. The holidays had snuck up on her and suddenly the thought of spending them alone was overwhelming.

For those grieving the loss of a child or spouse, they are not ready for the flood of memories as they set the table for one less person, or unwrap a favorite ornament. They are not ready to be normal again. They may look normal, even act normal in their daily lives but for the exception of the holes in the family fabric, one would never know they are not ready yet.

“Grief work is exactly that: work. It is exhausting, it is lengthy, it is terrifying, it is often unbearable. It is work that is best done with others, for the hallmark of grief is loneliness. The bereaved are often shunned, a result of others’ fears of death and loss,” says Cendra Lynn, founder and director of The web site offers ways to cope with grief especially during the holiday season. 

Listing resources for both adults and children, the support at opens doors for families and friends looking for opportunities to talk with loved ones and how to cope with grief. One of the links on the site is, grief support 2 Kids, 4 Kids by Kids with questions and answers, a safe place to help kids deal with grief and loss. There is an inspiring section where kids can share their stories and artwork with other kids.

This season, while spreading the joy of the holiday, listen and comfort those who find the challenge of seeing beyond the humbug. That's what a wise grandma would do.