#hydratefortheholidays: It’s the thought that counts – even on Black Friday

sherlock “Guess what today is??!” Jack excitedly asked as he came downstairs for breakfast. “The day after Thanksgiving?” I ask back. “Mahhmm!” he exhales. “How can you not know? It’s like a HUGE deal.” “I don’t know,” I shrug. “What day is it?” “It’s Black Friday!” “Ohhh…” Did he seriously just say Black Friday – like it’s a holiday? Does he think it signifies something important? worth celebrating and commemorating? “Yes – it’s finally here. Black Friday.” He smiled and started to gather what he wanted to eat for breakfast. I guess he was preparing for the big day (as if we’ve ever said a word about it.) Then he paused and thought for a moment, “What is Black Friday?” He’s so funny. I guess he’s heard so much about all the hype and the deals on the radio and t.v., he thought

#hydratefortheholidays: Tip #6 – Look Up

hydratefortheholidays - look up Having Thanksgiving at the end of November really does put a kink into things. On the one hand, aren’t we supposed to be planning December since IT STARTS NEXT WEEK? But on the other, what about the Turkey? and lazy, and food, and football, and raking/jumping into leaves, and food, and family/friends, and food and hanging out? But December IS HERE and I don’t want to get behind, or be rushed, or forget something (eek!) The walls start to feel like they’re closing in (am I the only one?!) and even I begin to make lists. And in the making of lists I start to think about all the things that NEED TO BE ON A LIST. Then I see the list and think how ridiculous it is – because I’m laid back and have never been friends with lists. In fact, I’m a terrible list maker. I write the stuff down, usually on a scrap of paper that resembles a Chic-Fil-A receipt

#hydratefortheholidays: practice JOY today

Joy In a few short weeks (they seem to be getting shorter and shorter – which makes me sad since all I want these weeks to do is linger), Christmas songs will be filling the airwaves. In the malls, on the radio, at school recitals, through churches across the globe, songs about peace and hope will be sung. Peace, hope and joy. It seems we could all use a nice jolt of each right about now. Joy, the subject of one such beloved song [Joy to the World, by the 20th century the most published hymn in North America], is such an interesting word. It alludes to a concept more deeply rooted than happiness. In fact happiness is often used to describe joy – as does delight and bliss. It originates from the Latin word gaudēre: to rejoice. It’s hard to think about joy today – especially amidst all of the turmoil, sadness, confusion, and anger filling social

#hydratefortheholidays: Tip #5 – Exercise

Hydrate tip - exercise Last year I had the unfortunate opportunity to meet face-to-face a not so fun diagnosis of Shingles. But, with all that is going on with my friends and their much more life-altering diagnoses, I really didn’t care much about it. Still, for anyone going through Shingles or who knows someone that has it – YUCK. It’s painful – and can actually be friendly enough to hang around for a longer haul. Which mine decided to do. I have residual nerve damage from it. The bad news – I can’t exercise the same way I’ve done through the years. The good news – nerves can regenerate, AND we live in a day and age where there are LOTS of ways to exercise. For me – it’s swimming. And the blessing, that came with my unexpected change-up, has been multi-dimensional and filled with so much goodness.

#hydratefortheholidays: Practicing Thankfulness

IMG_6939 Don’t panic. Even though the words, “Can we get together next week? The Friday before Thanksgiving?” might have been spoken today [What?! Friday before Thanksgiving?! Next week!! EEEK!], there’s still time. Breathe. Truth be told, in most other years, Thanksgiving would be next week. But this year, the holiday falls the last week of November. Which means December begins just about the time we finish leftovers from all the terrific cooking and eating and sleeping and eating. Breathe. Seriously, remind me to not beg tomorrow’s problems for today. It makes today go by too fast. Rather than give into any pressures to feel stressed over what can seem like a time crunch, maybe it’s time to practice one of the simplest, yet challenging, but most powerful strategies to get our thoughts to land: gratitude. Did you know that:

Focus on the Family & #hyrdratefortheholidays – Eyes on Others

Two Women Relaxing on the Beach Being the calendar-challenged person that I am, or it could simply be the flaky-factor that seems pervasive in all I do (or forget to do) – I kind of forgot that the super wonderful folks at Focus on the Family are airing a conversation we had about finding contentment in a comparison/ultra-competitive world. I have to tell you – those folks at Focus are the real deal. They are in it for us. They’re in it to spread the message of God’s love. They’re in it, walking alongside, embracing the good, the bad & the ugly and pointing listeners to helpful hints on how to walk the road and thrive instead of simply survive. I’m so humbled that they asked me to join them in outing the ick that hits us daily via comparison. So – I haven’t listened (and I’m a tiny bit scared to listen, I sound

#hydratefortheholidays – Sacred in the Ordinary

h4u takeaway - looking For the most part, days are ordinary. My sister in law said it well earlier today when we were doing what we do – phone chat. We touch base almost daily. Not so long ago, my brother would go through the phone bill, get frustrated with the costly long-distance minutes and try to put the kabosh on our daily calls. Needless to say, we’re thankful for these days of cell phones & unlimited. Today, she was filling me in on her exciting times in Atlanta: a trip to Costco, taking a kid to tennis, rearranging her house. She’s always switching things around. And in the switching she started to get excited about having Thanksgiving at her house this year. So she decided to look for a few Fall decorations while she was out running errands. Apparently such decor was nowhere to be found. Christmas – yes. Fall – no. And she thought about

#hydratefortheholidays: Tip # 2 – Addressing Unnecessary Rudeness

Gentle Answer This morning I woke with a mixed heart. I had either had a dream or was praying – I’m not sure, but it involved one of my friends who is dying. I actually have more than one friend who, according to regular expectations in life, should not have that word a part of their vocabulary at their ages, so my thoughts are busy. It’s weird to contemplate and to watch and to live life with people who might not have many days left. They are solid in their faith in the One who is the Author of life, who has numbered our days, whose love and strength and presence and power rule in the midst of every and all circumstance(s). Yet it’s a struggle to know where to put all the emotion that comes with hope and suffering and sickness. Because it’s all there. So we travel the road together. And the last few weeks have made me so grateful for

#hydratefortheholidays: Why? & Tip #1 – Declutter

tree Christmas in October?! “Ahhhww!…” I couldn’t stop the audible groan. “I can’t believe it.” “What?” my son riding shotgun looks up. “Christmas lights. Already. Up and on!” We were on our way to pick up his brother from practice. “Wow,” even he was taken aback. “Has Halloween even happened?” “I don’t think so,” I reply, wondering. We didn’t forget – did we? I had to question. But realized that no – we did not miss it. But yes, this weekend is the last week of October. Looking at those lights made my head hurt. “I already need an extra week.” But since the year never doles out extra days, I’ve got to find a way to manage the onslaught of stuff without letting it take away from all that’s good and right with upcoming celebrations. So maybe I can see those lights

Warning Signs – More than a Safety Measure

Turn Around, Don't Drown The weather in Dallas has been a tiny bit crazy of late. Our summer had so much fun, it decided to stay way beyond it’s welcome, refusing to leave until recently. The third week of October was the first week of Fall without 90+ degree weather. Not only have we experienced record-breaking heat, we’ve had the least amount of recorded rainfall in a loooooong time. Until yesterday. The rains came. In force. Here’s what it’s looked like: Suffice it say, we’re wet. But life doesn’t stop. Carpools continue. Driving was done. Lots of driving. In the rain, at times torrential. Making my way to drop off one kid, I saw this sign . It said it all – and then some. And being the opportunistic mother that I am, I couldn’t stop myself from reading between the lines and dolling out a little life lesson
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