We all know that Christmas is a time for giving presents and that can be a good thing if the presents are simple and come from the heart. However, many people believe that they have to spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts so they will be loved and appreciated. A big screen TV, a new expensive designer outfit, gold jewelry, the latest gadget or gimmick. Doesn’t it mean you love someone more if you spend more money??? No, this is certainly not true. It is just a false belief that tricks you into parting with your money, makes you feel bad and often puts you in debt.
It is far more important to give your PRESENCE on Christmas rather than PRESENTS. Think about it.
- Is a child happier when they are surrounded with piles of new toys and have nobody to play with OR are they happier when they have one game to play with someone they love?
- Is a wife happier when her husband gives her a diamond bracelet and then works overtime to pay for it OR is she happier when her husband gives her an inexpensive pair of earrings and then spends time watching TV with her every evening?
- Is a friend happier when she gets the newest I-phone from her friend and doesn’t see her for 6 months because she is too busy OR is she happier when her friend takes her for coffee once a week and spends time chatting with her?
Spending time with people spreads more happiness than spending money on people. What are you giving this Christmas…..Presents or Presence?
We live in a world that is complicated. Daily pressures cause us to try to do way more that we should. We try to pack so many things into 24 hours that we are exhausted at the end of the day. Work, family, daily chores, meetings, sports, other activities….it is all too much for many of us to handle. The stress we feel is handed down to our children when we place our own expectations on their little lives.
Children are not allowed to be children anymore. They are pressured into growing up quickly and filling their time with endless activities. When I was small, life was simple. I spent hours playing by myself and using my creativity to do projects like painting, sewing and knitting. Toys and games did not fill my room and I wasn’t bored. Instead of spending hours playing on a computer or an i-pad, I was outside riding my bicycle or having adventures in my backyard.
I see children today who are involved in so many things that they don’t have time to enjoy their childhood. Their schedules are so full of activities like sports, dancing, martial arts, video games, parties and other events that they don’t have time to use their own creativity. Then when they do have down time, they go to rooms full of toys and games and are bored because they have nothing to do.
Parents often smother their children with too much, thinking it shows love. We all want our children to have nice things but when it is overdone, it can result in emotional problems. Kids feel frustrated, stressed, unsatisfied and feeling entitled to having everything they want. We should give our children less stuff and allow them to have more free time to build their creativity. We should give our children less activities and more family time. More is not better. More is stressful. We need to simplify the lives of ourselves and our children.
Here is a great article I just read that explains more deeply what happens when we simplify life.http://raisedgood.com/extraordinary-things-happen-when-we-simplify-childhood/
We do many things in our lives that we wish we hadn’t done or wish we had done better. Too often we put off doing something with the intention of doing it someday but that day never comes. Or we do things quickly with little or no preparation, thinking that we can do it better the next time. Even worse we do something knowing that it isn’t right and it may even cause problems but we still do it anyway.
Time is precious and we should never waste it. We only have so many hours in a day and we really don’t how many of those days we have. In the big picture of life, we should try to focus on what is important and invest our time wisely.
When a loved one passes away, we are reminded that we can’t go back and do things over again. Our lives are NOT a dress rehearsal for some future event. Our lives are happening RIGHT NOW! We can’t go back and tell that person the things we forgot to say. We can’t go back and do the things we wanted to do with them. We can’t watch the movies that we said we would watch with them and didn’t. We can’t buy that gift that we always thought about getting them.
Are you living your life like it is a dress rehearsal? Stop rehearsing and start living! Time is precious. If you waste your time, you are wasting your life. Make some positive changes:
- spend time with the people you love
- go to your children’s school play or special event
- take that trip you have been planning (just don’t go into debt to do it)
- build meaningful relationships
- take that course you always wanted to take
- tell your spouse that you love them
- manage your time wisely
Parents love your children. When they become adults and leave home for school, work or marriage, you will wish that you could turn back the clock. Time is so precious and so are your children!
- Spend time with them and show them how much you care about them.
- Surround them with love and support.
- Encourage them to always do the best they can.
- Create special memories to hold in their hearts.
- Help build their confidence
- Listen to them and show them how valuable they are
- Teach them solid moral values and guide them to make good decisions
- Be a positive role model
Here is a video that shows what it means to be a good mom – not a perfect mom, just a good mom!
When was the last time you stopped from your busy schedule to relax and just enjoy life? Was it yesterday, last week, last month, last year? Do you even remember?
People today are so busy running around taking care of the family, the kids, the work, the house, the pets and a variety of other activities, that they are so worn out at the end of the day and still haven’t completed everything they wanted to. Our to-do lists are getting longer and longer but the days don’t get any longer. Every day has only 24 hours but we try to cram as much as possible into those hours and are never satisfied.
When are you going to start enjoying your life? I’ve heard a lot of excuses and used most of them myself.
- ‘I’ll start tomorrow.’ Well, we all know this won’t work because tomorrow never comes, so you can say this every day for the rest of your life. Why not start today!
- ‘When I get everything caught up.’ This doesn’t work because nobody ever finishes all the things they have to do. Even if you manage to complete one task, there is always another one waiting to be done.
- ‘When my children are grown up and move out’. How do you know that your children will move out and if they do, maybe they will come home again. Besides when your children have homes of their own, there will be different things to spend time doing.
- ‘My spouse/friend/boss expects things of me.’ People will always have high expectations of you, especially if you continue to do things for them. Being helpful is great but learn to say ‘no’ so you aren’t wearing yourself out.
Using excuses to continue rushing through life is not helping you at all. Being too busy is harmful to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It can cause stress and all sorts of health issues. Your body is important and if you don’t take care of it, nobody else will.
You may love your work but are you getting any pleasure out of what you are doing? You may love your family but do you allow enough time to stop working and enjoy each other’s company. Consider the things you do and start cutting back on what you do each day. Try to organize your tasks so that you aren’t wasting time doing things that are unnecessary and unimportant.
Look around at other people and see what they are doing. I’ve noticed that people who are rushing around often wear a frown and a worried look on their faces. I’ve also noticed that people who are relaxing and chatting with someone are smiling and happy. Being too busy is certainly not the way to happiness.
If you have been busy for so long that you can’t even think about what you can do to enjoy yourself, here are some suggestions:
- read a good book
- take a nap
- listen to some classical music
- sit and meditate
- go to church
- take a walk
- play a game
- do a puzzle
- go fishing
- plant flowers
- talk to your spouse
- ride a bike
- watch a funny movie
- write a story
- visit a friend
- watch the sunrise or sunset
- write a love letter
- bake cookies
- go for a picnic
How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Is it a special day for you or is it just another day?
Every year on February 14th, many people give cards, candy, flowers or some special gift to show a loved one how much they care. Spouses or friends may arrange to have a special meal or a night out to celebrate this event. Images of hearts and red flowers are seen in stores, restaurants and other public places. Some people even choose to get married on Valentine’s Day.
It is great to see people engaging in loving activities but it seems such a shame that it only lasts for a day or so. Many people have to be reminded to show love to the people around them and once Valentine’s Day is over, the love gets put on the back burner until next year. Love should be a habit that we live every day. We should make our loved ones feel special every day, not just one day a year.
Everyone has a love language – something that makes them feel special and important. We often give love to others using our own love language and this doesn’t work very well. We may feel loved when someone gives us a gift, but they may feel loved when we do something nice for them. So if we give them a gift, they may not feel the love we want to share with them. We need to find out what their love language is and try to show love to them every day. By showing continuous love, it will make your relationships stronger, it will make your marriage better and you will be happier! Here are the 5 different love languages (as found in the book by Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages):
- words of affirmation – encouragement, supporting and caring words
- acts of service – doing something nice, a helping hand
- receiving gifts – choosing something they like
- quality time – spending time
- physical touch – hug, kiss, gentle touch, high-five, handshake
You can visit the following website to discover what your love language is….www.5lovelanguages.com
Christmas is over and its time to slow down and relax. All the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season should be behind us. We work ourselves into a frenzy trying to buy presents, make meals and entertain guests. Weeks of stress and pressure are funnelled into a couple of days and then what happens? Often we feel let down and empty. Why? Because we are not celebrating Christmas the way it was meant to be.
If we don’t have the Christmas spirit in our hearts all year long, we can’t really appreciate what the season means. Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace and joy when Christians everywhere celebrate the birth of Jesus. We shouldn’t rush around like crazy spending money and wasting time on things that won’t last. We should be spending time with our families and friends, sharing our love and creating great memories that will last.
How did you celebrate Christmas?
Some people believe that if they go out and spend lots of money on gifts that it shows their love. Wrong! Money and gifts do not necessarily show love. Some people do give gifts out of love but too often we buy gifts because it has become an expected habit and there is not much love that goes with the gift. Some people also need to receive gifts because it makes them feel valued, but this is wrong because they are placing their value in possessions and not in themselves.
During our lifetime, most of us receive many gifts, some large, some small, some expensive, some inexpensive. Do you remember what gifts meant the most to you? Was it the large toys you received for Christmas when you were a child? Was it the beautiful clothing that you received as a teen? Was it the diamond earrings or tool set you received from a spouse? Was it the kitchen appliance or electronic device that you received from a friend? Personally, I can’t remember most of the toys, the clothing, the jewelry or the appliances that I’ve received over the years. It was great fun getting those things at the time and they were enjoyed for a while, but most of the things we get are soon forgotten.
The only gifts that have made a lasting impression are those that were given from the heart. From my childhood, I kept a stuffed horse on wheels, that I spend many hours riding. My children have given me some special gifts that I will treasure forever; a painted picture, a decorated heart, a hand-sewn mouse. My husband gave me a couple of really special romantic cards that I take out of my dresser drawer and look at once in a while. None of these gifts cost much but they are more important to me than anything else.
Time is the best gift we can give each other. It is more valuable than anything else and it will last forever, etched in our hearts. Give a hug, a kiss, tell someone you love them, sit and talk for a while, go for a walk. Do something that really shows your love. Gifts are nice, but they don’t leave a lasting impression like your love does.
Now that Thanksgiving is over in Canada and in the States, are you still giving thanks for all the wonderful things that you have? From pictures I’ve seen of Black Friday sales, it appears that many people have quickly traded their thankfulness into greed. It is so sad that people can put so much emphasis on gaining material possessions, that they would stand in line for hours or push and shove people to get what they want.
Society has created a monster in people, one that has a deep desire to spend lots of money trying to find happiness in all the piles of stuff they buy, often resulting in huge debt. According to a Bank of Montreal report, the number of Canadians in debt grew from 74% in 2012 to 83% in 2013. In the States the total consumer debt is over $11 million. All of this debt is not creating more happiness, in fact it is creating more stress, anxiety and depression. Marriages are in trouble because of financial problems and relationships are struggling. People just can’t handle the pressure of being in debt, yet they keep spending because ‘THEY’ say it is okay. ‘THEY’ tell us that we need stuff to be happier, make more friends, have power and get better jobs. And who is ‘THEY’? It is all the companies who are making money causing people to overspend, get into deep debt and often end up filing for bankruptcy. So how does this make us happy. It doesn’t!
Happiness is found in being content with what we have. Instead of wishing we had a lot of things that we don’t really need and can’t afford to buy, spend time instead of money, giving thanks for the things you already have. Spend time with your family, especially your children. They would much rather have you spend time with them than go out and spend time looking for those toys and trinkets. If they would rather have ‘stuff’ than they have already learned to be greedy and this isn’t good because they will end up making poor choices with their money.
Learn to be thankful and teach your children to be thankful. Not just on Thanksgiving but every day of the year. Whether your family gathers around the table for a meal, have everyone think about something they are thankful for and share your thoughts. If you normally eat by yourself, ask yourself what you can be thankful for. Being thankful is a good way to become happy about everything in life and everyone around you. Here are some of the things that I’m thankful for:
- my wonderful family
- my two awesome girls
- my adorable grandson
- having a house to live in
- having enough food to eat
- having a comfortable bed to sleep in
- being warm
- my job
- enough money to pay bills
- good health
- being able to eat out sometimes
- taking vacations
- my writing skills
- my creativity
- being able to see, hear and smell
It is sometimes hard to be thankful in this materialistic world, but if you think with your heart, you can always find something to be thankful for.
What are you thankful for? Grab a pen and a piece of paper and start making your own list.
Society keeps pressuring us to do more with our time. If we have spare time, there must be something wrong with us. Many people literally try to kill themselves by adding more and more pressure to their lives, trying to do as much as they possibly can. Stress-related illnesses are on the rise and people don’t seem to be slowing down. There are only 24 hours in a day, but some people seem to have time to accomplish a lot, while others accomplish little or nothing. It all depends on how well you organize your time.
Are you too busy doing things that are not really important? Are you planning your time so it includes recreation and leisure time? Do you spend time with your family and friends?
- If you can’t spend some time every day with your family, you are too busy.
- If you can’t spend some time every day with your spouse, you are too busy.
- If you can’t spend some time every day with your children, you are too busy.
- If you can’t spend some time every day with yourself, doing some alone time, you are too busy.
Make sure you aren’t too busy to spend time with your loved ones. Time will not wait for you to catch up and you can never regain any lost time. Spend it well! The clock is ticking! Your life depends on it!