Christmas expections, maggie mcreynolds blog

Changing Your Tune for the Holidays

Oh, the weather outside is frightful—but the fire is so delightful.

Well, yes, they are. But only if you think so.

Snowy weather can seem awful if you’re a commuter with bald tires who’s running late for work. But it’s likely a pretty cool thing to a kid, a skier, or that lucky dog with a good book and a day off.

A roaring fire in the hearth? Great with good company, or said book, or a cup of something comforting. Not so awesome, perhaps, if all you can think about is your heating bills soaring up the open flue or you’re having a hot flash.

Weather is just weather. Fire is just fire. They are observable, uncontestable facts. It’s the thoughts and stories we pile on top of them that give them meaning. And the holiday season is one of the biggest storytelling times of the year.

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Gratitude Without Attitude

It’s easy to be thankful when times are good. But what kind of pea-brained Pollyanna goes around feeling grateful for crappy stuff like illness, financial crises, and broken relationships?

Well…um…this kind, it appears. Now, wait. I’m no saint, and I’m just as capable as anyone of snapping at my kid, swearing at drivers who cut me off, and shaking my fist at the heavens, Job-like, over a cascading series of setbacks.

But over the years, I’ve noticed something. Although it’s normal—even necessary—to get angry or grieve when life throws a big spitball, getting stuck there serves no one. When we are blind to whatever gift might be contained in the grief, we are unable to move on—and we end up feeling even crappier.

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handling fear, pixabay, maggie mcreynolds blog

Just the Facts, Ma’am

I’ve got a terrible story stuck in my head. A story so awful, I don’t even want to write this sentence:

I am afraid my son might get sick, come to harm, or die.

Oh! I can’t even express how much I recoil at just seeing this in typeface. Because I am also afraid that by even giving voice to this fear, I will have somehow made it more likely to come true. I find myself itching to hit the delete key. Cancel, cancel! This fear is too horrible, too powerful, too evil to have out there in the world.

But when I can get a deep breath—actually doing so, here—I can remember that this fear, like most fears, is just a thought with the gloves off. By that, I mean a bully of a thought, a thought that will just beat me up if I let it.

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