Monday, December 18, 2017

Putting holiday stress on pause

“Stepping out of the busyness, stopping our endless pursuit of getting somewhere else, is perhaps the most beautiful offering
 we can make to our spirit.” 
~Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart


Cindy La Ferle

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas memories

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time."

~Laura Ingalls Wilder
A few pieces from my mother's Santa collection / Cindy La Ferle
I've written a few newspaper columns and magazine essays about the bittersweet task of sorting through your parents' belongings while preparing for an estate sale. The whole process takes you on a winding trail of memories, starting from your early childhood and leading you right up to the moment you find yourself putting price tags on your family heirlooms. 

After my mother died, I couldn't part with her collection of folk art Santas, shown above. A few of the pieces, including the signed chalkware, have collectible value. For the most part, though, I've kept the collection because Mom enjoyed displaying it every year at Christmas.

Religious origins aside, the Christmas season revolves around nostalgic traditions, rituals, and memories. Especially memories. I find comfort and happiness, for instance, in recalling favorite Christmas moments of my son's childhood -- watching him slide down the steps to witness the wonder of a new train set that Santa left under the tree -- as well as the Christmas mornings of my own childhood. 

But it's hard not to feel a void when we pause in the middle of holiday busyness and remember that the parents and grandparents who made our Christmas magic are no longer with us. 

"We honor our loved ones by talking about them," suggests Allison Gilbert, author of Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive. "We also pay tribute by celebrating the loving relationships that remain." If you're struggling with a loss this season, I highly recommend Gilbert's book. It's packed with tips on how to preserve and honor family treasures and memories.

Now on display in our dining room, Mom's Santa collection inspires heartfelt conversations -- and reminds me of her generous spirit every time I look at it. 

One last note regarding today's quote: I have my mother to thank for introducing me to Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books when I was a child. I still recall unwrapping a new hardcover edition from the series one Christmas morning more than 50 years ago. ~Cindy La Ferle
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To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."


Friday, December 15, 2017

Why stories get old

"The stories we tell ourselves narrow our perspective. When we enter an experience with a story about how life is 
or how it should be, that tends to be all we see." 
~Angel Chernoff


Cindy La Ferle

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To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Blazing our own trail

"One who walks in another's tracks
leaves no footprints." 
~ Celtic proverb 

Coco was here / Cindy La Ferle

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To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Snow days

“Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people's legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.” 
~Sarah Addison Allen, The Sugar Queen


Doug & Coco in Vinsetta Park / Cindy La Ferle
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To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A wicked sense of humor

"I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy." 
~ Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest


Carved statue of a saint in the Medieval Wing at the Detroit Institute of Arts / Cindy La Ferle


I'm a longtime fan of Oscar Wilde, the Irish playwright and poet. My favorite of Wilde's plays, The Importance of Being Earnest, was first performed in London in 1895. The reason for its enduring popularity? Wilde's social satire is still funny -- and still spot-on relevant -- more than a century later. Today's quote is a perfect example. ~CL
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To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."

Monday, December 11, 2017