Monday, December 31, 2012

Getting emotional

"Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. 
It beats money and influence. 
It is no more or less than faith in action." 
- Henry Chester

Yesterday's post comments both stated that #7 Get emotional is difficult. My sister reminded me about how as children of a narcissistic emotions were number one on the list of things to be controlled by her.  I our family the only emotional person was mother.  If I was sad, I was told I should be happy.  If I was excited, I was told to calm down.  If I was happy, she would tell me something awful until I felt sad then should would want me to cheer up again.  Emotional abuse is a prevalent part of growing up with a cluster B personality.  Subtle, deniable, emotional jabs and tweaks telling me how I should feel in every situation.  NM decided what should make me happy, sad, or simply ran right over how I felt about anything.  The pedophile neighbor twisted my emotions for his pleasure.  My pain was his pleasure.  The only thing I knew what to do to stop his pleasure is to stop all reaction to what happened to me.  Emotional abuse is on going long term attack on a person.  I found a counseling website that gives a definition that closely fits what I believe.  However, there is not a general consensus amongst professionals.  

What is Emotional Abuse?

Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased.
Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching,” or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones (Engel, 1992, p. 10).

The main portion of my counseling focused on reconnecting me to my emotions.  When I started counseling, I talked about feeling like I was on the outside looking in on how people lived.  I still remember the evening session the day after my mother-in-law died.  I first made sure my children were with my DH and then I went to the session since I had several things to ask KavinCoach.  I didn't want to cancel at the last minute.  I briefly explained to KavinCoach that DH would not be there and started to ask what I wanted to know.  He stopped my question and asked me, "How do you feel about it?"  I almost looked around the room to see if he was talking to somebody else.  You know that sick feeling you get when a teacher asks a trick question, that was my initial reaction to his question.  I didn't answer so KavinCoach asked me, "Are you happy?"  
My very puzzled, "No."
KC, "Are you sad?"
Again I answered, "No."
Then came the 64 million dollar question...."Do you feel anything at all?"
Again I answered, "No, why should I, she's not my mother."
Not a shred of emotion available to share.  We spent the rest of the evening talking about her and that I knew her and liked her but I was also very aware that I was not the wife she wanted for her son.  I didn't feel upset about that either, it simply was how things stood and I felt neither sadness or sorrow about her death.  This began several months of KavinCoach trying to get an emotional reaction from me.  He would purposely say things designed to upset me since anger is the easiest emotion to set off.  I remember a session that I was starting to get upset.  Then I set it aside and calmed down right in front of him.  He stopped mid-sentence and asked, "How do you do that?" I stared at him.  He continued, "You were getting angry."  My cautious, "Yes," hung in the air.  He continued, "But now you are not, there isn't any tension in your face that show you are even suppressing anger.  Where did it go?"  I had no idea.  I just knew that in any given situation I could wipe clean all emotion.  I didn't know that this was not a common reaction to emotional stress.  I used to admire Mr. Spock on Star Trek and the tremendous control that his character had over all emotions.  KavinCoach explained to me that much of what he did was to work with emotions of a client.  I felt like he threatened to stop seeing me if I didn't allow access to my emotions.  I felt afraid then but didn't know how to express my fear.  He continued to probe my emotions and finally concluded that I was an emotional moron.  I still chuckle over his exasperation and phrasing.  He then gave me the most enjoyable assignment I ever had.  He told me to get a box of clay pigeons from a hunting store and to name things that I feel angry about and throw them against a wall to shatter the little clay disk.  I took it a step further and made a photography project out of it.  

 I actually labeled each of the 90 orange disk with something that I felt angry about.  I laid out plastic sheeting by the wall where I was throwing the disk for easy clean up.  I smashed them against the wall one at a time.  Shooting pictures with a film camera.  After the first 90, I went out and bought another box and broke all those, too.  When I went for my next session, I explained to KavinCoach what I did.  It was his turn to be puzzled.  He finally explained that this was not the reaction he was expecting.  He then went on to explain that most people, meaning not me, didn't even finish the first box before quitting and not having anything else to say that they were angry about.  That was the first time I knew quite clearly that there was a lot of emotion inside of me, it just wasn't easily accessible by me.  Reconnecting me to my emotions became the crux of my counseling with KavinCoach.  Reconnecting me to my emotions was the key to integrating my personalities.  Reconnecting me to my emotions was a long pain filled process.  I joked with KavinCoach the week I finally connected, "You asked me about feeling angry, I found it."  I called the cesspool of anger, Lake Rage.  It bubble and boiled constantly.  Reconnecting did not come with an ability to control how I felt.  It was either on or off, nothing in between.  It was a rough couple of years as KavinCoach worked at teaching me how to drain my emotional lake of rage, all the hurts, fears, frustrations boiling constantly that I either ignored or suppressed.  KavinCoach knew it was essential for me to connect with my emotions to be a whole thriving person.  I needed to be able to feel what I felt at the time I was feeling it.  Interesting thing for me, once my anger was acknowledged and discussed, joy and happiness crept into my life right along with it.  By stopping all emotional pain, I stopped all emotion.  The process is not easy but so worth it to be able to get emotional. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Letting go to move forward 

Something I learned as a child when playing on the monkey bars is you have to let go to move forward.  If you don't let go you can't swing to the next one to move across the bars.  

One of my goals for 2013 is to gain confidence.  I need to let go of the insecurities that keep me from feeling confident.  Purpose Fairy made a list of 7 ideas to help with this process.

  When I first read this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, I was puzzled as to how this was possible.  I reasoned the it was the other person calling me names or saying hurtful things that I felt inferior.  Then I tore out the faulty foundation that said I must believe anything that another person says.  I decide if I am good enough so if someone says that I am dumb then I can accept their opinion or choose not to.  I can recognize that what the other person is saying is more about them than it is about me.  Self-confidence comes from me therefore someone else's opinion is just that, their opinion.

Not just begin but continue...healing is an on going process. We are all human therefore we do stuff to hurt each other on a regular basis. One of the things that KavinCoach taught me was that he was not going to help me work through every incident in my life. He was teaching me how to use the healing process myself.  First, I recognize that I feel hurt.  Then I need to either write it down or share it with someone.  Make concrete comments about how I feel and what I need to feel healed.  I can not change the other person.  The one I am teaching to nurture me is me.  I can fix life's booboos myself.  The big ones may take a little longer but I am in control of how I feel about me.
If I feel badly about myself, I need to question myself about why do I feel this way?  Is it something I need to let go?  Is it a weakness that I want to make a strength?  This is where insight is very helpful.  I like PurposeFairy's questions.
Do these thoughts have any real foundation? Will they matter 10 years from now? Are they helping me in any way? Why do I think this way? Where do these belief originate from? Are these beliefs mine? Do I really want to pollute my mind in this way?
 I love her reminder, "you don’t have to believe everything you think."
 PurposeFairy used one of my favorite Einstein quotes to illustrate this one:
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
NewCounselor taught me that my mind likes to get in a groove.  If I keep thinking the same thought then the groove gets deeper until I am in a rut.  Blasting myself out of a rut is difficult.  If I don't like where a thought is taking me, the faster I get out of it the easier it is to change.  I had a life time of thinking poorly of myself.  Changing myself view requires getting out of that rut and creating a new view.
  In photography, Ansel Adams was well known for envisioning his photographs and setting about creating what he sees in his mind.  I did the same when I created my photography show.  I thought out what I wanted to create then I set about doing what I envisioned.  I am in the process of thinking out what kind of person I want to be.  I also learned from photography that I need to turn myself over to the process.  Sometimes my vision is short sighted, I need to allow my view of possibilities to expand as I grow.
Visualization was one of the skills taught to me by KavinCoach. At first he guided me through the steps, then he encouraged me to do it myself.  Visualize a place of peace within myself.  Visualize empowerment and believing myself.  Visualize how I want to behave in any given situation.  If I can visualize it, I can do it.  Mind power unleashed is key to doing impossible things.
This last one surprised me. I hadn't thought that being disconnected from my feelings inhibited my ability to feel self-confident.  Then I realized that self-confidence is a feeling.  It is an emotional based view of myself.  I need to be connected with my emotions to feel self-confident.  The more I learn about living the more I realize how vital it is for me to feel.  The greatest disservice I did to myself was to shut off all emotion.  Reconnecting is difficult and painful but it also unleashes my inner power.  
A new dawn

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking back to be ready to move forward

"It has been my philosophy of life that
difficulties vanish when faced boldly."
- Isaac Asimov

Click Here For Success Tip # 041

End of a year invites reflection as to what I accomplished or didn't this year. For me, there is a larger scope to consider, I am in the process of tapering off with the goal of stopping counseling by the end of 2013.  So not only am I reviewing the year, I am reviewing the past 10 years and what counseling did for me.  I talked with my kids about the changes.  At the same time, I am working on improving my physical health.  Corrective surgery is proving to be amazing.  I am functioning with energy levels so high that I don't know how to handle.  I get bored and restless because I am not so exhausted all the time.  Changes happened and are continue to happening.  Pondering the changes I came to the conclusion that for me counseling wasn't so much a process of learning to be happy as it was clearing out those beliefs and distortions that made me miserable.  I entered counseling I had a great childhood going to the park and the zoo.  Now, I know that my childhood was abusive and if I was a child living that same life today I would be put in a group home.  "The truth will set you free but first it will make you really miserable."  I think my thoughts were triggered by a someone on Facebook asking, "Would you rather hear an ugly truth or pretty lies?"  Ugly truths are scary but as Asimov stated faced boldly then tend to vanish or diminish to what is there.  Looking back for me was like looking at a bunch of weird shaped objects in a black bag.  Counseling sessions were more about my reaction to others experiences that I read about than actually remembering my own.  Finally, my mind started releasing my own memories...some were cute or nice like the day I remembered the names of all my elementary school teachers...others were right out of horror movies.  I never watch horror movies since it is not entertainment to watch the stuff my life is made of.  My counselor helped me tear away from enmeshment with my family of origin...and tore off my views of distortions and false teachings.  My counselor described the sessions as tearing out a damaged and faulty foundation.  Then replacing that corrupted crumbling mass with a sure foundation built on truth and emotionally healthy living.  I still had to function.  I felt like I was living in a house while major reconstruction was being done.  Now, the foundation is completed.  There is still some creaking and groaning of settling into place.  Still moments of clearing out old debris and toxic thinking but the foundation is now in place.  I remember the session that we talked about the truths that were part of my foundation.  My faith in Christ and Heavenly Father.  My belief in the foundations of my religion.  The recognition that these core values that held me together through difficult times in my childhood and as a mother of a young family.  The sweet remembrance of reading the New Testament on my own in Junior high.  I chuckle to remember that I read the New Testament and the Hobbit.  Otherwise I didn't read much since reading was a struggle for me.  The bare bones of my foundation started with Love one kind to those that despitefully use you....Love thy neighbor as thyself....serve others....these truths threaded their way through the mass of lies and deceptions and shored up my belief in doing good to others.  My belief in Christ was my strongest deterrent to committing suicide.  I believe in an after life...if I took my own life how would I explain to my savior that was crucified that life was too hard to endure.  Clearing away the distortions that kept me from feeling emotions was painful and difficult.  Emotions were jumbled together and painful ones were preserved intact and unchanged for years.  I felt emotions of fear and terror from my life.  Fear so intense that I could barely speak.  Passing out from intense emotions is possible.  Tearing off scabbed over areas of my life and feeling with tender exposed skin.  Counseling was tough....change is tough....learning to live healthy is amazing.  Clearing away the garbage allowed the happiness and joy to flood in too.  Like Pandora's box, the scary stuff came first and afterwards came hope.  Hope of a future built on a foundation of truth and authentic living.  2013 is going to be an amazing year. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Missed opportunities....

"Never worry about numbers.
Help one person at a time,
and always start with
the person nearest you."
- Mother Teresa

Click Here For Success Tip # 042

I sat and watched my daughter bonding with her sweet little newborn daughter. I knew if I brought out the camera the fleeting moment would past so I watched and let it linger.  I watched love grow right before my eyes.  What a blessing it was to me to once again share a blessed event of a birth in our family.

I thought about my mother not being at the birth of my children.  We moved away after our second child was born so I could see why she could say it was my doing.  But for 2 of them I lived in the same city.  The first she had shingles and wouldn't hold our son.  However, I did call her and ask her to bring me something to eat when she visited the hospital.  (I didn't know when I ordered meals at the hospital that if I marked toast it was just that, a piece of toasted bread with no butter or jam.  I didn't order enough to fill the hunger I felt after doing some hard labor.)  She came that evening and brought me a whole honey dew melon.  Yup, a whole melon and no knife.  She did what I asked but I was still hungry.  The second child I barely made it to the hospital in time and was back home by the end of the day.  Only thing I remember about my mother was her refusal to once again hold or have anything to do with her granddaughter.  There it was, her missed opportunity to share in with what I shared with my daughter.  I did give her chances, she refused the opportunity.  I sat there and thought about the letters written by upsi and mulderfan clearly outlining what they needed from their parents for a relationship.  Their parents missed the opportunity to build a relationship.  I read on Facebook a mother lamenting trying to get a moment alone to write her children kept wanting to be with her.  I wanted to shake her and tell her the book can wait the children won't.

This year I didn't bake cookies or bread for my neighbors.  I didn't finish some Christmas presents.  (New Years day is a good day to give presents.  :)  I missed a day of school to be with my daughter during false labor.  Chuckled when she complained because she did do this to me.  Watched my SIL cuddle his son who was now a big brother.  Watched my daughter talk to and consult with nurses and doctors as to the best way to take care of herself and her growing family.  I felt so blessed to be included because I listened to what my daughter had to say when I asked, "How can I help you?"  I didn't miss a thing.  I feel so blessed and joyful. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Blessed arrival....

After a week of false labor and lots of waiting our newest little granddaughter finally arrived on Dec. 26.  Woohoo.

Hospital all decked out

Anticipating a new little granddaughter

Final arrival time

Big brother and little sister compare foot size

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Almost over

This year is a little different for after Christmas.  We have waited for our youngest granddaughter to be born.  We thought she would arrive before Christmas but she changed her mind and waited to make her appearance today.  I am eating breakfast with her big brother and then off to bring breakfast to my son-in-law and cheer on my daughter.  A couple of Bill Cosby's routines on delivery come to mind.  I don't think I need to worry about the after Christmas blues. I am so excited being able to help with the arrival of this new little lady.  Enjoy your day and hope you find some good sales and don't need to return anything.  Hugs to all.
Soon a new pair of feet will be entering this old world. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Merry Christmas  Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas

Monday, December 24, 2012

Spiders in the Christmas tree

(A folk legend from Germany and the Ukraine)
O nce upon a time, long ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year.... The day on which the Christ child came to bless the house. Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner in the ceiling to avoid the housewife's busy cleaning. They finally fled to the farthest corner of the attic. T'was the Christmas eve at last! The tree was decorated and waiting for the children to see it. But the poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the Christ child's visit. But the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could peep through the crack in the door to see him. Silently they crept out of their attic, down the stairs, and across the floor to wait in the crack in the threshold. Suddenly, the door opened a wee bit and quickly the spiders scurried into the room. They must see the tree closely, since their eyes weren't accustomed to the brightness of the room... so the crept all over the tree, up and down, over every branch and twig and saw every one of the pretty things. At last they satisfied themselves completely of the Christmas tree beauty. But alas!! Everywhere they went they had left their webs, and when the little Christ child came to bless the house he was dismayed. He loved the little spiders, for they were God's creatures too, but he knew the mother, who had trimmed the tree for the little children, wouldn't feel the same, so He touched the webs and they all turned to sparkling, shimmering, silver and gold! Ever since that time, we have hung tinsel on our christmas trees, and according to the legend, it has been a custom to include a spider among the decorations on the tree.

I would like to thank my wonderful sister Marsha (Mart)
for giving me this joyous story to share with you. 
The following is the first version I heard:

'The Story of Christmas Spiders'

In a quiet cottage in the woods lived a gentle widow and her eight children. The widow worked very hard to keep her children warm and well-fed, but money was not plentiful. When the air grew crisp, and the snow began to fall, the widow knew Christmas was coming. But instead of feeling joyful as the holiday approached, she felt sadness and sorrow. She knew that she did not have enough money to buy her children any gifts to open on Christmas morning.
"I cannot afford new toys or books," she thought, walking home through the woods one night. "What will I give my children?"
On Christmas Eve the family ate their simple Christmas dinner together, and the widow tried to conceal her worries. After tucking her excited children snugly into bed, she pulled her chair close to the fire and tried to erase the visions of their little disappointed faces from her mind. After all, what fun is Christmas morning without gifts to open?
"Perhaps a Christmas tree would make my children happy," the widow sighed.
She put on her coat and hat and walked through the woods in search of the right tree. She chose a small but beautiful evergreen, chopped it down with her husband's ax, and brought it to the cottage.
For hours, the widow carefully decorated the fragrant tree branches with colorful fruits, bits of ribbon, and Christmas cookies. Then she blew out her candle and went to bed, hoping the tree would make her children's empty Christmas a little bit brighter.
While the tired widow slept, tiny spiders crept from the cracks and corners of the cottage. They had watched her hard at work, decorating the tree for her children. Onto the branches they jumped, spinning delicate strands of silky web which gracefully covered the small tree from trunk to top. It was a beautiful sight.
When the family awoke on Christmas morning, they could not believe their eyes. The webs of silk had been turned into pure silver, covering the tree with dazzling brightness! During the night, Santa Claus had come with gifts for the children and saw the tree covered with spiderwebs. He smiled as he saw how happy the spiders were, but knew how heartbroken the widow would be if she saw her tree covered with spiderwebs. So he turned the silky webs into pure, shining silver. The next morning, as the widow watched her children sing and dance around the beautiful shining tree, she knew it would be a wonderful Christmas after all!
From that day forward, people have hung strands of shiny silver tinsel on their Christmas trees in honor of the poor widow and her tiny Christmas spiders. -- By Stephanie Herbek

I chuckled over this version.  This one sounds the most like me except I would be drinking hot chocolate with whip cream:

Christmas Story: The Christmas Spider This is one of my favorite stories to tell. It's magical, somehow logical, and imbued with the spirit of the season. This is how I tell it. I like the repetitions for children to be able to join in the telling of the tale. The Christmas Spider One Christmas Eve a long time ago, an old woman was busily preparing her home for the holidays. She had a lot to do—cooking, baking, cleaning. Her Christmas tree stood in the corner and she often looked at it and thought, “The Tree! The Tree! I need to decorate the tree!” But she had so much to do! Late that evening, all the work was done—the cookies were baked, the house was clean, the windows sparkled in the candlelight. The old woman thought, “The Tree! The Tree! I need to decorate the tree!” She poured a cup of tea from the kettle steaming by the fireplace, carried her cup to her favorite rocking chair, and sat down to rest—just for a minute. Looking up, she saw one spider’s web that she had missed in her cleaning. “I’ll get that web with my broom as soon as I finish my tea,” she thought. She stared into the fire thinking about how wonderful it would be on Christmas Day with all her grandchildren coming to visit. As she sat and sipped and rocked, she grew sleepier and sleepier. She looked at the tree and thought, “The Tree! The Tree! I need to decorate the tree!” But her eyes drooped, closed…and soon she was fast asleep. Up in the web, the spiders were curious. Every year the old woman had run them out with her cleaning, but this year they had all hidden in that one web high up in the corner of the ceiling, and she had forgotten about them. “Why did she bring a tree in her house?” asked a little spider. “I’m not sure,” answered on older, wiser spider. “Let’s go down and see.” The spiders crept out of their hiding place. The swung on their webs down to the tree, and when they landed on its branches, they crawled all over it, leaving bright silver strings of webbing behind them. When they had examined every part of the tree, they still were not sure why the old woman had brought it in, and they returned to their web on the ceiling. In the morning, when the old woman woke up, she was so surprised! Her tree was covered with spider webs. But as she looked, the sun came through the window and caught the webs in its rays. The spider webs started to sparkle and shine! They had all turned into sparkling, shimmering silver and gold. At that moment, the door burst open and in came her grandchildren. “Grandmother! Your tree is so beautiful! Look how it shines! This is even better than the decorations you usually use!” The old woman smiled, and looked up at the spider web. “I had help from many friends,” she said. "I hope they come back every year to decorate my tree.” Every year after that, when the old woman cleaned her house for Christmas, she always made sure to leave one web for the spiders, and they always came to help decorate her tree on Christmas Eve. According to legend, this is why people hang tinsel on their Christmas trees today. In many places, it is also the custom to include a spider among the decorations on the tree. The tinsel and the spiders are reminders of that long-ago Christmas and those busy, busy spiders. You can find other versions of this old folktale online at: lists at least six different versions of the story in picture books, as well as a puppet play.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gold Wrapping Paper

"Gold Wrapping Paper" Christmas

I received this from a friend who had a choice to make. It said that I
had a choice to make too.

I've chosen. Now it's your turn to choose.

The story goes that some time ago a mother punished her five year old
daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money
was tight and she became even more upset when the child used the gold
paper to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her mother the
next morning and then said, "This is for you, Momma."

The mother was embarrassed by her earlier over reaction, but her anger
flared again when she opened the box and found it was empty. She spoke
to her daughter in a harsh manner.

"Don't you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there's
supposed to be something inside the package?"

She had tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Momma, it's not empty! I blew
kisses into it until it was full."

The mother was crushed. She fell on her knees and put her arms around
her little girl, and she begged her forgiveness for her thoughtless anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later, and it
is told that the mother kept that gold box by her bed for all the
years of her life.

Whenever she was discouraged or faced difficult problems she would
open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the
child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us, as human beings, have been given a
Golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children,
family, friends and GOD. There is no more precious possession anyone
could hold.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Biker Update

Saw this on Facebook and thought it would go well with the Biker Santas.

Santa rides a Hog

Back in time on this blog:
I love Christmas carols

I love reading about people making a difference.  They are out there and just because I don't know them it doesn't mean that they are not caring and sharing.  

I first read about Santa riding hogs from an email that I received years ago.  The story told about a mentally challenged young adult that just moved to adult housing from the children's group home.  A few weeks before Christmas, he started asking when Santa Claus would come on his motorcycle.  The workers tried to reassure him that Santa came in a sleigh not a motorcycle.  The young man became agitated and distressed with the news that Santa would not be coming on a motorcycle.  Christmas eve, the workers heard the distinct rumble of a Harley Davidson Hog motorcycle.  They stood and stared as Santa Claus got off his bike and strode up with his back pack of gifts.  The young man was delighted and so happy to see the motorcycle riding Santa.  The motorcycle club went the extra mile to track down the young man so that he could have a Christmas to remember.  After reading the story I went looking for some facts.  Wow...Santa rides a Hog.  Follow the links for the pictures.  :)

Santa rides a Hog

Check out a few of these links:

Rick Cason of Arvada chats with Robinton Shaneman, 12, after the boy got his white Christmas in the form of a stuffed tiger at Children's Hospital. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post )
The Grinch and Santa Claus wore leather to Children's Hospital on Sunday as up to 3,000 motorcyclists delivered toys for sick kids in Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson's annual Children's Hospital Toy Run.
"This is just a ride to brighten somebody's day," said Tom Schrah, 59, a member of Hell's Lovers motorcycle club, whose riding leathers were topped by the sickly green mask of Dr. Seuss' Grinch.
Marisa Louise Aragon, 13, sat in her wheelchair and watched the action.
"This is really cool. There are so many people here supporting the kids," said Marisa, who is recovering from brain surgery.
"This brings tears to my eyes," said Marisa's mother, Lisa Aragon. "This is great because the kids can get out of their rooms, and maybe the pain is not there for a while."
This is the 22nd annual toy run, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson in Littleton. The event brings together riders who are members of rival motorcycle clubs, said Barbara Krasnopero, liaison among the motorcycle dealership, riders and the hospital.
"All the clubs come. They put all their differences aside and come for the kids," she said.
Rider Richard Burrier left a life-size, stuffed sheepdog.
"These kids, some of them are not going to make it," he said. "If I can bring a ray of sunshine to them, I will."

The Grinch and Santa Claus wore leather to Children's Hospital on Sunday as up to 3,000 motorcyclists delivered toys for sick kids in Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson's annual Children's Hospital Toy Run.
"This is just a ride to brighten somebody's day," said Tom Schrah, 59, a member of Hell's Lovers motorcycle club, whose riding leathers were topped by the sickly green mask of Dr. Seuss' Grinch.
Marisa Louise Aragon, 13, sat in her wheelchair and watched the action.
"This is really cool. There are so many people here supporting the kids," said Marisa, who is recovering from brain surgery.
"This brings tears to my eyes," said Marisa's mother, Lisa Aragon. "This is great because the kids can get out of their rooms, and maybe the pain is not there for a while."
This is the 22nd annual toy run, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson in Littleton. The event brings together riders who are members of rival motorcycle clubs, said Barbara Krasnopero, liaison among the motorcycle dealership, riders and the hospital.
"All the clubs come. They put all their differences aside and come for the kids," she said.
Rider Richard Burrier left a life-size, stuffed sheepdog.
"These kids, some of them are not going to make it," he said. "If I can bring a ray of sunshine to them, I will."

Read more: Santa trades reindeer for Hogs - The Denver Post
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:


Date:    Dec 10, 2001
Words:    913
Publication:    Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
ISSN:    0279-8026

Byline: Cecelia Chan and Erik N. Nelson Staff Writer

WOODLAND HILLS - More than 500 roaring motorcycles and a dozen blaring fire trucks paraded Sunday from Woodland Hills to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles with a truckload of toys.

It was one of numerous events in and near the San Fernando Valley to collect toys and other gifts for hospitalized children, poor children and for children in foster care in the area, as well as for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The flashiest and loudest of these was the sixth annual Ghost Riders- Funrise Toy Drive. About 30 Los Angeles Police Department motor officers escorted other motorcycle riders and dozens of vintage fire trucks through the city to deliver toys to the hospital.

The sight of the flag-flying motorcycle enthusiasts brought tears to the eyes of Jackie Campbell as she stood on Ventura Boulevard conducting her own toy drive.

``I'm getting all emotional this year,'' said Campbell, chairwoman of the toy drive committee for the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association.

As the battalion of motorcycles and fire trucks passed by with a deafening roar that made window panes rattle, the association vice president, Matt Epstein, saluted with the horn of his red 1947 Dodge pickup.

Nearby, in the Ralphs store parking lot, Christine Stevens looked down from her second-story perch on the Remo World Drum Tower, made to promote the 1996 Olympics, and pounded out a beat.

In the bed of the '47 Dodge, which was festooned with 5-foot-long American flags on each corner, Epstein's 5-year-old son, Jonathan, helped pile up toys in a heap taller than him.

Across the street, the association's Santa waved at the Santa in the parade from Woodland Hills.

``Six years ago, it started with 50 guys and a pickup truck,'' said Arnie Rubin, president of the Funrise Toy Corp., where the motorcycle and fire truck caravan originated. ``We have an incredible group of people, wonderful support.''

A 40-foot semitruck on his parking lot on Variel Avenue was packed with 10,000 toys to be donated to the hospital this year. Wearing an American flag T-shirt, Rubin pointed to yet another 40-foot-long rig in the parking lot. That load of toys is destined for families of victims in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Throughout the morning, riders arrived at the Funrise parking lot with Teddy bears, dolls and Harry Potter toys strapped to their motorcycles.

Jim and Sue Pfeiffer roared in from Simi Valley on their Harley Davidson motorcycle, bringing eight toys. This was the fifth year the two, who both work at the University of California, Los Angeles, participated in the charity event.

``We help out the children. That is what Christmas is all about,'' Jim Pfeiffer said. ``We try to make it enjoyable for them.''

Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine, who represents the West San Fernando Valley area, was decked out in a black cap and leather jacket. He and others brought 100 toys from his office.

``I'm a Harley rider and a happy councilman,'' said Zine, who also participated in the first Ghost Riders-Funrise ride. ``This is what the holiday is about - giving and caring.

Ric ``Pappy'' Mead of Woodland Hills, eager to help hand out gifts at the hospital, said each rider was asked to bring at least three toys.

``These kids - once you see them, you have a human heart,'' Mead said.

About 225 children were at the hospital to receive the toys at the hospital, where about 500 toys are handed out each week to youngsters.

In the Sherman Oaks homeowners' drive, Ellen Kaplan, 51, dropped off bookstore gift certificates for older children, then came back to donate a snow-white teddy bear in red-and-green clothes after she shopped at the Ralphs, a major sponsor of the drive.

``There are so many kids who have needs, and we're so fortunate here in Sherman Oaks,'' said Kaplan, an art teacher at Valley Beth Shalom Temple Day School. ``We have everything we need - and more.''

The association donates the toys to the Los Angeles County Department of Family Services, to be given away at a holiday party for abused and abandoned children, said association president Richard Close.

A few miles away, hundreds of happy children lined up around the block at Van Nuys Boulevard and Valerio Street, waiting to get into the Knights of Columbus' annual Christmas Party.

More than 550 children went through a receiving line to meet Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and elves distributing bags of fruit, cookies and activity workbooks. Snaking around the building, the children came to tables where 60 or so volunteers handed out toys.

``It brings great joy to my children, because they don't know if they're going to have a Christmas,'' said Laura Guerro of Van Nuys, speaking Spanish. ``I met Santa. It was fun,'' said one of her three children, Julio, 7, showing off his new electronic game.

Patricia Guzman Abonce of Van Nuys, whose son, Jonathan, got a toy robot, praised the party for brightening his holiday.

``It doesn't matter what the gift is.'' she said. ``The kids are always very happy to be here and to get a gift.''
 This year's article:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Covert bullies

Christmas seasons seems to increase the attacks from covert bullies.  A check list to review to remind yourself of their tactics is over at jonsi''s the link:

See Mother, Funny, Funny Mother!

(Ironically my mother first shared this poem when I was a teenager.  As far as I know author unknown.)

See Mother, Funny, Funny Mother!

See Mother. See Mother laugh. Mother is happy. Mother is happy
about Christmas. Mother has many plans. Mother has many plans for
Christmas. Mother is organized. Mother smiles all the time.
Funny, funny Mother.

See mother. See mother smile. Mother is happy. The shopping is all
done. See the children watch T.V. Watch children, watch. See the
children change their minds. See them ask Santa for different toys.
Look, look, Mother is not smiling. Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother sew. Mother will make dresses. Mother will
make robes. Mother will make shirts. Look ... Mother put the
zipper in wrong. See Mother sews the dress on the wrong side. See
Mother cut the skirt too short. See Mother put the material away
until January. Look, look, see Mother take a tranquilizer. Funny,
funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother buy raisins and nuts. See Mother buy
candied pineapple and powdered sugar. See Mother buy flour and
dates and pecans and brown sugar and bananas and spice and vanilla.
Look, Look, Mother is mixing everything together. See the children
press out the cookies. See the flour on their elbows. See the
cookies burn. See the cake fall. See the children pull taffy. See
Mother pulls her hair. See Mother cleans the kitchen with the
garden hose. Funny, funny, Mother.

See Mother. See Mother wrap presents. See Mother look for the end
of the scotch tape roll. See Mother bites her fingernails. See
Mother go. See Mother goes to the store for the 12th time in one
hour. See Mother go. See Mother goes faster. Run Mother, run! See
Mother trims the tree. See Mother has a party. See Mother makes
popcorn. See Mother scrubs the rug. See Mother tears up the
organized plan. See Mother forgets the gift for Uncle Harold. See
Mother gets the hives! Go Mother Go! See the far-away look in
Mother's eyes. Mother is disorganized. Mother is disoriented.
Funny, funny Mother.

It is finally Christmas morning. See the happy family. See Father
smile. Father is happy. Smile Father Smile! Father loves the fruit-
cake. Father loves the Christmas pudding. Father loves his new

Look, look. See the happy children. See the children's toys.
Santa was very good to the children. The children will remember
this Christmas. See Mother. Mother is slumped in a chair. Mother
is crying uncontrollably. Mother does not look well. Mother has
ugly dark circles under her blood shot eyes. Everyone helps Mother
to bed. Mother sleeps quietly under heavy sedation.

See Mother smile!
Funny, funny Mother


Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Do I Have Enough?"

"Do I Have Enough?"

I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in a toy store and decided to look at Barbie dolls for my nieces.

A nicely dressed little girl was excitedly looking through the Barbie dolls as well, with a roll of money clamped tightly in her little hand. When she came
upon a Barbie she liked, she would turn and ask her father if she had enough money to buy it.

He usually said "yes," but she would keep looking and keep going through their ritual of "do I have enough?" As she was looking, a little boy wandered in across the aisle and started sorting through the Pokemon toys.

He was dressed neatly, but in clothes that were obviously rather worn, and wearing a jacket that was probably a couple of sizes too small. He too had money in his hand, but it looked to be no more than five dollars or so at the most.

He was with his father as well, and kept picking up the Pokemon video toys. Each time he picked one up and looked at his father, his father shook his head, "No."

The little girl had apparently chosen her Barbie, a beautifully dressed, glamorous doll that would have been the envy of every little girl on the block.

However, she had stopped and was watching the interchange between the little boy and his father. Rather dejectedly, the boy had given up on the video games and had chosen what looked like a book of stickers instead. He and his father then started walking through another aisle of the store.

The little girl put her Barbie back on the shelf, and ran over to the Pokemon games. She excitedly picked up one that was lying on top of the other toys, and raced toward the check-out, after speaking with her father.

I picked up my purchases and got in line behind them. Then, much to the little girl's obvious delight, the little boy and his father got in line behind me.

After the toy was paid for and bagged, the little girl handed it back to the cashier and whispered something in her ear. The cashier smiled and put the package under the counter.

I paid for my purchases and was rearranging things in my purse when the little boy came up to the cashier. The cashier rang up his purchases and then

"Congratulations, you are my hundredth customer today, and you win a prize!"

With that, she handed the little boy the Pokemon game, and he could only stare in disbelief. It was, he said, exactly what he had wanted!

The little girl and her father had been standing at the doorway during all of this, and I saw the biggest, prettiest grin on that little girl that I have ever seen in my life. Then they walked out the door, and I followed close behind them.

As I walked back to my car in amazement over what I had just witnessed, I heard the father ask his daughter why she had done that. I'll never forget what she said to him.

"Daddy, didn't Nana and PawPaw want me to buy something that would make me happy?"

He said, "Of course they did, honey."

To which the little girl replied, "Well, I just did!"

With that, she giggled and started skipping toward their car. Apparently, she had decided on the answer to her own question of, "do I have enough?"

I feel very privileged to have witnessed the true spirit of Christmas in that toy store, in the form of a little girl who understands more about the reason for the season than most adults I know!

May God bless her and her parents, just as she blessed that little boy and me that day!

~  Written by Sharon Palmer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Stories

Taking a break from sharing the list of things I can do to promote a positive self-concept in children and myself. One of the things I am finding most amazing is how many things you can do to promote a positive self-concept. I also know how devastatingly easy it is to tear down a child.

I am sharing some of my favorite Christmas stories that I collected over time. I love the stories...some I am not sure how true they are...others the names may change but I lived in places that people would act just like in the story. Hugs to you all and I hope you are enjoying my sharing something I love, Christmas stories about love.

Christmas Love

The "W" in Christmas

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old.

For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."

I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.

All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.

Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

And He still is.
Amazed in His presence... .humbled by His love.


Check out this video based on this story.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything.

She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted . . . "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through it's doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only nine years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-4 class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he had no good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby. Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

Author unknown to me.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Big Wheel truck stop

Snopes says this can't be verified but that is OK, I lived in a small town that this could have happened.  I love the story so I am just sharing one of my favorites.

In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket.

Their father was gone..

The boys ranged from three months to seven years ; their sister was two.

Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.

Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds.

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.

Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.

If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.

I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job..

The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town.

No luck.

The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince who ever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job.

Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop.

It was called the Big Wheel.

An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids.

She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning.

She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people.

I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night.

She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep

This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job.. And so I started at the Big Wheel..

When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-- fully half of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage.

The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home..

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires!

There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires.

Had angels taken up residence in Indiana ? I wondered.

I made a deal with the local service station.

In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office.

I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough.

Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids .

I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.

Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe.

A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine.

The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes.

I quickly opened the driver's side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat..

Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box.

Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10!

I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans.

Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes.

There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items.

And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude.

And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.


The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.
Richard Bach

I am working my way through a list of Things I can do to promote positive self-concept in a child written by Miss C. I then take the quote and rewrite to a way I can nurture myself and improve my self-concept.

9. Showing a basic feeling of worth and dignity towards children. A visitor in the home would never be told, "Look what a mess you have made. Don't you know how to clean up after yourself?" Children also need respect. 

I was often frustrated with myself with how I spoke to my children. Being sick and tired only worsened my behavior.  One of the things I hear consistently from ACoNs is the complaint that not only they were not treated with respect as children, they are now not treated with respect as adults.  Many a blog stated, "I don't want their love just some respect."  Going no contact often has roots in lack of respect.  I am doing much better with my grandchildren showing them respect.  It is also easier since they go home.  I get a break and am excited to see my kids and their families.  I think I learned a great deal about the importance of respect from upsi and mulderfan.  Over at jonsi's blog she posts then analyzes comments, tweets and emails showing how their words show lack of respect.  Both my counselors spent many sessions teaching me what respect is and how to show respect to others.  Respect has a lot to do with boundaries.  Respect also has an element of feeling.  I need to feel like I am respected.

Turning this around how do I need to change my behavior so that I show respect to myself.  How is my self talk?  Do I call myself stupid when I forget and appointment or miss a deadline?  Do I berate myself for not meeting impossible high standards?  Do I respect my need for space and time to transition?  If I don't show respect for myself, how can I expect anyone else to treat me with respect?  These are some of the toughest changes I am making in my life.  Too often, I revert to the old ugly script from my childhood.  I need to let the ugly script go and rewrite a kinder more respectful self dialogue that encourages me in the same way I try to encourage our grand children.  I believe self-respect is one of the key components to self-confidence.  I am a work in progress and I won't get it all right tomorrow but this one deserves my attention every day since I have 100% control over what I say to myself. 

How is my behavior through the eyes of a child?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Santa Claus

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

He's making a list,
And checking it twice
He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice,
Santa Claus is coming, to town

Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

Some Christians lament that Santa Claus is usurping Christ in Christmas.  My relationship with Santa has been long and bumpy.  As a child, Santa Claus was demystified before I was born.  My brother had a melt down when my other brother was crying, brother 1 feared that Santa would not give brother 2 any presents.  Santa Claus was unmasked to reassure both of them that presents still were in the plans.  Santa gifts always appeared under the tree but I knew full well where they came from.  No mystery, no threats, no fun.  I decided that Santa was fun and I fully intended to have Santa with our kids.  First born son, Christmas at one-year-old, I had no idea he could throw such a fit.  He saw Santa across the room and threw himself on the ground screaming and kicking his feet...very obvious that Santa was not fun.  Gathered up our sobbing child and exited and never mentioned the red, jolly fellow again.  I discovered that you can have a tree and all the presents and never mention Santa Claus.  When number one son was about 4 years old I was driving him and his two sisters into town.  (We lived out in the country by this time.)  I listened to him explain to his younger sisters about Mr. Christmas and how he showed up at Christmas time then disappeared for the rest of the year.  What to do, what to do?  We also had our own Santa experience getting home late one Christmas eve we found a bag of food and a beautifully wrapped present in our car port.  The tag clearly stated that it was from Santa.  I cried.  It was the year that we paid a buck for a Christmas tree on a Christmas tree lot.  DH cut off bottom branches and drilled holes to put the branches in the gaping holes.  Amazing little tree when he was done.  The main present we had for the kids that year was the present from Santa, a Little People's Tree house.  A toy they played with for years.  We finally decided that Santa's role at our house was he made it possible to give gifts where normally no gift giving would be accepted.  People would let you give a gift in the name of Santa when they would normally refuse since you didn't know them or pride got in the way.  Santa allowed anonymous gift giving.   My respect and love for Santa Claus has grown over the years.  Now, I see him in a new role that I didn't expect.  Christ and all other ideas religious and moral are being tossed out of school across this nation.  Tragedies are happening.  I help at a high school with a day care where I help out sometimes.  I walk in the room and what do I hear, "He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice..."  Yep, Santa Claus is reminding them that it matters if you are naughty or nice.  How you behave makes a difference.  Santa Claus, I decided, can slip into school disguised as a red, jolly fellow and teach that being nice is important.  My favorite statue in my cupboard of angels and fairies is Santa Claus kneeling at Christ manger.  I am still looking for the poem I saw years ago that tells how Santa Claus volunteered to help us remember Christmas when Christ was not allowed.  It is true now.  Santa Claus reminded the little preschoolers that being nice and kind to each other is important and Christ is not allowed.  I learned like so many things in life, Santa Claus is what you make him.  To me, he is a red, jolly fellow that can spread good cheer in places that nobody else can go.  May you find merriness in your Christmas time.