Fairly Good Tidings Pam M. MariNELLI

No matter what higher power you believe in, you can be sure that you will receive divine messages when you are ready to really hear them. I have been working hard to be mindful and present, always really, but especially in the last couple weeks. I received a valuable message today as I ripped through my daughter's knotted hair before school. Overstimulated by the background buzz of cartoons, I suddenly heard Master Splinter (old rat Ninjitsu Master on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) tell the turtles, "You must quiet your mind and wait. The word Ninja means perseverance and patience." I felt suddenly at ease like he was talking just to me. Interestingly, I often tell my clients in therapy to imagine they are Ninjas warding off and blocking negativity, negative words, negative thoughts, negative opinions of others. I had no idea that I was speaking the wisdom of a mutant ninjitsu.

So many broken decorations and non-working lights!

I've worked very hard this week to take it all in stride. All of our imperfections and hurried mornings. I have laughed more this week then I have in months and welcomed and accepted every invite, every holiday experience, and every bit of chaos this world has to offer. When I feel its all a bit too much, I am remembering to breathe. I have always hated trying to teach other people how to breathe to ease anxiety because I never quite practiced it myself. Finally, after 37 years of breathing involuntarily and over a decade of work in the mental health field I have mastered the art of deep breathing. My technique is not as advanced as other professionals. My new trick is to pretend that I am blowing up a giant balloon, forcing me to slow down and get grounded.

So many Santas in one weeks time!

We have managed to cram in so many activities in one weeks time. So many Santa laps sat on, Irish Dance Showcase, Christmas Brunches, Hot Coccoas.... but finally we have arrived! Finally as a family our holiday collection is complete. We have finally purchased our first of many.... Holiday Blowups!!!!!!!! We have always driven by neighboring houses looking on in envy! The kids now think we are rich!

Our 1st Holiday Lawn Blow-ups....yes it's a Hotdog Santa

Amidst all the chaos, my mind couldn't help but drift to 4 years ago, when I sat watching the news in horror holding my 3 year old son. The Sandy Hook school shooting shocked and horrified me at the time, but my son was not even in school then and I couldn't fully relate. Yesterday, I felt extremely vulnerable as I hustled him, now 7, up the stone stairs at his school. We were late as usual and his backpack was heavier than usual, bogged down with Gingerbread House accessories. As we were buzzed inside, I felt my heart sink just thinking about the parents of Sandy Hook. I am so grateful for the school staff that keep our kids safe each day and the teacher's aide (who never smiles at me) that helped my sweet innocent child to his classroom yesterday.

Everyday Angels are everywhere if you open your eyes.

I am fortunate enough to love what I do for a living. Everyday is certainly different. Each day allows me a chance to connect with others and learn something new about the world and all the Everyday Angels that are living in it. This time of year can be very difficult for the elderly, especially those with limited family and friends. Therefore, moments where I can see our seniors completely happy just fills up my soul. Out of the 6 Santas that I came in contact with this week, yesterday's was by far my favorite. Our Senior Apartment Building was graced with the annual Girl Scout Christmas Caroling yesterday. During their performance, a very thin Santa came into the room playing the flute and accompanied them. The eyes on those little girls lit up so bright, all for this Santa (a kind man who lives in the building and apparently owns his own suit) who took time out of his day to thrill these kids and make all of his peers laugh and cheer. It was a pure delight.

Classic moment of " out of the mouth of babes". This morning my 7 year old says to me, "When are you going to go back to the gym? You haven't gone in a while." Classic. I took it in stride though because at least this year I already have a gym membership. I am one step closer than I have been in the past!

My resolution for 2017 will be simple. Perhaps just a new way of being.

My tea mug has a quote that reads, "Meditate. Live Purely. Be Quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from the clouds. Shine." -Buddah

I have decided to free myself from Holiday guilt and not mail my Christmas cards out again this year, instead I am going to put them to good use and have the kids draw pictures in them for my elderly clients.

Consider this your virtual Christmas Card. We love and appreciate your friendship. Happy Holidays!

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