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In this season of giving, I have three gifts to offer for a grieving Christmas. My first Gift is for YOU: Maybe you are facing this Christmas season with dread: Recognize that this Christmas is different. Plan Ahead. Decide what YOU want to do. Act rather than react. Re-examine your priorities Avoid “shoulds” and “oughts” Make the changes you think are best Take responsibility for your own happiness. Look after Yourself. Don’t abandon healthy habits Be compassionate with yourself if things are not perfect this year The next Gift focuses on YOUR LOVED ONE: They may be gone, but they will be very much on your mind: Acknowledge your loved one’s presence Light a Memorial candle to remember them at this season Create a special tribute to your loved one. Involve children in this if you can Be honest about your feelings, and be sensitive to what they are trying to say to you Don’t be afraid to Relive your Memories Let the light of the years shine on the event rather than letting the event cast its shadow on the years My third gift has to do with FAMILY AND FRIENDS: Others around are probably grieving too. How can …

My dear friend Penny Hubbard posted this passionate message about mental illness. Courageous words of truth. I promised her I would share it with all our friends, so here goes. Thank you Penny.  I decided to post this message in support of all those who continue to battle with their mental illness. Maybe if people’s heads weren’t buried in the sand of ignorance and they took the time to understand, instead of judging and thinking it won’t happen to them because they have the perfect family, life would be that bit easier for people that do experience this! This hits close to home for me, for family and friends who live under this shadow. The days of ‘it’ not being talked about or being taboo should be over. Yes, it’s sadly true that there are those who milk the system and even sadder that there are those who don’t know just how much help is available out there for them. In the most difficult moments of life you realise who your true friends are, and the people who really appreciate you. Unfortunately, most social media ‘friends’ aren’t true friends. They will send you a “like” here and there, but in reality …

Is it just me, or does there seem to be a prevailing judgmental attitude in the media that is almost waiting for someone to point the finger at or to criticize. Am I alone in feeling that in quarters of the media, the failings and flaws of others are reported with an certain air of  GLEE that they have yet again brought  someone else down. And the higher profile the better. Now, admittedly there are a lot of people out there who must be accountable for their wrong actions. Those who by their behavior, actions or words commit crimes, display prejudice, demean women and a host of other unacceptable acts deserve to be called to account. And the media has done a thorough job doing that lately. I am not arguing against that for one minute. I just hope we do not get to the place where no-one will want to do anything for fear of criticism or the risk of public exposure or ridicule, justified or not. In 1910, then President Theodore Roosevelt  wrote “The Man in the Arena.” His words, especially the first sentence, are remarkably descriptive … almost prophetic … of what happens in our modern world: …

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