Peggy Writes

First Christmas As A Grandma – Guest Blog

This a guest blog from Barb Perry a fellow spiritual director with her thoughts on preparing for her first Christmas as a Grandma.   Can you relate as a parent or grandparent?

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I became a grandmother in July this year.  A Gammy, to be exact.  I’m a third generation Gammy.  As I remember that moniker and think of Christmas, I know the bar is high.  My mother and grandmother shaped my Christmases, and now, just a few days before my darling granddaughter Cora arrives at our house with my daughter and son-in-law, I aniticipate my path.  What direction will this Christmas take?

            I must admit I’m a bit unsettled at the moment.  A friend’s death last week and another friend’s cancer’s reappearance has brought sadness to my days.  Could this malaise open my heart to greater joy at the sight of darling Cora?  I hold onto the hope that it will.  The shortened days remind me that the solstice is coming and I’m grateful for the imminence of Christmas.  We need the brightness of Christmas when the nights are so long.

            As I wait, I keep busy by wrapping gifts, preparing the house and making soup, all quotidian tasks that calm my heart and occupy my mind in a gentle way.  I’m preparing for the arrival of a baby 2000 years after Mary and Joseph readied their lives for the arrival of Jesus.  Their example of honoring their babe will guide me.

            My daughter loves Cora by spending all her days and nights with her.  She feeds her, she sings to her, she bathes and dresses her. She takes her everywhere she goes.  Cora’s dad’s life happens to be extremely busy with work these days and isn’t home much.  He loves her by providing for her, taking naps with her on the couch on the weekends and delighting in her presence.  When they come to stay with us for a week, they’ll break from their routine, settle into our house, spread out their stuff and share little Cora with us.  How will I love Cora and her parents for the week of Christmas?

            My preparations help me focus:  get the house organized and make the beds, wrap presents, clean and cook, think about and make plans with family and friends so all can welcome Cora to her first Christmas.  I’ve planned a brunch, a Christmas dinner and a game party to gather with family and friends.  And what about my heart?  How can I prepare my heart for this holy arrival?  What do I hear as I still my soul for the busy time ahead? Clear the clutter of too much activity.  Allow for open space and open time.  Put a puzzle together, drink hot cider, dig out the Christmas music, dust off the guitar and sit down at the piano.  Allow time to just sit around or get up and do yoga.  I’m grateful for our spacious house, which gives us room to gather a crowd, sit for an intimate conversation or find a tucked-away corner to be alone.

            As I ponder the week, I wonder what place Christmas morning will take. Cora’s great-grandmother knit her a stocking with her name on it.  We’ll fill it with gifts and Cora won’t understand, but she’ll see us having fun opening presents from each other.  She’ll reflect our joy.  I sometimes worry that I put too much stock in Christmas morning.  Every moment is important and it’s unrealistic to strive to have all of life like Christmas morning.   I love it, it’s a magical time, sitting around surrounded by presents to and from the people I love most in the world, now including Cora. But this year I will remember those who are experiencing a less joyful day.  I will think of those who have lost loved ones recently.  I will think of my own father, who died this year, of my mother who made Christmas so special for me, and of my Gammy whose love I always felt. 

            Whether I consciously think of those sadder times on Christmas morning or not, I will have them in my heart.  Cora will get passed around from the loving arms of her parents to those of Dadoo, her grandfather,  and her Uncle Doug and back to me.  Little Cora, surrounded by and filled with love.  How grateful I am.

 

Sandy Hook Mom, Nurturing, Healing, Love

I published this back in November and wanted to support this mom and the memory of her son Jesse.

This morning the Today Show featured an interview with Scarlett Lewis, a mother who lost her son Jesse, at the Sandy Hook school last December.   His memory is living strong in her new book “Nurturing, Healing, Love.” .  She writes about his brave act of love that saved the life of his classmates.   I found this interview about Jesse touching, his mother is an inspiration of strength and faith.  She demonstrates amazing amounts of love and forgiveness.   The link below is the interview with Matt Lauer.   I plan to buy this book for a few friends and even a few teachers.

http://www.today.com/news/todays-takeaway-newtown-mom-finds-solace-dylan-marches-osu-8C11498310

They have also established a foundation “Choose Love” in her son’s memory that partners with organization that will support and educate children.

http://www.jesselewischooselove.org/

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com. Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual
director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “Who Is Listening?” and “Why Clean Your Garage?” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at
www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Top 10 List of Advent Activities For Children To Prepare Christmas

Every Christmas our family tries to keep Advent at the center of Christmas. Advent allows us four weeks to prepare for the birth of baby Jesus, which we experience through Hope, Joy, Peace and Love. Here is our top 10 list of Advent activities that have become our tradition.

10. Set up a nativity scene in the living room and play with the figures.

9. Place our Advent wreath at our dinner table, take turns lighting the candle and reading the scripture.

8. Attend a Living Nativity at a local church, especially ones with animals.

7. Watch the Nativity Story on DVD (Breath of Heaven is the theme song).

6. Adopt a child or family from our church.

5. Prepare chocolate turtles for teachers and loved ones.

4. Read the Nutcracker at night and ponder simple gifts from years ago.

3. Host our extended family for Christmas Eve celebration.

2. Attend Christmas morning mass.

1. Enjoy our 5 children as they delight in the magic of Christmas.

Sending blessings to each of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You may also enjoy this post from Adiel Booker, as she has so many more ideas. http://adrielbooker.com/family-advent-activities-christmas-countdown-fun/

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