Our communities and our nation are filled with folks that are crying out for relief and hope. We cannot give what we do not have. It is only when we trust Jesus to forgive, cleanse, and renew us that revival becomes more than an unbridled resolution. Once we have experienced personal and corporate resuscitation we can share the life giving wind of God's Spirit with those around us. As the flight attendants remind us, "put your own oxygen mask on before trying to assist others."
For many, the holidays are a time to share in the joy of family traditions and create new special memories. But for some, these expectations can make holidays stressful, especially for those that feel disconnected from family or friends, those that feel alone, or those that may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Regardless of your situation, some degree of stress and tension around the holidays should be expected. Consider some of these suggestions to help prepare you for this busy time of year and make the holidays a special time in your own way.
Many factors can cause the “holiday blues”: stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, financial constraints, and the inability to be with one’s family and friends. The demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests also contribute to feelings of tension. People who do not become depressed may develop other stress responses, such as: headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating, and difficulty sleeping. Even more people experience post-holiday let down after Jan. 1. This can result from disappointments during the preceding months compounded with the excess fatigue and stress.
Understanding our emotions, what causes them, what purpose they have, how they function and how to use them can benefit our relationships and help us navigate through them more successfully with fewer problems.
I yelled for my 9-year-old daughter to “hurry up” so we could go do some catching. I had visions of walleyes running through my head. I was in such a hurry that I left the map of the lake behind. That was my first mistake.
We all know life will not go exactly as planned. The unexpected will happen at the most inconvenient time. Murphy’s Law always occurs when we are ill prepared. When making out your budget each month, know things will not go exactly as planned. These unexpected expenses will seem to come less frequently when you are prepared. By making sure you have a fully funded emergency fund (3-6 months of non-discretionary expenses) along with another savings account, the minor and major unexpected expenses do not derail your financial plan.
It is time to break the luxury of my silence. It is time to break my silence and to name what I see as a failure. A failure of what it means to be Christian, to hold the entirety of the polity, doctrine and ethics of both my baptismal and Ordination vows. A failure of courage given to me as a gift from the Risen Christ to name wrong and to stand for what is right. A failure to honor the Wesleyan traditions which brought me to The United Methodist Church. What is right for me is the understanding that God’s gift of grace and salvation is a “gift for us ALL—something that draws us into the future TOGETHER; it is the power of God’s Spirit at work in the world and it is beyond our ability to limit this.”
A lot of you have been asking my opinion about the new overtime regulations from the US Department of Labor (DOL) that go into effect on Dec. 1. Since there is no law against offering my opinion, you can take it for what it’s worth.
Thanksgiving is a day set aside to give thanks for the blessings we have received. How strange that right after giving thanks we rush out to get more, oftentimes at the expense of pushing others so that we might get there first. Lord have mercy upon us.