Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

From Me and Mine

To You and Yours!

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Have a wonderful Holiday Season. I’ll return in January with more blogs of encouragement!

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Last Minute Gift Idea for Creatives

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You’ve hit the malls more than once and the long list of “To Buy” gifts is almost complete. Hmm. One name left. It’s for the Creative in your life. This special soul doesn’t seem interested in the latest gadget or fashion trend. Rather they are obsessed with books, music or art (all kinds). Sure, you could give them the standard gift card and let them indulge their introverted desires. Or you could try something else.

A Special Kind of Coupon Book

Make a “Just for You”coupon book – Fill it with items your Creative will truly appreciate. As a Creative, I’ve listed examples I would love:

  • Inspiration Coupon – Good for 1 trip to the museum, symphony, author workshop, etc.
  • Listen Coupon – Good for 1 very long dinner at a quiet restaurant where we exclusively discuss your latest book idea, painting, etc.
  • Opinion Coupon – Good for 1 honest, but kind opinion about your talent and path
  • Support Coupon – Unlimited and does not expire. I promise to support you and your art unconditionally. I will be your biggest cheerleader.

Creatives bring special insight to the world. Sometimes their truth can be beautiful. Other times it isn’t easy to share or hear. Your gift of love and support will give them the strength to continue making their art.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Summoning the Spirit

I love this time of year. Stroll along the sidewalks and you’ll notice folks have an extra spring about their step. Hearts are more generous. Smiles are wider. Eyes sparkle with the promise of joy and happiness during this season of friendly fun.

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Not feeling it? I understand. Lots of worries and strife in the world lately. Let me share with you what I told the nice young man behind the counter of my favorite noodle shop when he told me he was overwhelmed by the negativity.

“Holidays – much like life – are what you make of them,” I told him.

“Yeah!” His eyes gleamed during the sudden light bulb moment. “I just need to be more positive.”

I hope you’ll have the same light bulb moment too. Take a break from the negative and allow your heart to welcome the positive spirit of the season. How? I’ve made a list of things I use to jump start my Holiday Happy:

  • Catch a Holiday themed play– Every year, I hop the light rail and head to The Denver Center for Performing Arts. My Holiday choices are “A Christmas Carol” and “White Christmas.” Seeing talented artists perform my favorite stories is an incredible boost.
  • Look for the Light– If your city is anything like mine, there will be several venues displaying beautiful decorations and lights.
  • Share the Spirit – Wrangle your friends and family out for an evening of dinner and holiday events. Spending time with those you care about will fuel the spirit.
  • Speaking of Spirits – Eggnog. Yep. It’s the miracle cure for the Holiday Blues especially when you share it with someone special.
  • New in Town – Maybe you’re experiencing a time in your life when you’re alone over the holidays. Don’t despair! Get off the couch and join some fun groups like Meetup.com. You may find new friends to help you feel right at home.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well. AND BE MERRY!

Can You Spot the Optimistic Takeaways from A Christmas Carol?

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The first Sunday after Thanksgiving, I hop on the light rail and travel to the Denver Center for Performing Arts to see A Christmas Carolby Charles Dickens. For two glorious hours, me and a hundred or so other avid theatre goers put our gadgets away, sit in the dark and allow ourselves to be transported to the streets of Victorian London. We marvel at the tale written over two centuries ago by a master storyteller. We are transfixed by our fellow human beings who act out the classic story just as our ancestors have done for generations.

Two little girls – I would guess nine or ten years old – sat in back of me. They were appropriately shocked and appalled during the scene in which two business men come to ask Scrooge to donate to the poor. He refuses to give any money stating that those badly off must go to London’s horrible workhouses and prisons.

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“if they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

 My Three Optimistic Takeaways from A Christmas Carol

The First– It gives me great encouragement we can still be appalled by dreadful behavior in this age of internet trolls and ugly politics. Or, at least, our youth can be.

The Second– Scrooge’s transformation from a selfish old curmudgeon into a loving and giving person is proof positive anyone can have a change of heart. It is never too late to be a better person

The Third– Dickens reminds us no matter how hard change is or how much they are ridiculed, people of courage will still work toward a greater good. These positive changes benefit each and every one of us.

“Some people laughed to see the alterations in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset…”

If you are working toward change, I hope this post has been a gift of encouragement to you. Stay the course. Never give up. You are worth the effort.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Are You Sharing Your Truth?

Writers are given a sacred trust to share the truths we are given. Do we decide what those truths are? Nope. And sometimes it gets very uncomfortable putting our sacred trust out there. Not everyone wants to hear the truth.

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I’ll share one of my ultimate truths with you now: Words have power. They are neither good nor evil. Words are tools in the hand of the person who chooses to use them.  Intent is everything. This is why writers must be careful about how they use their words. Are you sending out messages that inspire and encourage? Or are you spreading falsehoods and hatred?

Words are ideas. They have the power to change lives. Use them wisely.

In this special season, I want to share a quote (and modernize it a bit to fit our world today)

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Peace on Earth. Good will toward ALL men, women, children, animals and most especially – our home, Earth.

From me and mine to you and yours,

Best Wishes for Peace, Hope and Joy

C.R. Richards

 

The Healing Powers of Peppermint and Other Holiday Treats

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If your life is anything like mine, everybody is hounding you to “get something done for me” before the holiday break. Then there is the unfinished gift shopping. Stress, stress, stress and more stress.

“Hold it! Enough. Celebrate the holidays rather than dread them.”

Peppermint – Elixir of the Gods

You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Peppermint has amazing healing properties. It’s an anti-inflammatory, invigorates and can help with digestion. I use peppermint oil along with lemon oil to refresh my house in winter.

While oils are well and good, nothing gives you that peppermint pep like actually digesting peppermint. For a mood boost, try:

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Candy Canes and other Hard Candies

Peppermint Brownies (I use peppermint extract. If you like using peppermint oil, please make sure it is the edible kind!)

 

 

 

Not everyone is into Mint. Here are some other options to help you kindle that holiday cheer:

Our old friend – Baileys

Sugar cookies

Fruit Cake (Not my thing)

Champagne

Pick your holiday cheer. Savor it and forget the stressful stuff. Focus instead on the good things in your life. These are the things you’ll carry into the new year.

Only A Few Days Left To Enter!

Wishing You Peace, Joy and Goodwill

Merry-Christmas

Ignore the constant barrage of shallow commercialism. Forget the asinine car commercials featuring Santa mooning over expensive cars most of us can’t afford. Try to put out of your mind stores hanging Christmas decorations among their aisles in early October. I know it’s hard, but try to forget all that.

Remember instead how folks seem a little cheerier the closer we get to this wonderful week. Look around a bit. If you stay away from the rabid shoppers at the mall, the rest of the world seems to slow down. We hold our breaths, waiting for our one day of peace. I’m going to turn it over to the Master. He explains it far better than I ever could:

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round – apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that – as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And, therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

Romance