Please Do Not Buy Me Presents For Christmas. Let’s Try This Instead.

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Photo Credit:  Pexels

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas is the time of year where we eat, drink and be merry. And if you’re fortunate enough, once you hit a certain age loved ones still buy you a little something to open up too.

This past weekend I cleaned out my bathroom cabinet and it looked my own personal  episode of Hoarders the Bath and Body Works edition. After some sorting and organizing, I now have a tremendous box of sprays, lotions and  body wash I’m donating.

Wait, what? 

Before you roll your eyes and go all keyboard cowboy on me let me explain.

I like winter candy apple, vanilla bean noel, cotton candy kiss and whatever else cutesy scents Bath and Body Works thinks of. But I like it for about 15 minutes because that’s how long it takes for my headache to kick in. For a short time I would keep a spray or two in the glove box in my car and another one in my office because I have so many.  My sea of body sprays was built on good intentions and love but now I’m drowning in it.  Quite honestly if I get one more spray that I have to cram into the bathroom cabinet I’m going to scream or just set fire to the entire bathroom.

Society teaches us to express our love by giving presents. This reality rings especially true during the holidays.  It kicks off immediately following Thanksgiving dinner with thousands of people literally trampling one another for a good Black Friday sale and continues throughout the season.

I am incredibly blessed. I am surrounded by the kindest, most loving people who either think I smell or want to see Christmas in my eyes with their generous gift.

But please do NOT buy me any more body sprays.

None of us really needs more stuff. We need human connections, trust, loyalty, companionship. We need real conversations. You know the old fashioned pick up the phone and talk to someone conversation.  We need to respect a difference of opinion and to love thy neighbor.

The best present is simply being present.

We believe thoughtful presents take the place of our thoughtful presence. This year, let’s share a different gift with those we love—our entire, genuine self without distractions.

Still want to bring something?

Do this instead…bring a bottle of wine or a box of hot chocolate and come join me by the fire. Let’s talk without technology. Let’s turn off the wifi, put away the cell phones and pay attention to one another.

When you’re completely focused in the moment—no phone, no social media, no TV, no internet, no distractions—it creates an unforgettable difference in the lives of the people around you. When you’re fully present, your love shines.

I promise if we do this instead, together we will create priceless memories.

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Photo Credit:  Max Pixel

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Your First Birthday In Heaven

 

Dear Dad,

August 21st was your first birthday in heaven.  Unlike the other special days that have gone by since you passed, this one hurt like hell. I woke up the morning of your birthday positive my heart was shattered in a million pieces.

This was your first birthday not here, your first birthday in my ENTIRE LIFE I didn’t spend watching you blow out candles. Even when you were at your worst, suffering, unable to eat you ALWAYS blew out your candles and made a wish.  This year there were no candles to blow out.  No clapping after they were blown out.  No searching for the perfect cards and gift.  This year there were only the sounds of my heart breaking into a million pieces.

We used to honor and celebrate you on this day and last week I couldn’t even bring myself to go to the cemetery.  The thought of going to the cemetery on your birthday made me physically ill.   I didn’t want to look at your headstone glistening in the sun.  I didn’t want to talk to the dirt and leave you flowers and balloons.

I searched high and low for the appropriate present for you, now that you are you know, dead.  But I was at a loss.  Lord & Taylor was having a sale on Men’s shirts.  Linens & Things had an extra 20% off for back to school.  Even Macy’s was having a sale.  But nothing for the Dad up in heaven.  I never brought you flowers while you were alive and now here we are seven months later and it’s flowers galore and whatever else I can leave at your grave to not to get destroyed from the elements.

I spent the day mourning your absence, really missing you.  Nothing is the same now that you gone.

I hope that you had an awesome birthday up in heaven.  I hope you were finally able to eat that piece of cake and wash it down with that big cup of coffee.  I hope God had a camera  on your birthday and He took a photo of you so we can see you eating again.  My rational mind knows that you are at peace, but my heart aches that you died unable to eat.

Seven months since you have passed and I miss you more now than the day we lost you.  I find myself looking for your magnetic qualities in people.  I look for your warmth, radiance and compassion.  I search for your sense of humor, and your unbelievable strength of character.  I look for your face in the crowd, I listen for your voice in the middle of the night.  So many things will never be the same.  You were a one of a kind father and you are irreplaceable.

I miss you Dad.

Your absence was magnified on your birthday.  I know you can hear me, and I’m trying my best not to be sad.  But some days are tough. Whenever I ask you for a sign that you are okay you always send me a beautiful white feather. On your birthday you made sure to send me a fluffy white feather. That’s so like you to give me a gift on your special day.

I want to thank you for all you have done and continue to do for me.  You taught me to be strong, to have courage and to have faith.  Dad, you taught me to love with all my heart, no matter what and to always be truthful.  You taught me to be passionate and fearless regardless of what others thought. During one of our last conversations you told me to be kind and trust in the Lord.

Although you are no longer here  in physical form, you live forever in my heart.  You are constantly showing me that love never dies.

On your birthday and each day I honor you.  I honor your faith and strength.  I honor your love and commitment.   Together, with Mom, you both taught me the meaning of true love and what it is to be a parent.  On your birthday I lit a candle and thanked you for always being my hero and showing me what true unconditional love is.

Happy Belated Birthday Daddy!  I love and miss you!

Love You Forever,

Lisa Mia XO

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For Better Or Worse: Loving a Police Officer In Today’s Crazy World

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Photo Credit:  Photo Credit: Pinterest

Be patient. Be kind. Be thankful for our police officers. This is a difficult time to be a police officer. This is an emotional time to love a police officer. This is a time when the sound of velcro at the end of a loved one’s shift is a glorious sound.

Please take a moment to check out my latest article featured on Her View From Home.

For Better Or Worse: Loving a Police Officer In Today’s Crazy World

Mom, the First Person I call in Times of Need & Times of Triumph

 Dear Mom:

Happy Mother’s Day!

I know you are not in the mood to celebrate today.  Your heart is shattered and you are feeling lost without Dad.   My heart aches watching you mourn Dad.  I wish I could ease some of your pain, but I know mourning a love story like yours and Dad’s requires time.

I want to start this letter by telling you how much I love you.  I want you to know how much I treasure our relationship how much I need you in my life, now more than ever.

You are the most important woman in my life.  Growing up I did not realize all that you did for me.  Like the time I came home crying that all the kids next door were having a picnic and I wasn’t invited.  You set up all my stuffed animals on a blanket outside and we had our own picnic.  You always cut the ends off the bread on my sandwiches and catered to all my picky eater requests, and we both know those requests were endless!  As I grew into a rebellious teenager with a smart mouth you always had my back, despite how much I tried to push you away.  I wish I gave you more hugs back then rather than grief.   Thank you for loving me when I was unloveable and believing in me when I was an unbelievable little witch.

I watched you with complete admiration as you selflessly cared for Dad during his illness.  Your angelic caregiving abilities are a reflection of your beautiful soul.

You made me the woman I am today.

You are the strongest person I know, you are brave and courageous.  You inspire me to be a better person.

There is no one that I trust, and appreciate more than you.  You are always the first person I call in times of need and in times of triumph.  You are my very own cheering squad.

You have made tremendous scrafices to raise your family and most recently take care of Dad the past 7 years.  I am incredibly blessed to be your daughter.

Thank you for loving me unconditionally.   Thank you for all the lessons, laughter love.

I love you!

Lisa

 

A Thank You Note to My Father’s Nurses

 

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Photo Credit:  Quotesgram

It was you who gave my dying father exemplary nursing care with stellar kindness and compassion. You touched our hearts and comforted our spirits during the darkest moment of our lives.

You made sure my father was comfortable.

You stayed long after the doctors left that evening.

You honored his dying wishes.

You treated him with respect.

You let him die with dignity.

When we thoughts our hearts were completely broken and we were dying as well, you treated us with compassion and grace.  

That fateful evening we sat in my father’s hospital room for hours holding my father’s hand, crying feeling shattered and hopeless.  You would check in, prop my father’s pillows and check his morphine.  Each time you walked into the room my father would smile and thank you.  With your comforting touch you eased my father’s pain and my mother’s breaking heart.

You offered my family reprieve during the worst moment in our lives.  You were there checking in on us and taking care of us. You probably don’t know this but I think about you often.  Your smile, your compassion, your bravery became our lifeline that evening.  I bet you do not receive enough Thank You’s, and probably are completely unaware of the significant difference you make in the lives of patients and their families.

You now occupy a place in my heart, a place of high honor.  You were my family’s angel of mercy that evening.

Thank you.