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Magic Intervened

December 29, 2013 12 comments
Christmas Candles

©2013 HannahRoseTeich & I’mThinkingHappy.com

“Oh, Come All Ye Faithful,

Joyful and Triumphant!”

Even though the Holiday has come and gone, I’m still basking in that warm and fuzzy, lingering feeling of love and caring, otherwise known as Christmas Spirit.

Like many folks who celebrate, Christmas is deeply rooted in tradition for me. My European parents have always emphasized Christmas Eve as the more celebrated day of the two. Unlike my all-American friends who opened their gifts Christmas morning, Santa always came to our house after dinner on Christmas Eve. When I was a child we would trade off each year with my Dad’s sister, celebrating in Westchester or Upstate New York with my two, older boy cousins who lived in the woods. By the time my children were born, my cousins had already started their own families and carried on the tradition in their own ways. Ours was tweaked slightly so we could continue to celebrate Christmas Eve with my parents at their home and celebrate Christmas Day, the American way, in my home. Santa’s magical flexibility allowed for him to drop off a few gifts at Nana & Opa’s house after dinner before making his way to our house Christmas morning.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years however, it’s that like it or not, change is the only real constant. You can go with the flow, embracing it the best you can or be miserable.

An incident at the beginning of December unfortunately,  made it clear that this Christmas was going to be different, forcing me to rethink how we normally celebrate Christmas Eve. Even though my parents would be celebrating as they usually do with our extended family, being there for us, was not an option. Circumstances beyond our control and careful consideration made it necessary for me to decline the invitation, in effect, displacing us and leaving us with nowhere to be on Christmas Eve.

Each generation tries to do better, provide more guidance and opportunity for their kids but mostly we all just want for our children to be happy.  My kids love their extended family. Talking to them about why we weren’t going to celebrate Christmas Eve with my family this year was really hard.  And even though after everything my kids have been through, it’s been important to me to try to keep certain things the same for them over the past two years, I realize life is filled with hard stuff. All we can really do for our kids is arm them with the truth and let them know we will always be there to love and support them.

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©2013 KarenSzczukaTeich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

“Sing Choirs of Angels Sing in Exultation,

Sing All Ye Citizens of Heaven Above!”

I believe in magic; Christmas Magic.

It’s the gift that appears from seemingly nowhere and has no tangible existence to speak of, like the unlikely turn-of-events in a situation that you couldn’t foresee working out — working out. It can come in the form of an unexpected act of kindness or an expression of gratitude.  It’s when all things align and the view is suddenly clear, making way for something special to occur, like the sighting of a shooting star or the appearance of a rare blue moon.

It’s getting what you need, not necessarily what you’ve been asking for and recognizing it when it shows itself.

I love Christmas because it embodies the spirit of giving (and I don’t mean of things) from one person to another.

An unexpected, greatly appreciated phone call came about a week before Christmas. My Dad’s sister, the aunt we shared Christmas with when I was a child invited me and my children to join her, a friend and one of my cousins on Christmas Eve.

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© 2013 KarenSzczukaTeich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

I haven’t spent a Christmas Eve with my Tante Christine in over 20-years.

She hasn’t spent a Christmas without at least two of her four grandchildren present in over 25-years.

This year Christmas Eve was different. None of her grandchildren could be there.

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© 2013 KarenSzczukaTeich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

My kids and I needed some family for Christmas.

My aunt, needed some kids.

We — needed each other.

Magic Intervened.

May the Magic of the Holiday Season fill your heart with joy and gratitude, as it did mine.

Pause

December 8, 2013 7 comments
Curtains 003

© 2013 Karen Szczuka Teich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

The holiday season has been creeping up on us since right before Halloween. Like a strong, silent ivy spreading its way through cities all across the country. It’s been lighting up homes and leaving its mark on lampposts and in storefronts everywhere! Neighborhoods are all aglow with colorful lights and twinkling trees peering through living room windows. It’s a special time of year that promotes peace and giving and kindness, which my 12-year old daughter recently noted:  is free.

The Holidays can be magical, often making the seemingly impossible, possible and like so many other people, it’s my favorite time of year.

For some however, it can be a struggle; a sad and difficult time, especially this year, with fewer than normal days of  breathing room in between the great feast of Thanksgiving and the arrival of Christmas Eve. Hanukkah is already over! There’s a rush to the finish and the hustle and bustle of trying to get there, can quickly lose its charm and become frustrating, exasperating even.

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© 2013 Karen Szczuka Teich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

Most people come forward with their best. But honestly, you never know what’s going on just below the surface of a carefree wave, an absentminded smile or a soft, slightly distracted gaze. Everyone has a cross or two to bear. It could be anything from a forgotten appointment to coming off of the end of a long work shift or suffering from indecision about something. Maybe you’ve had an argument with someone or are recovering from an illness. Perhaps there is a sick child at home or you simply miss someone, terribly.

Whatever the burden, no one is exempt from worry. 

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© 2013 Karen Szczuka Teich & TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

This season, if you can, pause to be compassionate toward the people you meet.

You never know what someone is going through.

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Peace & Good Wishes to All!

Categories: Holidays, Kindness, Life, Parenting Tags:

The Best-Laid Plans Are Tentative at Best

March 31, 2013 11 comments

roadtohell

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I had really good intentions this week. Maybe that’s why we ended up in hell for a while.

The saying is right up there with Steinbeck’s….

The best-laid schemes plans of mice and men often go awry.”

And so it was this week. There were good intentions and best-laid plans. Heck, the table was practically set!

Heading into the week thoughts were on the baking and making of good food, the joining of good friends, a long weekend in the good woods, some good puzzling, and a good, old-fashioned, awesome egg hunt around a great pond!

Who needs the White House lawn when you have this?

peace

Instead, our intentions and plans were ransacked by reality. Spring Break was anything but a break and I had to remind myself (more than once) why I named this blog what I did, when we ended up with this…..

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…..a trip to the ER Thursday night that lasted well into the wee-hours of Friday morning.

De-hy-dration. Not eating a full meal for nearly a week, having fever and losing body fluids from every possible body-crevice will put your girl on a fast-track to needing nutrients from an IV bag for sure but it was the nosebleed that just-would-not-stop that sealed the deal and sent us to the hospital.

Damn you this year’s flu!

Both A & B strains have descended upon our house for the third time this season even though we’ve all been inoculated.

“Go back to the science lab!” I say to the medical team that concocted this most ineffectual vaccine!

“You missed the mark — completely!”

The second time we visited our doctor this week, she advised us that this year’s flu shot was approximately, only, 10% effective.

Taking the world on with a smile. I needed to remind myself. Did I mention in-between doctor visits, the diagnosis of flu and bronchitis and just before our jaunt to the hospital that it was my girl’s birthday this week also?

“Roll with it.”  I kept telling myself. Take it all, on with a smile.”

When you have kids, some days just get like this and sometimes those days turn into weeks. Patience and flexibility are key. Plan B is always helpful. Life after all, is full of surprises, the good and the not so good.

As a parent you accept that the best-laid plans are well, tentative at best.

So, I’m taking the world– my world — on with a smile. And even though it’s mostly just on the outside for now, I know, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, this too shall pass.

Happy Easter!~ Happy Passover!~ Happy Birthday!~ Happy Holidays!

Phil Said So

February 3, 2013 8 comments

woodchuck

Have you heard? Spring is coming.

Phil said so.

I love mankind. We’re obsessed with advancing. We’ve figured out how to send folks to the moon. We can see our friends and family in other states and countries while we speak to them through our computers. We can send instant messages across the world by email and clean our floors with a small round mechanical orb without ever getting our fingers dirty. Yet, when it comes to identifying the natural progression of one season to the next (on the East Coast anyway) we regress to ancient German folklore and the belief that groundhogs have the ability to prognosticate the upcoming weather. That’s right, instead of using the latest in weather-related technology, we gather en mass and in celebration, since 1886 in fact, to rely on the prediction of an over-grown, over-weight, hairy rodent who’s been pulled out of his hole every February 2nd at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for the last 127 years. Did I mention this animal doesn’t hiss, purr, bark, snort, speak or text? Indeed, whether we hang on to our woolies or break out our shorts all depends on what he, Punxsutawney Phil does. It’s six more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow, Spring if he doesn’t! And, it’s all done rather cryptically, in the blink of an eye, in front of 20,000 live spectators and a few million television viewers.

Mysterious looking men, members of the Inner Circle, wearing black top hats and long coats gather before a swelling crowd. It’s said that Phil talks to the president of the Inner Circle through Groundhogese. A Leader in the Circle then translates to the crowd. I watched it unfold myself, the whole 4-minutes of it. One minute no groundhog. The next, he was being pulled out of Gobbler’s Knob. A minute later an old scroll was unfurled, the Leader began to read and voila:

“There is no shadow to see. An early spring for you and me!”

Winter is over.

It’s true. He said so. Phil, the groundhog. In Punxsutawney. I didn’t hear him say it but they said he did. Even though the thermometer read 19° while he was not seeing his shadow and the forecast for tonight is snow, Spring is coming.

Phil said so.  🙂

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