Best time of the year?

This ornament was handmade by my mother-in-law, Marilyn. She made it in memory of Joey. The gesture was so kind and generous.

I am still not quite sure what this post is going to be about. I have been thinking about it most of the day: Should I talk about spinning on Christmas Eve? Talk about abs or doing dirty dog in body conditioning today?

Or do I reflect on the holiday season? It is great for many. But for some others it is not so great.

This time of year can be stressful, depressing, sad, difficult, lonely, emotional or really not the best time of the year.

Because I feel so fortunate in my life and I believe that I was put on this Earth to help others. So I do what I can to make things better for others.

Because most people we know are rather fortunate we no longer do Christmas presents. We give money to charity because there are so many people who need so much. (Curt and I do stockings so we have a little something.)

We have a variety of charities we support. Among some of them: food banks; Planned Parenthood; public television; alma mater department scholarships/programs; Curt’s hometown Boy Scouts; Humane Society; Habitat for Humanity.

The cliche saying about how it is better to give than receive … well, the thing is when you give you receive something so much more than unwrapping a new sweater or candle or shoes. And I do love shoes.

There is a young man who works at the gym I go to. He works the front desk and it is rather cold there. Last night I finished knitting a hat for him. I gave it to him this morning. He was stunned that I made it for him.

Another member gave him a space heater. After receiving those two gifts, he said: Today is going to be a good day. That made me smile.

Before class started I was talking to another member who was telling me that he and his daughter were trying to find an organization to help tonight–such as a food bank or soup kitchen. Then he said he realized there were people right in front of him who could use help. He told me he gave the young man some money. As we were discussing all the items given to the young man today it really warmed my heart and made me cry. This is what Christmas is about.

I am grateful for my family, Curt and my friends. But for me this Christmas is a little tough because I no longer have my Joey. Tomorrow will be three weeks since we lost Joey. I am still heartbroken and miss him terribly.

Curt and I decided to spend this holiday season just the two of us. There are a variety of reasons for this choice. We thought we would still have Joey and didn’t want him to be alone. And I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. Traveling this time of the year is stressful and expensive. I need this time to get some stuff done around the house and I also need to relax and rest after an emotional couple of months with Joey’s declining health. The vet bills really added up. And we are hoping next December/Christmas to be spending it in Australia and New Zealand. And that trip won’t be cheap.

I wish everyone Happy Holidays. Take care of yourself. Try not to get bogged down by the greed and the stress. But, please, also remember to think about those who are less fortunate than you. Even a small gesture will be appreciated. And it will warm your heart.

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