Tag Archives: connection

7 Ways to be a Better Santa Claus

So there is going to be a lot of gift giving during the Christmas season, right? Some will be doing so out of a sense of obligation, others out of love and connection. There are still others who just get caught up in the holiday spirit and shop till they drop. God bless their hearts.

Most of the time, we make a really lousy Santa Claus. Why do you think there are so many “Ugly Sweater Parties” at Christmas? The secret to being a better Santa? Well this is a blog about staying connected, so yes the answer is being connected. Take the time to know people and be a better Santa Claus. Here are 7 suggestions.

1. Get to know your neighbors better. They may not like fruitcake. Their house is already full of calorie laden gifts. Maybe they have a son in college that they miss very much. Stationery and stamps may be the best gift.

2. Get over the gift card. First of all, you’re paying taxes twice. You get taxed when you purchase the gift card and they get taxed when they buy something with it. If you must get a gift card, at least find out what their interests are and get one they’ll absolutely love!

3. Find the reasons they “don’t” do something. Have an aunt that used to bake all the time, but doesn’t anymore? Assumed she just got bored with it? Ask her way. Maybe it’s her arthritis, and mixing is difficult. Get a standing kitchen bowl mixer for her. You’ll be giving her two gifts in one, because she’ll also be getting back her love of baking.

4. Stop avoiding scrooge! Have someone that just isn’t into the Christmas spirit? Find out why. There could be a painful memory associated with the holiday season and each year they are reminded of a great loss or never ending battle. A gift that pays tribute to a lost loved one or a gift that says “I’m on your side,” could change everything this Christmas.

5. Give yourself. Time is one of the most precious gifts we have to give. Invite a friend or family member to spend time with you in a way that both of you would enjoy – a sports event, a concert, manicure, local community theater – and throw in a meal to make it even more meaningful.

6. Touch the saint’s heart. Is your family’s hippie driving you nuts about all the consumerism and commercialism at Christmas when people are going hungry? Pick a charity, pick a need and take them shopping for items for those in need. Not the shopping type? Visit http://www.adra.org and their really useful gift catalog. You can buy a goat for an impoverished family that will change their way of life, and you can have it done in the name of your friend.

7. Support and Encourage. Don’t know what to get that coworker for Christmas? Go to their kids’ school Christmas program and present a small gift to the child for a job well done. Grandma always works so hard to put on the great big family Christmas dinner, consider a personalized serving platter, “Grandma’s famous Christmas Dinner.” Give gifts that encourage people in what they love!

All these tips have one thing in common – taking the time to connect with people. The best way ever to be a better Santa!

Advertisements

Comments Off on 7 Ways to be a Better Santa Claus

Filed under Community, Family

The #1 Enemy of Being Connected

Relationships require connection. You may pass the same newspaper guy on the street every day on your way to work, but there is no real connection, no relationship. However, if you always wave when you walk by, even if you don’t purchase a paper, there is some connection. Something is happening. Some form of recognition and awareness between two people.

Connection is important in all relationships from coworkers and distant, extended family to your best friend or your children. Because we are human, there are so many ways we can break that connection. We fail to stay involved in our kids’ lives then hit the roof when the principal calls and says little Susie is part of a bullying clique at school that caused another student to drop out of school. We don’t take the time to ask our coworkers about their families or how their weekend went and then wonder why they don’t invite us to their get togethers with other coworkers. Then there are the really horrible ways we break connections, like abuse, neglect and slander.

Painful as all of these are, they’re really not the #1 enemy of being connected. That “honor” is reserved for a false sense of security. Some may argue with me and say that couldn’t possibly be a contributor to broken relationships, but that’s their opinion. When you screw up, you pay the consequences. But what happens when you don’t even know you screwed up because you’ve been floating on the “I have arrived” cloud and stopped investing in your relationships?

It sneaks up on you like the iceberg on the Titanic. You’ve worked hard on your relationships and that hard work has paid off, so you just sort of check out and think, I’m done. I can just rest on my laurels now. I’ve arrived and now all I have to do is coast. Reminder, when you’re coasting, you’re going downhill.

The experts say that no fad diet is going to help someone lose weight, it has to be a lifestyle change. It’s the same with relationships. No little relationship booster is going to fix it for all time. Investing in your relationships is a lifestyle. This sneaks up on spouses the most. They think all is fine and suddenly they realize they don’t feel connected anymore. They stopped investing in their marriage.

This can be overwhelming to think about. You mean I have to invest myself in all of these relationships, from coworkers to my kids? Yes. That’s too much! It can be. That’s why you have to prioritize and decide which relationships you will connect with at a bare minimum level and which will you connect with at a much more involved level, such as your spouse or your children. You value what you invest in. Don’t stop investing in relationships. Make it a lifestyle and stay connected!

Comments Off on The #1 Enemy of Being Connected

Filed under Community, Family

Why Connect?

Why connect? It is actually a two phase question. Why should we connect? And if you are already in the habit of connecting with people – why? What is your motivation?

Dr. John Townsend talks about folks that connect with an “unlikely” person, just so they can mold them into something better and really enjoy them when they have finally left caterpillar stage behind and embraced butterfly. The problem is, most folks want to be connected with for who and what they are right now. If changes happen in their life, so be it, but right now they need to know you accept them as they are.

Think of it as in incoming college freshman. Every dean on the university campus sees bright minds that they can’t wait to have as distinguished graduates of their program. But the professor that accepts you for who you are now and makes one of those amazing connections that help a student feel safe to share their hopes and dreams and why they came to college in the first place – that is a true connection for the right reason.

Parents – we especially have to make connections with our kids right now – yes, even when they’ve gotten sent home from school or really messed up your kitchen floor. We need to connect with people in our lives right now, right where they are. If our only reason to reach out is to change someone to where we will really like them later on; the truth is that we will have a shallow connection now and a shallow connection later.

Take the time to make connections, real ones and really enjoy them. There may be someone in your neighborhood today that just needs to know someone cares, right now, at this phase of their life.

Comments Off on Why Connect?

Filed under Community, Parenting

Sans Gloves

It has been a long project and it still isn’t “done.” My husband got the garden boxes built for Mother’s Day, but we had to wait until today to get great soil from an heirloom gardening place in town. It is rich, dark and looks like it can grow anything. For people like me, we need all the help we can get.

Everyone in the family has work or gardening gloves except for me. Karl asked me again this afternoon, are you sure you don’t want some gloves? I assured him that I would be fine. I don’t mind getting my fingers dirty. I know how to use a nail brush, soap and running water. I’ve never seen “in the bag at the store” potting soil that looked anything like what we got today. It is so beautiful and it felt wonderful to work that soil with my hands.

The children had helped in various stages of the project. Michael, Matthew and Greta have helped build boxes, seal boxes, water seedlings, pick out starter plants, shovel the special soil and maybe a few other things. But I’m the one that took the plants out of the starter pots and placed them in their new homes, working that rich soil. We’ve all had contact with it and hopefully that will make the taste of the fresh produce that much better. I’m looking forward to tomatoes that have taste and strawberries that smell good, look good and taste good!

I’m praying for God to bless our gardening efforts. We need it. I’ve failed many times before. We keep trying to improve, like getting good soil and using starter plants instead of trying to grow from seeds. I’ve already been blessed, getting a connection with the soil that will provide the environment that will grow plants that will feed my family. What a process. What a gift that God has given us – to be connected to the world He placed us in. Resting in all of God’s goodness and what He had provided was our first duty and gardening was our first job.

Comments Off on Sans Gloves

Filed under Community, Family, Healthy Lifestyle, Spirituality