Tag Archives: Hallmark

The Superpower of the Season

This is a season like no other because this is a year unlike any other.

I embraced my traditions, like making raisin bread or watching Hallmark/Lifetime movies, but something felt “off.” Even decorating the house felt rote this year.

What was missing?

I began (where I always do) when I feel “off” – with gratitude.

Counting blessings is a great kickstart to joy. I thought about how one of my best friends in the whole world moved five minutes away from me this year. A move that likely would not have been possible without COVID making so many workers remote! (Ha! A reason to be grateful for COVID!)

I considered my Mark, who unfailingly runs to meet my car in the garage when returning from the store to help me unload bags of groceries. He considers it his duty to carry any package over a pound and it warms my heart each time he swoops in to be my hero.

Or my mom, who spent last week in the hospital. What at times felt dire, took a turn for the better! (When my mom puts her mind in a positive direction, few things are more powerful.)

Those are three big blessings to count during this holiday season! But counting them didn’t fully nudge my mood.

As I ambled around performing errands, I found myself captivated. The greatest Great Dane stood outside of Publix (our local supermarket chain here in Florida.) He was majestic!

He stood next to the Salvation Army bucket with his person, who faithfully rang the bell. I observed them being passed by, person after person.

The bell’s clear sound woke my soul.

“And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then the true meaning of Christmas came though, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches plus two.”

The bell tolled for me. A call to action!

It just took a moment for me to shake off the malaise and to open my wallet.

Yes, counting our own gifts can be a powerful exercise. But giving? That’s a superpower I realized needed to be dusted off and exercised.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE giving. I am known for buying and sending beautiful cards and packages in every season…

…but giving to someone truly in NEED?

There’s magic there.

It started with the Salvation Army, but it’s not stopping there. My plan is to, every day, look for someone in need and to somehow, some way – MEET that need.

I have dear friends who, like Santa’s elves, hide out in Target or Walmart to hand out gift cards to random passersby. Another friend seeks out opportunities to anonymously pay the tab at Dunkin’ or Starbucks.

Giving feels great.

It is the superpower of the season.

And if this year feels a little “off” perhaps an adventure in giving is just the tonic for your soul!

In this week’s video, I talk about infusing the season with LOVE…

…and may we all vote in favor of giving everyone – including ourselves – the benefit of every doubt.

With love,

Brenda

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The Joy of Connection

My need for connection causes me to whine to Mark at least once a week.

Poor guy, he must be thinking, “What am I? Chopped liver?”

He’s perfect. But he’s here with me all the time. Knows all my stories.

We are embedded in the daily rituals of life together, which are Groundhog’s Day-like in this era of COVID-19.

It’s tedious for me to kvetch to him because he can’t FIX it. (He loves fixing things.)

Joyful, impromptu connections used to fuel my spirits regularly.

Conversations across tables at restaurants, bonding over food envy (what DID they order?) Seatmates on airplanes telling fascinating tales of business and travel. Fashion shows in and out of dressing rooms with random patrons oohing at just the right moment, sealing the sale.

The dressing rooms are closed. You have to buy stuff and bring it home to try it on, which takes half of the fun out of it.

And you KNOW there’s no flying around happening anytime soon (for me, at least.)

Restaurants? On occasion, but have you noticed that people don’t make eye contact any more? It’s so hard to create connection behind a mask. I think I gained a few more eye wrinkles just trying to OVER express my hidden smile.

Which is why, THANKFULLY, this past week was my BIRTHDAY.

Anyone who knows me even a little knows I make a big freaking deal out of my birthday each year.

And not just because of presents, though anyone who knows me knows I LOVE PRETTY BOXES AND BOWS and surprises contained within them.

I love my birthday because people make a genuine effort to connect with me. Cards (rather than bills) in the mail! Bouquets (flowers AND fruit) were delivered to my door this year! Video messages and my brother-in-law Tony even performed an original song (written by my sister, Shirlee) sung as Elvis.

Dear ones connected through Zoom, Marco Polo, e-mail, text, phone, Vox, Hallmark, Facebook.

Other than smoke signals, every form of communication was employed.

I soaked it up like a dry old sponge.

Nix that.

Like a dry sponge.

Before we get into this week’s video, I gotta tell you a funny. Mark’s daughter, Tara, sweetly called me to wish me a happy birthday.

Not knowing me as well as most of YOU, she began, “I know when you get older birthdays aren’t a big deal…”

HA!

I gently protested, “Oh, I may be older, but birthdays are ALWAYS a big deal for me.”

Because birthdays mean connection.

And that’s the best gift of all.

(But the Ritz Carlton is a close second.)

More on connections, asking for what you want, and telling your story the way you WANT it to be here:

https://youtu.be/2DxVLFbhc9o

May our question marks turn into exclamation points of joy for all of us.

With love,

Brenda

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