Tag Archives: Season

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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Tunnel Times and Waiting for a New Season

It is the dark tunnel known as snowbird season in Sarasota. We snobby native transplants hate it. Traffic is tripled and it takes forever to get from point A to B (or to snag a table at your favorite restaurant.)

This is the price we pay for living in paradise, but the light at the end of the tunnel is knowing snowbird season doesn’t last forever.

So, too, with the tunnels of our lives. The dark seasons of our souls are just that – seasons.

Where I get off track (and maybe where you do, too) is when I take the tunnels all too seriously. Instead of distracting myself with a better-feeling thought, I build monuments to the dark ones and envision my future around their bleak paintings.

As if the tunnel times are the end-all story of my life.

When they’re just seasons.

These, too, shall pass.

Oh…but when you’re IN the midst of a tunnel time? Let’s belt out a rousing chorus of “Ain’t No Sunshine…”? Only Bill Withers’ soulful voice perfectly captures the depths of despair. Wailing is apropos.

Milk that darkness for a day or two and it can spin into weeks of not wanting to leave the bed and face the world.

Oh, you do. Because you HAVE to. The lottery tickets haven’t paid off yet and there are people, places, and things requiring our attention.

Have you ever felt like you were walking through quicksand?

Such has been my experience for about a month now. I tried to pin my mood on the new moon, which is supposed to influence the emotions of sensitive people.

But the new moon wasn’t so new anymore. So how to explain this malaise?

And in trying to figure it all out, it seemed I dug a deeper hole.

And then it dawned on me.

This is just a season.

When you’re in the frost of winter in your soul, it can feel like the buds will never sprout again.

Friends, don’t be so hard on yourself. (It never makes matters better.)

Faithful Mark, my loving partner, always wants to make things better. When he sees the dark storm clouds hovering over me, unlike some who would run for cover, he seeks ways to offer light. And I hope the story I am about to tell you sheds light on any darkness you might be feeling.

When I thought I couldn’t even remember how to feel happy again, he said, “Come outside for a minute.”

Still in my bathrobe, with Phyllis Diller hair sticking out and sleep in my eyes, I mustered enough oomph to shuffle out to the lanai.

And there was our avocado plant. Purchased as a housewarming gift nearly a year ago, it always looked healthy, but never offered hope that it would ever bear fruit.

Take a closer look…
It’s a baby avocado!

At first, I didn’t see it. But I looked again, and there was not just one, but a whole family of baby avocado buds.

Just like when the Grinch’s heart melted because of Cindy Lou Who, mine stirred with a lately-unfamiliar feeling.

Hope.

“…and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!”

Sometimes, it feels like NOTHING is happening. You’ve planted the seeds, watered, fertilized, and weeded them. And nada.

As if it’s Groundhog Day and it’s the same ‘ole same ‘ole and it’ll always be the same ‘ole same ‘ole.

You can feel like all of your effort is for naught. That all of your believing was just a pipe dream. That you should just settle for ordinary since CLEARLY this season of discontent is on an endless loop of auto-replay.

But take heart.

You may not see progress, but something’s getting ready to sprout.

I promise you, it’s getting ready to sprout.

Because there is an end to every season. Even a dark season of the soul.

The treasures you will mine in this fertilizer of darkness will richly serve you when the fruit arrives.

Keep looking for the sprout. It’s coming.

And celebrate the coming change. Because seasons always do.

Here’s our new WOW:

https://youtu.be/4Efzw2cs_Uo

Oooooooh…let’s all go and take a nap!

xoxoxo

Brenda

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‘Tis the Season for Believin’ (and the New WOW)

I’ve got the spirit of the season.

Like an onion, it happened in layers.

First, it was an exasperated,  “How am I going to get everything done!!!!????” which totally saps any Christmas spirit from your to-do list.

Without any HUGE chunks of unassigned time, I had to approach shopping, wrapping, baking, shipping and decorating in teeny increments.  The “baby steps” seemed ineffectual at first, but (just like in the move “What About Bob?”) ended up coming together (synthesis!) in an explosion of silver and gold and peacock colors along with the smell of raisin bread wafting through the house. (Twenty loaves have been shipped out so far, with more to come!  It’s an homage to my beloved grandmother and a tradition I started about ten years ago.)

Here are some highlights:

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And here’s a spot in the dining area, ready for a house full of guests later today!

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Yep, we decided to have a PARTY – our first Christmas Party in Sarasota, which was a great incentive to get my #$%@ in gear and get things done EARLY.

Worrying about everything coming together doesn’t make it happen.

But those little baby steps are magical steps of faith that can move a mountain.

Which is a perfect lead in to the new WOW!:

You know, ya gotta love content that includes a Jesus story and a George Michael musical interlude in the same video.  It’s that crazy juxtaposition of me-ness, and I’m so glad you appreciate it.

Here’s some thoughts about FAITH:

  1. It works by LOVE (not fear)
  2. You don’t need much to get great results (even as small as a mustard seed!)
  3. What you HEAR over and over affects your faith level (do you have faith for the NEGATIVE?  Are those the messages you’ve been giving space to?)

I think that’s why I love that portion of the movie The Help so much.  The main character is the caretaker for the neglected little girl, and she says to her over and over, “You is kind. You is smart.  You is important.” What a powerful deposit into that little girl’s soul!

Let’s all deposit some powerful messages into our hearts this season and watch our faith GROW!

xoxoxoxox

Love,
Brenda

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