God works in mysterious ways. Miracles do happen.

Angels

I can’t remember the exact date, but it was 1999 and my mother had been diagnosed with colon cancer for the 2nd time. We met with the surgeon who said he could not operate because the cancer had metastasized. Chemotherapy for the rest of her life was the treatment. That seemed like a death sentence to me and I was determined to explore options.

After the meeting with the doctor, I went back into the city on the train. I was mentally drained and exhausted. When I looked up, I saw a friend from high school I had not seen in years. I truly feel God put this friend (angel) on the train for me to meet that day. That “chance” meeting is the reason my mother is still here and alive today.

Long story short, my friends’ coworker’s mother in law had a similar colon cancer diagnosis and suggested we get a 2nd opinion from Dr. Sugarbaker at the Washington Cancer Institute, Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, D.C. He had an innovative treatment which consisted of surgery and heated chemotherapy in the affected area where the cancer was. I won’t go into all of the details, but the point being she was a viable candidate for this surgery, the treatment worked and my mother is still here 15 years later. We are all extremely grateful.

I feel my mother’s situation was truly a miracle. When I meet someone who is impacted by cancer, I pray to God to help them find the best information/treatments for their situation. Had I not met my friend on the train that day, I don’t know if I ever would have found out about Dr. Sugarbaker.

I hope I can be that “angel” to help someone else some day. Miracles do happen.

 

Advertisements

Take the time to enjoy the lights and decor of the holiday season with your family.

Christmas Photo

I absolutely love this time of the year! It’s so much fun to drive around and look at decorated homes and store fronts in the area where you live.

The picture in this post is near my home and I wait with anticipation every year to see it. It makes me laugh and smile with a childlike giddiness!

Every year, I try to map out 5-10 holiday decorated homes in my area. If you need help finding them, either google “decorated holiday or Christmas houses” in your area or wait for the listings in the local newspaper as it gets closer to Christmas. My husband and I enjoy this “holiday tour” as much as the kids do.

If you live in the area (Garden City, NY), the following light display should be a definite stop on your holiday light tour – go to www.lightstoabeat.com for details. This year the light display includes Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, Feliz Navidad, Amazing Grace, etc. They are accepting donations for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Amazing!

If you are visiting NYC, check out the holiday store windows. They are all really good this year. I can’t say I have a clear favorite – www.mommypoppins.com  has a really nice description of what the decorated windows have to offer.

These are the eight holiday windows worth seeing:

1) Bloomingdales (59th and Lex Ave)

2) Barneys (61st and Madison Ave)

3) Bergdorf Goodman (58th and 5th Ave)

4) Tiffany and Co (57th and 5th Ave)

5) Henri Bendel (56th and 5th Ave)

6) Saks Fifth Avenue (48th-49th and 5th Ave)

7) Lord and Taylor (38th-39th and 5th Ave)

8) Macy’s (34th and 6th- 7th Ave)

PS – Don’t forget to stop at the Lindt chocolate store between 54th and 55th on 5th Avenue to enjoy some good chocolate to give you more energy to keep you going.

Have fun! YOLO (You Only Live Once)!

10 Tips to Keep Parents Sane over the Holidays

Stay Sane

I posted this last year and the tips are definitely worth repeating….

1. It’s ok to say no : Everyone knows the holidays can be hectic. My husband always says “Less is more”. You don’t have to justify why you can’t make it. You just can’t – end of story.

Wait a minute… I just had a funny Marcia Brady flashback – Click here to go to the utube video clip (and yes, Doug Simpson is Friedrich from the original Sound of Music movie)

2. Order online : This is a no brainer and I have posted about this before. Amazon Prime is the way to the go. Many items will be at your door step within two days and you will never even have had to leave your home.

3. It’s not about the gifts : Don’t make this holiday so commercial. It’s not what it is all about… Keep Christ in Christmas. Go to your “new toy” closet (you know you have one) and give gifts to those who are less fortunate – Toys for Tots, church drives, etc.

4. Send out “Happy New Year” cards : So many people stress out about getting their cards out before Christmas because they don’t have the perfect picture where everyone is smiling. I personally really enjoy getting cards with the kids and family on them, but you don’t have to send them out before Christmas. In order to remain sane, you may need to send out Happy New Year cards or don’t send any out at all – who says you have to?

5. Have the kids make gifts: Make Rainbow Loom bracelets, pictures, ornaments, etc. It will keep the kids busy and out of your hair while you are trying to get things done at home. Who doesn’t like to get a handmade gift from a child?

6. Give gift experiences : How many gifts can Santa really bring? I have posted about this before for birthday gifts. Gift cards are an excellent choice for massages, restaurants, movies, ice cream, carousel rides, Chuckie Cheese, nail salons, etc. How about cooking, wine or cheese classes? Tickets to the theater or the circus? They are practical and fun gifts the person on the receiving side will enjoy and will not take up a lot of space in the house.

7. Break down your “things to do” list : We all have huge lists of things to do, but breaking the list down into small bites makes a list of twenty items seem doable. I take a piece of paper and write down three things I have to get done and it helps me focus. Once I have completed those items, then I tackle the next three items on my list. Try it. I really think it helps you feel you are in control and getting things done.

8. Ask for help : Car pool, get a babysitter, have your significant other/grandparents watch the kids while you run around to get everything done.

9. Be satisfied and enjoy the present moment : Enjoy the smell of your holiday wreath and/or Christmas tree, cookies baking in the oven, watching Christmas shows on TV, holiday lights, the sparkle in your childrens’ eyes because they love the holidays as much as you do. That is what it is all about. Enjoy the moment!

10. Laugh and have fun : Laughter is a great stress reliever. Enjoy the holidays! If it’s not “perfect”, there is always next year!

Teach your kids to be grateful: Create a gratitude tree.

A gratitude tree

With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, it is the perfect time to talk to your kids about being grateful and thankful for the many blessings in their lives.

My friend and fellow YOLO mom, Denise, shared a wonderful idea with me. She created a gratitude tree (picture in this post). This can be a fun way to share blessings your family is grateful for and is also nice decor for your home during the holidays.

It’s very simple and inexpensive to make:

  • Take some small tree branches from your backyard or your local craft store and put them in a vase
  • Cut some leaves out of construction paper, punch a hole in them and attach a string/ribbon to the leaf
  • Ask your kids/family/friends to draw pictures or write about things they are grateful for on the leaves
  • Hang the leaves on the branches
  • Now you have a beautiful gratitude tree 🙂

Here are few other ideas to help your kids to continue thinking about what they are grateful for:

1 – Play a “gratitude” game: My husband, girls and I kept going around table saying things we were grateful for. I would say we did about 10 rounds and I was taking notes to help the girls write these items on leaves for our family gratitude tree.

2 – Thanksgiving dinner table – As you go around the dinner table, have everyone talk about one thing they are grateful for this year.

3 – Letters to Santa – As the kids are writing their wishlist to Santa, have the kids include a “PS” which lets Santa know what they are grateful for this year.

Thanks for reading my post!

Happiness is to embrace and accept what you have in life.

Happiness

As I turn a year older and “wiser” this week, I am reflecting on the past year and the year to come. My one wish is to continue to be grateful, happy and satisfied every day (and let’s include healthy in there also – “Health is Wealth.”)

As some of you may know, my husband is originally from India. He is a calm and logical person and I always appreciate his insight/opinion when I am looking for answers or want to make a decision.

On my first trip to India, I asked him, “Why do so many of the people who live on the streets and have so little, still appear to be so happy?” He simply said, “They embrace and accept the life that has been given to them.” It is a very simple way to look at it, but true. I thought to myself…In the western world, people have so much more, but some people still cannot find happiness.

So how does one find happiness? Embrace and accept what you have in life.

I will elaborate with some examples:

Relationships: Wanting people or family members to act a certain way and hoping they will change, but if you accept and embrace who and what they are, you will be happy. I am not saying it is easy, but something one can strive toward.

Material Posessions : In my opinion, less is more. So often, however, we see many people racing to attain more and more “things” (fancy homes, clothes, cars, etc.), but they still don’t seem to be happy. Slow down, embrace and accept what you have.

As I turn a year older, I share this basic wisdom with you and my children that my husband shared with me. Embrace and accept what you have in life and you will be on the path to being grateful, happy and satisfied.

Megan’s Law – Empower your children by teaching them they have rights and choices.

A Megans Law GS Patch

Two weeks ago, we had the opportunity to participate in a “When You Should Tell” session organized by our Brownie troop leader and the parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center. I am truly grateful this session was set up because it is important for children at an early age to know that everyone is not “nice” and to give them tools to protect themselves. There were lots of different role play scenarios. For example, a grown-up runs up to you and says: ” I lost my puppy, can you help me find it? What do you do?” They taught them to “Stop! Check first!”

To refresh your memory, Megan’s Law is an informal name for laws in the United States requiring law enforcement authorities to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders, which was created in response to the murder of Megan Kanka. Source: Wikipedia

To summarize the content in the “When You Should Tell” flyer: The focus of this workshop was to EMPOWER young children by teaching them that they have rights, choices, and can say STOP to anyone even a grown-up if that person makes them feel “yucky”. It also explores what it means to be “in charge” of your body, and that each child gets to decide about who touches or does not touch them and how.

Other skills taught include:

• Understand the difference between good and bad touches.

• The NO-GO-TELL policy of saying NO if something feels “yucky” and then going to tell a grown-up you trust.

• How to say NO if someone wants to do something or wants you to do something that you don’t like (feels “yucky”).

• Who are the grown-ups you trust?

• The 10 Rules of Safety.

A Megans Law Safety Tips Picture

• A thorough explanation of what it means to be in charge of your own body and feelings.

• What feelings are (happy, sad, mad, confused) and why OUR OWN feelings are the most important.

• Every person has BATHING SUIT/ PRIVATE AREAS and no one is allowed to touch you in your bathing suit private area unless it is to keep you clean or healthy.

• The meaning of certain words such as: friend, stranger, family, danger, safety, comfortable, uncomfortable or “yucky”.

• Understanding that it is not a child’s fault if someone bigger makes them feel uncomfortable.

For more information:

Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center

P.O. Box 145

Stony Brook, N.Y. 11790

(631) 689-2672

(888) ASK-PFML

www.ParentsForMeganslaw.org

www.TheCrimeVictimCenter.org

Recycle small toys and raise funds for the community or a charity.

A Earthfest

I am always looking for ways to teach the girls about recycling and giving back to the community. So last week I started a new project for the kids. Let’s go through the toy closet and gather all the small toys we received in goodie bags, McDonalds Happy Meals, etc that we don’t need anymore and put them in a “treasure chest” (plastic box).

In honor of Earthfest, the girls and I sold these recycled small toy “treasures” for 25 cents a piece. All funds we raised were donated to the local bird sanctuary toward the erection of a shelter on the property. It went over really well with those who attended the event and it taught my daughters the following lessons: the importance of recycling, sales and customer service, math, fundraising and giving back to the community.

After the long winter, it was just nice to be outside again and we really had a lot of fun. We will probably do this again over the summer when we have a lemonade stand. Recycle, reduce and reuse:  just another idea I thought I would share to make recycling more fun for kids while doing something nice for the community.

God works in mysterious ways. Miracles do happen.

I can’t remember the exact date, but it was 1999 and my mother had been diagnosed with colon cancer for the 2nd time. We met with the surgeon who said he could not operate because the cancer had metastasized. Chemotherapy for the rest of her life was the treatment. That seemed like a death sentence to me and I was determined to explore options.

After the meeting with the doctor, I went back into the city on the train. I was mentally drained and exhausted. When I looked up, I saw a friend from high school I had not seen in years. I truly feel God put this friend (angel) on the train for me to meet that day. That “chance” meeting is the reason my mother is still here and alive today.

Long story short, my friends’ coworker’s mother in law had a similar colon cancer diagnosis and suggested we get a 2nd opinion from Dr. Sugarbaker at the Washington Cancer Institute, Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, D.C.  He had an innovative treatment which consisted of surgery and heated chemotherapy in the affected area where the cancer was. I won’t go into all of the details, but the point being she was a viable candidate for this surgery, the treatement worked and my mother is still here 15 years later. We are all extremely grateful.

I feel my mother’s situation was truly a miracle. When I meet someone who is impacted by cancer, I pray to God to help them find the best information/treatments for their situation. Had I not met my friend on the train that day, I don’t know if I ever would have found out about Dr. Sugarbaker.

I hope I can be that “angel” to help someone else some day. Miracles do happen.

Donate and let go of items you no longer need to allow new things to come into your life.

Donation Heart

It’s a new year. Every year I say, “We need to purge things we no longer need to be able to bring “new” things into our home.” It’s not easy being attached to “stuff” which has sentimental value or may be useful some day, but I have been determined to give it my best shot.

It’s an important life lesson and skill to teach children when they are young. If you have outgrown something (toys/clothes), we can give them away to others who can also enjoy them. We are “recycling” and doing something good for ourselves and others. Make your children part of the “giving away” process.

So I did some google searches and found the following Oprah.com article which really helped me get started: “Where to Get Rid of Anything: Where to donate, recycle, and sell your castoffs so they do some good.” You can find great suggestions on where to donate the following:

eyeglasses, baby clothes, mobile phones, desk supplies, linens, iPods and music, sports equipment, used clothing, stuffed animals, wood planks, construction materials, formal dresses, toiletries, DVDs and video games, art materials, cars, your grandmother’s antiques, an old stamp collection, magazines, shoes, books, musical instruments, techno trash, ill fitting jeans and just about anything.

This article has been so helpful. I just dropped off about 100 magazines at a local hospital emergency waiting room. Less is more. I feel lighter already. So the next time my daughter says.. “I am bored, what can I do?” I will give her a  “fun” project: Let’s get rid of the old and welcome the new!

Receive with gratitude, but give with love.

photo (1)
My grandmother passed away earlier this year. She was a very important person in my life who was very passionate about cooking and making sure people were well fed. She always cooked for others with a great deal of love and I have many fond memories of her.

In honor of what would have been her 102nd birthday today, I went out to give meals to those less fortunate during my vacation in India. Even though she is no longer physically on this earth, I know this would have made her very happy.

Teach your children by example. By showing them ways to give to those who are less fortunate, they will develop a deeper understanding for the many blessings they have.

Merry Christmas!