Here is another wise guest post from our mom, Judy.  She’s always been such a great example to us of being positive, and it’s amazing to see that she continues to challenge her own thinking, even her positivity.  I often hear from friends how their parents seem so “stuck in their ways” and how many of them aren’t willing to work on personal growth or challenge themselves beyond a certain point, so it’s refreshing to see our mom model this.  

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Have you ever experienced quick, flippant responses like “It’s all good!” or “Perfect!” after sharing a difficult circumstance with someone?  It seems they are harmless comments as we respond affirmatively and positively.  Generally, being positive is a very good thing to be. But, what if things are not at all good?  What if someone is struggling?   What happens when we don’t really listen and quickly jump to ‘Count your blessings,’ ‘Don’t worry, be happy,’ or ‘Think positive!’  Does it minimize what the person is experiencing?   Continue reading

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I once tried to use the word “coldth” in a Creative Writing class in high school. My teacher crossed it out in large, red letters and wrote “Not a word!”, which annoyed me because, duh, I know it’s not a real word, but I was trying to be “creative” and make up a new word that would describe a cold feeling that is actually comforting. Obviously, I failed. So here’s another attempt:

Living just outside Chicago, everyone dreads our icy winters. Being that I walk everywhere, I don’t exactly look forward to spending 20 minutes bundling up the kids and myself and then maneuvering the stroller around snowbanks, slush puddles and irresponsible neighbors’ un-shoveled driveways (okay, fine, it’s usually our snowy driveway!)

But even with the dread of a cold, long winter ahead, I must admit that I felt a little giddy the first time the temperatures dipped down in the 30s in November. While I loved our frequent trips to the park this warm December and first week of January, I feel a nervous excitement over the recent falling temps. Some of you will stop reading now because you are so irritated that I would even hint at appreciating freezing weather. But I just have to say it.

Sometimes cold temperatures bring warmth to a home in the same way that hard times bring families together.

It’s an excuse to crank up the heat, light a fire, drink hot tea, snuggle closer…

It takes a good freeze to kill the pests, such as ants, and for some reason my house always seems cleaner in the winter when there’s no moisture or humidity in the air. And even thought I know people tend to get sicker in the winter, a good freeze seems to kill some of the germs floating around, which could be the reason influenza and stomach bugs have been rampant this winter in the Midwest, according to many healthcare professionals. And I truly have enjoyed bopping around town without a coat nor icy sidewalks these past couple months. But it’s time to freeze off a few germs.

It’s also time for some brisk walks– the kind that wake us out of our sluggish, January slumber. “Blue Monday” is coming up on the 21st. Apparently, psychologists have come up with a formula based on the amount of days after Christmas, the weather, the amount of sun, etc. that designates the 21st as the most depressing day of 2013 for people. So, knowing that I have the potential to be at my lowest on this day, I know that fresh air and exercise are remedies for me.

And there’s really nothing like frosty air to cool me off when I am heated up over something. Like yesterday, when everything seemed to be going wring, leading to a frustrating climax in which I encountered a difficult phone representative while trying to file an insurance claim. The conversation left me with hot, angry tears by the end of it, and since it was time to pick my youngest up from preschool a few blocks away, I had to wipe my tears away and pull myself together. It had been such a draining day in general that I really worried I wouldn’t be able to get out of my angry, sad funk. But as soon as my feet met cold pavement and my lungs inhaled arctic air, I felt my insides relax. The air cooled the heat of my anger, and I felt refreshed, heavy coat, mittens and all. A spring, summer or autumn day could not have revived me the way this winter one did. While I’m glad it’s not winter all the time, I welcome it for now.