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Archive for holidays

My Close to Christmas Checklist

Close to Christmas Checklist

Here we are, just a few days before Christmas, and there seems to never be enough time, money or parking spaces for us to get it all done, right?

Here is a quick CTC checklist for you to review today.


Close to Christmas Checklist

Set a cutoff day and time to stop shopping and go with what you have.

Pick up one male and female gift to have, just in case. If you do not use them, drop them off at a shelter or church.

Pay a neighbor’s teenager to wrap your families gifts while you and a neighbor have a cup of coffee together.

Prepare a list of what you are serving for Christmas dinner. As you prepare them, check them off and record a time on your list that it needs to go into the oven.

Send an email or text to others that are bringing food to remind them of the time you are having dinner and thank them for bringing ______. This is a quick easy reminder to them.

Write a Christmas card for each of your family members with the 3 reasons you are grateful to them this Christmas and use the card as a place card on the table. This will bless them and also help you tell them where you want them to sit.

Christmas Mantel @ 7537 2012

It is my desire to inspire you to always give thanks, show love and don’t let the holidays crush your heart or your bank account.

Be inspired today,


Through the Years: A Look Back to my Family & Friends

At this time of year, pull out your pictures and let them take you on a journey of fun, family, friends, tears and laughter.  Pictures can minister to us in ways that words cannot. I remember…

Jane & Baby Doll Christmas in Cheswick

My Shirley Temple doll I got at Christmas.

Chuck Christmas as Music ManThe love of a husband that enjoyed Christmas (still miss ya, Honey).

Becca Christmas bagA daughter that was and still is the meaning of JOY year round.

Becca & MsA Christmas 3755 SoapstoneA GREAT friend that loves your family as much as they love you!

Becky & Bud Christmas CheerFamily that knows how to have fun, give love and laugh!

Mom & Me HandsHolding the hand of my Mom never gets old even when we do!

Becca & Bud Christmas GamingA Dad and Grandfather that can be as silly as any child!

Becca & Jane 1st GA Christmas

A make a gift from God’s gift to me because He loves me.


My two pillars of encouragement.
Sister & Daughter
I am Blessed.

John, Denise, Jane, Bruce & Retta

My family then…

Swoager Family 2015

My family now
Older, wiser (maybe), but blessed to have each other and love each other through the years!

It is my desire to inspire you to tell your family and friends how much they mean to you. Remember, take pictures, share pictures and remember the journey.

Happy New Year & Be inspired today!


3 Ways I Choose to Stop My Personal Holiday War

What do you think of when you first start to hear the whispers of “it is almost Christmas?”

Do you get excited, upset, feel sad, or just try to ignore that it is days away?  To be honest, I feel all of those things at one time.

But I find that when someone asks me how I feel about the holiday season, my unrestricted response is, ” I love the holidays.”

How can that be?

For me, my feeling about the holidays is a mixture of great family memories and my Mother’s infusing joy over 60 years of her preparation for Christmas.

See, my feelings are different from my reality today.  Today, I live far from my family. Today, no one in my life gets excited about the holidays. That contagious joy of holiday preparation began to experience erosion when I moved. My husband passed. My daughter grew up and left home. No one in my life enjoyed that of which I had amazing memories.

What about you?

Well if you are like me, you may have warring great memories with a not so great holiday reality. Or perhaps you are trying to get over bad holiday memories and rejoice in family and friends of today.

I have some advise…ready?  Just stop the warring.

3 Ways I Choose to Stop My Personal Holiday War

  1. Acceptance –  I am going to accept that my changed holidays can not ever change my great memories. What do you need to accept?
    1. Acceptance defined: Settling that change is not possible to the facts. But the facts cannot change you today.
  2. Appreciation – I am going to appreciate the people in my life just as they are this holiday season. I will not compare them to my Mom. :)
    1. Appreciation defined: Receive that which is offered without expectation of more.
  3. Authenticity  – I am going to be me this holiday season. I will listen to Christmas carols. I will decorate my house, including my little village of houses.  I will wrap grifts, even if they know what I purchased for them.  I will be me this holiday season…Ho Ho Ho!
    1. Authenticity defined: Not being what others want, expect or enjoy while wishing inside you could be different.

It is my desire to inspire you to make this Christmas one of your personal best, regardless of last year or many years before.

Merry Christmas to you…yes, you!