Posts tagged ‘happiness’

December 19, 2011

The Gift of Play

Bird whistles rockWhen was the last time you truly played? Did something fun simply for the enjoyment of it. No goals. No plans. No expectations. But also, active. Taking action without intention, simply for the amusement of that action, maybe to see what would happen. Did you play at all today?

Sometimes as we grow up, we forget how to play. Many times our children serve as reminders- however, what is play to children isn’t always satisfyingly playful to adults. Play dances at the edges of our developmental abilities. It can be enthralling to watch this and participate in this with children, at their level, but as ever growing and changing beings our edges like the dance as well.

Playing, in whatever form it takes for you, has many benefits- it reduces stress (which is well documented as a cause of many physical ailments), it increases our creativity, mental flexibility and focus. Play gives us energy. These are our edges as grown up people- the places where we are often challenged. Especially as parents. But do you know any adult who couldn’t use more energy, focus and creativity, and less stress? (You know, I do think I actually know a quite a few…and guess what? They play. Often.)

There is one caveat here. If we go into play time looking for benefits, we’ve turned it into something other than play. An assignment. A project. Something we do because it’s “good for us”. Yikes. I’ve noticed that I have a strong tendency to do this with my creative pursuits. Recently I began painting. My intention was to just have fun with it, and I painted an image that had been in my head for a while. It was fun. I did some more painting. Then I got ideas. I decided that I wanted to paint some more specific images. I wanted to use them for another project I’m working on. Can you guess what happened? I stopped painting. Somehow I didn’t feel the urge to pull the paints out again. I had turned my play into a chore. A project. Something that needed to be done. So much for the fun, energy, creativity and stress relief. But it’s also a fun juxtaposition. Play is only play when it’s done for it’s own sake. For fun. For the love of what you’re doing. Yep. Work can even be play.

So, how will you give yourself the gift of play? I will be pulling out my paints and a fresh canvas. No fixing that bizarre looking lizard. No grand attempts to paint that flame on the canvas I painted black, unless it feels like fun. Just me and some colors and some brushes and a blank canvas. Slap some paint down and see where it goes. But play can be anything- taking a walk down a different street, getting lost (literally or figuratively), making designs in the dirt (or your mashed potatoes), seeing what happens when….., making up a story about the people in the car ahead of you, jumping on the trampoline. Yes, it CAN be with your kids of course, they’re some of the best people to play with…. but give yourself permission to play without them as well!

Tell me how YOU are playing in the comments, or tell me what you’re doing about that ever so grown-up tendency to turn play into work. How are you turning work to play instead? And give others the gift of play (and good health, energy, focus, and creativity!) by sharing with the buttons below.

PS. If it’s the only way it will happen, schedule some time devoted to play. Pencil it in. Leave some time open for whatever strikes your fancy. Or, drop what you’re doing right now. Go play. I mean it. Go play!

December 13, 2011

The Gift of Nurture

This week’s gift is one that I know all of you amazing mamma’s out there give to others- generously, beautifully, wonderously- every single day of your existence. You are the goddesses of nurture. Holding your families in nearly every thought with love, concern, appreciation and understanding. Or at least that’s your intention and your touchstone- what you come back to even when life feels hectic, out of control, too much ….. and well, normal.

Nurture is also what we do. Giving hugs. Making meals. Showing our kids how- when they want to try something new or do what we can do. Patching up boo-boo’s with compassion, validation and a kiss. And being present with their heartaches… also, with compassion and validation. And knowing when a hug or a kiss won’t be helpful.

But we often do not nurture ourselves. We forget to do the things that make us feel loved and supported. We don’t keep ourselves in our loving, appreciative, understanding thoughts. Sure it feels wonderful to have someone else nurture you in some way- making a favorite meal, providing you with a clean bathtub and a warm towel, giving you a hug after you slip in the dog slobber on the tile floor and land hard- but we can provide ourselves with the same. (Okay, maybe not a hug, but a chance to rest or that hot bath after the last one…)

I challenge you to come up with a list of 3 ways you can nurture yourself this week, starting now. I have a friend who has filled a jar with pomegranate seeds, to be treasured at will. I like to do yoga or meditate outside. Or go to a beautiful natural spot and just breathe in the beauty. Take a walk, or a run. Just be alone. Nap. Borrow any of these, come up with your own and report back in the comments! For bonus points, tell me what you’ve appreciated about yourself today.

Know someone who could use the gift of nurture? Share the love using the links below….

December 6, 2011

The Gift of Permission

Your permission slipWhen I first considered what gift I’d like to give myself this year, permission was the first word to come to mind. What do I want permission for? To be more of a thriving creative force in the world. To do work that excites and fulfills me. To stop being critical of myself and seeing criticism in the words and actions of others. I am the only person who can give me permission for these things.

But why permission? There’s a formality to permission. A granting from an authoritative source. My generation, and those before it, have been trained deeply to look to an authority, someone who knows a great deal about a subject, someone who others also look to for information and guidance in that area. And the fact is that you are the best and absolute authority on you. Only you know your private thoughts and your inner workings. Only you truly know your greatest joys and fears. Only you know what is best for you.

Granting yourself permission is not only allowing yourself that thing that you want, it is declaring authority over your own life. There is no single more powerful thing you can do for yourself. Even if today you’re only granting yourself permission to take a walk in the woods, an extra long hot bath, or half an hour to release your inner artist. Giving yourself permission is empowerment.

So, what will you give yourself permission for today? For the holidays? For the new year and the rest of your life? Let me know in the comments!  Do you know someone who would benefit from giving themselves this gift?  Share the love. (links are right below!)

December 6, 2011

Gifts to Yourself- A holiday blog series

Sorry, forgot to wrap it....As much as some of my previous holiday posts may contradict this- I LOVE Holidays. Particularly ones with lights, their own music, stories, food, and traditions. But it’s also a time of year when many of us get so caught up in our duties as the creator of holiday joys that we forget to care for ourselves. So for the next few weeks, I’ll be posting holiday gifts to give to yourself. They will be linked below, so this is one place you can find them all, but if you subscribe to my blog over there on the right where it says “Get Updates by Email”, they’ll come right to your inbox each week.  They won’t cost you anything. They have no calories. They won’t even take much time. Play along and let me know in the comments…. there may be an extra gift for you from me when you do. Enjoy.  And share the love.

Week 1- The Gift of Permission

Week 2- The Gift of Nurture

Week 3- The Gift of Play

Week 4- The Gift of Rest

November 21, 2011

I Refuse to Survive the Holidays

Every year around this time I start noticing the magazine articles, tv talk show blurbs, and even blog posts about “how to survive the holidays”. While I know these can be incredibly helpful when you don’t know how to deal with your rude Aunt Marge or have backed yourself into a corner by saying yes to every event invitation that comes your way- complete with requisite cooking and gifting tasks (“gifts must be handmade” says the invite- oh yes, that sounds cool- until you realize you need to not only figure out what you can make, but actually make it, by next week.)…. this year every one of these tips has me both laughing and groaning. Putting “the holidays” and “survival” in the same sentence brings up images of harried women on a remote island, trying to forage and craft a “lovely traditional holiday” while competing in immunity challenges and plotting votes to exile their tribe sisters. The idea of “surviving” the upcoming holidays just seems equally absurd to me.

I have survived the holidays. Worn out, sick, grumpy and making up ugly holiday stories about how I can never do enough and my efforts are always thwarted or aren’t appreciated. No more. I plan to CELEBRATE! I will grab hold of joy and wave it boldly through the streets. I will appreciate everything around me and be delighted. Small things. Big things. Giving in delight and doing what is fun. Survive the holidays? No thanks. I think I’ll have fun and celebrate instead.

How? By refusing to do things that don’t feel good and running with what does. I’ve ordered Thanksgiving dinner. On Black Friday, I might go out – not to shop- but to observe the absurdity of it all and smile at everyone I see. Funnier than reality tv. My kids and I will snip paper snowflakes and cover things in glitter. It will be ephemeral and euphoric (or not ;-D, then I’ll stop). Impromptu holiday movie parties, with appropriately themed snacks featuring the 4 food groups- candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup. Because it’s fun. I’ll plan a day to wrap gifts, because I love creating beautiful packages, complete with holiday chick flicks. I will take my daughter to do her holiday shopping- she’s so excited to do it. Perhaps we’ll make a day of it. And that’s probably it. No pressure. No obligations. No trying to be Martha Stewart or Mrs. S. Claus or June Cleaver or Molly Weasley (I mean, the woman has a wand. No muggle should even attempt that one!) Likely I’ll strike several of these things from the list. And I’ll do it gleefully. And joyously. And while singing out whatever tune strikes my fancy… whether it’s Deck the Halls, Caught in a Mosh or Blah, Blah, Blah. Because I’m celebrating…. life and love and light and everything. And celebrating feels good. If not, it’s not celebration.

So, what about you? How will you ditch survival and celebrate?

Lesley

ps. Somehow I feel like I’m missing out on that whole plotting thing…. but hey, I bet I can find some kind of joyous plotting to do…. hmmm….

May 6, 2011

The best (kind and loving) butt-kicking ever

Just a quick post and update, not even a photo as I’m transitioning to a a new computer and don’t have access to all of my files.  I’m also in the process of creating a new website and will be moving this blog there when it’s ready- whenever that may be.  Not rushing the process but letting it flow.  But I do miss posting here and your comments! So this will be an exercise in imperfection (thanks to my friend Lorraine’s coaching!) and just putting my thoughts out there.  Much love to all…      Lesley                                                                                                                   

Earlier this week I received a much needed (though I wasn’t aware of it at the time) and appreciated virtual butt-kicking from the amazing and insightful Martha Beck.  You see, I showed up to our class thinking I was having a pretty excellent day- but had submitted a few questions in my homework regarding rewards, as outlined in her book The Four Day Win.  Rewards just aren’t my thing.  I do things I love all the time and don’t make them dependent on doing other things first.   In the course of our conversation, Martha asked me how I would rate my day, the day I was feeling quite good about, on my body compass which is a measure of how my body is feeling about any subject  on a scale of -10 to +10, 0 being neutral.  Looking at my plans for the rest of the day and thinking “yeah, this is a pretty darned good day” I rated it a +6.   I was quite surprised to be told (kindly and lovingly)  that  a life lived at +6 is not a life fully lived- though come to think of it, I think her actual word was “pathetic”.  I was advised that if my life isn’t rating a +10, it’s time to make some changes.  Not only that, but that as a coach I have a sacred commitment to live my life at +10- that living in pure joy is what will most fully expand my ability to help others and be a force of change in the world.

Really?  My life is supposed to be totally, amazingly, absolutely freakin’ great? It’s not only okay to want that, but it’s my sacred duty?  Now wait.  I seem to remember believing this at some point in the past.  I was right?  Because a while ago I gave up that belief.   I got in the habit of looking for answers outside of myself and was surprised that I wasn’t finding them.  My life began losing it’s sparkle and I lost touch with the inner voice that once gave me hope.  Earlier this week, I thought that I had already fully regained connection with that inner voice.  I was able to rate an average day as a +6.  It was a vast improvement from the days in years past when I was lucky for my day to rate a +2 and they more often rated on the negative scale . So on one hand I was feeling slightly defensive, like “hey, I’m really doing so much better!” but on the other hand, hearing that it’s  essential to follow my deepest desires, dreams and joys on a consistent, moment to moment basis was a relief.  There was a part of me simply waiting for permission to allow myself that much happiness.  The message that +6 isn’t sufficient for a life fully embraced opened up a door holding back so much of what I love (including writing and helping others connect to their own inner voices and truth) – things I’ve held back with my own unexamined assumptions.

So I ask you- how is your day rating?  What passions and joys are you not allowing into your life?  Why?  What would it take to live a life turned all the way up to +10?  What can you do right now?  Go do it… here’s your permission slip if you need one (but go ahead and sneak out if that feels better) .  The world is waiting for you.

January 21, 2011

Illusions

I’m recycling an old post of mine from an email list this week- edited slightly to make some kind of  sense separate from the conversation.  I’m just tired and decided that rest is my priority at the moment.  And I sort of like this piece of writing.  My apologies if you’ve seen it before, and many thanks to anyone I was paraphrasing in the original (much much love to my shiny peeps!).  Have a lovely, restful, joyful, wonderful week everyone!

For years I have been trying to find the way to truly feel and embrace and embody the kind of parent I have wanted to be.  But knowing something and living it are two very different things.  I struggled, I strived, I read, I thought- and I think I know what was missing through all of it.  *I* was missing.  I think a lot of Moms who are drawn to gentle, connected parenting are those who are “pleasers” by nature or circumstance.  We want everyone in our lives, particularly those we love, to be happy.  We want to support their happiness, we want to help fulfill their needs, but we forget that we also have needs and desires and sometimes want support for our own happiness. 

 In the mainstream this so often turns into a rigid “I need to have my needs met, to hell with yours” (and I have seen this approach taken on by parents who began with the intention to be kind, gentle, loving and connected and then burnt out because they’ve ignored their own needs for so long).  This is often aimed at children, particularly infants, but it permeates interactions with everyone in their lives.  I think for those of us who have chose NOT to take that route, it so often results in carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.  Often this leads to a sort of under the radar blaming energy- the martyr role- which creates a repeating cycle.

 It really was only in the past few years that I realized that it is not my job, or purpose in life, to make the people I love happy.  As it’s quite literally impossible to MAKE someone happy- happiness is entirely an inside job.  This puts pressure on everyone.  (if my job is to make you happy, your job is to be happy, NOW DO YOUR JOB!) Then it becomes a blame/guilt/shame cycle.  I have finally learned that to support and uplift and be there for those I love does not mean “make them happy”- and I think many moms in this cycle misinterpret the idea of connected, supportive parenting in this way. 

 To support and uplift and be there for those I love means I create a foundation.  I am strong and clear and loving and kind.  And to do that, I need to make sure MY needs are met.  Back to what I said before- this does not mean “I have needs, screw yours”- it means that to be of any use to anyone, to be able to serve our children and the world in the best way we can (which does not mean “making them happy”) we need to be well cared for- and we need to do this ourselves. 

 We need to be happy and be gentle with ourselves, get enough sleep and physical activity and nourishment (both the physical and dare I say “spiritual” kind).  We need to nurture our own connection to our wise selves- not to the exclusion of others, but to the benefit of others.  The love we send out to the world is diminished if we are not already saturated in it ourselves- self-love, self-care.  It’s like the concrete that creates a strong foundation for a building- it allows us to then support and uplift those we choose to carry with us. 

 Maybe those of us who are strongly left brained are more prone to this – not automatically connecting these things, because they exist in the more feeling realm? (I consider myself strongly integrated brain-wise- but usually my initial processing, my default processing is left brained- logical and linear)  We carry the weight (sometimes quite literally- or at least in my case- and I think there’s a huge connection between these revelations and the healing path I am on now- I am both literally and figuratively letting go of the weight that’s holding me down *updated note- I did begin a personal wellness journal blog this week, which can be found here)- and it’s not something you can learn, I think, from a “thinking place”- it’s a “feeling place” thing. 

 And it does come down to honoring and accepting, recognizing and feeling what you are feeling- walking away from those mental constructs we create because we’re so AFRAID of what those feelings might do to us- that they might be too much.  I used to think I was flawed because I couldn’t just “get over it”.  And that’s pretty much the opposite of validation.  Not validating our own feelings makes it awfully challenging, if not impossible to validate anyone else’s.  And when you’re busy trying to “get over it” the kids’ joy and silliness can’t even reach you- the self-invalidation is like an invisible wall- like an awful version of casting a “protego” charm around yourself and living inside it- separated from everyone and everything else by an invisible force field.  Sure, nothing can hurt you, but nothing can touch you either. 

 I’ve known for a while I was one of those people- one of the “try-ers”- but have been at a loss how to get out from under that cloud, that weight, the burden of Atlas- which is something like “Hey, I’m barely avoiding being crushed over here- I’m okay with it, really- I’m smiling- but please don’t be unhappy because then this will actually crush me as I try to help you”.  I’ve had to make a significant investment in myself- to heal, to trust, to rest, to feel.  And hey, it turns out that the world I was carrying around- it was a movie prop- an illusion- it was pretty darned heavy, but I was never actually in danger of being crushed- just seemed that way.

p.s. can you find the teenager in the photo? 

December 31, 2010

Happy New Year… some changes and a freebie

Last day of the year.  I’d love to write something deep and profound today (or okay, how about thoughtful and uplifting? That may be more within my range) but I’m not exactly feeling it.  I have some wonderful plans I’m eager to get on with- but I do have promises I’d like to fulfill first.

 So, I assume you’ve noticed the new look.  Maybe you’ve noticed the new tagline.  Maybe you’ve even noticed my slight change of focus and the new page tab up above.

 I began this blog intending my writing to be attachment parenting based ideas for mothers (and dads) to explore their lives as whole beings- while still being a parent.  I think what I’m writing now still applies in that context, but to be honest, I was feeling that twisting everything into being about life with children wasn’t authentic to me.  I am a mom and that is a part of me that will continue to be represented, however the ideas that are coming through my pen lately aren’t specific to parents.  They’re applicable to anyone.

 So, from here on out I’m writing what I am inspired to write.  It may be parenting related, it may be about living in freedom, and it will surely be about freeing ourselves from assumptions, thoughts and beliefs that aren’t serving us.  It will be about living joyfully and accepting ourselves completely, whoever we are and whatever roles we fill.  And it may be about integrating those roles in our lives.  I may also discover more things I’m compelled to write about.  I’ll write what I need to write, because I know that desire is there for a reason beyond myself.  I’ll write more about the new tagline after the new year. 

 What I’m also launching today is my life coaching practice.  I’ve been training with Martha Beck and her wonderful, amazing, master certified coaches since September.  It’s been a truly wonderful experience and I absolutely love everything I’m learning and doing with the program.  But it’s time for me to step out and make use of all that I’ve learned, practiced, will continue to learn.  Thankfully it comes to me more easily and joyfully than just about anything I’ve ever experienced (hmmm…I think I can compare it to reading- which I find absolutely effortless and joyful!).  You’ll notice there’s a “life coaching” tab at the top of the page.  There is where you’ll find some more of my thoughts about coaching and find out how you can work with me for 8 sessions with no cost.  A freebie.  A really cool one, if I say so myself.  And I great way to start the new year, with support for living the life of your dreams. 

 Now I’ve got my favorite man asking me out to lunch and to go shopping- so I’ll leave you with wishes for a very happy and fulfilling new year.  I look forward to serving you,

 Lesley

 ps.  today’s photo is the vision board I created at the start of my training when it was suggested as a way of defining what we wanted to create in our lives and coaching practices – I love seeing it everyday as a reminder of where I am going

December 28, 2010

The power of a single word

So, I’ve actually managed to post for 2 days in a row…and tomorrows post is written as well.  Friday is approaching swiftly.  Hopefully I’ll have a few of my changes completed by then and I will be letting you know about my next steps.  For now, enjoy, and feel free to share with others through the links at the bottom.  Thanks!

For the past several years I’ve been following the blog of Christine Kane- who is both a coach and a singer/songwriter.  The first time I visited her blog was about 3 years ago, when an online friend sent a link about choosing a Word of the Year (and definitely check out the posts there too!).  The idea, in my not very eloquent synopsis, is that rather than choose a resolution for the new year, to choose a word.  A single word- just one- that encompasses our hopes and dreams and goals for the year.  Resolutions tend to be dropped as soon as we stray from them.  A word is not an ultimatum or an all or nothing proposal.  It’s simply an idea that we can carry with us throughout the year to remind ourselves of our intentions. 

 So I’ve done this ever since that time.  Okay, the first year I couldn’t pick one word.  I picked 3, and I can’t remember what they were.  It was fun, but not particularly transformative.  The second year I chose “self-respect”- as I had realized that this was something that I hadn’t been giving myself.  I can’t say that word changed my life dramatically that year, but from where I am now, I believe it was the beginning of my current path.  Had I not chosen to focus on self-respect, I don’t know if I’d have reached any approximation of self-love, self-worth, or self-esteem.  Or self-trust.  And those things have been incredibly transformative in my life. 

 Last year, I chose the word “rise”.  This had multiple meanings for me (and ah, that’s what I love so much about words…).  It brings to mind the sayings “Rise and Shine”, “Rise Above” and after experiencing it this year I’d add “Rise Into”.  My desire was to meet the world and my life as wholly and authentically as possible.  It was also to face obstacles and challenges from a place of empowerment and strength.  And what it ultimately led to was my claiming my life for myself, claiming my truth for myself, and rising into who I am and what I am called to offer to the world. 

 This year has certainly had challenges, fear and loss.  It has also had excitement, joy and beauty.  I chose my word looking towards my first semester of nursing clinicals, about which I was petrified.  I emerged from that with a great deal of confidence and a love of the people, the science and the nurturing of nursing.  But my year also started with the  great loss of an amazing friend- who was also the mother of my daughter’s best friend.  As much as it was an honor to be part of her life, it was an honor to be part of her death.  And I learned much about rising to a place of loving and honoring who someone was while accepting their departure from our lives.  And the year moved on.  In the summer I challenged myself to rise into my life and find my truth.  I made an investment in myself to get some coaching and rise above my self imposed limitations.  I joined Christine Kane’s 7 week Uplevel program, choosing to face my eating disorder and support my body’s strength and health.  I ended up drastically changing my life as I discovered that as much as I loved nursing, the path I was on was not supporting my life, but draining it.  This was not the time.  There were other things I needed to do right now.  The fall arrived on a wave of joy, where I was rising beyond any expectation I’d ever had before, and then crashed with another loss.  My uncle, a vibrant, creative force in my life and the world, was found dead.  Again, it was an occasion to rise- to find out what I had to learn from this sudden loss and from the life that was no longer being lived.  I still feel the sadness of the losses of this year, but I know there is much to be inspired by in the lives of those who are gone. 

 I had no idea how much I would hold onto my word in 2010, how much it would serve me, and point me towards love and joy and healing.  “Rise” was the perfect word for me this year.  And did I ever live it, in ways I’d never have imagined 365 days ago. 

 For the coming year, I’ve decided on the word “immerse” (there were 2 runners up, but I’ll set them to the side… there is such power in the choosing).  I am walking into 2011 ready to plunge myself into my joy and my wholeness, and fully face my fears.  I will remind myself when I’m holding myself back that my intention is to jump in and engage my whole self in my experiences, to absorb all I can from them and see where it takes me.  And I will dedicate myself to serving others with whatever skills and gifts I develop- because what could be more fulfilling than that? 

 I invite you to join me in choosing a word to live and see where it goes. 

May you learn and thrive in this year and the years to come,

Lesley

December 27, 2010

If I had one wish

Be the star cookie man!Just a quick note to mention that I’m finishing up this year with daily blog posts, making some updates and changes, AND a big announcement and opportunity on Friday.  Subscribers will get this announcement first- so if you’re curious go ahead and subscribe. 

And Happy Birthday, Mom!

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“If I had one wish this holiday season…” – Steve Martin

 Okay, so I’ve now proven that I’m truly scarred by a lifetime of SNL viewing.  And my one wish has nothing to do with singing children, swiss bank accounts, all encompassing power, revenge or orgasms.  If I’ve lost you here, I can only hope to catch you up with a youtube clip

I have a holiday tradition of wrapping gifts while watching movies.  I love this time alone.  I love making my gifts look beautiful.  And I love holiday movies.  My favorite gift wrapping movies for the past few years have been Love Actually and The Holiday- because they are ones the rest of my family scoffs at as “chick flicks”, which results in them somehow being magically repelled from my presence for a couple of hours.  Brilliant.   

As I watched and wrapped this year, I noticed something I hadn’t consciously noticed in the past.  At some point in the story line, the characters are overtaken with the urge to do something unusual.  Something that’s out of character.  Something bold and daring.  Even something that everyone else thinks is completely nuts.  Or that actually is kind of insane.  And they don’t have the urge to do these things simply for the expected result.  They have the urge to do these things because they can’t *not* do them. 

 This is the magic in these holiday movies- watching the characters being overtaken with a completely illogical urge to follow their hearts.  They become unflinchingly honest.  They admit to their mistakes. They panic and nearly back out.  They say “What the hell am I doing?” then do it anyway.  You get the sense that the result is irrelevant.  They seem to be saying “Hey, this may work out, and it might not.  But the only thing worse than it not working out is not taking the chance”

 There really is something like magic in that feeling.  Just following your heart, or your inner being, or your essential self.  Just doing what feels perfectly right.  It might be a little crazy.  It might be a little scary.  Or it might be a lot of both.  But it feels absolutely and perfectly right. 

 That is my one wish this holiday season.  That everyone, myself included, live a life of heart inspired action.  To experience that wild-excited-scary feeling and to follow through, knowing that the thing much worse than an unexpected or unwanted result is to not have taken the leap of faith at all.  I wish this for individual moments, this season, and for the new year to come. 

 A somewhat belated happy holidays and a very, very happy new year to all.

Lesley

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