Last Thoughts on 2016

One of my favorite Christmas songs has long been Wham’s “Last Christmas”. Many years ago when I was young and starry-eyed, I actually lived it. It used to bring a melancholy feeling, but now I just chuckle at the hopeless young romantic I was. It never would’ve worked with me and that girl. Besides, I’ve given my heart to someone special.

I once wrote an essay about all the famous people who had died the previous year. I was in eighth grade. The year I wrote about was 1987. Over the years I realized people die every year. I don’t see how 2016 was any different, and I even suffered a couple of personal losses. I could only remember one person from that essay about 1987. That was Ray Bolger, an actor/singer/dancer best known as the Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz”. (He was also the last of the main cast.)

One thing did stand out to me about 2016: People bought into hype and didn’t do their homework. This wasn’t really a change. It was just much more noticeable to me, especially in the month-plus following the election. I knew “Hamilton electors”, online petitions, and recounts weren’t going to change any results. That’s not because I’m psychic. It’s because I did my homework.

Here’s an example of homework: In researching faithless electors, I found that since World War II, the loser of the Electoral College lost twice as many votes as the winner. So when the faithless elector count came in at 5-2 for the loser, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I also wasn’t surprised that three potential faithless electors (all pledged to the loser) were prevented from casting votes for someone else. Continue reading

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A #LinkYourLife Holiday Round-Up

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This time of year can be quite troubling. My mom always loved Christmas, and so I typically try to hide away with my grief. Last year was a particularly rough one for me as several friends were experiencing losses, triggers, and other pain. With those struggles in mind, I asked the writers from the #LinkYourLife community to share some posts that might be helpful. Here are some things they shared.

Shawna Ayoub Ainsle offers some helpful reminders for all of us during this time of year. People with anxiety like her (and me and so many other survivors) struggle to find our voices. This can lead to even the most well-meaning people talking over and trampling us. It is important for all of us to listen with an open heart.

Facing Adversity with an Open Heart

As a child, I loved getting presents for Christmas. I was so lucky to have a mom who loved giving. Stacia Fleegal wrote of her struggle between wanting to give her son material things but also instill in him a spirit of giving and inclusiveness. I’m sure she’s doing a great job.

Balancing anti-consumerism and my son’s Christmas joy

Cheryl Orgelia writes of her marriage that often reminds me of my relationship with my girlfriend. I laugh every time and hope we have half as much fun as they do. She also offers up some beautiful thoughts on life and love.

What a gift is this thing called life

Thomas Ives long had a hard time dealing with Christmas. He offers some wonderful inspiration for grieving and finding the positives in the holiday season. For someone like me who struggles with grief this time of year, this is a helpful read.

Finding joy within the pain

Elaine Mansfield knows grief all too well but has written many pieces I’ve found helpful in dealing with it. For this round-up, she shared a post about rituals, particularly ones she does this time of year in memory of her late husband.

Winter Solstice: Rituals of Grief, Hope, and Laughter

Mid-Month Miscellany for December 2016

wildlife-230‘I never make new year’s resolutions. I do have one big goal for 2017, though: Come hell or high water I will publish a book. I’ve started a couple already. Now I need to figure out which book I’m going to finish.

It continues to perplex me that in the “Information Age”, we are still so susceptible to propaganda. It’s not the media’s fault. It’s our fault for not reading past headlines and doing our homework. The information is easily available with a small amount of effort.

In an example of that last point, I shared a blog post on Facebook with an extra bit of commentary related to it. I got multiple comments which raised questions I had answered in the blog post. Read past the headlines. It’s just one small thing that will make the world a better place. Continue reading