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Dead of Winter

This article has
1. A special project for those of our community who live in the sun belt.
2. A message for those in the middle of a cold season
3. An activity for those who have lost someone

1. For folks living in sunshine states, winter means wearing clothes with sleeves. Maybe even a jacket in the evening. At its worst, socks. We watch the weather stories from the States in which we spent our childhoods, remembering. We look at the pictures and marvel at the fearsome beauty. We feel bad for those hurt and endangered by storms.

Today, tho, we are called into action. A deadly ice storm has laid a wide path of havoc across a huge section of the map. Today you are asked to help. Below youíll find suggestions for what to put in a care package. Send it to someone you know in the affected area. Send it to a church, with a note that it be given where needed. Send it to a school, with the same instructions. Send money to a doctor to cover someoneís next visit.

When the packages can finally be delivered, the recipient may still not have power. No heat or lights. No way to wash clothes or cook. There will be home repairs needed. Keep all this in mind as you gather contents.

Suggestions: socks, gloves, C and D batteries, home repair gift cards, grocery gift cards, candles and matches. Hand sanitizer. Baby wipes allow personal hygiene without water. Mouth wash doesnít need to be rinsed off.

Food items might include tuna in foil pouches, crackers, nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, cereal, chips, salsa, jerky, safe peanut butter, pita or tortillas. Donít send anything perishable like fresh fruit, bread loaves, or dairy.

Do include news articles on their storm. They havenít heard when relief might be possible, what else the weather has in store, where help might be available. And donít forget to include a note, letting them know they are not stranded and forsaken. So find a strong box. Help heal the planet. Go!

2. You live in a place that has seasons. This one, winter, is the hardest one. It seems to go on forever. No color changes. Restricted activities. No more holiday diversions. High energy bills. Certainly nothing cheerful in the news. Blah.

Some people find themselves feeling sad this time of year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a very treatable condition. Its primary cause is shortage of sunshine, which affects body chemistry. See your doctor for medication. Look into lamps developed specially to treat this. When you are SAD, you put a lot of stress on family members and co-workers. Who needs it? Do something. Go!

This is a good time to take the laundry off the treadmill. Dust it off. Once and for all, read the directions and get the thing fired up. Put it in front of the tv. If you know you wonít miss your favorite show while youíre on it, youíll use it. This is called motivation. Go!

There is a project sitting somewhere thatís been there so long, you donít even see it anymore. Clear the dining table. Pull out the project. Do not say you canít work on it because parts are missing. Do what you can with what you have. Make a list of what you need, and get them on your lunch hour. It doesnít matter if the project is outdated. Finish it anyway. If itís for someone else, send it asap. A Christmas present in March is still a present. Special occasions have no statute of limitations. Get going. You canít have your table back until itís done. Go!

3. Nothing has been the same since you lost a loved one. Whether recently, or some time has passed, this time of year seems to lend itself to remembering and reflecting. This is okay, unless you let it bring you down. This is a good time to find that grief group, and start showing up.

You might also go through photos. Are there some youíd like to share? Set them aside. Getting copies of them takes about 30 minutes at your drug store, if you want to keep your original. Write the note that will accompany them, and address the envelope. Are there keepsakes you want others to have? Get them ready to ship.

If youíre ready to make some changes around the house, call up one or two folks youíd like to have around as you do it.

Light a candle, and spend some time with your memories. Then put the candle aside for another time. Get to that to-do list that has yellowed on the fridge door.

Below youíll find a link to The Tasks of Grief. Yes, there IS homework. And not doing it prolongs the process. Thatís not healthy. Not good for you. Healing does not mean forgetting. Healing means learning to live a different life, able to be productive and find yourself again. Thatís good for you, and all who come in contact with you. The best way to honor the deceased is to live well.

1,2,3. Pray for each other. Share this article. Winter can be a difficult time for all of us, for so many different reasons. Letís ponder on the words of that great philosopher, Bette Midler

ďJust remember: In the Winter, far beneath the driven snow, lies a seed that, with the sun's love, in the Spring becomes a rose.Ē


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