Sunshine and Rain

In each life, there will be sunshine and rain. In Texas, sometimes these two weather events happen at the exact same moment. I have taken my fair share of pictures with sunshine in the near distance and dark thunderstorm clouds overhead. Life is often like Texas weather; we can be experiencing happiness and pain all at the same time.

As we get ready for Thanksgiving, it seemed like a good time to sit down and send a message to you. In each of our lives, there are bound to be areas of sunshine and rain. The rain, or painful situations, can make showing up emotionally and/or physically for Thanksgiving difficult. The sunshine, or reasons to be grateful, will put a pep in our step for the holiday. Often people will have two parallel tracks going in life. No life is all good or all bad. It is a mixture of both in the same picture.

Regardless of where our lives fall on the spectrum of joyful or difficult, we can enjoy Thanksgiving in our own ways. If it involves a quiet day by yourself or a small group of folks, take in the calm that can be present. Pause and enjoy that you are in control of all your own decisions for the day. Learn to see solitude as a gift and a time to enjoy your own companionship or that of a few other people. As the day goes on, collect five (5) things that happened (or didn’t happen) that you can be grateful for.

If Thanksgiving will have you spending it in a large group, I suggest pausing to take in the five (5) senses. What are you seeing, what are hearing, what are you tasting, what are you smelling and what are you touching? In the blur of a busy holiday crowd, tensions can sometimes come up or we find ourselves drawn in different directions that can be overwhelming. Choosing to be purposeful in staying present in the moment can help us enjoy our surroundings more.

As for me, my day will be on the quieter side spent with my small immediate family. It will include food, football and maybe a mimosa or two. Having a day to relax is a treat and even though life is never “perfect” for anyone, there is so much to be celebrated. Thanksgiving is one day when we can choose to focus on the things in our lives that bring us comfort and the warm fuzzies.

Thank you so much for being a part of the blessings in my life. It has been an incredible year and I am thrilled to get to share the journey with you.

Keep Dreaming Big!

Shannon 

Dysfunction Junction aka Thanksgiving

family counseling

People often ask me if the office schedule is slow during the holidays and actually it’s one of my busiest seasons. That’s undoubtedly for different reasons depending on the client but overall the holidays have a tendency to become like a huge magnifying glass that highlights concerns within our relationships and/or finances.

I will address financial stresses during the holidays in a different blog post but for today, let’s talk about Thanksgiving (t-minus 48 hours and counting) and relationships.

If you are one of those people who absolutely loves getting together with your extended family and it always goes super smooth, no big relationship hiccups, and just can’t relate to people who dread the holidays for worry of what the day together might bring, then you are welcomed to continue reading but this post for all the others!

Alright team, how do we get through Thanksgiving with as little emotional trauma, stress, tears or high blood pressure as possible? I really like the old saying “less is more” in these types of situations; less time, less booze, less conversations about the worthiness of ObamaCare, less people-pleasing, less trying to get everyone to get along, less, less, less!

Our best approach is become like Switzerland; the appearance of being very neutral on all topics. Thanksgiving is NOT the day to hash out some long standing dispute with your mother-in-law, sister, brother, uncle or even the dog. Just be and breath. There are other days for dealing with issues that probably need to be addressed but Thanksgiving day isn’t it.

At the end of Thursday, as you lay your head on your pillow, what do you want to be feeling and what do you want to have happened in the day? Be intentional about your efforts because they won’t just happen. Maybe make a short list of what your best hopes are for the day and hide in the bathroom reading it from time to time if you need a good pep-talk. Is there another family member who desires to have a healthy Thanksgiving that you can partner with to hold each other accountable in keeping to the list of less that I mentioned above? What pre-self care do you need to do before Thursday so you don’t walk into the situation already drained and anxious?

Today is Tuesday so you have the rest of today and tomorrow to get a game plan. God intended families to be a blessing and a place of acceptance. If other relatives are not interested in those things, maybe the change needs to start with those of us who desire good family relationships.

Best of luck to you on Thursday!