Be grateful for the simple things

  • Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sitting in a warm, beautifully decorated home with snow capped mountain views near Denver, Colo., with my Denver family and friends and their families, I reflected on the holiday. The dinner has been lovingly cooked for two days. I got to bake two three-layer chocolate cakes and multiple pumpkin pies.

I was missing my cherished Charleston family and friends, but this holiday trip includes my eldest granddaughter’s double digits (10) birthday. (So I’m fulfilling my promise.) Happy Birthday Maya. Add to that a little extra babysitting while my daughter goes to Poland on a last-minute business trip (way to go, Shayna), my prayer is that we all continue to express gratitude. Living in a state of appreciation for even the little things does wonders for your mental and physical health.

Dear Liz,

I have a reverse question. Things are tough - health challenges, financial worries, health care chaos and unknown - yet, my family had our best Thanksgiving yet. We took your advice and kept everything simple and had good communication about expectations. We did less, visited more and the kids just played more outside. It was awesome. I want this to continue through Christmas.

Plain Grateful

Dear “Plain Grateful,”

You hit the nail on the head. Re-read your letter and repeat. Great advice for everyone. As we simplify, slow down, have truly realistic expectations, communicate and clarify in advance of problem, and problem-solve calmly, life is good.

In hard times I think we are being reminded and the younger generation is learning that true joy comes from loving relationship, happy laughter, kind humor, play, being genuine and willing to serve. Things, especially electronics, just don’t fill the human needs we really have.

Bravo, well done.

Dear Liz,

Do you have ideas for service for kids during the holidays? We want to teach them the joy of giving and serving. They are ages 8, 10 and 12.

Seeking meaning this year

Dear “Meaning,”

Always a great idea, and continuing throughout the New Year. The research about the value of service is overwhelming.

A recent report talked about wonderful benefits of service in enhancing mental and physical health and well-being. (Clinical documentation is amazing.).

Today’s’ kids have to be strong and of good character to beat the challenges of a troubled world and be ready for leadership. Service is an importing building block.

In the Mount Pleasant area there is a great volunteer matching website: http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/?r=20.0&aff=&l=Mount+Pleasant%2C+SC%2C+USA&o=distance. It has hundreds of great ideas with age guidelines, contact information and what to expect. I’d start there. Trident United Way helpline by phone: 211 is also a great resource.

The Mount Pleasant congregation and Charleston Stake (like diocese) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is building on the annual “Day of Service” concept which helps the community join hands and link arms to lift spirits and improve quality of life in the area. Watch for announcements about upcoming service days and projects.

Good for you all.

Contact Liz via asksharpliz@gmail.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.

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