Holiday Traditions: Taste…Yum!

One of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions was begun when my father-in-law was a student at Gerard College for Boys in Philadelphia, PA.  It was a live-in school for boys from 9-17 who were orphaned.  He hated being separated from his older brothers who were too old to be accepted to this institution, but in later years realized that he benefited from the great education he received there.

The first several years after marrying his son, Jim Gavitte, I heard stories about “Gingies.”  Gingies were a huge gingerbread cookie that was served with all the milk they could drink every Sunday evening.  They were meant to keep the boys “regular.” (smile) The boys loved them, and Pop talked about them often.

One year I was wondering what to get him for his birthday.  I decided to make a variety of cookies that could be kept in their freezer for him to snack on anytime he wanted.  I opened my old Betty Crocker Cookbook (a wedding gift) and found “Gingies from Gerard College in Philadelphia PA!” 

You guessed it! I made Pop a huge batch and promised that whenever he ran out to just let me know and I’d bake more.  I kept him supplied in Gingies for the rest of his life.

In addition, Gingies became a big part of our family’s holiday tradition.  Isn’t it amazing how a particular taste or recipe can become so embedded in our memory that a certain occasion just doesn’t work unless that food is included?

A few years ago when I asked my son, Peter, what he wanted for Christmas, all he wanted was plenty of  Gingies.

So this week I went to Smart & Final, a discount grocery store, to buy molasses by the gallon plus brown sugar, shortening, flour and spices in quantities that are cost-effective for the number of Gingies I make every year.

Food traditions are part of what makes a great holiday for many of us.  It’s like that certain food reassures us that life is good, some things are unchangeable, and that taste brings back many memories of family and friends that give us a sense of ongoing security.

Next week I’ll bring up the question of traditions that may need to be changed…or at least adjusted…in order to give you and your family a more relaxed, peaceful holiday!

Meanwhile, If your mouth is watering for yummy gingerbread spices, you can download my recipe and tips about making Gingies (or multiple batches of any holiday recipe!)

Holiday Traditions Free Download: Gingies Recipe

Radical Gratitude Challenge: Week #6

Radical Gratitude Challenge #6 – Ultimate Gratitude

Perhaps nothing leaves us feeling more helpless and vulnerable than watching a child suffer.  Whether it’s from illness, or injury, or from crazy, bad choices that kid is making, we are cut to the core.

My elder son, Steve, began sliding down the sleep, slippery slope of drug addiction when he was fifteen.  Poor grades.  Being expelled.  Arrested for fencing stolen property.  Counselors. Court appointed therapists. Being awakened at 2 a.m. (when I thought Steve was asleep in his room) and told to come bail him out of jail.  Cash missing.  Blame heaped on myself and by others for being a “bad” parent.  The nightmare seemed unending.

Although I wouldn’t wish this story on anyone, some of you have experienced this.  We could exchange horror stories.  If enough time has gone by, maybe we could even laugh together about the dreams surrendered…the lessons learned.

I’m not sure I was very grateful during those years.  I think it may have been all I could do to just hang on for the wild ride.  

Eventually Steve was hospitalized with congestive heart failure due to 15 years of “speed” and anything else he could get his hands on.  At first he was not expected to live through the night.  He lived. He came home to stay with us.  For two and one half years, I cared for a person still thinking crazy druggie thoughts.  I knew every day could be his last.  What good could come out of this, dear God?

And then a miracle.  He accepted that he was dying.  He decided the only way he could die with self-respect, was to die “clean.”  He quit everything.  Cold turkey.  And the Steve I once knew as kind and sweet returned to me.  We had almost four months of regaining the loving we had lost in the chaos before he died.  We each let go of things we couldn’t control and couldn’t change.  We surrendered judgment of ourselves and each other.

Without my recognizing it at the time, Steve was one of my most profound teachers. It may seem a small gift in exchange for his life, but my gift from Steve was a lifetime of lessons that are briefly shared in my book, Pungent Boundaries.   I learned what I had to do to disconnect from codependent behaviors.  I learned how to take care of myself, rather than always running to take care of him.  I learned a level of humility that was painful, and infinitely valuable as I coach others in similar circumstances.

Is there something so painful happening to you right now that you can barely breathe?  Does gratitude seem impossible to conjure up?  Is the tunnel so dark that even the thought of possible light ahead seems unrealistic?  This is when Gratitude can begin to work its magic in your soul.  Even just saying the words, while pounding a pillow, can open up space inside for a miracle…if not in the circumstances, then in you.  If you are blessed with a traditional Thanksgiving meal, or if you are not, I invite you to join me as I set aside that day to practice gratitude.  You can say, “Thank you, even though I hate this, thank you.”  I’ll say it with you… and send you my love as you stretch beyond what seems possible.

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Radical Gratitude Challenge: Week #5

Radical Gratitude Challenge #5 – The Harvest of Gratitude

My first husband died when I was twenty-three years old.  We had two baby boys.  I was not very thankful.  It took about five years to pull out of the pit of depression and readjust my life around this new reality.

I wanted to remarry.  I didn’t want to be alone forever.  I heard a special speaker talk about being thankful for what we have even before it arrives…especially before it arrives!  So I made myself a lacy nightie and hung it in the closet, waiting for that special Someone who would be my lover and partner in life.

Years went by.  I occasionally thought of giving that nightie to the GoodWill with other items no longer of use to me.  But I just couldn’t let go of the dream. 

I met Jim.  We fell in love.  That magical night came when I told Jim the story of my Belief Nightie and wore it for him.

The perfect dream became a nightmare of conflict.  I speak a lot of this in other places, but it’s enough to say that I thought, at times, I’d made a terrible mistake.  Whenever I could, I summoned up the grit to be grateful for whatever good might come out of our pain.

We eventually found the help we needed.  We learned and practiced new communication skills.  We resolved our conflicts.  Our love returned.  And then we really FELT THANKFUL!

A few years later Jim suggested that we begin teaching classes to other couples who needed to know what we had learned.  How to Stay Married & Love It! was born!

And the rest, as is said, is history.  The dream of my childhood to have a happy, loving marriage was fulfilled.  The dreams of speaking and writing books to help others have happy, loving marriages has been, and is still being fulfilled.  

What circumstance are you experiencing right now that seems impossible for which to be thankful?  What really stinks about your marriage, your family, your health, your finances?  What if an amazing chapter is being written in your future that you can’t see right now?  Can you be grateful now, as an act of faith?  I believe you can…

Get Your Free Radical Gratitude Handout Week #5 Handout

Radical Gratitude Challenge: Week #4

Radical Gratitude Challenge: Week #4 – Where the Rubber Meets the Road!

It’s not hard to be grateful when something is going well.  This week while planning this challenge, many lost their homes to California wild fires.  I was grateful my son’s home in northern CA was spared.

He is a helicopter pilot.  I was especially grateful that he came home safely after finishing his all night shift rescuing people during 70 mph winds.

These are easy things for which to be thankful.  But can we stretch into gratitude for a home and all belongings burned in that fire? Or a child who has become drug addicted? Or a struggling marriage? Or a spouse who dies before his time? Or an illness that places harsh limits on your life?

This is where the rubber meets the road.

You may be asking, “What is the advantage to being thankful about hard, painful things?  Why should I?

Because gratitude opens the heart.  Being thankful for the hard stuff is the ultimate expression of faith.  You may not share my faith.  That’s no problem.  Whether you talk to your God, or the Universe, it hears you.  It responds to your open heart.

An open heart says, “I’m open to whatever good can come from this pain.  I’m open to see new opportunities brought to me by this disaster.  I’m open to learning new lessons that will benefit me in ways I can’t predict right now.  I’m open to a Wisdom that is beyond my limited vision.

And then you persevere.  You put one foot in front of the other. You ask for help.  You do your best to be grateful even while in pain, and waiting for the Grand Plan to reveal itself.  You find joy in small gifts…the companionship of a loyal animal, a neighbor who awkwardly expresses their sympathy, the hug of your spouse, a lost keepsake returned to you.

You may think, “Now she’s gone too far.  I don’t want to hear her preaching!”  This is not preaching.  It’s teaching a universal life lesson!  It’s expanding your consciousness of what may be possible!

Next week I’ll share a few of the hard, painful stuff for which I have been thankful, sometimes while pounding a pillow and screaming my pain…

Are you ready to try out this road with me?  To accept the challenge where the rubber meets the road?  I’d love to hear from you!

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#4: What is Your Marriage Bank Balance?!

If you were to assign a dollar value to your marriage, what would it be?  A Million bucks?  A comfortable, but not great one hundred thousand? Ten thousand, meaning your only a few months away from insolvency?  Or are you in the red…out of energy, out of love, struggling to pull together whatever you need from day to day?

Are you satisfied with just enough love in your account to get by?  Or do you want enough love in the account to draw on when life sends you an unexpected relationship challenge?  Or do you want to experience such richness in your marriage that you know you can resolve any issue and neither of you would do anything to jeopardize this precious relationship?

Whether you’re pulling out of marriage bankruptcy or just wanting more, the Millionaire Marriage Club can be your investment adviser!

The Club consists of three components:

  1. The COURSE is where you’ll learn the powerful skills that have enabled thousands of couples to go from bankruptcy to millionaire status in the value they assign to their marriage. There are eight modules (topics) with a total of nineteen approximately 30 minutes video lessons to watch online.
  2. The GAME is where you’ll track your new habits that earn Marriage Dollars to build up your Millionaire Marriage Bank Account. The Game includes good-natured competition and weekly prizes.
  3. SUPPORT will be lavishly given through our private Facebook Page, open only to members of the Club. You’ll exchange news of wins or setbacks with other couples in the club, as well as frequent personal encouragement from Nancy.

Be sure that I have your best email address so I can personally invite you to the FREE webinar where you’ll learn a skill that can eliminate misunderstandings, learn more about the MMC, and enroll in lifetime membership at a very cost-effective discount. 

Click link below to reserve your space at the FREE WEBINAR where you’ll learn a simple skill that can eliminate misunderstandings and learn about Millionaire Marriage Club!

Save my spot for the FREE WEBINAR: Communication That Works! Eliminating Misunderstandings

 

 

 

#3 in Series: We Just Can’t Communicate!

There is nothing lonelier than feeling emotionally disconnected from your chosen partner in life.  We are hard wired to need emotional connection.

Dr. Brene’ Brown says, “Connection is the energy created when people feel seen, heard and valued.“

So what is it that makes partners who were once in love, feel unseen, unheard and undervalued?

The first few years of my marriage to my late husband, Jim, started out in the typical newlywed euphoria, but soon turned into a black hole of despair as we battled over issues we couldn’t seem to resolve.  After much searching, we finally found a coach who taught us a few basic communication methods (say it this way, not that way) and healthier anger management skills.  We finally found solutions to our issues that delivered to us the peace and renewed loving for which we longed.

We didn’t want other couples to suffer the years of agony we had before finding effective help, so we began teaching classes called, “How to Stay Married & Love It!”  We wanted to stay married, but we wanted to love being married to each other more than we thought our parents had.

I returned to school for my Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology, and then wrote the book, “How to Stay Married & Love It! Solving the Puzzle of a SoulMate Marriage.”  In that book, I listed all the ways Jim and I had communicated (plus others I’d observed in other couples) that created hurt and distance, rather than connection.  That list includes sarcasm, name calling, accusatory “you” statements, interrupting, talking over each other, bringing up a laundry list of complaints, and many more.

Recovering the first love we’d experienced meant exchanging distancing methods of communication with connecting methods of communication.  We learned to deliver our thoughts, feelings, concerns and desires with words and attitude that helped us hear each other’s point of view and conveyed the value in which one held the other.

As a result, the love that had nearly died under the scorching onslaught of our anger returned with even greater depth and power than before.

This transformative process is available to anyone who wants it!  I have been teaching these powerful skills in classes and in private coaching sessions for more than 25 years…all the time wishing I had a way to teach thousands of couples rather than just one or a few at a time.

The Millionaire Marriage Club will start in a few short days!  In the Club COURSE, you’ll find brief, easy video lessons that teach you these powerful skills.  The Club GAME will help you painlessly put those new skills into practice.  The Club offers SUPPORT that most people need while making the transformation real in your marriage.

In my next post you’ll learn more about the Millionaire Marriage Club.  You’ll be offered an invitation to a free introductory webinar where you’ll learn a skill that can significantly reduce the number of misunderstandings between you.

Are you feeling a stirring of hope?  Yay! The answers you’ve been seeking are on the way!  

Click this link to receive a free copy of “Communication Methods that Create Distance” and learn how to communicate in a way that creates connection.