Anxiety, Let Me Introduce You to the Holidays

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Can I be honest and say that December has been an uphill battle for me? Every day, I want to break into tears and my anxiety and depression have been all over the place, like it is every year when the holiday season rolls around.

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year with all the events, decorations, and music. However, the holidays are hard for people with mental illnesses. It is difficult to always pretend to be happy when you really aren’t. With the loss of my dog and this year’s other challenges, I’m drained of the Christmas spirit. Add in the anxiety of being overwhelmed by the season makes me just… sad. I keep thinking about the song “Where Are You Christmas” from The Grinch. Where is Christmas? Have I changed so much to where the magic of the holiday is gone?

To help ease my worries, I have been cooking, reading, exercising, and taking time for myself. Sometimes, those practices don’t always make me happy and feel better. Yet, there are still the moments of laughter and love with my family and friends that make the holidays all worth it.

Remember that for some people Christmas is hard. Spread kindness and love and understand that the holidays are still meaningful to them, but also a little somber. Keep in mind mental illnesses don’t take a holiday break and will be with the person during the special moments. Make them feel loved and supported. Give them space and let them know they don’t have to do everything that’s involved with the season. There is nothing worse than being pushed to take part in an event, when you are hurting inside.

xoxo,

Megan

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Cheerwine Cupcakes

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Happy Tuesday! There is nothing more southerner than a cup of ice cold Cheerwine. Don’t know what Cheerwine is?  The beverage is a cherry soft-drink, founded in North Carolina. Trust me, it is a must-try!This soft-drink has multiple uses, including being made into quick and easy cupcakes!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 12 ounces Cheerwine
  • 1/8 teaspoon cherry flavor
  • Maraschino cherries
Frosting: 
  • 4 cups Cheerwine
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-3 cups of powdered confectioner sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line cupcake pans with liners and set aside
  2. Whisk together cake mix, Cheerwine, and cherry flavor. Pour into prepared pans and bake according to package instructions. Cool completely.
  3. In a saucepan, boil down the Cheerwine until it has reduced to 1/2 cup.
  4. In a mixer, cream butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar on medium speed. Slow speed to low and add Cheerwine reduction. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, adding additional sugar if needed.
  5. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and top with maraschino cherries.

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Megan

Be a Friend and Stop Bullying!

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You may have seen the video, circulating online, of Keaton Jones. Keaton is a brave young man. In the video, he talks about being bullied, wonders why people do that and says “to stay strong, it gets better, I guess.” Keaton’s mom posted the video online and since then, it has gained the attention of people and celebrities nationwide.

Bullying is an epidemic that many children and adults are facing. It is heartbreaking and needs to be stopped. One way is by showing kindness. Let’s teach our children to be kind and compliment each other. There is no excuse for bullying. No one should be disrespected for their looks and lifestyle. God made them special and He has a reason for everything. Keaton’s reason is to show the world that bullying needs to be eliminated. There is so much hate in our world today. Let’s challenge ourselves to stand up to bullies. You never know how much random act of kindness can impact a person.

Keaton – I can’t tell you how much of an inspiration you are. You brought attention to the issue of bullying. We, as a nation, need to celebrate our differences. Know you are changing the world. You have motivated numerous people and have tackled a tough issue. Thank you for being so strong! You’re handsome and smart. Your bullies are just jealous, because they can’t be as awesome as you!

xoxo,

Megan

The Beauty of the Holiday Season

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The holidays are a memorable time for many. It’s the season for decorating, singing, and enjoying each other’s company. During this season, people have their own special traditions. From Christmas to Hanukkah to St. Lucia’s Day, let’s take a look at some of the various holiday traditions throughout the world.

Christmas: This Christian holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and is a religious and cultural holiday. During Christmas, people will exchange gifts, decorate trees, attend special services at church, mail holiday cards, and eat hearty meals with family and friends. Another favorite tradition is Santa Claus. Within the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches, the holiday is held 13 days after the 25th, on the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, when it is believed that the Three Wise Men finally arrived at Jesus in the manger. Some fun facts about well-known Christmas traditions are: in 1931, construction workers put the first Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza; poinsettias were brought from Mexico to America in 1828; and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created in 1939 in a poem used to bring customers to the Montgomery Ward department store.

Hanukkah: For eight days in November or December, the Jewish holiday Hanukkah or Chanukah occurs. Also known as the Festival of Lights, the holiday commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. At this temple, one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in it. Lighting of the menorah, food, games, and gifts are just a few traditions of Hanukkah. The menorah is a nine-branched candelabra holding nine candles. Each night during the eight days, another candle is added after sundown and the ninth candle, the shamash, is used to light the others. Blessings are recited during the lighting and the menorah is kept on a windowsill. Potato pancakes, latkes, and jam-filled donuts, sufganiyot, are served in Jewish families. As for games and gifts, dreidels are spun and presents that are thoughtful and meaningful are given. According to historians, gift-giving took off in the 1950s when child psychologists and rabbis started using gifts to make post-Holocaust Jewish children happy about their heritage and not sad about missing Christmas.

Kwanzaa: Based on ancient African harvest festivals, the word “Kwanzaa” means “first fruits of the harvest” in Swahili. Held from December 26th to January 1st, the holiday is a time when many African-Americans celebrate their African culture and heritage. Created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa traditions include meditations, decorating houses, wearing culturally significant clothing, and ceremonies with drumming and music. In addition, there are seven core principals related to African heritage. Karenga once described this as “a communitarian African philosophy.” The principles are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). Kwanzaa symbols are a mat, a candle holder with seven candles, corn, and unity cups, as well as, the black, red, and green flag, African books and artwork.

St. Lucia’s Day: Known to honor the saint of the third and fourth century, St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated on December 13th. The holiday was started by stories told by monks who brought Christianity to Sweden. In 304, St. Lucia was a young Christian girl who was killed for her faith and martyred. It is said that she secretly brought food to the Christians being persecuted in Rome. St. Lucia would wear candles on her head, leaving her hands free to carry food. Today, holiday traditions are celebrated by girls in white dresses with red sashes around their waists, and a crown of candles on their heads. In addition, national Lucias are chosen to visit hospitals and nursing homes. While there, they sing a song about St. Lucia and hand out ginger snap biscuits, known as pepparkakor. Families will gather and eat lussenkatts for breakfast, which are buns flavored with saffron and raisins. St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Bosnia, and Croatia.

The beauty of all the holidays is that they all hold a special meaning for people across the world. In addition, they all offer everyone a feeling of peace on earth at the end of the year.

xoxo,

Megan

Helping the California Wildfire Victims

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I’m in North Carolina and as I sit writing this post, snow is melting outside. Snow? In the south? On December 10th? Yes, a majority of the south was covered with blankets of the white fluff over the weekend. However, the western part of the nation is fighting something a little hotter than snow.

Southern California is currently battling six fires, spanning over 175,000 and 212,000 residents have evacuated from their homes. In addition, almost 8,500 firefighters have been working around the clock, trying to put out the blazes. Every day, more and more people are leaving their homes; animals and nature are becoming innocent victims.

If you are like me, you can’t imagine leaving your home at Christmas and not knowing when you might be able to come back. The holiday season is a season of giving. Below are some ways for you to help the victims of the California wildfires. I encourage you to donate whatever you can.

Give back to those affected by the California wildfires this holiday season!

xoxo,

Megan

 

76 Years Ago…A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

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Every year on December 7th, I reflect back to our country on this day in 1941. For many, it started out as a normal Sunday. But, for those on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, the day drastically changed their lives. 77 years today, America became engulfed in World War II after a surprise Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. More than 2,000 American soldiers and sailors died that day. On Monday, December 8th, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan. For the next four years, Americans fought hard on the Pacific, Eastern, and Western Fronts, as well as, the home front.

Today, we honor the sacrifices the greatest generation made in protecting our country. As the granddaughter of a World War II veteran, I know the worth of this generation. There aren’t many of them left and we need to work together to perserve their stories and histories.

On this day and every day, remember our military and those who have and are currently serving our country. Its a job many people wouldn’t even considerate doing.

xoxo,

Megan

Walking in Another Person’s Shoes

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We hear the phrase all the time: “if only I could walk in another person’s shoes and see their perspective.” Most of the time, our answer is “why would I want to do that?” Yet, wouldn’t it be nice sometimes to walk in the shoes of someone else and understand their worries and thoughts?

Recently, I was working on a project with a colleague. We spent the afternoon together and acted like we normally did. Little did I know, five minutes before meeting me, she had been laid off from her full-time job. Later that same day, she told me what happened and said this afternoon wasn’t the right place to talk and did all that she could to hold in her emotions.

I completely understand a person not wanting to show their true emotions all the time; I do it almost every day. However, when situations like this occur, it is important to remember to always be kind and friendly to others. Because, after all, you never know what is happening in someone’s life. No one will ever get the chance to truly walk in another person’s shoes, but by being considerate, you just might help ease their burdens.

xoxo,

Megan