Monthly Archives: November 2011

Don’t Let the Holiday Pressures Squash You This Season!

Made your holiday plans yet? Naturally, you want to be around family and enjoy the warmth of familiar traditions. But for young couples, combining the traditions of two separate families isn’t always easy.

Both spouses’ families can sometimes place unrealistic expectations on couples and put them in awkward situations. One family may expect you to celebrate the entire Christmas holiday with them and tell you so; the other family may want the same but silently stew. You’re caught in the middle, feeling guilty that you can’t be in two places at the same time.

You can also create your own stress by each demanding to be with your own family during the holidays. You can’t please everyone, so together decide what’s best for the two of you.

Be Fair

A good place to begin is to discuss which holidays are important to each of you and why. Perhaps one of your families makes a big deal of Thanksgiving but Christmas is low-key. You may want to celebrate Thanksgiving with them and visit the other family for Christmas.

I’ve heard of large families who plan an annual “Christmas in July or August” so the entire clan can meet and celebrate the holiday together, allowing young families to celebrate Dec. 25 in their own homes. At their summer gathering, the families make Christmas cookies, wear red and green shorts and T-shirts, and open gifts.

Depending on your situation, sometimes you’ll need to compromise, choosing what seems most fair to all families. Does everyone live close enough to combine their celebrations? Will it work to alternate family gatherings?

When Becky and I were engaged, we talked extensively about this issue. We decided to go anywhere we were invited on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We tried to juggle schedules and tried to “be all places with all people,” boy was that distressing and depressing. We constantly felt rushed, pushed and pulled in every direction. The real sad thing is that often we felt frustrated and angry, feeling as though we had no time for us. I often wish we had just rotated or decided to go to all the Thanksgiving Celebrations we could, but  stay home on Christmas — and let anyone who desired just join us. Now my parents are dead and gone, her grandparents are gone as are mine and we feel guilty at times for feeling so frustrated and angry. I think if we had just communicated this to all the family, the pressure would have been off and we could have enjoyed the holidays much much, more.

Other couples choose the typical rotation from one family to another. Whatever you decide, communicate your holiday plans to both extended families so everyone understands and you don’t unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings.

Be Flexible

As you make your plans, consider your vacation time, holiday travel and the stress that goes with it, your parents’ ages, family needs, the costs you’ll incur in your holiday celebration, and so on. When you have children, you’ll also want to consider their needs.

You may need to start a new tradition of limited gift giving, especially if you have a tight budget and your families have always splurged during the holidays. It’s wise to be open and honest with your parents about your constraints.

Review your options annually, and be willing to adjust your holiday plans to match your new circumstances. Making a change can be good, especially when it brings your life into balance; now may be a good time to introduce one.

Holidays should be a joyful time, so plan to make them low stress and enjoyable. Spread your visits wisely, don’t spread yourself too thin, count the costs and carefully build healthy relationships.

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A Thanksgiving Quiz

This week is Thanksgiving! So let me start by wishing each of you a Very Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Now let us see just how much we know about this special American Holiday called Thanksgiving. Answer the quiz without looking at the answers and see just how many you can get correct without help.
THANKSGIVING QUIZ: – How well do you know history when it comes to Thanksgiving?
1. What year did the Pilgrims celebrate the first Thanksgiving?
a. 1620
b. 1621
c. 1622
d. 1630
2. What did the Pilgrims call their colony?
a. Plymouth Colony
b. Jamestown
c. Roanoke
d. Cape Cod
3. When do Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving?
a. Same as U.S.
b. Second Monday of November
c. Second Monday of October
d. Fourth Monday of October
4. How many days did the first Thanksgiving celebration last?
a. Two
b. Three
c. Five
d. Seven
5. Friendly natives from which tribe were invited to the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving celebration?
a. Wampanoag
b. Iroquois
c. Patauxet
d. Algonquin
6. After their first disastrous winter in the colony, the Pilgrims were assisted by a Patauxet Indian who taught them how and where to catch fish and how to fertilize their crops. What was his name?
a. Powhaten
b. Squanto
c. Massawippi
d. Pocahontas
7. Who was the governor of Plymouth Colony at the time of the first Thanksgiving celebration?
a. Miles Standish
b. John Alden
c. Edward Southworth
d. William Bradford
8. Who was the first U.S. President to declare a national day of thanks?
a. George Washington
b. Abraham Lincoln
c. Franklin D. Roosevelt
d. Rutherford B. Hayes
9. Which U.S. President established Thanksgiving as an annual holiday?
a. George Washington
b. Abraham Lincoln
c. Franklin D. Roosevelt
d. Rutherford B. Hayes
10. What was the name of the ship the Pilgrims took to reach America?
a. The Speedwell
b. The Bounty
c. The Godspeed
d. The Mayflower
11. In 1941, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution making Thanksgiving Day the fourth Thursday in November rather than the last. What was the purpose of the change?
a. To avoid potential snowstorms in the North
b. To avoid heavy rains in the South
c. To extend the Christmas shopping season
d. All the above

Answers: 1. B; 2. A; 3. C; 4. B; 5. A; 6. B; 7. D; 8. A; 9. B; 10. D; 11. D

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Remembering Those Who Serve!

This past Friday was Veteran’s Day. We owe a lot to our men and women who serve and have served this great country. Many have paid the price of freedom with their lives. I want to share something I read with you this week. And after you read it, remember, it is not too late to thank a Veteran.

Flag Folding & The Meaning of Each Fold!

I guess this settles the “One Nation Under God” debate once and for all.

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21 gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention correctly folding the American flag 13 times?

You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decaur, “Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.

The 6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews’ eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of
our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever
reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today. There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you’ll see flags folded and now you will know why.

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Veterans We Love You and Thank God For You!

Pastor Rick

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