Tag Archives: depression

Making Holiday Memories

‘Tis the Season for Making Memories…

Amy Casual headshot

By Amy Chibib

The Holiday Season is upon us and the message we hear is ~ “This is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”  True, this time of year is filled with Joy and Giving but another truth be told is that it can also be a challenging season for many. There are stories and memories behind the sparkle that can bring up sadness, disappointments, or loss. According to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression. This is counter intuitive to all the merriment surrounding us this time of year. Why is this so? I believe it is because it stirs our emotions and memories in a profound way and most likely topped with some unrealistic expectations.

I start this season with mixed emotions, my mom passed away at the end of this summer and my siblings and I no longer have any parents or grandparents alive ~ which marks the end of an era for my family. My siblings and I are all very independent and although roles had been reversed for some time; the final loss of our older generation is profoundly felt and one I don’t believe any of us expected. The bright side for me are all the good memories and a refreshed appreciation for those that were created so long ago.

In particular, I treasure memories of our Christmas Eve parties. Our house was filled with friends and family and I recall how my mom would spend the entire week building up to img_2324-1Christmas Eve getting the house just perfect. It was the anticipation that I believe made it the very best. I remember the sights and scents and especially the calm in the house just before everyone was to arrive. My dad had the stereo turn table all set with the classic albums and Nat King Cole was a favorite. To this day, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” can take me back to these moments quickly. For all the effort put into this special evening, it all ended so quickly. It was time to get ready for bed as our parents were talking up Santa’s arrival. When the morning came and we eagerly woke up my parents, this anticipation was held for as long as possible. I laugh now knowing my parents must have been exhausted and probably a img_2322-1little hung-over from all the spirits from the prior evening’s celebration that lasted well into the wee hours. They were desperate to get their coffee and photo ready to capture these moments. We had to line up down the hallway and wait as they had to go out into the living room to “check on Santa’s gifts”. I remember we would laugh and giggle for what seemed like forever and couldn’t wait to be released to go check out our gifts! I share a couple of photos of a special year I received a coveted play kitchen – I look as if I was a “Price is Right” contestant that won the motherload of prizes. I remember feeling so overwhelmed that Santa would bring me such a wonderful amazing gift. That is what I remember ~ feeling so special that Santa would think of me with such a wonderful surprise. I spent the entire day in my PJ’s playing in my new kitchen. Even at that early age imagining the joy it would be someday to be a mom and cook for my family.

These are the memories that create the strongest of bonds – they are deep wired with emotions within our mind. They can inspire us to share and give more to those we love for generations to come.

The importance our memories have on our health – we do not fully comprehend, but everyone agrees they have the power to change our lives in significant ways. The beauty of amykitchenthis is fully expressed in the spirit of Christmas and how traditions have remained alive and continue to spread love and good cheer generation after generation! It is the joy, love, hope and forgiveness the season is wrapped in that inspires and motivates us to keep creating long lasting positive memories.

Wherever your emotions may take you this season, take peace in knowing You are not alone and there is healing in feeling it all!  The brave act of accepting these emotions and sharing where you are and what you need; is where the spirit of your season is found. Respond in giving back the best of your memories and making new ones with your loved ones is the essence of Christmas and promise of Love everlasting!

May this season bring you joy in knowing it is in the little moments that the best memories are made and treasured. We may not all have Dream Kitchen’s delivered on Christmas morning but I bet you can conjure up some of that magic starting today. You never know what moment will get recorded so embrace where you are in authenticity, make room for all the crazy and simply share, I believe these are the gifts and best ingredients for creating joyous holiday memories.


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Fourteen Reasons to be Grateful

iGnite -gratitude changes everything

Point to Ponder:
Do you regularly acknowledge what you are grateful for?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As you have likely noticed, during the month of November we are celebrating gratitude! Not only are we eager to blast out our gratitude in our social media #ignitegratefulgram contest, but we are fired up to wear our gratitude loud and proud with our NEW ‘Grateful’ fall apparel.

We are not at all suggesting or asking that you post or wear your grateful spirit to be boastful about your “things”. Instead, the motivation behind our Grateful Campaign is to encourage the daily action of giving thanks for our amazing lives and blessings…because when life gets inevitably tough, a grateful spirit can change a bad day into a good day, and a good day into a great day, because gratitude changes everything. I’m hopeful that our Grateful Campaign will inspire and reignite a grateful spirit in everyone.

There is no denying that acknowledging our blessings on a daily basis leads to a physiological reaction that creates a happy and peacful state in the body. To go a step further, based on the findings from a fascinating gratitude experiment conducted by two psychologists, writing down what we are grateful for leads to even greater results. Check this out:

“Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of 1. alertness, 2. enthusiasm, 3. determination, 4. optimism, and 5. energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less 6. depression and 7. stress, and 8. were more likely to help others, 9. exercised more regularly, and 10. made greater progress toward achieving personal goals. In addition, Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more 11. creative, 12. bounce back more quickly from adversity, 13. have a stronger immune system, and 14. have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.” – The Change Blog

Something that I am experimenting with in our family is a gratitude jar. The jar sits in the middle of our dining room table and each evening at dinner, we talk about one thing we are grateful for, followed with writing it down on piece of paper and placing it in the jar. Because I have small children who can’t write, I have been writing what they say as as well as including the date. It has become a sweet and focused time which stirs up great conversation (even with a two and a four year old). My personal goal is to revisit the jar of notes during our Thanksgiving meal and to continue writing down what we are grateful for throughout the month of November and the remainder of the year.

Another idea is to print and cut out our Grateful Printables. Then, place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. From a good nights rest, a warm a cup of coffee to the blessing of good health, family and friends, it all counts and taking the time to acknowledging your blessings will make a positive impact in your health, relationships and overall quality of life. And, several months from now or anytime you need a pick-me-up, all you have to do is read what’s in the jar and you are guaranteed a good laugh, happy cry and/or mood booster. Why? Because gratitude changes everything!

Action Item:
Print out our Grateful Printables. Place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. Or, at dinner each evening have each family member write down and discuss what they are grateful for and place in the jar.

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I Will Live Each Day As If It Could Be My Last

anneandneissa

Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, “Yahooooooo, what a ride!”   -Mavis Leyrer

by Anne Jarvis

by Anne Jarvis

When I was 17 and a junior in high school, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the next ten years she had two radical mastectomies and eventually died of bone cancer that had spread throughout her body. She was only 59 years old. She was exceptionally brave, a strong believer, fiercely loved by her family and friends and was joyful, even until the end. When I think of my mom’s tremendous bravery and characteristics, I always think of three things.

  1. *Believe In Miracles* When she became ill this was the little sign that sat near her bed.
  2. *This is the day that the Lord hath made. Rejoice and be glad in it*  She would greet each day with these words.
  3. *Have fun*  These were her final words.

When she passed away, I was an emotional and physical wreck. I lost twenty pounds in a month, was having regular panic attacks, had to quit work and was suffering from situational depression.  Over the next year I had to heal from this place of sadness and one thing I did everyday was walk outdoors and repeat—“God will see you through.” But my biggest ‘A-ha moment’ was when a therapist I was seeing said, “Anne, what are you going to do if you never feel any better than this?”  It was at that moment I was given the choice of how I wanted to live my life. I decided I wanted to reclaim a place of health, joy and purpose. I wanted a rich and full life filled with highs and lows. I wanted to live each day as if it could be my last.

I recognize that while life is filled with tremendous blessings, it is also filled with painful moments of loss and great sadness. For me, I have come to my own personal crossroads that has caused me to make choices on how I will continue to live my life. For example, I value my family and friends, my faith, my health, my community, and the freedom to be my authentic self. I want to live each day knowing that I have made a difference not just to myself, but to others. I want people to think of me as someone that didn’t take herself too seriously and found humor in life. I want to keep learning, have a sense of wonder, remain grateful for the life I have been given while also looking towards the future. I want every day to count and have no regrets.

A life with no regrets or living each day like it could be your last is definitely easier said than done. I’ve found that I must face my fears, take risks, believe in myself, take a deep breath and put that foot on the floor each new day. Just this week I have found myself full of fear about having to make the decision to take the Brac breast cancer gene test. I don’t want to find out if I carry the predisposition for breast cancer, but the results might save mine and my daughters’ lives. And, if I claim to value health, then I must do the hard work. Life’s hardships build character and what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

This is why I love iGnite — as women we are on life’s journey together, helping each other, encouraging each other to live full and happy lives. We are growing physically, mentally and spiritually. We are there for each other in joy and sorrow. So, from the wisdom of a woman who joyfully lived as she was dying, I encourage you to: Believe in Miracles, Rejoice in Each Day, Have Fun and allow yourself to be moved by closing your eyes and hearing the inspirational words of Tim McGraw in this video.

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