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Finding Joy this Holiday Season

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Finding Joy this Holiday Season

The first day of December has arrived, which means the end of 2016 is right around the corner.

Have you accomplished everything you wanted to this year?

Do you find yourself trying to squeeze it all in before the end of the year?  

Has your “to do” list run off the page? Is it filled with things like finishing up assorted projects and preparing house and home for Christmas, not to mention the mundane tasks of daily life? Do you find yourself frantically running from one place to another in an attempt to make everything perfect and get everything done in time?

The transition from one year to the next can sometimes feel like a looming deadline, especially for those of us who think we need to check everything off our lists, before we can relax and enjoy ourselves.  

As I look at my list for December (see below) I couldn't help but feel like something was missing.

  • Finish eBook (which has only been drafted)
  • Stay active (so I have the energy to get all this stuff done)
  • Create a new website (for a work project)
  • Prep for family visitors (who will be here for a week) 
  • Shop for gifts (which stresses me out)
  • Decorate for the holidays (which sounds simple, but as you know never is)

 It keeps going and going on and on...

Our lists just get longer and longer, and yet we're not given any additional time to get it all done. It can feel overwhelming.  Indeed, my shoulders feel a little heavier while writing those words. I struggle with the desire to get it all done so I can go into the holidays and into the new year with a “clean slate.” Clean slate… haha… What the heck does that even mean? Is there ever really such a time where we can shut down and walk away leaving nothing left to be done? If so, what do we have to sacrifice between now and then in order to get it all done?

I’m reminded that there will always be more work to be done, more tasks to be completed. 

The question we have to ask ourselves is, "What matters most to me?"

So what's missing from my list above. It's quality time with with myself and others. My greatest wish for this holiday season is to find joy in my interactions with others. If this is my priority, some tasks will not get done, some projects won’t get finished when planned, and, you know what, that’s ok. Life isn’t a linear evolution from one year to the next. Some years we progress, and some years we relish in the progress.  Some years we have set backs while others we move forward at the speed of light. 

This month is a time to relish in the deep beauty of this life. So here's my new list:

  • Find presence in as many moments as I can
  • Forget about my "to do" list whenever I'm speaking to someone else
  • Listen with a whole heart
  • Share kindness 
  • Relish in the joy of this season

Everything else will get done exactly when it's supposed to get done and you'll enjoy doing it when you first focus on what matters most. What matters most to you this holiday season? What brings you the greatest joy during the holidays? What will you prioritize this season?  

Share with us in the comments below. 

Did you enjoy the above? Subscribe to KendraThriving Insights, a monthly newsletter where I reveal transformations of the heart as I write this blog. You can also view my photography KendraThriving: LIfe In Frame, where I'm learning to connect with the world through a new lens.

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The Power of Choice

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The Power of Choice

We have all been handed that one crappy card (or maybe multiple crappy cards). You know the ones: those cards that make our hand seem unrecoverable and we don’t see any other choice than to fold.  Discover the power that lies within, the power of choice. 

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Consider New Angles

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Consider New Angles

Life is full of lessons, even in the most unexpected of places. I recently went to a photography class hoping to learn how to take better pictures; I left with a reminder that life isn't always just as you see it. 

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How Vulnerability is Shaping My Grief Journey

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How Vulnerability is Shaping My Grief Journey

It's not often I experience events that impact my life so profoundly, events that shine a light on our connection to the surrounding world and highlight the unexplained and unseen forces that guide us along this path.

Last week was one of those times when, if I paid attention, I was going to learn a lot.

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A Heart Exposed | To Let Love In

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A Heart Exposed | To Let Love In

My husband is on a mission this summer to find as many fun, free, local, family friendly events as possible. He's added dozens to our calendar and we attend as many as we can. 

This weekend was a typical example. We had Family Day at UMLAF Sculpture Garden on the calendar.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to go.  I'm so glad I did. 

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Celebrating the Past After Loss

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Celebrating the Past After Loss

It's that time of year—a time for reflection and celebration. 

Yesterday was the 4th of July—a time when our nation reflects and celebrates our past. 

It's also time for self-evaluations at my office—a time for reflection on professional accomplishments. 

These moments, these days of reflection and celebration, can be so complicated, especially if you don't want to think about or remember the past. For some, the thought of looking back is scary as hell because opening a window to the past can create an avalanche of emotions. 

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Thriving After Loss | What Does that Look Like?

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Thriving After Loss | What Does that Look Like?

When deciding to start a blog, I pondered the question, "What should I title it?"  I wanted to spend time researching, polling friends, doing that "analytical" thing I do.  I wanted to come up with a catchy and creative name that would get your attention and yet convey my message.  

The problem was that the word "THRIVING" just wouldn't go away.  It wouldn't leave my thoughts; as much as I tried other options "THRIVING" stuck to me like glue. And so...that's what I went with: KendraThriving. 

Now I ask myself, "What does thriving after the loss mean to me?" This is how I define it:

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Creating Space | When You Thought You Had Nothing Left

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Creating Space | When You Thought You Had Nothing Left

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the amount of decisions you have to make?  Have you ever thought, if I have to make one more decision I might completely shut down?  I've been there too. That place where even the simplest decisions, like deciding what what to eat for dinner becomes challenging. During a recent conversation, a friend asked me if I'd consider using the word "and" instead of "but" in my speech.  With the switch of a word, I felt liberated.

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