Category Archives: holidays and observances

green shamrocks in a heart shape

Sharing the inseparable love of God

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

Romans chapter 8, NLT 

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to tose who love God Romans 8:28

graphic from the Lightstock.com collection, affiliate link.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Saint Patrick and Saint Paul- called to share God’s love

Saint Patrick was not born in Ireland , although he is considered the Irish patron saint. He was born in Britain, controlled by the Roman Empire. Kidnapped and taken as a slave to Ireland, he later escaped, but  returned as a missionary, bringing the Christian Gospel to Ireland.

Saint Paul was also a missionary to the part of the Roman world surrounding the eastern Mediterranean sea. Paul identified himself as a “slave of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1) .

Much of the new Testament contains Paul’s writings, including the letter written to the early Christians in Rome. Today Christians read, share, and memorize these verses which so aptly express the foundation of our faith- God’s unchanging love.

Sharing the inseparable love of God-watercresswords.com

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Weekend Words of  faith, hope, and love

(1 Corinthians 13:1)

Have a blessed week. Dr. Aletha 

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person holding a lit candle

Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief

 

 

Although this season brings  fun and festivities, many of our friendsgroup of lanterns

find it hard to feel joyful when their hearts are heavy with grief.

 

 

 

 

Whether from a  recent loss, or  one many years ago, grieving for the loved ones who won’t be here to celebrate with us can dampen our holiday spirit and  lead to depression. 

  • I think of my friend  who has lost both a sister and a son this year.
  • I remember my friends who tragically lost their teen aged daughter in a car wreck just a few days before Christmas many years ago.
  • I consider my medical colleague who is battling cancer.
  • My heart aches for my friends who lost a young aunt to an undiagnosed medical condition which suddenly proved fatal .
  • And my husband and I  still grieve the loss of our parents and siblings at Christmas even after many years.

 

As one friend wrote-

“This is my second Christmas without my husband.  It has been tough, but also a reminder that God is the god of all comfort. That works for me. And… it is a reminder to pray comfort to anyone who has faced a loss of a loved one including precious pets. Loss from any source needs a comforting friend.”

If you know someone who needs a “comforting friend”,  please take the time to reach out to them so they know someone cares and they are not alone.

Here is advice from Nancy Guthrie on

What to say to grieving people. 

“Honestly, the most painful thing is when you’ve had a loss and someone around you—because of the awkwardness — never acknowledges it. That’s what hurts the most.”

xmas house

On the Harvard Health Blog, Dr. Anthony Komaroff  advises on 

Coping with grief and loss during the holidays

 “Grief is not a tidy, orderly process, and there is no right way to grieve. Every person—and every family—does it differently. This can cause emotions to collide and overlap, especially during the holiday season when the emphasis is on rebirth and renewal.”

My family and I wish all of you health and wholeness in

body, mind and spirit.

man and woman in front of the Alamo at Christmas

My husband and I at the Alamo in San Antonio Texas at Christmas

 

More holiday tips from Watercress Words at these links-

How to anticipate and relieve holiday stress

Healthy holiday eating made easy

 

And please consider my affiliates and advertisers for your holiday gifts, your support helps  fund this blog and increase its value to you. Thank you!

wooden letters WMAS

Healthy holiday eating made easy

We all enjoy our holiday traditions of eating and drinking special foods and beverages.  But these  can cause problems for people who need to manage what they eat and drink for medical reasons.

sliced Stollen

Nutritional management is a major part of living with these conditions-

  • diabetes and high cholesterol
  • celiac disease/gluten sensitivity
  • nut and other food allergies
  • lactose intolerance
  • overweight/obesity
  • alcohol dependence
  • heart, kidney, and liver dysfunction
  • pregnancy
  • migraine

PRACTICAL TIPS ON PARTY FOOD AND MEAL PLANNING

Planning ahead to manage holiday stress also applies to cooking, entertaining and eating during the holiday season.

If you  plan and prepare holiday meals and parties, remember  some attendees need to avoid or restrict certain types of foods.  a dining table decorated for Christmas

Offer an ample variety of types of food and drinks so  your guests will find something that works for them.

If you have houseguests, they will appreciate your asking them about dietary needs or restrictions so you can  have food available to meet their needs.

If you have special needs in regards to food, it may be wise to offer to bring a dish to an event , or take food to eat if you will be someone’s houseguest.

According to The American Diabetes Association

“Holidays can be a time of great anxiety for people with diabetes because it is so focused on food.

Don’t let questions about what to eat, how much to eat, and meal timing dampen your holiday. Plan in advance, so you can fend off stress and fully enjoy the day and keep your diabetes management on track.”

Here are the ADA suggestions for Holiday Meal Planning.

Are you worried about gaining weight from holiday meals, or trying to maintain a weight you have worked to achieve? Then try these

Top Holiday Healthy Eating Hacks

from Charmaine Gregory, M.D. at Fervently Fit 

“There is a huge amount of power in being mindful with your eating during this holiday season. “

brightly decorated table for Christmas

Try these Edible Christmas Gifts from Dr. Diana, an allergy doctor who blogs about cooking.

decorated Christmas cookies

 Delicious gluten free recipes from PositiveHealthWellness

apples, oranges, and walnuts

Addiction Hope 

offers advice for those with eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and EDNOS)

” Eating disorders are not about food, it is about the underlying issues which can be triggered by anxiety and stress. Holidays can bring on both increased stress and anxiety and can be difficult for individuals to manage. When a person is in an active eating disorder, there are various ways to cope with the holidays.”

  Read more at

Navigating the Holidays with a Food Addiction: 

 Splurge-Worthy Gifts for tea lovers everywhere at Mighty Leaf. (affiliate link)

 

Christmas jazz piano album coverChristmas music on iTunes

an angel figurine

Bringing good news

Luke chapter 2, New Living Translation 

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.
shepherds raising arms to the sky

Shepherds drawing by Bill Hart

“Don’t be afraid!” he said.                                         the letters JOY painted on a white board
“I bring you good news that will bring    
great joy to all people.”

 

 

 

 

The late Bill Hart was a professional artist. He served in the United States Army during World War II and was part of the force which invaded  and liberated  France in 1944. You can read Bill’s story at this link. 

 

These verses from Luke in the Bible are sung in Handel’s Messiah musical. We usually associate  Messiah with Christmas, but Handel intended it to be performed at Easter.
 “Handel got the lyrics from a preacher named Charles Jennens, who wrote out the whole piece as a collage of Bible verses designed to tell a story about the Messiah.”
quoted from wheatwilliams.com
According to the Bible, Luke was a physician. George Handel’s father, Georg, was a barber-surgeon.
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"faith, hope, love"

Weekend Words-

sharing words of faith, hope, and love

(1Corinthians 13:13)

 

 

 

How to anticipate and relieve holiday stress

Halloween has barely come and gone, if that long, before magazine articles, television programs , retail advertisements, and radio music  tell us that this is

“the most wonderful time of the year.” 

That is until the extra work of shopping, cooking, decorating, wrapping, planning and entertaining makes it the least wonderful time.

snowflakes making a Christmas tree

While we  welcome celebrating with family and friends, those encounters can create emotional tension and strain. When we feel  sad that loved ones can’t be with us, either through distance or death,  the season can become the worst of the year.

By anticipating these events and feelings, we can prepare ourselves for the physical and emotional stress of the holiday season, and find a way to enjoy the festivities with “hearts all a glowing.”

These  resources offer  sound advice for confronting  and conquering holiday challenges.

Writer Bruce Y. Lee takes a lighthearted but serious look at the holiday season and suggests music may help us cope better in

 How To Reduce And Deal With Holiday Stress

Twelve Days of Christmas”: Keep perspective and if the Holidays are tough for you, remember that the Holiday season is temporary and will pass. Try not to take yourself and things too seriously. Just make sure you maintain healthy habits and avoid behaviors that will lead to health problems (such as gaining weight) beyond the holiday season.”

colorful wrapped packages

Consider this advice from WebMD before going 

Home for the Holidays 

“Don’t worry about how things should be. Most people have less than perfect holiday gatherings — they have family tension, melancholy, and dry turkey too. If you have negative feelings, don’t try to deny them. Remember that there’s nothing wrong or shameful or unusual about feeling down during the holidays.

a cute snowman

31 Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas from Woman’s Day

#23 Know when to say no.

Can’t say no? Then keep your gatherings small and intimate. Get together with a few of your closest friends or relatives for the holidays. Choose to throw the big blowout parties at another time of the year, when you and your guests will have fewer commitments competing for your precious time.”

glowing cancles

 A Simple Christmas: A Faith-filled Guide to a Meaningful And Stress-free Christmas (Spirit of Simple Living) A Simple Christmas book cover

by Sharon Hanby-Robie

“The secret to a happy holiday is learning to collaborate and to create a plan that is uniquely yours with a goal to experience more serenity, more joy, and more opportunities to nurture the souls of those you love.

But, most important, it is to remember the greatest gift ever given, the gift of the Christ Child. Take time to simply sit and ponder this amazing miracle. “

a nativity arrangement of the manger

And in his blog post

Choose Holiday Traditions That Serve You

Joshua Becker reminds us that

“Traditions should draw our attention to the underlying reason for the season.

Traditions should not detract from the season, they should elevate it.”

Here are the 5 key points I find in these references.

Which ones speak to you?

5 keys to manage holiday stress before it manages you 

  1. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others.
  2. Anticipate stressful situations, places, and people.
  3. Plan and prepare carefully, but stay flexible for the unexpected.
  4. Keep your  health maintenance routine- healthy eating, exercise, adequate sleep.
  5. Remember what is most important about the season-family, friends, faith.

Please let me know how your holiday season turns out this year.

Thanks to Pixabay for the Christmas photos used in this post.

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Giving Thanks Always

 

I share a video with you today.   It is a “flashwaltz” which happened, where else, in a hospital (after all, this is a health blog) .

Music students played The Waltz of the Flowers from

The Nutcracker by 

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky at the

Hadassah Medical Center Hospital.

 

 

As we in the United States celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, let’s remember people who can’t celebrate at home with their friends and family-

  • people in hospitals and nursing homes
  • those serving in the military
  • those who work today to keep the rest of us safe- police, firefighters, medical professionals, transportation workers

The Waltz of the Flowers by the Boston Pops is available at Amazon

(this blog earns a small commission if you purchase from this link)

 

Enjoy this thoughtful perspective  on Thanksgiving from A Country Doctor

Another Thanksgiving Reflection

a log church in the woods

a historic rural church in Georgia

 

 

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and follow Watercress Words.

 

 

 

 

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After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don’t forget your favorite charity or non-profit organization on Giving Tuesday. 

a heart representing Giving Tuesday

 

Christmas Day

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Luke chapter 1

28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.”

Christian tradition holds that St. Luke, the writer of this gospel, was a physician. Perhaps that’s why this Bible book speaks so much about Christ’s compassion and concern for the sick, the poor, widows, orphans, the abused and oppressed. He tells the stories of the lost (prodigal) son and the good Samaritan.

This video shows Mark Lowry as a serious and talented singer. However, he is also a gifted comedienne. He attributes his love and talent for humor to his childhood diagnosis of ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Rather than try to suppress it, he developed it into an asset to entertain and bless others.

Please visit December 26 through 30

as I review the top 5 most viewed posts on this blog in 2016.