This page is full of resources that will help you get through the holidays. There are books, websites, videos, and articles. All links are non-affiliate links. This page will be updated periodically throughout the holiday season. You will see the word “Updated” and the date next to it in the top menu. I going to divide this page into Faith, Fitness, Food and Fun sections.
Speaking of fun, let’s kick this page off in style – 1970’s style!
For those of you struggling with the upcoming holiday season, here is all the joy of Christmas lights and NONE of the Christmas music, which can be torture for the widow or other grieving people. Have Your Self A Merry Little Christmas was torture every time I heard it during Christmas 2008. Video courtesy of Daniel Carr.
Day 6 of 31 Days to Scare Away the Grief Monster – Exercise. This is a link to a post I did for the Write 31 Day series a few years ago. It tells of my being a couch potato during my first year of being a widow – bad Michele, bad Michele. Don’t be like Michele.
For you runners or those thinking about starting to run, here is a link to How Does Running Improve Health and Mood by Zoey Miller Editor-in-Chief of The Babble Out. Zoey makes an excellent case for running and every issue she addresses will help you with your grief. Zoey is not a stranger to grief as she lost her mother a few days after her 32nd birthday. She got into running after her Mom’s passing. The Babble Out has numerous articles about running, life, health and parenting. So if you are a widow with young children or know someone who is, then check out The Babble Out.
The Holy Mess – Sara Borgstede – This site is geared toward balancing faith, family, and fitness. I’ve been a part of her Faithful Finish Lines fitness program for 3 years. Love Sara and this group of wonderful women.
GriefShare.org – (Home) Holidays Find A Group – This is the program that helped me through the first year. After that, I was asked to co-facilitate the group and did so from 2009 to January 2015. I highly encourage you to find a group and attend a regular program and the Surviving the Holidays program. It is a 13-week video-based program and most churches will let you start no matter what week they are viewing.
Digging Deeper With God – Christine Drews. My friend’s wonderful website will take you deeper into scripture and your relationship with God. I am not sure what she has planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You will find JoyReturns and a brief snippet from my story in the devotion How to Overcome Wallowing in Two Not-So-Easy Steps.
Church of the Resurrection, Leawood KS. Pastor Adam Hamilton will wrap up a 3-part series on gratitude on 11/26/17. This link will take you to the Sermon section of the Resources page, where you will find the first 2 parts.
Julie Lefebure shares her story of Christmas loss and grieving on her blog Loving God, Loving Others.
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully to Live Fully Right Where You Are – Ann Voskamp. The classic book about Ann’s experience counting one thousand gifts. I am reading this book for the third time. I feel my heart needs it.
The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life – Ann Voskamp. I was on Ann’s book launch team for this book. It is wonderful, the best way to get through grief or any other nasty life event is by serving others, by pouring yourself out.
The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas – Ann Voskamp. This year is year number three for this Christmas devotional. The past two years I’ve used different colored markers and pen when writing in it. Every year different words, thoughts or ideas speak to me.
Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ – Timothy Keller. I also read this last year and will be re-reading it this year. It is a message filled with hope and salvation.
Jeanne Dennis’s article For the Bereaved, 10Tips for Getting Through the Holiday Season, contains wonderful advice. Though this article appeared on the Huffington Post blog back in 2013, the suggestions are timeless. Not all will pertain to your situation. I especially like number one – Write out your schedule ahead of time. You would do well to head this advice even if you are not grieving, as it is a good way to control at least some the season’s chaos.
One of the ways to cope with the holidays is to start new traditions. What’s Your Grief’s article 16 Ideas for Creating New Holiday Tradition After a Death has some excellent ideas. Number 16 Putting regrets to a fire is my favorite. Again this tradition can be done by you who are not grieving.
Life was hard for the Pilgrims and Indians but they still set aside 3 days to give thanks. This DaySpring article gives good advice for When It’s Hard to be Grateful on Thanksgiving.
Here are daily thanksgiving exercises from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for strengthening your gratitude habit. Did you know every chapter in the book of Colossians has at least one reference to thankfulness? A Week of Thanksgiving will help you explore them.
Here are some tried and true recipes I published previously on JoyReturns.
J.T.’s Bean Dip – Feta, Beans & Champagne – Oh My!
AnnMarie’s Heath Bars – Easy Heath Bar Cookies
My Secret for getting out of the doghouse – Cherry Cheesecake Tarts – sorry there’s no picture – I ate them all. 😀
Thelonious Monk – Stuffy Turkey – Jazz
Bing Crosby – I’ve Plenty to be Thankful For – Big Band
Thanksgiving Dinner Soft Music Mix – Soundoftheplanet (YouTube Channel)
Vince Guaraldi Trio – Thanksgiving Theme (Charlie Brown) – Jazz
I’m enjoying Neil Diamond’s Acoustic Christmas in the early morning hours. Thankfully, it does not include Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.