Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I love Christmas music. I am always saddened that I only have a few weeks to enjoy it. Now that we are fews days past my ability to enjoy it without scorn, I wanted to share my favorite Christmas music story of 2010.
An unlikely friend re-entered my life this year - all on the power of music. Target.
I had not really shopped Target in the last 4 or 5 years and I cannot tell you why. But the 2010 Holiday ad campaign complete with a fabulous soundtrack sucked me in and I stepped into Target twice this holiday season. I enjoyed the reunion and am certain I'll be going back in the coming year. So how is it possible that having Christmas music at the center of the marketing campaign saved my relationship with this brand?
To me it's as simple as this...
Music connects us.
We hear a song and it grips us and pulls us into a moment - sometimes good, sometimes not-so-good but either way we are MOVED by music. It pierces our soul and changes us.
This year, Target accomplished that with our family as we were introduced to new groups and new songs. Our personal favorites were "Toy Jackpot" by Blackalicious, "Electronic Santa Claus" by Blazer Force, "Tiny Tree Christmas" by Guster.
Our Christmas soundtrack just got a little bigger. And think, 5, 10, 15 years from now when our family convenes for Christmas and one of those songs starts, we are always going to remember Christmas 2010. Thanks, Target.
In case you have not had the chance to download any of the free holiday music from Target - follow this link to get it.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
|Love how this image captures my view of FEARLESS|
This year, the theme of the Willowcreek Community Church Christmas Production - was "Do Not Be Afraid."
The phrase, which is ordered repeatedly throughout the Bible, struck me right in the heart.
Mostly because it was right on time. No phrase could better send out 2010 for me than “do not be afraid."
Or better stated, BE FEARLESS
Dictionary says fearless is
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
SWAGG is a free mobile app (download here) that lets you shop smarter using your mobile phone. Buy, send or swap SWAGG GIFTS and organize your old school plastic gift cards.
For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) , up to $125,000.
Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.
With the holidays upon us, often times we are forced to interact with people we'd otherwise avoid; simultaneously, we are also bombarded by messages of "gifting". It occurred to me that the combination of these two phenomenons could actually be the solve for a happy, healthy holiday season. Give the greatest gift you can give– forgiveness.
Two years ago, just before the full push of the holidays in 2008, I gave the greatest gift you can give to someone (and yourself), forgiveness. It was a situation where I would've been fully within my rights not to forgive. (Aren't they all?)This person had wronged me and my family. Trust had been violated in the most egregious way. The pain of the situation was so intense that there were moments when I physically felt like I could not breathe.
Yet, my first reaction to this was to forgive. Not the knee-jerk, Christian cliché "I forgive you" sort of forgiveness, but the brokenhearted, "what else will bring me peace" brand of forgiveness.
I was angry, hurt and broken down in spirit just as “the most wonderful time of the year” was starting. How could I possibly face the holidays in my brokenness? and How was I going to live in the same community with this person? were a few of the questions that swirled in my head almost constantly. And all the while, my heart was telling me to reach out to this person and offer forgiveness. I was even moved to invite this person to my house for Thanksgiving dessert. I remember it like it just happened. The few weeks leading up to the invitation - I was certain would be declined - were strangely calm. Our marriage and family counselor advised me that I could rescind the offer because I had "nothing to prove." I tripled checked with my husband that he was comfortable with my decision, which he was although it was clear that he did not understand it.
Finally, the doorbell rang on Thanksgiving day just after we'd finished eating and right on time for dessert. With no hesitation, I answered the door and invited the person who wronged me and their family into my house. As I greeted them with a hug, I felt an immediate relief and peace come over me.
Not because I was some “saint” who'd done that person a "favor" forgiving them and inviting them to my home after they'd wronged me. Nor was I relieved at the obvious shame and brokenness I felt in their embrace.
I was at peace in the depths of my soul because I'd put action to my forgiveness. I had not only “told” them they were forgiven but I'd displayed my forgiveness in a very real way. Did I instantly forget the damage this person had inflicted? No, of course not. Did we rekindle our friendship and resume where we'd left off before the problem? Not at all, that was actually the last time I saw them in a social setting. We are no longer in contact. That is not the point.
To this day, I am still amazed at how that act of obedience and true forgiveness set the tone for what ended up being a wonderful holiday season and has benefited me over and over again. I am not recommending everyone do what I did, however I throw out the challenge to consider giving someone in your life the gift of forgiveness. It is truly the best gift you could ever give.
Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Droid. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.
Monday, December 6, 2010
|Kermit stretched out is a great depiction of how I feel after my first therapy session.|
That's how I feel after my first therapy session post surgery on my right arm. I don't know about you, but “stretched” isn't exactly my favorite place to be. And I've been there many times...
stretched at work
stretched in my marriage
stretched in my faith
stretched mentally, and most recently
My tolerance for "stretching" has increased over the past few years particularly because of the incredible growth that occurs during these seasons of life. As uncomfortable as it is, I've come to look forward to the "stretching" times in my life.
When we stretch - we push ourselves beyond our current position. We reach for what, at the moment, feels impossible. We make ourselves more flexible for what is waiting around the next corner. We exercise "muscles" that we sometimes didn't even know we had. We gain confidence in areas where there was fear. We feel pain and joy - in explicably together in the same moment. Most importantly, we transform, little-by-little, each time we stretch. And before you know it we are not only growing ourselves, but we are pushing others to stretch as well.
So the next time you're faced with a "stretching" season - don't whine, complain or deny - just lean in and warm up up those "muscles" you rarely use and STRETCH with all you've got.
You won't be sorry.
Posted by M. Denise Wilmer Barreto at 8:56 PM