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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holidays Go Swinging...Along with Creepy Relatives

It's that time of the year again and many families will be getting together cooking, eating, singing and dare I say it creeping!?  Yep I said it, creeping.

So what on earth do I mean?  That sounds like something an animal would do or something that slides on the ground or some kind of sneaky behavior.  Well, that's exactly what I mean, all of the above!  Creepy relatives creeping around doing creepy things.  Since many heads of families will be busy this time of year, those creepy relatives might be looking for an innocent child to manipulate, an old lady to take advantage of or simply cause a fight hoping in the short-run they can benefit in some way.

There will also be some family creeping around trying to find out what gifts they got this year.  Creeping around to keep from someone noticing how drunk and/or high on drugs they are.  Creeping around to steal, destroy or possibly kill someone or something.  Holidays not only bring cheer but fear as well!

I am one of those people who use to celebrate all the holidays!  But as I have grown older, I have freed myself from the bondage.  Feelings of being bound to do things for others, for false gods, and false ideas, not anymore, I am FREE!  I learned over the years that the one true God that I serve doesn't have anything to do with these man-made American traditions.  Besides, things just ain't what they use to be!  Capice?

I have seen far too much strife in households over the years in my face and behind my back and I had to ask myself, "What am I doing?"  I don't know about you or your family, but what I do know is that anything that makes you compromise truth, causes problems in your family, puts you in unspeakable debt, and makes you feel like you are going insane, ought to be cut off and cut out of your family circle!  Now it won't be easy at first, but I can promise you that with each year it gets easier and easier to do.  You start with the little things like narrowing down the holiday meal, then you start cutting out the decorating, shortening the guest and gift lists, stop sending out Christmas cards, do away with the tree, and so on, until you have a clean slate to either start a new tradition or remain free to do what you want during the holidays.

You see, we have all allowed our parents and other relatives' programming as well as societal pressure to get the best of us all in the name of "family tradition" and some of us just don't have the time, energy, mentality, or spirituality to be caught up in this kind of foolishness anymore!  Some families risk their lives in the snow to get to grandma's house for a one-day event.  Other families have lost their jobs during this time of year and will still try to make a holiday happen come hell or high water.  Still others have lost their lives and freedom behind all the pressure "to come home for the holidays."  There comes a point where you just have to say, "This is no longer something I can do." Pass the baton to someone else, they will be glad to get that Christmas tree and whatever else you no longer want or need.

Now there are some families who do well during the holidays and enjoy one another's company.  I commend them, but I also hope that if they are sincere Christ followers that they do a little more studying of God's word and make the choice to spread truth and not lies during this so-called season of giving (ie. Jesus b-day, Santa, elves, flying reindeer, candy cane symbolism, etc.)  There is a whole lot of giving happening but it isn't according to God's will.  Just think Christ was born in poor circumstances and remained that way through his adult years.  He didn't have a fine car, mansion, a few ladies, strong drink, and other things that kept him bound!  He wasn't caught up with "family" traditions. 

We are all guilty of being hypocritical whether believer or not in what we say and do, meanwhile the Christmas tree is sitting in the church next to the cross on a day that isn't even Christ's birthday--go figure!?  The green idol has been decorated and presented as if it's okay any and everywhere.  Wonder what the Christian God thinks?

Anyway, the holidays go swinging and so do people in their views, ideas, and even when they buy gifts for others.  "Harry, I think I won't be buying Janice this year because...I don't know if I want to buy Jim that...You know last year Evelyn didn't appreciate what I got her...I hope Uncle Tom doesn't show up drunk..."

'Tis the season.

Nicholl McGuire

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to Find Peace during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays

Like most of us, you are grateful for your family and enjoy the wonderful sounds of chatter over a good Thanksgiving meal and gift wrap opening on Christmas. Yet, this year is one of those years that you just want to be left alone, but you have this feeling inside that is stressing you out! You feel obligated to share the holiday with family and friends, because that is what they have come to expect from you. Every year you are praised for your creative cooking, decorating, and crafting, but it all seems to be a bit much. If you are on the fence about celebrating this year, then you will want to consider doing one thing, nothing!

That’s right nothing. There is peace in being still, those who have a faith know this and live by it when they have obstacles that they are facing. They sit quietly for as long as they can, not thinking about what their next move will be, but allowing God to move their spirits. They rely on their God’s will to do what is right not their own. Why worry yourself over the turkey and all the fixings? Why stress about entertaining people, some of which you don’t even like and they don’t like you? Why bother over how to budget for gifts you know you can’t afford?

People tend to act foolish during the holidays just so that someone will say, “Oh thank you I could really use this.” When in reality, they are just being nice and will most likely put it in the back of their closet, sell it on Ebay or Amazon, or rewrap it for a co-worker next year. As some traditionalists will say, “Thanksgiving is a time for people to be thankful for what God has done for them and be grateful for life, love, family and friends...” These are beautiful reasons for families to gather around the table if everyone is in agreement. However, if they are not and have told you in so many ways, “We rather stay home this year.” Then why aren’t you listening? Some hosts take offense to a rejected invite. If a family prefers to celebrate with their own family or not at all, why do they talk negatively behind their backs or to their faces? Could it be that they have some memories of the past and are using those to keep old memories alive, numb past pain, or simply control others?

Bossy family and friends want everyone to gather around their events while rarely accepting invites to other people’s homes. Sometimes they create an event on purpose so that they don’t have to be bothered with their own in-laws. If you are the one receiving the invitation and you rather not go, but are feeling obligated, why stress? Don’t go. What is the worst that could happen; the host will never talk to you again? Well if that is the worst, then do you really need him or her? And if so, consider that a sign to stop needing him or her and become more independent. Make your own food, go out to a restaurant, decorate your own home, buy your own gifts, or do anything that will make you feel at peace about the holiday season, rather than sick about it.

There is too much emphasis placed on this time of year, you know it, I know it and the retailers know it! They are hoping that you will stress, overspend, act crazy, fight, or anything else that will make you feel guilty, obligated, sad, depressed, sympathetic, empathetic, nostalgic, or some other negative feeling that will make you spend more! They have a product for just about every ailment you have and in some cases a person to go along with it like a psychologist. You are doing them a huge favor when you lose your mind about the holidays, because they know that’s more money in their pockets.

Peace is what you need this holiday season and the only way you can get it is by doing the following:

Say no to anything this holiday that will disrupt your sleep, cause ache to your stomach, back, muscles and joints, compromise your spiritual beliefs, and distract you from the things that matter the most to you.

Say yes when you know you don’t have to rely on others, have the money, the time, and overall feel good about any project or event you have in mind. When you assume others will help you on something that may not interest them, you set yourself up for feelings of resentment. So don’t do anything that you know you can’t do by yourself.

Avoid being fake. People know when they aren’t liked, so why invite family and others that you know you personally don’t like. If you can’t invite people to your home accepting them of who they are and genuinely feeling good about their presence, don’t invite anyone. So many people drop the ball on this one particularly people of faith. Do you think that Jesus was insincere about the people he chose to communicate with and forced himself to smile then behaved badly behind their backs? Don’t put yourself in a position that may cause unnecessary strife for you or the other party. Avoid making others who know you don’t like a certain person or couple uncomfortable.

Take the time to explain to the children what you will be doing for the holiday. If you are letting them go on a shopping spree after Christmas say so. Maybe you have a set limit on how many gifts each are receiving or maybe you are relying on someone else to finance the holiday. Whatever your issues, be truthful with your children they are stronger than you realize.

Be brief and honest with relatives about how you feel about the holiday season. You don’t need to give specific details as to why you rather stay home during the holidays, not celebrate at all, or go out of town. A simple statement of, “I would prefer to do something different” is all that is needed. Considering the significant changes in the economy lately and any personal tragedies you may have gone through yourself, anyone with a little common sense can understand. Yet, if there are a few relatives that lack any common sense then you have every reason to distance yourself from them.

Lastly, once you have created the peace you desire, don’t give it away. It is very easy to look around and wish you could do what other people are doing or reflect back on the past. Try to remain steadfast through it all. Doing nothing is peaceful, embrace it. Being quiet and treating the holiday season as just another day is okay. Think of the money you will save, the new perspective on life you will gain, and how happy you will make your family feel by only focusing on what matters -- them. As for the children, you know it’s all about the gifts they could care less about all the other stuff!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

After Halloween Blues: What Parents Need to Know

No matter how much parents try to make Halloween a great holiday, the reality is that there are a lot of things that come out of the holiday before and after that just aren’t very good. How have children really been impacted? What have they witnessed this Halloween? What have you or they learned? How will you make next year better?

The following is a list of issues that may come up after the holiday has passed and some tips on what you should do about them.

The Bad Costume Choice

You tried to meet your child’s needs by giving them what they wanted or in some cases giving them what you could afford, well look out for the stories your child may share with you about the new nicknames they are being called. The fruit costume just didn’t work out, the dollar store costume tore in two before your child reached your neighbor door step, older men thought your daughter was older than she was, and your son’s costume has made your neighbor’s think he is troubled.

Try very hard not to laugh and most of all be empathetic when your children come to you with their experiences. They have to go to school not you; therefore, they will have to face the ridicule. Sometimes flaws on their face or other imperfections like acne, a large nose, or freckles may become even more noticeable to their so-called friends and bullies making them an easy target. You can at least slow the teasing by letting the teacher know what is going on and also increasing your presence before or after school. Schedule a doctor’s appointment for bad acne or scars.

Halloween movies

Sometimes you just can’t seem to do a good enough job shielding them away from all those scary movies and commercials. Some channels will continue to show them after the holiday, so police what they watch and offer other movies from their collection or take them out to a store, flea market, or yard sale to pick new movies.

Halloween assignments

Teachers may have assigned a Halloween assignment that they thought would be fun to do, but some of the class clowns may have took it to another level. Your child may have been the one caught in the cross fire. If your child complains about something that has happened in school related to Halloween, you may want to meet with the teacher, talk with other parents, and provide some suggestions to the administration on how best to celebrate the holiday next year.

Halloween rumors

Your child may be disturbed about something that went on in the haunted house, at an amusement park, over a friend’s house, or something they witnessed while Trick or Treating. When you see they are acting strange, start a conversation about your own Halloween experience as a child. Then indirectly ask them a question about some of the events that took place while they were out. Also, speak with other parents and neighbors to find out what they know or have heard.

Candy issues

Some parents just don’t know what to do with all that candy. The best thing to do is to not allow the children to eat it every day. Keep in mind if you give most toddlers and elementary children candy after dinner, it will excite them and they will have a hard time settling down and going to sleep. Also, if you don’t want to give the family dentist any additional business, put a limit on the candy.

One way you can control the candy is freeze at least half of it. This way it won’t be so easy for your children or dieting adults to dig into it as often. You can also share it with your neighbors who didn’t go Trick or Treating. A final idea would be to take some of it to work with you and put it in candy dishes for your co-workers.

Although Halloween is over, it doesn’t mean that it is over for your children. With careful observation, some patience, and a whole lot of love, your children will be open to share some things that happened on Halloween that you may not have known and you will be better prepared next year.

By Nicholl McGuire

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Protect Yourself from the Evil that People Do on Halloween

Most people treat the day before Halloween and Halloween as just another day, but just because you don’t celebrate it doesn’t mean that others won’t force you to participate anyway. Halloween has always been the holiday that excuses pranks and jokes, promotes acceptance of treats from strangers, encourages people to be something other than themselves, and demonstrates that being scared or scaring other people, acting bizarre (such as disrespecting the burial plots of loved ones,) and other similar behaviors is totally acceptable. So what do you do to at least alleviate, notice I didn’t say eliminate, some of the stress you may or may not encounter before, during, and after the Halloween holiday?

Protect your car.

You may have been accustomed to parking in front of your house, not locking doors or rolling up windows, leaving valuables in the car, or forgetting to use a car cover, you will need to write yourself a reminder or tell someone in the family to do these things in case you forget. If you start getting in the habit now, you won’t forget by the time the holiday arrives.

Double check that doors and windows of your home are locked.

Even nowadays with all the crime in the world, people will still leave doors and windows unlocked. Burglars or neighborhood children looking to play a prank will take advantage of any opportunity to get what they want, so be your own security patrol officer and test knobs, locks, attempt to lift windows, and buy any additional safety locks for sliding glass doors and low level windows. If you can afford it, purchase block glass windows for your basement.

Anything that you have always kept outdoors that may be worth anything, lock it up.

People will leave expensive items such as motorcycles on porches and low-level balconies and think no one will steal them. Others may have kept collectible pottery and statues, old parts to cars, tools, even recyclables that people can obtain money for and think nothing of it. Halloween is a great time for thieves to pose as parents to observe what’s around your house.

Take candy to the children, don’t invite them in.

This will keep you safe and them. You don’t want to be mistakenly accused of bothering a child, so don’t even let them in. Children will be visiting numerous houses Halloween night and it is very easy to confuse one house from another, “It was that man with the pumpkin in the Halloween that bothered me.” So you may be the unfortunate one being pointed out. Meanwhile, another man had a similar pumpkin in his hallway too, and it turns out that he was the one, not you.

Parents aren’t always the ones taking their children Trick or Treating either, sometimes their troublemaking relatives are accompanying them. This relative might be using this as an opportunity to check out your house and will follow the child into your home. Don’t invite anyone in, leave the candy outside or sit in front of your house dressed in a costume (with your doors locked if it makes you feel comfortable.)

Don’t keep valuables in office drawers, closets.

Everyone has a few people they work with who enjoy playing jokes. You also have those who are strapped for cash too. Halloween is a great time for some jealous thieves to start accumulating money and “free” items for the upcoming holidays, then blame it on someone else. At workplaces inundated with children, it is very easy to blame them, so don’t take more than you need to work, deposit checks as soon as you can leave the office, and never store anything at work or use collectible treasures (such as a rare numbered Halloween knickknack) to decorate your workspace.

Avoid letting your children go to haunted houses unless you plan to accompany them.

This is a great place for troublemakers. Would you trust your child in a room with a stranger with the lights cut off?

Take your children to well-lit neighborhoods to Trick or Treat.

Some neighborhoods have too many trees, bushes, alleyways, and other places that any mischievous person or animal can hide. Some communities don’t have any street lights that work or not enough for them. Contact your local city hall to find out which department is responsible for street light repair in your neighborhood.

Inspect treats to see if they have been opened and then resealed.

Over the years the media has reported stories where someone opened candy, tampered with it, and then sealed it back. You will have to check closely by opening the entire contents and checking to see that the packaging is consistent in color and smell. Also, check the dates on treats and throw out the expired ones. Most likely, they are stale anyway.

Throw away any opened or homemade treats.

As inexpensive as candy is nowadays, some people will still insist on baking treats. Not everyone’s household is sanitary, nor does everyone wash their hands while they cook or keep pets out the kitchen. Save yourself a moment of possible disgust by finding something you rather not in the treat and just throw it away! As for opened items, would you buy it in the store if it were open?

Prepare your child for the ugly, gory costumes and masks BEFORE you take them out.

Why would anyone take their child out amongst some of the ugliest sites known to mankind and think their child won’t become frightened or later have nightmares? If your child knows the difference between what is scary and what is not and you have already noticed that he or she manages their fear well? Then by all means, but if you know that he or she scares easily, save yourself a crying storm of tantrums and a headache and leave him or her at home!

Don’t entrust your child in the care of older children on Halloween night.

There are some great babysitters who can handle responsibilities given to them well and then there are those who can’t. If your child is having a temper tantrum in the middle of the street with a Tween or Teen who isn’t use to him or her, they may walk on down the street with your child trailing behind them. This isn’t good, if say, a car is coming down a street; he or she is trying to cross?

Keep your pets indoors.

Just as there are those people who believe in God, there are those who believe in many gods. Sacrifices happen all the time during this time of year. If you love your pet, keep him or her indoors.

Stay up later than normal the day before and the day of Halloween.

Local police and private investigators will tell you approximately what time most mischief happens in your neighborhood. They also know whether the rate of Halloween mischief increases or decreases during this time of year in your community. Contact your local police or conduct a quick search on the Internet for more information.

If you own property, visit it or have someone check it out.

You would be surprised at how long people will stay away from their property and never check it out. Neighborhood children usually know whose house is being used as the crack house, the party house or the whore house. Protect your own property, look out for your neighbors, keep your eyes open to any suspicious activity and report it.

Observe your surroundings.

You may be walking to your car, driving from an event or doing something else, unaware that someone is following you. Always look around and make eye contact with anyone that you find is looking at you. Go to a public place and call the police if you find a single person or group of individuals are following you or making you feel uncomfortable. Never confront them. You don’t know what their mental state of mind maybe or if they have a weapon on them. Not only that, you don’t want to be at fault for pulling out a weapon of your own.

Avoid parties where drinking and drugs are involved.

So many people often fall into the trap of a few hours of fun that for some ends up being a life altering tragedy. As we see in the media, people are negatively impacted, jailed, raped, beaten, or worse murdered, because someone is out of control. If you must drink and/or do drugs, stay off the road or designate someone to take you home.

Halloween can be a great holiday in a controlled environment for many who like to celebrate. However, it can be a nightmare for people who don’t take necessary precautions despite the holiday. Protect yourself by taking heed to the warnings this holiday and throughout your life.

By Nicholl McGuire

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Truth Will Set You Free

We think that because they are our relatives and friends that they will always tell the truth, but can I tell you, they won't!  Some will tell partial truths, others will tell white lies, while others won't say anything at all.

Some of us need the truth.  For the truth will set us free!  If you are spiritual, you know that the enemy keeps you in bondage by not telling the truth.  There are those who think they are doing the right thing simply by saying, "I rather not know."  Maybe you don't, but there are others that may be living daily with a lie.  Why not let the captives free and allow these people to tell the truth?

Relatives and friends may claim they care about us and that is why they rather not say anything at all about a family secret.  But when there is always that possibility of knowing the truth, why let someone you care about find out through a weird circumstance, a carelessly left paper or from a stranger on the street?

I think of someone who I had encountered who believes that a certain man is her father, when in fact he isn't!  Over the years, she has battled with so many issues and no one can find it in their hearts to share this information with her.  What if all her searching for peace of mind was due to the questions she always had about her identity?  Would the truth finally set her free?  No one wants to be the messenger, for fear they will be responsible for sending her over the edge.  In this case, I have since removed myself from her family.  I personally believe it is up to them to sit her down and talk to her, I can only hope and pray they will do just that.

I personally wouldn't want anyone in my own family to make the decision for me "to not say anything to Nicholl about..."  Give me enough information, without all the details at first, then let me think about whether I need to know more.  There is a way to slowly let a person know the truth without dumping it all in their lap at once!

I know for some people, they put some relatives and friends on pedestals in their lives, and that may be a very nice thing to do, but realize, that sometimes the one you love the most will hurt you.  For those who know the truth, but keep going along with a lie, especially if you claim to be a Christ believer, understand that there is someone much greater than man you will have to answer to.  For those who don't feel accountable to a creator, what goes around comes back around.

Nicholl McGuire

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daughter, Why Your Father Won’t Approve of Your Dating Any Man

Your dad knows that at some point you are going to come home with a man you really like and you may feel like he is better than the last guy, but the truth is your dad isn’t really going to approve of him or any man for that matter.  You see, your dad was once a man and he knows how men think.
He may have given his daughter away in a marriage or encouraged her to say yes to a gentlemen suitor, but deep down inside he really wanted to say, “No.”  That’s why some dads cry at weddings.  He knows what goes around comes back around.  He starts thinking about all the mess he put his wife through and he knows that the man who says he loves his daughter is a younger version of him who will eventually make his daughter cry.
You may have tried everything to make your dad approve of the men you have dated over the years,  but that is a losing battle so save yourself the fight and end it.  Whether the man is black white yellow or red, the man is interested in you and your dad doesn’t like it. 
Now there are some things you can do to reassure your dad that you are happy with your decision and this article discusses some of those things.
First, don’t tell your mother every little thing wrong that your mate has ever done to you.  Your mother will go back and tell your dad your stories.  This doesn’t help your dad’s state of mind when he knows that this knucklehead you call your husband, fiancĂ© or boyfriend has hurt his daughter.
Next, avoid telling your dad all the details of your relationship with your mate.  No mentally stable dad wants to hear about the kisses and the hot sex in the backseat of a car with his daughter and partner.  By telling him everything, you are giving him images that he rather not see (or if perverted he would want to see) and may send him over the edge.
Another thing you can do to help your dad adjust to your new life with a man is talk about the money he makes and how he is taking care of you.  Any dad who truly cares about his daughter is very interested in whether the man she is pledging her life to will take care of her.
Your dad may not tell you this but he wouldn’t mind a touching card or gift that says you love and appreciate him too.  Some dads are just jealous and wish that you paid them a little more attention too.  Give dear old dad a hug and tell him that you love him.
Some of you, who have a faith know you have a father in heaven and a father down here on earth so with that said, take the time to pray about your dad and his behavior.  Pray that he will be less combative, argumentative, angry, or jealous about your pick in a mate.
Lastly, try not to be angry around your dad.  If he sees you are upset with him he may act worse.  You want your dad to see you are happy and aren’t interested in holding anymore grudges against him about his past behavior. 
By Nicholl McGuire

Monday, June 13, 2011

Parents: Accused of Playing Favorites?

Children don’t suddenly tell their parents one day they are playing favorites. They have been watching their parents act in ways for awhile that have made them feel as if they love, care, and like their siblings more than them.

When parents are told about their behavior, they usually deny that they are playing favorites and will follow up with a statement like, “I love all my children the same.” Actions speak louder than words, so let’s look at what some parents are doing that make at least one of their children feel that they are being treated unfairly.

When giving praises and compliments…

Some parents just don’t know how to distribute positive words effectively. They are either preoccupied with other things, reenacting how they were treated as a child, or are too hurt by the past actions of their children to bother to say anything that will encourage them. The children who may need more attention than the others know that they have problems and don’t need their parents to continue to remind them of this, rather they need help and it is up to the parents to do what it takes to get them the help they need and back on the right track. Making comparisons between children or thinking that praising the other siblings will make “the problem child” perform better, doesn’t do anything for them but build resentment.

When gift-giving…

When shopping, some parents have taken the time to listen more to the needs of one child over another. Some children are better communicators than others. However, whatever the reason why a parent would give another child more or better gifts than another when both children have demonstrated good behavior, is wrong. If a parent happens to have extra money right around the time one of the children’s birthday is coming up, consider dividing up the money between the two children and saving a portion of the money until the next child’s birthday comes up.

When planning events…

There will be those times when a parent will invite family members to a celebrated event. Now if the parent is careful to use the same guest list for all the children, and some of the guests are able to make it to one child’s birthday but not all, then the child will be disappointed in whoever couldn’t make it, and not upset with the parent for at least inviting the guest. However, when a parent makes a big deal out of one child’ birthday and not the others, he or she is causing unnecessary jealousy between siblings.

When conversing to other children…

Parents can create a hostile environment for their children by not watching what they say and how they say it. If a parent is talking to one child in a nice tone and irritated often when talking to the other, in time the child will feel as if the parent likes or favors their brother or sister more.

When talking about their children to others…

Children pay attention to adult conversation. If the least favored child hears you on the phone or telling someone in-person how great their sibling is while criticizing he or she, they will become resentful. Some children will purposely do negative things as their way of paying the parent back for not saying anything good about them.

When teaching responsibility…

Some parents avoid giving any responsibility to one child and overdo it with another. Maybe one child is allowed to go to the mall with their friends, while the other isn’t. He or she may be allowed to have a cell phone, the car, or something else while the other isn’t. Although the child has heard the parents tell them, “Until you show that you are responsible you are allowed to do…” They will still overlook the reason and focus on the fact that you are allowing the other child to do or have more than them. You can help them understand why you do what you do by giving them more responsibility in other tasks until they meet your requirements. If you don’t pay close attention to when the child who accuses you of being unfair has done well, what you are doing will look and feel like favoritism.

When showing trust…

Every parent wants to trust their child, but when you feel you can’t and they have shown you that you can’t, and then you have no choice but to act differently when it comes to distributing duties. But some parents will say they don’t trust their children without explaining to them why. Provide proof as to why your child can’t be trusted, just don’t tell them that you don’t trust them. And if you want a positive relationship with them in the future, put a deadline on their punishment. Don’t keep holding things against them that they did years ago.

By Nicholl McGuire


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