Merry Christmas from Lexington Medical Center

From our Every Woman Blog and Lexington Medical Center family to yours, Merry Christmas! This holiday season, we are grateful for our Every Woman Bloggers, who generously share their lives with us, and for you, our loyal readers. We hope your Christmas is filled with love and happiness!

A Year of Greatest Survival

By: Shannon Boatwright

Shannon

So for my blog entry, I’m sharing another blogger’s entry. Why? Simply put, because it’s wonderful. I came across this entry on Facebook. A dear friend of mine shared it and I took the time to read it. And I’m so glad that I did! This blogger, Rachel Macy Stafford, writes about how instead of looking back on a tough year and declaring that it was the worst year ever, you can look at it from a different perspective and declare that it was one of your greatest years ever.

Your Year of Greatest Strength
Your Year of Greatest Faith
Your Year of Greatest Hope
Your Year of Greatest Patience
Your Year of Greatest Risk
Your Year of Greatest Determination
Your Year of Greatest Courage

It was your year of greatest survival!

For me, the past few years have all been about survival. As I type right now, I’m battling Strep Throat for the third year in a row. I think it’s safe to say that teaching in the public school system has taken its toll on me! I’m in my third year of the PACE program, teaching Drama in a public school and I honestly feel like I’ve aged ten years. And I promise, I’m not being dramatic! In 2015 alone, my life “happenings” have been immense, intense and incredible. Wonderful things, tough things, heartbreaking things, you name it. Then add the stressful teaching job to the mix, the fact that it’s my last year of PACE, that I’ve got to pass the PLT exam and take two graduate classes in the next few months, all while buying a new home, moving and surviving the holidays. (Insert emoticon with the eyes crossed)

BUT, instead of focusing on the sheer weight of it all, I am choosing to recognize all the blessings in my crazy year. Like Rachel says, I’m still holding on. So far, I’m still living to tell about it! So far! 😉 I have so many things to be thankful for, I absolutely cannot let the stress of it all take me down. I refuse. I will not let the stress squash my light! I recognize my ability to bring light to others. And when I’m more open to share my own light, I’m more open to let the light of others in. The older I get, the more I discover the strength within me, and I choose to celebrate that strength. I will continue to survive and recognize years past, knowing that I survived them! I will let light overcome darkness and push forward with a grateful heart.

Please do read Rachel’s blog entry, “If 2015 Tried You or Tested You, Do This.”

I promise you it’s worth the read!

Virtual Christmas Cards

By: Brady Evans Venables

Our whole lives have gone digital.  Televisions are so crisp that they are almost 3D. Lights are LED and are no longer incandescent. Our smartphones organize everything for us and more. We primarily communicate via Facebook, text, and email. Maybe by telephone if we have to 🙂

Christmas cardsYet, the holidays are the time of year when we all throw back to traditions of yesteryear – mailing greeting cards. Cards get pinned to the refrigerator or placed on the mantle. If you’ve had enough time, you may have searched Pinterest to create a unique holiday card holder.

As for us?  We don’t do Christmas cards. When we had our son, people started dropping comments about looking forward to cards. People would post comments on particularly cute pictures on Facebook saying, “This one is Christmas card material!” I love receiving cards; don’t get me wrong. But I just can’t think about getting cards printed in October or November to mail in December. Choosing the right photo, the right layout, the right stamp. Addressing the envelops! The cost!

So this year, I stayed true to the digital world we live in and used Animoto.com.  You basically type in the words you want, upload a few pictures, and you get a movie-quality video that you can email to your loved ones or post on social media. We’re just a few days out from Christmas and the rest of the holidays, but if you are feeling the urge to get a last-minute holiday greeting out, give Animoto a try!  Here’s ours.

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas

By: Chaunte McClure

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house, not a sign of the holiday season and there better not be a mouse.

With two Christmas parties down and two to go, there’s no tree, no mistletoe, no candles, no wreath – nothing. And Christmas will be here next week!
I’ll get to it by the middle of this week although it’ll mean that my decorations will only be up for about two weeks. But it’s Christmas time and I have to do something, even if I only put a wreath on the front door. I did buy a poinsettia Thanksgiving weekend for the front porch. I always have good intentions, and sometimes good ideas, but procrastination with my school work this semester has left me at 10 days before Christmas unprepared for the holiday.

My tree has made it out of the attic but not out of the box. I decided to put candles in the
windows tonight but they weren’t where I thought they would be, so I gave up on that idea.

Christmas Tree DressOh dear! I should have done all this the day after Thanksgiving. No worries, it’ll get done before Christmas and maybe I’ll leave all my decorations up past New Year’s Day. And no, I don’t believe it’s bad luck to do so – just tradition in many households.

If you mastered the Christmas tree dress, it’s worth displaying beyond the New Year. They’re so chic and trendy. A big thumbs up to whomever came up with that idea. When I first saw pictures of them on social media last year, I thought it would be neat to try my hands at creating one. One of my Facebook friends mastered the dress tree. She decked it with poinsettias, a few ornaments and an accent bow. What a beauty! There are several tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube to help you create one of your own.

How early do you put up Christmas decorations? How late do you keep them up?

My Favorite Things: Holiday Edition

By: Leah Prescott

If you know me, you know I love LISTS. In fact, I plan to blog soon about my favorite method of life-planning called “notebook journaling” which is essentially creating and collecting lists and lists of lists! Since it is the holiday season, some of the items on this list will be perfect for gift giving; others will be helpful for making the New Year less stressful for your family!

SnowballIndoor Snowball Fight – We are lightening our toy purchases this year for Christmas, but my friend introduced us to these and they are absolutely fabulous. Too light to cause any harm, but somehow heavy enough to really fly through the air, these truly are the closest thing you can imagine to a real, friendly snowball fight. Kids of all ages will enjoy!

Marpac Sound Machines  We are a family that values sleep highly. We make it a point to keep regular bedtime routines for our kids, and when traveling we drag all of our sleep routine items along with us. That includes our Marpac Sound Machines. We are all addicted to the soothing white noise and a calm environment for sleep; and now I don’t have to lug a box fan around everywhere!

Chick-fil-A Cow Calendar –This calendar is a fun (and funny) gift that comes with an offer card to scan each month at the restaurant. Offers include free drinks, fries and nuggets, along with lots of mystery offers. We eat at Chick-fil-A at least once a month so this is a no-brainer. 2016 Calendars are sold out online, but should be available at your local restaurant.

Natural Calm – Since my family has started taking this supplement every day, we’ve had a significant improvement in stomach complaints and anxiety. The inexpensive supplement we use is available on Amazon.

HGTV’s Fixer Upper – I know I’m late to the party, but this show recently came to Netflix streaming and my girls and I are really enjoying it. It’s completely family friendly, which isn’t always the case for other shows in the genre, and moves quickly enough to interest all of us. Now I want to purchase a ramshackle old mansion with the understanding that Chip and Joanna will completely renovate it prior to our moving in.

Instant Pot – I have blogged about this before, but it deserves another mention. I still love it and use it constantly. In fact, I used it twice just today; I hardboiled some eggs for deviled eggs and I made a pot of chili. With 7 functions in 1, this machine should eliminate several other appliances; in fact, it’s like you’re giving multiple gifts at once. The newest version is even blue-tooth enabled!

I considered making this list longer, but I was really trying to stick with things we truly love and recommend. (You can always take a look at last year’s list here for more of my all time favorites.) This has been a year of simplifying for our family, so perhaps my shorter list reflects that. I hope you have a very blessed Christmas Season and a Happy New Year!

Don’t Miss the Midlands’ Largest Drive Through Light Show!

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

For me, it just isn’t Christmas until I’ve seen Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park at least once. This year, I’ve already been twice, and I may end up there again. It’s
that delightful!

Holiday Lights On The River

With a million lights sparkling through more than 400 themes, there are a variety of displays, including the Dazzling Dancing Forest, the Twelve Days of Christmas, a Victorian Village, Old Man Winter and much more. My personal favorite is the holiday train, featuring a special car for naughty kids like me.

You can customize your Holiday Lights experience – stroll through the Winter Wonderland Walking Trail, enjoy the lights in the warmth of your car or bundle up and take a Winter Wonder Ride. This year, I did the November 23rd Sleigh Bell Stroll through the Park, which provided an up-close-and-personal look at each display, as well as fabulous photo ops!

Each evening features a variety of family-friendly activities, including a Red-Nose Express Hayride, the Saluda Shoals Choo-Choo Ride, and of course, visits with Santa!

Holiday Lights is open every evening from 6-10 p.m. now through December 31. If you haven’t been, make plans to visit this year. Or, if you’ve been in the past, it’s time to make Holiday Lights an annual tradition. You’ll love it!

Mannerisms

By: Shannon Boatwright

We all have mannerisms. Mannerisms are unconscious habits; peculiarities. Some of us have odder mannerisms than others. Most of us have very common mannerisms. Then there are some who have mannerisms that need NOT be done in public! Let’s think on this…I know your mind is racing thinking of the mannerisms you see others around you do and the mannerisms that you and those closest to you do.

mannerismNail biting, hair twirling, gum popping, toe tapping, and knuckle cracking are just some of the common mannerisms a lot of us engage in without realizing. Then there are those who have more unique mannerisms, such as chewing on a sleeve, pulling out hair, odd grunting, eye brow twitching, drink swirling before taking a sip, hand conducting while driving when one hears an awesome song on the radio (a mannerism I inherited from my mother!), rubbing the edge of clothing with the pad of a finger, and folding paper.

And then there’s the unfortunate ear-picking-with-examination-of-ear-wax-on-a-finger or nose-picking-with-booger-examination mannerism – which belongs to the category of mannerisms that SHOULD NOT be done while in public! Oh yes, you know you’ve witnessed it. Those moments when you’re talking with someone, another adult even, and while in mid conversation the person will pick at or adjust a body part right there, in front of you…as you’re making eye contact and talking! I have to admit, I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have been having a conversation with someone and witness them do something of this nature, knowing I’m seeing their actions front and center, overflowing with awkwardness. And of course since I’m a nice person – probably way too nice – I simply act like I didn’t see their inappropriate or gross mannerism.

Humans. We’re definitely an interesting species!

They say mannerisms say a lot about you. I try to explain this to my students as I’m teaching them how to use mannerisms to portray characters. As a drama teacher, I tend to notice all these unique characteristics about people. It can be a bit of a curse at times, because I’m hyper aware of people’s body language and peculiar habits. It always makes for an interesting conversation with my students as they share the mannerisms they do, mannerisms they pick up from family and close friends, and mannerisms they see strangers do. Some are quite entertaining, some can totally get on your nerves and then there are some that completely gross you out. And of course some mannerisms are just border-line OCD.

Please, for the sake of others, take note of your own mannerisms, just in case you’ve got nerve-racking, aggravating habits! And by all means, please be aware enough NOT to engage in the gross mannerisms in front of others! Do a little people watching and see what mannerisms you notice. It makes for an interesting and eye-opening experiment!