TinkerToy’s FIRST Meet and Greet for 4-legses


Inspired by the ones hosted by 2-legses
(but we 4-legged bloggers have a lot to say too!)

Guest blogger: TinkerToy

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

It’s never too late to party with us! 
Comments never close here – so leave your calling card.

CALLING ALL DOGS
cats, squirrels, pigs, hamsters, rabbits, rats, turtles, even parrots and budgies

We can do it too

If you’ve been over to PuppyDoc’s blog, you already know she’s not a real dog.

Her actual name is Phoebe and she’s a 2-legs who is also a super doctor with a HUGE heart — but who can blame her for adopting a great nickname like that, huh? (She explains why on her own blog, so jump over there if you want to know the back-story.)

Anyway, she hosted this big Meet-and-Greet Party where some of my pals and I left links to our blogs. I guess it was a great party for Mom, but not so much for me.

No offense, PuppyDoc, but I had to scroll through screen-loads of links to 2-legs’es blogs to find the ones written by possible blogging buds for ME.

So I thought I’d throw a party of my own to see if I could host a spot where us 4-legses stand out because we’re the only ones there (no offense to you blogging birds, btw – you are more than welcome too).

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ABOUT the Mental Health Writers Guild


A new badge on my sidebar
and one more item I can cross off my to-do list

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Walking a Mile Series

No longer languishing undone

I’m doing my happy dance to be able to announce, finally, that ADDandSoMuchMORE.com is now included among the many other wonderful blogs on the membership roster of the Mental Health Writers Guild.

For those who are not already aware, The Mental Health Writers’ Guild is a voluntary, non-profit, non-professional community.

It exists to encourage positive, informative, inspirational writing supporting Mental Health Awareness, advocacy, encouragement, information and help.

It seeks to provide and promote a community open to all bloggers and writers who write articles which are either directly or indirectly related to mental health and mental well-being in an affirming – and non-commercial – manner.

Gettin’ A Round Tuit at last

It has been my intention to submit ADDandSoMuchMORE.com for membership seemingly forever, but something always jumped in front of it on my to-do list.

  • When I finally had the time and focus last year, the life of the site creator and administrator wasn’t in a place where he could keep up with the administration required, so was unable to respond to requests for membership for a time.
  • BoldKeven (also blogging at Voices of Glass) checks out every blog personally, to make sure that member sites reflect positively on one another and on the Guild, then adds a link to blog of the newly approved member on the Guild’s Membership Page.

All’s well that end’s well, right?

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Emotional Mastery to help us move forward


Upgrading how you feel
to help you change what you DO

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Intentionality Series

UPDATE: This article was written to support the mood challenges of most readers here.  The blog of one reader reminded me to be SURE to say that some of you are dealing with issues that are more complex, and that other articles I’ve written might be more helpful to you.  Click to the PTSD/TBI LinkList for links to a selection of those.

Riding herd on runaway emotions

I recently found an emotional resiliency blog post by PsychCentral blogger Athena Staik, Ph.D. that fits right in with my focus on change-management in 2017.

She begins with four important points to keep in mind:

  1. Emotion mastery is a built-in capacity, often ignored yet always available.
  2. It is a learned ability to respond in a conscious manner that short-circuits our body’s survival-system to keep it from controlling us and our lives with ineffective automatic reactions and unconscious defensive strategies.
  3. It involves developing an awareness of and connection to our thoughts, emotions and body sensations — so that we are able to, step by step, cultivate a practice, or lifestyle habit of making conscious, informed decisions that will keep us on course toward achieving our goals
  4. In the process of cultivating emotion mastery, we will build the confidence and resilience we need to handle upcoming challenges more effectively.

Emotional Mastery

She continues by using the acronym M-A-S-T-E-R-Y to outline a system she recommends to help us tame our emotional reactivity.

The article seems to have been written from a neuro-typical point of view, so I don’t agree completely with every single thing she has to say about them.

I do agree with her on their importance, however – and I’m sharing in the hopes that her “MASTERY” mnemonic will help us all keep them in mind.

Mnemonic devices are techniques a person can use to help them improve their ability to remember something — a memory technique to help your brain better encode and recall important information.

You can jump over to Staik’s article to see what she has to offer in response to each letter.  My own thoughts will be found in the posts I’ve linked within or below each of her mnemonic assists.

 So lets take a look at them!

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Five Golden Rings – from a Post-Christmas Sale


Maids, Pipers, Lords, Drummers & Birds . . .
ALL Make Way for Twelfth Nite
January 6th: when sensible ADD Poster Girls prefer to hold the present-fest

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An edited reposting of an earlier idea

Are Merry Christmas & Happy New Year behind you now?

If so, I hope your Christmas festivities were everything you wanted them to be, and that all of your gifts were happily received in more than the spirit of that thought-that-counts manner.

I also hope that you are so happy with the gifts you received that you spend not a nano-second in a returns line.

HOWEVER, as many of you are focused on recovering from celebrating the arrival of the New Year, a scant few of us are still anticipating Christmas celebrations ourselves – after a fashion.

We who NEED a Little Christmas . . . TIME!

 

I know – for those of us who celebrate Christmas at all – ever since we were young enough to eagerly await the visit of Santa Claus, most of us have been accustomed to the idea that opening presents happens on the morning of December 25th.

But haven’t we ALREADY made some modifications to that particular plan?

It’s not unusual for families to pick another day to get together to celebrate – a time when ALL the family members will be able to attend.

Blended families frequently have more than ONE unwrapping ceremony – both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – and sometimes extending to other days and times as well.

Many of us have long-ago relocated Christmas present unwrapping to Christmas Eve — sometimes to make it easier for everyone to focus on getting out door for Christmas services at various places of worship, or sometimes to allow them to sleep late on Christmas morning, hoping to recover from the exhaustion of the rush of December before ramping up for New Year’s Eve.

I would like to suggest that moving the present-fest earlier
is going the wrong way, Jose!

Artist Patience Brewster’s Nativity Wise Men

Good enough for THREE Wise Men equals perfect for us

Legend has it that those three Wise Men following that star-so-bright did NOT arrive with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh bright and early on the morning of December 25th.

It took twelve more days and nights for them to get there with the presents: they arrived on January 6th (which marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras Season, for New Orleans aficionados).

Far be it from me to suggest that those Men had a kludgy sense of direction or a sense of time similar to my own (which is to say, NONE!), but I don’t recall anyone considering them late to the party, do you?

So, not only is there is some serious precedence for taking a bit more time, there are more than a few substantially great reasons for delaying gift exchange.

Let’s take a look at a few of those reasons that is a bit more serious-minded than an older post on the topic.

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

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Happy New Year’s Life Upgrades to YOU


Resolutions? Affirmations? Intentions?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An edited reposting of an earlier idea

Drawing of a hand, arm, quill pen and paper, under the words New Year Resolutions - as if in handwriting.

A therapist I know has this to say about change:

“Everybody wants things to be different,
but nobody wants anything to change.”

He doesn’t add, “especially anything about THEM” – but I have always believed that’s what he was really talking about: the devil you know, and all that.

What IS it about change that makes us cringe?  

Never one to ask a rhetorical question without some kind of an answer gnawing at the edges of my mind, I’ll tell you what I’m thinking it is – at least where those of us with ADD/EFD brain wiring are concerned: it’s so darned disorienting.

  • JUST when we get a few processes on autopilot so that we can finally avoid the dreaded decision-making horror with every step of the process, and . . .
  • Just as we get things systematized, automated to the point where short-term memory deficits are no longer as likely to trip us up . . .
  • Some idiot updates the software and nothing works the same way anymore. (Those of us in the WordPress.com blogging community know I’m not JUST speaking metaphorically here!)

It’s beyond frustrating – it makes us feel stupid. It’s salt in an ADD/EFD wound that’s barely scabbed over to begin with.

Our only alternative is to revise and adjust, which sometimes feels like beginning anew — and often is exactly like beginning anew.

It seems that ever since the recently deceased futurist Alvin Toffler first published his only-constant-is-change Future Shock in 1970, nothing holds still for very long at all.  And, forced to adapt, we are absolutely powerless to do anything else about that but bitch.

Is it any wonder that we want to dig in our heels whenever and wherever we have a bit of power and change doesn’t seem absolutely necessary?

  • RESOLVE to change something we’re used to?
  • Change something about US?

When pigs fly, and not one moment sooner!

And yet . . .

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A Mardi Gras END to Christmas Festivities


As Mardi Gras/Carnival Season begins
(with festivities that continue until Lent)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Edited reblog from Happy Eve before Mardi Gras, 2015

About Mardi Gras – why here (and NOW)?

Since my ex-husband and I both attended grad school in New Orleans, we had three years to experience the celebrations of Mardi Gras – from King Cake parties to balls to parades and so-much-more. I relish the opportunity to share “insider” Mardi Gras knowledge gleaned from my personal experiences in New Orleans over several seasons.

I’m posting this reblog just a tad early this year, in case some of you might be inspired to set up a quick trip while there still might be a hotel room to be had.

Mardi Gras beads in the traditional colors: green, purple and gold – thrown from the floats by MANY different Krew members riding in the many, MANY parades they sponsor

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We ALL wish you a Merry Christmas!


Christmas Spirit Fun
Time on your hands headin’ toward Christmas? Feeling blue?
Check out these links for a hit of feel better fast
(or just plain fun)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Christmas Happy Christmas Series

Merry Happy EVERY thing!

Since Christmas is my thing, the name of that particular holiday will be featured most prominently in any of my winter holiday articles.

But I hope you’re ALL enjoying yourselves and your traditions, no matter which end-of-year holidays YOU observe:

Hanukkah – Kwanza – Solstice – Ramadan – Shawwal – Black Friday – Cyber Monday – St. Nicholas Day – Boxing Day – Christmas Card Day – New Years – Twelfth Night – Festivus – or even You’re Welcome Day.

Then there’s Fruitcake Toss Day or National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (which, according to the Holiday Insights website, actually exist)along with my personal favorite on November 9th, Chaos Never Dies Day – even though most of YOU probably missed it this year!

Like Christmas Windows: Here to Visit Now or Later

What’s YOUR situation this December?

Many of you are hyper-busy Christmas do-bees as Santa’s big day draws near, but many of you are NOT.

Some of you have let me know that you are alone this season – for various reasons – and more than just a bit down about that fact.

I have heard from more than a few of you who have been praying for the time when the kids were grown up and on their own so things weren’t so harried — but now that time has come, it’s not exactly what you thought it would be.  Something seems missing from your Christmas jingle all the way.

Others can’t get home — or are home-bound — for the holidays, and you don’t know how to capture any sort of Christmasy feeling on your own.

  • Pour yourself a cup of something warm – or a glass of something festive – and click the links below for a virtual visit to some bloggers who will give you a hit of those warm fuzzies (or cheer you up with a bit of Christmas humor).
  • Allow me to take you on a virtual field trip for some Christmas cheer up.
  • Those of you who desperately need a bit of a break, dropping in on some fun you don’t have to do a darned thing to make happen is just what Mrs. Claus advises when Santa gets overwhelmed (like clicking below to visit a few of the links, for example).
  • Some of the links will take you to heart-warming article; others will take you to virtual kitchens or visits to the homes of others.
  • Sit back, relax, click, and allow yourselves ENJOY.

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How to navigate those “Home Alone” Holidays


The Single Person’s Holiday Playbook

(Putting an end to those awkward holidays!)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An edited reblog of a previously published article

ENOUGH with the questions from well-meaning others!

Whether we are alone by choice or circumstance, holidays can be, at best, awkward.

Found on: Lolsnaps

“Have any plans for the upcoming holiday?” can be asked at any moment – even by total strangers trying to be friendly in grocery lines.

ANY version of, “Not really,” is something they do NOT, actually, want to hear.

Nor is it something that most of us who are already feeling marooned are eager to utter aloud.

No Mom, s/he won’t be coming

As any single person who’s ever gone “HOME for the holidays” can probably tell you, being “unpartnered” during special family events can present a unique set of challenges, especially the first time.

It runs the gamut:

  • from feeling awkward, maybe a bit defensive about your [lack of] relationship status this particular holiday,
  • all the way to feeling that you must either “ruin everyone’s holiday with a display of pique” -or-
  • grit your teeth, grin and bear it as you attempt to find a way to politely field unintentionally rude inquiries about why you happen to be alone.

The Formerly Familied

Far too many individuals who are divorced, widowed, separated (or outliving their families and many of their friends) can find solo-holidays sad and depressing.

A friend of mine, an emotionally healthy, extremely self-reliant, empty-nest single parent says her married kids “make other plans” for major holidays — at the very least every other year.

She really doesn’t resent the reality that the kids have their own lives, hope to start their own family traditions, and deserve to feel unconflicted about making holiday plans that won’t always include her,  BUT . . .

She says that she can’t face cooking a holiday meal for one OR going to a restaurant alone when everyone but her seems to have somebody celebrating WITH them.

She also finds it unbearably depressing to fuff around in her pajamas and slippers ALL day, even though she feels like she is “all dressed up with no place to go” if she doesn’t.

Reaching out to help others?

Even singles who volunteer at soup kitchens and so on have to make it through at least a portion of the day totally alone, at a time that was once known for family get-togethers.

People who never drink anything stronger than root beer have confessed that the idea of becoming a regular at their town’s version of the Cheers bar crosses their minds more than a few times, just to have somewhere to go and a few people to talk to on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

Different ways to make it work . . .

Since I have spent most of the major holidays alone for many years now, I’m hoping that I will be able to help you look at things in ways you haven’t already thought of, tried and rejected.

In any case, I’m not planning to rehash the holiday survival tips already found all over the internet (but in case you have missed a few bloggy ideas, check out the articles under the Related Articles ’round the net heading in the links below the original post.)

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

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The REAL Christmas Elves


Santa couldn’t do it without us!
Proof that we can do more than cuddle or blog

Guest blogger: TinkerToy

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

My FIRST Christmas post (and my first sort-of reblog)

Mom found this video and said I could use it in my first Christmas post.  It was originally posted by Xena on her Black Butterfly blog with the following introduction:

I never get enough of this video. It’s produced by Fresh Pets.

The music is festive, but really loud,
so you might want to lower the volume on your speakers
before you click on the little triangle thing in the middle.

Source: Santa’s Canines (and Felines) Make Toys | We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

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Christmas Gifts – the thought that counts


Makin’ Your Lists:
Checkin’ ’em TWICE?

When are we going to learn
to start even EARLIER?!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Christmas Memories

Do you recall the gifts you received through the years?  I don’t.  Not really.

Oh, I can think of a few really special presents, but mostly they all dissolve into a blur of crumpled wrapping paper, bows and snips of ribbon — all over the floor.

I more clearly remember tearing into oversized felt stockings on Christmas morning, hand-crafted by my mother for each member of our family of seven, our names embroidered in sparkles on the cuffs.

Each of us were delighted with mere trinkets, chocolate treats, and the tangerine always stuffed into the toe.

She attached a string of jingle bells to each hanging loop to let everyone know that someone was getting into a stocking!

You see, what I remember most vividly are the memories of those Christmas times – and they are really all that remain from the Christmases of most of my life:

  • finally digging out the ornaments, untangling the lights and trimming the tree
  • snow-crusted mittens and red noses from sledding on glorious snow days (when the schools were closed!)
  • wrapping presents purchased “with my own money”
  • eggnog and my mother reading Christmas stories
  • buttered popcorn and hot chocolate as we watched classic Christmas films in front of an old-style television set
  • Helping to prepare Christmas dinners – even some of the conversations around those Christmas tables through the year.

What do YOU recall loving most?

A different kind of Christmas

When I was a kid, a family down the street gave NO presents that could be unwrapped.  I was never sure whether to feel sorry for my friend or be jealous of her wonderful Christmases, year after year — but now that I am much older, there is no doubt in my mind which of us got the better deal.

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Elfing for Santa!


Deck the Halls & Play the Carols
(Watch the movies … bake the cookies … and jingle those bells!)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Edited from Happy Thanksgiving-Make Way for Christmas

Fair warning: This is not going to be a rant about the season.

Grab a drink!

Grinches and Humbugs are likely to need one, and the rest of us will be prepared for a merry toast to the season festivities to come.

Turkey_Drinks

Even before most of the Thanksgiving leftovers had been eaten or frozen, many of our neighbors began to string colored lights on the eaves of their houses, into their trees and winding ’round their bushes.

I am starting to see front door wreaths, lawn reindeer, and angels with glowing halos as well.  And I love it!

Anyone who knows me, even a little, will attest to the fact that I’m a card-carrying Christmas ELF – a regular Emmy Lou Who**.

I simply LOVE Christmas – the whole Christmas season (“Now please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason”)**

**Both from How the Grinch Stole Christmas
by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel

I start thinking about rounding up my humongous collection of MP3s, DVDs, CDs, and tapes of ALL types of Christmas music the very first day the horrid summer heat wave shows signs of dipping below 80 degrees.

I especially love decorating for the Christmas season

And I like to deck the halls with a-whole-lot-more than boughs of holly!

I’m big on candles and garlands, trees and wreaths and stockings, Santas, sleighs and reindeer — and nutcrackers, and sugar plums — and Byers Choice Carolers (which I began collecting long before anyone else had ever heard of Joyce Byers!)

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

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Happy Santa Claus Day


Good Little Dutch Girls & Boys
will wake up to presents in their wooden shoes tomorrow

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
A Christmas Reflections Post

A bit of explanation

From the analysis of the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas on the [mostly Dutch-language] blog of Samhildanach, a Dutch religious studies scholar says:

“Sinterklaas is the festival of St. Nicholas of Myra . . . [which is surrounded by] a lot of mythology . . . although little of that is commonly known.

This saint is portrayed as a venerable man in a red and gold bishop’s gown . . . Principally, the festival is meant for young children to around the age of eight.

The young . . . believe that Sinterklaas lives in Spain [and] visits the Netherlands every year in a steam ship, accompanied by his helpers, the dark-skinned Zwarte Pieten ‘Black Petes’, dressed in frivolous colours, to offer presents to all [well-behaved] children.

Those [who] have been naughty risk [being] caned by Zwarte Piet, or in extreme cases, [being] forced in the sack and taken back to Spain.”

The article goes on to explain that the period of Sinterklaas begins at some point in November every year – a national, televised event when St. Nicholas of Myra arrives at the dock, disembarking with his white horse and his attendant(s).

“From this moment on, the children [may] put down their shoes in front of the hearth. [. . .] The morning after, a small present will be in their shoes.

The festival is mainly celebrated in the Netherlands, but there are some local variations to be found in Belgium and Germany, encompassing differentiated local traditions.”

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

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Balance Balls for On-Task Classroom Focus?


Does sitting on a balance ball help children with ADHD in the classroom?

Guestpost from David Rabiner, Ph.D.
Dept. of Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University
©
ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE; September 21, 2016

Let’s NOT discount the science

Could sitting on a balance ball help children with ADD/ADHD/EFD be more focused and on-task in the classroom?

While the idea may strike many as implausible, several small but interesting studies conducted since 2003 suggests there may be something to this.

Really?

Dr. Rabiner recently received a question from a long-time subscriber and teacher about whether there was any research to support a practice in her school of having children with ADHD sit on fidget cushions when seated on the floor or chair.

The idea behind this approach is that children with ADHD may benefit from more movement in the classroom because being in motion allows their brains to be more fully engaged.

He was not immediately aware of any research on this issue, and it initially struck him as a bit far fetched. When he searched the literature, however, he came across several small but interesting studies that yielded promising results.

Scroll DOWN for his excellent summary
of this small body of work.


Please feel free to forward this content to others you know who may be interested. If you would like to receive Attention Research Update on a regular basis, visit http://www.helpforadd.com for a no-charge subscription.

ABOUT:  I have been a huge fan of Dr. David Rabiner’s ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE since its inception in 1997. Not only do I count on his comprehensive, plain-English explanations of up-to-date research trends and developments as key resources in my drive to keep my information base current, I also archive them for future reference.

I urge any professional working with individuals with Attentional Spectrum deficits and struggles — whether teachers, counselors, coaches, therapists or physicans — to sign yourself up before the idea falls through the cracks.  (Parents and ADD/EFDers themselves can benefit too!)

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The importance of Trigger Warnings


I expect Universities to be places of enlightened thinking
The University of Chicago flunked the test

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
A Mental Health Awareness Post

A Trigger Warning is no different from a RATING

A Trigger Warning is NOT content censorship – it is a WARNINGPeriod.  It allows for the use of coping strategies by those students who need them.

It is absolutely insane to put forth some black and white argument expressing fear that supporting its use in ANY circumstance will facilitate its application to all situations where some student might take offense.

  • Few thinking individuals are up in arms about impinging on the rights of people who want to watch certain types of films simply because they are rated X to guide those who do not.
  • Rational people do not insist that the ban on guns in schools be lifted, holding up 2nd Amendment Rights  (the right to bear arms, for my non-American readers).

And yet, The University of Chicago sent out a letter to incoming Freshman outlining their [non] logic as they disclose that they will not support the use of Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces on their campus.

Rather than using this issue as a chance to increase Mental Health Awareness, which is to be expected from any institution claiming education as its purpose, The University of Chicago has chosen to issue what amounts to a gag order.

We have a L-O-N-G way to go where educating people about Mental Health is concerned – but for a University to be so blatantly unaware is both frightening and appalling. I’d yank my kid out of that “educational” environment in a heartbeat!

Why all the fuss?

Regular readers are aware of the reasons for my reluctance to use the WordPress reblog function – so I hope you will jump over to the posts below to read the rest of the excellent points surrounding the words quoted below.

In her introduction, Maisha Z. Johnson explains the issue in terms anybody might easily be able to understand, EVEN the decision-makers at The University of Chicago, especially John Ellison, U of C dean of students (who is declining to respond to emails, etc. by the way).

THAT would mean, of course, that they’d bothered to upgrade their egregious lack of education about mental health issues before responding in what I feel strongly is a cruel and ignorant fashion.

Two college students return to campus after both were present for an act of violence.

One of them was physically injured in the incident. In order to return to class, he asks to have space around his desk to allow him to stretch, because sitting still for too long would aggravate his injury.

How would you feel about his request? Would you understand why such an accommodation would help him heal? Expect his professors to oblige?

Now, the other student’s pain isn’t visible – it’s emotional.

He wasn’t physically hurt, but he lost a loved one, and he’s traumatized. Certain reminders have resulted in panic attacks, and he’d rather not experience that again – especially not when he’s trying to move on with his life and get an education.

So he also makes a request, asking his professors if they can give him a warning before covering material that relates to the type of violence that took away his loved one.

How would you feel about this student’s request?

What he’s asking for is a content warning, also commonly called a trigger warning. And it’s a huge source of debate.

. . . when it comes to an able-bodied person experiencing a temporary injury and needing support to heal, there’s usually not much debate about whether or not they should be allowed in class with crutches, a cast, or extra space around their desk.

The sharp contrast between this acceptance and common attitudes towards trigger warnings reveals something disturbing about our society’s approach to trauma and mental illness.

Read more of this post . . .


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Reflections: a new idea for ADD/EFD content


500 Posts – really?
Time Flies when You’re Having Fun!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Good news/bad news

I recently received a notification from the WordPress Fairies congratulating me on the publication of my 500th blogpost – not even counting the over-100 blog pages I’ve put together since that fateful day when I decided to publish the fruits of my 25 years of  ADD/EFD experience, information and coaching techniques online for free.

Regular readers are well aware that only a handful of these posts
are what anyone would consider brief!

THANK YOU to everyone who has let me know through likes, stars and comments that the time I spent meandering to this bodacious accomplishment has been worth it!

If not for you, I might have spent that time agonizing over the sorry state of my all-too-messy abode – or given up coaching and training altogether and signed on for an actual job!

While attending to either would have undoubtedly delighted my friends and family, I am personally grateful that I haven’t been forced to take such desperate measures so far.

So What’s the BAD News?

It has taken more time than expected for a number of you to find your way here. Many of my newer readers have probably missed more than a few foundational concepts and work-arounds.

Although I continue to link to older-but-still-relevant posts like a mad thing, I certainly understand the time-crunch that inspires those decisions to investigate later.

So rather than creating brand new content for some of my upcoming articles, I have decided to recycle. I plan to cobble together portions of my personal favorites that, judging by the dearth of comments and likes, have been languishing in undeserved obscurity.

I suppose I could conclude that nobody really liked them the first time around, but I have chosen not to go there.  I believe they deserve a second chance in front of the blogging footlights, and that they will be brand new and helpful offerings for the majority of my current readers.

I hope that decision turns out to be good news for YOU.

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The Unique Loneliness of the Military Family


…. and the isolation of returning vets
Loneliness & disconnection that can overtake entire families

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
adding to the Loneliness Series

“We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan – [putting] wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives — and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own lives in peace.”
~ Colin Powell – 65th U.S. Secretary of State

It was difficult to decide on a title for this particular article in the Loneliness and Isolation Series, since I hope to explore more than a few of the challenges of the particular feelings of alienation faced by servicemen and women and their families – only some of which will apply to other readers.

In answer to a comment on her comprehensive Military Wife and Mom blog, Lauren Tamm speaks to only one of the many challenges: “Anytime your spouse is gone away for work, it’s tough. Military or non-military, parenting alone presents many challenges.” 

While she certainly makes a valid point, many challenges are compounded when frequent moves are “business as usual,” deployment is actual or looming and, for a variety of reasons, returning spouses may well be substantially different than they were before.

How do you reach out for authentic connection when friends and family may not really understand your struggles?

How do you explain to others what you are struggling to understand yourself?

Related Post: What 9/11 means to a veteran’s family –
about being married to a veteran

When few can really understand

To restate something I wrote in Sliding into Loneliness, an earlier article on this topic, loneliness is more than the feeling of wanting company or wanting to do something with another person. It’s not merely a feeling of sadness at finding oneself alone.

Frequently considered the feeling of being alienated or disconnected, loneliness is also described as a subjective sense of feelings of profound separation from the rest of the people in your world.

Loneliness is a longing for KIND, not company.
~ Original Source Unknown

A search of the internet for any permutation of “military family,” “challenges” and “loneliness” will return many pages of titles addressing one or the other of the many issues faced by Service personnel and their families.  I won’t even try to pretend that a single article here can do more than introduce some of their unique challenges, along with providing a few links to articles that cover them in more depth.

Yet any Series about isolation and loneliness would be incomplete without including the particular flavor tasted by the brave men and women who step up to keep us safe at home – and the strain their service puts on their friendships, families, partners and children.
Read more of this post

The importance of a diagnosis


Name it to Tame it
“Label Stigma” is very OLD thinking

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Will this NEVER die?

Do we “label” eyes brown, green or blue?  Would the color of anybody’s eyes change simply because we don’t put a name to that color for fear of subjecting them to preconceived notions about eyes (or color)?

If some narrow-minded person has a prejudice against people with light eyes, does identifying the color of those eyes as “blue” make the slightest difference what-so-ever?

How about height and weight “labels?”

SURELY nobody really believes that as long as we don’t define size by measurement we can pretend everybody is exactly the same — even though we can easily see that they aren’t.

  • Is there some evolutionary advantage to pretending that identifying certain characteristics specifically isn’t relevant – or important?
  • Does it really change anybody’s self-identity or position in the universe to find out exactly how tall they are?
  • Does it change how we think about our role in the world to know how much we weigh?

And yet . . .

Labelling theory, prominent during the 1960s and 70s, with some modified versions still currently popular, has long asserted the exact opposite.

It postulates that, once “labeled,” individuals are stripped of their old identities as new ones are ascribed to them — and that the process usually leads to internalizing this new identity and social status, taking on some kind of assigned role with its associated set of role expectations.

And society seems to like to go along with this BS!!!

When I look around, the most comprehensive internalization I see is the result of the self-identification with STIGMA.

Out of the fear of having their children “labelled” with a mental illness, too many parents avoid taking their kids for diagnosis and treatment – because they don’t want their children to have to suffer the stigma of a diagnosis.

Out of that same fear, many otherwise sensible adults – who would certainly go for treatment if what they suspected was wrong with them were physical – are leading limp-along lives because they refuse to accept diagnosis and treatment for anything that concerns their mental health.  Few realize that they’ve actually internalized the very stigma they think they are avoiding.

MY point of view

As I see it, the reticence to accept mental health “labels” for fear of pigeon-holing or stereotyping allows society as a whole to remain in serious denial about the crying need to stand up and be counted, joining together to sling a few other labels that desperately need to be slung – like intolerant, bigoted, small-minded, parochial and provincial, to name just a few.

And then there’s the label that is my personal favorite to describe a particular kind of tool I’d like to call a spade: BULLY!

I’m calling out mental health stigma for what it is:
SMALL MINDED IGNORANCE!

(unless, of course, you want to label it cowardice)

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When You’re Longing for Connection


Lonely is not Needy – or alone
Mood menders: history, empathy, and support

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
adding to the Loneliness Series – Part 3 of 3

Being alone is solitude; feeling alone is loneliness.
~ Psychologist & noted Leadership expert Manfred Kets de Vries

We are by nature storytellers
who must recount our days and our lives
in order to make sense of them.
For this we need listeners…
but listeners who are genuinely interested in us as people.

~ from Healing Loneliness, a sermon by Reverend Brian J. Kiely,
Unitarian Church of Edmonton,September 19,2012

About the longing for connection

In an article on everydayhealth.com, Dr. Sanjay Gupta suggests that we need to Treat Loneliness as a Chronic Illness.  He includes a couple of paragraphs that summarize the points made in Part II of this article, Sliding Into Loneliness:

There’s nothing unusual about feeling lonely. “It’s perfectly common for people to experience loneliness when their social networks are changing, like going off to college or moving to a new city,” says Harry Reis, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.

The death of a loved one or marital discord can also trigger feelings of isolation. But there’s a difference between temporary “state” and chronic “trait” loneliness.

“Many of the patients we see have had situational loneliness that becomes chronic. They have been unable to rebuild after a loss or a move or retirement,” says psychiatrist Richard S. Schwartz, MD, co-author of The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-First Century.

“One of the ways that situational loneliness can become chronic is precisely because of the shame we feel about our loneliness — the sense we have of being a loser.”

Jo Coughlin has written an interesting article about avoiding loneliness in retirement in which she neatly distinguishes loneliness from solitude:

In most cases, solitude is a temporary state that is usually voluntary. The ability to be happy in the absence of the company of others is seen as a sign of good mental health.

Loneliness, on the other hand, is involuntary – an unhealthy state that creeps up on us over time, often accompanied by depression, a feeling of helplessness and isolation.

Successful engagement, according to Coughlin, hinges on gaining self awareness and focusing on empathy for others. She admits that these are traits often in short supply in those who have spent a great deal of their lives escaping into work to suppress their loneliness.  However, she goes on to say, those traits can be worked on and developed later in life, especially with the help of a therapist, a coach or with guidance from a loved one.

Both of the articles mentioned above include the assurance that it’s never too late to change things — that it’s possible to learn the social skills of engagement and connection at any stage of life, even if you’ve been lonely for much of it.
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Sliding into Loneliness


Not necessarily alone, but lonely
How Loneliness can overtake even the most outgoing of us

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the ADD/EFD Comorbids Series – Part 2 of 3
Read Part 1 HERE
– The danger of loneliness and isolation to health

Loneliness is a longing for KIND, not company.
~ Original Source Unknown

Loneliness is not a longing for company, it is a longing for kind.
And kind means people who can see who you are,
and that means that they have enough intelligence
and sensitivity and patience to do that.
~ Marilyn French

The Longing for Connection

I came across the first version of the quote above in the early ’60s. I have long since lost the little book of quotes that contained it, so I have no way to find out who said it originally.

Years later I came across the second version, attributed to the late feminist writer Marilyn French. French’s version expanded on the idea for people who didn’t immediately resonate with the concept.  I needed no explanation.  I realized when I was in the 7th grade that, despite being surrounded by a family of seven, I had been lonely for most of my life.

Read more of this post

The Importance of Community to Health


People Who Need People
Avoiding Isolation and Loneliness

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the ADD/EFD Comorbids Series – part 1 of 3

Human beings are social creatures. We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others. We are social in a more elemental way: simply to exist as a normal human being requires interaction with other people. ~ Atul Gawande

Problems before Solutions

As early as 350 B.C, Aristotle described a human being as “by nature a social animal.” For most of the time since, that idea has been considered little more than “anecdotal evidence” by most of the scientific community, since there were few double-blind, placebo controlled, replicated and journal published studies to “verify” the observation according to the rules of the scientific method.

Until verified, according to the science field, no idea has been “proven,” so may or may not, in fact, be true.

Related Post: Science Confirms What we have Always Known – again

The Wikipedia article on the Scientific Method informs us that the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.” [4] 

Related Post: Science and Sensibility – the illusion of proof

Meanwhile, the fields of sales and marketing, psychology & counseling, self-help (and relatively recently, even the science field itself), have taken a serious look at Aristotle’s observation, proposing theories and “proofs” in their attempts to explain why something so obvious might really be so – and how we can use it to our advantage, individually and as a species.

As scientists explore the workings of bodily functions at the nerve and cellular level, they are confirming that loneliness – the absence of social connection – is linked to a wide array of bodily ailments in addition to the mental conditions typically thought to be associated.

Easy to see with Extroverts

According to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI], based on psychology but considered to be in the self-help field, the energy flow of the gregarious extrovert is directed outward, toward other people.  The MBTI goes on to propose that an extrovert’s energy flow is recharged through interaction with others.

It is said that extroverts generally express great happiness in the company of other people, and are at risk of falling victim to depression should they spend long periods of time without the company of a circle of friends.

But what about Introverts?

Supposedly, while extroverts get their energy from spending time with people, introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone.

However, even the majority of people who consider themselves introverts would find it difficult to impossible to navigate life totally alone.

“It’s a mistake to think that most humans prefer the solitary life that so much of modern life imposes on us. We are most comfortable when we’re connected, sharing strong emotions and stories . . . “
~ Nick Morgan for Forbes.

Jeff Kay, Modern Renaissance Man / Quora Top Writer 2015/16, has come up with a wonderful way of explaining it:

“. . . introverts are not an exception, just a variation on the theme. We function just like any other human in society.  The more extreme cases might be seen as the odd duck at times, but they are still just as social as anyone else, just with a different set of rules.”

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 Isolation’s Link with Depression
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The Single Person’s Holiday Playbook


“Home Alone” Holidays —
without the tears

(Make this your LAST awkward holiday!)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Note: If you’re jumping over from the 2016 edited reblog
[How to navigate those “Home Alone” Holidays]

scroll down to “NOW let’s really shake things up”
to read the remainder of the article (with the TIPS)

ENOUGH with the questions!

Whether we are alone by choice or circumstance, holidays can be, at best, awkward.

Found on: Lolsnaps

“Have any plans for the upcoming holiday?” is asked even by total strangers trying to be friendly in grocery lines.

ANY version of, “Not really,” is something they do NOT, actually, want to hear, and not something that most of us who are already feeling marooned are eager to utter aloud.

No Mom, s/he’s not coming

As any single person who’s ever gone “HOME for the holidays” can probably tell you, being “unpartnered” during special family events can present a unique set of challenges, especially the first time.

From feeling awkward, maybe a bit defensive about your lack-of-relationship status this time, all the way to feeling that you must either “ruin everyone’s holiday with a display of pique” -or- grit your teeth and bear it as you attempt to find a way to politely field unintentionally rude inquiries about why you happen to be alone.

The Formerly Familied

Far too many individuals who are divorced, widowed, separated (or outliving their friends and families) find solo-holidays sad and depressing.

A friend of mine, an emotionally healthy, extremely self-reliant, empty-nest single parent says her married kids “make other plans” for major holidays every other year at minimum.

She really doesn’t resent the reality that the kids have their own lives, hope to start their own family traditions, and deserve to feel unconflicted about making holiday plans that won’t always include her,  BUT . . .

She says that she can’t face cooking a holiday meal for one OR going to a restaurant alone when everyone but her seems to have somebody celebrating WITH them.

She also finds it unbearably depressing to fuff around in her pajamas and slippers ALL day, even though she feels like she is “all dressed up with no place to go” if she doesn’t.

Reaching out to help others?

Even singles who volunteer at soup kitchens and so on have to make it through at least a portion of the day totally alone, at a time that was once known for family get-togethers.

Even the ones who are teetotalers tell me that the idea of becoming a regular at their town’s version of the Cheers bar crosses their minds more than a few times, just to have somewhere to go and a few people to talk to on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

Different ways to make it work . . .

Since I have spent most of the major holidays alone for many years now, I’m hoping that I will be able to help you look at things in ways you haven’t already thought of, tried and rejected.

In any case, I’m not planning to rehash the holiday survival tips already found all over the internet (but in case you have missed a few bloggy ideas, check out the articles under the Related Articles ’round the net heading in the links below.)

So read on . . .

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When did WordPress change?


When you make a mistake,
‘fess up and FIX it

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

As regular readers know, I don’t like (or use) the WordPress reblog function because it doesn’t work for ADD/EFD readership, particularly in the manner in which multiple graphics are handled.

HOWEVER, I am making this exception as a show of support for a blogger who is now prohibited by WordPress from following any new blogs or bloggers – EVEN to the extent of hitting “like.”

None of his many followers can figure out WHY —
and others with similar statistics have recently received similar notices
(disclosed in the comments section of the blog that follows)

The response from the [used-to-be] good folks at WordPress is to dig in and defend, rather than ‘fess up and explain how it happened – OR disclose the specifics of the rules by which they sanction (read the comments on the blog of Opinionated Man – my own responses to the WordPress action are scathing!)

BY THE WAY

You don’t have to agree with what he says on his blog to defend his right to SAY it.

  • There will be many people who won’t agree with what YOU say on your blog.
  • Wouldn’t you want somebody defending your right to say it if WordPress responded to them by shutting you down?

AT THE VERY LEAST, click over to click like to indicate that you are aware of this truly crappy decision on the part of WordPress.com and find it appalling.

Links to more detail, including their missives to him,
available from the link immediately below:

WordPress Account Disabled

Making things EVEN worse

There seems to be NO redress for the original action.

From their response, it seems clear that the policy is that if somebody makes a decision on statistics alone, the folks at WordPress.com refuse to revisit – or even EXPLAIN their [apparently new] “rules” for interaction with other blogs with any specificity.

It’s a “circle the wagons” response designed to provoke fear of “over-stepping” undisclosed boundaries.

Didn’t work with ME

My response is WHITE-HOT FURY at the back-end disclosure sans specifics — AFTER we have spent money and a great many minutes of our lives helping to build usage of the WordPress.com platform.

If WordPress doesn’t have the server space to keep up with the community they’ve actively sought and attracted, then they need to say THAT – not this nonsense!

I hope your response is similar, and that you will (as they say in the theatre)
“Sing out, Louise!”

Most companies become suddenly more reasonable once they become aware of wide-spread disdain.

“An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile
hoping it will eat him LAST.”
~ Winston Churchill

“It takes a village to transform a world!” ~ mgh

What kind of world do YOU want?


FYI – To get to the article, click on the name of the blog (immediately below) or on “View Original” at the bottom.

The longer link goes to a Forum discussion thread that one of the “Happiness Engineers” (their term, btw) has decided to close to additional comments in what appears to be their new black and white manner of avoiding having to comment toward clarification or issue resolution.

Happy Eve before Mardi Gras


I’m Finally Celebrating Christmas
as the Mardi Gras/Carnival Season begins

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

NOTE: If you’ve just come from my 2016 reblog, to read the rest,
scroll down to “Grand Balls and Call-outs

About Mardi Gras – and why here?

Since I went to grad school in New Orleans, I had three years to experience the celebrations of Mardi Gras – from King Cake parties to balls to parades and so-much-more.

I LOVE a chance to share my knowledge of Mardi Gras from my experience there.

Mardi Gras beads in the traditional colors: green, purple and gold – thrown from the floats by MANY different Krew members riding in the many, MANY parades they sponsor

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For a REALLY Happy New Year


2015 is breathing down our necks
(perhaps it might be wise to do more than a bit of thinking about it)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

As I ready myself for my own Christmas celebration on Twelfth Night, let’s take a moment to focus on the other big end-of-year celebration: New Year’s Eve.

Nutshell New Years

We count backwards from ten as the clock chimes and the ball drops. We toast and kiss, and blow funny-sounding horns wearing funny-looking hats, often dressed in formal finery.  Many of us party on until dawn.

© Phillip Martin – artist/educator

Yep – that’s New Years Eve in a nutshell for many of us around the world – or at least the image in our minds.

And then what?

Regardless of how heartily we’ve partilied the night before, we awaken at some point on New Years Day, hoping for the best in the upcoming year.

Some of us even take the time to write down a few of those ubiquitous New Year’s Resolutions, without really expecting ourselves to follow through this year, anymore than the years before it.

Pinterest and the daily papers provide image upon image making fun of the practice – or at least of the people who don’t practice their practice.

And most of the plans of those who resolve and regret fail to materialize through lack of long-range planning.

To fail to plan is to plan to fail?

As I implied in a much earlier article about planning for the New Year, unless we want the upcoming year to be exactly like the one in our rear view mirror, it’s time to get busy with some change-management.

A therapist I know has this to say about change:

“Everybody wants things to be different, but nobody wants anything to change.”

He doesn’t add, “especially anything about THEM” – but I have always believed that’s what he was really talking about: the devil we know, and all that.

What IS it about change that makes us cringe?

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Gettin’ Ready for Twelfth Nite


Christmas Day is over . . .
Make Way for 12th Nite
(January 6th: the day when all sensible ADD Poster Girls
prefer to hold the present-fest)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Is Merry Christmas behind us now?

I hope your Christmas Day was everything you wanted it to be, and that all of your gifts were happily received in more than the spirit of that thought-that-counts manner.

As many people are now focused on celebrating the upcoming changing of the year, a few of us are still anticipating Christmas celebrations themselves – after a fashion.

We NEED a Little Christmas . . . TIME!

 

I know – for those of us who celebrate Christmas at all – ever since we were young enough to eagerly await the visit of Santa Claus, most of us have been accustomed to the idea that opening presents happens on the morning of December 25th.

But haven’t we ALREADY made some modifications to that particular plan?

It’s not unusual for families to pick a day where ALL family members will be able to attend.

Blended families frequently have more than ONE unwrapping ceremony – both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – and sometimes extending to other days and times as well.

Many of us have long-ago relocated the Christmas present unwrapping ceremony to Christmas Eve, either to make it easier to get out the door for the Christmas service at our places of worship, or to allow us to sleep in on Christmas Day.

I would like to suggest that is going the wrong way, Jose!

Good enough for THREE Wise Men = perfect for ADD/EFD

Legend has it that those three Wise Men following that star-so-bright did NOT arrive with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myhr bright and early on the morning of December 25th.

It took twelve more days and nights for them to get there with the presents: they arrived on January 6th (which marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras Season, for New Orleans aficionados).

Artist Patience Brewster’s Nativity Wise Men

 

Far be it from me to suggest that those Men had a sense of direction or time similar to my own (which is to say, NONE!), but I don’t recall anyone considering them late to the party, do you?

So, not only is there is some serious precedence for taking a bit more time, there are several substantially great reasons for delaying gift exchange.

Let’s take a look at a few of those reasons that is a bit more serious-minded than my last post on the topic.

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From Pinterest thru me to YOU


MerryXmas

The Wisdom of those Three Kings


They didn’t RUSH to get it all done
by December 25th
(Arriving with THEIR Gifts 12 days later!)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Hey, if Twelfth Night was good enough for THREE separate men known throughout the world for their wisdom — so much so that they are simply referred to as the Three Wise Men — who are we to question the timing?

If you are struggling with one of the Alphabet Disorders, it only makes sense to adopt their extremely wise idea of moving your own celebration to January 6th as well — or at least to its Eve, the night of the 5th.

I have already, so I can attest to how much nicer it makes everything!

SOME of the benefits of celebrating on Twelfth Night:

  • It gives you an extra 12 days to get ready
  • It allows you to shop the after-Christmas sales
  • It “uncrowds” your holiday calendar, minimizing the conflicts that create so many of those “but I thought you were spending this Christmas with US” in-law hurt feelings, and
  • It still allows you to create your own family traditions free of most family-of-origin pressure.

For those who are concerned about The Reason for the Season getting lost in the commercialism of it all, celebrating the present-fest on Twelfth Night leaves time on Christmas Day for Church-related or charity events, as it gives you a perfect opportunity for some Bible-story education.

Did you catch the part about the extra 12 days to get ready?

Do not try to change the world

For reasons I will never understand, moving the gift-exchange into the future by almost two weeks seems to be as tough a sell as suggesting that adults forgo a gift exchange completely – believe me, I’ve tried.

No matter. In many ways it makes things easier.

When others give you their gifts on Christmas, smile sweetly, almost piously, and say simply, “You will have to wait until 12th Nite for my gift to you – when the Three Wise Men arrived with their gifts for the Baby Jesus.”

  • Reciprocation is ever so much easier than trying to figure everything out ahead of time.
  • Quickly make a mental note to run out to get something for your side of the gift exchange (though an ACTUAL note makes reciprocation a lot more likely to actually happen).  

Not only that, waiting until Twelfth Night helps stretch meager cash-stores, since you will be able to shop the best sales — after Christmas, remember.

How else do you think those “Twelve Days of Christmas” True Love Givers that everybody sings about were able to gift so much?  They shopped the 12 days AFTER Christmas, when golden rings go ON SALE (nobody can afford to pay retail for five of the darned things in today’s economy!)

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The best Christmas tip EVER!


To Reduce Visual Overwhelm
as you Deck your Halls

Store in Plain Sight with this clever trick

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Decking, decking – still decking!

It’s a good thing I have switched to celebrating Twelfth Night – January 6th (12 more days to get it together than if my deadline were Christmas itself). There is NO WAY I’ll have everything ticked, tied and neatened by December 25 — my hall decking has faced a number of serious slowdowns.

  1. FIRST, I had to quickly move everything up off the floor to puppy-proof for the sudden good fortune of locating my wished-for Christmas puppy.
  2. Then, of course, came the day “off” to go get the little guy – and the day after that to recover from staying up all night puppy-proofing, followed by a car trip!
  3. And now that he’s here, I have to WATCH HIM LIKE A HAWK – this dog can find something verboten to put in his tiny mouth even if I’ve just swept or vacuumed.

The decking of halls has taken a decidedly back seat to puppy patrol. Oh well.  If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. This little guy is clearly worth it to me!

Celebrate Boxing Day early . . .

No, NOT the day-after-Christmas holiday celebrated by our English-speaking forefathers across the pond (along with, according to Wikipedia, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other Commonwealth nations, as well as Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden!)

I’m talking much bigger boxes for our Boxing Day than those used to gather alms.

Inundated by Shipping Boxes?

If you order anything online (and who doesn’t these days?), you probably hurry to break down the packing/shipping boxes to get them OUT of your house and into the recycling bin.

Don’t.

There’s a much better way to handle them – besides getting things out of the way of a puppy (you’re gonna’ love this!)

WRAP THEM!  (No I am not kidding)

But first, take down as many decorative tchotchkes as possible to clear the decks for Christmas decor.

Not only does Christmas decorating go so much more smoothly if you start with a relatively clean(ish) slate, it looks a lot better to the eye when there aren’t so many items competing for focus.

Pack the items you normally use to “merchandise” your space in a few of the medium to large-ish boxes that arrive carrying internet purchases.

It’s not too late to do it now, by the way – EVEN if your halls are primarily decked already.  Look around to see which non-Christmas items are distracting, and box them up.

NOW wrap those boxes – and tie them up with pretty ribbon and a big bow.

If you have the time, it is EVEN better if it is done in a manner that you can reuse them without rewrapping from year to year.

Even if you are someone who changes your theme or color scheme every Christmas, if you keep the wrapping paper relatively neutral you can always change the look with different ribbon.

Moving right along, you can ALSO use those wrapped boxes to pack up some of the ornaments and other artifacts of Christmas-soon-to-be-past until next year – sans bows, of course.

No mistaking what those boxes contain – even without the bows!

The MAIN thing, however, is to be able to
hide your storage solutions in plain sight.

Put your prettily wrapped boxes around your home to spread a bit of storage-secret Christmas glow from room to room.

Or mass them together in a couple of out of the way corners.  According to Apartment Therapy, “. . . a collection of otherwise basic gift-wrapped presents is made more dramatic and note-worthy when grouped and stacked all together.”

But WAIT – there’s more . . .

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What’s up with Twinkly Lights?


LightsWhy don’t they drive EVERYBODY Crazy?
(Searching for the quiet kind!)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Oh dear, it seems that a bit of Monday grumpiness is about to bleed through my Christmas Happy Christmas series.  But somebody has to stand up and be counted, and I’m up for the job!

Flickering Candlelight is lovely – artificial, not so much

I’m old enough to remember when lights were either ON or off – unless, of course, they were dying.  We replaced lights that flickered post haste.

BubbleLightIn my mind, bubble lights marked the beginning of the “lights that oscillate” fascination. They’re the earliest “moving” lights I can recall, in any case.

In yet another amazingly comprehensive entry, wonderful Wikipedia** says:

“As Christmas lights, bubble lights were very popular during the 1950s through the 1970s, before miniature ‘fairy’ lights became popular.”

Vintage Christmas collectors sometimes use them still, and I believe there is a new version back on the market  for fans of Mid-Century Modern — so it’s not necessary to have been around back in the Dark Ages to have seen bubble lights.  Many people absolutely adore them.

I find the buggers distracting and annoying myself.

**Wikipedia is currently fund-raising, by the way.

They say that if everyone using them donated three measly dollars, their fund raiser would be over in an hour.

Add them to your Christmas Giving list, skip a cup of Starbucks and go give them at least $3.00.

Even if you’ve never explored “the people’s encyclopedia,” think of it as your share of how much I backstop with Wikipedia as I write the articles I gift to you here.

If you click the link to their Bubble article (their name above), the link to their donate page will be at the top of that article until they’ve reached their goal – the minimum they need to run for another year.

If you’re reading this later, don’t think they no longer need the money! The link to their donate page is always available for you on the right sidebar here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com – so go DO that, okay?

Craving warmth

I like a soft glow, and that’s what I try to create in my home — this holiday season and every holiday season. Year-round, in fact, unless I need bright light for a project of some sort. I wouldn’t care much for the flickering of old-fashioned wax candles either if they were as bright as even the dimmest of artificial lighting.

Even the graphic I placed at the top of the page to illustrate the twinkly concept quickly began to give me a headache. I was relieved when it finally scrolled off the page (Fear not, I don’t plan to repeat the experiment).

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ADD and Christmas too!


An Overwhelming Season for SO Many
(WAY too many To-dos in SO many categories for one short month)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

How does ANYBODY fit everything in?

Even the neurotypical crowd gets a bit of a taste of ADD/EFD overwhelm as Christmas rapidly approaches — especially those who just went overboard on the Thanksgiving extravaganza.

But those of us who have brains that are ALREADY struggling to manage life’s ordinary details can easily go down with Santa’s ship – turning what could be a terrific break from the everyday struggles into the cluttered ADD/EFD version of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

So Much to Decorate – so little time!

The days when Christmas decor was limited, essentially, to hanging a few stockings and trimming a tree seem to have disappeared like Brigadoon.

NOT that I’m actually complaining about that, understand.
I would have invented “Deck the Halls” if somebody hadn’t beaten me to it.

But even if I had “start early” genes in my DNA, to avoid public censure one really must wait to start displaying Christmas-y items until the season-long summer heat wave has subsided and the autumn leaves have had their 15 minutes of fame (unless one runs a Christmas Shop, which I’ve actually considered – for exactly that reason!).

In the minds of most people, the day after Halloween seems to be an acceptable — albeit incredibly EARLY — start-date for decking  (though I can’t, for the life of me, understand their objections to a larger buffer as a running start!)

Pinterest helps, of course – sort of

Nobody seems to object or poke too much fun at Christmas PINS – even long before Halloween costumes have become the only vision in the heads of little kids everywhere.

I began pinning inspiration images quite early this year, hoping they would help me develop a realistic game plan for Christmas AS I organized my new digs following my recent move.

Oops – THAT little “assist” has now become part of the problem.
I mean, what ADDer needs help dreaming up new things to do?

A woman who already has FOUR full-sized trees with as many decorating themes (and several more table-tops and minis) has NO business trying to remember to look for a thrift-store colander to spray-paint red as stand for her “visions of sugarplums” kitchen tree.

She shows even less sanity pinning a link to a tutorial on how to make a Christmas tree from a tomato cage.

Does that matter?  NOT ONE WHIT. See the problem?

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Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

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