Have Nativity Scene Will Travel, aka Gratitude.

Last year around this time I wrote a post about managing stress this time of year. It was half-real (pound your stress out by making peppermint bark), half-tongue and cheek ("throw a surprise Santa party for a bunch of preschoolers!"). 

I don't have any new tips on how to manage it. My philosophy this year is simple: appreciate good things as they come. Try to shift focus to those things when the pressures come. Gratitude*.  (I'm taking a clue from my Dad and his recent post about what he's thankful for.) 

These are some of the things I'm grateful for this week. Starting it off with Santa Claus in my house. My heart melts looking at this photo of our new neighbor, Will.  

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A night to walk around Rockefeller Center and see the tree, then walk past the window displays at Saks. 

Rockefeller Center Tree, 2011 Radio City New York, Christmas 2011

The chance to see the crazy retelling of Macbeth in "Sleep No More" with Ryan and Jason. (That's us!)Sleep No More

The opportunity to go to an awesome social media conference for magazine editors. (The Asssociation of Magazine Media Social Media Conference.) 

Running into a friend I hadn't seen in seven years in the Minneapolis Airport. (Which shut me up from my grumbling about the travel agent sending me back to Birmingham from NYC via Minneapolis. Serendipity.)

Making it back in time to see my former Cancer Center colleagues and forever friends, even if I was the only one who showed up empty handed for our Dirty Santa gift exchange. (Thank you to our kind hostess Dolly for giving me a spare gift. What a hostess!)

What I took home from the Dirty Santa party ... a portable nativity scene purchased in a salon. Fabulous! (We added the Elvis)

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The chance to do work I love.

These experiences.

The people I love. And the people who love me despite my imperfections. They are too often the buried lede. 

*To that point: It ain't all perfect. In my writing I always feel the tug between sharing these good things and sharing the painful ones. I've been stressed through all of these good things. My body again is sore. I had a moment the other night where I was so overwhelmed that I felt short of breath.  I'm very much looking forward to time off at the end of this month for some rest. 

But this is where I am. Grateful.