Christmas Carol Classics: Frosty the Snowman

“Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.

Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say,
He was made of snow but the children know
How he came to life one day.

There must have been some magic in
That Old top hat they found.
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around.

O, Frosty the snowman
Was alive as he could be,
And the children say he could laugh and play
Just the same as you and me.

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.

Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say,
He was made of snow but he came to life one day.

There must have been some magic in
That Old top hat they found.
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around.

Frosty the snowman
Knew the sun was hot that day,
So he said, “Let’s run
And we’ll have some fun
Now before I melt away.”

Frosty the snowman
Had to hurry on his way,
But he waved goodbye saying,
“Don’t you cry,
I’ll be back again some day.””

Frosty was first recorded by the famous Gene Autry (with the Cass County Boys) in 1950.   The year before Autry recorded Rudolph, which was also a big success.  As a result of the song’s success there were lots of TV shows and books and other materials made.  One of the things that made this song stand out and be so successful was the concept of it.  We’ve all made a snowman that we wished would come to life, or at the very least thought about how cool something like that would be.

While most versions never talk about Christmas, we typically think of it as a Christmas song, probably because of all the magic in it.  After all, how else would a snowman come to life? When it comes to this time of year it does seem like there’s a little extra sparkle in the world, a little extra something showing up in our days that just makes them a little better.  Maybe it’s all the cheer, maybe it’s the goodwill, or maybe it’s just the desire not to get caught doing bad things before Santa makes his famous run.

But the song ends with Frosty saying that he’ll be back again some day.  I love that the song ends this way because it’s a great reminder that as much as life is made up of individual days and moments, there’s a lot more to life than just the individual moments.  Each day is an opportunity to build on what the previous day accomplished or start over because you’ve realized a mistake you were making.  Of course there are special moments that come each year like Christmas and Thanksgiving that are important reminders to celebrate life and gather together.  So whether you’re anticipating the magic to return, leaving the magic behind for the time being or dancing and singing with that magic, find a way to add a little magic to your day.

Christmas Carol Classics: Jingle Bells

“Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bob tails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and sing
A sleighing song tonight

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh yeah”

Today’s song is the classic “Jingle Bells” and you can listen to a very classic rendition here.  I decided to include this song not because it’s such a classic and everyone knows it, but because of what came up in my research while deciding which songs to do.

It was originally published in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont.  Interestingly enough it wasn’t published as a Christmas song, but that’s what we know it as today.  Originally it was a drinking song and a reminder of the freedoms couples could have when riding on a sleigh unchaperoned.  And jingle bells were originally seen as a practical noise, whereas now we see them as a reminder of Christmas and Santa’s sleigh coming. The song is also one of the most famous to be recreated into another tune, Jingle Bell Rock.

That said, Jingle Bells is one of those songs that brings out the kid in all of us, something that the holiday season is notorious for doing.  Even the most serious of things need a little fun too, like the way in 1965 Gemini 6 astronauts decided to play a prank on Mission Control and told them that they were seeing a shape traveling north to south close to the earth and then used a harmonica and sleigh bells to send the melody of Jingle Bells back to Mission Control.  So let the song remind you to have some fun this Christmas.  Don’t worry so much about getting the right gift, instead, enjoy the people you’re with and the life you have.

Just a Little Thanks

Over the past couple of years especially people have been talking about how influential one small thing can be in our lives and in the lives of others.  That small thing is being thankful.  It may not seem like it could really do much, but over and over people are seeing the effect of just the simple act of saying thank you or having a focus on being thankful.

Why is this so powerful? One of the reasons is because it stops us from focusing on the bad stuff in our lives, it gets us off the merry-go-round of negative thoughts about ourselves, and reminds us that the world does have potential, our lives aren’t all bad and there is hope yet for our world.  It’s not always easy to break into our thought trains, which is why it’s so important to practice being thankful on a regular basis before trying to beat those negative thoughts with thanks.

But being thankful isn’t just powerful for you personally, it is powerful with regards to others too.  When we choose to bring an attitude of gratitude into our relationships and interactions people tend to be more receptive, polite, courteous, respectful and less confrontational.  By being thankful when interacting with others you may even get the cool surprise reaction out of them when they realize that they’re not the only considerate being out there.

This week I encourage you to consider how you act towards and react with others.  Are you talking and acting in such a way that you surprise them in a good way? I believe that life is built or hurt by the relationships we have, and by choosing a life of thanksgiving, we’ll all enjoy life more.

“Take a step back, evaluate what is important, and enjoy life.” Teri Garr

Enjoying Through It All

This month I thought we’d do something different, and rather than focus on a topic like fear that coincides with Halloween, I thought we’d talk about enjoying life. Yes, we’ll spend time talking about Halloween and the scary stuff of life some (and there will be lots of Halloween stuff on the Creative blog), but as I’ve been thinking about life and the future I’ve been reminded again and again that it’s just not worth it to spend hours on end thinking about the negative stuff.  No, you can’t avoid it, but you sure can do a whole lot more with your life than worry about when the sky will fall.

I want to start the month off with some wisdom from Nelson Mandela: “Even if you have a terminal disease, you don’t have to sit down and mope. Enjoy life and challenge the illness that you have.”  At the end of his life, like many older people, Nelson Mandela struggled with his health.  We go through our lives knowing that at some point in time we’ll face our mortality and our health will begin to fail, our friends will pass away and we’ll be able to do less and less.  It’s never easy to face the fact that our life will end sometime, regardless of what you believe about what comes next.  But regardless of how close to your end you think you are, it doesn’t mean that you have to live like life is ending.

One of the examples of living life to the fullest that I’m often reminded of would be Jessie Rees who passed away from two brain tumors in 2012.  She chose that not only would she try to beat her own cancer, she would inspire and encourage others fighting cancer, and since her death her family has carried on her legacy of Joy Jars and a mission to Never Ever Give Up (NEGU).

You’ve got the same choice, but hopefully not one that you have to make while fighting cancer or another devastating life situation.  But even if you’re facing serious challenges in your life you still can choose to make the most of the life you have and enjoy every moment you can. What choice will you make?

Joy in Seasons

Can you believe another month is almost over?  Today is our last post really looking at our topic of the month: seasons.  What I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is the joy that can be found in each and every season.  I know, you’re mentally complaining about at least one season in your head right now, like how much snow there is in winter, how much rain there is in spring/the rainy season, how hot summer/the dry season is, how cold fall gets and miserable it is to watch the leaves fall off the trees etc.  You don’t have to like every season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some joy in each of them.  For example,  I don’t like snow but still find joy in watching kids go sledding, or sitting in a comfy chair watching the snow fall with a cup of hot tea and a good book.

Like so many things, the seasons are really what you make of them.  Last Wednesday I talked about what to do if your business is heading into a slow season for the summer.  Just because you may not be making many sales, it doesn’t mean there is nothing you can, could or should be doing during this time.  Just because it’s raining out today doesn’t mean that you have to do nothing because your outside plans were cancelled.   Just because you have a broken arm or leg doesn’t mean there’s no summer fun to be had.

I really believe that life is what you make of it a majority of the time. If you are feeling miserable, that’s the life situation you’ll create around you.  If you’re feeling like a winner, that’s the situation you’ll create around you.  If you want to enjoy your least favorite season, I believe you’ll be able to find reasons to do so!  But it only happens when we choose that path.    So what path will you choose this summer? Will you choose to find some reason for joy in each and every day?

Life Beyond Fears

This month we’ve been talking about fears. The thing about fears is that they hold us back more often than they help us.  Yes, they’re there to protect us, but many times they’re more over-the-top than helpful.  Today I wanted to share about one of the drawbacks of fear: what you miss out on.  When you’re busy looking over your shoulder you’re too busy to look in front of you and see life’s potential.  You’re missing out on the cool things, the weird things, the things that make you laugh and smile, the things that cheer you up, the things that challenge you and the things you fall in love with.  Fear means that you’re too busy looking back to appreciate all that you have or could have.

So while I can’t magically poof your fears and issues away, I want you to take just 5 minutes to really see the world around you this weekend.  Stop and check out the leaves changing colors, stop and smell the crisp scent of fall in the air, stop and see what the people in your world are doing, stop and see the changes going on all around you as stores prepare for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and see what has become of your life.  Take time to see the world around you and be grateful for all you have and all those who are part of your life.

This week on the Spirituality and Life blog I shared about overcoming your fears (part 1, part 2), and sometimes the thing to do is to face them and work on overcoming them.  But sometimes what your fears, your life, and the people in your life need is more thanksgiving, love and joy.  When we learn to focus on those things, and not the fears and challenges that seem to be taking over our lives, we’re able to see life from a whole new perspective, and often be freed from our fears without having to do anything.

“The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”  Henri J M Nouwen

Teamwork Creates Happiness

One of the reasons I believe we’re here on earth is to help each other. I believe businesses too were created to solve at least one problem or meet at least one need in the world. We can get caught up in the things of this world and in what goes on in our lives and forget this very core purpose. But in this month on teamwork I’m reminded again and again how poorly the world would work without teamwork and how miserable we would be without all that everyone else contributes to the world.

Not only is teamwork necessary for making the world and our lives not such a challenging and/or bad experience, I believe the benefits far outweigh the costs when it comes to having other people in our lives. In fact most of the happiness and joy that we experience comes from other people and their presence in our lives, whether literal like close friends and acquaintances or in movies/on TV.

Some of the happiest times in my life have been when I’ve been helping others, doing a good deed or doing something that will make a positive difference in the world. These times and people have made such an impact on my life that I make it a regular part of my life to contribute to the world through charities, as well as offering a helping hand or bit of advice when asked. I believe my life is richer because my focus is on helping others rather than on how much money I can make, how viral I can go or the latest gossip and trending celebrities.

People can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but it’s not isolated to just “them,” we have our own issues too. As you go about your life this week remember that you’re not alone in the world and ask for help when you need it and offer it when you see someone else in need.

“Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life – a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are.” Princess Diana

Journey to Joy

With just a few days left in this month I wanted to talk about another aspect of happiness and joy, one that might puzzle us about it: it’s changing nature. Simply, what makes us happy changes from day to day. What makes you happy today may make you happy tomorrow, but what made you happy as a child probably won’t bring you the same amount of happiness anymore. For example you were thrilled as a child to eat certain baby foods or play with certain toys, if you tried those foods or toys today they would be barely interesting and probably gross, even though they did make you very happy once upon a time.

I think we’re able to accept the changing nature of happiness because it is exactly that: happy. It’s bringing us good things to our lives, rather than challenges and frustrations that we deal with when they’re things that don’t make us happy. What’s not always easy is learning that what used to make us happy doesn’t any more or just isn’t what we remembered when we get to have it again. I’ve been dealing with that a lot this holiday season as I’ve had a few very small tastes of foods I used to eat and they just haven’t measured up to my memories (probably a good thing).

Finding new things that make us happy are part of growing, and make the challenges of change and growth worth it. Unfortunately we all too often forget about those opportunities or they’re overshadowed by the hardships that we face. So each day I would encourage you to take time to review one lesson you’ve learned, one challenge you’ve faced and one blessing or good thing that happened. Some days will be more challenging for you to find all 3, and other days you’ll be able to list more than one for each category. It’s a great way to head into the new year, and a great habit to have for your life.

“The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mode of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change; happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up.”  Charles L. Morgan

Principles of Purpose

Today, the day after Christmas begins the celebration of Kwanzaa.  I’m not sure who thought that Christmas should only be devoted to one day and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa both are stretched out over multiple days.  I wanted to talk about Kwanzaa today because of what it symbolizes for us today as we’re looking towards a new year.

“The seven principles of Kwanzaa — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith — teach us that when we come together to strengthen our families and communities and honor the lesson of the past, we can face the future with joy and optimism.”  President Bill Clinton

We’ve experienced a lot of division over the past year.  It’s been a challenging year for just about all of us as we watched planes go down and disappear, children get killed and kidnapped, serious illness break out and personal issues and divisions come to light.  I don’t have all the answers but I do know that that’s not the world I want to live in if I have anything to say about it.

I’d much rather live in a world that understands the 7 principles of Kwanzaa.  To be responsible for our collective future, one that supports each of us and doesn’t make us dread waking up in the morning.  It’s a big dream and won’t happen overnight, but the only way to make it a reality is if we start taking action today.

I’m looking forward to wrapping up 2014 with you in the coming week and stepping into 2015 as well.  I’m not sure what the new year will hold but I have hope and confidence in each of us that we’re big enough, strong enough, brave enough and smart enough that we’ll be able to plan and create a future that makes the best use of the abundance of resources and blessings we have.

But for the Kwanzaa message today, what principle do you need to work on most?  Each of them come with their own challenges, and no one is perfect so we’ll never completely live up to their requirements.  I think one of the ones that’s hardest for each of us is not a principle but something President Clinton said: that we face the future with joy and optimism.  Will you choose that for this upcoming year with me?

Just Joy

One of the things I’ve probably mentioned in the past that completely amazes me is how often people turn down or ignore the simple stuff.  Like a free gift because they feel guilty getting it or the kind word because they don’t feel worthy or the simple advice that could be a big breakthrough.  Of course I’ve toyed with different ideas over the years on how to help people accept the simple stuff.  I’ve seen over the past few years a few more people offering a very brief daily thought, inspiration or action step on a blog or through a newsletter which is one way to encourage simple changes, but somehow too many people are still missing out on the huge potential power of this concept.

Let me explain the concept to you before we go further.  It’s really quite simple.  Your future is built on each and every moment from your past.  Your future is what your past has created.  The different prejudices, preferences, issues, fears, challenges, choices and people you meet, plus the outside influences that you have no control over are what makes up your future.  Which means that each and ever minute of your life is building to your future.  So if every moment is used in the set-up for your future, it would follow that it matters what you do in each moment of your life.  No pressure or anything.

But seriously, if we know that we can’t possibly make the most of each and every moment because that’s too much, but we do know and do our best to live life to its fullest as often as possible, the next thing to consider is that it’s those little things that make such a big difference in our lives.  What are the little things adding up to in your life?  Can you see them leading to an amazing future or are you frustrated with the future you see?  If you’re feeling frustrated, the first place I would start is with what makes you happy.  It’s when you find happiness that you find the key to freedom.

“It is strange what a contempt men have for the joys that are offered them freely.”  Georges Duhamel