Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Tamara Belinc

 

Parents all over the world will light candles December 14th at 7:00 p.m., in honor and remembrance of their children who have died in an annual candle-lighting ceremony sponsored by the Compassionate Friends organization.

 

The Compassionate Friends organization strives to help families move toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child at any age and to provide information to help others be supportive.  The support group was organized over 40 years ago in England when a chaplain at a hospital brought together two sets of grieving parents, realizing they could support each other better than anyone else could.

 

The Society of the Compassionate Friends was born. The organization came to the United States in 1978.  Today, Compassionate Friends is made up of over 600 chapters in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

 

Patricia Loder is the executive director of the Compassionate Friends organization of the United States.  Her children were killed in a car accident in 1991, and a few months later, she found a chapter of The Compassionate Friends to attend.  Later, she established a chapter of Compassionate Friends near her home. Her husband serves as the public awareness coordinator.

 

Members of Compassionate Friends are dedicated to bringing hope back to parents who may think life is over once their child is gone.  The organization doesn’t discriminate based on when a child was lost and includes parents whose children were stillborn, died as young children and teenagers or as adults.

 

The candle-lighting is traditionally held the second Sunday in December at 7:00 p.m., local time. Candles stay lighted for one hour in each time zone creating a virtual 24-hour wave of light. It is believed to be the largest mass candle-lighting ceremony in the world and has hundreds of thousands of participants.  For anyone who cannot attend one of the formal candle-lighting ceremonies, you are invited to hold an informal one in their home.

 

To find a ceremony near you, visit the Compassionate Friends website.

Posted on 12 December, 2008 in Helping Others, Parenting
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Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Judy Mosley

 

When my husband and I decided to have children in 2004, I had believed we were well prepared.  We were healing as couple.  He had been a youth minister prior to our marriage and I had worked at a children’s home when he’d met me.  We loved children and had assumed that would carry us as we had our own.

 

It was quite a shock really to discover how unprepared we were. Not necessarily financially or physically, but mentally and emotionally.  Many people told us that we would enjoy being parents.  What they didn’t tell us is that, sometimes, you will be at an absolute loss as to know what to do next.  They didn’t let us know that our children would be our mirrors as to how we live and would challenge everything that we believed.  No one said that your heart had to be open, available, and ready at any given moment to give that child exactly what they needed. Read More »

Posted on 10 December, 2008 in Finance & Family, Parenting
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Article by Christian Nanz and Make The Days Count Contributor Judy Mosley

One of the things I am still learning is how to make my days better by allowing myself to do things that bring pleasure to others and to me.  I am also learning how simple little things like making my bed can help me feel productive all day long!  They don’t need to be major undertakings.  It’s interesting that small things bring large doses of happiness or satisfaction.

For example, when I get up on the morning, I like to take my dog for a walk around the neighborhood. He loves going for a walk (and he expects it!), and yet I believe I appreciate the walk a much as he does!  It is my time to relax, be thankful for another day and enjoy.

Of course this is not an exhaustive list.  There are many things that are simple, inexpensive, and easy to do that can add to your day in an incredibly satisfying way.  Perhaps this will spark you to try some of the things on our list or to add to it with ideas of your own. Read More »

Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Chris Bennett

 

I do not have children, nor am I married.  I consider myself a self driven independent, self motivated man deriving from the fact that I grew up an only child and was entrenched most my life with overachieving parents.  I have been called a lover of solitude and a breadwinner of independence, so you can imagine the strong dose of reality I got when I started dating a woman with a 2-year-old child.

 

It is incredible what children can teach you about family, even if they are not your own.  Read More »

Posted on 15 November, 2008 in Finance & Family, Making the Day Count, Parenting
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