Juneteenth rooted in American and family history — ‘free at last’

By Dr. Peaches Henry

I grew up in Palestine, about two hours due east of Waco, where Juneteenth was a huge holiday in the Black community and in my family as well. 

Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became effective Jan. 1, 1863, declaring “that all enslaved persons in the Confederate States of America in rebellion and not in Union hands were freed.” Yet, it was not until two years later, June 19, 1865, that enslaved people in Texas heard the news of their freedom in Galveston. One year later, the first Juneteenth or Jubilee Day was celebrated. Celebrations continue in Texas and across the nation.

Dr. Peaches Henry drives a truck in the 2018 Juneteenth parade in Waco. This year Waco will celebrate this important day of freedom with a number of activities.

From my earliest days, I remember my family celebrating Juneteenth with a huge family celebration. The birthdays of a great aunt and great uncle sandwiched the holiday falling on June 18 and 20. For years, I thought it was so great that the whole county celebrated Aunt Lila’s and Uncle Monroe’s birthdays. 

My extended family on my mama’s side would head out to the country home of Aunt Lila and Uncle Monroe on Juneteenth. Kinfolk from the big cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston drove in. Grownup cousins who had moved away from Palestine came back to show off their sophistication. 

The men would stay up all night barbecuing briskets, ribs, links, and chicken. The women would bring homemade pound cakes, teacakes, sweet potato pies, and peach cobblers along with fried chicken, turnip and collard greens, potato salad, pinto beans, homemade biscuits, and cornbread. Red cream soda and whatever it was that the menfolk had in those brown paper bags out by the pit were the drinks of choice. 

The children would go out into the watermelon patch using the “thump” technique to select the ripest and sweetest melons possible. And of course, there was a chocolate birthday cake to mark the birthdays of Aunt Lila and Uncle Monroe. There was always a prayer — over the food, over the family, over the children. 

The family spent the day visiting and catching up on everyone’s lives. The great-great aunts, great-aunts, and regular aunts made the kids’ lives a misery with sloppy, loving kisses and mushy bosom hugs that we endured, because they were followed by nickels and dimes pulled from the knotted corners of handkerchiefs. 

Kids roamed the still working farm riding the old horse who pulled my uncle’s plow, bothering the chickens in the coup looking for eggs to collect, hiking into the nearby woods, playing baseball with rocks for bases, and grabbing a chicken leg here or a slice of melon there. My big mama and her sister, the birthday girl, circled up under a shade tree (there was no air-conditioning on the farm) with their daughters my mama, her sisters, and first and second cousins, and they traded family gossip (warning us kids away from listening to “grown folk” talk with looks that could freeze Kool-Aid.) 

Dr. Peaches Henry (front right) and other supporters of the local NAACP marked Juneteenth in 2016.

The men gathered under a different shade tree to play dominoes — loud, table hitting, trash-talking dominoes. I thrilled to witness these matches and was delighted when I was given the job of keeping score. I sat between my two favorite uncles (who I learned as an adult were not uncles but second cousins) and kept score like I was scorekeeper for the World Series.

At the end of the day, parents gathered up tired children, wiped as much dirt and food off them as possible, kissed everyone goodbye, and promised to see everyone next Juneteenth (“if the Lord say the same”). On the 20-minute trip back to town (after all, Palestine was the county seat), we three kids would fall asleep to my parents re-hashing all the family gossip my mama had collected. Year after year, I grew up to the predictable rhythms of these Juneteenth celebrations.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the University of Texas at Austin to discover that my mostly white classmates had no idea what Juneteenth was or what it celebrated and commemorated. I considered their ignorance their loss and returned to Palestine throughout my undergrad years to celebrate Juneteenth at Aunt Lila’s and Uncle Monroe’s farm. 

I was more forgiving of my grad school classmates. Afterall, they were northerners and not expected to understand Texas culture. I patiently explained Juneteenth to them and invited them to celebrate with me in Central Park.

Somewhere along the way, Juneteenth became a national holiday with African Americans around the country celebrating the day possibly as a result of transplanted Texans marking it. Even communities whose celebrations have diminished over the decades have been revived. 

The holiday is now marked with picnics, parades, service projects, and Ms./Mr. Juneteenth pageants. In 2020, Juneteenth was observed with protests for social justice. Wacoans have been celebrating Juneteenth for decades and have revived the holiday in recent years with participation in events steadily increasing. 

A measure of the holiday’s new status is evident in a feature story on Juneteenth pageants in the The New York Times. The 2020 film, “Miss Juneteenth,” directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples, is being re-released in theaters this week. And wonder of wonders, both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives passed legislation making Juneteenth a national holiday; the bill heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law in time for Juneteenth on Saturday. 

At the local level, City Councilwoman Andrea Barefield is working on making Juneteenth a legal city holiday.

Juneteenth gives us a moment to reflect on our ability as a country to course correct as we move toward the promise enshrined in the document of our other Freedom Day that all people “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

Let us celebrate!

Peaches Henry is president of the Waco NAACP and an English professor at McLennan Community College. She is the proud mother of Corey Henry, who is practicing law in New York. She is currently training her two-year old Juneteenth-born Black lab Samson.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Waco’s ‘4th on the Brazos’ returning this year

By Megan Davis

The City of Waco’s annual “4th on the Brazos” celebration is set to return Sunday, July 4, at Touchdown Alley, next to Baylor University’s McLane Stadium. Admission is free, and the community is invited to enjoy the festivities with food trucks, live music, family fun, and fireworks.

Gates will open at 6 p.m., and the fireworks will kick off at about 9:15 p.m. The fireworks will be shot above the river, between Touchdown Alley and the Ferrell Center. They will be visible from both sides of the river, the Ferrell Center, and areas around Baylor campus.

Bag check stations will be located at all entrances. Coolers with drinks and snacks are allowed, but glass bottles and containers are prohibited. Extra hand washing stations will be located throughout the grounds, and guests are encouraged to practice social distancing.

Additional details, including an event schedule and artist announcement, will be available soon. For updates, visit brazosnightswaco.com or follow Brazos Nights on Facebook or Instagram.

Megan Davis works the City of Waco’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Surviving COVID-19 and the Holidays

By Dr. Peaches Henry

As predicted by infectious disease experts in the summer, coronavirus infections are now surging across the nation during the winter and holiday period.  COVID-19 hospitalizations in McLennan County hit a record on Monday, November 24, and local health officials said that warnings about Thanksgiving gatherings must be taken seriously.  If not, the McLennan County’s medical capacity could be strained in the weeks afterwards.  The scientists of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are pleading with Americans to avoid traveling for Thanksgiving and to celebrate only with members of our immediate households.  Put starkly, spend Thanksgiving with family; spend Christmas in the ICU. 

Facing these dire consequences, many of us have decided to forego our traditional holiday celebrations to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus.  My own family, stretched across several Texas cities and involved in various conditions of employment including completely working from home, working hybridly, and working face-to-face all dealing with students, has decided to forego a face-to-face Thanksgiving this year.

Though I am disappointed not to be with my family, I wanted to reach out to others to offer some ways that we are trying to get through this time.  Let’s face it.  We might have to spend Christmas separated as well.  We might as well prepare for the entire holiday season—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, all of them. These are safe activities that are good for our emotional and mental health that abide by the recommendations of the CDC and local doctors.

Be grateful.

  1. If you are reading this blog, be thankful.  Though 2020 has been unprecedented in so many ways, we still have much to be thankful for.  Count your blessings.  Since it is 2020, count up to twenty blessings.  Go ahead and count twenty more, because it’s 2020.

Reach out to others.

Though apart, we are in this season together. Some people suffer from depression during this season even when we are not in a worldwide pandemic, so you can imagine how down they are feeling now.  We know that giving to others helps build resilience and diminishes some of the isolation many are suffering.  Therefore, it is important to be purposeful about reaching out to people and making them feel part of the community.

  1. How about that new neighbor who just moved in?  Write a note of welcome with your phone number for emergencies. Or that family whose children have been learning remotely for weeks?  Leave a puzzle or a card game on the front porch. 
  2. Give poinsettias to several of your neighbors. 
  3. Deliver a meal to someone you know will be alone for the holidays.  Bake cookies and let your children deliver them to neighbors (remember, contact free!).  This is one of the CDC recommended substitute activities.

Find new ways to observe your family’s traditions. 

  1. One of the activities I miss most is cooking and chatting with family the night before the big day, especially with my mom (now gone to heaven) “suggesting” that I add more of this or that ingredient. This year I’m cooking and chatting with my sister via Zoom.
  2. Among my family’s time-honored traditions is playing board games.  From Connect Four to Monopoly to Bible Trivial Pursuit to Trouble to Uno to Jenga to Sorry to Scrabble, we play them all.  To say that we play games is a milquetoast description of what my family has done over the years.  We play ferocious, competitive, winner-take-all games.  We game out which games we are going to play weeks ahead.  We pick our teams with winning in mind—my late mom, the Sunday School superintendent, for Bible Trivial Pursuit; my son, the strategizing law student, for Monopoly; my brother, the sports fanatic and movie enthusiast, for Trivial Pursuit; and me, the English professor, for Scrabble.  Good sportsmanship is a must:  winners and losers must shake hands and smile at the end of the game.  My sister and I still crack up remembering the grimaces that passed for smiles when we were children.  Then we gloat all year till the next holiday (really for years).  The family still gives me grief for not remembering Robert Ludlum as the author of the Bourne Identity which would have won the game for the girls in 2006! Argh!  So how will my family replace this tradition when we will not be together?  We are still going to play games.  We are going to harness the power of technology—Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts, etc.  One game we are going to play is the #Hashtag.  This will advantage millennials and GenXers, but I plan to get one on my team.  Whatever your family’s tradition is, find a new way to celebrate it.
  3. Enjoy watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while you prepare dinner?  The full 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on YouTube.
  4. Watch your favorite holiday specials together on Zoom.  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will air free on PBS on December 13.  One, two, three, click!
  5. Put “the game” on at everyone’s house and watch it “together.”
  6. Sing Christmas carols together via Zoom.

Bring back old traditions. 

  1. A Christmas card arriving via the USPS in a mailbox would lift the spirits of someone who is spending the holiday alone and away from family.  Writing the cards together as a family over cookies and milk or tea could create some great family moments.  The benefits of a paper card is that it can be hung up in a barracks, stuck to a refrigerator, or placed on a desk.

Create new traditions. 

  1. Plug your charger into your phones and have a conversation with a group of friends or family members.  This can easily be done via Zoom, but if folks are tired of Zoom, everyone can kick back on couches and chat.  We play a conversation game called “Favorite” at dinner parties that is easily transferable to a phone conversation.  It works for all ages and leads to great conversations and reveals surprising tidbits about players.  Sample topics:  What is your favorite childhood television show?  Dark Shadows, anyone?  What is your favorite book?  Favorite mystery? Favorite car?  Favorite animal?
  2. Have a drive-by parade for sick-n-shut-ins at your church.

Put on your favorite soundtrack.

  1. A good soundtrack can make any situation bearable.  Put yours on and dance the night away.  Take your pick of music streaming platforms:  Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music.
  2. Go a step further and dance.  Use YouTube videos to learn the steps to line dances.  The Electric Slide (old school favorite), the Wobble, the Cupid Shuffle, the Cotton Eyed Joe.  Dancing is a much more enjoyable way of getting those endorphins going than running.

Breathe, relax, release.

  1. Embrace the fact that you don’t have to cook a twelve-course meal for twenty family members plus that family of six who will show up without notice.
  2. Be happy that Uncle Blank won’t be at the table to ask uncomfortable questions.  Do give him a call though.
  3. Go to bed early the night before Thanksgiving Day.  Better, get up late on Thanksgiving Day.
  4. Put your holiday decorations up early.  My neighbors seem to already have decided to do this.  Lights lift the spirits.  My family usually waits till Christmas Eve to go see the lights.  This year, I’m going early.

Bonus:  Have hope and faith!

  1. Know that we will get through this time.  History is our witness.  The world got through the 1918 flu pandemic.  We will get through the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Peaches Henry is the president of the Waco NAACP and an English professor at McLennan Community College.  She will be spending Thanksgiving with her best friend and black Lab Samson and Christmas with her son Corey and Samson.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected]for more information.

The Act Locally Waco Thanksgiving Cookbook

Happy Thanksgiving, Waco! A few weeks ago, I put out a call in The Whole Enchilada, asking for people’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes. I wanted to create a blog post that could serve as a community cookbook for Waco. And, boy, did you deliver some fantastic recipes! Read on for three great recipes from your Waco neighbors: a show stopping side, a fun and easy dessert, and a unique twist on Thanksgiving leftovers! Then, click here for a special Act Locally Thanksgiving recipe card you can print off and use to keep these recipes for years to come!

The Recipe: Hasselback Butternut Squash (Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)

This recipe was submitted by Rachel, who has lived in Waco on and off for the past 10 years, and whose favorite Waco spot is Lula Jane’s porch! Rachel made this recipe while celebrating Thanksgiving in the UK and added the serrano pepper and sorghum syrup for a little Southern flair once she returned to Waco.

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

¼ cup pure sorghum syrup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

6–8 dried bay leaves

Directions:

Place a rack in the upper third of oven; preheat oven to 425°F. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a large spoon. Using a peeler, remove skin and white flesh below (you should reach the deep orange flesh). Rub all over with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast in a baking dish just large enough to hold halves side by side until beginning to soften (a paring knife should easily slip in only about ¼”), 15–18 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring chile, sorghum syrup, butter, and vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high, stirring occasionally and removing chile as soon as desired heat level is reached (set aside for serving), until just thick enough to coat spoon, 6–8 minutes. Reduce heat to very low and keep glaze warm.

Transfer squash to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Using a sharp knife, score rounded sides of squash halves crosswise, going as deep as possible but without cutting all the way through. Return squash to baking dish, scored sides up, and tuck bay leaves between a few of the slices; season with salt and pepper.

Roast squash, basting with glaze every 10 minutes or so and using pastry brush to lift off any glaze in the dish that is browning too much, until tender and glaze forms a rich brown coating, 45–60 minutes. Serve topped with reserved chiles.

The Recipe: Cinnamon Walnut Pecan Pie Bites (From the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service)

This recipe was submitted by Lindsey, who has lived in Waco for 5 years and loves walks along the Brazos River! This recipe can be easily doubled, tripled, or even halved, depending on how big or small your Thanksgiving crowd is!

Ingredients:

15 mini phyllo shells, frozen

1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

3 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon room temperature butter

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 drop vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon chopped walnuts

2 tablespoon chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine egg substitute, brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.

Stir in 1 tablespoon chopped pecans and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts into mixture. Arrange phyllo shells on baking sheet and distribute the mixture evenly among the shells. Combine remaining nuts and sprinkle them on the top of the shells.

Bake in the oven until edges are crisp, 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving. If you like, top each piece with a squirt of fat free whipped cream topping. Enjoy!

The Recipe: Thanksgiving Leftovers Lasagna

This recipe was submitted by an anonymous Act Locally reader, who has lived in Waco for 49 years and whose favorite Waco spots include Cameron Park and the River Walk at the Waco Suspension Bridge! This recipe is a great way to use up leftovers; feel free to swap any ingredients based on whatever leftovers are in your fridge!

Ingredients:

3 cups leftover cornbread stuffing

1 (14-oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 ¼ lbs cooked turkey breast, sliced into ¼ inch slices

3 cups cooked mashed potatoes

2 cups green beans, corn, or mixed vegetables

6 oz sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 ½ cups)

Gravy, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a square baking dish with cooking spray.

Spread half of the stuffing in a layer in bottom of prepared baking dish. Spread half of the cranberry sauce in an even layer over stuffing. Layer half of turkey slices on top of cranberry sauce, then half of vegetable of choice, then spread half of the mashed potatoes on top of vegetables. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on top of potatoes. Repeat layers once. Bake in preheated oven until lasagna is warmed through, about 20 minutes. Increase heat to broil, and broil until cheese is golden, about 2 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares. Spoon gravy over each square to serve.

Becca Muncy is an Act Locally intern from Dallas. She is studying professional writing at Baylor University and is completing her senior year.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected]for more information.

Here’s to a mentally healthy holiday season!

By Cynthia Cunningham

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us!  I know, it seems like we were just relaxing on our summer vacation. Suddenly, we are flooded with holiday commercials, sales, and music. This festive whammy can knock us off our feet if we are not prepared.

Why can’t we move calmly through the shopping, decorating, cooking and socializing? Could it be that we believe we need to have the “perfect” holidays? After all, that’s what all the holiday movies on Lifetime show us! If they can hold it all together and have the ideal holidays, why can’t we?

First of all, forget Lifetime movies!! After all, they have a whole crew who builds those amazing sets to create the ideal family home decorated beautifully for the holidays. Their lovely laid tables with the perfect food is often not real food. And their families, who get along lovingly, are actors reading a script! What does this tell us? It’s NOT real!! So we must stop comparing our lives to these shows!

So here is our reality: Holidays bring stress, anxiety, depression and just a feeling of being overwhelmed with trying to manage it all!  It’s the time of year that we are more aware of the people we have lost and when we deal with loneliness.  It does not matter your age, we can all be overcome with these feelings.

Secondly, the key to manage your mental health during the holidays is to be mindful of what you are expecting to accomplish. Start with a “To Do” list. Write down everything that you wish to accomplish. Next, break down the items on your “To Do” list and put them on your calendar. This allows you the opportunity to tackle things one day at a time. Seeing things that you need to accomplish on one day is less overwhelming than the whole long list. And you will feel proud each day you are able to mark off a completed item.

Thirdly, allow those around you to help. I know, the kids don’t decorate the tree exactly the way you want it done. Release that control and see how proud they are of what they have created. Or if that doesn’t work for you, sit down with the family and your “To Do” list and see who will agree to take on which task. This shows your family that you are a unit together. And you are teaching younger generations how to handle the holiday chores.

Fourth, to manage those feelings of depression, keep connected. I know this is not always easy. Find ways to volunteer within your community. There are always organizations that can use help. You will be amazed how helping others can chase away those depressed feelings. Or take advantage of the fun activities happening in your community. You could take a class on making ornaments, join a group going caroling or visiting nursing homes during their craft time. If these activities feel too much for you, ask your family and friends to check in on you. There is no shame in admitting that you struggle during the holidays. When you are open about your feelings with them, it gives them permission to be a part of helping you through the rough times.

Fifth, when dealing with a loss, embrace the happy memories. You can create a new tradition to keep the memory of your loved one alive. For example, if they had a cause that was dear to them, find a way the family can help that cause. Again, check in with your family and friends and let them know if you are struggling with the loss and ask for help getting through the holidays.

Lastly, just know that nobody’s holiday is perfect. Just enjoy the companionship that comes during this time of year. These are the memories that you will treasure in the future. Do your best to focus on these relationships because they are the true gifts of the holidays.


Cynthia Cunningham teaches mental health education classes and advocates for better care. She has been married over 30 years to her high school sweetheart and is the proud mother of an amazing daughter. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

 

Don’t let Stress Steal your Holiday

By Salley Schmid

Stress management is a topic that can go in many different directions.  All very useful and important directions in which to explore stress management.   In today’s Act Locally Waco Mental Health blog, I am going to turn your attention to stress management during the holidays with regard to relationships and traditions.

There are some easier to implement stress management tips around these topics and there are some not so easy to implement, but powerfully transformative stress management tips.  Here are a few of hopefully easier to implement ideas:

  • Live / spend / gift within your means shame free
  • Say no to make room for yes:
    • pick fewer traditions, events, and travel scenarios
    • Delegate or purchase pre-prepared when you can (not everything has to be homemade, give yourself a break)
    • Decide as a family what are the few most important traditions and values to express during the holidays and endeavor to meet those and if nothing else gets done it’s ok
    • Recruit help with anything you can – even if you need to pay for some of the help – everyone needs to earn a living and your mental, emotional health is important enough to invest in, hence paying for the help to be less burdened.

AAANNND for some that may be hard in the short run, but stress relieving and energy saving in the long run:  Practice healthy boundaries in relationships.  For example, when giving gifts that are within your financial means remember:

  • your gifts do not define you
  • others’ responses to your gifts do not define you
  • your values and alignment with your values is what defines you – your heart’s intention.

Letting go of feeling responsible for how others feel and think is an act of setting a healthy boundary.  The mindset of the above 3 points helps you do this letting go in order to live that healthy boundary.

Anticipation of the perfect holiday experience is a bit of a set up.  That’s a tall order to fill.  It is basically putting the holiday on a very high pedestal and it is a long fall from that pedestal.  One detail is off and the whole experience seems tainted.  Letting go of these high expectations and the anticipation of the perfect experience, makes room for flexibility, mistakes, forgiveness, and adaptability.  It paves the way for resilience and peace.

Discuss what roles people can play in the holiday experience – give people jobs.  Most individuals want to feel like they are making a meaningful contribution, not solely a recipient of your service.  Having a role or job equals feeling useful and meaningful, not having a role or job equals feeling like a burden and useless.  Invite everyone to feel useful and meaningful this holiday season.

If you have new family members – such as by marriage, invite the new members to share a tradition of their own with your family, get the details so that you can accommodate.  With a heart of gratitude, give up something of your own if necessary to make room for the new.

Be flexible.  As families grow dynamics of all sorts change.  Maybe a different calendar date needs to be set aside for a holiday to get everyone together.  The togetherness is what is important, not the number on a calendar.

Set boundaries in advance with behaviors or scenarios that have led to resentment or difficulty in the past.  For example, if you have a family member who typically gets hammered at the holidays and ends up creating a difficult scenario, in advance, invite that person to come sober and stay sober so that you can connect with that person rather than connecting with alcohol.  Invite them to refrain from coming if they don’t want to remain sober.  Let them know if they come and end up intoxicated, you will call for a ride for them and assist them in getting home without driving.

Another example is with pets.  If your holiday guests have in the past been known to bring their pets without getting permission or even knowing that they are unwelcome, in advance, set the boundary with them.  Ask them to make alternative arrangements for the pets, to bring crates, or stay at a pet friendly hotel . . . and express your gratitude for their presence without the pets.

Boundaries are not easy to set.  When setting them, others will not always receive them well, might accuse you of being mean or selfish, and might get mad at you. All of these responses are possible but not an indicator that you are in the wrong.  It is not your job to ensure everyone is pleased with your every move.  That is an impossible feat.  In the long run, setting healthy boundaries reduces stress, even if it might take a bit of time to get there.  However, it is less stressful than year after year dreading and then resentfully enduring the intolerable.

I wish you peace and joy this holiday season, hold on to what matters, relationships and love, not things, not food, not perfection.  Embrace life and family in all of its glorious messiness.  Hope for the best, but don’t expect it.  Rather, let the days unfold without trying to overly orchestrate each moment and experience.  Organically occurring memories will be the most meaningful.  Orchestrated moments tend to carry the memory of the stress they caused trying to orchestrate them. Let peace and joy be the theme.


salley-schmidSalley Schmid’s counseling practice specializes in helping people transition to a place of strength after experiencing any form of interpersonal trauma or pain, dissatisfaction in relationships, the loss of a sense of self. I work with individuals, families and parents from a family systems perspective. I have extensive experience working with individuals who have experienced psychological or emotional or sexual abuse or any interpersonal trauma, traumatic grief, divorce, blended family work, parenting challenges and attachment difficulties.  Salley Schmid, LMFT can be contacted at Enrichment Counseling at: 254-235-3500 or [email protected].