Getting ready for Christmas?

Cathy Brownfield

It is the holiday time of year. And, as has become my usual state, I have been planning what I want to do, but I am running behind, partly because I don’t push hard enough to get things done. I am trying to live in the moment while also dealing with the adventures – and misadventures – of family.


One of our daughters, Ashley, insisted that we make hard tack candy well before Thanksgiving. I am glad that is done. Another of our daughters continued the tradition she and I created years ago. She brings French vanilla cappuccino for the two of us and we decorate the front of my house with lights and a few little odds and ends I try to add to each year. (Um, yeah. Where is Santa and his sleigh that I should have completed?) Well, we have such a good time together, Beth and I.

But … where is the buckeye candy, the peanut butter fudge, the seven-layer cookies, pizzelles, sugar cookies and the chocolate chip cookies I have baked since I was 14 years old?

When someone asks me what I want for Christmas I say the same thing I say every year: I want to go for a ride in a one-horse open sleigh. (Don’t you love Charles Dickens this time of the year? And do you remember Mr. Magoo’s A Christmas Carol?) Do you realize how close to impossible a ride in a one-horse open sleigh is in these times we live in?

What is most important to me are the people I love, the people who populate my world. They love me even when I am most difficult to get along with, just as I love them. I like to think we uplift and encourage each other through the worst times and celebrate together the achievements, the opportunities, and the victories. I’m … not really a material girl. It’s the people I love.


I have said that I should step down from writing for Family Recovery Center and make way for the next generation to bring a new voice to FRC readers. No resignations have been accepted. Friends have told me I need to keep writing the words that touch lives, make a difference in someone’s life, even if I never know about it.

It is not vanity that keeps me filling this space every week, space one editor has been allowing me to fill for FRC for nearly 23 years. It is the hope that some words I might write will touch your heart and bring you comfort and healing where you need it because we all need comfort and healing sometime. We all need to know there is someone somewhere who understands where we are, where we have been and where we want to be … who we want to be. Someone who cares.

Everyone has troubles, just not the same troubles. It might be good to plan for the future, but more importantly, we need to live in the moment, instead of waiting for “Someday.” Look at the cloudless blue sky, the world around you bathed in sunlight. Or, look at the moon and the stars – the International Space Station passes overhead, too – and just breathe, just be right then, and feel the joy of the simple things in your life that you might not have had time to look at, to appreciate, for a while.

Be patient with children who are looking up to you, learning from you. If you want to make the world a better place, the children might be the best place to begin. They need fewer things and more of you.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. It is not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

As the song says, May your days be merry and bright …”

For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, Visit the website at FRC is funded in part by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.