December 2022 Vol 4 Issue 12
Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):
Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling
Let me (teach you to) tell your story!
Welcome Mid-December, 2022!
Winter started early (in November) this year, with snow that has stayed and an early cold spell that will soon be repeated. But despite this, Saskatchewanians are resilient folk; many of us have found
that the intervening warmer weather brought hope and joy to our Hanukkah, Advent, Christmas and other holiday preparations.
Through the “Advent Appeal” program in my faith group, we have continued our annual practice of collecting clothing, warm blankets, and hygiene supplies on behalf of the city’s homeless and at-risk people.
This month’s “Storyteller’s Corner” returns us to an “Advent Miracle” that one of my church’s organizers witnessed two years ago, but which reminds us that small acts of kindness can have a miraculous effect on others.
In spite of the soaring inflation at our grocery stores and gas stations and (even worse) the empty shelves of children’s (and adults’) cold and flu remedies, I hope that you, good reader, have warm, safe and stable living environments, not just this season, but throughout the year.
And if you (like me) are so blessed, please do consider donating to those who lack basic necessities, whether through your “office pool,” the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign, or similar work done by your faith or neighbourhood communities.
Since our global community has now entered its third Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s seasons in the grip of the ever-mutating Coronavirus, this year will not be a “ho-ho-ho” holiday time for many. Our hospitals are teeming with infections, many of which have taken the lives of beloved family members, ended careers and delayed timely medical treatment. Hopital workers, too, are
facing burnout to an extent unprecedented in our history.
So in this last issue of the year, “Article One” of “Tell Your Story Newsletter” revisits “Coping with Christmas,” a publication of the American Hospice Foundation (AHF). Coping may be the “new normal,” in pandemic days.
For those of us who care for others on a daily basis and/or who face complex health problems ourselves, the AHF reminds us to be aware of our own emotional needs and to take care to avoid burnout.
Despite the challenges that fill the daily newspapers, I hope, good readers, that you’ll find at least a little time to enjoy the final days of this year, giving thanks for the family, friends and mentors who grace our lives.
May you find peace this holiday season; and good health, happiness and prosperity in 2023.
IN THIS ISSUE:
ARTICLE 1: Feeling the Christmas Blues? Here are Some Solutions . . . .
STORYTELLERS’ CORNER: A Local “Advent Miracle” Story
Article One: Feeling the Christmas or Holiday Blues? Here are Some Solutions . . .
For many of us, even if we have been blessed to enjoy Advent, Christmas, Hanukkah or other spiritual traditions at this time of year, the holiday season can be painful.
The pain may come from to the loss of a loved one, a job, separation from a “significant other,” health or financial difficulties, the excessive pressure to buy and give, and so on. The so-called “holiday season” can in reality be anything but “ho-ho-ho.”
This holiday survival guide, written originally by the American Hospice Foundation, offers some ideas that may help us as we plan (or choose not to plan) holiday festivities. Please read on and share with others who may need this. And know you are not alone!
Christmas or Holiday cards (choose one like these):
1. Mail as usual, or email to save on stationery and postage
2. Shorten your list
3. Include a Christmas letter that you’ve written
4. Skip it this year
Christmas or Holiday music (choose one like these):
1. Enjoy as usual
2. Shop early, to avoid Christmas music
3. Avoid turning the radio on
4. Listen to the music and allow yourself to feel sad (or to cry)
Decorations (choose one like these):
1. Decorate as usual
2. Let others do it
3. Choose not to have decorations
4. Have a special decoration for a loved one, who may have died or left
5. Modify your decorations
6. Make changes, such as putting up an artificial tree
7. Ask for help from others
Shopping (choose one like these):
1. Shop as usual
2. Shop early
3. Make your gifts by hand
4. Make a list of gifts to buy
5. Shop online
6. Ask for help wrapping gifts
7. Shop with a friend
8. Give cash
9. Give baked goods
10. Ask for help
11. Go giftless and (if possible) make a donation to charity
Traditions (choose one like these):
1. Keep the old traditions
2. Don’t attend Christmas parties
3. Open gifts on the usual day
4. Attend a worship service
5. Attend a totally different place of worship
6. Visit the cemetery
7. Attend Christmas or holiday parties
8. Go to an entirely new place
9. Open gifts at another time
10. Do not attend a worship service
11. Light a special candle to honour your loved one
12. Bake the usual foods
13. Modify your baking and cooking, to save money
14. Buy the usual foods
15. Spent quiet time alone, in meditation or relaxation
Christmas or Holiday Dinner (choose one like these):
1. Prepare as usual
2. Invite friends over
3. Eat in a different location of the house
4. Go out to dinner, possibly with someone else who is alone
5. Eat alone
6. Change time of dinner
7. Have a buffet/potluck and share the clean-up, after
8. Ask for help
Post-Christmas and New Year’s Day (choose one like these):
1. Spend the days as usual
2. Avoid New Year’s parties
3. Spend time with only a few friends
4. Write in a journal about your hopes for the next year
5. Go out of town
6. Host a New Year’s Party
7. Go to a movie, watch a movie on a streaming service or even borrow a movie from the library
8. Go to bed early and feel refreshed the next morning for the new year ahead
And now it’s your turn: Does the Christmas, Hanukkah or holiday season present challenges and pain for you?
Please consider some of the above options you have to experience the holidays on your own terms.
And remember that Mobile Crisis (Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service) is available, 24 hours, at (306) 933-6200
STORYTELLER’s CORNER . . . .
STORYTELLER’S CORNER: Words, Stories and Riddles on Writing and Editing
This Month, a Story: A Local “Advent Miracle”
A couple of years ago, Alan, a friend and colleague in my faith community, shared a remarkable story of how our church’s seasonal gift donations benefited a downtown charity that helps victims of abuse and homelessness.
He says: “One spring I went into the [church] parlour and noticed that the Advent gifts still sat where we’d left them, last December, since the office of the recipient agency was never open. I had phoned, left messages and visited in person multiple times, only to find the office closed.”
He continues: “As I was driving past one day, the following spring, I decided to give it one last chance and showed up to the agency, just after lunch. They were open!
It was obvious that the staff had just come from a meeting. One of the folk there came over and asked me what I wanted. I told her that I was from the church and had some very belated Advent gifts for them.
She looked confused when I said gifts, but when I said that the gifts consisted of toiletries and other items, it changed to surprise. She asked how many, and I told her that the trunk of my car was full.
Again, there was a look of surprise on her face. She spoke with the director and then went into the back and got a small cart. We then went down the car and loaded it up. It was a small cart, so I carried the extra packages that didn’t fit.
When we got back to the office, she took the items into the back and the director came over and thanked me profusely. She told me that the topic of conversation at the meeting they’d just finished was how they were going to find toiletries to fill packages for some of their clients. They had a few
items, but not nearly enough, and there wasn’t money in the budget to purchase more. They left the meeting wondering how they’d find the remaining items, and that was when I walked in!
We called it Christmas in June! We could have delivered the gifts the prior December, when other churches were doing the same and when the need was largely met. But by delivering them in the spring, we met a great need at a time when others had stopped giving.
We can put this down to coincidence or fate or luck. I look at it as an Advent miracle and a sign that our Higher Power is alive, well and living among us.”
And now it’s your turn: Have holiday activities of years past surprised you with any small miracles? Please write in and I’ll share your stories in a future issue.
Heartfelt thanks go out in this final issue of 2022 to friends, colleagues, followers and mentors who enable me to facilitate language and communication classes; who respond to my blog postings and
monthly newsletter; who have coached or encouraged me to achieve greater clarity in my entrepreneurial goals; and who have lightened some of the weight of family caregiving that I regularly carry.
With apologies to anyone whose name I temporarily forget, here are some of the truly beautiful people who grace my professional and personal lives:
Chief Visionary Officer, Monica Kreuger, and the amazing team at the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship (PSE); English and ESL teacher, Steve Cavan; Saskatchewan’s best entrepreneurial coach (and PSE facilitator), Deanna Litz, of Powerful Nature Coaching & Consulting, Inc.; Minister of Word and Sacrament, Rev. Roberto De Sandoli of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church; Ashleigh Mattern (of Vireo Productions) and Julie Barnes (of Julie Barnes Creative Services) for co-leading the monthly writers’ group that we pioneered, some 10 years ago, and for offering me contracts or
leads when I’ve needed them; Fellow writers, including both Ashleigh and Julie, along with Merle (Massie) McGowan, Naomi Hansen and Ann Chatfield, who keep pushing the envelope as they write (and publish) their remarkable books.
Thank you also to Kanchan Manek and the Manek family of the Raj Manek Mentorship Program, who since 1998 have provided monthly seminars and facilitated mentoring relationships between junior entrepreneurs and seasoned mentors on the Prairies; and to fellow alumni of the PSE’s startSMART, staySMART and digiSMART programs, including Christina Cherneskey, Megan Kent, Barry Frain, Malvina Rapko, Rory Perron and Joan Kleinsteuber, amongst others.
Thanks also go to my students including newcomers to Saskatoon and a citizen in France, whose conversation and studies vivify my life. And finally, if you or a senior whom you know needs a safe and comfortable home with minimal assistance (and the option to add private care to increase assistance in the future), please take a tour of The Franklin Retirement Residence by Revera. The team there has remarkable empathy for seniors in their twilight years and offers safe physical environs, a tasty menu with plenty of variety, seniors’ programming, transportation, and more.
At a time when senior care in our province is in a total crisis of underfunding, and when many special (private) care homes offer inadequate support at high costs, buildings like The Franklin remain a bulwark.
For a complimentary tour and information about a variety of options, including short-term stays through the winter, please call Sales consultant, Daniel Knudsen, at Daniel.Knudsen@reveraliving.com (or call  664-6366).
As we look back over the past Covidian year, while losses and disappointments have been challenging, I find the support of the above people and organizations have given me much to be grateful for:
Merci beaucoup, mes amis!
Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.
Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now help newcomers to Canada to land better jobs and economic immigrants to secure better contracts by improving their English skills; I help SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) close more sales by communicating more effectively; and I help major companies tell their legacy stories.
Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant website. After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss services with you! Please visit my website for more information: www.storytellingcommunications.ca