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It’s been a tough week for the world. We all had to witness the utter horror of the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. Most of you reading my words are parents and I know all of you are caring people. If you’re like me, you have been changed, moved, stunned, and more, by what happened. Emotions are running high and judgments are rampant. I believe we are all grieving and hurt – not in the same way perhaps, but in some way. Teachers have told me they can’t stop crying. My son choked up at the sudden realization that there would be presents for those kids already – presents that will remain unopened. I have a box of tissues on my desk. There has been so much coverage about Sandy Hook that it’s hard for me to say something that hasn’t already been said. And maybe I don’t need to say much at this point. I do want to tell you that there will be no PICKS this week because I think we all deserve a break from the frenzy of activities and grief and holiday craziness. It’s also my way of honoring the victims of the Newtown massacre. For other ways to honor the victims, please click here. And if you’d like to see a tear-jerking homage to them that Saturday Night Live brilliantly organized, click here.

It’s my hope that you’ll make the time this week to just hang out with your kiddos – play some board games and bake some cookies and snuggle, really snuggle, with them for as long as they want you to. And I hope that you’ll make room for your grief – however that looks. I’ve had to grab onto my faith and pray. Others are getting angry and taking action. Some are being judgmental. A few are ignoring this whole thing because it’s just too painful. And our politicians are already looking at legislation (says House Republican Jack Kingston, "Put guns on the table. Also put video games on the table. Put mental health on the table."). This tragedy has reignited the conversation that was started with other such killings, demanding that we as a nation do something. We absolutely have to do something as a country in order to heal from this and to stop the bloodshed. I don’t know what that something is. I imperfectly practice living mindfully so, for me, my healing starts where I am. And right now, I am grateful – grateful that I’m alive, grateful for those that help, grateful for our teachers, and grateful for my children, my family, my friends, and my faith.

Here’s something I wrote after the Aurora shooting – perhaps these words will help you now:

Slow down. Take the time to tell those you love that you love them. Hug your kids. Make up. Be kind to everyone. Laugh. Go to lunch with friends. Let go of all the little piddly things that hold you back. Say what you want to say. Work less. Enjoy the moment more. Love deeply. Find your passions. Create the life you want. Count your blessings. Follow your heart.

And here are some even better words – from three mamas that I just love – my friend Brené Brown, cool chica Laura Mayes, and “The Bloggess” Jenny Lawson, whose piece about a personal tragedy her family just suffered was so tender and touching.

Before I sign off, I want to give away some tickets. I teamed up with the good people at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center to give away two pairs of passes to their very fun “Balloon Blast” that takes place on Christmas Day, next Tuesday, December 25 at 10am at the ERJCC. I’ll be mailing those tickets out so respond TODAY by email! Here’s how you win: send me a funny photo of your kid(s) and the first two photos I get will be the winners. Show me how your kids bring you joy! I’ll go first – please meet my younger son Matthew and my older son Alexander. They both crack me up in different ways. Other people’s kids make me laugh, too -- like my friend Ian, who is sporting a red wig for this year’s Art Car Parade and my friend Alan, who wears an afro wig (we like wigs...). The designer of GISH PICKS, Kristine Brashears, also has a funny son, Julian. See photo #5!

I’ll post all your photos in January (I’m taking next week off) and you’ll be notified by reply email if you’re one of the winners.

Have a great week, be kind to each other, and GO.FIND.FUN. Oh, and good luck with that end-of-the-world thing on Friday!

GISH PICKS is a free weekly email in which I highlight family-oriented cultural events, products or services. Please note that I "highlight" events, but I don't know if they are appropriate for your particular children, so choose wisely based on age, maturity and interests. I know many of you go to events based on GISH PICKS recommendations; PLEASE remember to tell the organization that you are there because of us. Word-of-mouth like yours helps our business to grow. In the same spirit, please also feel free to share GISH PICKS with friends and families.

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The purpose of GISH PICKS is to help parents become aware of all the fun things they can do with their children in Houston and the surrounding area, so GO FIND FUN! Please do give me feedback and ideas, as you are out there in the trenches also looking for interesting things for your family and I want to hear what you find.

If you are having trouble getting to a website listed here, try hitting the "Ctrl" button and left-clicking on the web address, which should make it "live".

For more about my personal, business, and family enrichment company, Gish Creative, and the services we offer, please click here. You are on this list because I thought this e-newsletter would be helpful to you or because you signed up for it. Please feel free to tell your friends to subscribe by clicking here.
My goal is to serve as an information resource for Houston parents through my various endeavors, including:

  • GISH PICKS, which is online and emailed out to thousands of parents and caregivers;

  • THE SUMMER BOOK®: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS AND CLASSES FOR KIDS AND TEENS which comes out annually in March and is sold at bookstores all over Houston, including Barnes and Noble; and

  • OTHER SERVICES including SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS, PRIVATE CONSULTATIONS, and ART PROGRAMS that cover topics such as summertime fun, passion-finding (for adults, children and families), marketing, historic preservation, art classes, and activism. All of these services can be tailored for any audience and budget.

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone/fax: 713.482.7065

© 2012 Sarah Gish

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