Yearly Archives:2015

Yes, Christopher, There is a Santa Claus

“Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.”

–Frank P Church, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”

By Mary Grace Musuneggi

With the onset of the Holiday Season, I find it easy to recall the days of my childhood and the memories of my Christmases past. When I was young, on random Saturdays, my mother and I would ride the streetcar to downtown and get off under the Kaufmann’s clock. I still remember the department store Christmas windows as we walked along Smithfield Street. I remember the bells of the Salvation Army Santa. I remember the Christmas music that filled the air.

The wonderful Christmas memories and traditions of my past are probably the reason that the Holiday Season is still as exciting to me as it was when I was a child. I have never let go of the joy and delight that the season can bring. I have never forgotten the Spirit of the Holiday. And I have never stopped believing in Santa Claus.

chris 10Almost 30 years ago, when my son, Christopher, was 10 years old, a group of his friends had gathered in our family room to play video games. The boys were talking about the hottest new game on the street, and as I passed by, Christopher called out to me, “Mom, can you buy this new game for me for Christmas?” I responded with, “We will see. Maybe Santa Claus will bring it for you.” With that the other boys began to laugh as they chided him with “You mean you still believe in Santa Claus?” And in a voice barely above a whisper, hoping I would not hear, Christopher replied, “No, I don’t; but my Mom still does.”

And I do. I believe in the Santa Claus that helps us find the time that we never seem to have the rest of the year. The time to shop and decorate and bake. I believe in the Santa that helps us find the extra energy needed to write out the cards, to wrap the gifts, to attend the parties, to cook the dinner. I still believe in the Santa Claus who in years where money was tight, somehow made it appear to help to pay for the gifts and the tree and the new outfits. And I believe in the Santa Claus that brings family and friends closer and makes us wish for Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All, no matter what the state of the world might be.

Although for some the holiday season may seem lackluster with the state of the economy, the endless negative news from the media, issues facing the country or because of personal or family concerns, more than ever, once again, I believe that Santa will appear bringing the blessings of faith and hope; the kindness of strangers and the love of family and friends; the miracle of sharing; the knowledge that all we have is all we need; and the realization that we still live in the greatest country in the world.

And when years have gone by these blessings will still exist, and hopefully our current struggles will be lost memories and Santa will continue to be part of Christmas.

We at Single Steps Strategies wish this year that the miracle of Santa will be part of this Holiday Season for everyone we know.

Being Grateful

If you were asked to describe how you begin your day, are your mornings filled with rushing around, draMGM smaller filegging kids out of bed, fumbling to find your shoes, dreading the bus ride to the city, and complaining about going to a job you do not like? For most women, the mornings are not filled with an hour of meditation, some time for reading, a quiet breakfast with the family discussing their plans for the day. Yet how we set up our day in the morning will most likely determine how our day progresses.

Although we would love to start our days with peace, quiet, and a cup of coffee while we sit by the fireplace, limited time robs us of the opportunity to do this. But what if there was a way to bring a positive spin into the early morning and sustain it throughout the day?

Try this: While you brush your teeth, or feed the dog, or ride on the bus, or walk into the office – give thanks.

Give thanks for the house you live in, the family that surrounds you, the people on the bus who smile at you, the change in your purse, the clothes you wear, the job you have. Give thanks for your health, your dog, the food on the table. Thanks for your relatives, friends, and co-workers.

Now it may seem difficult to be grateful when kids are sick, you missed the bus, the boss is angry, and you’re in a rut. And it seems almost impossible to be thankful when there is no money in the bank, the mortgage is overdue, and you were passed over for that raise. Worries about family, work, and money steal your days and take away the ability to enjoy life. Living becomes existing.

But even at these most despairing moments, you need to reach beyond the “liabilities” to find those things that add to the “asset” side of your life’s ledger.

By starting your day in this spirit, you set it up to be prosperous and satisfying. If you start the day feeling stressed and lacking, you will have a day of stress and lack. In taking a mental inventory of your life’s assets, you will realize just what a rich woman you really are. You will see that you have much to be grateful for and that you are probably taking for granted the abundance that already exists in your life. The world around you will give you more if you appreciate what you already have.

Melody Beattie wrote in the Language of Letting Go, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.”

Begin each day with gratitude; if you do this every day for a month, you will simply not be the same person you are today. By giving thanks each day for the abundance you already have in your life, you will set in motion an ancient spiritual law that says, the more you have and are grateful for, the more you will receive.

Set up your day by being grateful for what you have and for what the day will bring. See in your mind the kind of day you would like to have and then be grateful that you are having it.


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Mary Grace Musuneggi

Founder and Executive Director

November 2015


School Days, School Days, Good Old Golden Rule Days

MGM smaller fileBy Mary Grace Musuneggi

Oh how education has changed from the early 1900’s when that tune was popular!

With the kids now back in school for some weeks, the local roads are filled with yellow school buses. The concept of busing escaped me as I was one of those kids who walked to school…both ways…three miles…uphill…in the snow…or something like that.

Back in the good old days, a parent’s biggest fear was having to spend time helping with “the new math,” “penmanship” and “times tables.”  “Reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic” were the mainstay of the curriculum.

But today the course of study runs the gamut of social and economic issues, as well as educational. Security guards walk the halls, and controversial programs like the No Child Left Behind Act, charter schools, common core standards, and home schooling are topics for discussion.

As a former Language Arts teacher, I have noticed the skill of letter-writing and knowledge of punctuation and spelling have been overtaken by email and spellcheck. And verbal skills have been somehow lost, “ya know.” I recently heard a newscaster describe a “pitcher” hanging on the wall while I was driving by a “congradulations” sign on a billboard and a “please set down” sign in a local restaurant.

But in all its forms, from the little red school house to the home school to the campus-like atmosphere of our local high school, education is still the foundation for our future and that of our children. With a good education, we give them the tools they need to grow up, find a good job, buy a house, have a family, and hopefully not come back to live with us when it is time for us to retire.

A good education is the basis for making our children strong, law-abiding members of our community. And it’s still the process for teaching them “The Golden Rule.”

So here’s to the parents, the students, the bus drivers, the teachers and all who make the education system work. As the expression goes, “If you can read this…thank a teacher.”