The Story of Christmas

The story of Christmas, the birth of a baby, conceived by God within a young, unmarried girl’s womb is a story of simplicity and magic.

Jesus came to be in the most natural, simple way – a regular birth to young parents who must have been afraid and unsure, simple people just looking for a room for the night who ended up sleeping in a stable. They were just a hard-working, everyday young couple, just starting out in life, doing their best with what they had. Nobody special.

And yet, the story is laced with magic: a miraculous conception; angels appearing throughout the story, ensuring Mary and Joseph that this child was special, appearing to shepherds, singing praises of Hallelujah under a starlit canopy sky. Wise, spiritual leaders travelled from afar with expensive gifts fit for a king, guided by constellations and other portents of magic.

It’s an unbelievable story. Difficult to imagine. But the story of Christmas is our reminder that miracles do happen to the simplest of people. That in the dirt and grit of everyday life, magic exists to illuminate our path and show us the way.

May you find both this Christmas. In the midst of the shopping and baking and rushing about to prepare a celebration, may you find the magical moments: of laughter, of children, of quiet love shared with another. Our simple lives are filled with everyday magic if we just open our hearts and watch for it.

A Strand of Pearls

(The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book”10 – A Story of Love, Life, and Loss” soon to be published by Balboa Press, and available at local bookstores or on-line at and

I had a great discussion with my daughter and son-in-law the other day about living life to the fullest. Bill said: “Most people think they should live each day as if it is their last, when what they should be thinking is they should be living each day fully because death only has one day. You only have one day in your whole life to die and a multitude of days to live. So make that your focus.”

The two statements seem to be similar but, in essence, they’re not. The first statement “Live each day as if is your last” puts the focus on death and its power in your life. Your fear of it is what makes you live each day fully. Visually, it is a series of small connecting beads with a big, giant bead at the end.


The second statement “Live abundantly for all the days you are given for death, itself, only has one day” says it in a new way. Your life is filled with a multitude of days to live and just one day to die. So put your focus on the living days, not the one day death is given. Visually, it looks like a series of big rich full beads ending with a small one.


It’s a subtle but powerful difference. Death may seem a fearful outcome, but when we put it into perspective it is but a moment in our entire lives. So live your “wild and precious life” (Mary Oliver). Live every day of it. Let it be a strand of glistening pearls.

With Open Arms

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book “10 – A Story of Love, Life, and Loss” soon to be published by Balboa Press:

Whatever we face in life – debilitating disease, long-term illness or palliative care – I hope my story reminds you to live for the years, months, weeks that you have left. Don’t waste your days with panic and fear. Use your time to live as fully as you can. Be full of awareness, seeking those things that give you joy and satisfaction and pleasure. Be full of gratitude, not only for the life you have had but for a life that can still be full of abundance and true happiness.

Rather than focus on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. Use the bodily functions and skills you still have to savour life and all its riches. For life is glorious. Open your arms wide and let life embrace you in a giant two-armed, full body hug.

We all need to be reminded to live life like this, and so, my story is really for all of us. If even the dying can live like this, in the face of certain death, then we all can. For we are all dying. Not one of us is going to avoid that certain end to our lives. So live the rest of your life. Really live it.

When we live abundantly, with arms wide open, we send that positive message out into the world. Kindness, gentleness, respect, raising each other up, optimism, joy, love, gratitude, care, fun, laughter, appreciation, sharing, helping each other through the difficult times, finding the magic in life, all become the natural manifestations of living with that open and generous spirit.

When we live with arms wide open, we invite others in. We drop our pride, our fear, our ego. It is an invitation for others to step over the threshold of our being and join with us in community, camaraderie, friendship, and love. When we live with arms wide open, we act as a conduit for our love, appreciation, goodness, and care of others.

Open arms choose life. Open arms aren’t afraid of death. We are always faced with both, but if we can lift each other up, we need have no fear of death, of failure. And, magically, beyond our logical understanding of it, God (the energy of the universe) moves through our lives, raising us up. We don’t have to fully understand it. We just need to open ourselves to ourselves, to that spirit within, to experience life’s magic and life’s abundant love.

In our lives, wherever we are, whatever we do, live abundantly and love completely. Embrace life with open arms. For open arms equally and simultaneously give and receive all of life’s gifts.

Looking Back

(The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book “10 – A Story of Love, Life, and Loss”, a cancer journey and a story of great love):

I sit back now and, four and a half years later, read my complete story for the first time. It always amazes me how everything looks so different with the passage of time. When we’re in the midst of a problem or issue in our lives, we can feel so lost and tangled, however, the passage of time gives us a frame to see it in an isolated view that allows us to be much more objective. We can look back and see how truly strong we were in a difficult time. We survived!

We learned how to live. There’s nothing like a terminal diagnosis to make you stand up and face your life head-on. It is a challenge to yield to the ravages of disease while living your life in the most wide awake, conscious, grab-a hold-of-it, fully alive way you can. It becomes a daily decision to keep living even as you are dying inside. We learned to be at peace, be curious, be loving, be grateful, and keep seeking new experiences in the stuff of everyday life. Never had the dew on the lawn sparkled more brightly, a friend’s smile seemed so warm and friendly, the sizzle of a summer barbecue smelled more tantalizing.

For those facing it, a terminal diagnosis can make one even more fully alive, for now you know that your unique and precious life is about to be taken away from you. So embrace it with gentle loving hands and pull it close in gratitude. Stand firm and say, “I’m not dead yet.”

And when it comes time to face that final moment, embrace it too with that same complete acceptance, knowing that our end is part of the natural process for all of us. It’s just another step along the way. But let it end with no regrets. Know that you have lived a complete and joyful life being curious, loving, happy, and appreciative of all you have been given.

When Tom was given his terminal cancer diagnosis, he courageously grabbed hold of his life and began to live it with joy, determination, and quality. It wasn’t a dramatic change. Rather, it was a quiet defiance that said, “I am going to live my ordinary life in the face of this disease that is trying its best to dominate and control my life.” And so, he got up every morning, he travelled, he went to concerts, he enjoyed time with family and friends. When he needed to, he rested, he retreated, and then he got up again the next morning to live his ordinary life. And just that quiet defiance that said, “I am going to live today” turned his ordinary life into an extraordinary life, one where every day counted.

So live your ordinary life. Make it extraordinary. Make every day count.

Suffering Loss

(The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book “10 – A Story of Love, Life, and Loss)

When we suffer a great loss – a loved one, a pet, a belonging, a relationship – it feels as if we lose a chunk of ourselves. Our identity and recognition of our personal self is so entwined with the “other” that we have no clear sense anymore of who we really are.

Birth itself is a push for separateness. The newborn baby emerges into the world alone, a unique individual. There will be many who walk the path of life with him/her but, once again, at death, he or she leaves behind loved ones and walks alone into the mystery of the afterlife.

We can walk parallel paths with others. We need not be alone. But we are separate and we need to explore and discover our individuality and self-worth independently. We can’t look to others to fulfill who we are and remain healthy and strong.

We need to find ourselves, our strengths, our weaknesses, our interests, our passions, and walk our path. A husband can’t be everything to a wife, a friend can’t be everything to another friend, a child can’t be everything to a parent.

Be thankful for the relationships in your life. But know yourself. Know that you are a unique “one” capable of standing strong when the storms of life leave you shaken and alone. You will survive. Find the inner you and begin the journey anew. A part of your physical world may be gone but the spiritual connection will always be present, with your memories and love and your very being. For the relationship with your loved one has transformed you and become a part of who you now are. And that will never be lost.

The difficulties in life can be, well – difficult. We wrap ourselves in the pain, burden ourselves with heavy loads, stand in the shadows, and trudge through life self-absorbed. But if our journey of negativity becomes a marathon, then bitterness sets in. We end up hurting ourselves. Rest when you need to, linger in the darkness for a while, but to benefit from those difficult times of our lives, we need to cast off the mantle of darkness. We need to step into the sunshine of life once again, stronger simply because we made it through the storm.

I wish you, my reader, faith, hope, and love. May you have courage, perseverance, persistence, and gratitude as you travel your journey in life.

Out of every loss, we have a new gain. Out of every ending, there is a new beginning. We can choose to look at our lives as a series of losses, or we can choose to look at our lives as a series of new beginnings.

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my new blog. My name is Barbara Heagy and I am going to share musings, ideas and other writings that contribute to understanding, encouraging, and uplifting each other in this path we call life. We all face joys and sorrows, achievements and problems. By sharing them with each other, we build each other up. We create a supportive community, so we don’t feel isolated and alone. We are all in this together. Whether we are celebrating life or suffering losses, the aim is to get through our day with joy, gratitude, courage and resilience. I will speak from my own experience as a mother, a teacher, writer, dancer, photographer, traveller and survivor of life calamities which have included living with alcoholism, cancer, and loss.

I tend to be the eternal optimist, the old “the glass is half full” person, but I am learning that whether you see it as half-full or half-empty isn’t the issue, for after all, the glass is refillable. Whatever life throws at us, we can get through it. Our faith, friends, family and community help us do that. This blog can be a place to celebrate, to support, to encourage each other.

I plan on writing a weekly blog dealing with a variety of issues from death and dying, creativity, living your life purpose, dealing with loss and other life issues we all face every day.  I hope to hear from you too. Please add your comments to the comments section below with the aim of providing a positive site to share our ideas.  I will read every comment and respond as I am able. I look forward to hearing from you.