Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Thoughts...

My thoughts on Christmas are many, and varied.  I am one who tends to get my hopes and expectations up, only to find that the actual event doesn’t come close to meeting them.  Case in point – Christmas.  Happens every year.  I want so badly to create the perfect atmosphere, with decorations, candles and cookies, and experiences, and family, and gifts and…..

But what I learned this year was…it’s ok.  It's ok that everything wasn't perfect...what is perfect anyway?

We decorated the house right after Thanksgiving, and aside from adding a couple of lighted greens on the mantle that we don’t have (I substituted a couple of shelves) we really didn’t so anything different than in past years. 

And it’s ok.  We’ve still enjoyed the lights and the sparkle.  I love the sparkle.

I had planned to make dozens of cookies as I’d done in the past.  Only I managed to make two small batches right before Christmas and one the day after.

It’s ok.  We’ve had just enough for us to get the taste and not so much that we will be tossing it in the garbage come Jan. 1. 

I usually send out dozens of Christmas cards / photos.  None this year.  We did take a photo on the 23rd, but I have yet to even get it from the camera to the computer.

It’s ok.  Maybe I’ll send of New Year’s Cards.  Maybe I won’t.  Think anyone will really notice anyway?

The shopping was no fun at all.  I usually enjoy finding the perfect few gifts and some stocking stuff.  But this year, we decided to change up the way in which we give the gifts and I think it overwhelmed me.  That, and the wrapping…  In the past I’ve always had the cutest ribbons and bows on perfectly wrapped boxes of all shapes and sizes.  And my goal is to have them done several days before Christmas. 

This year, I was thankful to get the items in boxes, covered in paper and tagged.  We ran out of both bows and tags, so that only added to the excitement…

But it’s ok.  The gifts were beautiful under the tree for a few hours, and each child received gifts that surprised and delighted them!

We had an exceptionally quiet season here this year, which in retrospect was a God-send.  John’s knee has been so painful that travelling a whole lot would have been tough.  So we were home.  And honestly, I had moments were I felt a little lonely.  A little left out maybe.  I knew friends and families who were gathering together and it just got to me a little. 

But it’s ok.  These are people I cherish and love to spend time with thoughout the year, not only during the week of Christmas.  And I’ve made a bit of a commitment to myself to do just that – spend more time with them during the year. 

My list could go on…the knee injury that spanned the whole month of December before treatment began; the virus that knocked me out for five days; etc.

But I guess my question is this -
Why do we put so much pressure on one day - when we are called to celebrate Him and His Presence every day – 365 days a year?

I’ve had some time to reflect and ponder how we might celebrate Christmas next year.  I want our focus to return to CHRIST the way it should and these other things to be less and less important.  Don’t get me wrong, I still want to celebrate, but years like this make me long for the times when we had little, little ones, just a few decorations, no money and the kids almost enjoyed the box more than the gift itself.  Can I get an Amen?

It’s ok.  Christmas comes around the same time every year, and next year we will celebrate differently, with a clearer focus.

How was your Christmas?  Mine was ok.
Linking up with:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Seeking Him...

I've been thinking a lot about priorities lately.  For quite some time actually.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, 
and all these things shall be added to you."

How do we "seek His Kingdom first" and still get everything done here on earth?  That's been my question.  The answer I've come to is to line up my priorities..

Priority as defined by Webster is:
-superiority in rank, position, or privilege 
-a preferential rating; esp : one that allocates rights to goods and services usually in limited supply
-something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives

My goods and services are my time and attention and that time is almost always limited in supply.  

We all have the same 24 hours in each day, it's all in what we choose to allocate to that time.

I've always looked at things in list form when possible, just because that is the way my brain functions best.  So here is my's one Chris and I came up with this summer as we put together a mission statement for our family.

First.  GOD.  
Seems obvious, but I've had seasons in life, when HE has slid down the list and before I know it, I've not had a good conversation with Him in weeks.  Maybe busy-ness has taken over and there is a thick layer of dust that has settled on my Bible.

I have chosen to make HIM my first priority.  Daily.  This fall I was part of the Hello Mornings Challenge, with a Twitter accountability group.  It was great.  Every so often, if I didn't check in, someone came looking for me, and I returned the's a great community.

I see this as such a huge thing because not only am I starting my day right, with the Word and prayer, but I am modeling it for my teenagers, who believe me...are watching everything!

Second.  ME.
This may not seem quite as obvious.  And to be honest, I struggle with it.  It seems narcisitic to me to put emphasis and focus on me.  I'm not talking about perpetual shopping sprees, manicures and pedicures.  

I'm talking about health and exercise, creativity, reading, hobbies, etcThings I like to do.  

I'm trying very hard to make time for these things in my life.  It's hard, because as a mom, your needs get shoved to the back burner when other "more urgent" things need your attention.

BUT, if we aren't taking care of ourselves physically, what happens?  We get tired and sick.  What happens when we don't stretch our brains and our creativity, expanding our horizons?  We get overwhelmed and weary in the process.  C'mon moms...we have to look after ourselves before we are any use to those God has given us charge over. {preaching to myself here...}

Third. FAMILY. 
No matter how we shake it out, our family is our priority.  It's two-fold.  Our marriage and then our children.  If our marriage isn't strong and providing an example to our kids, then what?  And if we aren't sowing daily into the lives of our children, who will?

Fourth.  CHURCH.
This one gets a little fuzzy for me, as I work at the church, so I spend a lot more time in the church than your average person.  But I'm coming to realize my view on this one has be askew...I've seen the church as a building.  Because that's what we call it...the church.  

But Jesus - whenever He went anywhere said, "the Kingdom of God is at hand..."  We carry Him, so shouldn't the church go with us?  When we go to the store or the library, shouldn't the church go too?

Now, we operate as usher, trustee, security, Sunday school teacher, and life group leaders, on top of my administrative position, so we have some influence on people's lives.  That's the church I'm really referring to here.  

Fifth.  WORK.
Again, the fuzziness, because of the working at the church thing.  But, my husband owns a business, and that needs attention.  He needs to spend time working the because we like to eat and stuff.  And I am working this blog thing.

But what happens if work/blog rises to the top of the list?  Would that be at the expense of family time? or church responsibilities?  There are seasons, don't get me wrong, when work rises to the top for a short time because of special circumstances.  But it shouldn't be the norm.

I don't get here very often.  Not really sure what qualifies, except for those things that don't fit anywhere else.  Basically if it doesn't fit in the other categories, then it's probably not going to get a whole lot of attention.

Those are my thoughts.  With two teens, a small business, and tons of commitments, I've really had to put things in perspective so as to not get out of balance in any direction.

Tell me - do you struggle with priorities and balancing your world?

Honored to be Linking up with:

Wifey Wednesday
WIP Wednesday

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Community {12/2/12}

Then Jesus spoke to them again, 
saying, “I am the light of the world. 
He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, 
but have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Photo Credit:  Anna with her iphone at Niagara Falls

Linking up with Jumping Tandem

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Savor 7 Saturday {12/1}

It's Saturday once again, only now it is also December!  How on earth can that be?  This has been one crazy week, and not all of it good, so I've really been looking forward to recounting my "7".  Won't you join me?

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Storyteller:  This week I want to share a new site with you.  Amanda at Royal Daughter Designs, is awesome!  She is currently helping with a few changes to my little blog here.  But aside from that, she wrote a great post this week on blogging purpose.  It's a post that has really gotten me thinking as I determine where to take my little space here in the blogosphere in 2013.

Social: I didn't do a whole lot of socializing this week.  Unless of course you count the doctor's offices, physical therapy office and schools.  Yep, it's been that kind of week...

Silly: I'm quite certain there were some silly things that happened this week, but for the life of me I can't think of any.  Sad huh?

Snapshot:  Anna attended her first Quincinera.  Her favorite friend turned 15, and tradition said she have this awesomely big party with lots of people, food, and well, tradition.  She had a great time.  Check out the photo of what she wore....she loves to get all dolled up!

Sips:  Today I decided to veer from my favorite flavor at DD and try the mew peppermint mocha.  It was ok.  I'll have to try it again just to be sure though....

Sweets:  I ended up making a second batch of cranberry relish last weekend as well as another loaf of gluten-free pumpkin bread!!

How about you - what awesome things do you have to be thankful for this week?
Have a fabulous week!

Linking up with Lisa at Savor 7 Saturday