Tuesday, December 10, 2013
My point in all of this is to pick your battles. We complain about Christmas being too commercial. Christmas is too stressful. There is just too much to do. We create our own prison in many ways. So my tips for enjoying Christmas more...
Choose a few traditions for your family
Traditions are important. I GET that. I like that. Choose a few that work for you. Ones that aren't too stressful. Whether it is an Advent calendar, Elf on the Shelf, Santa Claus, decorating the tree together, matching jammies, you pick! This year with my dad's passing...I pared down some. We decorated the tree together in our new Christmas pajamas, revisiting each ornament that was given with each year of their life. We set up the kiddo and adult nativity set, talking about who each character was and retelling the story of Christ's birth. We placed their newest ornament on the tree. That was it. Later, we'll open gifts and stockings and make our Baby Jesus Birthday cake.
Keep the Gifts Simple
Every year we struggle with how much or how little to give. We're not perfect and would NEVER claim to be. A neighbor explained how they were simplifying Christmas giving and it inspired me to follow suit. So this year...other than their stockings...our boys have 4 gifts total. They have one gift from each other and 3 from us. We choose not to do Santa but still teach the story of who St. Nicholas was. He was a "real" man who did kind things because he was a follower of Christ. We keep our spending to a minimum. Some of our things are second hand but in like new condition. That is ok in our book. If we can save some money here and there and put it towards college what a wonderful gift for later on! The Wise men brought 3 gifts to Jesus and we have 3 gifts for our sons.
Make it a Christmas for ALL to Enjoy
I love making everyone else happy but the risk with that...is losing sight of taking care of my own physical and emotional well being in the process. HELLO! I HAD A HEART ATTACK! For goodness sakes...I was a professional perfectionist that berated and held myself to a higher standard that anyone else. Christmas is for your entire family. If you're so strung out tired and stressed from creating Advent or Elf on the Shelf Activities and baking more than the Cake Boss...then your entire family will suffer. Enjoy it! If that means one year you have to scale it back and the next you can add more stuff in...then do it.
Christmas isn't about the activities, or the gifts, or the cookies, or the music. All of those things add to the wonder of it and are in celebration of one incredible thing...Christ's birth. Our Redeemer, the infant King who came to Earth to die for and cover all of our sins. A baby who pooped, peed, teethed, nursed, slept, and learned how to walk like our kids. We celebrate and make it an event because IT IS ONE! If you celebrate your children's birthdays then for goodness sakes celebrate the birth of our Saviour! But if you lose sight of His birth in all the hustle and bustle of societies standards, that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate it...it just means you need to use your filter and figure out how to make it significant in your family.
I'm not sure if this made sense. It's just the ramblings of a tired mom who sees many people doing it up BIG so it's not about Christ anymore and the opposite end of the spectrum doing it up small so it seems like it's just another day. Use common sense. Pray about it. Use moderation.
I hope I can share in the wonder and joy of Christmas with my kids like my parent's did. My dad used to sit quietly on the couch smiling as we opened gifts not even touching his own. My mom, likewise sat by his side with a smile on her face. Enjoy it...Merry Christmas!
Thursday, December 5, 2013
King James Version (KJV)
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Yesterday, I made a crockpot marinara sauce from our leftover garden tomatoes that have been slowly ripening in our three season porch. I used the recipe from BudgetBytes with just a few minor alterations. I needed to add a bit of shallots since I didn't have enough yellow onion. Then in keeping with our unprocessed diet I added coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. In the end, I went to bed while it cooked and I wish it didn't have as strong of an onion flavor. I was able to add one can of organic tomato sauce and then I put it in 2 ziploc quart sized freezer bags to use for sauce later.
Tweaking each to try to get the right flavor, texture, crispiness but chewiness. You can see pictures of my final product.
So here's the final recipe.
So I had to wait for the sauce, I had to wait for the cookies. It seems waiting is what I have been doing lately. My dad passed away last week unexpectedly from a heart attack. He was an honest, kind, generous, hardworking, intelligent man. He made time for everyone. He valued his faith in Christ, family, and those he cared for above "stuff".
Now as I wade through grief on my own and with my family I am reminded to wait. You can't rush grief just like you can't rush the sauce in the crockpot or the cookies in the pan. They are only good if you wait. You need to cry when the tears come and pick yourself up and move when you have the energy to. You keep stepping one foot in front of the other until you realize you're not as sad anymore.
When I was a kid waiting for Christmas I hated waiting. I was so impatient. Yesterday, was a tough day for me and I was impatient with myself. But I let myself cry. I let myself remember his smile, his laugh, his mannerisms. I lay on the floor a little longer playing Legos with my Superheroes knowing that if today was my last day...I want them to remember me playing. I want them to have a mom who emulates the love my dad emulated. Who teaches the value of working, patience, waiting, and love.