The Year I Said I Do

coffee, cup, laptop, memeAnother Thursday Hello! This is the time of year when the days fly past so quickly, I struggle to keep up. Know what I mean?

We are just days away from Christmas, and many of you are rushed and harried, worried you won’t finish in time. Let go of some of the little things. The unimportant things no one will even notice aren’t done. Make room for the big things, like time with family. Hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s”.

Today is important to me for another reason. It’s my mother’s birthday. She’s barely twenty years older than me, so we kind of grew up together. When I was a kid in school, everyone thought she was my sister. So, happy birthday, Mom.

Another reason today is important, and probably the biggest reason–forty three years ago today, I said, “I do”. Or, maybe it was, “I will.” It’s been so long now, I can’t remember.

We definitely grew up together. I was so excited on that (long ago) day, as I anticipated what the future held for us. Two kids in love. We had a lot of fun over the years, and troubles, too. But add it all up, and the sum is still on the positive side. It still adds up to love.

When we left the church that day, my brand new husband told me he needed to stop by home to pick up something he’d forgotten. He’d forgotten underwear. I sat in the car, wondering how you could forget to pack underwear? He came back out to the car and said it was a good thing he stopped by, he’d also forgotten to pack his spare jeans.

I frowned, wondering–what had he packed in his suitcase, if he’d left out such important items? Turns out, he’d forgotten to pack. Anything. This was the first time, but definitely not the last. I would always help him pack for a trip. He tended to forget important things, like a toothbrush, or a razor.

December 21, 1974

And how many times, over the years, would we leave the house, only to return minutes later for important things like his wallet? And, just in case you’re thinking he only forgets material things–a short time after we married, he went to introduce me to someone, and forgot my name. He introduced me as, “my wife.”

We finally made it Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and spent a few pre-Christmas days in the mountains. The pass was closed because of snow, but we drove up there anyway, and joined in a huge snowball fight with other sightseers. I’m sure most of them were also on their honeymoon.

I’ve no doubt, many of you have similar funny stories you could share, and I hope you will! Leave me a comment, and join the conversation!

Now, since I won’t see you until after, I’d love to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

I hope all the rushing around and last-minute preparations add up to a wonderful, memorable event. Don’t forget to take lots of photos!

A Reason for the Season

coffee, cup, laptop, memeGood morning and happy Thursday! It’s a bit nippy outside my door, and right on time. Christmas is coming.

The movies have started, the malls are brimming with shoppers, Christmas music is in the air, along with a definite aroma of cinnamon. The sights and sounds of the season.

All the rushing around causes me to wonder, am I ready for this? Can I conjure up a Christmassy-feeling? Bake some gingery-spicey things for the aroma, decorate with pretty lights and holiday bows?

Anticipation of the shiny eyes and excited faces of the children on Christmas Eve, watching and waiting, spurs me onward. Put up the tree, hang the lights, bake the cookies.

But, am I really ready? Something’s most definitely missing.

So, I turn my shiny eyes and excited face inward, to remember the One who started it all. As He made a natural entry into the world to begin an unprecedented journey that would span the next thirty-three years.

Yesterday, I wondered what it was like for Him, looking out through brand-new infant eyes. The Creator now a creature, helpless and dependent. Experiencing one of the greatest of all natural miracles–a mother’s love.

My heart brims over with love as I prepare to make a difference.

So, in the midst of all the gift-giving and rushing about, remember what it really means. Let His love shine out of your eyes and into your little corner of the world. Give from the abundance of your heart–kind words, a smile, a hug–spread His love. Help others remember the true meaning of the season.

Jesus.

Click to Tweet: Give from the abundance of your heart–kind words, a smile, a hug–spread His #love. Help others remember the true meaning of the #season. #MerryChristmas

All I Want for Christmas Part 3

hot-chocolate-1875870_1280It’s Christmas week. Many of you are manically shopping and baking to get ready for the weekend. It’s one of the most stressful weeks of the entire year. To make matters worse, we have less daylight.

Amid all the wrapping of gifts and checking your list to make sure everyone has a present and everything will be perfect, we tend to neglect something very important. Our mental health. 🙂 And along with mental health, our physical health is at risk.

So here’s something to help you, and it only takes a few moments:

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Hold it for a count of seven
  3. Release the breath
  4. Repeat steps 1-3, two or three times.

Did you try it? It works by supplying extra oxygen to the brain. They say it also helps you fall asleep. I haven’t really tried that. All I need to fall asleep is to sit still for about five minutes. Works every time. But if I lie down, I tend to wake up.

read-1631169_1280What helps you relax? A relaxing bath, a cup of hot tea or other hot beverage, an interesting book, a beloved pet–those are all good ways to take a break during this stressful season.

Take care of yourself. There are a lot of bugs being passed around right now, and when you’re tired and stressed, your immunity runs low.

Okay, enough grandma talk. What’s my final wish before Christmas? I’ve wished for time (to remember, to meditate on what’s happened this year), I’ve wished for togetherness with family and friends.

So my final Christmas wish is for you to have a wonderful holiday. May you be blessed with time to spend with family and friends. May you have time to remember, and be thankful for what you have. May you have moments of peace and relaxation to help you navigate the maze of the holiday season.

Give to others from your heart, not expecting anything in return. Love with all your heart, but don’t hide it–show it. Say the words, “I love you,” often, and with feeling. The Bible says you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7). That’s a very practical proverb. It’s true, you know. If you plant a tomato seed, you won’t get an apple tree, you’ll get a tomato plant.

So when you do good to others, somewhere along the way, it’ll come back to you.

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All I Want for Christmas Part 2

There are a number of Christmas stories, books, and movies that begin with the line, “All I Want for Christmas…” — and one very silly song. I won’t mention that one, because I don’t want to get it stuck in my head. Hey, I’m doing you a very great favor here.

Christmas time is here...
Christmas time is here…

So, Hallmark Christmas movies are a genre all their own. The tendency is toward sap and silliness and incredible situations. Even the credible ones tend to be quite predictable. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of those silly offerings. And every once in a while, you stumble across one that is truly delightful.

I have a few favorites. They’re not all made by Hallmark, but definitely in the genre:

  • One Christmas Eve is a total blast! I laughed so hard.
  • A Season for Miracles–angelic!
  • The Christmas Bunny–different, but I liked it.
  • Christmas with Holly–mostly because of the location, and the Basset hound.
  • A Christmas Card–it has everything–an icky fiance, and curly fries.
  • The Road to Christmas–wonderful actors.

Okay, that’s enough. Most of these are romances or contain romance, but not all. The couples meet and fall into forever love in just days! But something in them appeals to me. Laughter, love, warmth…and honestly, by the time Christmas gets here, I’ve watched too many. I feel like a total glutton. I’m ready to move on. But if you like to watch them all year, they are available. Nice to know.

But the time comes when you need to get your head out of the Hallmark movie and face real life.

family-310364_1280Because there are some people out there who need a positive influence in their lives. They need us to share the love passed down from our Heavenly Father and the Savior we celebrate during this season. Hey, if your pocketbook is a little too slim, find other ways to bless your friends and family. Don’t be a Scrooge!

So what’s my Christmas wish this week? Time to watch movies? No. That would be a little shallow, don’t you think? Fun, but frivolous. And besides, I wished for time last week. So this week, I wish for gatherings and fun and fellowship. My holiday house is open to sons and their wives, their families, and carloads of granddaughters (one of my favorite things). The best recipe for fun and laughter is a house filled with those you love.

chip-1And maybe someone will come and bring their dog. I’d love that.

What’s your greatest wish? Is it an impossible dream, or is it a maybe–something within the realm of possibility. Faith is believing, so I’m going to stock the fridge, do some baking, and be ready for that wish to come true.

Stirring Up the Spirit

Every year, about this time, radio stations start playing Christmas songs and carols. Beautiful, colored lights are twinkling. And stores have long since begun their Christmas sales and advertising. I’m reminded of the hawkers of old, yelling about their wares, trying to woo customers.

ab82d-imgp0386All my friends put up their trees and decorate their houses like showcases then put pictures on Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram.

I try to prod myself into enough of a “Christmas spirit” to prepare a few Christmas cards, and eventually, deck the halls. Right now, almost a week past Thanksgiving, there is nothing in my house that says Christmas. And I’m okay with that.

c7551-shutterstock_165919043I’m not sure where this scrooginess comes from. I’m not really a Grinch, just a procrastinator. Maybe because it doesn’t look like this at our house–

Our grass is still green and there are a few blooms left in our gardens. Winter tends to arrive late, long after our northern friends are snowed in.

But with a family to buy for, I have to eventually get myself out there. I need to finish the shopping to allow plenty of time for cookie baking. And so, around this time, each year, I get out the Christmas coffee mugs. I turn on the music and fill the house with yummy gingery-cinnamon-nutmeg smells. And then I go shopping.

I shop early on weekday mornings, to avoid the crowds. So that’s where I’m off to today, probably about the time this post goes up. But I’m wondering, am I the only one? Do you find yourself fighting similar battles each year? Perhaps you do, and you know the reason why. Maybe you lost a loved one, or are estranged from family. If this is the case, I’ll say a prayer for you as the holiday approaches.

But if you, like me, don’t really know the reason, I hope this helps you realize you’re not alone. And I guess there’s nothing wrong with us–it’s our normal.

So here’s a little something to help you put on your Christmas spirit. Happy shopping!