Home for the Holidays

I couldn’t wait any longer…. the anticipation was too great….I needed some Christmas cheer and I needed it now! After trying to hold out as long as possible, last weekend my family put up the Christmas tree and all of the home decor that entails. Yes, I am one of “those people” who can’t wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin the Christmas season. This year I was especially anxious to get started because of how much hatred and unkindness has been sneaking its way into my life via social media and the news. I was ready for some holiday cheer! 

My main goal during the Christmas season is to make my home warm and cozy to all who visit. I want them to feel like they are “home for Christmas.” There is always a bountiful variety of hot chocolate, cider, and holiday flavored coffees for friends and family to warm themselves with. After next weekend there will be Christmas cookies in the freezer to set out for guests after my in-laws and I have our Christmas cookie baking day (blog coming on this later). Our gas fireplace is at the ready complete with stockings hung with care. And we have not one, but two beautiful trees in our family room with beautiful lights aglow. Sometimes it feels like I have stepped into one of the Hallmark Christmas movies I love so much! 

But what makes our home a Home for Christmas? It’s not the cozy atmosphere or the abundance of holiday decor. Being home for Christmas is all about having joy in our hearts and a place to feel love for each other. So is our home a Home for Christmas? Not always….

While the tree decorating was commencing I always try to hold myself together. I want to keep the peace and have a joyful time. But the OCD mom in me always seems to kick in. For example, we had unpacked the Christmas “toys” for the kiddos to play with (old McDonald’s Christmas toys from my childhood, the little people train, the finger puppet Nativity set). The first thing they did was dump them on the floor in the middle of the main walkway. When I asked them to pick up the toys and perhaps take it to their rooms to play with so we could get the rest of the Christmas items up I was met with no response and obvious ignoring from them. So I made myself a little louder to still have no response. So the “Scary Mommy” came out and the Christmas toys were sent downstairs to the basement for the rest of the evening. 

Next my husband and  I were unpacking totes and I found that my favorite tree skirt that we bought for our first year married had been a mouse’s snack last winter. There were holes throughout the whole thing as well as droppings in the box covering everything. GROSS! I was so caught up in my own feelings I took it out on Chad who wasn’t getting it outside quick enough. Again… stealing the joy of the moment. 

Luckily I recognized this and quickly changed my attitude. I sent my family off to pick up a carryout pizza for dinner and sat to collect myself. I told myself this can either be a stress-filled Christmas with me demanding it to be Hallmark movie perfect or it can be a loving Christmas where the focus is on the Ultimate example of love… Jesus! So I decided to choose Jesus, not just this Christmas, but every day of the year. He is what makes my home filled with love and laughter. He is what I want my guests to feel when they enter. He is what our holidays should be centered around. 
Will you let Jesus into your Home for the Holidays? (and perhaps forever….) 

Election 2016: My Point of View

Yesterday I am proud to say I went to the polls and cast my vote for president. I am proud of the fact that I had the right and responsibility to do so. As I got into my car after submitting my ballot I breathed a sigh (not of relief) but just took a moment to collect my thoughts. As I took a moment I sat to breathe in the presence of God. I had asked him to help me in making my decision and He did just that. 
What a privilege to be able to voice my opinion and make it count. However I was still disturbed and unsettled that I couldn’t get behind a single presidential candidate whole-heartedly. It was a decision that I could stand behind because I had put so much thought and energy into it this election. I have never been one to like politics – but I couldn’t get enough of this election (at least until the last month of so when it totally went out of control). 

As my husband and I sat and watched the numbers on election night I was hopeful yet my heart was broken, not because of who was and wasn’t winning, but because the United States looked broken. We are so divided (not United)! My heart was also very saddened by the tone of the media…. they weren’t reporting the results — they were throwing in their opinions and bias. It all felt so negative and disheartening. Shouldn’t they be more positive???? Around 11:00 I decided to call it a night and went to sleep (after taking melatonin and a Benedryl). 

This morning I woke up to the sun shining beautifully in the sky and was reminded that God, creator of the universe, was still in control. My heart began to feel joyful again! Then I made the mistake of getting on Facebook……. what a cesspool of negative energy. People that I consider friends were using language that wasn’t kind or civil. It was a very gloom and doom situation. So what did I do?? I started to pray. I prayed for our country. I prayed for my friends. I prayed for all of the candidates on all sides of the aisle this morning. I prayed for unification and love to prevail. Then I heard the pitter patter of little feet…..and my children came into the room. So innocent and naive to the brokenness in our world. Oblivious of all that was going on in their own country. They were just happy to be alive at home with their family. God gave me a sense of joy and peace yet again. 

My boss, Jill Savage, posted a great article that no matter what side of the aisle you are on it made sense….Please take time to read it. http://www.jillsavage.org/the-one-question-you-must-ask-yourself-today/  She asked the one question you must ask yourself today and everyday. Instead of asking yourself “How are you today?” ask “WHO are you today?” She gave some examples of what she hopes answers were.

 “I measured my words and resisted needless arguments on Facebook.”

“I was kind, no matter how those around me were acting.”
“I was grace-giving and allowed others to have different opinions. If it was appropriate to share thoughts and opinions, I did it in a respectful way.”
“I was loving to even the most unkind person I came in contact with.”
“I was a prayer warrior. One who absolutely believes that God is still in control.”

So I asked myself the same question… WHO AM I TODAY? So what can I do as a mom, a wife, a daughter, and a friend?? Here is what God laid on my heart throughout my pondering and praying today. 

  • I can be a light in the darkness. This world is a dark place right now. No matter what happened in this election we know the world isn’t in a good state right now. We have evil in the world like ISIS, a divided country, hatred pouring in….. But God calls us to be salt and light. He calls us to LOVE each other even through disagreements. We can have different opinions but we are all God’s children and he loves us all.

  • I can be an example for my children. They are watching constantly and it amazes me how much they try to emulate what I say and do. So I need to be an example of love for my neighbor. I can agree to disagree peacefully. I can be intolerant to hate. 
    • Yesterday we talked about why I voted. I was a good citizen and used my right and responsibility to vote for my candidates. I hope they understand how important that is and that they will continue to exercise their privilege to be counted in the vote. 

  • I can love my country. My son who is 4 years old and in his second year of Pre-K can say the pledge word for word because he was taught at school. We continue to support him learning the pledge and songs like “The National Anthem.” We want our kids to be proud of the United States of America. 

  • Last but not least I can be a prayer warrior. The most important thing we can do for our country is pray. Prayers for unity, prayers for peace, prayers for solutions, and prayers for each other are what should be in our daily prayers. We need to pray for Mr. Trump as he gets ready to take on this new position. We need to pray for our other leaders within our government. We need to pray that we become the UNITED States of America again!