Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#2014 Word

Time for the annual reflective New Year's post, which I have been writing in my head for about 3 weeks.

If you know me, you know my theory on resolutions. They're REALLY great if you have a disciplined life/personality and want to make changes.

And I generally pick a "focus verse" or a "thought" or a "word" that I focus on. And in reality, that word/thought/verse does keep coming back to me and kicking my butt for lack of focus (again). Though I do plan on doing my verse/word for the year (read on)...

But here are things I want to be/do:

I want to do good.
I want to encourage people all along the way.
I want to keep sending snail mail (even though the costs keep getting higher).
I want to call my Grammy more. She always loves it when I call her.
I want to influence my kids. In the best way...I want to be someone that I want to rub off on them.
I want to laugh. A lot.
I want to remember that everyone is fighting a battle. And it likely looks *nothing* like mine.
I want to hold hands with the hubs.
I want to keep better in touch with my true friends. The ones who love me always, no matter what.
I want to be more spontaneous (and in turn, be more flexible when my family wants to be spontaneous).
I want to make someone smile.
I want to help someone who is walking a much harder road than I am.
I want to make memories with my kidlets. Good ones. Fun ones. Cheap ones. ;-)
I want to...ulitmately...find joy in all moments: the good, the bad, the ugly.

My truth? Balance likely won't come this year. Not with 2 youngins, a stinky dog, a hubs with 2.5 jobs, a part-time job in ministry, homeschooling, taking care of ailing in-laws, and living far enough away from family to have any extra support. BUT - I can work at being the person I want to be, even if all my items don't get crossed off my to-do list at the end of each day.

Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts (which I am, like, 2 years behind in reading), has given me my word for the year: eucharisteo. You should totally read the book, but the essence of this word is that in grace ("charis") thanksgiving ("eucharisteo") brings joy ("chara").

In grace, thanksgiving brings joy.

So...the last thing on my list is that I want to keep writing down all these little tiny glimpses of God's glory in my life. And through the recording of my thanksgiving, joy will come bursting through.

And if I can keep being thankful...this year will not be in waste.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Cheers to #2014.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Thoughts

I know all 7 of you who read this {Hi, Marmi!} will appreciate the link to my favorite Christmas post from last year, My Grown-Up Christmas List. I have so many things I'd like to add to this list, but this year...my wishes are kinda...just thoughts. Thoughts I will share with you.

Christmas is just...not what it's supposed to be anymore.

This present-clad, rush-rush-rush, ca-chinging Santa, naughty list-ed DAY. It's not what it's supposed to be {in my humble opinion}.

I'm not hating on Santa (we believe in him here, but don't push the issue). Though I'm not a gift-giver by nature, I'm not even hating on that...just...the sheer amount of them {and the expectation thereof as well}.

We've toned down Christmas at our house. A lot. And by Christmas, I mean what I've described above.

There were discussions. There were parameters. There was a short list made and time spent purchasing the few items we decided we would get, and that's it.

Photo by Rockwell Photo Indy

Instead, we're focusing on memories & traditions.

Hot chocolate has been perfected and consumed.
Christmas movies have been watched & discussed.
Lots of conversations have been had about what Christmas is really about.
Crafts have been made and given away.
Christmas treats are on the list of things to do when we're done with school tomorrow.
Ornaments have been created and added to our tree.
Christmas songs have been listened to and sung. {Miss R is a pro at several of them...cute.}
Truth in the Tinsel has been...not done regularly, but done enough that we get the idea. Good stuff.

Many hours have been driven looking at Christmas lights...how else can you captivate a grumpy toddler on a cold night after being stuck inside all day. There are few things that delight my kidlets and I like Christmas lights. Much like fireworks, the beauty of the light standing out in the dark dark night...just...gives me hope. And reminds me in a very visual way what Jesus looks like. And what hope looks like. It looks like light in the dark.

And hope...that's what Christmas is really about. Which is why I've refrained from buying my son EVERYTHING he wants (and then some). I keep seeing things that he would enjoy. And I *want* to buy them so badly. Because we just don't really buy stuff often, and this is a treat for him. And because I love him and want to make him happy.

But...then I remember my childhood. So - many - memories. Treats made and consumed, Christmas lights gazed at, caroling with friends, lots of smiles and laughter over yumm-o food.  Christmas Eve praying, nativity story reading, and listening to good music with the fam. Going to Indiana each year @ Christmas and getting snow (usually), even if it was Christmas Eve midnight falling snow. Cousins and aunties and games and uncles and jokes and listening to my dad and his brothers guffawing about this and that. Grandpa Ken reading the Pony story {every single year, even when he didn't want to}. Cinnamon rolls and egg bake on Christmas morning with parents and sibs. Shopping in Bloomington the day after Christmas with Fazolis for lunch - always. And comparing who got the most bang for their buck when we got home.

THAT is what I remember about Christmas growing up. Memories. Experiences. Traditions. Hope.

And that's what I want to give to mine.