Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas and Snow Belong Together. Like Chocolate and Cheryl.

This winter has me wiggin' out. I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but I'm discovering new things about myself I never thought about before (or did, but forgot. Yeah, probably that one.):

1. I'm liking the snow. It's true! We've got some feet out there (how many? Not sure) and it's still snowing hard. The kids and their father are (right now) building snowmen and forts and having a great time (#4 is sleeping and I'm blogging in front of the toasty fireplace). Wait! Maybe that's it. I'm inside. Although I did venture outside to take pictures. Oh, but no! That can't be it, because this morning, I took the kids to the library AND grocery shopping, and the snow was awful! Terrible, awful traffic, and icy/slushy/snowy roads. And I loved it.
What is wrong with me?!
(I wrote the previous almost an hour ago. The kids are now inside drinking hot chocolate and will soon be enjoying a Christmas movie of some kind. And now I will post pictures of their outdoor adventures...)

2. Because of some financial restraints this year, Brandon and I scaled waaaaaaaay back. No neighbor gifts, no Christmas cards/letters (I did it via email instead), and fewer gifts (much, much fewer). This has freed me up with time to watch movies, read stories, go to Christmas gatherings, fill the house with music, and focus on Christmas Eve (we're having lots of family over). It's also given me a chance to think about our trip to California (we leave Friday!) and our trip to London (woot!). I'm loving it! I have a feeling we could be onto something, you know. Perhaps we'll scale back every year now.

3. I'm happiest when I'm busiest. I knew this one, though. I wrote about it a year ago, too. I think. I can't remember now. But anyway, Saturday was our busiest day. We cleaned the whole house, did laundry, bought the kids boots, made and decorated Christmas cookies,

had dinner, bathed the kids, watched BYU lose (both basketball AND the football games. *sniff), and finally hit the sack. Sunday was just as busy with the Christmas program (I accompanied the choir), delivering some cookies to the kids' primary teachers, watching a movie together (man, I love White Christmas!) and then heading out to Eagle Mountain for Advent with some cousins. And you already know what I did today.
And I'm happier right now than I was all of last week. The irony is that I'm "less stressed" and "busy" at the same time.
How is this possible? I have no idea. I just know it's working.

Now, I think I'll be signing off until next week. Or next year. In the meantime, have yourself a Fabulous Christmas! Before I go, though, I want to give you some awesome Christmas Cheer. Here is the Thought of the Week I wrote for the Neighborhood Newsletter I edit (one of my callings):

Whenever I think about the Christmas Season, my first thoughts turn to
lights, music, gingerbread, presents, concerts, snow, mittens, icicles, holly,
evergreens, mis-matched tree ornaments, waiting for Santa Claus, hot chocolate,
and fireplaces. I have a feeling these images are created in most minds —the
"hullabaloo" of Christmas is something most of us face. Our memories are riddled
with the commercialization of the holiday, and for whatever reason, we see the
month of December as one of stress and chaos. But are these images wrong? Could
it be possible to recognize and celebrate, in quiet contemplation, the birth of
our Savior while participating actively in all of the hullabaloo? The author
E.B. White (1899-1985) once said: To perceive Christmas through its wrapping
becomes more difficult with every year.

Is it difficult to see Christ in Christmas when focused on the wrapping?
Perhaps. But contrary to popular belief, I don't believe these thoughts push out
the "true meaning" of Christmas. Instead, they evoke a feeling of love, service,
excitement, childhood faith, and a longing for peace. It is true that there are
times, amidst all the wrapping of gifts, the baking of goodies, and the
stringing of lights when our anger, frustration, and exhaustion catch up with
us. We wonder if any of the traditions are even worth it! How could these
details possibly remind us of the Infant Jesus? How does it remind us of His
life and mission? But it only takes a moment to see the hidden treasures inside
of the stress and chaos. For example: We stress over service, but laugh with joy
at a gift given. We worry over a performance, but rejoice with an evening of
spectacular music. We sacrifice time to decorate and bake, but we are surrounded
by family and friends, enjoying the symbols of love and peace (and eating good
For many, truly celebrating the birth of Christ would mean moments of quiet
reflection. It would mean focus upon what the birth of a Savior did for us,
without the wrappings of the season. This is good! But with that focus, let's
not forget the reason for our family traditions, our desire for concerts,
parties, gifts, decorations, and food. With all of it comes a unity and a desire
to be better than we are —and isn't this what the Christmas Season is all
about? I can understand people simply fleeing the mountainous effort
Christmas has become… but there are always a few saving graces and finally they
make up for all the bother and distress.
- May Sarton
~The Editor

Also, go to this link HERE to read about how we can focus on Christ during the holiday season and share your own thoughts and ideas.

Lastly, here are some great Christmas videos for your enjoyment:



Amanda D said...

I'm glad to hear that you are liking the snow! I'm with you on the simple Christmas, it works well!

Today we decorated the cookies and I am making cinnamon rolls to take to neighbors. I've been to the store for the last time {thank goodness, due to the fact that we can not leave our house because of the snow} and we've been watching fun movies and listening to music.

Enjoy your Christmas and your trip to California! Merry Christmas!

Annette Lyon said...

My kids have spent tons of time in the snow lately too. Me? I like to WATCH them in the snow. I like to look at the snow through the window. Driving in it? Mmmm, not so much.

Great videos, and wonderful reminder. Thanks!

m_and_m said...

Loved your newsletter piece. LOVED it. Just what I needed tonite.

love you!

cheryl said...

Merry Christmas...I was going to simplify, but I didn't and am paying with the craziness now! I am planning to calm down the next two days! :)

Anonymous said...

I used to always like the idea of a White Christmas since we haven't ever had one since moving to WA, but now that it's here I'm not loving it so much. We've been housebound, which has been difficult. But since you've set such a great example, I'm choosing to focus on the positive and see what a blessing it is to be safe and cozy in my nice, warm house with all that beautiful snow outside.

So glad you are enjoying yourself so much!

Merry Christmas!

flip flop mama said...

I'm just glad it's you that's in the snow and enjoying it and not me. I had a hard time finding something warm enough to wear today in our 55 degree weather.

Merry Christmas!!!

Julie said...

Merry Christmas, my dear friend!

I am LOVING the snow, too!

FluffyChicky said...

Yay for snow! And a big HOORAY for being less stressed...that is wonderful!

Merry Christmas!

Amber said...

Love, love, love all the snow pictures. We were snowed in our first several days up in Canada but the temperatures are FINALLY warming up enough to go out and enjoy the snow. Can't wait!

Merry Christmas!

Alison Wonderland said...

Merry Christmas and happy snow! Your newsletter thought was great.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Waiting patiently for your return....well, 'patiently' might be a little bit of an exaggeration. :) Miss you. <3