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
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: