My mission is to provide you with inspiration and encouragement to live everyday to it's fullest. I do this by sharing the simple things in life such as recipes to the most difficult of things such a life. We all know life is a struggle and many days a balancing act, but I am here to inspire you to do it well. Everything I write about is designed to inspire as well as encourage you to be a "better" you that you can be. Everything I share is raw and real. I do not cover up or sugar coat what I write about. This would benefit no one. My goal is for you to walk away feeling uplifted and encouraged after leaving my page. Lastly, I am here to remind you that you are… enough and beautiful… just the way you are.
I am going to reveal the “reality” of my not so perfect holiday season with the hope if your holiday season was not all you wanted it to be, that this will encouraged you to know you are not the only one who struggled to get through a less than perfect Christmas season.
“Revelation and reality gives us the strength to conquer the messiness of life. ” HD Benson
We often times find ourselves comparing our lives to the perfection of the lives we see around us. When we watch Hallmark movies, we see everything is perfectly decorated and all the homemade Christmas treats are perfectly made and decorated. Then there is the perfection we see on FaceBook and on Instagram posts.
My Friend, this is not a reality. Do not compare your life to what you see in others. They only show you what they want you to see. They do not show you what is real and messy.
Now, I am going to show you my real and my messy with the hopes of encouraging you if yours looked anything like mine, it is okay because we all survived and got through another holiday season.
This week has been a week where I found myself in need of rest from an incredibly exhausting past few weeks and a grueling holiday season.
Once we finished with Thanksgiving, I decided to help my daughter who was extremely sick, finish her college semester in school. As her mom, who knows all she had gone through with her health and watched her struggle with pain and sickness for two straight months, I could not watch her fall into a pit of darkness and failure.
Instead, I put on my cheerleading clothes and drug out the pompoms and went to town. She was in desperate need of encouragement and strength and “mom” support, which I did for her. I stopped everything Christmas, stayed up late with her, got up early and she finished. She not only finished, but she finished with amazing grades. I am super proud of her for what she achieved in her first semester of college. I am praying for her health becomes better managed and her semester to come, is a much better one for her.
Once she finished her last class, it was time to jump back into Christmas mode, which I had avoided to give her everything she needed to get through this semester. I avoided the calendar to see how close we were getting to Christmas. I did everything possible to remain stress-free to keep my family happy and grounded during this crazy holiday season. However, when it was all done and I looked at the calendar, it was not pretty. I had one week to get five weeks worth of work done. I had to shop (as I had not bought one gift for anyone). I had to make the gifts we were giving away and I had not baked my first Christmas dessert yet. I told myself I had to do all of this with the minimalist amount of stress to keep the holiday cheer in my house.
What I have not mentioned was the really bad cold my daughter had, went through all of us. I had to take her to the doctor twice, my husband twice and the night of his first Emergency Room visit, I ran a fever that night and I ended up catching it as well and became extremely sick, but I fought my way through it to make Christmas happen.
With the strength God gave me and with His guidance to get through it all, I finished everything at 11:40 on Christmas Eve. It was all done and I could breathe again.
I wish I could say this all happened with no stress, but I can not. I did, however, make every effort of minimalizing it and that I feel like I accomplished it. I also have to confess that I was only able to pull off the first five days because my doctor put me on steroids as well as a steroid injection and an inhaler which enabled me to get a lot done because I do not handle steroids and sleep.
As a result of the steroids, I did begin to feel better and they gave me the extra energy that I needed to finish Christmas in time, but the exhausted crash that came afterward has been horrible. I needed this week to just rest and sleep to get caught back up.
This is the “real” and the raw of how my holidays went this year. I am, however, extremely thankful to hear back from not only my family but from my mom as well, that this was one of our best Christmas’s we have had in a long time.
Despite the sacrifices I made early on to help my daughter, they paid off in the end. It was not a traditional holiday season for me, but it came together in the very end and thankfully it all turned out well.
My friend, it does not matter how yours looked, whether it was wrought with challenges or it went smoothly, all that matters is that you tried and it is all done now for another year.
Now I will wish you all Happy New Year. It is my prayer this coming year will be one of peace and joy, changes if you are in need of them and the grace to accept everything that comes your way.
It is my prayer you will be encouraged by this quote,
“When we remember a special Christmas, it is not the presents that made it special, but the laughter, the feeling of love, and the togetherness of friends and family that made that Christmas special.” Catherine Pulsifer
Now today is here, savor every moment while embracing it for the special day it is. If you are celebrating with your family and friends, forget about all the hard work, the frustrations, and the exhaustion it took to get here. Instead, be present enough to make new memories that will last a life time.
If you are celebrating alone, it is my prayer you will not get lost in the feeling of loneliness, instead that it will be a day of reflection on your memories of the past. I am also wishing you a quiet day of peacefulness and rest. Take some time to snuggle up with your favorite book and some hot cocoa or your favorite Christmas movie and enjoy the quietness of the day.
To my friends who are celebrating a difficult Christmas this year because you are experiencing the loss of a loved one, you especially will be in my thoughts and prayers. It is often times hard to break through the sadness in order to celebrate joyous occasions such as these. I have seen first hand how the darkness of grief can rob you of your joy during the holidays, but it is my hope this Christmas Day you will be able to see past the grief, pain, and loneliness and embrace your cherished memories of the past.
Christmas is a Holiday that brings many unpredictable emotions out of people, some are joyous while others are not, but because everyone’s life is so different, it is hard to place everyone in the same category.
Not everyone is married to the perfect spouse and has a loving family with multiple children and therefore celebrate the stereotypical perfect Christmas. Christmas is not always the “Hallmark TV” perfect Christmas because it comes with so many variations of life experiences that not everyone’s Christmas is a happy one. If you can relate to this, please know you are in my thoughts and prayers today as well.
No matter what your life experiences are and no matter if today is an easy one or a difficult one, I want you to know there is someone who can empathize with how you are feeling today. I have experienced my share of joyous and not so joyous Holidays.
In conclusion, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! To those who are truly celebrating, have a happy day filled with lots of opportunities to make memories you will cherish in the years to come. If you are experiencing one of grief, sadness, or darkness, it is my prayer you will find peace in your memories of the past.
I want to share this inspiration with you this Christmas Eve Day,
”You are amazing, you are brave, you are strong.”
As you start this day, the last one before Christmas and you are feeling worn out, exhausted, grouchy, and maybe a little emotional, I want you to remember this quote, “You are amazing, brave, and strong.”
You did a great job this Christmas Season to get to here. Many of us may not be ready yet because we may still have a little shopping left to do, or a last minute gift to make or gifts to wrap, but my suggestion today is to make some time to slow down and quietly sit still and bask in the lights of your tree, enjoy some soft sounds of the season, or put on a favorite Christmas movie and just enjoy a little bit of time with your family or even maybe just all by yourself because once tomorrow arrives, it will be all done. Today my is the last day to enjoy the build-up and the magic of the season.
Slow down, my friend, and enjoy your family today!
You will not regret it. Let that moment be the memory you make for the years to come. Seize the day, seize the moment to cherish what you have.
Do you feel like you are running around in a circle with no end in sight?
Do you still have presents to buy or presents to wrap?
Are your kids going to the kitchen looking for a snack and you cringe at the question that is coming next. “Mom, where are the Christmas cookies?” Then your response is, “I haven’t made them yet.”
My sweet tired mom, at this point it is okay to readjust your list and start removing things from it. It is okay to not get everything done.
If you were to ask your family they would rather have you engaged with them in an activity together then have you running around with your head cut off.
It is also okay to sit back and relax with a good book, blanket, cocoa, and popcorn. It is okay to turn on a movie and sit back and relax or take a nap.
The key is to make the time to breathe, my friend. If you do, God will bless you with the time to get everything done.
You can only push your body so far before it shuts down. I promise this happens because it happens to me all the time. I am not good at taking my own advice.
God wants you to take care of yourself as much as you to want be there for your family. He created you and He knows what you can handle. He also knows there is strength in rest. This is why He commands us to do it.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIV
My friend, truly examine what you have left to be ready for Christmas and allow yourself the ability to enjoy the next three days. It will go by quickly. Then before you know it, December 26th will be here and it will be over. Breathe, my friend, breathe and make the time to rest today.
I am sharing warm words of encouragement today to inspire you as we get closer to Christmas and we feel the stress of trying to finish our shopping and begin wrapping the gifts we have bought, to instead of tackling what is left with angst and anxiety, let us instead, pray over the person whom we are buying or wrapping for.
If you do this, God will not only bless the person who you are praying for, but He will bless you with a peace that is louder than your anxiety and a comfort that will be stronger than any pressure you are feeling.
“Let us wrap each gift we give with kind, loving thoughts about all those who have helped to make the gift possible and the person who will receive the gift.” Barbara Benson
My friend, I know many of us are feeling the pressure of trying to finish everything in time for Christmas. It is my prayer for you, who has taken the time to read this today, that you will be empowered with a peace that passes all understanding and that you will not be robbed of the joy of the season as exhaustion sets in.
We can and will do this! We will be done and ready for Christmas!
Life doesn’t stop just because it is Christmas time and trials of life do not just disappear for this season, Your struggles do not know a time of day or a season of the year.
So how do you still cope with the trials of daily life while trying to enjoy the Spirit of Christmas?
Give your trials and concerns over to God allowing Him to give you the gift of “peace” for Christmas.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV
This sounds so simple but often times, if we are honest with ourselves, forget to do it. Allow yourself a break during this season to put your trials and hardships of life on the back burner and enjoy the “Spirit of Christmas” to permeate your soul.
This Christmas Season has been anything but a typical one for me, but it is one I will cherish more than any gift I could have ever received.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how I worked extremely hard to decorate my house for the holidays so by the time we got into the busy part of the holiday, I would have it done and would not have to wonder where I would find the time to decorate.
What I did not know or could not have foreseen was how different this season would look to me. The hustle and bustle of the holiday went on hold for several reasons, one of which included everyone in my family being sick. Another reason was when I decided to shift my focus to how I could help my daughter catch up as well as finish all her college classes, from where she struggled earlier in the semester with being sick and being in massive pain due to her chronic migraines.
I remember when I decided to put Christmas on hold to help my daughter, I asked God to bless me later with the time I needed to catch up and to take the stress away for being behind and He did.
Here are several ”specific” prayer requests I had which God answered directly in just this holiday season. I am sharing them today because I too struggle, like others, to see God at work and to answer my prayers, but I want to encourage you that He does.
My Friend, God is truly answering our prayers whether we see them physically or not. I am going to share several of my answered prayer requests that have occurred over this Holiday Season to provide you with an encouragement to see God is at work.
I asked Him specifically to multiply the hours in a day so my daughter would have longer to work on her classes. He multiplied the hours just as I asked for, and because of this, my daughter finished all her classes on time.
I asked from Him to remove all the stress of the holiday season away from me this year, and He did.
I asked Him to place it upon my mom’s heart to call me because I missed her, but without a voice, I could not call her, and He did.
I asked Him to show me physically, that my mom still truly loves me and is proud of me, despite my letting her down for circumstances out of my control, and He did.
My Friend, I am writing about these specific answers to my prayers to encourage you to know God is listening to the desires of our hearts. We do not always see the answers to our prayers, but it does not mean He is not answering them.
I am writing about this experience to show you,
“Our greatest and most cherished gifts do not come wrapped in boxes while topped with a gorgeous big red bow. I am writing to encourage you the best presents come from within our own heart.
Cited by, HomeLife&Encouragement
What has touched you this season? Who has done something that left you in awe and touched beyond measure? What gift have you received that you will cherish in your heart for a life time? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.
The experience I received this year came when my mom called me yesterday. She does not call often, but yesterday she richly blessed my day with not only calling me, but also by telling me with the most loving words, that she still loves me and not just loves me, but truly loves me. I have not heard these gentle, loving, and meaningful words in years. Yes, I get the I love you when you hang up the phone, but these words were different. These words were said with gentle love, which I have not heard in a long time.
The second gift she gave me was when she told me she put up a little Christmas tree this year. This was powerful to me because she has not done this for ten or more years. When we lost my dad, it was like part of my mom’s heart died with him.
I have struggled for years with my mom battling holiday depression that would begin as early as November 11 and last through New Years, every year. As a result, the strain this would cause for me every Christmas season was pretty intense. I found over the past couple of years that in order for me to protect my broken heart, I had to withdraw from her for most of the season because it was just so difficult to talk to her.
This year thankfully is shaping up to be different. She said with a joy in her voice that she was happy for the first time in years to put up her Christmas tree and a few decorations as well as lights. This was the best present she could have ever given herself let alone given to me. It is my prayer her heart continues to heal because to hear this joy in her voice is the best as well as a priceless gift she could give to me as well as herself.
My Friend, if you are struggling this season with thoughts of discouragement and you are just in need of seeing God answer your prayers like He did for me, consider doing this, just talk to Him.
So many times people fall into the trap of having to be formal and pray formally with God, but I do not feel this way. I talk to God like He was sitting here with me, in person, right now. I figure He knows me better than I know myself because He created me, so when I spill my heart out to Him, this does not take Him by surprise.
Tell Him what you need tonight. He is listening. Then sit back and “trust” He is working it all out for you. Do not expect to see a physical prayer answered unless you asked specifically, because this is when we walk away disappointed. Instead of watching for the miracle or prayer to be answered, walk away from it, but if and when you see it, then rejoice with God knowing He is allowing you to see the physical request being met just like He did for me.
My prayer seasons have been pretty dry. We struggle a lot. I pray a lot, but honestly, I struggle to see the effects of my prayers which is why I am writing about this journey today.
This is my gentle reminder this Christmas Season, God is still here. He is still walking with us, talking to us, helping us, and holding our hand along every difficult step we take. Take some time to talk to Him and allow Him the opportunity to bless you this Holiday Season, just as He did for me.
As we went in the book store, we saw their children’s Christmas books and stopped to look at the collection they had on display. When I saw this book, “The Night Before Christmas” because it is our all time favorite Christmas book.
It is hard to believe she is all grown up and days of the past, are but memories now. Where does time go?
My friend, take some time this holiday season to makes some memories for the years to come. Do not get so busy in the busy that you forget to include the people who are important to you.
“Today is the day to make the memories of your future.” Unknown Author
Your kids will not be little for ever. You will appreciate the time you shared today in the years toco e when you only have your memories to cling to.
What are you favorite holiday books? Leave a comment below.