Last year after Christmas, I felt gross. I felt like I let the commercialization of my favorite holiday ruin the experience. It could have just been the hormones...I was only a month out from delivering Avery. Anyway, I made a decision shortly after that I was going to do something drastically different this year. I didn't want to buy gifts out of obligation, I didn't want to spend 5x what we could afford, I didn't want to rush from party to party without being able to spend time with anyone....no I wanted to feel the way I did when I was a kid. I wanted to feel that magic. I'm not sure when it stopped or why I really felt that it was missing last year, but I knew I had to change something.
Christmas to me is about hope. If you have hope you can do anything. If you believe that you matter, that God has a specific plan for your life, you can overcome any obstacle. Christmas to me is about celebrating that hope, its about remembering how very important each one of us is to God. It's not just for the rich, the lucky, the privileged, the beautiful, no its for every single person that has ever lived. HOPE. That's what I missed out on last year. I missed the point. That magical feeling when I was a kid was hope. Excitement. Belief. Faith. That's the kind of Christmas that I wanted this year. WELL, God has a funny sense of humor because it seems like every time I ask for things he presents me with exactly what I need to find them for myself. I guess that would be parenting at its finest, don't give your children what they ask for and make their life easy, teach them how to find it themselves even if it means watching them make mistakes and struggle to figure it out on their own.
If I'm being honest I was like the scrooge all December long. We had a lot of difficult life changing events happen in our family in a very short and concentrated time period. It started right in the beginning of December and didn't end until the day before Christmas Eve. One after another negative things were happening to us. Without going into any detail...It was rough, depressing and scary. I'm not going to focus on what happened because that's not the important part. Crying in my husband's arms the day before Christmas Eve, I said aloud "I just want Christmas to be over so that we can move on." SO where's all the hope in that?
On Christmas Eve it started to snow, big beautiful snow flakes falling from the sky and in that moment it was like a light bulb went off and I saw the big picture. I felt this overwhelming peace come over me and I knew that God had given me every opportunity I needed to really have the Christmas that I so desperately wanted. Through the month of December we were tested as a family and we pulled together and made it. We were given precious opportunities to come together and become stronger or walk away and let it fall apart. I had specific moments where I was given the opportunity to make a call, open my heart, to show how much I cared. That doesn't happen when everything is status quo. Those opportunities are rare and if we can stop worrying and just do the right thing in that moment we can truly do remarkable things. Even better if we can see every obstacle as a gift to grow, to learn, to become the person we were meant to be, then adversity becomes a blessing. That's what I felt on Christmas Eve as I watched the snow falling. Nothing changed except my perception. Our family situation was still the same, but I had found my HOPE. And this Christmas for me was very special. It was better than what I had wished for. Amazing how he took me on a month long journey to get me to that point on Christmas Eve. What an elaborate plan! And if that was just the month of December....what kind of story is he weaving for my life? It gives me goosebumps thinking about it.
Learning how to let go and trust in his plan is not easy. I struggle with it as a goal setting planner myself. I want things to happen on my timeline...fortunately for me that's not how it works. Yes it is extremely important to plan and set goals, to know where you want to go, but its stupid and naive to think that everything will just fall into your lap in the exact timeline you prefer once you commit to making your dreams come true. You have to be willing to accept adversity as a blessing and have HOPE that it will mold you into the person you need to be to accomplish those goals. So many throw in the towel as soon as obstacles start showing up. I was there the day before Christmas Eve. I'm so glad that I didn't. It always works out if you stay focused on where you want to go, it always works out if you commit to achieving those goals, it always works out if you stay persistent, it always works out if do the right thing in the moments. Always. And God gives you the free will to choose your destination...you just have to trust his path to get there. That's pretty reassuring and pretty awesome that you can have anything you want in life if you are willing stay on the path.
OH yes...We also did make some sweet homemade gifts, thank you Pinterest!:
|Sock Snowmen for the ladies on our list! We added essential oils to make them smell good.|
|Printed a Picture to a Canvas. And the Small one is hand painted. Got the idea from Etsy....you can buy it too. This was for our family gift exchange. I paired it with the movie ELF. That's where the two quotes are from.|
|Made this one on my own...For my Grandma that loves Cardinals|
|Jeremie made this for me!! NO plans he custom made it. LOVE it!! It gets the garbage and recycling out of the middle of the kitchen!!|
|Family Sign for my sister who is getting married next September|
|Made this for my Mom. I came up with the idea at the craft store.|
|Floor Pillow for Avery. Was suspose to be a dog bed...but this is way cooler!|
|For Jeremie from me. This is a quote from our favorite show Duck Dynasty. Painted using this tutorial.|
|Bacon makes everything better!! Boozy Bacon Jam for the guys on our list. It was delicious too!|
|Spark with homemade ornaments. I bought a kit at the from the craft store. Gave out 100 of theses bad boys!! Way better than candy.|
|Came up with this one on our own too. For my step Mom and Dad. In honor of my Grandpa who passed away 12/5/12. This is the bulletin from the funeral and a replica of the casket spray mod podged to a stained piece of wood.|