Archives For tree

Change the Cycle

January 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV) 

Today has been the day for us to get back into our usual routine after the holidays. We have either had family in town or was out-of-town ourselves. It has been a great time spending Christmas and the New Year with family, Eli even took his first steps while we were visiting Chase’s grandparents! Today while Eli took his nap I took down the Christmas decorations. Is it just me or does the house seem really empty when the tree gets put up for another year? It’s like there is a giant empty spot now in my living room that is usually there unless its December and the tree is up. As I look at that empty space I am trying to figure out what to fill it with but I know I will do what I always do… nothing and eventually it will look like normal until it is time for the tree to go up again. It’s a never-ending cycle that I am sure I am not alone in. While I am sitting here writing, something came to me about this cycle, it’s a lot like life. How so? Well if your like me there are some days where you feel like you don’t have enough minutes in the day. (I know I was that way Christmas Eve… trying to clean, wrap gifts, do laundry etc.) Then there are other days where you might find yourself with a few extra minutes. What do we do with those minutes? Turn on the tv, play on the computer, read, call someone or probably any number of other things and so we fill up that extra space of time until we are full and can move on with our day and then the cycle continues again. Today while I was thinking about all this I decided how great it would be to break that cycle! What if instead of filling up our every minute of every day we take those extra precious moments and praise God, read his word, listen to Him and even just rest… yes I said rest, sometimes resting is what we need too. It doesn’t have to take long to say a prayer or even listen to a favorite worship song. What can we teach our kids when we live our lives in a way that shows that we don’t constantly have to be entertained by something but yet using the time given to us wisely and in praise of our God!?!

Photo Credit: Leland Francisco

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” Burton Hillis

So many people are stressing about Christmas. What gifts to buy, budgets and will it be enough? I too have been a part of the group stressing about Christmas and budgets. But why? Does it honestly matter if I spend a lot of money on a gift or take the time to make something from scratch? Don’t they both say that I love the person it is going to and spent time thinking about something unique to give them? I’m sure I am not the only one to believe that Christmas has become commercialized and that retailers have made it into a great way for people to spend more than they usually would or can afford just to buy for loved ones. It’s not about the gifts. But the commercialized side of Christmas can make that point hard to remember.

Every other commercial right now is a holiday one with new sale prices, new gadgets and special holiday hours. It’s hard trying to stay balanced and not be taken in by it all. Chase and I have talked more than once about what we want to do to be able to make sure that our family has a fun Christmas every year but also with out it being all about the gifts. One thing I know that we have talked about doing is a special Christmas donation every year to our sponsor child we have through Compassion International. Hopefully this will be a good start to keeping the focus more on others and not so much on ourselves. Of course Eli is only a year old so we have plenty of time to come up with more traditions for our family.

I am by no means trying to be negative or a downer. We want to celebrate and enjoy Christmas just as much as everyone else. I just hate when we get stressed about what we will buy everyone. I don’t want to forget that Christmas is not all about the gifts, but that we should celebrate Jesus’ birth and show His love to every one we meet! So this year one thing we are doing to be a little less commercialized is we are brainstorming ideas to do more homemade gifts with a lot of love built-in!

Photo Credit: Shimelle Laine

It’s December 1st. I love this month and today I decided to share my Top 10 reasons I love December!

  1. Christmas 
  2. Christmas is also my husband’s birthday
  3. Reading the birth of Jesus every Christmas morning with our family
  4. Christmas parties
  5. Peppermint mochas (technically you can get these anytime but they taste so much better in December!)
  6. Going to look at Christmas lights
  7. Having a pretty Christmas tree in the living room to look at
  8. Seeing the reaction on people’s faces when they open their gifts
  9. Christmas music
  10. Christmas Eve church services
Photo Credit: Scott D. Feldstein

With the past week filled with holiday festivities I haven’t had much time to post anything. Sorry for the silence. I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We enjoyed our holiday, it was filled with family, food and family game nights! We had family in for about a week and it was such a great visit! Once everyone went home Sunday we picked up the house and then… decorated for Christmas! I am sitting in my living room writing this post where I have a warm fire in the fireplace, stockings hung on the mantle and our Christmas tree to top off the scenery. I absolutely love this holiday season! I love winter and the fact that Christmas falls in winter makes it all the more better. While decorating our house I had Christmas music playing and of course I was singing along. I don’t know about you but those songs always brighten my day. I love finding new versions of old songs each season as well. Since I am in such a Christmas mood I decided that this music video from Lifechurch.tv would be a good fit and it has a link to more music too!