Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving and Grace

Every year, on the day after Halloween, I start to see “30 Days of Thanks” statuses go up on Facebook. I’ve participated in the past, and I enjoy reading the posts by others, but on day one this year, I was able to sum up my entire thirty days in one word: grace. That’s it. I have months and months and a lifetime’s worth of status updates that I could write about why I’m thankful, but it all comes down to grace. It’s why I have a beautiful family and a wonderful husband. It’s why we have money in the bank, and food on our plates and a roof over our heads. It’s why I am allowed to open my eyes each morning, breathe in the air, and live another day. It’s why even after all these years, after all the times I’ve messed up and complained and forgotten and ignored and questioned His love for me, God continues to love and bless and delight in me. ME. A sinner… saved by nothing but grace.

So tomorrow we will be in the presence of family and friends that we love dearly and don’t get to see nearly enough, and my thought again is of the immense grace that I’ve been given. I hope that this Thanksgiving you are grace-filled, and grace-giving in the presence of the ones you love.


Monday, November 14, 2016

12 Things You're NOT REQUIRED To Do This Holiday Season

Okay folks. Christmas is hot on our heels and we are powerless to stop it. I'm not one of those early-Christmas-bandwagon-jumpers. I do NOT like decorating for Christmas. I like having the decorations up, but I don't like to be the one that has to drag it out, dust it off, vacuum it up, hammer in the nails, hang the lights, etc etc. (Who's coming to decorate for me?) And because I'm a holiday procrastinator, they always seem to sneak up on me.
If you're like me, you're literally (figuratively) having a full-blown (highly exaggerated) panic attack thinking about all the things that'll have to be done and bought and dusted with glitter before Christmas.
So here's what's up: Me and Jesus are about to make your holidays REAL easy with this simple list* of things you ARE NOT required to do for the holidays this year. Ahem...

1. Buying Gifts for every niece and nephew, cousin, teacher, boss, employee, hairstylist's grandbaby, babysitter's boyfriend, or nosy neighbor: NOT REQUIRED

2. Forcing (or guilting) your family into wearing stuffy sweaters to pose for holiday photos in the middle of a field: NOT REQUIRED

3. Sending out holiday cards with aforementioned photos along with a two-page letter updating everyone on little Sally's bowel movements during potty training and little Johnny's football stats: NOT REQUIRED

4. Participating in the church's Christmas pageant: NOT REQUIRED (*especially* if you are the only pregnant woman in the congregation or the only woman with an infant)

5. Attending a parade at your local frigid, frozen tundra of a downtown where you will purchase styrofoam cups of hot chocolate which your children will proceed to spill all over the front of their coats while complaining that they are cold: NOT REQUIRED

6. Elf on the Shelf: NOT REQUIRED (for Pete's sake...)

7. Perfectly iced cookies and snacks for the reindeer on Christmas Eve/ drinking hot cocoa in coordinating Christmas jammies/ dressing up as Santa/ otherwise trying desperately to make every moment of Christmas as magical and non-traumatic as possible for your children: NOT REQUIRED

8. Attending any party at which you will not be served copious amounts of spiked nog: NOT REQUIRED

9. Doing one of those super involved advent calendars with the boxes and the candy and the activities and the presents: NOT REQUIRED

10. Going to a tree farm and argue with your husband about whether or not each tree is tall enough, wide enough, full enough, crooked, is dying, or might have bugs; pick a tree, then argue about the best way to secure it to your vehicle because NOBODY BROUGHT STRING?! Borrow string from establishment, and ride home in passive-aggressive silence: NOT REQUIRED

11. Dragging your screaming children to the mall to wait in line for an hour just to get a picture of the screamers sitting on Santa's lap: NOT REQUIRED

12. Throwing elbows at your fellow last minute shoppers in the aisles of Toys R Us in an effort to obtain the last hot toy off the shelf because your child MUUUUUUST have it: NOT REQUIRED

*Please note that this is in no way intended to be considered a complete list, and you may extend your "not required" to any activity in which you do not honestly wish to participate. You're welcome.

There. Feel better?