‘Tis the Season

Christmas is a holiday of extremes…

It is a holiday of extreme EATING. We have what is called the “12 Days of Christmas” at our office (as pictured below) where for the twelve business days leading up to our Christmas vacation time, different people bring a meal in for everyone to enjoy. My group is preparing brunch for the office next Friday. We eat and eat and eat throughout the holiday season and then vow to do whatever we can to get the weight off by bathing suit season. Stupid bathing suits…

EVERY DAY for 12 days...

Food, food, and more food…… EVERY DAY AT WORK.

For most the holiday season is a time of extreme SPENDING. Buying gifts for family and friends can be rather costly and some people go overboard… not to mention the expense of decorating the house (which I admittedly went overboard this year and am dreading taking everything down after Christmas!) and the high cost of pretty Christmas cards. It can be rather ridiculous how much we spend and then we have to work extra hard to save money in the new year.

Emotions run high during the holidays too and so the extremes there are either true happiness or true sadness. For some, the holidays remind them of lost love or the dissolution of their marriage. As I have written before, it is very hard for some who have to spend half of the holidays without their children. I have been divorced for ten years and it doesn’t ever get easier to not have my kids with me.

This Christmas has been different for me though.  I offered to have my office’s holiday party at my house this year. Because of that commitment, I started decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I put up three Christmas trees and decorated every available space as tastefully as possible. Most people said I was crazy to host 50+ people in my home less than two weeks before Christmas, but as an adult with ADD, I have THRIVED with this looming deadline!

I got to work early on decorations and even purchased as many Christmas presents as I could. Because I knew my time would be limited, I worked hard under the deadline and was SO HAPPY in the process. Rather than let it stress me out, I chose to embrace it and enjoy every second of it. The decorations bring joy to my heart as soon as I wake up in the morning until I walk around turning candles off in all the windows at night. It has caused me to be filled with the Christmas spirit, which is so easy to forget about when you are a divorced parent.

Yes, I even set up a fake little tree in my bedroom and am enjoying looking at it while sitting in bed writing this morning!

Yes, I even set up a fake little tree in my bedroom and am enjoying looking at it while sitting in bed writing this morning!

I am re-posting my Christmas Wish post from last Christmas, because it is a great reminder, but I also want to encourage you all to immerse yourself in Christmas this year. Focus on the holiday spirit and what it all means, even if it’s hard to do. It’s true that we are as happy as we make up our minds to be, so MAKE UP YOUR MIND TO BE HAPPY this Christmas!!! Wrap your kids up tonight and lay in the yard and look for shooting stars. Choose a charity to help this Christmas. The kids can learn from an early age how good it feels to give to those less fortunate. Go to a Christmas show with your kids. We have a family tradition of going to a Christmas show every year and this year we have gone to TWO!! I cheesily smile through the entire show. If you can’t afford tickets to a show, then look at all of the free Christmas activities in your area. I know around here there are places you can go look at Christmas lights and there are free festivals. Play Christmas music in the car or in your home while cooking dinner. Whatever you do, make sure you are focusing on your family and making memories for your kids. You don’t want them to suffer because you are “not feelin’ it this year.”

Here is my blog, My Christmas Wish List for Divorced Families, published on 12/22/13 by the Huffington Post.

My wish for you THIS Christmas is that you focus on the SPIRIT of Christmas and feel the JOY that goes along with that. If you aren’t feeling that joy, then try to figure out what you can do differently to try to find it. Remember the wonder you felt as a child at Christmastime? You can have that feeling again if you just BELIEVE.

Here are some pics of my house this Christmas to help get you started on this journey of extreme happiness this Christmas. ENJOY MY CHRISTMAS PICS!!!!

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Structure Brings Peace

While everyone else in the family is adjusting well with the new changes since our wedding last weekend, my nerves are not…

My good friends know that I have always had anxiety issues.  I tend to worry about things that do not need to be worried about and my thoughts get consumed with things I need to forget.  I have worked hard over the years to calm my anxious heart.

My happy place bring peace to my heart.

My happy place brings peace to my heart.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, my heart shall not fear; though war break out against me, even then, I will still be confident. (Psalm 27: 1, 3)

My anxiety does not spring from doubt, but it comes from change… If you have anxiety you know that your life works much better when you have a routine.  I am calmed and find peace through predictability.  My calendar is color coded and detailed.  Joe knows that when we are going somewhere I have to know exactly what time we are leaving the house.  I will be ready at that exact moment.  Some would find all of the planning and organizing to be maddening, but for a person who has anxiety…

STRUCTURE BRINGS PEACE.

There is no doubt that this change in my life is GOOD CHANGE… but Joe coughed two nights ago after I had fallen asleep and I leapt out of the bed like I was going to shield my flock from who knows what.  After sleeping the last nine years with one ear always listening for the killers trying to get in I just can’t change overnight!  I have been the protector of my children (although we know who the real protector is), so it is hard to give over the reigns to Joe to be the protector.  Thankfully I have faith in the man he is and I know that he will take over that position with great pride.

Most importantly, the thing that brings me the greatest peace is God… I have spent a lot of time in prayer over the last week.  Praying that He will keep His hand on us throughout this process… praying that He will keep happiness in the hearts of the children… praying that He will be ever-present in our marriage.  And I have had to pray at night for him to slow my mind so that I can fall asleep… Joe held me last night as we prayed together and I fell asleep within seconds.  There are no coincidences.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145: 18-19)

With each passing day I am feeling stronger and more at ease – accepting our new normal step by step.  Maybe next week when Joe walks up behind me in the kitchen while I am making my coffee I won’t jump out of my skin when I turn around and he is there…

Until that day I will remember:

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

I find peace in our unconditional love.

I find peace in our unconditional love.