Family 2015

Family 2015

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas - what it is and what it aint.

I really, really, really, really, really, really love Christmas!!  It is such a wonderful family time, great memories and fun activities.  A time to reflect on all that the past year has been and think about the future.  A time to be grateful, to remember the reason for the season.  To worship.  A time to give and reach out to others.

Also, it is a lot of work.

I rarely get sick, but it seems that during the season of "Christmas preparation" I usually fall prey to a nasty head cold or what have you.  Today is that day and this is the first time I have ventured off the couch.  I figured since I am being forced to slow down a little, I should take advantage of it and chat with you all.  :)

This whole situation of getting sick around the holidays always gets me to thinking.  Have I fallen into the trap of commercializing Christmas?  Surely if I'm so busy that I am run down and get sick, I must be losing focus of what's really important during this time.

Here's the thing though, I haven't.  I know what Christmas is really about.  I do.  But, I also have 5 kids and the responsibility/privilege of creating wonderful holidays and memories for them.  When you add that in to all that I'm already doing, it can get pretty overwhelming, and I get pretty worn out.

We have had some slim Christmases in terms of $ and some that weren't so slim.  Even when we have some extra, I don't go crazy with the buying because I want my kids to know that it's about more than that.  But, even in the years when we didn't have much, I was still very busy.

So, I guess I just need to accept it.  Holidays are extra work and that's all there is to it.  I will love it and not feel guilty for being busy.  I will not listen to the folks who get all worked up about how presents take away from the real reason for the season.  And next year, I will start in early December to take extra vitamin C.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eating the Elephant.

You know the phrase, "The proper way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time."  I get that and I think it's a good analogy of life.  Usually.  But, this statement does not adequately address what to do when the elephant sits on your head.

I am generally pretty good about not letting myself get overwhelmed.  I've got a pretty good grasp of "not sweating the small stuff" and "rolling with the punches."  I don't "cry over spilled milk" and I don't generally get "all wigged out."

But today was different.  Since being all stressed out isn't my norm, whenever it happens I try to figure out why.

This is what I decided.  Today everything looks like a really big deal because I didn't get enough sleep.
1.  I went to bed waaaayyyy too late.  (totally my fault)
2.  I was forced out of what little sleep I got several times by a sick child.  (totally not my fault)

So now I know why I woke up feeling like everything in the world had to be accomplished today and I had to be the one to do it.  That the whole house needed to be totally cleaned.  Right now.  That all of the Christmas shopping had to be done in the next 24 hours.  That all of my kids needed some quality time and would suffer if they didn't receive it today.  That today, my family needed to eat a gourmet meal.

You see because when I am overly tired, I have all of these grand expectations of myself AND I feel overwhelmed.  Great combo.

But, I feel much better now that I figured it out.  I have found the problem.  And I'm going to fix it by taking a nap and feeding my family an already prepared rotisserie chicken for dinner.

The End.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Across the Miles

We just had a really great visit with my Dad and step-Mom.  They live practically on the other side of the country and we see them twice a year.

It's pretty tough on my kids, especially the 2 sensitive ones, when they leave.  I remember the feeling well.  I also grew up across the country from most of my extended family and it was so hard to leave, or to be left, when the visit was over.

When Carter woke up this morning and immediately started crying again because his Grandma and Grandpa were gone, I wanted to be able to transfer what I know in my brain and heart right to his.

This is what I know.

Miles and years do not erase love.  The ties of family cannot be broken by distance.  It is actually a blessing to cry and miss someone because it means you have relationships in your life that are worth crying over and missing.

I'm so grateful that my kids' lives are full of family and of all that that means even when it is hard.  We are truly blessed.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I Will Not Teach my Kids to be Afraid.

An older woman once gave me some advice that has gone a long way towards shaping my parenting.  It wasn't even meant to be parenting advice, but there you have it.

Anyway, I was talking with her about a pretty serious problem I was going through and I was feeling pretty swallowed up by it, you know the feeling?  She says, "Yvonne, you have to take the teeth out of it."  Um, what?   She laughed and said, "You have to let your mind follow it all they way out to the worst possible scenario and realize that even the worst possible scenario isn't so bad."  You know what?  Most of the time, that is true.  Many times, the worst part of dealing with a problem is the fear that goes along with it.

There is some statistic I read a long time ago somewhere (ha! how's that for non-committal??) that says 80% of the things we worry about never happen.  That, my friends, is A LOT of wasted time.

This idea has so impacted me that I pass it along to my kids without even realizing it sometimes.  Say they are having trouble with a friend at school and are worried that said friend will no longer be their friend.  Without thinking, I will say something like, "Well, what if she isn't your friend?  How much power does her friendship really hold?  Will that keep you from learning?  Will it keep you from having other friends?  Will it stop us from loving you?  Will you not graduate high school because of it?"  You get the idea.

It works for just about everything.  A couple of years ago, we had some pretty serious money trouble and I was pretty worked up about it.  Then, one day, I thought, wait.  What is the worst thing that could happen?  We could lose our house.  And that would be bad.  But, you know what?  Even if we do, so what? 

We live in a country where we are so fortunate to be able to start over.  We have family and friends who would have helped us had that been the case.  We have each other.  And, we have God, who is always on our side.  From that moment forward, the situation looked a lot different to me.  Also, we didn't lose our house, which is a great fringe benefit.  :)

I want, so much, for my kids to really grab ahold of this idea.  Life will throw you some curve balls.  But, don't let that control you or your outlook on life.  As the saying goes:

Perspective isn't something.  It is everything.