Sunday, December 21, 2008

I have found Christmas!

When I last posted, I was off on a journey to find Christmas because Christmas hadn't come to me yet. Last night after dinner with some girlfriends, I was thinking about the fact that I had *found* Christmas. Well, to be honest, I hadn't really *found* it at all, what I did find was that Christmas was with me all along already. :)

Then this morning I received the nicest email ever from an old school mate and neighbor of mine (yes Ken, I am outing you). It just reiterated to me that I indeed had Christmas with me all along. Thanks so much for your too kind words Ken. You'll never know when you might find yourself posted right smack dab in the middle of my blog!

So this is where I found Christmas this week. I saw it in my children's faces as they sang with joy at the annual Christmas play. I saw it in my friend Susan who sends me daily emails of encouragement and tells me how much she enjoys my journey. I saw it in my friend Beth who had a jeans day fundraiser in her office this month and donated the money to us so my girls could have Christmas- you are the best, I swear. I saw it in my mom who is always there to bail me out when I need her. I saw it in my brother who provided Ed with a side job that will more than make up for him not working the past 4 weeks. I saw it in the tender heart of my niece Alexis, who just needs someone she can rely on every day, day in and day out. I saw it in my good friends Carol and Kelly who I had dinner with last night and it reminds me that they have stood by me in good times and bad and they never judge me. I saw it in my online friends who constantly support and love me and probably know me better than my *in real life* friends because I tell them things I am too embarrassed to admit to my real friends. I saw it in my husband who despite the fact that we struggle so much, does everything he does just to please me and to extract a smile from my face or a loving acknowledgment that I see what he is doing. I saw it in our good friends the Livingston's, who set the standard for our family, in that they are a true living example of what a Christian family should be. When I grow up, I wanna be just like you guys!

So, the Christmas Spirit is with me already in all the people that I encounter every day. It's in my new friends and old friends and even in total strangers that come across this blog. If we look deep enough inside ourselves, I think we all find that the true Spirit of Christmas lies within us all....the question is, do we recognize it? Some will and some won't...and them some of us need that pointed out to us (wink, wink).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm not really feelin' Christmas

You heard me right....just not feelin' it. I LOVE Christmas. It's my most favorite time of the year. Maybe it's the sinking economy, maybe I am depressed, but I am just having the hardest time getting into the Christmas spirit.

Just yesterday, I FINALLY got my tree put up and the house decorated. I can't believe how long it took me to reluctantly drag this stuff out of the attic and get it done. Now that it's up and everything is looking all festive, I am still not feeling it. It looks pretty and sparkly on the outside, but I am not feelin' it on the inside.

I also admit, that I have not bought one single thing for Christmas this year. I am finding it hard to spend money when there are bills to be paid and Ed hasn't worked in 3 weeks due to the unseasonably cold and early winter we have had dumped in our laps. Every day, I watch the news and all I hear is that everywhere, everyone is afraid to spend their money with the economy in the crapper like it is. Well, I secretly confess, I am one of those people.

So, this week, I am off on a personal journey to find the meaning of Christmas in my heart. If Christmas isn't coming to me, then I am going to have to go find Christmas and bring it home. I have a strange feeling that I won't have to look very far. I promise to report back to you and let you know of my findings.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Things I Believe In...

Here are some things that I really believe.

1) I believe there is a God in Heaven and I will go there when I die.

2) I believe there is good in all bad and a little bit of bad in all good.

3) I believe that there is nothing better than the sound of my children laughing.

4) I believe there are Angels walking among us on Earth and that we encounter them everyday.

5) I believe that Ivy was sent to me to teach me patience, tolerance and love.

5) I believe that I can really help the world one person at a time.

6) I believe in the magic of Christmas and still believe in Santa Claus.

7) I believe in the power of prayer. I have witnessed it first hand.

8) I believe in laughter. It really is the best medicine when you are down.

9) I believe in love. I am still a hopeless romantic.

10) I believe in YOU. Whether you are my friend, my family or a total stranger, I believe in YOU.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Traditions- The Four Gifts

We are planning on putting up the tree today. Time to drag out the 47 boxes of who knows what and make the tree look pretty. I love Christmas. It's my favorite holiday. It's the one time of year, that I can kind of let go of all the stress in my life and enjoy the season and what it stands for.

Several years ago, we were really, really tight on money for Christmas gifts. To be blunt, there just wasn't any money and I was looking for ways to cut corners and still make the girls' Christmas special. It was during this time that I had conversations with friends that made me realize that Christmas wasn't really about the stuff. It was about being with family, setting traditions, and giving of ourselves that really mattered.

This is when I heard about The Four Gifts for the first time. It was intriguing and we decided to give it try. Since it's inception in this house, we have never looked back. My girls now know what to expect on Christmas morning and there is no disappointment involved. I hope that by doing this tradition, that my girls also learn that it's not about the stuff. Perhaps one day, they will carry this tradition into their own families.

Here is the run down of what The Four Gifts consist of:

The Gift of Warmth:
this is usually a new pair of jammies, preferably Christmas themed and/or some cool and funky toes socks, or maybe a new bathrobe, blanket or cozy throw....anything to keep you warm. This gift is opened on Christmas Eve.

The Gift of Knowledge:
this gift should be something one can learn from. An educational toy, book or DVD. Maybe something neat like a microscope, telescope, or a kid sized sewing machine....or it can be as simple as a book about Outer Space. Anything that gives them the gift of knowledge.

The Gift of Love: this gift is tricky as it has to be homemade. Something that YOU make and that comes from the heart. Whenever you put your heart, sweat and soul into something, it always means more. I have made throw pillows, doll clothes, fleece blankets, knitted get the long as it is homemade, it comes from love.

The Gift of Joy:
this is my favorite. This is usually something bigger and something that will bring the recipient JOY! I usually save this for last. This is the one big thing that is on their list. If you have a little money, then feel free to splurge here. Examples of years past for us were a Nintendo DS, Rose Petal Cottage, an electric scooter, a new bicycle, big huge 3 story Barbie playhouse etc. The sky is the limit where this gift is concerned. If your children are still small and still believe, then this can be left unwrapped and what comes from Santa. (wink, wink)

So I hope someone out there finds this inspirational and tries to instill this tradition in their homes this year. With the economy down in the pits the way it is, it's the perfect time to start downsizing the stuff. Try it, you just might like it. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Christmas Gift to all my friends this year.....

This year, I am giving away free carbon offsets for one day to all my cyber friends, since we suck up so much energy being on the computer all the time. :)

Please click the link below to claim your gift. Together we can change the world. All I ask is that you pay it forward and pass on the offsets!! Hurry because I only have 25 gifts to share.

One Day from Brighter Planet