a made for tv movie

I LOVE horribly cheesy made for tv movies.  Especially Christmas ones.  I like the mix of predictability, mediocre acting  and always ending on a happy note.  I also love that they can’t include gratuitous shots of people not wearing enough clothes, there is nothing I despise more than movies where people are acting like they are getting physical.  So tacky, so gross, so not the real thing – barf.

Back to point.  The other day I convinced my husband to watch a made for tv Christmas movie with me. I had delicious snacks, so he was lured in.  I’m pretty sure the soundtrack was the same gals that always did the Gilmore Girls, so it was on par with my standards in many, many ways.

In the movie, the main gal hits her head, and gets an amnesia dream where her life is totally different (absolute predictability) from her mean/selfish/ambition driven life and she in the end realizes that she wants to change who she is and have the dream life where she is nice/selfless/semi-philanthropist.  All ends well.

During the made for tv movie, there is a point where her long lost love is telling her all the things he did after they broke up and she moved away.  He saved the grocery list she wrote on the chalkboard in his house, he kept some old mayo in his fridge from when they were together, he even bagged her pillow to always have her scent.  SO kinda creepy, but hearing all the ways he treasured even a memory of her made her realize that she was truly loved by him. All that time she thought he’d moved on and he hadn’t.  Game changer.

Later on he lists the things he loved about their life together and why he wanted her back; how he wanted to be there when she went to sleep, and watch her wake up each morning, to be the one who was there when she needed him, to catch her fall when they ice skated because she was always so clumsy and he knew her better than she knew herself… there was a laundry list of things he stated which included lots of qualities girls hope for in a man, all the little things that say, “I ADORE YOU”.

This made for tv movie summary totally has a worthy point;-)

It was during this movie that it hit me.  When the dude was listing off all his awesome qualities and ways of affirming his love for the main gal, I thought, “Whoa! That’s totally what Jesus does!  He IS that dude that all girls dream about!”  Not in the creepers save your pillow kind of way, but in the, “there for you when you need him, and never lets you down” kind of way.

Now, I love my husband, he does do a lot of the little things that are blockbuster movie worthy.

When he has to get up early for work, he makes a stack of pillows to hide the bathroom light from my face so I can keep sleeping while he gets ready.

He fixes my fuel filter when it smells like diesel in my car before I can notice there was a problem in the first place.

He watches silly movies with me like Pacific Rim and lets me “ELBOW ROCKET” him and doesn’t get me back.

He brings me cold water from the fridge before I go to sleep.

He is totally the guy I was meant to marry in a million-trillion ways.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s super dreamy handsome either.

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a match made in heaven.

But he’s not perfect.

And neither am I.

But I still want perfect.

Sometimes he just doesn’t get me.  Sometimes he’s gone for work and really can’t be there when I need someone.  Sometimes I still feel alone in something even though I’m married and have three beautiful children and an amazing family and friends.

Guess who stands in when other people can’t?

Jesus does.

Other people were never meant to fill all of the voids in my heart.  They were meant to fill some of them, but even in those people meeting my needs, Jesus is behind it.

He is the one who gave me my husband to stand in as a physical representation of how much God loves me.  And when my kids come up to me and say the sweetest most angelic, heavenly things at just the right moment, I have to chalk that up to Jesus sending me a sweet one saying, “Hey, I love you.”  Because normally they do things like this…

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father-son resemblance?

Jesus is behind so much, and we don’t even see it.

Jesus has been there for me in so many moments when no one else could be.

We all long for someone to love us, adore us and to think that we’re special.  And someone does.

When I stood in my littlest one’s room tonight and held her and sang while she rested her head on my shoulder, I was overwhelmed with how much I loved and just absolutely adored her, but my next thought was, Jesus adores me even more.  That is astounding.

He adores you even more.

He adores each one of us even more.

He’s the one who’s going to come dashing in and rescue you from danger, to hold the elevator for you in the building, to wipe the tear from your eye, to kiss your owies, to snuggle you to sleep and to sit with you and watch a made for tv movie with you and not eat all your snacks.

He’s there all the time.

And he’s perfect.

Sometimes he’s demonstrating his love through other people and their actions.  And sometimes it’s just you and him and he covers you in peace as you pray and ask for what to do next.

He’s the made for tv dreamboat we’ve always wanted, only better!

So, if you find yourself lonely in something this season, maybe it’s that someone isn’t understanding you, or getting it, or saying just the right thing at just the right moment… tell Jesus right then, and let him step in and be the one that meets all those hopes and dreams in being loved perfectly.

And, have grace on those who aren’t perfect, because they are just giving Jesus a chance to step in and fill that role.

Thanks for reading!

Outfits

Here’s a story about outfits – both physical AND metaphorical.  It’s deeper than it sounds.

It starts a few weeks back when I was searching for a Christmas outfit for a tea I was going to sing at.  I was pretty excited about it, because I haven’t sang at anything for like a couple of years.  And I actually at one point thought, maybe I wouldn’t get to sing anymore, but then God was like, “Okay, breaks over, you can sing again!”.

So, I was really, really excited, because when I sing, I feel like I get to say in my best, most clear voice: who God is, and what He’s done.  I can’t explain it super good in words, but I feel like a big part of my soul gets to connect with Jesus, and even join with other people when we all praise the same God.  It just feels amazing and I love it.  It’s what I imagine heaven to be like in a way.

Singing is also great, because it’s like a very concentrated time of focusing on just God.  I can’t think about laundry very well when I’m singing to Jesus, so it’s great for undistracted focus on Him.

That all being said, I was pretty jazzed about finding the perfect “debut” outfit for singing.  At this point I thought that was high on the importance level: finding an outfit.

So I picked a dress, but it was more of a leggings dress, so after scouring all the stores, I ordered some cranberry leggings online.  I figured once they showed, I could then move onto picking shoes.  All the men have just checked out of my story, I’m sorry, it gets better.

Saturday comes (6 days to the tea countdown) and no leggings in the mail.  They were lost. Among a few other life stressers, this was topping my list.  So when my husband sat me down and asked me what was wrong on a frazzled Saturday morning, and I said my leggings hadn’t shown up in the mail he had a confused look.

I told him they were important.  I told him how important my outfit was.

Then he asked, “doesn’t the bible say something about not worrying about what you’re going to wear?”.

Yes.

Yes it does.

Stinkers, he was right.  Again, I am stumbling all over my stupid self.  I can’t even get to a tea to sing without bumbling all over about nothing.

So, I prayed with him, and gave my leggings to Jesus.  And it was kinda hard.

Then in church that night, in worship, I gave my whole outfit to him again.  I felt so much better.  I would wear whatever he said.  It didn’t matter.

As our pastor was introducing a new series about Being Jesus.  He said something like, the reason Jesus was born was so that He could die.  The whole culmination of His life was so that He could die on the cross for us.  It was his BIG moment.

Then Jesus said to me, “And I didn’t even get to pick my outfit.”

Yes.  He said that.

I felt like an idiot.  And I was also laughing in my head.

Just to attempt to compare the importance of Jesus’ BIG moment, and me having an outfit for a tea – it’s mathematically impossible, because my life itself in all it’s summation is not even a speck of dust in the entire universe compared to anything Jesus.

And yet, He still talks to me, and makes jokes in church.

Besides, He didn’t even get to wear pants on the cross.  AND, they put a crown of thorns on His head.  That had to be not only humiliating but painful.  Blood was His accessory.

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And I was worried about my leggings.  And I am lame.

Skip to the tea.

My leggings were re-shipped, I found shoes.  Everything was fine.

We sang.  People had an opportunity to worship God.

Here is the interesting thing, this is where the other outfit comes in.  The metaphorical one.

Old me, old worship leader me, would have sang and felt like that was apart of who I was.

But this time, it was different.

I felt free.

Old me would have wrapped herself in a cloak that said, “singer, or worship leader, or worship team member-fancy pants”.

That cloak is heavy, it’s made of steel and iron.  It’s like a magnet that people can throw heavy objects of criticism to and they stick.  It drags the wearer down, down and down to the ground. It’s full of judgement, and fear of failure, it’s restricting and limiting, and keeps my head to the ground in hopelessness.  It’s also full of pride, and self glory, and it resembles someone else who is an enemy of God.  It’s a horrible, dark and ugly cloak to wear.

The original cloak came off when our church closed and I was out of ministry for almost three years. For three years I asked God who I was.  If I wasn’t a worship leader, then who was I? Where did I get my value?  My worth?  What did I DO to deserve Jesus?

Years and years, I built who I was around what I thought I did for God.

My works.

Me.

After he stripped all that away, I was almost afraid to go back to any of it.

But this time it was different.

This time I didn’t’ put the cloak back on.

How?  I’m still not sure, other then Jesus made that happen.

He helped me finally understand that He loves me unconditionally.  He doesn’t love me because I sing for Him.  He doesn’t love me because I try to be a good christian.  He doesn’t love me for my efforts.  He doesn’t love me for anything I “do.”

He loved us first.  His love is enough.

And you know what else?  He took another cloak off me the next day.

My homemaker/mother/wife cloak.

The one where I tied my identity and value to what I do at home.  How hard I work all day in my roles as a mother, wife and homemaker.  The cloak where I find my value in who I am, based on what I accomplish, how perfect my kids behave, how tasty and on time dinner is, how clean my home is and how organized my life appears.

Realizing that I can relax because Jesus, the God of the entire universe, the maker of it all, loves me just for who I am – His.  My performance, success, failure, efforts – none of it are tied to who I am.  I am just His.

Do you even understand how chill I have become the last two days?  This is THE BEST Christmas gift I’ve ever been given.  EVER!

How did this truth elude me for years?

His love, His action of dying for me is enough.  It covers it all.  He did it.  Not me.  He does it, not me.

God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light. (Matthew 11:30).  That could totally say cloak in another version, I’m just saying (it doesn’t but still, they rhyme.)

He doesn’t want me wearing any cloaks of self identity.

Just walking freely with Him.  In cranberry leggings, apparently;-)

a letter to the public restroom

Dear Public Restroom,

Please be aware that this letter is a compliment sandwich, if only to prevent you from getting too offended to consider the changes I am suggesting.

First off, thank you for existing.  Because of you, when my children need to use the bathroom when away from the wonderful much less germ infested place of our home, you are there.  I can at least give you that.  Also, you typically have doors on your stalls, so that’s a bonus.

However, compliment time over.  Why are you so tantalizing to children?  Why is the tile on your floor mixed colors so my kids WANT TO TOUCH IT?!?!  Stop enthralling my kids with your multi-colored floor and wall tiles that are COVERED in germs.  It’s like they’re trying to play connect four with licked fingers to leave spittle marks on the matches.  Choose ONE color.  Stick with it.  Here are some paint chip options I spent some time creating for you.  Please pick ONE color only.Living-with-color-Behr-brown-shades Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 3.54.29 PM Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 3.55.40 PM

Those are nice right?  Keep it as boring as possible. In fact, paint the Sistine chapel in Disney Characters on the celling so that my children only what to look up the ENTIRE time they are in the public restroom in awe.  Thank you.

My children enter the restroom with such amusement as they would a giant empty cathedral with nothing but echos to offer them return for loud, high-pitched squealing.

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welcome to the echo chamber: germland

Although the first yell is harmless enough in it’s intention, perhaps in delight to some humor, it sets off a barrage of excitement among the other children.  It’s then that the game begins.  The general purposes of the restroom have now been overridden by the excitement of yelling. Going to the potty is no longer the priority, making the loudest echo is. The prize is always attained by my youngest who cares nothing of threats or lost privileges.  And although I’ve eventually quieted the older two, the youngest just smiles at me as though she doesn’t have a care in the world while squealing with delight, and each time I attempt to shush her, she screams all the more, her smile widening as each ear-piercing note leaves her body in more happiness then the first.  I’ve attempted apologizing to the other poor patrons who happen to be using the restroom and have been given semi-nice fake smiles mixed with looks that say, “if you didn’t know how to manage children, you shouldn’t have had them.”  In truth that is just what I’d imagine would happen as we exited the stall, actually everyone has been really nice and said my children were adorable, but that is besides the point public restroom, besides the point.

I would like to suggest you close the gap at the front of the toilet seat that leaves a freebie space for my kids to actually TOUCH the porcelain on the toilet.  Everyone knows that the porcelain is dirtier then the plastic.  Do you not understand the toddler mind?  Any inconsistency in life will be FULLY examined by a toddler, especially on something as fascinating as a toilet seat.  FULLY.  At one point, once of my precious baby angel children almost came into contact with a random hair.  I cannot speak to you the level of volume my voice attained.  People were listening, public restroom.  I can’t be blamed for the embarrassment this caused me when leaving the stall while other people (without small, very curious children) stared at me in disbelief.  I can’t be blamed.  The blame lies solely on you public restroom.

Today I visited a not for profit public restroom, (see parks, zoos ect.).

public sink

Please consider having toilet paper available in these spaces.

Also, stop playing games with public safety.  Why do you trick unsuspecting mothers with the sink and water saving (see: waste of time) hand press faucet that tuns off immediately after I stop pressing, only to deceive me by NOT OFFERING SOAP?

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BYOS: bring your own soap.

Not even a consolation soap dispenser to PRETEND you even cared about public health and safety.  You could refill it monthly for all I cared, at least then I’d have a chance in this lottery of life at some soap.  But no, thank you, now I’ve TOUCHED the hand press water dispenser with nothing to clean my hands with but water.  You should not even bother with a sink if you’re not going to offer at least the chance at soap.  Also, I think your trick faucets waste more water then they save.  In fact, don’t even offer a restroom.  We would have fared better health wise in the woods.  What you have sacrificed in the way of public health safety, to maintain an element of “green” facade to your public relations identity, has not gone unnoticed.

I will now speak to you about the trash cans.  All the trash cans should have the no-lid, drop it in policy – next to the door.  Yesterday I caught my kids playing “toss back” with the trash lid, alternating between giggles and peek-a-boo while their faces… no, their mouths vacillated between the trash can and the lid.  Stop tempting my children with games and excitement so close to garbage.  Are you trying to get someone killed?  Just be a plain boring plastic can with a lining generously covering all aspects of the trash can type of receptacle will do.  Please consider changing the lining every hour.

Also, why handles on the toilets?  Every grown adult know to flush a public toilet handle with ones FOOT.  Never the hand.  Yet children, so excited by technology reach for it as though it has long called them from the shire and it wields them great power.  Toilets need a foot pedal that is out of sight.  Only mom’s can know where it’s secret location is; write out the treasure map for it in your language of choice on the front door of the stall.  We mothers are very smart, we can figure it out.

To the reusable cloth towel hand dryer invented by hippies to save trees.  I will not even speak to you.  All I will say is that you are solely responsible for the H1N1 and every other vaccine needed on the face of this planet.  That, my enemy, rests upon your 1950’s useless invention shoulders.

Hand blower.  At first I am glad of you, at least I know my hands will come out dry in this situation, but you let me down as soon as I realize I am trapped.  In bacterium land.  I cannot be expected to open a door with MY OWN BARE HANDS.  That is what paper towels are for. This is why the open, plastic lined boring colored trash receptacle belongs NEXT TO THE DOOR. If you’re going to offer the hand blower (that tells me how many trees it’s saved each year, a fact I care little of while myself and my unsuspecting children are suffering from illness two days later), why not just offer some tree pieces at the door?  OR hire someone with gloves to open the doors for all persons leaving the restroom.  Easy enough.

Lastly I will speak to a new invention.  It is similar to the shopping cart restraint system that protects children from falling to injury while buying ones groceries.  I will call it “entertainment restroom system”.  Simply provide a large clean and sanitary seating area with seat restraints, flat screen protected televisions and fresh healthy snacks for children to keep them distracted from further restroom exploration while a mother is helping one of her many (see: mothers of multiples) small children in the bathroom stall.  Acceptable snacks might be gluten/free-peanut free crackers, fresh cut fruit and plain white bread for the picky eaters.  Preferable shows: Micky Mouse Clubhouse, Veggie Tales or Bob the Builder, nothing scary, do not give my children nightmares.

I see this as a simple solution to keeping children safe and healthy when encountering the public restroom, although expensive upfront, I believe in the long run it will prevent more illness and save us all valuable tax dollars.

Other questions for you as you consider my thoughtful suggestions:  Why this lighting scheme?

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Jail times

 What are you keeping out with your jail-like facade?  Not insects, clearly…

You’ve actually made amenities for insects to thrive, as we can see by the photos.

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spiders
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bugs
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I refer to these as bathroom insects, because I’ve never actually seen them out in real nature.

ALL insects belong OUT in nature, NOT in the restroom, where people occasionally remove their pants.  Ants in the pants should never be a REAL game.

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calling all rats!  calling all rats!

And why this rodent entrance?  Never mind, I will stop there.

In conclusion, dear public restroom.  I will not hate you always, just until my kids are grown enough to not go exploring in your exciting lavatory.  Thank you again for being present when in an emergency.  Please consider implementing some of my incredibly helpful suggestions.

Yours truly,

A mother of curious twin toddlers and a baby

As always, thanks so much for reading.

keeping it simple: da holidaze

I’m pretty sure 1 bajillion (totally a real number in my world) people have already written about this.  AND, they’ve probably even said it better.

But I’m going to share it anyway, because when I was listening to K-Love and Air1 a few months ago and had heard some of the same songs a few times in a day I thought, “Man Lord, why can’t there be even more uplifting/positive music on the radio?   And not the 80’s boring stuff? I want to hear more bands like Switchfoot and Toby Mac and Mandisa, Anberlin, 10th Ave North, and Brandon Heath singing good stuff.  But there’s just not currently enough to fill twenty radio stations all day long.  And that’s when God was like, “Remember when you told me you didn’t need to do a blog because fifty kajillion people already have blogs and write amazing stuff?  Well here you sit wanting more awesome and uplifting music, and you need to take your own advice and pen a blog even IF a zillion other people are already writing.”  He didn’t say it exactly like that, but you get the idea.

On that tangent – I’m taking my own advice and going even farther.  Talking on a subject that’s almost been talked to death.  But not quite, I hope.

It goes along with the main theme in my life this year of not being a crazy hot-dog stand lady. Meaning, keeping it simple.

It’s about keeping it simple at Christmas.

Here is what we are doing: only stuff that seems important in our world and is easy enough. As in, I didn’t strain my cornea trying to accomplish it.

I made a list of things things that made me feel loved, connected and secure at Christmas time, or things I really, really wanted to do at Christmas time, but my parents said no: see the Gingerbread house.  Here they are in order of my memory:

  • Make hot-coco and watch a Christmas movie (Elf in our case, and hopefully more)  ABC Family is running Christmas movies every day from Dec 1st to Dec 25th.  I’ve set my dvr to record the ones I think either my husband and I would like, or all of us.  So movies and chocolate.  Not spiritual.
  • Send a PHOTO (that part is crucial) Christmas card to family and friends.
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the surprise is ruined, now you’ve seen our Christmas card

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My endless over-the-top appreciation for photo Christmas/ New Years cards is paramount to my excitement for actual Christmas morning.  I LOVE them.  Therefore they are a priority in our house.  I want all our family and friends to know they are important to us, even if we just send them a card each year.  We actually budget for this each year, because photo cards and stamps can add up real quick.

This year the kids wanted to help, so they decorated half the cards on the back (mostly, Ellie also decorated the front (sorry mail-person!)) until they got bored.

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The perfectionist mom in my head tried to come out, thinking, “you colored half, finish the rest, everyone deserves some art”, but then I remembered, who the heck cares?  No one.  If you are family, you probably got a colored envelope, because those were on the top.  Congratulations!

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giving up on computers

All of our cards are all hand addressed because the word documents of saved addresses that I printed perfectly normal last year has confused me refused to work correctly and won’t print in the right spots.  So to spite the computer and it’s printer friend, I decided I didn’t need them! All cards are all hand addressed because it seemed easier then trying to figure out how to make labels print correctly… my version of keeping it simple.

And, they will be return addressed with the free return address labels they send in the mail, because it’s so easy… and tacky, but more easy then tacky.

  • Make gingerbread houses.  I don’t have a memory of making this sort of colossal, sneak-candy-when-mom’s-not-looking type of mess.  It looks like SO much fun to me.  I will let you know how it goes.  Mine are pre-fab from Costco for $9.95 each, because I wanted to keep things simple.  Thanks Costco!
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You had me at “pre-built”
  • Go look at Christmas lights, in our own neighborhood by walking with hot chocolate (notice a reoccurring theme? chocolate).  I know there are better neighborhoods, and we might go drive one if it seems easy, but why not just keep things simple and enjoy what our neighbors have to offer?  We will all be on foot (Ellie in her toy push car) and we can walk slowly in the comfort of our own non-crowded neighborhood. There’s a neighborhood not too far that is KNOWN for being incredible, it’s like five miles of amazing-ness, but to get there one has to park at the local store and walk for like 10 minuets through congested traffic.  Pass.
  • Talk about Jesus’ birthday.  My kids now understand birthdays.  They know who Jesus is.  This is the first year they’ve realized he has an actual birthday that we celebrate at Christmas.  So whenever they are in awe of anything Christmas tree, lights, sparkles, fun, hot chocolate, whatever – I say, “WOW!  Isn’t it cool that Jesus gets SO many birthday decorations/ways to celebrate for his birthday?  Everyone wants to celebrate his birthday!  So fun.”  Then I follow it up by explaining that we give and get presents on Jesus birthday (Christmas) to remind ourselves and others that Jesus is the best gift of all.

AND, we will make him an Apple-Cinnamon Toastie from Babycakes on his birthday.  We will eat it Christmas morning to celebrate. Even though every single time without fail, the middle turns out soggy and the whole thing looses it’s shape, it’s insanely delicious, regardless of it’s hideous appearance.

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This type of baking dish and I have had some disagreements.

photo 3 (1)So much so that the words banana bread and zucchini bread have been cast out of our home. I have NEVER successfully made either.  Not. Once.  But for you Apple-Cinnamon Toastie, I will try, forever.

  • Make some Christmas cookies.  I loved decorating cookies as a kid.  It’s just fun and delicious.
  • Veggie-Tales Christmas time:  Again with the movies.  This one is not actually a priority, it’s just another convenient way to teach the kids about Christmas.  We own three Veggie Tales Christmas themed movies.  Two are vhs that we inherited.  Yes, I have my kids watch vhs films on our 9 inch vhs tv player.  The latest one (dvd only) even has Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty, it’s called, Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas and it’s pretty funny for grown-ups too.  So, if it’s a tv moment (they’re have been quite a few lately due to kids being sick and listless) I put on a kid friendly reminder about what Christmas is really about.

In addition to those little diamonds, I will attempt to continue with life as normal.  This month we are eating from emeals, the vegetarian menu.  It’s simple and not vegan, but it’s as close as I’m going to get without going crazy.  Dinner on the table with the family is ONE of my sacred ideals and I don’t want to loose it to this busy season.  It’s just always been a priority, and I feel like it keeps our family connected.  So in between the parties, Christmas ideals, friends and family, I hope to still have a home cooked meal on the table 4 to 5 out of 7 nights a week. Davin and I usually go out a few times a month on a date!  AND there are super delicious Mexican, Thai, Sushi and Italian places that cook for us regularly (for a small fee of corse), so that will be the other 2-3 nights out of the week.

Also in this month to simplify things?  Canned soup.  Amy’s canned soup from? Costco.  In fact we’re having that for lunch.  So simple.  I also hope to maintain a fairly well kept house, and keep our clothes clean by washing them occasionally, and keep up with our kids dental and general hygiene, and having pretty painted nails… not TOO tall of an order.

That is it.  So far.

I downloaded, The Truth in Tinsel and prepped all the even craft days for it (I was coordinating with a dear friend).  But then I realized that completing a craft each day with my children, on a schedule would be as pleasant for me as breaking a glass Christmas ornament and scraping myself with it… to death.  I am not exaggerating.

Also, my kids are too little to understand most of what very deep things I try and share.  So even though it’s spiritual, even though it teaches, and is super intentional – we’re not doing it. Not this year anyway.

I also LOVE wrapping gifts (grown-up ones, because grown-ups appreciate good wrapping) so that will be something I put some effort into.

Now that it’s all in print.  That’s actually a LOT to try and accomplish, so if something gets missed.  Oh stinkin’ well.  We’ve already watched part of Elf and drizzank some hot chocolate, CHECK!

Enjoy your semi-simple holiday season.  And don’t stress out if your 3 year old kids get the light of Jesus mixed up with the candle in Beauty in the Beast… in the end, it will all come together if you just keep praying for your little ones;-)  I think they can know the love of Jesus in hot chocolate and movies too:-)

As always, thank you so much for reading.