Showing posts with label With Grit And Grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label With Grit And Grace. Show all posts

3 Ways I'm Preparing For Christmas Before Thanksgiving



Last year in December I literally broke down crying, wishing Christmas would just be over already.

I don't think I've ever been such a "scrooge" in my life, but I was behind on all things Christmas, and all of our weekends and evenings were booked solid so I had no time to catch up.  On top of that I had a new baby and a touch of postpartum depression, and I just wanted life to feel normal for one day (which is pretty much impossible in December, at least around here).  The whole thing left me trudging through the holiday festivities with little to no Christmas spirit.

Most years aren't quite that bad, but over the last few years I have realized that Christmas can be downright stressful and un-fun for adults - in particular for moms.  At least in our family, almost all Christmas prep falls to me, and if I don't get on top of it the whole holiday feels like a chore to cross off my list instead of the sweet celebration of Christ's birth that it's meant to be.  

That's just sad.

So this year, I have been determined to get ahead of the Christmas to-do's well in advance so that when December rolls around I can hopefully just sit back and enjoy it all - and maybe have enough room to breath and reflect on the why of the celebration in the first place, which is the gift of our Savior!

Some things, like baking, obviously have to wait until December, but I have three things I would like to have accomplished before Thanksgiving this year.

1. Buy and wrap all Christmas gifts.  

There is a part of me that wants to save some wrapping for the actual Christmas season, but I am reminding myself that there are a lot of other Christmas activities that I never seem to have time for.  Things like making a gingerbread house with the kids, making hand-made ornaments to give to grandparents, or sitting down for a bunch of read-aloud Christmas books.  Do I really need to save shopping and wrapping for December to get into the Christmas spirit?  I think not.

2. Get Christmas cards ready to mail.  

I already have our Christmas card picture, and I am just waiting for VistaPrint's 50% Christmas card sale to pull the trigger on printing.  The goal is to get the cards ordered and addressed and stamped before Thanksgiving so I can just drop them in the mailbox on Black Friday and (hopefully) wait for the obligatory reciprocal Christmas card mail to roll in. (Hint: PLEASE SEND ME CHRISTMAS CARDS! They really make my day.)

3. Iron out any kinks in our Christmas budget.  

One of the major stress factors for me at Christmas time is the fear of going over budget, and I am determined not to let that happen this year.  I came up with a preliminary Christmas budget already, and since I have already started shopping I know there are a few little budget kinks to iron out.  As I get the rest of my shopping done I want to adjust the budget as necessary, think through our obligations, and set aside the money I will need for extra Christmas expenses.  My hope is that at the end of all this planning, December will feel like any other month financially.

A perk of all this early Christmas planning is that it is actually giving me a little early dose of the Christmas merriment that I was so desperately missing last year.  It's hard to feel the joy of the season when you are stressed with a load of obligations, and taking some of those away by getting a good head start has made me start to look forward to Christmas earlier than I usually do.  When the season gets here I'll have less stress and really be able to enjoy the goodwill and peace of the Christmas season, celebrating Christ's birth!  

My only question now is why did I not start planning Christmas in October years ago?

Do you start Christmas early, or are you a procrastinator?  What is your Christmas strategy?

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Time for With Grit & Grace!  Link up with YOUR goals for November below!



Welcome to With Grit & Grace  – a monthly goal link-up focused on supporting each other as we work towards our goals! Please join us on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 a.m. EST to share your goals and progress for the week, month, or year. We are all about building a positive community; please remember to read, comment, and share the posts of others – and let them know you found them at With Grit & Grace!
Just a reminder…

  • All forms of goal posts are welcome. They can be for a specific area in your life, or your general goals for the day, week, month, or year. We love to hear updates on your progress, too.
  • Make sure to use the URL specific to your post and not your blog’s home page.
  • Link back to With Grit & Grace with our button or link in your post or party page.
  • Comment on the post prior to yours in the link-up. Support others through comments and shares – don’t forget to tell them you found them at With Grit & Grace.
  • By linking up, you give us permission to feature an image on our blog and social media. Proper credit and links will be given.
  • Join in on social media with: #withgritandgrace.
  • We want to support you! Please follow your hosts in some way.
    -Keri at Living In This Season
    -Emily at Morning Motivated Mom
    -Christina at Waltzing In Beauty
    -Callie (me!) at Through Clouded Glass

Three Questions I Ask Before Choosing A Bible Study (Grit + Grace)



I have been struggling a bit in my devotion time this year.

Last year I used a reading plan to read through the Bible in one year - and it was great!  I really enjoyed getting the big picture of the whole Bible, especially because I read in order of historical chronology.

But I didn't really want to do that again this year.  Mainly because I can't ever seem to manage to get up more than five minutes before my kids, which leads to me rushing through my Bible reading, especially when I have multiple chapters to read.  This year I wanted to slow down and really study each chapter that I was reading, just for a change of pace.

The problem with not having a plan is that...well, you don't have a plan.

How Playing With Your Kids Helps You (With Girt & Grace)



Do you play with your kids?

We recently had a speaker at our MOPS group that talked about the power of playing with our children (Cara Jakab, an author of "The Power Of A Playing Parent"*).  I don't know what I was expecting from her message, maybe just a "play-with-your-kids-all-the-time-so-you'll-have-a-super-close-relationship" theme.  That is great in theory, but not really practical.  I don't believe it's even healthy to keep your kids so constantly entertained that they are not able to entertain themselves.  So I went in not really sure if I was going to get much out of it, other than a nice dose of guilt that I don't play with my kids more often (I'm being honest here).

All About Our Home Renovation (With Grit & Grace)




Last year at this time my husband and I were dead-set on moving.

He had just started a new job a few months before, and was also working on his master's degree.  We were thinking that it wold be nice to be a little closer to his work so that he could make it home earlier in the evening, and honestly, I was just ready for a change.  We have been in this house since we got married, and it just felt like it wasn't an ideal fit for our family anymore.  My wishlist was for a house closer to work, closer to our church, and that had a little more space for our family.

When Your Marriage Needs A Little TLC (With Grit & Grace)




(One of my favorite pictures ever of Derek and me, taken at our maternity session with Clarice.  Derek thought the pose was awkward, so he stuck his nose into my cheek and sniffed, which made me crack up laughing.  We are that couple.  Also, you see where Clarice gets her nose-scrunching.)

Last week I admitted that I watch the Bachelor, and I told you the main reason why.  Do you want to know one of the secondary reasons? All that ooshy-gooshy stuff reminds me of the days when Derek and I were the ones with the shining eyes that go along with young love.

Three Goal-Filtering Questions (With Grit & Grace Linkup)


Do any of you use a filter for your goals?  

In recent years, I have become a bit too ambitious with my goals.  I have all these big plans and before you know it I have set so many goals that I barely have time to breathe, I get overwhelmed, and I end up becoming stress-paralyzed (it really is a thing)!  

For me, I have found that it is better to focus on one or two goals at a time, instead of creating a big list of goals that will paralyze me into not even accomplishing the easy things.  Because when I get stress-paralyzed, my default is plopping on the couch with whipped-creamed coffee and Netflix and binge-watch the afternoon away while that kids nap and/or play (surely I can’t be the only one?).

If I were to create an expansive list of goals with four young kids at home I would be setting myself up for failure!  At this life stage there are a few questions I need to ask before setting goals, to filter out the ones that are stress-paralyzers.

Is this going to add too much pressure to my life?  
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Some pressure can be good, but I tend to put too much pressure on myself to meet expectations (real or imagined) of other people, and adding my own expectations to the list doesn’t help matters.  If a goal is too big, or if it’s going to add too much stress, I need to at the very least cut it down into manageable chunks. 

Is this goal going to take away time from my family?  

I am smack-dab in the middle of the formative years with my kids, and I have to fight the urge to make myself too busy.  If a project or goal is going to take time away from my kids, I need to carefully consider it before committing.  I want to protect that extra time to read a book to my kids or take a spontaneous trip to the park without being stressed out about my to-do list.

Is this goal complicating or simplifying?  

My word for 2015 was “simplify”, and this is something that I want to continue to work on in 2016.  In this season of my life I am realizing that margin is really important.  I want to have that space to not only be there for my family, but just to rest.  When I don’t have rest, it is not good for my mental state, and it also damages my relationship with the Lord because my quiet time is typically the first thing I drop (sad, but true).  That is not okay, so protecting and working toward that margin is important in my goals.


Because I am trying to be really careful and intentional with my goals this year, I was excited about the opportunity to co-host a goals linkup with some of my blog friends!  How does this linkup fit in with the filtering questions I listed above?  I think spending a little time reflecting at the start of each month will naturally help me be more careful with my goals, evaluate the pressures from myself and others, and figure out what things need to improve and what things need to take a backseat so that I can leave room for that margin.


So what is my one and only goal for February?

I want to develop an intentional daily routine.

I’m not going to lie, some days it’s all I can do around here to keep this house from descending into utter chaos!  Part of that is just life with four kids under five years old (only for another week - my baby is about to turn five!).  But part of the chaos is due to the fact that every day looks entirely different.  Some days we sleep in, and some days I’m up at 5:00 AM.  Some days the kids get a nap, and some days they don’t.  Some times we manage a craft project, and some days we watch TV all day (I’m being brutally honest now).  

I think our lives will be a lot more orderly and productive if I can develop a routine.  Notice I did not say a schedule.  If I try to keep a strict schedule, not only will I fail, but I will totally stress myself out (a violation of the first goal filter listed above).  By "routine", I mean that I want to have an order of things we will do each day, and stick to it. as much as possible  The times may be different, and we may have to rearrange a few things sometimes, but a little structure would be good for all of us.  This is what I am thinking our routine will include:

-Getting up to do my devotions before the kids come looking for me in the morning.  (If I don’t do devotions in the morning, I’ve found it doesn’t get done - and time with the Lord is too important to be as sporadic as I have let it become.)

-School work and/or craft each day before lunch.  (This will be good practice for consistency since Wyatt will start kindergarten at home next fall.)

-Nap/quiet time for the kids in afternoon, during which I will take time to write at least twice a week. (I need to force myself to get a little writing time in so I don’t stress and squeeze out my margin when I have a deadline looming!)

-Start dinner as soon as the kids get up from their naps. (As opposed to five minutes before or after Derek walks through the door.)

I am hoping by the time we do another With Grit and Grace linkup, I will be able to report a typical “day in the life” to you, because there will actually be a typical day!

What kind of “filter questions” do you use for your goals?  Do you have a consistent daily routine?






And finally, whip up your own February goal(s) in the next week or two and link them up below, Friends!  I’d love to read about what you want to work on! 

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Welcome to With Grit & Grace  – a monthly goal link-up focused on supporting each other as we work towards our goals! Please join us on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 a.m. EST to share your goals and progress for the week, month, or year. We are all about building a positive community; please remember to read, comment, and share the posts of others – and let them know you found them at With Grit & Grace!
Just a reminder…
  • All forms of goal posts are welcome. They can be for a specific area in your life, or your general goals for the day, week, month, or year. We love to hear updates on your progress, too.
  • Make sure to use the URL specific to your post and not your blog’s home page.
  • Link back to With Grit & Grace with our button or link in your post or party page.
  • Comment on the post prior to yours in the link-up. Support others through comments and shares – don’t forget to tell them you found them at With Grit & Grace.
  • By linking up, you give us permission to feature an image on our blog and social media. Proper credit and links will be given.
  • Join in on social media with: #withgritandgrace.
  • We want to support you! Please follow your hosts in some way.




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