Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Preparing My Heart and My Head!

The holiday season is near and I need to get my heart and my head in the right place! I have spent too many holidays filled with stress instead of filled with the spirit. 

There are years that it has been joyful and filled with praise but more often, that is not the case. 

I think, I try to hard too do "everything" instead of being peaceful and prayerful. I want so much for it to be perfect for everyone and I set my standards too high. I have my list of what we "have to do" and one by one I cross them off as we do them. The kids have fun but it can be too much for the Momma! Sometimes I forget to "simply" enjoy this blessed time. 

This year I am going to start praying about it now. Start preparing my heart and my head. Lower my expectations, pray to have the holy spirit in my heart and be filled with peace. No more stressing out! No more feeling like I am falling short in one area or another. I want the focus to be where it should be- on Jesus!

Could you tell me something that you do that brings you and your family the joy of Jesus during the holidays! It would be wonderful if some of your ideas and thoughts would fit into our homeschool!!

This is a wonderful time in our lives to make a few changes! Changes that could positively impact all our kids and especially our new daughters! Maybe then they won't make the same mistakes their Momma has made.

Hubby and I say to our children take what you like from our family and use it in your family.  Discard what you don't like, don't let bad habits and bad choices go on from generation to generation. Make life better!

It's time to put CHRIST back into Christmas!

Thank You Jesus!! 


TanyaLea said...

Oh Jean, no one is going to be upset with you for not loving the holiday season. My mom was just like you. She still battles with it a bit. Part of it for her was having growing up in a religion (JW) where they did not celebrate Christmas or any holiday. Though she has not been a JW for over 3+ decades, she still struggles with the holidays and the 'joys' of the season. I think that the over-commercialization and financial burdens that often come with the holidays, take away from the joy of the season, too. It's unfortunate that it is all done up that way. But it's good to 'get it all out there' and leave it at His feet, while allowing us to lift you up in prayer, too. To turn this into a time of joy and great memories and fun family tradiotions, rather than a burdensom time that you dread. I love what you and your hubby have said to your children about taking what they like into their future and their families, and leaving behind what they don't. I need to make that my motto, too! You are one great momma, Jean!!

Blessings and Hugs,
~ Tanya

Sue said...

Maybe do it where you agree as a family to only exchange one present or something. I know with my family (the siblings and their kids) we can only spend no more then 20 dollars and that is it. It helps a lot for us. You will do awesome....

Sophie said...


Your not the only one that feels this way. I hate to admit it myself by I too feel a sense of dread during the holidays. It seems like there's always so much to do that by the time it's all said and done I'm completely wiped out. Every year I have Thanksgiving, Easter, and either Christmas Eve or Christmas day at my house with anywhere from 20-30 relatives. A couple of years ago I had gotten sick the day after Christmas, which is my birthday, and stayed sick for 3 weeks!

So hang in there sister, you're not alone!

Jo's Corner said...

Hi Jeanne ~ Since my nieces and nephews were toddlers, we have baked a cake for Jesus' Birthday. They help me make it on Christmas Eve and then we Celebrate His Birth on Christmas Day. It always seemed to become "real" in their little minds, that Jesus was born in a manger. After Christmas was well over and the tree was ready to take down, we set it in the snow and put cookies and seed for the birds to eat. That is always fun to watch. And, finally as Easter approaches (Lent) we saw all of the branches off and cut the tree in half. we then tie a smaller part across the longer part of the trunk and make a Cross. That sits in a special place in the home until Easter Sunday. Lots of Love for that Tree and how it represents the Life and Death and Resurrection of Our Lord! Something to think about.
Love to the Girls ~ Jo

From the Erben Gang..... said...

We do a bday cake for Jesus too. It does make it come alive for them-they understand bdays!

Donna said...

Hi Jean
Since our family is made up of ages and number of children similar to yours, I totally understand what you're saying! I got tired of feeling "depressed" on Christmas day - among the gift giving and our traditions of the day. I simplified the gifts to begin with. My older kids don't want a lot of stuff (and there are so many of us giving, that the amount of gifts becomes ridiculous!) I have a teen who DOES want a lot of stuff still! And my little kids are happy with so much less than I can imagine. So I try to work on primarily one meaningful thing for each. I also now do a lot of online shopping at night - that has made a HUGE difference in my running around and hecticness.
Here are some other ideas I would like to incorporate myself! Taking one little kid shopping at a time. Spaced out between now and Christmas. It gives a chance to really talk about WHY you're giving - the purpose of it all. And it is one on one time. I hate trying to shop with a bunch at one time and I'm frustrated and it turns out not to be fun and meaningful for them. They want to come home and have me help them wrap - and I've had enough! It feels so out of control and wild!
I would like to make it an event - lunch out, hot chocolate or cider, just enjoying the atmosphere of the holidays with them - without a smaller one crying and wanting my attention.

Also, there are so many activities available to do during this season. I would like to make a list of things we normally do or would like to do and then determine the number of activities that are realistic, fun, and meaningful. Then maybe sit down with my family and go around and have everyone pick their favorites until we get to the limited number. That way, it isn't MY list of expectations. I would include things like cookie making, singing, movie nights, light-seeing in the car with pjs and hot chocolate, baking gifts for others, visiting elderly, making or buying a needed gift for some of the older people in nursing homes like blankets and slippers, a night where we read a Bible story and pray together in front of a fire, have a party but instead of favors and gifts for everyone attending make gift bags to give to a women/children shelter...) A good mixture of seasonal fun and service and worship. I LOVE my cozy home during this season, but when we get too busy and I'm always tired and preparing for the next "event", it just isn't fun and meaningful to me.

With older kids and a husband, it is also great to "delegate"! My husband is the one who builds gingerbread houses (from a kit!) with the kids. He also makes a candy train every year. They gather around the table and with piles of candy, gum, and a glue gun - come up with a car for each kid. They love it! It sits on a mantle or shelf somewhere until Christmas Day. You could go a step further and "name" each car a Christian attribute. Reminding ourselves not to be selfish and caught up in the rush of the season - but remembering to practice our love, hope, faith,peace, contentment, thankfulness...
With our older kids, sleepovers are great since the little kids LOVE to go over there! They are also good to take the little kids to some small local event or to buy parent gifts, or whatever is needed. Even though I hate to miss out on things like cookie-making, sometimes its nice for them to get to do that with their older sisters - and have that bonding time.

Sorry that was so long - just rambling about my thoughts!

It was good for me to think about this so early myself.


Mama Fish said...

Jean- I have to jump in here too. Here are a few areas that help me. I try to cook a few meals ahead of time and freeze them. Pasta is a dish we all like and it is easy in the days before Christmas with family and friends. So, I freeze homemade meatballs and then whip up some pasta for company with a salad. lasgna freezes well too. Use your crockpot for certain things. I freeze cookies too and they are great for Christmas! Another thing we do is my husband likes a ham for Christmas, and we just buy one at Honey Baked Ham. It takes so much stress off of me.
I'm going to piggy back this post because the holidays are starting up so quickly after we get back with our youngest son!

David and Janet Hurley said...

Have you checked out the Jesse tree devotionals for your girls?
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Sammy said...

We do a Jesus birthday cake. We also always go to the church service on Christmas Eve. I've finally started mainly having one present that the child REALLY wants and cut down on buying so much. It is just toooo much and also collects too much junk in the house. We send cute candy canes with the candy cane Jesus story on it to our public schools. We've had teachers say you can't, but guess what? Legally we can and do! We also make Gingerbread men together. : - )


Susan said...

I've read your blog for quite some time and I really enjoy your family. Congratulations on expanding your family. My hubby and I adopted our little girl 11/22/09;she was 11mo, now she's almost 2yo. She's from the Jiangxi province. We also have a 26yods, 22yodd, 19yods, and a 17yods. Anyway, what I've found to help me with Christmas (plus life in general) is FLYLADY. The website is I think you'll enjoy it. Susan

Hunan Mommy said...

Long time reader, and I have never commented. You are included in my might nightly wind down time:-) We have a set of grandparents giving to our children, however the adults are not giving to one another. We will adopt a family in the area instead and give who is struggling a Christmas. This cuts down on my stress of finding the right gift, and it gives me more time to actually enjoy the process of buying things for the family we are helping and for my family.