holidaysjust for fun

25 Questions: Christmas Style



I’m pretty sure I’ve done this before but what the heck! Its fun and now that Abby is a little older, I’m sure my answers have changed!


25 Questions: Holiday Style


1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?  Hot chocolate most definitely!


2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?  Everything gets wrapped! I love wrapping! Also everyone gets their own special wrapping paper! Abby picked out Toy Story this year!


3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  Colored lights on the tree in the living room. White lights on the playroom tree!


4. Do you hang mistletoe?  Actually never really thought about it! Need to add that to the list next year!


5. When do you hang your decorations up?  Thanksgiving weekend!


6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?  Turkey! YUM! I miss eating leftover turkey sandwiches the next day! Its just not the same on gluten-free bread!


7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? I shared a room with my sister and my brother’s bedroom was right next to ours. On Christmas morning, we would all huddle in our room excitedly waiting to get the OK to run into the living room! We would pile up in one of our beds and giggle and try to guess what would be waiting under the tree!


8. What is on your Christmas wish list?  I asked for a new lens for my camera! Also – some cute clothes would be great too! 🙂


9. Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?  Just new pajamas!


10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?  Our ornaments are a hodge-podge of handmade ornaments made by Abby (which are my favorites!), ornaments from trips we have taken or special events that have taken place (marriage, baby, etc), and traditional ornaments (like glass balls, candy canes, etc)


11. Snow? Love it or dread it?  Love it! If its going to be cold, let is snow! I loved having a white Christmas last year! Too bad it looks like that won’t happen this year :*(


12. Real tree or fake tree?  Fake all the way! Too many allergies to have a real one!


13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  Such a hard decision! As a child, I remember getting my first Cabbage Patch doll named Fruce (the name on his certificate was Bruce but I had speech issues so I called him Fruce). He went everywhere with me! So thankful that my mom saved him and now Abby is able to play with him too!


14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?  The birth of Jesus and knowing the best gift we could ever receive is salvation that we are given through grace and the blood of Christ.


15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?  Peanut Butter Balls! YUM!


16. What is your favorite tradition?  We have always, always had Mexican for dinner on Christmas Eve. Honestly, we have no idea how it started but its a tradition we all love! A couple years ago, Dad actually made a traditional dinner (ham, etc) and the three of us siblings boycotted! Now our family is carrying on the tradition!


17. What tops your tree?  A star! We really need to get a lit star for next year. It looks weird when the tree is lit.


18. Do you prefer giving or receiving?  Giving definitely!


19. What is your favorite Christmas song?  Serious song: O Holy Night. Fun Contender: Christmas Tonight by Dave Barnes & Hillary Scott (if you are looking for a new Christmas album to listen to – definitely check out Dave Barnes!)


20. Candy canes, yuck or yum?  Yum for a few minutes. Then I get tired of them!


21. Favorite Christmas movie?  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! We watch it every year while we decorate the tree! I also love Charlie Brown’s Christmas!


22. What do you leave for Santa?  Homemade cookies and milk!


23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?  Not yet but Abby’s pretty young. I’m sure once she gets a little older we’ll have one!


24. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?  Both! I love the ease of shopping online but some things you’ve just got to pick out in the store.


25. Christmas letter or Christmas card?  Photo card! We live out of state from almost all our family so a photo card is a nice way to feel connected and allow family to see Abby growing up!



Let me know if you decide to do a post of your own answers to these questions! Would love to read them!
chronic illnessfaith

Too Tired to Fight

My heart is broken into a thousand pieces as I write this. I am a part of an endometriosis support group on Facebook where 2000 ladies can come find support, encouragement, and support. Today we gathered together in prayer for one of our sisters who decided she couldn’t live with the pain anymore and attempted to take her own life. She survived but is not in a coma with the prognosis unknown. While I may not have ever met this sister in real life or not even know her name, I know her as we have traveled the same road that binds us together as endo sisters.

 

I grieve for her life as at her young age, she left like it would be better to end her life than to continue to live with the pain. I grieve for her family who are holding her hand praying that she wakes up and wondering what they could have done to prevent this from happening. I grieve for our group of sisters that come from all different parts of the world and from all walks of life to become a family and feel the pain of loss knowing how easy it can be to find yourself in that place where you question whether or not is worth it to press on.

 

What most people don’t realize is that chronic illness is not just a physical challenge. Illness affects all areas of your life from physical to emotional to social to spiritual and if you’ve never faced it you may not know how exhausting it can be to continue fighting.

 

The physical pain can be bad enough on its own and if you couple that with medications that are heavy on the side effects, hit-and-miss treatments, and hearing “there’s nothing we can do” one too many times, it can be hard not to give up the fight.

 

I think the general public may not see the emotional side of an chronic illness the same way they would for a person facing a terminal illness like cancer. Guilt is just one of the emotions that can be tied with illness. You feel guilty for not being the wife/mother (husband/father) that you think your family deserves or that your family would have if you were not sick. You feel guilty that you are not contributing financially the way that you would if you were not sick (or your being sick is a drain on finances). You may be made to feel ashamed of your illness. Maybe you’ve got a family member who doesn’t believe endometriosis is a “real” disease and therefore its all in your head or you are exaggerating the pain. You may be angry or overwhelmed or depressed when you think about your life with chronic illness. The emotional fatigue can be very overwhelming and sometimes might be harder to face than the physical fatigue.

 

Spiritual fatigue also plays a role in your overall health as someone with a chronic illness. You may question where is God in all this. Did God cause you to be sick or was it something you did? Why does these illnesses exist in the first place as they cause so much pain and destruction? I think facing a chronic illness (like many other things in life) can cause a make-or-break time when it come to faith. You can either come to a point where you lean on God’s grace and, even though you may not understand it, you choose to keep on fighting with faith that God will see you through it. Or you can choose to turn away. This spiritual wrestling match can only add to the emotional and physical battles you are already fighting.

 

I mention this not to create a gloomy mood for the holidays but to share a real perspective on the side of chronic illness that is not often discussed. In my eight years with chronic illness, I have gotten to the point where I’ve questioned if the best thing to do was to give up. The pain was too much. There was no promise of relief. I felt like a burden to my family. I didn’t know what else to do. Thankfully through many of my pastoral care classes I learned to become pretty self-aware of these feelings and with the support of my husband and my doctor, I went to counseling. The last two weeks have been very difficult as once I again I feel like we’re in a place with no options and no relief and once again began asking myself the same questions so I requested a referral to see my counselor again last week with the support of my  husband and doctor who helped encourage me to take that step.

 

Maybe you need to be the person in someone’s life to help make that step. Maybe it is your listening ear or words of support and encouragement that help someone see that life is worth living and the battle is worth fighting. Maybe it is you that becomes an advocate for your loved one when he or she is too tired to fight.

 

So if you have a moment, I would ask you to say a prayer for this endo sister and her family. I would also ask you to pray for your friends and loved ones who may be fighting chronic pain and/or chronic illness as the battle is long and hard. I know that the support and encouragement I receive from you, my readers, means so much to me and helps me keep on fighting the fight!

chronic illnessfaith

Beauty for Ashes

I just had to share this song by Shane and Shane called “Beauty for Ashes” with you as it has been on replay all week at my desk as it has truly spoken to my heart. It speaks of how God can take any situation and make it something beautiful. Because of His undying love and His unending mercy we have the opportunity to exchange our ashes for something beautiful.

Lyrics by Shane & Shane:

Beauty for ashes
A garment of praise for my heaviness
Beauty for ashes take this heart of stone
and make it Yours

Chorus
I delight myself in the riches affair
trading all that I have
for all that is better
a garment of praise for my heaviness
You are the greatest taste
Your the riches of faith

Beauty for ashes
A garment of praise for my heaviness
Beauty for ashes
take this heart of stone and make Yours
make it Yours

Bridge
You are better
So much better than all the world
Lord, You are better
You taste better
So much better
Yeah

based on Psalm 63 and Isaiah 61