Slowly getting in the spirit…

I thought the cartoon above was cute. It’s sad, but this is the attitude many of us take with the holidays. However, my negative outlook on the season is just as harmful as forgetting why we celebrate Christmas. In fact, it may be worse, because there’s nothing worse than being around a sourpuss during the holidays.

Did you notice the new look of my page? It’s festive! It makes me want to sing a Christmas carol. This was step one toward trying to get in the mood, if you know what I mean.

Step 2: Yesterday I took my kids shopping. They had asked if they could buy a gift for each other. So we gave them a modest $10 budget to spend on each other, and they were told to get creative. We broke up into teams. Maddie and I shopped for Noah, and Chris and Noah shopped for Maddie. It was a lot of fun watching the kids get excited about surprising each other. In fact I caught myself singing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” while scouring the mall. Uh-oh…

Step 3: Today I stopped by WalMart on my way home to pick up some yarn, ribbon, and jingle bells so that I could begin wrapping presents. I came home and wrapped a few presents, and I was beginning to have…. GASP… fun! There, I said it. But then Chris and I began disagreeing on how holiday festivities should go down, so now I’m back in my sourpuss mood. We are having a really hard time coming together this year on how the holiday festivities should roll out. It’s like we’re picking a color for our bedroom walls all over again. Only this time it’s quarreling over what kind of food we should serve at Christmas. Here is a picture of how things looked at our house tonight:

Not really. It’d probably be more realistic if the above couple were pointing hairdryers at one another. But, hey, we’ll get work it out. We always find a way to compromise.

I am not a negative person normally. Cynical at times, but not negative. I don’t know what happens to me this time of year. I think it’s all the stress. Finals and grades are due, students are rambunctious, gifts still need to be bought, but work days are long. This is also the year Maddie and Noah spend Christmas with their dad. I thought I’d be use to this by now, but I’m not. I just want some type of steady tradition. But as Chris pointed out, our family is too big for steadies this time of year. He keeps telling me to be more flexible and less bullheaded, but that is so hard for me to do. The more stressed I get, the deeper I want to dig my heels in.

Tonight, I am going to go downstairs and clean up the remnants of my wrapping fiasco. I am going to come back upstairs, take a nice, long, hot bath, and then I am going to climb in bed and get a head start on this week’s homework. When I wake up tomorrow, I will give this whole holiday cheerfulness thing another go. Don’t worry, I’ll end up smiling before the month is over:).

Published in: on December 16, 2008 at 6:06 am  Comments (1)  

Happy Holidays! So why not me?

A couple of years ago I wrote about how the holidays depress me.

Well, this year this still seems to be the case. Last year I did much better, but I have relapsed. I am having such a hard time getting into the “holiday spirit”. What brings joy and laughter to most, brings tears and sorrow to me. My list of reasons is long, but I am trying hard not to turn into a woman version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Perhaps I should pull out my copy of Charlie Brown’s Christmas and sit down with a box of tissues. For some reason, lil’ Linus always has a way of helping me remember what the season is supposed to be about. Do you struggle with the holiday blues? If so, how do you deal with them? Have you found any traditions that help you get over the hump? I need suggestions people, or my family is going to vote me out of the house. I don’t want my foul mood to spoil everyone else’s holiday.

Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 6:06 am  Comments (1)  

The Art of Marriage: an unread but saved poem…

Things have been very difficult for my family lately. No, Chris and I are not having marriage problems, but we have had our share of trials in the last few months. I really wish I could write about them, but they are so personal, and I cannot be certain that I am at liberty to even discuss them. I can say this: though the trials have become harder to bear, I am blessed in so many ways. I have the most wonderful children. By raising them I am beginning to understand how God is able to love us unconditionally. I have such a wonderful mate. If Chris were not a part of my life right now, I don’t know what I would do. He has held me in his arms more than once this past week and allowed me to just cry on him. He is my best friend. I have a job that I love and that I’m good at. I have extended family and friends who love me. I  found an awesome church last spring that I’ve been so happy attending. These are all wonderful gifts, and I cannot begin to express my gratitude.

I was cleaning up some computer files and stumbled upon a poem I had contemplated having someone read during our wedding ceremony. But out of respect for Chris, I decided not to. (He is not as “chicken soup” as me, hates wordy, mushy poems, and we were already marching back up the aisle to “Frog Went a’ Courting” because my nickname growing up was Miss Mousie, and my father and grandfather would sing this song to me while they played the guitar and fiddle. I also had tiny ballerina mice and frog prince charms tied around centerpieces as if the marching song wasn’t enough. Need I say more?).

So, as I was opening documents and reading them to determine whether they should be deleted or not, I found this poem, and I couldn’t help but get a little teary eyed. I do not know a lot about Wilferd Peterson, but he definitely seemed to know what a real marriage is all about. And in case you don’t know, dear reader, what the art of marriage is, I encourage you to keep reading on. (I got the idea of addressing you, the reader, from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. If you haven’t read it, it is an awesome book that I was able to read aloud and bond with my son. Another thing I’m grateful for!)

The Art of Marriage

Wilferd A. Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.

A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things…

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude
of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humour.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 4:18 am  Comments (2)