The Ghost of Christmas Past

It happened. AGAIN. The Ghost of Christmas Past came back to haunt me. AGAIN. Stress… turned into Sickness… turned into Frustration… turned into Anger… turned into Despair. They were all present, wrapped up in the middle of my living room on Christmas day… Uninvited, by the way. But they were settled in my heart, locked in to my thoughts and exposed in my actions. Sure. I told myself — (hashtag) ###ChooseJOY. Yea, right. It doesn’t work like that. I’d had the wind knocked out of me and #Joy was nowhere to be found… or chosen. I was so pissed. Another holiday ruined. The Ghost of Christmas past haunting me again. I could not #wish for my holidays to be merry and bright, more than I could hope for santas’ fat ass to come down our chimney. I try and ###ChooseJOY every year. And every year seems like something f*cks it all up. Sorry. Not sorry. These were my real. raw. transparent. truthful feelings. #Exposed.

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Thankfully, Christmas morning was lovely. Coffee and waffles, warmth and cuddles. Although I blew my nose most of the way thru the kids opening their gifts, it was wonderful. I took a few pictures, capturing moments of #happiness. We skyped with family far away, blowing kisses at the screen and sharing digital hugs. As we cleaned up from ‘Christmas’, and the mountains of kleenex I had made, the walls began to close in again and I had a feeling the Ghost of Christmas past might make a visit. #Seriously, can I make it thru one Christmas without some kind of a meltdown?! Yet that is exactly what I needed. An honest with God, good old fashion meltdown. The Ghost of Christmas past drove me to my knees and to prayer. I was at my own end and in the most vulnerable place I could be. #blessed. That last hashtag was #sarcasm. sorry, couldn’t help myself. #Truth.

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#Seriously. Enough with the hashtags. On with the story. After dinner, I unraveled. I went into my room… and bawled like a baby. I wept thru my emotions and laid my feelings out before Him. God spoke gently to my soul. There was no guilt or shame for my ridiculous actions. No ‘I-told-you-so’, ‘get over yo-sorry-self’ or judgement of my reasons for unravelling. He is a good good Father, full of kindness, mercy and patience for His daughter.

He whispered one word. Grace. 

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In a moment with tears spilled out, with honesty of heart, with one word, He spoke Grace over me. Grace over my feelings, Grace over my thoughts, Grace over my actions. Grace over my family. Grace over our Christmas.

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The Ghost was gone because Grace took its place. Our Christmas was redeemed. We enjoyed the rest of the evening and a renewing hike the next day. We can honestly say we had a MERRY CHRISTMAS. Gifts are being enjoyed, memories are being treasured, and the kids are loving fighting over their new bean bag chairs.

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Before the brawl broke out…

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Selah enjoying popping bubbles, mostly

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Thanks for reading friends 🙂 I know I’m not the only one who has been visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past. So fess up and feel free to share your stories. If you need Grace, there is an overflow awaiting you… God is always giving His gifts, even after the holidays 🙂 The end, for now… I’d love to hear from you!

In Him, Leslie

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Eat. Your. Lettuce… and Kale.

January is rolling on by and we are already well into the New Year. Workout goals, clean eating. organic options, gluten-free and less carbs are on the minds and mouths of people everywhere. We have always included vegetables in our meals. This year, we stepped it up a notch and we are having more Kale… and brussel sprouts…  everyday. I know, we are livin’ on the edge. We’re so radical.

Kale has been a part of our lives for a while. It’s not a New Years fad.  We’ve had smoothies, We’ve had a kale Christmas tree, Adam has a kale tee-shirt. But hold your horses — we’re not ready to give up sugar… yet.

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We have one family rule for mealtime: Eat your vegetables  > > >  then you may have a cookie… an “organic” ‘Joe Joe’ from Trader Joes (the healthiest kind! 🙂 Our kids eat salad everyday, usually twice a day. They’re so used to it, they ask ‘where’s the salad?’ on the rare occasions we have a meal without salad.

Mealtime isn’t a torture scene of threatening and bribery. We still eat sugar, for heaven’s sake. Other than requiring our kids to eat their vegetables, they still act like buffoons at the dinner table most of the time…

/// case in point ///

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And our table time is also filled with songs about burping and farting and stories about butt holes. This is still our 5 year olds favorite word. I’m not sure this will ever change.

/// in case you need another example… ///

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They don’t act like fools with their food all the time. We also hear about their day at dinner time, sharing their ‘Highlights’ from the day… usually it goes something like this, “My highlight was the whole entire day — expect the parts where I got mad.”

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The kids always want to help cook. Our favorite show is Master Chef Junior, and they are gleaning much inspiration watching kids their ages tear it up in the kitchen. They love to be involved with mealtime. Sometimes I love their help 🙂 Sometimes it’s more work to have their ‘help’… Our 10 year old loves baking cupcakes, so we bake in order to balance out our kale smoothies.

So we eat our lettuce … and we’ve snuck in more kale and brussel sprouts in our daily salads. It takes work, but we’ve aligned our taste buds to react with affection toward kale. Kale tastes good (I promise!). Now the kids ask where is the kale when we don’t add it in.

Healthy eating has a stigma attached to it. It is hard to eat organic, no sugar, no carbs, etc… 100% of the time. But it starts with one choice. We stopped drinking soda several years ago. Now, if I have a sip of soda, it tastes disgusting. We don’t eat fast food. But no judgement for those who do! When we go out, we pack a lunch. It began with one choice – I stopped going thru drive thru’s and the kids never ask. In fact, they prompted the decision. They asked not to go thru Wendy’s anymore… Okay – Done. We started serving salad for lunch and dinner. We started with one choice, made one change at a time, and kept adding healthier eating options.

At the beginning of a New Year, it can seem overwhelming to set goals with the pressure we put on ourselves to start fresh and make changes. But – We can start with one choice. With food, with work outs and with our time spent with God. Start with one choice. Read one Bible verse — it takes 30 seconds. Then, be all crazy and read a few more.  The more time we choose to spend with Him, the more time we will crave with Him. We can taste and see the Lord is good!  There’s no pressure. He’s pursuing us, waiting of us to respond to Him… Like lettuce and Kale and brussel sprouts are waiting for us at the farmers market, in the grocery aisle… or in the garden.

So whatever choice – make one. Eat one more vegetable. Read one Bible verse. Pray one prayer. God is waiting… kale is waiting…

What are your New Year goals for 2015? Healthier eating? Daily Bible reading? Do share 🙂

Our story rages on… In Him, Leslie