It’s Thursday! But not just any Thursday, it’s Christmas Eve! In honor of Christmas (Eve), this week’s three is three things we do to celebrate Christmas each year.
1. Christmas Card. We may or may not have a long-standing tradition of ridiculous cards. Some years we get really into it, and it takes all sorts of prep work. This year it’s still a little ridiculous, but we cut out all the prep work and just grabbed a decent photo of us from earlier in the year (like normal people do). Here’s the family photo for 2015:
2. Christmas Tunes. We take Christmas songs one step further and record a song each year to share with friends and family. This year’s song came from Judy Garland’s version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” which she sang in the movie, Meet Me In St. Louis.
3. Christmas jammies. Actually, this is a bit misleading. We don’t have elf tops or striped skinny bottoms, but we do typically spend most of Christmas day lounging around in pajamas. The time leading up to Christmas always seems to be a hectic and busy one, so we’ve always found it vital to soak up whatever rest is possible at the end of it before bringing in the New Year. We’re definitely looking forward to it this year!
You know what I find really annoying on blogs? When almost every post starts with the writer talking about how much they’ve neglected posting as often as they would like to and promise to get back in the swing of things soon. It distracts from the actual content of the post itself and frankly just gets old to read. Soo…I won’t do that to you. I know, isn’t that so sweet of me? I’ll just, uh, leave the meaning of this paragraph up to your own interpretation.
1. It’s what time of year? Every time I see something Christmas-y online or someone mentions Christmas, it seems like it must be a long way off or a long time ago. When it’s 70 degrees outside (seriously, my windows are open), it’s hard to imagine Christmas being a mere week away. I’m not sure if it is the weather or the blur of events this past year, but it all seems strange and out of place. Or maybe it’s just this guy who insisted we get a photo during dinner.
2. Do you ever have a practically perfect day? Because for me, Saturday came pretty close. At the last minute someone unexpectedly offered to cover for me at work and suddenly the day was wide open. It was the perfect mix of rest and recreation. After a slow morning, we went on a ten-mile bike ride, then went straight to rock climbing for an hour, and then came home to get ready for a night on the town with some dear friends for dinner, dessert, and a show. I enjoyed every element of a day well-spent.
3. Do you know what the best part about a trip is?Planning it. I think it is safe to say that I love to travel, but maybe if we get to the root of it, I really love to plan and dream. Studies show that the anticipation of a trip gives a big boost in happiness. Well, this year’s Christmas presents from family (yeah, I know it’s early, but they couldn’t keep it a secret) happen to include a few trips so my planning mode is in full effect.
Here’s my round-up of three things on Thursdays. Two weeks ago was a holiday, so I made sure to take time off from everything but food, football, family, and giving thanks (I tried so hard with the alliteration but alas). Last week simply got away from me, so this will just have to be three things to cover three weeks.
1. Productivity should not be your only measurement. I can get caught up in looking at my hours worked, my projects billed, and my to-do list items checked. While not everything can be considered productive, not everything you do should be. It may take some reminding, some discipline, and some grace, but we’ve done everything we can lately to take in moments of un-productive time for recreation, friendship, and music.
2. We’re thankful for so many things. Remember Thanksgiving two weeks ago? It’s crazy how quickly our society can go from a day of thanks to writing lists of stuff we want under the tree. But I’d rather hover over in being thankful. We have a good marriage, a welcoming home, some amazing friends, and a strong hope as we face different challenges that life is bound to bring. Everything might not be peachy, but I am still so grateful for these things.
3. Christmas will be little this year. Is that a foreshadowing into this year’s card/song? Or is it just the statement that everything is going to be pulled back/reined in/minimized? Maybe both. Christmas is something to look forward to and can bring many wonderful things, but sometimes it can get away from us. This will be a season of scaling back and removing as many pressures/expectations/obligations as possible to find peace and rest instead. We felt it only fitting to get the smallest tree in the lot to reflect said philosophy.
Well lookie here…it’s Thursday again! I’ve got a random list of things to say, so here it goes.
1. Hot chocolate goes with everything. Mondays are our days “off” but more often than not end up being catch-up work days or accomplish-this-thing-that-needs-to-get-done-anyway days. This Monday was no different, but at one point I looked up and realized how cute our matching computers and hot cocoas looked together. As someone who eats chocolate daily in one form or another, I’m pretty thrilled that we’re back to the time of the year when it’s normal to drink hot chocolate in the middle of the day.
2. My shortcomings seem all too clear right now. I am behind on everything from emails and responses to bills and birthday cards. I never fall asleep easily and my mornings are always rough. I’m almost always late no matter how hard I try. Social media makes me anxious, but I check it all too frequently. There’s distance in some of my friendships that I want to better invest in. I eat cereal for at least half of my meals each week and rarely cook. I feel like I have all of these glaring errors or awkward tendencies that I don’t know how to suppress, yet don’t we all? Maybe yours aren’t the same as mine, but I think we get into these bad hair days or “I have nothing to wear” days that leave us feeling self-conscious and unworthy. But we’re all just trying to hold it together. Social media and online identities make it easier to hide behind personas and filters, but we’ve all got our faults and failures. Having flaws doesn’t make you less of a person, it’s part of being a person. None of us have it all together or totally figured out, so don’t let anyone fool you.
3. Things are beyond our control. We had plans for this week that fell through and frankly, we were both way more disappointed than we should have been about it (umm hello, the plans involved getting free food, so yeah, we wanted that). In the end, it wasn’t a huge deal, but just felt like a reminder (or slap in the face) that so much of life is way beyond our control. We can make plans and have hope, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do.
It’s been an entire week. I like writing a few things and posting them here throughout the week to shake it up, but this was just the week with which I never seemed to catch up. A mix of work, events, and friends took over instead. So to keep it interesting, let’s make this the Thursday Three of three word phrases.
1. We did it. Of the several things I’ve been working on lately, one of them just came to a close this past weekend. I got the honor and privilege to help coordinate and emcee the annual women’s event at our church. It’s been a crazy season, and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to do a good job or pull it together. But thankfully, I had tons of support and a lot of grace. With two days, 130-ish women, and a great team of people, it was a wonderful weekend, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.
2. Write it out. I write all the time. Sometimes I wish this blog was a better reflection of all of my writing, but the truth is, I have several projects that are in process still or submitted to some random publication. Believe it or not, the Thursday Three isn’t my favorite of all of these pieces…it’s just the one that haunts me until I scramble to get it done every week. That said, I am so grateful for opportunities and prompts to write. It’s such a wonderful way to share life with people, and it’s something that makes me feel alive. Even though it takes dedication and effort, it’s worth it in order to have a creative outlet that I can share with others.
3. Wait and see. Do you ever feel like there’s a phrase or word that has been put into your heart? Right now, my phrase is simply wait and see. I don’t know what’s around the bend for me or for us, but I’m hopeful. Wait and see doesn’t mean rushed or anxious. I don’t have the answers or the plans or even much control. So all I can do now, in the best possible way and with sparkles in my eyes, is wait and see.
Oh my goodness, I’m not sure if this has ever happened before–it’s double blog day! Yep, two blogs posted on the same day. Sorry, but what’s a girl to do after writing all through the night and then it turns out still owes the people their regular Thursday blog? Double blog day it is (just don’t get used to it).
1. Encouragement can come in all forms. I was at a monthly presentation/gathering of creatives this past week and met this sprightly 73-year-old cheerleader. A cancer survivor who decided she wanted to be a cheerleader when she “grew up” now goes around telling people how great it is to be alive. Once you hear her victory cheer, you can’t help but agree.
2. Football has found a place in our home. I know, what?! Yes, you do have the right people and my musician husband is fully on board with this new trend. For whatever reason this was the year we decided it was time to watch one game a week and root for “our” team. Lucky for us, the Carolina Panthers have managed to stay undefeated so far, even though this past week’s game was a total nail-biter. Go team!
3. Every Halloween we look the same. You know, that day when people dress up in ridiculous costumes and get all excited about who they will “be” on their day off of being themselves? Yeah, well, we wear the same thing every year. Perhaps it’s laziness or as the hubby says “it’s a classic!” Therefore, he’s always Floyd the Mechanic and I’m a rodeo girl (or someone who wears bedazzled wrangler shirts with boots and pigtails). If you look at the past few years of Halloween photos, we always look the same, but sometimes what looks the same on the outside is totally different on the inside. This year’s Halloween included a “meh” pumpkin, working in costume, walking to see the most decked out house in town, and shouting out our guesses of what people’s costumes were downtown with a few friends.
I have everything to say and nothing to tell you, so might as well ramble off three things for Thursday. Let’s do this.
1. Fall weather brings all the feels. The drizzly day that gives you an excuse to curl up on the couch, the crunchy leaves and colorful trees to break through the dark, the ability to eat outside but still require the warmth of the fire, and of course, the reintroduction of my collection of scarves back into my wardrobe. Fall has long been my favorite season, and I’m thankful it’s here.
2. There will be rest. Remember being in school and getting to the point in the semester when you realized a big break was coming up but the final exams and projects between now and that break seemed insurmountable? The break always came and somehow you managed to get through, no matter how many all-nighters, freak outs, and cups of coffee it took. That is where I’m at right now. I know that one day the break will come…maybe I’ll sleep in until lunch time or I’ll get so bored of having free time that I’ll have to pack my schedule all over again. (Okay, maybe this daydream is getting out of hand.) But this is the time of the struggle and the hard work and the effort. Not the fun part, but still important. Just like in my school days, I don’t totally know how I’ll get to a break from it all and a time of rest, but I’m confident that it will come.
3. You don’t have to be on social media every day. I realize half of you are reading this blog because it was posted there, but I really think pulling away from the nonstop feed is better. It’s such a force of habit for me and feels soothing for a minute…but I’ve also found myself feeling stung by a photo or post that frankly, doesn’t bear any actual weight on my life. That photo of a fun outing or declaration of success or request for attention just piles on until I feel less. Less interesting, less cared for, less accomplished, less informed, less fortunate, less engaged in my own life and community. The more I scroll, the less I feel I become. The good news is, we can turn off social media and just look up and talk to the people we most want to connect with instead.