I am pretty darn proud of my self right now.
Now, I'm not totally 100% done with shopping, wrapping, cooking, or even cards. (I let myself off the hook about that YEARS ago. If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.) No, what I am proud of is that I am not freaking out right now. Earlier today, I had a pretty low moment. Life started piling up and I wasn't in the Christmas mood, WHATSOEVER. Considering I had shopping to do and very little time left to do it, I needed to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get moving. So, I did. And I had fun in spite of all the little niggling things that are STILL trying to gnaw their way through my brain.
I could go on and on about all the awful things that I have to deal with. I don't want to anymore, though. I feel thankful, now, instead. I went back and read my post from a few days ago and mentally gave myself a shake (well, it was more like a personal smack down.) How could I sit here grumping and whining when I clearly had much more to be happy, proud, excited, and thankful for? Somehow, I can even face down the negatives and turn them around. Maybe I'm playing Pollyanna in my head. Maybe I am just having a manic phase. Who knows, and who cares? I am experiencing a small drop of peace, and I am proud of myself for letting it take root. Tomorrow is a big day and I need all the peace I can get.
Christmas, for us, really starts Christmas Eve. The morning is spent making a big breakfast and tidying up and decorating for Santa. We bake cookies together in the afternoon. (Not that we haven't been doing that for weeks, but these are special. They are for Santa.) Usually, we visit with family but this year will, instead, make phone calls to people who aren't nearby. Unwrapping presents is most often reserved for Christmas morning, so we all take some time out to make sure everything is wrapped and ready and looking "just right."
This year will be a special honor for us. We have been asked by The Pastor and his Wife to light the Christ candle during the Christmas Eve service. There are four candles in the Advent wreath that are lit during the four weeks before Christmas and one in the center that is lit during the Christmas Eve service to symbolize Christ's birth. In this small town, this is a pretty big honor. I am pretty nervous actually. Nervous, and honored.
Shopping often gets thrown in the mix, too (usually when we are getting church clothes together and we suddenly find out someone has outgrown their shoes or tights overnight) and tomorrow will be no different. Actually we are going to do what we call "treasure hunting." This is what we call the trips to the thrift store. Treasure Hunting is possibly the best time I can have shopping. My kids have embraced the ideas of saving money by using your imagination more than I could have ever hoped. They love looking through racks filled with odds and ends and finding clothes that fit their personality. I love being able to say "yes" because I can afford to let them take it home. We all love finding things that are unique and different. Tomorrow's challenge? To find a "new" church dress for everyone, and maybe shoes, too. Sounds like crazy last-minute shopping doesn't it? Yeah, it is. But I don't have to tell THEM, do I?
I have bills to pay. I always have and I always will. I don't have to go it alone anymore, and for that I am thankful. I am thankful for DH who has a job that pays at least some of the bills and is here to share the weight of the responsibility with me. I am proud of myself for relinquishing the burden and sharing it with him. I am thankful for the little town I live in because I DON'T have the malls and stores and billboards yelling at me to do more, more, MORE! The people here are amazing and caring and wonderful. They have all given me a piece of the orange this year. I miss my old friends and family, but we CAN stay in touch which is more than I have been able to do some years, even when I WAS in town and hardly a mile away from them. My messy home is a sign that people and children live here. My family LIVES here. I have three amazing daughters who play and run and make noise and leave a mess. The day I have no mess to clean is the day I will cry because it means I have no one here to MAKE the mess. I am thankful for being healthy enough to make a stab at taking my health into my own hands. I will be a little rocky for awhile, but I am self aware an in control enough that I know I can make it through this.