Christmas Countdown C -15

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Family Service Project

Every child will tell you how much better it is to receive at Christmas! Not that I think kids are greedy. It’s just so exciting to find all the things Santa has brought when Christmas morning dawns. However, not everyone is joyful at Christmas. Many people are lonely without family to celebrate the Holiday season with them. Many families don’t have the resources to give their children gifts at Christmas. Many children spend Christmas in the hospital, some miles away from home.

There are so many things families can do to brighten the Holidays for the lonely or the children that might not otherwise receive a gift. Things that can encourage children & families battling illness this Christmas.

This week-end, do a search in your community for projects that need help. I really think it is important not to simply buy some gifts & drop them off at a distribution center. Kids need to be involved in the work that goes into providing a Merry Christmas to those in need, those who are alone, those away from home. Let the family decide which group they want to help, then find out how you can volunteer. It might be packing food boxes to be delivered before Christmas. It might be going to nursing homes to sing Christmas carols & deliver cards. There are so many ways we can bring the joy of Christmas to those alone in the dark. This year, let’s shine the light of Christ’s love in our communities with those that are searching in the darkness. It’s a gift for the whole family to enjoy.

Christmas Countdown C -1

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Guests

Are you having guests stay over during the Holidays? This can be stressful for both hosts AND guests. I know there are all kinds of articles telling you how to prepare a wonderful guest room so you company is comfy during their stay. However, I would like to share a bit of advice.

As wonderful as it is to have the grandparents or the grandkids visit for Christmas, it can also be exhausting. Schedules & routines are upset. People are around all the time. They may be family but you still feel you must treat them like company. And it is tough for your guests to relax since it isn’t their home.

My suggestion is to make the guest room into a sanctuary for your guests. Let them know you don’t mind if they retreat to their room for some quiet time. If they have a television, snacks, even a coffee maker with the fixings right there for their convenience, it can make for a more relaxing visit.

And if you are the guests, give your hosts some time to relax alone. This isn’t being rude. It’s being very polite by preventing frayed nerves at the end of the day. Have books with you. Bring some snacks. Spend time relaxing away from one another & you will enjoy each others’ company so much more.

Christmas Countdown C -23

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What REALLY Must Be Done?

When I was in the Navy, we were very busy in the weeks before Christmas. I was concerned I might not get everything done before the big day. This was not only causing me stress, it was also making me very sad. Katy, our daughter, was about 6 years old & I wanted her & Mr. D to have a great Christmas. How was I going to get everything done? Then I got an idea!

I sat down with a pice of paper & created 2 columns. One was labeled “Have to Do” the other was labeled “Want to Do.” Then I thought about all the things that needed to be done before Christmas morning. As I thought of a task, I asked myself, “Did it HAVE to be done or was it simply something I wanted to do?” I had to decide if Christmas would be ruined it the task didn’t get done. And I forced myself to be honest about it.

When I finished, there was only ONE thing on my Have to Do list. We need to shop for Katy so she would have presents on Christmas morning. We needed to make certain Santa had gifts to deliver to Katy. As much as I wanted to get all the other tasks done, none of them was a deal breaker. We might be disappointed if we didn’t put up a tree but Christmas wouldn’t be ruined. So, everything else went on my Want to Do list.

Then a strange thing happened. As soon as I took the pressure off myself, as soon as I told myself I didn’t HAVE to get all those things done, I was able to relax, slowing working my way through the tasks I simply wanted to get done. And do you know, by Christmas Eve, every single item on both lists was done!

Pressure & stress often cause us to freeze up. Determine what you absolutely HAVE to do by Christmas. Not the things others are forcing on you but tasks YOU determine are necessary. Then put everything else on your Want to list. Finish the Have-to’s first. Then slowly work your way through the Want-to’s. You may be surprised how much you get done when the pressure is off!

Christmas Countdown C -24

 

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You Deserve to Celebrate Too!

Your focus at Christmas is your family. You spend most of your time making certain everyone around you has a wonderful Christmas. Well, you deserve to celebrate too! At Simple Joy, we believe women must take care of themselves first or they won’t be able to care for others. If you focus entirely on everyone else this season, you may forget to enjoy yourself. Take time throughout December to do things YOU enjoy! Remember, we are the hearts of our families. The way we feel impacts the way the entire family feels. If you are stressed, focusing only on others, you may develop a not so nice attitude that eventually affects everyone around you. Taking care of yourself first is NOT selfish. It is the best & most effective way you can care for everyone else!

POWER Part 4 Enthusiasm

Faith must be expressed by taking action. This isn’t always easy, though. You often feel as if you are simply going through the motions and this makes your actions and faith powerless. To put power in both, you must add enthusiasm. I know how hard it can be to remain enthusiastic. Your life is busy and you get tired. There are, however, ways you can help increase and maintain your enthusiasm.

1. Energetic: Discover ways to keep your energy up. You need to have a better understanding of your body and the things that either add or subtract from your energy. Go for a walk. Eat the right foods. Take a short nap. Watch a program or film that makes you feel better. Talk to a friend that always boosts your spirit. You also need to know the things that cause your energy to lag. Too much sugar. Too much caffeine. Not enough sleep. Watching the wrong programs or reading the wrong books. You may even have people in your life that drain the energy right out of you. Do an assessment to gain a better understanding of what helps and what hurts.

2. Encouraging: It is important for you to learn ways to encourage those around you, especially women. These days, there are too many people ready to drag you down over the smallest things. You begin to doubt your ability to do anything, let alone something big. Many of the women around you feel exactly the same way. It’s important for you to encourage them. Pay them a compliment. Ask for the opinion. Ask for their help. It takes so little to boost someone, to help them feel better about themselves. There are enough people looking for ways to tear them down! You need to take time to lift them up!

3. Engaging: We were recently at a large convention looking at the exhibits. I commented on all the people walking around an incredible event while looking down at their phones. They weren’t engaged in what was happening around them at all. I thought it was sad. So many interesting people. So many incredible products and many people missed all of it as they stared at their phones. Now some of them may have had something important they needed to take care of in that moment but not all of them. And you might say some of them had already seen the exhibits. True but there is always something new. And you never know who you might encounter. It’s important for you to become more engaged in life. Do you speak to the people you meet over the course of your day? I enjoy talking to all the checkers that wait on me when we run errands. I ask how their day is going, has it been busy, do they get off soon. It’s nothing earth shaking. They may never remember our conversation. People are so interesting.You never know who you will meet or what you will learn when you begin talking to someone. And if they seem to think you’re odd for talking to them, well, that’s their problem. You just stay alert to life.

These are 3 very simple things you can do to put action into your faith. You never know what might come from a casual encounter with someone. And that’s what makes life so exciting!

Christmas Countdown C -17

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Entertaining

Christmas is a great time to entertain. Your home is decorated & it’s fun to connect & visit with family & friends. I know many women are intimidated  To help simplify entertaining for you, here are 10 tips from this month’s issue of Simple Joy e-zine:

10 Step Guide to a Low Stress Holiday Entertaining

  1. Attend Your Own Party:   Follow these steps in order to be a guest at your own event.
  2. Plan Your Guest List:  Remember…it’s about the people, not the event. Always begin with the guest list.
  3. Plan Your Event: Once you know how many are coming, you can determine what type of event works best: sit down dinner, buffet, cocktail party, open house, etc.
  4. Plan Your Menu: Now you need to decide what to serve. Your menu is determined by your guests and your event. The menu is the cart; your guest list is the horse. Do Not confuse the two.
  5. Determine What Needs to Be Done:  Take time to create a list of all the things to be done to prepare for your event. Include shopping lists as well.
  6. Decide What You Want to Do:  Select two or three things from the list that you WANT to do.
  7. Delegate the Rest:  Assign the remaining tasks to other people. When guests ask if they can do anything or bring anything, always say YES!
  8. Take a Nap:  Begin transformation from hostess to guest by taking a relaxing nap. If you can’t sleep, then just relax.
  9. Take a Bath:  Now is not the time for a quick shower. Take the time for a long luxurious bath. Engage all your senses as you bathe with candles, music, fragrant bath products, lotions and chocolate.
  10. Take a Deep Breath: When the door bell announces your first guests, take a deep breath and smile. The Queen is in the house and she is entertaining.