Christmas Countdown C-22

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What Would YOU Like to Do?

Every year, I think of things I would like to do for the Holiday season. Walk through Downtown Anaheim & look at the lights. Visit South Coast Plaza & admire the decorations. Take a trip to a large local nursery that decorates dozens of trees. And a few more fun things.

Then I get busy & I forget. Oh, well, there’s next year! Yes, but there is still THIS year! So I’m making one of my famous lists & creating a schedule so I am able to do the things I want to do this Christmas! None of them is elaborate. They are just simple local activities that take an afternoon or evening. And it takes coordinating with Mr. D. When we work together on these things, it works much better.

So, what are the things you would like to do this Christmas? Perhaps you want to have friends over to decorate the tree. Or maybe go caroling. Just simple things that bring so much joy & create memories that last a lifetime. Take time today to create a list of the things you want to do. Then schedule them & share with your family. You may have to push them a bit but you will create Christmas joy for everyone in your family!

The First Friday in Advent

Special Delivery

There are nights I lie awake in the dark, considering all the work I need to get done. I’ll admit it. Sometimes, I have a panic attack as the dark surrounds me and I feel things are out of control. How will I ever get everything done?

In the past, I have turned on the light and tried reading until I become sleepy. Then I am tired in the morning. Not good. Now instead of reading or tossing and turning, I lie in bed and pray. I talk to the Lord, spilling out my concerns, my worries. Sometimes, I imagine putting all my troubles in a large box, closing the box and wrapping it in paper with a pretty ribbon. Then I give the box to God. When he opens it, He always tells me it is exactly what He wanted.
The Lord wants to deliver us from our fears but first, we must surrender our fears to Him. All our fears, big or small. Only then can He answer our prayers.

Speedy Christmas Decorating

Speedy Christmas Decorating

Not everyone has the time to deck ALL the halls during Christmas. Not everyone has the space to deck all those hall either. Time, space & money can all be factors when trying to decide how much is too much. You want everything to look festive but there are limits. Or perhaps you are having a Holiday party & want to add a few more simple touches to your event that can be easily removed, or simply moved, when the party is over. What to do?

BHG to the rescue with these quick & easy ways to decorate for Christmas. I LOVE the vintage ornaments on the candlesticks. You can find all the candlesticks you want at the $ Store along with tubes of ornaments that can be used. I used these ornaments all over the house. They come in different sizes & colors. They are also easy to paint & glitter should you need them in colors that are different than the ones offered.

Avoid Christmas stress with simple ideas like these & put the JOY back into Christmas!

Speedy Decorating

6 Santa Cookie Creations

6 Santa Cookie Creations

Kids LOVE making Christmas cookies. Making cookies with my mom is one of my favorite Christmas memories. I always made cookies with The Child when she was growing up to continue the tradition. Both Katy & I share our creations with friends during the Holidays, passing the joy of baking along!

Betty Crocker shares her baking traditions with these darling Santa cookies. Your kids are going to enjoy making each of these sweet treats. Start your own tradition this year or continue an ongoing one when add these cookies to your Holiday baking schedule!

Santa Baby

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!

The First Thursday in Advent

God is for Me!

I LOVE Christmas but sometimes it feels like everyone is tugging at me! I remember when I worked at the church, it seemed as if everyone wanted something and it was becoming more impossible to provide for them. It can become terribly overwhelming when all the people around you need something from you. Eventually, you feel you have nothing left to give.

In this verse, we are reminded that God is not only with us, He is working for us. We can put all our trust in Him and stop worrying about letting the people around us down. this verse specifically tells us that we never have to be afraid of people because there is nothing they can do to us as long as God is with us.

When you feel everyone is coming at you from all directions, take a moment to step back and catch your breath. Remind yourself that God is with you and there is nothing anyone can do to you.

9 Easy and Affordable Holiday Crafts

9 Easy and Affordable Holiday Crafts

Sometimes, it’s difficult to admit our shortfalls but when we do, we have an opportunity to help others. Years ago, I was so fixated on making things perfect that I failed to budget. I felt perfection, appearances were more important than the cost. I won’t bore you with details but you can see the problems this would cause down the road. Over the years, I have seen other families fall into this trap, spending to not just keep up with the Joneses but to surpass them at all cost. Not good!

Christmas can be one of the worst times of the year for overspending. Mr. D always reminds me to avoid guilt spending, feeling an obligation to buy expensive presents out of guilt. I have learned many lessons over the years & I work to learn even more. One lesson I have learned it that we can have a beautiful home during the Holidays without spending a fortune. One way to accomplish this is by making our own decorations. right now, our home is filled with handmade decorations I have been working on the last few months. They didn’t cost much & they allow me to create a low cost version of the beauty & perfection I could never seem to buy.

This year, avoid spending so much on Christmas that you spend all 2015 paying for 2014! One way to avoid this is by making decorations like these 9 craft projects from All You.  Homemade decorations & gifts allow you go create unique items unlike any other. And to me, that is the best Simple Joy of all!

Affordable Holiday Crafts

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!

The First Wednesday in Advent

Perfect Love

Jesus has given us so many gifts. One of these is His perfect love. I remember when I first met my husband. I was so filled with love, I felt I could do anything. I feared nothing. This is the way the perfect love of Jesus should make us feel. Unfortunately, we let our overactive imaginations take control. We imagine all the things that could go wrong. Then we become frightened.

Fear is such a terrible thing because it drains us of our energy, our creativity. Perfect love increases our energy. It helps us become more creative as we consider ways to tackle the tasks and events that lay before us. How are you able to let the perfect love of Christ overcome your fear? Well, I believe we must first work to eliminate our fear by having faith that everything is going to work out for us. As the fear leaves us, we must pray to have the void filled with the love of Christ. As that love makes us stronger, more of our fear is driven out until, at last, we are only filled with love.

Creative Christmas Wreaths

Creative Christmas Wreaths

One of the best things about making wreaths for my gift shop is being able to hang them throughout our home this Christmas. I keep them on display so clients are able to see them as they might look in their own homes.

You can also hang wreaths throughout your home when you create your own using these ideas from BHG. I LOVE the wreath in the photo, using gift boxes in a variety of sizes to make a wreath. Such a colorful, cute & simple idea! Have fun! And craft on!

Christmas Wreaths