As I sit here this morning, the day after Christmas, I am reflecting on my weekend as the children play with all the creative toys they got.  I think about all of the events that took place and all the memories that were made.  This is the first year in over 10 years that I was able to actually celebrate Christmas morning with my home family.  My kids have never experienced the type of Christmas that I know – it was such a wonderful feeling to give that to them and to reconnect with my roots.  The huge Christmas tree full of colorful lights and twirling ornaments in Momma and Daddy’s den, the Christmas music in the background, the family gathering on Christmas Eve, the candlelight service with Grandma,  and Santa’s delivery by the fireplace Christmas morning.  Then hopping over to my brother’s house to spend the entire day as one huge family with all 5 kids playing gleefully on the living room floor surrounded by mounds of gifts for all 10 people.  Breakfast buffet spread out in the kitchen with bacon, sausage, ham, muffins, fruit, and orange danishes which are a family favorite shared only at Christmas for the last 30-something years.  It’s a time to acknowledge that there is no such thing as a “bad food.” There are only foods that shouldn’t be consumed too much!  This one day is so fun because there is no shame, no judgment!

I was also able to finally visit with some friends that I hadn’t seen in years!  I had the opportunity to actually visit and spend time with them without being rushed or afraid of being ridiculed.

The environment around me right now is anything but quiet and peaceful, but inside I am relishing in the pure bliss of peace.  This season has been full of a series of events with hard truths.  It’s time to start making decisions to better myself and take care of those around me by taking care of my needs.  We cannot better ourselves if we are always catering to others’ wishes before our own needs.  I’ve had a philosophical epiphany lately that may seem common sense to some, but for me it had to be learned through an experience.  Through a series of events, I’ve had to get real with myself.  I’ve had to get honest with myself.  I had to open up and say some things that I’ve held in for many many years.  Things I had buried deep down and was in denial about for a long time as well.  After saying things I’ve needed to say, I finally felt relief.  And I came to that “aha” moment.  For the last ten years, I’ve been consumed by fear, controlled by fear, and operated out of fear.  I’ve let it run my life and

almost ruin it.  In recent months I’ve acted on a kairos – “It’s time to do something,” and I’ve faced many fears and I’m stronger for it now.  I’ve realized that I’ve always held to the philosophy “Some things are better left unsaid.” I’ve felt that way because I avoid conflict. (Although sometimes the only conflict is with yourself, and not others). I’ve felt that it was better to hold some things in and deal with it yourself rather than put someone else in an awkward position or, in some cases, hurt someone because of your own feelings.  And that is still true in many cases – but not ALWAYS.  That was based on fear, and I applied it to every uncomfortable situation.  You have to face your fears to overcome them.  So after finally getting honest, my philosophy shifted to “Some things have to be said.”  And I realized that’s where I’ve been for the last few months and hadn’t actually put a label on it.  I’ve gotten a fire in my gut to actually take care of myself and do what I have to do to be okay.  I’ve always thought it was selfish to put myself first.  But I’ve come to realize that sometimes taking care of yourself is the first step to taking care of others.  It’s also the first step to nourishing relationships.  Which leads me to my next point :

Who wants to be around someone who is always scared, negative, depressed, tired, quiet, angry, and overly-reserved?  That’s not the fruit of the spirit.  The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).  A negative spirit only grows rotten fruit.  A positive spirit nourishes the soul and grows bountiful, whole fruit.  Fruit that can give life to others, and fill others up, and create an amazing atmosphere.  Jesus actually says that when a tree isn’t creating good fruit, to cut it down and burn it (Matt. 7:19).  This is so true.  Christmas was the perfect time for recognizing all of this.  It’s a time of joy, and peace, and goodness, and all those other beautiful things.  So even though he tried, The Grinch could not steal this Christmas from me! (However, I think my kids must have watched that about 100x this season.)

So when you have the chance to act on a truth, and say something that needs to be said in love, don’t be afraid of what may come.  Take it.  Handle it.  Grow with it.  Accept it.  Don’t let pride or fear hold you back – that’s rotten fruit that will get you no where but in the dumps.  Be fruitful and live life abundantly in honesty and freedom!  And when your circumstances seem stressful or negative, look for those great golden nuggets hidden in the cracks.  They are there – you just have to look for them.  Looking for those keeps your eyes off of the dull stones.  The truth has definitely set me free in so many ways over the last few months since I actually started harnessing it.  Let it do the same for you!

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! Go out and live!



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