Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Finding Calm And Bright

After the deliciously slow pace of Thanksgiving week, things changed drastically around here.  I knew they would and that there wasn't a thing I could do about it. There are times you simply have to work your way through extra full calendars doing the best you can.  Last week was busy and this week is crazy.  It just was and is.

But it is also getting closer and closer to Christmas, and I so badly wanted to decorate our home for the season.  Madi and Trev get incredibly excited about this, and I felt like Friday evening was our "now or never" moment to bring everything down from the attic and get started.  After a jam packed week I really just wanted to crawl under the covers and check out for about twelve hours, but instead I helped Jimmy take everything down, turned the Christmas music up, and got going.

It was a sweet family night.  The kids were beaming with excitement so we helped them decorate their own trees first.  Jimmy started stringing lights on our big tree, I started unpacking boxes and deciding what I would do this year since I decorate a little differently each Christmas season.  Once the kids' trees were finished, I made hot chocolate and we put in a good old Mickey Mouse and friends Christmas movie and all four of us snuggled up on the couch to watch it.

And it was seriously all I could do to keep my eyes open.

So instead of staying up all night to finish decking the halls, I went to bed, knowing there would be a morning piano student and two Christmas parties (one of which I had to cook for) waiting for me the next day.

In between the festivities I did a little more decorating, but only got so far.

Then Sunday came and it's the time of year for extra long music rehearsals and such, so I only had a really short time to make more progress.

Monday was packed with caroling at the retirement center, grocery shopping, laundry, homework, school projects, etc, you know the drill.

I did a little more.

All the while I was starting to feel like the walls were closing in on me.

Because there were boxes everywhere stacked high and we were stepping around piles of ornaments and all those little stray pieces of styrofoam were started to make me twitch.

Not to mention how full of dishes my sink had gotten since what little extra time I had I was devoting to unpacking boxes and trimming trees.

The evenings are so cool and lovely here that I always open the windows, and I realized the neighbors had a front row view of our state of chaos every night.

I started to expect to hear a knock at my door and open it to find a huge truck, a professional organizer, a therapist, and a TLC video crew ready to film me for one of their reality television programs.

Had they come I think I would have taken them up on the therapist.

Today I subbed for Pre-K, then did some after school work with Madi and Trev.  When we got home I was determined to make some major progress in the house, so I brewed a cup of coffee, ate some chocolate, and asked Jimmy if he would bring home Chinese food for dinner.  Jimmy sweetly fulfilled my request, and while helping with homework and waiting for him to come home from work, I found my kitchen sink again which was a relief.

Then I put on Mandisa's Christmas album and with some "help" from the kids, I have nearly turned this place into a winter wonderland.

I can see my floor.

I vacuumed up most of the styrofoam.

Tucked two little loves in bed.

And now I am having my Christmas moment.

I can breathe a little more evenly.  The instrumental Christmas music is playing, a candle is burning, and the lights are twinkling.  There is just something about all the lights of Christmas that set my mind on my Savior.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
John 1:4

As I sit surrounded by twinkling lights, I realize that in this quiet moment of rest, things are starting to look and feel more calm and bright around here.

I've been reading the Christmas story this week.  The light of the star led the wise men to Jesus.  The lights in my Christmas home help lead my heart to Him too.

Which is why I invest the time to decorate our home each Christmas season, even though it sometimes takes a few days of clutter and stress and Mommy almost going over the edge.

Because when I am finished we can revel in the wonder, bask in the peace.  We can, as Trevor did tonight, dim the lights and truly savor the season as the gentle glow of Christmas contentment surrounds us in this home we share and love.

Coffee, chaos, and contentment.

I experienced all three once again this evening.

Life isn't perfect, but for this moment it is calm and bright.

So I sit, surrounded by light.


  1. thank you for sharing! I am at the wall closing end phase, but am now reminded that He is the light at the end of the tunnel!

  2. Encouraging....thank you!

  3. You're not kidding when you said you've been busy! Starting tomorrow, my next week and a half will look similar to that, although all good things. I could feel your exhaustion in the post, but I'm really glad you were able to get the Christmas stuff out and bask in quiet-goodness for a few minutes! Your pictures seem to exude the peace of God in your home. Your tree is so pretty, too. :)

    I'm really glad you made the mud hen bars and like them! Thanks for what you said on my post today!

  4. WHEW! I can identify with all of your feelings. I get overwhelmed every year at this time and I think to myself it shouldn't be this way during this season. I just want to feel peace all season long but I have yet to figure out how to do that. You have given me some hope.....light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks!

    You mentioned "Mandissa's Christmas Album". Would you recommend for me to buy? I like to get some new music every year and I loved Mandissa when she was on "Idol".

    Hope your day is full of peace and joy.