Category Archives: Seasons

Flashback Friday 10

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Flashback Friday 10

We’re ending the first month of 2018 already! It may be the new year, but if you’re like me, you’re becoming weary of the winter weather. The Flashback for this week is from almost exactly 20 years ago. It was published in the January 29, 1998 edition of the weekly Chester County Independent in Henderson, TN. Reading back over it, I was reminded of the beauty of our amazing landscapes and how “the very stones would cry out” to glorify God in our silence (John 19:39b ESV).

As you read this week’s column, take a look around you at all the beauty you have in your life. I know it’s cold, and we’re getting tired of it, but spring will come. Rejoice in the good things of this season of our lives.

How Majestic is Your Name

tops-of-pine-treesWhat I love about pine trees is their majesty. They stand straight and tall, boughs uplifted to the heavens, as if in praise to the Almighty. When I look at a pine tree, I am reminded of one my favorite choruses by Michael W. Smith, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth. O Lord, our Lord, we praise Your name. Oh Lord, we magnify Your name; Prince of Peace, Mighty God; O Lord God Almighty.”

The words to this song make me want to stand up tall as the trees and “shout unto the Lord with the voice of triumph.”

I recently experienced my first ice storm, and saw pine trees in a new posture. As I drove to work, admiring the exquisite adornment of the countryside, I thought what a symbol of worship the bowed pine trees were. Instead of arms raised high, the trees were bent under the weight of the ice, as if in humble subjection to an awesome God.

ice on pine

As I think back on the memory of those ice-laden trees, the words of another chorus overflow my heart:

“I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you. Oh my soul, rejoice. Take joy my King in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.”

How to Beat Holiday Decorating Stress

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How to Beat Holiday Decorating Stress

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It’s October 1st – the official kickoff of the holiday decorating season. First it’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving (or simply the fall season), immediately followed by Christmas. I used to think holiday decorating had to be done all at once or not all. It was a huge deal to pull the tubs out of the garage and drag them into the house, wipe the heavy layers of dust and settled road grime off the lids, pull everything out of every tub and find the perfect location for every single item. Then I had to gather up all of the newspapers and plastic grocery bags used for packing, stuff it back in the empty tubs, and haul the tubs back to the garage. A month or two later, I had to find time to bring in the empty tubs, pack everything up, restack the tubs in the garage, and bring in the next round of seasonal paraphernalia to repeat the previous steps.

EXHAUSTING

JOY KILLING

It got to be too much – just another entry on the never-ending to do list. So I quit. For two years, I didn’t decorate at all. And guess what…

Nobody cared.

My family didn’t love me less. My friends didn’t refuse to hang out with the woman who failed to embrace holiday mania.

I love my home. It is truly my refuge in this wibbly wobbly world that keeps me so off-kilter. I enjoy surrounding myself with warm, comfortable, beautiful things. But the go big or go home mentality was killing me. It was a physical and emotional relief to skip the seasonal decorating hysteria for a while, but I began missing some of the small touches.

Fall is my favorite decorating season. I adore the warm colors of orange, deep red, brown and gold. Pumpkins and gourds make me smile. I have more tubs of fall decorations than all other holidays combined – even Christmas! I have learned, however, that just because I have a lot of stuff, it doesn’t mean I need to use all of it every year. Nor do I have to decorate all at once. Instead of creating a crisis of autumnal decorating chaos, I’m finding joy in creating these small oases of fall fun as the whimsy strikes me.

A couple of weeks ago I had coffee with friends after which we swung by Hobby Lobby for some casual browsing and cart loading of tiny artificial pumpkins, sunflowers, leaves and gourds. The trip resulted in three small seasonal touches implemented over the course of a couple of weeks. I didn’t make a mess of plastic tubs, packing materials, and 30 years worth of collected fake fall fruit and foliage.

So if you’re a Type A, overachiever, Martha Stewart wannabe, Better Homes and Gardens coveter like me, it’s okay. I’m giving you permission to take a break. Stop driving yourself crazy trying to be perfect and create the perfect holiday environment. Did you know there are people out there who NEVER decorate?

GASP!

I know, I have a hard time believing it too. Maybe they’re happy about it. Maybe they’re miserable wishing they had a “green thumb” for decorating. I don’t know. This isn’t about them. But we can learn from them. Trust me, you will not die or be abandoned by everyone you’ve ever loved if you refuse to stress yourself out over the holidays. In fact, your family just might think you’re a lot more fun.

Share your decorating tips, stress busters, and photos. I’d love to hear from you.