Tag Archive for: holidays

Too Tired to be Thankful?


I don’t know about you, but at my house as the holidays approach, it is sometimes hard to be thankful.  Let’s face it, if we are mom, the holidays can be work–significantly extra work.

I remember a period of several years when  holidays became a chore rather than a celebration.  After spending more time in the grocery store than I really wanted, I’d think of all the preparation I still needed to do.  More time on my feet than energy I had to give. With extended family more than a two day’s drive, all the food prep fell on me.

Of course, with four teens under roof, everyone had a different “favorite” dish that needed to be prepared.

And then there was the “timing” of dinner.  With three kids dating, we had to determine when everyone “including their dates” could all be at our house at the same time.

“Mom, you are going to make your homemade bread again this year, aren’t you?”

“Don’t forget to make a turtle pie.”

Even a girlfriend who had been part of the family for over a year had her “favorite dish” request.

At least the meal planning was easy.  Requests times five can equal an entire meal.

Before the thanksgiving meal was complete and dishes were washed, the conversation would quickly turn to newspaper ads, black Friday shopping, and Christmas wish lists.

With that conversation came more exhaustion for me.

The shopping, the making sure I picked the right size and the right color, and, oh, yeah, there would be another huge meal to prepare–and the Thanksgiving dishes weren’t even washed yet!

And then there was the fact that the kids would be scrambling to get to their “date’s” house for another meal, that left me with all the cleanup to do.

As I allowed the holidays to become my life’s sentence, it occurred to me that playing the martyr wasn’t doing anyone any good.  My focus needed to change.  What was I teaching my teens about being thankful especially when I couldn’t be thankful that the holidays were here?

And then it occurred to me.  How do we learn to be thankful?

We learn to be thankful by experiencing difficulties.

It is in the working together that we experience what it is like not to have to do things all by ourselves.

And my planning of the holidays changed!

We called the kids together for a family meeting letting the kids know that I would not be doing all the holiday preparations as usual.  Each person who ate would be part of the clean-up.  Everyone would also contribute something to the meal.

Instead of making that homemade bread, I taught my daughter to do it.  Instead of making that turtle pie, my son did.  Instead of being a slave to the kitchen, I spent time with each of my teens as they prepared their part of the meal.  I was there to encourage them and teach them the ropes of preparing a holiday feast while I cleaned the kitchen as they worked. Even my son and his girlfriend were there to make “her” favorite dish.  And we all worked together.

And the conversation at dinner took on a different tone.  They became thankful for what the other person had contributed to the meal.  They took note of what I typically had done for them.

And each person chose their desired position for dishes detail.

And finally, I wasn’t too tired to be thankful.

Psalm 118:1, 5

 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

for his steadfast love endures forever!

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;

the Lord answered me and set me free.

Little did I know at the time that I was setting the stage for the future.  This year all the kids will be home for the holidays with their families.  Our oldest son has already told me that he and his wife are in charge of the turkey.  Another is bringing his special cheesecake.  Who knows what else will grace our table.

All I know is that whatever it is, I won’t be too tired to be thankful.

Dare you to share in the holiday preparation so that your teens will learn to be thankful for all you do for them.

“Let go…and let God”,


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Electronic Christmas

If your house is anything like mine, you’ve already gotten the Christmas Wish List from your tweens and teens! The tradition of telling Santa what they want has now been squarely transferred to us and with every carpool conversation comes, “I hope I get ___________!” (Insert the latest electronic gadget here).

And just like our heavenly father who wants to shower good gifts on us, we want to shower gifts on our children.

“It’s Christmas! He’ll be so surprised! I can’t wait to see the look on his face!”  

“It’s the only thing she wants this year!  I have to get it.”

“Jessica’s parents have already bought her one, so I feel like we need to get one for Lindsay.”

And the list of lies goes on?

“What? List of lies? What’s wrong with getting our kids what they want for Christmas?”


But as parents, we need to be thinking ahead of what our kids will DO with those electronic gadgets! 

Now, please don’t misunderstand me here. In our house, we have LOTS of electronic gadgets. Yes, we have gaming systems…and cell phones…and hand held computers. But my challenge to you is…given your kid’s age…maturity…predisposition for doing the wrong thing…THINK BEFORE YOU BUY.

What do I mean by that?

Matthew 7:11 says…

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Notice that the verse says that we “being evil”…

Our kids do stupid stuff…there is an “evilness” in all of us…even those cute little faces!

And there are apps for phones, and cameras, and internet accessibility that some tweens and teens are just not ready to handle.

“Does that mean you shouldn’t make the purchase?”

Not necessarily…

The real question is…”Are you giving a gift for your child to use as they desire because it is theirs?”

Or…”Are you willing to give the gift of responsibility to teach your tween or teen how to handle them appropriately?”

Have you thought about the boundaries that will need to be put around the device?

DARE YOU to think about giving your kid the gift the gift “that is good” rather than the gift that they want.

DOUBLE DARE YOU to share what boundaries you will put on your kid’s electronic Christmas this year.

Learning to take the potential negative impact to build positive character in my teens.

“Let go…and let God”


Holiday Craze?

This morning is my new reality. The craziness of Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone and now it’s time to regroup. Do I freeze the leftover turkey, or have leftovers yet again?!? Do I really want the next holiday to come? Maybe I’ll sneak in a nap this afternoon…or at least sit down with that book I’ve been hoping to read.

But then my reality hit.

As I got up this morning, the first words out of my teen’s mouth to me were, “Don’t forget, Mom, it’s CyberMonday!”

But I want to forget…

I haven’t recouped from Thanksgiving yet!! How can I even begin to think about Christmas just a few weeks away?

We had dinner with out-of-town relatives who came in after the holiday this year…

And we talked about Christmas Cards that were already stamped to go out in today’s mail.

And we talked about how all the Christmas Shopping was already done. Not wrapped…but bought.

And we talked about the plans already in motion for Christmas.

AND I SAT THERE FEELING LIKE A FAILURE!!! Like I was in the middle of a holiday hangover and people were still ready to party on…

And I’ve decided to do something a little different this year.

Tonight at dinner, with immediate family only, we’re putting together a “family” Christmas calendar. We’re going to talk about the most important family tradition to each of us…and we are going to schedule it on the calendar…and order tickets…or plan to purchase whatever we need for the event. We’re going to look at all those typically “expected” holiday commitments, and see if we really want to attend them…or respectfully decline.

As wives and mothers, I encourage you to set the stage for this year’s Christmas season. It seems like we’re on the docket to “make it all happen” each and every year. What kind of atmosphere are we trying to create? What meaningful reminders of what the season is truly about can we weave into each activity?

I’d be willing to bet that what you want this year is a simpler, less stressful holiday, while maintaining some sense of family tradition. Remember the true reason for the holiday.

Isaiah 19:14

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father


Today’s dare is simple:

DARE YOU to share and encourage each other. What do you do to keep the holidays simple? What do you do to minimize the stress? How do you grow traditions in your family, while respecting each individual’s idea of what the holiday should be?

Hoping to emulate the Prince of Peace this holiday season!

“Let go…and let God.”