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Fall came and went. The leaves were incredible this year and while we soaked up the changing of the season and all of its pumpkin spiciness, it still seemed too fast.

This week the lights, garland, and stockings will appear to cozy up our home in anticipation for the coming King. There is no shame in settling into the prophecies, the birth, and the miracle of Jesus before the calendar says its okay.

Our tree is now shorter than over half of our kids, and those childhood popsicle stick ornaments really are a distant memory. While I am excited to set it up, I know what seeing the growth of our kids will do to my heart.

You can be sure there will be tears of growing up and tears of laughter as we unpack the ornaments and tell stories about them.

On our drive home from Nashville this weekend, I said the sentence that I have not looked forward too.

“Next year is Zach’s last Christmas as a kid in our home.”

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Yes, he’ll be here for more celebrations and yes we will make more memories…but people, we really are down to the home stretch in raising number 1. Time is slipping away and for me, that means letting go of stuff that looks good and replacing it with stuff that lasts.

If you are like me a bit, every single year you try to get ahead of the giving and make a plan to simplify the way you love on others while doing your best to capture family time and listen to that favorite Christmas station on replay.

There never seems to be enough to give and although your heart desperately wants to celebrate others, you just feel behind. You may even feel un-trendy and not on top of it.

Welcome to my club! It’s not a terrible place to be. Actually I’ve never had it together for the holidays so that takes the pressure off of me…hahaha. But really!

This year we can simplify giving by making words our gift.

I would love to give handwritten words to those that I love because honestly… we’ve totally lost the art of meaningful words  thanks to texting and email. Fill a canvas with words or  attach a letter to a small token, package it with love and let it be enough.

Sometimes loving others best, means giving them something that will not fade, get eaten, burnt, worn, or used up. Words stick around and give life.

This year we can simplify getting by saying “no thanks” to piles of presents.

Welcome your family into your healthy boundaries for what your kids will be getting. Give them ideas but also give them parameters in order to avoid the chaos of too much stuff.

Honestly, kids will not remember or appreciate your sacrifice of presents or the perfect Christmas breakfast. They will however, never forget moments and memories of being together.

The gifts blend together but the slowing down, playing games, jamming to Christmas music in the car or kitchen, and baking together will not be soon forgotten.

No one should set themselves up for regret or go into debt while welcoming the Prince of Peace.

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This year we can simplify going, by saying yes to some events – but not all of them. 

There are lists of  plays, the holiday crafty marts, invites to parties, dinners with friends, fundraisers to help with, the community service projects, and don’t forget about taking care of kids on the other side of the globe… it’s all honorable and good.

But I wonder…Why  can’t we tend to those needs year round and not isolate our giving and serving to two weeks in December? Trying to cram for Christmas brings stress. We can all do without more of that!

I have to say that if we do everything, we lose the ONE thing we are hoping to celebrate.

Here’s to a month of celebrating with balance, memory building with others, and moment making with family. May our hearts have room to explode with thanks to the God who has sent the Savior to be celebrated.

~Jenny

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