Category Archives: Holidays 101

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New Year’s Message

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Last year, 2015, was pretty tough for my family and I but we made it through. I know this had nothing to really do with us but it had everything to do with God holding us through the trials and storms. I don’t usually make New Year resolutions because I think we can sometimes go way overboard when making these “promises” and we end up either saddened by our lack of commitment or angered when we mess up. As such, I have gotten into the habit of doing a vision board at the beginning of each year. I have not completed my vision board for 2016 yet but many of the key points, as of right now, point towards career development and developing my spirit-man more this year. I guess you could say that 2015, with all its bumps and bruises, made me appreciate life more and has made me want to fulfill my purpose a lot more now than ever before.

While I am not much into making resolutions, I do believe in allowing God to reign in my life and inviting Him to take my mind, my heart, my life and to mold it into something that He can be proud of. So, my “resolution”, if you will, is just to be more like Him. To listen like He listens, to forgive like He forgives and most of all to love like He loves. Many things are easier said than done but this is my commitment to my family, to my friends and to everyone that God will allow me to influence, in any way, this year and for years to come.

So, here’s to 2016! May it be the beginning of the best part of your life! May you know love like you have never known before, know peace and joy like you have never known peace and joy before and be healed like never before. No matter what may come your way, in this new year, my prayer is that you will allow the Lord to see you through to the other side. For weeping can only endure for a night, but joy must come in the morning!

Happy New Year to you and yours! 🙂

Santa Didn’t Stop By Our House This Christmas

So, I am going to be completely transparent with you all today. I know that what I am about to say may make some people question my parenting and whether or not I am a good mother. However, I could honestly care less about those people right now. Most of my readers already understand and know who I am and what my children mean to me and how serious I take my role as a mother and role model. Either way, I do say this with great sadness but also with a peace that I did the right thing.

Before we get started, I want to pose a couple of questions to you. Feel free to answer in the comments section below or just within your own heart and mind as you read. Have you ever had to teach your children a lesson that you knew would hurt them? Did that lesson ultimately end up hurting you probably just as much, if not more, than it hurt your kids?

Yep, now you see how serious this is…

no-christmas-allowedI made the decision to cancel Christmas for my children this year. By that, I mean they did not receive any presents on Christmas morning. Now, I am not one who gets particularly bent on a day because I feel like I can buy presents all year round and any day of the year can be “Christmas” however, this day is, and always has been, a BIG day for my children (and most children, and
people, if we’re totally honest about it).

I did not withhold gifts due to poor grades because my children have been doing exceptionally well when it comes to their academics. I canceled Christmas for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons being that I have CHRISTmas
been trying to help my children understand the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it in the first place. I want them to know and forever understand that Jesus truly is the one and ONLY reason for this season, and every season.

The second reason was because I have gotten to my wits end in continuing to have to remind my children to do their chores, to the point that I am even doing many of their chores for them, and I wanted to help them understand that EVERYONE
contributes in a family. Also that everyone has a role and kinopoisk.ruresponsibilities within our household and that when we don’t do our “job” things just don’t function as well as they could or should. There have been other behavior issues with a couple of the kids but this is the bulk of why I chose to not have presents wrapped and under the tree on Christmas morning.

I wrestled with the idea of withholding gifts for quite a while. I had actually gone out and purchased presents for each of my children, multiple presents mind you, but at the very last minute I decided that some of their behavioral issues needed to be addressed and dealt with a little differently this year. I also did this because my children are far from jesus-vs-santa babies but they are not yet teenagers so, my thinking was that if I don’t teach them now, and begin to hold them accountable for their actions, they will never truly learn and adhere to it later.

All was not lost for our Christmas. We celebrated Jesus, ate ice cream, listened to holiday music, sang to various songs, my two older girls recorded their Christmas Day YouTube vlogs and we watched an outrageous amount of classic Christmas movies. We also made our feast of a Christmas meal that we have done every year since the children were all very young. I think they may have enjoyed Christmas a little more this year, even without the gifts, but Christmas-giftsmaybe that’s just the mom in me being hopeful that they actually “got it!” but who knows.

My original plan was to have a late “gift exchange” this year but I am still debating that. I am always trying to make sure that I am sending the right message to my children and I don’t know if giving them their gifts, after-the-fact, is sending them mixed messages. Y’all pray for me! 🙂

I hope everyone had a glorious Christmas and I will be chatting with you again in the New Year! Happy Holidays to you all!

Freedom Isn’t Free: It Always Comes With A Price

What is a veteran? According to Merriam-Webster, a veteran is anyone who has had long experience in a particular field. Maybe I should rephrase my question… what is a military veteran? A military veteran can be a man or a woman. He/she is someone whoV_Day-Feature-Banner-300x176 may be actively serving, discharged, reserves or retired. A military veteran is someone who has sacrificed much, including: time with family and friends, lost limbs, higher salaries that they could have been making in the private sector and have even, sometimes, sacrificed their very lives for the sake of freedom.

Maybe that is why some people’s first thought is not to tell the young service members “Happy Veterans Day” or celebrate them the way that they celebrate and honor the older generation of military members. Our first thought is typically that a veteran is someone older, right? Wrong.

I think we need to realize that our world has changed and our military continues to be a major part of that change. We have 18-year olds who leave as boys and girls and return to us as grown men and women. 19-year olds who have seen and done more in a year or 2 in the military than most of us have seen and done with our enVeterans-Daytire lives. 20-year olds who are sent to war, who deploy and come back home with all types of mental and physical wounds. These young men and women, just like the 75-year old WWII veteran, are too America’s heroes. They deserve the same honor, celebration, gratitude and appreciation that we display to the older generation of military men and women.

With that said, if you have not already done so, tell a service member ‘Thank You‘ today. And, if you are a present or former military member, let me take this time to thank you for your service and your sacrifice. I know, from experience, that it is not easy and you deserve so much more than we can ever repay. Also, to the men and women who have found their place in standing beside a soldier, sailor, marine, airman or coastie, please know that you are never forgotten. I, also from experience, understand the difficulties that you face as a spouse, child or other loved one of someone in the military. I truly honor you on this day for your service and sacrifice and for continuing to stand and support your service member through it all. We salute and honor you all on this, and every, day.

Past, present and future…

Happy Veterans Day!

I’m Thankful For…

There really is so much to be thankful for this day (and every day) but I chose to show my thankfulness in a different way this year. Let’s take a little stroll back down memory lane, shall we?…

This time last year was my very first Thanksgiving in my current home. I moved in at the beginning of November 2013 and 26 days later I managed to prepare a nice, filling and yummy (if I must say so myself) holiday meal for my children, myself and a few friends and family that stopped by. This year I wanted to start teaching my children the importance of helping others in need so I signed us up to volunteer at a local shelter.

Wow! I must say that I thought this would be a good experience for them but I now see how I grossly underestimated the impact that this would have not only on my children but also on myself and the people that we were going to serve.
You see, when we got to the shelter, early this afternoon, there were a few people sitting around, watching t.v., so my children and I proceeded to the kitchen to start making their Thanksgiving dinner. Some of the food was already prepared since there was another family who had already volunteered for the kitchen/cooking duties before I signed up. At any rate, we still got a chance to help with the meal prep. Not only did this give my older girls more practice with their cooking but it also gave my younger kiddos an opportunity to practice being helpful and careful in the kitchen.

After we finished preparing the Thanksgiving feast for the residents, we were told that we could go out and sit with the residents (or take a mini-break) since we had a little time before we were allowed to serve the food. So, I went out and sat in the “living room” and I told my children to go and find another child to talk to or play with for the time being. On Tuesday night, we had also put together some little gift bags for the residents. My children graciously handed those out before settling down with a group of kids that I would later find out they felt “drawn to”.

There was a family with a infant baby girl and 3 older children (close to my own children’s ages) and they were sitting at one of the tables waiting for us to begin serving the meal. All I could hear was laughter and the chatter of these children and my children. It definitely put a smile on my face because when we walked into the shelter it was almost like the life had been sucked out of the atmosphere. There was no talking, no laughter, no joy…

It was finally time to serve this meal so I went back into the kitchen and assisted with this. I figured my children were okay and better off continuing to keep their new little friends entertained for their exhausted mommy. Once everyone had come through the line, I got a plate and sat down with my children and the mom of the 3 children that my own children had sought out and started playing with earlier.

She eagerly welcomed me and we started talking. I found out more about her and her situation in less than an hour than I know about some of my closest friends to this day. She expressed some very deep things and it became quite clear to me that we should never judge a book by its cover.

As we spoke, I quickly learned that this was a very intelligent, caring and hardworking young woman who had just had a tough life and gone through some things that I would not wish on my worse enemy but she was still able to stand strong and keep a happy face for her kids, in the midst of everything.

She reminded me a lot of myself and I expressed that to her. I encouraged her to stay strong and that things would get better. She and I exchanged numbers and agreed that we would keep in touch which I have no doubt that we will. So, this day has definitely changed my view of life and hard times and given me so very much to be thankful for. It’s funny how things just end up happening when we least expect it.

What I’m thankful for is having 5 beautiful and healthy children. I’m also thankful for the friends, who have become more like family, that God has placed in my life. I am also very much thankful for ALL of the people that God places along my path every single day because each and every one of those people have changed me, in some way, throughout the years.

So, what are you thankful for this year? How do you show your thankfulness?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope each of you enjoy this day and find some time to reflect on the things that make life worth living. 🙂

Traditions and Drama

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I am sure that I am not the first, and won’t be the last, to acknowledge how the holidays sometimes brings out the worse in people. We typically think of the holidays as a special time, heck, even a happy time but that is not always the reality for many of us.

My extended family used to have a tradition of getting together every Thanksgiving at one of our wealthier family members homes and everyone would eat, drink and be merry. However, this tradition was quickly thwarted a few years back when a disgustingly drunk uncle and a self-righteous cousin got into a full blown fight that soon led to things being broken and Thanksgiving being ruined for the rest of us. It was at that time that I decided to start my own Thanksgiving tradition, with my children, and I must say that it seems to be going much better than dealing with the family drama that comes, without fail, every time my extended family gets together.

I should let you know that I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and this entire holiday season, much like I do every year, but it is kind of sad to not be able to be with family due to not knowing if and when a fight will break out. Maybe things will get better as the years go by or maybe we will all eventually settle into our own, individual traditions and the thoughts of coming together as a family will not matter much any longer… Only time will tell. No matter what happens with the traditions that my grandmother started I will always be thankful for the time that I did get to spend with my extended family during past holidays. As far as my family’s Thanksgiving tradition, I pray that it will be something that my children will continue long after I am gone.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Happy Veterans Day

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I wanted to take this time to thank the men and women who have served, presently serve and will serve in the future. This day is often celebrated, in some way, by many different industries. Some people take the day off and some companies, and schools, close to honor this day. Others give away an item or service for free to our veterans and still others have parades or plan other events to show their appreciation to the men and women who have chosen to fight for our country and its freedoms.

There are simply no words to express how thankful I am to each and every one of you that have made the decision to serve. I’m sure the decision was not an easy one and it is surely life-changing. In some cases, the decision may very well have been one that some family members are still trying to cope with. At any rate, this message of thanks is intended for all of you. Yes, even you. To all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice and the families of those fallen and missing military members, you are forever in my prayers and will never be forgotten.

To the families of those who currently serve or have served, I take my hat off to you. No one knows the burden and loneliness that comes with being the spouse or child of a service member. Yet, no one can truly understand the pride that comes from being the family member of a soldier (airman, sailor, marine or coasties), either. It is a life that few choose to live out. It is definitely not for everyone but it is one that brings great honor to those who truly embrace it.

“Thank You” sure does not feel like it is good enough however, “Thank You” is all that I have to give. Be sure to thank a veteran (active duty, reserves, retired, discharged…doesn’t matter) and make a military husband, wife or child feel special today (and every day). Let them know that they are loved, appreciated and will never be forgotten.