Thursday, December 31, 2015

CHRISTmas 2015 & CHEERS for 2016

     Hope everyone had a very blessed Christmas 2015!  This year was filled with many new memories.  As usual, my shopping was completed in our annual shopping spree a few days prior to Thanksgiving.  This allows us time to decorate & enjoy the holidays ahead filled with many parties & time with those we love.  We traveled to the mountains for 6 days but of course came home for the big day.  Christmas Eve is always spent at Candlelight service with my Walker family in the church I grew up in.  It's such a special service that we look forward to every year.  There is just something magical about singing Christmas carols mixed with the Christmas story in candlelight with my family right beside me.  I couldn't imagine spending Christmas morning any other way than with excited kiddos waking up too early to rip into presents & all of our family coming over for Christmas breakfast.  This year it was extra loud & livened up with a karaoke of cousins singing & dancing.  Nothing short of a hilarious show of laughter!
     I'm thinking Christmas is getting to be a bigger & more of an expensive production each year.  Of course with 5 kids, anything can become a big production!  I will have to be the 1st to admit, I love the decorating, shopping, & planning family activities each day.  The festivities began with the preteen & teenage church Christmas party lock in with a night filled with fun & games for our oldest girls.  NO sleeping allowed!  I wasn't there to take pictures but the ones I saw & all the feedback suggested it was nothing short of a HUGE success!  Our local homeschool group gathered for an exciting time for a group party, Mom's only party, & also an exclusive teen party.  Here's a picture of the moms who were able to attend our Mom's Night Out.  I LOVE this group of ladies.  It was such a wonderful evening of great food & fellowship, devotions & tears, & also lots of games with fun & laughter!

This year we were blessed with an advent box from a very dear friend.  It went right along with our Christmas Bible curriculum stories as we counted down the days.  They all absolutely loved lighting the candles!
We even ventured back to Aimwell to help retell the Christmas story:

& yes, our Christmas is also filled with too many presents!

     I know, I know...many say Christmas is too commercialized.  It is definitely true that the retailers really hit it big right at the end of their year.  I am one of those shoppers.  It runs in my blood thanks to my sweet mama.  My parents are gracious enough to give us all a Christmas "bonus" & bless us with a fun trip to Atlanta too.  It has been growing for years.  My kids really love it.  We are blessed with so much abundance as is the majority of America.  I can cry a river & live with my heart sinking low thinking about how ungrateful we are & how neglected others are for even bare necessities.  Instead, I choose to rejoice.  I am thankful for what we have.  Not eating does not feed another just as not buying does not provide for one in poverty either.  I do stress over the fact that some don't have.  We do reach out to others to help during this time especially as I'm sure many others do also.  Nothing ever feels sufficient enough though.  We have to find some sort of balance of gratitude & giving in our lives.  That's the hard part.  Always remember it never costs you a dime to smile & live JOYfully.  Share your love with others!
     Tonight as 2015 comes to a close, I am excited about the New Year ahead.  Who doesn't love NEW?  Plans don't have to be too extensive.  Resolutions aren't necessary.  Keep your head in the game, goals in focus, & never loose sight of your vision for your life!  Savor the moments that have passed, learn from the unpleasant ones, & face 2016 with a purpose for making the most amazing memories ever!  CHEERS!