Sunday, December 8, 2013

We Aren't Putting Up a Christmas Tree This Year

Whatever you do, don't blink.
Preface: This is just my own personal thoughts on how my family is choosing to celebrate Christmas this year. I have no problems with Christmas or presents or how others choose to celebrate. I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong about having a tree or giving presents. I really have no problem with Christmas. Except for that creepy elf on the shelf thing. That I have a problem with, but that is another post.

My oldest daughter's first Christmas was a typical first Christmas. She had more toys than she could possibly need. We actually had to open them in two sessions because she fell asleep before she finished. We continued this on as my other children were born. Every year a tree, decorations on the house, presents. Then 7 years ago I miscarried on December 16th. We didn't do decorations on the house that year but we forced our way through the tree and presents for the kids. If I am honest, I never really recovered my Christmas spirit after I lost my baby. Every year around this time brings me a profound sadness that I can't seem to exchange for the commercial Christmas joy. But, as sad as December the 16th makes me, it is not really why we have decided not to do a Christmas tree this year, it has simply served to slowly open our eyes up to what our family really wants Christmas to be about: Jesus and family time.

This year we will not put up a tree:

1. Because we don't have the space to bring in more stuff. As you know, last year we sold our big 3,200 square foot house in suburbia for a 1,600 square foot house in the country. While I know that 1,600 is still quite big to most of the world, it has been quite an adjustment for us and with that adjustment we have had to make some major life changes. With downsizing the house we have had to do some major purging. It makes little sense to purge only to turn around and fill that space back up with more stuff.

2. Because it is expensive. I skipped the sales. Our children are getting 1 gift from us, which will either be consumable (art supplies and the like) or Lego. Since we made such major life changes with the move, we have decided that we must follow through with our intentions to become debt free. We will save quite a bit of money this year by not over indulging our children with more stuff.

3. Because Christmas makes a big mess. Call me selfish, but I do not want to have to clean up after Christmas. I don't want to have to take down the tree, pack up all of the stuff, clean up the wrapping paper and so on. Yes, my family would help, but I would just much rather use my time to actually be with my family. I want to be sitting around the fireplace playing games and talking with them, not watching everyone rush off into different rooms so they can play with the newest piece of whatever they just got. My husband doesn't get a ton of time off work and I would much rather we spend that cuddled up on the couch than ripping lights down off the roof.

4. Because after looking at Christmas decor and hearing Christmas music since before Thanksgiving, frankly, by the time it actually rolls around I am sick of it. Every year stores put out decor earlier and earlier. Christmas music starts being played mid-November and the ads everywhere start featuring Santa. Yeah, it gets old fast. I mean seriously, who wants to listen to songs about it snowing when the weather outside is still in the mid 70's?

Don't worry! Just because we are going minimal on Christmas this year does not mean it is all bah humbug in the Molder house! We have already enjoyed many Christmas activities together. We have packed Operation Christmas Child boxes, we have watched a Christmas river parade, and we will have a big family get together that will include a small gift exchange and ugly Christmas sweaters. We will celebrate Christ's birth and talk about what it means for believers. I will bake yummy goodies and we took the kids to see Disney on Ice as part of their Christmas gift. However, this year, the focus will be on Jesus' birth and simply being together.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

To the Young Mother Who did not Need God but Needed Help - I Survived and so will You.

I stumbled across a blog post a couple days ago. It was written by a young mother and she sounded fairly desperate.  She spoke of how older women were not following the Biblical mandate found in Titus 2:3-5 - -“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be submissive to their husbands, so that the Word of God will not be reviled.”

She was frustrated by the lack of help she and other young moms were getting from the Christian women who are older.  She did go on to say that she had been blessed by an older lady that did eventually step in to watch her babies so she could have a break, a nap, or grocery shop sans kids and also of hiring a young lady to come in and help her around the house on occasion.  You can read the entire post here.

Here is my response to this young mother:

I feel for you moms with little bitty ones. I have been there. But, I take issue with the expectation that older women should be doing more to help you.

The Bible doesn't tell me or any other woman to go to your house and babysit. Is it a nice thing to do? Absolutely, but it is not a Biblical mandate nor is it a requirement of being an older woman.  Older women have put in their time with their own little ones. They have put their time in the church nursery. Now they get to reap the reward of a hard job, well done.  They are not called to be the caretakers of your children or your home. That is your job. That is your calling. That is your responsibility.  It is not all fun.  It is work. It is hard. But, even though it feels like an eternity before you will ever get a full nights sleep, it is short.  I miss smelling my newborn's baby smell.  I miss the chubby hands of a toddler reaching for my glasses. I miss the contented feeling of nursing a baby at my breast.  Those days go by all too quickly.

This is how older moms and women can help -

  • We can help you make a plan. We can not make you stick to it.  
  • We can show you how to deal with unexpected circumstance. We can not make you see.
  • We can tell you what we did to get through each day. We can not expect that the same things will work for you. 
  • We can tell you to lower your expectations. We can not make you do that. 
  • We can tell you to relax a little. We can not relax for you.
  • We can teach you a hundred other things about running a home, caring for infants and children, caring for a marriage, making a budget, creating meal plans and all the other things that are involved in house and home.  But we can not make you learn.  

What I have found so often with young mothers who come to me for advice is that they see no possible solutions.  They seem to know everything, have tried everything, and are not really wanting to do anything that may seem to add to their already heavy load even though it would help them in the long run.  Keep in mind, I have been there.

So my biggest piece of advice to you as a young mother - - - Do not write off the wisdom and words of those that have gone before you.  Do not refuse to see possibilities in seemingly impossible situations.

When we that have walked through the fire say, "lower your standards," we really mean just that. Your house is not going to stay spotless and if you are anything like I was, you will learn to accept mediocrity and find more contentment in it.  Somedays you need to just call the day a success if you managed to wash a pair of underwear in the shower and blow dry it dry.

When we say, "savor this time," we really mean that.  Your kids are going to be big before you know what happened and you will miss their babyness.  You will almost forget what they felt like when you held them as infants.

When we say, "relax and enjoy your life," we really mean that. You have to find the joy. Some days this will come very easily. Other days you will dig and dig and dig before you find the joy. But, with practice you will get better at this and it will bring you contentment even when there is milk all over the floor and someone is crying and another is using the milk as paint for the walls.

When we say, "give it time," we really mean that. Some situations are out of your hands and you will be able to do nothing to fix it. Time is a gift from God. Accept it and allow it to do its work.
I remember when my kids were itty bitty.  I was 32 when I had my youngest child. At that time I had a newborn, a 2 year old, a 3 year old, and an 8 year old with significant behavioral and emotional issues.  I was very overwhelmed.  I also trended toward thinking that the older women in my life were not doing their "job" and they were not "helping" me.  I had all the hormones that come with giving birth and nursing. I had toddlers. I had a house to keep up. I had a marriage to keep up. It was a lot.  

Now I am 37 and my kids are 5, 8, 8, and 13.  My life is not a bed of roses. My 13 year old still has significant issues. My 8 year old boy has a chronic illness, my 8 year old girl has learning disabilities and my 5 year old is still dependent on me to help her with a lot of things.  But, I am sitting on the side of the fence where everyone can find and tie their own shoes, get their own glass of water, wipe their own butts, and take a bath on their own. They are also no longer adding to my burden of cooking and housekeeping but sharing the load. It is really amazing at the difference in my life compared to just 3 years ago, when I felt like I would lose my mind.  There is light at the end of the itty bitty kid tunnel!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Vinyl Wall Art Giveaway/Sweepstakes

I'm not a great decorator. Seriously. I can look at pictures of rooms and think wow that looks great, but when it comes to doing it myself, nope, not happening. I think that is why I love vinyl wall art so much. It is customizable, looks good and most of all, it is easy.

My mother and I recently embarked on a new adventure. Wall Worthy Vinyl Designs creates and cuts out vinyl wall decals. We can even create a custom piece just for you! Everything we create can be made to your specifications. Want pink? No problem? Have a space that has awkward measurements? Let us know and we will do our best to customize your art to fit your space.

Wall Worthy uses high quality vinyl that when applied and cared for properly can last for years inside! You can even put it outside, though weather conditions can cause vinyl to age quickly. We also use a top-notch cutting machine. This means sharp edges and highly accurate details. Vinyl will stick to almost any flat surface with the right preparation. From glass to tile or even textured walls!

Because we can create a piece just for you, you will have the opportunity to have truly unique piece of home decor!

Now the fun part: As part of our launch we are giving away 1 free vinyl decal valued up to $50! Choose from our already created designs or we will work with you to create a custom design. Remember custom designs, design changes and sizing may change the base price of the design you choose. All of our products ship priority so as long as you get back to us quickly we can have this to you in time for Christmas!

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