Reflections

When You Don’t Want to do Christmas Because You are Broken

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Behold, Christmas.

The most magical of holidays is quickly, quickly, oh so quickly approaching.

There are still things on my to-do list. Things that may or may not get done. At this point, I’m just weighing the amount of sanity and energy I posses against the amount of things to get done.

*Glares into the sunset* it does not look good, folks.

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I’m kidding. Truly. But sometimes, don’t you ever wish that you could be like Luther and Nora from Christmas with the Kranks?

It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies. After watching, sometimes I wish I could cancel Christmas too. But of course I won’t. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to hide from this Christmas madness?

Let’s talk about something phenomenal.

Around Christmas…and no, even before. Even preceding Thanksgiving there begins this thing which I will call “the holiday deception”.

Stay with me.

Holiday deception?? It’s where a person feels they must have x time for activities, x money for presents, and generally make the holidays incredibly special for themselves and their families.

Maybe it’s just a mom thing. I don’t know.

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But for me, my life right now is like a gigantic holiday explosion. My bank account has exploded, my purse exploded all over my car, My kitchen sink, my sanity, my life. Exploded.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store after a gruelling dentist appointment. In the process of grabbing a container of yogurt from the top shelf, another fell down and, yes, released its contents onto the bottom of the cooler.

It is how I feel about Christmas right now.

That yogurt fiasco has come at the end of a series of trials.

The furnace quit working. (It has been fixed.) Our oven quit working. I was dealing with a health concern. I was getting anxious about bills. We are down to one car.

All these things and others piled up until I was just crying out to God. Just wondering why. Why all these things were happening and why they were happening to me.

It all felt so unfair.

And yeah, it’s not a super large amount of things. But sprinkled with holiday stress and a baby on the way (you heard it!), it starts to feel that way.

And there are some out there who are struggling on deeper levels. Your hurt, your anguish, your pain speaks loudly.

And you’re wondering why. Why me. Why at Christmas.

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Let me share with you something that spoke to me just a few months after Christmas, almost 10 years ago.

I came home from college in December, and I was quite frankly a mess. There was not much room in my heart for holidays and joy and festivities.

The why is hard to explain. I was dealing with a lot of stress and some unresolved grief. But at the core, the very core of my struggle was my relationship with God. Something was broken and needed to be fixed.

I was like a broken clock, whom only God knew how to mend.

A lot of people walk around like that. Broken, hurting. At times these people wear complicated masks that disguise their deep hurt, rather than exposing it. Those who hurt deepest can appear to be the most unfriendly.

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For a time, I was one of those people. And to be honest, I can easily become a difficult person when faced with trials.

But you know what? Thank the Lord for friends who echo the love of God. For my birthday (10 years ago) I was given a Bible. Not just any Bible, it was a collection of Psalms and Proverbs.

What drew me to open up this little book, I’m not sure. I was bored and wanted something to read, perhaps. After all, even depressed me still enjoys a good book.

But even deeper and more sure than boredom was this lingering hope. This small truth, that deep in my heart I still knew. I knew it to be truth.

His Word has the power to restore.

And so I read.

This is the verse that hit my heart, like a brilliant white sliver of light shining into a forest of deepest dark.

 


“For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.”

Psalm 103:14


 

I can tell you that two things came to mind as I read and re-read that one verse.

1) That God created me, just the same as he created Adam, breathing life into His creation.

2) That maybe, just maybe my trials weren’t a reflection of my failings, but proof that I was human, only dust.

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Dust. Feels almost like an insult, right? But God created Adam from it. Gave that dust new life.

The Bible says that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

He illuminates our life.

We can feel broken and useless, like a string of Christmas lights turned dark because of our struggles. Then God comes along and speaks light!

He knows the pattern, the bulb, so to speak that needs turned so that our light is again bright.

He can do that for you. I know because He has done it for me.

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My concern about bills. About our oven. My health concern. They are are all being taken care of. God hears all of our cries and takes care of us in beautifully indescribable ways.

He is faithful. (Psalm 33:4, Lamentations 3:22-23)

God has not forgotten you. (Hosea 11:8, Psalm 94:14, Joshua 1:5)

He remembers, and He sees. (Psalm 139:16, Ephesians 3:17-21)

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Reflections

Frugal vs. poor {a penny for your thoughts}

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What does it mean to be frugal? And what does it mean to be poor? 

Although I think about these words often, and define them in my head, I realize I’ve not yet shared this on the blog.

In this post, I want to outline the definitions of the words “poor” and “frugal”, just as a starting point. Then I will share what these words mean to me and open the post up for discussion.

So if you have any thoughts or stories to share, please do so ☺

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Definitions

According to dictionary.com, a frugal person is one who is “economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful”.

A poor person, by contrast will have “little or no money, goods or other means of support”.

 

My thoughts on being poor

Poverty is a complicated issue. On the surface, it seems an easy fix. Work hard, get money and improve your standard of living.

Some people only have seasons of struggle. Some have a lifetime. There is no easy fix for that. But please understand that if you are in a difficult time in your life, there is hope and you can, you can move past it.

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I think the bottom line is that no one really wants to be poor and struggling, but it is possible to get out of it. Usually this takes some clear thinking, a good work ethic and help from others to accomplish.

 

My thoughts on being frugal

I think that most people would agree that people are not poor by choice. Some choices may lead to poverty, but people largely do not wish to place themselves in that uncomfortable place.

However, frugality is a choice. It is a way of life. It is essentially saying, “Hey, I make x, and I don’t want to spend all of x, so I will save where I can”.

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Frugal people, in my eyes are people who live as if they have less, so that they can have more in the future.

One way to save is to learn ways to slash your grocery budget. I’ve educated myself on this topic a bit and I enjoy passing on little bits of what I’ve learned to you guys.

((Are you up for a new series on saving money on groceries? I may have one in the works 😉😉))

So let me ask…what does being frugal mean to you? Does a certain picture come to mind? What does the word poverty mean to you? Where do you think the line is between poor and frugal? Would you consider yourself a frugal person? 

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Sewing & Repurposing

Whipstitch Wednesday: Making Bears for Carry the Future

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Today I finally, finally got to finishing some stuffed bears I had been planning on making for Carry the Future.

Last August, I was nominated for the Leibster award by Sharon, of the blog Leadership2Mommyship. In my post One Lovely Blog Award & Leibster Award I shared that I was totally in love with an organization called Carry the Future that gives aide and baby carriers to refugees, especially those in the Middle East.

They had a great need for certain items, and while I have slightly limited resources, I do like to sew. I saw that Carry the Future was partnering with Dolls of Hope, which made simple doll and bear patterns available for anyone interested.

(I decided on the bear pattern because it looked easier.)

Not too long ago, I actually downloaded the pattern, planned the project and then went to Wal-Mart to get my fabric.

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I bought a few flannel prints ⬆⬆⬆ for the front of the bears, and combined those with some Sesame Street fabric I already had and another flannel solid that was gifted to me.

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These ⬆⬆⬆ are the fabrics for the backs of the bears. There is a combination of minky, fleece, and plush fleece (the green).

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I probably started these in March and have just now finished 3. My goal is 12, but we’ll see 😄

These bears are fairly easy to do. And for anyone interested in making these, here are a few tips:

  • Minky is hard to work with because it likes to slide, but once it’s matched up correctly I found it easy to sew.
  • Using a peice of felt for the nose as the directions reccomend is the way to go.
  • You will use a lot of black embroidery thread. Buy lots.
  • 1 bag of stuffing will get you far. I’ve used enough for 3 bears and it looks like I’ve used hardly any.
  • Minky and plush fleece will shed everywhere, which you will probably notice when it is cut at the store. I found it helpful to use an old sheet spread under the fabric when I cut it and then cleaned up the mess with a lint roller.

 

I think I will get better at these bears as I go along but just wanted to share my progress for those interested.


 

Price breakdown:

Fabric– $15.61, for a 1/2 yard of 6 different fabrics (1.99-3.92 each).

Stuffing-$3.47, and more than likely way more than I need.

Blue thread-$1.45 (I always buy Gutterman).

Total: $20.53

It is very doable to make 10 or more bears for under $25, that’s in the ballpark of $2.50 or less per bear.


 

If you want to get started making these, you can find information and directions here:

https://www.carrythefuture.org/announcements/dolls-hope/

Does this look like something you are intersted in? Have you ever participated in a project like this? Let me know 😄😄

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Reflections

The Debilitating Nature of Depression {part 1 in a series of poems}

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Today I would like to open up and talk a little about a topic I don’t normally discuss here on the blog.

Mental illness.

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Because May is Mental Health Awareness month, I wanted to devote a few posts to the topic.

So many people have had good things to say and share about the topic. Here on WordPress, Facebook and other places on the world wide web.

I admire their courage. I admire their strength.

It takes courage to live with mental illness, but just about as much to share that you struggle with it.

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Today I would like to shed some light on the mental illness that is depression.

More specifically, I have sought to describe how depression can both make a person feel like time is standing still and yet going on forever. You can feel stuck. In life, in your day, in a moment.

If you are one of the many who struggle with depression, I hope that this poem can be an encouragement to you and a gentle reminder to get back to the you that you know.

Depression is a real struggle. There is hope. You are not alone.

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You Can’t Stay In Forever

You can’t stay in forever

If ever,

You know.

You can’t fight the pace

That’s slowing

You down.

Forever

Is never

a’ changin’.

And change

Oh change

Is

Good.

I crave forever

When I’m feeling

Down.

But forever

Is heavy.

Forever’s a trap.

Don’t let

“I’m never changing ever”

Spin you out of

Control.

 

Bring you back.

 

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This poem is my own.

All pictures are from pixabay. Photo 1 and 2 are my design.

Caturday, Reflections

Hold On To Love

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Stella is not a cuddler by nature. One of these days I’ll get a cute pic of her showing her loving side. But it is not this day.

Today Caturday is taking a more serious turn as I reflect about the atrocities committed against humanity in Las Vegas. I heard about it from the day it happened of course but it wasn’t until recently till I saw this picture and story that the reality of it all really sunk in.

http://tribunist.com/news/man-who-covered-woman-in-iconic-las-vegas-shooting-image-is-an-active-duty-u-s-army-soldier/?utm_source=GStyle

This is my country. This happened here. These are real people that lost their lives. I can’t point a finger. I can’t blame. I won’t give attention to the whims of a madman who deserves no mention. Yes, I had anger. But there was something else..

As I read that article, saw the picture of the army soldier tenderly sheltering that woman…I thought of Him.

Of how this must break God’s heart. Of the gentle love that He has for those who suffer. Who have been through fear and pain. He holds those people with tenderness. That is what I see when I looked at that picture.

And I thought of this verse.

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He holds us in His hands. He carries us in His heart. He has great love for humanity. Not only for His church, His bride but for us all. Every person who has ever walked this earth.

And I can’t get over the picture. Because not only do I see God’s tender love, I see His Son Jesus. So willing and ready to give up his life to save mine and yours. He took my place on that cross. He loves with an everlasting love.

This post has went much deeper than I originally planned but these words have been heavy on my heart. I know that talk of God and deep spiritual things is not what everyone desires. It’s ok. I understand. But my Lord is so much a part of my life that the light has got to have somewhere to shine. I thank-you for reading 🙂

So what can I do? You do? We do? We love. We go on. Hold those close whom you love. Even those whom to love is difficult. Trust me, I know. Be kind. Kinder than necessary.

Each one of us has a gift and a purpose on this earth. And I believe our highest calling as human beings is to love.

Love each other. Even when it’s hard. Even when that person drives you crazy. In some cases discernment and common sense is needed. We are not doormats. But love all the same.

And if all else fails, cuddle your kitty. Or puppy or (insert all other animals). Because pets just seem to understand.

Hold on to love.

~Rachel