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Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway. ~Emory Austin

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Monday, December 3, 2018

The Not-So Crazy, Zany, Whimsical Christmas List Post

Have we lost a little bit of that Christmas Spirit? Have we made it about the presents? Stop a while, take note, get back to basics and let’s bring our gifts to the One we’re supposed to be celebrating. The reason for the season, after all’s been said and done, so to speak, is still about Jesus. And the one gift he’s ever asked for was you/me. Yes, he came for us.



And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. ~Luke 2:10 –14 (KJV)



Warning: Something sinister takes over my soul at Christmas time and I’m stuck on the Hallmark Channel. It’s horrifying. My writing also is affected and morphs into the whimsical realm. 


A Christmas Poem

Midnight stars illuminate
The dark he came to decimate
For sin did not discriminate
Love incarnate alleviate

To shepherds sing
The hosts on high
Peace on the earth
And to mankind

The Magi’s gifts
Of myrrh and gold
And frankincense
The cross unfolds




12 Ways For A Caregiver’s Merry Christmas

1. Breathe. I tell my Dad this all the time, “Breathe, get some oxygen to those brain cells.” It works.
2. Enjoy the season. Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. Try not to OD on the Hallmark Channel. If you can write a HC movie you’ve probably been watching too much. But you should submit it anyway.
3. Sing … or hum
4. Write a list of your favorite carols to sing … or hum

  •  Oh Holy Night
  • Angels We Have Heard On High
  • Carol of the Bells
  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • The First Noel

5. Drink hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows
6. Drink eggnog, sprinkle with cinnamon. I think that makes it healthy
7. Ask for help or receive help when offered
8. Laugh, play, read a book. Sit in front of the fireplace
9. Get some exercise. This can be a quick walk in the morning when you can see your misty breath. Oh so brrrr, but refreshing.
10. Accept interruptions to the season. It’s bound to happen for caregivers.
11. Understand that trips to the ER may disrupt holiday plans so be ER ready: pack a pretty backpack with essentials like your favorite snacks, a book perhaps, or your Kindle, a phone charger, tissues, lip balm, throw in a bottle of water, too. I find that if I have this go-bag ready, a visit to the ER is not so troublesome. It feels like you have a little control of the situation. Keep a pillow, blanket, and jacket in the car.
12. Let family be the caregivers, or at least help. You’ll be surprised how much they would like to be involved, and they’re probably good at it. My cousin and his son, who were vacationing here in SoCal, from Holland spent a day with Mom and Dad and assisted Dad with his puzzles.
I Had A Christmas Dream: I woke up one morning and remembered the dream. I embellished it a little but this is what happened. Maybe it will make you smile.

The Christmas Fairy

A dream she weaves for weary souls
When life is broken full of holes

“Imagine this, imagine far,”
She whispers to a passing star,
“Walking through a snowy forest
Where snowflakes
Never taste like porridge
But more like soft marshmallow peeps
In every bowl of cereal treats
Imagine this, it’s oh so funny
As winter trees poop drops of honey.”



A few frosty-breathed giggles escapes Kyleigh’s sparkling-pink fairy lips.

The star whispers back, “Sweet honey drops are never sticky.”

Purple flowers struggle through the frozen cracks of a cold wintry ground and finally show off their heart-shaped berries and chocolate leaves in sweet victory.

The star shudders. “Got to go, sweet Kyleigh, it’s morning time.”

Kyleigh rubs the sleep out of her big brown eyes as she waves goodbye. She thanks the trees who had lulled her to sleep with their stories. Every tree in the forest has a story and if you should have a difficult time falling asleep, for one reason or another, they would whisper their stories till you drift into a dream.

This was the last night Kyleigh would sleep till the New Year. It was her favorite time of year—Christmas.

She blows the playful snowflakes off her nose and loses herself further into her cozy blanket. “Time to rise,” she whispers. 

Through the sheer curtains, drops of honey sunshine, sweet but never sticky, fall gently into her sandy-brown hair creating ripples of golden lights. Each drop whispers her name. “Kyleigh, it’s almost Christmas.”

She shakes the layer of snow from her blanket that she flings twice around herself. Twirling ever so graceful till the blanket embraces her and fully clothes her in a royal wintry robe.

“Okay,” she mutters—eyes wide open. “I’m ready to go.” Shaking the light out of her hair and dusting off another layer of snow, which leaves a radiant blue shine all over her robe, Kyleigh catapults through the rustic arched door of the Spruce she calls home into a bright new morning.

“Brrrr,” she shouts. “I forgot my woolly booties.” With a skip and a hop she scoots back into the tree where her warm fuzzy booties slithers up to her dainty feet. Her dainty feet, however, has grown accustomed to the frigid winter days as she loves to caress the snow with her toes as if playing with warm sand on summer beaches. Nonetheless, she pulls on her woolly boots because she likes the feel of them and they help her move faster through the forest.

“Off we go then!”


More Lists ...

12 Simple Steps to Decorating the House

1. Take it slow
2. Keep it simple
3. Use Pinterest for quick and easy decorating ideas
4. Decorate for them, the one/s you are taking care of
5. Decorate an area just for you
6. Ask family and friends to send Christmas cards so you can display them
7. Christmas tablecloths are cheap
8. Use silk flowers, but real poinsettias are nice
9. Get a small Charlie Brown Christmas tree
10. Or create a Christmas Book Tree (See Pinterest)
11. String popcorn (Dad loves this)
12. Make paper chains



Furthermore, are there any family traditions you’ll be able to keep this year? I hadn’t really thought about traditions and I quite ignored the fact that we actually had some. We used to go to my parents’ church for Christmas service. This brought them much joy especially if our kids were part of the Christmas play.

We also used to receive a chocolate letter, the first letter of our names. This was a special chocolate by Verkaade, a Dutch chocolate brand. Hard to find nowadays but I’m going to do a little online research.

I’ve also convinced Mom and Dad to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life,” even though they’ve never watched a movie from beginning to end … ever. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe A Charlie Brown Christmas will be a better choice.

Try to keep a family tradition. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. And in case you get overwhelmed, go back to the basics—it’s still about Jesus. He will get you through this busy season. Let him be your peace, your joy, your provider. Emmanuel, God with us.




The Big Event: Christmas Dinner
12 Ways to Make Christmas Day Dinner Easy

For us, Christmas day is spent with my brother’s family at our house—11 adults plus one newborn and a toddler. This is my list of 12 things for a successful dinner and a Merry Christmas Day.

1. Cook what is easy. If you have to have a spaghetti dinner then by all means do so. For me, strange to say perhaps, what’s easiest is a full on Thanksgiving-kind of meal—the turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes etc. It somehow became a simple dinner hack for me. But do keep it simple.
2. My family is awesome and usually come with extra dinners, main dishes, salads, and desserts.
3. Use paper plates, paper cups, and cutlery.
4. Don’t make desserts from scratch, visit your local bakery or Walmart will do, right?
5. Do a potluck if you’re hosting the dinner
6. Ask your guests to bring the drinks.
7. You can provide drinks like simple cucumber water, lemon water, or use mint, oranges; who knew water can have so many flavors?
8. Have a place for coffee and hot chocolate with candy canes to stir. Let them serve themselves.
9. Don’t think you have to entertain everyone; keep Christmas DVDs available, or perhaps your guests love basketball. The NBA plays on Christmas Day.
10. We keep puzzles on the table. The grandkids have learned to bring card games.
11. Play worship music softly in the background
12. Leave the cleaning for the day after; or, better yet, accept any offer to help clean.





The Big Gift Exchange

Wouldn't it be a sweet thing if we had enough money to buy presents for the whole family and to be able to spend over $100 for each. Maybe you do, but it’s not in my budget. How about you? A few gift exchange ideas are as follows:

1. Draw names so that everyone has only one gift to buy. this works for our family.
2. Decide on a budget for presents
3. Ask for Christmas lists
4. Stocking stuffers will do
5. See’s candy for everyone? Maybe fruit baskets?
6. Homemade items: this list is endless. Check Pinterest for ideas
7. Gift cards. They really do love them.


Are you feeling the pinch, is it all too much for you? Find your quiet place, sneak a few moments to yourself and ask the Lord to refresh you, get your balance back. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:4 –7 (NLT)




For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ~Isaiah 9:6



22 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, this is first Christmas that we are not hosting or going to kid’s homes. They all scattered this past year. God has given you such a talent and creativity for writing. What a wonderful caregiver you are! Merry Christmas

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    1. Aww, thanks so much for the encouraging words. Maybe you can do a Facebook chat or video chat with your kids. Technology is wonderfully weird that way. Merry Christmas to you.

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  2. I love this, and even though I'm not a caregiver in terms of caring for someone sick, mentally ill or challenged, etc., as a mom I can DEFINITELY relate to these tips. They helped me quite a bit. Thanks!

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    1. Moms are awesome caregivers. Thanks for the thumbs up Jessica. Writers always hope and wonder if their writing will encourage someone.

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  3. Lots of great tips here! I enjoyed reading!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Julie. Love reading those comments.

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  4. Very well done and nothing left undone! Thank you for your great tips!

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    1. Hi Princess Cow ... what a delight you are. Here's to a blessed Christmas for you, we don't settle for less, right?

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  5. Great ideas to keep the season reasonable and fun! I love Charlie Brown, and I've been simplifying my decorations little by little. Merry Christmas!

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    1. We're trying to downgrade, but since we're taking our time this year the decorations seem to be growing slowly. I'm okay with that unless we start stressing. So far it's a calm house and it's starting to look red and green all over.Merry Christmas Nancy.

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  6. I didn't really consider it a tradition, but my wife pointed out we actually do have one: attending a candle light service on Christmas Eve. We do this in a mountain snowy town every year, which is another tradition in itself, since we don't actually live in the snow. Thanks for all thesegreat suggestions.

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  7. Funny isn't it? We didn't even think we had traditions. I love candle light services on Christmas Eve. Maybe this year I'll get my chance to go again. Thanks for stopping by Stephen.

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  8. I’m a list person, and I love all these lists! The poems and whimsy are beautiful and a great reminder to keep our childlike wonder as we think about the Greatest Gift of all. Can be easy to get weighed down by many other things. Thank you for sharing your caregiving journey with all of us. I’ve learned much from you.

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    1. Thanks Peggy. I knew I wasn't the only list person. My day gets pretty confusing if I don't have my lists. And you're right, we need reminders sometimes about the Greatest Gift of all. Thanks so much for dropping by.

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  9. Lovely and so very Christmas. I found myself getting into the spirit just from reading your blog so thank you so much. On top of that, you had some really great to improve our season of joy. I pray you enjoy all the Hallmark specials this Christmas.

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    1. Thanks Yvonne. I might have to write a Hallmark script. LOL.

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  10. I love lists. I think because I'm so bad at making them but I'm good at being a follower:). Thank you for these suggestions!

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  11. Every time I read your posts about caregiving and tips about providing care I am so deeply touched by how devoted you are to providing the best, most respectful care possible to your mom and dad. I also deeply appreciate how you share your learnings and knowledge with others because caregiving can be so lonely and so challenging. And if it is the first time someone has walked through supporting elders or anyone with chronic health it is all new territory with so much to learn and understand. So your hints and suggestions are certain to make their journey a little easier and their burdens a little lighter. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Blessings.

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    1. That means a lot to me, Anne. I do hope to make the journey for caregivers not only easier, but hopefully a blessing. Thanks so much. And you know I learn a lot from you as well.

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  12. I love this message!!!! Thank you so much! All the great ideas and reminders! Wonderful!!

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