Dec 31, 2013

Let There Be Peace on Earth (and let it begin with me)

I just spent the better part of an hour reading the comments from an essay written by an atheist about celebrating Christmas. The essay itself was, for me, unremarkable. It was the comment section that left me breathless.

The comments, as I'm sure you can imagine if you've ever read comments online, range from ridiculous to moderately sane, from atheists, agnostics, and Christians alike. To be fair, I did not read them all (so maybe there were more pleasant or sane ones than those I read), but overall it left me feeling really sad.

I don't understand why people don't just get along. Why we all can't just respect each other. Why we all feel the need to be rude and resentful or judge and criticize other people.

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. But just because I believe these things doesn't mean I can't respect and even love someone who doesn't. It doesn't matter if Jesus was the first person to ever preach about goodness and kindness (I am pretty confident he wasn't). Whether or not your belief in goodness and kindness comes from Jesus or Buddha or the humanity itself really doesn't matter to me. (And it shouldn't matter to anyone else.)

Isn't that what is most important?

I don't know. Perhaps I am being blasphemes for thinking I can be a Christian and think it's more important to be a good person than to believe in God. But I guess I think it's okay. I'm sure some (many) could find fault in this. I'm sure some (many) could claim I am "cherry-picking" my Christianity. And to that I say oh well. My personal faith (and any possible challenges about my faith) are my own.

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I also happen to believe in being kind, compassionate, and loving. And I know numerous people (some close friends) who don't believe in God but also believe in kindness, compassion, and love. Whether or not they believe in God has no influence on whether or not they are my friend. And I'm pretty sure they would say the same about me.

What would the world be like if we all were the same, all believed the same? I just wish we could respect our differing opinions as opposed to argue.

Just as an aside: I have had plenty of times I've initiated conflict and been very judgmental (especially talking politics) so I'm not pretending I'm above anything or anyone. I just wish we could all be nice to each other.

If you believe in being a good person, and I believe in being a good person, whether that belief comes from one place or another shouldn't matter. If we both claim to be good people, shouldn't we be nice to each other?

Yes. Just yes.

As this year is ending and a new one is beginning I am sending love and respect out into the universe.

Whatever you believe or don't believe I wish for you: love for your neighbor, love for yourself, and peace in your heart this coming new year.

xoxo, christine

Dec 15, 2013

Do You See What I See?

I didn't want to do Christmas cards this year. I don't want to do Christmas cards. Every other holiday tradition feels joyful. I wanted to cut down a Christmas tree, decorate the house, bake cookies, because all of those things are important traditions I want my girls to have and enjoy. But Christmas cards? I'm just not feeling it this year. Whether or not we send those out don't really affect the kind of Christmas memories my children have.

I don't feel like sending out a card full of happy smiling faces when I feel like our year hasn't been all that happy. Oh, yes, we have been blessed with many happy moments throughout the year, but overall well, the year sucked. Sending out cards doesn't feel right to me, nor important.

My husband, on the other hand, takes comfort in sending out cards to his family and friends (who he doesn't see regularly) to let them know that we are all alive and okay. (Whether or not we are okay is debatable to me.) But I understand his need, even if it is different than my own.

This week Adam made some cards, and at the last minute he ordered a few for me, but I'm not sure whether or not I'll actually address them and send them out. I felt guilty when he was putting in his order that only some of our friends and family would get a card and others (namely, mine) would not. But aside from the guilt I don't know why I did it, because I just don't want to send cards. I don't. I really, truly don't.

Most things I am holding on to and even excited about because I have the girls to think about and be excited with. Christmas cards? I just don't want to think about sending something out without Calvin's name on it. It feels like I'm pretending our year was all smiles when I feel like it was mostly tears. Like I am pretending this past year was something different than it actually was.

(So, you're probably not going to get a Christmas card from me.)

xoxo, christine

Dec 10, 2013

Winter Wonderland

So, I read an article about "secrets for happier holidays" and one of the recommendations was to find the single thing you value most (ie. Is it spending as much time with family as possible? Drinking eggnog? Stress-free joy? Etc.).

While I would love to declare that stress-free joy is at the top of my list (oh how I long for stress-free), the thing I value most about this holiday season is making memories and keeping traditions with my children. Unfortunately, stress-free joy does not go hand-in-hand with children, so I'm going to have to let that go. Anyway, the whole point of it all is that this way I'm making a choice about what is most important and I shouldn't feel resentful for what all goes into these memory making and traditions because it is what is most important to me.

Here's to not letting the stress of gingerbread houses and rearranging Christmas decorations get to me.

* * *

Despite the disgustingly cold weather, we snuck in one tradition this past weekend of going out to a tree farm and cutting down our own tree. It was nose-numbing cold, but Hope didn't seem to notice as she frolicked through the snow and pointed out possible trees to take home.

It is most definitely winter here, even though the calendar claims we still have eleven days until it's official. The temperatures in the negatives, the mounds of snow, and the ice-covered roads call the meteorologists bluff of Winter Solstice.

* * *

On another note, I've been half-successful with my holiday fasting I proclaimed in my previous post. I will happily report that I have not played Candy Crush since, and have spent significantly less time on the computer while watching television. I am, however, still checking Facebook and email (although not as frequently). I have yet to have some awe-inspiring epiphany or magical moment of clarity, but at the same time I do feel a little more focused than I have in the past weeks.

* * *

I wish I could say that December so far has been all joy and excitement and family and fun. But, even though there's been significant amounts of stress, it has been good. The girls are so excited about every little thing and it's hard for that excitement not to rub off on me too.

Time to gather up the girls to decorate the tree. Another memory to make.

xoxo, christine

Dec 3, 2013

Holiday Fasting

I think I need a technology break. Or at least a cut-back. I am feeling tired and emotional, and am wasting way too much time playing Candy Crush, checking Facebook, and just dinking around on the internet.

It seems silly to make some sort of statement about taking a technology break, especially here on a blog. But I am writing about it, simply because I'm hopeful it will help me follow through with my fast. (Also hopefully no one while think I'm being rude if I don't respond on Facebook for awhile.)

It's not that I want to stop completely, but I feel like I'm living such a distracted life, I can't just do one thing at a time. It's gotten so bad that I'm crushing candies on the iPad while watching television and I'm not really focused on either thing. Plus, I lay in bed at night and can't get visions of striped candies wiping out rows of red and green and yellow out of my head.

Of course, I'm totally okay with doing two things at once when I'm having a conversation with my daughter while driving, or listening to music while cooking, but I just don't feel very present in my life. And I'm not okay with that. This holiday season seems like the perfect time of year to take a technology fast and just be.

If you don't hear a lot from me (mostly via Facebook since I haven't been blogging very regularly anyway), it's because I'm enjoying my December with my family. And taking some time to read. And take more photos. And journal. And just be.

xoxo, christine