Course Correction

I'm not exactly sure where my Sanity Train left the tracks this month.  But I am, somehow, way off-course.

I generally try to keep my head about me during the holidays.  I try to plan ahead, set aside time for traditions, keep a healthy focus outside of myself. 

Not this year. 

I've been busy to a degree that borders on frantic.  I've been cranky.  Distracted.  Rushed.  My focus has been everywhere except where it should be. 

And I could give you a laundry list of reasons for this, of course: unexpected family events, school musicals, increasing work-load, busy Hubs, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The real reason, I suspect, is a heart that was already too busy and hurried heading into the holiday season.

Last week, I went shopping with my oldest son.  I carried a clipboard, like some scary gym teacher, and I think I may have been muttering under my breath.  At one point, Adam sidled up next to me. 

"Mom," he asked, "is Christmas stressful?"

I looked at him quizzically. 

"I mean," he continued, in a classic example of pre-adolescent understatement, "you've just seemed a little tense lately.  Is Christmas stressful for you?"

I took a deep breath, a breath I should've taken about a month ago. 

No, I told him.  Christmas is not stressful.  Christmas is holy.  People are stressful.  I am stressful.  I take what is lovely and, whether by accident or design, I cover it with expectations and selfishness and over-committment and who knows what else.  What is lovely gets lost.

Well, not really.  It's never lost.  Maybe my line of vision gets skewed.  Maybe my hurried heart falters.  But what is lovely and precious and staggering about this most holy time?  It's still there.  He is still there.  In the manger.  In the heavens.  In my fickle heart.

In the interest of focus-shifting, I'm heading out for a little breather to reflect, quiet down, hug on my kids, and eat lots of stuff that is very bad for me over the next couple of weeks.  For grins, I'll probably run a few things from the archives.  I'll see you back here on Tuesday, January 6.

(OH!  One big exception to this blog break:  I will pop in briefly tomorrow with a hugely fun piece of scoop about The Mother Letter Project.  Seriously, you will not want to miss this fantastic bit of news, AND you'll be able to help with part of the big "reveal".  But then?  Back to the blog break.)

In the meantime, may you find a quiet breather yourself the next two weeks.  May you laugh and rest and worship.  May there be pie in your house, and much of it.  May your kitchen be cleaned by magical elves.  May your days be mer-r-r-r-r-r-r-y and bri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ight.  And may all your, um, spaniels be shrunken.

Merry Christmas, my friends, and grace and peace to you in the new year.

46 thoughts on “Course Correction

  1. Lori says:

    Merry Christmas to you as well! Thanks for a fun year of getting to know you via your blog. You’re bringing glory to God through it – but good for you for taking a break to enjoy your family. Cheers!

  2. Poppyseed says:

    Thanks for this post, Shannon. I’ve done better at not overspending this year, but much worse at overbooking and overcommitment. The result has been a tired irritable, bordering on sick family. We all need a reminder to slow down and enjoy the season and the Reason for it. God bless you during your time away and we’ll see you next year!

  3. Sue D says:

    Thanks for this great post. Boy can I relate! I am so disappointed in myself for getting so caught up in the baking, cleaning, shopping…. For the next three days, I’m going to try to focus on Him- and be a much more pleasant wife and mother.
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family. Thank you for this fantastic blog. It’s one of a few I read every day. As Lori (above) said, you are bringing glory to God through it. It is a joy to see. May He bless you and your family!

  4. Leigh says:

    Merry Christmas to you and your family Shannon, and to everyone else here at Rocks!
    I’m looking forward to my week and a half off of work to just decompress!

  5. Okie Sister says:

    Yes, doing too much or spending too much or just running around too much can take all the joy out of the season.
    That is why I downsized a few years back. I refuse to go to the mall or Walmart during December. No present fury as we exchange things like ornaments, homemade Chex Mix and Yard-o-Beef. Now the holidays are about time spent with loved ones. Other family members are slowly catching on and now request the Yard-o-Beef. We are all more relaxed and happy.
    Happy Holidays to all.

  6. Sandy Cooper says:

    I had a similar situation when I took my daughter grocery shopping for Christmas Eve dinner last year. She actually started crying in the grocery store saying, “This is supposed to be FUN and you are all STRESSED OUT!”
    Ouch.
    This year has been way different. Lots of days in jammies. Lots of cookies. And today when we go grocery shopping, I hereby vow NOT to stress out.
    Have a wonderful break.
    Merry Christmas!
    Sandy at God Speaks Today

  7. Aimee says:

    I’m guilty of the same things you have described. On top of that, I’m working in retail this Christmas. It’s been hard to keep re-focusing on the Real Reason for the season.
    Enjoy your break, your time celebrating Jesus and being with your family.

  8. lovedandamazed says:

    I can relate! I’m settling down in my heart these next couple days, too. May God bless you richly and may the holidays be wonderful!

  9. Ladybug Limited says:

    Thank you for this quiet reflection before we start our Christmas Cookie Baking Day Extravaganza! I’ll do my best to keep your words in mind and keep my wits about me.
    Blessings to you in this season.

  10. Kristine says:

    Wow. I love your writing. You said exactly how I’ve felt all December. I’ve missed the holiness and anticipation for all the planning and busyness. Thanks for the reminder. You are a blessing!

  11. Lisa Q says:

    Merry Christmas! Thanks for being so transparent in this post…it really ministered to me. I find myself there as well. May your break be filled with lots of hugs and kisses.

  12. Phyllis Wilbanks says:

    Aren’t those pre-adolescents so intuitive? Little one are just brutally honest, eith-out thought or care…but those bigger kids, they can be so thought provoking.
    Blessings to you and yours this Christmas. If a Christmas Miracle happens, I might meet you at Blissdom.

  13. Cheri says:

    Well, you could always do what we’re doing . . . . we’re snowed in thanks to a monster storm that has hit the Pacific Northwest. I have no choice but to stay home with the family. It’s been interesting. And wonderful. And frustrating.
    Merry Christmas!!

  14. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the reminder! After a great day yesterday when I felt like I was really taking it slow and not stressed at all, today I feel like I was hit by a truck. I’m trying to be joyful and not stress. I hope you have a great Christmas!

  15. Upstatemom says:

    What a beautiful reminder to take time to enjoy this holy time of year. I often find my children remind me of these things. They remind me to enjoy life and to be thankful to God all the time in many ways. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

  16. Terra says:

    I started the month out much like you…in order to reset my course I spent two days staying up late, getting up early to cross as much off my list as possible…things were still hectic with 2 girls at two different schools, family stuff and the Holidays but scratching a lot off my list helped me focus on some more important things and ultimately left me with some TRUE free time to just enjoy. My point? It sucks to be stressed and we all get that way!!! SMILE. The next two days will be LOVELY.

  17. Gego says:

    After 60 years of blessings, I have learned to ask myself: What is important? If my house isn’t decorated, if I will once again go shopping tomorrow, who cares????? What I have finally understood is that Christmas is about family, loved ones, and especially children. Please, young mothers, and yes Shan you are a young mother, the MOST important gift you can give your children or your husband is time.
    Time is where memories are created.
    Love and hugs to all of you and may TIME be the most important contribution you make to your families in 2009.

  18. Susan says:

    Merry Christmas, and enjoy your well-deserved break! Since I’m new to blogging and still all gung-ho, wouldn’t you know I did a WFMW post anyway?! You’ve got me started on a habit now 🙂 See you in the new year!

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