Have a Simple Merry Holidays

Target Holiday Catalog

Walk through Target (or any other retail store for that matter) and you’ll notice that the Halloween decorations have been replaced with Christmas merchandise. The good news is you can snag a bag of peanut butter cups for 75% off!

The bad news? We will have toys advertisements & electronic sales shoved down our throats non-stop for the next two months!

Every year I wish it to be less about the season to shop and more about the reason for the season.

I understand that this is the “make it or break it” time for retailers. In this economy they need to make money, or put people out of work. Their bottom-line depends on it. But it stresses me out.

Every year I ask myself, “How do I focus on the season and not the goods? And how do I instill those values to my little impressionable kids?” (They have already started making their Christmas Wish List. Sigh.)

Give Love. A personal motto of mine (and The Beatles): Money can’t buy love. No matter how expensive the item, it will not guarantee the gift recipient will love you more for it. Love is greater, and best of all, it’s free.

Give Time. Your time is also free and greatly appreciated by all who receive it. Help a neighbor shop, or clean up their yard, or cook for a friend. Volunteer at a food bank or your church. The simple act of your time shows you care more than any wrapped gift you could buy.

Decorate less. I have a huge collection of Christmas ornaments and decorations. Over the years I have weeded out a lot of stuff but still, I have too much. This year I plan to leave most of the decorations in their boxes. The ceramic lighted village will stay in its boxes. Every year I dread putting it all away. It takes a few hours to wrap it all up and store it. Hours I could be doing something else…like taking a nap!

Do Less. I say “no” more often to holiday parties and events than I say “yes”. I try to get enough sleep (even though I struggle with this everyday). I try to linger in nature, breathe deeply, make time for myself. Eat right. Limit the junk food and treats. And I pray. Nourish your soul, mind and body.

Spend Less. Never use credit cards to purchase gifts…EVER! If the money is not in your bank account, don’t buy it. Find a less expensive alternative and repeat after me: Things can’t buy love.

Focus on Family. We bake cookies and make Christmas gifts. We read the real Christmas story (it’s the greatest story ever told). We look forward to popping popcorn and watching Christmas movies together. We go ice skating and build a snowman (if we are lucky enough to get snow). These are the memories that will last a lifetime.

K.I.S.S. As I like to say: Keep It Simple Stupid. The holidays don’t have to complicated or Martha Stewart-ish to be memorable. My mother-in-law called me yesterday to ask my opinion of ordering a complete Thanksgiving meal from a local grocery store. It’s already cooked. All we have to do is heat it up. Normally, by the end of the day, we’d be exhausted from cooking and cleaning. I say, “Heck, yeah, let’s order that turkey dinner!”

Enjoy the Season. Just go with it. Smile and laugh with your kids and family. Relax. December will come and go and before you realize it will be summer again.


Courtney has some wonderful thoughts on this subject over at Be More With Less: Life on Purpose. Please go check out this blog. It’s all about doing more with less. That’s what I really want for Christmas this year. Simple.

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Wouldn’t it be fun to live here?

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Happy Half Year

July marks the mid-point of the year. Happy Half Year to you! Depending on how you choose look at it, either you can’t believe the year is half over, or you have 6 more months to look forward to.

Let’s celebrate! Bake a cake (like I need an excuse for cake), or simply lay in a hammock; reflecting on the past 6 months.

So, how’s that One Little Word Resolution coming along? You know, the one you made back in January. Yeah, me too. My One Little Word was NOURISH.

I had every intention of Nourishing my heart, body, mind & soul in January. I enthusiastically read books, recommitted to reading the Bible, stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies, took steps to better manage my health…I was ready to go! Then, life happened. I got off track (or was it derailed?). Either way, now is a great time to reflect on what has worked and let go of what wasn’t working the first part of this year.

It’s time to rev up, recharge, and recommit to your One Little Word.

Maybe you’ve found that your One Little Word isn’t working for you and there is a different word that is speaking to you. Go ahead and change it. There are no rules. Or, maybe you simply want to reflect on what you’ve done thus far in 2011. Maybe you have remained committed to your resolutions…good for you! Pat yourself on the back.

Reflection is good. You can choose to do this while eating a piece of cake, or laying in a hammock. The choice is yours. As for me, both sounds good!

What was your One Little Word and what have you been doing to stay on track for the past 6 month?

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Every little girl deserves a pretty bedroom to call her own.

Parker is 4 years old. It is time she gets a bedroom redo. Every little girl deserves a pretty bedroom to call her own.

It’s been 9 years since I redecorated this bedroom. It was originally Alex’s nursery with a Winnie the Pooh theme. Then when Parker was born the girls shared the room until Alex finally got her own room last year. I feel sorry for Parker sometimes. She is the youngest and gets a lot of hand-me-downs. She gets the short end of the stick! When Alex got her new room I painted it but ran out of steam when I started to paint Parker’s. I got as far as patching the holes in the walls. And there her room sat…for a year!

I forgot to take “Before” pictures of the entire room…Alex was not happy! She was sad to see her old room painted. But I did take this picture last week. You can see the walls were painted a Winnie the Pooh blue on the top, lime green on the bottom and a lilac border in the middle. Want to guess how many coats of white paint it took to cover that paint? If you guessed 5 coats of paint, you are a winner!

pink butterfly room

Three walls are painted white and the fourth wall is painted cotton candy pink (Parker’s choice). The butterfly stickers are from The Dollar Tree. Four sheets for $1 each! The pink butterfly idea came from her new sheets…pink butterflies.

close-up of butterfly wall

I am still looking for accessories that apply to the butterfly theme. But, for now Parker really loves her new room, made just for her! There are a few more pictures after the jump…

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How are you guarding your heart these days?

I am working on a Bible study guide of Proverbs. I find working with a study guide helps me understand and “pay attention” to the Word. I give thought to the Word. Otherwise, I tend to skim over the message and I don’t really “listen” to the words.

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) is a plea from a father to his son to guard his heart from evil influences and wrongdoing. Isn’t that the fundamental principle of parenting? It tells us to keep our “eye on the prize”, which is Jesus Christ.

How are your guarding your heart these days?

I know I don’t guard my heart as well as I should some days. Our modern-day culture is full of heartless distractions: violence (video games/movies), hatred (speech), pornography, selfish greed (money/things)…the list goes on and on. My guilty pleasure is certain reality shows. It’s the train wreck aspect of it. I can’t not watch the out-of-control craziness. It’s insanity at its best, or worst, however you want to look at it. I know it’s not good for my heart, even when I am watching it. Train wreck. Maybe watching reality shows isn’t a character defining decision...Or is it?

It’s easy to justify our decisions…everyone’s doing it, or it’s just how it is these days.

In Hebrew the word “heart” means “the essence of our inner-self, the totality of our thoughts, feelings and will”. According to Solomon, we live out of the heart.

Our heart is at the center of who we are.

So, those justifications we make for not guarding our heart really don’t pass for good reasons. We must filter what goes into our hearts so that we guard it from taking us down the wrong path. The decisions we make every day must deepen our relationship with Christ. Whether it’s what we watch, how we speak to others or how we act because “…it determines the rest of your life.”

Let’s guard our hearts together. Nourish your soul.


For another thought provoking and inspirational take on guarding your heart head over to …From Mr. Maden. The post is a few years old but TRUTH is never outdated!

Also Lara at {in}courage says, “What does matter is the condition of my heart when the future arrives.” Read her tearful post here. Seriously, I had tears in my eyes reading it!

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colorado home and garden show adventure

The Colorado Home and Garden Show was held in downtown Denver this last week. I willingly chose to take the girls with me. Downtown. I said it would be an adventure. It was an adventure in patience. We parked at Coors Field and rode the shuttle bus to the Convention Center. I have always loved downtown Denver. If I didn’t have kids I would live in one of those trendy loft apartments converted from a warehouse. {sigh.} Anyway, below are lots of inspiration to get your backyard in shape.

we grow giant bears here in colorado

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