Christmas 2016CHRISTMAS

Why reflecting on the past is good

(I wrote this last year. Reading it made me feel encouraged that I really did enjoy my last Christmas with my mom. My worst fear that I mention here was that she would be in a nursing home next year at this time. She wasn’t. We kept her home till she died. And she died peacefully in her own bed with me holding her hand, stroking her forehead, and telling her how much I loved her.

“Thank you, God, for providing me with all the resources I needed to make that possible.” 


I’m a little strange. I’ll admit it.

I love Christmas but I also love post-Christmas. After Christmas, I will engage in a lot of reflection about the Christmas season, what I feel I did right, what I could have done better. I’ll take pictures of how I’ve decorated in case I want to copy some of the same ideas next year. (Some I’ve already decided I really, really like.) But mostly my thoughts will center on the events of this last year and how, based on my Christian values, I  reacted to life events.

The shopping:  I shopped a lot via the internet this year.  I didn’t like doing it that way but I had little choice.  What little in-store shopping I did do, I accomplished in one or two days. Again, not my favorite way to do things but at least it got done and everyone seemed happy with their gifts. I “crafted” some really cute projects which I usually don’t show ’till after Christmas because the recipients of those gifts follow this blog.

Christmas 2016

Dining room table centerpiece. Birch candles, dollar tree reindeer, fresh pine, old mental carrier from deck

However, this year, because they are all so different, I think I might post some pictures next week.

I also did something I’ve been wanting to do since last year. I’ll show you that next week as well.

The baking: Yea!!!!  Great success.  All the cookies, butter cut-outs, raspberry thumbprints, Anzac cookies, and Mexican Wedding cakes turned out great. I also threw together some white bark, pretzel chips, cranberries and made a kind of “candy”. My mom really likes it.

Our home is over one hundred years old and between the kitchen and the mudroom is a small hallway. My husband built some shelves on one side. I lined up all the cookies in my favorite red and white tins, labeled each, and set them on top of a snow blanket interspersed with little trees.

The decorating: I have lots of Christmas decorations. (It’s a big house so I need them, don’t I?) Pretty much everyone room is decorated. But here’s the funny thing. The one room everyone congregates in, the T.V. room, I always kind of forget to decorate! (Note to self-don’t forget this room next year.) This room used to be a porch and there is only one wall. Because it’s long and narrow and has windows on three sides, I have only one full wall. Next year I’ll have to think of a way to decorate with more wall “thingees.”

Christmas 2016

I felt very little pressure or stress this year. I was determined to stay focused and enjoy each moment with no worries about the next ones. I was able to let people be who they are and not let their attitudes affect me.

Christmas Eve will be bittersweet this year. I think my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, are all aware that there is a really good possibility my mom will not be living in her home next year. I’m going to savor every moment. It’s all about making beautiful memories.

It’s a sunny day today and as I sit and think about the last few weeks I am acutely aware that life won’t always be this good. Christmas’s won’t always be this wonderful. I consider myself a smart woman and know life is predictable only in its unpredictability. I’m so glad I made the most of this season. I got tired at times but I just drank more coffee and repeated the mantra, “enjoy this moment, enjoy this moment, enjoy this moment.”

Christmas 2016

Now I have a month of “reflecting” coming up.  I’m going to be away from home for much of that time but that will make it easier. I always think better when I’m out-of-town, whether it’s at our cabin or on a beach somewhere.

I started this post with “I’m a little strange. I’ll admit it.” Well, I’m even stranger than you think.

You see I’m one of those people who do believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Of course, any month of the year can be set aside for reflection and resolution-making. I choose New Year’s because to me it just makes sense. January is usually one of the quieter months.  Not a lot to do. And living in Michigan, there’s little one can do outside unless you really like cold weather, which I don’t. So it just makes sense to set this month apart, to eat my leftover cookies and drink hot tea and contemplate.

I would’ve made a great monk!

I don’t know how you anticipate this next year but if you suffer from depression you may feel very discouraged right now thinking “I can’t take another year.” I can remember thinking that way.  If you’re new to this blog, read the archival material. There’s a lot I’ve written already that you might find helpful. Don’t give up. I know only too well how miserable and life-sucking depression is. I wallowed in it a long time.

I don’t anymore.

Not because I’m stronger than you, better than you, or have more faith than you. I just reached a point where I told myself “Rebecca, enough is enough.”

Being depressed didn’t add one day to my life but it certainly killed a few. It was a long, hard struggle (over fifteen years ago now) to mental health but with God’s help, I did it.

You can, too.

God bless and have a good dayl