Ahh, the holiday season! When everything is peaceful, and joyful, and everyone shows their true love for one another…right?? It’s funny how we strive to have the “perfect” holiday season. But, at least for me, we end up FAR from it. Stressed, over-spending, short on patience, and definitely short on peace and joy. It’s so sad that trying to have that perfect holiday season can leave us so much further from where we want to be, than if we just relaxed and tried a little less. Sure, you might not have perfectly decorated cookies for each of your child’s 11 teachers and administrators. Sure the Christmas tree decorations might be a little lopsided. And oops, you forgot to get a couple of presents that you knew your little one would just adore. But there was peace and joy instead. Isn’t peace and joy worth falling a little short of those expectations that God never meant this season to bring anyways? Keep in mind the setting of the first Christmas, in a very humble, probably dirty and smelly, little stable at an inn, among the livestock.
There’s this blog I love, called Intentional Moms. Recently she wrote this post about the books she was reading last month. The devotional for busy moms really struck my interest, and with an affordable price, and the guarantee of short passages for each day, I decided to dive in and order it. The book arrived about a week before December, which was great because it gave me time to really explore it before the daily devotionals begun on December 1st. I have to say, I have definitely not been disappointed! This book is just as promised, and honest collection of stories and encouragements for busy moms who may not be enjoying the season to the fullest.
I’m not gonna lie, there have been a few times already that I’ve fallen behind, but between yesterday and today I managed to catch up. One thing that I’ve started doing to teach myself to be more mindful in my readings is to journal along with it. Each day there are four parts, and one of the parts is called “Ponder”. Anna Rendell, the author, poses thought provoking questions to create some honesty within yourself about your struggles within this season of love. I’ve been using my journal to write out each question, and then answer it. I’ve found that by doing this, instead of just skimming the question, thinking of a 1-2 sentence answer, I have become more honest and dug much deeper within myself to answer these questions. Yesterday’s was the hardest for me, so far. “What pain are you harboring this year? Are you able to bring it to the Lord – why or why not?” This has not been an easy year for me, between finding a job, struggling with depression and anxiety like I never have, and facing trauma from my past, it made the question very difficult for me. Not because I didn’t know the answers, but because I did not want to admit it to myself, that these situations had caused me such pain, and that it was hard for me to bring them to God. If you are curious about my answers, I promise I will open up about them in the future, but parts of it I am not ready to admit to the world, I’m hardly ready to admit to myself yet.
But that’s not really why I started writing this post. Funny how they sometimes take on a life of their own. I really wanted to share with you this amazing potpourri recipe that Anna shared in her devotional, A Moment of Christmas. This stuff smells awesome! And it’s so simple to make. I’m planning on giving this as a teacher gift this year too. I’ve put the recipe below, in case you are interested, or you can search Pinterest, there are a ton of holiday potpourri recipes on there. But this one is amazing. Trust me. In the recipe, Anna suggested including the instructions for how to make the potpourri on the stovetop, so I decided to make a cute little printable to go with the ones I’m giving as gifts. But I figured, if this is something that I wanted, maybe others would like it too, so I thought it might be nice to share it with you guys too! The background image comes from Pixabay, and I used Picmonkey to make it.
Stovetop Holiday Potpourri
One orange, quartered (leave whole if gifting)
1/2 Cup fresh cranberries
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
3 Cinnamon sticks
1 Teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 Bay leaf
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan filled with water. Simmer on low heat, refilling water as needed.
See? I told you it was simple! And smells amazing! And here is the printable I made to go with the gifts I’m giving. The instructions come straight from her devotional too, no embellishments from me.