If I let myself get carried away in all of the things I think I NEED TO DO like Christmas cards and letters, decorating, buying a tree, watching what I eat even though all the gingerbread candy is sitting on my counter and my husband is gone (stress eating), I surely end up missing out on some of the joy of what this season is supposed to be all about. That's different for everyone but for me I want this time of year to be focused on faith, family, childhood wonder and excitement, giving, and being more aware of the world as a whole. I DO NOT want the focus to be making long lists of things we want, getting caught up in the rush of all the sales and ideas of new "stuff" we need to start accumulating when half of our nation is in an economic crisis. Even sending Christmas cards can get out of hand if we let it. These things by themselves are all fine, great even, but they can certainly become stressors in our life and we end up missing the whole point of this time of year. It is only as stressful as we let it.
This post is certainly more for me than you but I'd bet that I'm not the only one who gets overwhelmed and caught up in the craziness that the holiday season brings. As with most things in life, I like to reflect and then make a plan of action for how I'm going to change the things I don't like. So, here's some of the things I'm going to try to do MORE and LESS OF this holiday season:
- Tone down the commercial aspect of Christmas. Yes, it is fun for the kids to make a wish list but I don't want that to be the main focus of this holiday for us. It never really has been but I can see it getting to that point. I'm not one of those people that thinks the entire living room needs to be filled with "stuff" in order to have a magical holiday. It usually ends up that way though but sheesh. We try to make Christmas and birthdays the main times of year that our kids get some special new toys and things they have been hoping for. This makes getting new things very special and appreciated.
- Keep things Simple. I'm not so good at this. In fact, I usually complicate things. I create work for myself. Christmas lists, decorations, a cocktail party (this one is a new thing I've just added to my list), etc. When it comes to Christmas cards, I like getting them and I usually send them. This is fun for me. So is writing a letter. However, just logging on to those sites to make a Christmas photo card can be overwhelming for me this year. So many choices and easy to get sucked into getting the more expensive ones when really, it doesn't matter. They are nice but nobody really stops and says "Wow, they got their card printed on nice card stock instead of glossy photo paper. I want to be just like them." Ha! Really. If it is getting stressful then, it is okay to not send one this year.
- Look at the World as a WHOLE more and count my blessings. I think I always do this to some extent but again, so easy for me to lose track of what is important and forget how many people out there are just struggling to make ends meet. I want my children to grow up with an awareness of others and the needs of so many. I don't know how well I'm doing at helping them be sensitive, generous and aware of those less fortunate but the seeds have been planted and I'd like to think that they will grow up giving back greatly to the world. For now, we do this by participating in the food drives at school and church, buying gifts for foster kids, and donating to different funds. I don't mean to say these things to make us sound like we are saints and "oh, look at us and how good we are"...if anything, we are just the opposite..we should be doing more of this stuff all year and we don't. But habits start small so even the small things count.
- Find little things to make memories. There are so many fun things to do this time of year that don't cost a lot of money or have to be complicated. A few of them are: Watching Christmas movies next to the tree with all the lights out, decorating a gingerbread house (the easy kind from Costco or the craft store), baking cookies (yes, more calories), having the kids write Christmas letters, dressing up and having the kids perform plays for the family, thinking of a neighbor who might be lonely this holiday season and taking them cookies or something we made.
These goals above don't mean that we won't have a Christmas morning with lots of toys under the tree, send out Christmas cards, and get wrapped up in the holiday rush. However, writing them down, does help take some of the pressure off and remind me of what is most important. We all have different ways of living our lives and there isn't one right or wrong way. These are just things that I personally want to make a priority.
Running Running Running
- Again, last week was 65 miles. Felt great.
- This week and maybe next is a drop in mileage. Maybe even as low as 30-40. Then I will start building again. Thinking that 70-75 will be a good peak for me. My body seems to respond well to the mileage but I will adjust as my body tells me to.
- I was going to start my official Boston plan this week but changing plans a bit and that will be next week or the week following. I'll explain more later.
- Today I did a speed workout not related to marathon training but more to let me know where my legs are at.. 2 mile warm-up; 1 mile @6:22 (felt strong); 6x 400's @ 6:15/6:18 pace. Last one was 6:22 so I could get a feel for that pace. 2 mile cool down. Felt strong and comfortable. This is a confidence boost.
- Loving the extra time I have now that I am not running as many miles this week but miss the higher mileage. Surprisingly, I think the higher miles makes me feel more energetic and productive.
Six Year Old TheatricsIn light of what matters most, I thought I'd leave you with a little 6 year old theatrics. I don't like to include my kids or their names on this blog too much but that is probably just me being silly. This video made me laugh and it was fun taking. Just sitting down with my kids last night and putting the to-do lists to the side, felt so great.
- At about 1:14ish you'll hear all about Thugs in the forest.
- Who picks berries before a wedding? Apparently, it is the thing to do.
- The best part is towards the end when my two year old Bumble Bee gets in the action.
- Don't forget to notice the lovely recorder/flute playing in the background. This is my four year old.
- Kids are so funny!
Happy Wednesday! Sorry I've been such a bad blogger lately. Things have been crazy busy and I've had to limit my blog time. Again, trying to focus on what matters most. Not that you don't matter. :) You do.