Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Threaten to Withhold Christmas Gifts from Your Kids

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  A season filled with love, joy and giving. It’s a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus–the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I understand that it can also be a time of anxiety and stress as the realities of life and the endless demands often accompany this season.

We do our best, don’t we?

  • We do our best to be filled with joy, peace and love.
  • We do our best with the little or a lot we have to buy, make or re -gift Christmas presents for the ones we love.
  • We do our best to remember it’s better to give than to receive.
  • We do our best to not envy the extravagant Christmas others experience.
  • We do our best cultivating a generous and grateful spirit in our children while blessing them with things they want.

We do our best.

And, it’s all holly and jolly until we get an hour into our Christmas errands with hungry, irritable kids who have screamed, cried and not listened to us and we lose it. We are out of options and have pulled all the stops.

Then we remember we have one more card to pull—You know which one I’m talking about.

“If you don’t behave, you won’t get _______ for Christmas.”

We blurt it out and immediately these crazy kids whip into shape and become perfect little elves. And we go on our merry, little ways.

It works every single time, like magic, doesn’t it? And, as much as I’m over here like, do what you have to do momma, can I tell you why we shouldn’t threaten to withhold gifts from our children?

Can I encourage you for a second? Can I remind you of a famous little story?

Over 2,000 years ago, God, the creator of the earth, sent His only Son to this earth. In the middle of our mess and our inability to do right, Christmas still came, God still gave us his best—His name is Jesus.

Christmas time is a time to celebrate the best gift that came when we least deserved it. So, let us not be tempted to use Christmas gifts to keep our kids in line.

Instead, let us use this time to show that even when we fall short, mess up or do wrong, God did not or will not withhold His very best from us.

In the same way, as we gift our children and those we love, let us remember that we are not giving because they have earned it, but because it is just that—a gift.

Generosity is not a favor or a reward for doing good. Generosity is giving what is not earned or expected without expectation of getting anything in return.

I pray that this is a Holiday season filled with JOY, PEACE, LOVE, HOPE and GENEROSITY.

 

Here’s How I’m Celebrating Turning 34!

Hello friends,

I am so excited to share with you the next step on this journey! I turn 34 next month and I am celebrating with the release of my FIRST, e-book, Waiting.

This book is for the girl, who like me, is waiting on a promise. It’s been a message in my heart for a long time and I can’t wait to finally share it with you.

I’ve had a dream of becoming an author since I was a little girl, so this moment is a pretty big deal for me, personally. And, it’s a big moment for us, who have been on this journey, together.

I will be giving this book away, as a gift to all of you who have been a part of this community! So, be sure to spread the word to any of your friends who have not yet subscribed so they can get their FREE copy, too!

While in my seasons of waiting, God has given me a story to tell. A story about a God who cares so much for us that He allows us to wait.

I’ve been waiting on a promise and perhaps you have too. My prayer is that the words written in this book speak to you, wherever you find yourself on this journey.

I’m so excited! Ok, now get back to whatever it was you were doing. Has anyone finished their Christmas shopping? I haven’t even started…shh, don’t tell!

Love,

Sarah

Waiting the book about faith, trusting God

Personal Record

This morning, I ran a personal record, clocking in one mile at 7 minutes and 32 seconds and I’m pretty excited about it! Personal records are supposed to be exciting- they are your best, so far!

I wasn’t the only person in the room who hit a PR. When our coach asked the group if anyone hit a PR, many hands went up. It was motivating and exciting to see that others hit a personal record as well.

When I got home, I saw that my friend also hit a personal record during her one mile run this morning! I immediately texted her to celebrate. She and I ran our best today, even though we didn’t run the same. 

I didn’t have to ask her for her time to know that she CRUSHED it because comparing her results with mine was and is irrelevant. Her running a 5 minute and 54 second mile (heyyyo!!!) took nothing away from my 7 minute and 32 second mile.

She owned her mile and I owned mine. 

In life, we are called to own our mile, to train better, work harder, run faster than our last time. While we work to earn our best, we are to encourage and cheer others on as they do the same. We are all in the same race and called to run with endurance, but we are not supposed to run the same. You and I are not experiencing the same season–some of you are further along in your journey than I am, and maybe I am further along in my journey than you are.

What matters most, is that we get better.

I know it can at times feel deflating when in one moment you feel like you had a victory, but compared to the person next to you, it quickly becomes a defeat–but it’s not my friend! The enemy of our lives wants to discourage you-he wants you to believe the lie that you are losing, that you are not measuring up… but listen to me, YOU ARE WINNING!

You are winning every time you decide to try again, every time you take on the challenge, put in the work and do the hard things that are before you. 

Our focus needs to be input minded not outcome driven. What do I mean? We live in a culture that celebrates the results, we celebrate the outcomes and then we hold ourselves to that standard-when we don’t achieve that outcome, we experience defeat. What we should focus on is input work–we can always measure our try, our passion, and our time we put into that goal or the ceiling we are trying to shatter.

Where do you feel like you’re losing? I encourage you to not compare what you are experiencing to others, but instead focus on your best. I know, when you do, you’ll realize very quickly that you are winning!

If you are not experiencing victory, I want to also encourage you to examine your input work–are you putting in the time and the work that you need to in order to get better?

 

 

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!

1 Corinthians 9:24

 

I’d love to hear from you and your experience! Are you a runner? What’s your personal best?

 

Please comment below & share your story. I’m cheering you on, friend!!

 

Rest

We need rest. I know, there’s a lot to do, people to see, places to go–I know all about the never ending piles of laundry, the grocery store trips (yes trips.. it’s never just one) I know about the dream in your heart, the to-do list and the 14 school projects that we can’t avoid or neglect. I know about the full time job and side hustle, trying to make ends meet or pay for that desired family vacation.  Oh and don’t forget about the kids-they need to eat and bathe every once in a while too, you know… I get it,  I’m right there with you.

All the more, we need rest.

Rest has been etched into our beings since creation. God himself demonstrated rest when he chose to work for six days and rest.

If you’re like me, you can easily associate or misunderstand rest for being lazy. Or maybe you just don’t see how you can ever truly rest. So, I hear you when you start to think-here we go again, another blog about the benefits of rest, blah, blah.

But, that’s not what I am going to do.. I just want to commission you, remind you and encourage to rest, more.

Our bodies, our minds and our souls were created to respond to a pattern or work and rest. So, when we don’t intentionally decide to rest, we quit.

Rest is not abandoning our  calling or taking steps back in the name of rest, that called  quitting. Resting is a rhythm and counter part to working–they go hand in hand.  Rest doesn’t make life more convenient and easier, it fuels you and replenishes you to continue.

Rest reveals a lot about who we are and what controls us- it exposes the idols in our lives. What we are not able to unplug from has more control over us than we think.

Rest reminds us that He is God and we are not. God works in our rest. He fills in, makes better and multiplies what we offer in our rest. Our ability to not do, shows that we are not doing these things in our own strength, but in His strength. It takes great humility to rest (sabbath).

We must be intentional and fight for rest. On my “rest days” I was finding myself, doing laundry, running to the grocery store, cleaning and preparing for our week. I thought, just because I stayed in my pajamas I was resting. But I was not… I was working in pajamas (something I wish I could do more, haha).

I have been asking God to give me divine strategy and insight to work more effectiently and effectively so that I can rest more effectiently and effectively.

Each of our lives are different, so I won’t try and attempt to give you the 9 ways to get more rest–but I will encourage you to seek God and ask Him. He will show you!! Why? Because rest is a part of His purpose for your life. God not only demonstrated a sabbath, but He blessed it and made it holy. He set aside a day for you and I to stop and acknowledge that all that we have, everything we do, belongs to Him. When we sabbath, we routinely place our confidence and our hope back into the hands of Jesus. We work 6 while the world works 7.

Something practical and helpful I began doing was-determining what were my “big rocks” / the things that are non negotiables in my life. For me they are: time with Jesus, my husband, my family,  gathering with others of faith (church) and working out… I began placing these items on my calendar and then I began adding REST to that list of non negotiables. Before I schedule coffee with a friend, or RSVP to a birthday party, I schedule in rest.

When something is on my calendar it’s off my mind and no longer something I’m considering or trying to make happen. I was finding myself exuding so much energy trying to think of when, where and how am I going to rest–how ridiculous, I know!

What kind of things have you done to assure that you get rest? How have you made rest a part of your life-rhythm?

Maybe you don’t even know if you’re truly getting rest-what do you think is your biggest rest stealer?

Whoever you are, however hard you are working, whatever you are trying to accomplish in the hours you have been given-be sure to rest, ok? It’s not only important and good for you, but it’s a commandment from God.

Homerun.

This morning while at work, I received a text from my husband stating, ” Bad Dad award goes to…. THIS GUY!” He was talking about himself and how today was Jett’s Dr. Seuss party–the kids were supposed to dress in green and we were supposed to bring Hawaiian rolls (it’s our go-to on the sign up) for the party, later today.

This week was Dr. Seuss week at the kid’s schools– Each day, doing something fun in celebration of him. Whether it was wacky sock day, mustache day or today, green shirts and party!

My immediate response to my DADDY OF THE YEAR husband was, ” NO WAY, you deserve all the amazing awards… you can’t hit homeruns in everything.”

I know we want to, so badly–but the reality is that we aren’t going to knock it out of the park everytime we get up to bat. Some days we are going to have a homerun dinner, or make it to school on time three days in a row, we might remember to put our kid in a green shirt, and we might remember the Hawaiian rolls for the party. But we won’t knock it out of the park every time.

And, that is OK.

Knowing that we won’t hit a homerun in every area (work, school, marriage,parenting, friendships, etc) frees us from guilt, worry and the constant desire to be driven by what’s demanding us of our time, attention and money. Understanding that we aren’t meant to hit a homerun in every area allows us to run at our own pace and focus on the areas that deserve our best.

My husband didn’t remember the Hawaiian rolls, and Jett didn’t go to school in his green shirt, but my husband woke up earlier all week long to make me and the kids fresh pressed juice, (yes you read that right.. fresh freaking pressed juice…and I’m not talking OJ. I’m talking ginger, kale, carrots, apples pears.. you get the picture, now) pack their lunches and kiss us all goodbye for the day. He fixed things around the house, hugged our babies, and he told me I was pretty, many, many times… he did all of this while leading our church and preparing everything and everyone for a BIG move.

Those are some serious homeruns, some serious RBI’s (google it if you’re not a baseball fan, lol). That’s where it counts.

So, if you are trying to knock it out of the park in all things, and beating yourself up for it, take a breath and remember, you aren’t meant to, and that is ok!