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Take a deep breath.

Now exhale slowly ...

"I have done nothing yet. I have not bought a single gift," a friend texted me yesterday. I could feel her anxiety through my phone.

"I'll be glad when Christmas is OVER," I heard a lady say at the hair salon last week. "It's all just too much."

People, we are doing it again. Whether the cookies get baked, the presents get bought, the problems with the in-laws get ironed out, or the tree gets decorated, it is going to be ok. We are going to be ok. Let's not stress ourselves through a celebration of the nativity of Our Lord.

I had a friend once complain to me that her husband kept telling her to relax about Christmas "because it will all get done."

"What he doesn't understand," she told me, "is that 'it will all get done' because I am going to do it!"

And she has a point there. But I like to think that her husband does too. Whether or not all the things get done and whether or not everything we do at Christmas lives up to our unreasonable expectations, December 25 will come and it will go, just as it has every year forever.

Confession #1: I still have not found the Advent wreath.
Despite driving myself and my children crazy for 2 weeks now, it is nowhere to be found. I have a replacement wreath on its way that will arrive by Friday. I expect to find the original wreath sometime early Saturday morning.

Confession #2: I am forcing my children to string popcorn and cranberries for the tree, just as I do every year. We always get a super-tall tree, so this is a painful process and I question my sanity while doing it every year. But when Stephen suggested we do something different this year, I shot back. "Oh what? You mean NOT HAVE CHRISTMAS this year?" Nice, mom.

Confession #3: I am stress eating. Like every day. I can very clearly think, "I am not hungry and I don't need any more snacks" but a cracker with cheese and a cookie and a St. Nicholas Day chocolate coin will find its way into my mouth even before I am done thinking it. Oh, and I am not drinking water. Like at all. Coffee, Diet Coke and wine only. I am a purist.

But! I did get to confession last week and got some of my kids there too. Success!

And! I have been making time for connecting with some female friends this week so we can help keep each other sane, and I feel good about that.

Also! I have been making an effort to see and hear Jesus this year, in part through the daily Advent reflections I have been sharing with all of you, but also by removing some of the "noise" in my daily life. I sometimes put my phone away for a while. *gasp* I keep the radio off in the car. *whoa* And I have been making sure I  get outside, even for just a little bit of time, each day. *shocker*


I hope that whatever small successes and setbacks you might be experiencing these days, you too will make some effort to see and hear Jesus. However you might feel like you are "messing up" this Advent, you can't mess this up. Jesus loves you so much, and he wants to give you peace and fulfill your every need. Open your heart and hear his voice.

God bless your week,

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Cream Cheese Mints
These pretty and easy little mints are a favorite here every Christmas. They make a nice addition to a cookie tray, or a sweet gift in a small jar. Best part? No baking!


Let the Santa Wars Begin
Do you tell your kids that Santa is real?

I'm looking at different approaches to Santa on the blog this week.

"If you were raised believing in Santa and it was a beautiful, magical experience for you, you are going to want to share that with your own kids. If you were raised not believing in Santa (as I was) you will likely find the idea of telling your children Santa Claus is real to be absurd ... "

Read the whole thing.
Small Steps in 2016
As we look ahead to a New Year, you might consider this book for yourself or as a gift for a friend. It's a do-able daily devotional for busy moms that I wrote together with Elizabeth Foss.

You can make real spiritual progress with these 5-minute reflections that stick with you throughout the day. Big changes happen with small steps!
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Copyright © 2015 Danielle Bean, All rights reserved.

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