Fighting off Christmas Crankiness

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Oh man, I must be honest- keeping my joyful, care-free vacation mindset this week, has been a little bit of a challenge…

I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I love the lights, the cozy fireplaces, the decorations, the nostalgic Christmas tunes, the time spent with loved ones, the snow that makes it feel even more festive and most importantly the celebration of the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. But I hate the way that during this season the focus can change ever so quickly to frustration and crankiness that is driven by the pressure to get everything done on time, get the decorations up so the house looks just like the Pottery Barn catalog (I wish), and get everyone the perfect gift(s).

The other day, I woke up very ambitious to check a handful of items off my list. I was looking forward to my little plan to finish in a few hours, go home to put up the rest of the decorations, and finish the evening with a glass of wine in hand as I put my feet up under a cozy blanket in attempts of ridding myself of a nasty cold. Let me just say, the day did not go as planned. The 3 stops I planned turned into 6, (not including the 3 trips I made into the same exact store) the "simple" items on my list were nowhere to be found, and my “convenient” order on Amazon turned into a hustle to cancel it in time as I found out it had already been purchased. What I had hoped to be a joy-filled time of gift buying ended with a rapid heart rate and a beer with lunch as I took deep breaths and worked on chilling out because I was just SO FRUSTRATED.

The thing that made me upset was not just the lack of accomplishment, but the fact that my joy was squashed- and I let it own me all day long.  I was so excited about getting caught up in the joy of the season and SPLAT everything went awry and my happiness went out the window.

What really gets me is, I think this is exactly what the evil one would want out of us during the holiday season, (or anytime for that matter). He doesn’t want us to be joyful, to be filled with excitement about spending time with our loved ones and to have time to sit and think about the real reason for the season- the birth of Jesus! He wants us to dwell in that frustration and to let it continue to put a kabosh on the joy that we have been given through Christ.

I don’t want to let this happen!! I’m not giving up on my pursuit of finding freedom and joy in the midst of the crazy! I mean shoot- the Christmas song is Joy to the World is it not? ;) If things go awry with my Christmas shopping, or I can’t get rid of this cold for days (please no) or whatever else pushes my buttons… I want to try really hard to keep the cranks from taking over.  I want joy to be my overwhelming mood, preferably always (hah), but especially during this special season where we celebrate the gift of Jesus.

Wish me luck… ;)  xoxo


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stepping off the airplane on Saturday evening, feeling the one-digit temperatures pierce through my not-thick enough long-sleeve t-shirt, the reality that we were not in paradise anymore was like a snowball to the face. With each step away from the plane, I felt as if I was drrrrraaaaggging my feet- avoiding the impending return into the “real world” that exists outside of being on vacation. Fighting with all my might, I wasn’t in our home for more than 5 minutes before the to-do list and memory of all the things that need to get done before the holidays, flooded into my brain and washed away the “not a care in the world” attitude that developed while in Puerto Rico. It’s in those moments when “regular” life requirements come crashing in, that I am reminded of how extremely thankful I am, for the opportunity to take a hiatus.  Taking a break from the routine, setting aside the daily demands, concerns, and worries to soak up a little sun, jump in the ocean for hours on end, and experience an unfamiliar place- is like a breath of fresh air.

Being in Puerto Rico for a week with my husband and our two friends was the perfect escape, a huge blessing that apparently was just what I needed. It’s funny how easy it is to fall into the “take a break and leave it all behind” mindset when you’re in a completely new place. I mean really, there’s no time to think about all that needs to be done at home when you are spending hours upon hours in the ocean, going on expeditions to explore the El Yunque Rainforest, ATVing around the foothills, and wandering the streets of Old San Juan overwhelmed by the sight and history of the two forts that surround the city and loom over the ocean. And besides that we basically ate our way through Isla Verde and Old San Juan, filling our guts with quite a bit of Churrasco (skirt steak), mofongo (stuffed plantains- which I must be honest, was not so much my thing), rice and beans, all things guava, a delicious breakfast sandwich called mallorca (ham, eggs, and cheese on yummy sweet bread), and maybe one or two Coco Locos (a mighty delicious cocktail sipped from a coconut)… oh and maybe a few Medallas (local Puerto Rican beer) too. Let me tell you, it was pretty great.

Left: Building in Old San Juan Right: Yokahu Tower in El Yunque Rainforest
Exploring the Castillo San Cristobal.  One of the forts in Old San Juan.
Isla Verde Beach sunset from the Water and Beach Club hotel
Looking outside my window at the blanket of snow that is oh so cold, but sparkling in the sun, I can’t believe it was a mere 4 days ago that my toes were outside of my socks and slippers and I was walking on the beach taking my last jumps and body surfs in the ocean. I am so so thankful for this little vacation that we were blessed to take. And I’m so thankful for the sweet couple, friends whom we love mucho, Julie and Shaun who made each moment (even in the ones where the rain was coming down so hard we were watching cars stall in the flooded street) a fun and joy-filled memory.

Going on vacation and setting aside the routine is such a blessing. I’m still dragging my feet, not wanting to say Adios to the vacation feelings of freedom. But at the same time, I want this love for hiatus and the feelings that come with it, to fuel a new attitude. My hope is that even though I am back in the routine, I might learn to take necessary breaks, to throw caution to the wind, and to explore the beautiful world that the Lord has placed right in front of me.  Vacation mentality while at home? Sign me up! I can't wait to find some freedom and joy in the busy, crazy world in front of me.

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