Monday, December 5, 2011

Simple Real Memories

There were several years in my life

when I really lost the joy of the Christmas season.

It became a time laden with guilt and shame

about not being all that I thought I ought to be, should be, thought I wanted to be.

From the Christmas letter that seemed

to be mentally badgering me about unfulfilled dreams & goals

to self-imposed pressures of

perfection in career goals, balance as a wife and mom, holiday food, and financial success.

Christmas just seemed to tell me that I was coming up short in all these areas.

I put on a mask to hide all of this.  But it was very much a battle within me.

When deep down in my heart,

I just wanted simple, stay-at-home, memories.

Not the grand, impressive successes that taunted me.

But really, truely, I wanted simplicity.

Yet I feared that wanting the different dream,

meant I was giving up, "playing the family first card",

meant I was making excuses for not being where I had set goals to be.

I feared it might just mean that I was a quitter.
But, about five years ago,

I began to let go of the dreams I thought I ought to have and pursue

and embrace the true desires within me.

The truth is

I love things that I was afraid were

dorky, cheesy, nerdy, corny.

I'd rather be a home-body

and make peanut-butter-pinecone birdfeeders

with Time-life classic Christmas music in the background

than be the top-seller of anything for the Christmas season.

I love putting planning and effort into

these lives

in my messy little kitchen.

I love making memories here.

I love that I let go of guilt and pressure.

I love that I let go of shaming myself.

And I love that I had so much fun with my kids

that I have thanked each of them

over and over again

this week

for doing this little

project with me.

I love that we had so much fun.

I love that it was so easy.

I love that I made

a silly production of putting the first pinecone on the tree

to show them what we were doing.

I love that they embraced

my silliness

and did their own little dramatic

hanging of each pine cone.

Complete with chasing each other,

Erin doing the chicken dance

and skipping with her

while Tom took pictures.

Erin always skips. 

And do you know how hard it is to skip without smiling??

On this day,

I even loved the clutter of my kitchen

and that my apron made me look 20 pounds heavier than I think I am

{or maybe I really am 20 pounds heavier,
but the apron is a good excuse
--either way, I didn't and don't care}.

Because it just mattered

that I embraced the true me,

the true dreams,

the simplicity,

the imperfect beauty of my kids, myself, my place . . .

and made great memories.

Oddly, those years of lost joy,

seem to magnify my joy now.

So, I am grateful for those years too . . . for what they taught me for today.

Restored joy.

That's what it feels like.

I remember the year that the joy started to come back.

I watched It's A Wonderful Life for the first time.

I cried and cried and cried.  Not just a little.  But a LOT.

I saw myself COMPLETELY in that story.

That same year, the SAME THING happened

Charlie Brown cries out in his frustration,
 "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"

And Linus says, "Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.

And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the fields,
keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And, lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them
and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them,
'Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings
of great joy
which shall be to all people.
For unto you
is born this day
in the city of David,
a Savior,
which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you,
ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.'
And suddenly there was there with the angel
a multitude of heavenly hosts
praising God and saying,
'Glory to God in the highest and on earth,
peace, goodwill toward men.'

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

I love, love, love that that's what Christmas is all about.
Christ the Lord.
God with us.

Totally rescued by Him
from my own thoughts
meeting my heart
through an old Christmas movie and cartoon.
And bringing me back
to simple joy with my kids.

Making these birdfeeders is one of my best Christmas memories yet.

Finding Heaven
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  1. Oh, Jodi...your heart always speaks to mine. You say what I want to. This post is absolutely beautiful. And I, too watch the movie It's a Wonderful Life and cry and cry and cry. I watch it every year. It is, without a doubt my very favorite movie ever.

    You are a beautiful soul inside and out. Your children are very blessed to have you in their lives.

    Have a VERY MERRY DAY!!!


  2. This was a refreshing/encouraging/sweet post... I think keeping things simple and cozy is much more in keeping with the true spirit of Christmas and gives us the opportunity to recognize what the real meaning and Gift of Christmas actually is.... Jesus. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

  3. I was about to write Beautiful...just Beautiful... then I read Michele's comment... :-) But its true...its what came to my mind after reading your blog! thats what Im writing as well ....It's the simple things in life... and all those special memories your children will remember forever! ... Hugs :-)

  4. lovely. Lovely. LOVELY! Oh, Jodi. You make my heart sing... May God let us meet face-to-face some day. (I'm on vacation, and posting on Facebook or Twitter. But I saw this blog and read it and just had to share my joy. 'Cuz you shared your joy with us. Thank you!

  5. I meant to type "I'm on vacation and not posting on Facebook or Twitter. But..." :-)

  6. Wow, you always speak to my heart, as well. May you always fins JOY in your heart, Jodi! I hope to see you over the holidays!

  7. Oh, I'm so glad I came by here. We could be great friends! :) I love the corny, dorky simple things too!!! We have made those pinecones for our birds . And we just watched the Christmas Charlie Brown last night for the umteenth time. I made my big 18 year old son put down his i-pod down when Linus came out on stage to give his "What is Christmas all About" speech. I love it!!! Thanks for sharing and it's nice to "meet"you.

  8. I am so glad i stopped by and got to read this post.. what a joy it brought to my heart. I love things that seem nerdy corny ect to! hahah.. i love it! thanks for blessing my soul! what a beautiful writer you are!

  9. "restored joy"

    For some reason it makes me think of polishing up some antique bronze. I the bronze, my Father the polisher. restoring me, restoring joy. amen.

  10. This was beautiful. Your children are blessed and can see joy in action.

  11. I loved this post and I love YOU.

  12. This tugged at my heart strings. Mothers,doing fun things with their children -- and loving it! You'll never be sorry. They grow up so fast. (Sorry, I hated it when someone said that to me--but I found out how true it is!).

  13. I was just stopping by to see what you were up to, and was catching up on reading...I just wanted to say how beautiful - EACH picture is! And the quiet thoughts of your heart...I wish for you a blessed season of preparing for the Lord's coming ever new in our hearts...

  14. Jodi, thanks for saying so beautifully, what we all feel so deeply. Love you lots.


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