Hopefully it's not too late to say Happy New Year! But more than "happy" I wish you a joy-filled New Year. I know from experience that happiness is often hard to come by. It depends on our happenings, which aren't always happy. But joy is something deeper and more lasting. Joy can be there when our happenings are hard. Which is just one more reason to be thankful for Jesus!
I also hope the Christmas season was wonderful for you. I'm happy to announce that I accomplished three of my four hopes for the season:
1) Honor Jesus in my heart. I haven't always done that well in Christmases past, but in 2008, I was determined to focus on the main thing.
2) Send out Christmas cards. Whew! That took a lot of effort.
3) Decorate my house. After only putting lights on our tree last year, this was a priority. I'm proud that I actually allowed my children to hang the decoration with only a few pieces of advice from me (like don't put the expensive ornaments at the bottom where the dog will think they are treats). And then I left the decorations hanging where they were put. I think you moms know what self-control this took.
Here's what I didn't do well: Buying gifts for those I love.
I thought I had purchased more gifts throughout the year than I actually did. Then, when I forced myself to make a list (after recovering from sending out cards and decorating) I realized I was in big trouble. There would be no joy in Whoville if Mama didn't get out shopping.
So on December 23 (no - that was not a typo) I joined the other stressed out, worn out, wrung out shoppers hunting for last-minute deals. The morning was great, with no lines and great finds. But by the afternoon, it was not a pretty site. After leaving the mall, I drove around for 10 minutes in the Costco parking lot looking for a spot and left frustrated. I started early on the 24th and finished up by 11:00. Nothing to be proud of, but there were wrapped presents under the tree on Christmas morning.
The valuable lesson I learned from Christmas 2008 was I can't do everything well. In spite of my best intentions, something will suffer. So I better pick what is most important and do that to my best ability.
Actually, that's a lesson I need to remember throughout the year.
One final note. I did finish up my 8-week weight loss challenge at 159 - which is a 6 pound loss from where I started - and 2 shy of where I wanted to be. I'm not giving up. This was a great jump start for me. I found a friend who will join me at the gym, which was a prayer request of mine a few months ago.
I'm headed to Atlanta on Thursday for a five-day business buying trip with my mom. Even though I'm not a natural shopper, I love looking for great products to sell on our website. In 2009, we'll be focusing more on decorative office pieces and pretty things women can use at work (like charming lunch totes). So I'll be signing out until next week.
Thanks for all your encouraging words in 2008. I treasure each one.
In Christ's love,