On my drive in to work this morning I was pondering some comments made by others & the Serenity Prayer immediately came to mind. I looked it up immediately & have to admit, I have only known the first part of the prayer. The rest of the prayer is what I needed to meditate on today!
While Christmas is my favorite time of year, as a single adult, I know it can be the worst time for some. I have endured many Christmas celebrations where there was very little money. Except for someone showing generosity & adopting my kids, they wouldn’t have had anything. The pressure of making sure children get what they want & trying to figure out what can go unpaid to do so is beyond stressful. I remember when I discovered the blessing of utilizing the Christmas Club Account through my job at the hospital & it quickly became a lifesaver. I spent money on things during the year that were completely a want instead of a need. Then……December would find me panicked! Why? Why do we allow the most beautiful month of the year cause such anxiety? Financial planning & discipline can make this year the most enjoyable. But…..isn’t it more than the gifts wrapped under the tree?
My daughter’s family & I adopted a practice in 2010 that has been a complete blessing. Giving the gift of presence instead of presents has eased the stress & created amazing memories. I continued to give presents to Bryce & Sara as they lived in the same community & had just gotten married. The first year, Russell, my son-in-law, chose Chicago as our trip. I drove from Texas to Missouri to exercise our first “presence!’ We got up early the next morning, boarded Amtrak from St. Louis to Chicago & had an amazing couple of days. We walked the Magnificent Mile as Lilli & Kaelleb shopped at their choice of stores. We ate at Portillo’s and Giordano’s. The highlight, of course was Shedd Aquarium.
It snowed the entire time we were there & the kids were amazing. When we got home we made a Spongebob Snowpants snowman! They commented it was the best Christmas ever. There were so many memories from that trip. My gift to my grands were their tickets to Shedd. I didn’t buy one present for them except for tickets to Shedd & the hotel. Presence instead of presents.
The next year Lilli & Kaelleb actually asked for a room makeover in both their bedrooms. I drove to Missouri & spent a week in the sweatshop! The den in the basement became my sewing room! We spent countless hours for days sewing, painting rooms & furniture, putting beds together all to create 2 amazing bedrooms. We unveiled the results & the kids loved it. Today when I see products from that week, it still makes me warm knowing we gave the gift of presence. We also spread the love by drawing names between our small family.
This year is a little different in that everyone has been in transition. For the first time in 14 1/2 years my family now lives in the same state! This, in itself, is the greatest gift of all to me! In July Russell & Summer moved from Missouri to Texas. Bryce & Sara are expecting a beautiful baby girl, Aubri Skye, who will make her appearance in February 2013. In October I moved from my loft in the Dallas Design District to a house in Sachse. In the last couple of weeks Russell’s mom, step-dad & sister have just moved to Texas. We planned a few trips, destinations, etc., that just didn’t comply with schedules, etc. We’ve decided to enjoy the local Chinese Lantern Festival, draw names again & spend the day at my house having gumbo for lunch! Some will then go to our new friend’s house for dinner, games & fun!
I know there are many single parents who are fretting over Christmas. I made a choice, as an act of my will, to fret not!! In recent events that have taken place in Connecticut, I’ve learned life is simply too short to fret. The love God has for us to have sent His only son, Jesus, as a gift is overwhelming. I’m awed by the obedience Jesus displayed to have left His heavenly throne to come to a humble, earthly dwelling. Somehow somewhere along the way we need to realize what makes the most impact to those around us. A star led strangers, kings & commoners to a baby in a manger full of animals. His presence has continued to change our lives & truly is the greatest present for all mankind.
I encourage you today as a single individual to re-evaluate what is truly important. Our children spell love T- I- M- E !! Enjoy this prayer as it has blessed me today!
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
One is a whole number,
They were glued to the Christmas show at Shedd Aquarium
The back of Shedd Aquarium on a frozen Lake Michigan