And Suddenly, It’s Christmas

This year I’ve heard a lot of people talking and posting on social media about our culture’s tendency to skip Thanksgiving celebrations and go right from Halloween to Christmas. Status rants and funny memes are filling my Facebook feed; here’s one of my favorites:

halloween-meme-4

I get it; we are such an over-marketed consumer-culture that we rush from candy to mistletoe so quickly without ever taking time to slow down and be thankful. Last weekend my friend saw Santa at the mall and requested those who think this is okay to please unfriend him on Facebook. I did not heed his instruction, but I have to ask… Is it really all that bad?

Is rushing from Halloween to Christmas really rushing anything at all?

I’ve already told you that I’m not really big on “celebrating” Halloween, but I do love me some Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite times to visit my friends on the margins, to sit down and enjoy a meal with children of God who have been rejected by the Church. In a setting where we are often pushed to move from place to place, Thanksgiving is a time to savor the people and relationships that I value so highly. Thanksgiving is also the one time of year I travel to West Tennessee to visit my extended family, and it is my absolute favorite two days of the whole year. I adore my clans, I adore their food, and I cherish the memories I have of growing up together and the memories my children are creating. It is truly a time for me to be thankful. I absolutely, in no way whatsoever, ever want to gloss over Thanksgiving.

However, I have to admit coming home at the end of November feels like being thrust onto the starting line of a race as the gunshot fires, and I don’t even have my shoes laced up. In fact, I’d rather be home in my pajamas and robe cuddled up by a fire watching the race on TV. Because waiting until 4 weeks before Christmas to even begin preparing for the season of giving and light seems like a much more detrimental kind of rush. Office parties and teacher gifts and church plays and soup kitchens and holiday baking and gift exchanging and decking the halls and falalalaaaaahhhh it’s exhausting!!

If there is such concern for rushing holidays, it seems like we should be happy to ease into Christmas, extending the joy of the season to eight wonderful weeks of sharing goodwill and cheer. Stretching out the season minimizes the stress of shopping and gives us the gift of time – time to shop, time to help, time to celebrate, time to remember… Rather than rushing the Christmas season through a marathon month of doing all of the things, let’s go ahead and rush from October into full-on holiday mode. Let’s dive right into the beauty of everything that Christmas means.

Is there ever a bad time to plan ways to bless those that we love? To bake with our kids and share hope with the hurting? Is it ever too soon to sing songs celebrating the birth of our Savior or to put lights on our houses reminding us of the Light of the World? When “should” we start building fires and filling our homes with scents of cinnamon and nutmeg? Is November too early to marvel at the ridiculous miracle of the Messiah being born in a stable? That God Incarnate put on human flesh and entered both our literal and spiritual mess in his mission to redeem mankind? Is there ever a bad time for that?

I don’t think so. Because Christmas should always be in our hearts – the love, hope, family, peace, joy and light that makes this season “the most wonderful time of the year” is the same that fills our spirits every day that we serve Jesus Christ. So go ahead – trim those trees, hang your stockings, and fill that shoebox with gifts of love. It’s almost Christmas, after all.

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Grace in the Grocery Line: What It’s Like to be a WIC Mom

Grace in the Grocery Line

Hey, you know that “pride” thing that we all have to preserve our ego? It’s where we avoid talking about our flaws or shortcomings because those things don’t make us feel good about ourselves. Well, today I’m dropping my pride on the Knoxville Moms Blog. Why? I want you to hear my story, and hopefully that will encourage someone to think of me and be kind next time they find themselves in this situation. This is just an excerpt, so click the link at the bottom to read the rest!


We have all been there.

Whether you do your grocery shopping on your lunch break, on a mad dash between work and dinner time, or while trying to wrangle all your cranky/bored/energetic/overtired/whatever kids on the cart so you can make it home in time for naps, there seems to be a universal understanding among moms that grocery shopping can be stressful. And the one thing that can take even the most successful shopping trip and make it feel like a disaster is when you get stuck in the slowest.checkout.lane.ever.

When you’re stuck in that dreaded lane, trying to distract yourself from the growing frustration of how long this is taking, glancing over racks of tabloids and chewing gum at all the other lines moving faster than yours, you start to stare down that person at the front: what on earth could be taking so long?! you think. You start counting items… you glare at the cashier… then you realize the hold up: this mom is paying with WIC. UGH.

In case you’re not familiar, WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children. This government program provides nutritional assistance to low-income pregnant or nursing moms and children under age 5 by providing certain items for free, such as milk, bread, cheese, eggs, cereal, and beans. If you have ever been a grocery cashier, used WIC, or been stuck behind someone using WIC, you know it is ridiculously time consuming to check out. And regardless of who you are in the situation, it is ridiculously frustrating for everyone.

I have been that person behind a WIC customer, annoyed and tapping my feet, huffing and glaring, wishing “those people” would just get it together or let me and my 6 items go ahead of them or use a designated lane so us paying customers could move through at a reasonable pace. Believe me, I know the frustration.

Then I became a WIC mom.

The circumstances don’t really matter, and no one should ever have to justify themselves in a public forum like the internet, but here I am, a pregnant, stay-at-home mom to 3 kids who depends on WIC every month. It is what it is; it is not a situation I really celebrate, but I am very thankful to live in a country where this is an option for my family. It doesn’t come anywhere close to covering all of our groceries (nor is it supposed to), but it is a big help with a family and income the size of ours.

I am telling you this, anticipating plenty of hate in the comments (tip for bloggers: never read the comments), because I have one simple request for anyone who will listen: please be kind.

Click this link to the Knoxville Moms Blog to read the rest of this post!