O Christmas Tree

Every year the lead up to Christmas day leaves me overwhelmed and exhausted, far from the joy and peace that the songs of the season conjure up.

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This state of frustration is of my own doing, I have matured enough to recognize my errors. But, alas, each year my need to give handmade gifts to the people on my gift list, my inability to weed out a few annual commitments, and my hopeful optimism that better planning will bring me through December experiencing the perfection that is painted in story books leaves me feeling the same way year after year.

One of the traditions that suffers because of my chaos and has gotten pushed farther and farther down the priority list is the Christmas tree.

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Early in our marriage, Dear Husband and I spent many hours searching all the tree sellers to find the “perfect” fresh cut tree. Once discovered, we brought it home and lovingly decorated it with all our ornaments. Usually this process was completed two weeks before Christmas and remained until the second week of January.

Over the last few years though, putting up the tree has felt like another chore needing completed and my desire to even have a tree has waned. Not only does putting the tree up feel hard, but that thought is quickly followed with, “just have to take it down again!” “Bah, Humbug!”

This year Dear Husband brought a tree home just one week before Christmas Day. The tree selection was made, not after searching for “perfection,” but instead the main qualifier was price, aka cheapest. Fortunately, our inexpensive tree has pretty good shape and size too. Once placed in the tree stand and positioned in the living room corner our tree stood decoration-free for many days.

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Dear Husband got the process started by putting the lights on while the kids and I were serving at our church’s soup kitchen on Thursday evening. Coming home to a tree filled with colorful lights was a wonderful gift and just enough spark for my weary soul. Friday morning I dug out the Christmas ornament boxes for a day of tree decorating.

An amazing thing happened as I surrendered the worries of other unfinished tasks and submerged myself in the unpacking and hanging of our families treasured Christmas ornaments. Our boxes of tree trimmings are filled with a hodge-podge of mismatched, multi-colored decorations, they will never be seen in the pages of home decorating magazines. But as I unpacked and hung each ornament, I was reminded of Christmases past. Memories of events, gifts and most especially people, flooded in.

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Each ornament has a story,

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our first Christmas as a married couple

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the ornament I made in Kindergarten with beloved teacher, Mrs. Irvine

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fun ornament made by a family friend(made with no longer existent film canisters)

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part of a set of twelve ornaments of messages for a happy home, created by my Mom

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Honorable Son #1″s ladybug from his toddler years

Each ornament is like a blanket of love filling our home with the wishes of comfort and peace from the loved ones we have been blessed to walk beside in our journeys. Our Christmas tree is a tangible reminder of God’s love shared with us through these people.

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message ornament given by Dear Sister-in-Law

“I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world.” –Norman Vincent Peale

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May you all feel God’s comfort and love this Christmas, and may you take the opportunity to share it with others in this new year. Merry Christmas!

Hats & Backpacks & Mittens, Oh My!

For the past several weeks I have been sewing things in preparation for my local craft show. The decision to participate came as one of those crazy middle-of-the-night epiphanies.

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Having done a couple craft shows long ago, I knew that the venture is always a gamble. Customer turn out can be effected by so many things and then having items that the shoppers find interesting enough to part with their hard earned dollars all leave the seller with anxiety over a successful show.

I pressed forward with the idea because the image of what I was supposed to do was painted very clearly in my head and the logical thoughts in the small part of my brain not consumed by this new image couldn’t seem to make a dent on this creative obsession.

The first show was a two day event and I came away with satisfactory success. However, I had enough items left over that the question of participating in a second show quickly arose. After a quick on-line search for up-coming events, I found another show not too far from home that still had openings for vendors. After registering for this second show I now had to sew a few more things to fill in the gaps of items I had to offer. Do you see a never ending cycle beginning to evolve? Fortunately, the hats, backpacks, & mittens have been lots of fun to make, so making more is easy to get excited about.

The second show had a lower turn out than I expected for the venue and I now have some great hats, backpacks, and mittens looking for Christmas trees to rest under.

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Toddler ear flap hat – blue or green available

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Child dinosaur hat/drawstring backpack/mittens

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Child tiger hat/draw string backpack

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Child cat hat/drawstring back pack, Child lady bug hat/drawstring back pack/mittens, Child Minnie mouse hat/draw string backpack, Child dog hat/draw string back pack/mittens

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Toddler green ear flap hat, Child pig hat/draw string backpack/mittens, Child brown or blue tassel hat

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Child Minnie mouse mittens, Child Panda hat/mittens, Child Butterfly hat/drawstring backpack, Youth flower hats, Child green check mittens, Monster footprint drawstring backpack

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Child, Youth, & Adult patchwork toggle hats/mittens

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Young Adult or Adult Hat-Scarf/Long finger-less gloves

As each item came off my sewing machine, I would declare it my new favorite. The character hats, mittens, and backpacks gave me the opportunity to reminisce about the days that my boys and nieces wore mittens that small.

I would love to find homes for these warm winter accessories. If you are interested in any of the above items or would like me to custom make a gift for you, respond in the comments below and I will get contact information to you.

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