My Christmas Wish Isn’t That Complicated

World peace? Equality for all? All of the riches of the world? Well, yes, all of these things, but my Christmas wish is much simpler than all of this and it is every year. This year, I really hope my Christmas wish comes true.

World peace? Equality for all? All of the riches of the world? Well, yes, all of these things, but my Christmas wish is much simpler than all of this and it is every year. This year, I really hope my Christmas wish comes true.

My Christmas wish is simple. It’s not just peace on earth, good will toward man, and all that jazz; it’s about peace and joy within my own household. See, every year, I paint a perfect picture of our holiday in my head. We wake up, we rejoice in the season, we open presents, we eat amazing food, and we just enjoy each other’s company under the twinkling lights. We have the perfect Christmas. But what is perfect anyway? My mind’s eye tells me there is no bickering, no disappointment, no negativity.

That’s my Christmas wish. Is that too much to ask?

With a large family, I guess it is.

As a child, there was always chaos. My parent’s coffee was never ready before my sisters and I woke up. Someone always ruined a surprise because someone peeked the night before. My sisters and I would bicker because “she got more than me, mom!”. Always something.

As an adult, a parent with a lot of kids and a blended family, I’ve never been able to pour that first cup of coffee or focus my camera on the gifts before someone woke up and counted the presents (surely, they were uneven in number, but not in cash – but I could never point that out, because…SANTA!). Chaos. Bickering. B getting mad over all of the bickering and bickering too much himself or just heading to the beach for a “break” (break, you know, those things moms don’t get?). Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

So, this year, my Christmas wish is this (and it’s really simple)…let us all just enjoy the day…together. No one gets mad. No one feels slighted. No one fights. No one leaves because they get mad (and possibly drink too much) and don’t want to adult (not me for once). We have a problem with this and I know we can’t be the only family.

All I want for Christmas is a fuss-free day. For once, I want no one to notice that things don’t “look” equal. I want each one of us, within my own home, to notice that we have a good life. That we have a strong family bond. That the magic of the lights and the season, and the love we have for one another, is so much more important than anything under that tree.

I want to feel the magic that I felt when I was 10. I want them to love the fact that we’re together, that we’re healthy, that we’re a family. I want us to all go to sleep saying that this was the best day ever simply because we were all together in the day.

If I get nothing for Christmas under the tree this year, I don’t care. I’m just committed to the fact that I know that I want to be happy knowing that my (non-bickering) family is under the tree together this year.

Is that too much to ask? My Christmas wish is simple. I want my first-world-problems, bickers-too-much, non-appreciative family to just appreciate and love this year. No nonsense, no chaos, no fighting…just love and togetherness.

Merry Christmas, y’all! What’s your Christmas wish? I sure hope it comes true for you this year!

Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Deed

Never underestimate the power of a good deed, especially during the holidays. You never know whose life you’ll change forever. My life was forever changed thanks to a good deed back in Christmastime of 1988.

never underestimate the power of a good deed

It was Christmas time and I was a 21-year-old expectant mother of my first child. It should have been an exciting time. I should have been full of wonderment and joy. I was full of fear, and I was alone. My then (sorry I ever met him except for the fact that he gave me my first two true loves) husband got locked up for a DUI, again. I had just started a new job. I really didn’t know anyone there and I surely didn’t share my insane personal life with them.

My mom had called, after hearing of the news. I was at work, at my new job. I did my best to be quiet. No, mom, I don’t need anything. I’ll be fine. He’ll be out in a few days. I’m fine. I’m totally fine. Yes, I know it’s Christmas, but I’ve got this! No one heard, it was cool; I was fine. But apparently, someone heard and someone heard me cry in the bathroom after that phone call. Someone knew that I didn’t even have a tree. Someone KNEW that my heart needed to enjoy my favorite time of the year, despite my circumstances. Someone, her name was Julie, changed my life that year, in 1988, and I’ve dedicated my life ever since to paying it forward.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Deed

I walked into my office that next morning, sat down at my desk, and there was an envelope just staring at me, with my name on it. I opened it. I read words that warmed me like maybe no other words ever have. I cried.

$50. A cool $50 and a simple note. Doesn’t seem like much, right? Change in your pocket. So wrong.

So, so wrong.

Those words…everyone deserves a Merry Christmas…forever changed my life. And it’s changed the lives of many others since.

You see, that Christmas, that year, I was ready to throw in the towel. I didn’t want to bring a child into a cruel world that didn’t understand how much I loved this season…how much I loved humanity. I thought bad things, alone and pregnant in my little apartment that week. I wasn’t sure if I could go on…or not. I wasn’t sure if that baby girl had a future with a mom like me. That note, that kind and thoughtful note, changed my entire life and the life of my unborn baby girl.

I went out that very night and bought a tree, a fake one that didn’t make me sneeze, and blue ribbon with pink bows because at the time, I didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl. I decorated my tree. I cried, I laughed, I rejoiced in life, and in the season. I was excited for the first time in a long time. Julie, little did she know, changed (possibly saved?) our lives.

still believe in the magic of christmas

With a kind note, $50, and love in her heart, she saved our lives and made me love Christmas again. Thank you, Julie, wherever you are. I still have your note. I still read your note. That note meant so much more than the money you tossed my way, so much more than that blue and pink Christmas tree that year, so much more than you’ll ever know.

NEVER underestimate the power of a good deed. Someone, somewhere, might still be fueling their Christmas spirit, their entire life in fact, off of that one good deed nearly 30 years later.

I often think of Julie. I often hope that her life turned out as good as mine. I’m pretty sure it did. Today, I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about how I’ll afford a tree; how I’ll provide for my children. I’m in a better place. I thank the Julies in my life for putting me here and I’m determined to constantly pay it forward because I learned in 1988 that a simple kind deed can change someone’s life.

My life is better now, Julie, thank you. I hope you’re living the good life too; you earned it many years ago, whether you know it or not!

PS – Julie, I never told a soul back then, but I’m telling everyone now because they really need to know. Everyone needs to know. Your “simple” gesture way back then is too powerful to conceal anymore!

A Family Beach Day, A Day in Photos

A family beach day is so cleansing to the soul. Sometimes, words aren’t necessary when the photos tell their own story. This is one of those occasions, and I’ll enjoy this photo journal for years to come! Random thoughts from a mom after a day at the beach.

family beach day

Sometimes, just letting them enjoy each other’s space is enough.

family beach day

And most of the time, just letting them be them…well, it’s enjoyable for both of you. I dig his style!

family beach dat

Bubbles! What’s a beach day without bubbles? What’s any good day without bubbles, actually?

beach family day

A day without bubbles is like a day without a beach ninja. I mean, it’s not even really a day, is it?

family beach day

The only sad part of the day is when you look through the lens and realize they might be growing up too fast. It all goes by too fast. Until…

family beach day

You realize that one of them is looking back at you, from inside of a sand hole, enjoying life like only a small child can, and you realize that there are still many years of joy, and frustration, to come. Be still my heart!

b burying kylee edit

And then there’s this. THIS is the beginning of a memory in the making, with a man that you adore making memories with.

beach family

It ended way worse than this, of course, but I was too busy unburying my baby (face and all) to get a photo. Sometimes, like this time, it’s not OK to just sit back and be the spectator…because…buried alive?!?!

beach family

And just when you realize you’re absent from your own online album, all of your family photos, you see that you were there all along. In their reflection. Capturing every moment. While they looked adoringly at you, and you realize you’re doing exactly what you were meant to do all along. Take care of them, love them, enjoy the moment, and capture the memories in their reflection while they reflect on the love that you give them.

In the end, that’s all that matters. The memories, their love, capturing their beauty. When you realize you’re doing what you love…while you’re watching the ones you love the most…enjoy themselves? That’s when you know you’ve made it. That’s when you know your life, your world is complete. That’s the moment you realize you’re living the life you intended, the life you’ve always wanted to live. That’s when you know love.

I know all of these things, and I’m glad my camera reminds me daily. I’ve made it. I’m happy to be in their reflections. I’m just happy. Not everyone achieves that level of success in life. I’m content that I’ve found my success from within my own little world.

Are you?