Holiday “blues”

I’m really missing family today.

It happens most holidays and St. Patrick’s Day weekend is a huge deal in our neighborhood. Corned beef, potatoes, kilts, bagpipes, green everywhere(!), friends/family, and one heck of a parade (if you live in Southie, anyway).

And I happen to be alone this afternoon—which I would normally enjoy.

It’s weird. Holidays are suppose to be joyous occasions (I used to LOVE them), but the last 6 years has taught me that isn’t always the case. I’ve kind of come to “dread” them. (And, with a husband and two sweet daughters, I am luckier than many.) There are people who have no family around them at all.

So, since Brance and I have become aware of this sadness that can coexist for some on a holiday, we try to make an effort to invite others into our family celebrations (as unimpressive as they may be, ha. Although, Brance is a pretty amazing cook.). We have found that it not only blesses others, but it uplifts and encourages us as well.

My parents have been an incredible example of this to me over the years. Hardly a Thanksgiving or Christmas would pass (and many a Friday night) where there wasn’t a widow or single person celebrating with us around our table. And having been the recipient of that kind of hospitality a couple of times the last few years, I must say they were doing more good than they realized!

I am convinced that opening our lives and homes, on holidays or any time of year, has the power to help and encourage and transform—others and ourselves. It’s a beautiful Christ-like thing to do. It’s something I want to do more of. How about you?

Love, Lauren

Have you experienced something similar?

Living “Groundhog Day”

Several years ago when we moved to Boston (almost 6 now!) and I was struggling with winter blues, I told Brance one morning that I felt like my life had turned into the old movie “Groundhog Day”.

Every day felt EXACTLY the same. Nighttime nursings. Chasing a toddler around the house while juggling a baby. Piles of dirty dishes accumulating in the absence of a dishwasher (still no dishwasher!). Diapers galore. Laundry always needing to be folded and PUT AWAY. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make. Much of what I did every day felt like mindless tasks.

He said something, gently and kindly, that helped and really stuck with me to this day: “Most people’s lives are filled with a series of repetitive tasks.”

Yes. That’s right. I wasn’t the only one waking up and doing the SAME things day after day. And regardless of how exciting other people’s lives seemed from the outside, they too probably grew weary of certain tasks as well. Repetition was repetition regardless of the job—whether it involved scraping dirty plates in the trash or scrubbing up to perform surgery.

Another thing that helped (besides addressing the winter blues), was to change how I viewed work. Now I don’t do this perfectly, but when I do, it really does make a HUGE difference. Instead of viewing my work as dreary and unimportant, I began to look at it as an opportunity to SERVE and LOVE—my little family and even more importantly God.

We’re told to do all things to the glory of God, even down to how we eat and drink! And every single one of these seemingly mundane tasks was an opportunity to do just that! When I finally saw and embraced this truth, it totally changed how I viewed these repetitive chores and I even began to experience joy as I did them.

I am far from perfect, so it is ALWAYS good to be reminded of this beautiful way of living. My husband Brance recently taught on the subject of glorifying God in all that we do. And it was SO good to hear! I will share the video at the end of the post, in case you would like to watch it too. I love hearing him teach! And I think it is one of those things we “know”, but can easily forget to put into practice. Just like I had 6 years ago (and still sometimes do).

Any job, regardless of how mundane, can bring joy when we offer it back as a loving sacrifice to God and others!

With love, Lauren

P.S. Have you experienced something similar? I’d love to hear.

P.P.S. I’m dying over here over how tiny my girls are in the picture I share. Oh man. If only I had realized at the time how quickly that baby/toddler season would pass. Excuse me while I go scoop them up for hugs and kisses!