For the Holiday Stress.

It’s incredible that in the midst of celebrating family, friends, and all we are blessed with–especially the birth of our savior, Jesus–we often find ourselves weighed down by the stress of plans, finances, and deadlines. Even as we were hanging Christmas lights, I ended up breaking a bulb, we bought an extension cord that was too short, and the little errors sometimes seemed to be bigger deals than the joyous occasion that makes us want to decorate in the first place.

The point. So as I struggle today to remain clear-headed and calm, I decided just to make a list of the things that I’m thankful for in this moment. As I did, the heaviness seemed to dissipate as my annoyances and worries were out-shined by the love and joy in my life. Below is my list (and yes, some of it is cliche, but those are often the things I need to be reminded of the  most because they are so easily taken for granted). In my description of each thing, I chose to leave out any negative details (like the fact that my cat likes to make a lot of noise in the middle of the night and wake me up) to help myself focus on the positive.

The challenge.I encourage you to make a list of your own; it might just turn your day around.

  1. My fiance– He is so supportive, kind, fun, and thoughtful. He is my defender as well as my challenger. He helps me to grow and enjoy this amazing life and world that God has blessed us with. He is continually positive and encouraging in the moments when I struggle to be.
  2. My family– I can never thank my parents and brothers enough for all that they have been in my life and continue to be. Their love and support is never ending. They are a safe haven, and I’m so lucky to have them so close by. My aunts, uncles, and cousins are a wonderfully fun part of my life and each moment we get to see one another is cherished.
  3. My fiance’s family– They have been so welcoming to me, and I can’t wait to continue to get to know them and have them be a part of this journey that their son and I have embarked on together.
  4. My friends– I have such a great support system of friends. We adventure together, laugh together, cry together. We push each other to achieve our goals and remind one another to have fun along the sometimes rocky road. They are such a joyous part of my life.
  5. My job– It allows me to have food on the table, a roof over my head, and clothes on my back. It is stable and it challenges me to grow as it tests my patience, my adaptability, my selflessness, and my kindness.
  6. My students– They are each unique, growing, thinking, feeling individuals trying to figure out their place in this world, and I get to be a part of that journey.
  7. My church– Specifically my pastor. He is so good at keeping his congregation grounded in the Word and remembering what’s truly important while challenging us in practical ways to grow in our faith and in our relationship with Jesus as well as our relationships with other believers.
  8. My house– It has been a joy creating a home out of our house over the last couple of months. As we continue to make it our own and figure out what is important to us, I am so blessed to be able to have this adventure with my fiance.
  9. My cat– His furry little face and bright eyes warm my heart each morning and evening.
  10. Our neighbors’ fruit trees– The key lime tree to the west and the lemon tree to the south dangle slightly into our yard, dropping their ripe fruits and providing us with fresh citrus all winter long!
  11. Pinterest– It has given me all the DIY projects I could want to help me decorate and de-stress.
  12. The outdoors– When nothing else seems to make sense, nature always does.
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