Cutting Out the Christmas Conflict

I don’t think there is any other time of the year when we are faced with intense conflict than at Christmas time. While we sing about it being the most wonderful time of the year, would you say that’s your experience?

Christmas Stress
Image from Photodune.

If it really is the happiest season of all, why do the mental health statistics reveal December has the highest suicide and depression rates than any other month of the year?

A Great Panic Attack Can Change Everything

After my first marriage fell apart, I vowed that Christ would return before I would ever consider getting married again. Why on earth would one desire a messier life than I had created by age 40 . . . HONESTLY!

Scared woman peeking
Image from Photodune.

Meeting people—well, okay . . . men—occasionally wasn’t problematic. People fascinate me, and I enjoyed making new friends in the aftermath of it all.

On the Mend

One guy stood out as a fantastic, lifelong . . . friend. We could—and did—talk for hours. His kids, too, had a history of health challenges. He was . . .

Trash or Treasure

The weathered wooden trellises were trashed . . . or so they thought. I found some timeworn trellises stacked in a pile my folks planned to toss out. I have a thing about refurbishing or renewing stuff that appears dumpy or dilapidated, and giving it new life.

cemetery_pink_rose_trellis
By Acabashi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If it’s family stuff, all the better. Around my house we have a saying: “Your trash is my treasure.”

The trellises had been used for years.

  • They had held fragrant climbing roses my dad cared for, cutting one for my mom each day.
  • They were placed by the swimming pool where for years my kids and I swam.
  • The man who built them out of wood had passed away, but his work remained.

For these reasons and more, I hauled them home, knowing they could be beautiful again.

Not long after, my daughter was engaged, and we were pinching pennies by making the most of her decorations. TA-DA . . . the trellises . . . they could work. We decided to make an A-framed arbor; each side measured about 4 ½ feet tall by 3 feet wide, held together with four vertical wood slats and six horizontal slats.

In all, each side had a bunch of smaller, square-shaped spaces, superb for her wedding style as we envisioned it in our minds.

Cleavers, Christ, and Cutting Out Life’s Misadventures

It really was not what we had planned for a quiet Sunday afternoon on Father’s Day . . . but so it goes. Shortly before summer, my youngest son, Jon, got to pick out his very own dog . . . sort of.

Abby
(Photo Courtesy of IFLM)

With all of his siblings now out of the house, Jon wanted companionship, and after all, dogs are “man’s best friend,” so we went for it.

He saved his allowance, we studied the breeds together, and finally the day came.

How to Live for What Lasts

I couldn’t believe the day had come. As we drove away from my son’s college apartment building, its soft yellow paint began to blur as tears welled up in my eyes. I was suddenly filled with a flood of memories, most of them fixed to what I wished I would have done better as a mother.

rear-view mirror
Image from Photodune.

When the kids were little, a bazillion adoring “older” folks said something I didn’t thing was right.

Triggers, Traps, and Truth Bombs

This past summer, all my best thinking led to some tearful conversations with my grown son and daughter. Apparently there was a disconnect . . . and it wasn’t on their end, it was on mine.

Mother & Daughter Serious
Image from Photodune.

It all started in May. My stepson finalized wedding plans and got married. My son came home from college to work, save money, and take some classes online. What we didn’t plan on was identity theft, which led to a consuming amount of work and documents galore, no Internet, computers, telephones, or cell phones, and thoroughly rewiring our home.

I admit, I was a little uptight. Okay, I was a little like Squidward from SpongeBob on a very bad day . . . for days . . . which turned into weeks . . . which turned into the whole summer.

Reframing Ministries: Discover Purpose, Passion, and Perspective!

Sometimes, we get stuck in life’s ruts. Ever feel stuck? If so, you don’t have to remain there!

Colleen Swindoll Thompson
Colleen Swindoll Thompson introduces Reframing Ministries.

Insight for Living Ministries can help you climb out . . . with Reframing Ministries.

If the name Reframing Ministries is unfamiliar to you, that’s okay, because it’s the brand new name for the Special Needs Department of Insight for Living Ministries.

Here’s how it will help you even more than it has.

The One Thing You Cannot Live Without

This has not been the greatest week to start my “Gratefulness” journal. Seriously. With summer heating up, schedules out of sorts, and my attitude turning sour, keeping a gratefulness journal seemed like a good idea.

Crying Woman
(Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com)

But that was before summer started.

Day one went relatively well, and day two went better. Let’s say some self-sufficient satisfaction started to kick in. Day three started with a bang . . . my husband’s back was out of whack. Since I’ve heard him complain once in my life, I was concerned but remained committed to being grateful. A good doctor, an open appointment, ice packs, and an early bed time would do the trick.

Day four rolled around, and life rolled out of control.

When You Need to Start Over

It was a tug-of-war game with the tape dispenser. My son Jon and I were wrapping a birthday present together. My job was to cut and hold the paper, and Jon had tape duty. For Jon, any activity that involves motor skills can be challenging.

Mother & Child
(Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Here’s why: motor skills are muscle-related actions that accomplish a task . . . our bodies in motion. Separated into two main categories: