Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Christmas Card Debate

I was recently flipping through a magazine and came across an article on the outgoing trend of sending Christmas cards. The author seemed very sure that this was an "old-fashioned, out-dated" tradition and that we should all embrace technology and do away with the old through-the-mail ritual. This saddened me.

For as long as I can remember, my Grandma Phyllis would always send out an annual Christmas card and a Christmas newsletter. They were so much fun to receive for a variety of reasons. The first was that you could always look forward to getting something in the mail that was not a bill. The second reason was to see how many Guidepost/LWML/Feed the Children stickers she would slap on the envelope. The third, and most important was the annual family newsletter. Grandma would document to all on the mailing list what was happening in her own life as well as the lives of her children and grandchildren. Even though I was always able to be present at most of these detailed events, it was fun to have a yearly account of what went on in all our lives.

As I became an adult, I decided that when I got married, I wanted to carry on that tradition with my own family. So the first year Michael and I were married, we sat down and wrote our first Christmas letter. It was fun to see what we had accomplished over the year and where we wanted to go for the next year. The first couple of years, we received oodles of cards and newsletters similar to ours. It was such a great way to stay in touch with those you went to college with or friends who had since moved away. I loved receiving pictures of my friends and their kids, seeing how each family had changed or remained exactly the same over the year. But as time as gone by, the letters/cards have gotten fewer and fewer. To be frank, it feels as though the merriment of Christmas cards has dwindled. Of the 50 people we send out cards to each year, I think we've only received about 15 actual cards in reciprocation. I believe this is a result of one of two things. Either we are loosing friends and being cut from lists (which I pray is not the case), or people are doing away with this age-old tradition. Maybe I'm particular, but there's something much more special to me about receiving a real card and update from friends and family in the actual mail, than receiving an e-card or a generic "Merry Christmas" to everyone I know on Facebook.

What do you think? The only con I see for sending out the cards is the cost of postage and the cards themselves if you're trying to cut back. But I believe the pros outweigh the cons considerably. My hope is that my friends, family, and readers of my blog that do send out letters/cards will continue to carry on this tradition. You're helping spread Christmas cheer to our family for sure!

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


As I was rocking my sniffling little boy this morning, I was reflecting on how blessed I was. It seems odd to have this thought pop in your head when you're awakened at 5:45am to the sound of crying and your little one suffering from a runny nose and a fever. But in the midst of his tears and little whimpers, I thought about how much I have and how thankful I am to be where I'm at in life. Here are just a few of the things I considered myself blessed with this morning.

1. My relationship with Jesus - This is something I have been blessed with for a long time, but seldom have the courage to talk about. Sure, people know I'm a Christian, but what exactly does that mean? To me, it means that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ died for my sins and has redeemed me. He is my bridge to a relationship with God the Father and I'm so grateful that He guides me through life. I've lived the life without God in it. It's not worth it. Sin is fun for a while, but it definitely catches up to you. And when it does, God is still there, waiting for you to come back, to restore you. I'm grateful that I figured this out pretty early on in college. I'm not perfect, things are not always easy for me, nor do I have life all figured out. But the one thing I do know at the end of the day is that Jesus loves me, no matter what. And that when everything and everyone else fails me, He's always there - encouraging me to stay the course and to trust in Him.

2. My family - Really it doesn't get much better than this. I have the most amazing husband in the whole world. He loves me in a sexy dress and even when I've whipped out the tattered sweatpants. Nothing tells you a man loves you more than when he'll snuggle with you in ratty sweats, wearing no make up, and your hair looks like Woody the Woodpecker may have tried to create a home in it. My son is also incredible. Although parenting has not been an easy adventure, I have a pretty well-behaved, respectful, sweet, and handsome little boy. My prayer is that his little brother will be just a duplicate of those things.

3. My church - When people say they love their church, I often wondered what they meant by that. Do they love the building? The atmosphere? The programing? Just the pastor? When I say it, I mean I love the people. All those extra things are wonderful too, but it's the people that have become dear to my heart. I have made so many friends at our church. These people don't just talk it, they live it. They are there for you when things get tough and love you enough to hold you accountable when you're too blind to see mistakes you're making. They truly love people like Jesus does.

4. Our current situation - I've been a stay at home mom for about two and a half years now. It's been an interesting journey. I've loved being able to be with Gabriel and watch him grow and develop. It's crazy to think that we've been able to manage living off of just Michael's income. (Thank the good Lord for free TV online....) Although we don't have all the latest and greatest things, nicest cars, newest clothes, or the ability to go out to eat all the time, we really do love our life. God is putting a stirring in my heart to go back to work part time after the baby is born, which is exciting and frightening all at the same time. But as it stands now, I'm content with where He has us. Michael has a good job and I'm grateful I get to spend every day molding and training my son to be a good person and a man of God.

There are many more things I'm thankful for, but in the 15 minutes I spent giving Gabriel some much needed snuggling this morning, those are the four things that really stuck out to me. I may not have all the latest and greatest things, but I've got the essentials. That's all that really matters, right?