Devotional Diary: Breathe

My house is a mess.  I have Christmas glitter particles everywhere and food droppings from the last week still scattered along with the dust bunnies and dirt on my floor.  There are mounds of laundry waiting to be washed, and I honestly can’t tell you when I last changed the sheets.  I stare at a tub full of Christmas crafts I have set out to make with the kids.  The tree and most of the house decorations are up, but the ornaments will go on tomorrow night with the kids and hubs…  The Elf will be making his little appearance in the midst of my kids’ slumber.  It took me an hour to find that little sucker… I thought I had hidden it so well, that it was forever gone.  Moments of panic were had, until the last tub revealed that nutty looking red figurine wrapped tightly in a reindeer blanket.  I had no idea that I hid it there.  No idea.

My list of things to do is scribbled on random pieces of paper that are either stuffed in my drawer or lost in my car.  I don’t know where or how to begin this Yuletide Season, without any kind of clarity or plan.  The weekend spent with loved ones and major food consumption was delightful, yet attempting to navigate the loss of  structure and not one moment without the kids, left me with some dangling frazzled nerves.  I honestly can’t believe it’s “Christmas time”.  I haven’t really stopped long enough to take in the transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas.  How on earth did that happen?

And here we are.  Here it is.  The Holy Season is upon us.  The Advent has begun.  And it is the most frantic, hurried and stressful month of the year.  Season’s Greetings, my friends.  Here we go… 

I wish I were one of those people that could just go with the flow of life’s moments and embrace them as they come, without constantly feeling the simmering weight that grows so heavy on my heart.   I need things in order and done and in place and completed and carefully thought through in time and space and if I am not prepared and acclimated to the moment that arises, I truly can’t take it in completely.  Anyone?  My functioning self over-rides my passionate heart.  Over and over again.

I scurry through errands of picking up gifts and putting lights on the tree with haste and the incessant need of “checking it off my list”.  I can breathe when it’s…

Done.

That’s when I can take it all in.  But why oh why don’t I take it in during the moments that lead up to making it beautiful?  Why can’t I breathe through the steps I take to get ‘there’?

I think I miss so many precious moments to breathe.

Pause.

Take it in.

Relish in it.

Inhale.

Slowly.

Exhale.

This season, I am going to use the power of purposeful intention.  I am going to stop myself in the midst of my scurried ‘to do’ and pause.  Take it in.  Relish in it. Inhale. Slowly.  Exhale.

Each Holiday party and gathering I go to.  Each event or activity I plan.  Each card I write and treat I bake.  Each ornament that is hung.  Each toy that is bought.  Each cookie that is made.  Each bible story that is read.  Each candle that is lit.  Each gift that is wrapped.  Each prayer I lift up.  Each errand that I run.  The schoolwork and endless Christmas crafts.  Each dustpan filled with glitter.  Each melted candle and home-baked food.  Each off-key piano Christmas tune.  Each note the elf writes and all the excitement of Santa.  Each flicker of enchantment in my children’s eyes.  Each hot cocoa and snowfall.  Each family visit and phone call.  Each glorious light and beautiful song.  Each picture taken and sermon given…

I won’t let it echo off the chambers of an empty, busy and frantic heart.

I will breathe it in.  Slowly.  With intention.

I will compel myself to…

Devotional Diary Breathe Through The HolidayPause.

Take it in.

Relish in it.

Inhale.

Slowly.

Exhale.

These moments matter.

They will be either scattered bits of memories, or cherished treasures of history.

I will purposefully choose to breathe.

Would you join me?

Author Signature

Comments

  1. says

    One day at a time truly is the ultimate way to live, and not just for those with addictions or family issues. I think it goes against our nature as moms, generally speaking, and thinking we can do it all and it must be “just so” in order to give our kids the life they deserve. I applaud you in you purposeful plan to be and experience.

    • says

      I often have to go to “One hour at a time” Laurie!!! I struggle with my anxiety that pushes me more than my heart. But I will do my best to let my heart win the battle!!

  2. says

    I am truly trying to take it all in myself and be as present now as possible, especially during the holiday time. I am doing what I have to do during the quiet moments when the kids and my husband are otherwise occupied, but for the most part I am truly trying to just go with it and enjoy the time we have together. So, I really loved this posit today Chris and can totally relate. Happy Sunday and thank you as always!! :)

    • says

      Oh Janine- I love that you are trying to pace yourself and be in the moments that matter!!! I need to work harder at this still. Sunday was awesome, as I really did embrace each moment. Today? Not so much.

      A work in progress over here!!! lol

  3. says

    Yes! Of course, I will join you, Chris! Every year, I vow not to stress out over the holidays. I find I’m getting better at it, though it does take practice. We don’t have to get sucked into the frenzy of the season. Let’s pause and enjoy it!

    • says

      I take you for a “Cool Cat” Jen… I can’t imagine you stressed- you always seem so calm and ‘in the moment’ to me…

      Oh how I struggle with this!! I had one good day last weekend. ONE! But- it was lovely… so I will try again this weekend. And pace myself just so, in order to indulge in the beauty of it all- and not function through it instead.

  4. says

    So beautiful and honest, Chris. We dads, as a result of our simpler nature, are usually good at the “in the moment” thing, and this is a time of year that comes in handy for us and our tickers. Beyond that, I prefer to think of the season as one big long incredible experience, not just a race to 6 p.m. Dec. 24, but a journey of stories and moments and forgotten wine and parties as much as it is the things we happen to get right!

  5. says

    I would LOVE nothing else but to join you in breathing this holiday season. I often don’t stress out but this year it’s all about getting jobs to pay for holiday gifts, and those jobs are a little too close for comfort to Christmas. Will I make it in time? And we’re trying to book a Disney trip and our tree is 20 feet tall and I might be allergic to it, and I need to write for my blog, and for other blogs…ugh.
    I’m trying to pause. I’m trying to pause here..

    • says

      Oh Tamara!!!! You and I ARE TOTALLY ONE IN THE SAME!!!! I think if you put us together we would literally explode!!!!

      I love that. Oh how I love that. I am a MESS with the overwhelming things to do… AMESSITELLYA!!!!!

      Okay- lets try to remind each other to breathe okay?

      Deep breaths… In….Out…..and in….and out.

      In a paper bag!!! 😉 LOL

  6. says

    I feel like a hypocrite to say almost anything due to the fact that I just spent a week in Jersey and didn’t breathe but once. But I am also sitting here this afternoon writing lists and schedules and prioritizing what Christmas will look like – with the willingness to let go what won’t fit or what we won’t have time for. Kim Hall just wrote a great piece about making room for white space and I think during times of the year that the white space is gone, or there’s less of it, that’s when we go into that panic. I think maybe you and I need to recommit to white space. We can drink Bacardi there – what do you say?

    • says

      If Bacardi is in the white space…. I’M THERE!!! LOL

      Seriously- I need more of that white space- especially on SNOW DAYS. AhhhhhhhHHHHHH!!!!!

      *Breathe….Breathe….breathe…..*

  7. says

    Oh Chris!! I certainly hope I can join you! The beginning of this post was completely me yesterday. We were rearranging some rooms in our house, trying to get up decorations, etc., etc. , etc. I was a frazzled, stressed out mess. This morning I listened to my children laughing in the other room and it dawned on me that they were actually getting along for once. I breathed that in and today has been so much better. Maybe this year, we can all remind each other to slow down, stop stressing, and enjoy the moments! XOXO

    • says

      I am having one of “those” days Lisa!!! FRAZZLED beyond BELIEF!!! Snow days always throw me off with the kids home and the chaos that ensues!! I wish I could have embraced it more…. but I was looking for a paper sack to breathe in, instead!

      Will try again tomorrow. Sigh.

  8. says

    A moment relished!
    I rang bells in front of Walmart this afternoon. I tried singing Jingle Bells to draw people into dropping money in my bucket. That did not work for me, but a simple “Merry Christmas” and a smile did the trick. A darling little boy of about 5yrs old came up to my bucket, struggling to get change out of his pocket, With great determination, he dropped his coins in the bucket, wishing me a “Happy Halloween”!!!!!

    • says

      OMYGOSH how I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS COMMENT!!!!!

      Precious moment indeed mom!!!! Too sweet!!!! And quite hilarious to boot!

      I literally laughed and cried at the same time!!

      BRILLIANT example! XOXOXO

    • says

      I love that I have you with me in this Tricia!! I think it will take a village to make this really happen! LOL

      Kinda like fell off the bandwagon today- NOT an “embrace the moment and breathe” kinda day today. Nope. Nada.

      Tomorrow! Yup. Gonna totally breathe tomorrow! LOL

  9. says

    Sigh…my fear is that I will say yes, because I agree with you with every piece of my being, but still hold my breath until after the last bits of torn wrapping paper are vacuumed up at the end of December. But I shall try, because I want my kids to know that this time of year is about more than just amazon wish lists and counting boxes under a tree. xoxo

    • says

      oh Lisa- do I get you. I love your honesty too!! It’s SO hard to not function through it all, isn’t it? Okay- we can DO THIS!! Even if it’s just for a moment once a day- to stop and relish. Take it in.

      How about once a day? I’m in if you’re in!!!

      Agreed?

      (I seriously need to set this goal myself too- so make me accountable okay?)

  10. Tammy says

    Taking it in is what kept me going today. My life with my children seems to be spiraling right now and today we all stopped the madness and sadness and took part in some of the traditions that help cultivate our joy at this time of year. I know it may sound silly or “materialistic”, but the act of going out as a family, tromping through the hills, and chopping a tree down to take home and adorn for Christmas was just what we needed. We went, we conquered, we drank coffee and hot cocoa as we waited to load our tree up on top of the van. We came home and over-ate chili (the traditional after-tree-cutting meal) then put on the Christmas music and began beautifying that tree. We all needed this day. One daughter is trying to figure out who she really is (age 17), which is a bumpy road at the moment. The other is navigating the sad reality that significant relationships aren’t always what they should be (age 22), and is absolutely heart broken. God is good, today was an absolute gift. I breathed it all in as though it were my very life.
    Thank you, Father, for the beauty we can see through the ashes, and for the gift of your Son Jesus.

    • says

      Oh how I love this comment with every single bit of my heart!!

      I thank GOD you were blessed with this day- that was SO needed by you all!!! Oh, how grateful I am that you had the time to soak in every goodness with your precious children and relish in it all!!! I know they were ‘full’ that day- as were you.

      LOVE that WPB. This made my heart leap out of my chest to read it!!

  11. says

    I know how you feel Chris! AND to top it off they’re saying we have fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! YIKES! I will join you in breathing!

    • says

      I think that is why I am freaking out even more!!! And today I looked at the calendar and realized it’s literally coming SO FAST!!!! Holy GUACAMOLE!!!!!

      Panic. I need a paper bag…. to breathe into!

  12. says

    Absolutely, I’ll be joining you Chris! It’s so easy to get swept up in the glorious chaos of the season but I try my best to just stop and take a moment each day to appreciate my many blessings. =)

    • says

      I love that Sara!!! “Glorious Chaos”. YES! It’s always glorious!! But the chaos part sucks me under so much that I miss out on the glorious part!

      THIS is why I will breathe!!

  13. says

    I feel like this post was written just for me. I was just sitting here having a mini-panic attack about everything that needs to be done in the next 23 days. But then I read this. And I stopped. And I took a deep breath. Thank you. :)-Ashley

    • says

      That day I posted this, I was all zen and totally intentional with my kids and we decorated the tree and sang songs and laughed and I was all like “I totally GOT THIS!!”.

      Then came Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. And Thursday.

      And TODAY. Snow day? SERIOUSLY?

      Starting over tomorrow. Almost needed a paper bag to breathe into today!!! LOL

      Hope you are doing better at this than me!! Ashley? Yes?

  14. says

    Yes, I will gladly join you in remembering to breathe and cherish the moments. Here’s to a magic-filled, stress-less December. I want to remember. Thank you for this gorgeous reflection, friend.
    xo

    • says

      I totally should be doing these comments on a good day- cause I keep responding saying I am totally screwing up this little plan today!! BAD. DAY. TO. BREATHE.

      LOL

      SO…. I hope all my readers take in their moments and relish in them all. I will be FREAKING out over here living in hypocrisy!!!

      HA!

      Tomorrow- I will totally be back on board. Promise!!

  15. says

    I needed this reminder. I am always with franticly running around and when it is all done (or almost done, is it ever ALL done?), I realize I missed most of it running around “getting it done”. Remind me, will you? When I text you frantic, remind me.

    • says

      I NEED A REMINDER!!!!! I NEED A REMINDER!!! BREAKER BREAKER 911!!!! HOUSTON…WE HAVE A PROBLEM!!!

      *Clearly I am on the edge today…but promise to get back into my zen-like state soon.*

      LOL

  16. says

    I’m in!! I need to remember that it will all get done – it just might not be perfect and that has to be OK because breathing is necessary!

    • says

      it’s all a state of mind, isn’t it? I wish I had more power over my mind- my anxiousness to get things done. I am going to try really hard to not seek the fulfillment of ‘doing’, but the peace in ‘being’. Oh how hard this is for me!!!

  17. says

    Hey! I couldn’t find my elf for the longest time either! Haha :) Yes, yes, and yes. I am so with you on this. The season is already kind of strangling me and I just want to breathe and enjoy it. You always say it best. Great reminder, and I’m just going to be praying this for you and for me today, ok?

    Hugs!

    • says

      Oh Hillary! I love your comment!! We can pray through this together my friend!! Good Lord did I need prayer today. Oh it was bad…. I just couldn’t catch my breath at all and my kids knew it. Snow days- they throw me off my game. Chaos always gets me…. especially when it’s not planned chaos! Planned and scheduled and prepared chaos!

      Ugh.

      Starting again tomorrow….

    • says

      AW! Thank you so much Tracie!! Oh how we all need to be reminded of this… and I am learning I need the reminder over and over again. It is so hard to not “function” through it all- but the fulfillment is SO much deeper if I allow myself to really ‘live it’. *Trying* :)

  18. says

    I need to do this too Chris! You are always my voice of reason, my reminder to stop and take a breath! The holidays are overwhelming to me…I needed to read this. Right now!

    • says

      Oh Michelle- I am just having one of “those days” today with a snow day for the kids home from school! I can’t STOP and BREATHE and I feel stressed and awful I can’t be “in the moment” as I fight to ‘get things done’ with them at my feet and in my face! LOL I am NOT doing a good job of this today AT. ALL.

      Will try over and over again… until I get it right!!! 😉 (Sigh)

  19. says

    Love this reminder to just breathe! My oldest (4) is really the perfect age for the holidays, and I want to savor her delight and enthusiasm at every little holiday detail. I can’t really do that if I get overwhelmed by my never-ending to-do list. So, time to sit down and breathe!

    • says

      Oh yes Nicole!!! She is the PERFECT age to totally embrace the delight in her eyes and the excitement in every single precious magical moment of the Holiday!!!! OH how fun it will be for her and AND for you!!! *Breathe it in, my friend. Breathe it in…*

  20. says

    It is so easy to get caught up in “what needs to be done” this time of year. But it is so important to remember to take that time to enjoy, to really be present with our family, and to breathe!

    Now, you just reminded me that I have an elf to find…LOL.

    • says

      Hope you found your elf!! I think you can embrace the moment so SO much better than I can Christina! I struggle with this SOOO MUCH! Like today- it’s a snow day and I had SO much blog stuff to do, and I have fought it the entire day with the craziness of the kids being home needing me every stinkin’ minute! I wish I could just let go and play with them! Ugh. It’s sooooo hard sometimes. Will try again tomorrow. Sigh…

      • says

        I did find the elf…. The youngest loves to find it each day.

        It is so hard when they are home for snow days — those days you plan to work and then they wind up home unexpectedly…. Sometimes it is easier to just give in and play a while. You don’t get as much done, but you save time on breaking up disagreements throughout the day. It seems kids just know when you have work you want to get done, those are the moments they need you the most. 😉

        • says

          Ah you know it all too well, my friend! I sooo wish I just let go and played… instead of spending the entire day in constantly struggling to work and break up disagreements! SO true, that when you need to do things, that’s when they seem to need you most. AMEN to THAT!

          I will let go next time. I must. Lesson learned… over and over again. 😉

  21. says

    Did some sort of bizarro-world telepathic transfer just happen from my head to your post? (well for starters I could have never written it this eloquently) Because I was just thinking ALL THIS but in a much more jumbled, erratic fashion….BUT IT WAS THIS. This This This. Thank you for making it pretty. *sigh* << that was me breathing. Relaxing. Taking it in. xoxo

    • says

      OH Beth! I just LOVE that we are totally in the SAME PLACE!!!! We can *breathe* together okay? I need help with it- like RIGHT NOW. :) Deep breaths… in….and out….and in….and out. Slowly exhale…. GET THE BAG! GET THE PAPER BAG!!! HYPER——VENT—-AL—ATING!!!

      HELP. ME. 😉

  22. says

    True, true, true, true, true!! I hate that this time of year can be so hectic with our to-do lists. It is supposed to be a time of reflection and joy and beauty.
    It is certainly time to stop and breathe and enjoy the things we are doing. What’s the point if we don’t enjoy them. I’m with you.

    Here’s to breathing!

    • says

      CHEERS!!! I absolutely am behind all all of that- now if I truly DO IT- Really DO IT. Not just pause here and there like I am supposed to, but allow each moment to take my breath away… I will make that choice every single day. I MUST. :)

  23. says

    Oh yes my friend, I will join you! I have to, or I’ll run myself ragged!! Lol! I feel you my friend, there hasn’t been any time to pause.at.all! With getting college and scholarship apps in and making sure my son writes a “good” essay to all the colleges he applied to. And on top of that, hosting parties and meeting deadlines. BUT, I am determined Chris that I.will.not.let anyone or anything steal my joy this Christmas season. I’m so behind, that I haven’t even put my decorations up(I usually do it the Friday after Thanksgiving). I’m taking it all in though and I’m determined I will rest in Him this holiday season…or I’ll at least “seriously” try! Lol! xoxo

    • says

      Oh gosh Michell!! I feel your pain my friend!! HA! Okay- we can DO THIS! I CHOOSE to be intentional with my time and my heart… *Stay In The Moment* *Breathe It In* *Relish*

      And here we GO!!!!

      Good luck and God speed my friend!! LOL 😉

  24. Candice Harper says

    I WILL join you!!!! This is the first season in any that I can remember with little ones that we are trying to slow down in our home…., shopping done, less plans, more togetherness….just being home with each other. My heart screams to me that this is what my children truly want…our undivided, put the to-do list down, time….to celebrate each other… which in turn celebrates our Father from whom all our blessings come. xoxo

    • says

      AMEN SISTER!!!!! Good for YOU!!! I love this comment- I feel such comfort in your words… and encouragement to do the same! Thank you for giving me something to reach for in my own home! XOXOXO

  25. says

    I am right there with you with the notes of to-do lists all over the place. You’re not alone in your mess.
    I will so join you this Advent. Let’s breath and go slow. Let’s relish and enjoy. And if a couple of dozen cookies don’t get baked b/c we were playing with the kids then so be it.

    • says

      LOVE LOVE LOVE you and your comment Stephanie!! YES! This time will be different… we can choose better and embrace what is ours to cherish, and not fly through the motions with checklists thrown about! It’s a decision I make daily, hourly sometimes. *Breathe*

  26. says

    Here I am, again- running late to the party- but- I made it… LOL! anyways… of course, I will be with you & definitely try to be at peace this holiday season… which is always hard for me because of my losses around this time of year but I want to move one & it is time, I have God & my fam & you, SSSF. right???? :-) xoxoxoxo

    • says

      ABSOLUTELY MY SSSF!!!! I will be praying for you to be able to find more Light in your Holiday this year… and peace and resolve to allow yourself to grieve but also to give yourself permission to find joy as well, sweet friend. God BLESS YOU!!!

  27. says

    This is so completely true. I have a love – hate relationship with to-do lists. I can get so wrapped up in checking items off that I forget to enjoy anything. I will be joining you in choosing to breathe.

    • says

      Oh Heather- I am SO glad you will be joining me in this mission to embrace it all, and not just fly by with a productive ‘check’ on our lists! It is so hard to do… but I am trying every day to really do this differently. We can support each other!! :)

  28. says

    I love this so much. Breathing can be such a tricky thing–especially this time of year. And even just taking this mindful minute to remember to do that…what a gift, sweet friend. Thank you. xo

  29. says

    During our church Christmas program tonight there was a pause, and a screen displayed some text that I will paraphrase here. In a nutshell it said we are so busy being busy, so surrounded by noise and clutter and stress that we can’t hear Him telling us that He loves us. If we can’t just be STILL we can’t LISTEN to Him tell us that He loves us unconditionally and that is what this season-heck, even life!-is all about.. Love this message.

    • says

      OMYGOSH Angela! I bet that was just SO powerful! Reading what you wrote just literally took my breath away….

      We should have one of those “time-outs” on social media and blogs! Wouldn’t that be SO COOL!!! Like around noon- when working moms might be on and almost anyone may be doing something on-line! I am seriously thinking about this idea….

      Let me know what you think? Call it “Take a minute…take it in.” Everyone can pause… listen…breathe…be still… and KNOW that I am GOD.

      • says

        It was SO powerful! Picture an auditorium stuffed full of people, and a HUGE screen dropping down with just white text and NO music playing. P-O-W-E-R-F-U-L. It gave me goosebumps!

        I love the idea! When should we do it? Before Christmas?

        • says

          WOW!!! Just wow. I can only imagine… every single church should do THAT!!! Too cool. I’m sure the audience just held their breath! And I am also positive it sent a clear message to many hearts in the congregation!!

          I am SO excited you want to do it!!! Okay- lets perhaps bring it up in our group and go from there? I am totally not sure of what day to do it… hmmm…. thinking…. probably while kids are still in school….?? Cause LORD knows we won’t have any silence when they get out!!! Any ideas?

          • says

            I agree, after 3 pm would be impossible to have any sense of quiet or tranquility. My only question is, will we be able to get enough moms to do it during this crazy hectic season–even though that’s what the season should be about–or should we aim for January in the name or less chaotic, and more time to build momentum? OR–holy cow–OR maybe we should aim for it to be a monthly thing??? Once a month, a moment of quiet contemplation to Listen to what He has to say to you. Oh wow…I’m loving it!!!!!

            • says

              THE FIRST OF EVERY MONTH!!!! STARTING JANUARY 1ST?!!! Oh gosh, I do hope and PRAY people will join us!!!! What do you think about that? I agree that the Holidays are crazy and I was thinking the very same thing about that and the fact that we need time to build momentum!!! Maybe we can start with our group- and I am in Bloppies group I can share there too? And post on our FB pages and fan pages? Use social media as best we can to get the word out? I have never done anything like this before… but I bet we could get a few friends to help us and share it!!! YES? I only thought of the first of each month because it’s easy to remember! HA! And noon is too…

              There are so many books that talk about picking a designated time to pray… pause… spend time with God…be quiet… listen. Do you think that we should just say “Pause and listen” or go for the gold with “Pause and Pray”. Or perhaps “Time-Out”- referring to our mommy’s time out? Hmm… we totally need to message each other and brainstorm all of this!! I am so FREAKING excited!!
              Hey- but we can always just keep using my comment section to do it! WOOHOO!!!! Loadin’ up the comments baby!!! LOL 😉

  30. says

    Yes! I will join you! I will try very hard to breathe. It makes me feel better to know, I’m not the only one with a house in disarray. All the obligations are making it hard just to keep up. But I want to be here. I want to remember to enjoy, to live, to soak it all up. Thank you for this.

  31. says

    Inhale, exhale.

    In all the craziness, I know I read this, but I could have sworn I’d commented, too. I can’t keep track of anything these days.

    Inhale, exhale.

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