Speaking of gingerbread houses (last post), let’s go back to a time when I was a good Christmas mom (I have been far from that this last little while…) and we made them together for FHE.

But I can’t take any credit for these suckers because Lucy was the one who made it a point we had to get this activity on the calendar right at the beginning of the month.

So we did.  Because that girl knows how to get things done I tell you!

I had only bought one house to decorate together because those things take some work if you want to get them right in my opinion (I love gingerbread house making as much as I love Easter eggs….I get kind of giddy about it for reals, so I’m right with you Lu!).  But Lucy was pretty sure she and her friend needed their own so she could introduce her friend to this all-important Christmas activity.  (She was shocked when her friend told her she had never decorated a gingerbread house and quickly maneuvered a plan to remedy to that very large problem and invited her over for FHE. 😉

Luckily Grace and her date hadn’t done a whole ton to their house a few nights before so the big girls and I took that one over and Lucy and her friend got the new one.

These girls were the directors-of-decorations:

 And these girls worked hard on their own creation:

Have to show the back of this one too because that’s an important:

It was a great night, but keeping it real, my fuses are extra short this season.  I am struggling.  I’ve had some trouble sleeping which throws everything out of whack.  There are some pressing things on my mother’s brain and heart and I don’t think I’ve done a great job at creating a loving atmosphere around here the last week or so.  And it’s true what they say that when the mother is stressed, the family is stressed.   I’ve written a few pep talks for myself here on the blog, hoping that maybe they would help me as well as some other moms who like me are feeling frazzled out there…and there have been some sparks of wonder and beauty here and there.  One of them involved Lucy’s handbell concert.  Oh boy.  I will write about that soon, it was good. 

But those great moments are kind of meshed between some good freak-outs and some quite alarming stress.  Just being honest here. 

I figured we needed to infuse some more kindness somehow around here. 

And as I was trying to think of ways, our empty manger caught my eye.  It’s the kind you’re supposed to fill with hay every time you do something kind or good…and the hay you add makes it soft for Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve.

We somehow lost our “hay” from last year and that poor manger was just sitting there empty as could be.

 So I found some hay (from a friend who has goats and horses) and got it ready to fill that manger.

And then i did a few little secret services for my kids and started to fill that thing.

 Hopefully everyone will catch on and we can get that thing soft as can be.

One of my friends gave a great comment in church last week.  She said she listened to a talk from a lady who reminded us that the most important service we give should be to our families.  They need to come first.  And yes, it’s great to get them involved in all the service we are running around to give others…there’s so much love to share at Christmas!  But when it really comes down to it, they need to come first.  And we need to let our eyes sparkle with theirs this Christmas season. 

So I’m throwing a lot of good intentions out the window (should have done that a week ago), and I’m off to snuggle this good family of mine with my whole heart.  Because they are pretty great.


  1. Do you have a preference on the best boxed gingerbread kits? Are ones better/stronger than others? I have 2 John Wright cast iron gingerbread molds but we have never made them! Charity mentioned that it is a big tradition in her husbands family. I would love to hear more about ideas and tricks to put together and to make stained glass windows. Good job Lucy on keeping up the traditions!

  2. It's a tough time of year – for a lot of reasons. I started melting down just after Thanksgiving. Many members of my family are estranged, and that sadness, plus the pressure to fill in all the gaps, hit me hard. It's never felt like an option, but this year I had no choice but to address my stress with some drastic measures. I spent a Saturday in bed, cut my to-do list in half, and have prioritized sleep over everything else. I also decided not to do anything on the Christmas agenda that I don't really want to do. This has been a little confusing to my immediate family members, but they would feel worse if I were whacked out on anxiety. I'm still a bit sad and stressed, but it's manageable. Hang in there – you have company in this area.

    1. You sound very wise. My Christmas season has been similar. I like you needed to let many previously “necessary” festivities go. Though awful to feel such anxiety it has been a gift to be forced to focus on what matters most and prioritize. Still struggling with the sleep though if anyone has great ideas. Thanks for keeping it real too Shawni. You’re inspiring and relatable.

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