Calm Heart, Organized Christmas (CHOC) #4 (Being Flexible)

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Two Tips for Keeping a Calm Heart at Christmas:

Be Flex.i.ble

and be Thankful!

Read Calm Heart, Organized Christmas (CHOC)#1, CHOC #2, and CHOC #3.

The branch that will not bend, WILL CRACK!  Sometimes, God likes to move me further out on a limb where there’s not so much a feeling of being supported and then He makes sure I’ve got more to do than I can possibly get done.  He does this, I believe, in order to make certain that I do not (cannot) rely on myself and I must turn to, and trust Him.

He empties my cupful.  A friend described it beautifully:

When my cup of responsibilities and stress is full to the brim, God pours in more and He empties my cup (everything splashes out) in the process.  My cup of worries is emptied. That’s what God did this past week.

God Poured In More With a Surprise Upcoming Visit!

I am excited to say that my brother and nephew from out of state are coming to stay with us December 2 for 5 days!  I absolutely know this is from the Lord–the timing and all the circumstances have His handwriting all over them.  And I am excited to see what He’s going to do!  Something about having not much advance notice and no expectations from them or us has caused me to relax about it. Is anyone else like that?

What I Got Done This Week and How I Flexed:

When life gets crazy, it’s ok to use some conveniences.  My mom did not want us cooking and fussing this Thanksgiving.  By the way, thank you so much to all who’ve been praying for her! She is doing so remarkably well, and we are thrilled.  She celebrated her 90th birthday on the 18th. (See the balloons in the corner of the photo?) Not to tax her too much, though, we ordered the complete Thanksgiving dinner, for 8-10 people, delivered from Coborns grocery store to our door. This might be an idea for your Christmas Dinner.

The package included:

A 10-pound turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, a scrumptious sweet potato side-dish with streusel topping, wheat and white dollar buns, Sara Lee pumpkin pie and Cool Whip.

We replaced other side dishes and added some:  Dutch apple pie and the ingredients for Green Bean Casserole, Mrs. Olson’s Lefsa, veggie tray items and black olives.  Using coupon codes saved us about $30, and we chose to have it all delivered Wednesday evening. Perfect!

Ordering the food and heating it in the oven at my mom’s apartment worked out great–and everyone loved the meal!  I even ordered a few extra groceries for our family (delivered to my door for only a $5 delivery charge–what a deal! I may do it again!)  Everything tasted wonderful, except for the gravy, which was awful, but we had drippings from the turkey, so my sister was able to make gravy. (I don’t do gravy:) It took 3 hours to roast the turkey, which was already cooked–good thing we were flexible–it tasted delicious.

Another time-saver was using paper products.  Usually my mom likes to use the china that belonged to her mother.  This year my sister bought paper dinner and dessert plates and matching napkins, decorated with fall leaves, and a lovely yellow paper tablecloth with matching dinner napkins.  Sometimes you just have to be flexible! And everything was wonderful, and far less work.

Now, on to the Christmas preparations accomplished: How are you coming on yours? Have you started?

  • I finished entering my Christmas Card Address List into an Excel spreadsheet.  If you do this, here are some options: include which of these you sent: a photo, letter, or card, and whether you received a card, for each year. My list includes the years 2011-2015 and I included 2 temporary columns on the left to check off when I’ve “Addressed the Envelope” and when I’ve mailed it, or if I need to Hand Deliver it.
  • I worked some more on my Christmas Hospitality talk which I’m giving to a Homeschool Co-op in December.
  • I spent most of Black Friday online buying Christmas presents (yay):  bought some birthday gifts, too, and recorded the gifts and amount spent.
  • Took advantage of fantastic Christmas sales to get my hubby much-needed clothes. had shirts for $9.99 each!
  • Edited last year’s Christmas party invitation, and added a really cute photo from this set of free Christmas icons.  Printed out, and hand-delivered most of them; mailed the rest.

  • Using my 2011 monthly calendar at a glance in my planning notebook (affectionately nicknamed “my brain”), I wrote a rough draft of our Christmas letter. If you can’t get started, just list a few highlights from each month of the year.
  • I cleaned the kitchen, and dusted the Living Room, taking down all the fall decorations. With my husband’s and daughter’s help, we got the boxes of Christmas decorations out of the hall closet, and I put up those that go upstairs.  In the next few days I’ll try to finish downstairs. (This may get delayed, since my back has been hurting me since hefting those boxes:)

Plans For Next Week (Lord willing):

  • We’ll buy the Christmas tree, but leave decorating until my relatives are here.

  • Make 4 batches of Nuts-n-Bolts (Chex Party Mix) and freeze.  For what I think was the first time ever, I didn’t get it made before Thanksgiving.  At this point, I’m thinking I might wait and make it a cozy activity to do with my brother, a single dad, and 20-year-old nephew.

I’m remembering not to beat myself up when something I ALWAYS get done doesn’t get done. God is teaching me to be flexible.  The real emphasis is on the birth of our Lord, and people I love. Listening to Christmas hymns and carols helps me remember that.

  • Hopefully getting our photo reprinted at Sams Club.
  • I have been praying that the Lord will show me what to give to all of our friends (same gift to all), and to our neighbors (same gift to all).
  • I would like to buy the rest of the Children’s books to send as Christmas gifts to great-nieces and -nephews, but I kind of think we’ll be busy with company.
  • I’m getting ahead on blogging, and A Helping of Hospitality vlogging for the next couple of weeks and making plans to spend less time on the computer.
  • But, do look for a couple more giveaways coming!

We all have “life” interfering with our other plans sometimes–we can plan, but God directs our steps.

Have you heard the saying, “Life is what happens to us while we’re making other plans”?  If we’re able to see the “interruptions” as from the Hand of God, and be thankful and flexible, we won’t crack, and we may even see how beautifully God has worked things out in a completely different way than we had planned!

Praying that you’ll all have a Calm Heart and an Organized Christmas!
I’m linking up today with Large Family Organization (LFO)–remember you don’t have to have a large family to link up, just share your organizational tips–thanks, Amy!

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