Read e-book The Simple Joy of Christmas: Putting the Joy Back into a Wonderful Time of the Year

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On the card, we joyfully held each other with the sun setting in the distance. Honestly, when I look back at it, I think about how cheesy it looks. But in I thought it was amazing.

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Part of the reason I enjoyed sending out cards was that I loved getting cards back from my friends. I hung them up in my house for months, and they reminded me of how many wonderful people we had surrounding us. I put up the holiday cards I received last year as they arrived. But I must have taken them down at some point, because by New Years Day, when Shawn came home to die, they were not up in my house.

Maybe someone helped me do it. Maybe I took them down because I knew that it would feel impossible to see all of those happy families staring back into my living room where Shawn was dying. In any case, those cards are nowhere to be found. So when I thought about sending out holiday cards this year, I just felt sad. I wanted to get cards from my family and friends and I knew that sending my own card would make others feel like they had permission to send theirs to me.

But how could I do it? Maybe, I thought, I should skip this year. Or just send out a card with the kids on it. People do that all the time. But I was always insistent that the cards have our whole family on them. People wanted to see me and Shawn too, not just our kids. So I got my friend Stefanie to take some photos of us this summer.

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Then a few weeks ago, I decided on a picture that I liked and I began looking through the hundreds of holiday cards available online. I guess I should have braced myself for such an activity, but as with everything else in my life, I just did it. A few clicks led me to a photo card website and my screen was instantly filled with smiling families. As a little aside here, I want to say that I truly appreciate that holiday card advertisements have become much more diverse.

Photos exist of single moms and interracial couples and families with two dads. I bet other people feel the same way too. In any case, I spent the afternoon scrolling through the pages and pages of cards. Happiest Holidays!

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Merry Everything! Oh What Fun! Counting Our Blessings! The world is always seeking happiness, but happiness is only an emotion that can come and go without warning. On the other hand, joy is one of the most powerful spiritual forces in the world and one of the fruits of the Spirit that only comes from a relationship with Almighty God.

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That strength we find in Him gives us the power to overcome trials and great obstacles in our lives. The joy of the Lord is not dependent upon your circumstances—it comes from your spirit. If the joy of the Lord is your strength, you can be sure that the devil is out to steal it from you.

He knows that if he can get your joy, he can take everything else from you, too. But, you can be aware of and on the lookout for his schemes. Here are three ways the enemy will attempt to steal your joy:. The only weapon the devil has is lies. You lose your will to fight. You lose your joy, and therefore, you lose your strength and the victory. Instead of giving in to the temptation to be depressed, we must resist the devil and get right back into joy. Go to the Word of God, and choose to believe His promises. Speak what God says about the situation aloud. So stay in joy! Top 10 Christmas Quotes.


5 ways to simplify Christmas—and embrace the joy—this year - Motherly

View the list. I love spending time with my family and friends during the holidays, and my favorite holiday tradition would be the pozole that my mom makes almost every Christmas. It's the best! Becky G. Love Family Best Time. Having a birthday cake squashed into your face by young kids? I always don a Santa suit at Christmas. Remaining childish is a tremendous state of innocence. John Lydon. Birthday Face Cake Childish. Halloween isn't the only time for ghosts and ghost stories.

In Victorian Britain, spooky winter's tales were part of the Christmas season, often told after dinner, over port or coffee. Michael Dirda. Coffee Time Dinner Halloween. We got to the moon on Christmas Eve , at the end of a poor year for this country. We had Vietnam. We had civil unrest. But we went around the moon and saw the far side for the first time. A script writer couldn't have done a better job of raising people's hope. Jim Lovell. Hope Time King People. After church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my family would go chop down our Christmas tree.

5 ways to simplify Christmas—and embrace the joy—this year

Once it was home and placed in its stand, Mom and I would painstakingly decorate our tree. It took hours to place the tinsel, string the lights, find the perfect spot for my favorite macaroni and felt ornaments from kindergarten. Molly O'Keefe. Family Tree Home Mom. Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

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Norman Vincent Peale. Beautiful World Waves Magic More. Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice. Dave Barry. Time Holiday Way Choice. Halloween starts earlier and earlier, just like Christmas.

Robert Englund. Halloween Like Just Starts. November is auspicious in so many parts of the country: the rice harvest is already in, the weather starts to cool, and the festive glow which precedes Christmas has began to brighten the landscape. Sionil Jose. Cool Weather Glow Country. I've been giving back since I was a teen, handing out turkeys at Thanksgiving and handing out toys at toys drives for Christmas. It's very important to give back as a youth.