But as stated before this Christmas has been difficult for a number of factors.
First, my husband’s plant has been slowly decreasing hours for a while and he was finally laid off full time in August. They’re shutting down.
I don’t know about most of you but I honestly don’t know how to budget in lean times. On the real, I barely know how to budget in times of plenty and I don’t feel bad about it because hey I live in the great US of A which is currently 14 trillion plus in debt. In terms of reflection, I admit I need to learn. Living within our means is not the issue, earning enough money consistently to support our family of six is the issue.
This leads me to contemplate my next writing [Responding to IS College Worth it?].
Plain and simple being a teacher with several degrees, for the love and passion, “We Are The World” hoopla is not what its cracked up to be when you get laid off every year. Money is a major factor in my Christmas dismay. I love shopping and buying presents. I enjoy being a blessing and money and gifts are just one way I like to express it. Unfortunately it takes money to do it and this year as stated before, money is very low.
Secondly, my city experienced a major ice storm four days before Christmas, causing our home and over 30,000 other residents to be without power for the past four days.
Unfortunately this includes sweet baby Jesus’s birthday. Now I love my mother in law. She is truly as sweet as pie and a blessing to all she meets, however her life and home fits a single, sweet, little old lady. Sort of like Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma quaint little cottage in the woods. Yea it works for a minute or a day but we’ve been camped out on her living room floor for four days.
Can I say it again? There is an 8, 10, 13, 20 and two real grown parents camped out on the living room floor measuring 5 feet by 5 for FOUR DAYS! FOUR DAYS! FOUR DAYS!
Keeping my mind from not falling into the abyss of Christmas Story Marathons, and Horrible Christmas Movie Sequels that don’t include the original cast members has been quite a feat. I went home several times in the frigid temps simply to walk about and experience the comforts of my own space. Thankfully it did me some good. The lack of money again plays a part because extra-curricular activities are limited with no money. And we need to get out and do an activity! The mall, the movies, restaurants, roller-skating, bowling something, anything.
I would love to just cook in my own kitchen please. Thank goodness I have an SUV that has maintained all my groceries in USDA temperature standards including freezing my B. Smith Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Basically, at first thought money and power seemed to have stolen my Christmas joy. But thank God for Red Cross of America. In these desperate times resulting in emotional breakdown, long serving 130+ year Red Cross prevails. In an attempt to rid my mind of Christmas TV slug, I watched a news report of their volunteer efforts in our community that have continued to help meet the needs of so many. Providing warming centers, blankets, meals, shelter and a place of refuge continues to be a determined effort of the men and women who volunteer for Red Cross. For over a 130 years Red Cross has been there. These people set aside their needs and wants for others to survive.
All of this reminded me that being self -absorbed is the TRUE enemy of Christmas joy. And the selfless love brought to earth by a babe in a manger is what is supposed to be exemplified in me and throughout all the earth year round but especially throughout the Christmas season. ( And cue the Hallelujah chorus.)
I decided to use this holiday season and end of year to discover new ways to serve others and give back. I have a short list of ideas to explore which I will probably expound on in a later post, but as for now I’m going to find my nearest Red Cross or soup kitchen and get out of my own “whoa is me” mentality and be a blessing to someone truly in need.
Because He has done Great Things For Me!