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Wife, Mother, Pastor

To All My Christmas Haters

Do you want to know a secret? I hate Christmas baking with my kids.  Well, hate is a strong word.  Maybe strongly dislike would be better.  So you know what?

We don’t bake.

For real.

I don’t make cookies, bread, candy or anything with my kids. Am I depriving them of this wonderful childhood memory every year? Maybe. But they have a sane mom. To tell you the truth, last year after the kids went to bed I made, cut out, decorated, and ate sugar cookies all by myself. It was awesome! Therapeutic actually. BUT, I packaged up half the batch, some frosting and sent them off to Grandma’s so the kids got a ‘cookie experience.’

My point? We stress out over little things at Christmas and it needs to stop.  We’re so busy doing ‘Christmasie things’ that we don’t even enjoy the season. Not only that, but Christmas is just a plain busy time for pastors/ministry workers. We’re putting together kids programs, Christmas Eve services, benevolence activities, and feeding programs. There is a lot going on, and our family suffers.

The goal is to enjoy yourself and your family this season in the midst of all that has to get done. Here are a few things you, my Christmas Hater, can do now, during and after Christmas that will help with stress.

RIGHT NOW
Sit and write down all your Christmas stressors. Ask yourself what can you do without this year to lighten your load.
Draw names. Why buy something for all your co-workers or all your siblings? Draw names to buy one gift verses five.
Get shopping done before December. I know, that sounds stressful itself, but trust me: not having to go through the chaos of the mall in December is priceless.

DURING
Shop online. Another time and money saving way to go (though not as fun as actually shopping).
Simple gift wrapping.  This maybe fun, but only do the fancy wrapping job if it’s fun for you. Don’t stress yourself out over Pinterest paper and homemade tags.
Elf on the Shelf. Seriously? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Have lots of sex with your husband. Sex is clinically proven to relieve stress.  Plus, Paul told us that we should be doing it often anyway.  So when in doubt, pull the Bible card (“But Paul said!”).
Make Christmas Day about your immediate family.  If you’re worried about grandmas and grandpas then have them come to YOUR house.  Make this the one day you stay home.

FOR NEXT YEAR
Shop the sales the day after Christmas. Don’t ever pay full price for paper and tags. Get it now for next year.
Every month pick up a gift card. Target, Panera Bread, Starbucks. Any place that’s popular. At Christmas time there is always someone we forget to buy for. A teacher, coach, new co-worker, etc. Having those extra gift cards on hand will save time and stress.
Plan a vacation. Depending on you schedule, Christmas vacation might be the perfect time to get away.  We have made many a vacation the Christmas present under the tree, and has been wonderful for our family.

Remember. Jesus didn’t come down for fancy wrapping paper or frosted cookies. Those things are fun, but as we reflect on His birth let’s put into perspective why we are doing what we’re doing.

PRAY WITH ME SISTERS
“Thank you Lord for the birth of your son.  Thank you for this time of year to be able to reflect on the gift you gave us.  Help us and our families to treasure this time.  That we would slow down and make wonderful memories.  Show me the best way to do this, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen!”

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HOW DO YOU DO IT ALL?- Part 1: FOOD

httpwww.someecards.com“How do you do it all?”

I laugh when people ask me this question. I smile and give them all the same answer- I don’t. My house is trashed and the crockpot is my best friend.

My boss (our lead pastor) gave the rest of us pastors the day off today. I was super excited to pray, read a book and work on my upcoming sermon. But what did I do? Grocery shopped and cooked until it was time to pick up the kids from school. Now of course this isn’t bad, it was actually therapeutic to be able to play catch-up; but I still find it a struggle balancing everything. When I asked some of my lady friend pastors what their biggest struggles are as a female pastor, the biggest answer was- balancing ministry and family.

Can I be honest with you? I can’t stand the Titus 2 woman. It says to me, “Cooking and cleaning.” My two least favorite words. So whether I like it or not, part of being a wife and mother is helping take care of my home- and that includes feeding those in my house that call me ‘mom’. Food is a big part of our lives and seems to often fall on our shoulders as the wife so that is where we will begin our series.

Just like you, I’m still learning. I’m no expert, but my desire is for us to come along side each other to help and encourage. As one who may look like she does it all (but really doesn’t) here are a few things that have helped me.


* Shop once a month for all the big items and prepare freezer meals. This has saved my children from starving. It also saves on time, mess and money. I pull something out of the freezer in the morning, and pop it in the oven when we get home.

* Put a bowl of fruit out on the table. Whenever my growing, always ‘starving’ son says he’s hungry I point him to the table. It’s quick, accessible and healthy (and no work for me).

* This bowl is also the ‘before bedtime snack.’ If they say they’re hungry before bed, it’s the fruit bowl or nothing.

* Do crockpot meals on nights when you will be at the church like Wednesday Family Nights or night services.

* Budget in pizza. Once a week or once a month, whatever you do it will bring sanity.

* Make Sunday night soup night. Make a double batch and snack on it all week, especially those nights you forget to pull something out of the freezer.

* Make the same thing throughout the month. Do we really need to have something different every night of the month? Asians eat rice and fish everyday, it won’t kill our families to eat pot roast twice a month.

*On that note, make the same thing every month. This makes shopping a synch. Sure we switch things up depending on the season, but don’t stress out over making something different all the time.

* Keep healthy canned soup on hand. Is is fantastic for nights where I’ve had a long day and don’t want to cook. Keep all natural bread rolls in the freezer and serve with the hot soup.

* Keep canned soup at the church too. Who hasn’t had an unplanned stay with the kids at the office?

* Keep a box of cake or brownie mix in the pantry for those times you end up getting volunteered to make something for your second grader’s class. (I actually don’t do this because I will find any excuse to eat brownies)

* Delegate to your hubby and kids (if they’re only enough). I’ve told my husband, thou he can’t cook, his night is Saturday. It gives me a break and shares the responsibility with him.

* ALWAYS eat dinner together. Lots of things fall through the cracks in our busy lives, don’t let this be one of them. Try your hardest to have dinner together as much as possible. We’ve had many a meal around a pre-school table in the church nursery, even if it was just pizza.

These are just a few things that make my life as a wife, mother and pastor a little more balanced. I’ll post at a later date tips that have helped in my marriage, kids and house. Please comment below what you do. I love learning from others!

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