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Friday, November 30, 2012


A few weeks ago I wrote about an expectancy.

A 9 month adventure that had not completely unfolded.

Today I got a small piece of the puzzle turned over and I will use that for my 5 minute Friday post.

It’s the final #FiveMinuteFriday of 2012; be sure and join in!

How to Join:

Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here.
Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Here I go:
On Monday I got a call from a friend inviting me to help her decorate her house for Christmas.
I don't decorate a lot. I have one rough tote of decorations and that is about it.
This lately had a SHED!
I took 10 trips to pull it all out and 10 trips afterward to put it all back
What an amazing transformation
During our visit I got a phone call for a phone interview on a job
I have been looking for about 2 months daily for a job
I had the phone interview Tuesday
Thursday afternoon I had the interview
and....today I GOT THE JOB!!!
This is a wonder for me.
A new job, in a new field and in the interview I let them know that I was a Christian and I would be going on a mission trip for a couple of week in the summer of 2014. They thought that was great and the supervisor of the team I will be working on said, "Can I go with you?!"
What a wonder, what an adventure I have ahead...
Hallelujah What a Savior.
My Christmas Ministry is Gospel for Asia
Please join with me in praying for the Asian National Women who are the only ones who can help bring the Gospel to the dark land.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Catch Up on Joy Dare

Hanukkah, Dec. 8-16,2012

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him.
(Psalm 62:1 NLT) Air 1 verse of the Day

Today begins my count down to the New Years, January 1, 2013.

My last post was 8 days ago when I was having a rough day.

We had 30 -45 mph gusts on the freeway.

I am still without a vehicle, since Nov. 15th.

We live in a 1969 mobile home in an irrigated pasture and get about 25 inches of rain a year, so we are almost always flood.

Today is the beginning of a series of storms that may leave us with totaling possibly 8 inches by Sunday.

I have these wonderful pictures windows on the South Side and we can see the yellow and green leaves swaying with the wind and the rain.

Since I have been non-comunicato this last week I wanted to catch up on my Joy Gifts for November. Ann has gotten me into the Joy Habit.

So, I will list the Gifts for the past week and then mix them into a narrative of some of the things I have been doing the past week.

Day 21 ~ 3 Gifts of Family (Abbie, Mary and Johanna)
Day 22 ~ A Gift Grateful (Thanksgiving Day)
Day 23 ~ 3 Gifts only in Christ (The Bread, Wine and Baptism)
Day 24 ~ 3 Gifts Humble (Getting rides from my clients and friends)
Day 25 ~ 3 Gifts Ugly-Beautiful (3 turkey carcasses)
Day 26 ~ 3 Gifts Preparing ( Pre-Christmas Cleaning, decorate for my friend Anna May,Christmas side-up Shelf  Paper)
Day 27 ~ A Gift Handmade, Held, Happy (My menorah and snow people)

On Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day I began my Pre-Christmas Cleaning. My Daughter, Abbie had begun the cleaning for me on the weekend while I was working. My daughter, Mary had blessed her sister Johanna by taking her to school on Thursday when my van died and I was on the look-out for some items around the house she could use in her newly acquired apartment as thanks.

Thanksgiving Day 2012
We had our traditional Thanksgiving Dinner with 50 to 60 of my husband's closest relatives. His mother was one of 11 with 9 living into adulthood and 3 still living along with one spouse. Aunt Merna hosts the dinner every year and is the youngest sibling at 78. Aunt Betty is next and she is 83, my mother-in-law would have been 85 this year (she passed away 5 years ago on Dec.11) and Uncle Vernnie is 87. Uncle Jack was married to Aunt Marilyn who was between Merna and Betty. Ian is the youngest of his generation and my husbands brother, Wilson, is the youngest of his generation. 

Getting rides from my clients and friends has allowed me to get to work and I have enjoyed some special Holiday Jobs cleaning and decorating. On Monday I got to decorate for my friend Anna May. She had over 10 boxes of decorations and a floor to ceiling tree.  Candles, dolls,green garlands, ornaments, pillow, poinsettias, and hot soup for lunch made a special memory and a time of sharing.

One of my holiday traditions is to buy discounted wrapping paper and save it for shelf paper. I have always wanted to put it Christmas side up, but have been too busy to change self paper before Christmas, so I put it white side up. This year I got all the kitchen cupboards cleaned out and have Christmas side-up Shelf  Paper on all.

So far, the only decorations I have are a couple of cloth snow people that will stay up until mid-January and the menorah. Hanukkah is early this year, Dec. 8-16,2012 and after years of getting the menorah lost before Hanukkah, I finally put it away so I could get it out first, with the soft snow people to keep it safe.

I will be teaching Jr. Church this Sunday. We are on questions 126-129, which refer to the sacraments. The material being used is Great Commission Publication's "First Catechism". I look forward to sharing the Truth with the children who have some amazing questions that never cease to intrigue me.

Which leaves me to only one Day left and that is 3 Gifts Ugly-Beautiful. I will say that is 3 Gifts Yummy-Ugly. I have 3 turkey carcasses in my freezer. They have been picked and stew, but we only put the bones out for the cats when our Corgi, JR, is staying in the house. He hates the rain and especially thunder, so there wont be much chance of him catching a bone in his throat if we put the bones out in the next few days. To the cats and other scavengers in our neck of the woods those turkey carcasses are something ugly to me and beautiful to them.

So, now I am caught up with the Joy Dares, and there is one more thing I am grateful for today: I get to sing Christmas songs and no one can say I am off-season.

Oh, Come all you faithful....Glo-o-o-o-o-ria, in excelsis Deo! 
(click for Youtube on songs)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rough Winds

John 10: 2-3 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”

My youngest daughter went to the Northern  California Coast a year ago last July for a Discipleship Camp near Patrick's Point. As the wind crashes against the window of my house today I am reminded of the waves crashing against the rocks in this photo, she conveniently left on my computer.

Jesus's promises, "He will never leave us or forsake us"

We all have problems in life:

To much work

Not enough work

Difficult people

People who seems to smoother us with love

Not enough of one thing

Too much of another

But we can never get too much of God

This weekend I ran across a magazine for Gospel for Asia

The stories of real life in Asia for women were hard to imagine in our western world thinking

Last night I looked up the site and found these facts:

Did you know that over 50,000 female children are aborted every month in South Asia? Females are often the last to eat and the most likely to be illiterate. They’re the first to work as child laborers and sometimes even sold to become one of 1.2 million child prostitutes. As they grow they gain little respect.
We are so blessed in our country!!!

As I go through the next 5 weeks of our western "Holiday Season", I want to keep in mind the women that have so little and get no respect from anyone. I want to ask God to show me what I can do for the women in Asia. 

It only takes $30 a month to help support a woman missionary to serve full-time to reach other women.
I have a friend and her family that donatated 10 years of their life to Gospel for Asia to train women to reach women. My first stop will be talking to her.

Today I am Thankful for 3 Gifts of Tradition

   1) Going to Aunt Merna's for Thanksgiving Day
   2) Candy Canes in Cocoa
   3) Reading the Wind in the Willows chapter about Mole visiting home

Which reminds me to relax, drink a cup of cocoa and read some Wind In the Willows today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

What happened on Thursday

This is my van happily sitting in front of the window of Starbucks in Safeway. I sat in the window a few weeks ago, writing my blog, enjoying a downpour and the pretty leaves.

Yesterday it did not rain...but it poured. I was only a mile from this spot on the freeway when the engine stopped at 60 mph and I had not power stirring, just breaks and raw nerve to get it over to the side on the overpass of the railroad tracks. Thank you Jesus.

I sat for 45 minutes looking at the old Anderson cemetery . It is fitting that the only picture I find in black and white. Odd-fellows Cemetery  is what they call it. I call it the place where my ugly met   with God. I was mad.

I have been going through Job and though Job was a righteous man, he challenged God's wisdom in His allowing Job to go through bad stuff. By mid day I was saying with Job, "The Lord gives the Lord takes away" blessed be the name of the Lord." By the end of the day I was saying, "It is only a car, I am safe, the dog that was with me is safe, I may have lost my car, (don't know yet), but my kids are o.k., my house is still a dry warm place and my critters are safe too (1 goat, 1 bunny 3 cats and a Corgi).

So, that is what happened to Thursday. I looked a cars all day with my Dad and didn't buy anything. I finally slept in my own bed at 10 p.m. and this morning I took my daughter's car to the auto shop to clean my stuff out. I don't know the outcome of this episode, but I trust that God does.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks!
OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::


Today I stay in my own little neighborhood.
I took my son to school in my daughter's car and returned it for her to go to college.
A friend picked me up to come to the church to cook a turkey, but I am staying close to home.
I want to stay close to the Lord, more that anything that is what 
He is my strength, my song, my salvation
He is the one in whom I trust
I will not fear what man will do against me, because He is watching over me
I am resting in the shadow of His wings
I stay close, so I can hear the voice of the Comforter
I want to stay close, and hear His heart beat
I want to stay close and follow His words
He is my mighty fortress, my shield and my protector
He is my love and my One and only God
Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses, (some trust in cars), but I trust in the name of my Lord
"They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed." Psalm 22:5 (NIV 1984)
 "... and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." (Romans 5:2 b-5 NIV) Proverbs 31 Power Verse place-where-disappointment-grows: By Lysa TerKeurst

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Still Got Some Class

Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
(Psalm 103:21-22 ESV)

I had a Realtor in my home yesterday

We have been waiting to settle family property for 5 years and now it is time to see if selling will settle

Meanwhile, I live in a 1969 mobile home in an irrigated pasture

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

25 years of waiting

I heard she was coming, but I didn't think she cared about the house

It will be scrapped

The new owners will pay for it to be hauled away for recycling

Meanwhile, I still have some class

I decorated my table with an oilcloth that has a fall print

The old cornucopia was dusted off and filled with pomegranates, mini pumpkins and apples

The freshly washed napkins stuffed the napkin holder

And...my little "Hen and Roster" salt and pepper shakers peek over the edge

The pumpkins on the side board expressed "G-I-V-E  T-H-A-N-K-S' on the sideboard

Not slatted for quick sell, so life goes on


Today I made more business cards and started my cleaning business again
Pray with me that I will be able to pick up some business while I wait on the jobs I have been applying for and will continue to apply.

I knew this was the day as I called the only client I had left that had not gone into a nursing home or died

She needed help, so Monday "Deena's Overall Cleaning" is back in business

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New House for Gingerbread Baby

“Do not remember the past events,
pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new;
even now it is coming. Do you not see it? 
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert.”
(Isaiah 43:18-19 HCSB)

I can't believe I heard a lady already singing, "You better watch out..." to her kids. I was never that brave. I never told my kids to be good for Santa. 
For one thing, our Santa wasn't that wealthy to keep a kid good for 1 1/2 months.
I know the stores have the Christmas stuff up, but my Heart it not there.
Today  LET. IT. GO. by Karen Ehman is being released.
She talked about her her childhood Christmas and unreal expectations.
Let them Go, Deena.
I don't know what my expectations will be this year.
Mostly I just want to glorify God.
We are expecting snow by the weekend. This is a place that is 110 in the summer.
I just expect to stay warm.
I want a job.
I want health for family
I want relationship restoration.
Thank you Lord, You are in control.
November 13 ~ 3 Gifts behind a door
1) Christmas box (with everything I have forgotten I have, which is a gift)
2) Free Book I am getting in my Mail Box in the next couple of weeks
3) Christmas cards coming soon

Opps...What did I just do?!
I am jumping ahead past Thanksgiving to Christmas too.
Oh, well hard not to do, maybe I will get a Thanksgiving card too. 

Monday, November 12, 2012


Thanksgiving 1991

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

I was excited to see that I won a blog "give away" today. Lynn Cowell 
had a giveaway for Stress Point Thriving Through Your Twenties In A Decade Of Drama. 

At this point in the mothering journey I can't think of a better gift. My 3 daughters are 18,19 (almost 20) and 21 (almost 22).  I feel like I have just lived a "Decade of Drama" and now she tells me there is another to come. WOW! 

I will read the book hand it to Mary, the oldest and she can hand it down to each sister in turn. Mary is the baby in the picture today. She is gumming a piece of celery. She was a slobbery mess.

I will be looking for other Thanksgiving pictures to post in the upcoming weeks.

We had our church annual Thanksgiving feast yesterday. It was such a blessing to had all my children and a boyfriend all under the same roof. 

Today's Gift to be Thankful for ~ 3 Gifts at Noon

  1) My van traveling to an appointment for my son
  2) Leftover Turkey for my sandwich
  3) Sunshine peaking through the clouds

Blessing on your Thanksgiving Season.

Friday, November 9, 2012


“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
                     (Psalm 46:10 ESV)

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

My heart is quiet

My life is quiet

I only speak when spoken to these days

I wait for speech to come, but it doesn't and I go on

Two souls in time that no long hear each other

I am alone

I am so thankful that I am not truly alone

My master is with me where ever I go

He walks with me and talks to me through his Word

For this I am eternally grateful

Though the time has past for talk, I know I am with Him

My heart no long cries

My eyes may weep, but life goes on

New beginnings, new times of laughter and singing will come

For now, I am quiet.


DAY 9  ~ 3 Gifts of Harvest
 1) Walnuts
 2)  Potatoes
 3) The gift that the local "legal pot" will be harvested soon and we don't have to smell it anymore (ICK!)

DAY 10 ~ 3 Gifts of  Scripture
 1)  I will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb 13:5)
 2)  God sent His Son not to condemn, but to save (John 3:17)
 3)  He has gone to prepare a place for me (John 14:3)

DAY 11 ~ 3 Gifts of Remembrance
  1)  The smell of rain
  2)  The taste of  fresh homemade bread
  3)  Holding a freshly washed child in a freshly washed sleeper

Welcome to my weekend. 

I don't blog on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday I clean our church and Sunday I rest (well as much as any mom on a Sunday)

This Sunday is our churches annual Thanksgiving Dinner.

It is Thanksgiving with all the trimmings.

I will be manning (or Womanning) the cranberry scoop

The Holiday rush has begun, but with the advise of my Proverbs 31 Ladies I will be trying not to become



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Something Salty, Sweet and Sipped in One

Starbucks,  Salted Caramel Mocha
I have looked forward to this day since I got the calendar on the 2nd to start my 3 Gifts for the month of November.
The Salted Caramel Mocha is one of my new best friends.
I have only had one and a few samples, but it is something that is topping my love for peppermint mocha right now. I feel like such a fluff head to say that, but when I can rest for 1/2 an hour in Starbucks with a real cup in my hand with all that whip cream and caramel and salt on top...I will be having a very happy moment.

Enough said about my coffee habit.

We are having a thunder storm today, with occasional cloud bursts.

Our little (35 pounds) Welsh Corgi, Junior, is setting behind the chair with his ears cocked and his body shivering.

Photo compliments of Abbie's Facebook, By Johanna
I gave JR a bath on Tuesday and blow dried him for the first time. He hadn't had that treatment before in his 5 years of life and I don't think he was too thrilled. But he smells better and got de-flea oiled too.

Lynn Cowell's Blog has a YouTube of a song that I wish I did not have in my head.

Point being....this song has gone through me head since 1980 telling me I should do it all. I have done it all,
BUT that is not right.

I want to be the woman that God designed me to be and not the woman I was brought up to be by the feminist movement and popular T.V. 

I turned off the T.V. about 10 years ago in our house. I put it in the closet 7 years ago and that song still haunts me. 

I found a new blog for encouragement in the journey.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

3 Gifts Out My Window

          We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.(2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT)

The World of Black and White

This picture showed up a few weeks ago. It is me in about 1965 on a neighbors horse. I don't remember the neighbor, but I remember the horse's name was Danny.

This is a truck I found in Cottonwood that was  a twin of the one in the B &W
I remember my Dad's truck and I remember my light blue coat I was sitting on. I always had everything pink and I loved that something I owned was blue.

The photos of the 1960's are Black and White, but the memories I have are in vivid color.

The bright red and green of the strawberry patch that our dog, Vicki, had puppies in. 

The white wash on Grandma Orr fence that I painted one summer.

The room I painted myself, blue in 1973.

I had wanted to paint the room black and mom was happy to except blue. (Black lights and pictures were the fad.)

My room was decorated around a poster I had picked up at a "head shop". I didn't know what they did, I just knew they had this cool poster in the window, and I bought it for $5.

Happy faces, peace signs and flowers.

Bright, Vivid, Exciting color.

Now in my adult years, I am afraid to say I have lost some of the color.

As I look out the window and see the brittle leaves falling from the tree in the parking lot, I see that I have 
taken on the color of fall.

Across the parking lot the Fire Men are putting up the Christmas Tree that will be lite in less than 3 weeks.

As I travel on my search for the colors to make my dream come true, I will visit the colors of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Resurrection Sunday. Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer.

I want to take some color from each season as I travel through, and put them in my paintbox and brighten my heart for the voyage to come.

"Well everybody's got a story to tell 
And everybody's got a wound to be healed 

I want to believe there's beauty here 

So, I guess you're tired of holding on 
I can't let go, I can't move on 
I want to believe there's meaning here"

"Standing on a road I didn't plan 
Wondering how I got to where I am 
I'm trying to hear that still small voice 
I'm trying to hear above the noise"

"God,I need you now - I need YOU know"

Gratitude for November ~ Day 7 - 3 Gifts out my window

  1) The Christmas Tree
  2) The falling leaves to tell of the changing season
  3) The man who stopped to talk as I was taking pictures for my blog

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Update on November Gift list

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." (Romans 8:28-29 ESV)

Day 3 ~ 3 Gifts that start with "N"
 1) Nice Weather
 2) Nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)
 3) Nut crackers

Day 4 ~ A Gift Gathered, Given and one Good
  1) Walnuts on the road
  2)  Back and Neck Rubs
  3)  God's creation..."and HE said, 'It is good'. "

Day 5 ~ 3 Gifts Acorn-small
   1) clay buttons
   2) erasers
   3) pomegranate seeds

Day 6 ~ 3 Gifts Government
  1) Freedom of Religion
  2) Freedom of Speech
  3) Freedom to vote

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dare to Dream

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Today I am starting a new adventure.

A new book

The 1st Chapter

I label it Dream

It will take 38 weeks to write

I like that time period having given birth to 5 children that is a time frame that God and I are comfortable with

I know that some people think that I am too old to dream, but I am just beginning

Today I read a great blog on dreaming: http://www.incourage.me/2012/11/a-dare-for-you-to-keep-dreaming.html#comment-158386 (here is the written content)

Hey, You…
The one wondering if it’s safe to dream anymore.
The one who has to swat discouragement away like a pesky fly.
I know those feelings too.
Can I lean in and whisper this hard truth?
The riskiest thing is not to dream.
The only way to avoiding making mistakes is not to do anything–
and that’s the biggest mistake of all.
The only way to avoid being hurt is to never love–
and being alone in that way is the deepest wound a heart can have.
The things that help us feel safe are the same ones that can put us at greatest risk.
You are braver, stronger, more capable than you know.
And the God you serve is bigger than you’ve yet experienced.
Dream, girl.
Dream today. Dream tomorrow.
Dream until the day you die.
And then discover that you’ve done what mattered most–you’ve really lived.
–Holley Gerth, (in)courage cofounder and best-selling author of You’re Already Amazing

This is a song that helped me to start over a couple of years ago...it helped me to know I can dream.

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2nd ~ Give Thanks

Ann at a Holy Experience has released the printable for Thanksgiving/November. She is Canadian, but she is accommodating those of us that celebrate Thanksgiving south of the boarder. Actually, Ann celebrates Thankfulness all year around and has a new journal coming out.

Today's Gifts are 3 things worn:

1) My youngest daughter has a pair of Toms. When she purchased the shoes an second pair was given to a child in need. Now her Toms have a new look as she give these shoes that she say, "Are like a hug for your feet", a new look. 
Well worn Friends

My Second gift is my Shasta College Sweat Shirt. I had a green one that go stolen and when I went to get a new one it had not been priced and they gave me the shirt for $1.50 plus tax. The bookstore policy is that if it has not price it goes for one-fifty. I wear it almost everyday.

My 3rd gift warn is a pretty pair of earrings my friend Deanna made me. I will need to take a picture and slip it in later.

Have a wonderful week-end.

To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
(I Peter 5:11 NIV)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy All Saints Day

This is a collection of the art my son has on his school walls.

Lemur with wings

Fall Table 

"Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.' (1 Timothy 6:12 NLT) Air 1 Verse of the Day

"If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him—then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you." (Deuteronomy 11:22-23 NIV) Proverbs 31

 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10 NIV) Proverbs 31 Power Verse

 Here are 7 strategies to keep in mind to avoid letting holiday stress steal your joy, squelch your Christmas spirit, and damage your health. by Tracie Miles

1.       Plan for your stress.
You are probably well aware of the holiday stressors that push you to the limit, so why wait until the holidays come around again to face them?
For example, if you know the task of decorating your home makes you stressed, invite some friends or family members to help out. If you know that trying to bake goods for the PTA bake sale makes you feel burdened, give yourself permission to sit this year out. If a certain family function causes annual chaos, pray for God’s divine intervention in dealing with family conflict this year.  If searching for the hottest toys makes your head spin each year, set expectations with your children in advance.  If wrapping gifts that look like they belong under a Christmas tree at Belk’s makes you stressed, start a new tradition of having kids or grandkids wrap the presents, then treasure the experience, not the appearance, of the wrapping.
When we are proactive in making plans for how to deal with common holiday stressors, we are less likely to react in the same stressed-out way that we always have. Ponder the things you know make you stressed, and plan a better way to approach them this year, so the same holiday stress doesn’t repeat its annual cycle.
2.       Pursue a positive attitude.
Whether the holidays are our favorite time of year or not, we still need to pursue a loving, Godly attitude in the midst of the chaos. If we let crowds and traffic put us in a bad mood, we’ll take it out on our family later. If we allow obligations to stretch us thin, we’ll be too busy to enjoy the season. If we focus on all the negative aspects the holidays may bring, we will lose sight of the fact that we are really celebrating the birth of Jesus. 
Our attitudes and our thoughts will carry us to a destination of a joy, or a destination of bitterness and grumpiness.  If you struggle with a Grinch attitude every year, ask God to help you pursue a new attitude for this season, and find real joy in Christ.
3.       Purposely get enough sleep.
If you want to be able to stay in a good mood during the holidays, don’t forget to rest! Sleep deprivation has a serious negative impact on people’s moods and their ability to manage even small stressors. Commit to getting to bed at a decent hour and getting a good night’s rest as often as possible. 
4.       Party sensibly. 
Even though being at every holiday party we are invited to makes us feel and look like social butterflies, all that party-going may leave us bound up in a cocoon of stress.  Choose your social events selectively, and only attend those which are most important to you.  Stand in front of a mirror and rehearse a gentle and polite response to share when someone invites you to a function that you know will not fit into your schedule.
5.       Prepare a routine for the month of December.
Write down your typical holiday obligations, and set a daily schedule for each day in December for fulfilling them. This might sound compulsively organized or even impossible, but it will be time and effort well spent, because good planning sets the stage for peace. 
So, set aside an hour in November to map out your holiday month to-do’s. Think about all the things you usually do around the holidays, and jot them down on a list.  Write out your gift list, gift suggestions, budget, social outings, travel, packing, shopping, babysitting needs, special events that you cook for, grocery lists, etc.. Then write down a target deadline for getting those things done.
6.       Practice fun. The holidays are supposed to fun. Why do we let busyness and chaos steal that fun from our hearts?  Think about some ways you can have fun with your family or friends.
Sometimes the best entertainment is cost effective, no hassle and stress free! In my family, we love snuggling on the couch and watching every holiday movie ever made, while laughing at the same scenes over and over, year after year.  We enjoy watching the new Hallmark channel holiday movies, and a few of my old-time favorites are Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carey version), and Christmas With the Kranks.  We also love riding around at night looking at Christmas lights in surrounding neighborhoods, having friends over, and sipping hot chocolate while decorating our tree and listening to Christmas music.  
7.       Promote love.
Our inward thoughts will always drive our outward actions, so if we want to show love during the holidays to family, friends and total strangers, we first have to focus on feeling God’s love.
Although every person faces different adversities in life, we can all enjoy the Christmas season if we remember that Christmas is really about celebrating God’s love for us. If we bicker and complain our way through the season, our holiday spirit will exit quicker than Santa up the chimney. But if we focus on the fact that we are supposed to be celebrating peace, joy, and love, our Christmas spirit, our faith, and our love for others will soar. When our hearts are full of love, it’s hard to be a Grinch.
A little holiday stress preparation can be the determining factor in whether your holiday is joy-full, or stress-full  - and a stressed-less holiday will usually lead to a happy holiday!