Why I’m Not Sending Out Christmas Cards this Year

By now, the cards have usually been ordered, signed, addressed, stamped and mailed. The Christmas cards, that is.  For fifteen straight Christmases I haven't missed a year. This year, I just can't bring myself to do it. There's a lot of reasons but mostly, I want to see, touch and love my people--my family and friends in person. I don't want to send my brothers and dad a 4 paragraph letter about the ups and downs of 2012. I want to tell them over coffee and omelettes. I don't want my friends in Texas to wonder who the new guy is in the picture. I want to take out my phone and introduce them to my son-in-law. I don't want to scribble a line about how much I miss a friend.  I want to plan a girls night and catch up over dinner and a chick flick. Facebook and the … [Read more...]

All Over the Place

  This has been a crazy with a capital C kind of week. We had our YoungLives Christmas party last night with 41 teen moms and their babies in attendance.  It was amazing to see God show up! I have been very preoccupied getting ready for that, preparing for the holidays and getting ready to welcome our two oldest home for a few weeks.  Shayla will be home from school today for 17 days!! Can't wait to see her!  Then, Jason comes home on the 21st for a week and a half break from basic and AIT training for the Army.  I am going to be posting lightly and sporadically until the New Year as I soak up every minute with my kids. I did want to let you know that my first post as a contributor at Homemakers Challenge is up and I am talking about simplifying the holiday season.  You can read … [Read more...]

Wants versus Needs

I want to get the packages in my van mailed to my family before Christmas.  I need to spend time in the Word. I want to reflect on Advent every night with our boys.  I need to communicate His story through the way I live my life. I want to make it to the practices and sing at our Christmas Eve service at church.  I need to praise Him in the everyday moments, not just the special occasions. I want to put all the laundry {that is literally crawling to the ceiling in my bedroom} away.  I need to rest. I want to make all the hurt in the world go away.  I need to recognize my limits. I want to write eloquent and touching blog posts.  I need to write the articles I have committed to before the deadlines. I want to enjoy the holiday season.  I need to enjoy every season. I want to mail … [Read more...]

Using Pinterest to get organized for Christmas

alternately titled My New Addiction to Pinterest. The Type A organizer in me has a holiday binder where I would clip ideas and recipes and tradition ideas that I have come across over the years.  It has been my planner for memorable holidays over the years. Now, I have a Holiday Inspirations board on Pinterest. And, the need for clipping, keeping and flipping through pages has expired.  I am like at kid at Christmas {yes, pun intended} I will still make note of the wrapping supplies I have leftover from the previous year so I can shop sales but don't need my binder anymore.  And, I am excited about that! How do you get organized for the holiday season? … [Read more...]

In plenty…

Christmas shopping has been difficult for me this year. My kids don't need anything, certainly not anything on their Christmas list. We have clothes, food, a warm and comfy home. We have extra's like video game stations, cell phones, iPods and more. Usually by this time of year I am done my Christmas shopping {weeks ago in fact} and everything is wrapped and under the tree. Right now, this year, there is nothing under our tree.  I haven't wrapped a thing, I didn't even buy anything until last week. And I didn't enjoy the purchase, the thrill of the good bargain chase like I usually do. I wanted to scrap the whole gift giving thing all together.  Take our Christmas budget and donate it all.  The hubby and I have discussed Christmas up one side and down the other this year. I … [Read more...]

Tis the Season

It is here.  The holiday season. That time of year that can invoke feelings of inadequacy, exhaustion {mental and physical}, comparison and envy. Or is it just me that has done battle with the keeping-up-with-the-neighbors, decorate-till-you-drop, spend-money-you-don't-have itis of the Christmas season? My childhood did not include many happy holidays. So a young girl made a vow in her hurt, lonely heart that her future children would enjoy the holidays to the nth degree and for many years I darn near killed myself in pursuit of {what I thought} was the perfect holiday tradition. Over the last few years, as God has been doing His work of cultivating and pruning in the garden of that hurt, lonely heart, the way I view this time of year has changed. While hanging homemade ornaments … [Read more...]

The road trip from…

well, you know where!   H-E-double hockey sticks, as we used to say when I was younger. The next time that I agree to drive to Florida from West Virginia, by way of Indiana (don't ask) will someone please tell me to read this post and remember the nightmare of our Florida trip to see family?  Thanks! We set off the day after Christmas to meet my nephew's family halfway (somewhere in Ohio) so that he could go to see his dad (my brother) in Florida for the holiday break. We would be me, two of my sons (the 13 and 12 year olds), my mother in law and my brother in law. I needed other drivers on the trip since 1.) I am not supposed to drive long distances (ha!) and 2.) my hubby couldn't get the time off to come with us. During our trip the following things happened: nephew's family did … [Read more...]

A Talk with Jesus

Image via Wikipedia I admit it.  I let it get to me. The hustle and bustle of holiday preparations.  The stress of moving.  Preparing for a looong road trip the day after Christmas.  Seemingly ungrateful children.  The 20" of snow that threw a wrench in my plans for the week (and y'all know how I feel about my plans) I, Melissa Smallwood, of Organized Life by Design, was feeling grumpy and overwhelmed (rather Grinch like, as a matter of fact) I waited too long to take my feelings to the One who could help.  But last night I finally did and this is how our conversation went: "Melissa, Melissa; you are worried about so many things...but only one thing is needed." Ahem, Jesus...I hear you.  But these things are important.  Do you realize I haven't even put up a Christmas tree this … [Read more...]

Our Christmas Letter

Here is our year in review (that got mailed with our Christmas cards last week).  We are still settling in to the new house and packing to leave for Florida to visit family the day after Christmas.  My posting will be sporadic until after the New Year so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading this blog, being such faithful friends and wish you a Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year! Dear Family and Friends: Hard to believe that another year has gone by isn’t it? We have had an eventful 2009! We will try to hit the high points to catch everyone up on the Smallwood goings on J In the first part of the year (February) Melissa traveled to Florida to visit her brothers and reconcile her relationship with her dad (if possible). The trip was very healing … [Read more...]

I am not a scrooge…

Image via Wikipedia To prove the fact that, despite the absence of a Christmas tree in our home right now, I am not Mrs. Scrooge I decided to swipe this meme from my friend Karie at The Five Fish. Feel free to swipe it yourself, I would love to know your answers =) 1.) Have you started your Christmas shopping? I am a professional organizer, people!  I started my Christmas shopping right after Christmas last year. 2.) Tell me about one of your special traditions. We have a lot of fun traditions.  One of my favorites is driving around to look at Christmas lights and coming home to have hot cocoa with the boys. 3.) When do you put up your tree? Is this question designed to rub in the fact that my tree is not up yet?  Sheesh!  We typically put it up on Black Friday after I get home … [Read more...]

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