Merry Christmas from the Eternos!

Christmas 2020 definitely threw us a curve ball. We could throw a fit, get mad or sulk, but instead we are trying our hardest to make the best out of a crappy situation.

Please know, I’m not making light of our circumstance. I know the severity of the virus and how it can affect everyone so differently. I’ve had family members who’ve had it and said it was like a sinus infection and family members and friends that have ended up in the hospital with it.

I am currently sitting in front of my beautiful tree with all of the gifts wrapped and ready for my kids and honestly, I feel like absolute crap. But I’m trying so hard to stay positive.

I keep repeating 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 over and over realizing that as sucky of a hand as we’ve been dealt, I have to choose joy.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

We choose joy by praying and giving thanks. And not just when life is going great, but also when you’re quarantined at home fighting this terrible virus.

So today, I am thankful for the strength to wrap all of the gifts even if it took me hours because I had to take multiple breaks. I’m grateful for the ability to cook Christmas Eve dinner for our family and enjoy a movie night with the kids even if I slept through half of it. I’m thankful that we are under one roof together. I’m thankful that we showed symptoms prior to gathering with our families and potentially exposing them. I’m thankful that so far, we seem to have mild symptoms. Not sure if it will stay that way, but we are hopeful and praying.

So we rallied the crew, put on our masks and took our traditional Christmas Eve pictures. Well…sort of traditional. The masks are definitely so 2020.

I hope and pray this finds you healthy. And if you or a loved one are fighting this virus, I pray for healing. Above all, I pray for God’s comfort to bring you peace and that you may experience His love this Christmas regardless of your situation.

I’m going to take the week off blogging to try to rest, get better and enjoy this final week with my family before the kids go back to school. I’ll be back on Monday, January 4th ready to tackle 2021!

But before I go, I want to invite you to read through the Bible with me. This has been a goal of mine for years, but I always quit a week or so in. I’m determined to do it this year and would love for you to join me. I am using The Bible Recap Plan on my Bible app and have started a group. You can join me by clicking here. I’ve also bought the book on Amazon and I’m so excited to get started!

I’ll also follow along on their podcast. You can see all of the details here. They’ll start their episodes on January 1st.

Well, until next year friends! Thank y’all for reading and following my blog. I am so thankful for y’all!

Merry Christmas and Happy New year from my family to yours!!

XO

Merry Christmas Eve {Family Pictures 2020}

Christmas is looking a lot different for the Eterno Crew this year as we’ll be celebrating a QUARANTINED Christmas at home. Two from our crew started feeling under the weather this week so needless to say, we are staying home and keeping our germs to ourselves 🤪. This isn’t how we wanted to spend the holidays and we will miss our family terribly, but we are choosing to focus on the positive. I think that’s what 2020 has taught us, don’t you?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

As I tucked Mackenzie into bed last night she was so worried about what we were going to do for Christmas. I assured her that we would make the most of it! It may look a lot different this year, but it will definitely be a Christmas we won’t forget.

We had our family pictures taken last month and I wanted to share a couple of my favorites with you!

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!!!

XO

Two More Sleeps

Happy Wednesday, friends!!! Can you believe we have TWO more sleeps until it’s Christmas?! I am so excited and a little sad that this season is almost over.

If you follow me on Instagram, I shared a little bit about how I am normally a grinch and scrooge when it comes to Christmas.

I normally get lost in my long to do list and focus on the material side of Christmas. I wish for for the season to be over before it even begins.

Every year, I’ve gotten a little bit better about it, but this year I was determined to enjoy the season to the fullest. I set out to make the most of it and I can honestly say that I truly have.

It all started with the Advent study I found from a blogger on Instagram. It kept my heart and mind on the true meaning of Christmas-Jesus! It made me see Christmas in a whole different way. The birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of a promise and prophecy. And it’s just as important as the death and resurrection. I don’t know if I ever looked at it that way! I am so thankful for this study and I will for sure do another one next year.

If you want to read the recap of each week you can read them here:

Advent Bible Study Review of Week 1: HOPE

Advent Bible Study Review of Week 2: PEACE

Advent Bible Study Review of Week 3: JOY

Advent Bible Study Review Week 4: LOVE

Honestly I can say that mindset is everything. Instead of looking at my to do list and dreading what I HAD to do, I looked at my to do list as a list of things I GOT to do. I turned on the Christmas music, watched Christmas movies, wore the christmas attire, chose to be merry and joyful and guess what? Eventually it went from forcing myself to do it, to all of a sudden I was really enjoying it!

You know the saying, love is a choice not a feeling? I think that goes for a lot of things. We can’t just sit and wish to feel a certain way. Losing weight and eating healthy isn’t something you “feel” like doing most days, you have to make that choice. And eventually it will become second nature and something you enjoy doing.

Mindset and perspective are everything, friends.

Let’s all turn our frowns upside down this Christmas and choose to be joyful and enjoy it to the fullest.

I hope y’all have an AWESOME Wednesday!!

XO

Willing and Available

Good morning, babes!

I hope you are having a great week! We are almost to Christmas break and I can’t wait.

Today, Joseph and I are headed down to Hilton Head Island to take appliances, a window and bathtub to our current house project. The workers are rocking and rolling. They have gotten so much done already. I can’t wait to see the progress.

A couple of days ago, I shared my new to me Willow Tree Nativity Set on Instagram. A friend of mine found it in her attic and thought of me!

I’ve wanted a set for a couple of years, but could never find one. I finally set it out on my foyer table and I love it. As I came down the stairs this morning and saw it, I thought about that night in the manger. I really do get speechless to think about that event. And now as a mom, I see Mary so differently.

Mary’s song is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. You can read the entire song in Luke 1:46-55.

“And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49)

I can’t imagine how Mary must have felt to know that the baby she carried and delivered was Christ the King! The Messiah they were waiting for was finally here. Jesus’ birth was the fulfillment of a promise. The promise of a Savior coming to save us.

Mary was willing and available to be used by God. She placed her fears and doubts aside and accepted God’s will for her life. For goodness sake, she gave birth in a manger! I mean that alone…wow!

I encourage you today to set your fears, anxieties and doubts aside and look to Jesus. Give all of that to Him, He can handle it. Whatever He’s calling you to do, take that first step and do it.

I hope y’all have a wonderful Wednesday!

XO

Let’s Look: Your Christmas Cards

Morning, friends! Today I’m linking up with Erika and Shay for their Let’s Look Link Up.

Each month, they share how they do something and invite others to share, too. Today is the last Let’s Look of 2020. I am still in shock that the year is almost over.

I joined the party late this year so I didn’t get to do all of the Let’s Look topics. But I’m excited to join in on the fun for 2021.

Today we’re looking at CHRISTMAS CARDS! I’ll be the first to admit, these caused a lot of stress for me in years past.

I looked at them as something I had to do. But slowly I changed my mindset and now I see them as a tradition and something that we can do not have to do.

So here we go! I don’t have our actual Christmas cards, but I thought it would be fun to post the pictures I used for them each year.

2019

2018 was crazy for us. I took a full-time job and it was a struggle finding a day for a photo session. I think every time we tried, it rained, someone was sick or someone had sports. But here’s our annual picture of my kiddos on their pjs on the day before Christmas.

2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010

We didn’t do cards in 2009, but look at this picture?! Oh where has the time gone?!

2009

Wow!! A decade of family pictures! I am so glad I got over my terrible attitude and learned to love doing this with my family. It brings me so much joy to see each picture and how much my kids have grown. Mindset is everything!

I’m still working on 2020’s cards and will share them with y’all soon!

Thank you for going down memory lane with me this morning.

Happy Wednesday!!

XO

Advent Bible Study Week 1

***This post was supposed to go live this morning, but I’ve been having some crazy technical difficulties. My video I did this morning isn’t uploading and then my blog wouldn’t upload either. Ugh. It’s not wanting to cooperate at the moment so I decided to go ahead and publish this post. Keep an eye out on my Instagram for the video. It’s been uploading for a couple of hours so maybe at some point it will finally post.***

Good morning!

I am so excited to start this study and I’m happy that you’ve decided to join me. Whether you are joining me virtually or in person, I pray that your hearts will be prepared for this season of Advent. I pray that whatever season you find yourself in, that God will renew your hope and faith in Him.

Each week includes an introduction, five days of personal study, activities to do with kids, teens or friends and family and group discussion questions that we will go over each week.

On Mondays, I’ll write a recap of the week, make a short video and include the group discussion questions on the post. I encourage you to to answer the questions you feel comfortable answering in the comments each week. If you are local, we will discuss the questions in person, but I encourage you to comment on the post as well to hopefully create a discussion with the ladies joining us virtually.

This is the first time I’ve ever done an Advent Bible Study. To be honest, I never really thought about Advent until this year. So I had to look up what it meant and why it was celebrated.

Advent means arrival. And it’s where we remember how God’s people waited for the promise of the coming Messiah.

Traditionally, it begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas and goes until Christmas Day. There’s a guide in our book on page 142 if you want to do it with your family. Each week it tells a different part of the Christmas story leading up to the birth of Christ.

Below are this week’s discussion questions. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments below.

Group Discussion Questions

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

Are you familiar with Advent? Did your celebrate it growing up? Do you celebrate it now?

During Advent we remember how God’s people waited for the promise of the coming Messiah. When have you experienced a long season of waiting? What emotions did you fell during that time? Anticipation? Impatience?

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Describe a time when your hope was deferred. What did God teach your through that experience?

I’ve posted a short video recap and prayer on Instagram, today. You can watch it here once it uploads, But other than that, I am so excited that you are joining me!

I hope you have a GREAT Monday, friends!

XO

Workin’ It Wednesdays:

Hi friends!

So today I am linking up with Erika and Shay for their Workin’ It Wednesdays Link-up.  These posts are all about how we “work it” in different areas.  They do them once a month so I thought I’d join in this month.

Today it’s all about planning for the holidays.

So I’ve got to admit, after reading Shay and Erika’s posts, I realize I am so unprepared!  These girls are on it.  They have this planning for the holidays thing down.

Can I just be honest for a second here?  Everyone talks about Christmas being the most wonderful time of year and how much they love it.  For me, Christmas is a time of high stress and anxiety.  Something happens when all of the Halloween decorations get put on clearance at the stores and Christmas throws up everywhere.  I begin to stress.

So I’m doing a little soul-searching this morning.  Here me out for a second.  Growing up, my family wasn’t really into Christmas.  I mean, being a preacher’s daughter, we celebrated Jesus’ birth, but we didn’t go all out into all things Christmas.  We didn’t put up a tree, didn’t do any type of Christmas baking, we might have watched a couple of Christmas movies here and there.  Christmas for us was a couple of Christmas Hymns from the Hymnal on Sundays in December and then a Christmas dinner with our church.  That was it.  No presents, no decorating, nothing.

Growing up, I really didn’t think anything about it.  I do remember one year we had a Secret Santa and we begged mom for a tree, but that was about as “Christmas” as we got around our house.

My Christmas knowledge came from Joseph and his family.  My senior year I experienced Christmas at his Nana’s house.  So as we grew up and got married, I chose to celebrate Christmas like everyone around me did.  I guess we can call it Americanized Christmas ha!

As the internet boomed and social media and blogging became popular, I began to see how the rest of the world celebrated Christmas and all of the traditions they had.  It looked so wonderful, but Joseph and I were living paycheck to paycheck and well, all of that cost money.  We could barely afford Christmas gifts for ourselves and our two kids, much less Christmas gifts for anyone else.  We didn’t really have extra money for baking ingredients, Christmas crafts, Christmas decor and Christmas events.  There were weeks when we had ONE DOLLAR before our next paycheck.

So Christmas became a time of stress, anxiety and worry.  I became very bitter and angry because we couldn’t afford to do much.  It became a season of reminder of what I didn’t have and what everyone else had.  And to make it easier for me, I convinced myself that Christmas wasn’t that great and everyone who decorated with more than one tree was crazy ha!

But, I missed the point y’all.  Christmas isn’t about the stuff or the traditions.  It’s about Jesus.  And to be honest, that is easier said than believed.  Because in a materialistic world with everyone’s life in our faces, it makes it hard to stay focused on the reason for the season.

I know now why Christmas is hard for me.  I’ve been celebrating the wrong things.  I’ve been measuring up our Christmas to those around me instead of focusing on what God has blessed us with.

Throughout the years, I’ve gotten better.  I’ve put up more than one Christmas tree and have worked hard to get in the Christmas Spirit.  God has worked in my life and I’ve fought hard to be content.  To be happy with us.  To be ok with what we have and not worry so much about what everyone else has.

Even now that things are better financially, the anxiety and the stress still come every Christmas Season.  I think it’s because I am still trying to measure up.  And it is so frustrating.

So this year, I am fighting the negative feelings, the reminders that I have to measure up to everyone else and I am going to enjoy this Christmas Season.  I am going to do all the Christmas things and continue in the traditions that our little family has started because I want my kids to have great memories of this time.  I want to instil in them the true reason we celebrate.

So here is my plan for the holidays..

1.Make Lists for Everything

I’ve said it before.  I am a list girl.  Why I don’t use this during the Christmas season, I don’t know.  But I am starting a list for everything.  Gifts for Joseph, kids, family and friends.  Parties I am planning or co-hosting.  Lists of baking ideas and crafts for the kids.

2.  Continue With Our Traditions and Add a Couple of More

We have a couple of traditions already, but I’m going to really incorporate them and add new ones to our list.

We are decorating early this year because Joseph and I are leaving for our anniversary trip after Thanksgiving.  I am going to plan a night of decorating with cookies, chocolate milk and the movie Elf.  We do this already, but have slacked some the last couple of years.

Pajama Christmas Night.  I am going to have all of us dress in Christmas Pajamas, go out for hot chocolate, coffee and donuts and we are going to ride around looking at Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music.  This is an idea Shay shared and I am going to add it to our traditions.

I am going to bake.  Gasp!  Yes, I am baking this season.  And I will use those goodies as gifts for teachers, friends and those around me.  Here are a couple of Christmas recipes from Shay.

North Pole Breakfast.  Our elf, Fritz normally visits us on December 1st or around that time.  I am coordinating with Santa and I am going to do a Christmas themed breakfast with all of our Christmas dishes and maybe Mimosas for the adults!

Christmas Music.  Sounds simple, but y’all.  I don’t listen to Christmas music.  Again, I think I’ve programmed my mind and heart to be a Grinch so this year I am listening to Christmas music.

3.  Serve and Give

The years we spent living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to give our children Christmas gifts have made me appreciate all that God has blessed us with.  I want to pay it forward.  But I also want my kids to be involved.  Operations Christmas is a great way.  Our church has already started talking about it so I am looking forward to doing this with the kids.

4.  Enjoy the Season.  No Stress.

I am going to fight hard to not stress about the material things.  I’m going to be intentional this season and remind myself each day of why we celebrate.  Not only do we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but it’s also a time to spend with our loved ones and to serve and love those around us.  This season is going to be different.

So there it is.  My plan for the holidays.  Anyone else struggle with the material side of Christmas?  What kind of traditions do you have as a family?  Please share, I’d love ideas!

I hope you all don’t think I’m a horrible person ha!  I just wanted to be transparent and real this morning.  Maybe I’m not alone in this.  Maybe I am.  But I am working on it!

Y’all have a wonderful Wednesday!!!

-Maggie