Well, Christmas has arrived at the Snider house. The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung on the bookshelf with care (yes, we have a fireplace, but no mantle, so the bookshelf comes in handy for our stockings). The boys joyfully helped with all the decorating. It was an afternoon filled with Christmas fun. I'm so glad to have the house officially decorated! Here's a picture of our tree (with all the lights now fixed thanks to my hubby's research and a light tester that uncovered the culprits of the black holes on our tree).
About five years ago, I started making calendars for the grandparents at Christmas. This seemed like a great idea, especially since I'm not so great about sharing pictures throughout the year. The calendars were the solution to share pictures in a format that they could use all year long - brilliant! So, I went to Archiver's and found calendars and kits that included all the paper, stickers and embellishments you needed. Perfect - a calendar in a box. This should be easy. How naive I was! First, I had to review all the pictures we took that year and choose which ones to put in the calendar. Yep, it took hours. Next, the pictures were uploaded and printed. And then, my creative juices had to kick in to layout the pictures, papers and embellishments for 12 months. Did I mention that I was making 6 of these? Yikes! It took me about 3 hours to design two calendars. And to top it all off, I'm a procrastinator and tend to work better under pressure, so I'd be working on these calendars right up to Christmas Eve. Let's just say that I was NOT enjoying my evenings very much. The calendars were a huge hit... and guess what that means? You got it... I was now on the hook for making calendars each year.
You would think that I learned a lesson to start on the calendars earlier, but nope, I didn't. I would follow that same pattern of procrastination for the next several years. My dear friend, who knew the amount of stress this caused me, suggested doing the calendars online. But I resisted because the handmade version showed I cared. Well, last year, I decided it was time to enjoy the month of December, so I took her advice and tried out the online version. I was shocked at how much time it saved me! No cutting, slicing, or resizing things by hand. No measuring. The layouts were right there at my fingertips and all I had to do was drag and drop the pictures. It was amazing!! The scrapbook calendars are now a thing of the past.
Last week, I received an email stating that my calendar website was having a Black Friday deal on calendars... buy one, get one free. And I thought, can I pull this off in three days? I was up for the challenge. My hubby showed me a new way to review all the pictures from the past year and it saved me hours! We uploaded the pictures, I dropped them into the template, and Ta da... the calendars were done. Yep, as of 3:20 PM today, all six calendars were ordered!! This is a banner day - I'm done with my calendars in November. I was so excited, I did a happy dance for my family. (I'm serious... I really did jump up and down with my arms in the air going "Hoot! Hoot!").
The calendars became easier and easier once I let go of my old way of doing things and accepted the fact that everyone would love them even if they weren't handmade. I think The Thankfulness Experiment is the same... giving thanks becomes easier and easier as we let go of our old way of thinking and choose to give thanks. Ephesians 3:20 haunts me because I know it's not easy to give thanks for everything. But I'm learning, and God is changing my thoughts and my perspective through this experiment. Are you experiencing a transformation too? We'll keep working on this thankfulness stuff one moment at a time. I'm so glad you're on this journey with me!
Tonight, I am thankful that...
1. My calendars are finished!!!
2. My house is decorated for Christmas
3. I got to teach a discipleship class on The Thankfulness Experiment and for the great insight that those attending shared with me
4. Remembering past vacations while putting ornaments on the tree
5. Italian Chicken Soup
Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,229 to go...