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Offering of Joy and a Great Big Hug

Decorating my house for Christmas brings me all kinds of Joy!

About 8 years ago, a friend and neighbor told me when she drove by our house at Christmas, it felt as if my house was giving her a great big hug. My eyes filled with tears. I feel all the feels and feel them big. So what can I say —I cried and I especially cry when people compliment my gifts, especially those gifts I doubt.

I was humbled and honored to know my simple act of decorating could offer so much comfort to someone else.

This lovely friend shared words telling me she loved the way I decorated the house each year and was fascinated with the way I pay attention to the details. With tears brimming in her eyes, she told me how she looks forward to seeing what new thing would be donning my house.

At that moment it occurred to me, she put into words something I could not. Until that time, I was unable to articulate to myself the value and “the why” I loved spending the time decorating in the details.

Decorating for the holiday season, for parties or whenever I hosted people in my home is not about me being a “Martha” or some other great decorator or hostess extraordinaire. Though at times, some relate me to the famous one.

My desire to decorate the way I do is about making a place for others to feel welcomed, to feel loved, and perhaps to give them a hug they didn’t know they needed.

I was thinking about this today as I finished plugging in the lights, cutting and arranging the fresh greens, and hanging all of the wreaths just right. I felt the tears warm my eyes as the cold air hit my face outside reminiscing about the words my friend offered several years ago.

The lyrics “Candy canes and silver lanes a glow…” began frolicking in my head as they brought me back to the tasks I was completing and the joy I was feeling. I literally am filled with joy and excitement when creating like I did today.

Decking the halls, sprucing up my holiday spaces or pouring a cup of hot coffee for someone as they join me at the table, is my language of love. It is an offering of love and hospitality. It is one of the places where I find some of my greatest peace. It is an honor to share this gift of hospitality and creativity with others.

There is joy and peace in offering your gifts to others.

We all have our gifts, though sometimes I feel my contribution to the world is not nearly enough. Lord knows, many bravely serve and protect in ways I could never. And some cure and save lives. Some are trusted to support the mental health of others. Some teach (me included), some analyze important reports, some make laws, some execute them.

The list goes on of those whose gifts offer a real need to the world in comparison to my desire to serve others in the form of words and beauty.

God wants us to bless others.

In 1 Peter 4:10, we’re called to use our gifts to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace. 

Trust me, my gift doesn’t often feel like enough. Owning the worth of our gifts might need to be a conversation for another day. For today though, it is my honor to give onlookers a hug as you drive by my house or when you stop scrolling at my squares in my small writing corner of the world. I know it means something to others when see the beauty and read heartfelt words.

Let it be known I am not boasting my gift, I am humbled it brought joy to another beside myself. I write to encourage you to consider how a small act can offer a great impact on another even without you knowing it. So please do not stop offering your gifts —whatever they may be. Especially this time of year.

Life is hard, friend. It is even harder during the Christmas season when every moment of the day is filled with never-ending lists of “supposed-to-be’s” and Hallmark movie fantasies. Believe me, I love me some Hallmark-but it isn’t always set in reality

The demands and emotions of this season can be hard. It is made harder as we check off the to-do list and reconcile how we measure up to others in our worth.

We walk through our day wondering how to manage the season while grieving the loss of a loved one or working through a difficult diagnosis. We try to live up to expectations of others, balance relationship boundaries or balance checkbooks registers while checking off the wish lists.

As I said, I love to decorate my house for Christmas. And if you know me, you know I hardly ever turn down a hug. Offering beauty and a hug in the form of decking the halls brings me all the joy that I love to share with others.

If a little drive-by hug, whether from my street or on this small sacred space, is what I can offer you to brighten your day or to give you a little hope, consider this your great big hug.

This is my offering of joy and a great big hug for you today.

I invite you to tell me what one gift you have can offer others a little bit of joy. I’d love you to think about this and let me know.

If you wish to receive the monthly newsletter exclusive to email subscribers, I invite you to complete the info here.

The upcoming newsletter will include a photo gallery of my Christmas spaces both inside and out. It will also include some of my favorite Christmas sweet treat recipes and maybe a surprise or two.

While on the subject of Christmas joy, I encourage you to go listen to my girl Sophia’s “Podcastmas” episodes all season long. This is her offering of Joy from her corner of the world.

Oh, and by the way! Did I tell you I am going to be on the team of writers for the Live Today Well Company? You can read about them here and stay tuned for more updates.

You can find me here: Instagram, Facebook

And another thing that brings me joy is music. As a gift to you, here are my Christmas and Advent playlists on Spotify.

Today is the Second Sunday in Advent and in the Catholic Church the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception where we honor the conception of Mary, mother of Jesus. Here is a favorite post in honor of Mary and how she always shows up for me as a good mother does.

Here are some other friends, mentors and just good people who are offering their gifts too.

http://www.lifespatina.com This friend continues to bring beauty to others at her barn sales, through words on her blog and other venues where she has managed to honor vintage and give it new life.

https://emilypfreeman.com Her words are always bring life and maybe tears to my day. She is the founder of the writing community to which I belong and made friendships with other writers throughout the country.

https://www.meredithmcdaniel.com My friend Meredith is about to launch her book. I am a honored to be part of her launch team. Watch my socials for upcoming info on this new release.

https://www.instagram.com/thenester/ This lady is Emily P. Freeman’s older sister and offers inspiration throughout her home in her cozy minimalist style. You will love her. I spent time at her barn while in North Carolina on a writing retreat in November. Her laugh is contagious and her style so welcoming.

https://www.lifeingraceblog.com This lady Dr. Edie as everyone calls her has been a long time friend from East Tennessee. She is the author of a beautiful memoir, she is a doctor turned essential oil (and all things non-toxic) guru amd she is a lifestyle coach. We’ve stayed in her East TN mountain house several times and she is now offering coaching courses, raising a hilarious newly adopted son, after raising many other children. Go follow her. And if you want to know more about essential oils and toxin free living connect here.

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