Thankful…

The holidays are fast approaching, along with that fast paced spend, spend spend message that gets shoved down our throats every time you watch tv or read a paper.  It’s a time of year I both love and hate.  I love the rituals, the time with friends and family, the decorations and fun activities.  I loathe the fear of spending beyond our means, of bills piling up, of letting someone down with the “wrong” gift.

The expectation is so high, it’s nearly impossible not to fail somewhere during the holiday season, and when things are tight financially, that failure feels a bit like an ever tightening noose.

We are ever so slowly digging out of massive piles of debt.  This time last year, I was a hot mess, worried about putting food on the table, not to mention the pressure of holiday gifts!

This year, there is still loads of debt, but we are better.  I was raised believing that credit cards are to be used when the cash isn’t there, whether it is necessity or for fun.  It was what I thought was normal, and I simply accepted that as truth.

Then I woke up.

Well, that is to say, our bills got so out of control that I could not pay them all.  Every minute of every day was filled with worry and stress.  Two things that have very negatively affected my health and well being even to this day.

I am struggling with gifts this year for our extended family.  I have great plans of things to make for people with my new found yarn skills, but then I beat myself down over it, too worried that it won’t seem like “enough” to the recipient.  That’s silly, I know.  I planned on making my mom a crocheted afghan, something that would literally take weeks to make, would be made with love and especially for her, but every time I started on it, my mood quickly soured because I knew it would not be appreciated.

Not being one who crafts in any way, or has any knowledge of how long things like that take to create, there would be no way for her to know how long or hard I labored on it, and to be unappreciated after all the aching hours of work and dedication just prevents me from even trying.

Ugh.  Family drama, am I right?  :P

Anyway, that all said, and back to the title of this post, I have a lot to be thankful for.

Yesterday, we noticed a band of pick up trucks parked outside, and watched as they filled them up with all of the 20+ years of memories of our next door neighbor.  Today his truck was towed away.  He has lost his home to foreclosure.

He is a quiet, kind man, with a sweet dog named Chili, and a grand daughter named Bella who is 5 and has a major crush on Matthew.  She came over often to play, and the kids and dogs liked to visit with Chili through the fence.  I am unsure of the circumstances that led to him losing his house, but I can’t help but feel very sad for him.

I am reminded of how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads, with a mortgage that is paid on time every single month.  We have food to eat, cars to get us where we need to go, and the love and support of each other.

Money is nothing.

Our kids won’t look back 20 years from now and complain about the toys and things they didn’t get for Christmas.  They will look back and remember the friends and family we spent the holidays with.  They will remember the Christmas movies and cookies and candies and snow and driving around to look at the light displays.  They will remember the annual dance Christmas recital, and visiting Santa, singing carols in the car at the top of their lungs.  They will look back at pictures of the fur babies in festive sweaters, and see the hand made ornaments and gifts they made for us in school.  One day, they will be married and have kids and new traditions will be born.

Isn’t that what matters?

I will being trying my best, not to let the fear of money or the lack thereof to ruin my holidays, and instead, I will be present in the moment and making memories with the people that I love.

Be thankful, and have a truly blessed holiday season!!

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