5 Things To Forget About This Holiday Season

Tips to ENJOY the holidays

I can remember the year I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas. An aqua huffy “big girl” bike with pink accents, white tires and basket, with Spokey Dokeys on the tires. I think I saw angels, and glitter, and all things sparkly and girly in the moment of surprise. It was also the year I figured out that Santa wasn’t real. Funny that what I wanted was on the list I gave him. My parents left the box in the garage and didn’t do a great job with a cover story. Of course I immediately felt good about myself that I had figured it out and moved on.

If you are like me, you might have some mixed emotions about the holiday season. I LOVE Fall and the anticipation of the holidays, but sometimes my expectations get the best of me and I end up not really living in the holiday season. Many times, I just survive. So this year, I am intentionally making it a point to forget about 5 things this holiday season to help me enjoy it more.

5 Things To Forget About This Holiday Season

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3 Tips To Make ‘Christmas Carding’ Easier

So it’s that time of year again…

If you are like me, you love the adorable Christmas cards that come from your friends and family all over the world. And you like to express your personality in your own card and creatively display them in your home, right? Do you have the wire Christmas tree, or wreath, or star that you stick them in? Or a certain basket, or the little wire stand that you hang them on, or are you like me, with the cutesy ribbon and clothespins hanging on the wall? Are you an ‘address them over Thanksgiving’ kind of person or ‘forget all about it and frantically searching for a picture or photographer the first week (or third week) of December’ kind of person?

No matter your style, there is one bit of information crucial to successful ‘Christmas Carding’. The correct address! And rather than trying to dig through old emails or messaging everyone last minute to update your address list, make it a habit to update it all year long.

Here are 3 tips to help make ‘Christmas Carding’ easier:

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Some Thoughts On Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving & Holiday Updates

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Before I share a few holiday updates, I wanted to share some thoughts on gratitude. In the midst of traveling, entertaining, cooking, eating, shopping, and decorating, I hope you are able to carve out some time to focus on gratitude. One of my friends and pastors, Brad Harris, says, “The best way to experience more gratitude is to EXPRESS more gratitude.” I know I need to express some gratitude this week!

Here’s a few more quotes on the importance of gratitude:

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:6-8

Additionally, here’s a few updates for the holidays:

  1. The You Are Essential Store is up and running! The code YAELaunch (10% off all PREORDERS) is expiring this week. For those of you that are email subscribers, be sure to use your special code!
  2. I will be modifying my posting schedule until the new year. Can you believe it is almost 2016?!? In order to spend more time with my girls while they are off from school, focus on our own holiday celebrations, and in order to fulfill my own personal commitment to rest, I will not be posting as much new content during these next 6 weeks.  This would be a great time to catch up on what you’ve missed!  Here’s a few posts to get you started:
  3. Finally, if you have suggestions, questions, or ideas for new content in 2016, or if there is anything I can do to better serve you, would you please comment with those?

Thank you for joining me on this journey and reading along. I am grateful for YOU! If you have not said “Hi” in the comments before, I’d love to connect with you there, too.

Join The Conversation: What suggestions or ideas do you have for homEssentialist.com? Is there anything I can do to better serve you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Exciting Announcement! You Are Essential Store Launch

PREORDER Sales Start Today

I am so excited to announce the launch of the You Are Essential Store. Beginning today, one of my dreams is coming true!!

I want to be a voice in the world that communicates to women, “You Are Essential!”

I want to believe it myself.

I want my daughters to believe it.  I want my friends, my Mom, my sister-in-laws and my daughters’ friends to believe it.

I want the single woman, the single mom, the lonely wife, the estranged mother, the prodigal daughter, the birth mom, and the adopted child to believe it.

I want the homeless woman on the street, the woman stuck in human-trafficking, the orphaned child, the poverty stricken, the suicidal to believe it.

I want the beautiful, the popular, the scared, the anxious, the hopeful and the hopeless to believe it.

Will YOU believe it?

Will you commit to thinking of yourself as essential?  Will you commit to reminding yourself, “You Are Essential?” Will you help me spread the “You Are Essential” message?

I’ve curated a few prints with lettering by my amazingly talented friend, Lindsay, to place by your kitchen sink or your bathroom mirror, or to hang by your bedside or where you hang your car keys.  I hope this is a reminder to you to live out the truth that you matter, you are important, “You Are Essential.”

So who in your life needs to know “You Are Essential” right now? Is it you, or your mom, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, coach, hair dresser, pastor, leader, boss, employee, postal carrier, bus driver, etc? Or any gentlemen out there? What about YOUR wife?

If we all just communicated to each other, “You Are Essential,” how many smiles could we see, days could we brighten, rays of hope could we spread? How many depressed, lonely women could we encourage? How many suicides, school shootings, and desperate acts could we prevent? How many adoptions could we support, marriages could we save, and kids could we rescue? It’s a small phrase that makes a BIG difference.

So let’s start spreading the word (#YouAreEssential). Purchase a “You Are Essential” item in the store for yourself or someone who needs to hear it from you. Join me on my mission to encourage women!

TAKE A PEEK at the STORE here.

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What Women Need To Hear

Three Words That Matter Immensely

I don’t know about you, but at different times in my life, I have really questioned my place, my purpose, and my value. Nothing prepared me for the highs and lows of the last several years. And no amount of knowledge or expectation helped me walk that journey completely unscathed.

In the span of a few short years, I had the opportunity to work through a variety of some of life’s biggest challenges. I left a job I loved, my husband and I were forced to move out of a house we loved, we faced difficulties of getting pregnant, had some relational challenges outside of our control, did a major home renovation, moved, had our first child, faced health issues, suddenly lost my best friend, went through a complicated second pregnancy and birth (only 20 months after the first), moved again, dealt with anxiety, discovered food allergy issues, and saw marriage strain from utter exhaustion of having two kids under age 2.

Life is hard ya’ll. But, you know this. Some seasons are harder than others. Sometimes we are stronger than others. Sometimes we are learning a lesson for the first time, and sometimes it’s the tenth time and we are sick. of. it. Continue Reading>>

When Is It Okay To Hire Help?

5 Questions To Help You Decide

In our family, when our home feels chaotic, messy and out of control, we feel that way too. Imagine if your desk at work was covered in toys, laundry, food crumbs, and piles of paperwork. Could you do your best work in that environment? (If so, please tell me your secrets!) Now, my definition of clean has taken several HUGE steps down the continuum towards imperfection rather than perfection, but it still needs to be cleaned every once in awhile. Boys, anyone? Soap scum? Fingerprints everywhere? When I have a clean house, I feel more relaxed, focused, and patient. Everyone in my family benefits! Sometimes, however, life throws you some curve balls or gets really, really full and the beautiful peaceful home that you love, becomes a nightmare of to do lists and you just can’t get it all done. You need some help! But, when is it okay to hire help?

If you are wondering if it is okay to hire help, here are 5 questions to help you decide:

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Give Yourself Permission To Hire Help

5 Benefits Of Not Doing It All Yourself

Do you ever struggle with feeling guilty about needing some extra help around the house? Why is it so hard to ask for help? Why do we think we have to do it all ourselves? Why can we relax our standards for other people but at the same time raise them on ourselves?

I do not always have the answers to these questions and struggle with them just like you probably do. I have my different reasons from day to day (pride, failure to plan, fear of inconveniencing someone, desire for control), but I have challenged myself to ask for help more often by giving myself permission to NOT do it all. More than anything, I have lowered my standards for the betterment of my sanity (and everyone else’s in my household, for that matter.)

When I was pregnant with my second child, I was basically put on bed rest. Up until this point, I had been responsible for the cleaning of my home exclusively. At one point in a previous life (aka, before kids) I was working full time and had a short stint of having a house keeper during a very busy season. But, ever since, I have been the dish washer, dust bunny catcher, bathroom scrubber, floor shiner, and kitchen degunker extraordinaire. And I felt like because I “stayed at home” that it was in my job description to clean the whole house by myself every week. Once this bed rest period was upon us, my husband was taking on the extra care for me and our daughter, and I was forced to ask friends or pay a babysitter a little extra to mop the floors. I was still clinging to the idea that I could not hire a house cleaner because part of my “job” was to clean the house. If I could not clean it, then I must be failing at my role! Can anyone relate? Continue Reading>>