I desire to do better in my faith walk with God, being an amazing wife, mother, and as a homemaker, but oh, how short I fall during the holidays! Why is it that this season of holly- jolly- and-merry tends to derail me? I think because what I “desire” to do is more than I can actually accomplish, and that, dear friends is the crux of the problem. As a young mother I poured over the glossy magazines with beautiful table settings, decorations, delicious foods, and families decked out in color coordinated outfits. I had left my teaching job to stay at home with my son after he was born and our two-income budget had been drastically reduced.
My higher education prepared me for teaching children to read and write however it fell way short in living on one income, especially for this girl who grew up with a silver-spoon. If we had ever been poor growing up, my Italian, immigrant family never let me know. The words, “we can’t afford it,” were not in my vocabulary. However, the desire for a Martha Stewart Christmas on a one-income budget was not going to be my reality.
So, each year my desire turned into one item I purchased or made that was added to my dream list of holiday decorations. It was an investment that paid off! I waited until after the holidays to purchase some of my most treasured items, for example my beautiful, vibrant, fall-leaf linen table cloths were a fraction of the cost. I created matching napkin rings using wood shower rings and ribbon one year. The next I hot glued tiny silk flower clusters to the decorations on the rings. Each year I added just one thing to my decorations as my budget could afford.
I didn’t feel I was living without because our family was made up of prayer warriors. Even those little prayers to the Lord paid off! The Lord knows your heart and He can provide for all of your needs. The key word here is need vs. want. We can want so many things and I found staying out of stores helped me tremendously in that area.
One year I was in a local fabric and craft store after the summer wedding season, and I saw beautiful candles of all sizes that were a golden color, somewhere between lemon-yellow and burnt orange. These candles were .25 cents each for all sizes and they perfectly matched the dishes I used at Thanksgiving as well as the color of my walls. I bought the entire box. I love lit candles but at upwards of five dollars apiece, who can afford to burn candles at each table? Now it was affordable! I used fresh flowers to decorate around the base with wet-floral foam. It allowed me to use beautiful flowers and they went so far because the candle base wasn’t very big. These are the candles I still use to this day for Thanksgiving. When I couldn’t afford fresh flowers I substituted with some outdoor greenery and silk flowers.
It took me many years to create beautiful table settings, decorations that are reusable and storable without taking up a ton of room as well as get my holiday prep done way ahead of time so I could enjoy the day… but I did! Using these final tips is the way I’ve changed the desires of my heart for a perfect home and family into a practical way that I’m ready ….
- D – Dig deep. Use creative fixes to prepare for the holidays way ahead of time.
- E – Estimate your cost and time and prepare effectively.
- S—Sew if you can, it saves you so much money, or enlist a sewing friend and trade services.
- I—ignite the desires of your heart one step at a time.
- R—Resist the urge to overspend, or desire things not in your budget.
- E—Encourage your family to take part, my most treasured decorations are handmade by the children.
Above all be sure to take time for you! In prayer, focus daily on one small goal and one larger goal to accomplish. Can’t accomplish anything today? No worries! Remember, every day is a “do-over” and you can begin fresh again! The enemy likes to condemn, to tell us we are worthless and to let us feel like we are failing everyone around us! Remember there is no condemnation in Christ!
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. My gift to you – here is a poster you can print out and enjoy… remember, this is to remind you that Jesus does NOT condemn! Poster_DESIRE_MediaAngels
Recently I recorded an episode on my Vintage Homeschool Moms radio show on the topic that boils down to this equation Holidays + Stress-Free = Possible. I invite you to listen to the episode, which hopefully will build upon what we discussed today. What ways stress bogs you down? How can I help?
Felice Gerwitz is married to the love of her life, is a mother of five, and long-time homeschooler. She writes and publishes on a variety of Christian topics and is the owner of Media Angels®, Inc. Fitting in with her mission to help Christian families she began a podcast network in 2013, Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network and prays it is a blessing to homeschool families.