Blessed to be a blessing

12-6-2015

So. Here’s the deal. I was having some trouble getting into the holiday spirit. And I think I know why. First off it’s becoming way more commercialize than I care for. I think we are way far from the meaning of the whole season. And I think the other part about it is the stigma and the rules and pressure about gift giving. It’s stressful. I gave up getting gifts for people years ago…. But I really love being generous. This creates a struggle. I like giving without expectation of getting something in return. So when God laid this idea in my heart I was excited. A recent sermon at church sparked this idea as well. We have been talking about how blessed we are and not only that it our blessings in life usually come through other people. Bottom line is I am blessed to be a blessing. So. God laid a plan on my heart. Send a handwritten card and a small gift card to 25 people. One person everyday from December 1st to Christmas. He is coming up with who shall be the recipient of this blessing. I am just being the vessel. I did freak out a little at one point because I didn’t know how I was going to afford it. Even a small gift card for each adds up. God heard my concern and said “don’t worry child, I got this.” So… I have embarked on this journey. No turning back. Trusting God. Being a light. Spreading joy. 

1-28-2016

So… I did it! Well… God did. I just obeyed. Truth is… I felt more fulfillment at the end of this holiday season than I ever had. First off all I have to say when God says “I’ve got this”… Trust him. I ended up getting the money to cover this and then some. (Won an award). And it turns out I heard story after story of how my “blessing” came at just the right time and touched the recipient. The note encouraged and made people smile. I send a couple of gift cards to be passed on to someone else. I sent one to a lady I barely knows but she inspires my mom. I ended up seeing her at a store and she said it meant a lot to her.

 I took three of my nephews (the twins are 6 and the little one is 4) out to buy toys for tots so they could get in on being a blessing too. They loved it. We talked about how spoiled.. I mean blessed…. They are and how not all kids are that lucky. They were excited to be a blessing.  
 They did it with an attitude of expecting nothing in return. It was a blessing to me too see! I honestly wanted to just keep blessing people. 

One of the coolest parts of this whole thing was how it inspired the boyfriend. I had told him I didn’t want a Christmas gift (being 100% serious… I am not one of “those girls” who just says they don’t want anything and then gets mad about not getting something). So what he did instead was give me a very sweet card with a check to be donated to the charity of my choice. Once again allowing me to be a blessing. Blessed to be a blessing… Not only at Christmas… But all the year through. 

Published 2-14-16 

Because I was having WordPress issues 😦 better late than never right?!? 

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Christmassy thoughts for you to ponder

Christmassy thoughts for you to ponder

It’s Christmas Eve!!!

So I’ve been deep in thought about Christmas once again. Was getting my hair cut the other day when I ended up in a conversation about Christmas. The hype is crazy. The pressure to get the right thing, to spend enough money, to decorate just right, to make all the goodies PINTREST worthy, to make everything just perfect. We live in a culture of abundance. Too many presents, too much food. Too much hussle. Too much bustle. 

My challenge to you is think about how you remember your Christmas growing up. Do you remember what you “got”. The girl cutting my hair and I could each think of 3 things we got. 3!!!! However, I look back fondly on my Christmases growing up. Some of my most treasured memories are of time spent with my family at Christmas. Was a time of the year where we just spend time together. My mom worked her butt off all year round to provide for us. But Christmas Eve was a time we could all be together. 

These are some of my most treasured memories:

Visits with Santa

 

This happens to be my favorite photo of Santa and I.

Christmas crafts were big in my house. Painting ceramics. 

Decorating the house was also fun. Christmas music in the background. All of us kids working together to make the house look festive.  We always had presents on the wall

Driving around looking at Christmas lights.

Christmas programs.  Journey to the center of Christmas! 

Going to candle light service at church and mom dripping wax on her hand. Also mom trying so hard to clap along to the songs and having no rhythm. Getting home from church and having treats and pizza for dinner. And opening presents sitting around the tree. 

Most of all was baking cookies. Eating so much cookie dough and frosting that I had a giant stomach ache (totally worth it!) my brother throwing cookie dough on the Ceiling to see if it would stick. Using too much flour and making a giant mess… Always ending in a flour fight. Having contests to see who could make the prettiest cookie. Getting yelled at for sneaking a cookie cuz those were for the people mom worked with. Also getting “the look” when I “accidentally” got frosting on my fingers and then licked them… Oops! Then getting excited when we got to eat them. Cookies for breakfast! 

My sister coming down in her undies Christmas morning to open gifts. Sorry sister, it’s adorable and part of my memories 😉 (I’ll spare the photo on this one)   Ps. She was little! 

I always enjoyed everyone else opening their presents, and always wanted to be the one to hand themall out.  (Even when I was in first grade and had just had my tonsils out).  Here is a photo of me watching the gift opening:  

Playing games all day Christmas Day with my siblings. Just being together. Enjoying each other. We didn’t always get along, but we tried on Christmas.  It didn’t matter if it was board games, marbles, Legos, Nintendo or some made up game we came up with. We just hung out! 

 Here is our Christmas In a nutshell. Love the coordinating wind suits. Notice how we aren’t real thrilled about the “lets take a photo thing” makes me giggle. 

And In case you are wondering what gifts I remembered: 

 

My new kids on the block comforter!

My pen-doodle-um. The coolest craft thing ever!

The other was my “cheerleader wanna be doll” but I don’t have a photo of her. But I did find this photo of my Hyper-color sweatshirt that’s loved as well. If you don’t know what hyper color is… You are missing out!   

So.. To wrap it all up. *notice the pun*

For me. Christmas is about being present. Not the presents. It’s about spending time with family. Not money on family. It’s about giving and not getting. It’s about love and kindness. Finding the true meaning of the season. And of course cookies and frosting. 

Merry Christmas and God Bless. And find the magic in the season. 

 

Merry Christmas

Soooo. In true Tonya fashion, I had my own little way of celebrating this Christmas day. I celebrated my 33rd birthday by running 6 miles because 3+3=6. I Celebrated hitting my 81lb weight loss goal by running 8.1 miles. So, today I figured I had to come up with some way of celebrating this lovely MN Christmas day. The only thing I could possibly think of was to go for a run. We celebrate as a family on Christmas Eve, So I was on my own for today (which I am quite enjoying actually). So I knew I wanted to go for a run. I didn’t however know how far I should run. It was actually really decent running weather for being December 25th in MinneSNOWta (it’s actually Minne-lackof-Snow-ta this December. So I took advantage. Here is the conclusion I came to was to run 3.16 miles. Why 3.16 you ask. Well seems appropriate for Christmas day. Christmas to me is more than gifts and lights and food and family. It is the day that a little baby came to earth to save us. A baby born in a manger… into the mess of the world to eventually die for our sins. Heaven’s perfect gift. What does that have to do with 3.16 Tonya?!? John 3:16 For God so loved the world He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Christmas is when God did that for us. You and Me. That is Christmas to me. A baby, born in a manger. I hope you take a moment today and… well always.. to believe. Believe in the magic of Christmas.  Believe in yourself. Believe in the good. Merry Christmas!!! Be blessed…and even better be a blessing!

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