Why I Hate the Christmas Season

Now before you start labeling me a Scrooge, read on.
Scrooge

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas. I love Christmas trees and hot cocoa by the fire, and snowy nights with no where to go and Christmas music. And baby Jesus in the manger. And Santa. Even Santa, but what I can do without is everything else that makes this season the most stressful time of year.

Decorating:

Why is decorating always so stressful? Because who has the time or energy? And the thought of doing all that work for a month or so is crazy! (That’s why my stuff stays out til mid January.)

So when my kids came to me saying they didn’t like the hodge podge tree filled with ornaments I collected over the years, and they wanted a pretty tree, I balked a little, then thought…SCORE! The last couple of years they’ve been decorating the tree without my help, but I end up wrapping all those priceless ornaments and putting everyone in its place. This year it’ll be easy cleanup, especially since I didn’t put out every single Christmas decoration!

Gift Giving:

While I LOVE gifts, I hate the stress of choosing and buying and wrapping and returning gifts. Nowadays kids come to you with their list and we spend the time searching for just the right thing  to make our little “angels” happy! Whatever happened to the surprise gift under the tree? Now not only do kids (and adults) get what they want, they get more than they want (or need)… really? Is that what Christmas is all about?

I’m so down on the whole gift giving thing this year that most of my kids will probably get their gifts before Christmas (yes, I still give what’s on their list and maybe this makes me a hypocrite, but I’ve learned to pick my battles…) because what is the real point of waiting? Yes, there will be surprises under the tree, but why wait when the kid have the make and model of the thing they must have (then play with for 6 hours and forget) and they have done the research?

Baking:

Do people actually do this anymore? I really would LOVE to if there was more time (see next category) Thankfully, I have a son who is more talented in the baking department than I am, and lets me know it every time I say, “Do we really need that ingredient?”  or “I’m sure I can find a substitution.” Needless to say, he’ll be doing most of the baking again.

Christmas programs:
Talk about stress! I think I’ve aged ten years this holiday season. In the last 2-3 weeks my four kids have been involved in:

A Christmas Story (Community Theatre) with a 6 show run (in which my son was called to understudy Flick, a part he hadn’t even rehearsed an hour and a half before opening night. BTW, he rocked the part!)

White Christmas (high school musical) where my oldest was the lead and 2nd son had a part in the chorus. I attended 3 of the 5 shows with various other family members at the others.

One Cello Performance at the Mayor’s Home in which 2nd son had to rush from the last performance of White Christmas to the mansion, but what an HONOR to be one of two students chosen!

Dance Troupe performances 6 or 7 performances over 3 weekends, 2 of the weekends which coincided with theatre productions and 3 of those performances this weekend!

Throw in…

Piano/Drum recital during the White Christmas weekend

Youth Symphony Performance

Extra Cello concerts to close out the year including Open Concert this Friday night (which by the way is invitation only and I’m very proud of my son)

and I’m sure I’m forgetting half a dozen other things that where a blur these last couple of weeks…but you get the point! It’s enough to get any God fearing Christian to yell ENOUGH! Is this what Christmas is all about?

So when I say I hate the Christmas season, what I’m saying (as if you couldn’t figure it out) is that I hate all the STUFF that comes with the Christmas season. Even Christmas Eve and Christmas Day tend to be a whirlwind of activities.

My favorite part of Christmas happens from the afternoon of Dec 25th through Jan 30th. That quiet, nothing-to-do time where we really get to connect as a family (if our new gadgets don’t get in the way.) It’s a time of welcomed rest and in that rest I think that is where we can find and really enjoy Christmas!

May you find that rest in Him this Christmas season!

Oops! Forgot to Mention My Book is Available

This poor neglected blog may be seeing some new activity. I’ve been busy at http://writerinterrupted.com blogging my writing journey, but there’s more to my story. And I need to start writing about other things here related to life, kids, dreams, dancing, and whatever I feel compelled to talk about, like tomorrow’s post on Why I Hate the Christmas Season! You don’t want to miss that one!

Oh, and about my new release, Digging Up Death, here are the details!

But NOW
On KINDLE
NOOK
KOBO
iTUNES

Leave a review on GOODREADS

“Dig into a fun story with Digging Up Death. It’s got all the dirt you want–a tangled mystery, a quirky heroine, hints of romance, and page-turning action. Conroy keeps the story real and delves into the clean and the not so clean parts of life. Highly recommended.” Christy Barritt, author of the Squeaky Clean Mysteries series

“Gina Conroy has written a smart, fast-paced mystery in which vulnerable characters rise to the occasion. Single-mom Mari’s life is anything but mundane. Scars from her past mingle with the danger of her present while romance and a journey of faith impatiently wait their turn for a walk in her five-inch leather boots.” Tanya Dennis, writer, blogger, editor

Summary:

Archaeology Professor Mari Duggins is adjusting to life as a single mom and trying to balance a television career, but gets caught between the pull of her former flame, a field archaeologist, and her ex-husband who is wanted by the FBI on an antiquities crime. Then her colleague is murdered, and she gets in over her head as she searches for truth in a desert of lies. Mari Duggins’ life caves in as she tries to excavate the truth, but realizes only God can dig her out of the hole she’s created. Will Mari sort through her muddled feelings and put her trust in someone else before her world caves in? Or will the truth bury her alive?   

Take a sneak peek at the inspiration behind the book on PINTEREST!

 

Embracing Life’s Layovers

Sometimes I feel as if I’m on a layover to my final destination. A stop on the way to something better, more exciting—My destiny.

You would think a stop, a pause in travel would be restful, and I guess sometimes it can be, but if you’ve been on a layover in an airport, then you know it’s an uncomfortable place to be.

Sometimes it can be crowded with too many people, too much worry. How long will I be waiting for my next flight to take me closer to where I want to be? Will I be able to survive on what little money I have? Where will I lay my head? Will I even sleep at all?

Being in a layover can be an uncomfortable place of worry and longing, but it can also be a place of renewal, growth, and friendship.

Layovers rarely happen alone. If a plane is grounded, look around. You’re not the only one stranded. There are other weary travels just like you. You just have to take your eyes off yourself and make an effort to see them. Or you can choose to close yourself off to those around you, thinking it’s not worth engaging in conversation. Maybe you truly are weary and don’t have the energy to reach out. It’s okay to close your eyes for a while, but when you’re rested, you have a choice. You can choose to step out of your world into the lives of others, offering companionship, hope, encouragement, or you can sulk in the corner and worry about things that are beyond your control.

If you choose to look outside your circumstances and reorient yourself from your destination to your present by engaging in the lives around you, you’ll find that the layover doesn’t last as long as you thought. And you might just help someone on their journey. And maybe, just maybe, they might help you get closer to your final destination.

Where are you on your journey and who have you helped (or helped you) along the way?

 

Follow Up on a Disney Dream

It recently occurred to me after a friend asked me how the Disney call backs went, that I never followed up about the experience here. I tweeted and facebooked and texted, but the problem with that type of social media is that it’s hard to get the entire story out in bits and pieces. So for those of you wondering what happened after my boys got a call back from their Disney audition, here’s the follow up.

The entire Disney open call audition was a dream! We arrived an hour early, surprised to find that we were moved quickly to the air conditioned waiting area inside a 5 star hotel AND they were taking auditioners an hour early!

Everyone from 10-18 years old received the SAME scene. Interesting, I thought, but also a very smart way to evaluate each kid and their skills. So we sat and my kids got to work memorizing and practicing their lines! I’d prepped them before we arrived that no matter what happened, not to leave the audition room without performing their little boy band tune they prepared. But would they take my advice? I had no clue!

When their numbers were called they were ushered into a smaller room to wait some more. Here’s where they started to feel the nerves. Well, at least this mom did, a little. I wanted them to do their best and get to sing their song. Finally, they entered a room with three other girls. Maybe ten minutes of silence and then the girls exited, but no boys. Then I heard the singing, the harmony, and I hustled to the door and planted my ear close. Yep, they were singing!

When they exited the room I had no expectations of callbacks, in fact, I was ready to jump in the car and head back toward home, but all three made callbacks! We were all excited and even the lady scheduling the callbacks was surprised that three brothers made callbacks. There were some whispers of them being the next “Jonas Brothers.” And we didn’t try and stop the rumors! ;)

Later they told me  the two casting people seemed bored at first with everyone’s readings, but perked right up when they started singing. Papers were flying off the table as the casting directors were trying to find out who they were! It was pretty fun for them and me!

So with call backs scheduled for 10:30 am the next morning, our next plan of attack was to find a hotel. You would think in a city like Austin it wouldn’t be too hard, but with the crazy turn arounds and a GPS that didn’t alert us to our turns soon enough, we spent a good hour or more driving in circles!

After we bought callback outfits, settled into the hotel, and the kids argued about the sleeping arrangements, they diligently started studying their lines, right? Nope, it was Xbox game time! Eventually, they got their lines memorized, and we scrambled to find decent pictures, even fit in a dinner celebration at Olive Garden.

The next day was more subdued. The hotel was quiet and we walked around for a while not knowing where to go. While searching for the call back room we had a “God” meeting with one of the casting directors who saw them sing the first time (not really SURE his title.) We ran into him on the steps, and he remembered the boys, chatted for a while, and wished them luck. He ended with he “hoped to see them around.”

Then we waited with others who made callbacks and ike a good mom, I sized up the competition and then left it in the hands of God. After all, we were just doing this for the experience! Then they were called in and the nerves started! Finally, the singing started and some of the other kids in the room looked nervous!

After their callbacks, the boys told me they felt they were rushed and wished they had each gotten a callback slot instead of sharing one. They didn’t get to do their boy band dance because they were being taped, but they read and sang and hopefully learned a thing or two.

Since this experience about six weeks ago, the kids have been in a community production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and haven’t really thought about callbacks.

If we get a call, which I don’t think anyone is expecting at this point, then we’ll answer. Not sure what that answer will be, but until we get a call, life goes on…and school starts next week!

 

Embrace the Detour

Sometimes detours are good.

Sometimes they’re frustrating.

But however you view your particular detour or “interruption” on the path to your dreams, one thing is certain! You will have detours.

Might as well learn how to embrace them instead of fight them!

The key to surviving and maintaining a good attitude through it all is perspective. Here’s some perspective I gained while detouring my own dreams to help my kids with theirs.

Go with the Flow
Don’t fight the detour. If you do, it will be a lot more painful for everyone. Instead, try to go with the current and see where it takes you. In the case of driving my three hopefuls to a Disney audition 8 hours away this past week, I planned some fun for me. A stop after 5 hours to visit with my sister. Then another stop along the way to brainstorm for a couple of hours with a writing friend.By the way, the boys made call backs!

Take a Breather
It’s okay to take a break from your dreams especially if it’s to help someone else with theirs. During seasons of breaks, you can choose to totally disengage in your dream planning or let your ideas marinate. I did both this past week on my road trip. And now I’m ready to move forward with my fresh ideas.

Enjoy the Ride
Make a conscious effort to engage in the detour especially if it’s a positive one like driving your kids to a Disney audition! Even if it’s not an exciting detour, you can still glean some important life lessons and do things you’ve never experienced before!

So if you find yourself on a detour this summer, don’t fight it. Detours are part of the journey and sometimes they can take you down a life changing path you might never have gone if you stayed the course!

How have your detours changed the course of your life for better?

 

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