My dear friends— I can’t do Christmas cards this year.
We have loved seeing all of your beautiful cards with your families show up in our mailbox, but I’m sorry— you won’t be getting a return card from us this year.
For the past 13 years I have been writing the PATNODE POST at Christmas, with a whole newsletter, and crossword puzzle on the back, and then sending the cards out to our closest 100+ friends and family (seriously the list was out of control). Then last year, as I was talking to a friend about this love-hate relationship I have with sending out Christmas cards, my friend (who was going through chemo treatments at the time), said, “You know the best thing about having breast cancer— no one expects things out of you. No one expects me to do things I don’t want to do, and no one expects me to send out Christmas cards this year! It’s great!”
I really thought on that for a long time. I decided that I don’t want to wait until I have some sort of illness to STOP living my life to please others. To do things only because people expect me to. To say yes to every single thing that is asked of me, or to overwhelm my schedule until my family feels tired and there is chaos around every corner. And another thing I decided to let go of —- Christmas cards.
So – my dear friends—- I can’t do Christmas cards this year.
There have been so many changes for our family this year, and since we have seen God’s hand guiding us in all of those things, we felt that as a family, it was time to focus on CHRIST, and not all the other chaotic things and obligations that take away from that. For our own sanity we had to.
At first there was a little guilt…. the guilt of not getting our family pictures taken, the guilt of not ordering all of the cards to send out, the guilt of doing zero Christmas baking— the list goes on quite honestly. But it didn’t take me long to get over the guilt when I realized how our time was being spent. This year we have had time to sit at night and do the Jesse Tree with the kids. To take time each night to sit as a family and read the bible. We have had time to talk to each other, and many nights, I have seriously just sat with our two boys and geeked out playing X-Box with them— it’s been awesome. More time to do the things we love instead of doing the things we felt obligated to do. SO, it isn’t that I have taken you off the Christmas card list. And, if you are starting to feel like me, where you are just so overwhelmed with all of the things you feel like you HAVE to do at Christmas (thank you Pinterest)— well, then take something off the list. Maybe you are like me who once upon a time really LOVED sending out those Christmas cards, but there is something else that needs to go to fully enjoy the Christmas season.
I have been reading a book in my bible study called “The Women of Christmas” If you have time to take something off your list of obligations and want to replace it with something more enjoyable, I highly recommend this book. It has helped me look at the Christmas story an entirely new light. And, if you don’t have time to read the book, then I suggest having a movie night where you watch the movie “The Nativity Story” Find ways to decrease the stress and increase the joy this season.
And for what my Patnode Post in our Christmas card would have said this year…. Here is the quick update on our family.
We sold our cows on the farm…. If you haven’t heard the news you can read about it here. That was hard on our family, but we have seen God work through it all.
Weston stayed home with the boys this summer and he saw firsthand how fun and crazy being a stay-at-home parent can be. He started a new job this fall doing construction work.
I started a Nonprofit. God blessed me with the opportunity to travel to Honduras in June and Guatemala in November to serve others and do mission work. By getting rid of the obligations that I continuously added to my list by saying YES to everything, I was able to do the things God had been asking of me. To SERVE first. Serve my family, serve at my church, serve in my Women’s Bible study and serve in third world countries.
Warner – who is now 9 is AWESOME! Seriously, he is such a cool kid! To see him growing and having these sparks of adult conversations while also being a kid is just so great. I love our “grown-up” type talks together after his little brother goes to bed. I love how much he cares for others and his friends. He LOVES school and loves math and reading! Brayden is now 5 and just the funniest kid! He loves to pick on Warner and knows what bothers Warner, but he also knows how to make Warner laugh like crazy! Brayden hates school. Honestly, he would rather be at home hanging out in his pjs (who wouldn’t). He is so smart and wild and crazy and just awesome!
Weston and I feel so blessed. We feel blessed even for this trial-some year we have been through. In that God has brought us even closer together. We have continued to lean on him, and spend more time studying his word together as a family. We are blessed for all of the support we have had from family, friends and even strangers who have reached out to let us know they are praying for us. So, if you were someone who played a part in our year, even if it was just a quick message to let us know you cared, we are grateful for you. We are grateful for everything God has given us this year.
Sorry that I just can’t do Christmas cards this year—- and honestly, it feels so great not having to panic about getting them all sent out, that NOT sending out Christmas cards might just be a new Christmas tradition.
Love, The Patnodes