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No Christmas Tree??

We don’t have a tree yet. We have to move, so throwing up a bunch of Christmas decor just seems unnecessary this year.

I love the holidays with the sparkles and twinkle lights and glitter and the smell of a fresh pine tree in my home. So you can imagine my sad face over not being able to decorate in the way that makes my heart glad.

I’ve found a few ways to feel joyous and twinkly during this season, even if I can’t wrap twinkle lights from floor to ceiling in my home.

A homemade Egg Nog Latte – Because Jesus wants you to.
Mrs. Meyer’s Iowa Pine Dish Soap – It’s like a whiff of the sweetest pine tree you ever did smell.
Ghiradelli Hot Cocoa – Make it with a splash or 7 of half n half. You’re welcome.
These Copper battery powered twinkle lights from Target – They often have a smaller set in the Dollar Spot for $3!!
A mix of your favorite Christmas songs on Spotify – Come to Riverview to hear mine! We play it every week. Let’s just say I had to refrain from making the whole playlist Pentatonix songs.
The best RED lipstick ever – Yes, I sell it, ok? I wanted the discount because I’M OBSESSED.

Things you can’t buy? Snuggles with the teens because they are chillier than usual. Forcing those same teens to continue with the Advent Calendar tradition. Attending a Christmas Eve service somewhere. Reading through the birth story of Jesus. Walking Starlight Circle. Watching every Hallmark Christmas movie. Game night with all the extroverts in your family.

There are a million ways to celebrate if you can’t decorate the way you want, or afford everything your heart desires at this moment. And I’m preaching to myself here, friends. This is such a good reminder for me too.

Twinkle lights and red lips aren’t why Jesus was born. I know this well. He was born to save you and me. But He ain’t mad at those things either, friends!

Don’t spend money you don’t have. Celebrate well within your means.

Even if we don’t get a tree, I will find a way to make Christmas magical for my family. I hope you will too!

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Halloweens for Teens

Maybe your teens still want to dress up for Halloween. My introverted, home loving teens do not.

They haven’t for a few years. The money saver in me loves that I don’t have to spend major dollars on a costume they will wear one time. I think I was able to justify the expense when they were little, because they wanted to dress up all.the.time…so we were able to get lots of dress up time out of those costumes.

And I let them. Oh man, did I let them.

Do you know that I got to grocery shop with Woody and Buzz from Toy Story?

Me and some squishy, delicious Disney princess characters spent lots of time at Target.

I had enormous amounts of time with Link from Zelda, a 7 year old bumblebee, a ninja warrior, Darth Vader, a fireman, and a 50’s sock hop in kindergarten.

Guys.. I’m so not crying.

Yes I am.

Because now? They don’t even want to hang out, man. We are “forcing” our teenagers to attend a movie with us tonight. (Madea’s Boo for the win) I will bribe them with their favorite candy. We will laugh, and make memories, and they will grumble all the way. Our holidays definitely look a little different. And that’s ok. That is what this growth, change, becoming an adult thing is. Productive, Jesus loving, members of society. That is the ultimate end goal.

It just hurts a little bit when you find pictures from 10 years ago, and remember how sweet and squishy and non-teenager-y they were. I love parenting my children. Every stage has its wonders, and its are you kidding me’s, and its golden gems.

Please enjoy traipsing through your neighborhood with your little mister Paw Patrol, or your Elsa, or your little miss Rock Diva. Have a blast at that Harvest Fest or school carnival. Because 10 years will go by and you will sit in your office, look at old pictures, and cry a little bit.

Or maybe that’s just me.

tolsonhalloween2007

Happy Halloween.

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Now to Him who is ABLE.

The phrase keeps rolling around in my brain.

Now to Him who is able.

God was, is, always has been, and always will be ABLE.

He is ABLE to fix your marriage.

He is ABLE to heal your disease.

He is ABLE to fulfill that dream He’s given you.

He is ABLE to redeem that child of yours that has found themselves a bit sideways.

He is ABLE to mend your broken heart.

He is ABLE to restore that friendship.

He is ABLE.

Let’s stop living like He isn’t. (Note.. I’m totally, completely, 100 percent speaking to myself here.)

We worry.  We fret. We panic.  We despair.  We wail.  We complain. We freak out.

Today, let’s determine that God is who He says He is, and He can do what He says He can do.

Able.

FreeSmartphoneWallpaper-SarahTolson

P.S. If you know me, or have read the blog for a while, you know I like fresh daily reminders. So when God speaks something to me, I want to put that Word where I can see it constantly. I have post-it notes on all of our doorposts. We have artsy scripture all over our walls. And I want my phone to be a reminder too. Feel free to put this on your phone if it means something to you.

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Confessions of a Mad Fat Pastor’s Wife.. Part ?

You may have heard… I have another blood clot.

DANGIT.

You may have read my series a few years back about the trauma of a massive Deep Vein Thrombosis that had me in the ICU for a bit.  If not.. Start here.

So it’s back.  Medicine has made quite a few improvements in the last 14 years.  The blood thinners they had me on before are far better, work better, have less side effects.

But if you know me, you know I hate conventional meds.  And I’ve spent 14 years doing my best to not have to use them.  Countless hours of research.  Natural doctor visits.  Weird alternative treatments.  Lots of money invested.

And not 1, but 3 trusted doctors have told me that because this is my second known event, along with my genetic mutations factored in, the need for life long use of blood thinners is mandatory.

DANGIT.

To say I’m discouraged would be an understatement.  To say I’m not internally panicking would be a lie.  To say giving up feels like the next step would be accurate.

A few have asked what it feels like.

It’s hard to describe.  I can’t walk more than 5 paces without having to stop.  My whole leg aches deeply and feels like it weighs 1000 pounds.  I have swollen veins up and down my abdomen and leg. But because my circulation is compromised, I get out of breath and dizzy within the first few steps.  Basically, I’m on modified bed rest till this clears up.

They haven’t given me a good indication of when that will be.

I want to cry.  I want to complain. I want to wail and lament. To despair.  And I have.  OHHHHH.. I have.

But… Jesus reminded me that gratefulness suffocates despair.  Hopelessness and despair cannot survive in a heart filled with gratitude.

Therefore, here’s my gratitude list and it’s what I can do today.

*I’m grateful for new medicine.

*I’m grateful we caught this early and hopefully, it isn’t as severe. We will know more after my scan Monday. (Updated to add: Scan confirmed 2 blood clots in the femoral artery and abdomen)

*I’m grateful that I get to recover in my own bed.  Praying it stays that way!

*I’m grateful for a husband who has grocery shopped, cleaned, done laundry, grilled dinner, put fresh sheets on the bed, driven me to the doctor, fetched me anything I’ve needed, wheeled me around in a wheelchair.  I’d be lost without him.

*I’m grateful for sweet helpful teenagers that don’t need to be supervised. I mean.. Right?

*I’m grateful for the prayers of the saints all around me and the offers of help.  Mom brought dinner. Seester went to Traders for me.  Rad church folk brought meals.  All the praise hands.

*I’m grateful for a God who isn’t surprised by this and all the things He wants to teach me through this.

*I’m grateful for loud authoritative worship music.  The louder, the better.

*I’m grateful that if this is the thing that’s going to take me out, I have had 18 years with a wonderful man and 14 more years to parent my lovies.  Grateful beyond measure.

I love the idea of making something that isn’t traditionally feminine… even more feminine.  You will find me searching for free resources for a cool artistic computer wallpaper, or a quote/bible verse for my lock screen on my phone. Pinterest is great way to find some free quotes, but I have discovered most of them won’t scale down to my phone.  Something always seems to get cut off, dangit.  So I decided to start making my own.

A few years back, I was in a Bible memorization group, and I found that if I had the verse on my phone, I would memorize the particular verse better.  I went about creating more phone wallpapers and sharing them here on my blog.  I’ve kept most of them up for anyone who wants them.  You can find them here or here for starters.  

We are going through a fantastic series at our church, and last week was about the value of women.  It would be my recommendation to listen to the podcast.  It was that good.  And deeply impactful. And I found myself wanting a reminder on my phone to keep the words I use about myself in check.

I thought I’d share it here, so anyone who needs that same reminder can access it freely.  🙂  Free Lockscreen Wallpaper

 

 

If you are reading this on your phone, simply click the image, and take a screen shot, and follow the directions to replace your wallpaper or lock screen.

I’ve disabled comments on my blog permanently, but I’d love to hear from you!! Please email me at contactme@sarahtolsonphotography.com if you want to further this conversation!

Happy Remembering Your Value!!!