Hello all! Winter is my favorite season and Christmastime is something that really brings me joy. This year has been a blessing to me in part because I’ve gotten to know each of you here on the blog. I love that sweet sense of community that social media brings.
This has also been a tough year for me in terms of life and household management and demands on my time. It perpetually feels like I am nowhere near caught up and I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed to a point of paralyzed much of the time.
Ever been there?
How do you conquer your To Do list when you feel frozen?
I feel like my kids and husband are only getting the tired, worn out parts of me lately. It’s for this reason that I’m pulling back from non-vital commitments, including all blogging.
It’s with tears that I tell you this is my goodbye post. Your presence here has meant so much, and in a huge way I feel like I’m letting you all down. I know you will be gracious and understanding, which is just one of the many reasons I love and will miss you. I’ll try my best to drop by on occasion. You have wonderful hearts and I appreciate the time you take to read our blog and share your world with us as well as let us share ours with you. Each of you has touched my life and my heart with your comments. You are so genuine, sincere and loving.
You deserve smiles, so let’s not end my time here on a sad note, let’s talk about Christmas! :-)
We saw a wonderful play last night about the true meaning of Christmas. It was performed by a local church and they were amazing. I mean phenomenal! One scene, focused on the birth of Jesus with the song Mary Did You Know had me sobbing. So much for having worn mascara! LOL. Have you heard that song?
I love it. I also love the song Breath of Heaven. I love the classics like Carol of the Bells and Oh Holy Night, but I also love more modern songs, such as Noel by Lauren Daigle. Have you heard it? If not, it’s a must.
What are your favorite Christmas songs?
Do you have your tree or other decorations up?
Do you put a nativity up? If so, what’s it made of?
What’s your favorite Christmastime tradition?
Since this is a romance blog, we can’t leave that out. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christmastime romances, whether it be a Hallmark movie, or a book.
What are some of your favorite Christmastime romance titles or movies?
THANK YOU for sharing so much of yourself with me! Your friendship is a tremendous blessing. Hugs and love to you all! My prayer for you:
If you’d like to keep track of my writing, I’ll still send out newsletters with new releases, etc. Would love to keep in touch!
So sad to hear Cheryl, I hope you do come back occasionally, but understand your commitment to family! This year was my first back at full time work since having the boys, and it certainly has been busy. Totally get the tired, worn out part!
Pentatonix do a beautiful version of Mary did you know and who does not love Lauren Daigle?! There is an Australian Christmas song that I love called Carol of the Birds that we like, for King and Country’s “Glorious” is great…there are so many great Christmas songs:)
We are not putting our tree up this year, as we leave soon for holidays- we will bring the nativity with us though!! It is a Little People nativity that the boys love as they can play with it and I don’t worry about it breaking!
Autumn Macarthur says
Wendy, have a wonderful holiday! Look forward to hearing about it when you get back!
Love the Little People nativities, Wemble! Thanks for your kind words and Merry Christmas!
I’m so sad to hear you’ll be leaving (please do come back for guest posts), but I totally get the “overwhelming to a point of paralyzing” feeling. I’ve been feeling much of the same lately. Too many things to do, not enough time (and, for me, also not enough energy… I’ve been quite sleepy now that I’ve entered my third trimester). I haven’t been able to do everything, but I’ve been learning to prioritize (do what I have to do and what I need to do–though sometimes I wonder if I should reverse those two–and finally what I want). This week (by Friday) I have to turn in students’ grades, prepare for 2 thesis defenses, and return at least 3 manuscripts to colleagues (a few others I’ve managed to get extensions)—not sure yet when I’ll find the time and sometimes what I need to focus (manuscripts to secure my job) is what gets delayed.
I have, however, found time decorated my home for Christmas and baked cookies (basically only things I’ve done other than work this past two weeks). I’m trying to figure out when we’ll put the Christmas tree up (we get a real one every year, so not too early in the season) and then the nativity set. Setting up the nativity set is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. A few years ago, my husband and I splurged and bought the Willow Tree set that you can get at a Hallmark store (or many other local stores). We didn’t find the whole set in one place, so we actually shopped around until we had everything we wanted. The only piece I regret not having is the stars (maybe we will at some other time). We have basically the complete set (with only one angel; the full set has many angels).
Katy C. says
I’m with you in that 3rd trimester! Hang in there!
Best to you also Katy and congrats!
Wishing you God’s best on your labor and delivery of the little one. How very precious. My husband and girls have gotten me a few Willow Tree pieces and I love them. The nativity is also gorgeous. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
Jennifer Craig says
I totally understand about the need to cut back. Sometimes I feel like there isn’t enough of me to go around as well. We are off to a bit of a late start this year with Christmas. The tree is up, but not much else. I have been enjoying listening to Christmas music, especially on my way to and from work. Mary, Did You Know? is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing and many blessings to you and your family.
Thank you so much on all counts! I’m glad you stopped by. Blessings to you and your family as well.
Jill Weatherholt says
I’m sorry to hear you’re leaving us here at Inspy, Cheryl. I hope you’ll come back for guest posts. I completely understand about our loved ones on the receiving end of the worn out us…that’s so true.
Wishing you and your family peace and joy in the new year. Take care of yourself. xo
Thank you so much, Jill! I definitely will visit when able and am open to guest posting. Blessings to you and yours this holiday season and beyond.
Autumn Macarthur says
Cheryl, sad to see you go, but it’s so important to listen when God guides us to pull back from some things to focus on others. Praying you feel God’s peace and love wrapping around you and your family.
I so do feel His love and peace. Thank you Autumn! Thank you girls for making me feel so welcome here on the blog. It’s a wonderful group of close-knit hearts and I am grateful I got to be a part.
Valerie Comer says
Definitely a person needs to evaluate if they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. I’m so thankful to have had you at Inspy Romance this past year, Cheryl! But understand the state of overwhelm.
Our house is very tiny. The only place (not the best place, the ONLY place) for a very skinny Christmas tree is between my husband’s recliner and mine. Thus we tend to put it up closer to Christmas and take it down shortly after. Our son’s family lives nearby, and we started a new tradition with them a couple of years ago. We go out to find trees (yes, in the wild!) and, once they are cut, we have a hot dog roast with hot chocolate together, even if it’s cold and snowy — hey, it’s Canada. Our now 4yo granddaughter is looking forward to it!
Thanks, Val! Thanks also for everything you do for the blog in making it run smoothly. It’s a wonderful community and I’m glad I got to be a part for a little while.
One year when my girls were around your granddaughter’s age, we painted a ceramic nativity. I think we got it from Hobby Lobby. It was smallish and they enjoyed putting it up each year. I wish we had more snow here, but alas, it’s weather like the south.
Hugs and thanks again!
Julianne Archer says
I’m sad you are leaving here. You’ve listed some of my favorite songs, but I also love Little Drummer Boy.
Yes, our tree is up, but is missing a topper at the moment. Who know it was so hard to find the right one?! The one we had died, but I can’t be upset, it was over 15 years old.
I have a nativity up (it’s my cover picture on FB, where I’ll be able to continue following you). I’d acquired some pieces before we were married and for wedding presents we received even more – including the 3 wisemen that my brother bought for us.
I really enjoy being with family and friends during the holiday season, preferably without drama which does happen sometimes.
Take care and always remember you are loved.
Awww, thank you, Julieanne. I’ll definitely visit as much as possible. Your nativity sounds gorgeous. I hope you find the perfect tree topper. There are so many pretty ones this year. Take care as well and thanks for the love. Returning that tenfold. Hugs!
Lord bless your new season . I enjoy a lot of the traditional carols as well as Mary did you know. I love the Pentatonix version. There is a new rendition of it by Mark Lowry, who wrote the words to it, that is really well done. We are minimally decorating as we are packing and painting in preparation for a move.
I wish you the best in your move and a smooth transition. I know that can be stressful. Praying it’s filled with joy and peace. My girls love Pentatonix. I think they are so talented. I didn’t realize Mark Lowry wrote that. Wow. It’s amazing. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Margaret Nelson says
Thanks for sharing, Cheryl. I too understand overwhelmed! I’m trying to count how many nativities we have up around our house… There’s the set I grew up with, the one my husband and I bought in Taiwan (carved wood), a small glass set a friend gave us that sits on a mirror, a needlepoint on plastic canvas one I did that hangs as a mobile, two outdoor lit up ones, a small one in the bathroom, a fabric one made in Cambodia, plus too many to count nativity scene ornaments… I did NOT start out to collect them! I just happened :-)
I had to laugh when you mentioned counting nativities. I used to have quite a few, but I started giving some of them away. I had at least one in each room. (blush). How special that some of yours are from other countries. That is amazing. What a wonderful thing to collect, huh? Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Kimberly Rose Johnson says
Well miss you Cheryl. Thanks for being apart of this blog.
Thank you guys for having me. I’m grateful for the time I got to spend here. You all are wonderful. Wishing God’s best to and for all of you. Merry Christmas!
Katy C. says
I’ll miss you!
I haven’t decorated at all yet except for putting out a Christmas pillow. I’m not sure if we will put up a tree this year or not, but I at least want to put up a wreath and some nativities. I have a couple, my newest being a hand-painted one from Rome.
Missy Tippens says
Cheryl, you mentioned some of my favorite songs–Breath of Heaven and Mary Did You Know.
I totally understand being overwhelmed. I’ve been at that point several times. I pray you get to enjoy more time with your family. Have a wonderful Christmas.
Thanks Missy! Hugs to you and hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and super Happy New Year.
Winnie Thomas says
You will be missed, Cheryl, but I totally understand the overwhelmed feeling. I find I have to pace myself in what I commit to do and intersperse that with “me” time and family time. It’s so easy to get overcommitted with good things, but sometimes you need to choose what is best for yourself and your family.
I have my tree up, thanks to my husband and granddaughter. I also have my large nativity set on my mantel. I usually have some of my small ones on a cabinet in my hallway, but I don’t have them up yet.
Thank you, Winnie. Your words are very kind. Thank you for your sweet heart and encouragement. Glad you had help to get things ready for Christmas. That’s wonderful! Merry Christmas to you and your household.
We always put up our Christmas tree on one of my daughter’s birthday, so the tree goes up tomorrow. I collect nativities. Some are porcelain like Precious Moments and Jim Shore; some are wooden; and some are pewter. My favorite Christmas song is Boney M’s Mary’s Boy Child with O My Lord. We have many traditions for this celebration. One is a homemade Christmas wooden calendar that someone opens one door each day of December. When the kids or grandkids are here, I put something in it or hide something if it’s too big for the door. All of these books look wonderful and I look forward to reading them! These interviews are fun to read. Merry Christmas!
Sometimes in life we have to pull back a bit to get back our sanity or refocus our lives (I know I do!). I’m kind of in the same spot with a certain area in my life and it grieves me that I have to do it. Like you, I don’t want to disappoint anyone! I don’t like feeling overwhelmed and I need to get my joy back of doing the thing I love so much. So I’m praying God will show me how to do this with grace and what needs to go in my life. I know I’ll be a more sane and happier person again! :-)
Thanks for sharing your honesty Cheryl! I’m right there with you. Hate to see you go, but you need to do what you need to do for yourself and your family. You’ll be missed, may God grant you peace & rest :-) I’ll be signing up for your newsletter if I haven’t already done so. Merry Christmas to you and yours….many blessings!