Chasing Connection in the Busiest Month of the Year

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I am about to accomplish what feels like a monumental feat. Tomorrow night after work I am meeting one of my closest friends at a restaurant with none of our children or husbands to fill up our empty friendship tank. We have been attempting for over a month to find a date to get together, but between our combined two husbands, six children, job and church commitments, one dog, two cats and a partridge in a pear tree- it has required something close to an act of Congress to make it happen. And thus presents the challenge of December- how do I find time to nurture the close relationships during the busyness and bustle?

 eliminate the unnecessary+ evaluate your priorities – unrealistic expectations =      time for relationships

There are no shortage of possible options for Occupy Debi’s Calendar in December. But seriously, do I need to attend every fun event? Some things just aren’t worth it. Also, are there traditions I’m holding onto because we’ve always done them, yet they aren’t fun, meaningful or successful? (Everybody sing- Let it go! Let it go!)  What about all the shopping and cooking? Could I pare it down a bit? Here is my personal list of things I have eliminated this year to simplify and make room:

Family photo shoot, sending out Christmas cards, making chex mix, attending the city Christmas parade, visiting Opryland lights, putting up our small tree in the bonus room and decorating in the upstairs, buying teacher gifts, buying gifts for friends, using Christmas china, Pinterest projects

I may revisit some of those next year, but they were the cuts from my usual and they have freed me up. Instead of buying for teachers we are sending a handwritten thank you letter for the ways we appreciate their impact in my child’s life. Instead of buying for friends, I am sharing a meal and time as our gift to each other. We still picked out our tree together, we will go light looking as a family and Emma and I had one big baking day. We have watched Elf twice already. We attended our community group Christmas party and will go to both the husband’s and my work parties. We hosted a big family dinner and game night at our home and we will attend a special evening worship night this weekend. And all the activities we have chosen to fill spots on the calendar are allowing us to connect through humor and conversation and time shared. Relationship over stuff or busyness, always a win.

In my quest to make space for connection with God, my kids, my husband, my community group and my friends I had to make some hard decisions. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I want. In one month anyway. So, I have made a priority: time spent in quiet reflection, reading and prayer (which can only occur at my home at 5:30ish am); time hanging out in a relaxed way with my kids either watching favorite movies or at our kitchen counter, which as mama’s know is where they share their hearts; time to chill with my husband and enjoy the parts of Christmas we both love- like endless admiration of our gigantic heavily lighted tree and catching up on our Netflix shows; finally meals shared with friends. What was evaluated and found worth discarding? Mindless social media and Pinterest, events that do not involve opportunity to deepen relationships, any housecleaning beyond the basics, fancy dinners, solitary pleasure reading and tv.

Which means most of our dinners this month won’t be worth mentioning, let alone posting on instagram. I will miss a lot of status updates and cool insta pics. My house will be dusty and cluttered by January. I won’t have seen the Rockette’s or much of the mall. I will be way behind on Parenthood. And it will be so worth it. 

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