merry merry

Merry Christmas, friends! I'm sitting down for the first time in months (since August, actually) without having the burden of a deadline to meet, an errand that still needs to be run, a mass of e-mails to respond to and I have to admit, it feels a bit foreign. Right now, droplets of water (no, it isn't snowing) are falling out of the sky and the blanketed ground is growing bare in patches, the tired grass poking through. It doesn't look like Christmas--or the ideal "winter wonderland" we imagine it should be. No, it actually looks (and feels) like a really cold, dull, late-November day--a stark contrast to last week's insanely cold, blizzard-prone weather. I'm actually in disbelief that only last week was the ground covered in fresh snow and the temperature in the single digits and I running to keep up with all that needed to be done; I thought it had already been a month. Time flies, but I guess it also lags, however, in the wrong order. I just finished watching the movie, Babe, and boy, did it make me emotional; emotional and so glad that I don't eat pork or beef. 

Maybe you remember me writing about this last year or in previous posts or maybe you don't, but somewhere here, I promised myself I would make it a priority to slow down, especially for the holidays. And this Christmas, I did.

Just kidding, I pretty much threw that resolution in the garbage. At first, I was upset with myself and I could (still) probably make a multi-page list of activities I regret missing due to forgetting that resolution. But instead, I've decided to remember how much I've accomplished, and that I love what I had to accomplish. I've worked insanely hard in completing commissions from my little Etsy shop--since late November, that's 43 custom illustrations, 63 people/animals drawn, insane. If you count the hours, it's basically a full time job and did I mention I'm in college full time? Lots of late nights and rough, early mornings, but it was all totally worth it. But, as I've learned in the past, time off from anything, even if it's from something you love to do, is necessary. Sometimes it takes a lot for me to realize this and Christmas has always been one of those times.

I wanted to say that today may not look "perfect" to you--or outside my window--but I'll never stop being in awe of how this one day in the dreary (or maybe sunny where you are) winter can thaw, at least a tiny bit, our hearts that have grown tired and cold from the wear a year brings. One day can pause--ok, maybe just slow down--time. One day can make us free from our responsibilities. One day can allow us to spend time with and/or remember the ones who are nearest and dearest to us. One day can make us feel an immense amount of joy that can only come from love, not our material-driven world. And that's exactly what we needed more of in 2016. And will need in 2017. 

When I look back on the past Christmases I've experienced, it's never to remember presents I've received or to rate how close to "perfect" the day was. It's really about those moments with my family and friends, about watching corny films, about being care-free (for at least one day), about laughter and happy tears, about reconciliations, about preparations we made, about food, about snow (or dumb, cold rain), about music, about all of the things I'm thankful for, about a new start, about the amazing gift of our Savior.

So, I just wanted to remind you that this is a season that exists greatly because of love and we should not let that fade from our minds. I hope that even if you were busy and fell into the trap of the fast-paced life that is expected of us and almost glorified (like I did), that you had time to give a compliment, make someone smile, help out a friend or stranger, spend time with your sibling, make a donation. I hope you had time for any act of kindness, really. Regardless of if you did or didn't, we should all make a resolution to do more of these things in the new year. This world needs love and the responsibility to spread it is on all of our shoulders, no matter the circumstance.

Finally, I wanted to wish each and everyone of you the most beautiful day, full of experiences that fill your hearts to the brim with joy, wonder, and child-like excitement. I hope that you may encounter plentiful acts of kindness around you and make it your duty to be softer than you were the Christmas before. Enjoy that icy white fluff (if it's on the ground where you are) and those corny movies and delicious baked goods that taste better than at any other time of year (ooh and enjoy the photos I finally made time to capture... it's been a few months).

Lots of love from over here. xx hippie Laura 

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