Tag Archives: gifts

If a waterbed wasn’t ridiculous enough, Caitlin wants a…

After 3 years, I finally caved. She’s been asking for 3 blessed years and because she doesn’t have much else on her list, she’s going to get that thing she’s been wanting. It is against my better judgment to let Santa bring this thing into our home but what am I to do? I’m already nixing the waterbed off Blake’s list, shouldn’t at least one of my kids get what they want? Paxton’s easy, his list can be bought in the electronic department of Target in a day. But my girl, sigh, she’s pining for this one thing and this is the year she’s gonna get it. She’s gonna be STOKED!

What’s the “thing”, you ask?

Oh. That.

Well, see, it’s the enormous stuffed bear from Costco. It’s the size of a Yeti (the monster not the cup) and I’m not even kidding. I have held it off for 3 years but she won’t stop asking for this silly bear. What can I say? The heart wants what it wants.

So I go yesterday to Costco to purchase said Yeti bear and OH. MY. WORD. It’s a monstrosity. It is bigger than ME and pound for pound we’ve got to be close to the same weight. I sort of wish I could see the store video footage of my trying to get this bear into my cart. It was basically a comedy sketch and by the end I’m in a full-blown sweat. I imagine it is like trying to get a 7 ft unconscious person into a car. And never mind the passersby that gawked at me like I was some sort of sideshow entertainment.

I finally manage to get the stupid thing into my cart but I have to hold the side of the cart to drive because it’s hanging out of both ends.


Then come the people with all their commentary…

“Is that for you? Heh heh.”

“You should take the stuffing out and it could be a costume!”

“That’s bigger than you!!”

It was really precious, all those non funny comments.

Ya’ll would have been so proud of me. I didn’t say one ugly thing out loud to any of those people. I kept all my nasty, cutting comments to myself. I wore my invisible “SUCKER” sign on my forehead and walked to the checkout like a schmuck. I tried to avoid eye contact and looked at the ground but it was obvious people were staring as if to say, “What kind of idiot would by that?” Yep. That’s me. Idiot, Party of 1. I wish Kyle had been with me. He would have laughed along and had something funny to say to all their little jabs, but no, I wore my SUCKER sticker all by myself that day. I mean, people were literally pointing their fingers and laughing at me. Are we even allowed to point and laugh at people anymore? I feel like that should be a new rule. “No pointing and laughing at people unless they are a comedian or a clown.” I’m starting a petition.

Anyway, I check out and get to my car and just stand there, looking at my trunk. Like a statue.


I have no idea how I’m going to get this beast of a bear into my car. Luckily, I didn’t wait long because a sweet couple offered to help me. They told me they had bought that same bear 3 years ago for their 10 year old granddaughter. Hallelujah and praise hands for compassion! We stuffed that bear into my car and I headed home, my faith in humanity restored. Look at this picture. I can’t even handle it.


Big Foot Bear is residing in my garage at present, covered with a sheet and massive amounts of junk. See, there ARE perks to being unorganized and having piles of crap in your garage– no one notices when you add to the pile. Hopefully she won’t notice. Fingers crossed.


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Christmas, I love you but I quit.


I want to quit Christmas. Does anyone else feel me on this? I’m so done and over Christmas shenanigans and I haven’t even started the baking yet. Maybe I should’ve baked first so the sugar could take me to my happy place then I would not be over all this Christmas.

Believe me when I tell you, I’m no Scrooge about Christmas. I adore Christmas. I love the lights, the music, the decorations, the baking, the gift-giving, ALL OF IT. I love it. Maybe my mood has to do with trying to sell a book at the craziest time of the year (The month of May runs a close second), or that we’re doing some home renovations, or that my kids still want to eat everyday and have clean clothes and do activities and need help with doing life because they are only children for goodness’ sake! I’m over 2015 and am ready to tap out. Anybody with me?

All the aforementioned things may be factors in my current attitude, but I think the truth is I’ve become a victim of the world’s view of Christmas. I’ve bought into the idea that even though you have a lot going on in your regular life, you need to make sure you buy all the presents, make all the goodies, attend all the parties, decorate all the rooms, do all the Advent calendars, watch all the Christmas movies, and make all the memories with your kids…ALL WHILE REMEMBERING THAT “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.”

For goodness sake.

I cannot.

Gosh we’re good at adding unnecessary things to our plate, aren’t we? I love baking at Christmas. And I love watching Christmas movies. I love having a Christmas tree in my living room because it just makes it feel magical. But somehow it has turned into, “I’ve got to go to 20 different places and 30 different websites to get everyone’s presents! I have to get on the baking because the kids are almost out for Christmas break and I ALWAYS bake something for the teachers! The kids will be crushed if I miss their “holiday” parties; I have to go! I have to get all my Christmas decorations up so I can tell people I have all my Christmas decorations up! I’ve got to get the red nose and antlers on my car so people will know I’m pretending my car is a reindeer…oh wait… no, I don’t EVER need to do this. I need to find the perfect outfit for the Christmas parties I’m going to! I’ve got to get the kids to the mall to see Santa and get their picture made! Shoot, we forgot to read our Advent calendar, now we need to read 6 to catch up! Then I’ve got to remember to post everything I’ve done with my kids during the Christmas season so people can “ooh and aah” over what an amazing mom I am! Don’t forget!!”



No wonder I’m tired. Did you read how many “I”s are in that last paragraph? 17 . Whew, I’m beat and I haven’t even done all those things.

I’ve made Christmas into something it’s not. I’ve made it about me and what I’m doing to make it perfect and magical. Bless my heart.

The most important, perfect, magical thing I should be doing this Christmas season is taking the time to worship the God who gave us His Son. That’s it. Why is that so hard for me to remember?

Christmas is our call to worship. That’s what the angels and shepherds were doing the night Jesus was born. That was the reason the wise men loaded up their stuff and made the trek to meet Jesus. To miss the opportunity to worship is to miss Christmas. And I think that’s why my soul is weary and I feel such unrest. I’ve been giving my worship (time, attention, efforts) to things that are life-sucking rather than life-giving. I need to find my way back to the manger. I need to sit in awe of the gift God gave to me, and the rest of the world, so long ago. My soul is never more rested than after time spent with God. So today I’m pumping the brakes on commercial Christmas. I’m going to go curl up in my favorite chair and pour over the words in Luke 2. I’m going back to the manger. Who’s with me?


Want a copy of my new Christmas book The Forgotten Ornament? Go on up to the Purchase tab at the top of the page and get you one!!

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Ollie’s HERE!!!!!!!!!



This little guy has been on the quite the journey to make it here but he made it! I can’t wait for you to meet little Ollie and his friends. They are so dear and I know your kids will love them. So if you have kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, godchildren, or children you even mildly like, GET THEM THIS BOOK!!! Such a fun little book for the Christmas season which, if you don’t know…is here. I say it’s here because I was at Target yesterday and they had Christmas décor aligning some of their shelves. Guys, it’s still October, but as I learned this week, there are only 9 MORE SATURDAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! This is ludicrous!!


If you go ahead and buy this book it can be an early Christmas gift for the little ones in your life. It might be the only time you’re early this year so jump on the Ollie train and BUY A BOOK TODAY so I can empty some of these boxes.


Just click on the PURCHASE tab at the top of the blog and get it done. Boom.

And just for fun, here’s a video of me with my books. At some parts in the video, my face is enormous. My sincerest apologies.

Ollie’s first video


PS If you never got the chance to buy my other book, Rooster’s Balloon, that one is also available for purchase!

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Comparing Gifts.

Comparing yourselfFollow me on Facebook & Twitter!

Recently I’ve been reading memoirs/autobiographies and I’ve noticed something about myself. If I read their book and deem the authors funny or wise or kind or really good at their job, I sit there and subconsciously think of ways I could be more like this person. I, of course, think my life is crap and theirs is perfect. They’ve got it all figured out and I, well, I don’t. So if I could be more like them I could reach that point in my life where everyone would think I’ve got this life figured out because I would. Because it’s all about me, really. So I start making mental notes of things I need to do, organizations I should be a part of, people I need to contact, because it worked for that person so I should model my life after theirs.

There’s just one problem.

God made me to be me and He made them to be them. I can’t be them. He didn’t design me that way. And the more time I spend thinking about ways I can be like them, the more I miss what God has for me. When I try so hard to be like someone else, it’s like me telling God, “Yeah, sorry, I don’t really like the gifts you gave me. I don’t appreciate how you designed me. You really could’ve done a better job. So, thanks, but no thanks.”

WHAT?!?!? If my kid said that to me I would be heartbroken. Absolutely crushed.

In Romans 12:6, it says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…”

Because of His grace God gives us DIFFERENT gifts.

Then He tells us to USE them.

How can I use my gifts if I’m using all my energy trying to be like someone else? I can’t. We don’t get to choose what our gifts are. We don’t create them for ourselves. We receive them for no other reason than God wants us to have them and use them for His glory. And as if it’s not enough that God just gives us a gift, when we use it, we are filled. When I write, I feel joy and contentment and peace. When I try to be like someone else I feel inadequate and shame and emptiness. There’s a reason for that. Listen up. I’m…not…supposed…to…be…them!

If I’m in relationship with God, He’ll let me know what I’m supposed to be doing. So if your gift is kindness, go be kind. If it’s listening, call your friend and ask about how they’re doing. If it’s encouragement, go encourage someone at work. Chances are, if these are your gifts you’re probably doing these things already because it comes naturally to you, but for some reason we think these gifts aren’t really all that great. They’re not flashy. They don’t make you famous. They seem…ordinary. But maybe we should be asking the receiver of our gifts what they think about them. I bet your gift meant the world to them. God doesn’t give bad gifts. Use what you’ve been given to go do what you’re supposed to do. Don’t wait. God’s got big plans for that seemingly small act of kindness. He’s planting seeds with those words of encouragement. And you know what seeds do? They grow. Unless they’re at my house. Then they die. I am not good at growing anything but humans at my house. But you get where I’m going with this, right?

How ‘bout let’s make a pact to be grateful for the gifts God blessed us with and quit worrying if THEIR gift is better, mkay? Cuz it’s not. I think God’s gifts to us are different but equal in value. Value your gift. And if you don’t know what yours is, go ask your best friend. I bet they know and they would be happy/eager to tell you. Cuz that’s what besties do.

Take a minute and let me know what your gift is in the Comments section. It’s not being braggy, I asked you to!


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Have any of you ever royally screwed up a Christmas present? Or had a gift that fell completely flat? Or maybe you thought you got something totally awesome and your kid’s reaction didn’t quite meet your expectation? I think I can feel some hand raises out there over the internets. I know you all will be completely shocked when I tell you; I too, have screwed up several Christmas presents in my day. So here’s my gift to you, dear readers: a couple of my most epic Christmas failures. Hopefully reading these will remind you, you’re not the only one who has ever gotten it wrong. You’re welcome and Merry Christmas.

I’ll start with the first royal screw up. A few years ago, my oldest son wanted Guitar Hero. At the time, he was a bit obsessed with country music. He’s 10 now and into all the sports games. Something you must know about my son is that he’s a gamer. He thinks any male that walks in our house automatically needs to challenge him in a game of Madden or NHL 2K14 (I understand that any moms of toddlers out there think I just spoke in Mandarin. Trust me, these are real things and if you have boys, they might be in your future). He is always up for a video game and if we didn’t monitor it, he would play 24/7. That being said, I was pumped to find Guitar Hero at Costco and I think I may have gotten it on sale or with a rebate or something. Score!

Christmas Eve rolls around and Kyle and I are playing Santa and setting up the kids’ presents. At our house, Santa leaves his presents unwrapped so we were sorting their presents and grouping them by kid. It’s about 11:00pm and we’re finishing up when Kyle brings in the Guitar Hero box. Then he says the 5 words one never wants to hear at 11:00pm on Christmas Eve. “You bought the wrong one.” I didn’t check the box. It was the Guitar Hero for the Playstation, not the Xbox. I could’ve sworn I checked! Curses! Curses! The only things that were coming out of my mouth were curses. I think Kyle was scared for his life because I’m pretty sure some of those words he had never heard me say, you know, because I’m a good Christian #sarcasm. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that angry with myself. Little did I know, this was only the beginning of my downward spiral into self-hatred over botched Christmas gifts. So my husband, in his kindness, asked me what he could do. I told him to do whatever he needed to do to make our son happy on Christmas morning. I’m pretty sure I hissed these words at him. So my sweet hubs drove, in the pouring rain, to meet his brother, who by some stroke of divine intervention had his Guitar Hero with him while he was visiting his parents who live an hour away. While he’s gone I think all I’m doing is seething over my idiocy and inattention to detail. The next morning, honestly, my son barely even noticed the guitar that my husband drove in the rainstorm to get. I think he played it once. It turns out we didn’t even replace the one we got him. I just took it back to the store and my son has never asked to play with it. #Christmasfail

The next epic failure is still a little fresh. It just happened last year. Just thinking about it sends me into heart palpitations and self-loathing. So last year, my daughter put a suitcase on her Christmas list. She just wanted a little one with rollers on it for sleepovers. She showed me the one she liked in a catalog so I ordered it and had her name put on it, because that’s what girls do. Did I mention I ordered it using my phone? That’s important. So, I don’t know, maybe a week later, I got it in the mail. I opened it in private and that’s when the world stopped spinning. I felt like I was going to throw up. My hands started to shake along with my head. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. They had put the wrong name on the suitcase. Well, to be fair, it was only sort of the wrong name. They misspelled it. My daughter’s name is spelled “Caitlin”; on the suitcase it was spelled “Caitilin”. At a glance, it’s barely noticeable…until you notice it. At this point, I am fuming. I call the company as I’m pulling up my email confirmation. When the person answers, I explain the situation and ask how it can be rectified, all the while waiting for my email to pull up. She tells me they can’t take it back since it’s personalized and no they can’t fix it because it will ruin the suitcase (No problem, I’m sure there are lots of Caitilins out there that could use a suitcase from the Goodwill. Yeah. Right.).

So my email finally pulls up and there it is, in glaring black and white. I had spelled my daughter’s name wrong on the order. Yes. You read that right. Let it sink in for a moment. I, the mother, who’s had her daughter’s name picked out since high school, spelled it WRONG. When I typed in her name on my phone it was so small I didn’t even notice I had slipped an extra “i” in there. Isn’t it the worst when you’re angry with yourself? It’s so much easier to be angry with someone else because then it’s his/her fault. Am I right? I got off the phone quickly with the suitcase company and called another monogramming place in town. Guess what? They couldn’t fix it either without messing up the suitcase.

So what was I to do? She really wanted a suitcase with her name on it for Christmas. So I did what any good parent does. I blamed it on Santa. And do you know what Santa did?? He blamed his elves. This is the note left by Santa to Caitlin on Christmas morning.



So, here comes the funny part. On Christmas morning, after looking at all her presents, Caitlin brought us the note from Santa and said, “Mom, Santa didn’t misspell my name.” (Oh little love. Maybe we need to spend more time working on your sight words, or at the very least how to spell your own name). So I feigned confusion because I’d obviously NEVER seen the suitcase or Santa’s note before that very moment. I told her to check the suitcase one more time. As I watched her I saw the realization come over her face. And do you know what that precious little girl said? “It’s ok, I bet no one will even notice.” As I type this, I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes, laughing, because who on earth schleps around a suitcase with her name misspelled on it? Caitilin does. She amazed me that morning. I even offered to get her another one and she said she didn’t want one. She liked her “Caitilin” suitcase. She even told her friends at school about it, which made me feel like a suuuuuper awesome mom. I’m sure when her friends told their mothers there were chuckles all around. She still uses it today. It’s like a constant reminder of failure every time I see it. Thanks, Caitilin. We even call her Caitilin when she uses it. She thinks it’s funny. We’ll see if she still thinks it’s funny when she finds out it was mother dearest who made the error. Do you ever feel like you’re just giving your kids more things to talk about in counseling one day? I’m sure the suitcase will be in the mix of mommy issues (“…and then there was that time she spelled my name wrong on my suitcase and blamed it on Santa…”). Ugh.

So don’t lose heart, dear friends, it isn’t just you that has botched a Christmas gift. I was beginning to wonder what disaster I would create this year then I realized I accidentally threw away a gift card I bought for someone that I had stupidly left in the bottom of a shopping bag. I will never learn. After digging through the trash and realizing the big trash cans had already been picked up, I called the store where I got the gift card. Luckily, I think the store is going to void that one and give me another one. Wish I would’ve thought of that before going through the trash that had fridge leftovers in it. Whew. Crisis averted. Hopefully that will be the worst of it this year.

Care to share your worst Christmas gift fiasco? I’d love to hear!


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