happy Christmas to all and to all a good night

#Dressember Day 2

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”- The Night Before Christmas
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Lessons from Santa:
Sometimes you have to squeeze through tight places to geto to where you need to go.
Making others happy can often be an inconvenience to yourself.
Spread happiness on your way, as you go!

The Christmas Spirit is all about inconveniencing yourself with the aim to make another happy. We think of and get excited about buying gifts  and doing things for those we love that we know they would appreciate. Why do we do these kind things? Because we know that ultimately, this is what brings us joy. Loving others is a desire inherent to who we are as humans and the character of Santa Claus reminds us that despite the inconveniences, the narrow chimneys, the stale cookies and the others trials he went through: he still spread the Christmas cheer everywhere he went. May we all prioritize the desire to help others, and in turn, help ourselves so a wreath like a halo follows us wherever we go.

DressemberDay16_Children Singing, all is Merry & Bright

Lyric of the day: “…Children Singing. All is merry & bright”- Here Comes Santa Claus

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Dressember Day 16

Dress: Kenzie

Necklace: Swarovski

One of the most beautiful gifts of this Christmas season is that for just a little while, we all get to be children again. We get to, like the song says “experience Christmas like a child”. Laying aside the worries of our day-to-day routines, and get caught in a magical moment of anticipation, joy, merriness and brightness. I think there is something we can all learn from children during this season and always. To, just for a few magical moments, sing instead of talk, dance instead of walk, play instead of work, make music instead of noise. This is what it means to experience Christmas like a child, to have childlike faith and innocence rekindled during this season is the best gift that we can give ourselves.

I hope you all have children in our lives to admire and learn from like I do. As I watch them grow and adapt to their environments, and celebrate this season, I can’t help but think about the approximately 150 million children around the world who do not get to experience Christmas like a child because they are part of the horrible epidemic of child slavery in our world today. Children who have had their innocence stolen from them, the magic of this season is nonexistent. I know it seems like an insurmountable number, but in the spirit of Christmas; we must trust and with childlike faith and unstoppable perseverance, fight for the pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father which is caring for orphans in their distress (James 1:27). It is not an easy truth to acknowledge in our world today, but we must. Without awareness, change cannot occur. And though it may feel like all we do is work and wait, we know that it is not in vain. Like the advent season reminds us, we never labor in vain. All of God’s promises are Yes in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). The Messiah has come to set all captives free, as they will be in Heaven. But He has placed us here on earth to be His light, His hands, His feet; freedom cannot just wait until Heaven. The issue of slavery in our world is not a social justice issue, it’s a spiritual issue. It’s not something to be on the fence about. It’s a reality and you are either fighting against it, or accepting it as a reality. And by accepting it, you are on the side of the perpetrators of slavery in this world. I will not accept this and I hope you don’t either. I pray for the day that all the children, sing together. When all is truly, merry & bright.

If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large”- William Wilberforce

If you would like to support me in this cause to raise money for the International Justice Mission, please follow the link:

https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraise?fcid=372170

DressemberDays10&11: Your Beauty Green Will Teach Me

Lyric of the Day: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree! Your leaves are so unchanging

….Your beauty green will teach me
That hope and love will ever be
The way to joy and peace for me.

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Dressember Day #10

Dress: Forever 21

Coat: Jessica Simpson

Boots: Michael Kors

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Dressember Day #11

Sweatshirt: Disney

Dress: Steve Madden

Elf Socks: Wherever my secret santa got them 😉

Change is an interesting thing. It’s something we fight for and fight against. It’s something no one goes through life without experiencing. I love how nature reflects our lives. The seasons change, and so do we. As the earth changes, it teaches us lessons. The falling leaves helps us let go of dead things and in life, and the Evergreen leaves that never change teach us that although there are things we must let go of, there are things we also must hold onto. These things are hope, love, joy, peace.

There is so much in the world that needs to change, especially the epidemic of modern slavery facing our world today. But the only way to change the terrors facing our world, is to bravely hold onto the virtues of hope, love, peace and joy as if our lives depended on it. Because they do. The lives of the estimated 35 million people in slavery today depend on us holding onto hope in the face of despair caused by this heartbreaking injustice in our world. To believe that we can, and we are making a difference. This is a problem we would like to have let go of like trees let go of dead leaves in the fall, but here in winter, we welcome this season of waiting and hoping and working towards spring, with hope that remains green like the leaves on a Christmas tree in the face of the fiercest winter, that true freedom can and will become a reality for everyone in our world today and in generations to come.

DressemberDay9_Blue Christmas

Lyric of the Day: You’ll be doing alright, with your Christmas of white but I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas. 

As Sung by the King of Rock, Elvis Presley in honor of re-wearing the dress I wore when I visited the historic RCA Studio B, where he recorded much of his work.

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Dressember Day 9

Dress:Like Mynded

Jacket: Kenneth Cole

Necklace: From a boutique in New Hampshire– a preserved mustard seed and a pendant that says “Faith of a mustard Seed”

Ankle Boots: Boutique9

As Christmas fast-approaches and we get caught up in the business that the season brings, trying to find just the right present or attend just the right amount of Christmas events, we have to remember that not everyone’s Christmas is White this year. There are many who will be experiencing pain and suffering beyond what we can imagine. To us, a blue Christmas is just a concept in a song. To the estimated 35 million slaves in our world, a blue Christmas is their reality.

In her book, Radically Ordinary, Marquita Burke-DeJesus said in her writings about working with child slaves in Cambodia, “I cannot fail these girls by diverting my eyes from the invisible residue of slavery that clings to them like a shadow.”

This quote, and book, is so convicting for me. Participating in this challenge is such a small act of faith that I stepped out in and although this cause is close to my heart and constantly in the back of my mind and in my prayers. But modern-day slavery is not my every day reality and it is something that I can easily forget about in the next decade, or year, or even month. So how do we remind ourselves of others’ suffering when it feels like we can’t do anything about it from such a distance? By not diverting our eyes because their pain is too uncomfortable for us. By never allowing our advocacy efforts to be silenced or put on the back burner, or invalidated. It’s fighting for the cause, each and every day. When I view the pain that this season brings millions of people, it’s not so hard to have a blue Christmas. In fact, we all should be having a blue christmas this year. We all must have a certain part of our hearts break in order to produce effective change in the problem of slavery throughout our world. Their experiences will not leave them, our passion for this cause should never leave us.

“Let it not be said that I was silent when they needed me.”- William Wilberforce.

Love is Christmas

“Love is who we are, and no season could contain it. Love would never fall for that.
Let Love lead us, Love is Christmas.” – Sara Bareilles

My favorite quote from A Christmas Carol (one of my favorite Christmas movies) is: “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”– The Genius Charles Dickens.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. And I know I’m not alone in this. I think we all love Christmas because it’s become more than just a day, a season or a reason to buy things. Christmas represents an emotion, a feeling, a belief. During a cold season, the idea of the warmth of things such as love, generosity, compassion on those in need stirs in us a passion to prioritize our lives. To make the things that matter, matter. To reach for a higher potential in the relational areas of our lives than perhaps we do all the year round.

Things like love, cheer, joy, peace all make their way to the forefront during this season. They are the stars of the Christmas pageant of our society. It all of a sudden becomes popular to be generous, give to charities, give to others, make amends with people we haven’t spoken to for a while, find the courage to express our feelings and our love for others. But then it seems that once the season ends, we wrap all of those things up like we do the ornaments on January 2nd and put them in boxes in our garage until next year. We start focusing on the things that don’t matter as much and worrying about our jobs, our appearance, our status in the world. And we wonder, what happened to Christmas?

This song by Sara B. is so beautiful to me in many ways. It speaks to the heart of Christmas, which is Love. And Love is a person who embodies the reason we celebrate. He was born in a manger and His name is Jesus and although this world has tried to remove Him from His own birthday (X-mas?) and tried to make us forget by saying that the things we feel during Christmas are “only Christmas feelings” and things we can only feel from December 1-December 25. Jesus has come so that we can have life “abundantly” All of life. Whether it be 365 days we are alive for 365,365 days. Every day can be Christmas because Jesus is the reason for the season but He cannot be contained in a season.

He is Love. And the reason we forget all of the things we love about Christmas once the new year rolls around is because we forget Him. And the reason He came. We can never know all of the beautiful things He brings without knowing Him for more than a little story we tell to kids in a Sunday School class. If you don’t know Jesus, you’re crashing His birthday by celebrating Christmas. You’re getting a little Christmas favor as you leave and some eggnog with cookies but never getting to live in the continual Christmas party of His Love. And you return home with a small and unsatisfying glimpse of a few hours with the advantages of knowing Him, but it does not last.

The only way to feel the Love of Christmas in your heart and keep it all the year round is to know the Reason for this season. And He is Love. Unending, unfailing Love. That cannot be contained by a season, a lifetime, a culture, a world. It is the free gift for everyone this year. Open it, share it with others and your life will be a celebration of Christmas that never ends.

Scar Tissue that I wish you saw.

“Autumn’s sweet we call it fall
I’ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl
With the birds I’ll share
This lonely view”

It’s lonely at the top. And the world tells us that the top is where we want to be. The message we receive is that if you want to be successful, if you want to “make it to the moon”, you have to give it all you have. Walk until all your legs come out from under you. Crawl to reach your destination and step on whoever gets in your way.

The sweetness of autumn provides an opposite picture than the one of isolated success. During this time of year, we are gearing up to spend time with other people. The holidays are one of the few times in our society that we can’t avoid people the easy way we can during the year. It forces us to come together and enjoy the company of others. Contrast our constant strive for success and pleasing ourselves and think about what we are thankful for, celebrate memories with others and spend quality time creating a shared feeling of togetherness, home, and love. The holidays are a hard time for many people. Maybe you didn’t come from a happy home or don’t have many family or friends to spend it with. Sometimes relationships get so strained that the closest people in your life are the very ones you need to let go of. The holidays are also a time where deep wounds re-surface, and anger, bitterness and resentment are the resulting emotions when you think about what this holiday season “should” look like. And you wish whoever hurt you so much would get to see your scar tissue. The wound from that broken relationship and what it took for you to heal. Maybe these experiences make you dread the holidays and wait for it to come and go so you can get on to living without having to think of any pain.

It’s hard to live in a world where another person can hurt you and disappoint you. The natural response is to feel that because that person hurt you, everyone else will. “No one cares about me so I must care about myself and not care about anyone else.” This is the response we are tempted to have when faced with pain, betrayal, rejection and all the other array of emotions that a human being’s actions can cause us to feel.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could love each other as we would want to be loved. Forgive like we’d want to be forgiven? That is after all, what we were made for, to do. Don’t crawl through life with the wound and limp that someone else’s careless or ill-intended actions created. Find the strength to stand up and go through life together with other humans. The ones that have the potential to let you down. Showing love and grace to them as you should to yourself. There’s no better formula for success.