Holy cow, where did this year go? My mind can’t wrap itself around the fact that it’s December fourth already. I’ve gone through the motions and decorated my house for Christmas, actually purchased a few gifts, and started listening to Christmas music in my car, but for some reason it just doesn’t feel like Christmas yet. What’s up with that? Seriously you guys, I almost started to cry while I was walking past the toy section in Target a few days ago. Christmas today is so different from Christmas past. The JOY that I used to find in this blessed holiday has dimmed a bit, and it sucks.
Why would the toy section in Target bring tears to my eyes? It wasn’t because of the dolls and the trucks and the massive amounts of plastic that will soon be added to the already insurmountable amount of waste in our landfills. Although now that I think of that, it does make me sad. Walking through that section brought back the ghost of Christmas past. It reminded me of when my little family celebrated the meaning, not the holiday. It brought back visions of going to church every single Sunday throughout the year, culminating in the most joyous month of sermons. December.
I thought of how we would help decorate the church sanctuary and the giving tree the day after Thanksgiving, while enjoying the fellowship of our church family, and the lighting of the advent candles at our dining table every evening and at church on Sunday, singing Christmas carols together, and snuggling in bed at night while we read the story of Christmas.
That toy section made me long to see the excitement and happiness in my kids eyes as I watched them choose toys, mittens, and hats for children that they would never meet. It made me wish that things could be the way they used to be, because they’re so different today.
My kids are now young adults. They don’t subscribe to my husband’s and my beliefs, and it makes Christmas feel different and a little lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be more proud of the people that they’ve become; they’re caring, intelligent, and thoughtful, and I know that as parents we raised two awesome human beings. The empty feeling that I feel is on me, not them.
Christmas used to be about celebrating my faith with my family. Santa was part of the equation but not the focus. When our kids grew up they let go, and so did I.
I did what all good parents do, I let them spread their wings and fly. They flew away from the faith they were raised in, and I hunkered down in the nest and neglected mine.
It took a walk past the toy aisles at Target, and writing this introduction, to realize that the Christmas sadness that I’ve felt for the past several years isn’t about missing my little kids as much as it is about missing my faith. Believing and worshiping is important to me, it feeds my soul, it makes me calm and helps me feel fulfilled. My faith makes me wake up in the morning and want to be the best person that I can be. It makes me want to give back, to help others, and to be grateful. It’s time to get it back.
As I move forward this Christmas my goal is to truly feel the glory of the season. I’m going to start with a visit to church on Sunday.
May you find whatever makes you feel balanced and joyous this holiday season.
Unfortunately, my phone isn’t syncing with my Fitbit today so I can’t show you the screenshots of the steps that I took this week. You’re just going to have to take my word for it.
SUNDAY – I didn’t do a lot of walking because Alex took me to tea at The Peninsula in Chicago for my birthday. They have an amazing vegan tea and it was such a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
MONDAY – Deck the halls! I didn’t put my Fitbit on because I was hauling heavy plastic bins up and down the basement stairs all day long. I knew that I’d lose my balance and crush my Fitbit between the wall and a box of ornaments if I wore it. Let’s just say that I worked up quite a sweat and probably took 12,000 steps. Oh, I also played an hour and a half of doubles tennis in the morning.
TUESDAY – I took 17, 578 steps! I ran six miles and did day two of decorating. I also decorated the exterior of the house. SO TIRED!
WEDNESDAY – I took 10, 211 steps. I took the ropes/boot camp class that always kicks my butt. And I finished up decorating and then cleaned my house from top to bottom. I also made a recipe and photographed it.
THURSDAY – I only got 7592 steps in because I had to do a lot of work on the computer and I went to Chicago to watch Hooper. It was Alex’s long day of classes and the Hoop-Loop needed to relieve herself and get some snuggle time.
Total steps – 35,381
Average steps – 11,793
What I Ate Wednesday
As usual, I started the day with a glass of lemon water and a cup of coffee. I had a spinach, blueberry, pineapple, hemp seed smoothie before my boot camp class, then a bowl of oatmeal with pecans, applesauce, and cinnamon after.
Mid-Morning Snack :
A big juicy pear.
I made this delicious 7 ingredient 30 minute vegetable soup for the blog so I had a big bowl for lunch. I ate a handful of cashews and a bowl of baby pickles for a snack.
I had two bowls of soup and a piece of whole grain bread.
Well if that isn’t a provocative title I don’t know what is. It certainly made me click on the link to read Ms. Young’s story. Now for my opinion.
There is no right or wrong time to go vegan, but I somewhat disagree with Young’s advice on going vegan during the holiday season. In my opinion, that would be the most difficult time to go vegan. To be fair, she does say that going vegan during the holiday season will be tough, but I think that’s an understatement.
The holiday season is rife with temptations. Cookies and baked goods made with butter, eggs, and milk. Appetizers loaded with cheese and meat. Alcohol that will remove your inhibitions, make those foods look all the more tantalizing, and convince you to listen to the naysayers who don’t want you to change your lifestyle. In my humble opinion, going vegan during the holidays is a sure fire way to set you up for failure.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to go vegan if you’re feeling a calling. You should. You absolutely should. Just be prepared for the immense amount of backlash that you’ll get from your friends and family. They won’t like it. I’ve been there and I know.
You’ll also need to dial your willpower up to full throttle. The holidays are known for being a time of gluttony when it comes to food. That’s why January first is the day of resolutions, and the number one resolution is fitness and health.
However, a vegan lifestyle isn’t only about fitness and health, it’s about ethics and morals. If you’re going vegan for health reasons it will be more difficult because the only skin in the game will be your own. That’s why only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. If you’re going to go vegan because of the animals and/or the environment then you’ll have something bigger than yourself to do it for, and that can make it so much easier to stick with it.
December is a month of reflection and prayer for many faiths, so it would seem like it would be a great time to start a vegan lifestyle. Who wouldn’t want to start living a cruelty-free life during the holidays? If you have the willpower to give up dairy and meat during the biggest food season of the year, and you have the heart to ignore those who will try and sabotage your new lifestyle, then go for it. Don’t wait another second. But if you slip up, if you “fail,” don’t think that you weren’t cut out for the vegan life. You can do it. You just might need to restart your lifestyle when the rest of the world is rebooting too.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone and thanks for reading my thought for the week. Peace.
What do you think about going vegan in December?
Are you good at sticking to your New Year’s resolutions?
Do you own a Fitbit yet?
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