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  • Living simply is not so much about the particulars of our lives as much as it is about the principles that govern them. Knowing what God has called you to do, and then doing it--that's living simply.

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Susan

I am on my way with a Christmas Tree and decorations. Desert or no desert...

Love you.

Melissa @ Breath of Life

I love Christmas decorations as much as the next girl (maybe even more), but as I read your post, I felt the Spirit telling me to remind you there were no Christmas decorations in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is in the desert, friend. Yet that's exactly where Jesus came. I have a feeling He's going to show up in a HUGE way for your family this Christmas...with or without a tree (although I'm willing to bet you & the girls would have a great time making paper chains, etc. for a small pre-lit tree!)

Love you!

Heather F

Joanne,
Our first year here for me was miserable at Christmas. Being from CO myself and living in this desert, was well... I felt like a foreigner. As so aptly put by Melissa, my hubby also reminded me that the birth of the King was in the desert in a landscape similar to ours AND he was God come to Earth, not exactly the splendid home in heaven he was accustomed to.

Embrace the time God has for you here and I have seen first hand the MANY ways God has used you and For the countless purposes He has for you here for this season-- and the yuletide season as well ; )

Praying for you!

Julie Porter

When Bob and I were first together, we had both lost "custody" of the Christmas ornaments from our prior marriages. We had no money at all, so for several weekends in a row leading up to that Christmas, we all made Christmas ornaments: clearance ribbon tied into bows, stars and hearts cut out of cardboard and covered with tin foil, countless flour-and-salt-dough ornaments, small gingham "pillows" in heart and star shapes, strung popcorn--anything that was inexpensive and easy. We bought a small bedraggled tree on Christmas Eve, when they were marked way down.

Nineteen years and a lot of Christmas ornaments later, we still hang some of those old homemade ornaments on our tree. They remind me of a very bittersweet Christmas, of how special the Christmas spirit seemed that year, and of the enthusiasm of our young children at seeing their homemade treasures hanging on our hard-won tree. Our gifts that year were mostly homemade as well; the girls still sleep with their fish pillows that I made for them late at night.

This may end up being a Christmas you always treasure in your memory.

Kimberlie Feth

Apparently, Julie and I have had similar Christmas experiences. Our first Christmas we were married we could either afford the tree or the decorations, but not both. So, we got a Norfolk Island Pine (more plant than tree) and some red ribbon at The Dollar Tree and tied on bows. One of our most memorable. Second most memorable was when I was on bed rest for 8 straight weeks over the holidays, therefore on short term disability (60% of my standard social work income) and my husband had just taken a 50% pay cut to get a 9-to-5 job. We had nothing and were trying to hang onto that pregnancy until full term. A dear friend from church brought us over a Norfolk Island Pine decorated with baby stuff (in case we delivered early). I was so upset that because of my strict bed rest I couldn't go to birthing classes. An experienced mom reminded me that, chances are, Mary didn't go to child birth classes before boarding that donkey!
It's those "tough" ones that I remember so fondly. Lifting you in prayer.
P.S. My son and I are almost finished with our Joann Heim-inspired homemade Advent calendar. Then tonight I work on the verses to go in the 25 pockets. I haven't seen my son this excited about celebrating the birth of Christ EVER. I'll get my DH to send an e-pic when we're done.
Lifting you and yours in prayer for Christmas PEACE!
Kim Feth
Apex, NC

Debbie Mitchell

I feel for you - Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year too, but it is about stories, feelings, truth and traditions that don't need any decoration. You are great at making celebrations meaningful so I know you'll rise to the challenge!
Maybe you and the girls could make a Jesse Tree? I've just bought a book on it from Amazon with a view to making one with my boys ("Let's Make a Jesse Tree" by Darcy James). Meaningful, inexpensive decoration to remind us of what Christmas is REALLY all about. And candles are always good!

Laura Lane

Hi,
I'd like to encourage you. You can make Christmas wherever you are. I did it one year in a hotel room with a ten, 4, 2, and newborn.

I wrote about it here a few days ago. You can do this.

http://lauraofharvestlane.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/reclaiming-christmas-a-change-in-focus/

It was a life changing Christmas for me.

Blessings from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Laura

Michelle

I was going to suggest something similar to Julie...I thought maybe you and the girls could MAKE Christmas! Paper chains..snowflakes...strung popcorn...think "Laura Ingalls". It could be fun!

Debbie

Feeling a bit the same since we won't be home for Christmas. How much should I put up? Well if you want some Christmas cheer in the desert come by my cookie exchange on Dec 19th and bring a friend. It is on my facebook page if you are interested. Or you can email me.
Debbie

Bethany

Wow, I got chills reading your blog and your comments. I've been praying about how I can make Christ the focus of Christmas this year. I think a year without Christmas decorations will really help put things back in perspective--coming up with new ways to celebrate, being creative with your family, and like you said--seeking God with what He wants to teach you during this time in the desert.

Tammy

I love Christmas too...actually I love winter. I grew up in the upper Midwest and we always had snow, snow and more snow:) To me it isn't Christmas without some lights and those big beautiful fluffy snowflakes coming down.

My first Christmas after I got married, was in southeast Kansas. It was sunny and about 65 degrees. I cried and called home so that I could hear about the snow and cold weather!

And now we are getting ready to move, so packing is about to begin and I guess it has just put me out of the holiday mood. And to top it off we'll be moving to southern California. Where I hear the weather is about the same all year round. So I guess you could say my heart is a bit grieved. But I love what you said about God's providence...and I'm reminding myself that it's not about me and what I want, but rather about His glory and my obedience to follow after Him. So thank you for that reminder!

I'm praying that you have a wonderful and blessed week:)

Kristen

While all these comments are good and true, I'll wallow in the suckiness of the Christmas season in Phoenix with you. It's hard to experience something different when you've always had the best Colorado and home has to offer. So go ahead and wallow wallow wallow, then get out of the mud, shake it off, and then read all the other comments. And by the way, Mom is excellent at making paper chains. She made some with the kids and they are on my tree.

Joanne (The Simple Wife)

You all are so sweet. And I especially liked the permission from my sis to "wallow wallow wallow" and then shake it off. It's mostly shook, I think.

Mostly because of your sweet comments.

Here's the thing. We're going to Denver for Christmas on the 18th. So really, I'd only get to enjoy my decorations for a couple of weeks anyway. And while we could make some things or choose to buy a few things, I'm really feeling like that's not what we're to do.

Vague, I know. But there you have it.

And really, it'll just make our time in Denver in the cold and snow (fingers crossed) with Mom and Dad's tree and decorations that much more special.

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