Given that a national holiday dedicated to gratitude is going on this week, you'd probably infer from my title that I'm going to talk about being overwhelmed with thankfulness for all my blessings... how numerous they are, how I don't deserve them, how I could never exhaust the list of all things good and wonderful in the life of Ashley McNeese.

Sorry to disappoint. (Sort of.)

I could certainly write a post like that (and should, I'm sure) but actually, I've been overwhelmed lately and not in a "holy chocolate chip cookie, Batman... I'm one lucky girl" kind of way. It's been more like, "holy acne, Batman... I'm way too stressed" kind of way. I've been quiet around here lately. I haven't posted much because, truthfully, who cares? "I am Ashley; hear me whine." I also really haven't had much to write about, which worries me. All the writing books say, "If you're a writer, you have to write. You can't help yourself. It's like breathing." What if you're a writer who's also a teacher and assistant pastor's wife and Christmas play director with an inability to function without sleep? And a fear of alienating your readers by bemoaning your pitifully small burdens?

During our midweek service last night, our youth pastor talked about giving thanks for all the good things in our lives (easy, expected) AND all the hard things (not so easy, a little unexpected.) And I nodded along and silently amened like a champ... but am I really doing that? I'd have to say, sheepishly...no.

So yeah... with a bleeding calendar (teachers only use red pens) and a never-ending to-do list, I've been feeling the craziness that is Christmas crunch time. And I really, really hate that, because the things that have me busy and stressed are all good things, but, as is so often the case with me and lots of other frazzled people, the work, attention to detail, and time that they entail are in danger of eclipsing the actual purpose for them. Let me transparent (which we all may regret) for a moment and say that I was ugly-crying last night from the sheer overwhelming fear that all I have to get done will not get done. And in the midst of all this madness, I'm angry at myself because I'm well aware that freaking out over events that are meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus are meant to be enjoyed... relished even. And during this week- the week of Thanksgiving, for crying out loud- shouldn't I be going through the alphabet naming things I'm thankful for instead of having a meltdown at the thought of the next two weeks of absolute madness?

Yes, I should. And I will. (I might cheat on the hard letters but I'll play.) In the meantime, I am determined to enjoy the next couple of days. I'm shopping, eating, watching movies, wrestling (with the munchkins), reading, and being thankful, even for the hard things. 

This big boy is already reducing my stress level quite a bit. 

This is not a cry for help, I promise. It's just my being honest, which, in the online world, is tempting to avoid as we post and filter the best versions of ourselves. I'm okay. I really am. But if you hear a shout of jubilant rejoicing on December 16 (that's when Christmas break starts and most of my craziness ends) don't be alarmed. Joy to the world, indeed.


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