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Sugar Cookies, Hot Chocolate & the Secret to Christmas Success

Point to Ponder:

Is love for yourself and others your guide and focus throughout the Christmas season or does stress, frustration and fatigue take over?

On Wednesday evening the kids (6 and 4 yrs) and I attended a “Kick-off to Christmas” church event. The night began with filling shoe boxes with children’s toys, school supplies and hygiene items for an organization called Samaritan’s Purse, followed with eating sugar cookies, drinking hot chocolate, eating sugar cookies and drinking hot chocolate. Did I mention there were sugar cookies and hot chocolate?! Then, we headed into church for a short worship service. Feeling like the unruly Imogene Herdman from the classic book The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, we burst into the dimly lit sanctuary holding jackets, cups of hot chocolate and sugar cookies. As we walked down the isle searching for three seats, a bright light shined around our every step. For many, it may’ve seemed as though the Angel of the Lord was walking alongside us and glowing. This certainly could have true. I don’t put anything past God, but in this instance it was Malaine’s light-up shoes illuming the intimate space. When we finally found our seats and plopped ourselves down (still holding hot chocolate and sugar cookies, of course), we took up a total of 6 seats. That’s how many a family of three needs. I’m sure of it!

During the service the ambiance was peaceful and uplifting. As we sang, Malaine wanted to see the musicians so I held her. Instead of gazing towards the entertainment up front, she instead stared and giggled at the man behind us who was enthusiastically singing. It took all I had keep from laughing too. You know how that goes. One person starts laughing and all of the laughter dominos fall.

Next, as the singing stopped but music continued, we were instructed to take a seat. It was then that Durant, who was singing with arms held high, dropped his arms and said, “Mom, my arms are freak’in tired!”. Again, it took everything I had to not burst into tearful laughter. With the music playing lightly in the background, the worship leader quietly played the keyboard and spoke into the microphone, sharing a devotional that the pastor of the church led for the church team. In the devotional, our pastor revealed the secret of success for the Christmas season. With all of the distraction that I had just experienced, my focus became lazer-like, as it was only November 29 and I already felt overwhelmed by what lie ahead. I had to know the success secret! As the worship leader continued I leaned in, eager to have the tip revealed. It was then that he said, “Love. Love it the secret of success for the Christmas season.”

I felt my whole body melt into my chair and peace overcome my mind. As I sat with a smile on my face thinking about the message of love, and how I can do that, my zen moment was quickly interrupted by a tap on the shoulder that the kids had to go to the restroom. Of course they did! And so, we gathered all of our things, including hot chocolate and sugar cookies and illumed out of the sanctuary and into the bathroom. Shortly thereafter was the Christmas tree lighting ceremony with more hot chocolate and sugar cookies. Despite the pounds of sugar that was consumed in a very short period of time, we all left feeling so very excited about the Christmas season!

I make a joke of the evening because on so many levels, it was pure comedy. As usual I was trying to complicate Christmas. Yes, of course Christmas is about hot chocolate, sugar cookies, parties, gift-giving, helping others, family and friends, but I was so thankful to be reminded that it starts and finishes with love: love that illumes in and throughout us as we hustle, bustle, eat, drink, shop, decorate, cook, and wrap. It’s the illuminating love of and for others as well as love for ourselves. By continuing to say “yes” to you and loving yourself throughout the holiday, you will be saying "yes" to staying healthy, happy, present and sane, which means an amazing Christmas for you and your family! As an effort to encourage you stay love-focused during the Christmas season (and not sick and stressed), we are implementing the iGnite Health & FITmas Challenge, which will take place throughout all of December. Like our previous FITmas Challenges, our goal is to support you in making your health and fitness a priority by attending a minimum of 8 iGnite classes throughout December. Eight classes averages two classes per week. We know you can do that!!

In addition, we’ve added a loving “self-care” component. We all know there will not shortage of sugar, busyness and inadequate sleep, and we want to help you be intentional about the ways in which you love and take care of yourself each day--the simple practices that keep your immune system boosted and counter the additional alcohol, late nights and sweets, which all-combined create stress in the body and in life. Self-care examples are:

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep throughout the night

  • Take a 30 minute Epsom Salt bath of 30 minute hot tub soak

  • Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water or cranberry water in a day

  • Take a Power Nap

  • Manicure

  • Pedicure

  • Massage

  • Chill out and watch a movie

  • Sit and read a book or magazine for at least 30 minutes

  • Say "Yes" to something that serves you/Say "No" to something that does not serve you

Be sure to print the iGnite Health & FITmas Challenge calendar along with instructions and keep track of your daily points. To print, just click on the images below. To be eligible for a New Year prize, be sure and turn in your Health & FITmas Challenge calendar by January 5th see details in the instructions). The top 3 point earners get $20 of Monarch Money to be used towards you iGnite membership as well as iGnite apparel of choice.

Here's to making love for yourself and others the focus of this Christmas season, staying healthy and fit and having the best Christmas ever!


Action Item:

Make love for yourself and others the focus throughout the Christmas season.



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