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We watched a lot of Daniel Tiger when our sweet girl was in JK. It was because I’d read an article about how it was the only show that made kids better-behaved instead of worse-behaved. Good justification for screen time and a mama-break, right? Another article said parents watching it with their kids helped increase emotional-intelligence (I’m guessing it wasn’t just the kids who learned something).

After watching all the episodes 10 times, the “strategy songs” are stuck in my head, with profound preschool lessons like:

  • When you have to go potty, STOP and go right away.
  • If something is hard to do, try it a little bit at a time.
  • When you’re feeling frustrated, take a step back, and ask for help. (This is my nemesis and was spoken during our morning routine…today.)
  • Use your words and say how you feel.

The reality is, I know adults who need these lessons more than some kids. Including me. Even that potty one.

Have you seen that phrase, “She believed she could, so she did”? It’s on mugs and mousepads and notebooks and it’s everywhere. And it’s so much of my story – I’ve been a do-er and possibility thinker for all my years. Most of the time, I believe I can, so I try it a little bit at a time. (Emotional intelligence and Daniel Tiger, friend.)

Last week, I saw a twist:

She believed she could,
but she was really tired
so she didn’t.

BOOM.  Now you’re speaking my language, Daniel Tiger. This is my new strategy song. They totally should have had an episode on this for moms at Christmas time. “Use your words, and say how you feel…” Thank you, Jesus, for permission to feel.

It’s been a full year, with so many good things. I have had the stunning opportunity to speak and share my heart with a couple thousand women in Nanaimo, Saskatoon, Cambridge, Bloomingdale, Wallenstein and right here at home in Elmira. Our work has flourished, even with me doing shorter days to line up with school hours. Our home has been refreshed, with a new laundry room, paint, carpet and windows. Our (not so little) baby girl is growing faster than I can keep up with, and she’s overcoming challenges like doing all the monkey bars every single day. We’ve had trips and vacations and appointments and meetings and a bajillion other big and little things on the calendar to juggle. It’s been 365 days of meals and bike rides, disappointments and joys, laundry and coffee, dust and life. And then this fall, pneumonia and a series of flu and colds.

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Friend, it’s time for a break.

A long winter’s nap. Longer nights, shorter days. Fewer appointments, more unscheduled life. Fewer to-do’s, more to-don’ts. Saying, I could, but I won’t.

This Christmas, it means I’ve not baked one single Christmas cookie. I bought the ingredients, but they’re sitting in the pantry, and may just become Easter treats, unless some miracle happens between now and Sunday. I did buy Nanaimo bars and Purdy’s chocolates, so I’m calling that a win.

It means I only put out about 1/10th of our Christmas decorations, focusing on ones that are winter-y instead of Christmas-y so that I might just leave them up till February (strategic, right?), and I’m wondering if I should actually just give away most of the rest.

It means that only Mary and the angel have made it into advent placement of our nativity, but we did see The Star three times, so I feel like I’m also winning on that one, even if the blessed mother of Jesus looks a little lonely on the shelf.

And this is the actual Christmas story, isn’t it?

Jesus arrived on earth in the midst of our imperfection. Our inability to save ourselves. In a manger. The Word made flesh allowed us to feel our humanity in a new way. To see God with us, Emmanuel. To realize that we need a Saviour, because we can’t do it all. To take a step back, and see the One who is our help.

So, friend, if you believe you can, but you’re tired – I want you to know that you have permission to choose to not do that next thing. No guilt. No shame. Your worth is not determined by your productivity. You are loved and loveable simply because you were created to be enough.

Chances are, in the next season, after you’ve rested and said no for a while, you’ll have the chance to say yes. In that season, you can get back to believing you can do it, and taking the steps out to get them done. But for now? Just know that you are enough.

If nothing else, all those episodes of Daniel Tiger have taught me that growing inside is an important, life-long job, and a perfect exterior is not the goal. Let’s choose to grow inside, okay? Also, if your Christmas is actually perfect, I am cheering you on. Well done, you!

Merry Christmas, friend.  

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