Lissa Marie Niederer

Thoughts about faith, family, books, and how I'm trying to make them all fit together!

Still Celebrating

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celebrating_toastNormally, the day after Christmas, I wake up and can not wait to get the tree down, the gifts put away, the sweets out of my kitchen, and order returned to reign over the chaos that is the holidays with three young children. Normally, by New Year’s Eve, I am ready to sit down and set a list of very specific goals for myself for the upcoming 365 days – usually fairly inflexible and quantitatively measurable things like:

  • I will cut out every single granule of unnatural sugar from my diet.
  • I will read 5 chapters of my Bible each morning, rising promptly and happily at 5:45 a.m. so as to take advantage of a quiet house. (Ha! Do I know myself AT ALL?!)
  • I will write 10,000 words every single day, no exceptions, even if I am feeling sick or uncreative, or if the coffee pot is broken, or if I just reallyreallydontwanna.
  • I will exercise 6 days a week, without complaining.

These are nice thoughts. They capture the spirit of things that I know would make me better if I actually did them. And typically, while my resolutions tend to be unrealistic, they provide me with a star for which to shoot and then I land somewhere shy of my goal but better than I was before. Which I guess is the idea. But I digress.

Here’s my point. Frankly, 2015 was so amazing, I’m still celebrating its awesomeness.

Yes, I gained 15 pounds back of the 80 I lost the previous year. Yes, I probably overspent a little and ate too many fish filets from McDonalds. I didn’t make as much progress on Close To Me as I intended. But I got something back this year that I had been missing for a while – ME.

Long story short? I was depressed, and now I’m not. I was anxious and now I’m… well… less anxious. I can take some guesses about how things changed, but today what matters is THAT they changed, not how. Here I am, at the end of this incredible year during which nothing particularly stunning happened, except for this:

I played music really loudly and danced in my kitchen. I sat and I looked at a Christmas tree. There wasn’t much under it, but the little white lights were so beautiful, I cried. I ate things that tasted delicious and felt not an ounce of guilt for the fact that they absolutely contributed to my needing to buy new jeans. I lounged in a messy living room and was able to stare past the disorder at my ginormous, beautiful children, who I know will leave me one day in a much cleaner, much emptier house. I went to restaurants and meetings and parties with people I didn’t know and enjoyed the new scenery and new conversation. I prayed and painted and laughed and kissed and ate lots of chocolate. And I just don’t want it to be over.

Okay. I KNOW it’s not OVER. What I mean is, I think my resolution this year will be to PURPOSEFULLY practice the things that I discovered this year about being me. And I think I will try a different set of vocabulary words. More “try” and “some.” Fewer specific numbers and “no exceptions.” Things like:

  • I resolve to continue seeking joy for myself and to do what I can to spread it to others, to fill needs where I am able, and to “give it to God.”
  • I resolve to continue working on patience, mindfulness, and courage.
  • I  resolve to cut myself (and my family) some slack and focus on the things that matter.
  • I resolve to recognize, identify, and express gratitude for the blessings that stand before me in the here and now.

So I’m not taking the tree down yet. Not only did I NOT clear the kitchen of all the Christmas goodies, I am planning on baking a pineapple upside down cake for my husband this afternoon. We will all put on our pajamas later and have a family board game night, and then I’ll snuggle up on the couch with Hans and a slice of that cake and a glass of sparkling cider and think about how good it is, for now, to feast.

Author: Lissa Marie Niederer

I'm a 30-something wife, stay-at-home mom of 3, Christian novelist, and part time Development Director at a children's museum. I love God, my family, writing, being outdoors, books, baking, and getting crafty. This blog will probably be about all of those things! For information about my new book, The Sky We Walk Upon, please visit WestBow Press at: or like me on Facebook:

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