A Different Kind Of Excitement

A Different Kind Of Excitement

When Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas anymore
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Growing up, Christmas used to be magical. With every light my parents hung up in front of our house and with every ornament placed on our tree, my spirits were lifted and my heart raced even faster. There was something about Christmas that was indescribably mysterious and exciting.

The weeks leading up to Christmas were the best. Our house was constantly filled with desserts and gifts from family friends, Christmas cards were always dispersed on the kitchen counters, and the scent of our Christmas tree made the entire house smell like a Winter Wonderland.

The night before Christmas was the most exciting night of the year. Sleep was impossible; my little sister and I would stay up for hours talking about what we thought we were going to get. It was for sure the longest night of the year; it seemed as though we had been tucked away in our room for at least 15 hours. We’d read every Christmas book we could find in our room and stay up chatting until the early hours of the morning.

And before we knew it, it was 8:00 a.m. on Christmas morning. We’d tear open our stockings, wake up everyone in our house, and wait impatiently for everyone to be ready to open presents. And once we were all seated around the tree, pajamas on and presents in hand, everything felt right in the world.

And while all of those things still ring true today, the magic seems to have faded. Christmas has started to feel a little less… special. The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with stress, trying to manage my money well enough to afford getting everyone the perfect gift. I’m more concerned about what I’m going to wear to our Christmas Eve church service than I am about spending time with my family. Christmas has become more and more about appearances and money and less about family and giving.

Putting up my Christmas Tree isn’t as special anymore. Going to see the Nutcracker with my family isn’t one of my top priorities. I fall asleep the night before Christmas just as easily as I do every other night.

Why? Why has Christmas lost its excitement? Where did the mystery and the joy and the suspense go?

I think that as we get older, we start to realize that Christmas isn’t about the presents or the candy canes or the holiday cards. We start to understand that Christmas isn’t just a fun holiday where everyone is surprised by a big, old man in a red suit.

Christmas is about the God of the Universe giving us His only son. Christmas is about the fact that the King of Kings came to this earth in the form of a helpless baby born in a barn. And you know what? THAT’S where the excitement should come from. THAT is where the mystery and the suspense should come from.

Why would the most powerful being in the universe come in the form of an infant? That’s the mystery. However, we have the answer: it’s because He loves us more than we could ever imagine. He loves us SO much that He gave us His only son, so that we, the dirty and sinful humans, could have eternal life.

What a reality check. What a slap in the face. I’m so caught up in money and presents and clothes and appearances that I am overlooking the excitement of this holiday.

Yeah, Christmas looks different at the age of 19 than it did at the age of 9. I don’t get as excited over the thought of Santa, and I don’t stay up all night waiting for Christmas morning. However, Christmas brings a different excitement into my life. Christmas reminds me not only of how broken I am but also of how gracious and loving my Heavenly Father is.

So as December begins and you start to prepare for Christmas, spend some time thinking of what it is about Christmas that excites you. Remind yourself that Santa isn’t the “reason for the season,” and that Christmas is the day where we received the best present of them all: a Savior who loves us so much that He died for us.

And that, my friends, is something to get excited about.

Cover Image Credit: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Sy1Qlxgo2ek/maxresdefault.jpg

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.
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The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.


Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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10 Reasons Why Having A Boyfriend Is Especially Awesome Around The Holidays

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.

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A date for looking at Christmas lights is on the top of the list, for sure.

1. You have someone to do all of the activities with

He's like your built-in partner for everything. Wanna watch a movie? Take a nap? Need someone to help you clean your room? You've got your person.

2. You can steal his hoodies when its chilly outside

It doesn't even have to be cold for you to want to. Chances are its a size or two bigger than you need and his cologne is all over it.

3. Chances are he's more willing to drive in the snow than you are 

Guys typically have a little more of a heavy duty vehicle. If you've got a good man, he might even rescue you an hour away in a blizzard if you think you're tougher than the weather.

4. Christmas movie partner!!

Do I need to add more?

5. He can always keep you warm

Bear hugs. Cuddles. His trucks dual air 90 degree heat on your side. He'll find a way to keep you warm.

6. Your family holiday events partner

Multiple Thanksgivings and Christmas' are a breeze with your favorite person by your side. Plus, no one to ask you where your plus one is or why you're single.

7. Matching Christmas pajamas

I don't know about you, but my family has matching Christmas jammies every year. You can even get your favorite person in on them too for a cute insta picture.

8. Your errand running partner

He's your built-in Christmas shopping partner so you aren't bored standing in line forever or while you're still shopping and he can act as your place holder.

9. You aren't the only single one in your family on Christmas Eve anymore. 

It's awkward when all of your siblings are taking pictures with their others, but when you've found your person, you can do all the same things, including looking forward to your new year's kiss.

10. Making more memories

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.

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