In the world of “balance,” December can be a radical swing of the pendulum into extreme busyness, over-spending, over-eating, loss of margin…loss of sanity.
How are you handling it all? You doing okay?
I don’t know about you, but my best efforts at keeping things low-key still involve daily shopping trips, traffic, crowds, and multiple Christmas programs. (With a teenager in the house, it also means final exams. Joy to the world.)
I thought I was finished Christmas shopping about five different times this week. Then I remembered one more person…one more gift…tape…sugar for the cookies.
And it can never be a quick trip to Target. No. Because everyone is there. I mean, literally, Every. Single. Person. in my city is at Target doing the exact same thing at the exact same moment I am there. (Can we all just bow our heads right now and thank Jesus for Amazon Prime? Were it not for AP, I would have lost my ever-loving mind. The mailman is my new BFF.)
In between shopping trips, I’m bouncing from program to program and party to party watching my daughter in all manner of Christmas productions, basically trying to capture it all while also refusing the baked goods.
Oh…and I meant to actually write a Christmas letter this year.
I do love so many things about Christmas, but the chaos of it all is really not my jam.
That is why I’m already looking forward to January.
January is my absolute favorite month. January is when the pendulum swings gently and unassumingly into the opposite direction. January is when everything stops.
January is quiet,
That’s the real reason I’m writing you today—to let you know I’ll be off the grid completely in January–and I do mean completely. With all this balance talk, I need to practice what I preach.
So, what does that mean?
I’m taking the month to pull back so I can reflect on 2017 and pray about my goals and direction for 2018. For me, that means no blogging, no social media, and no teaching.
I could have just slipped out quietly–you probably wouldn’t have even noticed I was gone, what with my sporadic and unpredictable blogging schedule and all. I mean, if my 2017 blogging goal was “Blog almost never” then I CRUSHED IT!
But I didn’t want to disappear without giving you some ways you can still hear from me:
1. You can sign up for emails: A few weeks ago I asked you to take a survey saying if you’d like to receive emails from me in January. Several of you chimed in. Here is what you said from the choices I gave you:
53.8% I would love to receive a short, inspirational, motivational, DAILY email. I will not hate Sandy if she emails me daily.
23.5% Please don’t email me in January. It’s cool Sandy. Take your break. I’ll see ya in February.
20.5% I would prefer a weekly email. Daily is too much and I won’t read it, even if it’s short.
2.6 % I would love a daily email, but for the love of Pete, I would only like it for 7 days, not 31 days!
As you can see, the majority of you wanted daily emails. But about a quarter of you didn’t want any. So, I decided to be a rebel and do something completely different than any of the options I offered.
I’m going to send out a short, inspirational email three times a week.
It will arrive in your inbox at 6 am EST on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays for the month of January. If you are one of the 23.5% who didn’t want any emails, just ignore them. If you are already signed up for emails, you will receive them automatically–they are free, by the way. Oh, and I’ve already written and scheduled them, so I can still take my break AND send out daily emails. Cool!
If you are not currently receiving emails from me, or if you are not sure, sign up here (or anywhere on the blog you see to sign up for emails):
2. You can buy my e-book 25 Little Things You Can do to Reach Your Fitness Goals.
So many of you are setting health goals in 2018. Yay you! This is a little book I wrote last year to help with that. If you like small steps, a little structure, and a little humor, this is a great investment. These are tried and true ways to take control of your health, one small thing at a time. I realize you can Google “health tips” and have access to infinite health information for free. But this is all curated for you in one place in a step-by-step format. Plus, your payment of $5 will help support my caffeine addiction, which will ensure you that I can continue producing quality material into the new year. Also, if you read one short chapter a day, January will be over before you know it and BOOM, I’ll be back. And you will be healthier. Win-win.
3. You can buy Finding Your Balance.
Listen, I know some of you are wondering if this book is worth your time and money. I would wonder, too. In fact, one of my real-life friends (who does not read my blog) came up to me in the Fall to tell me she was starting my Bible study with another group of women. Then she said, and I quote: “It better not suck.” True story.
I’m pretty sure it doesn’t suck. Actually, it’s about the best thing I’ve ever written. (If you read it and hated it, then I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s all downhill from here.)
For the last three months, I’ve been personally leading three different groups of women through this study and I’ve seen a pattern of revelation unfold as the weeks went on. I like to call it
The Five Stages of Realizing Sandy’s Book Doesn’t Suck
- Stage One: I wasn’t sure I needed this bible study or if I needed to find my balance, but I’m reading it because (choose one) Sandy is my friend/I wanted to hang out with other women/ this was the only bible study they offered/ I needed a break from my kids and you have childcare/ I thought this class was on hormone health.
- Stage Two:Okay, this is actually pretty good. I see scriptures, Sandy is kinda funny, and she makes some good points. Maybe I need balance more than I thought.
- Stage Three:Get out of my head, Sandy Cooper! YOU ARE SPEAKING RIGHT TO ME! How do you know everything I struggle with? This is so me.
- Stage Four:Wow. This Bible study is really helping me think differently about everything. I’m implementing some of these suggestions and I’m seeing progress. I’m even reading portions out loud to my husband.
- Stage Four and a half: *Husband approaches me in public* Your book is good.
- Stage Five: Finding Your Balance has been LIFE CHANGING. I’m buying a copy for my mom/sister/friend/daughter for Christmas.
It’s been so encouraging to see how many people honestly and sincerely use the word “life-changing” after working through it. I’m not making this up. I’m as shocked as you are.
So, I’m just saying, if you want something to read while I’m gone, this book doesn’t suck and may be life-changing.
If you already read it, please buy one for your mom/sister/friend/daughter. Amazon Prime (thank you, Jesus) will have it there in time for Christmas if you order soon.
Now, I am off to bake cookies with a special little girl who still believes in Santa, and also wrap dozens of “last minute” gifts I bought at Target and Amazon this week. I shoved them in the back of my closet. I need to dig them out.
If I could leave you with one note of encouragement to carry you through the next two weeks before I go, it would be to stay alert to the small moments you want to remember forever and ever. If, like me, Christmas-Crazy is not your jam, just settle in and enjoy your people. Go bake cookies. Watch Elf. Crank up your Mariah Carey Christmas CD and sing with reckless abandon. Take pictures. Thank Jesus for coming to this earth, quietly and humbly, to save us.
Then let your pendulum slowly drift back to the other direction in January where you can rest.
I’ll see you in February.