Widmayer Wellness LLC

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Tag Archives: Christmas

Did You Have a Good Christmas?

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“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” — (Scrooge)  Charles Dickens

Did you have a good Christmas?  This question is asked from December 26 through mid-January.  But asking people if they had a “good” Christmas or a “good” holiday requires them to evaluate it. And what rubric do we use to measure whether or not our holiday has been “successful”?

Christmas and holiday celebrations focus on traditions and provide the warm fuzzy feelings we associate with the satisfaction of a holiday well spent. We may measure experiences by our past Christmases, comparisons with others, or the perfection of a holiday movie celebration.  And often we come up short by comparison, which can lead to discontentment, disappointment, and depression.

Our disappointment comes from having created in our own minds a picture of what our holiday will or should look like, and when the reality doesn’t match the picture, we are disappointed.  Our emotions are close to the surface.  We may cry, we may argue with family members, or we may withdraw because things are not going the way they were supposed to.

The problem is no matter what picture we may have in our minds about what our holiday should look like, other family members likely have a different picture.  Even siblings have memories that differ or hold varied significance.  One may cherish the memory and smell of fresh baked cookies that are prepared before the holidays. Another may cherish the Christmas Eve candlelight service.  And a third may cherish the gathering of family and the games played around the dining room table after the food was put away.

Going in to the holiday season with an evaluation mindset sets us up for failure.  Our rational minds can process that that attitude is unhealthy, but our childlike wonder of Christmas is still looking for the emotional high, no matter how old we get.

Holidays and the traditions we expect, even when successful, will not remain the same forever.  Loved ones die, children grow; families may be spread out across the country instead of in the same town.  Christmas cannot be celebrated based on external trappings.  It is kept, as Dickens says, in our hearts.

What should we do to spare ourselves disappointment?  First, we should cast off expectations and approach the holiday with a mindset to experience whatever joy and pleasure the season offers.  Second, we should take responsibility for creating whatever traditions we hold dear, and not rely on others to fulfill our expectations.  And finally, and most importantly, we need to focus on the Reason for the Season. Jesus.

The first Christmas was a simple birth. A mother and father, likely tired from travel, disappointed in the lack of accommodations, excited about the birth of their first child, and worried about provisions.  We look at the stable birth and focus on the lack of physical provision.  But do you think Joseph and Mary had emotional needs as well? I certainly do.  They were no doubt at the end of their own strength; and therefore, totally looking to God and trusting Him for their needs. And God did provide.  He provided, among other things, a heavenly, angelic choir!

Jesus, God Incarnate, is available today to meet our needs.  Whether those needs are physical or emotional, He is able to help us.  We can find joy in the simplest expressions of marking a holiday. We can find peace in the Presence of the King of Kings. We can find love in God’s sacrifice of His own Son for us!

God extends forgiveness to all.  And we can extend that same forgiveness to our families and friends.  Our families love us, no matter their expression of that love.  Their love is imperfect.  Their love may disappoint.  But God is love. His love is Perfect.  He can fill those empty places where expectation and disappointment reside.

This year as we approach the week of Christmas, let us set our minds for success. Let us anticipate responding to “How was your Christmas?” with, “Christmas was great!”  It will be great because however we celebrate, Jesus is here. Not just for today, but for eternity.  Let us celebrate all our Christmases past, present, and future with a joyful heart.

EASY DIY ESSENTIAL OIL GIFT IDEAS

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It seems I have no sooner put out my fall decorations than my mind turns to Christmas and gift-giving.  When I was growing up, my family was not very crafty.  We were not a family who made gifts for one another.  We were a shopping family, and I have very fond memories of holiday shopping with both my mom and my dad.

Then I met my husband.  His extended family tended to give more hand-made gifts.  Of course, when we first got married, we had a limited income as most young couples do so making gifts seemed like a great idea to my husband.  Even while we were dating, we started a tradition of making hard candy every year.  During our early marriage we continued to make things for extended family members.  One year I crocheted “holiday candles” that fit over a cardboard tube.  Another year, I made yarn wreaths on a coat hanger.  And for a while, my husband made bread to give to family members every year.

I found gift-making somewhat intimidating. Making things was, and still is, a challenge for me. I will only attempt the simplest of projects.  However, over the past few years, as I have begun using essential oils and been exposed to all kinds of DIY recipes, I have found a lot more easy, creative ideas for gift-giving.  I thought I would share a few I have found simple enough to tackle.

I realize that everyone has favorite essential oils, so I will give you a list of suggestions and let you experiment. You may want to make minor adjustments so that each gift you give is as unique as the person receiving it.  For containers, I use decorative Mason jars. Do not use plastic containers if you are using any citrus oils.

SUGAR SCRUB

Directions: You can use white sugar, brown sugar, or a combination of the two.

  • 2 ½ cups of sugar
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. Honey, optional
  • 1 t. baking soda, optional, add more to achieve desired consistency
  • 10 drops of essential oil of your choice. Choose one or more of the following.
    • Fall scents – Thieves, Clove, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Christmas Spirit, Orange, Northern Lights Black Spruce
    • Citrus scents – Lemon, Orange, Tangerine, Bergamot, Grapefruit
    • Christmas scents – Peppermint, Orange, Juniper, Cinnamon, Clove, Thieves
    • Relaxing scents – Lavender, Stress Away, Valor
    • Muscle soothing scents – Peppermint, Wintergreen, PanAway, Valor, Frankincense
    • Man scents – Shutran, Northern Lights Black Spruce, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Sacred Sandalwood

BODY BUTTER

Directions: You can use any base – cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, kokum butter, or a blend.  You can melt it first or just soften it.  Use a stand mixer to whip butter base to desired consistency.  Add liquid oil slowly. You may not use the whole amount.  Remove from stand and fold in essential oils.  Add to a Mason jar and seal.

  • ½ cup shea butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup almond (or grapeseed, safflower, jojoba, olive)
  • 20 drops of essential oil

RICE SOCKS

Directions:  Pour 1 cup of rice into a large bowl.  Stir in essential oils.  Add rice to tube sock.  Fill any remainder of sock with more rice. Close sock with a rubber band.  Shake the sock so the oil-infused rice blends with the plain rice.  Add a bow around the rubber band, if desired.  I personally find the bow is just a pain. Make sure you are using a rubber band or a band that does NOT contain any metal pieces because you are going to warm this up in the microwave.  You can always add more essential oils in the future if needed. These socks are, as far as I am concerned, genius!  I use my rice sock every day.  This would be a great craft for a Scout troop or a Sunday School class.

  • One cotton tube sock
  • 1-2 cups of white rice
  • One heavy duty rubber band
  • 5 – 10 drops essential oil
    • Muscle soothing – Peppermint, Wintergreen, or PanAway
    • Calming – Lavender or Stress Away
  • To heat: Put in microwave 30 seconds at a time to desired temperature, not more than 90 seconds total.
  • Do not apply directly to skin; use a cloth barrier.

SOAP

This is the easiest thing in the world!

Directions:  Melt the soap base.  Stir in essential oils.  Pour in mold.  Cool.  Remove from mold.  I have wrapped these in saran wrap and tied with a bow. I have also put them in small organza bags to give away.

  • Soap base – I have used a shea butter base and a goat’s milk base
  • Silicone Mold
  • Essential oils
  • Option – Dried petals – I tried adding dried rose petals to my soap. Though it worked beautifully, I found they did not hold up well. If I added them in the future, I would store the soap in the refrigerator; or, I would use dried petals in one batch and essential oils in another.

Whatever gifts you choose to give—whether store bought or handmade—may you embrace the spirit of the season, enjoy the preparations, and create lasting memories for the whole family.

Muffins and Sugar Cookies with Einkorn Flour

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I love baking in the fall.  I love muffins, quick breads, and Christmas cookies!  A “breakfast” muffin or sugar cookie with a light glaze of frosting, accompanied by an early morning cup of coffee, is one of my favorite things cooler weather.  And then my health care professional told me to limit or cut out wheat.  What’s a girl to do?  Just so we are clear, I am not allergic to wheat.  It’s just not the best thing to put in my body.  I had already been experimenting with baking options because I love muffins and have to have sugar cookies at least once a year.  I had tried coconut flour and other types, but I didn’t like the flavor so I gave up.  Then, Young Living introduced Einkorn Flour.  I have been using it ever since.

Containing 1% gluten, this may not be the product for you if you are allergic to all wheat; however, if you are just looking to eat healthier, even when you are eating sweets, Einkorn Flour is a great choice. Einkorn flour is Heirloom wheat that has not been modified. You can read more about that at Gary Young’s blog here.

If you do any research on baking with Einkorn flour, you will find most resources say that it can be used the same as traditional flour and your recipe amounts will not change.  From my experience, this works okay; but muffins, for example, are less dense and occasionally come out a bit gooey in the middle. After a few near misses, I decided to add a bit of extra flour to my recipes.  Typically, if the recipe calls for 1-2 cups of flour, I add an extra 1/8 –¼ cup.  I make muffins frequently, so I am getting pretty good at it; but I only attempt scratch cookies once a year.  I wondered if I could make a decent Christmas cookie with Einkorn.  I decided to try my sugar cookie recipe with Young Living’s Einkorn Flour.

I started out by following the recipe exactly.  I used a basic Traditional Sugar Cookie recipe from Betty Crocker.

I chilled the dough and then took it out.  I was ready to roll!  I spread a generous amount of Einkorn flour on my counter so I could roll out the dough.  What a sticky mess!  I was afraid that this would be the result, but I wasn’t ready to give up.  I scooped up my prepared dough, along with all the flour I had spread on the counter, and kneaded it together.  That made my cookie dough less sticky.  Then, I spread more flour on the counter and tried again.  This time, the dough rolled out perfectly, and I was able to use the cookie cutters to make perfect trees, bells, and stars.  The cookies also tasted great.  Just as I found with the muffins, this cookie recipe needed a little extra flour to make it work.  Next time I make this dough, I will just increase the flour amount in the recipe, probably by ½ cup.

I am no expert baker, and you will have to experiment with your own recipes; but I can tell you this.  Adding a little extra Einkorn flour to your recipes when you are substituting for traditional flour will probably make them turn out a lot more to your liking.  And you don’t have to wait until Christmas to bake these cookies.  Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter are all right great times to eat cookies. Trade your bells and Christmas tree cutters for  pumpkins, hearts, shamrocks, or bunnies. But don’t wait! Start now! Who doesn’t love a round, cut-out sugar cookie in the summer with a glass of sweet tea?  And when you make those summer cookies, try a bit of Lemon Vitality essential oil in your dough.  Yum!

The Colors of Christmas [redux]

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Into a dark and sin-filled world

A blessed babe was born.

To rescue men with blackened hearts

He came that Christmas morn.

A promised King, at last arrived,

His parents tired and worn.

No one to welcome their new Son,

With Kingly robes adorn.

How could all men with cold, black hearts

Display contempt and scorn?

For the One who came to offer them

New life in Him, reborn.

 

He hung upon a cross to die,

Forsaken and forlorn.

To bear my sins and on Himself

He took my shame and scorn.

Blood of red spilled from His side.

He like a sheep was shorn—

Stripped and beaten, nailed and mocked.

His crown, a crown of thorns.

“Abba, Father,” was His cry;

His Mother, nearby, mourned.

And from the temple came the sound.

The veil, at last, was torn!

 

Ring out the bells, sing out the news,

Let heralds sound their horns!

A promised King, at last, arrived;

A blessed babe is born.

And now, He does, with robes of white

The righteous ones adorn.

To all who come and humbly bow,

To all who’ve been reborn—

Rejoice in Him. Sing out your praise.

Let Him, your life, adorn!

And celebrate the birth of Christ

This year on Christmas morn.

The Rest of the Christmas Story (Luke 2:25-35) [redux]

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Just a baby in a manger

Holy, precious heavenly child

Born in humble, poor surroundings.

First born Son so meek and mild.

Nearby shepherds hear the story

Told by angels, joyous news.

Born to you this day a Savior,

Resting now with cows and ewes.

Swaddling clothes, a sign of glory.

Angels sing, their voices raise.

Shepherds seek in haste to find Him,

Share the news and give God praise.

Mary ponders all their sayings,

Weighing thoughts within her heart.

Joseph’s quiet strength beside her,

Silent presence from the start.

Came the time for dedication.

Jesus was the baby’s name.

To Jerusalem they brought Him,

He, who’d later suffer shame.

Now there was a man named Simeon,

Righteous and devout was he,

Looking for the hope of Israel,

Promised death he would not see

‘Til the Christ, the Lord’s Anointed

Had been held within his arms.

And when Simeon held the baby,

At the moment safe from harm,

He revealed the Child’s appointed

Destiny—a Light to bring

Glory to God’s people Israel,

Salvation through a promised King.

Though an earthly King they looked for,

God had planned another way.

“And a sword will pierce your own soul,”

Mary heard old Simeon say.

And a prophetess named Anna

At the temple day and night

Offered thanks to God for Jesus,

Israel’s redemption now in sight.

Little baby, news so joyous.

The Messiah, promised King

In a manger, His life started

Born to reign, the angels sing.

But a coming shadow lingers

Prophets of His future told.

Destined death to save His people

To return them to the fold.

As we linger at the manger

Celebrating Jesus’ birth

Let us not forget the shadow

Of the cross—this baby’s worth.

Not to weep or moan in sadness

But to multiply our joy.

Saved by grace because He suffered—

Holy, precious baby boy.

Santa’s Reminder

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I had already scheduled to post all of my old Christmas poems because I hadn’t written a new one this year; and then, this morning, I was inspired to write this one.  Hopefully, you won’t feel poetry overload.  Merry Christmas to all my family, friends, and blog readers.

Santa’s Reminder

The workshop is empty.

The elves have gone home.

Mrs. Clause is resting.

Santa’s alone.

 

The tools are all quiet.

The floor is clean-swept.

The toys are delivered;

Yet, Santa’s bereft.

 

He’s tired and he’s weary.

His mind is confused,

Abstracted, bewildered,

Perplexed and bemused.

 

He worked through the year.

He did a good job;

And yet, at the moment,

He’s holding back sobs.

 

He wonders if working

So hard every year

Is worth all the effort,

And this is his fear.

 

That children and grown-ups

Alike will want more

And never be happy

With presents galore.

 

That come Christmas morning

When gifts are unwrapped,

The joy of the gifts

Will be gone in a snap!

 

Cause Santa knows true joy

The joy that can last

Comes from the One Who

Was born in the past.

 

On the morning of Christmas

In a manger He lay,

The Greatest Gift ever.

For our sins He would pay.

 

And then, in a moment

Santa heard very clear

A whisper, a voice that

Said, “Have no fear.

 

You’ve accomplished the task

That I’ve given to you,

And it’s time to move on

To a year that is New.

 

The gifts you’ve delivered

Came wrapped in your love

Like the Gift I delivered

That came from above.

 

We’ll patiently wait

For all people to see

That the Best Gift of all

Isn’t under the tree.

 

The True Gifts of Christmas

Are peace, love, and joy,

Which will reign in their hearts

When they first meet My Boy,

 

Who grew to a Man

And sacrificed all

To redeem all mankind

From the curse of the Fall.

 

And during this Season

The Message rings out

That Jesus is born.

There can be no doubt.”

 

And hearing the Message

Again in his heart,

Santa leaped from his seat

And he gave a great shout!

 

Joy flooded his soul

And he knew right away

His job wasn’t finished;

He’d start now, today!

 

With a heart that was happy

Santa pulled up a stool,

Grabbed his design book,

And got out his tools.

 

He started the planning

For gifts he could give.

This was his calling

As long as he lives.

 

As long as he could

He’d still do his part,

And leave it to God

To change men’s dark hearts

 

Now the workshop is empty,

Not a mouse makes a peep.

Santa’s retired

For a well-deserved sleep.

Colors

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Black was the color of sinful hearts.

Black was the midnight sky.

Into the darkness, a Light did appear

In the form of a baby’s cry.

Red was the blood the Light did shed

Men’s blackened hearts to buy.

Into His side the spear was thrust.

“Abba, Father,” was His cry.

White are the robes of the redeemed

And the angels sing on high,

When sinners bow with humble hearts,

And “Jesus” is their sigh.

Gold are the streets in heaven above

Where the King does reign on high.

Look up with hope. Christ will return

For the Church, His spotless bride!

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