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How Do You Respond to Change?


How do you respond to change?  If I were to answer that question, I would say I react terribly to change.  I don’t like it.  It’s scary.  It’s the unknown.  I like things to be calm and predictable.  I have found much security in traditions.

Specifically, as I think about the approaching holidays, I am wondering if you do the same traditions every year, or do you change your celebrations each year?

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My older children only knew Christmas in Arkansas until Zine started chemo.  Krisann has only known Christmas at our home.  I was super sad at this change.  As a matter of fact, the first Christmas at my own home, I cried bucket loads of tears.  It was not pretty.

Several years ago, we had friends that we did Thanksgiving with for a few years. Life changed, and we stopped celebrating Thanksgiving with these friends.  To say, I miss those holidays together is an understatement.

In the most recent past, God gave us friends that were like family here locally.   Neither of us had family local and we became family to each other.  And guess what, they moved this year!  But I have noticed a change in me. There is no bitterness nor extreme loneliness.  There is not an anxiety welling within me about what we are going to do.  Instead, there has been nothing but peace as I approach this holiday season.

I have been reflecting on what has caused this change in me.  I think I am finally learning that life changes and not all change is bad.  It reminds me of the picture Chloe made for me years ago. I am adapting to changing routines and learning to be okay with that.

I think I’m also feeling old.  Instead of traveling to be with family, my family is coming to me.  My kids are growing up.  And as they leave the nest, they return home for holidays.

Even for Christmas, we have always managed to make it to Memphis to be with my family at some point during the holiday season.  But guess what, this year my family is all coming to me.  Zine is not able to travel any longer, and we have not been together since right after my mom died.  My family decided they would come to me.  A major change, for sure!  I’m tempted to be sad, but instead, I feel much love!

I also can see the blessings that have emerged from the change in traditions.

We have created our own Christmas memories as a family.  The highlight of my children’s Christmas is delivering gift cards to those that are working on Christmas morning.  Before presents are opened, my family has hit the streets in search of those at work.  I see the joy that my children receive in giving, and I see the joy in others that receive a moment of love.

Instead of feeling hurt and bitterness that my holiday plans are not the usual, I love that I’m able to open my home and invite anyone I want to celebrate holidays with us.  My world is a bigger place because of this.  Deeper friendships are made because I’m not stuck in a tradition.

I don’t know about you, but I love it when I see God at work in my heart.  I see God bringing healing, giving me new perspectives, adjusting to change without anxiety, and seeing bigger blessings.  Thank you, Jesus.

I’m not bashing traditions.  I think they are lovely.  However, I also believe we need to hold traditions loosely.  I held too tightly to my traditions through the years.  If you’re struggling with your traditions being changed, I want to encourage you to hold them loosely.  Know that God is in all the things and all the traditions, and He sees a bigger picture.

A Little Family Update

We are doing as well as we can.  Zine has had a couple of falls recently.  He’s had some pretty significant MS symptoms this past week.  I will be calling the doctor tomorrow.

Krisann continues to have headaches fairly often, but they are managed.  She is still loving gymnastics.

Chloe still has headaches often as well.  Thankfully, she hasn’t had one that has ended us in the ER in almost a year.  Praise Jesus!

Chloe has been tied up with school and not able to finish her yearly calendars.  However, we hope that she will be able to finish them in the next few weeks, but unfortunately, they probably won’t be ready in time for Christmas.  We will keep you updated on those!

Both Conner and Chloe are finishing up their college semesters in the next couple of weeks.

We have had upper respiratory virus that decided to hang on forever.  For a month, we have struggled with the crud.  I think we are finally getting rid of it.

I have had ups and downs with my eating, but I’m becoming much more aware of the effects that an eating disorder has had in my life for so long.  I’ve been typing away on my book.  I think I’m still on target to finish it by the end of the year, then the tedious process of editing begins.


We want to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether you are having your yearly traditions or are embracing something new this year, we pray that you are blessed and create memories to cherish in the years ahead.  If you’re like me and missing someone significant at your holidays, we pray that God of all comfort instills His comfort and peace in your heart.





Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Wanda White

    Karen the first year my family didn’t celebrate Christmas I too cried buckets. Bobby started a tradition of eating breakfast at the Waffle House. After that first year, it has been easier. I believe with me it meant too many of my family were no longer with us.

    1. kksmith8694

      I agree, it gets easier. But I still have this longing to be with my family. But I’m feeling old…my big kids are growing up and coming home to us! This is a hard transition as well! 🙂 Been praying for you two! Hugs!

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