Weekly Note #113: A Year in Swing

O come, let us adore Him.
-Christmas Carol


As I sat down to write you this week - Christmas week - I wondered: If I could tell them anything at all this Christmas, what would it be? 

And then I wrote this. 

Love & Blessings to you and all of your loved ones,
Swing dancers aren't making
it through the holidays this year
after all that has happened.
A Year in Swing

It has been a shocking year in swing. And not everyone is making it through.

My loves, there is hope out there. Please do not end it all because things are ending in beloved swing. There is hope.

Here are some tips on how to make it this year, with everything we've learned and everything that has happened. Here are some tips on how to feel loved this season - how to rise above the despair that comes with the Holidays - and you feel like you have nothing to celebrate.

These times can highlight those losses. I've been there. We've all been there. But very few have been allowed to rise above anyhow. Let me show you the way...

1. Family isn't blood.
People who leave addiction recovery programs are warned about engaging with those who were in their lives before. Why? Because - as you can clearly see on programs like Intervention - addictive behavior never stands alone. Family members who are blood relatives, especially parents, have much more power in our lives than anyone else in this world.

And if your parents don't treat you better than everyone else in your life... you need new parents. If your siblings don't love you better - in ACTION - than anyone else in your life, you need new siblings.

Family is defined as the ones who love you - who obviously love you! Not "oh, they love me deep down" - No!  In today's day and age, our so-called families are they #1 sources of abuse in our lives. They have more power than anyone, and they use it - for one reason or another. But reasons shouldn't bind you to them. Nothing is excusable when it comes to being loved!

I'll never forget the very first time I skipped a part of Christmas Day with my birth parents and genetic siblings. It was exhilarating. I nearly cried with relief. But I'd never known it would be that way.

Still, it took five more years and a husband before I skipped anything again. And when I did - I skipped Christmas with them altogether. That was a pivot point in my life. Nick and I did Christmas OUR way, for the first time ever. And you know what? We did Christmas VERY differently. 

And you know what else? It felt warm for the first time. 

Life turned technicolor after that. We learned, finally, that we loved each other, and our friends loved us, more than our blood relatives did. Oh, it wasn't just Christmas that taught us this - it was so much more... but more point is this:

Family isn't blood. Family is who loves you the best. Not the people who let you do whatever you want, or give you the most money - but the people who listen to you, hear you and don't scold, nay-nay or sigh at you during adulthood. 

In adulthood, we CHOOSE our families. Choose wisely, my friends, and the holidays will brighten no matter what.

2. Get out.
If you are down, in a rut or can't see above the water - if you feel like you are weighted down or simply can't see clearly - go on a road trip.

I've learned that it's on road trips, and road trips alone, that you find your true self. Ditch the phone (or just silence it), get in your car, and drive. Drive in the opposite direction of anything you've ever known.

If you don't plan, then you're given the chance we rarely get in this life: the chance to choose a path - literally - based on your own self. When you map out the road ahead of time, you're making it with all the voices of those around you in your head.

After a while on the open road, making decisions on the fly about what direction looks good right here and right now - those voices disappear and all that's left is... you. 

It's almost impossible to be depressed on the road. It's just you, God, the wind and His glory out there. And His glory ain't nothing to turn up your nose at. Continents are majestic! Especially when you drive them around this time of year...

If you want to find yourself - if you want to feel better - then get out! Get out of wherever you are and go grab joy and freedom physically. Go where you've never been. If you're in the city - go to the country. If you're in the country - go to the city. 

Explore. Be in wonder. You'll find yourself and you'll find joy there. And joy is the very definition of the season. Jordan and Tatiana might not appear on the horizon... but something better - much much better - will.

3. If you're gonna do it - do it with the KJV.
He isn't who they say He is. There is hope in Him. He taught me how to do everything above, and my life looks incredibly amazing now. So many people ask how we are the way that we are and... we took risks. The risks He told us to. And they aren't the kind of risks you hear about in church. Ever.

So. If you read the Bible, or if you're interested in reading the Bible, do it with the King James Version. I'm serious. It may sound harder to do, but if you don't want to shoot yourself in the head, or feel judged by God all the time, or feel like you just can't get being a believer right - then the King James Version is going to help you - a LOT.

Oh, I know this may be the most controversial thing I've ever written, but I don't care. I used to wonder at the scholars and saints who spent all day on their knees in prayer... and now I'm one of them. 

There is hope. My hope lies in Him and my family comes from Him and is about Him... and one thing we all know is: the KJV is closest to His word... with the least amount of man in it. Put your NIV's down... and go for the KJV.

Merry Christmas you guys.
I love you, and I miss you.

Your very own,

Katherine Eastvold

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