It’s my post about…
JAMMY COCOA CHRISTMAS!
So, every year, I share our silly little tradition with you…and today’s the day for 2016.
When I was little, my dad coined the term Jammy Cocoa Christmas and now, it’s something I do with my family too. Here’s how you do it…
So…it’s basically just driving around and looking at Christmas lights…but you have to wear your pajamas AND go into a coffee shop with your pajamas on. My kids look forward to this night every single year and of course, we were pumped that it was Madeley’s first Jammy Cocoa Christmas!
Trying to get everyone into a picture is tricky…
…here we are about to go into Starbucks for coffee/hot chocolate and a goodie.
You know…just waiting in line at Starbucks in my pajamas.
Ashby was excited that our boots matched 🙂 .
Why am I at Starbucks in my pajamas?
We learned a long time ago that the Shull kids have a hard time balancing hot chocolate and a treat at the same time in the car while looking out the window at lights…so we poured their hot chocolate into kid cups to make things easier. Here we are about to head out to see lights! We even let Madeley have hot chocolate for the first time. She LOVED it!
In the car about to see lights…I love my little photobomber in the background!
So, we spent the evening driving around town looking at lights. We listened to carols, the kids were crazy loud, we picked out our favorite yards…and I faked it the whole time. Yeah…this year, I faked my way through Jammy Cocoa Christmas because my heart just wasn’t in it. You all know that one of my closest friends has been battling cancer for the third time for a little over two years now and Monday was a really hard day. Before the kids went to school on Monday morning, we told them it was Jammy Cocoa Christmas and they were pumped, but by the time they got home from school on Monday, my little world had been rocked big time and I wasn’t mentally/emotionally there. They had requested one of their favorite dinners, so I made it but honestly, I was just going through the motions the whole time. The whole night was just a big blur…I showed up and faked my way through, but inside, I was a tired, drained, exhausted, sad mess.
So…I say all of this for two reasons:
1. My friend needs prayer. Please be praying for my friend and her family. Pray for them this Christmas season because they need it. Pray for her, her husband and her two very young kids.
2. I know many of you are faking your way through the holidays as well, and I just felt like you should know that sometimes, I’m faking it too. I’m showing up for my kids and my husband, but my heart hurts. The heaviness I feel right now won’t soon go away and as much as I wish I could shake it off, I can’t. So…for those of you fakers out there like me, I’m praying for you too.
So, that’s it for today. It’s such a wonderful time of year…but it can also be hard too. My hope, peace and joy stems from the real reason we celebrate this season…Jesus. No matter what happens, I trust in Him.
Holly Breton says
Praying for you and your sweet friend; your posts are always uplifting to so many and I am sorry for your sadness right now
Kristen Creel says
Is there anything we can do in addition to parading for your sweet friend? What about purchasing Christmas presents for her kiddos? I’m also in McKinney.
Leslie Z. says
I’m so sorry, Shay! She will be in my thoughts and prayers through this holiday season.
Christie Asmussen says
Love your post. Totally understand sometimes you have to smile and get through. Sending prayers to you, your friend and her beautiful family. XOXO.
Crissy Talley says
Praying for you friend!
Kate H. says
Thanks so much for being so real. Have been praying for Manda and her family and will continue to do so. And for her tribe of amazing friends too.
Manda and her family are in my thoughts and prayers!
Shay… Hugs to you and prayers for your friend & her family. No words can help…but knowing so many are praying for you really does provide some comfort. Like you said so many out there with troubled hearts.. may be a first holiday without someone and/ or holidays are triggers for those we miss or other struggles that families are having. I pray for peace during this season. All the more reason to enjoy the little things/traditions we have with our own loved ones.
Erika Slaughter says
I’m so glad Madeley enjoyed her first Jammy Cocoa Christmas…especially the cocoa part. 🙂
And my heart is hurting for them. It’s hard to go about the everyday when they’re hurting so much. Glad you shared that because I’m sure it speaks to so many…especially during Christmas.
Stephanie Jennings says
Praying for you, praying for Manda, praying for the ones going through hard times…..
Thank you for your honesty in this post. As delightful as the holidays can be, they can also be especially hard for some. Your honesty is refreshing…
Laurie Willmann says
Sending prayers of peace and healing! Love how honest and truthful you are 🙂
Thanks for sharing – and the honesty. So sorry to hear this and I’ll keep them all in my prayers
Thank you for your honesty. I can totally relate. Last year my mom passed away just before Thanksgiving after a tragic car accident and fighting for her life for 22 days. I had been away from home caring for her and my dad for 4 weeks and came home the day before Thanksgiving. The whole holiday season was a very dark time and I was doing exactly what you described – showing up and putting forth my holiday best for my kids so their memories would be good, but inside I was sad and broken. It’s not easy for sure. I am praying for you, your friend, and her family.
???? manda. praying for her, her sweet family and her dear sweet friends. my heart is aching and my eyeballs are filled with tears.
We had the same tradition growing up (except it was an ice-cream stop due to the Australian Christmas heat) So much fun! Thinking of you and your sweet friend during this time! xx
It makes me happy to hear that I’m not the only mom & wife faking it this week. I lost my Grandma Monday to an unexpected heart attack and I’ve been putting on an emotionally drained face. Prayers for your friend.
Thank you for sharing Shay, I am not a religious person and I have never prayed really before but tonight I will be praying for your friend and her family. All of you will be in my thoughts xoxo
Amy Heinl says
Lifting your dear friend and family in my prayers and thoughts. May they find strength in knowing God holds them in the palms of his hands. Saying prayers for you as well…it is so hard when a loved one is fighting a battle that you cant fight for them. You have been a strong prayer warrior for her and have done so much for her family….may you find comfort in that
I needed this today! Sometimes I feel like everyone’s lives are perfect. It’s nice to be real and show that there are both good days and hard days!! Praying for that sweet family! Hoping you will find joy this day!
Kelsey Reinhard says
Praying for you and Manda!
Such a fun tradition! Will be thinking about and praying for your dear friend.
Awww praying for your friend and her family. My heart goes out to them. And thank you for writing this post and being real; much appreciated 🙂
Happy holidays, Shay!!
New England Girl says
Thank you for your blog, your posts and especially for spreading joy and hope. Prayers~
Prayers to you and your friend Manda. My brother in law is battling cancer and yes my family and I are faking it as well. I was wondering if I were the only one who felt this way.
Pam English says
Thanks for this post Shay. My husband just had another stroke Thanksgiving week still in rehab to learn to walk. Had another set back yesterday but God is good and we place our trust in him. I will pray for your sweet friend and her family , please pray for us as well.Merry Christmas!
Dustie Day says
Praying for your friend and her family. My heart goes out to them!
I love this tradition! We do it too.
Praying for Manda & her family! Praying this Christmas season they feel the sweet presence of Jesus & peace beyond understanding! Through the sadness, I pray they feel the gentleness of Jesus’ hand walking them through the hard.
April Parrish says
Always love seeing this post! Sounds fun!
Sending up prayers for your dear friend!
Tara Smith says
I totally get it. I lost my mom in Sept and no holiday celebration seems appropriate to “enjoy.”
Prayers to your friend and her family and thanks for sharing the unfortunate real side of life. Best of Gods love and care to all those dealing with hard situations.
Sheaffer Sims says
So many prayers for Manda. Praying without ceasing over here.
Taylor Ehrhard says
Oh, Shay! I will be praying! I will be in Daily Mass this afternoon and offering it for her and her family. The Gospel reading today is perfect: Jesus said to the crowds: Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Actually, all of the readings today are so grounding and encouraging. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120716.cfm
Katherine Darlington says
I too have a friend/coworker batteling cancer and it’s gone to her brain. Started in her breast, then skin, then lungs, now her brain. She is losing her balance & having seizures. It’s horrible and I pray for complete healing everyday. My friend has been so positive until this week. She told me if it’s her time to go, she wants to go at home. It broke my heart. I’ll pray for your friend and her family and for you!
Heartache during the Holidays is the worst kind–it just cuts deeper and leaves such a wound because you measure it against what seems like everyone walking around having so much fun with family and friends. I love this post and you. Standing with you while on his promises this week and praying for our precious girl. My hearts is just breaking. Xo
Always such a fun post! BUT so sad for all your sorrow. I understand how you feel because I’ve been faking it through this holiday season too… sending prayers and hugs for your friend and her family and you and yours too.xoxo
Thank you for all your stories! Happy and sad, they make us who we are. I will be praying for your friend, her family and you too. My mom has been gone now for 3 years this January. I miss her daily but especially at Christmas. I haven’t made it to the last two years Christmas Eve services because the songs would be way too much! I am going to try this year. Pray for me too!
You said long ago on your blog that your dad started this tradition when you were like, 25…..
Prayers for your friend.
Mix and Match Mama says
He named it that then…he had been making us do it FOREVER (while listening to The Carpenter’s Christmas Album), he just coined the cute little term later in life.
Paige Haring says
I love this tradition and we’ll be joining in this year! Thanks for the idea and the honesty too. Praying for your friend.
Praying for a Christmas miracle in your friend!!! We all fake it at times…God bless you!!!
Praying for Manda and her family!!
Lizzie @ This Happy Life says
I will be praying for Manda and her family! I truly hope there is good news coming.
My kids love driving around looking at lights, we need to pick a night and go 🙂
Praying for His peace that passes understanding for Manda and all of those who love her. Thank you for sharing your heart and that sometimes even though life seems pretty to others (and our kids) that we all have seasons where we have to “fake it”.
On a lighter note, we do a similar jammy cocoa Christmas and every year my middle child manages to spill his hot chocolate. Even if it’s in a spill-proof cup. Every. Year. It’s now part of the tradition 🙂
Sometimes that is what you have to do. I lost my mom five years ago the week before Thanksgiving and the very next year lost my Grandmother the week before Christmas. My daughter was 2 and then 3 at the time and I did the best I could to pull myself together for her. Just know that there are a ton of people praying and that your kids will appreciate you trying. They won’t remember Mommy faking it, only you will. I’m sorry you are struggling. My heart hurts for Manda and her entire support group. I know the pain and pray for peace. 🙁
I don’t know your friend, but I have been following updates on Facebook, and praying for her and her family. Prayers for healing, strength, and peace. The power of prayer is amazing.
Your post today really touched my heart. I don’t know Manda and I only know you from years of reading your blog. This brought me to tears. I will be praying for Manda, her precious family, and her lovely circle during this battle. I love that you showed up for your people even though you are hurting. Nothing speaks louder about your role as mama than the second half of this post.
I know before you’ve said that you don’t post about “things that suck.” But this is another good example of you being real and posting more about real life versus fluffy things like clothes and makeup. Those things are ok, but people need substance and reality and hope more than that.
My very good friend went to heaven 3 weeks ago after a 2 year fight against cancer. My heart is absolutely broken and Christmas this year seems to have a little less magic. Her 2 young daughters don’t have a mom anymore and it just seems so unfair. I feel you and will pray for your friend.
Tiffany Gardner says
I prayed for her yesterday and I’ll continue to lift her up this season. I’ve been following you for sometime and because of that I know her story. She has been on my heart for a long while. I watched she and her mom share about their faith. She is such an example of how to hang onto Jesus and His truths in the hard times. I pray that you friends feel God’s presence as you walk this walk with her.
Laci Murray says
Love to see kids so excited at Christmas! I completely understand faking it! My parents house burned to the ground a few weeks ago (thankfully their lives were spared) and we live about 45 minutes away from the Smokey Mountains were a wildfire has claimed lives old and young. My boss passed away this spring from a very aggressive cancer…the list goes on and on…so I get it. My heart is hurting for these people who have lost. Praying for Manda and her family. Thank goodness we have a HOPE. Love and Prayers!
Holly Sharp says
I read this and did indeed stop to pray for your friend and her family. And I also thanked God for your courage to be honest. Your post was such a picture of real life. Because real life is never all good or all bad. In fact, as Mommas, it’s usually just this…celebrating little moments with our family while big stuff is swirling all around in our hearts and our world. So thanks for the reminder that it’s ok to fake it. And that it’s ok do fun things when you’re aching. And that it’s ok to be sad. And that it’s ok to laugh. I’m grateful!
Praying for your sweet Manda and her family during this tough season of life. Jesus doesn’t place more on us than we can handle, and for that, we rest in His peace. The peace that He brings is like no other. Praying for peace for this sweet family, and her friends/loved ones. May Christ’s love shine through you all. Blessings and many many prayers going up for you all!
Natalie Hoover says
Thoughts and prayers are with you and Amanda and her family.. I saw this yesterday on Narcidreffs post yesterday as well… thinking of you Shay.. glad jammmy Cocoa Christmas was fun..
I lost my dear friend to cancer 7 years back. She was 31. While I tried faking it, I eventually came to find that gently expressing my sorrow and explaining to my oldest child why I was sad actually helped me more. My daughter still remembers that time, and in truth it helped her too. It’s okay to explain that mommy’s heart is hurting. Kids are very perceptive, and yet they learn how to cope by the ways that we demonstrate to them.
I pray for your friend, and for you. I know how hard it is to see a friend so sick, especially when they too are a mother of young ones.
Jess A says
I absolutely loved the adorable Christmas footprint plate you posted yesterday. Just wondering- did you do that at a create your own pottery studio? Or was it more of an Etsy type thing? Given the age of your kiddos I can assume it’s quite a few years old so understood if you can’t remember ( or maybe that’s just me!)
In any event I love it!!
Our prayers are with Manda her family and all her loved ones. I can only imagine what a difficult time this is. Xxxxxx
I appreciate your openness so much. It helps to know that sometimes others are going through what you are feeling and it helps a lot of us. God’s promises are what keeps me going daily, and I will be praying for your friend and her family.
Thank you for this post. I lost my mom to ovarian cancer 6 weeks ago, and I’m totally faking it through this Christmas for my 10 and 5 year olds. 🙁 Pity party over, smile back on my face! 🙂
Prayers for you, Jennie. You and your family now have a beautiful angel watching over you this Christmas.
Thank you, Libby! <3
Julie Howell says
Hi Shay, I will continue to pray for Manda and her family. It is so sad and I have no other words, but I want to let you know I am praying!
It looks like your honesty has struck a nerve. The truth is that life is hard. It’s sweet, beautiful and good but, sometimes, hard. It can be especially hard at Christmas when everything is supposed to be merry and bright. Praying for your precious friend and her family and all of you (her friends) who love her. So thankful that, as you mentioned, our hope, peace and joy is not found in our circumstances but in the One who gave His life for us. May you feel God’s presence, Shay.
Tracy Doubts says
Prayers for Manda and her family. Prayers for her wonderful friends as well.
Maria D. says
The family pictures are great and even though it was hard for you – it was great that you faked it for your kids because they will remember these days fondly when they are older. I will pray for your friend and her family – such a tough thing to have to go through with small kids. I will pray that she not only kicks this cancer in the butt but that she, her husband and their kids maintain a positive attitude (which is really important in the fight against cancer) throughout.
Lesley McFarland says
What a fun fun night!! I know the kiddos love this fun night.
I am so so so sorry about Manda. Prayers for you and her family.
Thank you for being honest…adulting is so hard. Thinking of your squad and praying for all of you..
1. Praying for your friend and her family. Is there anything we can do to help her?
2. Thanks for being so real and honest. I must admit, I had to re-read this post because I was shocked when I saw the words “faking it”. Your honesty, sincerity, and real-ness is admirable.
I am so sorry about your friend… Your honest post made me cry…. Also, I can relate and that makes me feel very sad inside. I am going through this for several reasons… My kids father is away overseas and they are sad to celebrate the holiday without their dad… As, they get older the harder it gets….
Praying for your friend, for you, and for all… HUGS…
Thank you again for being honest and showing your true emotions…..
Shay – Truly, thank you for keeping it real. I am sad that your heart hurts. And I am sad that your friend and her family are dealing with so much emotional pain at “the most wonderful time of the year”. ‘Faking it’ gets pretty gosh darn exhausting, and hurting too, but both have their place and time. Thank you for being honest with your audience. Count on some extra prayers from Wisconsin for your dear friend Manda and her sweet family!
Deirdre Lennon says
Sending prayers for your friend Manda & her family & sending big hugs for you Shay.
Anna J. says
Praying for your friend, her family, and all of you that love her! God has a plan even when we don’t understand.
Kathy L says
Traditions are important for families to maintain even when life stinks. Sorry to know why you had to fake it this year during this fun tradition. Praying for Manda, her family, and all who love her.
Love your post today. Praying for your friend and all of those who love her.
Oh Shay, I will be praying for your friend, her family and you.
Thanks for sharing your annual Jammy Cocoa Christmas, it is was so fun to see Ashby’s first holiday experience last year and now Madeley’s this year.
Danielle Rigg says
My prayers and with you and your friend! I know how hard the holidays are when getting sad news, as we went through this 4 years ago with my mother in-law. Your honesty helps many. There are so many times I read your blog and I say “It is so nice to read an honest blog, not where one is writing so that its what people want to hear.” You always write from your heart. Thank you for being so honest as much as it may be hard, I also hope it comforts you to put your feelings and thoughts down. Again, I will keep you all in my prayers. Blessings
Keisha Dawson says
Prayers for Manda and her sweet family! My heart just breaks for them, but we serve a BIG GOD who is capable of BIG MIRACLES, and I just trust and believe that for them.
Hugs to you Shay. And prayers for your friend and her family. I can’t imagine what they are facing right now. Thank you for your honesty.
I needed to hear that you were going through the motions today. I also feel that way. I don’t even want to put up a Christmas tree, but I will for my kids. Praying for you and your friend.
Thank you for being very honest. I will be praying for you and your friend and her family and your whole tribe. Sometimes I forget that other people have a hard time during Christmas, that it’s not always joyful, merry and bright. Those people need the most prayers and I want to thank you for reminding me of that.
Praying for you as you support Manda & her family. My best friend’s son was killed last month. He was young, always smiling, & about to graduate from college. Senseless act of violence. Trying so hard to know how to support her during the Christmas season. So thankful for the Comforter & Healer we have in Jesus. Lifting all of you up.
And Carpenter Christmas album just makes this tradition even better!
I will be praying for your friend and her family. I lost my mom this year, and I’m faking it this year too. So grateful He came for us all, and the promises we have. God sees, he cares, and he is good. I’m praying for you today too.
Angela Ellingson says
I love Jammy Cocoa Christmas! This will be our 4th year sharing in your fun tradition! I am so sad to hear that Manda is not doing well. Praying for her and her family and friends right now.
Your post touched my heart. your transparency was refreshing…we need to be real because prayer is REAL and without the pouring out of the heart, we can not fall at Jesus’ feet.
Manda and her sweet sweet family are in my prayers this morning. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.
“He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted”. Job 5:9
Praying for your friend. I am so grateful for your transparency today. I know the hard parts of life are hard to share on such a large platform, but sometimes I come to your blog and feel either inadequate because my life isn’t as bright and shiny as yours, or let my judgments get the better of me and decide you’re a phony. The honesty in today’s post reminded me of why you are one of my favorite bloggers. All my favorite bloggers are the ones who can make you feel what they’re feeling. Thank you for doing that today.
Jean Kronzer says
I get faking it. I lost my Dad to 4 kinds of cancer at Christmastime a few years ago. One night I dragged myself home after a day of caring for him at his bedside and the front of my house was all lit up with Christmas lights. My oldest son said he did it because he wanted to see me smile again. Time heals. Your kids are little and fun shutting out adult stuff once in awhile is ok (faking it) ……give yourself some grace.
I don’t know if you know this but you did your Jammy Cocoa Christmas on the Feast of St. Nicholas! How appropriate!!!
Oooh a fellow Dutch person?
Three years ago, I faked it through everything…Christmas and my sweet boy’s birthday party (Christmas Eve baby!) I went through a really difficult time that started early December and lasted a long, long time. I won’t get into details, but things are definitely better now, but it’s day-to-day and this season always brings up a little fear and its hard. My son obviously loves everything about this season so I do it all for him because he’s only a boy once. But some days are completely faked. So I get it. And thank you for sharing that you’re there, too, sometimes. My heart is breaking for your friend and I will absolutely keep her and her family in my prayers.
Rebecca Brittain says
I am sorry to hear your friend is having a troubled time, but our Lord is good! He will carry them through. I will pray for them and for you too. I know what you mean when you carry a heavy heart for your friends. I am pushing my way through the holidays myself with some very painful things happening with me and it is the grace and peace of God that carries me through each day!
Jenny L says
I just cried as I read your last sentence. You are right. Our God is good even when our circumstance is not. Dear Father..please wrap Manda and her family and friends in your loving arms. Let them know your peace, comfort and presence in a very real way. I pray for each one who has known hurt and loss this season and ask that You would meet us in our need. I thank you. We need You. I believe You and trust You. Amen.
Thank you for being so real Shay. You are by far my favorite blog for so many reasons but it comes down to how genuine and open you are to sharing your life. I will be praying for your friend. Cancer sucks.
Cynthia D says
Prayers for Manda, her family and every heart she has touched through God.
Sometimes the hardest part about being a mom is locking in your own emotions in an effort to shield your kids….you did an amazing thing last night by fighting through your own pain in an effort to create those memories for your children. Not every day can be a great day – but YOU make every day a great day for your family. Prayers to you and Manda and your support circles to ease the pain on your hearts this holiday season.
AMANDA SHEROD says
Praying for your friend and her family this Holiday season. I am sorry you had to “fake” it today, we all have those days. Praying today is a better day!
Prayers are being sent to you and your friend, and her family!! I have been following your blog for quite some time. But I have never replied. I know you need all the prayers you can get!
Susan Morris says
Oh, I saw something off in your face When I saw the pic of you and Andrew. Your smiling, but, your eyes are not- and I’ve always been told that the eyes are the window to the soul. I so believe that. I am faking it as well this Christmas. I am definitely a faker. It has been a year this past Nov 5 since my husband past. My boys and I will spend our 2nd Christmas without him. I barely recall last Christmas. I will say a prayer for your sweet friend, Manda, her husband, and 2 little ones. I’m so very sorry for all …
Praying, for you, and your sweet friends and anyone else who may be struggling this year during the holiday season. This time of the year can be really tough for some and I just pray that they can find some comfort and peace where ever they are.
Thank you for just flat out being honest and vulnerable. This will be my family’s 2nd Christmas without our dad who passed away after a short fight with cancer. And for me, this will be my first Christmas possibly without my husband. We are going through a difficult time right now and it just flat out sucks. I never imagined that I would be an almost 30 year old with a husband who seems to have fallen out of love with me, with no children from years of trying and not having my dad who was my constant encourager and prayer warrior so I’m right there with you…faking it. Faking it so that I don’t ruin the holidays for everyone around me. Faking it because sometimes faking it is easier than facing reality. But like you said, because of Christ, I still have hope and even joy in the midst of the pain and heartache. He is my constant in the middle of the chaos around me. I’m learning the hard way that He is enough. So I will be praying for your friend, praying for you and her friends and family during this difficult time. Praying that the God of all comfort would fill you with His peace that is not of this world and that He would draw near to you and overwhelm you with His sweet love and presence. Xoxo
Your ability to be open, honest and real is reassuring to many at any and all stages of life. Praying for your sweet friend. And thanks for sharing Madeley’s first experience!
Rebecca Jo says
Love you do this tradition & have a new member to introduce it to
… praying for your friend. I hate cancer. HATE IT!
& you’re so right. So many people put on that face & fake it through for the kids. Its hard… but you want kids to have the magical moments… & maybe some of that magic rubs back on you.
Yolanda McLean says
We have a new 4.5 year old and she absolutely loves it when our shoes match. One morning she was refusing to wear what we had picked the night before and she showed me what shoes she wanted and they didn’t match. I was trying to talk her out of them and then she said, see we’ll match. Done! Wear those shoes baby girl. I bought some new gray booties and now sweet girl must have some too. First she laughed because I said bootie then she said she wanted some just like mine.
Thanks for sharing the hard! I am going thru a tough battle too and I am wearing a happy face for our girl and my husband and work. I’m having a really hard time though. I’ve been praying for your dear friend and I will continue. Our hope is in Jesus!
So many prayer for Manda, her family and you her friends as well. We too are faking our way through this Christmas season, and this whole past year really. Sometime us girls just gotta put on a brave face and make it ok for our loved ones around us, even if we are falling apart on the inside. Thank you for being so honest and real!!
Sometimes, life just plain isn’t fair. And for some reason, it’s more noticeable during the holidays.
Many prayers for your friend and her family. And for you and her other friends as well.
Let me tell you why I love this post; because you are REAL! I love when bloggers share their ups AND downs. I like being able to connect with bloggers when they are having a bad day or struggling with something. The good stuff is GREAT! The every day stuff is good. But that last part, about struggling, is how readers connect. Thank you for sharing. And I’m praying hard for Manda. I can’t imagine her struggle, but I will pray!
Mary B says
Thank you for being real, Shay. It’s true, sometimes we do have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when our hearts are heavy & we trust God to be present with us in the muck & mire this life sometimes hands us & to enable us to carry on. We have similar situations this Christmas – people we love are going through the hardest of times. Praying for Manda and her family & friends. Thanking God that our hope is in Him!
Sending many many prayers to you, your friend, and her sweet family. May the lord be all of your rock during this very difficult time <3
Kimberly Penson says
Oh sweet girl. I only know you and Manda through blog world and email but I know you’ve prayed prayers for me that have been answered. I prayed for Manda several times yesterday. Way to go mamma for being there for your family last night. Her story really speaks of Jesus strength (I watched online). She shines bright for Him and so do you.
K. Martin says
Thank you for being so honest about having to fake it sometimes. We have all been there. Prayers for all.
Stacie Young says
I also understand all to well about faking it. My father in law passed away from cancer on December 21st almost 6 years ago. I wanted Christmas to be as normal as possible for my then 6,4 and 6 month old girls. Then my dad who I was extremely close to passed away in a car accident 2 1/2 years ago. The first holidays were definitely the hardest,but even now it’s hard to do Christmas without him. Thank you for being so real with your readers. I’ll be praying often for your friend and her family.❤️
Paige E says
You know what, Shea? I’m faking it this year too. My heart is heavy and my shoulders sag. Thank you for sharing your heart and letting me know I’m not the only one. Life is harder than I thought it would be and carrying burdens is really tough. Jesus loves you, girl, and I’m praying for you and your friend today.
So many prayers and good thoughts for your friend and her family!!! And, thank you for being real and showing that side….I think we all help each other by being honest and asking for prayers when we need them. My God help you to be strong for your friend too 🙂
I am faking it a bit this season as well. I will pray for you. We all have tough times, and its nice to see people be honest about it.
Thank you for being so transparent. I prayed for Manda and her family. I also prayed for her friends around her who are hurting & sad.
Just prayed for Manda and her family. And her friends. 🙂
Praying for Manda! I had to fake it all week (my 28 year old sis had to be revived twice this week during childbirth and once after), but I got to witness a miracle as she is home with her baby now. My heart breaks for Manda and her family. I experienced the power of prayer for someone I love this week, so I’m praying for her and that all will go well (whatever she is going through).
Tiffany Bagalini says
Prayers for your friend have been said and will continue to flow her way this holiday season. Thank you for your honesty and authenticity about “faking” it. I know it resonates with me and I’m sure there are others too. Have a blessed holiday season and I will continue to stand up as a prayer warrior for your friend.
We’ve all faked it from time to time. Especially this time of year, the beautiful can be mixed with the brutal. Holding your friend in my thoughts today.
I’ve had your friend Manda’s t-shirt for a long time… I pray for her whenever I wear it… I read the post on FB from Manda Strong this week… I will continue to pray for a peace and comfort and healing that surpasses all understanding…
Pray For Irene says
My heart goes out to you. My Dad past away from cancer, not quite 2 years ago. Last year, was our first Christmas without him. My Mom and I faked our way through the holidays. Inside we were a mess! Didn’t even want to go see family or friends.
He always enjoyed the holidays. Loved decorating, going to church, eating, shopping, and visiting loved ones. My Mom and I did the bare essential shopping…on Christmas Eve. Made it to dinner with the family. And just tried to smile our way through it…
This year, my Mom has been diagnosed with cancer. Just 3 months ago. And again, I find myself a mess. Our Christmas tree is still on our porch…in a bucket of water. Begging to be brought inside. And decorated. Haven’t done any shopping. I’m just not feeling festive.
I don’t know what our future holds. But it’s tough to think about fun things…with all of this going on. Knowing that her pain is increasing by the day. Knowing the road that lies ahead.
Cancer is so tough. I wish I could get into the holidays. I used to love them! Its been a few years, since we had a good holiday. The last year my Dad was alive, we spent the holidays in the hospital. He got really sick…and we spent over a month in the hospital. We brought decorations and such. But it wasn’t the same.
My heart goes out to you. And your friend. Especially her family. I know how tough, being a caregiver is. I’ll keep all of you in my prayers.
And I know what you mean. Sometimes you put a smile on your face for others. Meanwhile, inside you are just crumbling. Not able to share, with those closest to you, what you are really feeling. Lifting you up in prayer!
Praying for your sweet friend, Shay. Cancer stinks. Sometimes it’s hard to know what God’s up to, but we still have to get through life and have faith anyways. I will pray for a big miracle for her and her family this Christmas. God bless!
Thinking of you and your sweet sweet friend. As much as it pains me to know her world is rocking along with her families and you are so deeply affected, I can’t say thank you enough for being real and honest. Prayers to your friend, her family, and you!
Hi Shay, I’m enjoyed reading about your Jammy Cocoa Christmas again this year, however I appreciate your rawness when speaking about Manda. I’ve been praying for her since you first told us about her fight and I’ll continue to do so. This time of year, there is a certain magic in the air and I would like to think that prayers are heard and granted even more so right now. Sending hugs and positive thoughts to you and Manda and her family.
Thank you so much for sharing. Not only because I believe the power of prayer is mighty, but because I too am faking it this year, and while of course I don’t wish it upon others, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Praying for you and your friend, and all those who are also struggling!!
Praying for sweet Manda.. I feel this Christmas is hard for me to as changes have come and it’s hard to adjust at times. I pray for Manda and her family but also everyone else having to pretend that everything is okay. ❤️ Trust in the Lord..
Lauren Gottesman says
Shay, I don’t personally know you or Manda, but she has been on my mind so much lately, the way a friend would be. I noticed her absence in your recipe exchange picture last week, and I’ve been thinking about her ever since. I’m so sorry that all of you are dealing with this, and at such a difficult time of year. Please know that she and her entire support system are in my prayers.
Praying for Mandy and her family!! <3
Erin smith says
So thankful for your honesty and so sorry for your heaviness right now. Continuing to pray for manda and her family.
Was that your SUV parked in not 1, but 2 handicap parking spaces at Starbucks?
Mix and Match Mama says
No. That was my SUV pulled up in a closed bank parking lot (right in front of the teller spots) to take a picture before we took off to see the lights.
Seriously? That’s what you took from her post? Why do you even bother if you are just looking to pick her apart.
Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World says
Oh Shay, my heart aches for you and for her and for her family. I’m so sorry to hear this news. I will continue to keep her in my prayers, and I will pray for her family and you and everyone else who is affected by this as well. I hope that you are all able to hold on to that glimmer of hope. Christmas is a time for miracles and I will pray for one for all of you.
Julie Long says
Shay, I am faking it too..my mom just died…thank you for your post..Praying for your friend and for you as well…take care..xo
Emily Parker says
Girl. I haven’t ever commented but this post made me cry. This year has been so hard for our family. We decided to adopt and then Satan IMMEDIATELY went on the attack. Right when we made the decision my husband ended up needing back surgery…then right after we got home study approved we found out that at 32 years old he has MS. It’s been such a hard year and I want nothing more than to ENJOY the holiday season but YES. I’m faking it too. Praying for your sweet friend and that you can enjoy this holiday season! Thanks for keeping it real!!!!
Lindsey Stromberg says
Praying for your friend, praying for miracles, praying for knowledge and peace, praying for her doctors and medical staff, praying for her husband and her children and their hearts. Praying for you and your friend group. XO
Re: the comment above written by Erin says
Her friend is obviously very ill and you choose to chastise Shay on her blog over hearsay….not cool. Let the post comments remain prayerful for Manda and not turn into a spat where all comments could be deleted. Her friend needs prayers- lets shower her with as many as we can!
Ann Marie Tennison says
Praying for sweet Manda and each of your hearts!!! Life is tough- and faking it can be tough too! We’ve faked a few holidays now… and it doesn’t get easier! Hugging you through the computer today.
So many prayers to your sweet friend! we all have to fake it once in a while, that’s why I try to never judge anybody because you never know what is going on in their life, what would Jesus do? Right! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!
Erica Werner says
Praying for you Shay and your sweet friend. Thank you for your raw and honest post. It’s really encouraging! This is such a fun time of year, but also painful in many ways. Thanks for putting out there that it’s ok ????
Prayers are pouring out over your sweet friend, her family and all of her sweet friends, like you! I am so glad you were able to fake being present because that is hard to do but you will look back and be glad you did! These tough times just make us stronger and its so hard to go through! Showering prayers and hugs your way sweetie. xoxo
Please share this blog with your friend, Immanuel God with us. Praying for your friend and you.
Sherry Smith says
I will definitely say a prayer. In the pictures you look a little overwhelmed and tired. You’re kids and hubby looked really happy so it looks like they didn’t you were “faking” it. You are blessed!! 🙂
Praying for everyone hurting this Christmas!!! ????????Faking it!
Sarah Shaneyfelt says
I’m so glad you were honest in this post because we all need to realize it’s okay to fake it sometimes. Praying for your friend, and for you too, friend!
Desiree | Beautifully Seaside says
Praying for your sweet friend and I haven’t stopped since I first heard that she needed prayers. XOXOXO Jeremiah 29:11-13
Edith Weldon says
Prayers are being sent for precious Manda and her sweet family! Our God is watching over her and her family.
He is bringing comfort and joy into this situation, despite what is going on in her life. Thanks for being so real with all of us! We will pray also for you, precious and your darling family! Sending a huge hug to all!
Janet Inlow says
Shay – I feel so bad for you right now as I lost my best friend this summer to breast cancer – my 47 year old daughter. I will never forget her and this holiday season is going to be the worst – I keep praying and telling myself that I can do it. It was my daughter, Sheri, who introduced me to your website and I haven’t missed reading it every day since. It was Sheri who convinced me to send your girls the American Girl doll clothes outfits from my Etsy shop – SEWSWEETDAISY!
I’m praying for your friend and her family through this difficult time and hope for the best.
Thank you Shay for being real! I feel like this too but push myself to make a nice holiday for my family! Prayers for your friend! ????????⛸❄️⛄️????????
Danyelle Kaluski says
Thank you for being honest. I’ve been reading your blog for years, it has always given me idea and I love your openness.
I am on year 4 of faking my way through the holidays. My second born, was still born at 38 week on February 21, 2012. The holidays drain me, all I can think is … I had no idea that Christmas that my world was about to be rocked. This post just reminded me I’m not alone and I can’t change my heart but I can change someone else’s experience of the holidays. ????
Molly A. says
Shay, thank you for such an honest post. I read your blog daily and I picture a perfect life (which is awesome), but it is a relief to know that everyone struggles. My brother is an Afghanistan and Iraq Veteran and he suffers from serve PTSD and also a Traumatic Brain Injury from his vehicle being hit by an RPG. Life is hard, and I feel like I daily “fake it” for my kids even though my heart is always hurting. Thank you for being real. Always praying for your sweet friend. Even though God is great, life is still hard.
Shay, thanks for your honesty! Praying for Manda and for her friends and family too.
Not sure I’ve ever commented, but I love your blog (and recipes!) and read often. Will be praying for your friend, her family, and all that know and love her.
Kristy Moore says
I read this post this morning, but wanted to come back to it tonight. I’m sorry you received some difficult news on Monday. Please remember that we are so blessed to have a God who is a healer and provides miracles. I’m praying for Amanda and her family as well as your group of incredible friends that God will surround you with comfort and strength. Hugs to you!
Megan Butler says
Love your words today sweet friend. THis time of year can be so hard for so many. Prayers for manda.
So sorry to hear this, Shay! I follow your blog but have never commented before. This hits close to home big time! I was diagnosed with breast cancer last December 23rd. I just completed almost a year of treatment & am so grateful to be here. I can completely relate to the faking! Prayers and strength for Manda and her family! Shay, your an amazing mother, wife, daughter and friend! I don’t know how you do it all!
Christina D. says
I will continue to pray for Manda and her family. Thank you for the update.
RoseMary N says
In one of my daily meditation readings today God says that He “hovers” over, under and around us at all times. He is in charge and He has your friend in His arms! My thoughts and prayers are with her.
Prayers for your dear friend, her family, and everyone in her life. It’s so hard to be a mom sometimes when deep down we are in so much pain and want to crawl into bed under a blanket. The fact that you still went so your kids could have a magical night, speaks volumes. xo
I never comment but I wanted to say – Thank you for being real and for posting this. You are for sure not alone i your feelings. Prayers to you and your dear sweet friend. ????????????????
Thank you for this post. May tomorrow be better.
Prayers for your friend and you as well! I understand! We are stationed Japan, it is my son’s first Christmas, and my husband is deployed. I have a mixture of joy and faking it this Christmas. I have joy because Christ was son and His salivation gives me joy! He is the precious gift that no one or no circumstance can ever take away! I have joy because I am blessed with a wonderful family, even though we all will not be together. I am faking it because it can be a bit lonely. I wish my husband and son could spend his first Christmas together. I wish we were with our families. I get it!
Your post really spoke to me. In September, I was 30 weeks pregnant and our son was born. Unfortunately, we lost him. This was our first pregnancy and with his due date originally scheduled for right before Thanksgiving, we are having a very tough time with the holidays. Seeing all the Christmas joy when we’re feeling so broken can be so tough. So thank you for being real and honest… it helps so much to not feel alone. I’ll be praying for your friend and her family.
My cousin lost his two year old son a year ago today…so we totally understand faking it for the kids sake. Prayers for all of those going through hardship right now, especially your friend.
Praying for you and your friend. Thank you for your honesty.
My heart hurts to hear this news….I will be praying hard for sweet Manda. Please keep us posted. Love all your sweet family pictures, as always. xoxo
Bless you during this difficult time! I will be diligent in prayer for your sweet friend, her family and all of those around her that are worried and hurting! While I don’t know what that journey may be like, I am facing another year childless and facing infertility. I know you know that journey too well as well. I was reminded of Elizabeth this morning while attending church and hold to her story and Mary’s during this Christmas season. Thank you for your honesty and love for your children! I look forward to your posts each morning. God bless you!
Praying for your friend to overcome this terrible disease again. She is a fighter! I too am faking my way through the holidays as I am struggling with infertility. It’s very hard when nothing feels joyful and life lately is going through the motions, so I completely understand.
Michele Owens says
Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing about your friend, Amanda & her health struggles, I have been praying for her since you first wrote about her on the blog. Unfortunately, now I can relate to the faking it through Christmas” as well. Five weeks ago, I found out that I had breast cancer after many tests, and sadly it has already spread to my liver & colon. I was just thinking, whaattt??…I had a mammogram in 2015! How did this happen? So it’s all a huge shock, and as much as I love Christmas, my heart is more into focusing on healing my cancer for my family’s sake (daughters 20 &18, & son that is 16). Siting in the infusion room at the moment, and watching people from all ages & backgrounds, makes you totally appreciate what you do have, and less about materialistic things. Honestly, it’s a Jammie Cocoa Christmas & experiences are what’s important, spending time, and making memories with your family.
Kelly Davis says
I am so sorry for the pain, and will pray for her and for her family. I appreciate your vulnerability and honesty; truthfully, things have been hard for me with a child’s health issue for three years, and sometimes I even look at your beautiful family wistfully, remembering those days of little ones and joy, and trying not to covet your peace and happiness. God is so good- no matter what- and I trust His goodness and rely on Him, but sometimes it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking others have it perfect when we seem to be in the midst of a battle that hasn’t yet ended. Thank you for the reminder that sometimes we must fake it for our families, an that we all need prayer and compassion, no matter what we look like on the surface.
Erin Port says
Praying for your sweet friend. We went through something similar with my Aunt 15 years ago around this time of year. It still brings me to tears BUT God is good all the time and He is faithful. I am so thankful for Him or I would fall apart. Ever since then the holidays can be a sober reminder to all of that. Many prayers to your friend, she has been heavy on my heart. Much love to you too….xoxo Erin
Emily Hicks says
Your blog literally brought tears to my eyes. I love that as believers we can rejoice when others rejoice but we can also feel the sadness when others are hurting. Praying for you, praying for Manda, and praying for her family. Our God is a BIG God, and I am praying that all of you feel that a little bit extra this holiday season!
Love this blogpost so much! I will be praying for your sweet friend. It’s so hard to enjoy everything when someone else close to you (or you) are hurting. We will definitely be lifting her and her family up! This year is hard. After three years of horrible infertility, finally getting pregnant with my miracle baby, then losing him in the womb and delivering him in October, makes for a terrible Christmas. Everything I was looking forward to this Christmas, with our son, Harrison, is no more- and it’s excruciating….but God is on his throne and he is faithful. We will praise him in this storm.
Praying for your friend..
I am also faking it this season.
We can always hope for a miracle, but somehow cancer has its way of coming back. I just wish it would leave my family alone.
I will pray for your friend and for you spirit. Hang in there Shay.
Leslie Clingan says
I follow you but rarely comment “aloud” – usually, quietly in my heart and mind. I just have to say that I appreciate your honesty in this post. You could have easily fooled all of us with your radiant smile and your beautiful pictures of your family activities. (We borrowed your Jammy-cocoa Christmas last year except I kept getting mixed up and saying Cocoa-jammy Christmas. Putting the cart before the horse. You were sweet enough to stop by my blog to say hi!) So many people are struggling this season and I think your refreshingly candid post helps to give us all permission to feel less than festive, or “on”. I call it being Mary Poppins. Sometimes I just can’t do Mary Poppins.
I will be praying for your precious friend. I detest cancer and the lives it ravages. Maybe this Christmas will bring the miracle of restored health to her.
I will be praying that we can fake the funk and convince the littles in our lives that life is perfect and flawless at Christmas. And that all of us find peace and strength and comfort when we turn to God.
Love you and your little family. Thank you for sharing with all of us.
P.S. We will be doing Cocoa-Jammy – oops, I did it again – when my daughters come home for Christmas. My oldest daughter is dating a darling man from Afghanistan. I am sure this will be a brand new activity for him and for my Mexican son-in-law. Thank you for this inspiration.
I never comment, but this post, spoke to me in so many ways. I’m praying for your dear friend and her family, but also her dear friends like you. Thank you for sharing real moments.
I’m so glad you shared this. My daddy passed away on Thanksgiving from cancer. We didn’t want to celebrate the holidays but we are “faking” our way through it too. I have a 4 month old and my sister is literally delivering her first baby right now. So with these tiny blessings we will make it through this rough time but it’s so so hard. Nothing feels like it should during this time of the year. Prayers for your friend and her family.
Thank you for your honesty. Here’s my honesty. Your life looks perfect on this blog so it’s really refreshing to see that you struggle too. Xoxo