Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Big Changes for the New Year...

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all doing well. Thank you so much for all the well wishes and prayers that have been left in regards to my parents. I am pleased to say that both are home and starting their journey back to health. They have been told it will be months before they are back to themselves (if they ever get back there) and it has definitely left them in a weakened state. Dad's legs have buckled a few times but he hasn't fallen. Mom on the other hand has fallen twice and apparently has matching bruises on each side of her face from where she hit her head on her desk. Now they just need the time to get their strength back and of course deal with their other ongoing health issues. I truly appreciate your patience waiting for the link up to return.

And with that, there will be some changes this year. These last few years, my mom and dad have had more health issues crop up or current ones exasperated. I too have a number of health issues. Most I am able to keep in check and others flare from time to time which affects the time I have available. These last two years I've been noticing that I've had less and less time to work on the computer. I can't imagine that this next year is going to be any different. Trying to maintain the challenge blogs that I do with the same degree of  proficiency that I have in the past has become more and more difficult, and as a result, a lot more stressful. When I started out, creating these challenge blogs was supposed to be about connecting with others, keeping my mind active, and of course, having fun along the way. Unfortunately, the more stressed I become, the less joy I experience and it all is becoming a chore. 
I spent a lot of time during the second half of last year debating what to do. At times, I debated whether I should simply close the Christmas blog but it hurt my heart to have to do so. Instead, for this year at least, I have made the decision to go back to the roots of how it all started. There are a handful of people still here from when the concept for The 12 Months of Christmas began on my personal blog back in January of 2014. For those of you who are new or have only ever known the link up here at this location, here is a brief refresher.

I started the link up on my own personal blog. I never had enough holiday cards ready and every year scrambled at the last minute to make the number I needed. I figured there was others like me so I decided to create a link up. Back then, I didn't have the time to set up another challenge blog, take care of it, find and take care of a team, and of course, find sponsors for it, nor did I have time to leave comments on each entry. However, I did have the time to create a Christmas themed digital paper each month and create an ongoing linky list. I was really surprised by the number of participants, and so, towards the end of 2014, I decided to give the link up its own home, gather a team, and arrange sponsors. For seven years I have been able to maintain it with the help of an incredible team.

However, for the sake of my sanity, it is time to go back to those simpler times and make changes in an effort to reduce some of the time needed to take care of this blog. So, here are the changes that will be taking place this year:
  • We will no longer have any sponsors. It takes a LOT of time to find and make arrangements to line up sponsors for this link up. Then, it takes even more time to get the team organized with images to use each challenge. Given the time factor, and the fact that less than a third of people ever write in to request their prize, I have decided to simply cut out sponsors. 
  • As far as digital papers go, I'll make at least one paper each month (down from six) which will be the prize for people linking up two cards each month. 
  • For the time being, team members will continue to leave a comment on your blog. I've been blessed with the fact that even with the new changes, all team members have decided to stick with me. If I do start to lose team members though, it won't be fair to them to pick up the slack. If this happens, I hope that you will all understand.
So, in summary, the new challenge will be as such:
  • Each month we will have a link up with an Anything Goes Christmas theme (listing an optional theme for fun if participants want to challenge themselves). It will continue to be a link up for Christmas cards only.
  • Participants who link up two cards each month will earn the free digi paper offered up for that particular month.
  • One of my existing Mini Kits (winner's choice) will be offered up as a prize to one random winner.
  • We will continue to choose Stocking Stuffers each month (the number will depend on how many entries are linked up).
I hope that you can understand my need for the changes. Hopefully, with these adjustments in place, it will free up a bit of time so that I don't have to give up The 12MoC completely. It is my fond hope that you will continue to join us each month linking up any Christmas Cards you may make. It is always a joy to see the wonderful design ideas you come up with!
We will be back on February 1st with our new link up! We hope to see you there!


Aimeslee Winans said...

Lisa, I'm so happy to hear that your parents have pulled through the worst part and that's a bit less stressful for you and them. As for the challenge changes, they sound great. I just hope the changes go far enough to truly give you some break from so much stress. But I am excited to know we will continue! I appreciate all that you and the team do, thank you! See you in Feb! xoxo, Aimeslee

Decosse's Dynamite Doodles said...

Thanks Aimselee. I appreciate your kind words and understanding of the changes we intend to make. I'm hoping it makes enough of a difference...time will tell I guess. ~Lisa

KT Fit Kitty said...

Hi, Lisa, I am relieved to read about your parents' recovery, albeit slower than you all would like. Such a blessing to still have both parents living, as I thank God every single day that my parents are still here; they are both in their 80s and Dad has had some health problems for several months. He is improved but so much weaker than he was previously. I call them every day now and cherish our phone calls. I can so relate to what you have been going through. Your challenge changes sound just fine and I will certainly play along when I can. I have been thinking of you and I really appreciate the update about your parents. Take care and God bless.

Wies said...

Hi Lisa, Glad to read your parents are back home. But their illness has left its traces and it will take time to recover. And as they get older there are more health issues to deal with. (my mother is 96 years old, so I think in a way I can empathize with your situation). I therefore understand the changes you intend to make. But I am glad the challenges will continue thanks to you and your team. Wish you all the best.
Wies xx

Decosse's Dynamite Doodles said...

Thank you Kitty. I really appreciate that. I'm happy you have both your parents as well. It does get scary though, now that they (and we) are aging, you realize how fragile life is and that time is finite. I am happy that you are okay with the changes and will continue to join us when you can. ~Lisa

Decosse's Dynamite Doodles said...

Thanks so much Wies. Yes unfortunately, I've come to realize that with their health issues, and aging in general, things won't get easier. I just have to hope that I have the strength to help them get through it. These are the many times I wished I had at least one sibling. Goodness, how wonderful that your mom is still alive at the age of 96. My husband was lucky as his own mom lived to the age of 101 I think it was. Thanks for understanding about the changes. I am glad that you'll continue to join us. ~Lisa