Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thinking About Christmas

Upon the Highest Bough Art Print –Upon The Highest Bough

The indoor decorating is all done.  I just need to hang the garlands outside today.

I have been thinking about the specialness of this season and the pleasure it brings me.  We have never had money to simply spend whatever we want on gifts, we have always had amazing Christmases though.  The kids usually get much of the stuff on their lists but you have to understand that my kids lists are special – last year Rachel requested that someone help her put music on the ipod shuffle her cousin had bought her the previous year.  This year Sarah is asking for Cranberry Salad – the kind Grandma makes at Thanksgiving.  I just love their hearts!  So precious!

The year Lindsay wanted a violin, we found an amazing deal…this year Emily is wanting to learn Cello – I am praying for God to bring the right one along!  I know He will!

It doesn’t take money to share what we all really want for Christmas – to be loved and to be a part of a family.  Sharing our lives together is a gift.


We have a business near us that puts up an amazing light display every year and it’s free!  Our tradition is to go drive through several times then go across the road to the mini market and buy donuts!  So simple!


We watch the sappy Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel – well, most of them and we watch our favorites like “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “The Nativity Story.”  We sit and read by the Christmas tree and favorite stories are read each year.  We do an advent calendar that has scripture to memorize, so that we all have the real Christmas story memorized by Christmas day.

My parents come and sleep over Christmas eve – which is also Tim’s birthday.   We do lunch out for Tim’s birthday, go to our church’s Christmas Eve Service, come home and open our last door on our advent calendar, open stockings…simple things.

I have learned to not over burden myself at this time of year.  I want to enjoy it – not be bogged down or stressed with much to do.  I want to be able to focus on the Reason for the Season and share that with my family.

What are your thoughts as you approach Christmas?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Getting A Tree

We set off this morning to our usual place to find a tree and cut it down!  Here you can see several of our shadows as we survey the trees.

Lindsay and Tim discussing the pros and cons of a tree...

Rachel and Tim on the hunt....

Sarah looking and looking....

Kyle with his funny hat - I think he likes this tree...

We discussed the good points of many trees...

And settled on a new kind for us...not sure what kind it is...a fir of some sort...Some thought it would be too small, some thought it was too narrow...


It is perfect in our house – tall – it still needs to have the top trimmed and our star put on top – and not too wide!  Very pretty.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Getting Ready For Christmas - Bringing Home The Christmas Tree - Kate Greenaway

I am not one to rush the holidays....I like to enjoy each one for what it is.

However the day after Christmas is not spent out "bucking the crowd" as my Grandma Lily would say, but in bringing up the boxes of decorations and putting the house into the holiday spirit!

I like to take a day or two and get it done and then I can sit back and enjoy the season. Well, okay, I don't sit back - this season is full of hospitality and fun times. I like to be ready to for it!

Today, I put up our garlands, and lights and rearranged things from their normal places. I have put the Nativity in a new place this year, and while it is very visible - I need to keep tweaking it as I am not completely satisfied with it. I love to see the kids reactions as the white lights go up and things are made special....this year they helped alot and that was fun!

Tomorrow we are going to cut down our tree and then the inside will be ready! The only thing needed will be to hang the garlands on my picket fence and lamppost. Not sure if I want to put garland around the doorway this year - but I probably will. The weather tomorrow will be better than today - today was cloudy and windy, the feel that will get you in the mood for the holidays. Unless you are in Australia or other southern hemisphere places! Then you are looking forward to your summer holidays!

Hope this is a season of joy for you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

There is so much that I am thankful for that I thought I would make a list...

1. I am thankful for the Lord Jesus!

2. I am thankful for my family!

3. I am thankful to be born in this country.

4. I am thankful for the right to teach my children at home.

5. I am thankful for the right to worship without fear.

6. I am thankful for the home the Lord has blessed us with!

7. I am thankful for our church.

8. I am thankful for our friends.

9. I am thankful to have two vehicles in our family.

10. I am thankful that we are having my son's girlfriend and her dad over for dinner!

11. I am thankful for books!

12. I am thankful for my bible.

13. I am thankful that the majority of my children are walking in the truth!

14. I am thankful for all my brothers and sisters gained through marriage!

15. I am thankful for our many nieces and nephews and now their spouses and children as well!

16. I am thankful for my husband dear mother.

17. I am thankful for technology and the many friends I have made through blogging!

18. I am thankful for good health.

19. I am thankful for nice clothes and shoes.

20. I am thankful that we have heat in our home and cars.

21. I am thankful for God's saving grace.

22. I am thankful for a little boys precious freckles.

23. I am thankful for 6 days with my 10 year old daughter!

24. I am thankful that my oldest girls delight in our home and family and took such good care of it all while I was away.

25. I am thankful for the pilgrims who risked it all to come to a land with no modern conveniences (1600 style ones of course) in order to build a future for their children. One where they could worship God freely without risk of harm, and where they could be the influencers of their children. I am thankful that they had the vision and the courage to make the journey. Half did not survive the first winter, and yet...God's hand was with them.

Have a wonderful day!

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Wedding

I spent yesterday morning at the church where the wedding was held, helping to set up and decorate. After rushing back to the hotel to change we arrived at the church and saw my brother in the parking lot.

I took the opportunity to snap a nice photo of them together.

The church is a historic landmark in Long Beach and the windows and woodwork were beautiful. The flowers for the pews and the candlelabra were calalilies and ivy.

The stained glass window is beautiful!

Pew flowers...

Mother of the bride and Mother of the groom...

The bride was radiant and very relax and excited.

A whispered moment during the service.

The kiss...Rachel was taking photos at this point. Didn't she do a great job?

My brother's family.

Father - daughter dance...

The groom and friends dancing...

Pretty little tables...

Brides bouquet...

Flowers for the reception...I did these from flowers I purchased at Costco! They were in quart sized canning jars with ribbons...12 floral arrangements.

Mini cheesecakes, cream puffs, chocolate fountains, cake....perfect!

It was a lovely day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fun In California

Rachel and I are having a fine time in California though we haven't seen the beach or anyone famous.

We have seen more important folk than that however - one being my great nephew Cayden.

Isn't he a doll? He loves to eat and snack on puffs!

Here Rachel is helping Jill make rice crispy treats using the old family method of adding peanut butter.

Here is my mom at the get together to make wedding favors...

Jill and Rachel again - showing off their cutie pie aprons!

The one with the pink icing was a finished products. We cut out the rice crispy treats with rounds and glued them together with frosting, then added color decorator frosting! They then got packed into a cellophane bag and tied with a silver ribbon!

Rachel and I also got to babysit for Cayden this morning! He was so fun, and we liked playing with his fun toys!

Tomorrow is the wedding - I need to go to bed now and get my beauty sleep! I will try to post more photos tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All My Bags Are Packed....

But I am not ready to go!

As much fun as I am going to have, my heart is here with my sweet family. I am going to miss my little boy climbing into our bed and rubbing my arm in the morning. I am going to miss my little girl and her great imagination. I am going to miss my big girlies too, they are my dear friends. I can't even begin to say how much I am going to miss my bestest friend Tim. He has been working lots of overtime to pay for Rachel and I to go. Thank you my love!

Once I go, I will be fine. Really. Rachel and I will get to make memories together and with my parents with whom we are traveling. We get to go and eat fabulous Mexican food! We get to see Cayden and play with him! We get to be at my niece's wedding...I remember the day she was born, now she will be a wife. Wow! I get to hug my brother and Paula and hang with Evan and Kaitlin. I might even get to go to lunch with Alicia!

Pray for smooth flying and for a really special time in California! Thanks!

I'm Learning...

Our church has been watching materials from Voice of the Martyrs in our Sunday School classes, the past two weeks.

This past week we watched a video of Richard Wurmbrand speaking in a church. The message was excellent and one of the stories he told has stayed with me. He was telling the story of a beautiful young Russian woman who was a Christian and was arrest for this. She was beaten and tortured repeatedly. During the breaks that the torturers would take she would talk to them. During one such time, as she shared with this particular man, she was able to lead him to the Lord! He even insisted that she baptize him and then he released her from prison.

Richard made a comment during the midst of this story that has impacted me - he said that God loves the world, we wonder how God could allow these things to happen to Christians, but since the world won't come to where they can hear about Christ, God sends Christians to them! This young woman didn't enjoy being beaten but she had a love for them because God loved them! This enabled her to share her faith with them.

I am paraphrasing this badly, but it has lead to me to realize that the frustrating situations we find ourselves in sometimes, or difficult people God has placed in our lives is so that we can come into contact with others who don't know Christ. It has made me realize that God wants me to stop being self oriented "I wish I didn't have to deal with this" and to start looking for the opportunities to share Him with others. Sometimes it is through a verbal opportunity to witness to someone you may never meet again, other times it is longer term relationships.

So to make a long story short, I am going to start looking at the situations God allows in my life, as an opportunity to be God's hands or voice. I know He will need to remind me about this - it's going to make for an interesting life.

Monday, November 16, 2009

So Much To Do

Last night I did not feel too well....I had some indigestion and it hung around 'til the wee hours of the morning.

I also have been having a lot of sinus issues lately. I use a neti pot every day with salt water and it really does help. I bought one for Tim several years ago, because he was suffering from sinus infections several times a year and now never gets one. He finds he only needs to use it once a week, unless he feels like he is getting a cold, then he uses it everyday.

So today I feel better but tired and I have headache. I am leaving on Wednesday for California and I need to pick up some items for my trip and teach school and take Sarah to piano today...

I don't have time to not feel well. There - I will just refuse to be unwell. Think it will work?

Seriously, I am praying, and I am asking you to pray for me as well.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I have started to do fun and educational things with my little ones for Thanksgiving. It helps me to not skip over this holiday in my quest for being saturated with Christmas!

A friend gave me a unit study book called "Celebrate Thanksgiving" by Charlene Notgrass. It has fun lessons in it and craft ideas - just up the little ones learning alley!

I also like to use "Thanksgiving - A Time To Remember" by Barbara Rainey. Barbara is the wife of Dennis Rainey who hosts the "Family Life Today" radio program. This is a wonderful book that tells the pilgrim story on two levels - one in larger font if you are reading it to children and the whole book for adults. It also comes with a great cd of music! There are not a lot of cd's out there with Thanksgiving music. You can find this great resource here.

I am going to California next week and coming back the Monday before Thanksgiving. Tim always takes that week off and we take the week of from school. So I am starting my Thanksgiving lessons a bit early this year.

I also am having to think ahead as far as a menu for meals for the days I am gone. Lindsay and Emily are great cooks, but I need to see what they want to make that
week and make sure they have all the ingredients!

This week has been a blur for me - I haven't been home much. Every day I have been out for a good portion of the day; Monday - shopping trip with the ladies of my family, Tuesday - Tim and I took our son and his girlfriend to lunch and then I ran errands while I was in that area. Wednesday - I was at our church making Wildlife Tree Ornaments with our co-op's 4-6th graders! Then we delivered them to Longwood Gardens! Today we have co-op and being the leader I am there from about 12:30 - 4:00 pm. Tomorrow is my grocery day...although I may just get what I need on the way home today!

I would love to hear what your traditions are for Thanksgiving! I will be doing a few more posts on this subject in the next week as well.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You Veteran's

Thank you Dad, Grandpa, Uncle Raymond, Uncle Davy, Cousin Rob...

Thank you to all who serve or have served. We are thankful for you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Barn In November

I wanted to show you how the barn is looking here in mid-November. Tim and my dad have worked at it very hard and it now is being used as the horses' shelter. It has been fun to watch them with it - they like it alot!
These doors are the dutch doors. They will be getting their upper door this week. Tim will be working on the sliding door for the shed area which you can see a corner of on the right side of the photo. Hay, grain, flax seed and the mower are stored in here.

Here you can see a shot from the dutch door side of the barn looking out toward the pasture. Until we get the doors on that side they are using their stalls like a run in shelter.

Sandy likes to look out on this side.

So does Cheyenne...

Here is Lindsay giving Sandy a treat...the stalls are built so the horses can see each other, they really like that.

They are so funny - without the pasture side doors on we can't close them into the barn yet and often we find them in the same stall...Can you see Cheyenne in the background looking into the shed area?

This view is from the pasture. The trim still needs to go up and in the spring we will be painting the barn red with white trim. It is really a blessing already.

It is a great benefit having a husband who can use different skills to build such a building. I am so proud of him!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Annual Shopping Trip

Today the women in my family are taking our annual shopping day to kick off the holidays!

It is a day that we all look forward to - a day out, just to have fun and share together. We have lunch out too, and maybe we will try the British Tea's my kind of fun!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What We've Been Up To Lately

In having older and younger children, it is fun and interesting to see the influence the older ones have on the younger. Lindsay and Emily are often found with their cameras taking photos and now the youngest one has gotten in on the act.

These photos were taken by Kyle last week. It is interesting to note the things that he thought to photograph and also to see the house from his perspective!

Notice that the back of the chair is above his eye level. I don't know that I have ever seen the hall way from this angle before!

He must have really liked the view of the hallway...

Here is the piano...

Here is his foot. He gets this technique from Emily - she is an expert at taking photos of her own feet - on purpose!

This is a shot of Kyle's bedroom floor. He painted that last week, too, and must have been taken with how it looked with blocks, books, and other things on the floor! You never know when inspiration will strike!

We went to a huge craft store a few weeks ago and the girls couldn't resist having fun with some of the items in the store.

Lindsay models the latest in sun god wall hangings.

Rachel trying out new accessories to her wardrobe...

" Em, your not supposed to pout with 'you know who' standing right next to you!"

We spent a Sunday afternoon at the park with some friends...

The main attraction was the ultimate frisbee...I think they must be discussing strategy but Rachel looks like she is pestering Mikey again...

We made a trip to Longwood. Rachel and Sarah did a class there with kids from our co-op.

They have been highlighting pollinators all year - these are bees made from mums! They look awesome in the conservatory!

Inside the conservatory - Rachel took these photos.

This is a 'Thousand Flower Chrysanthemum' however it only has 750 flowers on it. It is one plant with that many flowers on it, not multiple plants to achieve that look.

Beautiful Water Lilies outside.

This was my view from the chair I sat on to read. Remember how I told you I had a whole hour to myself?

This was also my view, just looking the other direction. Can you understand why we love Longwood so much?

Rachel and Sarah with their friends Grace and Rosie - two sets of sisters, one group of friends!

Last but not least, I leave you with the girls who came for a birthday party of horseback riding. Lindsay did her first party today and it went so well - it was chilly and so we made a fire in the fire pit and I brought out hot chocolate and marshmallows to be toasted over the fire! Happy Birthday Liesel! Hope you had a ton of fun!

What have you been up to lately?

Information Friday, On Saturday

  Well, I was all set to do a post yesterday, but I had trouble uploading my photos. I really thought I'd get it done in the evening, bu...