Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

I've had a lazy morning so I need to get moving, gotta get my morning ride in on our recumbent exercise bike.  I have a lot of issues with my lower back that make walking for exercise difficult right now, but the bike doesn't cause pain, so I pedal away for about 30-40 minutes.

In keeping with the discipline I am hoping to develop in my life, a few weeks ago I started to spend less time online.  I am not being "noble" or "virtuous" I just was spending way too much time with my face in the computer and not doing other things like reading books, and being creative in my home.  I am enjoying still staying in touch with everyone but also being fully present in my real life.

I bought some new books with gift cards after Christmas and can't wait to really delve into them.

I bought An Everlasting Meal after hearing about it from Brenda.

I am a largely self taught cook, I cook from scratch, most of the time.  However I know I could stand to learn some things about cooking and using what we have already on hand to create delicious and nutritious meals.  

The Herb Sourcebook was a ridiculously inexpensive price after Christmas at Barnes and Noble.  I love to learn and I have been wanting to have more knowledge about herbs and thought this seemed like a good place to start.

The Gentle Art of Domesticity is wonderful to look through and I've begun to read in it here and there.  The photographs are wonderful, and as one who loves Domesticity its a perfect book for me.  I bought one each for Lindsay and Emma.

After I read them I will do a review for you all.

We are having friends over tonight and my parents and niece.  It will be fun.  Lindsay's birthday is tomorrow, so we will likely let her open gifts at midnight.  She and I did some wedding shopping last night and dinner out.  It was a great time. 

Thursday is our 26th Anniversary.  We aren't going away this year - we are putting on a wedding!  We will go out for a meal together, probably lunch, because of Tim's work schedule.

I am looking forward to the New Year.  The known things of this coming year are wonderful, and the unknown things?  Well, I know who holds it all in HIS hands.  I'm going to trust HIM with it, let HIM reveal it to me in HIS time.

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Word For the New Year

A few weeks ago I started to think of a word for the New Year.  My word for 2013 was JOY.  It was a good word and the Lord used it in my life throughout the year.

Sitting here this morning I think perhaps my word for this coming year is discipline.  That doesn't sound as appealing as Joy, or hope or love does it?

However, I think it is a good word for me.  I tend to be very undisciplined in my daily life.  I tend to be very 'go with the flow' and unstructured.  This, of course has to do a lot with my learning style.  I wrote about it here last January.

Unfortunately, this lack of discipline spills into other areas of my life, my eating habits, exercise, spending, managing my household.

 "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, 
but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness
 to those who have been trained by it."
Hebrews 12:11

I am trusting the Lord to help bring change in these areas.  I included the spending because we don't want any debt at all, not even one we pay off every month.  We'd like to have more of a cushion in our savings.  We have some big purchases on the horizon, including that stove I mentioned early this year.  We still haven't replaced it.  It is fast becoming a necessity.

I am hoping to look back on 2014 and see that God worked discipline into my life, for my good.  He is always at work on my behalf, and I'm thankful for that.

So, what about you?  Do you chose a word for the year?  What kinds of things are you looking toward in the New Year?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

63 Days

We have 63 days until Lindsay and Joseph's wedding.  To say that mind brain is in full wedding mode would be an understatement!

We have a lot done.  

Wedding Gown - check!

Bridesmaids Dresses - check!

Bridesmaids shoes - check!

Flower Girl Dress - check!

Plates for brunch and dessert - check!

25 round white tablecloths on loan - check!

Still need to do - 

Junior Bridesmaid Dresses

Silver glitter belts for 5 bridesmaids

Find a dress for me - I have a few I'm ordering to try

Meet with floral designer - a dear friend who is offering her skills for free - we will pay for flowers that she will order for us.

Meet with Amy who is organizing the brunch - another dear friend.

Gather supplies for the reception tables.  This is underway!  Fun stuff!  Right up my alley!

Need to decide on flowers or tulle and greenery for the church pews.

We need to order jewelry for the bride and bridesmaids.  

Find a black suit for Tim and Kyle.

Order bow ties for ushers, and younger brothers on both sides.

If I am absent a day or two, here and there, you'll understand right?

I love sharing this whole thing with you.  Thanks for your comments and encouragement!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sorrow and Rejoicing

It's been quite a year.

So many of our friends and family have lost loved ones this year, including three dear ones who had miscarriages, my cousin whose son died in November, a friend who lost a dear Aunt on Christmas day, and one who lost her mother yesterday afternoon.

For me most years have gone by without much loss, for which I am grateful to the Lord.  This year has been different.  I feel like it has taken me deeper in my relationships with others and with the Lord.  So though there is sorrow, there is also a deep joy.

Over the last several weeks my mom had been undergoing different medical tests.  They saw something on one of her ovaries, and she had a CT Scan last Friday.  We thought we'd hear something on Monday, but didn't hear results until yesterday.  In the days that we waited I faced the fact that we may be walking through cancer with my mom…while finishing the preparations for Lindsay's wedding.   Thankfully we are not dealing with cancer!  Praise His name!  It is a calcified fibroid tumor and she'll see her doctor early in January to discuss it.

Can you sense my relief?  I do know that if that is what He had allowed, He would have carried the burden with and for me.

So as the year comes to an end, we are rejoicing with deep thankfulness and gratefulness for His care for us throughout this year.

If you will, as the Lord brings them to mind, will you pray for my two friends who have fresh losses?  One lost her mother and the funeral is Monday, and one lost her aunt on Christmas day.  I know that they would be deeply thankful.  I know they both are hopeful to be rejoicing to see them again one day.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


It was a day of anticipation

 Of dollys

and beautiful jewelry

Sisters piling on the baby brother in thanks for the cool pocket knives he bought them with his own money.

Gift cards

Fun with ribbon

Precious packages

Sweet niece - first Christmas far from home wearing a pretty hand knit scarf from a loving Auntie…

 Drinking tea from an awesome new mug set - 

Fun with a new utility trailer

Redneck sledding

Evening reading

Finally to bed
It was a beautiful day.  One of our other nieces came over in the afternoon, we relaxed, played games, ate yummy food, played wii bowling, watched the Dr. Who and Downton Abbey Christmas specials.

We pondered, prayed and gave thanks.  We thought of those who were living with loss this season.  

Remembering the Reason for our very lives…the reason we can celebrate with hope, Jesus the Christ.

I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating the Gift and the Giver of the greatest Gift!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

He Has Come

Luke 2:7 - 

"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

Christmas Joy!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday

Today is my sweethearts' birthday!

He's the best Christmas present his Mama ever got.  That's what he says, and when she hears that she agrees!  

Last night, the girls and I were up when he got home from work.  He was surprised.  Then he got crazy hugged by Emma, then Lindsay joined in, then Sarah came out of her bed to join in! (Rachel spent the night with Grandma)  They were loud and hanging on him in a giant group hug, saying over and over "Happy birthday, Daddy!"  They are a bit nutsy, but he loved it!

This morning the family is going to meet up for breakfast and then later whoever is available may go on a hike.  

I am thankful for this man.  He is a gift to our family.  I've learned so much about serving others from him.  It's his gift, and he is good at it, and always quietly and behind the scenes.

Happy Birthday, Tim.  You are loved.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Not Christmas Eve Service

We had our Not Christmas Eve Service last night.  It was a wonderful evening.

So many people in our church are musical and performed music last night.  It was a real blessing.

I am having a challenge with loading video this morning so I'll just post a few photos.

There was also beautiful music by Daniel, Nick, Anthony, Jared, Pastor Mike.  Becky sang a solo last night, The Coventry Carol,  it was lovely.  She has a very sweet voice.

At the very end of the service, we always sing Silent Night as one of our Pastor's lights a candle from the Christ candle and then in each one passes the light - the gift of God, Jesus Christ - to one another until all the room is illuminated by the Light.  It is always very moving to me.

I love the beauty of Christmas Carols.  They have rich truths in them and I think because we only listen to them once a year, they are very special.

I have made a point this year to not listen to much secular Christmas music, wanting to focus on the Reason for the Season.  It's been wonderful.  Though in truth, I think we may have to have a listen to Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, just once time before the season is over!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Yearly Christmas Favorite

Christmas Can't Be Very Far Away…

It's quiet in my house this morning.  Everyone is taking the opportunity to sleep in a bit, before our day gets busy.  Tim and I are going to pick up the last few things needed before Christmas day.  

Then I am taking the younger set to my friend Amy's house in Maryland.  We haven't spent a day together in too long, and she and I are going to lunch and will stop by a store she wants me to see!  We are both very excited.  The kids are excited too!

Tim will go with Emily to our nieces' house where he is going to check out a problem with their hot tub!  Then he heads to work for the evening and Emma will shop with one of our nieces.

Lindsay goes to work today too!  The shows at Sight and Sound are sold out!  It always amazes me to hear how cranky people are during the Christmas season.  

Tomorrow, is our Christmas service at 4:00pm.  We used to always do a Christmas Eve service but we have so many families that travel 45 minutes and up, that it was hard on them to bring all their little ones out in the evening, especially Christmas Eve.  This way too, our families can spend Christmas Eve doing our own traditions.  For this service Rachel is playing cello  with her instructor and friend Yolanda Mott.  They sound great together.

This was shot stealthily at their rehearsal the other day.  I will try to record the whole performance of both carols.  I am so thrilled for Rachel to play cello and love it so much.  She has been playing for about a year and a half.

Sarah is playing two songs on the piano - both duets - with her instructor Amy, and with Amy's daughter and pal of Sarah's Ally Beth.

Kyle, Sarah and Kamryn are reciting a poem - 

Long, Long Ago

Winds thro' the olive trees
Softly did blow,
Round little Bethlehem
Long, long ago.

Sheep on the hillside lay
Whiter than snow;
Shepherds were watching them,
Long, long ago.

Then from the happy sky,
Angels bent low,
Singing their songs of joy,
Long, long ago.

For in a manger bed,
Cradled we know,
Christ came to Bethlehem,
Long, long ago.
--Author Unknown

And they are singing with the other children.

It will be sweet and we end our time with a candlelight singing of Silent Night.

I pray that your Christmas season is filled with joy and time together with those you love.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Prayer Request


Will you pray with me for my Momma?  She is going in to have a CT scan at 9:30 am.  I appreciate it so much.

There is something they need to get a better look at, so they will start here, with the CT scan.  She has had some symptoms that could mean that she has ovarian cancer, but we just don't know yet.

I am asking that you pray for peace for her, and for clarity in the scan, that it will be a non malignant growth, and for wisdom in how to proceed if it is malignant.

Thank you so much!

I'll update when I know anything.

My sister in law had ovarian cancer a few years ago, and did surgery to remove the ovary and then did a strict regimen of supplements and diet.  She is doing very well.  I don't know what my mom would choose at this point, if it's necessary.

We are trusting in the One who holds everything in the palm of His hand, and wrote her whole life before one day of that life came to be. (Psalm 139:16)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gingerbread House Cookies

Last night the kids went to Joseph's family's home to decorate Gingerbread House Cookies.  Emma and I went to a showcase for the graduates of Sight and Sounds' Conservatory.  A young lady from the Conservatory has been attending our church.  It was a wonderful evening.  This was a talented bunch of students.  

I wanted to show you the lovely gingerbread that the kids made.

 This is Kyle's Bilbo Baggins.  He said the white icing is the spider webs that Bilbo got tangled in.  Very creative.

 Kyle brought this one home for me.  It was made by John Michael - age 8.

Kyle's house.  He decorated the front door with a wreath, he said.  Then he went on to mention how the silver balls were just like BB's and maybe they were.  I assured him they weren't and that he can't eat BB's.

 This tree was made by Jane.  I think the tiny candy canes are sweet.  Rachel ate it for breakfast this morning.

 This beautiful one was made by Susanna - Joseph's mom.

Laura made this one.

Emma made a castle.  The kids and Emma said it was ugly.

They had such a good time.  It's always fun to do things with friends and future family!  We are very blessed to have such an easy, drama free (as Susanna says) relationship with Joseph's family.  It makes for happy times together.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Twist on Tradition

One thing we love at this time of year is TRADITIONS.  From when we decorate to making sugar cookies, we love our traditions.

Several ladies and I at church yesterday were discussion traditions and what things we do in our families at Christmas time.

As we shared I realized that over the years some of the things we did when our older children were young have changed, and we no longer do them.  We have replaced them with new traditions.

I've learned that sometimes we try to hold on to certain things "because it's 'TRADITION'" and not because it is something that works for us as a family anymore.

Sometimes, you just can't find the time in the busyness of daily life to do them, or perhaps your kids have lost interest or perhaps the family dynamic has changed.  

I say that it's okay!  Let the tradition change, if only for one year even.  We need to give ourselves the freedom to choose what works for us and doesn't work for us as families.

One tradition we've had is to make sugar cookies and use color sugars on them.  We've made them with my grandmother, we've made them with friends who have lots of little ones and we brought the dough and the sprinkles and lots of big hands to help little ones have fun!  That was a great blessing to us all - the kids had a fabulous time!  You can see my post about it here.

This year we are doing a twist on tradition as my kids are going to Joseph's family's home tonight to make Gingerbread House cookies.  They are excited as they love Joseph's family and are delighted to be asked to come have fun with them!  Kyle especially loves that Joseph has four younger brothers in his age range!  

Will we make our traditional sugar cookies this year?  Only if the kids ask, and really feel a need to do it.  I am okay with this twist on our tradition, and don't feel the need to do "ours" as well.

It all is part of keeping Christmas simple, enjoyable and as Cheryl, and the Nester say, "Uncomplified."

We are enjoying this Christmas season without stress which is what we all need.

So, what about you?  How is your Christmas season?  Are you doing any twists on tradition?  I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Beauty, A Reward For Craziness

Tim and I took Kyle and Sarah to see the new Hobbit movie yesterday.  It was fun to watch them and listen to them.  Sarah has read the book and loves it, so she was commenting "that never happened" a lot, but she liked it.  Kyle meanwhile was loving every action packed moment and chewing his gum 90 miles an hour in some parts.  Seeing their enjoyment made mine all the better.

However this was a big grocery week for me, and I really couldn't skip it. 

Now Fridays are always crazy at Costco no matter what time you go, but yesterday was, well, you'd think that it was Christmas Eve! Tim kept saying, "Is it always like this on Fridays?" I think maybe he was considering hazard pay for me or something! Ha!

I had to tell him that, "No, it's usually not this bad," when the reason came to me!  We are due to get about 5 inches of snow today, so people were busy getting their bread, milk and TP.  Around here if they are predicting even and inch of snow, people buy out the milk, bread and TP just in case the plows can't get that snow cleared in a few days time.

Emma met us at Costco and took Tim, Kyle and Sarah home, while I continued my journey.  Both of the other stores I went to were fine - no craziness in the stores, just lots of traffic!

Here is a photo I look while waiting at a red light.  There was more in the far back of the van as well.  That big red bag.  A gift for Tim, but don't tell okay?

As I headed down the road to run the van through the car wash to wash some road salt off the undercarriage of the van, I ran into traffic.  I don't know what was causing the slow moving traffic, but it took 10-15 minutes to go a distance that normally takes 3 minutes.


But I was rewarded for my efforts.  I was reminded that God sees my efforts on behalf of my family.  Want to see what He gave me?

Such beauty.  Thanks, Lord.

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...