December 30, 2009

The Road Shared

Even though this has been a joyous, peaceful time of year for our family, I am acutely aware that this can be a very difficult season for so many. After my encounter with the bitter woman (previous post), I became more aware of the pain that so many face.

My heart has been burdened for so many precious families going through the sting of death this year. New holidays bring fresh grief, a new hurdle to cross.

I've walked the painful pilgrimage with this precious family this year through my computer. Go HERE, you will be heartbroken, yet so blessed. Go now, and leave them a word of encouragement.

Another precious family faced what every mother fears the most just before Christmas. Their pain is fresh. Words are not enough.

Just last night I ran across this blog and could not walk away until I had read their entire story. I was up until 1:30 this morning devouring their unbelievable journey. You HAVE to read this blog.

I do not write about these families to bring you down. Rather, I pray that you will be touched, as I am (still processing these stories myself) by their remarkable FAITH. Not just in a churchy kind of way. No. But a real, day-by-day trusting, living, surviving faith.
These families have walked the common road of grief. The road that none of us want to walk, yet the same road that no one should walk alone. Oh the burden to bear, if not for the great Comforter. Their hope is eternal.

If you are experiencing the pain of grief, know that you are loved. Know that there is a person (me) here in blogland praying for you. I don't have the answers or the words to heal, but I know Someone who does. There is a Savior that is willing to bear your burden. His name is Jesus and He knows the sting of death more than any of us.

December 28, 2009


Many of you are hauling out the tree and pulling down the garland faster than I can say "it's still December." Trust me, I'm all about a good purge, but most years I like to hang on to Christmas as long as I can. I feel that way right now. Last year we had to clean it all up so fast because I was leaving on the 27th for my trip to Germany/Italy. This year I'm letting December linger. January will be here, and I will be ready for simplicity again, but for now I'm enjoying the fact that I can actually see my tree skirt. :)

How was your Christmas?
I learned yesterday that isn't as safe of a question as I once thought.

I spoke to an elderly woman sitting behind us in church yesterday. Trying to be kind and welcoming (not knowing if it was their 1st time visiting, or not) I smiled sweetly and said good morning. I was answered with a gruff, "hi." Not "well hey" or "good morning to you." A little southern etiquette had obviously not been taught at the NC welcome center on their way down from N.J. (no offense to any N.J. readers out there... just sayin').
Not to be thwarted, I put on my best southern charm and said, "did you have a nice Christmas?"
Her reply with a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders: "It was different."
Umm... I was totally at a loss. Truly, how do you reply to that? There's just no graceful way to leave that conversation.
Assuming we had never met I simply smiled and suddenly became engaged in the needs of my children. She decided that the candid conversation wasn't over and said, "did your mother make doll clothes for your girls again this year?"
"Oh, you knew about that?" I replied, smiling sweetly (again), realizing that she knew me.
Her answer: "Well the whole church practically knew about it."
Really? A church of 2500+ and everyone knew about the doll clothes. I think not. I'm all about going the extra mile and being kind to those who are bitter, but don't you bring my momma into this.
I didn't try wish her a happy new year, because I had a feeling it wouldn't be. And I couldn't handle another snide remark to which I had no reply.
Praise the lord for children who need my attention in the seat next to mine at just the right moment.

How was our Christmas? Glad you asked because I have a wallet full of brag-photos:
We had a ball. The kids are at such a fun age. This was the year of grateful hearts and a mother's heart swelling with pride. It's my blog, so just go ahead a roll your eyes at my shining moment. ;) My children were genuinely excited for each other as they opened their gifts. They were uber-excited when they opened their joint gift: a Wii (our first gaming system, evah).

Even after a 2-day gift giving, family visiting marathon, they were still full of joy. (As you can see on my son's face).
Having my brother home for a week added to the joy of the season.
Adding to the fun, he brought his "toy" home:
We let the kids try it, but since they couldn't handle Rock Band, the "grown ups" got to play to our hearts' content. (We may or may not have put the kids to bed early so that we could play).

I'm leaving my red and green up for a few more days and savoring the memories of Christmas.

What was your favorite moment of JOY from Christmas this year?

December 23, 2009

Enjoying the Season

Hello, dear friends! I know this place has been locked up tight without the porch lights on, but I've been busy enjoying the season. We've been doing a little traveling. If you ever get the chance to visit Williamsburg, Va. at Christmas, do it! It will make you proud to be an American and thankful that you can cook dinner without using an open fire.
Each home in the historic district decorated with natural elements. (Notice the horse themed house above and below... the girls loved it!)

Now that we are home from visiting family, it is time for us to spend time with our extended families that are local (so thankful for that).

Wherever this Christmas Eve may find you, I wish you peace and joy...
and warmth!


December 20, 2009

Sunday Rest

The angel said,
"Do not be afraid, I'm here to announce a great and joyful event
that is meant for everybody, worldwide.
A Savior has just been born in David's hometown,
a Savior who is Messiah and Master.
This is what you are to look for:
a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic
choir singing God's praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth
who please him.
Luke 2:9-14
The Message

December 18, 2009


I have been collecting ideas from my friends lately. With Christmas just around the corner, I'm putting these in the "for next year" file.
You know I love a wreath over a mirror... especially berries!

Another beautiful swag with a matching wreath above.

Check out this AMAZING idea! I'm stealing this idea for next year (thanks, Laura). Love it, love it, love it!

This is so simple, fun, and eye catching. These came from IKEA... $4.99/8

My friend Laura was just full of fun ideas. Look at their "stockings." So adorable. They are even personalized.

I found this picture online a few months ago... another great alternative to the traditional stocking. We bought a couple of santa hats at the Dollar Tree last year.
Seven days and counting .... falalalala!

December 15, 2009

Christmas Open House '09

Welcome Friends!
Back door guests are best, so come on in!

Simple, fun, and easy. That's my motto.

A bowl of ornaments from the Dollar Tree

A view of our foyer.

I completely changed my mantle this year. My handmade sign didn't match our newly painted walls. So I went with a completely new look.
I added some white berries to the garland and painted my candlesticks white (for summer, but I liked them for my winter white too). The red bucket was $3 at Hobby Lobby and the sticks came from my backyard.

I made the white feather wreath. Super easy (another post, another day). The red sparkly deer came from the Dollar Tree last year (2 for $1) and I found the glittery "HOPE" sign in the dollar section of Michaels this year.

Welcome to our kitchen... the heart of the home.

My advent tags hanging across the back windows.

The little tree in the kitchen stays decorated and I just put the whole thing in the attic after Christmas. A few years ago I ordered the miniature kitchen gadget ornaments super cheap, but they are still some of my favorites.
The snowflake plate stays out even after Christmas since my kitchen is red. (To see another favorite plate look here.)
Falalala! I love to do our tree in red and white. It lends itself well to all of the family ornaments.
This year I added silver for a little more sparkle.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour. Not much has changed upstairs from last year's open house.
I want you to know what a GIFT you are to me!

**I'm joining the Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes, so come on over and join the fun

December 13, 2009

Sunday Rest

6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

December 11, 2009

Holiday Cheer

A little holiday eye candy today.

Small tree? No problem. Put it in a galvanized tin and cover with newspaper. So cute!

Eye. Candy. Literally.

Love the color palette: black, white and green
So soothing.

Christmas cheer from my kids... the best decoration of all.

Enjoy the weekend, friends!

December 9, 2009

Wordy Wednesday

I love to surround myself with words. One word can be so powerful. Here is a glimpse of my Christmas "words."

December 8, 2009

Birthday Wish

Hey Sweet Bloggy Friends!
Today is my birthday, so I'm not taking the time to do a long post.
I woke up to the kitchen decorated with streamers, by my kids, and a hot Peppermint Mocha from my hubby. He speaks my language.

Here's my birthday request:
You know I love anything sweet (well, except for fudge). So... leave me a comment and tell me your favorite dessert. It may be something you make, your momma makes, or you've had in a restaurant. Let me know where you've had it. I'm always open to new recipes if you want to include that too. ;)

Have a wonderful day. Thanks for being a special part of my life. You bless me.

December 7, 2009

Easy Gift in 5 Simple Steps

I'm no seamstress. I can sew a straight line (sort of). I've even made window treatments for cash in the past, but sewing scares me. If I need a pair of pants hemmed (which is every single pair I purchase) I call my mom or get it done by the tailor. So when my daughter looked at me with puppy eyes and begged for a matching outfit for her and her beloved "Molly" I shook in my boots, er, slippers.
Fleece and felt are at the top of my list of things I am thankful for. They do not ravel. They do not require seams. They are warm an soft and, and, EASY.
Doesn't Molly look so happy and warm?
If you are looking for a unique gift idea for a girl of any age, you can do this.
1.Simply have your girl stand with her arms straight out (like she's flying like an airplane) and measure from wrist to wrist across her back.
2. Cut a square from fleece in that measurement. (My daughter's was 41", I think).
3. Fold in 4ths and using a marker on a string, swing the marker like a pendulum from the corner to form a rounded edge. Cut on the marker line, while still folded in 4ths. It will look like a triangle with one rounded side. Unfold and it should be a perfect circle. (You may want to practice on a square piece of paper first) I apologize for no pictures of the process. I was in a frenzy trying to get these done before Sunday.
OR if you just want a square, that is cute too. Simply turn on the shoulders so that the points are at the wrists.
4. Cut a hole for the neck. This is the only tricky part. You want it big enough to fit over her head, but small enough to not fall off her shoulders. Just remember, if you cut it too small, you can always cut more. If you cut it too big, it's too late.
5. Embellish. For the brown poncho, I added the pom-pom fringe and a flower. (The scarf is an even easier project... cutting only). But it can be as simple as the one below:

Three buttons and a flower. You could hot glue the buttons if you have needlephobia. ;)
The flowers are made from felt. You could use fleece, but felt is thinner and easier to work with.

Momma couldn't be left out, so I made myself a felt flower.
Yes, I think I need one in every color.

You can do it! Have any questions? Just ask in the comments.

*I'm joining Kimba's DIY party today, so hop on over and check out some other fantastic ideas

December 6, 2009

Sunday Rest

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Psalm 5:12