Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winding down 2011

With most of the festivities done, though the Christmas season is still with us at least until January 6th,(and much, much longer for some of us!) I find myself contemplating "changes"...changes in me, in the home, in our lifestyle, etc.
Our Christmas has been wonderful but could I have made some of it better? The main thought goes to Christmas Day's dinner...again, way too much food! Think I already have the solution for next year- Chicken Mull, an old family recipe, from Mike's side! And then Mike and I will serve everyone! That will eliminate a very crowded kitchen. Each family function I find myself wanting to push out the walls!
We seem to be on top of each other with 8 children winding in and out! And this year for some strange reason, some of our breakers tripped leaving us without power and in the dark...22 of us! Mike took care of that quickly and our electrician son began turning off lights that weren't needed. That worked!
Hmmm, the more I think about it the more I do believe...Chicken Mull it is! There, that's already settled!
Whew!
And no more fresh trees inside! Our pitiful Christmas tree, even though it still stands, is quite droopy... has been from the beginning with ornaments clumped together, lights drooping, leaving bare spots.
It will come down today sometime. The other things will stay up for awhile as we are still turning on our outside lights. And the snowmen stuff will remain awhile longer. Hopefully they will "call" in some SNOW!
Then beginning in January, I will take a room at at time and work in it-   de-cluttering, cleaning, organizing and painting if it needs it. That will keep me busy for quite some time! (especially with Charlotte "helping"!)
And I plan to give the treadmill and rebounder consistent workouts! Unfortunately during some of November and most of December they held packages! YIKES! Can't do that anymore!
Enough of blogging! I've got bills to get out! Have a great day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas

"It was like one of the nativity scenes that the old masters painted, only not tidy and pretty like those. The girl was exhausted, her clothes were crumpled, and the sweat on her face gleamed in the lantern light. The man was dusty and tired and not yet free of the anxiety that had been racking him for hours past.
The woman was one of those kindly bodies who turn up from somewhere to lend a hand in times of human crises. She made soft clucking noises as she gave the baby to His mother, and the two women gave each other a long look of triumph before the girl bent over her baby. He was like all newborn babies. He looked old and wizened, and so frail that my heart nearly stopped in fear, as it always does when I see a newborn child. How could anything so weak survive? His thin wail echoed in the stony place and then stifled as He sought His mother.
They've not yet come, I thought. All the prettiness the artists painted isn't here. No angels, no shepherds, no children with their lambs. It's stripped down to the bare bones of rock and the child. There's no one here. And then I thought, I am here, and I asked, who am I, Lord? And then I knew that I was everyone. I wasn't solitary. Everyone was me and I was everyone. We were all here, every sinner whose evil had built up those dark walls that held Him like a trap. For looking around I saw that the cave of the nativity was very small. The walls were pressing in upon Him close and hard and dark the way they pressed in on me. And the old claustrophobic terror was back on me again, but not for myself. I remembered the rocks of the wilderness and the multitude of sinners surging in, selfish and clamorous, sick and sweaty, clawing with their hot hands, giving Him no time so much as to eat. I remembered the mocking crowd at the cross and the thick darkness. I remembered the second cave, the dark and stifling tomb. Two stony caves, forming as it were the two clasps of the circle of His life on earth. And I remembered St. Augustine saying, "He looked us through the lattice of our flesh and He spake us fair." Shut up in that prison of aching flesh and torn nerves, trapped in it...The Lord of glory... I remembered the sword of light that had split the rock of sin, making for me the way of escape to where He was at the heart of it. At my heart. At the heart of everything that happened to me, everything I did, everything I endured. He was not the weakness that He seemed, for He had a sword in His hand and all evil at last would go reeling back before it. He had entered the prison house of His own will. And He was not trapped, nor was I. There was always the way of escape so long as it was to the heart of it, whatever it was, that one went to find Him.
The shepherds were coming. I could hear them singing, a homely rough singing and a little out of tune. And the high sweet piping of a shepherd's pipe. I shut my eyes and listened and it came nearer and I woke up."


from the book The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge

Anna had put this on her blog and after reading it, I knew that I had to also.
This is Christmas...the real Christmas. Thanks Anna!

May you embrace Him and all that He has done for you...may you experience "Christmas" in your heart now and everyday. Merry Christmas my friends...Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Village

This village is a favorite of mine. It came from Lowe's  about 21 years ago. It wasn't expensive and has a few more buildings that I didn't put out this year. It always makes me draw from my imagination as I see myself living there...walking around the village, visiting friends, shops, the church and ice skating on the pond, etc.

Well, last night we came across a "village"...a real "village" off of Ardrey Kell. It was a village of "Charlestonian"-like homes and almost every house was decorated with beautiful lights, wreaths, etc.
Felt like we had wandered into Christmas Town...like a Christmas Village. I was in awe! Everywhere we looked, every road we drove down was exciting! We didn't even know this neighborhood existed so near to us! It felt as though we were transported back in time. And while there was no snow, (not even chilly weather like I so enjoy) it truly "felt" like Christmas! Such a brightness, cheerfulness atmosphere...then home to have a cup of tea with friends. Lovely way to end the day!

(I'll try to get the exact directions for anyone near enough to visit. Will post them later.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

C... I... C...

A few days ago I did a blog on Christmas and  chaos. As I wrote that, I was thinking that's how the first Christmas was...the world was in chaos...confusion, bondage, darkness and up until that moment there was no remedy...no cure, no help and THEN...the Remedy, the Cure, the Answer, the Saviour appeared on the scene right smack in the middle of all the unrest, the anxiousness! The God Who made us came down to save us, to deliver us. Jesus..."God with skin" as I've heard others proclaim...The Word made flesh! Oh how I love to say that! What a Gift! There's no Gift to ever "top" that One.
And when you know Him; when you let Him live in and through you, even in a world of unrest, uncertainty; you can live in peace, in provision, in certainty that the One Who made you will take care of you, has given you everything that pertains to life and godliness, and will never leave you; will always love you unconditionally and that all His promises...ALL His promises to those who believe in Him are "Yes and Amen"!
This is Christmas... , Christmas at its merriest!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

This is Christmas!

Tonight we gathered with some of our closest friends; had a delicious dinner and  sang Christmas songs. Treelights blazed. The white nativity under the glass table sparkled with candlelight and the warmth of sweet Christian friendship turned the evening into "Christmas".

The weekend brought hustle and bustle with parties, Christmas program practice, early Christmas at my parents with all our families, making for long but enjoyable days and then the icing on the cake was the gathering of dear friends singing songs of the season. Ahhhh...an old fashioned Christmas...that's how it felt to me.
What a wonderful evening!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our precious "toddler"

Chaos in "Christmas"

Lately I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed. Seems like we're home long enough to mess up but not clean up! When we do get home, I'm just too tired to do anything. And having a "toddler" who is most active, loves to chew on anything and everything, we're are constantly up and down and I do really feel like I have a "toddler". Whew!
So...I can only take so much and stand a messy house for so long. I have come to several conclusions.
First of all, we have too much stuff! Second of all, I am not the most organized person and THAT really needs to change. After two days of beating myself up over all of this, I am now back on track, working on my attitude and taking tasks one item at a time. Today I conquered the pantry! Mike had a great idea to take everything that wasn't food to another storage place...the crockpot, the 60 cup percolater, huge pots, etc...you know the things you don't use on a regular basis.
I did it in between taking care of Charlotte. That's been the main thing I accomplished today but I'm not getting upset about it. I will just keep plugging away!
With more festivities lined up through the next several weeks I will just do what I can.
Then when the decorations come down, I will give some to the Grands and the kids and begin to scale down. Less is more!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

To Grandmother's House we go!

Charlotte's first visit to Grandparents! Here she is with Grandmama and Grandaddy, Mike's parents.
She tried to help put the garland on the tree and rearrange the tree skirt but we decided not to accept her help!
She was so well-behaved and slept most of the way home; tired from exploring "Grandmother's House".

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nutcracker Friends


Our "Nutcracker 2011"

Today's Makenna's last performance of 2011. Here she is as a "medium soldier"! Doesn't she look so cute! She's also in the Chinese dance.
Papa and Granggie will watch her perform this afternoon. Can hardly wait!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Miss" Charlotte

Charlotte is 11 weeks old and growing in every way! Her wirey hair is getting longer and her body is taking on more of the dachshund shape. She is sweet, loving and TEETHING! Nothing is safe from those puppy "needle" teeth! Therefore I am on the go...constantly. She terrorizes the snowmen,   Mike's Christmas stocking under the tree, Santa's sleigh and reindeer, and anything else she can wrap her teeth around...the bigger the better she says! And her latest- taking tinsel off the tree!
I am quick to get it out of her mouth. She is never allowed in a room without one of us supervising unless it's the puppy-proof side entrance room. That's where she eats and naps.

She does take a morning nap, a very good morning nap and that's when I try to get things done around the house.

She loves to play and we both play chase with her. She is so quick and runs and runs in circles, through the den and into the livingroom, over and over until she flops over on her back in happy surrender to us scratching her belly and picking her up to hug! She is ever so happy! Me...well I am happy too, tired but happy, knowing that "this too shall pass" and the house will be safe once more!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yearning...

This morning I awoke with a yearning...a yearning for a more simple life.
These past few days I've put my mind to thoughts of why I'm feeling this way.
Too much stuff...too much television- yes one can "overdose" on Hallmark movies! And too little exercise, too little eating healthier, ahhh, and too little time in the Word that gives us life!

Then this morning I came upstairs to my "office" and found a Proverbs 31 devotional on my computer.
The title, "An Overloaded Life" caught my eye! It really spoke to me...a real eye-opener...hmmmm
One statement has set my mind whirring..."My responsibilities outweighed my capacity to manage them."  WHOA!
This just doesn't mean everything we're "doing"...running here and there...having kids in every sport, tackling every project that comes our way, it also means that we can have too much stuff...things, possessions, etc. Think I'm going to be doing some soul-searching during these last days of this year and begin to simplify...what do we need, what are we using, etc.

Oh, and check out the devotional on the Proverbs 31 website for today! Glynnis Whitwer wrote it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Birthday April!

Our precious April is 33 today! She's the oldest of our three...due December 28th but came on the 5th!
What an early Christmas present! And she still is such a gift...as are her sister and brother!
We love you dearly,
Mom and Daddy

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In Search of "Merry Christmas" Lights!

Wow! We came upon this house tonight! Tons of "Merry Christmas" lights!
Beautiful!

Weddington Park Christmas Craft Party

Here are just a few pics from the party our church hosted at Weddington Park! We had a great turnout and they loved making various Christmas crafts...and eating the delicious goodies! Such a wonderful way to begin the Christmas season with these precious Treasures!

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Christmas House"

Last year I took a picture of our house at Christmas and asked our dear friend, Leslee to put it to canvas. Leslee is a very gifted artist and we have enjoyed her paintings of flowers, landscapes, and homes for many years!

Here is our painting! I am so amazed at her handiwork. We got the picture Tuesday and hung it in our den. After Christmas it will have a special place in our entrance hallway. I find myself staring at it often.
She titled it "Christmas House". Love it! Yes, our home is decorated with garlands and wreaths, lights, snowmen, Father Christmas, trees, etc. but this doesn't really make it a "Christmas house".
What makes our home a "Christmas house" is Christ. Jesus is our Lord and He is the One we serve and worship. He is the Head of our home and His peace, love and joy reign here.
Even without all the festive Christmas decorations, our home will always be a "Christmas House"!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Father Christmas"

Many of our Christmas decorations have sentimental value to us. Our Father Christmas is new this year. We bought him to put outside on our top porch beside the Christmas tree we put up. He didn't show up very well so we brought him inside. I'm so glad we did for I love looking at him! He has such a kind, gentle face.

We really enjoy the musical "Scrooge" and love the song, "Father Christmas".
And two of my favorite Christmas books are Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas, both by Robin Jones Gunn. Great reads for the season!
I read them every year!
So you see "Father Christmas" is special.

Day 5 of Christmas decorating

I'm in the homestretch! Woo hoo! Here is a glimpse of Christmas around our house.
Meet Father Christmas! He's staying with us this year!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A "Charlotte" Christmas!

Isn't she just the cutest thing you ever saw? She is quite the charmer, looking up at you with those sweet brown eyes and that adorable face. And inspite of all that, she has made Christmas decorating a challenge! Yes I am crating her and putting her in the side room where she can play and run around without getting hurt BUT Charlotte is a people dog and she wants to be with us so when she isn't with us, she is crying but now I do believe she has fallen asleep in her bed of all places. Usually it's on one of us!

I've actually been a bit STRESSED OUT these past few days. I'm on a tight shedule this week and not a whole lot has gone according to plan. Bless Mike, he's put up with me, helping all he can.
Started out this morning calmly even after getting up at 5:30 to take Charlotte out and start breakfast.
Everything going smoothly until I knocked a glass bowl off the counter. Charlotte wasn't near it but I grabbed her up and put her in the side room to protect her and then she started her crying and barking.
I swept so carefully and then even vaccumed and by the time I was finished, she was asleep and quiet!
Wow! I do believe we've turned a corner!

On to attack the day and accomplish great decorating feats and hopefully to finish. This is day 4 of Christmas decorating...surely I can finish by tonight!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Twas...

the day after Thanksgiving and all through our house
were too many Christmas containers scattered about!

We worked on the outside hanging garland and lights,
making bows, donning doors with wreaths-quite a sight!

We worked in the sunlight. We worked in the dark.
Are we done? Did we finish? No we aren't!

Garland was missing, and colored lights too
so we are heading out tomorrow and planning to choose...

a fresh tree for our den, a Fraiser fir perhaps
and get all the stuff ...then  probably a nap.

Hopefully by next week all the trees will be up and each room
decorated- Christmas spruced-up!

Then onto some parties that we will be hosting come Friday
and Saturday... good apple cider toasting.

Then comes Nutcracker week and the fun never ends.
It's more Christmas ventures and I can't pretend

that we won't be tired, desiring some rest
but enjoying Christmas is something we do best! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers' arms has blest us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son and Him Who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the One eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore."


This is part of an old hymn I grew up singing. As Thanksgiving...a day set aside to give thanks to our Father God, approaches...I've had this song on my heart.

Tomorrow is a day set aside to count our blessings, show our gratitude to the One Who loves us best
and gives the most. But in truth, every day should be a day of "thanksgiving"!
We have so much to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Charlotte's newest photo

She ran straight under here when I gave her a treat!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tis two days before....

Indian Summer Thanksgiving and things just aren't the same.
There will be no bouncer, no cool games to claim.

Many will be missing including the host but there'll be food aplenty
delicious treats, I boast!

Guests in the 30's will descend upon our door...my parents and sisters, husbands and children
by the score.

We'll shower Bill & Brittany and sweet Maylena too even though she won't see the gifts...
there will be quite a few!

Then on to feast and fellowship, roasting marshmallows by the fire. Children running all around,
parents hoping that they tire.

So the rides back home will be peaceful, uneventful and quite calm
while the hostess puts things back in place with the help of her son.

She will then kick back with Charlotte sleeping in her lap, awaiting the arrival of the host...
and that my friends is that!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adjusting

Here is Charlotte awaiting her first outing...a run to the bank! The music and ride put her to sleep!
I strapped in the basket and she did great! Here she is this morning; computer time!
And we're already devoted to each other!
ANNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDDD, Mike loves her and she loves her new Daddy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bringing Charlotte home

Here she is asleep on my lap coming home. Ahhhhhh......
And here she is on "Aunt" Patti and "Uncle" Roy's gift to her!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bringing Home Baby

This is Charlotte!
(Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice...Lizzie's best friend... keeping it in Jane Austen's "family"!)
Mike and I decided that we had to keep it in "the family". It's tradition! (Right, Makenna?)
We are going to get her tomorrow afternoon and I can hardly wait!
Of course I will be posting pictures of her homecoming and all the cute things she does. Doting on her? Absolutely! Our sweet baby girl!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Recognize these guys?

You will if you play the game! Yes! It's the angry birds! Except the guy on the end seems to be smiling.
Mike brought these guys to me as a surprise from Lord and Taylors and he has never seen nor played the game. Me, I enjoy the game! Our oldest grandson, Christian put it on my phone and I must admit, it's addicting!
However because it runs my battery down I do limit myself and do not play every day.
It is fun and challenging!
Now what I  need is a big slingshot and build my own buildings out of really big Leggos, oh yeah, and have got to find those green pigs somewhere!

Thursday, November 10, 2011