Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"the weather outside is frightful..."

I have been trying to post for the past two days!  Unfortunately, the computer barely wanted to even turn on Cyber Monday and yesterday it just refused to upload pictures.  Hopefully, the technical difficulties are over...

Anway....

After two whole days of intense rain, the whole world (well, my little corner of it!) is drowning in sludge.  The Waterville Creek has relocated to our front yard.  To make matters even more uncomfortable for those of us braving the great outdoors, it is FREEZING!!!!  I managed to get my feet wet yesterday by absentmindedly stepping in a puddle and I still haven't been able to get them warm!  I am, at this moment, sitting in front of a blazing fire and my feet still feel like chunks of ice.  Ok, slight exageration, but you get the idea! 

I am very happy that I don't have to go out into it today.  I enjoy the cold weather as long as I can enjoy it while I'm sitting by the fire and looking out the window.  So today, if you need me, you will find me beside the fire with a book.  Please do not disturb unless absolutely necessary!

*****

We put up our tree and decorated the house over the past few days..  We opened up the boxes and Sarah looked at me and said, "didn't we just do this?"  It's true, this year certainly has flown by.  I'm not a huge fan of the whole decorating process, but I love the end result.  There's just something about evergreen and red ribbons that makes me happy inside. :)

 "What is this green stuff and why is it in my space?"

 Daddy's one contribution to the decorating process (besides bringing
down the boxes!).

All finished!

Hello! :)

Of course, despite all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the warm fuzzy feelings that we get, we must still remember what this season of Advent is really about.  It is a time for us to prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually to celebrate the birth of our King and Savior.  I know that many people do not observe the tradition of the Advent, but it is a tradition that I grew up with that I cannot imagine doing without at Christmas.  It is such a special reminder of the special gift that God granted us and the sacrifice that He made because He loved us so much. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

good times with family

The past few days have been long, as I am sure it has been for most of you.  Especially if you're a Black Friday fanatic like my older sister! With all of the flying here and there and being greeted everywhere by enough food to feed the Army, the Navy, and maybe even a few Marines, I think we would all agree that it's very easy to get burnt out.  However, I've enjoyed every minute of it!  Here's a few highlights:

 Sarah and I on the way to Aunt Karen's for our Thanksgiving feast.

 Grammy's dressing is the best part of dinner.  Always.

 Aunt Karen and Mama.

 Great-Aunt Phyllis.

 Papaw

 Karen with the poncho Mama made her for her birthday.

 Sarah and I absolutely fell in love with this little guy.
Isn't he adorable?

 Hello! ;)

 Anyone who know's Sarah will appreciate how fitting this picture is! :)

 Mama, Sarah and I with Great-Grandma Helen. 
She turned 90 this year.

*********

Now we move from Thanksgiving to Friday (yesterday) which was Daddy's birthday.  Both of my older siblings and all the kids came over.  We had a full house!

 Mollie and Lexi just playing around.

 Isn't my big brother handsome? :)

 "Little Man"

 Kim and Jacob.

 And of course, we had to have a photo shoot! 
Sarah, Haley, Kenzie, and Lexi.
 They were such girls.  When I first presented the idea for this shot they started
freaking out because they would get grass in their hair...  As you can see,
I was able to reason with them!

 Daddy with his special carrot cake.  Happy Birthday, Daddy!!!

 Last night, all of us girls decided to hit the mall and find the "left-over" sales.
I couldn't believe that Kim wanted to go since she'd been out all day since the wee hours of
the morning.  I won't tell you how late she slept in to make up for it!  Anyway, we left the babies
at home with the guys and went shopping. 

This is what we found when we got back.
"Look Manna!  I ride hoo-see!"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

100 things I'm thankful for - Part 4

76.  A family of cooks. ;)

77.  Sitting down to dinner with my family and the laughter that always accompanies.

78.  Traveling mercies.

79.  Sugared ham.  It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it!

80.  Mittens.

81.  Daddy's amazing BBQ skills. 

82.  Christmas music.

83.  The possibility of snow flurries.

84.  My hair.  Although I can list several things that I would like to be different about it, I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade my hair for anyone elses!

85.  Oven mitts.  If only I could remember to use them...

86.  Sausage balls for breakfast.

87.  Effective alarm clocks.

88.  The smell of smoked meat in the house.

89.  Friendships that stand the test of time.

90.  Coffee....

91.  Glazed scones...

92.  Pumpkin Spice Lattes...can anyone tell I have Starbucks on my mind?

93.  Snuggling into a bed with sheets straight out of the dryer.

94.  Surprises. ;)

95.  Change.

96.  My crazy neices and nephew.  And I do mean crazy!!!!

97.  Pictures and memories.

98.  Time spent with family.

99.  The ability and freedom to share the Gospel.

100.  Truth.

*********

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
make known His deeds among the peoples!
1 Chronicles 16:8

*********

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope that it's a blessed day for you all and if you are travelling, may God grant you a safe journey!





Wednesday, November 23, 2011

and so, it begins...

Like everyone else in the country, we are spending the afternoon in the kitchen.  Sarah and I spent this morning braving the vicious crowds at the grocery store.  The Aldi in Cleveland rarely has more than a handful of people in it at a time, which is nice.  However, today was a completely different story!  We had a pretty short list and it still took forever to get out of there!  I was constantly tripping over or running into somebody.  I won't even elaborate on the state of Walmart.  I'm sure you can all imagine it quite accurately without my help.

You would think that Thanksgiving, being the beginning of the Christmas season, seeing how "it's the most wonderful time of the year", with all of the "peace on earth and good will toward men" that people would be a little less, well, irritable.  I was really beginning to wonder if Sarah and I were going to make it out in one piece! 

It is sad that such a wonderful season is so stressful for some people.  Not that I don't understand it!  Believe me, I can get caught up in the stress just as fast as the next person, but I do try to take the time to sit back, take a deep breath, and tell myself that it really isn't that big of a deal.  Sure, there's the dinner that has to be cooked, stuff to go out and buy, a house to clean,  beds to be gotten ready, and just the natural uneasiness about having your house invaded by 20 people, but it's OKAY!!!!  We're supposed to enjoy this, right?  So, when I'm out fighting the crowds, I try very hard to at least maintain a pleasant expression.  Of course, I'm not always successful.  When someone speeds around a corner and plows over me with their buggy without blinking an eye, yeah, that's hard.  (Stores really need to install traffic lights this time of year!)  But, I have noticed that a smile, a polite nod, or even laughing when buggies collide, seems to lighten the mood for those around you.

Anyways, enough about the shopping frenzy and back to the kitchen!  This year, we aren't having Thanksgiving dinner at our house, which is very weird.  We're talking about a 20-something year tradition here!  As weird as it is, it's really nice in a way.  Why?  Because we don't have to cook the whole meal!  We're only cooking 2 casseroles and a dessert.  Talk about weird!  Of course, we are making a few other things, because Daddy's birthday is on Friday and this is the only time we are going to have to cook!


Mama's Broccoli Casserole

Sarah :)

Cream cheese filling?  Yes please!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

'tis the season for...popcorn!

Have you ever watched an old Christmas movie?  I mean old, old, like, black and white old.  For instance, there's It's a Wonderful Life (who seriously has NEVER seen that movie?), the original Miracle on 34th Street with Maureen O'Hara, and Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, just to name a few.  Have you ever noticed the Christmas trees in these movies?  Ever noticed anything on them that today's trees don't have?  Besides the real candles, I mean? 

...................

Ok, don't hurt yourself.  A Christmas tradition that very few people I know have ever even heard of is stringing popcorn.  Next time you watch one of those old movies, notice all of the popcorn draped on the tree.  You can barely see the tree for the popcorn!  Yards and yards and more yards of popcorn hanging from every possible branch.  Most people don't do this anymore.  Then of course, we aren't most people. :)


Every year, just before Thanksgiving, we pop a ton of popcorn, put in a movie, and string away!  We usually put up the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving so we've got our work cut out for us.  Now that Sarah and I are older, we actually get it done really quick.  When we were younger, it took three or four evenings to get enough.  Of course, we don't go overboard like in the movies!  Moderation is a good thing!  We just make enough to wrap around the tree just like most people would wrap a store-bought garland.



"Please????????"

*************

Just a little side note here to wish my Uncle Gene another Happy Birthday!


Mama, Sarah and I took him out to dinner today and had a blast!  Of course, we always have fun with him.  There is never a dull moment when he's around! 

Love you, Uncle Gene!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

100 things I'm thankful for - Part 3

51.  The valleys that God leads me through in order to discipline me and make me a better servant for Him.

52.  The God-given gift of being able to laugh and move on when people try to put me down.

53.  The peace that only comes from putting your trust in God, even when you don't understand.

54.  Spicy chili on cold, windy days (like today!).

55.  Fuzzy scarves.

56.  The desire to be organized.  (Because it would be very easy for me not to care!)

57.  A mother who loves the same things that I do.

58.  A friend who writes emails every bit as long as mine! :D

59.  Natural, homemade, chemical-free products.

60.  The smells of the season: cinnamon, honey, molasses, nutmeg, ginger...

61.  The project pile that is gradually getting smaller.

62.  Planning Christmas gifts with Sarah.

63.  Sister dates.

64.  Being able to "support myself" without a full time job.

65.  The smell of books.

66.  Fabric stores.  Miles and miles of endless possibilities.

67.  Paper.  Because I use a lot of it!.

68.  The little fur-ball that likes to cuddle on the couch and keep me warm!

69.  Blue skies and sunshine.

70.  Peace and quiet and coffee.

71.  God's gift to women: chocolate.

72.  The fact that my mother is able to keep my sanity for me when I occasionally lose it. ;)

73.  Christian film-makers.

74.  Crunchy leaves on the ground.

75.  Freshly cleaned carpet.

**********

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of
the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17

**********

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is exactly one week from today?  This year definitely has flown by!  What are you doing to get ready for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

a colorful post

It's always a bit sad for me to watch the winter winds and rain move in and wash away the beautiful colors.  Fall is my favorite season, and around here, it comes all of a sudden and then in the blink of an eye it's gone.  But thankfully, I've got a lot of beautiful pictures to remember it by.  Here's a few that I haven't shared yet.










 This one doesn't really have fall colors, but I threw it in anyway
just because I think it's cool!

Here's one that I took the other night.  I nearly broke my neck getting it!  I was going to bed and as I was closing my curtains I just happened to look out at the moon.  It was gorgeous!  The wind was blowing and dark purple clouds were passing in front of it.  I grabbed my camera and dashed downstairs (tripping several times in the process) and nearly plowed down the front door trying to get outside before all of the clouds blew away.


I know it's blurry and grainy.  I still haven't figured out night shooting, but I love it anyway!

***********


Sarah and I finally got to go and see Courageous yesterday.  If you haven't seen it yet, go and see it.  That is a direct order!  Truly a life changing movie.  If we hadn't been the only ones in the theater I would have stood up and cheered at the end.  I couldn't believe that I was actually in a public theater watching such an awesome and convicting movie.  How many movies show a father give his daugher a promise ring and then actually carry out his side of the promise?   I could say more, but I won't ruin it for those who haven't seen it yet.  ;)





Sunday, November 13, 2011

blessed sabbath

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole aromor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

Ephesians 6:10-18

Thursday, November 10, 2011

100 things I'm thankful for - Part 2

26.  Brisk autumn mornings.

27.  Longer evenings produced by Daylight Savings.  (Thank you Benjamin Franklin!)

28.  The smell of wood burning.

29.  The ability and love for sewing.
                     
30.  Mama's cooking.  :)

31.  Grammy's sourdough bread.
                                   
32.  The fact that my best friend is my sister and she lives just across the hall.

33.  Chunky yarn and huge crochet hooks.

34.  Books that teach me better ways to do the things I love
                                                       
35.  The people that God places in my path to help me grow and learn.

36.  Country living.
                               
37.  Sweet strangers who say a kind word and brighten your day.

38.  The story of Ruth.

39.  Treasures from my past found in a trunk.
                                                          
40.  Family meals.

41.  Meaningful discussions.

42.  The wonderful colors God adorns His magnificent creation with this time of year.
43.  Thick, woolen socks.

44.  Quiet time to sit and read and ponder.

45.  A new camera.

46.  A bounty of new ideas hatching every day!

47.  Words of wisdom.

48.  The ability to be able to stay at home and serve my family.

49.  Sleepy days with nowhere to go.

50.  Home <3
                    

***********

Let them thank the Lord for his
steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the
children of man!
Psalms 107:8

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...well almost!

Secret project revealed!  My first MAJOR alteration adventure.  A friend gave me this lovely coat (a great blessing!) several weeks ago.  The shoulders and chest were about 2 inches too wide on both sides, so naturally, something had to be done!  I just stared at it for several days, terrified at the thought of ripping open a store bought coat.  But, once I actually took hold of the seam ripper it was very smooth sailing.  I'm very pleased with the outcome!