Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014~Be Still

New Year's Eve, already???

The older I get, or what I really should say is, the older our girls get...the faster time seems to go by.

2013 brought a lot of the same, and then some very big changes as well.

For the past several years, I have chosen just one word for the New Year.  In years past, I would make the long list of resolutions like most only to find that by mid-January I already felt like a complete failure.  So, I decided to be a little easier on myself. One simple word.

I realized last year that several of the "BIG" changes we all experienced in our lives came after we took time to stop and listen, to just be STILL.

After listening to ourselves, our hearts, our bodies, we made several changes.  Our oldest left a good paying job to pursue her dream of being a teacher, the youngest and I finally decided to quit taking our doctor's word for our health issues as the final say and found new doctors whom diagnosed many of the things we had already "known".  And in a rare, quiet moment over the Thanksgiving holiday...I took the time to listen to a gentle nudge from God...and because of that a little boy was diagnosed before any long term damage to his heart was done.

I chose to be "STILL" this year because I have found everything else just follows suit.  When I take the time to calm my heart, my mind, my body...the other things that normally would be on the "list" fall into place.  I am a better person, I am happier, I am more focused, I am more mindful of what I say and do, I am more prayerful, I am more intentional, I am healthier, and the list continues.

"The Lord will fight for you, you only need be still."  Exodus 14:14

Thank you for following along on this journey with me.  I love reading your comments and following along on your blogs as well.

Wishing you all a Happy and Safe New Year, and many blessings for 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Homemade Gifts are the Best!

I pray everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  So hard to believe it has come and gone, and we are awaiting yet another New Year.

We enjoyed having our girls at home.  Fortunately, our oldest got over the flu in record time (thank goodness for Tamiflu) and was able to join in on all the festivities.

After attending our Christmas Eve church service, we headed back home for hot oil fondue.  This started out as a New Year's Eve tradition, but as the girls got older and had plans of their own to ring in the New Year we moved it to Christmas Eve.  Our oldest's boyfriend joined us for dinner as well before heading home to his parents for the rest of the night.  The girls then decorated their gingerbread houses.

Christmas morning dawned, and I couldn't get over all the of the wonderful homemade gifts that my girls put together for hubby and I as well as for each other.

Here's a glimpse...

Lap desk made by the youngest for her sissy.

String art signs made by oldest for her sister and I. (youngest's says BU LOVE, sorry only picture I got)

Jute wrapped J made by youngest for me.  (both of these pieces will be a good start to a gallery wall)

The youngest took her dad's favorite picture of her ("Griffining" after a big Baylor win last year) and added the original of RG III underneath along with his quote. (the pink is just a sticker I added to block out her name for posting purposes)

The youngest etched wine glasses for her dad and I.  She also made a set of beer glasses for her sister's boyfriend with the Boston "B", as that is his favorite team.

The oldest knows her dad LOVES to cook, so homemade spice mixes were the perfect gift.

And, the youngest made me an Anthropologie inspired tote bag.

These will truly be cherished for years to come.

I also gave hubby one special gift this year.  It is a cutting board that I had engraved with the recipe for chicken divan I shared awhile back.  It was the very first dish he cooked for me when we were dating, and is still my favorite.

The engraving is a bit difficult to capture in a photo (again the pink is just blocking our names).  I ordered this from Damian's Woodworks on Etsy.  He was fantastic to work with, and local.  I love being able to support local businesses especially during the holidays.  The recipe is engraved in my handwriting making it extra special, and signed "The dish that won my heart".  Damian has so many beautiful products available for weddings, anniversaries and such.

But, I have to say the most special gift came last. I guess I should say "gifts" because not only did I receive one, but both of the girls did as well.

Our very first blue box...but what makes it so special is that each of us, the girls and I, received the very same necklace with the 3 keys..."the 3 of us" or as hubby refers to us "his girls".  Now that we aren't always together, it is a nice reminder that we are never far from each other's hearts.

I feel truly blessed to share my life with all of them, especially this time of year.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and Santa's Christmas Prayer~

Wishing you and yours a
very Merry Christmas!

Santa's Christmas Prayer

On Christmas Eve the other night
I saw the most amazing sight,
For there beneath the Christmas tree
Was Santa kneeling on his knee.
His countenance was different than
That all-familiar, jolly grin;
His head was bowed, with hand to breast,
And slightly tucked into his vest.
For there in a nativity
Was Jesus and His family,
And as I heard him start to pray
I listened close to what he'd say.
"Lord, You know that You're the reason
I take pleasure in this season.
I don't want to take Your place,
But just reflect Your wondrous grace.
I hope You'll help them understand
I'm just an ordinary man,
Who found a way to do Your will
By finding kids with needs to fill.
But all those centuries ago,
There was no way for me to know
That they would make so much of me,
And all the gifts beneath the tree.
They think I have some hidden power
Granted at the midnight hour,
But it is my love for You
Inspiring the things I do.
And so when they begin to open
Gifts for which they have been hoping,
May they give You all the glory,
For You're the One True Christmas story."

May we all remember the true meaning of Christmas this season!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Homemade Christmas Gift~

Wow, 2 more shopping days left!  How can that be?

I have a very dear friend whom I have known since my oldest was 18 months old (she will be 24 in January).  While we live close, within 2-3 miles of each other, we don't get to spend a lot of time together as she still has 2 at home (the youngest is 10).  We are however in the same weekly Bible study group, so we do see each other two mornings a week for that since we are both in Leader's council and then she is the Children's Director and I teach the children on Wednesday's.

Each year for birthday and Christmas, I like to give her a small gift as a token of our friendship.  Usually at Christmas time I put together a basket of goodies that the entire family can enjoy, along with a little something special for her.

After seeing the gift Tara made for her sister and brother-in-law, I knew something like that would be the perfect gift for my girlfriend.

Here is my version of the Thankful Box...

I purchased the box at Staples along with some 3X5 index cards.  I simply wrote the dates out on each card, varying the colors for each month.  I then cut some colored card stock to 3 1/2 X 5 1/2 to make the dividers.  I used my P-touch label maker to make the labels for each of the 12 months.  I then found 12 bible verses (along with the verse for the box cover) and printed them out to add to each month's card.  Most, of course, having to do with being thankful.

I love how it turned out!  I might even have to make one for myself.  It is a simple gift, but I know it is something she will enjoy during her quiet time.

We had a lovely time at our oldest's home last night.  She threw her first "adult" Christmas party.  It was nice to be a guest rather than a host for a change.  Everything was perfect!!

Unfortunately, she woke up with the flu this morning!  The doctor gave her a prescription for Tamiflu, so here's hoping it is short lived.  And, praying the rest of us don't get it.  Hubby and I haven't had it in YEARS.  And, we discovered our youngest has an egg sensitivity so I was leary about her getting the flu shot.  I know some say it isn't an issue, but I am not taking any chances.  She's been through enough medically this year.

The weather here today was dreadful...it has poured non-stop!  I did manage to get our Christmas cards printed, addressed and stamped...so out they go in the morning.  Since most are local, they will be there in plenty of time for Christmas.  The rest?  Well, better late than never.  (seems to be my motto these days)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Simply Christmas Home Tour~

The rain has finally stopped, the sun is shining, and I (and babygirl) survived the 12 hour car trip home from Texas!

So, I thought it was about time I gave you all the Christmas tour.

Ya'll Come On In (be prepared for picture overload)...

Welcome to our home~

Each year we buy live trees to place by the door, and then plant them in our backyard after the holidays. Our cedars from last year have gotten so big!
The skates belonged to our daughter, her 1st pair.
Swags on each of our porch posts.

Our entryway~

I love to use burlap ribbon for a bit of a natural feel.
A bit of red berries for some color.
This year I used a mix of burlap, plaid and red for a lodge style feel.
Love the mix of patterns and textures it creates.
A few wrapped gifts (or not...oldest wanted to know, guess she wanted to guess at what she got, truth be told-she knows her mom is crazy enough to wrap gifts just for show!)
The french doors leading to my office.  A monogram letter for each of us.

Our living room, turned library~

Our vintage white tree.  The tree is decorated with vintage Shiny Brite ornaments that my mother in law so graciously passed on to me.
A few of the ornaments...

My favorite rabbit decked out in his holiday finery, some evergreens, and Archipelago's Hope Holiday candle. Smells divine!
A sweet ivy topiary, a gift from a dear friend.  The shell mirror I diy'd a few years back.  Many a burnt finger from the glue gun on that one, but it was worth it!!

Our holiday village atop the piano. Love it lit up at night.

Our dining room~
A bit of glam, mercury glass, mixed with a bit of rustic, burlap and seagrass.

The kitchen, the heart (and stomach) of our home~

Merry Christmas banner from Target.  Super easy to assemble.

Boxwood wreath from West Elm. I have actually had this for a couple months now.  Just mist it every so often. It has held up really well.

Why be choosey?

Love my new Coton Colors Jolly platter.

And, every year they come out to play...our Annalee Elves.  And, fortunately for me there is no mischief involved with this crew.

Last, but not least, our family room.
Our 2013 Christmas Tree, and man is she a beauty!  All 14+ feet of her.  We had to buy a new ladder to reach the top.  Our youngest went with us to pick out a tree over Thanksgiving break.  I think going to school in Texas is wearing off on her and us.  You know what they say, EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS!!

A few wrapped packages.

Grab a cup of hot cocoa and relax

Our mantel.  A bit of faux greens, some real, some sugar pinecones, pretty ribbon and candles.

Found this fun bucket at Home Goods-perfect for holding those small packages you don't want to get lost under the tree.

Another tub I found at Home Goods.

A magnolia wreath with picked up at Whole Foods.  As it dries the leaves take on a pretty brown patina.  This can easily be stored and used again.

An early Christmas present from hubby.  I have wanted a Nativity for quite some time, but I wanted it to be something that was good quality and could be passed down eventually.  I chose the Willow Tree Nativity.  Funny story...I unpacked it all after Thanksgiving and realized the donkey was missing.  Of course, when I tell hubby he says, "your ass is missing?"  Oh how I wish it were mine! (this girl will admit to having a J-Lo booty!) LOL

A bit of winter white mixed with red winter berries.

Whew...how many times did you need to refill your coffee cup for that one?  Hope you enjoyed the tour.  I will be blogging on and off through the holidays as time allows.  These days I try to soak up all the time I get with my girls as it is not often!