Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My One Word: FEARLESS

When I first began thinking and praying on my one word for 2014 I never imagined that fearless would be revealed to me. In all honesty, when I began thinking along the lines of "fearless" - I had a moment.

 I mean...Fearless?

Really?

You must have the wrong gal.  If there is one thing I am not - it's fearless.

But it kept coming up:

"Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged" (Joshua 8:1).

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7)

"So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6)

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7)

"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news, that will cause great joy for all people'" (Luke 2:10)

Everywhere I turned, the message of fearlessness, courage, and bravery seemed to be in my face. Why, even the women's Bible study at my church for the new year is "I am BOLDER than..."


So apparently there it is... my word for 2014: Fearless.



To live free from the "what ifs".  Free from worry.  Free from anxiety - about what could happen, might happen, or should happen.

It is trusting. Trusting God's plan for my life. Trusting His word.  Having faith that He has plans to prosper me and not to bring me harm (Jeremiah 29:11).Belief that He came so I could live an abundant life. (John 10:10) That he will supply for all my needs (Philippians 4:19).

It means facing situations and circumstances that scare me.  Taking a deep breath and stepping into the fear - in faith.  Knowing that while I might not be strong or courageous enough on my own, I can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13)

Not letting the fear of failure stop me from doing what I feel called to do.  Knowing that if it is meant to be, I can't fail. And if I fall on my face, it wasn't meant to be and the Lord will pick me up and set me back on the right path.

Trusting in God's plan for me.  Walking in obedience.  Using the Lord as my strength and shield. (Psalm 28:7) My refuge and my help (Psalm 91:2).

Living a year of faith, abundance, strength, and obedience.

Fearless.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Waiting to be Lifted

"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand"
 ~ Psalm 40: 1-2

What is easier to lift?   A child squirming, and fussing - or a child sitting patiently with arms lifted to you?

The second one, right?

But me... I'm not so good at the "waited patiently" part.

I try to wait on the Lord.  I try to trust.  To pray.  To believe.



But I still find myself trying to go my own way.  To handle things my own way.  To do my own thing.

When all I really have to do is wait patiently and cry out to the Lord.  He will hear me and show me the way.  He will lift me and give me a firm place to stand.

If only I can learn to wait patiently for His will and His way.  Not mine.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Calm After The Storm (Repost)

  *originally posted on December 27, 2011*

Shhh...  do you hear that?  Yeah, neither do I. 

That, my friends, is the sound of silence.  My house is once again quiet.  After all the endless chatter, laughter, people coming and going, and even a little yelling - silence now hangs heavy in the air.  After the madness and mayhem of Christmas I enjoying taking a few minutes to close my eyes, take a deep breath, and feel it all around me.  It's peaceful.  I can hear my own thoughts again. 

My home still looks as if Christmas walked in and threw up in each and every room.  The fridge is still packed full of leftovers which must be dealt with.  And yes, there are still a few gifts that need to be packaged up and delivered.  But all that can wait for a bit.

For just now, I revel in the nothingness of the moment.  
 
 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

These People

"These people are grumblers and fault finders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage." ~ Jude 1:16

I know these people...

I have been one of these people...

I'm afraid some most days I am still one of these people.

I pray the Lord will help to not be a grumbler and fault finder.

To follow Him rather than my own ways.  Not to boast about myself; but to give Him the glory. 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Manger Moment

God came into the world on a dark night all those many years ago.  He chose to step down from the glory of His throne in heaven into the ordinary, sin-filled world.  To meet us right here where we were.



He still does.

If we call to Him, He will come and meet us right here.  Where ever we are.  In the darkest night.  Surrounded by animals.  In a place that stinks.  He will be there.  In your world. 

Just like the night He was born of a woman into our world.  Just has He came to save us then - He will save us now.  All we have to do is find room for Him.  A manger within our hearts.

Where and when is your manger moment?  That moment you opened your heart and let Jesus enter into your world. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Do Not Throw Away Your Confidence



"Do not throw away your confidence..."

Be confident in God.  Be brave with God. Be fearless in obedience. Persevere in doing God's will.

Confident.  Brave.  Fearless.

Fight the good fight.  Run the race. Win the prize.

In Christ...

Through Christ...

With Christ...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What To Do During Cold Winter Days


Winter has arrived.  A new season means a whole new list of things I want to try/accomplish/achieve.  A brand new To-Do list begins.

  • Go for a walk in the snow
  • Begin working to building up inventory for Queen B's Busy Work
  • Make homemade cocoa mix
  • Finish at least the first book in the Game of Thrones series
  • Work out more frequently
  •  Bake some bread (I've got a bread maker around here somewhere)
  • Come up with a brilliant Valentine idea to surprise the Man of the House
  • Clean out and organize the storage closet (seems like a good project for a cold winter's day)


Friday, December 20, 2013

How I Spent The Autumn Days

If you recall, way back on the first day of Autumn I created a fall to-do list of things I wanted to accomplish before Winter rolled around.  And you may just be wondering how I did on completing that list.  (probably not... but let's pretend, ok? Ok.)  Well, for the curious - here's a little update on the last day of Autumn. 


  1. Go on a hike (or two, or three... or five)
  2. Go on a hike by myself
  3. Make pumpkin muffins (lots of them!)
  4. Visit a corn maze
  5. Learn to make risotto
  6. Start (and finish) some homemade Christmas presents
  7. Make pumpkin pancakes from scratch
  8. Decorate the porch for autumn  
  9. Get a new family portrait 
  10. Try out some of the cute fall outfit ideas I have on my Pinterest board
  11. Give some old sweaters new life
  12. Do some sewing projects
  13. Schedule some date nights with the Man of the House
  14. Crochet a beautiful new scarf - for myself!
  15. Remodel the hall bathroom 
My first ever attempt at making risotto!
Not too bad, all things considered. A few things which I never got around to, but for the most part I feel as if it were a successful fall season. 

Now - on to Winter!  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Naughty and Nice

After reading chambanachik's recent blog entry of "Love/Do Not Love (No. 4: Christmas Edition)" I was inspired to come up with my own little list of what I find naughty and nice about the Christmas season. So, without any further ado - Here we go!

credit: integrityhr.com

Nice:
  • Christmas music: any and all... from Silent Night to Jingle Bells.  I enjoy listening.  I enjoy singing along (loudly and off-key) even more!
  • Peppermint: It's one of those things that for most of the year I can take it or leave it.  But once Thanksgiving rolls past, I am suddenly all about the mint... peppermint patties, peppermint mocha, peppermint bark, peppermint cocoa, candy canes...  And have you tried the mint M&M's? Yummy!!  (A similar thing happens with candy corn in autumn, and jelly beans around Easter - but that's fodder for another post.)
  • Christmas lights: this is where more = better in my opinion.  No, we don't put them up.  But I am so happy others do!  I love driving down the road on some after dark errand and spotting Christmas lights up ahead.  And one of my favorite family traditions is piling everyone in the car to see the Lake Julian Festival of Lights each year.
  • Watching Christmas Specials/Movies: Few things take me right back to my childhood like watching all the animated Christmas shows like Rudolph, Frosty, and of course... the Grinch! I also enjoy the non-animated Christmas movies which are an absolute must for viewing at this time of year: A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and Elf are tops on the list. 
  • Christmas Cookies: Really?  Do I need to say any more?  
  • Festive holiday wear: I am just going to admit it... I have been rocking the red and green color combo for a few weeks now.  And yes.. I own and wear some little jingle bell earrings.  And ones shaped like candy canes.  Fashion don't? Maybe.  But it's only for about a month each year.  And it's just so much darn fun! (and no.. this does not include sweaters with Santa, or animals of any type. See: Naughty)
  • Salvation Army Bell Ringers: There they stand,exposed to all the elements, ringing that little bell non-stop for hours on end.  It would be enough to make me insane.  But somehow the ones I pass always seem full of the holiday spirit and wish me a "Merry Christmas" as I walk past - even when I don't stop to drop some change in the bucket.
  • Having the Man of the House and the kiddos home for a week: Christmas break.  A time of lazy mornings and staying up late.  No work.  No school.  A lovely escape from day to day life for a while.
  • Christmas eve service: I don't know what it is about this church service; but I prefer Christmas eve over Christmas morning.  Maybe I still have a little Catholic girl in me yet.. longing for some midnight mass. 

Naughty:
  • Grumpy people: I've already touched on this subject in the entry "A Little Grinch In All of Us", but it bears repeating.  Yes, the stores are crowded.  Yes, we are all busy and in a hurry.  That doesn't give anyone permission to be even more of a Grinch than usual.  
  • Gingerbread: Just not a fan.
  • Those commercials with the kids asking Santa for a car: What does a 10 year old need with a Ford?  I just don't get it.  
  • Unseasonably warm weather: I want to see some snowflakes! I'm not asking for a big ol' snowstorm, but some flurries would be nice. Or a happy little dusting of snow - just enough to give a pretty coating of white to everything.
  • Ugly Christmas Sweater parties: and the sweaters which inspired them.  There, I said it. 
  • Being away from my sisters: yes, I know they'll be here a few days after Christmas to visit.  But I still miss them on Christmas.  I mean, we were together almost every Christmas for the first 21 years of my life. They are as much a part of my early Christmas' as Santa Claus!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Remind You of Someone? (repost)

**originally posted December 3, 2012**

I have always loved this quote: "Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy."




It recently occurred to me, that sounds a lot like Someone else I know...

Yes, there is a God. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas In Print

I am completely obsessed... with printables!

You know... those fun little designs (often "subway art") that show up all over Pinterest.  Many you can find online are free to download and use for personal use.

And believe me... I am taking full advantage of these little gems! I've used one for my new bathroom decor, which I'll share another time.

Right now I want to share some of the lovely Christmas printables I found online. 



I printed these out and placed them in the frames which hang on my lovely handcrafted iron hook rack (made for me by my own father).  Along with a cute cookie press and my pretty little glass "P" they make a festive little display for the dining room wall!

 Sadly.. I didn't thing about bookmarking the places I found the beautiful designs.  And I almost didn't post this because I wasn't able to share the creative designers and give them proper credit.  I feel awful about that.  So, if you recognize your own or someone's design - PLEASE let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa? Or Scrooge?

The female off spring and I made a little side trip to the local mall the other day just so the grand baby could see that famous jolly old elf.  You know... the one who's little round belly shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly.  Yes... Santa.  The Clause.  Kris Kringle.  Father Christmas.  The big guy at the North Pole.

Two things struck me on our rather disappointing trip.

First.. Santa wasn't even there.  Nope.  Santa being as busy as he is this time of year couldn't be bothered to sit and listen to the wish lists of little kids at about 11:00 am on a weekday.  He has a schedule.  And wouldn't make an appearance until 4:00 pm on that day.

Second... Had Santa in fact been on duty at the time we arrived; he would be happy to "talk" to our little guy.  But if we wanted a photo we better not even think about pulling out a camera, cell phone, or tablet for a quick shot.  Not even one quick personal snapshot.  The privilege of a photo with Santa comes at a cost.  Starting at $16 for ONE 4x6 digital print to be precise.

SIXTEEN DOLLARS!

Call me cheap... but I can get a 4x6 digital print made at most any drug store for less than a dollar.  In fact I can get two or three for about a dollar.  Which is the reason I am in complete and total shock that someone would charge $16 for one with the dude in the red suit.  

C'mon people! It's Christmas for goodness sake!! And many parents are scraping to be able to purchase a few nice gifts for their kids.  All they want is one little snapshot to capture this fleeting moment of childhood and belief in their offspring.  And now you charge them $16 for one little photo with Santa??

So much for the Christmas spirit!!

Sounds more like something Scrooge would dream up to me...

photo credit: stltoday.co



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cheer to All Whos, Far and Near... (repost)

**originally posted on November 29, 2011 - now reposted with small revisions**

I have a confession...

I love all those Christmas specials meant for the kids.  Adore them.  They may very well be my favorite part of the season!  Christmas is not complete for me unless I can indulge myself in episodes of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and The Year Without a Santa Claus. 
 
 Of all the Christmas specials - my very favorite is How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  Not that cheesy, twisted movie version.  The classic.  The cartoon version from 1966 narrated by Boris Karloff.  The "real" Grinch.


 
There's just something about that grumpy, mean, Christmas stealing ol' Grinch.  With his too tight shoes, and his head not screwed on just right.  Little Cindy Lou Who (who was no more than two).  Poor little Max.  And that moment when the Grinch feels the true meaning of Christmas come through and he finds the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!  Who doesn't get all warm and fuzzy feeling when the Grinch's small heart grows three sizes that day? 

It's enough to make my small heart grow three sizes also!  Every single time!

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Twelve Days of Christmas

For the first 12 days of December this year, I recreated the Twelve Days of Christmas for my true love... sorta.

I gave The Man of the House a small gift each day to represent the gift from that day of the song.  I had a ton of fun coming up with stuff to be a symbols of each day!  And got some help from the female offspring along the way.  Some were obvious.  Some I was really reaching for.  Some were just plain silly!

Here's how my 12 days of Christmas turned out:

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a partridge in a pear tree.  Or... a bird ornament on a pear drink.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 2 "turtle"doves

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 3 french hens.  ( But apparently not a camera, since I seem to have somehow missed taking a picture this day!)  It was a package of Christmas peeps.  The peppermint kind dipped in dark chocolate.  I asked them if they were, in fact, French and they responded "Mais, Oui!" But the accent was iffy, so I still have my doubts.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 4 calling birds
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 5 gold rings
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 6 geese a laying. And with all those eggs, you're gonna need a whisk!
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 7 swans a swimming

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 8 maids a milking (swiss maids...)
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 9 ladies (disco) dancing
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 10 lords a leaping
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 11 pipers piping
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 12 drummers drumming

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Responding Like A Shepherd

"The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told" ~ Luke 2:20



We see little miracles around us everyday. 

God's will at work in our lives. 

The goodness of His grace and mercy.  

The fulfillment of His promises. 

Do we respond like the shepherds? Glorifying and praising.  

Or do we simply shrug our shoulders and move on with our busy lives. 

Never stopping to wonder at it all.

To give glory for it all.  

To praise the One who gives us all things.

I want to be like the shepherds.  Recognizing the blessings around me.  The miracles in my life.  Glorifying and praising God for all the things I hear and see.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Little Grinch in All Of Us (repost)

*originally posted December 19, 2011*



What ever happened to good will toward man?  The Christmas spirit?  Isn't this time of year supposed to bring out the best in people?  Even the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes at Christmas!  And yet...  I seem to be living in a town full of Scrooges.

I have had more people pull out into traffic right in front of me in the past week than the entire rest of the year.  And the ones that aren't pulling out in front of me, or cutting me off - are the ones riding my bumper.

Then there was the woman in line at the store in front of me who was clearly well over the "20 items or less".   She didn't think that requirement applied to her.  Or maybe she just thought it was more of a suggestion than anything else.  Who knows.  But as if ignoring the 20 item limit wasn't rude enough - she had to also complain about everything involved with her transaction.  How it was being bagged.  Didn't the cashier have a bag for the giant box containing the slow cooker she was purchasing?  Why did she have to sign a receipt for her credit card purchase when she had done the transaction on the little swipe pad thing already? 

And of course the people who stand in line and huff and puff and fidget because things aren't moving fast enough.  Sorry people - but you know it's the holidays.  You know the stores are going to be crowded.  So is the post office. You should well expect that you are going to have to wait in line.  Sighing deeply to yourself over and over isn't going to change that fact.

I'm choosing to try a new tactic in dealing with all the ill-will around me.  I paste on a big ol' smile and kill them with kindness.  Will it change all those around me?  Probably not.  But it can still have a reward all its own.  For as the saying goes -

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In The Center of It All

I snagged this idea off my sister's Pinterest board.  (And now I'm having trouble locating it, to share the link with all of you... sigh...)  

As soon as I saw it, I was infatuated and just had to recreate it for the centerpiece on my table! 

Soooo simple!  A tray, 3 small piller candles, and some jingle bells.



That's it!  Cute, simple, Christmas-y!  I love it!

Now I just have to figure out how to keep the grand baby (and the cat)  from playing with the jingle bells. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Good Morning!

Woke up the other day with this song playing in my mind.
 It has to be a good day with a sound track like that following you around in your head!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

What Made Me Smile: Prints in the Snow



When it last snowed here on the day before Thanksgiving,  I was pleasantly surprised to look out on my back porch and see little bird footprints in the snow.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Few Of My Favorite Finds

Two things I adore...

Christmas decorations...  and good deals!

This is both!



I found these adorable little pillows in the Target dollar spot for only $3 each! 

Perfect for scattering around the couches in the living room for a little festive touch.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Plug It Up

Did you know that Starbucks will give you these little green stopper thingies for your cup? I didn't!  Until this past weekend.

Oh, happy day!!



I always have the problem of a little coffee sloshing out of the opening for drinking and getting all over my hand.

If only I had known sooner that these were available! 

Now I won't have to walk around Target licking the back of my hand anymore.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How Many?

I don't want to alarm anyone here... but I just realized that today is December 5. 

Which means there are only 19 days left until Christmas. 



19 days people!! 

And while I am pleased with how all the prep for Christmas is going so far, there is still MUCH to be crossed off the notorious To Do list.

I'm trying not to panic here.  Just relax.  Take each task, each day, as it comes.  And enjoy the season without too much stress or chaos. 

How's your holiday To Do list coming?

Leftover Turkey Chili

If you're like me, you often find yourself wondering What to do with all that leftover turkey from the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals?  There always comes that point when everyone is sick and tired of turkey in all it's forms. That's when I disguise it in a simple chili!


Dice about 2 cups of leftover turkey.  I use a nice mix of white and dark meat.

Add beans.  I used 2 cans each of kidney and black beans. 

Mix 2 large cans crushed tomatoes, 1 small can tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, a teaspoon of dried cilantro, and a dash of cinnamon.


Bring to a slow boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for atleast 1 hour.

YUMMY!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In A Basket

Let's talk baskets for a minute.  Gift baskets that is.

I enjoy creating gift baskets for people.  Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and of course... Christmas!



For the past few years I have tried to come up with a fun, creative gift basket idea for one of my brothers in law and his wife.

Last year it was a Coffee Lovers basket.  Simple enough...
*Single pot bags of coffee
*Chocolate covered espresso beans
*Coffee chocolate
*A bottle of coffee stout
*etc, etc, etc...

I think my favorite was a couple of years ago when we did the "You're on Santa's Naughty List" basket for them...
*An ugly tie for him
*Socks for her
*Some candy "Coal"
*Pretzel "sticks"
*Reindeer (or maybe it was snowman) poop candy
*A bottle of Lump of Coal stout

Of course I also do the usual sort of baskets... movie night, family game night, pampering.

I am in the middle of trying to come up with ideas for this year.  So, PLEASE share!  What about you?  Do you create gift baskets to give others?  What are some of your favorite/most creative ideas?

Renew and Refresh

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10:41-42

Martha had company arriving.  There was food to prepare.  Cleaning to be done.  Shopping to complete.

Sound familiar?

It's easy to get caught up in all the "To Do's" of the Christmas season.  


To feel overwhelmed with all the cleaning, shopping, wrapping, baking, entertaining, visiting, etc, etc, etc that "needs" to be done during this time of year. 

But stop... 

Imagine Jesus leaning close, looking patiently into your eyes, and telling you..  "You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one.  Chose what is better, and it will not be taken from you."

Rest in Him.  Take time from your busy schedule to sit quietly in His presence.  Read His Word.  Talk with Him.  Remember what the season is really about.  



Renew and refresh your soul.   

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Calendar to Encourage Young Readers

Here's an idea to countdown to Christmas while encouraging reading in your home!

Over the last several months, my daughter purchased 24 books for the grand baby and set them back. 

They have all been wrapped and are sitting under the tree.






Next, we got a simple advent calendar at Michael's.  She put a little Christmas sticker on each day and a matching sticker on each of the presents.





Each night in December leading up to Christmas, he gets to open the door on the Advent calendar.  Then he is allowed to find the gift with the matching sticker and open that also.  The book he opens is his bedtime story for that evening. 

I think this is a wonderful way to grow a child's personal library and encourage the love of reading while counting down the days to Christmas!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Welcome to December

It's December y'all!!

The holidays are upon us and this year of 2013 will soon be ending. In the blink of an eye if this last month goes by like all of the rest!

I've got lots and lots in store for all of you this month.  Some new stuff, some old stuff, some crafty stuff, some faith stuff, and some crazy stuff. 

If you were around this time last year, you may remember that I was being a real Mrs Grinch.  (More about that HERE) We were trying to wrap up a major living room remodel, and I was having a hard time getting into the spirit of the season. 



This year is different. 

This year, I am excited about decorating the house.  Celebrating with my family.  Observing the birth of our Savior.  I've been spending a lot of time on Pinterest (maybe more than is healthy)  All that's going to show in my blog posts.

So... fix yourself a cup of cocoa.  Snuggle up under your favorite soft throw.  And lets do this Christmas season right this year!! 

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