Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas House

Christmas is only ONE WEEK away, y'all!!  One teeny tiny little week!  The way this entire month has been going - that time is going to fly right by.  I thought I'd share a few pictures of  the holiday decorating I have done around the house.  Sorry they're not the best quality photos, but I just walked through the house with my phone and snapped  some quick pictures.

As you enter through the front door, you'll be greeted in the foyer by the smell of cinnamon from my wax burner.  This year I took the trees that usually stand on the porch, decorated them with some small ornaments and gold bows and placed them on the storage bench with a small wooden tray filled with scented pine cones and a candle   I'm very pleased with the effect!

The living room is where the Christmas tree lives.  I didn't go TOO overboard with the mantle this year.  (or... maybe I did)

For the dining area, I picked up an inexpensive little lighted tree decorated with some small candy ornaments to jazz up the coffee bar (I still want a pencil tree for this room one of these years!)

One of the (very few) benefits of not having a little one in the home any longer is that now I can set a tablescape and it stays there!  I kept things simple this year, but I think it's something I'll add to and work on in future years.

Have you gone all out with your holiday decorations this year?  I'd love to see your pictures!

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Inspiration: Spreading Christmas Cheer

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: December 14

It has been a week that has been, well... not exactly stress-free. Fortunately - as usually happens - everything works itself out and all is well with my soul.

I Am Thankful For:
Welcome Home kisses
The first snowfall
Snuggling up to stay warm
Having a generator for when the power goes out
Answered prayers
Chances to help out the Man of the House
When the internet comes back on sooner than estimated
Doing some Christmas shopping with the Female Offspring
Completed orders

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter Wonderland

It's difficult to truly get into the spirit of the Christmas season when the temperatures we mild.  At least that's the situation for me.  It just doesn't feel like Christmas time until the winter weather kicks in.  Give me some chilly temps and a few snow flurries and I start feeling like a happy little Christmas elf!

This past weekend, Winter decided to make its presence known a good two weeks before it's official arrival.   And this was no mild little cold front and some flurries. It was a full on winter storm with 10+ inches of snow!

All week long they had been predicting a slight chance of snow.  Maybe up to a half inch.  Nothing much at all, really.  By Thursday the weather man was saying... "perhaps 1 to 2 inches in some areas".

When I woke up Friday morning, that 1 to 2 inches they had predicted was already on the ground and the snow was pouring down.  At that point the forecast was for 3 to 6 inches.    And by 9am it was updated again to 6 to 9 inches.

By the time it was all said and done on Saturday - we ended up with over 10 inches of snow at our house!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

End of Autumn Recap

Technically, Autumn isn't over until the end of next week.  But with the first snowfall this past weekend and Christmas quickly approaching - I am in full Winter mode already.  Which makes this seem like the perfect time to recap my list of fall activities!  I've highlighted all the ones I completed in red, and in most cases added a little commentary...

  1. Make pumpkin muffins
  2. Read outside
  3. Go for a hike  - I certainly did! More than one!  And you can read all about it HERE  and HERE and HERE
  4. Enjoy a pumpkin spice latte  - or two... or three... or...
  5. Make a big pot of chili
  6. Watch a football game  - only pretty much every Sunday!  And a few Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays also.  We're a football loving family.
  7. Paint your nails a fall color
  8. Decorate the front door for fall
  9. Eat candy corn - much more than I should have.  🙄
  10. Burn cinnamon apple and/or pumpkin spice candles and/or wax melts 
  11. Go for a scenic drive to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage
  12. Take pictures of the fall colors - In all honesty, the fall color was  a little below average this year. I think the warm weather affected the trees and then every time leaves would start to change we would have a windy storm system come through and blow them all off the trees.  I did manage to sneak in a few colorful shots. 
  13. Watch a scary movie - The Man of the House took me to see "It".  Talk about one creepy clown!  Yikes!
  14. Wear a comfy sweater and the perfect pair of boots - It was so WARM this fall, I was wearing summer and transition outfits until December.
  15. Decorate the mantle with autumn touches
  16. Drink warm spiced apple cider
  17. Walk through crunchy fallen leaves - Took care of this one during one of my many hikes! 😁
  18. Made a delicious soup in the crockpot
  19. Snuggle under a blanket with a cup of tea and read a book on a chilly afternoon
  20. Celebrate my birthday in style
What are some of the fall activities you enjoyed this season?

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: December 7, 2017

Things were a little crazy in November and I didn't get around to posting my usual Thankful Thursday posts.  But as we find ourselves in the last month of 2017, I want to be sure to share my blessings and hear what others are thankful for as well.

I Am Thankful For:
Pulling out all the Christmas decorations
Christmas present planning
Staying up too late watching college football championship games
Lazy Sundays
White chicken chili cooking in the crockpot
Quiet mornings
Good bye kisses at the airport
BOGO meals at Zaxby's
Long distance "I love you" texts
Mucinex and Excedrin
Christmas cards
Christmas trees
Cinnamon gummy bears
Spending time with the Male Offspring
When the Man of the House comes home
Colder weather
A forecast for snow

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Change is Coming

The weather is about to change.
I know this because our trusty local weather person has been telling me so for over a week now. But even without their meterological knowledge, I could have told you that change was in the air from the very first thing this morning.  Before I even saw the sky full of gloomy gray clouds I could tell that fronts were on the move.  It was obvious when I woke up with a ridiculous amount of sinus pressure and a bad headache.

I'm not claiming my sinuses can correctly predict the weather.  It's not like I know if it's going to actually rain or not.  Or what the high temperature is going to be today.

But I certainly know for a fact when the weather is about to change.  Every. Single. Time.

Now... if you will please excuse me -  I'm off to search for some decongestant, a couple of Excedrin, and a cough drop.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Currently... December 2017

This year is almost over y'all!!  I'm still wondering what happened to November.  I'm pretty sure that just a few days ago it was my birthday and then all of a sudden - the entire month is gone.  It was such a whirlwind.  Besides my birthday and Thanksgiving, the Man of the House and I managed to get away for a few days to enjoy our 25th wedding anniversary.  It was a wonderful month!  And now we have December to enjoy...

Reading:  I've been focusing on a little light seasonal reading right now.  Some Debbie Macomber holiday stories like "Trading Christmas" and "Call Me Mrs. Miracle".  If anyone has any suggestions of books I should add to my To Be Read list in the new year, please leave me a comment!

Eating:  Let's just not even go there.  OK?

Working On:  Pretty much the same thing as just about every one else! Getting my house decorated for Christmas and getting the shopping completed.  

Enjoying:  Listening to Christmas music in the car!  I found the holiday channel on my XM radio and it has been going for a few weeks now.  The family may veto listening to Christmas music in the house before Thanksgiving, but when I'm alone in my car - I can listen to what I want!

Anticipating:  All of the upcoming Christmas festivities, obviously.  But also a little quiet time to relax.  The Man of the House has some time off coming up at the end of the year and I am looking forward to having him home for a little while.  I'm also looking forward to setting my goals for 2018.

Feeling:  As if there just aren't enough hours in the day

How is your December shaping up so far?

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Hike A Day

I hope each and every one of you had a delightful weekend.  I'm happy to share that we did.  This weekend we got to keep the grand kid for an over night.  Which we made the most of.

First things first, we took out (almost) weekly hike.  (Which meant I got the chance to try out the new back pack the Man of the House gave me for my birthday!)  We got a late start, it looked as if it might rain, and we had the grand kid along - so, we kept it easy and short this week.  We went back to Bent Creek to try a different path off the Hard Times trail head.  This time we walked up the Homestead Trail which follows the creek up to Lake Powhatan.

We saw some pretty cool things along our journey.  A snail hanging out on the trail marker...

Some fungi that reminded me of  sea shells or barnacles...

And some mushrooms growing on a moss covered log which looked as if fairies should live there...

The grand kid did fall on the trail and scraped up his elbow.  But he's fine.

Afterward, we took the grand kid to Toys R Us, and then to dinner at American Burger Company.  We spent the evening enjoying some ice cream cake and introducing the grand kid to E.T.  

Sunday was a day of catching up on laundry, crochet, and football.  Quiet and productive.  Always  a nice combination!

All it all, it was another wonderful weekend!    How was yours?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: November 2

I Am Thankful For:
A lazy rainy Saturday
The first cold and blustery day of the season
The first snowflakes
Lunch with my dad
The Male Offspring making dinner
Another birthday
Birthday wishes
A sushi lunch with the Female Offspring and her sweetie
The Man of the House bringing home dinner so I don't have to cook on my birthday
All my awesome presents
Leftovers for lunch
Twin spiders

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Currently... November 2017

November isn't just another special month to me.  I think you could honestly declare it to be the biggest month of my life!  The month kicks off today with my birthday.  I also married the love of my life during this month 25 years ago.  It's a pretty great time of year!


Reading:  I finished reading The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, which was very interesting; as well as She's Still There, which was awesome.  I thought I was going to be reading  The Boleyn King by Laura Anderson in October, but I had it confused with The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory - which is what actually I did read.   Now I'm working my way through a biography Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie, as well as  A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P Freeman.

Eating:  Um... what ever I want!!  While I'm going to try not to go too over the top crazy, I'm going to savor each of November's celebrations and all the tasty things that go along with it.  Including my free Starbuck's birthday drink.

Working On:  Can I say it?  Washcloths!  Yes, seriously!  I'm also working on trying to get out of the house a little more and expanding my social circle a little.  There are a couple of crafting and crochet/knit groups I'm going to check out.  And a program or two at the library I hope to attend.

Enjoying:  It probably sounds pretty cheesey, but I am going to go ahead and say "life" !

Anticipating: Obviously, the upcoming holiday season!  I'm more than ready for some turkey dinner and pumpkin pie.  Yummy!  

My Etsy shop is having its second annual Before Black Friday on the 17th.  This went really well last year and I'm praying it does as well, or better, this year. 

Mostly, I am anticipating celebrating our 25th anniversary with the Man of the House later this month!

Feeling:  So very incredibly blessed!!!

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: October 26, 2017

It's already time for the last Spirit of Gratitude post of October.  This month was a blur of goodness!  Next we head into November - the traditional month of thanksgiving here in the US.  While I consider any reason for expressing gratitude a good thing, let's remember not to contain our thankfulness to one day or one month.  It should be a regular, natural response to all the blessings around us every day.

I Am Thankful For:
Days spent with the Man of the House
A slide just for grown-ups

Listening to the Male Offspring play his guitar
The grand baby's laughter
Meeting new people
Watching the Man of the House and the Female Offspring take the Paqui One Chip Challenge

Waking up early
The first frosty mornings

What are you thankful for this week?

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

You Think You Know

Let me ask you a question.  Do you believe that God loves you? 

No... hold on.  Just pause and think about that one for a minute or two.

Sure, you know God loves you. Most of us grew up singing about it.   You remember - "Jesus loves me, this I know". 

But do you Believe it?  There is a difference.

The word geek in me just had to look up the definitions of both words

Know nō/  verb 
be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information

Believe bəˈlēv/  verb 
accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of

are aware of God's love.  You have the information.  It's not enough to just know you are loved.  You must believe it.  But if you're like me, maybe sometimes (most times?  all the time?)  you struggle to accept it and feel sure of it as truth.  

Why?  Why is it so hard to truly believe something you know?  Maybe you aren't aware of your own worth, so you doubt that you deserve His love. Maybe you think you've fallen so far, made so many mistakes that He couldn't possible still love you.  Maybe you have a basic understanding, but you don't have enough information to help you believe.

Sweet friend, I am here to tell you ...  He does.  He loves you.  He loves me. We are each unique and cherished masterpieces.  Nothing can ever separate us from that love.

So, how do we strengthen our belief?  I have 3 suggestions to help strengthen your faith in God's unconditional, unfailing love for us:

1)  Remind Yourself:
Every day, get into His Word.  Read it.  Learn it.  Memorize it.  And keep reminding yourself of His promises.  Write Bible verses about His love in a little notebook, on note cards or sticky notes.  Whenever you find yourself doubting it - pull them out and read them!  Here are a few to get you started -

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine." - Isaiah 43:1

" I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer" - Psalm 94:18-19

"I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me." - Proverbs 8:17

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."  -  Romans 8: 38-39

"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." - Ephesians 2:10

2) Ask For It
Ask Jesus in prayer to help you in your unbelief!  Ask Him to show his love to you and to open your eyes so you will be able to recognize it. Now, it's important to realize that you're not asking God to make you rich, or famous or whatever in order to prove He loves you.  You are asking for signs of His love.  And those signs often come in quiet, simple ways.  Which brings me to...

) Practice Gratitude:
Get yourself a journal or notebook, or just a piece of paper.  Every single day write down a few things you are grateful for right then.  When you are focused on recognizing all the blessings God has heaped into your life it quickly becomes easier to believe that He must truly love you!

"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart."  - Jeremiah 29:13

So...  now.  I'll ask you again.  Do you believe God loves you?  If not, which of these steps can you take  today to move you closer to that belief?  For me - it's all three!!


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