"No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
I can hardly believe that this is the last installment of my gratitude posts for 2018. This year just flew by. And what a year it was! Looking back, I can personally say there was far more good in this year than not. I pray that each and every one of you feels the same.
I Am Thankful For:
The Male Offspring's musical talent
The grand kid sharing his explanation of Christmas
The dog in a hat
Family Christmas gatherings
Time to relax
New hiking shoes
It's that time again... when I select one word to be my focus for the next year. Each year, I start praying about my word and thinking about it around October. Somehow the word always seems to find me rather than having to go looking for it. In past years that work has been Fearless, Better, and - most recently - Simplify.
For 2018 my word is: LOVE
I anticipate this year being a journey of three stages based on Matthew 22: 37-39...
"Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"
Love of God: Sinking deeper into His Word to develop a better understanding and appreciation of His great unconditional for myself and the world at large. As a result, I expect my own love for Jesus to deepen and mature
Love of Myself: Learning to love and appreciate myself for the unique individual God created me to be. Taking better care of myself - spiritually, emotionally, and physically through kindness, acceptance and grace.
Love of Others: Demonstrating LOVE to those around me. Especially family and friends. But also strangers and even to the seemingly unlovable.
It's officially winter y'all! Although you wouldn't have guessed by the 60+ degree days we had this week. It's been super busy - which is pretty normal for the week before Christmas. But it's also been a good week. Can't complain.
I Am Thankful For:
Getting the entire daily To Do list checked off
Christmas shopping completed
A movie date with both my guys
The Male Offspring wrapping presents
Presents shipped on time
A new phone
Picking my dad up at the airport
Watching rain drip off the porch railing
Visiting with my mom
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!
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
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
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!
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...
Make pumpkin muffins
Go for a hike - I certainly did! More than one! And you can read all about it HERE and HERE and HERE
Enjoy a pumpkin spice latte- or two... or three... or...
Make a big pot of chili
Watch a football game - only pretty much every Sunday! And a few Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays also. We're a football loving family.
Paint your nails a fall color
Decorate the front door for fall
Eat candy corn - much more than I should have. 🙄
Burn cinnamon apple and/or pumpkin spice candles and/or wax melts
Go for a scenic drive to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage
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.
Watch a scary movie - The Man of the House took me to see "It". Talk about one creepy clown! Yikes!
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.
Decorate the mantle with autumn touches -
Drink warm spiced apple cider
Walk through crunchy fallen leaves - Took care of this one during one of my many hikes! 😁
Made a delicious soup in the crockpot
Snuggle under a blanket with a cup of tea and read a book on a chilly afternoon
Celebrate my birthday in style
What are some of the fall activities you enjoyed this season?
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
White chicken chili cooking in the crockpot
Good bye kisses at the airport
BOGO meals at Zaxby's
Long distance "I love you" texts
Mucinex and Excedrin
Cinnamon gummy bears
Spending time with the Male Offspring
When the Man of the House comes home
A forecast for snow
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.
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
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?
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!