Dec 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

As we remember the passing year and contemplate the new, my prayer for each of you in 2009 is that you enjoy many more days of joy than sadness and that the new year be filled with adventure, love, and joy. Live it to the fullest!

Happy New Year!

Dec 20, 2008

Merry Christmas!


What a busy week! Christmas week is just full to the brim with wrapping, last minute errands, and baking. I am finishing up my last few gifts to wrap tonight, I have an errand or two to do after church tomorrow, and I hope to bake Monday. I don't think I will have the time to blog after today until New Year's, so for my final post before Christmas I have a few things to share with you.

First, I want to show you a wonderful birthday gift I received from my daughter and her family. My birthday was a couple of weeks ago but everyone in our family has passed around a nasty virus so we were not able to get together as a family as we would normally do. My daughter called a few days ago to say she was near our house and she absolutely must stop by to drop off my birthday gift - so I could use it. Her children were sick so she ran up to the house and handed me the loveliest 4 foot white feather tree! It is just precious. She also gave me a wrapped box to open - and asked me to open it while she stood at the door with one eye on the kids in the car! I opened the box to find the most glorious mercury glass Christmas ornaments, each one carefully wrapped in tissue paper. There were also some sweet, sweet silver bird ornaments - I love birds! I was just thrilled with my gift and so grateful for my daughter and her husband, who freely shower me with love. I couldn't wait to place the tree in my living room on top of a library table and hang those gorgeous ornaments from their sweet white organza ribbons.

I thought my living room tree looked really pretty this year with it's red packages underneath - so I thought I would show it to you!

Yesterday my husband carried in a hunormous box from the postman! It was a gift from our dear friends CeeKay and her Hubby. Isn't this the prettiest Santa you've ever seen, with his white clothes and gorgeous porcelain hand painted face?
CeeKay also sent me some things for my birthday in the same box - some wonderful bath products in lavender (which would match my guest room, but I intend to use them myself!), a matching lavender candle, and a darling hot pink sleep mask. Do you thing it will work even for ME, Queen of Insomniacs, CeeKay? There was also a little green box to open. It contained seven, yes 7, pairs of pearl earrings, all in different shades. What a great gift!

Finally, before I say goodbye for a Christmas break, I want to share with you an excerpt from a book by Max Lucado, God Came Near. Lucado is a phenomenal writer. His style is easy to read and understand, even when the topic is complicated. The portion of the book that I am sharing with you today is a beautiful description of the birth of Jesus and the importance of it. It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of the holiday season - shopping, parties, gift giving, etc. But the reason for the season really is the birth of Jesus and the reason for His birth was to grow into adulthood and take the sins of the world on to Himself so that we can choose to believe and accept Him.

Just a Moment
by Max Lucado
It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment.

As moments go, that one appeared no different than any other. If you could somehow pick it up off the timeline and examine it, it would look exactly like the ones that have passed while you have read these words. It came and it went. It was preceded and succeeded by others just like it. It was one of the countless moments that have marked time since eternity became measurable.

But in reality, that particular moment was like none other. For through that segment of time a spectacular thing occurred. God became a man. While the creatures of earth walked unaware, Divinity arrived. Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb.

The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. And he who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl.

God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created.

God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother.

God had come near.

He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty.

For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt. He felt weak. He grew weary. He was afraid of failure. He was susceptible to wooing women. He got colds, burped, and had body odor. His feelings got hurt. His feet got tired. And his head ached.

To think of Jesus in such a light is—well, it seems almost irreverent, doesn’t it? It’s not something we like to do; it’s uncomfortable. It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation. Clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of his eyes. Pretend he never snored or blew his nose or hit his thumb with a hammer.

He’s easier to stomach that way. There is something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant, packaged, predictable.

But don’t do it. For heaven’s sake, don’t. Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out.

It all happened in a moment. In one moment … a most remarkable moment. The Word became flesh.

There will be another. The world will see another instantaneous transformation. You see, in becoming man, God made it possible for man to see God. When Jesus went home he left the back door open. As a result, “we will all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” (1 Corinthians 15:51–52)

The first moment of transformation went unnoticed by the world. But you can bet your sweet September that the second one won’t. The next time you use the phrase “just a moment, … ” remember that’s all the time it will take to change this world.

From God Came Near© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006) Max Lucado
I want to take this opportunity to wish each of you lovely ladies in this blogging community we all enjoy a very Merry Christmas. You have become true friends! May you and your families be blessed this Christmas by all God's best and may your New Year be filled with much love and joy.

Dec 18, 2008

What A Fun Christmas Card Swap We Had!

Jan, Jan & Tom's Place, hosted a Christmas card swap this December. It's been so much fun waiting for the cards to arrive and finding a little treasure inside each one! I mailed out ten cards to fellow bloggers, so I received ten cards back. Today all of us who participated in the card swap are posting about the experience and the lovely cards we received. I just want to thank Jan for her hard work in matching all of us up. I'm sure it was very time consuming - at a time when time is a premium! Thanks Jan! This was lots of fun! I've already made plans for what I want to do next year!

Here are the ten wonderful cards I received from old and new friends all over the country:

This card with pretty lacy cut out snowflakes on the front is from CeeKay, Thinkin' of Home. She even wrote her own cute little poem inside "I wish you a merry Christmas, I wish you happy blogging, I wish you clever posting, and a blog full New Year!" Cute, huh? CeeKay enclosed a cute little snowman ornament with her card. Thanks, CeeKay!

This pretty silver blue card came from Megan, Wondering DC. She sent the prettiest silver glittered snowflake ornament and a yummy recipe for gingerbread men. Thank you, Megan!

Joy, Joy To The Blog, sent this really sweet hand made Santa card with the glittering star. She included a sparkling snowflake ornament. She even decorated her envelope with a pretty cut out Christmas tree. Thank you, Joy!

Sue (no blog) sent this pretty night time holiday scene card with an ice skating penguin ornament inside! Thanks, Sue!

Laura, Our Scented Cottage, sent this great Christmas music CD enclosed in a snowman card. What a great idea Laura - thank you!

Our hostess Jan, Jan and Tom's Place, sent this beautiful blue snowflake card. She enclosed a gorgeous hand made angel (by CORA at Hidden Riches from Secret Places). Thank you, Jan!

Barbara, Happy Handwork, sent this pretty nativity scene card. She enclosed a vintage looking Santa postcard and a mango passion fruit herbal tea bag. Thanks, Barbara!

This pretty red poinsettia card came from Alaura, Cottage Rose. She added a Darjeeling tea bag. Thank you, Alaura!

Beverly, Tea Time and Roses, sent this white dove card. She also included a beautiful vintage looking winter scene postcard. Thank you, Beverly!

Sheila, Quintessential Magpie, sent this Bethlehem scene card. She enclosed 8 darling gift tags. I thought it was very interesting and clever that Sheila included scripture that the pictures on the tags reminded her of. For the snowman tag: Proverbs 17:22 "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." And for the deer tag: Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the high places." I loved it, Sheila - thank you!

The Christmas Card Swap was a low effort, but fun event. I recommend you try it next year! I appreciate the effort each of these ladies placed into their cards and gifts inside. What fun!
Merry Christmas, friends old and new!

Trim The Tree Thursday Week #5

Brett, Southern Hostess, is our host for Trim The Tree Thursday. This week I'd like to show you some pictures of my family room mantle. The bricks are painted a creamy ivory and I love the combination of whites. So I used all whites and silver this year on my mantle. The wreath is silver and crystals.

A few more random items around the house...

Christmas Spirit

Ro, A Hint of Home, recently gave me this great award. Thanks so much, Ro! Ro always has interesting posts and wonderful pictures of her beautiful home and town. She is a fabulous decorator.

Here are the rules for this award:
You must be a true Christmas lover to receive this award. The person to whom you give the award must also be in love with Christmas. You must link back to the person who gave you the award. You must list 5 things that you love about Christmas. If you can’t limit it to 5 things, then keep going till you run out of space! Pass the award along to as many people as you like. That can be 1 or 50. It’s up to you! But, you must pass it on to at least one person in order to keep the Christmas cheer going! Let your recipients know that you have tagged them by leaving them a comment.

Five Things I Love About Christmas:

1. Christmas is celebrating with joy, the birth of Jesus Christ. That is the most important reason I love Christmas!

2. I love getting together with family and friends - special foods and treats!

3. Special events like theater, concerts, home tours, etc. always make the holiday season fun!

4. I LOVE Christmas decorations - trees are my thing. Love 'em!

5. Seeing all of my family together!!!!
I'm passing the award on to Carolyn, Aiken House and Gardens. If you have never been to Carolyn's blog, it is a must see! She has a breathtaking home and her decorating skills are just incredible.

Dec 17, 2008


Pam at Gray Like Snuffie is hosting 'The A B C's of the Word'. Today's letter is "U".

"Uphold me according to your word that I may live and do not let me be ashamed of my hope."
Psalms 119:116

Sorry, But I'm Off On A Rant!

It's Christmas and I hate to sound grumpy but I discovered something recently that frankly, stunned me. Call me naive, but when people volunteer to participate in a swap, don't you expect that the participants are going to keep their promise and do it?

I participated in Foxglove, Fabric, and Folly's Very Vintage Christmas Swap as my very first swap this year. Heidi did a great job of matching people up and making all the necessary contacts. She's a very organized lady and has a beautiful blog filled with fun things - like her Very Vintage Halloween Swap and Very Vintage Valentine's Swap. Anyway, I had a GREAT swap experience! I was blessed to have had a wonderful swap partner who sent me the most fabulous box of goodies, as posted on December 16.

So here's my gripe. Why, oh why, would anyone go to the host blog and request to participate in a swap if they are not positive they are going to do it???? I just don't get it. Swaps are entirely voluntary. I was disappointed for a friend who participated in the swap and who kept her promise by sending a lovely package to her partner. Not only did she not receive a gift in return, but she has not heard a word of thanks or even a "got it, liked it, hated it, or whatever"! I am just awestruck that anyone, short of a total emergency, would do that. As I was getting ready to finish this post I stopped in to see Heidi's post today and she has actually posted about this very same topic, and quite well I might add. As hostess of the swap she has heard from what sounds like quite a few ladies who have sent their packages off and received nothing in return. Amazingly, she - THE HOSTESS, is one of them! Can you imagine?

Everyone understands when something happens to unavoidably prevent someone from keeping a commitment like a swap. We all know that when push comes to shove, our own family commitments take precedents. But we also know that a situation preventing a follow through does not happen that often. We know in advance of signing up for a swap what our financial and time situation is going to be like for the holiday weeks. As Heidi said in her post today, all one has to do in a circumstance which truly prevents a follow through is to contact the host or the swap partner. I actually had a very urgent situation with my father happening during the entire month of November. Making a 600 mile trip twice in two weeks, having two infusions, and getting sick myself seriously cut into my Christmas prep time. I did have to alter my original plan for the gifts I wanted to send my swap partner, but I did the best I could and got a relatively decent package off to her the first week in December. I definitely got the better end of that bargain - Mary sent me wonderful, thoughtful gifts. I just cannot imagine simply standing up a partner short of a total emergency.

In the stressful world we live in I realize a swap is pretty low priority. Gotta keep things in perspective. We all love blogging or we wouldn't do it. But it's not, nor should it be, our top priority. I'm pretty much done with my rant now...

But think about this one more thing when signing up for a swap...

We do not ALL have loving families to spend Christmas with and trees with gifts underneath. Imagine that YOUR swap gift is your partners ONLY gift.

Dec 16, 2008

A Very Vintage Christmas Swap

Heidi, Foxgloves, Fabric, and Folly, was the hostess and organizer of A Very Vintage Christmas Swap. She matched all of us who wished to participate in the gift exchange in November and our packages were to be sent to our partner in early December.

I was blessed to meet a new friend during the swap. My swap partner, Mary, "The Merry Mermaid" of Seashore Days is a really nice woman with a beautiful blog. Mary posts about her family, her beautifully decorated home in California, entertaining, and her passion - acting in community theater. I had never visited Seashore Days before the Vintage Christmas swap and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Mary this month. Be sure to stop by Seashore Days soon and get to know the Merry Mermaid!

Mary sent me the loveliest package! The time and care she placed in the choosing of gifts was evident.

The box was this darling vintage inspired Santa "art".

This is what I found when I opened the package...sweet little packages carefully wrapped with a card on top to greet me!

Look at all the lovely little things for me to explore and check out the cute flip flop card!

The first item I opened was this adorable fluffy pink feathered bird! Isn't it just precious?

I had to stop to immediately deliver this bit of fluff to the place I knew she had to live - right under my white feather tree in my guest room. Doesn't she look sweet on that lavender silk?

Next out of the box was this darling vintage Santa cup. I remember these cups from my childhood - mother had an entire set. How did you know, Mary? There was an extra little surprise inside the cup - a scrolled stamp with a sweet little bird.

Honest, Mary and I have never met, but if you know me at all you know there is little I love more than the beach and seashells! Is this glittered shell ornament gorgeous or what???

A precious little blue and white angel holding a cup for a small candle - so sweet.

A handcrafted English cup with red poinsettias painted on - how lovely!

Even a sweet little pack of personalized tissues for my purse! Mary, you thought of everything!!

Finally, the last gift in this wonderful package from Mary - this gorgeous glittered and jeweled snowflake. I knew immediately where this beauty had to be displayed - on my pink feather tree...perfect!

As you can see I had a wonderful Very Vintage Christmas Swap experience. Thank you Mary, for your fabulous gift package! And thank you, Heidi, for all your work in organizing the swap.