Tuesday, December 30, 2014


We came from three separate states and met at a log house in the mountains of western Maryland.

For all of us, it was our first time to celebrate the Christmas holiday away from our homes.
It was sixteen of us in number, eight adults and eight children aged eight and under.
I will only share a few of the highlights with you all, as there were many during our
short four-day stay.

The table above was set for our Christmas celebration breakfast.  Thanks to the Dollar
General Store, the flashing light glasses added a fun, festive touch.

Gifts were opened, with plenty of help always available.

On a side note, our son-in-law and his brothers recently shaved their heads, showing
support to their brother who is now going through chemotherapy. 

We played many different games, at all age levels.  This was an intensely competitive game
of Monopoly.  Properties were being bought and sold at a rapid pace.

The game of "Charades" was another game that added lots of laughter to our evening

Who knows how many games of Foosball were played.  Interestingly, the little guy
beat the big guy.

Painting and coloring were a constant activity by one or more children.  "Cheese-Its" were
the treat of choice quite often.

Since we live far apart, we needed time to get reacquainted with each
other,  which was especially true with the youngest member of our family.
Due to the creativity of our daughters, a "nail salon" was set up for three special little girls.
Anticipation was high, and much thought was put into the color selections.
Time was spent outdoors, walking the trail along the lake. 
There was even time for short lessons in nature to be given to the younger ones.
An invitation was extended to a special tea party, where much attention
to detail was given:)
Matching nightgowns for the girls and their dolls, were part
of their Christmas gifts.

The male members of our family stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) at some
of the meal preparations, and the clean up afterwards. 

Then, like everything in life, it came time to say goodbye, and go our separate ways.  I am
sure we will all treasure our memories of the four days together. 

I hope you all hold some special Christmas memories in your hearts.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I was in the midst of a sea of busy shoppers.  Everyone seemed focused and stressed. 
The Salvation Army bell kept clanging.  And then I heard it.  Playing over the store
intercom, above the constant noise of the crowd, were the words
of the song, "Mary, Did You Know".  For the next hour, my thoughts were
transferred from the demands of the moment, to thoughts of Mary.

I thought to myself, "Mary, did you know"?  Did you have any idea in your heart,
in the quietness of the stable surroundings, who the baby boy was that you had just
given birth to?  Did you have any idea Mary, that for hundreds of years in the
future, His birth would be celebrated, actually becoming the biggest holiday of
every year?  That His birth would be celebrated with lights, trees, gifts, gatherings
of families and friends?  That malls would be filled, that Amazon would hit
record highs in it's sales, and that the mail service and delivery services would
be on twenty four hour work schedules? 

I am most sure that she knew that the baby she held, was far more than just a
baby, but she could not have possibly conceived the significance and the
world wide celebrations that would be carried on, because of "Him".

Mark Lowry's song, with it's thought provoking lyrics, spoke to me in
the midst of the busy shopping day, and it continues to touch my heart
every time I hear it's words.
"Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will make a blind man see?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the hand of God?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the mute will speak, the praises of the lamb.
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great "I am".
Just in case you want to hear this song being song, my
daughter sent me this video a while ago, and I thought it
was beautifully shared;

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A few of my simple blessings on this Friday, before Christmas.

Two empty glass Starbuck's bottles, two small "Little Debbie" donuts, and two red/white
straws, made for two happy guys at snack time.

They did "cheers" with the bottles before partaking.

I received this magazine in the mail this week.  I won it in a drawing
by Suzanne Walcher.  She's is a blogger I met in the blogging world a
few years ago.  She received the honor of being featured in the "Artful
Blogger" magazine this month. 

As she quotes, she blogs about "the beautiful, the ordinary, and everything in between". 
I think she has a gifted way of sharing her heart thoughts, in such a special, transparent,
and loving way.  I always enjoy reading her posts, and think she truly deserves to be
in the "Artful Blogger".  Her photography skills are over-the-top!

This uniquely made wooden heart was included in the package she sent me.  What an
unexpected surprise.  You can find her blog here... www.privetandholly.com/

I like the tiny pack of pretty star ornaments that I found in the dollar bin at Target.  It helped
to dress up my tiny loaves of banana bread, that I made and gave, this Christmas.  The
package included the silver ties too.

Little gift boxes from the Michael's Store dollar bins.  The pack included
five of these takeout boxes.  Perfect for giving lip balm, or any tiny
gifts.  Would work for a muffin too.  Bows and tags complete the
Christmas favors.
Bottom line though, it does not matter how many stars or bows you add this Christmas. 
What does matter, is that you take the time to give to others, in one way or another. 
Giving always blesses others. Thanks to Suzanne's gift, I will never forget her kindness,
when I think about her.

Who would you like to give a bottle of milk and a donut to, today:)?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This evening, I was grocery shopping.  It was raining and cold.  I had just loaded the
groceries into my car, when I received a call from a friend who knew I was nearby.
She said she was baking Christmas cookies, and made a fresh pot of coffee, and thought maybe I would want to stop in and say "hi". What a fun and unexpected invitation, on such a dreary day. 

I walked into her kitchen, and was greeted by the wonderful aroma of freshly baked
cookies.  You may remember that I shared with you, a few years ago, her
gift of decorating for Christmas.  Today, I was reminded again of her ability to create such a beautiful, warm and "homey" atmosphere.

Simple, colorful, and always with touches of nature.  This is the window sill in her

The centerpiece on her dining table, was a wooden piece filled with colorful ornaments.
What an attractive way to dress up a table!

On her island was a creative vignette made up of greens and berries in a white pitcher, along
with touches of burlap on a black wicker tray.  The ornaments were gifts from a previous

On her kitchen counter was a white ironstone platter, with fruits and pinecones.  I liked the
look of it, although I must admit, I never would have thought to put the two together. 
What a creative approach to decorating.

The vintage looking napkins and the coordinating mugs with steaming hot coffee, offered
therapy on a discouraging day.  If you want to brighten someone's day,
call them and invite them over for a cup of coffee, spontaneously.  It will bless their day,
I promise. 

And, if you want to bless it even more, call them when you just pulled out a sheet of
cookies from the oven.  It is bound to lift spirits, even if your friend has been
running in and out of the rain for a few hours, and looks like she did...invite her in

Oh, and by the way, I found the Christmas tree display so attractively done, I asked her if I
could use it as my banner picture. She so graciously gave me that privilege.

Since blogging presents opportunities to step into other's homes and lives, I knew
you would appreciate seeing my friend's decorating gifts and talents.

Thank you for stopping by this evening.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"You're kidding...right?"
"They delight in your smile
They thrive on your approval,
They need your wisdom.
You are a source of life
and strength to your kids
in a way no one else
could ever be."

Like little wet sponges, they soak it all up, as they watch, imitate, and admire.

And, even when duty demands restroom time, they will be on the other side of the door...

So thankful for the gift of good dads this Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2014


As I looked around my home, I realize how my way of decorating for Christmas, is with
lights.  Hesitantly, I will share a few of my decorating vignettes. 

Once again, I filled my crystal bowl on the dining room table, with ornaments and a wire
strand of tiny lights intertwined throughout.  Crystal, colorful ornaments, and lights,
are the perfect combination in my book.

I added two glass dishes on either side, with a red poinsettia tea light in each one.

The light in the old wooden manager, that held a place of prominence in the home where
I grew up.  Every year, we looked forward to it being taken from the attic, and placed
wherever our mother chose to place it.  Even the straw is the same as back then.  But,
like me, it is getting a bit on the fragile side. However, the Nativity scene...... it's message
is stronger than ever!

I found this old transom frame (with mirror) in an antique barn recently, and chose
 to place it on my mantel.  I like it there, with all of it's character.. and the
lights add a festive touch, too.  (The walls of my living room are actually coffee colored,
but, thru the camera lens, they look green)

A few days ago, I read an idea in a magazine. offering quick decorating ideas for the
holidays.  It said to add a strand of lights around the powder room mirror.  I did, and
it makes me smile every time I see it. 

More lights, via the electric candles on the shelf in my dining room.

I placed an big apothecary jar filled with ornaments and a strand of
lights, on the old iron chair, by my front door.  As you can see, lights
are the predominant theme throughout my home.

A "Starbucks" beside my kitchen sink, adds another aspect of light.  I discovered this house in
the attic.  It was a gift to one of our girls, but for some reason, it remained in the attic,
until now.  I love having it sit by my sink, because it brings back happy memories for me,
of coffee times with friends over the years.

I share these few pictures with you, because I appreciate that you all shared bits and pieces
of your decorating ideas.  But, I share the pictures hesitantly, in light of the tears
and heartaches that many of you are dealing with now.  I do hope that it offers a bit of light
to your life today, along with the prayers extended for you.

"I am not alone at all, I thought.

 I was never alone at all.

 And that, of course, is the message of Christmas.

 We are never alone.

 Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest,

 the world seemingly most indifferent.

 For this is still the time God chooses."

 ~Taylor Caldwell

Thank you for stopping by today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are you trying to find some last minute gifts for certain people in your life?  I present
a fun gift that I discovered recently, when I also was in the same situation.  I was
walking the isles of the local Kohl's Store, and I came upon a Food Network section,
in the home goods section.  What really caught my eye, was the 50 percent off sale,
of the products.  First of all, I did not know that the Food Network started making
their own products.  I really liked the quality, design, and sturdiness of the glass
ware.  After all, people who specialize in kitchen life, should know what they are
doing when they create a new line, right?  If you ever find yourself in a Kohl's
store, you might want to check out their products.  I found something I chose to
use for my gift.
(coffee photo from Google)

The boxes that hold the tiny oranges, or halos, are sturdy, and I thought perhaps I could
recycle one of them, to hold the gift I was going to give.

With glue and tissue paper, I covered the bottom and the sides of the box. It was not an
easy feat to cover the box, using tissue paper, but I placing the tea towel on the bottom,
of the box, somewhat taking the attention away from the covering job:)  Tea towel from

Here is the purchase I made for my gift.  A porcelain soup and sandwich set.  I like that
it features a ridged area to place the cup of soup, and plenty of space for a sandwich on
the side.  I made a big pot of chili soup and froze it for over the holidays.  I put some
chili in a glass jar and froze it too. 

The plate and bowl fit into the recycled box perfectly.  I will place the jar of chili behind
the set.  I crushed some nachos and put them in a clear cellophane bag, since that is the
way we eat our chili.  A bowl of chili, a dollop of sour cream, and then we sprinkle on
top, crushed nachos.  Maybe the gift recipient will want to do that too.

When the time comes to give this gift, I will thaw the jar of chili, then wrap the entire
box in clear cellophane and add a green bow.  I am not sure why I am sharing this
simple idea, but I thought just maybe, the new Food Network product line, might
offer some needed and useful ideas for you. 

Today is a "hot soup" kind of day. 


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