Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: The Year in Review

Well, it has been a crazy year in our home! It is hard for me to even begin to recount all that we accomplished in the past twelve months. A year ago the only thing I was anticipating was a fabulous trip to Bermuda that my Mr. had purchased for us as a Christmas gift. That was a big deal for us and so exciting!

Bermuda 2014

As we entered the new year we realized that our home really needed some attention and toyed with the idea of selling the home and passing the work on to someone else. I wanted a dishwasher and getting one in  my kitchen was next to impossible, I thought. The idea of moving slowly faded from our radar as clearer heads prevailed (more like God said no), and we rolled up our sleeves and tore apart our kitchen, pantry and half bath. My husband said I have the most expensive dishwasher ever!

Silly girls!
Wrecking crew.

I became quite adept at cooking in a crock pot and small microwave oven. I learned way more about construction than I thought I ever wanted to know. I became keenly aware of all the behind-the-scenes things they don't show you on do-it-yourself television programs. I learned that my girls can really work hard and long hours like troopers. My husband showed me, once again, the lengths he will go to make my crazy dreams come true.

Dreamy kitchen
Our homeschooling experience changed this year. In the fall we set out on our own. For five or six years we worked with another family. We met once a week and reviewed together, sharing  resources and ideas.  We encouraged one another. To be honest, I don't know that I encouraged my dear friend as much as she did encouraged me. She was always so well prepared and often I felt like I was clumsily stumbling through. Our last class together was in May. Our children are getting older, one of her children graduated and the Lord has brought three new young ones into her life through adoption. Our season changed. It was sad on one hand but on the other comforting to know that it is God who establishes these seasons and provides us with exactly what we need when we need. We are learning how to do this on our own again and I think we are having fun in the journey. I will miss our unit celebrations and field trips with our friends.

April 2011 Unit Celebration. Year 4 Tapestry of Grace.
This year I learned what it means to be a church family. I learned that when many people each do a little we can accomplish beautiful things as we follow the orders of  our King; love one another as you have been loved. We had to part with a dear friend as she went home after a long illness. I know we will meet again and have been comforted recently as I think about this being the best Christmas she has ever known!

As I think of all the things I learned this year I would be remiss to not reflect on the lessons that are eternal. God has strengthened me and made me weak. He has provide for every need and he has re-prioritized my lists to highlight the things that are truly needful. As I look forward to the year ahead I know that whatever comes it will be according to the will of God. One word keeps rattling through my brain, poking out from dark corners and whispering to me when I am still. Content.  Be content. I think I will try to purpose myself to explore that more in the year ahead. I want to be able to say, as the apostle, Paul, did "...for have learned in whatever situation I am to be content". (Phil.4:11)

I did a lot and learned a lot this year. I turned fifty this year! I started my blog this year!  I finally got to see Washington D.C. I've learned more about myself, too. That can be a discussion for another time; it is enough for now that I am still learning. I am looking forward to whatever God has in store for me in 2015 and looking forward to what he does in your life, as well. Thanks for sharing the year with me. God willing, I will see you next year!

Linking up to Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesdays!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Comfort and Joy!

I love the Christmas season. I love the decorating and baking. I love wrapping presents and attending festive gatherings. I love wishing people a Merry Christmas. I love shopping for those special gifts that fit each person I am buying for and especially when that happens to coincide with a light snowfall. I am sad for those that think this time of the year is a hassle and express their disdain as they roll their eyes or huff their way through the checkout line. Did they loose the wonder of Christmas? Did they never know it?

My home has been a progressive decorating experiment this Christmas. I can't figure out what my style is, where it headed or what I want it to be. With two "new" rooms in my house this year I am having a hard time figuring out what to do with them in light of the fact the fact that most of my Christmas décor has a country feel to it. I think I have Decorating ADD in that I like too many different things that I cannot seem to make go together. I see the pretty pictures online where everything matches and all the balls on the  tree are one or two colors and they seemlessly carry that theme throughout all the home....not me!

I have decorations that my mom gave me that are older than me. There are decorations that I got when I was a small child. A certain plump little Mrs. Claus gets tucked in the back of the tree every year. Nobody knows she is there but me-and now you! There are decorations from Germany that I collected when I was in high school there. I love my nutcrackers!

Then there are the chickens! Yes, chickens. The first Christmas I knew my husband we went shopping at a mall and stopped at one of those stores that sets up just for the Christmas season with decorations for sale. My husband did not really celebrate Christmas as a child and so with seemingly no idea of what good Christmas decorations were he picked out this crazy rooster to go into my Christmas tree! I really liked him at the time and so after some light protests and a lot of laughter I agreed to put the bird in my tree. Mind you, the thing is about 11 inches tall and about 9 inches wide; not a small little ornament that can be hidden easily. Hiding it was not his intent. Front and center in tree stood the rooster and he got the name Cornelius Cluck.

That Christmas my parents (who really liked my new beau) thought they would play along. They purchased the female counterpart to our rooster and named her Henrietta La Poule which means The Hen in French. We all had a good laugh. Cute, I thought, and I can live with it for one Christmas.
Fast forward 19 years later.......

They look like they have mange or have molted. Their beaks have been glued and re-glued as well as there little chicken feet but they are still hanging in there and my husband simply would not hear of not having them in the tree. I have tried to leave them in the box but he notices immediately and now has the children fighting for their annual appearance in our tree. I am out numbered! So, what's a girl to do? I have embraced the chickens.

The picture of my girls about 6 years ago with their daddy and the
perfect Christmas tree.

I don't know how to make that eclectic tree go with the hutch that is in the same room but this year I am not that worried about it.

 My kitchen has changed from a decidedly country farm kitchen look to something more mature and contemporary and yet traditional. Which did not go with the decorations I used to put in there. So, without spending a bunch of money to do something different I worked with what I had.

Our kitchen island that is STILL not done.

Coffee, cocoa and tea station.

My great-grandmother's china tea cups.

Still need to finish window treatments.

Home Goods purchase this year to add some more sparkle!

The dining room has been a challenge, as well. I thought it would be easy with the color scheme in there but really hasn't been as easy as I thought. It's kinda like moving into a new home. You make initial plans that often turn out not being how you want to live in it. So, once everything is done you start over. It sounds crazy but I have read of many bloggers that have the same dysfunctional disorder. (Yes, mental disorders probably run in my family!) I am comfortable that how my dining room looks this year is only a test.

The needle point was a gift from a dear friend!


And so, this is our Christmas home this year. In every room I have chosen to remind myself, my family, and guests of JOY.

I remember someone explaining once that the anticipation leading up to a thing is part of the joy. Imagine Christmas excitement for a child if there were nothing leading up to it. Just BOOM-here's a gift. Anticipation is part of the whole thing! The reason for my joy; the reason for our celebration is Christ Jesus. All the carols, sparkle, the glitter, the beautiful, treasured things serve to remind me of the beauty that awaits me on that one glorious day when I will stand in the presence of the One who has given me these small glimpses of joy. I anticipate the day when I will be in the arms of the best Gift of all. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

 May Christ be the author of your joy this Christmas!

Linking to Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesdays #201

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Much To Be Thankful For

On my front porch....
Well, for someone who was totally against the idea of Autumn stealing away Summer's glory I sure have enjoyed this season; so much so that I haven't posted anything in over a month! There are several reasons but the long of and short of is that I am a procrastinator. Truly, this is character trait that I have perfected and usually am regretting regularly. I still have not completed the curtains for my kitchen that has been done for months and since I am confessing I will just tell you that I just started them this week. (Don't judge.)

I love the way the tips of the leaves were touched in red, like a paint brush.

We recently purchased a piece of furniture for the kitchen that we are in the process of turning into our rolling island. It was my job to sand it, prime it, and paint it which I did. The problem was that none of it stuck. I peeled the paint off in big pieces off one whole side. I have come the conclusion that the piece must have been waxed and thus no paint will adhere. I know there is a solution and I know I can find it on Pinterest but I have not gotten around to that either.

I have had a terrible time trying to get the house decorated for Autumn in the midst of still trying to find a permanent place for everything. I feel a bit out of sorts but feel that things are finally starting to come together. I have managed to take many pictures as I have enjoyed the leaves change, the days shorten and fireplaces awaken from their long slumber.

What is Autumn without a good bbq? Thankful for smoked pork and my man!

Thankful for my girls and  local fall fairs.

Thankful for backyard fires and roasting marshmallows.

 And in all of this Thanksgiving has snuck (again? is that a word?) up on me and I am reminded that there are seasons for everything and that nothing waits for me. Time comes and goes and takes no days off. I have much to be thankful for. I have my family; that given through natural means and that forged by the work of Christ. I am thankful for my hardworking husband who goes far beyond just providing for us. I am thankful for our home and all that God has put as stewards over. I am thankful for the finished work of Christ. I am thankful for the gift of being able to enjoy beauty in all the things I see.

Proof that occasionally I do bake for him. (Those who have been championing
his cause for a blueberry pie can rest easy.)

Thankful that I live in such a beautiful area!

Bittersweet growing on my arbor-I never planted it!

My back wall.

Happy Thanksgiving!