Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

One Thousand Gifts: #89-#110

Continuing the praise with Ann and the Gratitude Community

I’ve been slacking on blog posting during the holidays… and apparently well into January… but happy to report that I have not stopped being grateful. 🙂  Here are some little and not-so-little blessings of the last few weeks… and a promise from me to make more notes of what I am grateful for to share with you!

89) a white Christmas — flurries in Memphis, snow covering the ground in Nashville… that’s a white Christmas in the South!

90) the beauty of snow-glazed trees on the drive down I-40…

91) my little boy who is more excited to give than to receive gifts…

92) and who gets most excited about the presents that to us are materially small.  The “big gift” in his eyes last year?  A pear from Santa.  The “big gifts” this year?  That Santa remembered to bring a pear again… and a little Jelly Belly jelly bean machine.

93) spending time with extended family… some of whom I haven’t seen in a few years… at Christmas at my grandmother’s house.

94) The clean slate of a New Year…

95) Which also always reminds me of the blessing of parenting this miracle — for 5 years now.  (His birthday is New Year’s Day)

96) Being invited to play along with all the new Legos and Lincoln Logs and fun new board games.  I’ll take any day he wants to include me!

97) Watching all over again how much my little boy loves his Granny (my mom)

98) Clean water

99) Having access to whatever ingredients I need for cooking and baking… and being able to choose from a variety of foods to prepare (or, for that matter, never wondering if I am going to be able to eat on any given day)

100) The people who work on Christmas Day — doctors, EMTs and other medical personnel and gas station attendants come to mind…. passed a bad wreck on the interstate on Christmas Day and all I could think of was the family dealing with tragedy on that day… and the people who were there to help the day be a little better.

101) Watching the love between my little boy and our Oliver-kitty (so wish I had pictures of this one!)

102) The crunch of snow underfoot — twice in two weeks!

103) Watching Andrew and another little boy from our neighborhood play together in the snow… neighborhood friends are few and far between here.

104) My shower drain that finally drains water on its own (simple fix that took forever to figure out… but it makes the days start a little better around here!)

105) A impromptu story time at Chick Fil A (I offered to read a book to a little girl and attracted a crowd for a couple of minutes!) 🙂

106) The wonderful staff at our pediatrician’s office — I am glad we are not there often but also glad to be in such a caring environment when we are there!

107) Some peace on the decision to try out our local public school for kindergarten… or at least more peace than unrest at this point.

108) Avocados. 🙂  (Yes, I’ve been on an avocado kick lately…)

109) Being able to see the floor in my closet.

110) Silence… the gift for right now… just me up, and no sound except the click of the keys on the keyboard… not even kitty snores, which are usually part of the background noise.

Hoping that all of my blog readers haven’t left during my long hiatus!  I promise to get more on track with blogging. 🙂

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Menu Planning 12/27-1/2


Linking up with orgjunkie.com again for menu planning!

Monday: leftovers from Christmas dinner
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: a ham & cheese quiche slightly resembling this one, white beans & ham, dinner out with a friend
Friday: taking snacks to a New Year’s Eve party… haven’t figured out what yet!
Saturday: my little boy’s birthday, so his choice
Sunday: leftovers

I have to share some baking successes from the past week too.  I made up some homemade peppermint marshmallows to pair with hot cocoa mix for Christmas presents, and some peppermint meltaways to share at Christmas dinners.  Both turned out amazingly well and I was very impressed that my first foray into candy-making was a success!  The peppermint mocha truffles were also a huge success and will definitely be returning next year.

Stay tuned for a round-up of my favorite recipe finds of 2010…sometime this week!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my blog readers! I love reading all of your comments and reading along on your blogs as well! Thank you for listening to my musings, and responding at times.

Today I am very thankful for the blessings of health, safe travel, a white Christmas(!), family & friends, and especially the gift of hope that we celebrate today. I have been enjoying this song during this holiday season… it reminds me that even when life seems dark and it seems despair and evil are winning that we have hope; that we know that the Good will and has prevailed; and that the hope that comes from that knowledge and the peace it enables us to have and pass along is the true Christmas spirit. Wishing all of you a peaceful Christmas…

Peace Star Scarlet Christmas Card
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View the entire collection of cards.

(Did you order cards from Shutterfly this year? Post your card on your blog and e-mail the link to shareproject@shutterfly.com to receive $25 off your next order! We loved our Christmas cards this year!)

One Thousand Gifts: #76-88

Continuing the praise with Ann and the Gratitude Community

76) The first snowfall of the season… just a dusting (which is still big news here) and even better when it was a complete surprise!
77) Christmas cards arriving in the mail!
78) Christmas lights and decorations around town…
79) and people who put them out year after year as their way of blessing the community… I’m thinking of a display we’ve gone to over the years whose maker just told us he is stopping after 20 years of putting up lights and awe-ing children of all ages. That has been a gift from him!
80) and my family’s holiday tradition of stopping for coffee & hot chocolate as the way to end an evening of light-seeing.
81) The blessing of a new day to be in a better mood or repair a relationship
82) My church’s performance of Behold the Lamb of God
83) … and that they included the kids (even the littlest… well, the preschoolers, who are almost the littlest. There has been a bit of a baby boom over the last few years).
84) … and that browsing for a song from that on YouTube later in the day led me to be reminded of an old Rich Mullins song which was particularly powerful after hearing the tale of God’s love for Israel (and that Rich’s music never fails to inspire, humble and move me)
85) Watching the joy my little boy got from playing with an early Christmas gift yesterday
86) and his joy at walking in the door at church Sunday morning… he never fails to have a huge smile. I love that they love him.
87) At a restaurant after church, an older man walked over to us. He told Andrew someone along the lines of, “Young man, I want you to remember something as you grow up. You have a gift of a beautiful smile that you can use to brighten people’s days.” He is right. While Andrew certainly isn’t happy all of the time… his happiness and joy shines out and his smile reaches other people and brightens their day. I just thought it amazing that he shared that — what an example of encouraging others!
88) Being able to say “thank you” for past experiences (okay, at least some of them) that left me broken at the time… but also irrevocably changed my life… isn’t it great to have a God who can use all experiences?

What are you thankful for this week?

Gather ‘Round…

to listen to the song of the week. I have more Christmas-ish songs that I love than weeks left to share them in… and then this one snuck in earlier this week.   So… since it has been stuck in my head… and because it has a great message… I am sharing it with you!

My church has started a Christmas tradition of performing Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God, which is a lyrical retelling of the story of Jesus’ coming into the world (yes, I took that description straight from the writer). The following song is the introductory song to the story. I’d encourage you to check out the rest of the songs as well.

Lyrics:

Gather ’round, ye children, come
Listen to the old, old story
Of the pow’r of Death undone
By an infant born of glory
Son of God, Son of Man

Gather ’round, remember now
How creation held its breath
How it let out a sigh
And it filled up the sky with the angels
Son of God, Son of Man

CHORUS
So sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man

Therefore God exalted Him
To the place of highest praises
And He gave Him a name above every name
That at the very name of Jesus, Son of God

CHORUS:

We would sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man

So in heav’n and earth and below
Every knee would bow in worship
And ev’ry tongue would proclaim
That Jesus, He reigns with the angels

So sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man

Gather ’round, ye children, come
Listen to the old, old story
Of the pow’r of Death undone
By an infant born of glory
Son of God, Son of Man

Confession

Sometimes I feel like the “me” portrayed on this blog is more reflective… more spiritual… and much less impatient and overwhelmed than I often feel.

So this is more the typical.

Today, I woke up to my husband yelling goodbye to our 4 year old and slamming the door in a rush to get to work. I went back to sleep… only to be awoken a few minutes later by a little voice asking to watch PBS Kids… and I sleepily consented (hoping it was even on, because I had no idea what time it was!)  Got up a bit later to the mass chaos which was my kitchen when I went to bed last night (how is it possible for 3 people to need so many dishes washed so many times a day?)… a husband home for a quick morning break from work… neck pain from sleeping the wrong way…and a brownie for breakfast. TV blaring… incessant questions from the 4 year old… exasperation from me from the noise onslaught… and sudden realization that much of the 5% of things I have left to do for Christmas need to be done in the next 48 hours. A little boy upset at missing storytime because I cannot deal with library drama today… a rush to try to get Christmas wrapping done (only to discover I have no bags to wrap trinkets in), and the realization that it is going to take some creativity to make the food in the refrigerator cover lunch and supper if I really do want to stick to the menu plan.

So I stop the rush… and try to stop the internal frenzy… and try to remind myself that the hustle and hubbub isn’t what Christmas is about… or what life in general should be about for that matter… (if only it were as easy to put simplicity into practice as to long for it…)

With lunch still uneaten but husband back to work and little one having some quiet time in his room, I log on to Google reader for a bit of sanity time… to find my blog friend Jennifer’s post… and a link to tragedy… and a reminder that love and time and letting those around me know I love them *now* is so much more important than getting things done. And yet so hard to balance at times too.

And so I’m about to recall my overtired little boy down from his room… read some Christmas books, take a moment to escape the house for an hour to run a few errands and have a bit of fun. And be, even more than usual, grateful that he is here… and four years old for another few weeks, with all the joys and challenges that brings.

God, help me remember how quickly time passes… and how quickly life can change… and to be grateful for the season of life I am in and the people you have placed in it.  How is it I have to learn that lesson over and over again?  I know how quickly tragedy and bad news can come… and life can change… and yet I am still learning these lessons to be thankful and grateful and appreciate the moment over and over again…

If you are reading this… say a prayer for Dana’s family today… and for so many who are having a difficult time at this Christmas time.

Monday Menu Plan 12/13-12/19


Linking up with orgjunkie.com again for menu planning! Scroll down for some holiday baking ideas too!

Monday: Sloppy Joes & mac and cheese (It’s guys night, I’m heading out to a book club, spaghetti and homemade brownies!) 🙂
Tuesday: Parmesan Chicken, mashed potatoes, green peas
Wednesday: French Onion Soup with French Bread

Thursday: Leftover Buffet (and since I am not cooking, I’m making the rice for fried rice on Saturday, does that count as cooking?) 🙂
Friday: Bacon Tomato Cappellini — new recipe for us!
Saturday: Chinese Chicken Fried Rice II, broccoli, fortune cookies — new recipe for us!
Sunday: Leftover Buffet

It is definitely time for holiday baking as well. We’ve already made Double-Decker fudge. I need to make one more thing for a party this week and am thinking of trying out these peppermint mocha truffles that I came across a month or so ago. We’ll definitely be making my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for Santa (and enough for us to eat as well, as my little boy pointed out when I was talking of making them for Santa) 🙂 . I’m sure we’ll make some sugar cookies or some other easy and fun to decorate cookie too. (I’m open to suggestions on that one! Any cookies your kids have loved to make over the years?).

What’s cooking at your house this week?