Monday, December 29, 2014

Gee, ain't it funny how time slips away?...a look back at 2014


I'm not even going to ask the question.
I already know the answer but I don't quite understand how it happens.
OK...you talked me into it...I'll ask it:
"WHERE IN THE WORLD DID 2014 GO IN SUCH A HURRY??!!"
I mean seriously!
I don't know that I ever remember a year passing by as quickly as this one has...
...and I have heard many others saying the same thing.
How does this strange phenomenon happen?
We all know that there were 365 days in every other year just as there were in 2014.
I knew I could probably rack my brain for eternity and never figure it out,
so I did the next best thing...I Googled it...
...and I wasn't so sure that I liked the answer that I got.
 ~
Without getting into the details, because my simple brain just doesn't understand them,
every site that came up basically sang the same song...
...it seems to have something to do with us me getting...older...
...okay...OLD...there, I said it!
An then it hit me...it must be because I turned 60 this year...lol!
 ~
So, now that I got that out of the way, let me share with you some highlights of my speedy 2014...
...if you care to indulge me.
I'll be following the lead of several others by summing it all up with mosaics.
~
 So the winter months of 2014 were highlighted by the anticipation of snow...


...and once we got a small taste of it...literally,
I then found myself  swiftly searching for the signs of spring!
And speaking of spring, we gathered at the cabin in March for a combo holiday with the TN bunch.
While the folks here in NC were suffering major power outages due to Ice Storm Ulysses,
we were playing in about 8 inches of snow!


The summer months were all about us enjoying the outdoors.
A trip to Nashville and a much anticipated visit to Carolina Beach with the grandsons...
...and also enjoying the cabin in Fancy Gap all the more...


...knowing that our times there would sadly be coming to an end soon,
and they did just that at the end of September.
~
The arrival of fall always excites me, as I know it does you...



...the colors, the smells, that chill in the air...we all just LOVE it, don't we?
~
That brings us to the much anticipated Christmastime...
..which is always so full of activity that it should have it's very own season!


Here are a few glimpses of our Christmas near Nashville with Adam and his sweet family.
They were able to move into their new home just a few days before.


Although it was quite muddy due to rain and the new construction,
it didn't hinder us one bit from riding the Gator through the mountain trails!
Jim and I are looking forward to many things in 2015, one being able to return here in February.
 We will be caring for Parker and Olivia while Mom and Dad enjoy a ten year anniversary getaway!
This place is a photographer's dream and I hope to get some great shots :)
~
So, these are just a few highlights from my 2014.
I have been thoroughly blessed by so many of your posts this past year
and feel doubly blessed by your friendship and encouragement!

I pray that 2015 is your best year yet!
God Bless you all!

I'm sharing on Judith's Mosaic Monday












Monday, December 22, 2014

Got Stress???


source

It went something like this:
 
"Good morning! How many of you are ready for Christmas?"
(a few raised hands)
 
"How many of you are NOT ready for Christmas?"
(raised hands, mine included)
 
"How many of you are stressed out and just wish Christmas was over with already?"
(a few raised hands...mine, almost)
 ~
Those were the opening words coming from my pastor yesterday morning.
And then getting rather serious, he went on to say these words...
"You know, it was never...NEVER...God's intentions for us to become all stressed out 
over a time when we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of His Son...
...so how did this time of the year get to be like this?
This does NOT make God happy!"
~
I am pretty sure he was addressing this to himself as well as the congregation.
 His words immediately convicted me and I was suddenly overwhelmed with sadness.
 A sadness deep in my spirit.
I was letting the worries of getting everything ready for Christmas wear me down...
...more than I had ever remembered any other year before.
I almost felt as if I had just slapped the face of God.
How dare I???
 ~
After repenting, I sat and tried to figure out why...why this year in particular?
But what good would that do, right?
The enemy wants to rob us of our joy anyway and anytime he can...
...and I actually think he gets a bigger kick out of it at Christmas.
~
So, you know how sometimes we might hear a certain message about a certain matter,
and then we hear almost the exact same message two or more other places??
It's like, "OK, I hear ya, Lord...I'm think I'm getting the message!"
Well, thanks to a facebook post, my pastor's words were reinforced to me this morning.
 
source  

I shared it from a friend's page with this caption that I promptly added...
...NOTE TO SELF: Follow directions carefully

This is a pretty good list of reminders, don't you think?
I think it needs an eleventh one....and I would put it as #1...

 *Remember WHO we are celebrating and WHY*
~
I think I'm ready now :)
Wishing you ALL a very Blessed Christmas!

 
 


Friday, December 12, 2014

Images of Christmas: Donna's Personal Photo Challenge

Hello friends!

I always look forward to Donna's monthly photo challenge.
This month's challenge is all about images of this wonderful season that we are in.
There are many beautiful things to choose from....where does one begin??
So...here are just a few of my favorite Christmas things:
~  
#1. The Poinsettia...
I just love them and don't consider my decorations complete without one...
...or two...or three...or ten.
I love them in all colors but it's the red ones that really do it for me.
So, I have a new macro lens and played around a bit with it here.


These cute little tiny thingys in the middle are actually the blooms...
...but I bet you already knew that, didn't you?
The red and green parts are both considered leaves or foliage...go figure.
~  
#2. The Christmas Bokeh...
A "bokeh" of what, you might be asking...


...this kind of bokeh.
 I just love a big bokeh of Christmas lights sparkling in the background!
And let me just confess right from the get-go...
...I am a lover of colored lights!
There, I said it.
I know there must be a support group out there for me somewhere :)


Anyway, it's easy to achieve this by focusing on an object in the foreground...
...in this case, my lovely Christmas socked feet.
The farther your tree is away from you, the more bokeh you will get.
OR you can just point your camera to the tree and "unfocus" your image :)
Oh bokeh...glorious bokeh...
~
#3. The Christmas Candle
And nothing says Christmas (other than a poinsettia) like a glistening candle!
Of course we love them even when it's not Christmastime too...
...but especially during this season, they represent our Savior...
...THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!



This photo was taken two years ago with my awesome little Sony P &S.
I had just discovered how to use the macro setting...
...after I had already had the camera for about five years.
I didn't even know what bokeh was back then but I accidentally created some.
The room was dark, all except for the candles and tree lights.
~
Thank you, Donna for another fun challenge...I can't wait to go see what others have posted.
My prayers continue to go up for you and Mr. Jim as you face these uncertain days.
May the Light of Christmas fill your hearts...
 ...with unspeakable joy and peace unlike any you've ever known.
God's blessings on you both!

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."    James 1:2-4



Monday, December 8, 2014

It's Christmastime, once again

Hello everyone!
I hope your Monday has been a good one!
~
Isn't it hard to believe that in just a little over two weeks it'll be that time again?
I was able to get most of my decorating done over the weekend...
...and it seems like that's all I've been doing lately!
Between decorating at church, work and home, it has just been non-stop!
~
And speaking of time....
...I decided to use my clocks again on the mantel.
Here's the way it looked last year.


This year, I decided to change things up just a bit.


After playing around with a few options,
I decided I liked the look of layering my Goodwill green and red place mats as a base.


And I thought I'd give the snowflakes a rest this year, replacing them with golden sprays.


I was hoping to have another clock to add to my collection this year...
...but...I didn't win the bid on ebay :(
I wrote a post on my other blog a couple of years back,
reminiscing about this little clock that I remembered having as a child.


Against my better judgement, I "bidded" my final bid at $152.00 and then I went to bed.
The next morning I saw where it sold within seconds later for $155.00.
I let it get away.

Shucks.

Needless to say, these little clocks are collector's items,
 but I just couldn't justify spending the money on a sentimental memory...
...at least right now...maybe someday, I'll try for another one.
~
So...is time getting away from you like it is from me...
...or do you have it all together already??
 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Remnants

It's that in-between time.

My calendar spells out D-E-C-E-M-B-E-R across the top...
...but it's still officially fall—that is until the twenty-first day arrives.
~
Somedays it feels like winter, other days like spring.


If you look through the woods, mostly brown now,
you can still see a green vine here and there...
...refusing to give up the ghost.
~
Yes, it's that in-between time of the year.
The glorious colors of autumn are all but gone...
...yet a few brittle leaves of brown and gold still hang on for dear life...
...dancing around on their skinny branches as the winds of late fall blow.


THE LAST LEAF
~ by Henry Behn

A few leaves stay for a while on the trees
After their color begins to turn,
And no other leaves seem as gold as these
Not even the ones our bonfires burn
With golden flames in piles on the ground.
A few leaves stay so long that I found
The one last leaf on a tree in the snow,
And when a galloping wind came round
The edge of our house and started to blow
Snow dust to sparkles floating free.
When the wind ran away, almost with me,
And sunshine settled quiet and cold.
There, like a bird, still on the tree
Was that lonesome leaf, no longer gold
But curly and brown and dry and old.
 


So, coming back into the house after my little trek into the woods,
I couldn't help but notice how many of the gazillions of fallen leaves had blown up onto the deck. 
My poor little ol' broom has surely been getting a workout. 
~
Once a deep red and brilliant orange, these oak leaves have become a part of the remnant...
...no longer the beauties that they once were, but beautiful still, on a whole other level.


It won't be long now...but then again, this is North Carolina, after all.
It is sixty-five degrees today and tomorrow's high is going to be forty-two.
And so it goes....
~
And speaking of remnants...
...are you enjoying your Thanksgiving leftovers as much as I am?? 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Grateful Praise

This was the sky on my home from work this past Monday.
The closer I got to my house, the more intense it became and I went out of my way to see more.
I sat in a parking lot to watch it...until it was no more.
 
 
Just a day before, we sang a new arrangement of this old hymn at church.
When I saw this beautiful sky, the words of that first verse immediately came to mind...
..."For the beauty of the earth,  for the glory of the skies...."
 
 
FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH
~Folliott Sandford Pierpoint, 1864
 
For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
 
  
For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
 
 

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind's delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
 
 
For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
 
 
For Thy church, that evermore
lifteth holy hands above,
offering up on every shore
her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
 
 
For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
 


 
And you will say in that day: "Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth." ~ Isaiah 12:4-5
 
 Thanksgiving Blessings to you and yours! 

 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sweet Sixteen

I was forty-five years old.
 I wasn't ready to be a grandma when I heard this unexpected news.
 The thought of it made me seem old...something that I thought I'd never be.
 I was the eternal child, remember...the "baby" of that big family.
I was also the Queen of DeNial :)
That was then...back in 1998...before he came along.
 
He changed everything.

The moment I laid eyes on him—that moment in the hospital—that's when it happened.
All of those selfish feelings..."it's all about me"... left immediately.
~
I had a precious, healthy grandson...a wonderful blessing from God!
 
  
Here he is with his Mawmaw, at just a couple of weeks old.
Oh, how I miss those days.
(although I don't miss that double chin I was sporting back then :)
What a blessing it was to be able take care of him a couple of days a week.
And what joy...that first time he spent the night at Mawmaw's house!
This grandma's heart was overflowing!
 

He was a little more than two years old before he got that first "little boy" haircut...
...I think his blonde curls were nearly down to his shoulders...
...well after this was taken.
~
Today he turned sixteen...SIXTEEN!
I can hardly believe how fast the years have flown by!
He'll be getting his driver's license soon...and he's a good driver.
This grandma has let him drive her several times and she didn't even have a heart attack :)
~
I wish I could have found a more recent photo of him.
But when you get to be sixteen, you don't want just any photo out there circulating on the internet!
Your hair needs to be just right and you must have on the right clothes.


So, this is one the most recent photos of him with his brother and cousins (from last year).
 I think this one would meet his approval.
~
We will be celebrating his big day later this week along with Thanksgiving.
He has already put in his order for a red velvet cake :)

Happy 16th Birthday, Dacey Ray!
You will always be my little Thanksgiving Blessing...
...even though you are now W-A-Y taller than me.

And you will never let me forget it!


Thanks for bearing with me while I reminisce.




 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fancy Little Pumpkins

Hello friends!
Can you believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner?
I can barely wrap my mind around the fact that 2014 is nearly over...wow!
~
We all have seen those delightful stuffed pumpkins all over blogland and Pinterest...
...you may even have made some yourself.
The first time I laid eyes on them, I knew wanted to try my hand at making a few. 
So, here it is almost time for Christmas decor and I'm just now getting these little guys made!
~
I am not including a tutorial since there are so many out there.
It's basically a circle of fabric, any size you choose, stuffed with beans and batting...
...hand stitched around the edge, pulled tight, secured then the stem hot glued on. 
I started collecting pumpkin stems wherever I could.
You know those huge cardboard boxes at Walmart with pumpkins in them?
If you are lucky enough to find one empty, you will probably find a few.
So I made pumpkins for the stems that I found...four...and I have lots of fabric left.
Maybe I'll make more earlier in the season next year and have a giveaway!!



I wanted to make them all in different shades of velvet
 so I started searching the Goodwill Stores for whatever items I could find for the fabric.
This was not as easy as you might think.
Any other time I would have found many things velvet-ish...
...but we all know what happens when we begin to search specifically for something, right?
~
So, after several trips in about as many weeks,
I came across some things that I thought would make pretty little pumpkins.
The green and brown ones were created from velvet turtle neck shirts.
Even though I would have never worn them,
(I don't do turtlenecks plus they were in a size I haven't seen since junior high),
I still have this aversion to cutting up a perfectly good garment.
Well, I quickly got over it and started whacking away!


I really liked the colors and am pretty pleased how they turned out.


The paisley print had been a scarf in it's former life and the other from an orange lace shirt...
...one that I actually could wear...if I wore orange.
I don't do orange nor do I know why...even though pumpkins wear it very well.
Maybe that's the reason why I don't...I might just resemble one if I did!
Anyway, I thought the lace would really make a pretty pumpkin...and well, it's orange...
...how appropriate.
~
Then I fancied them up a bit.


I had seen others that had been "blinged out" so I played around with some vintage jewelry.







I thought the jewelry added some elegance to them...



...but decided I preferred them bling-less in the setting that I chose for them.



So...have you bought your turkey yet???

I'm sharing this with Judith at Mosaic Mondays.
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