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. talked me into it...I'll ask it:
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... seems to have something to do with us me getting...older...
...okay...OLD...there, I said it!
An then it hit must be because I turned 60 this!
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???


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... 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.

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 almost 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?? 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... 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...

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.


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

Monday, December 1, 2014


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.

~ 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... 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?? 

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