Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Year That Was

"Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things;
the past is gone, the future is not come,
and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it,
and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires."
~Charles Caleb Colton  
2016...the year that was.
How can this be?
When I was young, just the thought of putting a '20' in front of the year seemed like science fiction...
...and now here we are, seventeen years into it!
Every year I ask myself how in the world did this year fly by so quickly...
and every year the answer is the same.
It. Just. Did.
"Time is nature's way to keep everything from happening at once."
~Ray Cummings
I have started this post about five or six times,
Then I decided I wasn't going to post at all because I was running out of time.
Then I decided I would just forego all the of the photos and and links for the re-hash of 2016.
That's where I left it.

Yes, in 2016 there were vacations, family gatherings, the addition of a new fur baby,
a girl's weekend getaway at the beach, holidays to celebrate and many, many photo ops.
But I don't even have the words to express how grateful I am for the changes that 2016 brought.
Prayers that had been prayed for many, many years have been and are still being answered.
Everything else that happened in our family pales in comparison to that one big thing.
Of course, that one big thing is Aaron's sobriety.

I want to thank each and every one of you that have prayed for him, for me and my family.
And thank you for reading my posts and continuing to support me.
You guys are the best!
Oh...and this wonderful old watch...

...this one that you have seen throughout my blog since the beginning...

...well, it is finally with it's rightful owner.
Aaron was next in line to have this watch and then to pass down to his first born one day.
We have been safekeeping it for many years, as I'm sure you certainly understand why.

A week ago on Christmas Day, Jim gave the watch to Aaron.
It was pun intended. (well, maybe)

Although this is a wonderful thing, I'm going to miss it!
I really have enjoyed taking photos of it in different surroundings.
The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot.      
~Michael Althsuler
So my friends, another year has come and gone and although I say this every year,
I hope to make 2017 the best year yet!
Hey, if I can improve one just one thing, it will be better than the last!
It is my prayer that each of you have your best year as well.

♥♥ May God richly bless you in 2017♥♥

Much love and hugs,

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Full Heart (and a full belly)

The most beautiful tree that I've ever seen...

...a quiet room anticipating the squeals of delight made by the still-sleeping children... was a time for the Rays to gather and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
So gather, we did at Adam's country place in hills of Tennessee,
although we were missing a couple of teenage boys.

It had been a long time since just the four of us sat down at the dinner table together...
...a rare photo op to be sure! :)

There were musical instruments, birthstone earrings, microscopes and knives...

...fuzzy socks, squirrel feeders, a little of this and a little of that...
and yes, even the whole seven season set of the Dukes of Hazzard!

Don't even ask.

But this is no joke...
Adam had this hammer engraved for his brother to commemorate the date of his sobriety.
(you may want to click to enlarge it to see better)
It took a few moments for the lumps in our throats to clear.

It felt like spring outside as the fog rose up out of the hollow.
We then all hopped in the pick-up for a Christmas morning field trip to the shed down below,
 to see what "Santa" had left for Parker and Olivia there.

I know you can't see what's on the box...
...but let me just say that when there are six hands working together in unison,
assembling the trampoline was a piece of cake!


I'm not sure who was having more fun...can you guess?

Spring weather also calls for spring chores!
Aaron was in his element as he "gifted" his brother with a nice, smooth driveway...
...all half a mile of it :)
And although we were eating all weekend long,
the Cinnamon Roll Casserole that we had for breakfast was the pièce de ré·sis·tance...
...and oh so easy too!

Here's the recipe:

2 cans cinnamon rolls
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
maple syrup

Take rolls from cans and cut into quarters and place in greased 9x13 inch pan.
Beat together eggs and milk then pour over rolls.
Sprinkle cinnamon and drizzle the maple syrup over all, to your own taste.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
When finished baking, drizzle melted icing over the all.
Oh. My. Goodness.

And of course, bacon makes everything better, right? :)
Now that it's all over, I am SOOO ready to cleans my body of all the junk food!
Can I get a witness?
Yes, it was a Merry Christmas, indeed.

Let earth receive her KING! 
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing!


Monday, December 12, 2016

...with boughs of holly...

Deck the HOUSE with boughs of holly,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la...
(Do you think folks used to actually deck their halls?)

I was so excited to see my holly bush out back, heavy laden with clusters of red berries.
Some years there aren't any berries at all and I've often wondered why.

I already knew the part about only female plants will produce berries,
but only if a male is within a certain distance from her.

Well, once you have berries, you'd think you would have them every year, right?
I mean, it's not like these bushes just get up and move around...
...and away from said male or female influences.
Maybe the male and female bushes were just not getting along well that year.
I didn't know why...I am horticulturally challenged!


So I got curious and if you are interested, you can read more about holly right here.
Many of you smarty-pants friends already know these facts, no doubt.

There are other things that can interfere, such as the weather...too wet or too dry.
Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many beautiful red berries this year.
These red and green boughs just make everything look so Christmas-y!

When I was young and much more ambitious,
I made wreaths and centerpieces from real greenery just about every year.
I even tied boughs of evergreen together to make my own garlands.
I do love the old-fashioned look of them and of course, the aroma is heavenly!
Adding some holly to the mix just makes it perfection.

Do you have a holly bush in your yard or use real greenery for your decorations?

Today, I'm linking to

 Mosaic Monday

Won't you come over and check out everyone's lovely mosaics?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Deck the Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of Joyce's Hodgepodge...

...where she asks the questions and well, you know the rest :)
This week's questions are about all things Christmas...almost anyway.
I was able to get my decorating done over the weekend and it's always such a relief!
Being able to sit and enjoy them while watching a good Christmas movie is something I really enjoy.
I told myself I was not going to decorate as much since we will be out of town...
...well, that didn't happen.
One thing led to another and before I knew it, I put up as much as I always do!
So,  here are this week's questions...
1. Let's talk holiday decorating. On a scale of 1-10 where do you fall? (1=Scrooge and 10= Clark Griswold). What's your favorite corner-room-table-space to decorate? Is it done?

I am definitely not a Scrooge but I am a far cry from Clark Griswold...he went a little over the top if you ask me. I would probably put myself somewhere in the middle of those two...right around a 5...or maybe a 4. Remember, the more you put up, the more there is to take down...and if you feel like me, there is more joy in putting everything up...agreed? I do think that I have found a new favorite corner or table-space to decorate this year since I brought Sophie (my vintage Singer) in the house after sprucing up her cabinet.

2. Is there a nativity scene in your decorating somewhere? Post a picture or, if it's special to you in some way, tell us why. Or do both-it's Christmas!

Oh, I absolutely do. I call it Gracie's Nativity and you can read about it here and why it's so special. The past couple of years, I have not used the wooden stable as it has begun to fall apart. I tried something new last year and repeated it this year...until I come up with another idea. I arranged the characters on my hutch topped with a vintage lace table cloth (poofed up a bit) and stuck a string of white lights under it. I like the way the lights illuminate all of the figures, especially in a dimly lit room.

3.  Do you live in a social neighborhood? If so are you glad? If not do you wish you did?

I wouldn't call our neighborhood overly social. Our home is in a subdivision in a rural area but most of the houses are spaced a good distance apart due to the sizes of the lots...about an acre or more. There are a few families with young children but for the most part, the neighbors are in their 50's and 60's with maybe a few older folks. We are so spread out so this is just a guess since we don't know many of them except those who are right near our home. We are very close friends with a family who lives a block or so away at the entrance to the subdivision because we worship together and have known them as long as we have lived there. For many years, there was an annual neighborhood "pig-pickin'" that we soon discovered was basically one big drinking party and we didn't feel as if we fit in. We have enjoyed living in this quiet neighborhood for all of these years but we are looking forward to our future plans after retirement, God willing, of building our little farm house on Adam's meadow in Tennessee. I do hope to be quite social with the many animals who live in the petting zoo across the road and neighboring horses and cows :)

4.  As the saying goes, 'there's no time like the present'. How does that ring true in your life right now?

Especially during the busy holiday season, this should be my mantra. I think we all know that December is the shortest month of the year, even though it consists of 31 24-hour days, just like many others. I'm going to be honest here...I tend to be a procrastinator and I do my best work under pressure, but I wish I wasn't like that. Maybe one day I will get my act together and become as organized as I should be. Probably not though.

5. Do you dread Mondays? Why or why not?

I love my weekends but I also enjoy my job. I recently came across this on facebook and I borrowed it because this is pretty much the way I look at Mondays.

6.  Poinsettia, Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis-which on the list is your favorite holiday plant? Are any of these on display in your home right now?

Poinsettias, without a doubt, are my favorite go-to Christmas plant. I have them in red, and white. I don't have Christmas Cactus at home but have three in my office and they are all in bloom as we speak. I don't remember ever having an Amaryllis.

7. Share a favorite quote from a Christmas movie.

I didn't even have to think twice about the answer to this question. "God bless us, every one" from my all-time favorite movie, "A Christmas Carol"...the 1984 remake with George C. Scott. My Christmas just isn't complete without watching it.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I have a little over two weeks to get my shopping done. And as I sit here finishing up this post, a strand of lights on my Christmas tree flickered and finally went completely out! Oh my gosh, this happens every year! Pardon me while I go scream....AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!

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