Thursday, December 14, 2017

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

It seems like I should mention Christmas on my blog somewhere sometime so how about here and now? I like to write in the early morning and that's just not happening these days, so 10:30 on a Thursday night it is. 

Can we just talk about this? 



I mean I cannot even handle the sweetness captured here. This photograph is in a frame on my kitchen fireplace mantle and it's the screen saver on my phone and I look at it at least ten times a day. At least. It's perfection...the Santa, the darling tree, the face...y'all the face! Can you even??? 


I'm still getting the hang of decorating the spaces in this house for the holidays but Rome wasn't built in a day. We have three trees up in the house, four if you count the small one sitting on the pool room bar, and there's no real rhyme or reason to what hangs where. I see all the beautiful themed trees on Instagram and Facebook and while I'd like to be that girl it's just not me. I'm sentimental and want all my many and assorted memories in the form of Christmas ornaments hanging side by each every single year.


I don't buy boxes of ornaments. Ours are treasured keepsakes from our children's growing up years, places we've lived or traveled, or they hold some other special meaning like a favorite hobby or pastime. 


What that means is a London Taxi sits beside a popsicle stick star made long ago by little hands. It means the ballerina bunny belonging to my youngest daughter dances on a branch beside the Strasbourg cathedral. Pheasants dangling from a hunter's vest fly beside Anne of Green Gables because that's how we do Christmas here.

Also pretend I'm not standing on a ladder-ha! In case you're worried, hubs was close by. The amount of time it takes me to arrange those beads exactly so makes him twitch, but he wasn't about to leave me unattended.


We have a tree on the screened in porch and I may one day decide to decorate it in a more natural way. I know I'll likely still keep a few family ornaments there too because when I look at my Christmas tree I want it to say 'this is us'.


I did have a sign made this year for our family room mantle (Etsy Shop-Rustically Inspired) and I love it-


I'll probably have to invest in new stocking hangers next year because this mantle is a flat front and that heavy brass angel tried to take out the fireplace repairman when he was here last week. I think we've got them situated for now, and we take stockings down for filling. I mean Santa does.


My shopping is done (I think?), cards have been sent, packages mailed, there's a bit of wrapping that needs to happen still and of course more baking because I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as too many Christmas cookies. Just ask anyone. We have a dinner party this weekend and friends dropping by next week... my youngest daughter will be spending her break with us and there will be days enjoyed with extended family too.

Some years are harder than others and I feel like this has been one of those here. Yet in the middle of it all came this tiny baby boy who has brought so much light and joy into our hearts.


The everyday stresses and pressures of life don't cease just because it's Christmas, but they do fade to the background and let hope take center stage. May the truth of the Christmas story touch your heart in a special way this holiday season. 
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

An Ultra Violet Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Christmas is right around the corner and I'm invoking the hurry less, worry less mantra in order to participate today. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post, then go say Happy Hodgepodge to the blogger linking before you. Here we go-


1. 'Hurry less, worry less'...what's your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How's it going so far?

My strategy is one day at a time. I have a mental list of a few Christmas related tasks to tackle every day and I do my best to tackle them. That being said, there have been a lot of interruptions to my daily plans this month, and I probably haven't rolled with them as kindly as I could have. I'm a work in progress. I don't think I feel hurry and worry so much as I feel pressure to accomplish so many things. ALL THE THINGS. 

My survival tips are few and simple-start the day sitting quietly by the light of the Christmas tree. Watch the sun rise and remember the God who made it happen has the day in hand. Have a conversation with Him about my to-dos and my people, my hurries and worries. Have a cup of coffee and take time to ponder. This season is made for pondering. One day at a time. 

2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?

Sort of. It's not written in stone, but certainly there are jobs that need doing this time of year and somebody needs to do them. Mostly that somebody is hubs. Hi hubs! We have loads of tall trees and hubs collected all the leaves into piles, but we did pay someone to come in and take care of mulching them. I think they mulched them? They may also have hauled some away. Whatever the job is done. 

The boat needs winterizing and we paid someone to do that job this year. Some thing-a-ma-jig was due for tweaking or replacing so we had the marina guy winterize at the same time. Hubs was on top of things and we managed to get that done right before the cold snap hit so yay hubs! 

It's clear why I'm not in charge of winter prep around here, isn't it? Ha!  

3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What's the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?

My first thought was blech! That list sounds a little bit too healthy to taste good. I do like turmeric and I love veggies and lentils and chickpeas too so I guess pulses, but ewwww...in my opinion the healthy food industry needs some new terminology. Also, I like milk. I know there are people out there who cannot tolerate lactose, but I'm not one of them. And I read somewhere that non-dairy doesn't necessarily mean milk-free, so it's all pretty confusing. As far as what item from the list will be added to my diet, well I already eat quite a few. I love lentils so will maybe find some new ways to use them. 

4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site 'Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.' What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple.  If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?

I do like the color purple, and wear it on occasion. Something in my home that's this color? One of my most favorite pitchers, purchased in a tiny little town called Nove in the northern part of Italy. The trip there might be one of the reasons I love it so-


It's a fig, and the perfect shade of 'aubergine'. FYI-saw the movie, didn't read the book. If I were in charge of the world I think I'd choose a sunny yellow. Don't we all need a little more sunshine in our lives? 

5. Favorite book you read this year?

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm helping in my daughter's kindergarten classroom today. Her students are working on presents for their parents and she needed some extra hands. Kindergartners are my favorite. 


Kindergarten teachers too. 



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 333

So a whole week has passed since our last Hodgepodge, which coincidentally was also the last time I even peeked at my blog. Sigh. I'm determined to throw some Christmas spirit into a post and get something up here this week besides the Wednesday Q & A.

In the meantime...here's the Q & A.

Well just the Q. The A goes up on Wednesday, and that's when you'll need to skate back over here and add your link to the party. See you there!


1. 'Hurry less, worry less'...what's your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How's it going so far?

2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?

3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What's the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?

4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site 'Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.' What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple.  If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?

5. Favorite book read this year?

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Simply Having A Wonderful Hodgepodge Time

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thanks for joining in today! If you've answered the questions be sure to add your link at the end of my post, then go say hi to your neighbor.

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

I've written and deleted about ten different things here so how about we go with -

Figuring It Out

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

I guess by December the people who come up with these National Days run out of steam. Besides popcorn and coffee reheats the biggest thing I use my microwave for is melting either butter or chocolate.

Of course we could all get along without a microwave. Mankind was around for centuries before deciding thirty seconds felt like forever waiting on that coffee to get warm. But it is one of those inventions that makes life a little bit easier and more pleasant so I'm glad we have it. 

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

'Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.'

How amazing to see Jesus, the son of God, become man. 

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

Impossible! I've taken so many beautiful drives. Most recently we drove up the Northern California and Oregon coasts and the natural beauty there was staggering. Definitely one of the most beautiful drives I've taken. I wrote all about it beginning with this post

But then we've also done a lot of driving around Europe and it's hard to top the French Alps, Italy's Amalfi Coast and even hubs commute from our little village into Oxford. Just last weekend as we were driving home from Tennessee I declared the road between Johnson City and North Carolina one of the prettiest. 

Honestly there are just far too many beautiful drives in the world for me to dub one as best. I love a good road trip!  

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

Practically speaking we need new luggage. Figuratively speaking I'd love to see more grace, less anger in the world at large. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I post this carol on my blog every year at Christmastime. I love this version so much and the lyrics are timely, '...hate is strong and mocks the song, of peace on earth good will to men...



'then rang the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead nor doth He sleep...'open up your heart and hear them, peace on earth, good will to men.' 

Wishing you peace this Christmas season. 



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 332

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party. See you there!


1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

6. Insert your own random thought here.

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