Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Look Back....

It's hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. Looking back at 2008 and all that was packed in 365, I mean 366 days - 08 was a Leap Year.

I can faintly recall January 08. I usually spend the first few months of a new year looking forward to our annual ski trip to Colorado.

We truly made many memories on our 08 trip. It's time I will always treasure.

When we returned, it was just a little over a week later that we found out Jim's dad had cancer and our time with him in this earthly life was limited. What a joy it was to share this precious time together and witnessing the awesome power of God.

What a blessing it was that he was able to celebrate his 91st birthday with all of his children home. (Jim's brother lives in Seattle).

August welcomed a new addition to our family. Madison Grace was born to our niece Becky and her husband Dan. What a delight it is to be called Great Auntie K (Dan calls me Auntie K)

This is a photo taken on the day of Madison's baptism. Pastor came to Jim's parent's for the baptism as it would have been too much for Jim's dad to go to church. It was a precious time with family all around witnessing the power of Christ in the waters of Holy Baptism.

Summer quickly cooled into fall and on September 22nd, mine and Jim's 18th Wedding Anniversary, the Lord called Jim's dad home. Jim and I still say what a gift it is to share our anniversary day with the day our loving father received his heavenly crown. So many emotions fill a heart at the loss of someone so dear, but the faith and strength we get from our Lord sustained us then as it does now and always will.

October brought us together again in Kiawah Island, South Carolina for our sweet niece Chrissy's wedding to our new nephew Zack. The gift of another family member.

Here they are signing their Marriage License. It was a lovely wedding. Jim and I
were able to share words from the Gospel of Matthew and I Corinthians.

2008 also found my dad moving back to Indiana after 18 years in North Carolina. My Grandpa was called to his heavenly home and my Grandma moved back to Indiana. My sister's kids keep growing and maturing. My niece Stephanie decided to go back to school to get her Masters Degree while working her full time job. I am so proud of all my nieces and nephews... they are the children God gave me when I cried out to Him for a child.

2008 also was a year that I developed friendships with women, whom otherwise I may have never had contact with in this earthly life, through this blog. On any given day I can go to Tennessee, Ohio, North Carolina, Minnesota, Nebraska... pull up a chair, a cup of coffee and laugh, cry, pray and rejoice with Christian sisters (Siestas) that I hold dear.

The crispness of October turned into November and we gathered again with both sides of our families on Thanksgiving to celebrate all that God has provided. Thanksgiving quickly melted into Christmas, and now we are at the end of one year and the eve of another. 2008 definitely was a year of ups and downs. Stretching and growing. I even walked a time in a spiritual desert, and boy was I thirsty. But the one thing I know is that God was always there. Ever present, in the good times and bad. He was there encouraging, catching my tears, giving strength, joy, grace and peace. Even when my eyes were clouded, and I might have not been looking for Him... He was there.

As Father Time hands over the clock to Baby New Year... I will be celebrating with our closest friends. I will be praising Him as the clock strikes twelve for the blessings of a year past... and the blessings of the year to come. Whatever He has in store for me and my family I know that it will all be to His glory! Romans 8:28 was a verse that came to mind when I read Sarah's Blog today...

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

All the ups and downs of our lives work together for good. That is something I hold close to when I go through times of trouble, and of course in times of prosperity!

I pray dear friends that 2009 brings you all the more closer to your Savior. That you see not just the big miracles, but the ordinary miracles ever present every day!

Several Months ago I found a website that was designed to give each person a "birth verse"

To conclude this post I wanted to share the birth verse for January 1st...

John 1:1 NIV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
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.

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Preparations for Christmas began weeks ago! Today, it's hard to believe that Christmas is just a few days away? Remember when you were a kid and Christmas took forever to arrive? Remember when we were kids and all we had to do was wait... wait for Christmas to arrive! Now that we are "grown up" it seems as if the waiting and anticipation has been replaced by the busy preparations of buying gifts, making cookies, cleaning our homes... all of which are imporatant when put into the right perspective. Most of the holiday preparations fall on the shoulders of the woman. The pressure to prepare the "perfect" Christmas, stage the best party, serve the best food wrap the prettiest presents... it's easy to miss out on the true beauty and meaning of this season if your heart isn't prepared. Preparing our homes is important, but most important, preparing our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child.

As I have been making my Christmas preparations I have been reflecting on Mary. Thinking about how different her preparations were for that very first Christmas. She didn't have to put lights on a tree... God provided a star! She didn't have to worry about where to host a party, God provided it for her... and the Country Inn was not the place. She didn't have to worry about the invitation list... God invited the shepherds, angels and the Magi. Yes, Mary's preparation was much different. She was preparing for the birth of her first son... God's son, God incarnate. Can you imagine what must have been going through her mind? Ponder that for a moment. A young girl, heavy with child. Preparing for birth. Not in the comforts of a hospital, but a cold stall in Bethlehem. Rigourous travel has made her even more weary.

Yes, the first Christmas preparations were much different than the preparations of today. But we can still prepare for the coming of Christ, both as an infant and also for His triumphant return! The first Christmas hostess delivered the ultimate Christmas gift, giving birth to God's son. Emmanuel...

Joy to the World
The Lord is Come
Let Earth receive Her King!
Let EVERY Heart
PREPARE Him Room....

I love this song and I hope you enjoy the words as you view scenes from the movie "The Nativity Story". If you have yet to see the movie, I urge you to watch it this Christmas season!

Much Love to you all... Preparing my Heart!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lesson of the Velcro Dog

We have a nickname for our whippet Jet. Well we have several nicknames, but lately "Velcro Dog" has been the name of choice. You see Jet follows me around wherever I go. Walks right along side. When I sit at the kitchen table he sits right next to me. When I go to the restroom... well you get the idea. I am sure many of your mothers out there have had children that are the same way. Wherever you go... they go. The want to be right next to you.

I started to think about my "Velcro Dog" and thought to myself... if I only I could be that way with Jesus. Stuck to him like velcro... all the time. Constantly walking in step with him, right by his side. I know he's always there for me, but I am not always walking in sync with him. And, unlike me, he doesn't get annoyed if I am underfoot! I have tripped over my dog many times!

I love my sweet dog Jet. How sweet it is that he loves me so much that he sticks to me like velcro. I provide him love, food, shelter and companionship... just like Jesus provides me with love, food, shelter and companionship. I can learn a lesson from my "Velcro Dog". Stick to Jesus at all times. He won't get annoyed... it's what he wants!

Image courtesy of

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You are invited...

To a Tree Trimming Party!

Of course it's a cyber Tree Trimming Party, but I would love to have you join me! I have the most gorgeous, sturdy tree. I have strung the lights and the boughs are ready for the popcorn an cranberries we will string!

Since this is a cyber decorating party - you can bring your favorite, most treasured ornaments to hang!

What ornaments are your most treasured... your favorites! I would love to hear about them!

Also, what would a tree trimming party be without food! What will you bring? I am sure we will have a wonderful time trimming the tree, eating good food and singing Christmas Carols and Hymns!

I will be hanging the handpainted ornaments my mom gives to my husband each year. She has been painting them for him for many years. Our favorite... the one of our home! We have some of snowy barn scenes, birds our old dog... I will also hang the glass pickle ornament! It will be hung last while you are all in the kitchen... whoever finds it later in the evening will receive a special treat! ;)

I will provide hot cider, hot cocoa, and for those who would like a bit more cheer some mulled wine! I will also make my Crab Artichoke Dip!

So welcome to my home let's deck the halls and celebrate the coming of our Savior!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas....

It has to be said - I LOVE Christmas! It's always been such a happy time of year for me. I think back to my early childhood when we lived in Crown Point, Indiana... those were magical Christmases. When I hear an old Christmas song it transports me back to those days and I get all warm and fuzzy inside. A few years after we moved to Indianapolis my whole life changed. My parents got divorced and the way we spent holidays completely changed. The one thing that didn't change for me was the magic of Christmas. The hope of what Christmas brings. Prior to moving to Indianapolis church was a regular part of our lives... once here that changed. Attending on a regular basis didn't happen. I am thankful for those early years attending church as I was taught about Christmas and Jesus. A donkey I received in Sunday School still sits in my mom's Nativity (a Navitity I hope to inherit someday!) Oh the hours my sisters and I spent playing w/ Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men... we truly learned the Christmas story w/ those figures. Christmas always meant the birth of Jesus to me... and all the sparkle that comes with it... a gift to remind me of the hope Jesus brings. I guess I have always been fortunate enough to see Jesus in all things Christmas. The songs, Santa, family and friends gathering. They are all gifts and make this time of year so special. Yes, one can get caught up in all the hype and commercialism of the season. One can become cynical and say that Christmas has become so commercialized. Maybe it has in a way... but it doesn't have to be that way for you. Don't let the enemy steal your Christmas joy by placing your focus on the commercialism etc. Enjoy the fact that you have to shop for gifts. After all - you are giving a loved one a gift that will bring them joy. Enjoy that you have to prepare your home for a party or a family gathering. How wonderful it is that God has given you the gifts of family and friends.

When I think of those Christmases after my parents were divorced I believe they were a time that my sadness melted away. Things weren't always easy for me during those years. I suffered from what I now know was depression. (back in those days it wasn't something that was talked about or understood as counselling wasn't a regular part of the divorce process for kids.) I do believe that particular part of my journey is why Christmas is still so dear to me today. It's a hug I get from God! So, yes, I enjoy and love all things Christmas because it's a time of year that God spoke so clearly to me... and still does. I even said once during a Bible study when we were discussing God's mansion and the many rooms and the room He is preparing for us... that I would have a Christmas tree in my room! :)

The Gospel of Luke is one that is familiar to us... especially this time of year.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." ~ Luke 2: 8-14

I can even hear Linus from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" reciting the words from Luke's Gospel... witnessing the birth of Christ to Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang!

I pray that you see Jesus in all things Christmas. He IS Christmas! So have yourself a Merry Little Christmas my friends!

With that... as promised here are pictures of my Christmas Home... (I am saving the pic of my Nativity for another post so you won't see it in this post) bear with me, I have a lot of trees!!!!

Living Room

Guest Room

Our room

Family Room
Guest Room
Dining Room
Mud Room

Back Hall

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Leap with Joy!!!

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
~ Luke 1:41

This morning my devotion brought me to Mary's visit w/ Elizabeth. (This Advent season I started once again Jesus, 90 Days with the One and Only by Beth Moore)

After the reading, Beth asks the reader to "Stop and Consider" a verse of the daily reading. Today's was verse 41 from the 1st Chapter of Luke. The first thing I wrote down was "even the unborn can know him" It hit me that John the Baptist, though unborn lept w/in Elizabeth's womb. That happened prior to the Holy Spirit opening Elizabeth's eyes, understanding that Mary was carrying Jesus.

It was no accident that I ventured to my friend Sarah's blog (Nesting in Pleasantview) this morning... Sarah is carrying a child. This has been a particularly difficult week for her... and in her grief... her little girl was turning somersaults... reminding her of God's promise. Yes... as Sarah cried out to the Lord, her unborn baby girl was how God communicated His peace. I just love how God does that! Yes, He can even use and unborn child to witness His message. How awesome is that!!!

I was reminded of this verse from the book of Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..." (Jeremiah 1:5) Isn't it wonderful... He set Sarah's unborn child apart... she is a witness even yet unborn! He knows her, loves her and can use her as His instrument even within her mother's womb. That takes my breath away.

I pray that you are leaping with joy as you anticipate the coming of the Christ Child. That in this busy season you are able to slow down, listen and hear God's whisper, preparing and shaping your hearts and homes for Emmanuel, God with Us! Come Lord Jesus!!!

I also wanted to share this photo of my pup, Jet. I took the photo this morning as we relaxed by the fire and the tree! He looks pretty comfy! Ah another joy of the season....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Have Been Tagged!!!

My pal, Sarah, tagged me! This is the perfect tag for I LOVE Christmas!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Now this is a toughy... I love them both! If I had to choose I guess I would say Hot Chocolate (I had a cup last night)

2.Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

As a kid - they were placed under the tree... now the presents are wrapped! It's so much fun to be surprised!

3. Colored lights on house/tree or white?

OK... I warned you... LOVE Christmas! I have 7 trees in my home. Now, they aren't all big! Each bedroom has a tree - white lights. The Living Room tree (my fav) has colored lights w/ antique ornaments; The Family Room tree has white lights, the back hall table top tree has white, and the small tree in the mudroom has colored lights w/ homespun type oranments. I told you I love Christmas!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Yes... I have some hanging from the light over the front door entry...

5.When do you put your decorations up?

Since I put up so much, and I don't host Thanksgiving I begin the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The bedrooms and Family Room are done at that time. The Living Room is decorated the day after Thanksgiving... I have to leave one fall room in tact through Thanksgiving. I do mine as I also decorate my mother-in-law's, my mom's and our Church. This year I have decorated 12 trees... believe me... I am ready to sit back w/ the cup of hot cocoa and relax!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Water Chestnuts wrapped in bacon! YUM! And of course Turkey!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

I remember one of the last Christmases we spent in Crown Point, IN. I was in 2nd grade and Christmas morning was just magical. Whenever I hear the old Christmas songs by Perry Como, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole etc... I get all warm and fuzzy inside. I always loved that our stockings were filled w/ an orange, apple, banana and some nuts - wish my mom still did that for us! Uh, I mean Santa! After we opened our gifts we would head to our grandparents out in the country for a family Christmas dinner. It was a time of happiness and innocence. It wasn't too many years later that my parent's divorced and things changed. I cherish those memories and hold them close to my heart.

8.When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I was one of those kids who fought the truth about Santa tooth and nail. In the 4th grade... deep down I knew... but I never let on because my sister's were younger and I didn't want to spoil it for them. Plus I feared I wouldn't get good gifts! Ha Ha I still tell my nieces and nephews they can still believe... Santa is just different. :)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

As a kid it was always Christmas Day. We do open gifts w/ Jim's side of the family on Christmas Eve - that was their tradition.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

I have been collecting Christmas Decorations for years (ever since I was a kid)
Like Sarah, every ornament has a memory. I would call my decorating very traditional.

11. Snow. Love it or dread it?

LOVE IT! Winter is inevitable so it might as well snow. It's so much prettier than rain and mud. I embrace it. God gave us the seasons and I appreciate each one. There is nothing more cozy than a snowy day, in front of my fireplace w/ a cup of coffee. If I have to venture out - bundle up in my favorite scarf and coat and be careful!

12. Can you ice skate?

Yes... haven't for years... so I am assuming it's still yes! Having a lake house we enjoyed skating all over the frozen lake when we were younger. I might enlist my sister and her kids to head out to the rink during Christmas break this year! Then we will see if I can still skate!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

I don't think I had a particular favorite. Everything was always wonderful!

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you?
I have to echo Sarah: "Being with family and making memories." also that it's the birth of our sweet Savior! What joy that brings me!

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Ummm just about any dessert! Hee Hee I do love Cream Puffs. Jim and I make them together and give them to our friends and neighbors

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I would have to say the whole season. I cannot pick just one thing as I love to decorate, I love Christmas Eve Service at Church, cooking, family time... I love it all!

17. What tops your Christmas tree?

Antique Christmas Finials

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?

It's funny... so many folks say it's better to give than receive. I feel you can prefer and enjoy both. God gave us His son - so we emulate Him when we give. However, we must receive His son... so we also must learn to receive gifts w/ grace and thanksgiving. So yes, I love both! I love to see the joy a gift I give brings to a loved one, and I appreciate the love and thoughtfulness that goes into a gift given to me!

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Another toughy because there are so many I enjoy. O Holy Night is a favorite. It moves me to the depths of my soul. I love Nat King Cole's Christmas Song... White Christmas by Bing Crosby... I'll Be Home for Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.... Silent Night sung in German... OK, I'll stop

20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck?

21. What do you want for Christmas?
I would really like a nice dutch oven - the ceramic kind. Other than that... lots of surprises! :)

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party?

Yes... a few work related parties. One at the Grand Ballroom at Union Station downtown - very nice. The others are more relaxed and comfortable open house parties.

23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's?

I usually wear a fluffy sweater or satin blouse for Christmas Eve service - but once home... it's comfy jammies!

24. Do you own a Santa hat.

What do you think after reading my other answers! ha ha - Yes... we have a few... they hang on coat hooks etc. They don't get worn - unless a nephew or friend picks one up and puts it on!

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?

Christmas Eve w/ Jim's side of the family... Christmas Day w/ mine at my mom's.

Now I get to tag 5 people

Angie... By Faith Ang Baylis
Paula... Spears Family Nebraska
Tracy.... My Cup Runneth Over
Kelly... Aroma of Joy
In Case You were Wondering

Here are the rules:
1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Fill out the questions.
3. Tag 5-7 people at the end of your post.
4. Pass on the tag!