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Christmas Dinner

No Word for Wednesday, but here's the update on Christmas dinner...

I wasn't really thinking to do anything too fancy for Christmas dinner. I had originally planned to put a pot roast in the crockpot and make sweet potato casserole...

Well my arm was twisted I was convinced to cook a standing rib roast and then Pop Rocks got us some shrimp as well. That encouraged me to fancy up the table...


I changed out the vase on the table (the tall one makes it hard to talk to each other) and used a bowl that my maternal Grandmother gave us for an engagement present. I added my China to the table. Then I added the silver from my paternal Grandmother. The glasses were a gift from Pop Rock's paternal Grandmother and the dessert plates on top were a gift this year from his maternal Grandmother via his mom this Christmas.

It made for a really pretty place setting. Oh, and see that extra fork? To the top left of this plate? It was from my mom's house when she gave me some flatware for my …

Sunday's Songs: Happy Christmas!

I want to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas! May you find the One King, if you have not yet.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve

Two days until Christmas EVE!
I wanted to show you my Christmas Decorations - before it gets too late.

So we have a 4.5 foot tree! To get a tree to fit in the space we have available, we had to have a narrow tree (I don't remember the exact measurements) and this was as tall as I could find and still leave room for walking.

Here it is all lit up...



Here it is lit in the daylight....



Next up is our Nativity. I set it up on the banquet top of our china cabinet. This was a wedding present from my Aunt and Uncle. I was so excited to finally get to pull it out last year.

 You can see what I mean about where its placed better in the next shot. Last year I bought these green ornaments on clearance and I filled this large vase with them for the kitchen table....
So as I was preparing for our Christmas guest I was rearranging things in the top of the china cabinet and decided to use this bowl for our Christmas cards...


Then I put it on our coffee table for a holiday decoration. Also, growing up my…

Christmas Meal Planning

So I am hosting Christmas more officially this year than last. Last year my parents came for Christmas Eve and that was easily taken care of with our traditional meal of stuffed shells.
So this year my parents will be here for Christmas and Christmas Eve. Plus a few days before. So I'm trying to figure out what to serve and when. We are going to my in-laws for one meal so that will be fairly taken care of. I am thinking to make pot roast for Christmas night. I think I'll make chicken one other night.

I also would love to make some kind of killer dessert or maybe cookies...

Do you have any suggestions for me? Please, help! I would really appreciate it!
(Via)

Merry Mary Monday: Blanket Monster

I know that, this doesn't quite fit with the Advent theme I've had going on, but it was too funny not to share. Yesterday Mary was cold. She got under the blanket, but sat there looking at us. It was very funny. The picture doesn't quite show it, but I wanted to share it anyway!



In case you've missed it some of my favorite Christmas songs can be found here, here and here.
Some of my deeper Christmas thoughts are here and here.
A very horrible Christmas song and my least favorite Christmas song have made it to the blog as well.
Also some last minute gift ideas can be found here, here and here! 

Sunday's Songs: Pure Christmas Bliss

So I didn't get a post up yesterday, but I did manage to get my tree up, finally!!! I also managed to get the bulk of our Christmas shopping done.


So I've heard this song several times on the radio and each time I fall more in love with it. So grab a cup of hot chocolate and settle in near your tree for a few minutes of pure Christmas bliss:

Have you met a Grinch lately?

(Via)
So I ran into a Grinch a few days ago. Have you met one yet this year?  If so what did they do?
You can post anonymously... we won't judge.

I'm participating in Company Girl Cofee today...

My Least Favorite (Regular) Christmas Song

So I am sure there are people out there that love the song I am going to talk about today. Much like I am sure there are those that might actually like the worst Christmas Song ever that I posted last week.

Without further introduction here is my least favorite Christmas song.


That's Right Happy Christmas (War is Over) is pretty much my least favorite Christmas song. Not just this version... any version.

Maybe I don't like it because the war my generation is fighting isn't over yet or something, but this song just really bums me out. I am sorry if it is your favorite song, but thats the way I feel.

Word for Wednesday: Adoption

The theme of our Christmas program this year was adoption.

Maybe it seems like a funny theme for a Christmas program.

Christ's birth at Christmas allows us to be adopted into the family of God.

If Christ hadn't come as a baby that first Christmas, we couldn't be saved.

He wouldn't have died for our sins.

He wouldn't have given up heaven to save us.

He wouldn't have completed God's plan for our salvation.

BUT HE DID!

He saved us!

He gave us the chance to be adopted into the family of God.

Adopted. God's child. A miracle for our live.

We are saved!

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Chris-Myth Busters

Say that 10 times fast.
That was the name of our program this year. It was wonderful! I so enjoy spending time with kids to put the program together each year. 
We had dress rehearsal Saturday and the performance was Sunday morning. The program was phenomenal. Our kids do an amazing job each year and I am always so proud of them. 
The only glitch this year was when there was a power surge in the middle of one of the scenes. It caused the mics to go out and the kids had to be really loud. It only lasted a few lines. 
There were no forgotten lines this year which is awesome. I am always amazed by the kids in the programs at the way they memorize their parts, but this years group blew me away. They had basically the whole thing memorized by the second practice. This meant we got to spend more time on the acting part rather than learning the lines.
All of the kids did a great job. It was funny and had a great message too! I'm going to dig into the message tomorrow.
I'm in the Chri…

Merry Mary Monday: 12.12.11

Hey guys, its Mary!


I'm taking over Mom's blog today to talk about what I want for Christmas.

Did you know that mom has a whole pinterest board dedicated to me?

Some of the costumes are scary. I don't want to look like a turkey. I want to look like my adorable self. (Has mom told you what happens to me when she makes me wear a shirt? Oh she has.)

I most definitely don't want to be dressed up like a chia pet. There are plenty of other dogs that look like that anyway. But if I got that superman costume I wouldn't complain. I wonder if it would really give me super powers.

Mom says she wishes it was a Batman costume... cause I already have the ears.

Also, lets talk for a minute about those doggles. Um... no thanks!

I will tell you what I do love - that nesting blanket. Oh, it just looks so amazing. I wouldn't even have to work to build my cave.

What I really want for Christmas is a new collar from Needle Dee Needle Dum. Oh and they have new designs too! I'm getting gi…

Sunday's Songs: Last Years New Favorite Christmas Song

So this song was released last year by Francesca Battestelli. Its amazing. It has the elegance and mystery that I love in a Christmas song. I love elegance, because it makes it timeless and the mystery because I feel like there is a lot of mystery around Christmas and thats what makes it so special. I couldn't find an official video on Francesca's YouTube site, so this will have to do.

Quick Question

Do you have your tree up yet?
I plan to get mine up this weekend.


I am linking up with Company Girl Coffee today!

Worst Christmas Songs Ever: A random old one

This post includes a song that probably isn't something you want your kids to listen to quite yet.

So I thought it would be fun to think of some of the worst Christmas songs...

I heard this the other morning on my way to work. It was on a station that plays all Christmas music all day and Deliliah in the evening. (BTdubs.... I LOVE DELILIAH!!!)

I listened to the whole thing because.

1. Traffic was really bad.
2. I couldn't believe this song made it to the radio.
3. I couldn't believe this song was considered a Christmas song.
4. I was getting more and more depressed.
5. Traffice was really - it took me an hour to get to work - bad.

Without further ado, my first entry into worst Christmas songs ever....



So if you are work and can't listen to the song or don't want to for the any or all of the reasons listed above. (There are subtitles or you can just google the lyrics: Dan Fogelberg: Same Old Lang Syne.)

This guy runs into his old flame at the grocery on Christmas Eve and the…

A Word for Wednesday: Peace

Each year, about this time peace becomes my greatest desire for Christmas. The song that I shared on Sunday invites the Carolers to, "come and join with the angels singing, 'Peace on the Earth.'" The kids are singing this song in our Christmas musical on Sunday and their motion for peace is to make an X with their arms and bring them down in a calming motion. To watch them do it, shows you exactly what peace is.

I sometimes have a hard time understanding the deeper levels of particular themes. For example, I never totally got why Christmas was a time of peace. It would seem to me that it would be a time of turmoil.

For Mary, turmoil that she was unwed and having a child miraculously. She would have to travel from home on a donkey's back while pregnant.

For Joseph, turmoil that he believed Mary and her story about a miracle (I'm sure a visit from an angel helped him to believe) and he would still marry her.

For the couple, turmoil that they were going to deliver…

Your Personal Christmas Season

I had a fun conversation with some friends yesterday about your own personal Christmas Season kick-off. My one friend mentioned that it was one of two events (a holiday breakfast and the the Christmas parade, whichever comes first). Another said it was when she gets her relatives house for the holidays. 
Mine is made up of two parts. First, there is a rather important meeting that I am in charge of organizing at work and it happens to fall in late November or early December. That has to be complete. The other is for the Children's musical to be done. The meeting is tomorrow and the musical is on Sunday. I'm taking a Monday off to clean and decorate the house! Christmas can finally start! 
What kicks-off your holiday season?

Merry Mary Monday: Couponing Edition

Couponing is fun for Mary too! Don't worry... No coupons were harmed for this picture... Also, sorry this is so late.... Long day.

Sunday's Songs: My New Favorite Christmas Song

This is one of the songs in our Children's Musical this year, but I heard it on the radio this week and really fell in love with it then. The motions that the kids are doing with it are really awesome as well.


(via)
Do you have a new favorite Christmas song this year?

Another thought for Christmas

I know that yesterday I talked about the things on my Christmas list, but there were somethings I didn't mention.

I would also really like a goat or a chicken or even a cow. No, not for me, or in Farmville, but for someone in need.

Click here to get Images  & Goat Pictures
Did you know that for as little as $70 you can send a goat to a family in need this Christmas. The family can use the goat milk for their own nutritional purposes as well as sell the excess to generate income. Baby chicks are only $14. Check this online catalog out. It is from Samaratin's Purse so I know it can be trusted. There are items for as low at $5 (milk for a child for a week) up to $10,000(a filtered water well to provide safe drinking water for a community.) But its the low cost of things that is incredible.

$6 - a blanket for a child
$9 - food for a baby for a WEEK
$100 - a household water filter for a family

You can also share the cost. So for $20 you can pitch in to that well I was talking abou…

All I want for Christmas

So there isn't much on my Christmas list this year. In fact, I've only come up with two things of note and one for fun Cheer and Joy.

1. An air mattress. If you ever come to see us and you bring more people than will fit in our guest bed (2) and our couch (1) you will be glad that I asked for this. This would be helpful as it would allow for my whole family to come visit and hopefully stay comfortably.


Also... I chaperone on preteen retreats, maybe you remember. I need an air mattress on those nights. Thankfully this year I was able to borrow one for each the retreats I attended, but concrete floors are no good once you are over the age of 12.

2. A travel tumbler. The ones with the lid and the straw....



Yeah that one!

So these are on sale right now at Squiggly Doodles. Its my cousin's store. She has them personalized for $10. Amazing deal right! You can also find her on Etsy.

3. Blackout curtains. There is a streetlight in between our yard and our next door neighbors. It shines…

Advent: My Favorite Christmas Album

So my all-time favorite Christmas Album is getting older. It is Point of Grace's album A Christmas Story.

(via)

Let me tell you, one of my best friends and I will rock this CD all year long. Christmas in July - Check! Rough day in October - Just the cure! Mid-winter blahs in February - Only 10 more months til Christmas! Perfect spring weather in May - Seems like the perfect accompaniment! we also have hand motions at just the right parts. My actual copy of this album has been played so many times it is worn out. It skips and jumps but I just sing right along. I have finally had to resort to the Spotify version.

When I have a little extra Christmas money I like to buy another Christmas CD to add to my collection. I think its time that if I buy one, I replace this one.

This is my favorite song from the CD:


(via)
Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit faster than popping in this CD. What gets you in the mood for Christmas? Whats your favorite Christmas CD?

By the way, if you are keeping…

Advent

So the Advent season started on Sunday and tomorrow will start the Advent calendar. I loved ours as a child. It was a story of a bear and you moved him through the house for the 24 days before Christmas.

I thought I would do my best to celebrate Advent this year with 24 different Christmas themed blog posts. You will have to tune each day to see what it is. There will be lots of Christmas songs along the way. Neat gift ideas and other exciting features.

There won't be a Word for Wednesday post this week unless you count Advent.

I was inspired by some pretty cool Advent calendars on the interwebs.



One was this Advent Calendar with how to make instructions from The Lettered Cottage. This is a great and fun blog.


This is a really cool advent calendar that is available for purchase from Jessi at Naptime Diaries. I am a new reader of her blog and her prints are awesome... they might just show up in a gift post. I especially love her Christmas Cards. And it doesn't hurt that she lives …

Merry Mary Monday: 11.28.11

Mary had a very restful holiday. We were on the couch together watching TV the other night.  I got up to do something real quick and saw this.

I pulled the blanket back to make sure the rest of her was there.

She wasn't so sure about this idea of not having the blanket around her.

So I put it back. I felt like she needed a pillow though so I folded the other blanket a few times and put it under her head. She was content until she went to bed that night.

Yes, Mary had a very restful holiday.

Week of Thanks: Friends are Friends Forever

I know I've told you, but I have the most amazing friends in the world. They keep me grounded, but build me up. They encourage me and love me. They pray for me. Do you know how much better your life is when someone prays for you?

I realize that maybe I don't say enough how thankful I am for my friends. I truly am so thankful. It is incredible to share the journey of life with them.

Let me tell you about my friends.

Some are younger than me. Some are older than me. Both help me keep my perspective. The younger ones allow me to remember what it was like to be innocent and optimistic. The older ones share wisdom and a shoulder to lean on.

Some are married. Some are not. Both are important.

Some are very similar to me. Some are very different. Both help me in different ways. Either to gain perspective or to keep me grounded where I need to be.

Today, I am thankful for all my friends. If you are reading this and wondering if I mean you - I do!

Week of Thanks: Pop

I am so thankful for Pop Rocks! He is an incredible man. He is loving and kind.

He is a hard worker. He does whatever needs doing.

He is a rock in hard times and the msot wonderful husband I could ever ask want.

He is magnificent.


My Sister-in-Law was kind enough to share this with me so I thought I would share it with you!

Week of Thanks: Today

Today
I am thankful for my family. We will spend the day with Pop Rock's family. They treat me like one of their own. Its beautiful. To them I am a daughter and a sister and an aunt.

Today
I am thankful for my parents. They are wonderful. Even though they are far away they are there for me. They love me more than I understand. To them I am a daughter and an integral part of their lives.
(Happy Birthday, Daddy!)

Today
I am thankful for my brother. It is a magnificent thing to have an older brother. He is someone I know is always on my side. To him I am a little sister, the one to plan with.

Today
I am thankful!

Today
I am very very very thankful.

Week of Thanks: Beauty

I am so thankful for the beauty in the world. Pop Rocks and I recently had the opportunity to spend some time in God's beautiful creation. It was a wonderful time. God's amazing creativity in creation never ceases to awe me. There is so much that God has done in our world that it causes me to fall in love with Him more and more.

(Hacked from my BIL's facebook)
There is also so much beauty in the people too. When I see the beauty in people it makes me wonder how sometimes I don't let myself be beautiful! There is so much love inside of people. It means so much to see people be kind and loving to others. If I could be more beautiful surely more people would see the beauty of God and find Him.

What do you find beautiful? What does it mean to you?

Week of Thanks: My Job

I am thankful, today for my job. During this recession it has been a great relief to have a steady job. It is also wonderful to have a job that allows me flexibility. I have had to leave today to come home to take care of some plumbing issues at the house. It was a huge blessing to have the flexibility to do so.

I also have the most wonderful co-workers. They not only help with work, but they care about me as a person. They really care. It means something to go to work each day with your friends.

What are you thankful for today?

Week of Thanks: Merry Mary Monday

I'm sure its no surprise to anyone that I am thankful for Mary.

When Mary is out of her crate when I get home. She runs as fast as she can to the door and won't stop jumping and barking until I pick her up.


Lately, in the mornings Mary has started this new thing. When I go to get her up to go outside,. She stretches out her one paw to me. If I take it and stroke it she gets up, if I don't she tries again.

She is the most wonderful and precious companion. This weekend she was around a couple of active bigger dogs. She would have done anything to get to run with them. She didn't get too, I'm too afraid she'll wander off and they would have totally crushed her.
Mary looked at herself in the mirror this weekend for the first time since we've had her. She couldn't take her eyes off herself. It was like she figured out for the first time that she looks different from me and Pop Rocks.

I love Mary and the joy she brings to us on a daily basis. She is our preciou…

Well Hello There!

I've been a little MIA as of late. My life has required me to be more "IA" than normal lately. I've had a lot of balls in the air trying to juggle them and I had to let this one drop. I am planning on trying to do a WeekofThanks again this year. Maybe I can successfully complete it this time! 
There is another reason I haven't really be blogging much. I like to keep things here positive. Lately, I've been in a funk and kind of negative in my thinking. I realized last night that I should have been using the blog for some positive thinking! 
I did manage to do a "photoshoot" of Mary so look for some pictures on Monday
Anyway, I hope you are all doing well. Lets catch up! Whats been going on in your world?

Sunday's Song: Where I Belong

So today's song is one that is rather new. Somehow though it sums up the anthem that has been in my heart for awhile now. 
All I know is I'm not home yet. This is not where I belong Take this world and give me Jesus This is not where I belong.
I find myself yelling singing this as loud as possible while banging the steering wheel. I just had to share. You can listen to Building 429's song on their website, along with most of their album. I should also mention that these guys played a concert at Tennessee District Camp for the Church of the Nazarene. Pop Rocks and I met them after the concert and they are genuinely nice guys with an amazing heart.
There is also a cool video of them playing the song live. It looks like it is in their recording company's office. Check it out:

A Word for Wednesday: Offended

I hear it over and over again... "I just tell it like it is. If somebody gets offended by it then thats their problem." 
I have to wonder if thats the best thing. You see, I'm pretty sensitive. I have to make an effort not to get offended or have my feelings hurt. The worst party is that the place I do this most often is at church. Its more common for me to have my guard up there than other places. 
I have to wonder if not caring about others feelings is really the best plan. After all, if we offend each other, what about those who are just checking things out and not real sure about this idea of Christianity. What about those who were offended so deeply that they wrote Christianity off. Will they ever be reachable if we continue to offend them. 
I know I need to work on this. One of my common phrases is, "No offense, but..." I once heard it said that by using this phrase you are offending someone. Its so easy to say words that hurt and impossible to put them …

Farmville, Preschool, and Friendship

I like playing games on Facebook. Maybe you don't, they're not the point of this blog post. I just wanted to share some perspective on why preschool matters. 
To succeed at games on Facebook you must either have friends that also play the same game or be willing to sink real money into games that don't really matter. I'm not willing to use my money for that. I am willing however to click as many requests for random things as I can each day. Why? Because things are more fun when you are getting what you need. 
Back to preschool... remember when we learned about sharing? Sharing is caring and all of that jazz. Well, its this same concept. In order to be successful at friendship we have to give and take equally. So awhile ago, I was chaperoning a retreat and while there met a life coach. He and I were talking about things and ended up on the topic of friendship. He said that if you have one good friend you are doing well in life and if you have two, then you should count…

Merry Mary Monday: Happy Fall Y'all

Have you had as much fun playing in the leaves as Mary?


This is what happens when Mama isn't put paying attention. Why yes, it was a mess. And yes, leaves do, apparently, make a tasty snack.

Get Motivated: Don't Get Defeated

On Monday I was given the opportunity to attend the Get Motivated Seminar here in Nashville. I've been blogging what I took away from it. If you missed it, you can check it out here & here.
Another area that the speakers kept highlighting was not to get defeated. Lou Holtz told about his first season at South Carolina. I was living in Columbia when Lou Holtz came to town. I remember thinking how absurd it was that Williams Brice Stadium would be completely sold out for every Gamecocks game when they lost every time. Mr. Holtz showed up and they continued there losing streak for another season. He said that he felt a bit like giving up, but he kept working with his team. The next year they made it to a Bowl! The year after, they were back in a bowl. He didn't let his spirit become defeated, but kept working with determination and made it to a bowl game. 
Bill Cosby told about how he messed up his first big comedy act so bad, he almost didn't perform his second show tha…

A Word for Wednesday: The Intersection of Grace and Kindness

This is part of my takeaway from the Get Motivated seminar I attended on Monday. If you missed the first post it can be found here. I don't know for sure, but it seemed as though many of the speakers on Monday believed in God. Many stated that they did. One of the themes I picked up on led me to the intersection of grace and kindness. 
Colin Powell told a story about parking attendants in a garage. The cars had to be stacked - three cars would be parked in a row and the cars in the 1 and 2 positions couldn't leave til the card in the 3 position did so. When asked how it was determined who got each position the attendants explained that if someone rolled their window down smiled and talked to the attendants then they usually got the coveted position of number 3. 
James Smith told a story about how they took water to their garbage man and talked to him. Mr. Smith had more garbage than allowed on the route. He helped to load the extra bags in the truck. The garbage collector tol…

Get Motivated Seminar: READ

I was able to attend the Get Motivated seminar here in Nashville yesterday. It was a fun day filled with well-known and interesting speakers. One of the things I kept writing down was to read more. (Also watch less t.v.)

Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that he is always reading at least two books. One to challenge and one for his own enjoyment. I love to read, but I most often find myself reading only fiction for my own pleasure rather than to help myself grow. This is something I can definitely improve.

Others said it too. Krish Dhanam suggested reading one book a week. Mary Buffett spoke strongly of reading. She said that she writes books to help provide others with the same mentoring that she received. (She was mentored by her father-in-law, Warren Buffett.)

My mom fostered in me my love for reading so I thought I would share this other thought from Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He said, "We should get kids to tell us what they are interested in and then give them books to read on that topic.…

Merry Mary Monday: Lazy Dog Edition

So its no big secret that Mary likes to lay around. In fact, that is her number one priority each day. The other day she was sleeping on the couch.

Then later she was still laying on the couch. It was Saturday and I had hurt my back on Friday so I pretty much laid on the couch all day too. But that evening she was so tuckered out this happened. 



As soon as I got the picture, her tongue went back in because she was clearly embarrassed that she had been caught. We laughed.

Sunday's Song: 10.16.11

I was on a journey a couple of weeks ago. It was a very sad and hard journey. I was headed to the funeral of a childhood friend. He was younger than me and much to young to be gone. As I was driving that night, alone, I began flipping through the radio and happened upon this song. It helped me so much that night. I hope that it can help you today.

A Word for Wednesday: Joy

I was working the other day on a very physical, involved, yet mindless task. Something had me thinking about Joy. Not happiness, that fleating and hard-to-catch excitement, but joy, that soul-deep, hard to define, harder to identify cheerfulness even in mundane situations gladness.

Anyway, there used to be an old Sunday School statment that JOY is Jesus, Others, You. A definition of priorities. So there I was the other day thinking about Joy when it hit me that to put Jesus first requires that you put Others before yourself. It could never be Jesus, You, Others. I had been thinking a lot about priorities and this very simple thought wrapped up my weeks of thinking with a pretty bow and all!

Merry Mary Monday: 10.11.11

Sometimes Mary puts herself in a cave. I think she likes to think of herself as being as scary as a bear! Or maybe she just likes to hibernate.