Life

Reflections of Joy

My 7-year-old, Parker, has been writing stories lately. These stories are always wildly imaginative. Her latest story is entitled, “The Zoo is the Greatest Place on Earth.” The zoo in her story is not just any ‘ol zoo. Oh, no, it features special animals like polka dotted polar bears and pink penguins. Who wouldn’t love to visit a zoo like that?

My girl is a natural storyteller. When she shares her stories with me, great joy can be seen in her eyes, and heard in her voice.

Her joy of telling a story got me thinking about my 2013 One Word: Joy. We all seems to be quick to move on these days. We’re busy, busy, busy. We move on to the next big thing, leaving little, or no time for reflection.

It’s important that we “stop and smell the roses” on occasion if we truly want to understand where we’ve been, how far we have come, and to see the road ahead more clearly.

2013 Joy |ย  I think focusing on the word joy for 2013 made me stop and look for it intentionally. Having joy takes effort. It’s a choice we make. And, I chose joy (most of the time).

I took time to do things that brought me joy, of course, but I also took the time to look for joy in the little things around me everyday. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to find. See, looking for it does work!

Joy

Reflecting…

I found Joy in glorious sunrises out my back door. Joy in nature. Joy in autumn smells, color and weather. Joy in His word, usually when I wasn’t looking for it. Funny how that worked. Joy in my children’s’ laughter. Joy in watching the girls grow into the young ladies they are becoming. Joy in the mess of craft days. Oh, yes, there is joy in glitter, everywhere. Joy in photography, and trips to the mountains. You get the idea…

So, before you rush into 2014, take a moment to reflect on the last 365 days you’ve lived. That is a lot of days. Were they well spent? Did you use them to your advantage? Did you accomplish what you wanted in 2013; where did you fall short? How have you grown personally, professionally, or spiritually?

Before we can see where we’re going, we need to know where we’ve been.

Categories: Joy, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bring on the new year…

The Christmas season is officially over. You know how you can tell? Because the kids have played with all their toys and are now bored. Commence the bickering! The tree has yet to be packed away. And I don’t care.

I got an extra special gift this year. The flu. Awesome. Parker had it Saturday of last week. Christmas Eve was Alexandra’s turn. But mine was saved for Christmas Day. ย At least I didn’t have to cook. We were invited to eat with friends, but I stayed home…holding down the couch.

Ipod

iPod Touch

She got her iPod Touch but not before I made her suffer a little. I wrapped it in her old cell phone box, then placed that in a box, which I wrapped, and repeated two more times. There was confusion, then tears of joy. Priceless.

Giant sock monkey

Giant sock monkey

Her big sis was responsible for finding this giant sock monkey. The boots are hers. She didn’t need anything else!

Shop til you drop

She’s out for the count

A trip to the mall to spend gift cards and cash…we shopped til we dropped. Which in 7-year-old time is approximately 2 hours. If we are lucky.

I woke from my flu coma on Friday, walked outside to the garage for bottles of water, and spotted these loving sights in the backyard:

Frost on branch

Winter branch

The sunrise shining through sleeping leaves. Today is the day He has made.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Now, bring on the new year!

Categories: December Daily, Holidays, In the Moment Photography, Joy, Life | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pass the whine…

You know what is a real let down? Finally getting a date night with hubby, then eating a bad meal. Seriously. We eat out so little that when we finally do get a date night the meal should effing fantastic, but it wasn’t, and that sucks. I know. Boo-hoo.

Okay, enough whining…

This weekend we mustered the energy to check off one of our Christmas traditions…Holiday Lights! Last year we went to Golden, Colorado to check out their river walk lights. The girls were so impressed with the huge pine tree completely wrapped in lights that we had to share it with friends this year.

Golden Lights

Standing under the pine tree wrapped in lights

Golden Light

Under the tree of lights

Each branch is wrapped in strands of lights. I wonder if they leave the lights on all year…hum.

Starbucks

Another tradition…stop at Starbucks to warm up

Golden Light 3

Along the walk

Golden Lights 4

Fence post lining the river wrapped in lights

house lights

Our house with lights

Our home: It may be old and worn. It may have stained carpets and pet hair. It may need a fresh coat of paint on the inside, not to mention new windows. There is not a pretty decorated Pinterest worthy fireplace mantle. Very few people I know would have house-envy upon walking into our house, but it is OUR HOME. It is full of love and happiness. And, that is all I can really ask for.

Categories: Christmas, December Daily, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Know It’s Two Below Zero

DECEMBER DAILY | 7

If you look our house up on Zillow, it will tell you a lot. You will find out our house 1568 sq. ft. That it was built in 1973. Zillow claims there is a one-car garage. There is now a two car garage. It is listed as having a fireplace. I wish I had a fireplace. You will find the price we paid for the house, and it’s estimated value.

However, there is one glaring fact that is not listed on Zillow. Our house still has the original 1973 single-pane windows.

frozen windows

Ice, ice, baby.

Every winter our windows freeze…on the inside! And, that is how I know it is below freezing outside.

Like any 40 year old, you must maintain its body. And, this old lady is worn out, and needs a face lift, stat!

Yesterday I spent 4 hours chipping away at all the ice on all eight windows, melting the ice with a hair dryer, then shrink wrapping them in Frost King Window Insulation. The house already feels warmer.

Minus 2 degrees

Minus 2 degrees (Thursday morning commute)

Like much of the United States, there is an Arctic Freeze here. It’s Canada’s fault. I won’t hold it against them, though. I would love to visit Canada someday.

Lights under snow

Snow over the Christmas lights

Christmas is only two and a half weeks away. Anyone else feeling the pressure?

Categories: December Daily, Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

20 Carved Pumpkins…

carved pumpkins

Some people act surprised when they find out I don’t like to carve pumpkins for Halloween. It surprises me that they think I enjoy it.

Maybe it’s because I was scarred for life by a 4th grade teacher who made his students close our eyes while sticking our hand in a pumpkin full of slimy pumpkin guts….gross. (Or maybe it’s because I stink at it.)

This weekend a dear friend hosted a pumpkin carving party. Imagine how excited I was. My kids were excited.

pumpkins

Love the Red Rider wagon!

We brought 6 pumpkins; hauling them to the friend’s house in the wagon.

Six was ambitious on my part.

After carving two pumpkins myself I can now say I am a pumpkin carving convert.

pumpkin carving

*****

See, it turned out cute! The pumpkin…and the kid!

carving pumkins

One eyed monster.

Parker was a great helper retrieving the slimy guts.

carving pumpkins

She’s a little irritated that I am taking pictures right now.

Alex carved 3 pumpkins but would have carved 6 by herself.

zombie pumpkin

Nom, nom, nom…

A zombie pumpkin….of course.

Between everyone at the party there were 20 carved pumpkins.

cemetery pumpkin

RIP pumpkin

Pretty cool for someone who didn’t think she liked to carve pumpkins.

*****

BTW, December Daily is gearing up to start. If you want to know more about celebrating the magic of the season that is glorious December, check out Ali Edwards’ guided prompts and scrapbooking products. But, honestly, you don’t need to use the products to participate or document the magically season. Just create something.

Categories: Holidays, Joy, Life | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it too eary to post Christmas photos?

It it too early to start thinking about Christmas? Before the Halloween candy is handed out? It’s not like I am putting Christmas lights up on the house…but I have started quilting/sewing decorations and gifts for Christmas.

quilted christmas stockingsThis week I finished making each of us quilted Christmas stockings. Using fabric leftover from my Christmas quilt, I mixed in some new fabrics to make these sweet stockings. I used the instructions/pattern from Amanda Murphy’s book Modern Holiday.

But, sinceย  I can’t follow written directions, I had to jazz the stockings up with my own creativeness.

quilted christmas stockings

It’s starting to look like Christmas…

Although the quilt patterns in the book are lovely, I used the same quilting pattern/technique that I used for my Christmas quilt, and I added an embroidered applique (from Hobby Lobby) to the cuff.

modern holiday stockings

*****

Even though I did my own thing with the quilting design, I followed the instruction in Amanda’s book. I love, love this book! There are so many cute things to quilt for the holidays…and gifts! Friends & family…Don’t be surprised if you get something I have sewed this year. I have big plans.

*****

Okay, since Halloween is next week…here’s a sneak peek to the girls’ costumes. Today was the Halloween parties at school. A week early, I know. Weird.

super girl costume

She is my super girl…

If you know her, you know she isn’t really being Super Girl for Halloween. She is going as Ghost Face (from the movie Scream). But, that is against the school dress code. So today she is SUPER GIRL!

We found that cute shirt, with the pink cape attached, at Walmart. Can you believe it?

lady bug costume

Aaaahhh, so cute!

She’s not a lady bug…she’s my love bug! Adorable, I know. Love the red and white striped tights she picked out!

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

Categories: Christmas, Holidays, Life, quilts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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