Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a wonderful Christmas this year!! I was so thankful to have my blog post from last year telling about Christmas because I had already forgotten so much of it!

Christmas Eve, we continued many of our traditions. First, we went to the movies and saw "Tangled" which we both absolutely loved!!! Next we went to the Christmas eve service at church. Ashleigh, Mandy, and I sang "Jesus, what a beautiful name". My parents and brother came and we all got to take communion as a family. It was, as always, so beautiful.

We came home and began a new tradition of eating Taco Soup for dinner. I totally played Feliz Navidad as we filled up our bowls, I am just that cheesy.

Then, once Eden and William came, we watched "A Muppet's Christmas Carol". That's when I really started feeling the magic of Christmas, those songs do it to me every time!

The next morning, Jason and I woke up and had Christmas morning, just the two of us. We started by opening our stockings. Then Jason read the Christmas story and cooked breakfast. Then, Zero got in on the fun and came in and opened his presents (haha, oh yes we did).

Opening his wrapped present, all without thumbs, very impressive...

It's a...

Next, Jason and I unwrapped our other gifts to each other...

And so I can remember when we are old and grey, here is what we got:
For him: 6 blu rays (found at a crazy good black friday deals at wally world), two pairs of jeans, some random groceries, and his favorite: the pointer finger!! He saw it at Hob Lob and played with it all through out the store, so Santa decided to bring home the joy and put it in his stocking.

For her: two Christmas movies (my favorite), headphones, three cds, a game, a beautiful antique cake plate, and continuing the jewelrey-on-the-tree tradition, a beautiful necklace! That crazy hair is all mine thou, haha.

We chilled out for a while and then heard a sound and found that it was sleeting which soon turned into a beautiful snow. We went out and relished in it because we knew it probably wouldn't last! Here we are with the first few flakes:

To our joy and amazement, it kept snowing ALL day!! It turned into the most beautiful white Christmas!! It was Georgia's first since the late 1800s!

It was truly magical.

The day followed with lunch and presents with my family, then dinner and presents with Jason's family, then back to my parents for a crazy awesome Christmas night scavenger hunt. I didn't take pictures again this year of all that, sheesh!

We were so blessed with so much this Christmas and this whole year. I took this picture Christmas night on my mac and I think it really sums up our merry little Christmas:
I'll end with my night's Facebook status which sums it up so well:

This status just can't contain the joy, love, and blessings I feel today. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. From this fullness of His grace we have ALL received ONE BLESSING AFTER ANOTHER. John 1:14,16

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Decor Inspiration: Prepping for the Sales

I'm not quite sure what my problem is, but I can't seem to be content with the look of our Christmas tree.  I can't believe it, but I'm considering hitting up the 90% sales to revamp our Christmas tree again for next year. I really don't know why I care since it's only up for one month, but I've found myself searching for inspiration...

One thing I know I want to do is hang up some ornaments above our tree and from our Christmas chandelier next year ala Lettered Cottage:

I also really like the look of these trees, which are surprisingly just classic red and green:

This one is from Small Words Blog, She calls it "wacky and tacky", but I like it!  I especially like those sticky out things at the top.

This is something else I want to add..floral wire! Our tree looks slightly bare when the lights are out this year.

A totally different look, but I also really like this tree:

 This is actually a friend of mine's house. This is a terrible picture of it, but it is very pretty and natural looking in person. I actually have pictures of this entire house tucked away in my inspiration file that I hope to do a post on soon.

So, there you have it, who knows what my tree will look like next year!

Christmas Redemption

There's a story I've heard my whole life that is said to be a Cherokee Indian proverb...

A wise chief told his grandson that there is a battle that goes on inside everyone. "My son," he began "inside all of us, there are two wolves, an evil wolf and a good wolf. The evil wold is full of selfishness, envy, bitterness, greed, malice, and hate. The good wold is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
 (ok, I'm paraphrasing, and yes those are the fruit of the spirit).

The young boy thought for a moment, and then asked, "which one wins?"

"The one you feed," he replied.

As much as I hate to admit it, over the past two months, my evil wolf has had a lot more strength than I would like. I've been surrounded by a bit of drama lately, and just as the evil wolf would have it, it has permeated my thoughts and relationships with the majority of people in my life, including my relationship with my Savior. This created a domino effect, and I've definitely felt the darkness creeping up to swallow me, and at some points, I lost my focus.

There are so many things I try to make my "good wolf" believe like the fact that "hurt people, hurt people" and that harboring bitterness only hurts yourself (the person your bitter toward really doesn't care that you are hurt or mad!). I know that I don't ever want to be a mad/bitter person!! I am tired of having joy stolen from me and those I love.

There will always be hateful people, bad circumstances, injustice, selfishness, adversity, and evil. However, I must choose to turn my eyes upon the One who we are celebrating during this season. I know the thief (aka the evil wolf) comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But JESUS came to bring abundant life.

I refuse to let anymore of my abundant life be stolen.

It may seem an odd time to post these thoughts, amidst the slew of Christmas jolly and joy, but upon second thought, it is amazingly apropos.

I think of old Ebenezer Scrooge, and how he found redemption from his bitterness and greed through a reminder of his mortality.

I think of the Grinch, who found redemption through the love of a little girl and the realization that true joy can not be store bought.

I think of Kris Kringle on Miracle on 34th Street when he said, 
"I am not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and has a jolly demeanor, you know. I'm a symbol. I'm a symbol of the human ability to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives. And if you can't accept anything on faith, then you are doomed to a life dominated by doubt." 

I think of an all powerful God who left paradise to endure hardship and scorn, injustice and slander, greed and selfishness on earth even though he didn't have to. The One who looked evil right in the face so that we can have this wonderful, abundant life and eternity in Heaven.

So, I'm off to feed the good wolf through everything from the big stuff, like the amazingness that is fellowship with the Holy Spirit through His word, to simple Christmas pleasures and warm fuzzies, you know the type.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Favorites

I love Christmas! I just want to soak it up!! You can bet in the month of December that any movies I watch or music I listen to will likely be Christmas focused. I even often tell Jason when he wants to do something non-holiday focused in December, "That isn't very Christmas-y".

So, I decided to compile a list of my favorite Christmas movies and songs:

First my favorite movies (7...I know strange number)

7. Home Alone
6. Miracle on 34th Street
5. The Santa Clause
4. Polar Express
3. The Grinch (Jim Carey)
2. Elf

& undisputedly number one:
1. Muppet's Christmas Carol

Two movies everyone raves about but I haven't seen yet are....
It's a wonderful Life
Christmas Vacation

I know, I gotta find them and watch them!

Then Music!! I love music!! I split it into categories:

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays- Nsync
The Christmas song- Carpenters
Santa Clause is coming to town- Jackson 5
Muppet  Christmas Carol Music
All I want for Christmas is you- Mariah Cary
Jesus, what a wonderful Child- Mariah Cary
Emmanuel- Amy Grant
Keep Christmas with you- Sesame Street
Carol of the Bells
Sleigh Ride

I really like these three albums:
Carpenters (Christmas Portrait)~Amy Grant (first one)~Peanuts

Popular Religious:
Mystery- Selah
Welcome to our World- Amy Grant
Joseph's Lullaby- Mercy Me
Winter Snow- Chris Tomlin
Candlelight Carol
When Love came down- POG

Ring the Bells
Oh come all ye faithful
Oh little Town of Bethlehem
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Silent Night (I especially like Taylor Swift's version)

It's so neat because when I look over this list, I can see influence from so many friends I've had over the years, and so many memories come back. I'm sure there are many songs I overlooked! So tell me, what are your top three (or more) favorite Christmas movies and songs !?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Creativity

Over the weekend, I had several projects to tackle and I was bitten by the creativity bug in a major way.

I love being creative. It's when I feel most alive. None of these projects were very exciting or creative to begin with, but I took the opportunity to make them my own!

First, I had two parties that I needed to fix a dish to bring. First, I made the chocolate/peanut butter/ powdered sugar cereal mix that goes by many names:
puppy chow/white trash/muddy buddies/snowman poop, take your pick!

Anyways, as i said, the project wasn't very exciting, but I made it so thru the presentation, it's all about the presentation.

First, I put it in my trifle bowl. Then I decided it could use something more. So I added some ribbon and a gift tag with a verse about snow:

Then, I made spinach dip for a family party. I grabbed my faithful $3 Goodwill basket  (that I've already used 6 or 7 times for different things, great find!!), and found that my plates fit perfectly in them. I put the dip in a clear bowl, and prepped to put my snowflake Ritz when the time came.

Next, I had some wrapping to do. I bought this red swirly paper at Hob Lob this year for $4 (50% off it's normal price of course). It's a little more than I wanted to pay, but I found it to be totally worth it. This paper is awesome!! It is so thick,  has grid lines, and you get a ton of it on the roll!! I picked up some pretty tulle ribbon and loved how these packages turned out!

I actually printed these gift tags for free off of this blog!! I love them, and you can't beat free!!!

I got the checkerboard paper last year 90% off at T@rget along with the curling ribbon. 

I had been wrapping with it for a while, and right after I wrapped my Dad's gift, I discovered that I was out of ribbon. I had some excess paper I had just cut off, and decided to cut out a star or something and just put it on top. I full expected that it would look terrible, but I really didn't care and I knew my Dad wouldn't either. So I started tearing up the paper, and inspiration struck. My little flower-like creation ended up being my favorite "bow" of all!!

So now, the presents are all wrapped and the stockings are hung!! Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Decor 2010

Welcome to our house!
This year my "theme" for our decorations were cranberries, starting with the pinecone and cranberry wreath on the front door!!
 Here is our Christmas table scape. I changed out some of my plates to make them red and green and put together the centerpiece.
 The centerpiece may be my favorite decoration of the year. We bought ALL the cranberry stuff at T@rget 90% off last Christmas. The star is actually a tree topper, but I ended up using the one we had last year. So I put it in my goodwill basket, covered it with a scrap of burlap, put the cranberry garland, and sprinkled some left over ornaments and pine cones. I love it!
 Right inside my living room door, you will see my willow tree nativity. My parents gave us this as our wedding present and I actually left it up all year!
 I <3 Christmas cards, especially picture ones!!
 Here is our tree and stockings!
 In a night-time glow... 
 Jason, Zero, and my stocking! We got our stockings and  holders 90% off at Hob Lob the year before we got married, and we got Zero the cute felt one this year at Tar-jay.
 Here are some close-ups of some ornaments: These are also from last year's 90% trip:

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of our traditions is to buy an ornament each year that represents that year for us. This was our first Christmas ornament:
 And here is our 2010 ornament; the year we got our pup!
 My mom gave us this at one of my wedding showers, it's a hand-painted ornament of the chapel we got married in!! Beautiful!

 Our lighted topper:

 The tree skirt may surprise you, its actually my bridesmaid dress from my BFF Amory's wedding !!! I'm all about repurposing! Plus, it just looks really beautiful!

Merry Christmas!!!