Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

Happy New Year's Eve!

I arrived at work on Wednesday, backed my daughter's car into a parking space, and looked up to see this magnificient, swirling, cloud-laden sky.

Just lovely.

As I sit in the quiet on this last day of 2011, I am tired. I'm sleeping well but think that too much sugar, not enough veggies, not enough movement (read: treadmill), and a year of fulltime employment have exhausted me. My thoughts have been swirling around much like the clouds pictured above.

New Thing

I am 50 years old and have braces.

I've had crooked lower teeth for years and noticed in the past couple years that I was experiencing pain in one of my upper front teeth. It was shifting into my other front tooth and soooooo I "treated myself" to a visit to the orthodontist who gave me the options of Invisalign or regular braces. The reason I chose regular braces is I will have them for a shorter period of time (estimate from 10-14 months) and the orthodontist said that I would have better success with braces.

At my last appointment, he asked what I wanted for Christmas....I told him straight teeth in the new year.

No pressure! :)

New Experience

I am a grandmother.

The old saying is true, "If I had known grandchildren were gonna be this much fun, I would have had them first!”

Our granddaughter (Youngest Sweetie) is 7 weeks old and I think of her as my "free entertainment." She is amazing and becoming more alert. She loves looking at the lights on the Christmas tree, the Nutcrackers, and a framed picture of herself. She is a blessing!

Life Happens

A deer ran into the side of my van the night before Thanksgiving. The damage was a big dent in the passenger side door and a crinkle down the slider door. (I don't know the damage to the deer but am hopeful that it was stunned and now lives in an open meadow not near a road.)

The day before dropping my van off to be repaired, I hit the garage with my passenger side view mirror. Wonderful Husband immediately went and found the duct tape and off we went to run an errand.

If people were avoiding driving near me because of the dent, I think they really gave me a lot of space after seeing the duct tape!

2011 was my year of van body work. And P.S. I dropped the van off on December 19 and it might be ready on January 6. Fingers crossed!

God Spoke/I Listened

The One Year Chronological Bible - reading the Bible and following Wendy Pope's blog/vlog. A blessing! New in 2012, Wendy is teaching through the Psalms and you can check out her plan here.

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. I spoke about my experience from reading the book to my Bible Study buddies and how I began counting toward 1,000 gifts this year.

The Fitting Room: Putting on the Character of Christ by Kelly Minter. Terri and I continued our weekly phone calls and after catching up on life, we'd talk about a chapter or two. I love this book based on Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Jesus Calling A 365-Day Journaling Devotional by Sarah Young.

Some Books I've Read

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages by Kristin Chenoweth

Good Hope Road by Lisa Wingate

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Words of Wisdom

"Hope comes in more concentrated doses if you are getting it from someone IN the moment, versus in the memory." Quoted from Annie at Annie Blogs. You can read her entire post here.

After reading Annie's post about writing more about her life in this season of single-hood, I wonder if I should write more about my life in the moment of emptynester-hood and grandmother-hood. I struggle with how much my story intersects with my family and the fine line that I need to walk in protecting their privacy when including them in my writing.

And then my mind turns to silly technology issues like how to post two pictures side-by-side on this blog. My thoughts continue to swirl like the clouds. Ha!

Won a prize

An e-book called Notes to Aspiring Writers: Your Dream, God's Plan by Brooke L. McGlothlin.

Do you have a New Year's Resolution(s)?

Mine is the same one I've kept for the past four years. I am a card sender. I will continue to send cards of encouragement, sympathy, hope, etc., to people who I see in need of reminding that they are thought of and prayed for. (I love that my Bible Study buddy, Charlotte, calls it my Card Ministry.)

2010 was the year of hope for me.
I learned to place my hope in God.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

2011 was the year of grace for me.
God covers me with grace, and I made great strides in sharing grace with others.
So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.
Ephesians 1:6 (NLT)

I'm not sure what word to focus on in 2012. I'll have to let you know.

I pray you have a Happy New Year and pray personally for less swirling thoughts in 2012!


Monday, December 26, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (503-510)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...

Christmas day is over. The gifts are now unwrapped, under the tree. I am thankful for each gift and realize I lead a blessed life. I am free to worship God and celebrate the birth of Jesus.

And I remind myself that Christmas is not just one day, Christmas is a season.

Our son arrived on Thursday and Christmas morning my in laws came over and so did our daughter, granddaughter and Andy. We opened gifts, ate breakfast casseroles, then sent them off to meet up with them again at Wonderful Husband's sister's home at 4:00 p.m.

A phone call to my mom in Texas to wish her a Merry Christmas, baking the pineapple stuffing, then off we went to eat (again) and visit with family.

We arrived back home around 8:15, tired yet thankful for all the blessings we have on Christmas day and every day.

#503 - 510 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

503. freedom to worship God

504. celebrating Jesus' birth

505. celebrating our nephew's Christmas birthday

506. sharing time and grace with family and anticipating a new Christmas tradition next year

507. watching our granddaughter sleep through both Christmas celebrations. Next year will be a different, more active story! Ha!

508. Wonderful Husband, our son, and Terri who know my love of books and boy-oh-boy will I be busy reading for a while :)

509. new technology with a wireless mouse and a Kindle Fire

510. this year of counting toward one thousand blessings and the inspiration from Ann's book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Christmas 2011

This post is linked to A Holy Experience: Multitudes on Mondays, One Thousand Gifts.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Grace and Joy (2011)

For a child is born to us
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)

And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord's strength,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
for he will be highly honored around the world.
And he will be the source of peace.
Micah 5:4-5a (NLT)

...but the angel reassured them, "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all the people. The Savior --- yes, the Messiah, the Lord --- has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)

May your Christmas be filled with grace and joy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Seasonal Laughter

Have you seen this in your daily travels?

Any kind of vehicle with antlers?

I saw one for the first time on my way to work.

I burst out laughing!

I wished I'd had my camera ready but alas...I was waiting for my traffic light to turn green.

Today at work, I looked outside to see this SUV zoom by and after waiting a bit of time (see how mature I am?) I walked outside to take the picture.

Thank you mystery person for decorating your vehicle and making my heart happy!

Have you seen antlers on cars where you live?

Monday, December 19, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (493-502)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...

This past week was jammed-packed with three Christmas celebrations. I am an introvert and it takes a lot of energy to participate in large social situations. So by Sunday, I was exhausted, napped, and recouped some of my energy.

Christmas cards have been sent. Groceries purchased for Christmas casseroles, meals, and side dishes. Packages are wrapped and under the tree. I can't take all the credit for wrapping since Wonderful Husband did a lot of wrapping himself.

#493 - 502 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

493. celebratory time shared with co-workers, friends, and family

494. naps :)

495. car insurance that covers repair work on my van that was hit by a deer

496. a patient and kind husband, who doesn't call me an idiot when I do something stupid

497. our daughter who lets me borrow her car while my van is being repaired

498. a niece who is expecting her third child in June

499. our son sending us a Christmas card

500. our nephew who was born on Christmas day

501. Wonderful Husband who wraps gifts

502. Jesus' birth. The greatest gift of all!

This post is linked to A Holy Experience: Multitudes on Mondays, One Thousand Gifts.

This week I'll be baking pumpkin bread and cookies. Have you finished your Christmas baking?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Celebrations 2011

This week has been filled with celebrations.

My Christmas lunch with co-workers at the William Penn Inn on Tuesday.
Beautiful ambiance.
Wonderful food and my dessert choice was creme brulee.

Outside the entrance to the William Penn Inn.

Inside the foyer.
Love the red and the statue!

On Thursday, I took a vacation day from work and joined my Bible Study Buddies for a class where we watched one of  Beth Moore's video on "Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman." We had lunch which was a full turkey dinner with all the fixins and then an ornament exchange.

A month ago I tried to find where I could purchase Old World Ornaments. No luck in the New Hope stores I had stopped in. I was very disappointed.

Nutcrackers on our mantle.
Our granddaughter, Youngest Sweetie loves to stare at them.

I chose an Old World Ornament box from the table, wrapped only with a gold bow, and inside was this:

When Youngest Sweetie came over to visit, I showed her this one and hung it very high on the tree.

Well as high as a short person can reach that is.

After the ornament exchange, I asked who brought the ornament and if she would please tell me where she had purchased it.

Who brought the ornament?

Her name is Grace.

FYI - "Grace" is the word I have focused on for this year.

(Now I can tell Wonderful Husband where to find Old World Ornaments for future gift ideas. Pine Wreath and Candle in Peddler's Village. Hey! They've been around since 1964. Where have I been?)

Which leads me to Saturday and Wonderful Husband's Annual Family Christmas Party. A quick estimate of attendees was 30. And I can't begin to tell you what decibel level we reached....let's just say L O U D!

The dessert table!

After this week of festivities...I am sooooo full of food that I'm asking God to help me with some self control for this week leading up to Christmas!

Have you been calorically overloaded with celebrations?

My plan today is to reintroduce myself to my treadmill. It's been a while so I hope "she" doesn't hold a grudge!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (476-492)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)

#476 - 492 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm overflowing with thankfulness for:

476. the sun battling through the gray clouds. Go sun!
477. sending a prayer-filled card to our niece-in-law, who's husband (our nephew) died two years ago
478. meeting Maria for coffee on Saturday
479. a hairdresser who works her "magic" and makes my gray hair disappear (for a little while ;)
480. our son who enjoys being a teacher. I'm proud of his hard work and him caring about the students.
481. the Children's Sermons at our church
482. bright-red ladies' coats at our church. They make me smile.
483. our church choir's beautiful voices singing praises to God
484. packages mailed to Terri and my mom
485. beginning to mail Christmas cards to family and friends
486. receiving packages on my front porch and seeing the mailman gently placing them behind one of our posts to camouflage their presence. He was awesome!
487. Wonderful Husband's appreciation and patience in waiting for me to cook meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans for dinner. He'd been mentioning it for a while...finally it came to fruition! Good things come to he who waits! lol
488. our one month old granddaughter's smiles. Some say it's gas, but not me :)
489. our daughter adapting to motherhood so very well. I am proud of her.
490. bloggers that make me laugh and make me think
491. my warm, black coat on cold days
492. Wonderful Husband who likes to Christmas shop, such a blessing for me!
This post is linked to A Holy Experience: Multitudes on Mondays, One Thousand Gifts.

Do you have days of overflowing with thankfulness?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (469-475)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...

Years ago I went a bit crazy and bought a lot of boxes of half-priced Christmas cards. The reason why I say "a bit crazy" is because I haven't bought any new Christmas cards in over five years. And although I haven't run out of my supply completely, this year I decided to purchase new Christmas cards.
I know my friends and family haven't memorized my cards but I was feeling a bit stuck in the redundancy of sending them.
It took me a while to decide on which boxes I liked and I just broke open a new box yesterday. You see, I used to mail a lot of cards out on December 1st with our family update letter enclosed. Now my kids are adults and the update letter has gone by the wayside. I've reduced my list of card recipients too.

My Christmas card tradition is simplified and for that I am thankful.

 #469 - 475 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

469. sending new Christmas cards

470. a simplified Christmas card tradition

471. online shopping over Thanksgiving weekend. (Note to self: Do this again next year.)

472. going to niece-in-law's baby shower with my daughter Young Sweetie

473. watching Little Sweetie and yes, our granddaughter is already an Eagle's fan at three weeks old. We're hoping the Eagles improve by the time she's older. Ha!

474. all shipping/mail workers during this busy time of year

475. laughing with Wonderful Husband who had forgotten he'd given me Mariah Carey's Christmas CD last year and almost ordered it for me again!

Have you simplified any of your Christmas traditions over the years?