this Christmas will be a little different

candleTrue confession: This year, in a huge departure for me, I’m not really decking the halls. We’re currently renting, and much of our stuff is packed up. All of my Christmas treasures are in a mini-warehouse, and this year I just don’t have the energy to go through all the boxes, decide what can fit in this house, and haul it all around. So Paul came home with a tiny Charlie Brown Christmas tree and a couple of poinsettias the other day, and that will pretty much be the extent of it.

(Right now, I’m listening to my Christmas playlist, enjoying the Salted Caramel candle from my son and his wife, and drinking a cup of coffee.  It’s pretty nice.)

I’ve decided that I’m okay with that this year, and my people tell me they’re okay with it, too. I’ll really enjoy the next time I can pull out the Christmas china, my Santa collection, the needlepoint stockings, and put the hula-dancing Santa on the tree.

Having a merry little Christmas,

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new year’s eve

I’m not sure how it’s possible for 2014 to be drawing to a close already, but I suppose my amazement at how quickly time is passing is a sure sign that I’m getting older. It seems like just a couple of months ago, I reviewed 2013 and wondered what 2014 would have in store.

Truly, with the exception of 2012 and its sorrowful surprises, 2014 has shocked the heck out of me more than any other. This time last year, I would never have predicted that I’d be ending 2014 with a wonderful husband. Our family has grown this year as we added a daughter-in-law, but as 2014 began, that was already on the calendar. A new husband and two stepsons were nowhere on my radar.

Apparently, not all surprises are bad ones!

I end 2014 and begin 2015 full of gratitude.

God has surely lavished grace and mercy on me as he brought me a godly, wonderful, patient, kind, tender, and strong husband when I wasn’t even looking. And even though my first marriage ended painfully, God graciously preserved my esteem of the gift of marriage and He is using it as a means of my sanctification. In just a few short months, He has taught me much about selflessness as Paul and I adjust to life together. Marriage is a gift, and marriage to Paul is a particularly precious gift.

As I read my thoughts on 2013 and goals for 2014, I see that I did succeed at slowing down my book-buying habit, but I also read far fewer pages in 2014 — mostly because a new hobby nudged the books out of the way. As you regular readers know, knitting is my new obsession, and I look forward to improving in 2015. But I’m also going to work to get back to the books and return to the 3650 Bible-reading plan. My second 365 photo project has come to an end, and although I won’t do a photo a day in 2015, I have some plans for photography that I’ll share soon. Perhaps I’ll get back into a more regular blogging rhythm, too.

So farewell, 2014. And welcome, 2015.

Happy New Year’s, y’all!

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random thoughts

~This will probably not apply to any of you, but PLEASE don’t post gruesome wounds and injuries on Facebook and Instagram! It is more than a little sickening to scroll through my feed sometimes, enjoying a snack or a meal, when WHAM! someone’s bloody something appears. Blech.

~Nothing runs me off from a recipe quicker than curry in the list of ingredients.

~Random thoughts, random photos:

Oh wait, I can’t grab any that I’ve stored in iPhoto because when I updated my operating system recently, my old version of iPhoto is no longer compatible. So when I tried to update that app, my apple ID wouldn’t work. Round and round I go.

~ Speaking of computer frustrations, I have just about reached my maximum capacity for passwords, log-ins, and PINs. It seems like I have dozens of them and it’s impossible to keep them straight because everyone has a different requirement. Yesterday I was asked my billing PIN by my cell-phone provider, and I that just about sent me over the edge. I have a PIN to log in to my account online, but I need a separate billing PIN? Seriously? And then I received a work email that required me to set up a password to view it.

~ I rarely use my laptop anymore, but I can’t give it up completely just yet. Any of you make the move exclusively to an iPad or other tablet? There are just some things (like blogging) that are so much easier and quicker on my laptop.

~I can’t wait to see Unbroken, as it is one of my favorite books. But I’m diasappointed to hear that it will present a “universal” faith. The gospel remains offensive, but it is the very power that saved Louie Zamperini.

~Paul & I will have a full house on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. God’s blessings abound!

~Speaking of God’s blessings, I love my husband. He takes care of me and loves me and makes me smile. I’m amazed that this time last year, I had no idea he even existed, and now he’s everything to me.

~ And now I leave you with this from my stepson: (If you don’t smile at this, you might be a Scrooge.)

santababy

 

Christmas joy for EVERYONE!

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monday miscellany

Another collection of stuff that recently caught my eye:

~ If you love football, you might find this very long ESPN feature on Texas high school football interesting.

~ Tis the season for Christmas cards and an overwhelming urge to pull out my red pen. Here is how to make your last name plural. Bottom line: it never involves an apostrophe.

~ The 20 best quotes from Jonah Goldberg

~ I love these photographs of scenes in the south.

~ Speaking of photography, my son has some thoughts on the 6.5 million dollar photograph. I absolutely agree with this:

It’s the same kind of bitter talk I hear from art students or other photographers that think moms or Instagram is ruining photography.  I’m exhausted of the whole “anyone who has a camera thinks they are a photographer” argument.  If you feel like your work or others work is devalued by “point and shooters on vacation” then maybe your work isn’t that valuable to begin with.

~ Christmas gift wrapping ideas

~ The biggest heresy in America.

~ On stuff inviolate:

We must learn to distinguish that which is sin in the eyes of God, and that which should be a crime in the eyes of man and God. Being a selfish pig is a sin, but must not be made a crime. If we outlaw “being a selfish pig,” I have ten dollars here that says that within two weeks this crime of selfish piggery will be vigorously policed (and fined) by tribunals made up entirely of selfish pigs.

When we make something a crime without scriptural justification, and penalize it, we invert the order of God. When we make property ownership a crime, and fine people heavily for being guilty of it, we have a society as corrupt and as mendacious and as greedy as . . . well, as our own.

If we love people, if we love our neighbors, we will consider their stuff inviolate. We will form governments that respect our neighbors’ property as much as we ourselves do. But as it is currently, we form the kind of government we now have because we the people have larceny in our hearts. We are governed by thieves who represent us well.

~ A novel every Christian should consider reading. My Kindle tells me I’m 43% through this one, and it is beautiful writing. But I’m just slogging through it. I can’t decide if I should abandon it or power through.

~ An absolutely brilliant way to stuff a duvet.

And with that, I bid you a happy Monday!

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