Wednesday, December 29, 2021

As The New Year Draws Near

🎆🎆🎆 Happy New Year 2022 🎆🎆🎆

Hello everyone!  I'm wishing you a very Happy New Year a few days early. I hope that you enjoyed Christmas Day in whatever form it took. I was (and still am) recovering from the bad cold I mentioned in my last post, so I stayed home and even missed the outdoor Christmas Eve service I was supposed to be at directing the handbell choir. It was a disappointment for sure but I didn't want to infect anyone else with my cold or possibly expose myself to any other germs, so I know it was the right choice. The Mr. and I opened our presents together and enjoyed good food throughout the day. We both saw our families via Zoom and FaceTime and those "visits" were blessings indeed! Believe it or not, our Christmas decorations are packed up and put away. I don't typically leave the decorations up until New Years since I put them up pretty early in November. I know lots of folks do but it somehow feels good, after Christmas Day, to put it all away and get the house back to a more normal feel. I can very easily go into a bit of a sadness around Christmas so this helps with that, as well. 

So, as I look toward 2022, I am really looking forward to better times for the whole world. A time when people are willing, and have the resources available, to get vaccinated and when Covid variants aren't popping up all the time. A time when it is not necessary for people to wear masks because Covid is no longer around to cause illness. A time when people around the world don't live in fear of war, sickness, hunger, poverty and there is peace for all. A time, personally, when I don't have fears about illnesses within my own family and worry over what the future will bring for my family. 

Even as I write this, I don't feel that all of this will happen in 2022. But, I pray that these times will come soon. I have faith that God is ultimately in control of all situations, both in my life and around the world. And I have spent some time, in recent weeks, pondering about how often I am like Thomas in the Bible who doubted that the disciples had seen Jesus until he was able to place his fingers in the holes in Jesus' hands and his hand in Jesus' side. The scripture that follows is from John Chapter 20.

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The thing is, l have times of doubt, just like Thomas did. Perhaps you do too. But deep down, I know that God is faithful, even when bad things are happening all around us, or even, within our own lives. And so, I am listening to the words of Jesus, "Stop doubting and believe."

You all know that I typically choose a special word to reflect on throughout the new year. Some years the words seem to resonate in my life more than others. Last year my special word was "Intention." I tried to live with more intention in my life as I went about my daily activities. But I can't say that I have any big news to share from having had this as my word. Perhaps intention is still working itself into my being. 

This year's word has been popping up and being noticed by yours truly quite a bit in the last few weeks and that is usually a "sign" to me that this is a word that I need to pay attention to and incorporate more of in my life. And so, without further ado, here is my special word for 2022:

I think Hope is a perfect word for me to dwell on, both in my faith life and in my daily life during 2022. It is a perfect word to dwell on for the world as well. We must have Hope that times will be better and that God will bring us to better times. God brought forth Hope in the stable on Christmas when Jesus was brought into the world. God gave the world Hope when Jesus suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. And God still offers each of us Hope this day as the New Year of 2022 draws near. May each of you dear readers feel the Hope that God offers each of us through Jesus Christ. 

Last year, I began a new tradition of selecting a scripture, as well as a word, to dwell on in the new year and this year I am selecting a familiar verse from Jeremiah 29 verse 11. This verse speaks to having Hope.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Happy New Year And Many Blessings!
Until Next Time,

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

As Christmas Draws Near

 Merry Christmas Greetings

Hello friends!  As Christmas draws near in just two days, I want to extend a very Merry Christmas to each of you with best wishes for the upcoming new year! My friend, Sharon, and I visited the North Carolina Arboretum last week and saw the pretty and fun decorations there. Many of the decorations are meant to be enjoyed when lit up at night but there were some, like this fun gnome, which could be enjoyed in the daylight. Come along with me and I'll show you a little more. 

Gnomes were featured prominently in the arboretum decor this year. This gnome decided to take a flowery canoe ride!

There were lots of figurines like this one all over. I know they look amazing at night with all of the lights. 

The indoor decorations were gorgeous, as well. How pretty is this very tall tree?

But my favorite view of all was looking down on the lower level of The Baker Center at the beautiful hanging lights, tree and fireplace. It just looked so inviting and put me in the Christmas spirit!

I'm recuperating from a bad cold right now (not Covid-I took a test and it was negative) so fingers crossed I am better by Christmas Day! May each of your days be merry! And please stay well. 

 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  (Luke 2:7-11)

Until Next Time,


*photography by Debbie Ross

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Christmas On A Tray Blog Hop

 Welcome To Christmas On A Tray

Hello everyone! I'm so excited to, once again, be a part of a blog tour hosted by Katherine of

Be sure to check out everyone participating in the blog tour because you won't want to miss any of the creative Christmas trays designed by these talented bloggers! I will post a list at the end of my post. And, if you hopped over to my blog from The Painted Apron I welcome you! Now, let's get started with my tray. 

The tray I'm using is a two-tiered tray that I purchased at Target. It appealed to me because it is thin and doesn't take up a lot of space like other trays. It is more "shelf-like" and I debated and debated about how best to add Christmas items. I had loads of fun playing with this tray, though, and I will show you more than one way to add Christmas to this tray so you can decide which you like better. This style is my "less is more" style. I am showcasing cute miniature pieces of Santa, cats on books, snowman and little mouse in a mailbox all interspersed with white and green Christmas trees, also a Target find. To me, this design allows the eye to focus on just a few treasured items and really enjoy looking at them. 

My tiered tray is living in the corner of our dining room along with our curio cabinet and several other items. It is an additional nice touch to this area. 

Now, this version is the "load it up" version of the tiered tray! In addition to the previous items, I have also added a striped candy cane tree, two wooden mittens and a closed box Nativity. To me, this version seemed a bit "crowded" but some folks may like it better. 

Thanks for stopping by on the blog tour and be sure to head on over to Simple Nature Decor  to enjoy more Christmas on a tray goodness!

Until Next Time,

Click below for easy links to the tour. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, December 10, 2021

A Short Amount Of A Little Bit of This and That


Hey everyone! Today's post is filled with tidbits of all sorts of things that I hope make you smile. Just a fun way to catch up on what's been happening lately. And be sure to check back on Tuesday when I will be taking part in a Christmas on a Tray blog hop. I know you'll enjoy seeing all of the creative trays that will be shared!

I celebrated a birthday a few days ago and it was fun to enjoy some delicious cherry filled cake, sweet cards and gifts and these pretty flowers from The Mr. As you can see, Cassie thought the flowers smelled very sweet! 

And I took a walk the other day and encountered this snowy and scary guy! He turned out to be really nice, though, and let me take his picture! Remember "Bumble" the abominable snow monster in the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer cartoon? Has that been on this year yet? I always like to watch it!

I also saw this beautifully decorated house along the way while I was walking. I love the wreaths with the hanging greenery so much. Some day, I will have hanging greenery on the front of our house for Christmas. Just haven't done it yet!

And is Cassie licking her paw, sticking her tongue out at Garden or singing "fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! What do you think?

And on that festive note, I will finish this short post. Let me know how you are enjoying December! 

Until Next Time,

Sunday, December 5, 2021

A Perfect Christmas Dress

 Wearing Red Plaid For The Holidays

Hello everyone!  Today, I'm styling the perfect dress for Christmas (or any other time)! I actually got this red and black buffalo check dress from The Mr. for Christmas last year and I'm just now sharing it on the blog. 

I ordered this dress directly from Blair and I was hoping they would offer it again this year so I could link to it, but so far I haven't seen it offered. It was also available last year in a blue and green buffalo check pattern and I kind of wish I had ordered that one too for The Mr. to give to me for Christmas because this dress is just the best in terms of softness, comfort and warmth! The only negative is that it runs REALLY large so even though I ordered a medium which should have fit perfectly, it is rather loose when I don't have it belted like you see here. I don't really mind the looseness because it's comfortable but it still could have been a better fit as a medium. 

This is the type of dress that you can wear to church like I did last Sunday or you can put it on after a shower to lounge around the house in. It's very versatile. It could even be worn as a long duster over a top and jeans. The flannel is so warm and cozy! I did find a buffalo check sweater to link for you if you love the buffalo check plaid look like I do. 

And I wanted to style my plaid Christmas heels with this dress for you because I think this is going to be the swan song for these shoes. This is the last pair of higher heels I have kept mainly because I just love them and hate to give them away. But, the truth is they are too high for me to wear comfortably and they are definitely not worth a turned ankle! They do look good with the dress, though!

I hope that you have a soft and cozy favorite dress or sweater that you can enjoy this Christmas season! And click here for some more red plaid goodness to enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Our Home Christmas Decorations

 From Our Home To Yours

Our Cozy and Whimsical Christmas Decorations

Hello everyone and Ho, Ho, Ho!  I'm excited to be able to share our home decorations with you once again. You may notice I'm not calling them "Christmas Decor" because our decorations just don't compare to the Pinterest and Instagram worthy decor pics you are most likely seeing from other bloggers and influencers. I feel that our decorations are more homey and cozy and homespun, though, and I always feel joy when I walk from room to room looking at the Christmas touches on display. This is a picture heavy post, so I hope you enjoy. And, I'm excited to announce that I will be taking part in another blog hop, this time a "Christmas On A Tray" blog hop on December 14th, hosted again by Katherine of Sure hope you will stop by for that! Now, let's get started. 

I decided to go with two tabletop trees in the living room this year. One is a 4 foot multi-color and the other is a 3 foot multi-color tree. The 4 foot is the "main" tree with the gifts underneath. The 3 foot is the accent tree on the side table with the red Christmas bulb tree on the bottom shelf of the side table along with some cute Santas. The larger tree has fun ornaments like stuffed bears and candy cane Christmas trees while the smaller tree is dedicated to musical instruments.

Being musicians, we have collected A LOT of musical ornaments over the years. I haven't used nearly all we have but it is fun to have a tree dedicated to all things music!

On the living room mantel I interspersed some favorite items with what we already have on the mantel. I used to clear everything off the mantel and dedicate it to Christmas only. But, I don't do that anymore preferring to keep items already on display and just add in a little Christmas. The two tall Christmas houses are something we have had since our first Christmas together. I just love them. The gingerbread house was new last Christmas and it lights up. 

On the other end of the mantel are our two musical nut crackers standing guard. We have had them for many years as well. Do you notice the green Christmas tree? These were Dollar Tree purchases and I wish I had purchased more of them because they light up and turn all sorts of different colors. I have three of them scattered across the mantel. 

This is the mantel with all of the little trees glowing. So pretty!

Several little nativity scenes are displayed in the corner of the living room. Each nativity is unique. There is a miniature box nativity that opens and closes, a Precious Moments snow globe nativity and a children's nativity. Each is precious and reminds us of the true reason for the season! 

The final Christmas touch in the living room is Jazzy trumpet playing Santa flanked on each side by the soft cloth Christmas trees. Cassie and Garden love to hop up on top of this desk to look out of the window so I chose Christmas decorations for this area that wouldn't break if they got knocked off by furry family members!

The majority of our decorations are in the living room. But we do have this cute gingerbread family display in the kitchen. I think the gingerbread drying mat along with the striped mugs adds just the perfect touch to this kitchen vignette. 

I typically don't go all out adding decorations in the bathrooms as they can get in the way in these small rooms. But simple touches add a note of festivity as you see in our guest bath with blue-green pics, stars and a bottle brush tree, all loaded with plenty of sparkle!

And our downstairs bathroom shelf holds funny little mice, a woodland deer and some angels keeping watch. The bathroom decorations are all tucked on shelves where they are out of the way but fun to look at!

And, finally, we have some Christmas decorations in our foyer with a wooden tree hanging on the front door and the foyer table decorated with a tree surrounded by some Christmas critters!

I surely hope you enjoyed looking at our Christmas decorations as much as we enjoy looking at them! Have a great week and be sure to stop by on Monday when I will be sharing a dress with you that is just perfect for the Christmas (or Winter) season!

Until Next Time,