Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Year Of Hope! My Year Of Grace!!


  My word for the year 2014 was Hope!

Hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence. to believe, desire, or trust.

2013 ended with me out of a job, I wanted to choose a word for the new year that would have meaning & hopefully bring us good luck! Hope is one of my Favorite Words! And 2014 brought lots of Hope to our Family; Both my son's got engaged & one of them got Married! I finally found a fun new job. I hit the big 5.0. (Don't tell anybody!) And We celebrated our 27th Wedding Anniversary! My Baby Girls turned 17 and are enjoying their Jr. Year of High School! And Erica will start 2015 with her very first job! Yikes! Where has the time gone?! 

We still face some hard issues in life right now, uncertainty in jobs, no health insurance, family members going through divorces, falling out with people we truly thought were our friends. So as I was trying to choose my word for the New Year, I thought of a great book I read this year called One Thousand Gifts, which showed me the need to be Grateful for all we've been given. I've started keeping a Gratitude Journal, starting a list of my own 1000 Gifts! And I was reminded that all gifts are Grace! Given to us by God.

 My word for 2015 is Grace!

Grace: Unmerited favor of God. favor or goodwill. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action. to favor or honor. 
Yes. My word for the New Year is Grace! We could all use the Unmerited Favor of God! Gifts bestowed on us, we don't deserve! All gifts are Grace! Everything, from the smallest, seemingly insignificant, to the big and very meaningful! 

So Happy New Year! 
Here's to our year of Hope
And here's to a year full of Grace!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

Black Friday Shopping was a family affair this year! 
Up & out by 6am, and won a $100.00 Gift Card to Half Price Book Store!
 John's Mom shared her secret recipes for her Peanut Brittle & Fudge!
And we've been enjoying the benefits! :)

 Chex Mix is always a favorite around here, 
it must be made every year!

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Trying to wrap gifts can be difficult with these two! :)

My Daughter did my nails all cute with Santa Hat French Tips! 
 Had a great time with the family 
making my Mom's Christmas Cookies! 
The best in the World! 

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Tried some new recipes this year too! 
Like Frosty the Cheese Ball! :) 

And Corn Flake Marshmallow Wreaths! 
 So cute & yummy!! 
 Lexi played an Amazing Flute Solo at her band Concert! 
And also played in our Christmas Eve Service

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

 Yes I am THAT Mom, who makes her grown children stand in line
to get their picture taken with Santa!

Our 2014 edition! 
We've done it EVERY year since our first born was a baby!
And this year he is a Husband! :) 
 We now have two photo albums of our pictures with Santa over the years!
It's my most favorite Holiday Tradition! 

Christmas time is here
We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

 I listen to only Christmas Music from Halloween through the New Year! 
And my soundtrack this year has included a lot of this album;
Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped In Red!
I especially love the song Four Carats! :) 

 We enjoyed the lights at Glendale Glitters!

Our little Luna found a good use of our stockings! :)
So sweet!
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year...

 We've had a lot of fun (and Laughs!) playing my new game;
Loaded Questions, Party Edition! 

 As a Reading Family we got lots of Books 
and Movies based on Books for Christmas! 
I Love that about us! 

My Beautiful Girls & I on Christmas Eve.! 

Well, that's just some of how we spent our Christmas! It's my favorite time of the year! And I hope you and yours had a Wonderful Holiday as well!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Live, Love, Lace (or How to Dye Lace)

We had been looking and looking, and looking for Dresses for the girls to wear to their brothers Wedding. We wanted Lace and we wanted Yellow!! Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong! We found nothing in yellow! Now  I guess yellow is more of a Spring color, and being the Wedding was in October we were having a very difficult time!

I finally came across a couple of lace dresses I thought my girls would like on Clearance at Kohl's. I held them up to my Husband and asked what he thought, he pointed to one and said "That looks like Lexi!", then pointed to the other one and said "That looks like Erica!" So we sent them pictures and sure enough one said "I like the first one!" and the other one said "I want the one in the second picture!" Just like we suspected! :)

The only problem was the dresses were Ivory! So I thought since you can find just about anything on Pinterest, I would look up how to dye Lace Dresses and dye them ourselves since we couldn't find our color! And the Dresses were only $8.00 & $9.00 so even if I ruined them, it wouldn't be too big of a loss! :)

I'm not very crafty, but my girls are! So we bought the Rit Dye at Michaels and read a couple of posts from people who had dyed lace. It was pretty simple. You add the Dye to water in a bucket, put the dresses in, and wait a few minutes. It was easy and really didn't take long at all!

One dress had thinner lace and the lining dyed lighter than the lace, but we really liked how that looked! They both turned out Great! And the girls looked really Beautiful! Who knew it was so easy to change the color of a dress?! And if I can do it, anyone can! :)

For their Birthday, the girls got some Clothes from YouTuber & clothing designer whom they love, Bethany Mota, at Aeropostale and they came with free bags! Cool! But, Lexi doesn't "do Pink" since that has always been Erica's color! :0 (It's a Twin thing!) So she decided to use the rest of our yellow dye and see what it would do to her bag!

Totally Cute! It went from White & Pink to Yellow & Red! Dying material is really easy! And as you can see it turns out really great! Not one person came up to us at the Wedding to ask if we had dyed their dresses! :) And now I'm seeing lots of Yellow Lace Dresses in the stores! I think we started the trend! :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Reading

I love to read Books set at Christmas time, at Christmas time! :) So, I thought I'd share what I'm reading with you, in case you are looking for something to read! I'd also love to hear what you are reading, as I'm always looking for good Christmas Books!

 I'm currently reading A Gift From Tiffany's by; Melissa Hill. (It's also what I'm asking Santa for!) ;) It's about two men visiting New York City and their Tiffany's Bags get switched, one holds a Charm Bracelet & the other a very large, very expensive Engagement Ring! :0

My Book Club (who also loves to read Christmas Books!) is reading Remembering Christmas by: Dan Walsh about two of my favorite things Christmas & Family!!

Now Eleanor & Park isn't technically what you would consider a "Christmas Book." I read it earlier this year & liked it. Christmas happens in the course of this book & it was enough that I included it in my Christmas Books Shelf on Goodreads! Check it out for more Christmas Book ideas! And let me know what it's missing!

Merry Christmas 
Happy Reading

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Grace In The Form Of Gifts!

" Thanksgiving opens the eyes, the heart,
to the Grace that falls upon us."

One Thousand Gifts is such a good book to be reading this time of year. It's about noticing all the gifts we've been given, and remembering to give Thanks! Ann Voskamp was dared to come up with a list of 1000 things she is Thankful for. It took her about 18 months or so, and once she reached 1000 items, she just kept on going.

"With every Grace, He sings, 
'You are precious to Me. You are honored, and I Love you. (Is. 43:4)

I read this book for my Book Club at Church. I think I have about half the book underlined! :) We had a good discussion about remembering to say Thank You for all we've been given in life. And I shared that I had started my own list as I was reading the Book. I keep a list on my phone since I always have it with me, and when I notice any little thing I'm grateful for I add it to the list! Then I put them in a Journal, cause I like writing, and I want to have a hard copy of it! 

 "The discipline of Giving Thanks, of unwrapping One Thousand Gifts, 
unwraps God's heart."

So since today is Thanksgiving, the day we are to Give Thanks for what we've been given, I thought I'd share the beginning of my list of One Thousand Gifts with you. It's the Huge, important things in life, to the little, mundane things we take for granted everyday, Grace given to me, in no particular order . . . 

One Thousand Gifts  

1. The Love of my Life: John, who Supports me, Laughs with me and Loves me! He is too good to me. 

2. My First Born: Kyle, who has always been his own person. And brings fun wherever he goes. He really is a Party waiting to happen! 

3. My Baby Boy: Zach, who's smart & Funny. Gifted in more ways than he knows. 

4. Erica Starr; My Beautiful, smart, talented Daughter. Who feels things so deeply, and is Courageous and Brave! 

5. Alexia Jewell: My Precious Girl. Who is Loving and Giving in so many ways. She's Talented, Beautiful and Smart. 

6. Katie my Daughter In Law: who loves Kyle & lets him be him. She's Brilliant and Beautiful and fits right in. 

7. My soon to be Daughter In Law, Kendra: who Laughs right along with me. She's Caring, Beautiful & she's good for Zach! 

8. Tinkerbell; Our Faithful companion who's always so thrilled when we come home! 

9. Luna: Our newest addition, who's Cute & Cuddly and is quickly becoming part of the family. 

10. Books that speak of Love! God's Love for me, Romantic Love, Friendship, A Mother's Love, Sisters, Etc.

11. Memories in the form of Pictures! 

12. My Bed. Rest & Comfort. 

13. Healthy food that also tastes great! 

14. All our Temporary Jobs on our way to a more permanent "Real" Job!!

15. My Car. (Which actually was a gift from my Mom!) And all the places it takes us!! 

16. Glimpses of my Mom in myself or in my kids.

17. My Kids really want to hang-out with me! And even like it! My Nieces too!! I'm Doubly Blessed!! 

18. Public Restrooms that have just been cleaned, with the seat still up! :) 

19. Twisted Peppermint! The Fragrance of Christmas! 

20. Coconut! The Fragrance of Summer! 

21. Bargains! I Love getting Great Deals on Great Stuff!! 

22. Music that gives voice to what you're feeling! 

23. Movies and/or Books that make you Laugh and/or Cry!! (Or Both!) 

24. The United States Soldier. We live in The Land of The Free, because of The Brave! 

25. A President that pardons hard working, good hearted Immigrants as to not tear Families apart! 

26. Soft Fuzzy Socks that keep your feet warm.

27. When I meet someone new & they think I look too young to have a Married 24 year old son! Because I am! :)

28. Our Families! Parents, In-Laws, Brothers, Sisters, Nieces, Nephews, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, they are my backbone and they have my heart!

29. Christmas! The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year! 

And this is just the beginning of my list of One Thousand Gifts. We've been given so much! What are you Thankful for this Thanksgiving Day!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Love

I can't tell you how Thankful I am for Love! And this year, for us, Love has been aplenty! Both of my Son's got Engaged this past spring. And my oldest got Married! It was a great day for us all!

Zach & Kendra! 
He popped the Question!

A sneak peek at our son's Beautiful Wedding!
Kyle & Katie!

And I am most Thankful for the Love of My Life! We've been Married over 27 years now. John is way too good to me and takes such good care of me. I wouldn't be who I am today without him!

27 Years & Counting! 

I hope you have had a year full of Love as well and that we all continue to! There is nothing more meaningful in Life than giving & receiving Love! The Book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp that I'm reading this Thanksgiving season, has been a reminder not to take it for Granted!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Zach!

Happy Birthday to my Baby Boy! 

Who today turns 23!!

This little boy, who wanted to be an Archaeologist when he grew up,

Just registered for his last semester of College to get his Bachelors Degree in Wildlife Biology!

And by this time next year, he will be a Married Man!

Happy Birthday Zach! 
We Love You
Are So Proud Of You!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Time!

As a new Mother you're always told to Cherish Every Moment! And every Parent knows that time passes much too quickly! You blink & your Baby is off to school! Or your little Toddler is walking down the isle! Yikes! We all wish we could stop time. But, what if we could? And what if being Thankful was the key?

In the Book I'm reading right now called One Thousand Gifts by: Ann Voskamp, she has a Chapter titled A Sanctuary Of Time. And I already know it's gonna be my favorite chapter! She says "Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time's swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow the torrent by being all here. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment." "Give Thanks and get time; Give Thanks . . . slow time down with all your attention!" 

By not waisting time worrying about the future, or dwelling on the past. By just simply being present in the moment, noticing what's happening right here, right now and being Thankful for it slows time down. I have always tried to Cherish every Moment with my kids! Fully enjoying every stage of their lives, and this was such a great reminder that by just paying attention, being Thankful for the here and now can slow time! And as a Mom, that's all I want! 

The day we moved into this house, my kids climbed into the built in wall unit. So of course we had to take their picture! I have always loved this picture of the 4 of them! And on that day I said we will have to take another picture just like this when we move out of this house! Well, we still live here, but my oldest son recently moved out into his own place & got Married! So we retook the picture before he left. We moved the T.V., the Stereo, all the pictures, etc. out of the wall unit, so the kids could strike the same poses they did on that day 11 years ago! Retaking the picture brought tears to my eyes! They have grown up so much! A visual reminder of how time passes! 

"Wherever you are, be all there. I don't reach forward and I don't reach back and I weigh the moment down with full attention here." "I'm growing older. These children growing up. But time is not running out. This day is not a sieve, losing time. With each passing minute, each passing year, there's this deepening awareness that I am filling, gaining time. We stand on the brink of eternity." Today and Everyday I am Thankful for Memories in the form of Photographs. They help us hang on to those moments we treasure. Take the time to notice the moments. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Beauty!

Yes, it's that time of year again! Every year during the Month of November, I do what I've dubbed here on the Blog as Thankful Thursday. Where every Thursday in November, I talk about things I'm Thankful for.

And this year I've recently joined a Book Club through my Church and this month we are reading a Book called One Thousand Gifts by: Ann Voskamp. I've heard good things about this Book & was really looking forward to reading it! I've barely gotten into it and already it has really touched me. It talks about no matter what you are going through or have gone through, no matter how bad life gets, there are always things to be Thankful for! I've always tried to look on the bright side of things, and this has been a great reminder to live a life of Gratitude.

There is Beauty in Everyday Life! And to me there is nothing more Beautiful than being surrounded by my Family! I Love being with my Husband, who is my Best Friend. And being a Mom and having my kids all around me . . .

Especially this year since my oldest son just moved out of our home, into his own. :( And he got Married! :) (Pictures coming soon!) There is no greater Beauty in this world to me than my Family! Today and Everyday I am beyond Thankful for each of them: John, Kyle, Zach, Erica & Alexia, I Love you and am Beyond Blessed to get to be in your lives! You add so much Beauty into my Life and into this World every single day!