My "Not So Typical Christmas Letter" & Merry Christmas to You!

Hey everyone!  This will be my last post of the year, but I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas before taking a break.  For the last couple of years, I have written a Christmas message to enclose with our Christmas card.  It's not your typical holiday letter, and I thought I would share it with all of you this year.  I hope you enjoy it.

Merry Christmas One and All

Christmas 2015

It is again time to celebrate the joys and wonders of Christmas, say goodbye to 2015 and look with anticipation to the new year.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see things the way children do, where time moves slowly as they anxiously wait for each and every moment?  Adults always seem to play catch-up, usually trying too hard to create something memorable.  We cling to traditions and try to stall the passage of time, even as we see it slip silently away.  Maybe now is the time to simply enjoy and savor what is now.

Many of us have started planning and writing our yearly missive, filling it with a detailed recap of what is going on with our children and grandchildren, and sharing how busy the year has been for us with trips, accomplishments, and contributions.  Are our family and friends truly eager to hear all of that?  I don’t know, perhaps they would just like to know that our family has the same struggles and concerns, the same “ups and downs” in life that they have.  Maybe they would rather know that we haven’t been so wrapped up in the busyness of our own lives, to think of them often and hope they are doing well.    

This past year has had much joy, but also more than enough heartache, illness & loss.  Maybe now is the time to be more thoughtful of those who are experiencing pain and sadness, and offer them extra helpings of kindness and tender care.  Perhaps a sweet note sent in February, June or September would brighten their day.

As we look to the approaching new year, perhaps we should try to see it through the eyes of a young child, where there is joy and excitement in the simple things of each day.  Maybe 2016 will be the year that we become more mindful of the needs of others, and take the time to give of ourselves more freely.  Whatever the new year holds for each of us, let us see it as a gift of new possibilities and hope; let us be present and not waste it.

May 2016 be a Happy New Year!


And All the Rest

Hey everyone!  I think most of you will agree with me, this month seems to be passing at warp speed!    I cannot believe that Christmas is just a few days away.  Anyway, I have a few more pics from around our home that I wanted to share.  I must warn you, this is photo-heavy, so you might want to grab a cup of something and a couple of cookies.....you know, for survival!

We will start with the family room.

I should have had a roaring fire for you....oops!

This little tree is decked out with some of our family faves.

Little wooden ornaments with family pics.

Several little wooden ornies that we picked up in Europe.

One of my favorite snowmen.

This is our advent calendar this year.....actually, I haven't done an advent calendar since my children were young.  While in HL one day, I spotted these cute little envelopes and a picture of how I could create an advent calendar banner just sprang to life.

Since we won't be seeing our kids or kidlets this year, I thought it would be fun to surround ourselves with their sweet faces.  Even The Man enjoys seeing whose cute face shows up each day!

The NOEL that I made for the kitchen window last year, found a new location.  Faux greenery, candles wrapped in sheet music that I printed on velum, a few nutcrackers & some bright ornaments complete the mantel display. 

The Man got this pillow cover in Peru last year....not a Christmas scene, but it's bright, cheerful and plays off the black and white pillows quite nicely!

This cactus is a good fifteen years old & blooms at least twice a year.  The last time I repotted it, the root ball broke into two pieces that now bloom at different times.

We've already had blooms around Thanksgiving, and now she is ready to bestow her beauty on us once again.

I was the lucky recipient of a give-away that my sweet friend Cindy, at Consider It All Joy, had a couple of weeks ago.  As you can see, there are 2 adorable kitchen towels, a little snowman on top of a JOY sign, a sweet nativity pin and a lovely tiny frame with an angel.  It was so much fun when this arrived in the mail.  Cindy had each of the items wrapped individually and included a lovely card.
Thanks again, Cindy!

You may recall that I used this metal piece with pics of my "Grands," displayed in my Fall foyer.  Well, I left the pics as is, added some Christmas tags and a red pompom garland, and it is now displayed on my craft room door.  It may have found a permanent home!

This quilted wall hanging that I made many years ago, found a good spot on the guest room door.

We aren't having any over-night guests for awhile, but I still wanted to add some Christmas cheer!

Simple as simple can be in the guest bathroom.

There you have it!  I hope you survived the pic overload!  It's always so much fun to invite all of you into my home, and I truly hope it's enjoyable for you as well.

Take care, stay warm (or cool depending on what part of the country you live in) and cozy with your families, and try not to stress out too much these last few days before Christmas!

Warm hugs,
 I often party with these lovely bloggers:

Cindy at Dwellings--The Heart of Your Home for Amaze Me Monday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life  for Inspire Me Tuesday
Suzy at Worthing Court for The Scoop
Pamela at From My Front Porch to Yours for Treasure Hunt Thursday


In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion

Hey everyone!  The title of this post does not reference March weather, but rather is my description of my chemotherapy side-effects.  My first round of chemo was not nearly as bad on my body as my Oncologist predicted.....truly as gentle as a lamb, for the most part.  My second round, however, came roaring in like a lion and has "sucker-punched" me a number of times.  I've never thought of myself as a "Rebel," but it seems that my body has decided to try out most all of the side-effects of my current chemo drug.....no matter how remotely or rare they typically are!  Here are a few that little "rebellious" me has given a whirl:

  1. hair loss, and we are not just talking about the noggin 
  2. blurred vision and watery eyes.....no lashes to catch the moisture
  3. neuropathy in finger tips....think numbness & pain when confronted with zippers, buttons or pretty much anything that requires the use of two fingers pressed together
  4. cough or hoarseness 
  5. sore throat 
  6. dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position...."I've fallen & I can't get up" is to be avoided
  7. feeling of warmth...not too unlike the joys of menopause
  8. redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest....again, not unlike menopause
  9. emotions on constant alert with tears "at-the-ready"
  10. skin rash and itching 
  11. ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  12. annihilation of tastebuds leaving only 2 choices: salty or metallic 
  13. senses of smell and touch are in overdrive.....trying to make up for "taste"
  14. unsteadiness or awkwardness.....kind of like the old toy "Weebles"
  15. unusual tiredness or weakness
  16. weight gain....kind of adds insult to injury

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining....well, okay, maybe a little!  I just want you to know that the photos I post each week are me putting my "best foot forward."  It's also me on the day I typically feel my best.  The chemo drugs from the previous week have dispersed through my system enough that I feel as close to normal as I possibly can, and that small window of "feeling good" is what gives me the strength and encouragement to deal with the rest of the week.

I also must confess that putting this smiling face out there on IG & FB each week is a very selfish & vane action on my part.  I LOVE the very kind and encouraging words that all of you send me.  Your sweet words are nourishment for my soul; and at a time when I find it very difficult to feel pretty, your sweet words nourish my vanity.

With all of the above being said, I continue to feel so very blessed.  I know I have it so much easier than many who are fighting this cancer battle.  I only have 2 MORE CHEMOS to go, and then it will be onto the next two phases of my treatment -- surgery and radiation.  I already have consultation appointments set up with my surgeon and the radiologist on January 4th....starting "2016" on a fast-track!  My sweet hubby and I are very anxious to have our comfortable and "boring" lives back.  And speaking of this sweet hubby of mine, he makes me feel so grateful and loved each and every day.  He has taken on the full  responsibility of running our home and caring for me.  I cannot imagine dealing with this illness without him, but I know there are many who don't have a choice.  Again I feel humbled and blessed to have The Man, our children and grandchildren, extended family, and a wealth of friends who continue to offer positive support.  You are all my "cheerleaders," and I love and appreciate you so much.

Now, go forth and have "Christmas-fun!"

Warm hugs,


No Betty Crocker This Year

Hey everyone!  I hope you have been enjoying the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  This week I thought I'd share my Christmas kitchen and breakfast room.  Sadly, Betty Crocker refused to come this year, so there are no plates of goodies to offer you.  How about a cup of cocoa, that I can do!  Anyway, come on in and see what makes me smile everyday, even without the wonderful aromas of home-baked goodies!

This is just to the right before entering the kitchen, and I had a chalkboard hanging below the shelf for awhile.  Then I decided I wanted to display my aprons, & The Man installed a base of hooks (IKEA) and the chalkboard moved....I'll show that later.

I created the JOY display using some blank canvases (have had in my stash forever) that I painted a soft blue with red letters, and then added a string of battery lights through little cross-cuts in the canvas.  I had to stagger the canvases in order to make the string of lights work, because I was too cheap to buy another set of these lights!

I adore these little ornies that I made several years ago!

This is the view as you enter the kitchen.  BTW, the island is never cleared off like this!

We use the Christmas flatware (in jars) and the salad plates several times a day.

The lantern has a battery-timed candle surrounded with extra ornaments....so pretty at night!

The Man is doing such a great job of keeping things cleaned up and tidy.....he's doing all of the cooking and cleaning these days.

Nothing changed on top of the cabinets (for obvious reasons).

I do like to switch out my FiestaWare dishes....changing from Spring-Summer to Fall & now to Christmas-Winter.

I also added a few Santas and some greenery and ornies here and there.

Above the sink.

This cabinet is just to the right of the hot beverage station.

I decided to dress it up with some holiday cheer.

Coffee, tea, or cocoa.....your choice!

This guy just makes me giggle!  Have you ever seen such cuteness?

I adore this little tree that we got on our trip to Europe in the Spring.  It's from Switzerland.

I made this cute little wreath a couple of months ago.  I got the pattern and idea HERE.  Now Sarah's version also has a crocheted snowman and snowballs.....just beyond my skill level, so I wrapped styrofoam balls with some white chenille yarn and used a cute little snowman that I already had.  I did crochet the cover for my styrofoam wreath and also the bow.  I think it turned out pretty cute!

Jingle all the way!  The little bucket is holding small clothespins & washi tape for my.......

Chalkboard wreath card-holder......hope we get some more cards & soon!

I love this big old pottery owl with a battery candle inside.  He may just stay up there on the fridge
for awhile with our son's cookbook.

I know this was definitely picture overload, and I didn't even warn you to have survival supplies.....sorry about that!  I hope you enjoyed my kitchen and breakfast nook.  I still have more to share if I have the energy.  Oh, who am I kidding....of course I'll share!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

 I often party with these lovely bloggers:

Cindy at Dwellings--The Heart of Your Home for Amaze Me Monday

Maria Elena at Our Home Away from Home for Tuesdays at Our Home
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life  for Inspire Me Tuesday

Suzy at Worthing Court for The Scoop

Richella at Imparting Grace for Grace at Home
Pamela at From My Front Porch to Yours for Treasure Hunt Thursday

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