Oh, it’s been a good week! A busy, fun-filled week!
It started out last Friday with a weekend getaway with my husband and me – something we haven’t done in far. too. long! A weekend with no schedules, no deadlines, no responsibilities, no children… Those kinds of weekends are every-few-years kinds of weekends! Just so fun!
[front door wreath]
[front porch table]
We returned home on Sunday, and some dear friends from Ohio stayed with us for a few days. We all enjoyed our “COM-pa-nee” [Zoe’s term of endearment for them) so very much. You know how some people you just love hosting and some people you just can’t wait for them to leave [though you’d never say it aloud]? Well, these were definitely the stay-as-long-as-you-want-cuz-we-couldn’t-get-tired-of-you kind of friends…
And now, it’s just our little family, soaking up the 70′ weather. Yep, that’s s.e.v.e.n.t.y. degree weather. We had a cold spell the beginning of this week, but that didn’t stick around long… I’m already seeing visions of the air conditioner running on Christmas Day, and I can’t say I’m too thrilled with that idea. I’ve been going back in the photo archives [definitely glad I paid an arm and leg to rescue pictures] and just gazing at snow pictures from a trip up north last winter. I just feel a little snow deprived right now! :)
[music room mantel]
So, about looking like Christmas… The house is all decorated, the fireplace has been keeping us cozy if we’re in the living room on chilly days [which is needed, because the term “drafty old house” has definitely taken on new meaning since we live in the Cottage].
[the little tree in the girls’ bedroom]
But somehow, I was telling my husband last week, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. I was explaining to him how the whole month of December normally has this aura about it – a festive feeling the whole month long, just a happiness. It just, well, feels like Christmas. And somehow, this year, it doesn’t.
He kinda chuckled when I was finished with my long explanation, and I looked at him extremely puzzled. “You’re just so funny,” he began [which I’m glad he didn’t end there, because wives don’t like to be told they’re funny if they’re disturbed about something], “you’re all about the Christmas spirit for weeks and weeks, and me? Well, I just like to get together with family on Christmas Day. That’s all I care about.”
At least I understood where he was coming from. Maybe my expectations are still that of a little kid. Christmas was my most favorite time of the year as a child – not that we even received a lot of gifts, but we did all kinds of fun things, went to lots of Christmas plays and programs and concerts, baked dozens of cookies, visited elderly people… Maybe I’m just expecting a childhood Christmas even now that I’m an adult?!
Or maybe I’m expecting a perfect world, like my world felt when I was a child? And right now I am very aware of an imperfect world.
Yes, in some ways I feel incredibly blessed, and in other areas I have such a longing for Heaven for when everything will be absolutely perfect. No pain, no sadness, no separation in death or relationships.
[Christmas carolers, minus poor little brother who has only shoes]
So last week we invited an older man to eat supper with us, someone who has lived a very sad story of a life. He’s someone Ben and I want to especially care about this Christmas, in different ways. And I think we need to do more of that kind of thing – to not just interact with people who have happy stories and have something to give me in return. For me to realize that Christmas isn’t just about festivities, but about Jesus coming to save the world… And for me to brighten my little corner of the world…
Because, you know, Christmas isn’t about me and my childhood memories, however delightful they are.
[pillows I made for the living room, inspired by Pottery Barn]
Christmas is about Jesus,
and sharing Jesus with people who don’t know Him…
It’s about getting to know HIM –
whether He chooses to reveal Himself as
‘Sovereign God’ is how I am learning to know Him right now.
Some years it feels like the ‘Sweet Baby Jesus’ learning center.
Now it’s about His Sovereignty.
Along with that, I love to decorate the house for Christmas. This year it didn’t seem to “flow” like it did sometimes, but still, fun. I should have gotten pictures of the girls diving into my boxes, and the disaster for half a day – a whole day?? – before we finally got a bit of order. Because these pictures show everything once it’s in place, and well, it doesn’t really look that way for long around here. Two little girls, a father, and mother, make a house look very “lived in” quite quickly. :)
I was reading somewhere about adding Christmasy touches in unexpected places, like the kitchen, or the bathroom. I liked that idea, and added just a few simple things…
I mostly decorate with greenery – cedar and pine. It makes a mess by January but I LOVE how it smells and it makes everything seem so cozy!
[this makes me go, “EEEEeeee, too much bling-bling.” But it stays nonetheless.]
The dining room:
I made a mini-garland for the curtain rods, with hanging ornaments. These almost blend into the wall too much, but it sparkles and adds just a bit without overpowering.
This was inspired by my friend, Bethany, who is an amazing floral designer. She just goes outdoors and finds all sorts of nature and brings them indoors. This is bark with dried moss that I found around our property that I just loved!
little snips of greenery…
A Christmas stocking hanging on a coat rack, now turned hat rack. I have a fetish for hats.
The nativity set. Within eye-sight of the girls. I must say too, Mary and the wise men have quite the conversations, courtesy of Zoe’ and her wild imagination.
This is the only snow found in the state of ________, unless someone else uses faux snow. :) Zoe’ thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. :)
Pottery Barn sells it for $12.99 for a bag. Target sells is for $1.99 for the same size bag. Just in case someone else wants some – don’t want you to be ripped off like I almost was! :) You know, fellow bargain-seeker here…
Did you notice that I now have a mantel for the living room here?? Very simple and rustic, but definitely easier to place things on the shelf without my items feeling very precarious.
[yes, that is a c.a.t. in the house. he normally stays outside, but it was so cold the beginning of the week we felt so sorry for him… and he gladly took up the offer]
And that’s a little house tour for ya!
Enjoy your Christmas, but most of all,