This manger scene was a wonderful find at Hobby Lobby. : )
Hello! How are all of you doing? I hope this is finding you doing a bit of relaxing now that you have celebrated Christmas. Like Thanksgiving, this Christmas was one of the nicest that we've had in years. We were very careful not to overdo this year. We scaled back on decorating, food, and gifts. It wasn't perfect (and that's okay) and I had to miss out on a lot of Christmas programs and concerts because of my hip/back/leg but it really was a meaningful and calm Christmas and I'm trying to keep up the Christmas feeling until it all comes down next week. One of the ways I'm doing that is to listen to Christmas sermons from one of my favorite teaching pastors - Alistair Begg. You can find him on-line and watch or listen. They are SO very good and it truly helps to keep the true meaning of Christmas alive. After watching "A Christmas Carol" this year, the emphasis on "keeping Christmas" in our hearts 365 days of the year made me yearn for that. How CAN we keep that feeling of thankfulness, gratefulness, charity, helpfulness, etc., alive in us? Instead of putting everything away and saying "thank goodness, that's over" (and I have had years like that!), how can we keep the feeling of wanting to do for others, or make someone's life a bit brighter, or give more of our time, talent, and money (because God can multiply our efforts!). I guess that would be something for us to work on in the new year ahead. Being intentional at least once a month (write it down on our calendars) to do something outside of ourselves that would bring the Christmas spirit into the lives of others. Keep the Acts of Kindness going!!! : )
Well, I'm sitting here with the darkness of this time of year just outside my window. And what is falling from the sky this morning is rain (sometimes freezing rain) and not snow like it should be! We are under a winter weather advisory all weekend into Monday as just north and west of here will be under a winter storm warning where they will be getting all the snow and wind. Weekends like this is THE reason to keep your pantry stocked well so that you don't have to venture out.
Christmas Eve and Day were such mild days that we were able to have an outdoor fire on Christmas Eve like we wanted to do. : ) It just gave the evening such a calm and cozy touch before we went back in to open gifts. If there were things that worked this year (or things that didn't) make sure to write them down as a reminder for next year on what to do and what not to do. For instance, my meal didn't turn out exactly like I had hoped so I'm writing that down as to what to do differently. It's good to keep notes (a special holiday notebook) because it's so easy to forget.
But - on to a New Year coming up! There is something very motivating to me as having a brand new year and the first month of that new year to begin to really look at all of what we have and all of what we can go through and give away. While decorating for Christmas I have already seen things that will go to the thrift store - even Christmas decorations themselves. There are just some things that should not be stored away in boxes not seeing the light of day - they should be out of this home and into the home of someone else. I guess this all leads up to the January to-do's!
JANUARY CLEANING SCHEDULE
*Make new files/store old
*Get taxes together and make appointment for tax man if you do that
*Get your new calendar out and fill in all the anniversaries, birthdays, summer trips, camping weekends, etc.
*Start purchasing (or making cards) for the upcoming year
*Check your attic for leaks
*Sharpen workshop tools and kitchen knives, scissors
*Plan some sewing/crafting/hobby times while it's still winter
*Inspect your roof
*Plan any landscaping and gardening ideas (I've received a couple of seed catalogs already!)
*Check for any drafts around the doors and windows
*Organize your desk area - make it work for you - how can you be more efficient?
*Buy houseplants to purify the indoor air - there are many that won't harm your pets
*Begin to go through all those drawers, cupboards, and cabinets and get rid of things you don't need/use - organize the rest
*Take an inventory of everything in your home - write it all down and take photos - put this in a safe spot so that if anything happens to your home, you have an inventory of everything for insurance purposes
Again, not everything is for everyone so use this list to be a starting point in your own home. Let this year be the year where we are clutter-free, organized, living simply, and clean. : )
JANUARY TEA PARTY THEME
*Decorate with lots of greenery, tartan plaid, and lots of candles
*Serve scones with preserves and jams and shortbread dipped in chocolate
*A variety of teas with cream, sugar, and honey
*Play Irish music
Sounds festive and fun! Being part Irish, this is right up my alley. : )
And, lastly, I wanted to encourage you to make a Blessing Jar for the new year.
This is ours and, as you can see, it's almost full. This REALLY does help in looking around and literally count your daily blessings. Most of the time it's the small stuff of this life - just getting up in the morning or having clean water to shower in or enough food to eat or clean clothes to wear - but counting it all as blessing is SO VERY important for all of us. It puts things into perspective and I think it's a most wonderful thing to do throughout the year. If you have children or grandchildren let them put their slips of paper in as to what they are grateful for. It's a wonderful teaching tool to use. And then at the end of every year, pour them onto the table and read them aloud and you will be amazed at how blessed you were. : )
Well, the darkness is turning into light and unfortunately as I look out, everything is glare ice from the earlier rains. A good day to stay put. God bless your day ahead and remember that doing something in your home is better than doing nothing. God has provided this home for us so let's show Him our gratitude and do our best in keeping it well. Thank you for stopping by!!!!! : )