Monday, December 31, 2012

After Church Drive

The boys and I took some back roads on the trip home from church yesterday morning.  Back roads are my favorite.  There is no rush to get down them. The scenery is peaceful, especially with a good coating of snow. I highly recommend it - it's a great de-stresser. Even in the winter, drive down them slow with the windows open and the radio turned off.

I didn't take many pictures. I didn't find much that I thought was unique enough for a picture. Once again I will post the original and then some of the editing I did just for fun :)

This last one is my favorite.

Can you see and hear the ripple :)

Here fishy fishy :)

God has created a beautiful world. I live in an area where there is 4 distinct seasons,  the different beauty in each one is exciting. And I always find myself anxiously awaiting each one.  Winter is looked at as a time of rest after the busy gardening season. But before it's over cabin fever will set in and I'll be scanning seed catalogs. Until that happens I'll be a big kid and enjoy the white stuff. haha

Have a wonderful day and blessings to you!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Playing in the Snow

Well at least from the warmth of my house :)  We are a family of snow lovers. Over the last 4 days we have gotten enough to give a nice, thick layer over everything. Thus, transforming our brown/gray world into a beautiful white one.  I've had some fun editing snow on  Enjoy!!

Original of this one.

An HDR version - I love this tool.

And a pencil drawing. ipiccy is fun. I like it better over picmonkey because it doesn't lock up the computer.


HDR version - looks like a chalk drawing.


HDR version

I have the phone # edited out for privacy. Thus the awkward gray patch :) This was a special order that I finished today. Going to add it to my etsy store as well.

Have a great evening & stay warm :)

Linking up with:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas' Past, Christmas Present, & Christmas Future

The older I get the more I want to return to a time when simplicity was a way of life for most if not all.  I especially long for that at Christmas time. "Then Pa and Ma and Mr. Edwards sat by the fire and talked about Christmas times back in Tennessee and up north in the Big Woods.  But Laura and Mary looked at their beautiful cakes and played with their pennies and drank water out of their new cups.  And little by little they licked and sucked their sticks of candy, till each stick was sharp-pointed on one end.  That was a happy  Christmas."  -Laura Ingalls Wilder

When did we become so arrogant and selfish with Christmas?  When did the babe in a manger get placed on the back burner and self become the focus of Christmas?  When did it start becoming okay to place Christmas on a credit card?  

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents, Jo says. But they each have a dollar, and they decide that, rather than buy things for themselves, they will buy presents for their mother." -Louis May Alcott 

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."  - Dr. Seuss 

This Christmas let us remember that it was sinful people in need of a Saviour that gave us Christmas.  It's not about how many presents lay under our tree.  It's not about how many are on our guest list.  It's not about how spectacular our programs are this time of year.  It's not even about how much $$ is given to charity.  But rather, it's about Love!!  

"Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God." -George F. McDougall

"Love has a name. JESUS
Love has a place. Our hearts.
Love has a story.
And it's not finished yet." -Unknown

Blessings to each of you, my Readers, this Christmas and in the coming New Year!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Christmas Story for Children's Ministry

“A Shepherd’s Christmas Story”
Susanna Zeigler

It was a star filled night as we sat huddled around the campfire drinking hot tea and telling stories.  There was nothing unusual about the scene we made; we’d been doing it all our lives. Sitting out on that Judean hillside away from the hustle and bustle of nearby villages would have seemed like a lonely life to most people, but we were content. After all, it was the only life any of us had ever known. We had no special talents, nor did we come from wealthy families. Thus, shepherding became our lot in life.  I rather enjoyed the solitude that came with the job. You see, shepherds aren’t looked at too fondly.  We stink like sheep!! When walking our charges through town back to their stables, we are often met with turned up noses and rude comments.

By the way, my name is Aaron.  I’m sure by now you have figured out that I am a shepherd. My home is located just on the outskirts of Bethlehem. I prefer to live away from the more populated areas of the village. The less I have to deal with rude village people the better. I’ve never married, because well, I just never liked the thought of having one of those nagging wives. The very idea gives this old bachelor the shivers.  Besides, who wants to be married to a poor, stinky shepherd.  I enjoyed my quiet life and was my own boss who didn’t have to answer to anyone.

There was however, one thing that bothered me about life, but I just couldn’t put a finger on it. Down in the depths of my heart, there was an emptiness.  I didn’t understand why it was there.  I loved my life - the guys that I worked with were my best friends, plus I had lots of brothers and sisters.  It really troubled me at times that I felt this way, and because it such a deep, personal feeling, I was too afraid to ever talk about it. The guys would have just teased me that a nagging wife would be the cure for what ailed me.  That was the last thing I wanted to hear.  

The sheep were grazing contentedly nearby as me and my fellow shepherds huddled around the campfire.  I had become lost in my own thoughts as the others talked about home life and the latest antics of their kids. It was a common night and we were as contented as flies on honey when out of nowhere came a light so bright we were momentarily blinded.  “What in the world is going on”, yelled Luke, one of the other shepherds.  Paralyzing fear gripped all of us. We couldn’t move nor could we speak as we struggled trying to figure out what was about to attack us.  As though in response to Luke’s question the bright light became a heavenly being.  Simon the youngest shepherd couldn’t handle anymore and collapsed to the ground as though dead.  

Then it spoke to us - “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.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”  

And if that wasn’t enough, the entire sky filled with angels singing the most beautiful song I ever heard.  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  I couldn’t help it, tears began to stream down my leather, tan face.  All at once, the feeling that had haunted me all my life started to feel a connection toward the words of the angel.  Could it be?  Was this babe the Messiah?  Hope filled my heart and with my fellow shepherds we ran without a backwards glance to the village.  There was no mistaking where the manger was located, because the biggest, brightest star ever seen was suspended right over top.  The village was fast asleep when we arrived making it easy to maneuver down the streets.   As we neared the middle of town where all the shops and Inns were located, the star became bright as the noonday sun, and we knew we were almost there.  Excitement and a little fear filled our entire beings.  What would we find.  Was this just some weird dream, a result of being out in the hills attending sheep?

There at the corner of Faith and Hope Streets stood the mysterious stable.  There was nothing out of the ordinary here. The village was so quiet you could hear the snoring of nearby donkeys.  We ran to it’s door and peeked in.  The moment my eyes saw the tiny, sleeping bundle I knew that what the angel has said and what the angels had sung about was true!  Suddenly, I realized that the once empty feeling that I had was gone and in it’s place was joy and peace.  For my eyes had seen my Salvation.  I fell to my knees on the hay strewn floor and wept and worshiped the little King. Forever grateful that He had come to me, a lonely shepherd.

2000 plus years later I still can’t keep the glad tidings to myself.  I am here to tell you that you too can experience the Messiah. Come, worship with me and all Christians this Christmas, the One who humbled himself and brought us Heaven.

Merry Christmas from a Judean Shepherd!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

All I Want for Christmas...

In the busy Christmas noise,
All the lights, the bells, the toys,
I have found You are the only source
Of comfort and joy.

Lord I want Your presence for Christmas.
I want Your presence for Christmas.
I long to feel Your spirit speaking to my heart.

Of all the gifts I may receive,
There's only one I really need.
And it's Your presence,
Your presence for Christmas.

When this Holiday is through,
And the year is fresh and new,
What will linger are the moments spent,
My Lord, just worshiping you.

Lord, I want Your presence for Christmas.
I want Your presence for Christmas.
I long to feel Your spirit speaking peace for my heart.

Of all the gifts I may receive,
There's only one I really need.
And it's Your presence,
Your presence for Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas In the Kitchen


I switched out my usual curtain for this lace, "Joy to the World" hanger my mother bought me several Christmas' ago. The light from outside makes this picture look washed out. I love how it brightens the kitchen.

One can't help but love this little guy wearing a pair of my boy's snow boots :)

Don't you wish that Christmas 
Was a Currier and Ives scene
Where the snow was falling softly
In the woods of evergreen
Where horses pulled the sleighs
Through the village and the fields -- Roger Turner

I prefer to decorate my Christmas' with snowmen and pine so that I can keep it up all winter long.

The lights twinkle and my youngest 2 have been thrilled with them ever since I put them up :)

Patches - my favorite snowman.  I love his colors!
He makes me smile :)

Sam love this big guy.  It's been a fun day pulling them all out and finding a special spot for each one.

Nothing like a pot of cones :) They are good for what ails ya!

Cinnamon cones make my table smell wonderful!

Today's extra-curricular activity: painting this sign. Love how it turned out. 

Happy birthday, Jesus
I'm so glad it's Christmas
All the tinsel and lights
And the presents are nice
But the real gift is You

Happy birthday, Jesus
I'm so glad it's Christmas
All the carols and bells
Make the holiday swell
And it's all about You
l ]
Happy birthday, Jesus
Jesus I love You
            -- Carol Cymbala
Partying at:

Rose Chintz Cottage

Saturday, December 8, 2012

All Things Girly :)

"Sugar & Spice & everything nice is what little girls are made of"   What do you think of when you hear the words "little girl"?  I tend to think of ribbons, lace, and pearls.  Boys are rough and tumble while girls are soft and tender. Unless they are tomboyish.  3 boys later I have my ribbons and lace, and I am loving it.

The last few days I have gotten out the tutorials I've been collecting from Pinterest and around the Web and got to work.  Making hair bows and I think I'm addicted. haha  It is a lot of fun to let my creative juices flow and make my girly pretty things.  I'm not yet into the clothes making side of things just the accessories. :) :)

Here are some pictures of what I've come up with for my 1st attempts. Do you think I love black & red? :P Now to get other colors and have more fun!

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