Friday, December 11, 2009

A Christmas Adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13

Shamelessly stolen from my Tanya-Triplet's blog!!

A Christmas Adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13

by Sharon Jaynes

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

Content taken directly from Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Sharon Jaynes, published by Moody Publishing, copyright 2005

Friday, November 27, 2009

Favorite Christmas magazine EVER!

Well, favorite article, anyway....I keep the magazine in a special place, so I can get right to it when I need a fix!

It's Victoria, Dec 1995....and I am every bit as enchanted with it today as I was 14 years ago!

Where to begin??? I have always loved black in decorating, and I think it's a large part of what is appealing to me about her decorations....but I also love the contrast of rustic and elegant....and all the little touches she uses (which I would never have the patience to do, but it's lovely to see!) and I adore the tree in the bedroom, with only lights!

I think I had originally seen that done in an old Southern Living was a HUGE tree, with just white lights, and it really struck me. To see it her again made me vow I'd do it myself one day, when I had a place big enough for two trees.....and now we do it every other year, just to keep things simple.

Anyway, a quick note about copyright laws, is not my intent to claim this work as my own, or rip anyone off ! I just want to share something that I think is lovely beyond words.

If I am violating any laws, and need to remove the pictures, please let me know and I will do so ASAP!


GORGEOUS front porch!!



Triple wrapped napkins...LOVE the black velvet bows!


Love love love the tree and simplicity of the entire room


One more of the bedroom, just because I love it so!!



I am home with the flu today, but I will still make a point to do my traditional day-after-Thanksgiving rituals.....the stockings will be hung, Santa will make his way to the mantel, and I will start listening to Christmas carols.

I always start with my favorite version of O Holy Night (from Christmas with the Cambridge Singers), listen to it several times and get good and weepy and sentimental, then move on to perkier stuff like Run, Run Rudolph, by Bryan Adams.

Once I get the decorations taken care of, I'll settle in with a few magazines that are near and dear to my heart, that I look at every year, never tiring of their beauty, and the excited feeling I get looking at them!

Tonight when he comes home from work, I will give my sweet husband his annual pre-Christmas gift (s), which is usually whatever new Christmas CDs I buy. This year is Bob Dylan's "Christmas in the Heart" ...I know, can you stand it?? Bob Dylan and Christmas?? Who knew??? But my husband is a fan, so I had to get it! Also this year is Sting's "If on a Winters Night". The hubs really likes Sting's version of Gabriel's Message from the first Very Special Christmas, and I really like kind of Celtic gloomy, medieval stuff, so we're excited about this. (I REALLY should have gotten the newest Very Special CD, by the way; I notice they have one out again, but nothing looked very good. Apparently I am so old I haven't heard of many of the artists....I'll probably just donate directly to Special Olympics instead.)

Finally, David will stop at Coffee Bean on his way home from work, and get us each a large ice-blended mocha with whip cream and two extra shots, and even before I give him his gifts, we will turn everything off but the tree lights, and listen to "We Three Kings", by Patty Smith, from Very Special Christmas 3. It is our mutually favorite Christmas song, and we both love this simple but very meaningful ritual!

What are your favorite rituals and traditions for early in the season?

It is officially here!

People usually look at me like I am insane when I tell them I have the tree up in early November, but I think most people will agree that today is the start of the Christmas season!

Today is the day I really try and start making a point to savor every moment, jot down those little things I don't want to forget about, and just generally soak it all in.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

And so it begins....

My tree has been up a week now, and today I brought out a few more decorations.

When we bought a fake tree a few years ago, my goal was to have it up by Nov 1st each year, or at the very latest by The Birthday Weekend, which is whatever weekend falls between my husband's birthday (Nov 9th) and mine (Nov 17th.)

Yes, I know, it's EARLY, but we've been doing it three years now, and I absolutely love it! You must keep in mind that I have had autumn decorations up since June, so I am more than ready to deck them halls for Christmas!!!

Decorating this early has two major benefits for me; first and foremost, it allows me two solid months of pure Christmas joy, and it also means that I have no regrets about putting everything away once the Holidays are over. I have had my fill by then, as opposed to all the years we had a real tree, and I only got to enjoy everything for two weeks.

As my dear friend Liz at Loagan Ranch says, (and I quote!) decorating this early means I can kick back and enjoy every holiday event, party, gathering, cookie exchange and church activity that I choose to go to and not have to worry about missing out cuz I'm still decorating the house.

By the way, Elizabeth is The ULTIMATE Christmas Queen, not to mention a True Domestic Goddess, and y'all definitely need to be following her blog, and the one she writes for Grit.

I won't hang the stockings or listen to any Christmas music til Black Friday, and the mantle is not yet decorated. But my favorite Christmas scented candles are burning as I type this, and both my home and my Christmas heart are all a-glow.

Merry Christmas!!!