Monday, December 31, 2012

So Long, Sunshine

 For all I know, the year ahead could make "The Year of the Pigeon-Toed Duck Waddle" look like a cake walk. Not trying to be Debbie Downer here, but when you reach the ripe age of 50, you just know that kind of stuff...

Those were the exact words that I wrote at the close of 2011, a dreary year full of clouds that brought no rain. In January, I was determined to look ahead to 2012 with a cup half full. That's why I  also wrote this:

...but it's just as certain to bring some pockets of sunshine.

And that, if you recall, was the reason for my yellow theme color and  Finding the Sunshine motto for 2012. In January, I purposed to appreciate the sunshine whenever, wherever, and however God sent it. 

That's exactly what I've done, and frankly folks
 I highly recommend it.    

You may not have heard much from me this year,  (You noticed, right?) but that honestly wasn't because I had the blues.  It had more to do with an acute case of menopausal ADD compounded by an inexplicable bout of  blogger's block.  There are 4,728 unfinished drafts lurking on the dashboard. (I'm hoping that this one doesn't make it 4,729...)

I started every morning with the mug of the year. I named her Smiley but temporarily changed it to 
Smirky when she  baptized Della the Demon Possessed Laptop in the Coffee River. 

My first table of the year was a yellow one.  

It was a farewell dinner for The Practical One, who left in January for an internship in Washington DC.  It turned into a permanent move.    

I found my sunshine in the fact that she had found hers. 

I found the sunshine in the heat of the Georgia summer by creating  a 
sand pail list of summer adventures. 

It was so fun that I'm planning to do it again this year. 

Anyone planning to join me?

 I found the sunshine after an unexpected debit card misadventure by creating 
 No Buy July.  

Don't tell the family, but I might do that again this year, too.
  (Minus the whole debit card part at the beginning.)  

I gave myself a decorating challenge to create a craft room out of an unused bathroom without spending a single dime.

Painted it yellow, of course...

And yes, I still love it. 

Just when I was able to spend again, we set sail on an unexpected Unemployment Adventure. I found the sunshine by completing some long overdue  painting, organizing, and purging while I had a man around the place to help me. 

As the year comes to a close, I admit that I'm sad to see it go. 2012  had the best color and best theme that I've ever chosen.  If I could, I would just keep it for 2013. However,  A new color and new theme  must be chosen to celebrate the beginning of each new year. 

That's the rule.
I know because I made it up. 

I've created a loophole, though.  I have decided to dub yellow my official life color.  (People who live their lives from theme to theme can do stuff like that.) I want to be reminded to stop and appreciate the sunshine whenever, wherever, and however God sends it  for the next fifty-onederful years.  

Have I mentioned that I highly recommend it?

So you'll probably see more yellow around here, but you'll be seeing the 2013 color of the year as well. 

I won't reveal what it is yet, I'll just leave you, as usual, with a little hint. 

It's in here.

heh heh heh...

So Happy New Year, everyone!  
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone 
who has stuck with me even though I've been a sporadic poster and lame blog friend.

 I am truly hoping to get the groove back
in 2013, the year of.......

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

'Twas the day after Christmas...

And all through the house...

Only a blogger would bother with computer and mouse.

Believe it or not, the 26th of December is my Blog Anniversary. Three years ago this morning, I woke up and decided that I needed a post- Christmas distraction.

It's been distracting, all right... 

  This year, the holiday itself has been full of distractions. 
I can't recall a holiday season since the girls were little that kept me so busy.    

Like the big elf himself, this is my first free morning in weeks
 to sit down, take off the boots and hat... 

And share some previously promised pictures
of the Duchess's Christmas Story.

In case you can't figure it out, her theme was
The Day After Christmas, too.  

Poor Santa...

Do not disturb.

Contrary to my conspicuous absence in Blog Land,
I actually had a very merry Christmas. 
By the 22nd, I had two little dears resting under my roof, too. 

And on Christmas Eve, I had another Great Birthday Adventure.  

Turning over 50 may not seem as festive as last year's Golden Jubilee, 
but it is when you dub it a  Fifty- Onederful Birthday Celebration
 and create a theme song to go along with it.

   (I'd sing it for you, but according to The Practical One, it gets stuck in your head and won't go away.)

So that's what has been happening in my neck of the Christmas woods.

How was your Christmas?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

For The Children

Better late than never, I'm joining the good ladies in the Note Card Party at  A Haven For Vee. That's the party which allows us to share four pictures previously featured on our blogs which might make good note cards.

They don't have to have a theme, but generally speaking, I live my life from one theme to the next, so...

This month, my photo theme is:

For the Children

I've mentioned before that the children who live near the Duchess  call her The Christmas Lady.  That's because she always decorates her home with a little story just  for the children.

Nothing gives her greater pleasure than looking out her window and seeing a car full of  little ones trying to spot all the details in the story the Christmas Lady is telling.

In the wake of the horror that happened less than a week ago, it's tempting to turn off the lights and forget about the merriment this year. But then,  I remember that every year, in every town, there are families for whom the Christmas season isn't a merry one.  This year, it's just so much more conspicuously so.

If it causes us to pause and consider those who mourn and grieve among us, then we have found something good in all the evil. If it causes us to cherish the little ones around us just a little more this year than last, we've found something even better.

So she turned on the lights as usual this week, not in spite of the children but because of them.

Because maybe the best way we can honor the little ones who won't be here this Christmas is to bring a little laughter to the little ones who will.

By the way, for those who asked if I'm going to share her "story" this year, the answer is:  As soon as I have five good minutes and five good pictures.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Because We Can't Protect Them

This probably won't come as a surprise to you, but as a young mother I was something of a worry wart  Not a helicopter parent, necessarily, but one who never let the tether out too far lest some sort of danger befall her daughters.

We sent the girls to a tiny Christian school, mostly for the distinctly Christian education that they would receive but also because I thought it was the place where the girls would be the most safe.

Of course, the worrying didn't stop there either. Tiny little Christian schools, you see, aren't governed by the mandates of the state. They aren't required to have regular fire drills and tornado drills and lock down plans for masked intruders.

And I thought that they ought to.

Toward that end I was a royal pain in the headmaster butt.  I harangued him incessantly about the need for  preparation plans in the face of impending doom.  I wasn't alone, either. I had a group of fellow hovercrafts to back me up, the most vocal of which was my friend Marsha, a women affectionately called "the holy spirit" because of her uncanny ability to speak out the heart of God.

And then one day, a lone shooter walked through the front doors of a church in Dallas, Texas. Without so much as a pause, he began to open fire on unsuspecting Christians gathering for a time of prayer and study.

I was already in bed that evening when I got a call from Marsha.

"Debbie," she said. "We can't keep them safe.   If we're not safe in God's own house, we're not safe anywhere.  We can have all the drills and lock downs we want, and we'll still never be able to give them earthly security.   Our job is the more important one.  If I drop my little girl  at school tomorrow morning, and she doesn't come home in the afternoon, I want to know that I know... that I know that I know...  she's with the Father in Heaven."

She was right of course.

Guns don't kill, and actually people don't kill either. People are just the willing or unwilling accomplices of Satan, the one who comes to kill, steal and destroy. Since God himself is no respecter of persons, why in the world do we expect Satan to be?  He's nothing but a counterfeit god after all, a sloppy copy of the Real Deal who desires nothing more in this world than to break the heart of the Father and crush the spirit of his children.

He did an excellent job of it on Friday, didn't he?

What kind of a world do we live in, where a person would walk into an elementary school and gun down 20 tiny children and their teachers too?

A dark one.

(But) the people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
 Those who walk in the shadow of death, on them will light shine. 
~ Isaiah 9:2.

Praying that the Light of God will pierce the darkness in Newtown, Connecticut this day; that every family will feel His presence tabernacling among them, and that they will know that they know... that they know that they know,  the God of Heaven loves them with an everlasting love.

comments off for Sunday

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Little Table Talk

I'm planning to keep this post short on words since I'm way too busy to do much yakking, and you're probably way too busy to hear it.   Let's see if I can do it.

My kitchen table...

Salad plates found at the ReStore back in February were the
 peppermint inspiration.

$0.50 apiece: The motivation.

Apple green chargers replaced my old evergreen ones.

Stemware borrowed from the Duchess. 

Place cards for no good reason. 
Made from one dollar ornaments. 

Candy cane candlesticks.

(Say that one 3X fast.)

Admit it.
You just tried. 

Salt and pepper shakers from Cracker Barrel.

And a decoupaged salad fork.
It works fine. You just have to wash it by hand.
~That's why I didn't do the whole set.

And there you have it.
 A quick tour of the kitchen table, 
and I did it in less than 100 words. 

It's the first miracle of Christmas! 

I shall celebrate with some well earned visits with my invisible friends in Blog Land.

Sharing with Let's Dish!
and Tablescape Thursday

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Of Gift Swaps and Christmas Scrabble

So I don't even know what's cooking in Blog Land these days. I'm sorry about that. It's just that I have been such a little ADD elf that I barely have time to sit down for a pair of minutes.

Decorating  wasn't supposed to take me as long this year  Due to that economic side trip earlier this fall, I decided to keep my decorating very simple. If it was good enough last year, it's going to have to be good enough this year.


How in the world redoing the same old thing can take so long is anyone's guess,
 but it is.

Today, I leave it all behind and head out for a little shopping adventure. I haven't had a lot of luck with my gift getting in East Podunk this year so I am tagging along with the husband for parts unknown.

I'm on the hunt for several gifts, not the least of which is a gift for an annual gift exchange. That gift swap is the reason for my ramble this morning.

I love gift swaps.

Over the years, I've participated in a lot of them with friends and coworkers. We've exchanged ornaments and mugs, swapped cookies and made recipes-in-a jar. One year, my Bible study group decided to keep it really simple and just exchange the recipe cards instead.

Better for the pocketbook and the waistline.    

For nearly a decade, I've done a long distance gift exchange with a group of friends.  Every year, we try to switch it up and do something a little different as an exchange theme. We're sort of a themey bunch.

We've sent gifts inspired by our states or locations.
Then, by the first letter of our last names.
And then by the first letter of our maiden names. 
We might have done first names too; I can't remember. .

This year, our creative Exchange Queen has come up with a new idea. It has been so fun that I thought it was worth a yakabout.  We're playing Christmas Scrabble. 

Here's how it works. First we created scrabble list of all the words that can be made using the letters of our first and last names. (She furnished this online Scrabble Maker  for those of us too lazy to scrabble it ourselves.) Then, we chose a word from the list as our theme inspiration. Doesn't that sound fun?

Yeah, I thought so too.

So I used that nifty little scrabble maker and scrabbled my name, and do you know what word came up first?

It was Babble.

I also had Babel.
And dibble.
And dabble.
And edible.

So there you have it. Apparently, I'm living up to my name.

I would mention that the word bile was on my list as well, but some things should probably remain unyakked.

Not to worry, though. I have used my scrabble list to come up with an exchange theme which includes no bodily fluids. Since the intended recipient of my scrabbled Christmas has been known to read this blog, I can't share what I came up with just yet. 

However, since the Christmas Scrabble game was such a boost of creative fun,  I thought I'd pass along the idea  to the rest of you.

And that's all I have for now. Somewhere in Georgia, there is a mall with my name written on it. So fellow Georgians, if you happen to see a confused blonde eating her way through the Babble Dabble Mall, please stop  me and say hello.

In the meantime, how about you? Do you enjoy gift exchanges? 
Care to share a creative theme from a gift exchange of your own?


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