Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas 2014

I am tempted to say that once again Christmas has come & gone too quickly, but that wouldn't really be correct since today is only the 6th day of Christmas.  Many people start taking down their trees & decorations the day after Christmas. A very sad thing to do in my book, but if you bought a real tree to decorate on Thanksgiving weekend, you probably don't want it hanging around the house too long after the blessed day   : )

It was another quiet Christmas here in The Devil's Playground.  After our traditional breakfast of homemade orange rolls ...
... we snapped a few photos & then opened our gifts.  

Yes, once again we we lit the fireplace DVD.  Just imagine our joy if we had a real fireplace!!! 

Some of my happiest times leading up to Christmas were opening & displaying our Christmas cards.  I had asked in a blog post at the beginning of the month if anyone wanted to exchange cards with me.  I received lovely cards from all over the world!  I'm looking forward to another blog Christmas card exchange next year!

What was my very favorite thing about Christmas this year?  It was when John & I visited our wonderful son the weekend before Christmas. We hadn't seen him in a long, long time.  Now that he's living closer to us, we will get to see him more often   : )

Matt & a friend have entered into a business venture ... breeding Lllwellin setters & Weimaraners. I'm not really much of a dog person.  Don't get me wrong ... I like dogs.  I just prefer cats.  Well, don't tell Sophie, but I fell in love with Weimaraners.  This is me & Chloe.  Do I look happy much?  Lol!  I had never heard of Weimaraners before Matt became involved with them.  They are the sweetest, most docile dogs I have ever seen. Right up our alley   : )   If I'm remembering this correctly (Matt will correct me if I'm wrong), Chloe is 6 weeks old in this photo & she's weighing in at 26 pounds.  I really, really, really wanted to bring one of these puppies home, but Sophie would not have been a happy feline if I had done so.  This coming year I'm going to try to sell her on the idea.  Wish me luck   : )  
I am going to be adding two new pages to my sidebar ... Christmas Exchanges & Gifts from Me to Others - 2014, & Christmas Exchanges & Gifts from Others to Me - 2014.  I also plan to make a page with the remainder of my 2014 stitching & even go back to gather all my stitching projects per year together on their own pages.  Nothing I enjoy more than making work for myself ... lol!  This, however, seemed to be the best way to go about things ... keeping them all on their own page rather than a little here, a little there in various blog posts.  I'll do a post as each page is created.  

Our decorations will stay on display for another week at least ... the tree longer.  I think it was nearing the end of January last year when I finally took it down.  I'm in no rush for Christmas to be over.

At the grocery store on Christmas Eve Eve I discovered jars of tulip plantings & had to bring one home.  I didn't think to take a photo until today so they aren't as nice looking as they were a day or two ago, but still much enjoyed by both of us.  
I will leave you with this photo of our newest acquisition for our home.  I never include wise men in a nativity display for several reasons, but John talked me into it this year because they were "cute" & "fit in" with the set.  Next year I'll leave them out, but this year I let him have his way   : )  
Remember to keep Christ not only in Christmas, but in every day of the year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Advent Calendar Blog Hop - Day 24

I was gifted by both Jo & Sharon with Day 24 of the Advent Calendar Blog Hop this year.  Thank you both again sweet friends ... a gift I will always treasure   : )

Jo has asked each of us participating in the Hop to share a bit of our Christmas stitching.  The ornament I'm sharing below is not something I've stitched, but it is one of my very favorite ornaments which I received in an exchange with Lisa last year ... O Night Divine, a design by The Sampler Girl which appeared in the 2013 Just Cross Stitch Ornaments issue.  Tonight is indeed a very special & holy night ... the night that Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of our dear Savior.

I suppose I should share a bit of stitching I've done myself as well ... lol!  There is a lot to choose from, but I've picked these three designs I stitched for my own tree over the past two years, & they were finished to the utmost perfection by my friend Myra.    
Good Tidings to You
The Sampler Girl
Peace on Earth
The Primitive Hare
His Gift
My Big Toe Designs

In addition to a bit of Christmas stitching, Jo wants each of us to tell about the best Christmas present we've ever received.  Well, like most of the other ladies it is difficult for me to decide which one present to tell you about, but for the purpose of an interesting story, it's got to be my 1914 Singer treadle sewing machine.  When I was in junior high school (1965-66), I had a friend, Anna Marie, who was given her grandmother's old treadle sewing machine.  I thought this sewing machine was the coolest thing I had ever seen, & throughout the coming years I always remembered it & always hoped to have one of my own one day.  Flash forward to the late 1980s.  My husband's job made it necessary for him to do a lot of traveling throughout the state of Tennessee where we lived at that time, & during one of these excursions he went into an antique store & spied a Singer treadle sewing machine.  He immediately asked the store owner if he could pay for the machine that day & pick it up before Christmas.  The owner said yes.  John left early Christmas Eve morning to make the 2-hour drive to the antique store to pick up the sewing machine & bring it back home.  We knew some rain & storms were possible, but little did either of us know that a tornado was going to occur!  It came close to the route where he was driving & he experienced quite a downpour with high winds accompanying it, but thankfully neither he nor our vehicle were in any way hurt or damaged.  Others that day were not as fortunate.  Anyway, John made it to the antique store & he & the owner carried the treadle out to our Toyota Corolla only to discover that it was going to take a small miracle to fit it into the back seat!  After some lengthy negotiating, they were able to wedge it in there & then John made the drive back home.  He was unable to remove it from the back seat himself, so rather than me finding it waiting for me next to the tree on Christmas morning, he had me come out to the car when he arrived home to help him pry it from the back seat & carry it in.  I have enjoyed sewing on this treadle machine ever since. It always mystifies people who have the fancy Berninas, Husqvarnas, & other high end machines when I tell them that I prefer sewing on a treadle. I think of the woman or women who owned that machine before me.  What were they sewing? What were their thoughts as they pumped the treadle up & down?  Did they ever for a moment think that a woman 75+ years in the future was going to be loving their machine as much as they had?  It takes me back to a simpler time.  I like that.

Thank you for visiting my blog today.  I wish you & your family a most happy & blessed Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's All About Jesus

I don't know about you, but I am saddened by what Christmas has become.  People know that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ. Even people who don't believe in Him know this.  I was born in the 50s & fondly remember people wishing each other a Merry Christmas, & large nativity scenes displayed in the windows or on the grounds of various businesses.

The PewResearch Religion & Public Life Project published a report today that shows people who consider themselves to be Christians make up 78.4% of this country's population.  More than 3/4 of the people in this country claim to be Christians!!!  So why do we suddenly have "holiday trees" rather than Christmas trees?  Why are people wishing each other a "Happy Holiday" rather than a Merry Christmas?  Why are businesses no longer able to display nativity scenes?  Why do schools now have "winter breaks" rather than Christmas breaks?

Last year parents of children attending the Ralph J. Osgood school on Long Island, New York, were outraged when at the school's Christmas concert, the children sang the beautiful carol Silent Night with ALL references to Christ's birth removed.  I've been listening to the radio & have heard about this happening elsewhere.  What is going on here?!?!?  A nationwide radio station is broadcast here & they start playing Christmas music 24/7 right after Halloween.  I kid you not.  I listened to them off & on for a year or two after moving here.  I knew something was missing, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  It dawned on me last year.  No real Christmas music.  No Silent Night, no Joy to the World, no Oh Come All Ye Faithful ... nothing like that.  Nothing about the real meaning of Christmas.

The focus of Christmas for too many years has been gimmie-gimmie-gimmie.  Christmas for many people is kicked off by standing in a mile-long line on Black Friday just so they can elbow, shove, & trample each other to get a flat screen TV for $200 ... for themselves!  Christmas commercials encourage buying expensive gifts for friends & loved ones, or worse, gifting yourself!  I saw a Christmas commercial a couple years ago with the catch phrase "Don't you deserve it?"  Another commercial encouraged people to "Do something nice for yourself!"  Sad.  Oh so sad.  

John & I watched a Christmas movie the other night called Guess Who's Coming to Christmas. The family of 4 ... father, mother, son, & daughter ... have the tradition of buying only one gift for the one person in the family whose name they draw out of a jar.  There is a $10 spending limit on the gift. They have this tradition so they can focus on Jesus during the season, not on what they want or what they are going to get.  I indicated to John that I thought this was a nice tradition.  He thought so too.

Jesus is not only the reason for the season ... he is the ONLY reason for the season & the reason for every single day of our life.
Just a little something to think about   : ) 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I'm Here ... & a Note to Gisela

This photo has nothing to do with this blog post.  I just thought it was pretty   : )

I've been a bit overwhelmed lately & it has kept me from responding to emails & for that I deeply apologize.  I am going to try to start catching up in the next couple of days.  Please bear with me.  

I received a comment on my last blog post from Gisela in Nebraska who wants to exchange Christmas cards with me.  Gisela, you are a no-reply blogger & I am therefore unable to contact you.  If you still want to exchange cards, please email me.  My email address is on my profile page.