Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Reflection

As I reflect on the year 2010, I am reminded of all of the blessings in my life. The past year has brought many trials, as well as, triumphs.

With a chronic health issue the sailing hasn't always been smooth. In fact, this past year has been a little bit of a challenge for me.

However, when I look back and see how far I have come, I know that I have not been sailing alone.

My heavenly Father has been right beside me the entire time...guiding me and giving me strength through it all.

No, the year 2010 has not been ideal, but life is good. God is good.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas...Almost!

As the clock struck twelve, saying goodbye to Christmas day, there was a cold, light rain falling here in southeastern North Carolina. Our hopes of a white Christmas faded away as we snuggled warmly in our beds. Little did we know that while we were sleeping God was busy with plans of his own. The morning light dawned on a landscape beautifully covered in snow. Now, I know that for some of you that is not a very big deal, however, when you live where I do snow is a welcomed sight...especially this close to Christmas Day. Although I love sitting in the sun room watching the snow gently fall, I couldn't resist venturing outside for just a few pictures this morning. Enjoy!

I just love the beautiful view from my front porch.

The barren branches look lovely when dressed with snow.

Do you think the birds would like to bathe in this?

It does come with a water view.

The pine warblers were especially grateful for their breakfast.

The little chick a dee preferred to take his with him.

I think that they all look pretty sitting in the American holly.

The little junco just had to be different!

My porch decorations were much prettier with a little help from above.

The snow may not have come on Christmas Day, but it wasn't far off! I pray that Christmas brought joy, peace, and God's blessings to all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of my wonderful blogging friends a very Merry Christmas. I pray that this special season finds you all healthy and happy. I know that many of you have probably seen enough snow; however, here in the southeast, we would love to see a white Christmas. There is a possibility of that wish coming true tomorrow evening. I am sure that there will be many children (and adults) saying a little prayer for some of that beautiful white stuff tonight. I'll keep you posted. May God richly bless each and every one of you this Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Making My List

I have a confession to make. I am not ready for Christmas. Even though we have had one of the coldest Decembers on record, my trees are decorated, Christmas music is playing, and the festivities have begun...I must confess that I am not ready for Christmas. For some reason the spirit has not quite hit me. I guess we have been so busy with other things that our minds are just too cluttered to enjoy the season. I must change that. I think I will make my list, check it twice, and finish my shopping.

Then, I will settle down and focus on what Christmas is really all about! Oh, wait...that's not the right order. Lord, help me focus on you this season. Then, and only then, will everything else fall into place. May we all remember the true meaning of Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Should I Change My Name?

I'm beginning to think that I should change the name of my blog. What do you think? When I started this blog a little less than a year ago, I wanted to focus on my life in the country and the wonderful, simple pleasures that go along with it. Little did I know that my life would become so busy that it would take me away from that focus. Having two teen aged girls has made my life wonderfully, hectic instead. When they were smaller it was easier to keep life simple. However, they are growing up and their activities are very important to them. Instead of quietly sitting in the sunroom watching the winter birds feasting at the feeders, I am spending more time on the road. We have been busy with many different activities such as....

...cheering Carson on as she records her first demo CD, Christmas parties for a bunch of cool, young adults,

... and enjoying Catie's show choir performing their Christmas tunes.

All of these activities have been keeping us busy during this wonderful Christmas season, and my blog has taken a slight detour from its original purpose; however, I hope you all don't mind tagging along. I'm sure that before I know it my life will slow down enough to stop and watch the birds again, but I'm not quite sure that I am ready for that moment to arrive. For now, I am enjoying my beautifully, busy life! May you all find joy in your life in whatever stage you happen to be. To everything there is a season!

Monday, December 6, 2010

O Christmas Tree!

We are slowly but surely getting up all of our Christmas decorations. Last night we put up our live tree in the living room. This has always been one of my favorite Christmas traditions. John and I always put the tree up and get the lights on it, then the girls decorate while I bake cookies. After the tree is finished we eat our treats and enjoy the tree.

This tree is always our 'fun' tree that has decorations that we have had for years. Some of them are decorations that I have had since my childhood; others are ones that the girls have made over the years.

This year is a little bittersweet because we know that Catie will most likely be away at college next year when we trim the tree.

Although they have their sisterly moments (a.k.a. arguments), I know that they will miss each other.

Don't they look like angels?

After eating their cookies they danced...

...and danced...

...and danced.

Then came the star!

They used to argue over who got to put on the star. This year they didn't. I think they are growing up. Bittersweet!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Thankfulness Continues!

Wow! What a busy week! When you have teenagers life is never dull. This week I have been extremely busy with the girls. Catie is working hard to turn in all of her college applications and most of them require a separate scholarship application. Carson has been busy getting ready to record several of her original songs (part of her Christmas present). It feels as though time is passing by at breakneck speed. My simple country life is not quite as simple as I would like for it to be. However, as I was cleaning this morning to prepare for the live tree that John and Carson have gone to pick up, I just took a moment to stop and thank God for blessing me with these precious girls who bring such life into our home. I would be lost without them.

With all of that said, I need to make a confession. As I stroll through all of your blogs, I am very jealous of the beautiful Christmas decorations that I see. I have only managed to hang a couple of wreaths and put up the tree in the sunroom. Everything else is still in boxes. I must get busy!

I have always enjoyed putting a wreath on the courtyard wall...but this year the wreath blends in with the creeping fig that has started growing rapidly. Thank goodness the wreath has lights so that I can see it!

This morning was very cold and we actually had a little sleet. I was very thankful for one of my blogging friends who so graciously hosted a giveaway that I won. Denise at Den's Daily Life sent me the most wonderful things. I spent the morning drinking some of the hot chocolate that she sent while curled up under this beautiful red throw that was also part of the prize.

She also sent me this great Christmas stationary...

...the Snoopy mug, candles and Christmas pretties that will soon become part of an arrangement of greenery!

There were even some gift tags, gift bags, tea, cocoa, and coffee. What more could I want??? It was my first time to receive a gift from one of my blogging friends. When the mail lady delivered the package, I felt like Santa had been. Thank you, Denise, from the bottom of my heart. Every time I wrap up in my soft, Christmas throw, I will think of your kindness! I thank God for all of my blogging friends! May He fill your houses with love and happiness this Christmas season!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving in the Country

Wow, what a weekend! I think I am going to need this whole week to get my house back in order. Does anyone else feel that way after Thanksgiving? Joking aside, I think this is one of my favorite holidays because it is centered around family and thankfulness. For Thanksgiving we have combination of relatives from mine and John's family. Many times we also have a few friends in the mix. Usually me or my mom cooks the turkey and dressing and everyone else brings a dish or two of their own. Would you believe that even though it is not coordinated, we have never had two people bring the same dish? This year my aunt brought the turkey and my mom made the dressing. (I didn't know what to do with myself.) I just love the casual atmosphere of our gathering. There is nothing like country living!

Thanksgiving in the country always includes...

...lots of family in the kitchen.

...plenty of food!

...a mandolin?

...a banjo?

...lots of beautiful music!

...cowgirl boots.

...and some very happy listeners.

And after the crowd leaves and the men head out to the deer stands, I spend a little time getting started on my Christmas decorating.

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with as much love, food, and entertainment as mine. Now, lets all get ready for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Days of Thankfulness!

I just wanted to take a moment to explain to everyone why I have dropped the ball, so to speak, on my days of thankfulness. It seems that over the weekend I was so busy enjoying the people that I am thankful for so much that I didn't have time to blog at all. My youngest daughter celebrated her 13th birthday with a bonfire party Saturday and My mom celebrated her birthday with a dinner at my house last night. All of that combined with getting the house ready for about twenty guests tomorrow has my head all a spin. I did want to take a moment to say how thankful I am for all of my new blogging friends. I feel so blessed to have friends from all over the world with whom I have so much in common. Many of you have come to feel like family to me. I have even received my first gift (a giveaway prize) from a fellow blogger (thanks Den). I would share pictures of my goodies, but my camera card is full. I have to run out tonight to get another. I'll post soon about how I used all of my Christmas goodies from Denise. In the mean time, hop on over to her blog and check it out. You will be glad that you did.

I would like to wish all of my wonderful blogging friends a very happy, and blessed Thanksgiving! In His Love, Carla

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thank God for Beautiful Music

Today, as I was thinking of all of the things that I am thankful for, music came to my mind. I am thankful for the blessing of music in my home. John and I both have a love for music, although our tastes sometimes differs. This love has been instilled into both of our girls, who have their own musical preferences. Thankfully, we all accept each other's opinions and tastes and enjoy many different melodies in our home.

Although Carson takes lessons in bluegrass, she prefers country.

Catie prefers to play the piano and enjoys more alternative styles of music.

Even though she enjoys the alternative style, she does manage to play a few classical tunes for her mom.

John loves all kinds of music, but the tunes he loves the best are the ones that Catie and Carson play for him.

I can't imagine a single day without some kind of music drifting through the air in our home. Do you enjoy playing music in your home, or do you prefer quietness?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thank God For My Mom and Dad

During this week of thankfulness I must stop to thank God for my wonderful parents. Growing up we did not have a lot of money, however, we had enough love to last throughout eternity. My mom and dad have always been my biggest supporters in all that I have done. My mom always looks for the best in others and never says an unkind word about anyone. My dad is the quiet type who is always the first to lend a hand when someone is in need. I am fortunate to live close enough to spend a lot of time with them. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with such great examples.

They are still a cute couple, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thankful for The Creator and His Creation

As the next few days pass by and I take the time to think about all of the things that I am thankful for, I can't let another moment pass without thanking my God, my Lord and Savior, the Creator of all things. Without him there would be no reason to be thankful. His creation alone should produce a heart full of thankfulness. I am especially grateful for His precious son who died for my sins.

I try not to let a single day pass without taking in the beauty of His creation.

I see Him in the beautiful fall colors...

...and in the reflection of the still waters...

...and in the beauty of the skies...

...especially the beauty of the skies.

For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies
For the love, which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Over and around us lies
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise!