December Photo Challenge: Tis the Season

photo blog challenge

Imagine my surprise when I realized December was almost over and I hadn’t written one word here since Dec. 7th! And now, it’s time again for PJ’s monthly photo challenge over at a ‘lil hoohaa. This month’s theme is, appropriately, Tis the Season.

Tis the Season for many things around here. Tis the Season for losing my mind with the holidayz…which can put a person in a daze. Tis the Season for birthdays…The Golfer and my Mama. Tis the Season for winter activities…bonfires and snowballs. And, Tis the Season for family.

So, here’s my five:

Tis the Season 1
Tis the Season for Christmas! This was the first year Twix was big enough to be the designated tree topper….much to Peanut’s dismay.

Tis the Season 2
Tis the Season for Ho Ho Ho Hats. Last year, Twix was not very cooperative with the Santa hat….or any hat for that matter. This year, she couldn’t get enough of wearing it. Peanut is an old pro at this so capturing this shot was much easier this year.

Tis the Season 3
Tis the Season to burn the brush pile in the backyard. This annual event usually takes place on the first snow so we don’t set the neighborhood on fire. Coincidentally, this year’s bonfire fell during the time when The Floridian golfer daughter was back in town for the holidays. Neighbors are invited so they don’t freak out when they see the flames. We try to make it a time to gather friends and family for “s’more” food and fun. 🙂

Tis the Season 4
Tis the Season for a birthday for The Golfer from Florida. And since she was home, it was also time to try to capture both daughters and grand girls since they were all in one place.

Tis the Season 5
And, finally, Tis the Season for family. A rare occurrence when we’re all together in one place at the same time.

There’s my five for December. Don’t forget to visit PJ’s place on December 31st to see the other seasonal festivities.



December month in pictures

December 2015

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
~Edith Sitwell

December was a mixed bag of events and emotions. Peanut, her mama and I started the month off on a high note with an evening at the theatre to see The Nutcracker (bottom left). Tree trimming and house decorating was somewhat of a challenge with an almost two-year-old underfoot….everything is sooooo fascinating and must be touched and held (bottom right). Taking the ornaments out is always a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me. The photo in the top right of the collage is part of a set of six angels my family had when I was a child. My sister has three and I have three. I believe they are at least 40 years old by now, but I have no idea how old we were when our parents bought them.

The grandbabykins are changing before our eyes. Twix is no longer that unsteady toddler of last year. Almost two years old now, she is becoming quite verbal and extremely aware of everything around her. But, she still doesn’t ride in the car for long trips very well, and we’ve pushed our luck a few times with quick trips to Kansas City and Branson…and paid dearly.

About mid month, the smaller of The Golfer’s the two kitties (who live with us), Midget, developed serious breathing issues again. Earlier in the summer, I gave her regimens of antibiotics and a round of subcuticular IV solution injections for dehydration. The last ditch effort was steroids, which worked for a while. But she took a turn for the worse again, and we made the gut-wrenching decision to not put her through any more drugs or treatments. And I do mean gut. wrenching. decision…at least it was for me. Her sister, Bridget, didn’t come out from under the Christmas tree for about a week and still seems a bit lost.

santa and kidsAnd let’s not forget the Christmas shopping. Even when I thing I’m ahead of the game, it never fails that the last week before Christmas I find myself running around the stores like a crazy woman. Just once I’d like to be completely finished before Thanksgiving so I could actually enjoy the holidays, stress-shopping free. Peanut and Twix did make a trip to see the jolly elf. Twix was quite taken with him…from afar.

Did I get everything done to achieve that perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas? Not even close. The Christmas spirit eluded me most of the month for various reasons. I wish I could bring my expectations down a few notches so I don’t get disappointed when plans don’t go perfectly. But we did spend time with family on both sides, Santa did come, and we were reminded on Christmas Eve of the beautiful gift of grace that was given so many years ago.

All in all, the holidays were good. We have a lot to be thankful for, and I’m working on appreciating what I have in the here and now instead of thinking how things could/should be different. We had good food and our home was warmed with the laughter of children. We took comfort with the blessings of friends and family throughout the month and I really can’t ask for anything more.

I hope you all had wonderful holidays with treasured memories. I plan to put all my collages into one post soon, and am looking forward to seeing our year’s recap in photos. Hope you’ll share it with me.

Participating in A Month of Pictures over at Mona’s Picturesque.




Photo Challenge: Holidays

photo blog challenge

PJ’s theme for December was….you guessed it….Holidays. Although the Christmas spirit sort of eluded me a bit this year, I was able to find quite a lot of opportunities to capture Christmas at our house. It was difficult to select but here are my five, plus one extra because the collage template needed a sixth photo. 🙂

blog challenge-Christmas2015

May you have the spirit of Christmas which is Peace,
The gladness of Christmas which is Hope,
And the heart of Christmas which is Love.

My hope is that you will carry the gifts of Peace, Hope and Love in your heart not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. And please stop by and see PJ at A ‘lil’ HooHaa to see what holidays others celebrated this month.

Out with the old, in with the new

quotography-new year72

Year’s end is nether an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
~Hal Borland

Can you believe the new year will begin in just three days?! Wow. Where did the last 12 months go? How do you approach the passing of one year into the next? Are you one to make resolutions to break for the new year? Do you spend time obsessing reflecting on life over the past 12 months? Do you look forward to a fresh start each January 1st?

I’ve never been one to make resolutions…probably because I’m just lazy. I’ve never made the beginning of a new year into a huge event. So when I came across this quote, I thought it summed up my thoughts about the new year perfectly. There is nothing magical about January 1st. It will feel the same as December 31st (except for that headache from last night’s party). The only difference is when we begin each “new” year, we do so carrying our cumulative past experiences with us….and hopefully we’re brining added wisdom because of those experiences. This gained wisdom will, consciously or unconsciously, affect every decision we make moving forward.

Last year, instead of those pesky resolutions, I started selecting a Word for the Year. I’d seen this done by others and thought it was a brilliant alternative to empty resolutions. Stay tuned for that big reveal in a few more days.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of 2015….and approach 2016 with greater wisdom and renewed energy.

Participating in Quotography and LTTL

LTTL and Quotography: Christmas

Christmas quotography 72

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.
~Laura Ingalls Wilder

 My last post highlighted the birth of Jesus and mentioned that, along with Christ’s Mass, many people celebrate the season with other traditions as well. These traditions are woven into the fabric of the holiday and bring added joy and good feelings to the season. We all have childhood memories associated with holidays, and many of those memories probably center around that jolly, round person affectionately called Santa.

As an admitted Santa collector, I have about every size and shape Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Old St. Nick, Father Christmas and Kris Kringle you can imagine. For me, Santa and the other secular Christmas traditions in no way detract from the main event in Bethlehem that changed the world so many centuries ago. Santa in no way represents Christmas at the expense of Christ. True Christians hold Christmas in their hearts all year, regardless of the calendar page. But like the holly, mistletoe, garland greenery, twinkling lights and gift giving of the designated holiday season, Santa is just another tradition that serves a larger purpose in lifting the spirits of children of all ages. Call it a bit of fun, Christmas magic.

From childhood, Santa has always been a representative of the divine concepts of generosity, compassion and kindness. But, in addition to Santa, there’s a huge supporting cast surrounding his once-a-year joy ride. Because, without those “elves,” there’s no way Santa could make all those toys to gladden the hearts of little girls and boys! 😉

One of those elves appears at our house during December. Peanut named her Wendy. Her arrival means summaries are periodically sent back to Santa so he knows whether she’s on the Naughty or Nice list. But…as with all of us….Wendy isn’t without a little mischievousness of her own.

elf 2015 2

elf 2015 5

elf 2015 1

elf 2015 4

The experience of child-like wonder makes the holidays enjoyable for both adults and children alike. We will teach Peanut and Twix many lessons about generosity, love and grace throughout their lives. And, we’ll throw in a bit of Christmas magic just for fun.

The original story of St. Nicholas is one of a humble Christian bishop who loved God. He displayed this love by giving to others….not unlike our Heavenly Father who gave the world the gift of his son, Jesus, more than 2,000 years ago. Regardless of whatever name he’s called, his message is always the same. Love.

May your days be merry and bright this Christmas and throughout the new year.

Participating in LTTL and Quotography

LTTL & Quotography: Mass


The magic of Christmas is not in the presents,
but in His presence.

Quotography’s prompt this week is mass. Not being Catholic, the term is a bit foreign to me but I believe its interpretation in today’s culture can be interchanged with a couple of different synonyms.

Celebration of the Eucharist or Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper
A gathering together of Christians for the purpose of worship

Without getting really heavy into semantics, I’m adapting the prompt to be an interpretation of the meaning of that December holiday called Christmas.

Christmas = literally translated to mean Christ’s mass

Christmas is the celebration of the miraculous birth of God’s son, Jesus. The day when God Incarnate came to this world in the most humble, helpless form of a human baby. He was to be raised by earthly parents and experience, first hand, what is means to be human. He was to experience all the pain, suffering and sadness that goes along with our broken world. It is God’s act of pure love that sent Jesus to a dark, sinful, lost world to reconcile humankind back to their creator through the ultimate sacrifice….crucifixion, death and resurrection. A sacrifice Christians observe regularly through the Eucharist/Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel….For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6)

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17)

 That’s it. That’s all. Did this happen in the dead of winter on December 25th with snow falling softly against the sky? No. Was there mistletoe and holly garlands? No. Was there gift giving? No. Was there huge celebratory get-togethers? No.

There were, however, scared human parents giving birth to their first child a long ways from home in a room that stabled animals. There were angels appearing on the hillsides announcing the birth…not to the upper class of people in the town and synagogue, but to the most lowly people of that period’s class system…shepherds. There were no grand Christmas trees, decorations or lavish gifts. His presence was the only present for miles around and went largely unnoticed by most people.

This is a present Christians celebrate every year. And we celebrate it alongside a host of traditions that date back to the cultures of the Druids, German and Celtic tribes, Roman mythology and Teutonic nature worship. The bible never mentions the exact month or day of Jesus’ birth. In the 5th century, the Western Church selected a day for the event to be commemorated….coinciding with the Roman feast of the birth of Sol (sun god). It also coincided with the Winter Solstice, an important time of the year for many pagan religions. Coincidence. Not hardly. People of all color, creeds and nationalities combined all these customs and traditions into what we celebrate now as Christmas.

Whether you celebrate Christmas as Christ’s Mass or simply as a winter holiday, perhaps the Grinch said it best.

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, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

My wish for each of you this Christmas is to be filled with the joy and peace of God’s act of pure, unadulterated love for his creation.

Merry Christmas!

Playing along with Quotography and Life Thru the Lens

Photo Blogging Challenge: ‘Tis the Season

photo blog challenge


PJ’s theme for December’s photo challenge is, appropriately, ‘Tis the Season. And while that sounds easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, it was not really the case at our house. Shortly after Thanksgiving, Entrepreneur was diagnosed with kidney cancer and it looks like it has spread to other areas. Needless to say, the season came to a screeching halt and never really materialized to its fullest potential. I had most of the decorations already up, but never quite embraced the season this year. My Christmas music was oddly silent most of the month.

But, thanks to wonderful friends and family, we got through surgery to remove the kidney, and he came home from the hospital for Christmas. We’re waiting for biopsy results and bracing for the next phase. It’s all very surreal and our days are not very merry and bright this year with this hanging over our heads.

But the holidays did come, complete with a visit from Santa, and we embraced them with thankfulness and new perspectives. Here are my five plus one extra just because I can.

1. What is Christmas without a poinsettia? This one is the size of a small bush, two and a half feet high, and showed up at the hospital to brighten his room during his stay.


2. While this is not the snowfall many of you have already had, it’s the most we’ve had all month in Middle Missouri. Just enough to make everything look clean and pretty, calm and peaceful. Peaceful and calm…Two things I could really use right now.

December 2014

3. No Christmas season is complete around here without a trip to see the Magic Tree. Peanut has seen it almost every year since she was a year old. This year was the first one for Twix at 10 months.

peanut magic tree lights Twix magic tree

4. A little Christmas bling….


5. …on the Christmas tree.

Christmas tree 2014

And one more, because everyone needs a little elf like this one hanging around the house at Christmas.

Peanut Santa 2014

So, there you have it…the bad balanced by the good. Check out PJ’s post to see what ‘Tis the Season means to others.