Some days you just have to take time to enjoy life and put all the duties away for another day. Such is my day today. I will decorate, sip lots of coffee and tea, depending on time of day, eat too many calories and relax and take it all in. Today, I am determined to open my eyes to the color and my sweet ones, as I just need a day to move slowly instead of one more stressful, fast day.
The above stocking is one my mama made me so many years ago. She is not a seamstress but tried her hand at special projects. She collected buttons and charms from gum ball machines and made all of us kids a stocking, my 2 brothers and I, hand beaded with all these treasures she had collected.
I am putting away all the Fall decorations. Saturday, after Thanksgiving is always the time our family decorates for Christmas.
Today, I will foster holiday love in our home as we all love our memories of Christmas together so much. I think there is something in the way we celebrate all together and make family recipes and sing and give gifts that captures a little bit of what heaven will be like--as our children long for it and enjoy the "togetherness" we have shared for so long and now have to wait to enjoy, when everyone can come home. Many I know love the thought of Christmas and family and home. Must be something of the closeness and love we will feel celebrating the love, intimacy and beauty of Christ when we are all together with Him in heaven. Love, warmth, beauty, pleasure, purpose all wrapped together in one package.
This year, Joel, Joy and I are the main cast with Clay observing and telling us what is straight and symmetrical. No lifting for him. We bought our tree and three wreaths. We can never have enough wreaths--as I use them at the front door, but also for the center of our coffee tables as well as my dining table. Makes for a very pine-filled home, and it is pretty natural with greenery all around.
We started out with butterscotch banana bread (a holiday treat from years past), eggs, homemade hash browns from red potatoes, and bacon. Made Joel a raspberry mocha coffee and Joy a chocolate mocha. We don't have this very often, but I had to bribe great work ethic and attitudes out of my work crew, as I was losing Joy at noon to dress rehearsal for Sense and Sensibility.
I probably have about 15 large plastic boxes full of Christmas stuff I have collected over the years, but I have gotten simpler each year and leave most of them in the basement storage. We used an artificial tree for years, but "natural everything" goes better with my emerging self and with Colorado. So, the past 5 years, we go out and choose our family tree.
I have arranged so many traditions for so long that we all know where things go without much thought. I promise pictures soon, but I am so comfy on my overstuffed chair, I do not want to get up to take pics!
The music has filled the house with Josh Groben's Christmas album, an old Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, and Michael Card. Andrew Peterson and others will be out soon, with the traditional carols, and the old Majesty of Christmas album. We always have music going. And Joel and Joy have already been pounding out and singing some carols on the piano, while decorating.
Joel worked on the tree and red beads and lights while Joy and I each decorated one of our dining tables (one in the kitchen nook and one in the dining room.) One is with small, snow covered houses and greenery. The other formal with a cherished beaded table runner and candles, cranberries, pine cones, and wreath, and gold chargers.
Then came the stockings mantle in the living room, and the one in our den, with Swedish Dolls and greenery and a tall camel from the middle east; my grandma's hand made creche ceramic scene, filling a hall hutch; a collection of tiny creche scenes from Poland collected long ago. My Santa cookie jar from my own childhood. Candles everywhere. Christmas books out everywhere--on all tables, fire places, coffee tables, and many will be read aloud in the evenings.
Time for a break: Lunch, homemade whole wheat rolls heated to steaming hot with thin slices of turkey, mayonaise and cranberry sauce spread generously.
Now, for a little time of personal reading all alone in Sarah's room, with music and candles lit, an exciting feeling of hiding away, for delicious stolen moments to read, think, journal and ponder what God has been teaching me the past few days. It is beautiful and clean and artsy and colorful in her room and I still feel close to her being there, so will spend some moments here every day till she comes home. (So fun to see her for 2 days this week in the mountains, but of course not enough.)
Snowball cookies, the first of the season, will accompany our tea time today.
And then more straightening and putting boxes away and a happy heart to see the house peaceful and filled with the colors and smells of Christmas.