Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Welcome to my world!

Ending the year on a happy note, with a full heart in my happy place! What a wonderful week I had last week. So many memories made. My girls came over last Monday night and we watched Christmas movie after Christmas movie while munching on Christmas goodies, sipping hot chocolate and a fabulous dinner of $1 tacos! Then we spent the next morning making more Christmas goodies and the girls. well at least 2 of them, created art! The other one made flat on the couch and watched another movie! Ha! We had an amazing time.

I finished up my shopping on Wednesday and had a day home alone on Thursday wrapping and prepping supper for after church.

Christmas day Dream Boy & I woke up fairly early and spent the morning opening our stockings and drinking coffee. We just hung out until #1 son & daughter showed up for brunch and exchanging gifts. We feasted omelettes, bacon, toast and mimosa's made by Dream Boy, and then we exchanged gifts while also enjoying a FaceTime call from Seattle and #2 son & daughter.

It was an extremely balmy Christmas day in the Mitten so Dream Boy took off on his bike for a ride around the lake and I took a nap! I'm working on my perfecting my napping technique over my break. It's a work in progress, but I get better at it every time!

Christmas night we gathered at my older sister's home for our annual Sister Christmas. Our parents loved Christmas and all getting together and we have happily kept up the tradition. We even took our yearly family photo with Son & Daughter #2 in the picture all the way from Seattle! 

This mama's heart is so full after our holiday weekend! Some awesome memories were made, such as when Son #1 opened up his nerf gun and broke out into the biggest smile I've seen in a long time! For a grand 15 minutes, he & Dream Boy broke out into a nerf gun war and chased darts around the house. My poor daughter #1 got caught in the crossfire at one point, taking one for the team. The boys stopped playing and Dream Boy returned to the kitchen. A few minutes later he called D1 into the kitchen for help. 

Within moments, D1 appeared at the top of the living room step, with a nerf gun in hand, taking her stand she loads the gun and says, "look & load baby" before taking aim on her true love. 

Ha - this is one of the many reasons I love this girl. You can imagine how much laughter is in our home when all 4 kids are here and things get crazy!  

Love my family so, so much. Whether near or far, we have a bond that is crazy strong and I am so thankful.

Dream Boy is home on vacation with me this week and we are in the beginning stages of a remodel in our home. It is our Christmas gift to each other. We are starting in the living room. We've picked out our paint color and new carpeting and will begin the prep work this week.

We were talking about resolutions yesterday, which neither of us make, for the New Year. But I take into the New Year a heart filled to overflowing because of all the blessings I have been given. Through the good, the bad, the ugly, I have a life better than anything I could have ever dreamed of.

Wishing all of you the happiest of New Year's as well. Be safe, be careful, and be happy in you celebrations this week.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning everyone!!!

So, I'm officially on Christmas break!  YAY! Two weeks of sleeping in and playing and doing what I want. Dream Boy is off next week, so it'll be even better!

Sleeping in, it's just what I did this morning with my Wonder Dog! A good morning for it as it's a rainy, gray day outside. Gone is the snow we got last Friday night. 

Boo.

Some may not like me for this, some may actually stop reading my blog, but I am ready for snow. I want winter to come in and not leave for the next few months. I'm tired of this warmish, grayish, wettish winter we have experienced so far. Come on, it's December, it's Michigan......it's winter! 

Let it snow - let it snow, LET.IT.SNOW!

We had a weekend of starting our Christmas shopping, lazing around, baking, the annual Candlelight Christmas program and dinner out with friends. 
Arnold the Elf, granddaddy of all Elves on the Shelves, has been watching the calendar closely to make sure Dream Boy & I stay on track.

Yesterday he made sure that D1 and I didn't eat too many treats while enjoying, what has become a yearly tradition, holiday baking day!
Today he awaiting the arrival of 3 young ladies, otherwise known as my nieces,  who are spending the night. A Christmas slumber party! We're gonna fill up on $1 tacos at the local mexican restaurant, Christmas movies, popcorn, Coke and fudge. 

Tomorrow we are making snacks for the family gathering on Christmas night! 

I can't wait - my girls haven't stayed over in quite some time and I am so grateful that they still want to spend time with their Aunt Patti. 

So I'm off for now to pick up some groceries and get my hairs cut before their arrival. My wish for all of you is that your Christmas is bright and merry. Enjoy your day, your week, your gatherings, your family and make many memories. May your holidays be filled with joy from deep within!!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Benches - A Christmas Story


She was only 14.  She was engaged to a man she loved deeply.  Standing there in her kitchen all alone and she heard a voice. Slowly she turned, she swore she was alone.

Nothing.

Hmmmm….she turned back to her work and there it was again, that voice. This time she turned as the room filled with a light brighter than anything she had ever seen. The room glowed, but there was still nothing there. But from the center of the light came the voice.

“Mary – Mary…….do not fear. I have been sent to you from God. It’s okay, you’re not in any danger.”

He watched the calm come over her as she looked upward. A slow, small smile came over her and she answered, “what is it my Lord?”

The words that Mary heard were like none other she had ever heard before, but she knew deep within her that she was chosen because God knew her heart. The angel saw it too, as he watched her take in what he had to say. She didn’t argue, or cry or go into hysterics, but instead she said she knew she was His servant, she was there to serve Him – to do as the Lord asked of her.

Several months later, pregnant, she found herself walking with Joseph the 70 miles to Bethlehem for the census. She was so tired and needed to rest. But after 3 days of traveling, she knew their journey was close to ending. At least the travel part. She had a lifetime of journey’s ahead of her, but she didn’t mind.  She knew this baby was going to change the world for all. She was having this baby and presenting Him to the world as a gift, and in turn, he would give all who believed the gift of eternal life.

They spent days cramped and crowded for space, as none of their relatives had room for them to stay. It seemed as if everyone was in town for the census and there was absolutely no room for anyone to spare. But she was grateful that at least they had a room, of sorts, and a roof over their head. Not an ideal situation to bring a King into the world, but she trusted that God would provide. He always did.

He provided the angel to tell Joseph of her pregnancy and help him to understand that this child was of God. He gave her the health and strength to make the long journey to Bethlehem. He would give her & Joseph what they needed to provide for this baby, through His delivery and His life.

The time soon came and Joseph helped Mary deliver their son into this world. Mary took him and wrapped Him up tight to reassure Him that he was safe and secure. As she sat quietly resting, she couldn’t help but see where she was and feel a little sad that this King was born into such meager surroundings. My goodness, she didn’t even have a cradle to lay Him in, just an old feeding trough that Joseph had cleaned out to use as His bed instead. He had been so patient cleaning out the old, dried food and washing it up to make it somewhat safe to place their Son in.

But Mary soon pushed the thoughts from her mind as her heart filed with a joy she had never known! She was chosen by her heavenly Father to give birth to a Son who would save the world! This Son, whose name was Jesus.

Not long after Jesus’ birth, they were visited by shepherds. They said they were there to see the King, but how did they know? Mary & Joseph weren’t exactly staying in a public place of comfort, an inn that was well known among the locals. In fact, they were basically isolated from the city and all that was going on. How could anyone possibly know she had given birth?

The shepherd’s said they had been in the field tending their flocks for the night. Just another night to them, taking turns keeping watch for wolves or other stalkers who were certain to try & steal their sheep. They said they were sitting around, just finishing their evening meal, when they were blinded by a light brighter than any they had ever seen. They all jumped to their feet and were trembling with fear. They couldn’t see anyone, but from this light they heard a voice that told them not to be afraid.

As she listened to their story, Mary smiled quietly to herself, knowing the fear of which they spoke. She shot a quick glance at Joseph, who also shared the same quiet smile – knowing that an angel of God had made His presence known.

The shepherds explained that they were told to come quickly to see this new born King! The voice continued to tell them that this child was the Messiah and that He had been sent to save us from our sins. Once the angel left them, they knew without a doubt they needed to go straight to Bethlehem.

Mary remembers how these words filled her heart, she quietly hung onto all they said, meditating on them. She knew this Christ child would indeed change the world!

A few years later, Mary was sitting quietly with Jesus in their house. She heard a quiet knock at the door and when she answered, she saw standing before her wise men. They were Kings! They asked to enter the house to meet the Christ child that they knew was there. They knew the King of the Jews had been born and they had come to worship Him.

Jesus was just a toddler and the newness of a baby had long since passed, but Mary was curious as to how these Kings knew where to find them? They explained to her that they saw a light, a light in the East that was so bright they had to follow it.  They said they were a little confused when they arrived in Jerusalem and no one had seen this light, the star that had shown so brightly they couldn’t imagine anyone not seeing it! But no one had, and then they knew. This star that had shown so brightly in the east was a miracle from God leading them to the King of all Kings.

Mary was again amazed at the promise she had been entrusted to carry, nurture, love and guide.

The birth of Jesus is the beginning of a promise of God. A promise that life can be eternal for those who trust and know and believe on His Word. We are told to trust and have faith. In a world such as we live in today, it is hard not to fear and it is hard to trust in things that we cannot see.


But faith in God, acceptance of His promise, His hope, doesn’t need to be seen. You can feel it deep from within. It is that still, small voice that you hear when you doubt, when you hurt, when you feel JOY from so far inside you can’t believe the depth of it!

As we approach Christmas and the celebration of His promise and the hope he brought to our world, my prayer is that as you go into the new year, you will let your light shine! And I have a new little twist on the famous "every time a bell rings" quote. When you hear a bell ring, may it remind you of the angels that came to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds in the field and know that you are surrounded by angels each and every day.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning!

The holiday season is in full season and we haven't bought one gift......yet.  Well, I take that back. I have bought my Secret Santa gifts for the week at school. Other than that, the ideas are there, but the gifts have yet to be purchased. But you know what, this is our norm and I'm not stressing. We always pull it together and really enjoy the tradition that we claim as ours.

We celebrated the season this weekend in a couple different ways. I met up with a friend on Friday night for the yearly Christmas concert put on by the Kalamazoo Concert Band at Miller Auditorium. This year we were treated to the performance of Kathy Troccoli. She is an amazing Christian artist that I first heard about 15 years or so years ago. I have always admired her music and her beliefs. We were not disappointed in our evening, leaving very filled with the holiday spirit and the spirit of the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior.
Saturday morning turned out to be a balmy, warm day. So unusual for this time of year in Michigan. It actually got up to 62 degrees by the time the day ended! 
Anyways, Dream Boy headed out on his morning ride, taking full advantage of the unseasonable temps and rode 45 miles with is buddy.

Me, I donned my flip flops & met up with D1 for pedicures. Mmmmmmmm-----yummy. I had a gift certificate that S&D1 had given me for my birthday and had not used, so I got the "deluxe" pedicure which was complete with a exfoliating scrub and hot rock massage. Oh my, it was amazing! And I have pretty red toes too!

We met up with friends on Saturday night for dinner and then we all headed to a Christmas /slash/ 50th birthday party for another friend from church! Their home was beautifully decorated for the season and the house was filled with many friends and family. Lots of food, fun and laughter filled out evening - thank you Andy & Sue for inviting us to celebrate the season and Andy's birthday!  (there ya go Andy - you made my blog, heh-heh-heh!)

Sunday turned out to be an even warmer day that Saturday! But it was also rainy & humid & damp. So we spend our morning in church, then went to our favorite cafe for breakfast before heading home to take a Sunday afternoon nap. We then headed out to run a few errands and scoped out a few of our Christmas gift ideas to do some price comparison shopping.  We went and visited with my MIL for a while as well before heading hoe for the evening to relax for the remainder of the night.

This is my last week of school before our 2 week holiday break. I'm looking forward to the time off and time to celebrate with family. We will miss our youngest son & daughter-in-law this year being with us, it is going to be different for sure, but we will be sure to make it as memorable as possible for all of us.

But for now, time to meet up with my girls for breakfast and starting our week out with prayer and coffee. 

Have an amazing week everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Are you into it yet? The Christmas spirit?

Well, have a cup of coffee with me and let's work on that, if you're not.

I have struggled with Christmas through the years, I know the depression that can creep into a person's being. The stress of buying gifts, the tension that can exist within families, the thought of children not having a Christmas, the loss of a loved one and them not being with you through the season.

It can really take you down if you let it. I've worked hard to get through those rough times and deep feelings and have found that it is my choice to be happy, but that JOY is always deep within me because I celebrate the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the freedom that comes with it.

Our pastor had a good point yesterday, this is the time of year where we think of "Peace on Earth" and if you watch or listen to the news now, there is anything but peace. But in my own little world, I am cherishing the peace within it.

We spent most of our weekend running back & forth to Kalamazoo. 

Friday night was the big Art Hop! Dream Boy has been selling his Michigan signs at a local business, so we went in to check on them and he has sold another set and a few more pieces!

We met up afterwards with some friends from church and S&D1 joined us as well! We went to a new little brewpub and enjoyed our time surrounded by those we love and hold dear to our hearts!

Saturday I worked on Christmas cards while Dream Boy put up the Christmas tree. Once he was done, I decorated and watch White Christmas while doing so. It's a long standing tradition of mine - and even Dream Boy got caught up in it too!

Every year I put this little guy out on our tree. He's an oldie, but a goodie & I believe he came from Dream Boy's grandma.

I've named him Arnold and have decided that he is the great grand daddy of all those Elves on the Shelves. 

Arnold and I are playing along with the other Elves on the Shelves this season and you can follow along on my Instagram @ PattiGPhotography
We spent a lot of the afternoon setting scenarios as we decorated the house.

I spent a little too much time, as there are still totes hanging out in the living room because I had to get ready for our church Christmas party, which was followed by our staff party for school!
This is most of us, a few had already left for the night & a few others were not able to join us. But it was a wonderful time to be together and just laugh & cut loose!

Sunday this girl took a long afternoon nap after running a few errands. It's been a while since I indulged in that guilty pleasure, but it was wonderful.

So the season is here! The season of love, joy, laughter, and memories. I know there are bad memories for all of us, but try and focus on the moment in front of you and cherish all those who surround you. Christmas isn't about the gifts and lights and tree, but about holding close to you those who you deeply love and cherish. 

Make some beautiful memories this season and carry them into your New Year!

I pray for peace for each of you in your own little world's, wherever that may be!

Thanks for having coffee with me this morning!