A Letter to my Son

I’ve been a little preoccupied the last several weeks as this season of life is swiftly passing by.  In just one week my youngest child and only son will walk across the stage to receive his high school diploma …. and in three weeks he will leave for Parris Island as he has enlisted in the Marine Corps.  It’s just a little emotional around here right now.

{OK, it’s just me that is  little emotional.}

Today is Bradley’s senior picnic, and as a part of the traditions at Loganville is the receiving of senior letters from friends and family.  I wanted to share my (rather long… sorry) letter that I wrote to Bradley as he enters a whole new world in the coming days.

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May 2018
Dear Bradley,

When you came into this world you taught me to look at things in a whole new way! After having three girls, I didn’t know what to expect of this chubby darling boy God knew I needed. In a way I have dreaded this day for 18 years now, but at the same time I am so excited for your future that I can’t help but beam with pride between the tears. You have grown up to be an amazing young man with a future so bright others should be jealous! Everyone loves you, is proud of you, and I absolutely know that you will be able to do wonderful things in this life, not only in leadership (you are a natural born leader), but by being your own kind hearted, loving, intelligent and entertaining self!

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First Day of Kindergarten

I’ve loved watching you grow and mature these last 18 years; growing into a responsible man, but also maintaining your irresistible ­mischievousness of spirit. My word how you have always been, and I hope will always be mischievous! From sandwich incidents at school to thinking you were being sneaky to visit grands, I can’t begin to count the number of times you have managed your way out of trouble because of your wit and that twinkle in your eye. You’ve tried my patience, been my conscious, a fitness cheerleader, accepted change with little complaint (although your heart hurt) and stepped into the roll of a man while helping around the house while your dad travelled.

Through all your life I have talked to you freely about everything. That is because I love you. While I always wanted to shield you from the darkness of the world, I also wanted you to know that things aren’t always what God had intended for them to be. By being open with you I hope you learned the difference between right and wrong, what God expects for you in your life, and know you can always come to me with anything. Just for a moment I want to talk freely with you again as you graduate and leave for boot camp.


Live a Life of Love. Love is not just romance; it is a way to live your life. Love is so many beautiful things as pointed out in I Corinthians 13 (patient, kind, self-sacrificing, etc)… You can take these principles of love and use them in all aspects of your life, even boot camp believe it or not. Living a life of love means every person you encounter will see God in you and know you truly care for people.  You can live a life of love and still be a man.  Love is not weakness; it is strength.

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Live a Life of Purpose. God wants us to lead purposeful lives and lives that reflect Him. There are so many ways to do this, but it’s mostly living your life with a set of values and beliefs that God expects of you. I hope you have grown to have your own, and not just relied on your dad and I to give you a purpose. Have passion in all that you do and set priorities so that you accomplish all the goals that you have for your life.  Be the strong man God intended for you to be and you will be a world changer.

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Life a Life with No Regrets. See the world, love passionately and give of your time and efforts to those you are close too, as well as strangers. Not everyone will appreciate it, but at the end of the day do not regret anything you have done. At the same time, don’t hold grudges. Life is too short to spend hating and not forgiving others. They may not reciprocate the actions, but when you look back over your life know you have forgiven and don’t regret how things went. In the same manner, see all that the world has to offer; from history to culture your adventures in the Marine Corps and even after when you return to the civilian world will be amazing. Savor every moment and DON’T FORGET TO TAKE PICTURES!!!


Live a Life Being True to Yourself. Don’t let the world influence you into doing the wrong things; you influence the world into doing the right! Unfortunately peer pressure doesn’t disappear when you walk out of high school and into the adult world. Sometimes I think it is worse as an adult. Stay true to the values and morals you have been raised with and maintained over the years and don’t let some other Marine, girl, job, or even Christian (you know not all are who they say they are) influence you to turn away. I have said it so many times, you are a natural leader. From the friendships you have chosen to the wonderful work ethic you have developed, we know you can lead.  Be that leader.

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Live Life my son. Climb a mountain, learn to sail that boat, earn your pilots license, work for promotions, try that foreign cuisine, learn to scuba dive, preach a sermon at least once, marry the girl who completes you … don’t be afraid to live, experience, and share your life! When you are older and telling stories to your children and grandchildren I want you to be able to tell them you truly loved and lived! Don’t look back and say “I wish….” LIVE. And yes, I am repeating myself, TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!

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I know you will do the right things in life because you were raised to do so. Always remember to keep your temper and your given word, stay faithful to the Christ and the Church, and always be loving.

I Love you so much my son,
Mom

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I Love Christmas

Every once in a while I find something that expresses exactly how I feel.  This is it and I just had to share on this beautiful Christmas morning.

 

“I love Christmas.

I fully understand that the decorations, gifts, music, consumerism and Santa Claus are not a part of what we are celebrating. I understand there are plenty of arguments about the pagan ties to our celebrations. I totally get that Jesus’ birth likely wasn’t even when we celebrate. To me these things don’t matter, they all remind me of the One we are to celebrate.

To me, all of it points to Jesus. The good. The bad. All of it.

Everything that is Christmas is being redeemed by who He is and what His birth meant for us.

When I see Christmas lights hanging on a tree… I think of Him.

When someone tells me “Happy Holidays”… I think of Him.

When I listen to Christmas music… I think of Him.

When I see sales ads and busy stores bustling with people buying gifts… I think of Him.

When I sit with my family around the Christmas tree… I think of Him.

Everything that is Christmas as we know it reminds me of the greatest gift humanity has ever received. They fill me with anticipation and hope, joy and peace.

I. Love. Christmas.”

~Borrowed from Kyle Froman

 

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In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a]Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

~Luke 2:1-14

Merry Christmas my friends!

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Our Christmas Kitchen

“Ma was busy all day long cooking good things for Christmas. She baked bread and apple pies, and filled the big jar with cookies, Laura and Mary got to lick the spoon.”

~Laura Ingalls Wilder~ Christmas in the Big Woods.

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Momma’s cookie cutters and jar; I love that she uses these every year!

The kitchen at Christmastime holds fond memories for me.  I remember as a little girl spending hours in the kitchen with my own momma at Christmas as she baked for family celebrations and church parties.  She would roll out her homemade sugar cookie dough, we would dip the cookie cutters in flour before cutting out the Santa Claus, mittens, and trees, then carefully place M&M’s to make the ornaments or faces.  Sprinkles on cookies were always fun too, but a wee bit messier.  My sister and I would fight to lick the beater, steal a bite of cookie dough, or be the first to “accidentally” break a cookie so that we got to eat one as soon as they were removed from the oven.

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It’s those moments I tried to carry-on with my own girls as they grew up hoping they would treasure the memories. Not only did they learn (and love) their Nana’s sugar cookie recipe, we added a few things of our own:  homemade peanut butter cups. truffles, and peppermint bark.

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I don’t usually decorate much in the kitchen as it is a busy place in our home.  I value my counter space way too much to give it up!

But, with the empty nest on the horizon I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic lately and decided the kitchen was the perfect place to keep those Christmas memories fresh.

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Since I actually have space on the top of my cabinets, it gave me plenty of area to decorate!

 

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Thinking of so many beautiful Christmases with my children, I used peppermint garland, lollipops,  whimsical Mark Roberts fairies and cute little signs to help set a fun mood in the kitchen.

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Not only did decorating the top of the cabinets leave valuable counter-space open, it draws your eyes up so that the sink full of dirty dishes is not the first thing you see when you enter the room!

{HA!}

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A little coffee bar

Wreaths on the pantry door and windows completed the scene I wanted to set.

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With Madeline home from college from Christmas break I have plenty of reasons to set a pretty table for dinner.

Don’t you just LOVE these dishes with a vintage flair?

These were found at Kroger and I adored them the moment I saw them down an aisle!

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With Christmas Eve upon us, we have so much going on and the kitchen will be buzzing with activity this weekend!

Thank you for stopping by and we wish you a most blessed Christmas Eve!

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Holiday Baking Joy (with Recipes)!

The Christmas season should be one of joy, but oh how life and little things can zap it right from our hearts!  It’s easy to get lost in the demands, hustle and bustle of the holidays, losing our patience, spirit, and minds right a long with it!

Christmas Baking

Sometimes you just have to back away from the commercialism and stress, force yourself to take a break and rest, relax, find your focus and joy again.

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We all have different ways we deal with the little stresses that zap our joy.

During the holiday season baking really does it for me!  Not only can I lose myself in rolling, cutting, and decorating, I can knock out a few little gifts as well.  Add time with a good friend, and spirits definitely improve as we laugh, talk and leave the world behind.

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Tammie making fudge

My friend Tammie (Talking with Tami) came over last week for a day of this laid back goodness, and what a fun (and productive) day it was as we whipped up a flurry of Christmas goodies.  We made a little fudge, peppermint bark and cut out sugar cookies as well!

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Not only are these tasty treats family favorites and portable for any holiday party, they are the makings of fabulous treat boxes for neighbors, teachers and the mailman!

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I’ve shared all of these recipes on the blog in past years, but I’ve put them in printable form so you can have easier access to them!

Links are below each picture.

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Click here for Pecan Fudge

 

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Click here for Peppermint Bark

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Click here for Sugar Cookies

It’s so nice to have some down time and savor highlights of the season, especially with a friend.  Take a little time to do the things that bring you joy in the coming days.

After all, time is one of the greatest gift you can give!

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