She’s Trimmed Up…

Twinkle 019Fewer than usual ornaments were unwrapped to put on her. The crocheted angel still has it’s place on top.

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Speaking of angels I have been on a quest to find angels that are not the sweet faced variety. I found this next angel at clearance last year and I appreciate the fact that the face is blank. I wanted to find angels that would have to say “fear not” when you looked at them. I suppose the sudden appearance of angels could also warrant the need to say “fear not”.

Xmas close up 019Our one big event during this Christmas season was last Thursday and from here on out we’ll be enjoying the quiet, cozy, twinkling of the season.

Twinkle 011We had all the leaves in the table for our dinner event last Thursday. I bought this Lenox Laurel red tablecloth at Goodwill this year. It was long enough for our table with all the leaves in. There were 12 around the table and I had enough Santa Hat chair covers for 12. Those I bought at Target Clearance a few years back now.

Our table is back down to just 2 extra leaves now and that will be big enough for our Christmas festivities from here on out. There will be six around the Christmas breakfast table and six at our Christmas dinner table. This week is a quiet week at home for us but a very busy week at work for Dear. Do you have lots of gatherings this year or are you enjoying a quiet cozy time?

Fortnum & Mason

I enjoy walking through this department store in London. It’s been on Piccadilly since 1707! The Queen and Duchesses made a special visit here.

2013-09-22 London Sunday4On 1 March 2012, with enormous joy and excitement, the refurbished St James’s restaurant was opened by HM the Queen accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, and renamed The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

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There are 6 floors of merchandise in the store.

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I suffer a lot from sticker shock in London so needless to say I wasn’t filling any shopping baskets!

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London Sunday 064Before I got my hand slapped by a sales lady in the hat section of the store, I managed to get a photo of Laura in one of the hats! The sales lady said no photos but we could try on any hat we wished to…

2013-09-22 London Sunday7When we were done at Fortnum and Mason we walked over to Selfridge & Co. to meet Josh who had gone to an Arsenal Soccer game at Emirates Stadium. It was interesting to see the store after watching some of Mr. Selfridge but…this store was not my cup of tea. And to quote my dear daughter in law…”oh the humanity!”

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We walked through one other shop that the younger duchess is said to enjoy and then headed to the underground dragging our tired feet. We picked up a take away pizza for dinner and enjoyed eating with our feet up in our flat. The next day we would spend our last few hours in London and we had a special destination for breakfast that will be my last post about our trip to England. Here are some views on our way back to the underground…

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I’m happy to report that our Christmas tree is decorated to the point that it is going to be decorated. Translation: I didn’t put all the ornaments on the tree cuz I just wasn’t up to it and it is what it is…

Thursday night is our Small Group Christmas dinner and White Elephant Exchange here at this old house so I’ll be busy doing a little clean up before our company arrives.

How are things progressing at your house?

O Mystery Tree, O Mystery Tree…

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Our Mystery Tree tradition is continuing this year. On Sunday we put the back seat down in the jeep and headed to the Home Depot to pick out our tree. Our round trip from home to the store and back again took a little under 45 minutes total! We arrive, we spy out the trunks of the trees in our height range in the piles where the trees are still all tied up, we pick one, buy it, throw it into the back of the jeep and head home where the stand is ready and waiting. Dear cuts off a portion of the trunk and gives it a good thrust into the stand. Tighten the screws on the trunk and get ready for the reveal…

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It’s so much fun to stand back and watch as Dear cuts the string off the branches.

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Tah Dah!

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When I got home late last night Dear had put the lights on the tree so I can now finish decorating it. We’ll see what gets done today.

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Little by little it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around this old house.

Life continues to keep us on our knees in the midst of this joyful time of Advent and more and more we look to the Hope we have in Christ. We had one of those 3 A.M. phone calls where you know the news can’t be good. A Brother in law had a heart attack that was caught in time and arteries were cleared. He’ll be home soon. We know the reality of how fragile life can be. We always wait for good news from Afghanistan. “Made it back from the Mission, I’m O.K., going to bed now, talk more later.” We rally around each other supporting each other in whatever life throws our way.

Faith

I will have faith,
However dreams are shattered;
I will have faith that righteousness can live;
I will have faith e’en when my heart is breaking,
To work and pray and give!

I will have faith
When troubled is life’s ocean,
When low-blown clouds the Pilot’s face shall hide;
I will have faith when my fair ship is battered;
I will await the turning of the tide!

I will have faith
That God is still in Heaven;
I will have faith that He is by my side;
I will have faith though every star is darkened,
That He and truth abide!

The Residence, Denver

Oh Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!
Your boughs are green in summer’s clime
And through the snows of wintertime.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur
zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson
That constant faith and hope sublime
Lend strength and comfort through all time.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your boughs can teach a lesson.

We had a very nice evening with our small group and it was fun to get 10 people crammed around the tree for a very friendly White Elephant Exchange. No fights erupted for any particular gift that was opened. The party was casual with lots of tasty food items to share. I was very surprised when I finally woke up this morning at 8:30! That doesn’t happen very often. We are looking forward to this weekend and the weeks to come. First off Dear will finally be relieved of being on-call. He’s been running solo for a couple weeks now. We have a fun event on Sunday to attend. It involves driving to another country.

What’s on your calendar for the weekend?

The Mystery Tree…

…the tradition continues!

Mystery tree rules…

Go to nearest most convenient place that sells lots of trees. We went to Home Depot.

Pick a bundled tree, throw it on the cart and pay for it. Do not unwrap it!

Bring it home as is and saw off a little of the bottom of the trunk and bring it into the house to the desired tree location.

Cut off the string.

Voila! See what you got! Not bad. Pour water in the Christmas tree stand.

See if the angel fits on top…

Put the lights on the tree. Vacuum excess dry needles off floor. I’ll be waiting a day to let the branches settle a bit before I put on the rest of the decorations and the tree skirt.

This is the best stress free Christmas tree purchasing method that we have enjoyed for the last few years. We had the years of going to Christmas tree lots trying to find the perfect tree at the best price. I would make Dear pull out tree after tree and turn it this way and that. You get the picture. Oye! A few years when the kids were little we trekked out to a Christmas tree farm and cut down the tree we chose. That was fun when the kids were little. Now in our empty nest years I find this method to be very relaxing…

Tonight we are going out to a new to us restaurant called Cantinetta  for our Anniversary Dinner. Another mystery that I’m sure will end up as good as our tree! Hope you have a good week…

Messiah…

and other beautiful Christmas music is playing in the background as I sit and enjoy twinkling lights and a tree all trimmed and waiting for wrapped presents. For now I’ll savor the moment with some Egg Nog in a pretty glass.

On Saturday our mystery tree was brought in from the cold and unwrapped. We were pleased with it’s fine shape and it’s great price of $19.97.

Dear strung the lights on the tree and the decorating continued with the Angel tree topper added first.

It was fun to pull out my favorites with memories attached and enjoyed.

Baby’s first Christmas ornaments are getting a little tattered.

After the tree was trimmed it was time to set out our favorite things from Christmas’s past.

The kissing Santa salt and pepper shakers and 2 sets of angels are from Dear’s mother. The Santa Matryoshka is from my brother Leonard.

These mugs belong to our 3 kids. I might have mentioned before that this will be our first Christmas since our kids were born that we won’t all be together on Christmas Day. Katie will be in North Carolina and our son Dan has to work on Christmas day in Eastern Washington. Josh, Laura, Dear and I will enjoy the day together. I’ve had some “moments” since getting back home from North Carolina. Those out of nowhere teary moments that last for just a spell when it strikes me that things have changed. It’s OK that they change but I still get caught by surprise by the emotions associated with the changes. When I pulled these mugs out of the attic I stood on the attic stairs crying to think they all wouldn’t be used this year. Ahh…but then I move on.

This is my Christmas Card clothes card line. I love it because I can hang each card that comes our way and keep them where I can continue to see and enjoy them.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

You can read the whole Christmas story from the Bible in Luke chapter 2.

Hope your week, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day are filled with joy!

I’m linking up with Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

FFF ~ I’m in Hot Water Now…

It’s time to reflect on your past week and see the many good things that you were blessed with. Visit Susanne at Living to tell the Story to join in this worthwhile exercise.

My favorites from this past week…

1. A decorated Christmas tree filling the living room with a nice fragrance. Oops somethings crooked!

2. Nativities to remind us why we celebrate Christmas.

3. Hot Water! Our old water heater was giving up the ghost and we didn’t want to be surprised some morning with a cold shower so Dear with his handiness put in a new one this week. We had to live without hot water for 24 hours but we knew about it in advance and boy are we all ever thankful to have the hot water flowing again.

4. Thankful once again for a husband who can take on most any project around the house and do a good job at it!

5. These great words I read this morning;

2 Timothy 4:18 (ESV)~

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

and 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17 (ESV) ~

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

This weekend Dear and I are escaping to Whidbey Island for an overnight at a Bed and Breakfast Inn to celebrate our anniversary. I hope to tell you all about it next week. We have a heavy rain and flooding forecast which might make things interesting on our trip. Enjoy your day and weekend!