Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New beginnings...

(Revelation 21:5)
New Year, like the blank white pages of my new 2016 calendar and brand new journal,
Every page clean and unspoiled.  I want the One
Who said He makes all things new to give me a new mindset, the new heart that I need to

Boldly and confidently face this new year.  I want to be filled with faith and expectation that indeed
Everything, all, will be made new and not remain same old same old.
God, my good, good Father has 
Indeed been so good to me.  He's given me so many of the desires of my heart, more than just my
Needs.  So I present to Him this request, this need, this desire of my heart to be made 
New so that I'm not dirtying the pages of this new year with the smudgy ink of yesterday's pain.
I can't change others, and I don't have the power to change all of life's circumstances.
No, but I can let God change me.  I can yield myself into the hands of the Master Potter and ask
God to mold me and shape me and make me new.  I can 
Seek Him and ask Him to help me to walk into this new year with a fresh, new attitude.

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Darling Downs Diaries

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Monday, December 28, 2015

In the quiet between Christmas and New Years..

(edited with Kim Klassen's elevate texture, hard light, 15% opacity)

Spending a few days by the sea in the quiet between celebrating Christmas and ringing in the New Year.

Walking along the seashore soothes my soul and nourishes my spirit.

I think back on 2015, desiring to let go of its sorrows and disappointments,
while holding on to its joys and victories.

I prepare my heart for what lies ahead in 2016.

My word for 2016 is to be LISTEN.
I heard it whispered into my heart,
then it was confirmed to me over and over again in various ways these past couple of months.

still following,
Kim Klassen {dot com}

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Counting my blessings-Christmas week 2015

My heart is full of happy Christmas memories.
My tummy is full of delicious Christmas meals and goodies.
 I'm overflowing with gratitude to God Who loves us so much,
that He sent His Son.
Thanks be to God.

Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little green journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-a pre Christmas brunch with all of our children and grandchildren 
since the oldest and youngest will be with their in-laws for Christmas
-my husband reading the annual blessing he writes for our children each Christmas

-the winter solstice

-a much needed lazy day
-mailing the last of the cards and buying the last gift

-the smell of juniper greens
-driving to my husband's hometown to look at the Christmas lights
-baking some more goodies to give to family and friends

-catching up on my Advent reading, learning something new about the shepherds from what I read
-a chance to see my sister and brother-in-law 
-my second born's delicious chicken enchiladas for dinner
-decorating sugar cookies with our two oldest grandkids
-the hubs and I opening our cards and gifts to each other as Christmas arrived

-a relaxing Christmas day at our secondborn's house
-text messages from all my siblings
-texts and videos from our youngest who's with her husband and in-laws at Disneyland
-facetiming with our oldest daughter and two youngest granddaughters
-playing Just Dance with our two oldest grandkids
-our friend from Nigeria joining us for Christmas dinner
-playing Catch Phrase after dinner
-a great Christmas

-going after Christmas bargain shopping with my daughter and granddaughter
-a quiet evening at home

-God speaking to all of us at church about SELAH-pausing and resting in God's presence
-snow on our drive to the beach
-a free room upgrade at the hotel

still following,

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas traditions...

In the kitchen the orange glaze on two cranberry orange buttermilk cakes is setting up, and two loaves of cinnamon cranberry bread are in the final rise before being popped into the oven. Tomorrow morning they'll be delivered to friends and family. There's an old movie playing on the t.v. and my husband has dozed off on the couch while watching it.  

We hosted the whole family for a Christmas brunch on Monday and exchanged gifts with the oldest and her family and the youngest and her husband since they'll both be with their in-laws for Christmas this year.   Our Christmas tradition is to have boiled eggs, sausage balls, cheese grits, and toasted cinnamon cranberry bread for Christmas breakfast. My husband then reads a blessing that he writes for each one of our daughters and their family for the coming year.  Then we open gifts.

 Since her sisters won't be home, our middle daughter invited us to join her family for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at their house.  My grandson called tonight, and suggested that we just go ahead and spend the night at their house Christmas Eve to avoid having to wait for us to arrive on Christmas Day.  We live about two miles away from each other.  (smile)  We'll make our traditional Christmas dinner in spite of the rest of the family being out of town, boneless leg of lamb, potatoes roasted with bacon and green onion, green bean casserole, salad and homemade rolls.  

In my home office, twenty three titles of Jesus hang on my little Christmas tree.  Two more names remain to be hung, one tomorrow on Christmas Eve and one on Christmas morning.  It's a good way to count down to Christmas, but most of all, a good reminder of all that my Savior is as we celebrate His birth.  You can read more about this tradition here.

Earlier this evening my husband and I took a drive to his hometown, 40 minutes north of where we live now,  and ate dinner out then drove around looking at Christmas lights.  It's been an almost annual holiday outing through the years, the whole family in tow when our daughters lived at home.  

Baking our family favorites, counting down the days to Christmas by hanging the titles of Jesus on my little Christmas tree, taking a drive to look at Christmas lights, a familiar and loved Christmas menu, these are a few of our family's Christmas traditions.  I'd love for you to share one of your family's Christmas traditions in the comments.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

have yourself a merry little Christmas...

(edited with Kim Klassen's 1217 texture, hard light, 20% opacity)

 The first Christmas after we were married we had a wee little Christmas tree with only some lights and candy canes for decorations.  Somewhere we acquired three little plastic figures that grab onto a candy cane, a santa, a penguin and a nutcracker.  Each year, no matter what other decorations have come and gone on our Christmas tree, we always hang candy canes on it, and we always have the little plastic santa, penguin and nutcracker.  It reminds us of our very first merry little Christmas, when we were poor in money, but rich in love.

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Busy week, blessed life...

It's been a rich and full week, lots of Christmas hustle and bustle, with some time spent with the grandkids on top of that so that one daughter could go on an anniversary getaway and so another could work on decor/set up for her church's Christmas celebration.  Today was full of activities for our church, as well as for our daughter and son-in-law's church, which we attended as well as our own.  
I'm hoping to slow down and savor the rest of this Christmas week.  I'm also hoping that the hope, peace, joy and love we remember as we light the Advent candles, will fill your hearts and homes this week.
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little green journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-Psalm 142
-dinner at our friends' house
-watching Holiday Inn while writing out Christmas cards

-finally feeling well enough after last week's flu to resume my walking
-finding my husband's Christmas gift
-singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" with my youngest grandson
-homemade spaghetti and homemade french bread eaten with the grandkids and a young man from church

-youngest grandson being so good for me while his parents are out of town for their anniversary
-the way his face lights up when his older sister and brother get home from school
-our youngest daughter coming over for stew and cornbread and to watch The Preacher's Wife with me

-our middle daughter's fifteenth wedding anniversary
-a sweet young gal from church coming over to help me with our grandson while I have a bible study at my house
-making homemade chocolates with her to share with the ladies
-Panda Express before prayer meeting and after a busy day

-Papa taking the two oldest grands to the new Star Wars
-the annual event of having the grandkids over to dip pretzels in white and milk chocolate

-"the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever
-a wonderful walk before the rain started again
-golden leaves refusing to fall off some of the trees
-people who agree to pray for us to find our missing passports

-new faces at our church's Christmas lunch
-spending the afternoon with our two youngest granddaughters
-Hope City's amazing Christmas celebration
-going out afterwards with our youngest daughter and her husband and in-laws

gratefully yours,

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Friday Faves...Two Simple and Inexpensive Christmas Decorations to Make!

I love the look of using things from nature in Christmas decorating.
This year I decided to try drying some orange slices to use on my little kitchen Christmas tree.
I've seen them used as Christmas decor in several places over the years, 
and finally got around to trying it myself.

Christmas and oranges are connected in my mind, 
as an orange was always what filled the toe of our Christmas stockings.
I imagine there are many others in my age group who remember the same thing.
Christmas stockings usually had an orange, nuts and candy in them, not gifts like they do now.
Methods for drying vary, 
but here's the one I tried.
First, slice the oranges in 1/4 inch thick slices.
In a 225 degree oven, place the orange slices directly on the oven rack and leave for 2-2 1/2 hours,
turning them over at least once in the drying process.

 Once dried, I simply threaded some baker's string on an embroidery needle and made one stitch through the pulp part of the dried orange slice, cut the string and tied it, then hung it on my little kitchen tree.

 Project number two is this jingle all the way sign.  
It couldn't be easier!
Find a Dollar Tree Christmas gift bag with a cute saying on it.
Find a Dollar Tree frame.
Using the glass from the frame, trace a rectangle around the wording centering it beneath the glass.
Cut it out, and if it's creased or wrinkled, iron it on low heat between the two layers of a folded dish towel.
Place it in the frame, and you're done!

Well it's almost Friday, friends!
Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a SAFE and BLESSED weekend!


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