Monday, December 31, 2007

Thanksliving - 2007

On the last day of the year, here are my reflections on what I am grateful for this week.

1. Time, glorious time - to enjoy family, the celebrations, the preparing and the resting!!!

2. Our parents (all 4 of them) who still live in their own homes and have clear minds, a sense of humour and a keen interest in people and the world around them.

3. Games that challenge one to think, remember and strategize! We've played Chinese crib, Jack Attack (also known as Sequence), Buzzword and 2500 (a card game) over the last few weeks.

4. Phone and email to stay connected with those far away and with new friends via blogland.

5. An abundance of fresh food, prepared with love in tasty and imaginative ways.

6. Fresh flowers in the midst of winter. Red poinsettias and red tulips with white mini mums graced our home this season. (And I forgot to take a picture until they were already wilting.)

7. Gifts and special packages like new cameras, scrapbooking supplies, gift certificates, tickets, books, clothes and chocolate!

8. Good health - for all those we love, including granddaughters, parents, friends, and our children. This is Helayna and Meadow last Christmas - my, how much they have changed and grown. God is so good!

Last Day of the Year!

When I pulled my head off the pillow this morning, I saw this glorious sight out the bedroom window.

What a beautiful way to end the year! 2007 has been a year of grandchildren, travel and change for us. We have so many wonderful memories of the year, our friends and loved ones. We pray that you will reflect today and that you will dream about a new year rich with promise, possibilities and happiness. God has been so good to us and we pray that you too are surrounded with His love and forgiveness. Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

One More Gathering

We had the last of our Christmas family gatherings yesterday at my parents' home. The group was smaller this year but we had a lovely time together eating, playing Buzzword and visiting.

My brother Del, his wife Marcia, my brother-in-law Larry and nephew Ed trying some of the wine we had with dinner.

For the first time ever we had Christmas crackers. Our niece, Pam, made one for each person and they were lots of fun. We each got a paper crown, a little treat (mine was a tiny palm tree punch), and a personal message that she wrote for each of us thanking us for being important in her life. It was so thoughtful and very touching - what a wonderful thing for her to do.

My Dad (opening the mug and Starbuck's giftcard that we gave him) and my sweet Auntie Ruth, who is the real photographer of the family. She takes even more pictures at family gatherings than I do - if you can imagine that!

Our nephew, Ed, is a mechanical engineering student and he's leaving in early January for an 8 month coop placement at a mine in BC. To send him on his way, we all pitched in and filled these 2 tubs with groceries for his new place. I think he was surprised and quite pleased. His sister mentioned that maybe she should move out so she can get this kind of gift too! (I assured her that we'd gladly do it for her too.)

No - it wasn't one big box of popcorn!

This is one of the things that was in the popcorn box,along with Coke, popcorn and nuts, especially for those days when work has been long and hard - and you're ordering pizza for supper! It was courtesy of one of Ed's uncles - who apparently knows him well :)

This was waiting for us on the dining room table! My niece, Jen, is always up to some trick or other :))

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Day Surprise

So, on Christmas morning we got up and Bob asked me if I wanted to go out to the mountains for the day! I was quite surprised as that idea had never crossed my mind but there was really no reason we couldn't go, especially as the Christmas gathering with our kids had been a couple of days earlier. So for the first time in our lives, we went away on Christmas and Boxing Day - part of the new order of possibilities in our lives!

It took a few phone calls but we did find this lovely restaurant and a room in another hotel.

And for the first time ever, we ate Christmas dinner in a restaurant! The turkey was so tender - much better than the one I cooked this year :(

Even though it was a cloudy day, every once in awhile the sun would stream through.

Every mountain presents a new photo op!

A little herd of caribou were calmly licking salt off the road. They had tracking collars on which almost made them look like reindeer with harnesses!

This frozen waterfall was cascading down the mountain.

It was a lovely outing to a part of Alberta that we both love. I have another photo from a little side trip but I'm saving it for another post.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Celebration

It's time to share a few pictures of our Christmas family celebration. Of course the majority of the pictures feature the 2 little girls!

Stockings are always the first things to be opened so Helayna and Meadow went first.

Smartie balls filled the toes of the stockings perfectly!

Helayna got a sled and Jonathan gave her several rides while they were here. She just sits back and smiles as he spins her in circles or gallops along like a horse :)

Auntie Kelsey and Uncle Darrin gave the girls both new boots. Meadow's are brown and Helayna's are red. And they look just adorable wearing them. Kelsey continues to encourage the little ones in their accumulation of shoes :))

This is another one of my favourite pictures from our time together. Such a change from last year, when Helayna slept through most of the excitement and Meadow was just sitting up on her own.

New pink princess chairs, pyjamas and books were part of the little ones' stash of gifts. There is seriously alot of good stuff around for kids these days = shopping was very easy for them!

Our daughter, Heather, her husband, Jonathan and their daughter, Helayna - they stayed over for 3 nights and it was great! I really wasn't ready to let them go yet.

Bob captured lots of the antics on videotape - I'm sure the little girls will love watching themselves someday.

I did a lot of this! Many of these photos are courtesy of Heather and Jonathan, who downloaded their camera on my laptop - thanks, guys :))

Tomorrow I'll tell you about our spontaneous surprise on Christmas Day!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry, Merry Christmas!

May you enjoy a wonderful day with your loved ones, rejoicing in the light that comes with His birth. May He fill your heart with the gifts of peace and love and your soul with His joy and energy.

Image of the Day

Day 24

The stockings - but they never did get hung up this year. The fire was blazing and it just didn't seem like a good idea.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Images of the Day

Interrupted to celebrate Christmas with our family! What a wonderful time it was but they have all gone on to the next gathering now so I have time to carry on with my images of Christmas.

Day 23

The 4th Sunday in Advent

Today the last of these 4 banners was hung in our church

Day 22

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!!

And everything's ready underneath!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Image of the Day

Day 21

For many years I've been part of an annual cookie exchange with some of the staff at school. And even though I'm on leave this year, they invited me to participate (I think they just wanted my poppycock!!) and I was happy to be included. So I took 10 bags of poppycock and came home with 10 other treats - good deal!! Now you can find everything from Shortbread to Chocolate Chip Cookies to Carrot Loaf to Chocolate Peanut Clusters in my cookie tins. The best part of course was seeing everyone and catching up on some visiting. Thanks, My Friends!!

Down Memory Lane - I remember the very first cookie exchange I ever participated in probably 25 years ago. It was arranged by my sister-in-law Rose and another friend, Linda (who has since passed away). There were about 15 or 18 people in it and I made Honey Cookies. It was a lot of cookies to bake with 4 little ones in our home that year! I wish I had a picture of that one!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Image of the Day

Day 20

From this (which has been in my stash for 5 or 6 years!!) -

to these which are gracing the windows in our dining room and kitchen!!

I just love how these turned out!! And I'm quite proud of myself for getting something sewed again. I think I'm going to tackle some other projects in the new year. Goodness knows, I have piles of fabric just waiting for some lovin'!!

And it's only 2 sleeps until our kids are all home for our Christmas celebrations! I have decided to leave off baking cookies - much to Bob's delight which quite surprises me because I think you can never have too many cookies! Tomorrow is going to be a day of tidying, floor scrubbing and moving some piles to less obvious corners. The potatoes are mashed and just need to be warmed, the turkey is in the fridge thawing and so our preparations are nearly complete. Grampa's job tomorrow is getting the swings up outside so the little girls can have some fun and fresh air partway through the day. Off to wrap some more presents and stuff some stockings (really I just want to collapse in bed but this really needs to get done). Good thing I'm a night owl :))

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Image of the Day

Day 19

This is a Partylite candle holder that I've had for many years and it continues to make me happy. I love how the tree glows when there's a candle lit inside it. I took this picture during the day - I'll try to post another one with it actually showing the candlelight. You can't really tell but the table runner is a beautiful embroidered piece from Europe that Mel and Tyler gave me last year for Christmas. Our home is looking very festive these days! I hope you are enjoying your decorations too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Tree Treasures

Morning Glory hosted a Christmas Tree Treasures event earlier this month but I've waited to do it until we had our tree up. Thanks for the questions, MG!

This is also serving as my Image of the Day #18 entry today.

* The tree topper. Why do you use the one you have and what's special about it?

Last year I finally found a star that you could plug in to light up the top of our tree. We had one that I'd bought two years after we got married but one year some of it melted together (luckily it didn't melt anything else!) so it had to be replaced. It took me a few years to find one - most of them didn't have lights in them. My grandmother always had a star at the top of tree, leading us to Him.

* The tree skirt. Do you use one? Is there something unusual about yours? Did you make it or was it a special gift from someone?

My mom made this patchwork tree skirt for me many years ago and it's always under our tree. I like how full and round it is, making a perfect circle.

* What goes on your tree first? Is there one particular ornament that you traditionally hang first? What's the story behind that.

My parents gave me both of these ornaments in 1971, after a trip they took to New York and Philadelphia. They always go on the tree first along with a gold ceramic star that's also very old. These are my oldest ornaments. I don't have any from when I was a child - I need to ask my Mom about that and see if there are some that she still uses on her tree.

* Your favorite ornament that your children made when they were young.

Darrin made this star in 1981 when he was in kindergarten class at Sunday School. The girls have taken all their ornaments now that they have their own homes.

* Which is your favourite Christmas ornament?
I can't answer this question! I simply cannot pick just one - every ornament has so many memories attached to it, which is what makes them each so special. Perhaps I'll share a few with you in the days ahead.


I am grateful for these things this week -

1. Snow that gently covers the earth and provides a time of rest for nature.

2. Christmas music played by handbells and sung by choir in our church on Sunday.

3. Children acting out the Christmas story

A pewter tall ships ornament from Halifax, 2000

One of the balls that Naomi and Gerald gave to guests at their wedding, December 21, 2002

4. Christmas tree ornaments and the memories of friends, places and good times that they bring back.

5. Family Christmas gatherings - Bob's family was together on Saturday for good food, lots of visiting, and fun. It was so nice to see our nephews and nieces and their families, complete with many little ones!

6. Neighbors who come and help so willingly - several guys came by last week to help Bob with the cattle - so grateful for that!

7. Family photos sent in Christmas cards

8. Time to just be at home - peaceful, quiet and contemplative in this season of waiting

Image of the Day

Day 17

Now that our tree is up, I can show you some of our beautiful ornaments.

This is our newest decoration, a clay bell, purchased in Krakow, Poland in September. We've made it a tradition to purchase an ornament when we are visiting other places around the world and this one will always remind me of the time that we visited Mel and Tyler while they were living in Poland. And it's painted with some of my favourite colors too! The back of it has 'Krakow" painted it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Image (s) of the Day

Day 16

The Day of the Tree

This was the first time that Bob and I have gone to get a tree. It's always been something our kids have done with him - but times change when everyone grows up, moves away and gets married. It was a day for new memories!