About Me

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The most important thing to know about me is that I am a Christian. I love my Lord and try very hard to follow his principles. I have no doubt that when my time comes to leave this earth, I will meet my maker in Heaven, and that is such a comforting thought to me.

I am mother to four children, 7 grandchildren, 3 dogs, one cat, and one goat. Yes, I said a goat!

I am a crafter who enjoys scrapbooking, paper crafting, and crochet. I also enjoy outdoors stuff and love to hunt with my husband.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Preparations

Well, it is the first week of December and I have only a very few Christmas decorations out. This is unusual for me because I typically have my house decorated (at least as much as it's going to be), as well as the tree up and decorated, by now.  I love decorating for Christmas! I truly do, and I am looking forward to getting it done this year! I just hope I manage to do it before Christmas actually gets here!
I have felt my Christmas decorations were inadequate since Christmas 1989. I was a student in nursing school and we were having a party at a fellow students' home. This individual REALLY decorated for Christmas!! I mean, in every corner of her house there were Christmas decorations! Everything was decorated, right down to the toilet paper in the guest bathroom!
What's that you say? Over the top, you say? YOU THINK???
Anyway, since then, partly because I proclaim to LOVE Christmas, and partly because I am just a little competitive, maybe? I want my house to look just as good as the next persons' home does. I want my tree to look just as good and be decorated so perfectly that anyone who sees it says what a glorious tree it is!!
The first problem with that is that we hardly ever have anyone come to our house and if they do, I am terrified of what they are going to think of my house, or of me because of the house I live in! (It's a small-ish double-wide mobile home, very old (made before they were actually called mobile homes!! LOL), in dire need of numerous repairs and/or renovations that we just haven't made the time to do, or finish over the 17 years we have owned this 'trailor'! I will say that it was in need of some of these repairs when we bought it....wait, that could be either good or bad, depending on how you choose to see it!
This house is old and it needed some repairs when we bought it, and we have done a few things to improve its looks such as paint, put down laminate flooring, one bedroom totally remodeled, guest bath remodel begun in 2009 and is still unfinished! We use that room more for storage than anything now! There are also several projects in progress throughout the house, that have been in progress for a while now. I refer you back to the bathroom! The master bedroom and bath, as well as the guest bedroom all have floors in desperate need of replacing or at least recovering since we pulled the carpet out years ago! My laundry room needs some revamping and my kitchen needs to be updated! Other than adding on a little more space such as for our closets and a bathroom enlargement, it's practically perfect! Ha ha!!
Don't get me wrong here. I am very appreciative for having a roof over my head when so many do not. I am grateful that God provided us with the needed funds to get this home paid off so that we actually OWN it! But, it is what it is so I have to make the best of it! After all, apparently it has been where God wanted us to be for the past 17+ years!
So, let me get back to the Christmas preparations. Usually, I have already put my tree up by now, and as much as I would love to have help putting it up, I'm very picky about my decoration of the tree, or should I say critical! I want it to look perfect and my kids could never do it to my satisfaction, so, I have always decorated the tree. There have been many times when I would let them put on a few ornaments and then it was time for them to go do something else while I finished it! Now that I have grandchildren, I have learned that it doesn't matter what the tree looks like, it's the bonding that occurs while decorating the tree! It's about the stories I tell them about each ornament as we place it on the tree, (that could be why it takes me ALL day to decorate the tree usually!). The look of pure joy in their eyes when we first light up the tree after all the ornaments are in place, makes any fussiness over where each ornament is placed, more than worth it! I realize now that my selfish act of wanting my tree to look 'just so', cost me, and my children, something that can never be returned. I caused a loss of precious memories, or actually a lack of creating those memories. I realize that now. I wish I had realized, or just plain thought of it, 30 years ago when my first child was just an infant.
Those memories will never happen because I made the choice to not include my children in the decoration of the tree. Why did I do that? Because I was a selfish woman who wanted my tree to be my way or no way basically, and I didn't think my kids could decorate it to satisfy me, so I made the wrong choice. I chose time with an artificial (sometimes real) Christmas tree and some ornaments, over time with my children decorating said tree. Please, DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE!! Share these special times with your kids!
This year I am so excited that my husband and I have decided to put up my very tall and slim tree which I have not put up in several years!! Last year, as I decorated the front and sides only of my 6 foot tall, white tree, I was having difficulty with ornament placement! They just wouldn't all fit, at least not all of the ones that I wanted to be sure to include on the tree, and that wasn't including any solid color Christmas balls!! This year I should not have that problem!!
You see, I have a tradition that I started with the birth of my first grandchild. Every year I buy each of them a new ornament for my tree and I choose it based on something significant about the past year for each child. My plan is to continue doing this until they get to the point of decorating their own trees in their own homes, and then maybe as a Christmas gift, I will give them the set I have collected over the years for them, to decorate their own tree. The older ones have gotten to the point of wanting to know "what kind of ornament did you get for me this year, Mawmaw?", and I love it!! This is a tradition that will be continued every year as long as I live, even if I am just painting pinecones and putting a tag or something on it with each of their names! I do make sure to put the name of the child, as well as the year, on the back of each ornament. I love discussing the ornaments with the grandkids, explaining to them why I chose the one I did for them, and why one of the other kids got the ornament for them that they did. The smiles on their little faces as I explain to them that because the played soccer this year and seemed to really love it, I bought them a soccer ornament, or because she is such a diva (and a princess), one of my granddaughters' ornament is a princess ornament!
Tyler, my oldest grandchild, actually has about 6 or more ornaments from his first Christmas! Then, as others came along, I realized that it just didn't make sense to get each of them several ornaments each year, so I pick each child a special one. Each child has a 'baby's first Christmas' ornament for their first year of course, but they are all different!
When putting up my tree, the first dilemma is typically the lights, single color or multi-colored? At one time I preferred the clear lights only on my tree, while the hubs wanted multi's. I have to admit that I do enjoy watching all the different colors play off the glass of the ornaments every year, so this year will most likely be a multicolored year!
The first, and sometimes only, ornaments to go on the tree are the grandkids ornaments. Then I fill in wherever needed with icicles, snowflakes, crosses (I LOVE cross ornaments), and other ornaments that I have collected over the years. One year, when my boys were all in the military, I had a red, white, and blue tree with all patriotic or military oriented ornaments! That was one of the most beautiful trees I have ever had!
Garland...yes or no? For me it is typically no, since I have yet to find any that I truly love. But for the past two years I have used some of the decorative mesh sort of as a garland and it looks really nice!
Almost last is the tree topper. What should it be? Angel, star, bow, combination of the three? Something totally different? OH THE DECISIONS TO MAKE!!!
The very last thing I do is to put the tree skirt around the tree. That's when it hits me....the holiday blues. I LOVE the tree with all the pretty lights, but I look at how bare it is under it and it never fails to hit me that we just cannot afford to buy gifts like we have in the past! That usually brings on some depression on my part. Then I turn off all the lights in the house except for the tree lights, lay down on the floor, and crawl under the tree and look up. What an incredible site it is to look up through the lights and ornaments! Pure, peaceful beauty is the only way I can think of to describe it! I know I can, and have, lay there all night just staring up at the lights through the tree branches!! I also find it very relaxing to sit away from the tree, but with only its lights shining, and just stare into the tree. That is when I tend to do a lot of thinking and soul searching.
This year I have made a decision to make as many of the gifts as possible for a couple of reasons. First of all, to save money! But I think the most important reason to give someone a handmade gift is that it IS something you made yourself! You put a lot of thought and time into making this item! Homemade gifts are just so much more special I think! The toughest part of the homemade gifts is figuring out what to make for each person! Fortunately I already have some ideas and am ready to start on some of them!! I better get started since Christmas is only 22 days away!!!
I guess we better get busy with the decorations as well!! I hate to put all my decor up and only have the house decorated with all the beautiful decorations of the season, for just a few weeks, so I usually wait until about the second week of January to take the tree down. When the tree comes down is when all the other decorations are taken down and put away as well.
We are doing something else this year that we have not done in several years. We are decorating our yard!! That has always, for the most part, been my husbands domain. He does the outside, and I do the inside. That is exactly how it is going to be this year too! I may offer suggestions or ideas for some outside decorations, but ultimately that job is all his!
I sure hope we are able to get everything done that we want to by Christmas so that we can slow down and enjoy the holiday rather than feeling rushed constantly for the next 4 weeks!!
I was reminded at Sunday nights Bible study of something I hope to incorporate into our Christmas traditions this year, and something that will have to wait until next year. Of course, we have to remind ourselves, as well as others, to remember what Christmas is SUPPOSED to be about, and that would be JESUS! It's not about the gifts or decorations or even the food! It is all about Jesus and I want to make sure that everyone in my family remembers that this year! So, if I can get the hubby to cooperate, I want him to read the Christmas story for everyone before gifts are opened. I'm not referring to "T'was the Night Before Christmas" either. I'm referring to the story of Jesus' birth, a story that all of the children, as well as the adults, need to be reminded of.
So, that is a synopsis of the preparations I have made so far for Christmas. What have some of you done already for Christmas? Also, what are some of your family traditions for the holidays? Are you planning on doing anything new or different this year? Please share so some of us can maybe get some more ideas of things we can do with our families to make this Christmas a very special one, possibly even the best Christmas our family has ever had!!
I will post pics of the decorations and the tree when (if) I ever get them done!!
Until next time...which hopefully will not be as long as usual! Have a very blessed day, week, etc. Remember, JESUS IS THE REASON WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS!!

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