Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Kitchen

My favorite room in my house is my kitchen. It's not the most fabulously arranged kitchen in the world. I have a serious lack of storage and counter space. The counter tops could really stand to be replaced. Everyone's grandmother had the same cabinets I have. But I love it anyway. It's homey and warm. There are usually dishes in the sink and drying on the counter because real people live here. There are permanent stains on the counter where the spoons have been set after stirring coffee. My fridge has magnets from places we've been, projects from Casiday, and a few pictures that always make me smile. The table was Scott's great-grandmother's kitchen table and I love it. It was shabby chic long before Rachel Aswell entered the scene. My pie safe was a gift from my sweet mother-in-law and it stores my much-loved collection of cook books ... many with post-it notes sticking out the top marking the recipes I want to try. Also in the pie safe is a juice set that was my great-granmother's ... it's hand-blown glass and it's one of the few things we have that I don't use ... too afraid it will get broken.

It's funny how people always gather in the kitchen, even when it's as small as mine. I have so many memories of sitting at the table with different girls in our youth group and talking about life. We try to have at least one meal a week at the table and Casiday always says grace. She has a specific meal blessing, "God, thank you for this day. Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies. We love you and we thank you. Amen." I love that prayer ... reminds me of her daddy who says long prayers are for quiet times not meal times. :) The kitchen table has been used for many a play-dough session, has been piled high with food for countless events, and is still the best homework spot in the house.

I love my kitchen. It's where I do a lot of ministry. I bake and cook there ... for my family, for my friends, for those who are sick, those who have lost loved ones, and those who just love chicken and dumplin's (and leave the ingredients in my garage as a hint that it's been too long since I've made any). I pray there ... as I clean up after people have been over I replay our conversations and pray for their needs as I wash the dishes and toss the trash. I pray for my family and thank God for the many blessings represented in my kitchen.

The "New & Improved" Living Room

So, I thought I'd add pictures of the rearranged living room. I really like it ... Scott still is not sold. We have groups of people coming over the next two nights so it will get the full test run. I haven't moved any pictures just in case. :) Above is "my corner" with the last few Christmas gifts we have to hand out. I can curl up with my coffee, a good book and see out the window. No big secret where I'll spend my time when everyone else is gone. :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rearranging is fun!

But not for everyone. Today Judy and Adrianne came over to help me take down the North Pole and we decided to rearrange the furniture while we were at it. It was such fun. But Scott hates change and he really hates rearranged furniture. We didn't move his chair but we moved everything else ... including the TV. So, I'm enjoying it but I don't think my husband has quite adjusted to the differences.

But it really has been a great day. I got to chat with my sister-in-law Beth for a little while today and with my sweet friend Denice. I love the way technology allows me to keep in touch. My house still isn't completely back in order ... but it's getting there. I have tomorrow and Wednesday to get everything ready for the big New Year's Eve "Smokin' and all that Scrap" party.

More on that topic later. :)

Post Christmas Hush

It's that great time of year ... those few days between Christmas and New Year's ... it's quiet and calm. The hustle and rushing of holiday season have passed. My decorations are up ... for just another day. I love putting them up ... the way the lights twinkle, figuring out just the right spot for whatever my latest treasure is, and enjoying the memories attached to all of them. But I also love packing them away ... it's almost a cleansing. The empty spaces where the decorations were symbolize the blank slate I feel I get with each new year.

2008 had so much good in it. Scott and I went on our first overseas mission trip together. We spent a week in Roatan, Honduras, and we will never be the same. I still can't put into words the ways God spoke to me and infused Himself in me while I was there. My entire concepts of worship, of service, of passion, and of ministry are changed forever. And to have the privilege of sharing such a life-changing experience with my husband ... well, that made it all the more special. Speaking of my main squeeze, he has been blessed this year with good health. What a great praise!!

We've made lots of trips as always. But my favorite was our Spring Break trip to Disney World. We spent the first half of the week with Scott's brother and his family. Watching Scott and Greg is one of my favorite things. There is something so inherently unique about the relationship between brothers. Greg and Scott can laugh so hard they cry about something that is really nothing. But they are both such good daddies and amazing husbands. Most of all, they are both incredibly Godly men.

One of my personal goals for 2008 was to make time for far-away family. I've tried to make a few more phone calls, send a few more cards, write a few more e-mails this year. And, thanks to Facebook, I think I've managed to be successful in that area. I've had some of the sweetest conversations this year with my Bigmama and my sweet sister-in-law Beth. I am so thankful for my family and the heritage of ministry of which I am a part.

And what recap would be complete without mentioning my sweet girl ... Casiday Hope. She inspires me! I look at her and see this wonderful, insightful, witty, completely blonde person who loves animals, dances with her heart and her feet, loves her friends and family, and "gets it" spiritually ... and I wonder, "What did I ever do to deserve this precious child?" Of course, I know the answer is that I did nothing ... she is as Psalm 127:3 says "a gift" from God. One for which I am most thankful.

Oh there are things that didn't happen in 2008 ... my book STILL isn't finished, I haven't completed the Rudolph quilt I started for Scott three years ago, and we're not eating more healthy or exercising more ... but, still, sitting here on my couch as 2008 winds down, I am filled with joy for all the blessings I have, gratitude for the amazing friends and family God has given me, wonder at the presence of God in my life, and chills that I have a husband who takes my breath away when he walks in the room and loves me even when I am REALLY unloveable.

Yes, this is my favorite time of year.