Christmas Eve Joy

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the season. It's a day of anticipation for the excitement to come! It's  a day that we really enjoy as a family. We take time to slow down and do whatever unfolds during the hours. Today, we made cookies and sausage balls-we created a gingerbread house-we took a ride in the truck out in the country-we stayed in our pajamas as long as we wanted-no rushing around. We'll attend a candlelight service at church tonight. Later we will eat seafood and watch "White Christmas." We breathe! In life we need to just breathe! Not be in a hurry, no being stressed about this or that, just breathe the air that God breathed into us. I love the stillness of this day-quiet joy that flutters in our hearts. Through a child's eyes, it's the anticipation of the gifts under the tree. For me as an adult I still love to experience that child wonder as I watch my kids' excitement. That child wonder still lives in my heart because I don't anticipate gifts (but I do like them)- it's the Gift that is so unfathomable to me. Can any of us say we could give the ultimate gift of life? Could we sacrifice our lives for another? There is no gift that can be bought, wrapped and given more precious than what God gave us-Jesus.
Emmanuel- "God with us". 

Ann Voskamp writes it so beautifully, " What God ever came so tender we could touch Him? So fragile that we could break Him? So vulnerable that His bare, beating heart could be hurt? Only the One who loves you to death. It cost Him everything to be with you. Who will spend a fraction of time just to be with Him? Who wants the gift of His presence?"

(From her book-The Greatest Gift)

Anticipation-the expectation of something to come. That's what today is about-the anticipation of a Savior. A small baby born so humbly on this human earth just because He loved me! That's why I love Christmas Eve. I love that the Savior was coming-He came and will come again. How about you? What are you anticipating this season? Be still and just breathe.

Many blessings and peace to you and your family.


Here are some special things I enjoy on Christmas Eve-what joys do you find during the day?

Baking with my kids. These cookie cutters
are the ones my mom used with me and my siblings
when we were children.
Our tradition of drawing names for each
other's stockings and filling them
with the special things we bought and made.
Frosty cold windows this morning.
The best oranges from Pittman and Davis-Thanks Mom!
Fragrant Christmas candles burning.
Sausage balls baking.
Candles that will be lit at church tonight.

Christmas dishes-we only see them once a year.
A Christmas Eve service at church
 really sets the tone for Christmas!
Every year we make a gingerbread house together-
we added a room on this year.
Presents wrapped and awaiting their receivers.
Azaleas blooming in December-only in the South.
Reading the Christmas story.
Each year we purchase balloons to send to Jesus.
We stand in the yard and sing Happy Birthday then release them.
 We've done this since the girls were little and they still
love to do it even at ages 15 and 11.


Christmas Open House in Richmond Hill

There's nothing like living in a small country town. Richmond Hill is not too small but it still boasts the small town feel that I absolutely love. We've lived here about a year and I am still amazed at the new people I meet and their down home sense of style and warmth! We chose to live in Richmond Hill because it reminds us of the country living we miss. Being in Richmond Hill really gives us the best of both worlds because we aren't far from Savannah, Tybee Island, Jekyll Island and only a "hop, skip and a jump" to Florida. Southern living at its' best! The city really honors local businesses and encourages its' residents to shop local. Richmond Hill is not built up with lots of chain stores and restaurants but it hosts a lot of local business owners with some incredible stores and places to eat!

This evening I visited Ella's, a home decor and gift shop located right on Ford Avenue-the hub of the city. Ella's is owned by Dana Lewis and is the best gift store in town. Dana has such an amazing eye for design and every time I shop there she has added something really unique to her store. Tonight Ella's hosted a Christmas Open House. Food, wine and shopping were at the for front of the evening for her guests. I enjoyed meeting Dana Lewis and her husband Griffin Lewis, a local builder. I also enjoyed meeting some local ladies that have the same style in decorating as I do. The store was just glowing with Christmas spirit and a warm welcoming atmosphere even on this chilly night in the south.

I want to showcase Ella's here on my blog. If you live in the area or are near I encourage you to stop by and check the store out for  gifts and decor. It's truly a wonderful place to visit-I promise you will not be disappointed!

Dana's father's truck sits outside of the store-it's so vintage!!

This was a little shop out back she calls the "burlap room"-for some reason I just love that name!

Beach room-sea turtles and sea horses (my favorite creatures) everywhere-oh my!!

Love these wooden monograms.

This is so beautiful!

My new crazy obsession-pillow wraps! Can I get one in every color and saying??

I am saving my money to purchase this painting-it's the cow painting I have been looking for. It's so simple but beautiful. I want it for my home-have the perfect wall just waiting for it!



Spotlight: The Jones Home

When I was traveling through Macon, GA,  I had the honor of staying with my dear friends, Scott and Allison Jones. Scott and Allison have such a beautiful home that I asked them if I could feature them on my blog. They agreed and I am thrilled because Scott has such an eye for design and decor. He's not afraid to try new things and he can pretty much do anything in the house. I took a few pictures of their home and I want to share them with you. They both have such southern charm as well as hospitality and it's reflected in the warmth of their home. Thanks Scott and Allison for the B & B!

This is my favorite spot in their house-their screened in porch. It's such a fun place to sit and relax! I miss hanging out there with my friend, Allison.


The Kneeling Santa

" so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:10-11

Many, many years ago when I was a little girl only 12 years old, someone very close to me died. His name was Matthew. He was my first cousin and only 6 years old. He died suddenly with spinal meningitis. My aunt and uncle were clearly devastated as was the rest of our family and friends. My aunt was an art teacher at a local high school so she appreciated many beautiful things. I remember one Christmas after Matthew's death, her students gave her the most beautiful gift- a kneeling Santa. She treasured this gift in many ways but especially because it reminded her of our Savior. My aunt was an amazing Christian woman. The figurine she received was much larger than this one but it was the first time I had ever seen Santa and Jesus together at Christmas for one purpose. The devil would certainly want us to be distracted from the real meaning of the season but this small example brings it all into perspective. Through the years I searched for a Kneeling Santa but it was something I just didn't see in stores.  About two years ago I found this one and a storybook to go with it. I love this symbol of why we need a Savior and our place before the throne is on our knees! Even though our family does not participate in the fun Santa story at Christmas, we do acknowledge a wonderful Christian servant named Saint Nicholas. He being a servant kneeling before a baby that would one day become Savior of the world grabs my heart every time I look at this small stature. Jesus became a servant before he became our Savior. A lesson in humility for me is always welcome and needed. Let us all bow on our knees and acknowledge Jesus as Savior. Be reminded that our place is on our knees and Jesus is the one on the holy throne. As you celebrate this Christmas season reflect on what it means to be a servant. Like Saint Nicholas, he served secretly as not to gain glory but to give the glory where it belonged -to God. Serve faithfully everyday not just at Christmas and give all the glory to the one who so rightly deserves it, Jesus Christ!

Keep the SON shining,


A Country Christmas

It's finished! Our home is completely decorated for Christmas (well, the outside is not quite finished-but that's another blog day). This is super early for us but with Thanksgiving being a few days later than usual and wanting to get it on the blog-we had to succumb to an early start. It has been fun but overwhelming at times. I think I was putting too much pressure on myself because of wanting to share it with you all and feeling everything had to be perfect. But my decorating motto is simple design for simple living. So it's simply decorated to add just enough Christmas spirit and cheer that our home invites others in for some hot chocolate. So grab a mug of that hot frothy stuff and take a stroll through our home. Merry Christmas!!

The reason we celebrate the season!
It's the BIGGEST birthday party in the world!

My chalkboard was an old mirror I found at the thrift 
store for $5. I cleaned the mirror and painted chalkboard
 paint right over the mirror. I then painted the frame
 with Annie Sloan duck egg blue chalk paint. 

Our Advent area- a candle will be lit each
 Sunday in December prior to Christmas.

The children (and myself) have tons of Christmas 
children's books. I put them all in 
a basket so everyone can grab a book 
or two for reading throughout the season. 
It's like unwrapping a gift when we pull 
out all of the books we haven't seen in a year.

Mercury glass is my absolute favorite!! I love the
old metallic look. My kids call me "Dory" from
Finding Nemo because I like shiny things!

I made the plaid garland from a set of
 blank not cards I purchased at
Michael's for a $1.I hot glued them onto
 twine and it adds a little color to the
natural motif in the windows.

It's our tradition to put out all
of the Nutcrackers. My girls get so excited 

when we pull them out of the box with 
each having a special story.

Fresh and natural greenery from our woods.
On this particular trip, my youngest ran up on
a small Diamondback Rattlesnake that was so
 hidden in the leaves she almost got bitten.

Welcome to our home!

Simple fresh greens and "fake"
 berries from the Dollar Tree store-
can't tell it's not real, can you?

I have bought fresh natural looking
wreaths for years. I have to give it to
 Lowe's, these wreaths have lasted and made
it through several house moves.

This is an extra special tradition we started this year. Ann Voskamp has written a new book (daily devotion) for the Christmas season, "The Greatest Gift"-Unwrapping the full love story of Christmas. She takes us back to the beginning with a look at Jesus' genealogy. It deeply explains not just the birth of Christ but the importance of His birth. It's called a Jesse Tree or Advent Tree. It's a great celebration of Jesus' heritage through the scriptures starting in Genesis. We are working on adding a scripture verse for each day during December to put on the tree and reading the daily devotion . Check out her website at www.annvoskamp.com

This was my fun purchase this year.
Yes it's a buckshot, empty of course.
 I found these little beauties at
 a yard sale during the summer.
I just couldn't resist putting
 them on the tree.

I love the nature inside but also the nature
 I see outside. We are wrapped in trees and
 God's beauty while our home is tucked back in the woods.

Adding a little homage to our childhood-
these are me and Mel's childhood stockings.

 Wonder if Santa will fill them up this year? 
I look at them and remember back to that

child like excitement that Christmas

 brought each year.

It's our cozy little home!

I think everyone likes to sit in their cozy den with the Christmas tree lights on and rest or read a good book or simply sit quietly. There is something about the lights on a tree that brings peace to a home. It represents a quiet stillness before God.

It reminds me to stop and reflect on our Savior! I think the tree is the most important decoration at Christmas besides the nativity. Everyone's tree is different and holds so many stories special to their family. Family is about God too. He created people and He created groups of people for a reason. It's the love a family brings to one another that is rooted in Christ's birth.

I hope you enjoyed the Christmas Home Tour. I will be posting more Christmas decorating tips throughout the coming weeks. A little word of advice-don't over think it-keep it simple and meaningful! Remember the reason for the season is to slow down and reflect on our Savior! Blessings to you and your family!