gravel road girl

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Planning for. . . tomorrow

Whoa, Rudolph! I’m hitching the sleigh to the post and stepping out of this wild ride! The delightful blizzard of 2012 hit smack dab in the middle of my last minute Christmas shopping (no, I’m not complaining–just stating the facts). I felt like I was off-roading in my bulky mini-van through the Target parking lot. Yeah, I was one of those insane people out on December 23.  Mix in our anniversary celebration, two family Christmases, almost a week of wonderful company, games, sledding, loads of food, more shopping, a little exercise, not enough sleep, too much coffee, and some movies, and you’ve got one woman who needs to find her ‘land legs’ and a bit of routine in order to function again. So here’s my plan–for tomorrow.

JANUARY 1, 2013

  • Put away my Christmas CDs and get out my winter CDs. Yes, I have CDs I like especially in the winter. They’re all instrumental, so my brain can just tuck itself in and relax.  A Winter Solstice by Windham Hill is a favorite.
  • Pull out a couple of poetry books. It’s like cleaning your palate after a full meal and before dessert.  Poetry has a way of forcing your brain to slow down, think differently, clear out all the loud noise of life, and ponder the simplest things–snow on a tree, a bluebird, the joy of a necessary visit. A couple of poetry books sitting on my coffee table always tempt me to stop, open to anything that catches my eye, and read. Any books by Ted Kooser or Robert Frost can be found, dog-eared and worn, stacked and ready at my house.
  • A nice, clean sheet of paper. Ahhh, just like the New Year. I’m not one for resolutions, but I do like to set some goals. Somehow I see them differently. So I’ll start brainstorming a list of goals; they won’t all make the final cut. I try to be realistic, and I really hate it when I have more ‘fails’ then ‘completes.’ I also make sure I have some really easy goals (clean out all the kitchen drawers. Shoot, I can probably pay one of my kids to do that! It still counts, then, doesn’t it?). One of my goals last year was to start this blog–complete!
  • I will write a New Year’s letter to my kids. This idea came to me just a few days ago. As my kids have gotten older (two in college, one a junior in high school, and one in 6th grade), it seems like there are fewer opportunities to share some ‘life thoughts’ with them. Have I shared with them some of the tough lessons God has so graciously taught me? Can I keep them from taking some of the ‘detours’ I’ve taken? I’d like to because I’m sure they’ll have enough detours of their own.
  • Finally, Christmas decorations will come down tomorrow. I don’t really enjoy this, but I love the calmness it brings back to my home and my life. Sometimes, I don’t put back my other pictures and “stuff” right away and just relish the nothingness for a little while. It kind of parallels the white nothingness outside. And I like it when things agree.

Have a blessed start to this new year of 2013.  Prioritize the people in your lives, and do things that make a change for eternity.

“Every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character. . . ”     ~Oscar Wilde

Very vintage Christmas

The snow came! And wasn’t it just lovely? It rattled the windows, and yes, snapped a few branches. But more than anything, it made us hunker down and stay put. I finally had a chance to grab my coffee, sit down, and simply enjoy Christmas. I’ve had fun this year repurposing and rearranging some of the ‘junk’ I normally have sitting around. I gathered my iron stone, culled my ornaments down to white, silver, blue and green, and went out and snipped away at my evergreen trees. Then I began arranging. Here’s  a peek at my vintage Christmas.



                                                     Love my white pottery and ironstone filled with baubles.                                                                                  



       Snatch up inexpensive white glassware whenever you can; it can be used in so many ways throughout the year.


117 More white dishes filled with painted pinecones, old post cards, and tiny, old ornaments.




    A cheap repainted frame with its Grinchy wire intact is a great place to showcase this simple, old-fashioned stocking stuffed with greenery.





I had fun with this rescued thermos. It was useless without a lid, but it made a perfect centerpiece with a glittery reindeer and more old ornaments. A burlap tablerunner and vintage linen napkin bring it all together.




So here’s wishing you JOY and blessings for this Christmas season. He was born a baby in a manger–God with us. As our Saviour, He’s still with us.

~John 3:16

In Defense of Snow, part II: Baby it cold outside–finally!

It’s coming. The weathermen say so, not that I’ve ever put much stock in their predictions. But, yes, I believe we might see snow this weekend. We’ve been praying fervently for snow since sometime in September. I find that many people think I’m one light short of a full string when I tell them I pray for snow. But occasionally I find other snow-lovers who share my enthusiasm. It creates an instant bond, like child-birth and gory operation stories. So, for snow-lovers and snow-haters, this is my 10 Ten In Defense of Snow List:

10. One to two inches of snow on your lawn is good for it. No kidding. It protects it from wind burn, and the melting snow pulls nutrients up to the roots. Lawn care isn’t really my thing. But I thought this might sway some of you lawn fanatics out there. Check out this website

9. Any arachnophobes out there? You know, fear of spiders? Yep, that’d be me. But temps below zero (and who wants it that cold without snow?) kill spiders and other nasty bugs. Yes, please.

*Can you tell I’m serious about this? I’m even doing research!

8. Are you SAD? Seasonal affective disorder is a depression that affects some people as the days get shorter and colder. But, according to this website, SAD is less severe when there is snow on the ground. And really, isn’t there just something happy about the sun bouncing off all those luscious whipped-cream drifts?

7. News flash: central Iowa is in a moderate to severe drought. Big Creek is starting to look like Big Puddle. We could use some moisture. Are we going to argue over the form?

6. Wardrobe confusion. In complete rebellion of the season, I pulled out a spring blouse and flip-flops the other day. Yes, it was warm enough for flip flops! I need a good reason to slip into a warm sweater and pull on a nifty winter hat—SNOW.

5. Cross country skiing. I know that’s selfish, as many of you probably have no intention of ever cross country skiing. But it’s great! Put them on and ski right away from your back door—no tickets, no travels, no break-your-neck-hills.

4. Snow angels!

3. Snow gives us all a good reason to just stay put, hunker down, peer out the windows occasionally and say, “Gonna have to plow in the morning.”

2. Snow days! At least for the kids, is there any better feeling than crawling out of a nice warm bed, watching the list of schools scroll across the bottom of the TV, spotting yours, and turning to shuffle back to your warm cocoon?

And the number one reason we need snow. . .

1. A twelve-year-old boy has been praying that “we’d get lots of snow so Ethan, Thad, and Tess can make forts and have lots snowball fights with me.”

Yeah, that alone is worth a winter full of snow.

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