This year presented a year without a Christmas tree, which has only happened one other time in my life that I remember anyway, but I’ll get to that in a minute. This year I opted not to put up a tree because we were closing on the new house on the 18th and would be moving over the next couple days afterwards. Once we got moved in, Greg asked if I wanted to get a big tree to put up, but I declined. The tree we used in the RV was only 3 feet tall, which is all that would fit. Being that none of my kids live in the area and none of them have been to my house for Christmas since I moved to the Nashville area in 2009 I didn’t see the need to have one. I had already sent all the gifts, which had been delivered a week ago.
On Christmas I got the following two pics from my two daughters of the grandkids. The first pic is my Louisiana bunch who don’t look that happy when they were opening their gifts on Christmas morning. Maybe mommy got them up a little early. I remember getting my parents up by 4 am to open gifts as we were always so excited to see what we were getting. Afterwards they would tell us to go back to bed, but we would sit in our rooms and play with all our stuff. The good old days.
This pic is of the oldest grandson and oldest granddaughter from Florida. I can’t believe my oldest grandchild will be 17 years old in a few days. I wonder where the time went and how he could be this old, which in turn makes me feel really old, but then I remind myself that I’m not that old, I just started early. Matter of fact, when I was his age I was waiting on the birth of my first child who I had five months after my 17th birthday. I grew up real fast and don’t wish that life on my worse enemy. Life was hard for me due to my own choosing, but I have come a long way since then.
I mentioned in the beginning about a Christmas without a tree. It was Christmas 1992. I had three kids, (7 years, 3 years and 21 months). We had moved to Graceville, Florida for my husband at the time and my self to attend bible college. We actually moved in on Christmas Eve. No idea why we moved in then as classes didn’t start until January some time, but I know we always done things backwards sometimes.
Anyway, we arrived on the 24th of December and didn’t have any presents for our kids as back then we didn’t have much money. One of the couples that helped with the move handed my husband a box right before they left and said, “do not open until the kids go to sleep”. We had no idea what was in the box. We unpacked as much stuff as possible to give the kids beds to sleep on, but we didn’t have a Christmas tree as we always picked a live tree and had no time to do that during the move. Matter-of-fact we didn’t even have the stuff to cook Christmas dinner, but things were fixing to change.
No sooner had we finished unloading and reality started setting in as people started knocking on our door bringing us a turkey, cooked pies and all the fixings for a Christmas dinner. I couldn’t believe the generosity of people who I had never met before. It was a blessing in disguise and God knew what we needed and he provided.
Once the kids were in bed we opened that box that the Hawkins had given us (I still remember their names, but have no idea where they are now) and again was overwhelmed by the generosity of others. The box was filled with presents for our children. As a parent, I can’t express how this made me feel. Even though we had presents, I said to my husband, “but we don’t have a tree” and he said, “it’s okay we don’t need a tree…the reason for Christmas is not about trees anyway, it’s about Christ.” And because of that, we unpacked the nativity scene and set it up so we could share with our children about the real reason for the season. It wasn’t about trees and gifts, it was about Jesus and being with family.
I don’t know if my children remember that Christmas or not as two of them were really young, but it is one that I do remind them of on occasion as even though they are adults now with kids of their own, I want them to remember what Christmas is really about and teach their children the same.
I hope all who reads this post will remember why we celebrate Christmas and glory in the things you do have instead of longing for the things you don’t.
Despite everything that has happened this year I still have a lot to be grateful for. I fixed our Thanksgiving dinner and we enjoyed our meal together just like previous years. It always feels strange only fixing enough food food for two people, and you would think after all these years, 11 to be exact, I would be used to this, but with each holiday I am reminded that all I have left is my husband and furbabies.
Yes I have grown kids and grandkids, but they never come to my house for holidays as I have lived in the Tennessee area for the past 11 years. I don’t think they realize how it hurts me that they don’t come to visit. They always want me to go to them instead.
Greg (my husband) has a saying, “Us against the world” and it really feels like that more times than not, especially at the holidays.
For this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that after all that we have been through this year we have come back together as husband and wife. We are currently in the middle of purchasing a new home which we are scheduled to close on December 18th. We will still be in the Nashville area, but will be trading the east side for the west side.
In addition to fixing our tradition dinner, I also baked a cheesecake. For the first time in my life I bought a cheesecake pan to use. It didn’t turn out as great as I would have liked, but using something new always has a few learning curves. I’m sure I will get better the more I use it. Regardless of how it turned out, it was still edible and we enjoyed every bite.
Cheesecake in my new pan
Doesn’t look the best when I took the circle off.
Thick slices that tasted delicious!
A couple weeks ago I discovered Dollar Tree DIY. I had no idea how many people took items from Dollar Tree and turned them into such beautiful items to display and sale. I totally fell in love with this concept and went to Dollar Tree to see what I could find. I have had so much fun taking items I spent $1 on and turning them into items to display in my home as well as some items to share with others.
One item I bought was a small crate that measures 5″ x 3″ x 2 1/2″. I wasn’t sure what to do with them even though I bought six of them. I had watched some YouTube videos with different ideas, but none of them seemed to fit my personality. I took to Pinterest to see what I could find and sure enough during my search a cute idea popped up. The idea I saw was actually for a crate that is probably 3-4 times the size of my little crate, but it didn’t matter I was going to make it work.
I went to work in design space to design the words I wanted to add as well as the leaves, pumpkins and acorns. I picked my colors and started my project. I wanted to start off by staining the wood. It took me several different stains before I decided I wanted a brown as none of the others looked right. After staining I used three different colors to accent it with. Once all my paint was dry I cut out my vinyl items on my Cricut and applied where I wanted them. As for decorating the inside I pulled out my stored decorations and added a couple small pumpkins, acorns and pine cones along with some berries and straw.
Personally I think they turned out adorable looking. I have a lot more Dollar Tree DIY items in my future. Check out my Instagram @afwhite14 for more of my designs as it’s easier to post there than here on the blog.
Fresh baked pies…PUMPKINS…Hayride – sounds like a great fall day!
WELCOME to our PATCH!
As 2014 comes to an end, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year’s! Not sure how we will be able to top this year as we got married, had a new grandbaby, sold our sticks and bricks house and so much more. I can only hope that 2015 will bring us many miles on the road exploring many locations throughout the US as that is the only way we could ever attempt to top 2014.
We spent tonight watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve Rock n’ Roll wondering where some of those artists come from as I have never heard many of their names much less their music. Looking forward to watching the Rose Parade on HGTV tomorrow. Maybe once we start traveling we’ll find our way to Pasadena to see the parade live…in the meantime I’ll enjoy it in the comfort of my house where it’s warm and cozy.
Speaking of our house….I am loving the comfort of my 400 square foot. We have everything we could ever need and it’s great not having so much to take care of. Although it does seem strange not having stuff to do like clean yards, repair this and that and all the other stuff that goes with a big house. I question why I never done this sooner.
Since we didn’t catch any fish back in May, we opted for another trip to West Virginia to try our luck again. Unfortunately the fish weren’t biting very well, but we still had fun while there. Greg took me to his hometown a couple of hours away and we visited a few other places as well. The scenery in West Virginia is beautiful and I enjoyed just driving around seeing parts of the US that I’ve never seen before. We went to the Exhibition Coal Mine. It was eye opening to see how coal miners had to live and survive.
The New River, Hinton, WV
If you look real close below, you can see the deer in the water. We watched him go from one side of the river to the other.
The New River, Hinton, WV
The New River, Hinton, WV