Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Year of Wishes



Looking back on 2018, there's so many goals that I could have reached if I had made better use of time. That is my New Year's resolution . . . to focus on time management. Time goes so quickly. I can hardly believe we are entering 2019 . . . that it's been nine years since high school, seven years since I discerned with the Carmelites, four years since I graduated college, three years since I published my first book, two years since I opened my shop, one year since I moved to my first place . . . 

What will 2019 bring? I want to make it a year of wishes. All the things that I wish I had done or didn't make time for in 2018 have become the goals of 2019. One of which being writing books again. There was so much change last year, I couldn't believe I didn't publish a book! I may be overambitious, but I have four . . .  (yes four!) . . .  books planned for 2019. Act of Hope (finally!) in the Spring, Amanda Case Files #3 in the Summer, and a two part novel (for Fall and Winter) that will be a fairytale romance. I am going to make up for my lack of writing with all these wonderful stories this coming year!

Let's not allow the present moment to pass us by! Let's make 2019 our year of wishes that do come true. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Believe

The Polar Express is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I grew up reading the story and feeling captivated by it's magic. When it came to the big screen, I was thrilled. It's such a simple book, but with a powerful message to believe.

Our world is permeated with doubt, despair, and discouragement. The Christmas season brings love, trust, and faith. The gift of believing means that God's love is more powerful than any kind of suffering.

Belief can mean a lot of things to people, but I really think it is strongly connected to hope. If we have faith in something bigger than ourselves, we have hope that every little moment of our lives has meaning. There is a quiet strength in our will to believe. It transcends earthly things and reaches into the eternal. 

In the words of The Polar Express, "Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see."

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

DIY Advent Wreath


Looking for a way to redesign an Advent wreath? I was on a budget and looking to try something different this year. I always had trouble getting candles to fit correctly in the four-piece candle holders. I decided to experiment with getting candles that could stand on their own, or rather candles that came in glass containers. 

These candles were less than $2 a piece and will last for years on end because they're thicker. The plain wreath I found for $2 and discovered some clip-on ornaments of berries and pinecones ($1.50 each) to place on top. And what do you know? A decorative looking Advent wreath/candles on a festive table for less than $20!

Do you have great Advent ideas? What are some decorating tricks/tips you love?

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sugar Cookie Houses


One of my all time favorite Christmas traditions is making sugar cookie houses. Gingerbread houses but made with sugar cookie dough. I grew up making these with my grandmother, who passed away when I was eight. I still remember her house, always with the sweet smell of something baking. The holidays were the best time of year at her place. 

We have a really neat cookie mold that has all the pieces for a little log cabin, including extras like mailboxes and bears. (Those never make it to my house because I always eat them while building!) It is exciting to see how unique everyone's house turns out. I believe they each reflect something of the maker's personality. 

Sprinkles was a main theme this year. "Sprinkles will change your life" as someone I know said. And why not? They're colorful (adding spice to your life), pretty (adding elegance), and whimsical (adding sense of humor). So, maybe that's a stretch :-) but all the same it spruced up my cookie house!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Little Things

1st Sunday of Advent
I was standing in line at Subway in Walmart, on my way to buy some poinsettias for my front door entry. Ahead of me was a young solider in uniform purchasing his lunch. I smiled and he smiled back. I ordered a soft pretzel because they are just so soft and buttery. I anxiously waited for them to make one for me. I hadn't had one in a long time and was a little treat before I went to shop.

The solider beside me turned after paying for his meal and said "I hope you have a good day." I went to pay for my pretzel as they handed it to me, and to my surprise it was already paid for. I was so surprised because I didn't realize the solider had included my pretzel on his tab. There he was headed across the store. Should I try to go thank him? Or would it look like I was running after him? 

I decided to chance it and caught up to the young man. I thanked him for buying my pretzel and said he didn't have to do that. His response? "Just trying to do good things" with a smile. I thanked him for his service and shook his hand. He turned away and I went off to find my poinsettias. 

Little did he know how much that meant to me, a simple act of kindness on a hard day. Let's try to think of others this holiday season and remember that it's the little things that matter.