Friday, December 27, 2013

From my Front Porch ~ December 27, 2013

Welcome back to my weekly series, From my Front Porch, where I share updates from my home and family. My hope is that you'll fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea and imagine us sitting together on my front porch, chatting about life and catching up on the latest news!  I hope you'll join me each Friday on My Front Porch!  

December is such a busy, stressful, fun, exhausting, exhilarating month - filled with all the duties of daily life, plus decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, creating of special memories, and attending (or performing in) Christmas recitals and programs.  Then, top that off with a few parties and special church services, and we all find ourselves "in over our heads!"  With the extreme busyness, it has been awhile since I've had time to sit and chat on my front porch!

Today, I want to grab a cup of Starbucks Christmas Blend Coffee with lots of cream and sit down with you and share some pictures and highlights from our family's Christmas.

First of all, Christmas Eve:

Christmas Eve day was spent primarily in the kitchen, cooking, cooking and cooking!!  It is such a blessing to have older kids who can share the cooking (and dish washing!) with me!  It makes it more fun and less exhausting, but I think we always tend to "bite off more than we can chew!"

That evening we paused our labors to focus in on the Christ of Christmas at our church's very special Christmas Eve Candlelight service.  While I was sitting there singing Christmas carols, I had the best surprise ever -- my 26-year-old daughter, Ashlyn, who lives five hours away, snuck into the pew and sat down beside me!  :)  What JOY filled my heart!  We weren't expecting to see her for a couple more hours!  :)  Here is a picture of Ashlyn and Alan taken right after the service was over!  :)

After the Candlelight service, we hurried home and put the finishing touches on our annual Christmas Eve party supper!  Here we are gathered around all the platters of delicious hors d'oeuvres ready to ask God's blessing on our food.  

A view of our feast . . .

This amazing array is a sampling of all of the sweets we made during the month of December!!  Tiffany was directly responsible for most of it! The centerpiece is a bowl full of Peppermint Punch!  :) 

Ashlyn finally got to meet her niece, Sarah!  It was love at first sight!  :)

Normally after we eat our party supper, we have the Annual Sibling Gift Exchange followed by watching (and/or sleeping through!) White Christmas, but this year Tay had to work untiil 11 pm :( so we switched things up a bit.  We watched White Christmas first, and then had the daunting task of trying to wake everyone up enough to exchange gifts at 11:30 pm! Due to that, our gift exchange wasn't nearly as lively as in years past!  ;)  We also skyped with Joe and Abby, who celebrated Christmas with Abby's family this year.  (Just for the record, I really don't like this whole things of kids growing up and getting married and not being home for the holidays!  Watch out "D" family -- you'll know what I mean next Christmas when it is our turn to have Joe and Abby!)  ;)

Now for Christmas Day:

Due to being up until 1 am, we all slept in on Christmas morning!

While I baked our traditional Breakfast Casserole, Ashlyn got some of the kids to join her for the "first annual Jingle Jog."

After breakfast, we gathered in the family room where Alan read the Christmas story from Luke 2.  Then, inspired by the book, The Sparkle Box we each shared some of the gifts we had given to Jesus in recent weeks, as we had shown His love to those around us.  

We ended up having a really special time of reflecting on the greatest gift of all -- Jesus and His Love and Grace.  Jesus paid the price for all to enjoy the gift of Salvation and Abundant Life.  Unfortunately, many reject that gift and refuse to unwrap it and make it part of their lives.  I hope YOU have accepted God's gift of salvation, but If not, please email me and we'll talk!  

Finally, it was time to open our gifts to each other!  We always start with the youngest child and go from youngest to oldest, opening each gift one at a time, so each gift can be savored and enjoyed by all. So, Bethany starts us off each year!  

The rest of these pictures are in no special order, just glimpses of gifts given and received.

Unfortunately, Tay had to leave for work again at 3 pm.  So, he left before Christmas Dinner was served, but Josh and Kristi arrived with Sarah in time to eat with us.  After dinner, we watched "A Very Merry Mix Up" on the Hallmark Channel, which was a really cute movie!  And then we watched "Despicable Me 2," which was Matt's gift to the family!  :)

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights . . ."
James 1:17

Thanks for stopping by my front porch for a visit! I'd love for you to take a moment to "sign my guest book" (leave a comment!) so I can know that you stopped by and enjoyed your visit!  Please join me again next Friday on my front porch!


Elizabeth (Lizzie) said...

What a wonderful Christmas you had! Growing up is hard because being ALL together at Christmas gets harder and harder. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life. God Bless! Lizzie

busymomof10 said...

Thanks Lizzie for stopping by and for "signing my guest book!" :)

Lois said...

So happy like usual to read another newsy post from you about your family. Looking forward to more. :-) Have a blessed and happy New Year!

liz and brad said...

Beautiful family!

Serving A Generation for Jesus said...

Thanks for sharing. :) We also go around the room and open gifts one at a time.

Cheryl said...

What a precious and beautiful family! We open our gifts the same at a time and everyone enjoys them together, after Daddy reads the Christmas story from Luke 2. I like the way you each shared the "gifts" you had given to Jesus. We may need to add this to our December celebration.

Sheila Kimball said...

Thanks, Elizabeth, for inviting me in for a peek at your Christmas festivities. Beautiful home, beautiful family, beautiful traditions. Happy New Year and blessings from Sheila at Longings End.

busymomof10 said...

Thanks Sheila for stopping by and and "signing my guest book!" I hope your Christmas was blessed! Happy New Year!

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