Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas ✽ Joy to the World

"Happy day after Christmas, and merry rest of the year. Even though Christmas is over, the light of the world is still here!" -Matthew West

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." -Isaiah 9:6

"So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come Peasant, King to own Him
The King of Kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary." - "What Child is This?"
"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them." -Luke 2:8-20 

I hope your Christmas was filled with that same wonder that all who heard that glorious news that very first Christmas, whenever it was, experienced... that awe and hopefulness. But more importantly, I hope it was full of that belief and joy that those shepherds experienced... confidence in the Savior so deep, that they couldn't wait until morning, and wouldn't keep silent, until all those they could tell that wondrous news to had been given the gift of hearing. May we, like Mary, treasure up all the details that came together perfectly in this event, all the fulfilled prophecies, all the humble believers God used, and ponder the true worth and meaning they hold for us <3. 

Our Christmas was spent at home, enjoying the day together. We made a yummy dinner, watched some Christmas movies/documentaries, celebrated the last evening of advent, and opened gifts... lots of gifts, because there are a lot of us, and it's hilarious how long it takes to get through us all, haha. I'm hopeful that I'll get to share some little bits of our day in a future post, but I make no promises, because every year I say I will, and every two out of three years I end up not. But there were some hilarious and adorable little moments that I'd love to memorialize, soooo....

Each year, I tell myself that I need a break - as soon as Christmas is over, I'm not doing a thing. I'm exhausted, I want to look back at memories instead of being worried I'll fail somebody... and I want to read. Because no time of year makes me feel more like reading, and no time of year is so impossible to get around to it in.

But each year... December 26th comes along, and I am thoroughly cleaning closets, drawers, folders, boxes, and papers. Because I've done nothing un-Christmas-y, certainly not cleaning optional things, for weeks, and my new gifts must not be desecrated by being placed with mess ;). I should just start scheduling it in... It's funny, but as much as I need a break by the 20th, I am totally ready to get caught up on life by the 26th, and relish it, haha. Over the next week I'll answer all my emails and letters (although I'm far less behind on these than most years?!), and I usually do a blog post... which is where this blog post, complete with Christmas chocolate and hot chocolate in my very own Christmas mug as a gift from Bethi <3, comes in ;). With all "my" space clean, all my correspondence caught up, and all my extra to-dos for the month having all been Christmas focused, THEN I finally really get around to taking my "break" (and enjoy it three times as much), which I try to take simultaneously with an internet break, and fill with lots and lots of reading, bible study, and for-fun creativity... oddly enough, this creative time often ends up being art of some sort, even though I'm not good at it and don't do a ton the rest of the year. This year, I got gel pens and a bible study with lots of bible journaling ideas sprinkled in it... and so, I'm quite confident that art will once again be the elective of my choice ;). This year we older four are also going to spend a few days with my aunt before the new year!
But, before I get busy catching up and then vanish off the face of the earth for a currently undetermined time (I'm having some issues with my wrists/hands after all the non-stop crocheting, and so my usual "yay, I'm going to stay off the internet!" is turning into, "I hope if I don't pick up a crochet hook or my phone or turn on my computer for a while, I can get rid of this"... haha.), I wanted to share something very special with y'all, and to ask if you could share it with others you think may be interested in helping. Each year, Reece's Rainbow, a special needs adoption ministry, holds a Christmas blessing fundraiser through December. The goal is to get all the children on the "Angel Tree" a $1,000 grant. This grant helps with their adoption costs, and at times can be the only way that families can commit to a child they would bring into their home without hesitation were the cost not an issue. Many of the children are over that $1,000 dollar wall, and some are significantly higher, which is a joyful thing to witness! But there are still many children who's accounts are under this goal, and only 5 days left.

So, if it's something that the Lord lays on your heart to help with, would you mind chipping in with even jut a few dollars to one of these precious little ones? It adds up to such a big difference in the grand scheme of things. God takes those thousands of "just a few dollars" and uses it to bring about the ability for a family to take these precious and needy souls into their home, where their life is changed forever and they can experience love, for many for the first time. 

You can go here to make a direct donation to a child's account. If you'd rather get yourself something fun with your Christmas money, you can take a peak at my shop and 50% of all the proceeds from all my sales the rest of the month are going to go into the account of the child with the smallest sized grant come December 31st. Thanks to the purchases several made purchasing Christmas presents, we were already able to make a donation to one of the little ones, and it was such a blessing to me to know that those "little dollars" that would have been spent anyway were adding up to bless a child in need! So, if those purchasers see this post... thank you, from the bottom of my heart! I may have "made" the donation -but you made it possible! It was a beautiful display of working together to bring about God's glory!

Add This to Your Blog!

 And if you can't make even a small donation... could you share this in anyway you can? Somebody you know might be able to help. If you share this, something could even happen to bring one of these children to the attention of their future family. You never know what a small act can bring about <3. And no matter what else you can do, please say a prayer for the little ones this organization helps. "The prayer of a righteous man produces much", and these children do need so much. Maybe the prayers and funds and exposure they get this Christmas can be the means that have them in a loving home next Christmas <3.

Rejoicing in Hope,

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas/Winter Tag ✽ Only Two More Weeks Til Christmas!

How are we so close to Christmas?! I'm enjoying the season, but feel like it's been really short... I'm glad it happens every year ;).

I'm here to fill out the Christmas/Winter Tag started by Belise from Sparkle for Jesus, thanks to Maddy from Little Bit of Sunshine!

The rules:

Thank The Person Who Tagged You.

Thank you again, Maddy! This looks like so much fun!

Answer The Questions And Tag At Least Three Other People.

Yes :)! I love the time to remember our Savior's gift of love to us, the chance to spoil those around me with some extra love, the cozy smells and sights, and the time together to do things (such as look at Christmas lights) that you can't do the rest of the year! We celebrate Advent every year, and read Christmas books together, and watch Christmas movies and drink lots of hot chocolate ;). I love Christmas!
Our family celebrates St. Nicholas Day each year. We make a special breakfast, open a few gifts, read about the legend of St. Nicholas, and either go to the zoo and look at the lights there, or make some hot chocolate and take a drive around the nearby neighborhoods and look at the house lights. VA's lights are awesome... everybody goes all out for the "Tacky Light Drive", and the involved neighborhoods are SO bright and colorful at night! This was our substitute for the zoo while in VA, but we enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it here, as well, after we moved back to SC... the first attempt was a laughable disaster, haha. Let it suffice to say, we went too early in the season... but besides that, an entire. neighborhood. lost power as we got to it (of course one of the ones that was supposed to be really good). Hahaha! We went again later that season, and it went much better, so we tried again this year, and had a really fun time!

3. WHEN IT COMES TO WEATHER, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 1O DEGREES?
Ehhhhh...  well, 70 degrees does NOT feel like Christmas. But if it gets too cold, I freeze, because I'm cold in the summer anyway half the time, and my family just stares at me in disbelieve when I randomly shiver. So, maybe 60-30 degrees? Because starting at 30 we get our small chance of snow ;). One year (2009?) it snowed 8 inches here in SC... that was a red-letter year for us, haha!

Snoooooowwwww. My Gramma got snow while we got rain the other day, and rain in summer and spring is beautiful, soothing, and delightful... but rain falling on the month's dead leaves and making everything brown soggy just makes me sad. Snow is so much prettier at this time of year! And we take fun snow days when it falls, since that's so seldom, so that adds to the appeal ;). 

"Winter Day" to me implies blankets, hot chocolate, a book, some knitting, and soups, whether snow is involved or not. So obviously, I would choose to stay home, haha!

I've been to the mall once in the past 18 months or more, haha! I would definitely choose a walk in the park, with people I love and good conversation! (You really can't hear each other in a mall...)

Don't make me choose. I can't.... Lol. I like "It's a Wonderful Life", and "The Fourth Wise Man" (though sometimes we save that for closer to Resurrection), and "The Christmas Shoes" still makes me cry. The "Muppets Christmas Carol" also holds a very special part in our traditions, as it's been our Christmas Eve movie for as long as I can remember. And VeggieTales "The Star of Christmas"... haha!

Y'all, I can't choose for this one either! The first night of Advent? Meeting up with family? Walking the zoo? Making Christmas candies? Actually, that tradition really sped by last year. There are so many of us working on them now, that it doesn't take long for all the treats to be knocked out... kind of like when we went apple picking last year, and because there are so many of us, we had picked a many as we could use within ten to fifteen minutes. It was sad, haha.
I'm laughing right now because we just watched "Christmas With a Capital C" last night, while we stayed up and ate ice cream until I was shivering, per tradition, and yeah. Lol. I say Merry Christmas, and I hear the chair rant from this movie every.time. I hear Happy Holidays ;).

We get up and eat cinnamon rolls while we watch a documentary on the Christmas Story together. The rest of the day is then spent making dinner and opening presents, because we typically open the gifts one at a time, youngest to oldest, in rounds... and that takes... a lot of time, hahaha!!! But it's really fun to get to experience it with each person, rather than rushing through it thinking only about yourself ;).

I love so many Christmas Songs... "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel", "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day", "Once in Royal David's City", "Angels We have Heard on High"... but my favorite might be one we listen to from Todd Agnew's "Do you See What I See" CD (the one we listen to while putting up the tree), "In the First Light"...

"In the first light of a new day no one knew he had arrived
Things continued as they had been while a newborn softly cried
But the heavens wrapped in wonder knew the meaning of his birth
In the weakness of a baby they knew God had come to earth

As his mother held him closely it was hard to understand
That her baby, not yet speaking, was the word of God to man
He would tell them of his kingdom but their hearts would not believe
They would hate him and in anger they would nail him to a tree

But the sadness would be broken as the song of life arose
And the firstborn of creation would ascend and take his throne
He had left it to redeem us but before his life began
He knew he'd come back, not as a baby, but as the Lord of every man

Hear the angels as they're singing on the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be when he comes again to earth
Hear the angels as they're singing on the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be when he comes to rule the earth!"

Have you noticed I'm not that great at choosing favorites yet? Cause yeah, I'm not. 

None, thanks. *sips the hot chocolate that I made specifically for doing this Christmas Tag.* Did you know Hot Cocoa is made with water and Hot Chocolate with milk? I think I might actually have like peppermint tea when I was younger, but I don't remember it very well, actually. Never had the other "peppermints", and I really don't care for "true" cocoa very much unless there's marshmallows.
 I'd like to tag my sister Tori from The Book Wyrm (!!!), Ashley from Precious Moments, and Grace Anne from Totally Graced to do the Christmas/Winter Tag next :)! It's so fun to see all the different answers and hear about everybody's different traditions and favorite moments!

(I just at this moment received another order for the music chalkboard in my shop. Again. I've got 4 going out this week... anyone else want one while I'm at it ;)? Lots of music lovers are getting a great gift this Christmas, if I do say so myself ;)...)

Bethi as she puts Noah to sleep: *plays really brisk, happy music*
Me: "Bethi, try something SOOTHING, like 'Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel" or something. It worked for me last time." *gives her a couple other options to choose from, because it always takes me two songs to see him asleep*
Bethi, 3 times in a row on different occasions: "Didn't work. He didn't go to sleep until I turned on (insert some brisk, happy song or another again)"
Me as I was finishing up this blog post: *turns on one instrumental version of "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel"... then another*
Noah: *asleep beside me before the second is over*
Love that silly guy <3. But why?! Lol! Personally, I think Bethi gets restless during the more soothing songs, and it keeps him awake, haha...

Have you filled out this tag? Share the link with me! What would the perfect snow day hold for you? What did you think of Tori's new blog :)?!??!?!! Go follow her for the best sarcastic jokes slipped in in the most natural way. It's wonderful.

Friday, December 8, 2017

November Review ✽ Hello December!


-Josiah composed some music...

-Tori invited Bethi, Andrew and I to join her in a three month bible reading challenge. Then Abbi invited herself ;) (and has done better than I have keeping up :P). I'm loving going through the bible from cover to cover again, and always enjoy it more when I have some accountability. Which I need just now, because. I am so behind. BUT, at least I'm reading far more than I was the couple months before! Just not as fast as my sibs, haha. I'll get there...

-As an extra Reformation day activity, we colored/designed illuminated letters, and wrote some poems (inspired by Martin Luther's penning of songs such as "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" ;).

-Daddy's family came to visit. Things are so loud, and hilarious, and memory filled when we all get together. Some of us laugh for days over the predicaments we get into trying to carry on four conversations at once. We had a pizza party, and the little boys gave a fashion show, since they were given some new clothes ;).

-I decided to do the GiveThanksx7 challenge that wasn't being held, in my journal. I was disappointed that it wasn't up this year, but knew that I woudn't have had time to really be involved this year, so it would work out better anyway... I ended up journaling 11 times and blogging 5, so, yeahhhhh, I'm betting that I would have been terribly uninvolved in an actual event this year, since I would have felt I had to make time to interact too. It worked out for the best, I suppose. But even the few days I was able to fit in were such a blessing to me, and I am so thankful for the encouragement to make time for this activity that even just having done it past years set up!

-The blog got a new design. And, according to my about page, I went from 18 to 20 overnight. Hi, I have aging super powers. (Or would that be the opposite, because if I age twice as fast as the rest of you, that might actually mean I was ill? I don't know. I guess it depends on if it ends after I'm an adult but before I'm actually old or not.)

-Mama made some curtains for our room, and I got adorable sheets that match the new spread we got this year, and I love it <3. Now, our closet door needs repaired, and I can finally hang up the picture frame I've been saving as the crowning finishing touch since before we moved in last year, hahaha!

-I got my new glasses <3!!! I love the frames, I'm still adjusting to the totally new prescription. So, we'll see. At least I'm not sick; I know a lot of people can get headaches and nausea from switching glasses, and I've actually never had that except the one time they actually messed my glasses up, so I am thankful for that!

-We had a Christmas decorating, family-only party ;). I loooove getting out the tree and seeing all the lights, and sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music... Lots of Christmas music. It playing daily over here. I love it <3.

-We celebrated Thanksgiving with one child sick to their stomach, one child who's foot ended up bruised when a chair was set on it, and a washer that needed repaired. Despite these unexpected and tragically comic, the day was a great reminder to count blessings, and then ended on a really sweet note as we gathered in the living room to decorate the tree.

-We had our Christmas party with my Mama's family. It was wonderful <3. And we went to see the lights at the zoo with them. Not many animals are up that late at night, but it seems most years there is one animal exhibit that we find something interesting about. This year it was the bears; they were asleep literally RIGHT up against the glass, and they were so fluffy and furry and soft, I admit I wanted to pet one SOOOOOOO bad!!! I made sure Josiah got to see it, because he's still secretly best buds with "Popcorn". We looked at them for a couple minutes, and then as we walked away, Josiah told me he still liked Popcorn better. "I like Popcorn, too, but it was fun to see the real bears like Popcorn so close, wasn't it!?" I answered.
"Yes," he agreed... "...and scary." Poor thing!
By the way, I say secretly best buds, because loving a toy as much as he loves Popcorn is apparently deemed weak in his mind. Last night we went to look at Christmas lights, and the little girls and Noah each brought their special toy with them. Peter forgot his bear until we were all in the car and beginning to leave, haha. So I ran back in for him and got it, and noticed Josiah's bear laying on the floor, so I grabbed it up too. I opened the car door, and Josiah took one look and told me, "I didn't want to take my bear." Of course he didn't, that's a "little guy" thing to do, right? I should have known not to bother... "That's okay. I can hold him instead."
Josiah thirty seconds later: "I want my bear since he is in the car anyway." Yes, he never would have stooped to wanting him if I hadn't been silly and brought him without consulting him ;).
Josiah when I went to tell him good night a few hours later: "Bri, guess what? I'm not even scared anymore, even without a bear."
"I'm glad, buddy." *smiles inwardly at the fact that he might not need that bear to sleep in his own bed... but he's still hugging it regardless* They are all so different, it's adorable.

-My Aunt Amber let us know that they will have another little one joining their house next spring... another precious baby boy <3! James is just a doll, and they will be so close in age, it's really sweet!

-Our church held it's last service in the old worship facility; work has been finished on the new sanctuary in the front, after many months of work!

Laughing at:

Proof that our house is loud, but this doesn't keep us from sleeping:

Especially Josiah. That boy can go to sleep as well as Daddy... I'm beginning to wonder if he's not even faster. But again, per Josiah's "tough rules", sleep is for the weak, and so when we point out he was asleep, he lets us know, fighting to look as wide awake as possible, "I was just resting my eyes." Or, in the case of last night, blinking his eyes. For twenty minutes.

Me: "Goodnight Joey."
Joe: "JoSIAH."
*taken aback look* (Um, it had been too long since I used that one!!!) "No, Josiah."
.....and on and on...
Me: i have run out of nicknames. now what.
Josiah: "....you can call me hair-hair."
"Oooooookay, goodnight hair-hair..."
Me: *turns to Peter* "Good night chicken nugget." (This one started with Andrew, don't stare at me like that.)
Peter: "I'm not chicken nugget."
"Goodnight Flynn Nugget?" (What? That was Tori.)
Peter: "That is better."
Josiah: "Um. No. That is not better."

Me: *yawns*
Tori: *sad noise back*
Me: "... I yawned?..."
"Yeah, but it sounded sad."
"I'm actually not sad."
Bethi: "Instead of ba-room-ba-shhhhhh, there was a train noise."
Tori: "Bethi... there was no joke. Why do we need a ba-room-ba-shhhh noise?"
"Eh, I just pretended Bri made a joke, and so then there was a train."
Tori: "Life is bad when you have to pretend people are making jokes..."

Bethi made the PERFECT low bun while watching a movie... without pins, so it stayed for all of 2.4 minutes, until she moved. But I got a picture so she can always look back at what a wonderful hairstylist she is without even trying ;).


Andrew continues the tradition of the guy putting lights on the tree wrapping small boys up, the same tradition Daddy started years ago when Andrew was a little guy ;).

Noah, anytime he disagrees with anything: "Never! NEVER!!!"

Noah, after watching a movie trailer that left most of us with terribly mixed up thoughts, and no words as to what we might thing of this sequel: "Um. Blah." Me too, bud. Me too.

And through another trailer of the same movie:
Noah: *silent*
The camera pans over the ocean:
Noah: "I love it! Water!!!!"

Newsflash: Noah is no longer a baby, and is EXTREMELY animated now that he can talk so well.

Emmi constantly: correctly uses a long word in context that we had no idea she knew the meaning of.
Emmi as soon as she does so: "What does that word mean?"


-The Bible. Because I'm supposed to read ten chapters a day and have already gotten quite behind, so I'm reading the old testament pretty much every time I read.

-But also "An Old-Fashioned Girl", because even though it's not fall anymore and that was the only reason I was going to read it... now I was looking forward to it ;).

-Lots of blogs. Does that count?

Quotes I liked:

I'm going to pretend Christmas hymns count, because I'm currently obsessed, 'kay?

"So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come Peasant, King to own Him
The King of Kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe,
The Son,
Of Mary."
-"What is Child is This?", William Chatterton Dix 

"Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does he sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men."
-"I Heard the Bells", Longfellow

"Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave his only Son
The Way, The Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world he came to save
Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping."
-"While You Were Sleeping", Mark Hall

The Shop:

-There were lots of fun deals at Under The Tapestry this month. I participated in a discount for baby items, ran a Black Friday special and a Cyber Monday special, and all that good stuff! Plus, there is a clearance section in Under The Tapestry now!

These items found their forever homes...

My second favorite set of beaded bobby pins, because that grey looked stunning after it was entwined!

This chalkboard which I originally designed for a precious friend, and decided to take pictures of and list just cause I could... and, since then, is still my second best seller.

Another little turkey hat... last year I sold one in a preemie size, and I did so again this year, and <3 my heart.

My favorite ever self-designed bookmark. I LOVE the elegance of this one!

And there are more of each of these items, soooooo ;)....


Well, while writing this post, I accidentally said we celebrated Christmas instead of Thanksgiving, so I was kind of jumping the gun.

Do you remember when I mopped the floor and broke a peanut butter jar on it half an hour later this summer?
Well, I mopped the floor and then dropped a tub of sour cream on it 12 hours later this month. I am so predictable.

Trust me, there were more fails such as these. I'm just drawing a blank right now, lol. Even despite my Thankful lists and letters and blog posts this month, I feel like I remember less of the humor from this month than usual, even though I know I laughed often?!?!

Grateful for:

 (Yes, I know AND have been informed that this picture is terrible quality. But y'all. That little guy's face <3.

-My Granny, and how just sending her a text with heart emojis in her favorite color makes her day <3.
-Noah's little verbal self. It's sad he isn't a baby anymore... but he is a pretty priceless little stinker!
-Time to sit and write or read.
-Abbi's excitement to be reading through the bible with us.
-Knocking things off of my to-do list in preparation for it getting longer in December ;).
-Grace, Grace, God's grace!
-The company of our little birds for my early morning bible study (of course, they just eat the whole time, but, you know ;)).
-Another wonderful month!!!

My wrap-up post is only a week late - aren't you impressed? And it's December already... how? Years get shorter the more of them there are, I really do believe. What are you most looking forward to this Christmas? How was your November :)?! Tell me the most exciting event you had this past month :)!