As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Pineapple House | Christmas Tour 2022

It has seemed like such a short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! Much remains on the to-do list, but I wanted to pop in long enough to share our Christmas house. It has become a tradition, I suppose, considering that this is the fourteenth year that I have invited you in!

(Our other Christmas home tours can be found ~ here ~ .)

This year, there is a mix of

tried-and-true, where we just repeat things that we have done before,

and the
brand new,  because we have new pieces or even brand new spaces to decorate!

In the dining room, there is a good deal of the tried-and-true . . .  

. . . although I do have a new redware platter that I am using as a base for my table centerpiece. 

I am still enamored with Sarah Hicks' desk (you can read the full story ~ here ~) and I wanted to add a bit of Christmas to it. 

For the first time in I-don't-even-know-how-many years (20-ish?), I did not make a Della Robbia arrangement for the mantel.

della Robbia mantel ~ 2016

I got out the garland that I normally use and it looked so tired. (Maybe it was me who was tired.) What I ended up with is not stellar and I will surely come up with something else for next year, but this view in the late afternoon light made me smile. 

Here are some Christmas touches in the kitchen. 

The little gnome on the windowsill was made by our granddaughter Alaine (12) and he joins the pair of wooden trees made by her cousin, our grandson Peter (also 12, although he made them a couple of years ago). 

It was exciting to decorate the guest room this year! If you've been reading here a while, then you may remember that we redecorated Kati's room and created a guest room when she got married. I've only shown you one side of that room because the other side was not finished. 

I'll tell you more details in a future blog post, but we recently had a chair reupholstered and then I hung this shelf that my sister gave me, so of course, I needed to add a few pinecones and bits of greenery to make it festive! 

This time last year, the sunroom was a screened-in porch! I had thought about putting a Christmas tree in our new room, but this was not the year. Maybe next year. But the room feels Christmasy with a few extra touches . . . 

. . . the nativity plaque that our granddaughter Nora (13) made

. . . some greenery in the antique basket on the table

. . . a little tree in the crock 

. . . and plaid! 

Last weekend, we added the Moravian star. 

Thank you for visiting our Christmas home today! 

We pray that whatever your circumstances are this year, that you are able to find JOY. As the angel of the Lord told the shepherds, 

Not the joy of warm fuzzies or perfect holiday celebrations. Not the joy of an untroubled life.

But the joy of a Savior who came to save His people from their sins

The joy of   Emmanuel - "God With Us." 

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Gavin is 20

Our first grandchild turned 20 this week! 

Gavin, I will never forget that rush to the hospital on that unseasonably warm December day . . . Papa and I eager to meet our very first grandchild, Aunt Kati (age 9) excited to meet her first nephew, and Aunt Bekah (20 months) having no idea what was going on! You were born shortly before we arrived and I'll never forget that wonderful and mysterious feeling that comes when your "baby" has a baby and you are suddenly a different person than you were before that moment. 

And now we have twenty years of precious memories! Holding you as a tiny baby. So many Sunday afternoons of play and pretend and Christmas pageants and craft projects and cookie decorating. "Special Days." Newsletter days. Watching you grow into a big boy and then a teen and then a man. Drive-by graduation. Holiday gatherings. Listening to your banter with Uncle Ryan. Origami creations. Amazing art. Years of love. 

We will make new memories and share life together, but right now, I look back and treasure what has already been. 

Happy birthday, Gavin! May God continue to direct your path!

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way." (Psalm 37:23)

With much love and prayers, 
Papa and Gran ❤️

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022 . . . and Beyond

Autumn was so beautiful this year, full of color and sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Oh, there were many challenges along the way, but also many blessings and we looked forward to gathering with our dear ones to celebrate those and to offer thanks to the
Giver of all good things! 

We all chatted and made our lists of foods to prepare (although little varies from year to year). House projects were wrapped up. We cleaned and made beds and cooked and made pies. We selected dishes, planned our tables, made place cards, and ironed napkins. 

Ryan and family arrived a little before noon on Thanksgiving Day, with plans to stay until Tuesday! Hooray!

Kristin and her family arrived a little after that and the festivities began! 

Before the meal, as always, we sang a Thanksgiving hymn together. This year's was "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come." Then Ron prayed a prayer of thanksgiving and our feast began. 

Our "servants" this year were Kristin, Bekah, and Eve. (Maddie is usually a "servant" but she was on crutches due to an ankle injury.) Brian also jumped in to help when we needed to speed things up a bit. Our servants bring each dish in from the kitchen and pass it around the table, helping the youngers when needed. I love this tradition. It beats a long buffet line, and it is better than making space for all of those dishes on the table. God bless the servants!

Another tradition, this one begun just a few years ago: the Thanksgiving selfie! 

But it's hard to see everyone (twenty at our table this year) in one photo, so we took a couple of non-selfies from each end of the table. 

Coffee and dessert were served in the new sunroom this year!

Those little toes. 😊

Little girls eating dessert. 😊

Our grandson Paul was celebrating a Thanksgiving Day birthday this year! Longtime readers may remember that this was the baby who was due to be born as his family was moving from Maine to Maryland and we were all on pins and needles about the possibility that he could be born as they traveled! He was not born on the trip (whew!), but made his arrival just a few days later. And now he's eight! 

After Paul opened his birthday presents, we all settled in to watch an old home movie that Ron and his brothers and a sister created thirty-some years ago! Some of the cousins (now in their 40's and 50's) were in it too. It was a comedy, originally created as a gag gift for a Christmas party, but it had been added to several times. It was time for the younger generation to watch it! 

But then . . . 

one of the grands started feeling sick and part of our group left. 

Later in the evening, Mom called and she was sick and getting sicker. She declined my offer to take her to an urgent care facility or the ER on Thanksgiving night. 

On Friday, my sister and I convinced Mom to let me take her to a walk-in clinic. Can you guess what happened? We spent
  h  o  u  r  s   there . . . along with a gazillion other people who were sick. (Don't get sick on a holiday weekend!) 

Mom was given medication and sent back home to recover. I arrived back at home in time to celebrate Peter's twelfth birthday with some gifts and cupcakes (and leftover pie because that's what happens when your birthday is near Thanksgiving). 

We sang to both birthday boys,
because we forgot to sing to Paul on his Thanksgiving Day birthday.

On Saturday, one of Ryan's children woke with a high fever . . . and then people started dropping like flies! Within twelve hours, seven people (out of eleven) in the house were sick. 😱 

And thus began day after day of 
  • get up
  • eat breakfast
  • lie around
  • eat lunch
  • lie around
  • eat dinner
  • lie around and watch a Christmas movie
  • go to bed
The only variations were taking temperatures and taking meds.

On Monday night, an eighth person joined the sickies. 

In the meantime, Kristin's family was having a similar round of illness at their place. 

Our visitors (at least the drivers) felt well enough to travel back home on Thursday, although the fevers returned and they crashed for a few more days after they got home. This virus was a doozy! 

I am thankful that I can rest in God's good plans for my life, yes, even when I don't understand the plan.

As we drove home from the walk-in clinic on the day after Thanksgiving, Mom was apologizing to me for taking up my time when I had family visiting and there were plans to celebrate a birthday boy. (That's a "mom" thing, isn't it?) But I assured her that, although it was certainly nothing that either of us would choose, it was apparently part of our assignment for the day.

We talked about how quickly life passes . . .

and how a single day is such a small fraction of a life . . .

and how our one very short life is such a small fraction of the thousands of years that people have lived on earth . . .

and how all of time is just a "blip" compared to eternity!

For our light affliction, WHICH IS BUT FOR A MOMENT,
is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
II Corinthians 4:17

 His plans are preparing us for eternity! 

Sooo . . .

HAPPY THANKSGIVING  in my typical "a day late and a dollar short" way!

And . . . 

MERRY CHRISTMAS as you celebrate this month. I hope to check in with you before it's all over, but no promises! 

Now I'm off to finish decking the halls! 

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