Welcome to my personal blog!
Just as I share some of my personal thoughts and views, I invite you to share yours. All I ask is that you keep your comments appropriate. I won’t feel badly about removing comments that are offensive. That doesn’t mean you can’t be honest—I want honest feedback—but I like to fill my life with positive people and positive things. I guess that means that if you have to say something negative, say it nicely!
More than anything, I want you to leave here feeling inspired and valued—and like we've had a nice visit!
Today marks the beginning of the Christmas season for me. You know I listen to Christmas music throughout the year (when I’m alone), but now it’s publically acceptable to listen to it all month long…love it! I enjoy everything about this time of year from the holiday music, to the smells of cinnamon and cloves, to the lights and festive décor. Most of all, I appreciate the focus on our Savior, his gift to us, and the special time spent with family and loved ones.
I put up our holiday décor this weekend. For as many years as I can remember, I’ve gone all out and decorated in several areas of our home with lots and lots of decorations. This year we decided to simplify and only put out our nine nativities, a few angels, and some garland. Everything looks beautiful, but it’s going to take a little getting used to.
I’ve never thought that all my decorating took away from the spirit of Christ, but it will definitely be easier this year to focus on the reason for the season. In fact, when the Browns came for dinner last night, the first thing Phoebe did was comment on a few of the nativities that she’d never noticed before…probably because many of them were amidst the multitude of other décor. For example, in years past, this buffet and mirror would be covered with decorations…so much so that you could hardly see either piece.
This year will be different in the Gardner home. The focus (visually and in our hearts) will truly be on Christ…as it should be. I’d like to share a gift from me to you on this first day of December...
Hopefully it will help you feel the spirit of Christ during this wonderful Christmas season.
I have moments of giving thanks every day, but today my mind has been occupied with things I'm thankful for, and my heart has been filled with gratitude since I woke up! I have so much to be thankful for...today and every day!
Today I’m especially grateful for a husband who worked in the kitchen for hours (while I worked on my computer nearby) to prepare a delicious Thanksgiving Day dinner for two (the girls and their families are all out of town). While it would have been much easier to go out to eat, I enjoyed our quiet meal together.
The green beans were sautéed with loads of onions and garlic, the sweet potatoes and cauliflower were oven-roasted with onions and garlic, and the turkey was stuffed with veggies for flavor and basted with orange juice, seasonings, onions, and garlic (notice a trend?). Sterling even made homemade unsweetened cranberry sauce for my turkey! What a sweetie!
I hope your day was happy as you paused to count some of your blessings because there is always something to be grateful for!
Sterling and I were blessed with the opportunity to leave the cold and go to beautiful Maui...just the two of us! Unlike the past several years, when we've purchased trips from a charity event that accommodated up to six people, the trip we purchased last year was for two. While we missed the girls and their spouses, it was nice to be alone too.
Our plans included relaxing and enjoying the weather for four days and four nights. And that's exactly what we did!
One thing that made this getaway different for us was the food. I'm on a special diet for six weeks, so it was a challenge to not eat our usual fare, but thankfully I could eat fish! Longhi's was our favorite restaurant because they were so willing to adjust their menu for me.
There's something about the islands of Hawaii that calm us and keep us going back for more...we think it's mostly the weather. It was warm and sunny with a light breeze...absolutely perfect!
There were two blog posts I planned to do in October that I just forgot about, and every time I’ve thought about them since, I haven’t had the time. So, even though the projects aren’t as relevant as I’d like, today I have the time.
I helped plan a service project in October in honor of those who will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The ladies in my ward (congregation) got together and made 50 bags belts (that's what I call them) and cards. The event was a wonderful time to visit and to serve people we don’t know but who will appreciate our efforts.
The adjustable bags belt will be worn after surgery to hold drainage bags. A patient of a surgeon I know had made something similar and felt like other patients would appreciate the convenience of this belt as she had.
The cards were given to this same doctor’s wife, who has an annual gathering for breast cancer survivors. She said the survivors were touched to have a beautiful card they could write some of their thoughts and contact information in for someone they would hopefully meet someday. The pre-written cards will be given to patients, after their diagnosis, needing a little extra support from someone who has experienced what they will yet experience.
I also wanted to show you the card that didn’t quite make the cut for the Founder’s Circle swap. But the more I look at it, the more I like it…maybe it’s the texture of the burlap ribbon or its simplicity...or both.
I hope both cards in this post will inspire some simple creativity for a day when you have the time and are near your stamps, ink, and paper.