Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Musings: Christmas with a Capital C

Source: google.com via Bella on Pinterest

On Sunday night, after the boys were in bed, DH and I decided to watch a Christmas movie.  On Netflix we found Christmas with a Capital C.  Although we weren’t necessarily looking for a deeply spiritual movie, this one(which includes Ted McGinley & Baldwin brother, Daniel) surprised me with its message. Set in Alaska, though it could have been anywhere in the United States, the theme on the surface appears to deal with the legal issues of Christian Christmas displays on public property (I believe the place in question was City Hall?)  We have all heard about legal issues arising around the country about this very thing which led credence to the plot.  Of course, the story line played up the stereo typical hard lined Christian view point verses an “evil” opposition to the display, but it also balances the issues with some pretty thought provoking twists.  On the surface the plot seems to focus on the legal issues, but I think the true plot lies with a little girl who decides to act on her faith rather than look for a legal way to keep Christ in Christmas.  She enlists her Mom and others to put feet to their faith through attitude and deeds to spread love and care through the community. 
Now, I am not downplaying the need for Christians to work hard to defend their faith and rights one iota, but one line that really caught my attention (I am paraphrasing) was when a minister suggested that although the Nativity is a wonderful symbol, we as Christians, must be careful not to make an idol of it.  Wow….have I been guilty of that?   Have I been so hard lined to defend symbols and wording that I have lost the spirit and intent of those very words and symbols?  I didn’t expect to be challenged by Christmas with a Capital C (and I am not sure my challenge is exactly what the writers were going for)… either way, I know I need to put more feet to my faith and make sure my heart is about sharing Christ’s love rather than making a point.
It is a great movie, especially if you look for the true message and past the stereo typical us versus them mentality!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends! 
What a wonderful day to celebrate all our many blessings. 
I pray that your day is filled with thankfulness and abundant joy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte, NC Part 2

Here are some quick photos I snapped while at the show.  Please excuse the quality as I was using my phone rather than a real camera!










So, are you all ready to get your decorating done???


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte, NC Part 1

Last Saturday, at the crack of dawn, a friend and I headed towards Charlotte for our Annual trek to the 44th Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte at The Park Expo & Conference Center.  Why so early?  Mostly because we literally stay all day!  With over 500 vendors from around the country, there is so much to do and see.  We spent about 9 hours Christmas shopping, eating and getting lots and lots of great decorating and craft ideas.  There are certain vendors that we look for every year such as Southern Supreme Fruitcakes (hey, no fruitcake jokes...these are delicious!) and always some new ones to tickle our fancy. It is a great place to find unique gift items and I was lucky enough to get quite a few names checked off my list. 

This year's show had a retro theme which I especially love, since in the last couple of years I have realize just how much  I love Americana and things that take me back to when life just seemed simpler.  (This is why I am totally over the moon with the old glass Christmas ornaments I have from my Grandmother).  When we entered the Expo Center we were greeted with a full sized, mid-century modern ranch house complete with an Aluminum Christmas tree and the familiar color wheel.  I was captivated from the first peek...and especially with the 1963 Ford Fairlane in the carport! 
 Notice the gift wrapped front door, my Grandmother used to do that!


Also, at the show there are some beautiful designer Christmas trees like this retro inspired one!
 Christmas wonderland!
 Lite Brite and Raggedy Andy, anyone?
When I was a child I played with a doll similar to this
 that had belonged to my Mother.
Oh, I had a Mrs. Beasley doll and she was one of my favorites!

Check back tomorrow for more photos of the designer show rooms and decorations!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Musings...


These are beautiful words, a beautiful reminder that God is there.  He is there in times of trouble when you feel alone and when you don't feel like you have gotten an answer.  He is there when you feel forsaken. 

It is so easy to feel like giving up.  When you have prayed all you feel like you can pray, and it is hard to muster just one more...these words encourage us, promise us...give us hope.  I am in one of those seasons where I have prayed and sometimes it feels like there is no help, no answer... but I know....I know....He is there.  The words are gently calling me out and reminding me to be patient, that God does answer prayers and instructs me to continue to pray...."NEVER stopping praying."  How much do I want to just give up and give in and my flesh wants to accept that God has forsaken me...but I have faith in Him and in His plans.  He is with me and loves me.  God promises in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. "   True to His instructions my hope makes me glad.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Frugal Friday: Black Friday Ads

Are you a Black Friday shopper?  I used to be every, single year, but not so much over the last few years.  That is probably because I have been the one to cook Thanksgiving Dinner and I have been too pooped to shop but I my husband has been known to head out (along with DD) if there was something in particular we hoped to get a deal on.  Fortunately, there is a website: Black Friday Ads - The Official Black Friday 2011 Website for Black Friday Deals that makes planning your Black Friday attack combat shopping trip easier if you are brave enough inclined to join the masses!  For weeks now, they have been gathering and sharing all the leaked information from major retails about their specials.  Check it out and you can decide if you want to do the Black Friday shopping dance and save some money!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Public Service Announcement....

IT is only 7 days until THANKSGIVING and only 38 DAYS until Chrismtas!!!!



Sorry for no blog posts this week. It has been busy and stress filled, and there have been things each day this week that have kept me away from home and blogging (and I have the laundry that needs folding/ironing to prove it!) Today will find me rangling dust bunnies and trying to make some headway in the disaster that is my house!!!

It has also been a really stressful week in dealing with our old house - we moved out of it about 18 months ago due to DH's job change.  We have been trying to negotiate a short sale of it due to the market value having dropped so low and that hasn't been very sucessful. The mortgage is underwater, by a lot, and there is no way we can sell it, nor can we afford to keep it.  The process is frustrating and the bank has already been so slow to act that we have lost one buyer (with a super offer) already.  We received another offer this week - much lower - and just don't know how it is all going to pan out.  I do ask for  and covet your prayers in this situation as it is wearing us thin and I feel the weight of this all day, every day. After 18 months of dealing with this, I have just about had it. (Yes, you guessed it...this is all part of my need for transparency!) This is a situation we never, in a million years, dreamed we would be facing and it is completely overwhelming at times.  But I am steadfast in my knowledge that God is in control and all of this is part of His plan.  Thank you, dear blog friends for your prayers in advance. 

I am clinging to:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
 “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
 plans to give you hope and a future."
~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you on Veterans Day!!!

I am so grateful to the men and women who have sacrificed to defend and build this great nation. I am also thankful and indebted to the families who have, and continue to, stand behind the brave men and women of our armed forces.  Our nation is blessed and I am so glad to be an American.  I am especially proud of two of my hero's and want to say Thank You to them for making my world a safer and better place.
My Father-in-love, who served in the U.S. Air Force. 
I know what kind of man he is by the quality of the sons he reared! 
Thank you, Papaw!
And my Daddy,
who was away from me for the 1st year of  my life
 because he was in Vietnam.
He was recognized for heroism during military operations against hostile forces with 3 commendation medals and 3 bronze stars. He was stationed at Chu Chi home base during his tour in 69-70.


Take time today to thank a Veteran and our currently serving Service Men and Women
(and their families.) 
They are the reason we are free!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

47...


Yes, only 47 days until Christmas! Every year I get excited about the holidays, but this year I think I am looking forward to them more than usual. Maybe it is because we are more settled here than we were last year? Maybe because 2011 has been a particularly stressful year and I am desperate for the joy and comfort that the holidays bring? Who knows?

I do know that I am looking forward to twinkling lights, Christmas music (well, I have already been indulging in that very liberally), Christmas movies, quiet evenings reading with my kids while the Christmas tree stands guard, baking and doing crafts with my children, parties with friends and family. I am even looking forward to seeing Santa out and about!

The stress of 2011 won't be gone when the holidays are, and will still be there in 2012, but I am so looking forward to sometime just to focus on this miraculous holiday! We are facing some hard issues personally, but we are still so very blessed and I am assured that God has a plan and He is in control. Christmas will still happen and the celebration is what I need....isn't it what we have all needed...to celebrate the birth of a Savior?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Supper Club and True Friendship


This past Saturday, we hosted Supper Club at our house for the 1st time.  We did a “Thanksgiving” inspired menu which gave us all a chance to try any new recipes before the holidays arrive.  For the appetizer I did Cranberry Salsa and it was amazing!  I don’t mean just good…I mean the kind of amazing that had me dreaming of getting at the left-overs on Sunday morning during church!  I found the recipe at Jamie Cooks It Up

Our Supper Club is a small group with just a few couples. We get together once a month (during the school year and taking a break during the summer since everyone is traveling.) We were invited into this intimate group less than a year ago, but the friendships that have grown out of this group have been such a blessing.  These couples feel more like family than friends.  I can’t believe that I didn’t know most of them at this time last year. 

I have been feeling off center lately and our Saturday night with the Supper Club was the best time I have had in weeks and it got me to thinking about how important friends are.  I don’t mean acquaintances you have fun with, but the true, deep down friendships that are there during the good and the bad.  The friends who step up and see you through the bad are a rare breed.   In all honesty, I have had far too few of these friendships.  So now I am reveling in having friends that go beyond a few drinks and laughs but the ones who you can really talk to, share with, support and call when you need a little support yourself. Having these people in my life is giving me courage to be more transparent and comfortable with myself.  They are teaching me what friendship looks like.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Frugal Friday

I want to tell you about my new favorite store, Aldi!  That sounds really funny considering I drove by the Aldi store daily for about a year and a half, until recently when I decide I had to check it out.  My curiosity peaked after reading one of my favorite blogs, Blue Chateau Interiors.  Carole, at Blue Chateau, shares how she cut her family's food budget drastically without using coupons just by shopping at Aldi.  After that endorsement I had to give it a try.

I stopped in one day just to look around and figure out the system.  See, at Aldi, things are a bit different than at traditional American groceries.  1st off, you have to "rent" your shopping cart.  This really isn't a big deal because the quarter you deposit to receive a cart is given back to you when you return it.  Also, you have to bring your own bags or buy bags from them (my local Aldi sells paper or plastic bags for .10 a piece) and bag your own items.  Fortunately, the Aldi folks have a nice counter space right past the checkout lines so you can sort and bag yourself as needed.  I take my own re-usable shopping bags and 1 large clothes basket (which I leave in the car) if I am doing a large shopping trip.  Then I bag up can goods and such and then put all the rest in the basket at the car and then return my cart.  It is a bit different from traditional stores but not much different from your warehouse club experiences (well, except for the pricing!)  Also, I like that Aldi carries all the seasonal specials and even some household and gift items.  You can also preview their sales ads in advance online to see current specials.

But why  has Aldi become my favorite?  Quite simply the price and value!  Over the last few weeks we have tried many different products from Aldi and have been pleased with the quality of each and thrilled with the pricing. 

In the past year or so, it seems grocery prices have climbed and continue to reach new heights every week.  Our grocery bills were out of control and I found myself frustrated and discouraged every time I had to do a shopping trip.  I know a lot of folks are dedicated couponers and in the past I have used a lot of them (but I am no ultimate couponer) and just couldn't seem to get into the swing of it after our move a year and a half ago.  So, when I found Aldi...I felt like I finally had some control over our grocery bill!  It was such a relief to see an actual difference in pricing! 
This is an example of a quick stop in Aldi for some odds and ends.  I got all this (including the fresh and so yummy pineapple) for $8.35 including tax.  I guarantee if I had gone to my traditional grocery I would have spent somewhere between $13 & $15 for the same items. 

Check out Carole's post on "How to Shop at Aldi"
for more encouragment to jump on the Aldi bandwagon!

So I am an Aldi convert!  Have you tried it yet?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Into My Heart...



I love reading all different kinds of blogs, some light and funny, some showcase great talent & craftiness, and some that share a journey and then there are those others that defy category (you know who you are!)  Southern Somedays probably fits more into the light and non-serious category and that has been Ok for the most part, but now I am feeling a tug on my heart telling me I should share more of my heart, more of my journey...also known as "be more transparent."  That is a hard one... especially when people you know IRL read your blog.  I actually debated starting another anonymous blog for sharing but then felt really compelled to just share more of my heart, my struggles, here on Southern Somedays.  I know I may lose a few readers and, of course risk some cutting commentary, but I really feel I need to open up more here about who I am and not just the pretty parts of life. Though, don't worry, I don't plan on becoming all doom and gloom (although I may have my moments)  Trust me when I say...this is going to be hard.

I hope you will stick with me and share your hearts as well. 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Pizza boys are cuter than I remember...

We are definitely not into scary when it comes to Halloween around here, so my youngest DS decided to be cheesy, pardon the pun! 

Rather than trick or treating (because to be quite honest, I don't really like Halloween...yes, it is true), our family spent the evening helping out at our Church's festival.  DS2 filled his pizza box with candies and spent the evening giving it out.  He really had a great time and looked very cute to boot!

Sunday in Savannah

For DD's recent birthday we spent the day in Savannah...
We started here, at Paula Deen's Lady & Sons.   
 This is the crowd waiting to be seated for Sunday lunch. 
Fortunately for us we didn't have to wait very long.
 It wasn't our first visit, but the food was much better than our previous time (which was good...but something about this time was even better.)  If you are ever in Savannah it is worth a stop!
 Some how my oldest is getting very close to being my smallest!
 The birthday girl with her baby brother. 
It has been interesting to watch how much the boys
 miss their big sister now that she is away at school.
 My youngest DS is a huge history buff so a day in Savannah is right up his alley.
 We couldn't have asked for better weather for strolling the Riverfront.
I had to leave you with a picture of the infamous Mercer House, especially since my book club just finished reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  We also watched the movie at our last meeting  - complete with popcorn and lots of candies.