Tag Archives: decorating

Glory to the Newborn King

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I love Christmas decorations in my home.

Even when the vision isn’t mine (my roommate, B, gets all the credit this year!), something about the lights and the extra specialness of it all reminds me…

to pause and reflect,

to slow down long enough to enjoy everything this season has to offer,

to find Peace in the inevitable crazy schedule,

to remember the ultimate Giver,

to seek His presence even when it feels like there’s just no time,

and to give glory to the newborn King.

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Hail, the heaven born Prince of Peace
Hail, the Son of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”


*linking with The Nester’s 2012 Christmas Tour of Homes*

*and to see how we decorated the same space last year, check out this post*

Photo of the Week: Forty Seven

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Another glimpse of Christmas decorations around here…

Somehow, there’s joy hidden in this photo of the week. I don’t know exactly where or why or how. But when I look at it, it makes me smile. Maybe it’s the color or the different perspective or just the opportunity it provides to pause and reflect.

But I know I need more of it. More joy. More peace. More reflection. More perspective. More truth. More of His presence.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (ESV)


*linking with Shannan for Money Shot Monday*

5 Things

1. I cleaned my bathroom yesterday, and somewhere in between cleaning the sink and the tub (the. very. worst. part. can I get an amen?), I ended up totally distracted by a nail that’s only been on the wall above the toilet for about 3.5 years. I was so distracted by it’s unsightlyness (I think I just made up a word…) that I went and found a spare frame collecting dust under my bed, put a fabric swatch in it (it was all I could come up with in 5 minutes), and hung it on the wall to hide the old nail hole. It may not be perfect, but it looks so better than a blank wall with a nail sticking out of the center!

2. I’ve been studying Genesis 3 (well, technically Genesis 2-4 for context) in depth this past week for Bible Study. And y’all, the Serpent (aka: the devil, Satan, the beast, the dragon, the evil one) is no joke! I have a whole new appreciation for this verse after my studies over the past several days:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

3. I’m thinking of doubling the photo of the week with a recipe on Friday. Is that cheating?

4. Fun fact: the ceramic fish in the above photo is from the Christmas store (St. Nick Nack’s) in Calabash, NC. My sweet mom got it for me when I first moved into my apartment in college.

5. I discovered Words with Friends this weekend. Oh, dear…

Christmastime is Here

As I mentioned in this post, decorating the house for Christmas has been a process this year. In years past, my roommate and I have tried to set aside a day or two to get all of the decorating done in one fell swoop. This year … not so much.

But I’m learning to embrace The Nester’s motto, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” Finished or not, exactly how I envisioned it in my head or not, more-than-I-care-to-count broken ornaments or not, I so appreciate the beauty in Christmas decor …

The peacefulness of watching a Christmas movie by the light of the Christmas tree.

The happy memories of playing with a wooden nativity set while reciting much of the Christmas story from Luke 2 underneath the Christmas tree with my younger brother.

The moments of stillness experienced from simply enjoying the greens, reds, whites, and silvers.

The accompanying wonder and excitement that remind me of the gift, the miracle, the mystery, of the Incarnation of Christ.

Will you join me in slowing down and soaking in the beauty of this season?

These are all of the fun vintage ornaments we found in my grandparents’ attic over Thanksgiving. My grandfather remembered using them to decorate the tree when he was little. I was SO excited that we were able to use them as a centerpiece on the kitchen table.

We have several Christmas plates, but this little square reindeer plate is by far my favorite. It’s just so sweet and simple.

My crazy talented roommate, B, made both the tree skirt and the stockings this year based on some Pinterest finds we fell head-over-heels in love with. They turned out SO well!

The mantel was a challenge to say the least. My rather vague idea of what I thought I wanted ended up not really working out at all (except for the lanterns), but when I remembered that I had the “love has come to walk among us” poster, it started coming together quite nicely.

I even made a wreath out of some of the tree clippings to hang on the mirror.

I hope the rest of your Christmas season is filled with the love, joy, and peace of Christ, the promised One, Emmanuel, God with us.

To see more Christmas beauty, check out one of the following as well:

The Nester’s 2011 Christmas Tour of Homes

2011 Christmas Home Tours @ The Inspired Room

Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday House Party

Kelly’s Korner: Show Us Your Life – Christmas Tour of Homes

Stepping Back

One of the things I love most about blogging (aside from all the amazing people I get to interact with) is the opportunity it provides for stepping back to appreciate all of the ordinary moments that make up the everyday and to encourage the restoration of proper perspective in the midst of a too-full schedule.

So here’s 10 days (yikes!) worth of all-over-the-place random, photos from my phone, and stepping back…

Around this time each year, I look at my December calendar in the name of preparing for what’s ahead and tend to have a minor freak out moment until I settle into being just plain overwhelmed by the number of parties, rehearsals, and commitments that inevitably characterize this month. Without fail, that moment has come and gone. But after realizing that I had foolishly scheduled almost 10 days in a row of being out of the house every day (for pretty much all day), I did have the foresight to make some adjustments to the schedule where possible. I hate saying “no” to good things that I know will be fun and meaningful, but I find that I’m much less overwhelmed when I slow down enough to have at least a couple of nights each week with no commitments (I call this scheduling “margin” into life…time to be still and recharge…am I the only one who needs this?), so I can at least stay on top of cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming the carpet, and washing the dishes. All things that help me stay sane. At least relatively.

This helped with restoring perspective, too:

“The second coming of Christ will soon be here…Rest in the hope of that day. Work, watch, and look forward – one thing, at any rate, that day will make abundantly clear. It will show that there was never an hour in our lives in which we had our hearts too thoroughly focused on Christ.”

– J.C. Ryle (emphasis added)

I rode with my parents to my grandparents house in Northern Virginia for Thanksgiving. It was a quick trip (we left on Thursday and came back on Saturday), but since I wasn’t driving, I managed to read two books during the travel time. (“Radical” by David Platt and “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo…just in case anyone’s interested.) We had a great time visiting with family, and on Friday, while everyone else was out shopping (which is just not my idea of a good time!), we helped my grandparents clean out old Christmas decorations from their attic, which is where I found these amazing vintage ornaments. I fell in LOVE with them, but no one else seemed to want them, so my Uncle and I divided them up between us and later found out they were my grandfather’s from when he was little. Even better!

Decorating the house for Christmas this year has been a process (and is still in progress), but my roommate, B (who happens to be blogging lots of fun and tasty homemade treats for 25 days of Christmas here) made these awesome stockings since we decided to change up the mantel theme this year. Aren’t they just the cutest???

Speaking of decorating, I know I left you hanging with the whole office re-do. I still haven’t really finished, but I did finally organize the bookshelf, and I really like it!

On Friday morning, I walked outside my back door to find frost all over my car. I didn’t feel like scraping the windows, so after saying “good morning” to my neighbor who was throwing out his trash, I opted to just sit in the car for a few minutes, eat my waffle, and wait for the defroster to kick in. About 30 seconds later, though, my windows cleared instantly as my neighbor had gone into his own car (he wasn’t going anywhere, mind you), taken out his de-icer spray, and sprayed all my windows for me. Totally made my morning!

Of course, ’tis the season for my weeks to be filled with lots of choir rehearsals in preparation for the Christmas concert (which is next Sunday) and for other extra special seasonal services (the Advent / Tree Lighting service is tonight!). And yesterday afternoon, I attended the women’s Christmas tea at church for the first time thanks to an invite from a sweet friend who hosted/decorated a table again this year. There were 81 tables all beautifully decorated by their respective hosts and a message of the hope and peace we have in the gift of Christ. So much fun!

And now, I’m planning to sit on my couch in my favorite fleece pants and enjoy an hour of stillness. I hope you experience some peace and stillness in the midst of this season as well!

“If you get confused…”

After opening the box from IKEA, pulling out all of the shelf pieces, sorting the hardware…

…and staring at the first page of the instructions for a good five minutes…

…the conversation with my roommate, B, went something like this:

ME: I just don’t understand!

B: [pointing to one line at a time] This means you need these tools. This means it won’t crack and not cracking is good. This means if you get confused and need help, you should call IKEA.

ME: You got ALL that from those pictures!? I couldn’t figure out WHAT they meant!!

B: Didn’t you ever read the comics?


All confusion aside, by the end of the night we had a desk AND a shelf put together and looking mighty fine in the getting-closer-to-being-an-awesome-office-and-writing-space.

I’m now in the final (well…sorta) stages of organizing and choosing decorative details, so I hope to have a final reveal of the completed office posted within the next couple of weeks (because I know the suspense is almost unbearable!).