Thursday, December 29, 2016

Looking Back at 2016 ~ 12 Photos of Our Year


In January, we were hit by a typical winter blizzard around here.
This doesn't show the extent of the snow drifts or their depths, 
but it is kinda pretty.
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We never got around to creating our Christmas gingerbread houses,
but we made these Valentine cottages in February
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My youngest son was honored to portray our Savior
in the parish Stations of the Cross on Good Friday in March.
Without a doubt, he  felt beyond privileged for a long time!
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This was  "just" an ordinary sunrise one April morning.
It was definitely cold, but we decided to trek to the shore about three miles away,
and watch the sun come up.



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My oldest son celebrated 16 years in May.
<< As you know, I don't publish pictures of my kids in
"real time," for a variety of reasons,
 but often share older photos of them when they were much younger.
Or photos that don't fully show their faces.
So, no birthday boy in this shot >>

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Lotta cake shots, no?!
Graduation 2016
My youngest graduated home school in June 
and is now in a "brick and mortar" school,
as of September 2016.

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Well it was certainly difficult to choose just one picture of July
when we made another  trek across this great country of ours,
Atlantic to Pacific.
This cabin depicts Phantom Ranch, at the BOTTOM of the Grand Canyon, 
where we stayed on July 7. 
WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!
For more pictures and tons of details, here's the post



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Our "spot," in the Adirondacks of upstate New York,
where we vacation every August for one week.

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It was Back to School for everyone in September

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<<Again, not a clear photo of my son, so I'm gonna go ahead and share.>>
Much to his ( and our )  delight, he made the school soccer team!
This is one of many games in October
.

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Pilgrim candy hats for Thanksgiving feast this November
Super simple ingredients~ oreos, peanut butter cups,  skittle squares.
Icing to "glue" the candy together.
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Our advent wreath during week two this December

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I'm so happy to join the welcoming and sweet 
for her photo link up!
Click over and enjoy the party!

Thank you Bobbi!!!


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Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 
Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

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This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon this Christmas season,
would you consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
a few pennies per dollar.
THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Those Vows, Those Words ~ 20 Years of Marriage & Protecting the Holy Innocents of Today

So...us, twenty years ago today.
And darn if those weren't the fastest two decades of our lives.


Blink and it's 2016.
And by the way, the you-haven't-changed-a-bit thing?
Thanks, but there are these  middle aged, different looking  people
 staring back  from the mirror's reflection these days.
 You're too kind though.😏

And thank God that we took our vows as a sacrament, because, well, 
mercy, patience, partnership and never-giving-up.

This verse, read at our wedding mass, has
come to life for us countless times.
When choosing readings, I felt it a bit overdone, overused,
one of those everyone seems to have at their masses too...
especially as we tied the knot in the midst of a three year span of time where
seemingly all our friends were as well.
It was wedding mass after wedding mass and 1 Corinthians 13 seemed to get,
well, I hate to say it, but.....old.
I know it is due in large part to
the words spoken at our mass within the readings
and
the fact that we were married within our Catholic  faith
that has kept us, from not throwing in the towel.
That, and the fact, that we do actually still like each other.
The essence of  patience, kindness,
 not being envious, proud or boastful, as 
St Paul explained the meaning of "love" allllll those years ago....?
Well, smart man, that St Paul.

Other readings at our mass? They honored defenseless babes 
mercilessly and cruelly slaughtered that day, 
three days after the birth of our Savior.
It  was actually  a convenient twist of availability
 on the part of the church and the catering hall,  that  we were married
on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year's,
on the day  that we Catholics deem the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Oh, back then, I casually recognized Herod's savagery in the Gospel readings;
I absolutely did.
But did I truly ever  feel the depth of compassion and remorse and,
well, anger...that I should have, that we all should have?
No.
These were words that I read or listened to.
These were actions of a small - minded, threatened ruler two thousand years ago.
 I'm ashamed to say........... they were just words.
Not until three years later, when I lost my own baby...my first...through
the nightmare of miscarriage, did the horror of those sweet babies' mass killings 
 genuinely become clear to me......

In twenty years, given the ups, downs, smiles, tears,
losses, triumphs  and,of course, forced selflessness 
that comes with motherhood,
I hope I've gotten better at getting out of my own way and
recognizing the important, unseen things of life.

 A look back in time, through the lens of experience and clarity 
shows me that starting  our life together on this day,
 the Feast of the Holy Innocents, was 'in the plan.'
Our family feels called to  honor the unprotected of two thousand years ago,
on the day we were married, 
by  working as productively as possible  to protect the preborn of today.
By raising awareness and marching on Washington protesting Roe v Wade,
  by providing tangible help at our  local Birthright,
 by doing whatever is needed to defend the babies of today,
 who cannot defend themselves 
from the evil of abortion just as the innocents of the past 
were defenseless against Herod.


Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 
Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....


This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon this Christmas season,
would you consider clicking through my link

In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
a few pennies per dollar.

THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris



Thursday, December 22, 2016

All the Shopping Guides for those Last Minute Holday Gifts ~ #frugalliving

I've put together a whole boatload of shopping
guides in recent weeks for my readers and......... 
just in case you missed any.....here ya go!
Gotcha covered.
With amazon's next day shipping, not only are these
unique, last minute gifts within your budget, 
you should easily get your items in plenty of time! 

Here's all of the posts in one place.
Happy Shopping!
See you back here soon! 












                                                     Ultimate List of  Tech Deals: 




Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....


This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon this Christmas season,
would you consider clicking through my link


In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
a few pennies per dollar.
If YOU are an amazon affiliate, please send me
your link and I will do the same!
THANK YOU!


Until next time,

~Chris

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

7 Great Books to Give this Holiday Season! { #QT/ #Open Book }


Because a book makes the best gift!
Let's get right to it.......
how about some choices for holiday/ seasonal reads? 

 1
Debbie Macomber's
I'm in the middle of the Cedar Cove creator's latest! 
Debbie's books are light, easy reading.
Likable characters, relatable situations.
Soooooo fun.
Enjoy~



2

David Sedaris's holiday-themed essays 
(for the whole year, not just Christmas)


3

Nancy Drew meets Jane Austen in this murder mystery 
set on Christmas Eve, 1814.

4

Nothing beats a  Mary Higgins Clark novel, right? 
She is seriously The Best suspense writer of today.
At 88 years of age, she can still scare the daylights out of me....
and keep me guessing!
<here's Ms Clark's latest!>

But this one's my fave Christmas story:



5
What's Christmas without Hans Christian Andersen's
 classic The  Little Match Girl?


And this particular version features  the luminous art of Caldecott Honor
 recipient Jerry Pinkney.


6
Talk about a blat from the past:

Everything I Need to Know About Christmas 

I Learned From a Little Golden Book


Product Details
How fun is this title?
Not as much fun as actually reading it!

Featuring iconic art from Golden Books luminaries
 including Eloise Wilkin, Richard Scarry, J.P. Miller, Garth Williams!!

7
No list of Christmas-related stories would be complete
without a Max Lucado...you do know that right?
A perfect, moving, beautiful stony to gift someone special!

"The child in the cradle became the King on the cross." 


<< Here are the recent guides from weeks past in case you missed them: >>
The Ultimate in Bling!  
Frugal & Unique Gifts for HER that Sparkle: Holiday 2016!
Featuring iconic art from Golden Books luminaries
 including Eloise Wilkin, Richard Scarry, J.P. Miller, Garth Williams!!

                                                   Ultimate List of  Tech Deals: 
                                      From Kindles to Tablets to Fire Sticks & Dots!

"The Stockings Were Hung" ~
 23 Frugal & Unique Stockings AND Stuffers! 


I'm so happy to link at Anne's home on the web, 
Modern Mrs Darcy, for her What I'm Reading Lately linky!
Please head over for some unique reading recommendations by
Anne and her blogger friends who've  joined in!


I'm grateful to link at Kelly's for her weekly Quick Takes hop!
It's been a while since I last linked at Kelly's 
with my post on the Grand Canyon.....:
Descent to the Colorado: 
7 Tips for Hiking 5000 Feet and 10 Miles in 120 Degree Heat to 
Phantom Ranch 



ALSO ~~  I'm thrilled to join Carolyn, who hosts that awesome linky
for bibliophiles, Open Book, over at her blog Scribbler's Heart.
Please visit Carolyn for tons of book recommendations! 
I don't link at Carolyn's terribly often, but I'm always
haunting her site for great reads! 

An Open Book CatholicMom

Thank you Kelly and Carolyn!


Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....


This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon this Christmas season,
would you consider clicking through my link


In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
a few pennies per dollar.
If YOU are an amazon affiliate, please send me
your link and I will do the same!
THANK YOU!


Until next time,

~Chris