Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Gift


The tree is up, lights adorn it and every last ornament dangles from every single branch.  Gifts are discussed, bought, wrapped and tucked gently under the bottom branches.  Yet, in my daughter’s eyes, something is missing. With beautiful, heart-felt, child-like faith she asks to make a gift for God.  A gift full of love for her Heavenly Father straight from the tender heart of His little princess.

That small, sweet gesture cut straight to my heart. 

I have always celebrated Jesus’ birth during the Christmas season. But, would I be okay without all the gifts, goodies and myriad of luxuries? If I only had Jesus on Christmas or every other day of the year, as a matter of fact, would I still be full of Joy. Where does my heart truly lie this Christmas season? Is my heart filled with gratitude for the Best Gift ever given? I think so, but still I feel there is more for me to give.

My daughter’s gift to God made me stop and think. What am I willing to give my Savior?

My daughter makes paper hearts.  Or ornaments out of salt dough, filled with color and words of love.  Why shouldn’t I also send a gift straight from my heart to my Lord and Savior.




How about you? Are you willing to give God the only gift He desires?

This Christmas let’s give God our hearts. Not just the pretty and clean parts, but everything. God doesn’t require a pretty package all tied up with a flourishing bow. He wants us. He desires us.  So, no holding back bits and pieces because you think He won’t want what we have to offer.  Give Him everything. Even if it doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. Give the parts that have been held back. The fearful parts. The dirty parts. The addicted parts. The hurt parts. The depressed parts. The controlling parts. The faithless parts. He wants them all. He desires to carry your burdens. To God this is the best gift ever, our hearts placed in His hands.

He is the Lord Almighty, El-Shaddai, All-Sufficient. Our God knows how to take our gifts, even if they seem worthless to us, and mold them into beauty. He will replace our fear and trembling with trust and stability. He will wipe away the dirt and insert purity.  He will fill us with strength and fortify us when we are weak. He will take our hurts and pour sweet, soothing love over us. Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals. God will take all we give Him, the areas we hold on to so tightly (you know the ones), if we release these, He will fill us with sweet, overflowing peace. He will give us understanding and wisdom that will push out our faithlessness.

But, best of all, when we give Him our hearts freely, without restraint, He will fill us to overflowing with Joy. A joy that’s only available through Him. How amazing! We give Him a gift that we deem unusable and in return He abundantly blesses us with His love, peace and joy!

Today, I urge you to give Him your heart, your time, your song.  Do you realize how much He loves you?  Do you know how much He desires you?  Don’t pass this up! Sing to Him a new song this Christmas. A song full of giving.  A song laden with desire for Him, Christ your Savior. Sing a love song to your Lord telling Him you are giving HIM a gift this Christmas. Then hand Him your heart every itty, bitty piece of it. Hold nothing back and you will have unspeakable JOY.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.    Isaiah 12:2-3 (emphasis mine)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Scavenger Hunt- 12/18

This Weeks items: What is it?, Children, Joy, Window, Half



What is it?


Watch out Martha Stewart my kids can make some mean decorated Christmas cookies!



Or in this case child!

cookie decortaing-w



A winter sunset brings me joy.

weed and winter-w



snowflake ornament







Linked up with Ashley:

scavenger hunt

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Days (and a Winner)

My days feel like they have been jam-crammed full and no words worth placing on these virtual pages are coming to my fingertips.  I like to write big and meaningful. And lately that’s just not happening.  So today I’m filling this page with photos, that for me, speak so much louder than any words I could jumble together.  (And shock upon shock…I’m putting up some photos are that are far from “perfect in focus or composition”. I know, I know. But, they speak to me and that my friends, is for me, the essence of photography.)


Silliness and wish lists

C-2011 J-christmas wishes


 Movie star/princess/Audrey Hepburn



Favorite ornaments hung in sun lit windows.  And homemade Tomato Soup and Applesauce served up in pretty dishes.

snowflake ornament sis-1


Snow covered fields lit by a winter sunset.

sunset and snow


Ice crystal covered weeds down by the pond. And little scholar girl who likes to try on her momma’s glasses.

ice crystals-w sis-1


Frost inhanced Juniper trees.


Snuggling up for a photo with my favorite girl.

sis and I-w


My days busy, but perfected and beautiful, through God!



And now for the winner of my giveaway.  The winner picked with the help of a random number generator was number 7.  Number 7 in my comments just happens to belong to Mountain Mama.  Congratulations! Thank you to all who entered and left me comments.  Love you all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scavenger Hunt- 12/11

This weeks items: Less is more, Holiday lights, Ornaments, Cup of Cheer, Nativity


I almost didn’t join in this week.  Not enough time or inspiration flowing around here.  But, I pulled it together and here is what I came up with.


Less is More

Salt. It was the only thing I could come up with for this prompt.



Holiday Lights

I had grand plans floating in my head of heading into town for some evening Christmas lights, but that just didn’t happen. So I decided a portrait session in front of the tree would have to work.






Cup of Cheer

peppermint coffee





Linking up with Ashley:

scavenger hunt

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Breakfast and a Christmas Giveaway

A couple months ago, while we were visiting my sister, she made Blueberry Baked Oatmeal for us.  My daughter fell in love with it and has asked repeatedly for me to make it for her.

Being the good mom that I am I made it for her immediately.

Or more likely….it took me two months to get around to it!

Last week, when she woke up at 6:30 in the morning and would. not. go. back. to sleep, we made the coveted Baked Oatmeal.

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal-w


Now I am not usually a breakfast person, but this…this is awesomeness in a 9x13.

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

(adapted slightly from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures)

3c  quick cooking oats

1/2c  brown sugar

1 1/4c  milk

2 T butter, melted

2 eggs

2t baking powder

3/4t salt

2t vanilla

1c  vanilla yogurt

1 1/2c-2c  blueberries

Mix everything together, except blueberries in a large bowl.  Gently fold in berries. Place in greased 9x13. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until center is just set.

Serve hot. 

Serve with pats of butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar.  And if your throwing caution to the wind, not counting calories, or are just up for some rich yumptiousness, douse it with a generous helping of half-n-half. You’ll thank me, truly you will (at least, that is, until you step on the scales:).

Next oatmeal adventure….Apple Cinnamon.


Now to spread a bit of Christmas cheer!

I am giving away to one of you, my readers, a set of my cards from my Etsy shop, SycamoreLane.  You can choose from a set of 8 cards or if you look on the second page of my shop you can choose two of the set of 4 cards. Your choice.

To enter all you have to do is:

1) Visit my shop, then come back and leave me a comment telling me which set of cards you would choose if you win. This will earn you one entry.

2) Follow me, then leave me a comment telling me that you are following me.  If you are already following me also let me know in a comment. This will earn you another chance to win.

The Giveaway will end Monday December 12 at 10:00am. 

Now I have to get into my kitchen and finish baking up these beauties…


molasses cookies-w

You, well, you just head on over to my shop, take a minute or two to look around, then come on back here and tell me what you like.  And if I could, I’d shove a warm, fresh from the oven, Molasses cookie through the screen to you when you returned!


Monday, December 5, 2011


If I let out a huge sigh, could you read within it all my thoughts and feelings?

They are wrapped up tight right now.  Hard to put a finger on. Difficult to express.

It isn’t just a sigh of things past or of time slipping through my fingers.  It isn’t just a sigh expressing wonderings about the future.  And it isn’t just a sigh of anticipation and uncertainty of the new ground we are treading upon.

It’s a sigh that contains everything I feel about you, my beautiful, brown eyed boy.

Fifteen?  How can it be?

I saw a picture of you the other day.  You were 18 months old with a head full of sandy curls.  Your cheeks were round and your eyes so brown and beautiful.

I cried.

I can’t look at those pictures, lately.

They tear me up. 

A part of me wants to hold you so close and keep you with me.  I know I can’t. I know it wouldn’t be good for you or for me.  Yet this ole’ heart of mine is yearning to do just that.



Part of that sigh is a longing to keep you here with me, close and young and super connected to your momma.  The other part of the sigh is full of pride.

You are growing into such a wonderful young man.  I see it, daily. 

My hard working boy.  You never shirk your duty.  Your just like your Papa that way.  Always willing to pitch in and help those in need.  Always working at your job till it is done and done well.



And your heart…pure softness.  Your like your Grandpa that way.  You love the babies.  Whenever your nieces and nephews are around you can often be found with one of those little ones in your arms.  You are the grand protector of you little sister and such a help to me where she is concerned.

With fifteen comes some big changes.  A time of newness, growing and stretching.

I’m praying for you and I’ll be here close by when you need me.  But, I promise I won’t be hanging on too tightly or smothering your independence as you face another year of becoming the man God intends you to be.


Oh, and I’ll try not to sigh to loudly!


Happy Birthday, I love you!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Scavenger Hunt- 12/04

This weeks items to find: Portrait, Nostalgic, Time, Full of Light, Motion







Watching my children play in the snow brings back such wonderful memories of playing in the snow with my sisters…for hours and hours!

sis by snowy stream-w


Linked up with Misty:




I’m not a big breakfast person. I’d rather go without most days. However, my kids do need to be fed! The other morning I took the time to make this Blueberry Baked Oatmeal.  And I even partook on that morning. It was so good with a bit of butter and brown sugar. To make it really low fat I poured half and half over the top!

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal-w



Full of Light

ice crystals



Oh goodness! I struggled with getting some motion for this prompt.  Short on time and inspiration, this is all I got.  I wanted to finish the scavenger hunt, so I’m throwing this one in the mix.




Linked up with Ashley:

scavenger hunt

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