"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

27 December 2013

End of 2013 Faves

This is the last Friday Fave Five for the calendar year!

Most of this past week's faves center around family, friends, and fun.

I pray you all had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to what God will bring in the coming year. 

I am participating in one of my favorite blogging activities, hosted by Susanne, who totally surprised me by sending my family a Christmas card!!  Blogging friends are a lot of fun and a real blessing!


photo courtesy of fox den website
  • A CHRISTMAS TEA:  A couple of weekends ago, the small group I lead met at a local tea house for our first annual Christmas Tea. I say "annual" because we are going to make this an annual event. It was delightful!  The tea house is owned and operated by a teacher from our high school who has retired from teaching years of Spanish and always wanted to own a tea house. She has it set up Victorian style and the food and service is impeccable. It is becoming the trendy place for tea in the Capital Region of NY.  All 7 of the members of my small group were there and it was a lovely morning of scones, hot flavored tea (I enjoyed the Chocolate Orange Tea and shared a pot with my friend Lynn.) and delicious breakfast items. I savored the Apple Pecan French Toast. OH.MY.GOODNESS. This treat was chock full of tasty calories. But hey...it's Christmas time.. the calories don't count, right?? The fellowship was awesome, we prayed, I read an Advent poem and we just enjoyed each other's company.  We will definitely do this again next December! The blessing for me is seeing all of my friends together...all these amazing moms doing life together....the whole point of small groups in our church.
from l-r:  Alex, Sarah, Kristen,
and the birthday girl Claire

  • BIRTHDAY FUN: Our youngest daughter, Claire, turned 15 on the 21st and hadn't had a party in a few years....mainly due to the busyness of Christmas, concert obligations, and going out to pick up her big sister from college. Well, our oldest now has her own car & was able to get her self home for the holidays, so I told Claire she could have a party this year.  She wanted  to go to this fro yo place with 3 of her school friends, and then have a sleepover.  What a great bunch of girls.....every single teen was respectful, kind, and fun.  Claire doesn't need a lot to make her happy....like me, she just loves being with her friends. It was fun to take them out and let them takeover the family room for the night.  I surprised them with chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast...they all had a great time. That evening, Claire wanted Indian food for dinner and afterwards, the 4 of us traveled to the mall to see Hobbit 2.  What a great movie and the perfect way to end a birthday.  The blessing was seeing how happy Claire was at turning 15 with her friends.
photo courtesy of I embrace website

  • CHRISTMAS EVE:  Every year since 2005, our first Christmas at our church, we've been going to the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. It is the highlight of Christmas week for me, other than watching my daughters and husband open gifts. I love the candle lighting, the advent candle reading, the sermon by our pastor and of course the music.  This year our pastor turned to my husband and I and shared some words with us that were full of encouragement.  I respect this man of God so much and his words really warmed my heart.  After the service, we all came home to have some treats and curl up together to watch one of our all time favorite Christmas classics, White Christmas.  The blessing is the bond we share in Christ, celebrating Jesus' coming to this earth, and just spending time as a family doing these traditional Christmas events.
My youngest sister Jill and husband Mike
with their girls Emma (age 10) & Mady(age 5)

Claire, Grandpa M and Courtney
my Dad, my sister Hope and her husband Donny
  • CHRISTMAS DAY:  Christmas is my very fave holiday.  Part of it is because I love the day set aside to honor our Savior.  It's overwhelming sometimes to think of God, come as a baby...in the most humble way in the most humble surroundings and becoming a Man to die for US so we can live with Him one day.  I also like it because my primary love language is gifts and it thrills me to watch my family open items I've chosen for them.....we've tried to explain to the girls, when they were younger, that we give gifts to show our love for one another, the way God gave us His greatest Gift....Jesus. I love all the traditions we still participate in and I love that my 3 younger sisters and their families were together on Xmas night which totally made my father very happy. We all gathered at my youngest sister's (Jill) home about an hour north of my house.  I am most thankful that he is a Believer and that he is a godly man and grandfather...a good example for the other men in his life.  The greatest blessing is that he has been able to get through this past difficult year.....and deal with all the events of the year without my mom at his side....and that his faith is just as strong as it was before her death.  I thank God that at age 82 he is still able to enjoy Christmas and his 5 grandchildren.
my nephew Luke (age 21), his mom (my sister Joy),
my husband Dave and my bro-in-law Mike (Jill's husband)

my niece Emma, my younger sisters Hope & Joy

I love my family and thank God for each and every one.  Next week, we will be spending a couple of days in Boston with my husband's parents and perhaps his brother and family.  Christmas is a great time to get together and love on one another. I never want to take family for granted.

the Lisha Kill
in Lisha Kill Nature Preserve
26 December 2013
  • WINTER HIKING:  I really wanted to get out and burn some caloriess after not working out for several days so yesterday, I texted my friend Carla and asked her if she wanted to do a local hike with me at one of the nature preserves that are abundant in the Capital Region. Now, granted, this was not the Adirondacks (they have over a foot of snow up there in the mountains..in some areas there is 20 inches!).  But....just getting out in the woods on a crisp early winter day felt great.  It was lightly snowing although grey so my photos aren't sparkling with sunshine....but....it just  felt so good to hike almost 2 miles. It was slow going on most of the trail as it was slick with ice.  But the exercise and the company of my good friend was fun. The blessing for me was being with a friend and enjoying nature....God has given us a beautiful world....even with the snow.
Carla walking on the trail crossing the Lisha Kill

Along the Trail and Creek

That wraps up my five faves from the last week.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend saying goodbye to 2013 and welcoming in the new year.

God bless you!


Lisa Lewis Koster said...

That hike looks fun, but hazzardous! I'm always afraid of slipping on terrain like that. Thanks for visiting True Hope and a future. I'd LOVE for you to share my Christmas Tree post! Happy New Year!

Lisa Lewis Koster said...

Regarding "The Women of Christmas" by Liz Curtis Higgs, there are discussion questions for each chapter, and some of them really make you think. This would be perfect for a fall study! (I wasn't sure if you'd get notified of my reply on my blog. If you could let me know, that would be great!)

Jerralea said...

Faithe, you are definitely a hiking enthusiast to hike in the snow!

Your group's visit to the Tea House sounds delightful!

I'm glad you and your family had such a wonderful holiday. May God bless you richly in the coming year.

Mrs. C (Paula) said...

Looks & sounds like you had a delightful week filled with fun and those you love. :)

Willow said...

Great Faves this week! Your hike looks fantastic. I've been walking my neighborhood most days with my daughter but haven't gotten out for a hike.

Happy Birthday to Claire! It's fun as the kids grow and you see them just enjoy and appreciate their friends.

Your Christmas was so full of blessings!

Susanne said...

I definitely have to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Waaaay too much of sitting and enjoying all the goodies of the holidays. Your Christmas looks like it was really a nice celebration.