Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Greetings


Friends and Family,

It's been a simple year here for us.  After being in the new house a full year now, we are getting used to our new surroundings.  Love living in the hills of Missouri...what beautiful falls we have here!  The homefront is quiet now that both girls are off on their own.  Believe it or not, it's been almost two years since the wedding.   The newlyweds are doing well.  Ari graduates from Missouri State University this December 13th with a degree in Organizational Leadership and Communications.  She's glad to be done with school and hopes to land a job soon.  Anthony recently interviewed for and accepted a new job.  They are moving the end of December into a new apartment and are excited to be starting the next chapter in their life.  Beki started her 2nd year at Missouri State as well and is busy, busy, busy with classes, sorority, and her job.  She spent the summer home with us, but chances are that will have been her last summer home as she and friends want to get into an apartment this next summer.  She announced that she'd love to go to law school and is pursuing a degree in Criminology. 

The empty nest has been good to us this year, we did a little traveling.  John's family met in June in the Outer Banks for a wonderful week on the beach.  Soon after the beach, John had a 7-week trip to England in July and August and after Beki left for school, I joined him for two and a half weeks in Cambridge and London.  After 27 years of going there, John finally got to show me all the places he loves in England.  In late September we headed out west to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.  Due to the government shutdown, we weren't able to see Canyonlands which was disappointing.  We ended up spending a couple extra days in the Colorado mountains.  Check out the blogs archive for beautiful photos of all our trips this year.


October and November have been a blur of visitors.  Its been a lot of fun to share our new home with family.  John still works for the US government, but is looking forward to a day when he can "retire" and do something he loves like working in a national park!   I continue to work with my photographs and blogging.  I've had a small bit of business this year.  In June I kicked off my Etsy shop where I sell photographs, canvas prints and baby items for photographers and moms.  It's been enough to keep me busy around all the trips.  It was very exciting when I sold my first canvas print! 

I've fallen in love with a crazy little black kitten...Ebony. 


She's our newest addition and has filled our quiet home with lots of activity and mischief.  Sapphie, our 12 year old cat, has had a bit of a hard time adjusting, but I'm sure soon they will be friends.  Frosty, who is now 15 years old, is still with us but his age is showing as he is losing his eyesight and hearing.  Poor boy! 

This has been a year of JOY for me and I've discovered so much through my photography and counting my blessings!  I hope to continue through next year.  God has been good to us and we continue to be grateful for all His blessings.  May you all experience Christ's love this Christmas.  Blessings to you all this new year! Merry Christmas!

Love,

John and Aimee

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Xmas--Joydare

When I was a little girl, I once wrote out the word Xmas as an abbreviation for Christmas.  I remember clearly and never forgot when my mom told me it's not Xmas, it's Christmas and it's wrong to use the abbreviation.  I've always been careful to spell it out.  It's important to keep Christ in Christmas!

This year as I watched the transformation...
The trees are trimmed with silver and gold. 


Beautiful twinkling lights brighten our neighbors homes. 
Santa arrives in all the stores, even our favorite pets are getting their pictures with Santa. 
The "Christmas" radio station plays its holiday songs that tell of sleigh rides, mistletoe kisses, and even hippopotamuses...


The garland is strung, the cookies are made, the gifts are wrapped, yet...I realized something is missing. 

It is happening all around us.  The world is celebrating Xmas instead of Christmas.  They've X-ed Christ out of the holiday.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE everything about Christmas, but we've got to remind the world that it is Christmas we are celebrating.  We need Christ back in Christmas.   Store clerks are only allowed to say "Happy Holidays."  Our beloved Christmas trees are being sold as holiday trees.  When did the word "Christmas" become unacceptable.  Do we not realize that there would be no Christmas holiday were it not for God come down to earth as a baby.  So, this year what will you celebrate...Xmas or Christmas?


JOYDARE
 
265.  Twinkling lights
 
 
266.  Christmas decor
267.  A nativity handed down
268.  Snowflakes
 
 
269.  Ice crystals

 
270.  Peppermint mochas 
271.  Pretty packages
272.  Christmas music
273.  Memories on branches

 
274.  Christmas cards that remind us of friends around the world
275.  Bluebirds in the holly
276.  Silly pictures
277.  Kitties snuggled under Christmas trees
278.  Marshmallows
279.  Sacrifice
280.  Grace
281.  A Savior's Birth



Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving

We anticipated our week with Beth and Steve and their kids.  Looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with them, we started preparing for the holidays and making plans.  I got most of the Christmas decorations up before they arrived and finished trimming the tree while they watched a Christmas movie.  Steve was gracious enough to help John with some projects around the house, so now I have some heat in the basement and deck stairs that aren't going to fall apart from rot.  I was excited that Beki was coming home.  She was able to get her shifts covered at work and since the sorority house was closing for the weekend, she was coming home.

This year was the first annual Garden Glow show at the Missouri Botanical Garden and we were looking forward to taking them to see.  A little cold, but it was fun! 




 
We had an awesome Thanksgiving meal and everyone pitched in to help. 
 



 
We spent the evening watching movies and eating pumpkin pie.  On Friday, we visited St. Charles, MO for their Christmas Traditions.  We shopped, talked with some of the Christmas characters, and ate dinner at the Trailhead Brewing Co. 
 


 
 
 
 

Garden Glow

For the first time, the Missouri Botanical Garden presented "Garden Glow,"  Christmas light display.  We reserved tickets in advance.  We took Beth and Steve, Megan and Nicholas, and Beki.  It was well worth the trip.  They had several beautiful displays as well as an outdoor concert with a DJ in a snow globe.  There were fire pits along the way and hot chocolate stands to help keep warm. 




 




 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Colorado Side Trip

Part of our fall vacation was spent in the Colorado mountains.  It was unplanned, but I'm glad we went.  We cut our Moab sightseeing short and headed to Monument Valley where we were treated with a beautiful sunset.






We spent some time in Snowmass and in Breckenridge.  It was not yet skiing season so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  Being right at the end of fall was a beautiful time to be there with the fall color still around yet a bit of snow in the mountains.  The sun was warm enough for us to enjoy the hot tub then lay out in the sun even though it was in the 30's!  We were treated to a great breakfast with our room.  While in Snowmass, we drove to Aspen and took the ski lift up the mountain where we saw incredible views of the city. 












Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fall Visitors

October began our season of visitors this year.  We were so excited to have mom and Jerry come visit us and see the new house.  It was their first time here.  The fall colors were beginning to fill in and it was a great time to be out and about.  We took them down to the Central West End, drove them through Forest Park, and had a wonderful French dinner.  Mom wanted to see the Red Covered Bridge, so we took a morning trip out to Sandy Creek.  It was Ebony's first few days home and Jerry thought we were a bit cat crazed! 





A couple weekends later Ari and Anthony and Beki came in for a couple days.  We took them to see Cliff Cave Park. 
 
It was a perfect day.  I was so glad to get to spend time with them since they wouldn't be coming home for Thanksgiving.



 
There was a bit of a drop to cross this log.  Anthony wasn't too sure about going out on it! :o)

 
Two weekends later, mom and dad came to visit.  We spent the weekend celebrating John's birthday with a delicious Italian dinner on The Hill, relaxing, and watching movies.

 
 



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