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A Time to Reflect





Happy New Year!!

I trust you all had a very blessed Advent Season culminating with the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus.

By God's Grace, I managed to have a good balance between preparations for Christmas and very special time with the Lord.

Early in December, my husband and I hosted a Christmas gathering for our small group.  We may have been the hosts, but the sweet fellowship of Believers that gathered at our house bringing delicious food is what brought the blessing.

My husband and I visited several homes in our area that were decked out for Christmas including the home of my ancestor, Louisa May Alcott!

(stock picture)
The particular day we visited the Alcott's Orchard House, they had people acting out the roles of the different family members including Louisa!  My husband was quite taken with the actor who played the patriarch of the family as he looked exactly like the original portrait of the father hanging in the room he was speaking in.  lol.

We also visited Hearthside House which was decked out beautifully for Christmas complete with Father Christmas and a harpist who played beautiful Christmas Carols.






One of our favorite traditions during the month of December is to go to our favorite inn, the Wayside, in Sudbury, Massachusetts.  I was really hoping that we would be seated in the room we were in the first year we started this tradition and behold, this was the year we were!  lol.   It's a cozy room set off to the side of one of the bigger dining rooms.



I had a delicious chicken breast with cornbread stuffing that had cranberries and walnuts mixed in, amazing mashed potatoes and out of this world sweet potatoes!  YUM!!

My parents came up from New Jersey on Christmas Eve day and we went out for an early dinner to Not Your Average Joe's before the Christmas Eve service. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, their tomato soup!  Oh my!  It's the best tomato soup ever!  I get the Goodhouse salad and eat up their focaccia bread which I dip in the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flake, parmesean cheese mixture that comes with the bread.  My mouth is watering just typing this!  Haha!

Our church's Christmas Eve service was so special.  We sung hymns, the youth put on a shadow drama presentation about the Nativity, there was special music and of course we sang Silent Night while standing in a circle in the candlelight to close out the service.

Christmas Day we had my parents, all of our children and grandchildren with us!  This is something that hasn't happened in a very long time.  I felt like Mary, treasuring the moments in my heart.  :-)  My  husband and I both agreed it was one of our best Christmases.

But for me, what made the month of December the most special, was the time I spent every evening by my beautiful tree with the Lord...



If you haven't done it already, I highly recommend doing an intentional Advent Bible study.  It causes one to reflect and to focus on the true meaning of Christmas while keeping you grounded during the fullness of the activities of the season.

And now we are on to a New Year!

I confess, despite how my 2018 ended, it was by far my least favorite year.  I joined the many who seemed to be saying, Good Riddance 2018!  But I also confess, that I wasn't feeling very hopeful about 2019 because, as far as I can tell, my circumstances aren't going to change very much.

But then I read a friend's instagram post and was instantly convicted...  This particular friend has endured heartbreak like no other parent should ever have to face with the death of her precious two year old who was born with a rare genetic disease, Niemann-Pick.  He died two years ago and the Lord has since blessed her with two daughters who are  not effected by this disease.  Praise God!  But as she has written about, the grief doesn't go away.   She still can have bad days with a profound ache in her heart missing her sweet boy, but she chooses to live and glorify God for her son with the joy that only the Lord can give.  In her post, she said how she is looking forward to 2019 expecting God to do exceedingly above all that she hopes or imagines.  Now that's the way to go into 2019!!  With expectant hope in the Lord!

Next week I will be writing about the promise the Lord gave me for 2019 and how it has changed my view even of 2018!

Stay tuned!  :-)

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & TruthWoman to Woman Ministries, Inspire Me MondayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Good Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog Hop  Tuesday Talk   Faith 'N Friends Sitting Among Friends   House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Literacy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceDance with Jesus Booknificent Thursdays  Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays , Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Sunday ThoughtsWriter Wednesday, Faith Filled Friday God Sized Dreams Link-Up Sitting Among Friends Be Thee Inspired Graceful Tuesday Link-up Aprons & Pearls Link-up Trekkingthru Link-up  Encouraging Word Wednesday  Grace Moments Link-up  Encouraging Hearts and Home Worth Beyond Rubies Seeking Sabbath Scripture and a Snapshot IHeart Verse Welcome Heart




Comments

  1. Oh, it was so wonderful seeing the photos and hearing about the wonderful Christmas season you just had! And, how precious that God allowed you and your whole family to be together like that! God is SO good! May God bless every, single day of this New Year for you and your dear family, sweet friend!

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    1. Hi Cheryl, Thank you so much dear friend!! Praying those same blessings back to your sweet family. :-)

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  2. Expectant hope in the Lord is a good attitude. Thank you for sharing this wonderful example of inspiration.

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    1. You are very welcome! And thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  3. What fun traditions! I've visited the Louisa May Alcott home--it's near the house my grandmother was born in (in West Concord). I look forward to hearing about the promise!

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    1. Hi Anita, Oh how neat! My husband and I LOVE visiting Concord. It's our happy place. :-)

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  4. Karen, I loved reading this post! Your pictures made me long for New England again!! I'm glad that you had such a wonderful Christmas; it sounded like such a blessed celebration. I'm looking forward to the next post as well!! The Lord bless you, dear Karen. <3

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    1. Hi Bekki, Awe, I'm glad you enjoyed this post. Happy it brought back sweet memories of New England.

      It was!

      The Lord bless you as well sweet friend. :-)

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    1. Hi Rebecca,

      It really is!

      Thanks for stopping by. :-)

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  6. I've never been to New England. Love your pictures. Looks like a fabulous visit.

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    1. Hi Karen,

      New England is a beautiful place! It was!

      Thanks so much for visiting. :-)

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  7. Beautiful photos! I like to prepare during Advent, but we didn't have the Advent wreath last year. I missed it, so maybe we can be more intentional this Advent. Blessings to you and thanks for sharing your words. I'm your neighbor at #TuneInThursday.

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    1. Hi Gayl,

      Thank you.

      I haven't done an Advent wreath since my kids were young. It is a lovely tradition for sure!

      You are welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  8. I just love seeing the way people and places decorate for Christmas - there is something so hopefilled and joyful about it.
    thanks for linking up with me over at #TuneInThursday

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    1. Hi Debbie,

      Awe, well I'm glad!

      You are very welcome! :-)

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  9. Beautiful photos.
    I have 3 losses highlighted in my heart at Christmas each yea, my son, daughter & my late husband...I know where they are in the Lord but their memories are still precious :-)
    Blessings for 2019,
    Jennifer

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    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry you have been through so much loss, but rejoice with you that they are with our Heavenly Father and you will one day see them again. I'm sure every memory is indeed precious.

      Blessings to you,

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  10. I love the pictures of those houses!

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    1. Hi Amy, They were amazing! :-)

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  11. Beautiful post! Love the photos of the homes all decked out at Christmas. Makes me miss the turn-of-the-century house we once lived in. Love that you have an "Encouragement" label. :) We're ALL about encouragement!!!

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    1. Hi Patsy, Thank you.

      That must've been so amazing to live in a turn of the century house!

      Indeed! :-)

      Thanks so much for visiting.

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  12. I love seeing the pictures of the houses you visited. How beautiful! Thank you for sharing with us at Grace & Truth Link-Up.

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  13. New England is SO beautiful!! What great reflections! Praying for your sweet friend.. :(

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    1. Hi Rachel, It truly is. :-)

      Thank you so much for your prayers. That means so much.

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