Saturday, December 20, 2014

Our Texas Christmas Happenings

We truly missed the Christmas parade in Dahlonega and all of our wonderful friends whom we'd always see at every Christmas parade.  We have SO many sweet memories!  This year we found ourselves in need of creating new traditions here in Texas.  And we've had some wonderful experiences.  Here's a review in pictures:

We drove to Pipe Creek, Texas, to pick out a Christmas tree.  It's a U-Cut farm, but we chose the already-picked fir from North Carolina (so happy to find them in Texas!).  Then we went on a hayride through the Christmas tree farm.

The next day, we decorated the tree.  And, as always, we continued the tradition of putting our little Elijah's ornament on the tree first.  This is a Mama privilege, and it's always special for me.  

Tree decorating is always followed by turning off all the lights except the Christmas tree (and a fire in the fireplace) and listening to Silent Night by Mannheim Steamroller.

(This photo I LOVE, with the Texas star aglow!)

We also had the pleasure of stuffing little Christmas bags for some special children.  These included necessities like toothpaste, a toothbrush, gloves, etc.

The children's bags were added alongside boxes of food for their families.

Would you believe that we had a basic list of items to buy, but then out of nowhere God placed on people's hearts' to give fruit, pies, and many other extras?  We were seriously blown away by how much God brought in for these families!  And we didn't ask anyone for help.  We simply prayed, and people would call and ask if they could bring things in.  At Light Shine Ministries, we have a running phrase we use: God loves to show off His amazing splendor!  He does.  His love is extravagant.  The food usually fits on this big conference table, but this week it overflowed onto chairs, the floor and even an extra table outside!

And a big bonus of living in the San Antonio area??  THE RIVERWALK AT CHRISTMAS TIME!  Wow...and wow again.  It's beautiful!  We went with our homeschool group Christmas caroling on barges down the river.

We also drove to Burnet, Texas, for their Main Street Bethlehem event.  It was an amazing experience.  As we walked all through the streets of Bethlehem, we got to witness life and people and interactions as they would have been in the time of Jesus' birth.  It's one of those experiences that sticks with you forever, making so much real what we have read and heard.  One of my children said he wishes he could live right there in Bethlehem!

Then, because we weren't in Georgia for the company Christmas party, they treated our whole family to a local dinner at Fogo De Chao.  It's a Brazilian churrascaria and is a very fun experience.

The restaurant was on the Riverwalk, so we ventured down to the water again...twice in one week.  

When we left the Riverwalk, we drove past the Alamo.  I had to throw this photo in.  Great photography, right?  A very nice guy who loves photography has offered to teach me some tricks on my camera, so perhaps he can set me straight on shooting photos at night while moving in a vehicle!  

Round #1 of Christmas cookies was done by our 16-year-old daughter as a gift to her drama class.  She found this idea on Pinterest to make the mittens looks like they've been knitted, and she did a fabulous job!

Awwwww...and lookie what my children made me out of the leftover dough!  

And, speaking of Baylor, we had to make a trek to campus to see the Christmas tree.  We missed the lighting of it this year, but I'm in high hopes that next year I will be there for it.

And all the people said: SIC 'EM BEARS!

Oh yes, she's learning early how to do a proper Sic 'em!  Cute little bear cub I have.

Lovin' this sign: Merry Christmas from Baylor Nation!

And let's not forget Round #2 of Christmas cookies with grandparents and cousins!  Very fun.  We made eggnog cookies and gingerbread men.

And in case we didn't have an address to send you a Christmas card this year, here's the photo we used.  This was taken by a professional photographer who works for Baylor.  We were heading up to the private club inside McLane Stadium for my 20th reunion dinner, and he was passing by on a golf cart on his way to the club with his mega cameras.  He pulled over and asked if he could use my camera to take some photos of us.  What a sweet gesture (I tell Baylor Nation rocks!).  He said the photos were for our Christmas card.  So, we took him at his word.  Everyone was super happy to be visiting McLane stadium for the first time; hence, the big smiles.  Actually, every time I get on campus, I ALWAYS smile.  Love that place!

Merry Christmas to y'all from the Lone Star State.  I'm sending my love out to those I cannot be with in person this Christmas season.