Christmas Blessings of 2016

Just so you know…there is no way for me to adequately express the love and joy that I experienced this Christmas! There have been many years that I have not had comfortable feelings and experiences around Christmas. So to have been so fully comfortable and happy was awesome. Our extended family had so many “gatherings” together in a matter of two days! But each of them was special and full of love. We went to both a Christmas eve and a Christmas morning church service and had such a special time of worship and experienced the touching of the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? As for the delicious meals, there were about 22 of us total around the table on Christmas Eve and 18 on Christmas Day! Loads of smiles, hugs and love.
Oh, did I happen to mention that we have a brand new addition to our family this Christmas? You won’t miss him below!!! Yes, I am a proud Lolli! (aka grandma)

Below is a sprinkling of the love that I experienced in my heart…

 

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An Evening With Kerri Kenyon

Last weekend Johnny and I were super blessed to have a chance to be together in Lodi to hear Kerri Kenyon. She is a dynamic and gifted teacher/preacher of the deep truths of God’s word. Her topic was on how God knows every single day of our entire life…that He has each of our lives memorized! What an amazing truth. She spoke of how in the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve ate the fruit…God went looking for them. He is the great seeker and lover of each of us. Her closing words were Back Off and Pray! We were reminded that we just need to love and pray for those in our lives that do not yet know of His amazing love for them. Then she had each of us that wished to, add our names to the scroll that ran down the aisle, as a reminder that our names are written in the book of life. She also encouraged us to place names of those that we will Back Off and Pray for. One of my favorite pictures is the one that had tear stains over the names that were written.

Here is a quote from Kerri’s website:

DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE PURSUED BY GOD?…

Your relationship with God has, is and always will be dependent on His faithful pursuit of you. He is passionate about you. He sent His Son to this earth to restore you to Himself. He has never stopped pursuing you through the power of His Spirit. He never will. His desire is for you to experience His Great Love, the love that will transform you!

You don’t have to strive or work harder to deserve His affection. Nothing you do, or don’t do, will change His heart for you. His Love is not contingent on your performance. You don’t have to live one more day under the pressure to measure up, be perfect, or hold it all together. Jesus took that burden for you on the cross.

He is chasing after you. He will finish what He has started in you. He won’t grow weary, give up or change His mind about you. No matter what. You are Loved and Relentlessly Pursued by Him!

Here is Kerri’s website.

Below, I have also added a few of pictures of our time after the service was over. We and our friends went to coffee and desert together. There was live piano music and beautiful vocals as we laughed and had some special friendship time together. Sweet fellowship for sure!

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Fabulous Fashion! The cabi Scoop/San Diego Spring 2016

Every 6 months 3400 cabi stylists gather together to learn all about the upcoming cabi collection. We have meals together, see an amazing runway fashion show and get fantastic training on the new line. It’s here we learn the latest trends and style ideas. This past week we were in San Diego and had such a great time together! Many special friends have been made during these times, as we bond, learn and play. Below is a small look at the “Scoop”…and some of the many wonderful pieces from the cabi Spring ’16 designer line!

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Saturday evening just after the Scoop commenced, my sister Donelle (who lives in San Diego) came to whisk me off to be with her and the family and long time friends for a fantastic three-day visit. Loved our time together…whether it be in worship at church, having meals, drinking coffee, relaxing with a glass of wine or chowing down on popcorn while seeing Star Wars! Such a special thing having a sister!

The plane ride home gave me such a lovely sky to enjoy as my time away came to a close.

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Wonderland of Trees!

Oh my goodness and a great huge WOW! That is what I say about Constance’s talent when it comes to decorating her home for Christmas! For over 20 years she and her husband Ronald have labored together to put up 7 to 9 fully decorated Christmas trees throughout their gorgeous home. Johnny and I were blessed to be invited to their home over the holidays for a scrumptious meal with them. But all evening long I was wishing that I had my camera with me! Knowing that I was coming back the following week for a ladies gathering, I vowed to bring my camera back. So, last night when the Valley Glenn Ladies got together for their monthly gathering (which they graciously include me in) I was in “photography heaven”. Below, enjoy some of the pretty sights that we all enjoyed while in their “Wonderland of Trees”!

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The Best Week Ever!

This past week was super special for many, many reasons. Mostly because it was the time of celebrating Christ’s birth. Although, Christmas’ over the years have not always been easy for me. Not because I did not always love Jesus, but because I struggled to be all that I felt that I should be throughout the season with all of its commitments and activities. For many years I was a “single” mom and I felt really like a misfit during the Christmas season. About nine years ago God brought Johnny into my life…and the Christmas season has become so much better for me since. There is now someone to share the joys of the season with.

This particular Christmas I coordinated our extended family Christmas dinner. We had it in Roseville at my niece and her husband’s home for the first time ever. That was really wonderful. They supplied their home and the drinks. We supplied the turkey.. Mom brought her yummy traditional Swedish Meatballs and the rest of the family filled in all the amazing wonderful side dishes and desserts. It worked perfectly! My sister had flown in from San Diego and we were able to take a family photo of mom and all four of her kids. (love…)

The following day we went to Grass Valley and most of us headed to the snow of Nevada City for the Victorian Christmas Fair. Before we went to the Christmas Fair, we drove up Highway 20 to the snow. I had no idea that so many grown adults (my mother included at age 87 + one teenager) could have such a rambunctious snowball fight!!!

A couple of days later Donelle, Lindsay and I had a “sweet” time together making Christmas cookies for our neighbors and pastors.

Then Christmas Eve Johnny and I had Lindsay, Mark, Bradley and Mom to our home for dinner after attending our Christmas Eve service at church.

To top it off, on Christmas Day my dear friend Luda and her husband Terry joined us for Christmas dinner. Wow! So much love of family and friends. I am smiling just thinking of all the fabulous times together. I would do it all again…well, as soon as we get the bank account happy and pounds off from this round. 😉 But believe me, it was all worth it!!!2015-12-27_0003 2015-12-27_0004 2015-12-27_0005 2015-12-27_0006 2015-12-27_0007  2015-12-27_0009 2015-12-27_0010  2015-12-27_0012 2015-12-27_0013  2015-12-27_0015 2015-12-27_0016 2015-12-27_0017  2015-12-27_0019  2015-12-27_0021 2015-12-27_0022 2015-12-27_0023 2015-12-27_0024 2015-12-27_0025 2015-12-27_0026

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Family and Friends in So Cal!

A month or so back I had such a fabulous time with my sister and her family in San Diego and with my friends, who both recently moved to Southern California. I took planes and trains to visit them both. It was a super blessed time. The train was so over crowded though! What was up with that? The fact is, is that people were sitting in the train in all the walkways and steps. There just were not enough seats. But, we all got to know each other pretty well!!!

My sister Donelle and family just moved from the grey sky of Portland to sunny ones of San Diego. They are loving it! The picture of the family in the courtyard is of them. The view from her daughter Sara’s room was just beautiful in the wee hours of the morning. 🙂 Thank you Sara for giving me your space for a couple of days! Donelle and I had home decorating and wonderful patio visits together. Ah…I could use more of those.

The time walking and having fellowship on the beach with Stan and Robin was very special. I so miss them as our pastor and wife…Stan was such a fabulous pastor! It was great to see their new church though. And I loved having lots of coffee and visit times with my dear friend Robin. Their hospitality was very warm.

Friends and family are growing sweater and more special over the years. Knowing, more than ever, how blessed I am to have both!

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Family Reunion in Sequim Washington!

This has been a year full of travel for me! I had no sooner come home from the cabi Scoop that I went to in Orlando Florida, than I was on a plane with my mother heading to her home town of Sequim Washington. We were on our way to attend the annual Smith Family Reunion. They have been having these reunions for 40 years or so. It was wonderful to see so many of the family and to spend such special time with my mother. My brother Mark and his family were able to come as well…but they drove. Bless their hearts for making that long drive straight through to get home! Below are pictures of the time that we had before and after the “official” reunion as well as at the event itself. The time with Aunt Nancy, Uncle Don and my cousin Geoff was so sweet. (A little secret?….It is our hope to go on a cruise with them to Alaska next year) Seeing my Aunt Leola and Uncle Dan was a double treat! Spending time with my Uncle Asa at his home was heartwarming. And my other Aunt Nancy was so kind to let us stay with her in her comfortable home. Then to spend time with my cousin Judy in her 100-year-old home was a treat. Getting to know cousins as friends is awesome! I had time with Pam and Rochelle for coffee and with Gary and Jan at their dairy farm. My cousin Candice put such a sweet poster together for my dear Aunt Eunice who was the matriarch of the family and who went to be with Jesus this past year. We had a celebration of her and shared of the way that she touched each of our lives. I have to say, the visit was not nearly long enough. It was so special to spend this time with everyone along with my dear mother. She is a joy and a blessing…always!  (Iphone Photos)

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RiverCats game…our Friday night date!

This past Friday Johnny and I went to a fabulous baseball game at Raley Field where the RiverCats went up against the Grizzlies. Stephen, Marks brother had some extra tickets that we were happy to help him out with. Mark and Lindsay drove separately from us, crazy but just as we merged onto the freeway to head into Sacramento we saw Lindsay waving her arm out their car window! Now what are the chances of that happening? So great to have a caravan to the field! When we got there Stephen was there to greet us and show us to our “grassy mound”.

What a blast we had that evening!  So family friendly. There was plenty of baseball food…cotton candy, hotdogs, peanuts, etc! And old-time traditional songs like “Take me out to the ballgame”. There was the classic organ scales and cheering after being instructed to “make noise” or “scream”! Children were EVERYWHERE! Such fun!!!  Just have to tell you about a funny comment Johnny made. He said “I have not watched a baseball game through a chain link fence since I was in Little-league”! These seats were overlooking the pitchers bullpen. (I might add that #12 on the Grizzlies team is one entertaining guy!)

The theme this night was Star Wars, complete with plenty of Star Wars music and large screen video. And to top it off there were fireworks!!!…closer than any other that I have ever experienced! This is totally a do-over again and again kind of Friday evening. Soooo glad that we went!

BTW…it doesn’t even matter that the RiverCats lost!

(IPhone Phosts will have to tell the story)

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Thanksgiving Day in San Jose!

This past year we lost two very special family members that were with us last Thanksgiving Day. Though they were surly missed, we still enjoyed our time this Thanksgiving Day with many of the rest of the Burts family. Josh was with us this year and made a fabulous turkey dinner. The rest of us brought many of the fixings. We had an awesome day being together for the drive…talking about the Lord…eating…walking…and sharing stories and dreams. It truly was a blessed day! We have so much to be grateful for. 2014-11-27_00042014-11-27_0002 2014-11-27_0003  2014-11-27_0007

 

Mark turns 25!

Our family was blessed last year when Lindsay married her dear Mark! Mark has been such a fantastic addition to our family and I am so happy to post some pictures of our time together celebrating his 25 birthday! Lindsay and he decided to have a pig roast and use a friends home for the party. Gary and Oliver worked together (I think that they loved the challenge put before them) to build a cooker big enough to roast the pork. (Crazy thing…as the pork was being carved a little stray pet pig wandered into the yard…lost). Along with the cooked pork, Mark and Lindsay had many delicious side dishes. Yummy! They planned a picture scavenger hunt which turned out to be a real challenge, but loads of fun. Steven (Marks brother) and I teamed up and won!!! Yahoo! Anyways, here are some pictures of all the fun that we had. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR MARK!!!

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