Fondue Festivities and Happy Holiday Hunting

This year marks the 19th annual fondue and scavenger hunt party
hosted in our home right before Christmas.
Since our meager beginnings in a tiny apartment in Jacksonville, Florida,
to a clubhouse in Dothan, Alabama, to our first home here
and now our 2nd home here in Greenville, SC,
this tradition has been one we look forward to every year.

[Now, I have to add a caveat.
If you are reading this, and you are a friend of mine here in town,
and you have not been invited to one of these yet, and want to be,
let me know.
If you are reading this, and you are a friend of mine here in town, 
and you have already attended this in the past, 
too bad. 
We need fresh meat this year!
Call my secretary and make an appointment,
we'll try to squeeze you in.
Or you can crash the party. The details are below.
Just be sure to bring me a nice gift.
I am registered at several thrift stores.]

On to the rest of the post.

I usually print my own invites on some stationery I find at Office Max or Staples.
Or we make postcards at the Fuji Film kiosk at Walgreens.
But this year, I decided I wanted to try another way of making the invites,
online at:

So, I simply created an account and logged in.

I selected my category, Christmas Party Invites,

I then chose the card. The pretty red and aqua ones. I wonder why?

I chose a folded card.
It looked like this when I started.

I got to move the fonts, colors and words around
(this was extremely fun, by the way).
And voila!
An invite.

The front:

The inside top:

The inside bottom:

The back:

Then I checked out.
(Like I did after the huge Thanksgiving meal we had).

The hardest part was waiting for the cards to arrive.
(Three days).

And when they did, I was actually astonished by them!
Thick paper, not-too-glossy, not-too-matte, rich hues.
They are quality!

Here they are in person:

I always add some loose, unexpected embellishments inside the cards
[which I hear, really make a mess fantastic first impression,
especially after one has just vacuumed, or one happens to open the invite in their car.]

You can also upload your own family photos to make GORGEOUS Christmas Cards.
They make birthday, shower, wedding invites,thank you cards,
Graduation Announcements and more!
Anything, really, since YOU customize your card.
If you think it up, you can make it.

I'm sorry Office Max and Staples, you won't see me in your stationery aisle 
next year or the year after the year after that.
I'm sorry Fuji, I won't be standing in the long line at your photo kiosk again.
I have found my card maker.

I'm sorry I cannot tell you more about the party.
It would spoil the surprise and shock fun for the this year's fresh meat party-goers.

But here is one set of friends that survived the night.

So go check out Studio Dayspring and make a celebration happen!


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Thanksgiving is Over: Now What?

I hope your turkey day was blessed!

Whether you were at home surrounded by friends and family,
whether you were overseas in another country missing your family,
even if you might have been sick or in the hospital with someone who was,
I pray that you remembered how fortunate we are to simply be alive.

We all get another day to love, dream, share, enjoy, and "do" life.

I spent my day with Mark and my girls Miss S (Sophomore in college) 
and Miss A (Sophomore in High School-we homeschool),
in Atlanta, GA, at another sister's home.

I have 3 sisters (Stephenie, Amy, and Ana) and through a series of wondrous events
I was reunited with 2 of them (Amy and Ana) after 35 years!
And this was our first Thanksgiving (or any holiday for that matter) all together!

It was memorable, to say the least!

As my beefcake and I were cleaning up Ana's kitchen last night,
I reflected on the events of the day
and how we move, during this time of the year,
from one event to the next, without much more thought 
than checking off what's on our TO DO list.

Mine looks like this:

Leslie's Holiday TO DO List:

  1. Get through Thanksgiving.
  2. Send out the Fondue Festivities and Happy Holiday Hunting party invites.
  3. (Will talk about this next post).
  4. Get down the boxes of Christmas decorations.
  5. Get a new-to-me outfit for the parties we're attending.
  6. Put lights outside.
  7. Decorate the outside of the house.
  8. Make a few new crafts.
  9. Put the tree(s) up and decorate them.
  10. Clean house.
  11. Design the mantel decor and centerpieces.
  12. Make sure the pantry is stocked with baking supplies.
  13. Family volunteer with Salvation Army Toy Drive.
  14. Bake cookies and make candies.
  15. Wrap presents.
  16. Etc.
  17. Etc.
  18. Etc.

Then, I remembered a piece of paper that gets packed up into 
one of my Christmas Rubbermaid storage boxes after Christmas every year,
and then rediscovered every year as I begin the preparations
for the new Christmas season.

It gets hung on my refrigerator to remind me of what's more important
than checking off a TO DO list.

A Home Maker’s Christmas Guide
~1 Corinthians 13

If I decorate my house perfectly with satin and velvet bows, 
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, 
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, 
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, 
but do not show love to my family, 
I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, 
carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, 
but do not show love to my family, 
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, 
attend a myriad of holiday parties 
and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, 
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return 
but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. 

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, 
but giving the gift of LOVE will endure.

                  -Author Unknown

Let's remember to LOVE this season!


Hello, Lord.
We need to talk.
Something has been bothering me for quite some time now.
I need to air some grievances and address the injustices that my circumstance has caused me.

This is hard for me to talk to You about because I love to think that I impress people 
with my supreme homemaking abilities.

Okay, here goes.

It's about this house.

Others think that I always have the house immaculate and exquisitely decorated, 
the floors scrubbed, everything vacuumed and in its place. 
I don't quite know where they got that notion?
Perhaps because most pictures I take are staged?

But You and I know, that in reality,
I have piles of dirty laundry, waiting to be washed and dried.
Baskets of clean linens waiting to be ironed.
Socks waiting to be paired.
Hangers waiting to be utilized.
Someone's always staining something, which then becomes my chore.
My dilemma.
They just toss it in the pile, and I'm supposed to take it from there.
Exemption for them, affliction for me.

And since you're listening,
I also thought I'd mention something else.
I hate cleaning the bathroom, Lord.
It's gross. 
Why does my family's poop have to stink?
Why must their body waste leave me with a toilet to scrub? 
A shower to scour?
A sink to wipe?
Toothpaste splatters on the mirror to scrape off?
Hair in the corner, behind the door?
Just yuck.

Have you seen what's happening here, God?
It's unbelievable!
What about all this stuff on the counter, Lord?
What is wrong with the drawers?
Are the drawers broken?
Are their hands broken?
Can't they see the clutter and disarray?
How is anything useful when it is scattered amongst all the other paraphernalia?
Why can't they just put things where they belong?
How come they treat their things like this?

See this dust, God?
What a nuisance.
Couldn't you have just not invented it?
No matter how many times I wipe it away, it always comes back.
It just settles there, taunting me, waiting for the feather duster.
So, I dust it. 
So, what does it get me?
As soon as the feather duster is out of sight,
the particles make an even more voluminous comeback, 
only to start the cycle of
mockery once again!

Not fair.

And another thing!
These children you gave me 
never make their beds when they know that it pleases me,
nor do they come the first time I call, 
nor have their dishes land squarely in the dishwasher 
when they are through eating 
Selective hearing I've heard it called.
Honestly, where did they learn this behavior?

Since You're interested, let me ask You something else.
Why does everyone walk by the dishwasher when it needs to be emptied?
One would think they'd take the hint when I open the door!
Instead, they shuffle by, on their way to another destination that
is somehow more important at that moment.
Like the coffee maker for some caffeine, the sink for a glass of water,
or the fridge to find a bite to eat, as if that's more important than serving ME!

My life would be so much easier if I didn't have all these obstacles.

You surely know that I could get so much more out of life!

My days, 
my months, 
my years 
would go much more smoothly  if I weren't constantly interrupted by 

So, Lord, I now ask you...would it be too much 

if I even occasionally 
got a little bit of cooperation,
a smidgen of appreciation,
a whisper of praise?

A speck of love?

A fraction of gratitude?

Well, would it?
What's that?
Did you say something?

How often do I say thanks?
To You?

But haven't you seen the messes?

You've seen MY mess?

Are You blind to the turmoil this dirt causes me?

You came to clean MY dirt?
My heart?
My sin-laden soul is now spotless?

I have let my pride keep me from thanksgiving and praise to You?

Lord, I agree that I have a fading memory,
and I love to neatly forget Your mercy.
I conveniently fold and stow away Your grace.
I scrub out the remainders of Your salvation.

You don't care about the condition of my house, 
as much as You care about the condition of my heart.

Dirty dishes or dirty mind?
Cluttered counters or improper motives?
Messy martyr or sympathetic servant?

God, remind me of how wonderful You are and restore the joy of my thanksgiving!

Make me grateful, I pray.


Thanksgiving Decor Inspiration :: My Friend Ann's Home

It is one of the severest tests of friendship 
to tell your friend his faults. 
So to love a man that you cannot bear 
to see a stain upon him, 
and to speak painful truth through loving words, 
that is friendship.

~Henry Ward Beecher

Today we are going on a road trip to a home of a friend of mine.
She is the friend in the quote above that loves me so much
that she tells me the truth about myself.
It is the best and truest friend who honestly tells us the truth about ourselves.
Even though we may not like it.

She lives here in Greenville, SC, too.
We met 7 years ago while waiting in the lobby for our daughters to finish their piano lessons.

Oddly enough, she was reading a decorating magazine, and we chatted about decor for awhile.
We became friends through yard saling and bartering.
We became sisters because we both love the Lord!!

We refer to each other as my "Sista from Anutha Mista".

She fills her home with loving reminders of God's goodness and hope.
And her home reflects her passion for each season and for each person who enters in.
She does nothing without a purpose behind it.

I know you will agree that her home is warm, cozy, eclectic and full of inspiration,
as it always is for me.

Her Autumn decor charmed me so, and I wanted to share it with you!

I am proud to introduce you to my friend, Ann:
say "Hi", y'all!

Lady says "ruff"!
(Which in adorable, fluffy, doggy language means "Welcome"!)

Come on into her foyer.
Watch for subtle touches that say "Autumn"!
On the right:

Her Dining Room, my favorite room!

A view into the Living Room, from the Dining Room.
After Thanksgiving I am going to be helping her do a redesign of this space.
(Although it's pretty as is, she wants a change).
Should be fun!

Her Coffee Area.
Another of my favorite spots.
(I know I need to bring you those baskets, Ann, for the bottom shelves!)

So concludes our tour.
Does anyone else think that Ann should have her own decorating blog?
I have asked her.
She doesn't want to do that.
But, thankfully, she will let me come through with my Canon!

Thank you, Ann!

Ponder this today:

Let those be thy choicest companions 
who have made Christ their chief companion.

~Thomas Brooks


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