Saturday, January 6, 2018

Christmas Travels & A Happy New Year

What a wonderful holiday season we had this year!   We traveled to Texas to be with our family and friends over the holidays.  It was a great trip for the most part with some challenges along the way, but overall a truly blessed time. 

We had a dusting of snow on the ground the day before we left.  A huge snowstorm was predicted for the day we left.  Our plane left at 5:15 a.m., which meant we had to get up at 1:30 in the morning to drive to the airport.  It was already snowing, and the roads were quite treacherous, but we safely made it there. 
It took the airline crew 40 minutes to de-ice our plane! They went over it three times with 2 different kinds of de-icer. 
The stewardess apologized for the long wait, however,
we didn't mind the wait, safety at this point was more important than time!

Once above the clouds, the morning sunrise was enthralling to see! 


We arrived at our first stop, and waited to board the next plane.  While in line to board,
the gate attendant announced that our flight had been cancelled! 

As everyone flooded the local gate attendant to rebook their flight, my children and I walked down several gates to an attendant who wasn't busy, and she reserved for us the last three seats on the next flight out, which was six hours later that day.  We were thankful to get on that flight, and I know the Lord guided us to not wait in that line like the rest of the folks who were trying to rebook their flights, and further that there were exactly the amount of seats left on that flight for us! The hand of the Lord was with us even in the unexpected turn of events.  

We had six hours to spend in the airport, and after getting up at 1:30 that morning (and not really sleeping well the night before - you know how the anticipation of waking up that early messes with your sleep, lol) - we decided that we would make the best of our time at this airport, regardless of our weariness. 

I found a window overlooking the bay, and enjoyed the beautiful view. People watching is always fun too, and we did some of that. I also walked the entire airport several times.  Six hours passed pretty quickly for us, thankfully. 

Finally we were on the plane to our next stop, and now, the sun was setting in the sky. 

Beautiful doesn't really describe the scene outside our window as we traveled. 
As we descended into Los Angeles, we could see the terribly destructive wildfires burning below us. 

Night descended as we arrived at our next stop, Los Angeles.  We just stayed on the plane, and soon we were on our way
to our final destination, San Antonio. We had been up at this point close to 24 hours, but a quick stop at Whataburger on our way to my parents home was a nice welcome to Texas.
The next morning, our first stop was to visit Bill Miller BBQ for breakfast.
In my opinion, they have the best fast food breakfast you will ever eat! I got the bacon, egg, cheese and potato taco,
and with their amazing hot sauce, it was a great way to start the day. 


I soaked up the beauty of flowers blooming.  The roses were stunning. 

We went to visit my sister and her family.  They treated us to the  most amazing BBQ experience,
at the Salt Lick BBQ.  It is all you can eat BBQ, unlimited meats and sides! 

The meat is cooked in this huge pit that is in the entrance of the restaurant.  I highly recommend visiting this
restaurant if you enjoy Texas style BBQ... we were filled to the gills as we left, and my sister remarked that
many people feel "salt-lick sick" when they leave, because of the amount of food they bring you to eat! 
Lots of leftovers returned home with us. 
 
My nieces (2 and 4) showed me this gingerbread house that my mom helped
them to decorate.  The 2-year-old just helped herself to the candy on the house while we visited, lol! 

We enjoyed a magnificent sunset over the river one evening. 


Texas-style mountains graced the horizon as we traveled to be with my husband's family. 

If you didn't know this already... my family loves Texas style BBQ! LOL...
and so we found another amazing BBQ pit to eat at.
This is one style of food that can't be duplicated where we live,
as they use mesquite wood, which we don't have, to get the amazing flavor in the meat. 

This BBQ pit does not use plates, rather it uses large pieces of freezer paper
on which you dump your meats and sides.
Plan to get a little messy as you eat, lol! 

Another beautiful sunset. 


I helped my mother prepare for the large Christmas dinner she was putting on. 
I took pleasure in helping her set out her
finest china for the meal. 

Food just tastes better on china! We made sure our parents got their food first to honor and respect
their efforts at hosting such a large gathering. 
After the delicious meal, the girls sat down to a cup of hot tea together,
before we had our annual Christmas white elephant exchange, and then game time and snacks later.  We were happy to have the youngest generations join us, as they enjoyed the tea time with us. 

My mother has had this china for 45 years, gifted to them at their wedding, and she has not ever had a piece broken!  It is the Royal Albert Lavender Rose set, and it is in remarkable condition. We sipped King Cole orange pekoe tea. 


Because our nieces enjoyed the tea party so much on Christmas Day,
we planned another tea party a couple of days later.  

We kept it very simple, with ham salad sandwiches (made from leftover ham that was ground and mixed with mayo and dill pickle), icebox cookies, shortbread cookies, Mom's Boston Fruit Cake and other assorted chocolate snacks. 

Mom was given the recipe for her fruit cake by an family friend many years ago, and it always
graces her table at Christmastime.  It is moist, delicious and just amazing! 

Some time ago, my mother lost one of her brothers in a tragic accident, and since then her family has used butterflies as a way to remember his amazing life. This past summer our family helped our parents renovate their home, and this wall was left open because my mom's idea was to turn the wall into a garden scene where she could hang 3D butterflies.  My sister found this gorgeous mural online, and for my mom's birthday this year, our family worked together to hang the mural on this wall.  Our parents both just sat and looked at the beautiful mural after it was hung, and their hearts were so grateful to have this big project completed and for them to enjoy. 


All too soon, it was time for us to return back home.  While we were gone, there was hardly a day without snow here.  We had a friend plow the driveway, and another friend who came at night to stay at our place and keep an eye on our animals.  We were very blessed to return home and find our animals happy and fat,
and our home and driveway welcoming and waiting for us.  
 
The next few days were busy for us after being gone for almost two weeks.  There were storage building roofs that
needed to be shoveled, and I couldn't wait to get outside and explore the snowy wonderland. 

My garden sits quietly under the heavy blanket of snow, beautiful in the early morning sunshine.  Apparently the sun was hardly seen while we were away, but it came out in its full glory for four days after we got home.  I will save those pictures for another blog post.  It was such a blessing to be with our family over the holidays, but truly there is no place like home! :)

It is hard to believe that another year has come and passed so quickly.  As I look back on the past year of 2017 and into this year of 2018, I know that every day with the Lord is special, blessed and in Him our hearts can rejoice regardless of what life circumstance we find ourselves in.  
Whatever a day, a week, a month, or a year may hold, 
when our hope is in Christ, 
we can rest assured that we are safe in His care,
no matter what situations life drops in our pathway.  

I look with anticipation into the days ahead, because as we walk day by day with Him, while the world around may be tumultuous and filled with uncertainty, despair, sadness and misery... and our own circumstances may at times mirror those things... still we can look up beyond this world, into His face, and be comforted in knowing that He sees it all, and nothing will befall us that He is not aware of, in control of, and working in us, and through us for our greater good.

I'm reminded of this verse today as I write this post, and I want to share it with you, praying that the everlasting goodness of our Lord will be with you, regardless of what life circumstance you may be encountering, or facing this year. 


Isaiah 40:28-31
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.


In Him, all is well!

67 comments:

  1. Isn't it amazing we can fly?

    Thank you for sharing these lovely photos. The mural is AMAZING!

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    1. I think of that often, how amazing that we can fly so far in just a few hours! The mural is amazing, my parents are just in love with it :)

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  2. That mural is amazing!! Looked to be a wonderful time (even the cancelled flight, true believer that the good Lord had something else in mind). I simply can not believe that 2017 is over and done with. smiles

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    1. The Lord's ways are always best, and we traveled with that in mind. It is hard to believe another year has come and gone, time is just flying by us! Continued prayers for you dear friend!

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  3. What a wonderful trip! Your family sure knows how to cook and decorated. I love seeing the Christmas glasses and even the candles on the table. And the tea parties...all so perfect. I want to be in YOUR family! heehee! Sure a lot of difference in weather. Oh and I love Texas BBQ too! Happy New year! Hugs, Diane

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    1. I would love to have you in my family, anytime Diane! Truly we are blessed to get together with family, and having the tea party was so much fun, especially with my nieces who had never done that before. I hope it sparks something special in their lives :) Yes, Texas BBQ is really the best! As you can see, we really enjoyed it :) Happy New Year to you dear friend :)

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  4. Happy New Year, Marilyn. Blessings to you and your family for 2018.

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  5. You're a strong woman to travel during the Christmas season, but I'm glad you had a good time.

    Your mother's china is beautiful.

    Now is the time to get out the seed catalogs and start our garden planning. Yay!

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    1. Yes, indeed, the seed catalogs are sitting by my reading chair, and I've begun to plot and scheme already, ha! I don't like traveling at Christmas, but it is the only time off our kids could get, so we had to make it work.

      Happy New Year to you! :)

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  6. Looks like you had a great trip! All the food looks delicious! The china set your mom has is so beautiful! Glad you had a fun and safe trip! Blessings to you in this new year! Happy 2018!

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    1. It was a wonderful trip in every way, and thankful for the Lord's protection as we traveled. Appreciate your visit Angela, and want to wish you a Happy New Year too :)

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  7. Sounds like you had a great time visiting with family. I have not heard of an eatery that serves the food on freezer paper but it would cut out the need for dishwashers!!
    A little late, but happy 2018!

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    1. It is a common practice in Texas at barbecue restaurants to serve food on these "fancy" plates, lol. Easy cleanup, and the rustic appeal is great too! I however prefer food on plates, but when it comes to bbq and the cleanup, it works! LOL... Blessings to you dear friend :)

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  8. Texas BBQ is the best! Though most restaurants here in NE Texas do not know how to cook ribs for some reason. You produced some gorgeous photos and I thank you for sharing them.

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    1. Good ribs are generally found in these bbq restaurants for sure, they are my husband's favorite, although I typically like to eat the chicken or brisket. (not as messy, haha!) Thank you for your visit!

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  9. I enjoy your pictures and conversation. reading your blog feels like I'm listening to a friend and I like that.

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    1. I love that too about blogging Ruth, and I must say, I always enjoy visiting your blog too! Many hugs to you today :)

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  10. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Glad you arrived home safely and that you got to spend time with your family!!
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. It was a marvelous time, we were so blessed to be able to visit! Blessings to you Jann :)

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  11. Oh, that mural!!! No wonder your parents love to sit and look at it! It looks like you could just walk right into it and spend time there. :) What a sweet gift for you all to do this for them! I am so thankful you had a wonderful Christmas and God protected you during all of your travels. He is so faithful. So thankful to see a post from you and to get your sweet email and comment on my blog. Thank you ever so much for your prayers for us. Sending much love and many hugs to you, dear friend!

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    1. Oh it was such an amazing Christmas Cheryl, we were so blessed to be with our family. God is truly so faithful to look out for us all along the way! Continuing in prayer for you and your sweet family! Many hugs to you dear friend :)

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  12. Just awed by your wonderful photos, Marilyn, and amazed by all the BBQ/holiday fare you all consumed over the holidays. I think I gained ten pounds just looking at it - Lol! And thank you for leaving us with these verses from Isaiah; they are some of my favorites.
    Hope 2018 is full of blessings for you and yours!

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    1. Thank you sweet Martha for your kind words and visit! May the Lord bless your New Year 2018 with His richest blessings :)

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  13. You are very brave to travel during the holiday season! So glad you made it there okay. Family time just makes it all worth it. You seem to find gorgeous scenery wherever you are!

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    1. I am always looking around, indeed, for the artistic touch of the Lord, and it is wonderful to see his handiwork displayed around us. As far traveling in the holiday seasons, it is not something we try to do, but just the best time for our family to be together, and we just have to make the best of it. Thank you for your visit :) May the blessings of the Lord be with you this year!

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  14. Lovey photos of your happy festive season, Marilyn. I have some pieces of Lavender Rose....isn't it pretty. My oh my, that is some barbeque, but then no-one does it better than Texas, from what I hear. May you have a beautiful 2018, dear lady, as you walk each day along that lovely country path of yours, with the Lord. Xx

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    1. Oh the Lavender Rose is such a beautiful china! It is a joy to have tea with :) Yes indeed, Texas does know how to cook their BBQ, slow, easy and smoky, lots of flavor. We love it so. I pray the blessings of the Lord for you as well dear friend in this lovely year of 2018 :)

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  15. I'm glad you had a wonderful time in Texas. It's hard to live so far from family isn't it? And as always, it's so good to get home again... what a greeting you had! But oh the beauty you have there, I just can't get enough of it. Your Christmas dinner looked amazing and all that food in Texas looked awesome.. I would definitely had gained 10 lbs. I'm thankful you had safe travels and everything worked out well after some of the glitches. Glad you are home now and looking forward to 2018. I like to take January and February as months of rest and relaxation... and try not to busy my mind with planning and all that... it's nice for awhile to just do whatever strikes my fancy and not have a "to do" list that is a mile long! Hugs.. Marilyn

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    1. Yes indeed, winter really is a time of rest indeed! We had such a blessed time while we were away, and now I'm thankful for the quietness of January. There is much joy to be found in every season of life! I hope you are getting plenty of time to craft now too. Many hugs to you dear friend!!!

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  16. Your vacation with family sounds wonderful, I'm so glad you got to go!
    I loved reading along and taking a peek at all your photos. They don't do justice to the real life moments, I'm sure. ;) Your mama's china is beautiful, love the print. That mural is amazing. What a treasure. And butterflies!! Yes!
    Glad you are home and enjoying all the snow. Sure wish we had some. It is so dry here.
    Enjoy the new year and all the blessings too!!
    Thinking of you...
    Hugs, Amy

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    1. Thanks Amy, so thankful for the blessings of our Christmas holiday travels, and now thankful to be home too enjoying the snow and beauty here. God is so good! Appreciate your friendship, and praying sweet blessings for you and your family this year :)

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  17. So glad you got those seats and made it to your final destination with lots of time to eat barbecue! Those places look really good. How nice to travel to one location and be able to see your family and your husband's family. Snow really makes for beautiful photos! Stay safe out there.

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    1. Thank you Ellen, we had a wonderful time, so thankful for the blessings of the Lord during our travels there and back! Praying sweet blessings for you in this year of 2018 :)

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  18. Good to hear you had a good trip after all and enjoyed time with family, so special to be able to spend time with them. your mother's china looks lovely. Looks like you had some great meals out and home for Christmas time :) So nice you had friends to take care of your furbabies at home.
    May you have a wonderful year ahead!

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    1. Thanks Connie, I appreciate your visit, and wish you the best in this new year of 2018 as well :)

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  19. How great that you forgot about the disrupted travel and started having fun right away. Looks like had a very enjoyable time indeed with your family. And yes, why not use to good china?
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Since food tastes better on china, yes, I think we should use it more :) Always appreciate your visits Amalia, and praying sweet blessings for you in the year 2018 :)

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  20. Marilyn - what an adventure!! I LOVE San Antonio. I've been several times and it is so beautiful. I love the Riverwalk - my favorite place to hang out when I go but yes, the BBQ is out of this world! The butterfly wall is such a beautiful and unique idea to honor and remember you uncle. Glad you were able to escape the cold and snow! Personally, I would have found a way to STAY in TX lol!

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    1. We love the Riverwalk too! We didn't make it down there this year but have been there many, many times. Such a rich vibrant place to visit. We are happy to be back home in Idaho, I know its strange, but I do love the snow ;) Hugs to you today dear friend!

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  21. Good Morning Marilyn,
    So nice that you enjoyed your trip to Texas. It is always a treat to spend Christmas with family and it looks as though there was much to enjoy! Attitude and Faith are everything aren't they and with the sweet Lord guiding us, having a positive attitude is even easier!
    I love seeing Idaho snow...
    Thank you for dropping by my blog too!
    Jemma

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  22. Well it certainly looks like you had a truly wonderful holiday season! The photos from the air were amazing...gorgeous sunrises and sets. It must have been such a blessing to be with your families at Christmas...the dinner looked fabulous on that beautiful china as well as your tea party! And what a precious gift the wall mural was...truly a wonderful way to keep the memories close. We are never gone for a two-week period (although sometimes it seems that way) but it ALWAYS feels great to be home, doesn't it? Thank you for sharing your lovely holiday with us! I love the scriptures that you closed this post with...some of my absolute favorites. I pray many blessings for you and your family in 2018! Hugs!

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  23. Wow what beautiful photos from the plane, a delight to see. Looks like an amazing Christmas with family creating some wonderful memories to treasure.

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  24. It looks like your Christmas was a wonderful one. We did have lots of snow during that time. We’re visiting family for a late Christmas in Nebraska right now and having a wonderful time and lots of sunshine. Still, I’m missing the Pacific Northwest. I’m glad you’re home safely.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  25. I'm glad you had such a nice visit with your family for Christmas in Texas. That first cloud picture is just beautiful. And I really like that tea set, so pretty. It's nice that the girls enjoyed the tea time with the older generation. What Yummy goodies you served. The fruit cake looks so good. I think people either like fruit cake or they don't, and I've always loved it. That is wonderful that you helped your mom prepare the meal and let her eat first before anyone else. I really miss my mom, especially around the holidays. What a special trip you had. I hope to one day visit Texas.

    May the new year bring you much peace and joy, Marilyn.

    ~Sheri

    ps...although I am taking a blog break from posting, you can stop by and visit any time when the girls post. I always see the comments coming in, and will continue to visit friend's blogs. The girls are very much like me, only younger with more energy. ; )

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  26. It looks and sounds as if you had a very nice Christmas ...
    I think your photographs are lovely.

    My good wishes for 2018.

    All the best Jan

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  27. Sounds like you had a very good Christmas. Just nothing like being with family for the holidays. That plate of home cooked food looks delicious, and I love the beautiful china. I think the garden wall is really pretty! It would make me happy just looking at it.

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  28. I feel like travelling with you while following your beautiful photos.

    Have a wonderful and blessed New Year!

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  29. What a great family time. The butterfly wall is a treasure.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Carla

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  30. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    you had really a hAPPY TRAVELLING for the christmas celebration dear Marilyn!

    when my son left for Germany we also had to wake up 1 am and left for airport ,next day we were in awe that he will let us know that he has reach safely sono sleep until next evening we heard from him so i can imagine that how it must be tough for you though God was with you all the time and you got your seats in flight and later blast of beautiful flight from where you were able take such MARVELOUS photos !

    enchanting sky shots specially !!!

    and sunset is breathtaking!

    visiting sister and nieces is truly joyful event i know .
    this ginger bread house is cute!

    your texas type of bbq looks AMAZING and tea party refreshment looks so yummy!


    getting bac home and resetting everything is tiring though you have so many magical memories of celebrations to lessen this feeling my friend ,more joys to you !
    Hugs!

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  31. It looks like you had a very fun and beautiful trip. I love the mural on your parents wall. It is so fun to have personalized spaces like that.

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  32. What an awesome post!Your pictures are wonderful(the header is breathtaking!)!!!Loooove your mother's china,so beautiful.I am glad I stopped by,you made my day,thanks!

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  33. Marilyn, much as I love good barbecue or a nice comfort food meal, the tea party would have been my favorite. I'm glad the girls enjoyed it, and I hope they'll make a habit of it! Love the mural -- what a grand idea!

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  34. Dear Marilyn: I always enjoy reading your blog and the comments. Glad you shared pictures of my china and the wall mural. Maybe you could tell them sometime of the reason in choosing butterflies. Love you, momma

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  35. Hello, dear Marilyn, I enjoyed traveling with you to see your family in Texas and so glad that you made it safely, too. The beautiful sky photos are wonderful and all the delicious stops you made on the way sound so good. Your sweet Mother put on a lovely Christmas dinner with her pretty china and it was so nice to have the tea-parties afterwards. I love the photo of your Mother's plate of food with her still in her apron.....so sweet. My dear Mother left to me a tea service of Royal Albert china and I treasure it so. I understand about the butterflies on the beautiful mural. When my grandmother was young, she lost her little baby brother to influenza - he was just 4 years old. The moment he died, in the dead of winter, a butterfly landed on his bedroom window and stayed there all day. It was a lovely sign from the heavens. Wishing you and your family love, laughter and many blessings in the New Year ahead. Hugs xo Karen

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  36. Oh, I loved every minute of this post! Thank you for taking us along on your wonderful journey through the air and on the ground...and all that BBQ...wow!! Sounds so good. Your mother's china is exquisite! I'm so glad she used it for your family Christmas, and that you had multiple tea parties as well. Such wonderful memories being made together. My kind of Christmas vacation! And then to return home to the driveway being plowed and happy animals...such a blessing to have such great friends to help you! This was wonderful. I really feel like I've been along on a great trip!! Thank you!!

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  37. I loved all the pictures. Loving those dishes! I know you enjoyed your trip dear lady. Nothing like family and especially during the holidays, Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  38. Well inspite of all your travel difficulties it sounds like you had a wonderful holiday season. That mural is amazing. Bet it was hard to return to all the snow after being in warm Texas for Christmas. Here we had snow/ice for a couple of weeks but it's been in the 40's this week and rainy.

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  39. Oh what a mid-winter journey! And as ever, your lens captured some of the beauty along the way.

    And that tea party, oh! I could feel the joy and yummy delight!

    Bless you, girl!

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  40. Wow!!! Looks like such a great adventure! And you made the best of the layover. Lovely photos, Marilyn! I agree that food tastes better on china and that is a gorgeous set. So glad you had a good trip and made it home safely to your beautiful haven.xoxo

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  41. What a wonderful holiday you had despite the rough start! I can see where you get your love of fine china, tea and tea parties. That BBQ looked so good! I am a huge fan of mesquite wood to cook with, as that is what we used in Hawaii too and the flavor it adds in just phenomenal. :) I am glad you made it back safely and were able to get those roofs cleaned off before the weight of the snow got to be too heavy. I am wondering, are you getting pounded with snow today with this latest storm? Praying for you!

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  42. Hi Marilyn,
    Your blog is so very inspirational! I love your mother's Royal Albert Lavender Rose china and all of the baking looks delicious! Belated Happy New Year! Blessings, Karen

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  43. Hello Marilyn, What a joy it was to come here and read about your wonderful time with your family in Texas over the holidays! That china of your mom's is absolutely beautiful and how fun to have the younger generation enjoying tea parties! I love that! Your mom's fruit cake looks so delicious...as I am sure all of the food (including your many different BBQ pit foods) was! Your pictures from the air are amazing...and you are so right. There just aren't words to describe how beautiful it is. I love flying!

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  44. Hi Marilyn! We were also delayed when we returned from Florida to home after the new year. As I prowled the terminal, I thought about the virtue of 'waiting'. I think you were more challenged than me though, you were up at 1:30! I wonder if I could still be a nice person?
    The bbq looks amazing, and you sure had a great time with the tea parties! With all those yummy cookies, I'd like a tea party every day :)
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  45. What a fun trip! Thank you for sharing it with us. :) (Sorry, I'm a little late to the party, as always.) I really enjoyed seeing every bit of your trip. And then I couldn't believe it---45 years' worth of China, not a SINGLE piece broken?? lol Let me tell you, things don't last five minutes around here with all these boys! That's amazing!

    I hope your 2018 is blessed and joyous. :)

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  46. You really had a great trip. I feel that lights in your photos are filled with happiness.

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