It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!


{Singing at the retirement home Christmas 2013… with church friends}

I love it when we drive home on dark evenings and see candles in the windows and lights strung across the porch railings… when you step inside our front door there’s garland hanging above the doors and up and down the stairs… so many colors all coordinating underneath the tree – with ribbons and bows and handmade cards… I love our festive decorations that grace the house {all the usual ones tucked away in Christmas boxes until the New Year comes}… and of course the fact that there’s always people spilling through the doors and mingling around the house.


I spoke with a dear sweet friend yesterday on the phone. One of the things she shared with me, is how very important people are, to the Christmas season. It’s the fellowship with others, the laughter, the sharing, the giving, the spending time together… this is what makes Christmas so special to her family. And as she so rightly said, what better way to celebrate the birth of Christ, than to celebrate in giving, sharing, showing hospitality, and fellowshipping with one another – with joyful and grateful hearts!

Stelzl Family Picture

{My family, Christmas 2013}

Today is a day that we look forward to every single year. It’s been a family tradition {for as long as I can remember!} to host a couple’s Christmas party here each year. Everyone brings a gift, to participate in a fun gift-exchange game. There’s food {so. much. food!} and fellowship and laughter… late into the evening. We catch up with friends that we hardly get to see throughout the year, and get to know new friends better!

And that’s what we’ve been preparing for all week long! Here are a few pictures from the preparations this week…


Thursday and Friday are cleaning days every week. We each have 2 assigned rooms {one upstairs and one downstairs} that we rotate through each month.

This is our lovely kitchen… which I worked on for 4 hours yesterday afternoon. 😉 I LOVE a clean, tidy kitchen. And one of my favorite things about preparing for the Christmas party is putting everything away that usually clutters the counters ;-)!



Hannah did a great job with the Living Room!

We have the privilege of moving our second couch to the left {it’s usually placed horizontally in the front of the room, facing the back wall} each year for the party {there’s a door going out to the deck behind where the couch is located right now}. It makes the entire room so much more spacious and tidy feeling. And because it joins right onto the kitchen and dining area there’s a huge open area for *many* people to gather!


Bethany and Josiah enjoy coffee after a *long* day of baking, cleaning and other party preparations {yesterday}… the three of us oldest ones were getting ready to head off to an annual Christmas orchestra {with several friends performing} and the younger ones were staying back to do something fun together.


Lemon Blueberry Coconut Cheesecake Bars – gluten free and naturally sweetened


Our family’s favorite Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting


Last minute jobs {this morning}. Bethany cleans the foyer mirror, while David touches up some baseboards, the stairs, and door jams around the house {with paint}.


Josiah helps Bethany clean the foyer.

Today I want to challenge you to make the most of this lovely gift-of-a-day! Make every moment count. And love the ones around you – for the special people that they are!


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