December 30, 2013

What I Learned in December...

This is SO my Favorite Link Up of 2013... I love Emily (and was blessed to meet her ever so briefly at Allume) and for whatever reason - I can't resist a random list of... well... anything?

However, once again (as usual!) I forgot to make a list! I plan each month to write down things as the days go by but, well - let's face it! I am busy, ya'll.  Except not really... but I AM forty three... so... there is that.

I guess now you know this list will consist of whatever random things I can remember that I learned through out December... (and by 'remember' we all know I mean what I can scroll through facebook and twitter and find, right?)  I am optimistically saying there will be 12... but let's be real... December is crazy, and we'll just have to see how it goes... 

12(ish) Random Things that I learned in December:

1. I learned that God is Awesome! No wait... I already KNEW that! But I learned that when God is in it, it only takes a couple of DAYS to raise funds for a House in Kenya!  I jumped on board with the inMercy House Projects in the Fall and I wrote about Phase One here... and Phase Five - which was supposed to be live through December, raising funds to purchase a second home the Mercy House.  However - well - this is what Kristin said over at Incourage:
You gave $74,000 to fund all five phases.
And then you gave more.
Another $25,000 to help buy furnishings for a second home, provide books and educational materials for the residents, staff training for further development, and two new pregnant resident’s medical costs that we’ve made room for in 2014.
How amazing is that? FULLY funded in just a matter of days! We made (more) Room in the Inn this Christmas! (Thank you!)

2. I learned that The Nester is right... I CAN make a List of Things NOT to do - and on that list can be 'Mail out Christmas Cards'... and I can survive, relatively guilt-free, and people will still sort of talk to me! I wasn't so sure about this one. I mean... hello? I MAKE cards?  I have been hand making cards and writing Christmas Letters (yes - I am that girl!) and signing each one by hand and mailing them off by December 5th every year. For. (like.) Years!  But we sat down as a family and discussed our holiday budget (I know, right? We sound like so much fun!) and we decided to cut way back in order to up our giving.  We wanted to be able to sow in to people and ministries and the reality is that most of our friends and family are blessed beyond measure and need nothing.  So - once that was decided, and calculating how much we normally spent on materials for making cards, and the expense of stamps alone... well - that topped our list of Things NOT To Do this year! 

This was me, a year or two ago...

See? It's like some mania of creating art and while I love it - I just didn't have it in me this year, and that is ok!  (I did still write a letter and SHAMELESSLY put it up on the blog and sent it out to cyberspace... I mean really - if you know us... you know where to find me online!) So the hard part is next year... I don't know that I want to be done - but I can say - this year, THIS December... it was FREEDOM to not have to worry about it!

3. I learned that Advent is more than a little Calendar and an excuse to have chocolate! For real though! I have been a Christian for over half of my life now and love Christmas and keeping Him at the center of everything but I have never fellowshipped in a church that really made Advent a thing... so - thanks to Ann Voskamps' new book, I had myself a TIME celebrating Advent! I got a Jesse Tree and put the gorgeous ornaments that came with her book on one day at a time and underlined nearly EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. (Oh - you think I'm joking? I am not joking! It was getting ridiculous!)

4. As much as we love to do All The Christmasy Things... turns out we all actually prefer to feel our toes! This December was SUPER COLD... I mean - literally freezing or below freezing and all the fun outdoor festivities were on the calendar and penciled in... we would talk about them excitedly but as the night would arrive, we would all three sort of shrug it off... well - it IS really cold.  Yeah... none of us are fans of that! We DID go to one of the Lighted Christmas Parades... the last one (which happened to somehow be the warmest one... otherwise, well - you know!)

Added Bonus:


5. Pan-Grilled Porkchops... I found this recipe for pan grilled pork chops because, well - you know - when you are cooking Pork, it's really best to find a healthy version rather than always frying, right? OK - whatever! I rarely cook Pork anything but when I do - I find I dry it out and this recipe is SO EASY and so delicious!  It's like a no brainer, and so moist... and You're welcome!

6. I learned about the Short Film "The Butterfly Circus" and in watching it, I learned that EVERYONE should see it... Like, EVERYONE! It's twenty minutes out of your life - but you will not be the same!  It won all sorts of awards and it has the guy who played in Bella, and Nick Vujicic who I fell in love with on Oprah... and seriously... go watch it! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

7. I (re)learned that almost always, Jon Acuff is spot on... He posted this month about the song "Christmas Shoes" and about the book "The Elf on the Shelf" ...and all I can add is a hearty Amen!

8. Surprise - my OneWord... So - my OneWord this year was "Surprise"... It reared it's head early and kept on catching us unprepared! Luckily, mostly - I saw it show up in fun and well - surprising ways! Me - who rarely wins anything... found myself winning all sorts of loot! From books to jewelry to scarves... unexpected money, unexpected joy, unexpected peace in the midst of some unknowns.  Of course - a few of the Surprises we are still praying against and believing for healing for, but even into December, the surprises just kept on coming!

9. Shopping on the Last Saturday before Christmas - at the MALL - is 'fun'... I still mainly disagree with this statement!  I have this Bossy self-imposed Deadline of sorts. My goal each year is to be DONE done with all things Christmasy by December 10th.  Things, as I have stated here before, can get a little tense hectic around here as that date approaches.  However, once it has come and gone and All of The Things are DONE... I get to relax and thoroughly enjoy the holidays! It works for me! It used to be easier when the Little was little and toys could be bought way in advance... but still - it's a doable goal and the pay off is worth it!  However, this year - even though I was all done... my girlie and Honey were not per say, so they thought it would be fun to go out to the Mall... on the last Saturday before Christmas... just to look around and 'maybe buy a few things'  (MAYBE?  As in - you still have no clue as to what you are going to buy? And this will be fun?)  They are special like that! Now - if I still had shopping to do - well... it wouldn't have been as much fun!  Mostly - when someone's kid (or someone's Mom) was having a break down, we simply left the store! We didn't NEED to be there after all and so we were free to just move along! Of course this also means we (and by we, you know I mean everyone else BUT me!) had no idea what we wanted to purchase in the first place - so anything could happen, and we could wander into (or out of) any given store! I must admit - most likely because I WAS done and felt no pressure... it was actually pretty fun!  We strolled around and helped our Girlie pick out gifts for her friends (that she paid for!)... we all went out to dinner at Famous Dave's Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que (Get the Beef Brisket, ya'll!)... we shopped until dark and then wrapped the gifts while watching a Christmas movie.  Still - you know next December, around the 7th or so - this will not sound FUN at all!

10. Duck Dynasty + Jen Hatmaker = I may be cooler than I thought... I don't watch Duck Dynasty. I know... whatever? I mean - I have SEEN it. Once. Maybe Twice. I see the appeal, but I just am an irresponsible tv watcher and there is little if anything that I actually tune in to on purpose.  Still - with all the controversy flying around, I read a few pieces here and there and many of them were good but I couldn't quite get over the lack of Grace... from both 'sides'... once I thought it had all died down, I decided to bring it up to my Honey. Now - he doesn't watch either and he also rarely gets involed with all the hype... he was aware of it - but didn't foresee how passionate I got as I got my preach on and went off a little bit on a soap box about how we need to be love and as much as he has the right to say whatever - we have consequences and more than anything - we need to be grace... Anyway... because I had been mid-sentence when Jen Hatmaker put up a new blog post, I stopped everything I was doing and saying (as is my Jen Hatmaker policy) and read her heart... which was, I pointed out repetitively nearly word for word what I had just said. So - really, I learned in December that I am maybe a little bit cooler than I suspected because, well - Jen Hatmaker and I say the same things.  But I bet she doesn't type out her whole name quite as often as I do. Which, according to this paragraph, is maybe a little bit excessive. (... Jen Hatmaker.)

11. Heads Up! an iPhone Ap... A friend told me about this Ap/Game and I was all like - whatever, I don't PAY for Ap's... but then I realized that this is the game that I keep wanting to buy for the nephews and nieces but then I'd have to be all like, "Hey - you can only play this if you invite me over first!" and the older ones may realize this is weird, so I figured that $1.99 is worth it! So I bought it... and realized that this is the game Ellen Degenerous plays on her show that is always so fun!  So - this Ap = HOURS of fun! HOURS! Go buy it! (OH - and the VIDEOS ya'll? I may need a new phone because I save almost every one... they are so hysterical! But then again - that's just us... and we're all Jen Hatmaker-like and everything, sooo... there's that! Your videos may not be as fun as mine... I'm just sayin'?) 

12. Downton Abbey... I know, right? We are like that LAST PEOPLE on the PLANET to watch this show?  To be fair... I was saving it! As much as #10 revealed about me not being responsible to remember to watch stuff - I really was saving this one! I decided early on that I would wait and I would watch it in the fetal position while experiencing the emptiness of being an Empty Nester... but then, well - God love her, she isn't gone... (she is attending college in town and living at home and we LOVE this - but how long can one really hold out and NOT partake of Downton Abbey?) Not long.  That is the answer. So - I decided in December that - you know, after December 10th - I would lay around and watch Downton Abbey on Netflix for DAYS and get all caught up... because while I cannot run, I can marathon like no one's business!  But then - the horror... Netflix doesn't HAVE DA anymore?  Anyway - we are all watching this together (because they actually requested for me to NOT watch it without them? Wait? What? But you all are gone all day?) and we are on Season 1... about episode 5 maybe?  Now I know ...I vaguely remember something AWFUL happens in Season Two... someone dies and I have blocked out that knowledge... you all survived it and still watch, right? I am pretty sure I can handle it! Now - they are ready to watch more so... I have to go! (Priorities, people!)

Oooh - and lookie... I thought of one more thing:
13. Jeanuary (vs. Dressember!)... Speaking of Priorities (or mine that are, well... not always on straight...) some of my Blogger friends were doing Dressember this month and I had considered it but I wimped out. Mostly because, well... #4. But all month long I felt like I should have just sucked it up... bought some fleece lined leggings and jumped on board! Still... the cold?  But I learned in December that my friend Amy Clary is partnering up with Freeset (who I LOVE) and they are doing a Jeanuary... in January! So - I can wear jeans everyday and maybe not be cold - and still help raise awareness and funds to help end human trafficking! Perfection!  For more info... click HERE and join us in January Jeanuary!  

So, it turns out I that 'remembered' more than I thought I would!  (Thank the Lord for my active life on all things #BossySocialMedia!)

So what about you?  What have you learned in December? (You can 'cheat' like me if you need to!) Next month, I hope to learn some actual stuff! You know, some things that enlighten and educate.  Then again... Downton Abbey?

I am Linking up with Emily over here
at Chatting at the SkyJoin us!


  1. Love your list!! And I love Jen Hatmaker too, if I ever met her, I'd be so stupid, I just know I would:) haaa Happy New Year and love you much!

  2. Love your list!! And I love Jen Hatmaker too, if I ever met her, I'd be so stupid, I just know I would:) haaa Happy New Year and love you much!

  3. Anonymous9:27 AM

    The light pictures are gREAT! I love your joyful personality. Thank you for stopping by my blog, I look forward to getting to know you better!

  4. I love your list. I can't ever remember what I've remembered. Enjoy Downton. It gets better!

    1. (and then worse... and then better... and then worse... right?)

  5. Loved your list, Karrilee. I think it is amazing that you gave up your Christmas card tradition to increase your giving. Good for you. Thanks for sharing what's on your heart and bringing joy to my day. Happy New Year!

  6. Fun list, Karrilee! That parade looks like so much fun. My husband and I do a lot of driving around looking at light displays in December (it's a cheap date night.)

    Hope you have an awesome 2014! :)

  7. Hi neighbor! I love your list, and I'm already learning so much from it (like the pork chops recipe and The Butterfly Circus - I'm going to have to check them out!) And I have to admit that my husband and I must be the only people who hasn't even seen an episode of Downton Abbey. Should we watch it??? Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year! ox

  8. Beautiful photos, Karilee - with 5 boys in the house the banter in Duck Dynasty sounds like home! LOL - but we loved (my husband and I) - DA - we didn't start watching it until last season and then the oldest bought me season 1 - and it snowballed. Can't watch the last 15 minutes of the last episode, though:) I didn't get my Christmas candy done until tonight - and I bailed on one - it's just been a year like that. Wishing you much blessing - so love your energy!

  9. Good for you on letting things go this Christmas. It is freeing!

  10. Love this! And holy crap your cards are amazing!!! Blessings for an incredible year, lady!

  11. Love this! And holy crap your cards are amazing!!! Blessings for an incredible year, lady!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!

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