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Faith....Making the Season Bright

Christmas at Dad's.

Family Traditions kindling a climate of love and warmth which create a sense of completion....a family bond ... family unity.

Cords that cannot be broken.

There's nothing else like it.   And it was all captured through the eye of the lens.

Christmas was at Darin & Jen's house this year (my brother & sister-in-law.)

Jennifer, adding the last minute touches
Jennifer did an outstanding job creating a festive atmosphere with all the decor that was so very simple but elegant and Martha Stewart-ish, with her own personal touch of course.

I love this!
The food and trimmings were out of this world (thanks to a family of great cooks!)

Lots of side items to go with the BBQ & baked beans, yum!
And along with the BBQ, baked beans and side items, there were lil smokies and lots of desserts.

The peppermint cake is absolutely my dad's favorite!
My mom used to make my dad's favorite peppermint candy cake every year, crushing the peppermint by hand.  It was quite a long undertaking, or so I'm told!  My mom passed away 8 years ago, so my sisters-in-law are carrying the peppermint cake torch and making my dad happy every Christmas by creating this masterpiece.  I have not experienced making this oh-so-divine piece of torture, and I can honestly can say that my feelings are not hurt by this!  Thank you Teresa and Jennifer for carrying the torch!

The meal was followed by the reading of the birth of Jesus, or the Christmas Story, which has been a tradition in our family for years and years.  The reading is usually done by the younger ones, and this year Grant & Mason received the honor of reading the story out of Luke chapter 2.

Following the reading of the birth of Jesus, we have a time of prayer.

Then the gift exchange begins, which is so fun to watch!  The younger ones each receive gifts while the older ones participate in Dirty Santa.

Of course, dad is still young at heart so he still gets presents too!

How fun is this!?  I love this pic!
The Dirty Santa exchange between everyone 18 and older came next, and I'll have to say.... it did get a little interesting but nothing too dangerous!  I thought I was gonna have to fight a bit, but I am happy to say that I came home with what I brought, and it is EXACTLY what I wanted!  A cutting board!  
I've already put it to use!  YIPPEE!
Needless to say, this night full of family and fun was exactly the medicine I needed to calm my soul.  It pulled me back down from the 'panic/rush' mode that has been ferociously stirred in me during this busy, hectic time of year and thrust me into a more rooted/grounded frame of mind.  (God's gift to me!)

Family was the best part of our night. 
I am not speaking of family in the physical sense, but the family dynamics of being together and loving life and loving one another. 

My brother & sis-in-law, Darin & Jennifer

My nephew, Chaise and Alaina

My brother & sis-in-law, Don & Teresa
My niece, Jenny, & her 2 boys - Knox & Ace

My sister & bro-in-law, Delynn & Garry
My sweet daddy, Shirl
Me & my sister, Darla (I look like a chipmunk)
My nephew, James
Donald & Jodi (my niece) and Ethan

Me & my groom of 19 years, Todd, with our 2 boys, Grant & Mason

And it's all possible because FAITH is the foundation of our family. 
And THAT is what makes the season bright!

(P.S. - My niece, Jodi, has a clever little blog that I absolutely love to follow. 
Check it out at

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