We saw a totally different version of A Christmas Carol by a local group. It was set in the Appalachian mountains and was delightful, as well. Even Mark had a good time! When you are with good friends, everything is fun, right?
We attended our Sunday School Christmas party and had a great time. We always play dirty Santa and I brought home a deer head (not real) this year. Mark hung it on the screen porch and we may leave it out there year round.
We hosted the Young Professional Christmas party and really enjoyed spending time with those wonderful young adults. We count that group as one of our largest blessings.
We played dirty Santa with that group, too, and the alcohol (bottles of wine, etc.) were the heavily traded items! Mark ended the game with a box of Dominoes. The folks who have known us a long time know that Mark said to me when we were dating, "I don't play games." Of course, I wasn't sure how he meant that all those years ago (and I still don't!) but I do know he doesn't play games! BUT . . .we have played Dominoes every night this week. Lord Have Mercy! We must be getting really old.
We also had our office Christmas party and Santa came!
Pat was an awesome Santa and I so appreciate his willingness to take time out of his day for all of us!
The month was not all parties. My friend, Inez, died this month. She and my momma were friends. They even taught 3 year old Sunday School together - when I was that age! She and her husband took great care of me and put up with a whole lot. They dragged me on every vacation with them. They were indeed second parents to me for many, many years. Karen (daughter of Inez), Kaye, Faye and I were inseparable for a large portion of our lives so our lives were interwoven. These pictures were taken YEARS ago on a cruise - Inez and Hub paid for a large chunk of a 7 day cruise so that I could go, too. That is me - front left side of the table, then Hub, then Inez. Inez is pictured below on one of the day cruises on that trip. I think she was younger in that picture than I am now. She was a good woman. I imagine that God said, "well done good and faithful servant" upon her arrival.
We attended one of the Christmas Eve Eve services at our church. Sitting with this sweetheart was extra special. Herdaddy (my handsome son) is beside her.
In the middle of church, she insisted on putting on that pink bib!!
We attended Christmas Eve morning worship - packed house - and we stopped on the way into church to pick up deli trays, chips, etc. for the preachers and maintenance folks to eat that evening. We attended Christmas Eve service at 5:00 p.m. Our church had a children's service at 3:00 and three candlelight services at 5, 7, and 11. We broke all attendance records. How wonderful that so many people heard an amazing sermon that night about Hosea and Gomer. Yes - Christmas Eve - Yes - Hosea and Gomer. Yes - we are like Gomer - God loves us so very much that he gave all he had - his son - as a tiny baby. He sent him into this world. No cost was too much.
There are things that happen when you work on staff at a church. You tend to pay attention to details during a worship service. I noticed that our senior minister (remember - he is my boss) kept going out the side door taking empty communion trays and returning with full trays so I knew that people were frantically replenishing cups. I sneaked out of the sanctuary and went back to the sacristy to see if they needed help. They had an assembly line going and refilling of cups was covered. So I went around the corner and another faithful servant was frantically filling baskets with candles. I stopped and helped and gave him a head start for the next service.
This was taken through the glass door looking into the sanctuary. This is one of my favorite worship moments of the entire year - the lights are low - the congregation is singing Silent Night and everyone lifts their candle high into the air at the same moment.
When I rounded another corner to try to sneak back to my family, I walked into a sea of people. There were four rows of chairs set up in the narthex and people were sitting up the stairwells. It was an amazing sight to see. I do know that some people left because there was no room in the inn.
We went to George and Alice's house for pizza after church (tradition) and then Santa came during the night (actually before we went to bed - how did he manage that??). I love that we added another stocking this year - Scott!
After our immediate family opened our gifts, Mark's mother and brothers and sister-in-law and niece arrived. We ate breakfast together and opened gifts. Having a little one this year made everything so much fun. She loved her gifts and was so excited to play with those gifts.
We had to take a picture to text to the Delaware branch of the family. We weren't able to be together this year but we sent pictures!
Our day wasn't finished -- we headed to Mark's momma's house around 4:00 on Christmas day and prepared to have 40 people for dinner. She had people at the dining room table, the breakfast room table, and two tables in the den. Her theme this year was nutcrackers. I made the invitations for her and she mailed them out several weeks ago.
In the den, she also had a table for the little ones and didn't our little one look cute in her smocked dress? I bought it at the Junior League sale a few weeks ago. I know that my daughter-in-law doesn't like smocked dresses but I am so thankful that she will let me buy her one every once in a while.
I took some days off this past week and one afternoon, Mark and I went over to see Emma and she loved playing with her pretend food and kitchen and grocery cart and baby doll.
Mark and I also ventured out shopping one day. This is unheard of in the Elliott household :-). We bought a new mattress - woo hoo! You really wanted to know about that mattress, right? While we were out, he wandered into Joseph A. Banks and picked up some shirts at awesome day-after-Christmas-sale prices!
On Thursday, Laura came to Birmingham and we went shopping for her wedding dress and she said "YES" to the dress!
We enjoyed spending the day with family and friends (who are like family!). Aunt Alice treated all of us to lunch (Lauren had to go back to work). Laura has been such an easy bride-to-be. Now if I can just lose 20 more pounds, I'm going to go and buy a dress for ME to wear to the wedding!!
Here we are on the last day of 2017. We are having friends over in a little while for steaks grilled outside (Mark is going to freeze while he cooks those steaks!). I'm sitting upstairs in my craft room wishing I could keep on these comfy clothes for the evening (I may keep on my furry slippers!!). Our friends probably wouldn't care if I still was wearing yoga pants, a very old t-shirt, a sweatshirt jacket, striped socks, and slippers with deer on them . . would they? I think I'll freshen up to welcome in the new year (we may have to move the clock forward so that we can say we made it until midnight!)
Happy New Year!