December 20, 2023

All The Christmas

Hello, my friends! I hope your last week before Christmas is going well in the way that works best for you. If I have learned anything throughout my life, and indeed I have, one of the most important is this: Do life in the way that works for you. Do what gives you peace. If being done with the shopping, wrapping, and baking brings you joy, then feel free to do just that. If the excitement of shopping on Christmas Eve among the music and people brings you Christmas spirit, then enjoy! Social media has allowed us into the homes and lives of complete strangers, giving us ideas and inspiration yet also bringing comparison and feelings of inadequacy. Our parents and grandparents never had to deal with that, and they created and enjoyed beautiful and joyous Christmas times by doing what they loved for the people they loved. So, this Christmas, give yourself the grace of confidence, peace, and contentment. You deserve it. Ok. End of speech! Moving on!

We spend a great deal of time as a family in the days leading up to Christmas. So far this week, we enjoyed a cookie decorating evening hosted by Peyton and Christopher at their cozy Christmas home. The girls and I went over early, and they cut out and baked the cookies. While I was sitting and visiting with them, I took this picture.

And realized this.

This was a year ago! My girls. Almost exactly the same, one year later! Everyone else joined us later, and we had pizza, decorated the cookies, and then watched Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, one of our favorites. It was a great night, made even better by the snow that fell all evening.

Thank you, Peyton and Chris, for a super fun evening!
( She reads here! )

Yesterday. Flynn spent the day with Madison, making their traditional gingerbread house together. This is a tradition Madison started years ago with Flynn and is something special they look forward to each year.

How special is that?? After the fun afternoon of making the gingerbread house and paper chains and eating dinner, they asked us to come over for an impromptu movie night! So, we piled into Steve's truck, me in my cozy clothes, and headed over. Rhett and Kyrstin joined us, and we enjoyed the movie and the most delicious hot chocolate ever! My sweet sister-in-law Beth gifted us a homemade mix she made from her mother's recipe, marshmallows and candy cane spoons, so we took that over and had it during the cold December night.

In addition, we are watching birds...

And snuggling in our cozy house this week.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends. I will be around to visit soon!

Billie Jo



  1. Your first paragraph. Thank you for that! Social media does make us compare and we never seem to live up to it's expectations. It's never really bothered me, but I know a lot of people that it does bother.
    I enjoy so much seeing how much your family loves each other and time together. The tradition of the gingerbread house is wonderful. I so wish my kids all lived close by. You are blessed.
    Blessings and love,

  2. Love your blog. I have never mattered what others do. I start early...early...never stressed...just enjoy each step at a time even when I had kids at home. Plan...plan...and let it happen...I do maintain that when we were leaders in our churches, there seem to be too many gatherings and parties and dinners...little time for families. I suggested we do our church celebrations (except Cmas EVE and cantata) in fall or spring...that helped, and we had more time as a family. We were always up early Cmas...and traveled a couple hours to each of the homes of the grandparents...we loved that...being with the elderly was good for our kids. Now, I am older than all of them. Enjoy your week with your are sweet as is your family. Merry Christmas...looking forward to your columns in the new year. My word for 2024 is Imagine...I have been using it in my newspaper columns and in my journal already. It fits...Imagine...

  3. Billie Jo, you have three beautiful daughters. I know you already know that, but just thought I'd mention it. :) Everything looks lovely...especially enjoyed seeing the pictures of years past of Madison and Flynn with their gingerbread houses.

  4. Very good speech and I agree with it. I also love your family traditions and just how much your children continue to love quality time together. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!!

  5. Love, love, love the puppy photos!
    As for the comparison game. I got NO TIME for that.
    Huge waste of energy. That's a hard pass.
    So many wonderful things to enjoy anytime of year.
    Very excited for Christmas as Santa brought me a new lens.
    Oh my fun! Gonna be a blast playing!
    Cheers and Happy Wishes to you!

  6. Wise words in this post, my friend! Lovely family times and memories for the future. And your pups are darling! Have a Merry Day!

  7. Dearest Billie Jo,
    AMEN to your speech and yes, our Parents and Grandparents lived a simple but happy life in a world where Family was still the CENTER.
    We've lost most of that and people have let themselves being brainwashed into consumerism and more, faster NOW.
    Happy to see that you and your family still found that harmony of sharing and for being near one another!!!
    Enjoy the remainder of Advent and a Merry Christmas to all—two and four–legged.

  8. What a wonderful, family filled fun time you are having! That's what it is all about!

  9. I totally agree with your first paragraph. I really think we were all better off before these forms of social media came along.
    Your week leading up to Christmas looks like fun. How nice to have a family that all gets along and enjoys one another's company.

  10. Such lovely traditions for the sisters! Enjoy the remainder of the week!

  11. Thank you so much for the reminder...I admit, I do find myself feeling inadequate compared to the perfectly decorated and spotless homes - it absolutely puts unnecessary pressure on us and spoils the season (no matter which season it is). I'm finding it hard not to feel that pressure to measure up...thanks again for the sweet reminder. I love that there are so many terrific family traditions and activities for you now - just as it should be! Enjoy it all!

  12. Sounds like your family is enjoying these days before Christmas. :)

  13. I love the pics of your girls. They are so pretty and look like they're having a great time together.
    Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family!

  14. Lovelys photographs all made with LOVE. All they are wonderful and reflex beautiful moments of Life.
    Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, for you and for all your lovely family.

  15. Oh your Christmas looks wonderful. I love seeing all the photos! And seeing the two photos a year a part almost the same snap! And the older photos so cool. Great memories for sure.

    Allie of

  16. What a fun and cozy week-before-Christmas! All of the pictures are great. Such wonderful family memories! Got your Christmas card this week and we love it! Merry Christmas to you and yours, dear friend!

  17. This just gives me all the cozy Christmas feels!! Love it! Have the most blessed Christmas dear Friend. 🌟 xo

  18. Oh I feel like I should have been born in the earlier time you describe - no social media, no outside influences - just stay home and focus on my family. I would have loved that! We do our best to keep those priorities and like your family, love spending time together which is just the greatest gift. Merry Christmas!!

  19. I loved seeing the gingerbread house age progression photos! How sweet!

  20. Lovely to read and wonderful photos :) “Do life in the way that works for you. Do what gives you peace.” A very wise philosophy on life there, these words jumped out at me. You have a sweet family, which includes the adorable and festively dressed fur-babies. Love those gingerbread houses and everything here for that matter. Thanks so much for sharing what’s going on, loved it all. Merry Christmas and A Very Happy New Year to you all.

  21. Yay for all the Christmas things! Looks like y’all are enjoying a wonderful holiday season!


Thanks so much for saying hello!

Billie Jo