Tag Archives: christmas

Singing solo…

I recently looked back at my very first few blog posts, way back in the olden days of blogging. The first few were right around Christmas of 2006, so of course, I couldn’t help but talk about Christmas and all the ways I love it.

In this post {click here to see the original}, I shared a quote from a cup of Starbucks coffee. I liked it. I am glad I wrote it there.

singing solo...joining a group #quote

We can sing beautifully alone, but to add harmonies, to join with voices blending, sharing the emotion and depth of meaning in the words: this is best.  Life and songs and Christmas are meant to be shared.

I’d Buy Tickets to See…

We had our family October-birthday celebration a couple of days ago (three of us were celebrated, our years totaling 96…do not ask how many of those years I hogged up). We may or may not have had two big pans of homemade brownies, 2 types of ice cream, chocolate cake (icing on the side) a giant pumpkin pie and whipped cream, sang the birthday song three times with appropriate claps {happy birthday to you *clap-clap*}, passed out dozens of presents to oohs and aahs and had a major paper-fight with wadded up gift wrap.

We also did the birthday-question-hot-seat where we ask the birthday celebrants questions about anything at all, important and not so much.

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Jovan, Hunter and moi.

One of my kiddos asked who I’d like to see in concert. I couldn’t even think, there were so many names in my brain. I totally forgot I started this list last February. So, here it is, even though I know I have more to add (who are they???)! :)

Kenny Rogers

Dolly Parton

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton together, I’d get front-row seats.

James Taylor

Carole King. Her story. Her songs. Her piano-pounding.

James Taylor and Carole King together would make me pass out with delirious happiness, possibly never able to recover.

Neil Diamond. Because. I love singing along with the Neil.

Elvis Costello

Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss. I’d see Alison alone and I love Willie, but I want them together!

David Cassidy. No question. Please come to Denver, David Cassidy (“we’ll go up into the mountains so far that we can’t be found…” But my husband Dave will be there, too, of course. I am simply after some singing.)  :)

Paul McCartney. I should not have to explain this.

Leonard Cohen. I say this. I said it once before on this blog and he was IN TOWN without me knowing it. That is not right.

Sigur Ros. Because my kids tell me their shows are amazing and they have such great taste, those talented children of mine.

Brad Paisley. Musical genius and such a great lyricist!

Elton John, again. Last time was with Billy Joel, which was very cool, but I want more Elton, lots more Elton. The man can write the anthemic like nobody’s business. His melodies and his fingers on those keys UN.be.liev.able!

The Eagles, again. Because they are The Eagles. Also, I really like Glenn Frey.

Boz Scaggs. He has just gotten better with age, I think. I would volunteer to be one of his back-up singers. :)

Bobbie Gentry. But she doesn’t tour anymore. Boo-hooooo.

Diana Ross. In Vegas – I want the whole over-the-top, coat-dragging show!

Matt Redman. In Denver TONIGHT! (Dave & Tara are taking me as part of a belated birthday gift, yaaaaay!)

Speaking of which, Dave and Tara Powers, at the Armory Performing Arts Center in Brighton, Colorado.  Check this out! :)


Oh, I am going to be at THIS concert for sure and getting my picture taken with Santa! ABSOLUTELY!

He gave us Himself

The greatest gift of all, a Savior, Jesus!

gifts he gave himself

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” -Sigrid Undset

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3.16

And isn’t all our gift-giving just a variation on the amazing theme of God’s most amazing gift? If I can just include, somehow, a little of myself – infused with the love in my heart towards the recipients: good gifts! Even on Cyber-Monday, ha!

It’s that time of year again…I cannot help myself!  :)

sig keep christmas

“Christmas Eve” Font: http://bythebutterfly.com << see lots of other great fonts

The Days Leading Up to our Savior’s Birth – The Jesse Tree!

It’s almost CHRISTmastime!
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Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot shall come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

My sister-in-love, Robin, is an accomplished communicator and teacher.  She has poured her heart and soul into creating an incredible, heirloom-quality resource available to families for Christmas. The Jesse Tree connects the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the glorious story of God and His amazing plan of redemption all the way from Genesis to the birth of Jesus and beyond.

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A Jesse Tree is decorated with ornaments symbolizing the people of the Bible, the prophecies and the events that led up to the time our Savior was born!

A Tradition that Matters

If you end up feeling frustrated at the end of the Christmas season for how little time was spent getting to know the story of Jesus better, HIStory, plan now to use the Advent season as a time of worship and discovery.



Each beautifully handcrafted ornament will become a lasting imprint on the hearts and minds of your children, your family.  Understanding will grow, joy will be increased, and you’ll be helping your family know how to explain the hope we have.

“…in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. ” 1 Peter 3.15 NIV

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Read more about it here: aliciahutchinson.com

Each set includes: 28 ornaments – one for each day of Advent, a book of devotions and Biblical references (written by Robin) to go with each ornament and a sturdy, divided storage box for storing this keepsake set safely.

Meant to be enjoyed again and again throughout the years with your familia, each set is $95 (plus $7 s & h).

Limited sets available, shipping this week! Quick – get yours!

buy now


A Lullaby for a King…and for “Christmas Eva”

I actually posted a very short peek at Evangeline the other day and I decided I wanted to use the whole song by The Isaacs, “Messiah Lullaby.”  So, today’s song for Advent:

This is just footage Tredessa has texted to us during Eva’s first few days home (she is one week old today!).  Tre sent me higher quality versions, but I like these.  I love these peeks into the dim lighting and mommy and baby getting acquainted.

And the song is so sweet, too.  I am a big fan of The Isaacs.  In the middle, their mom sings in Hebrew, I think.

Anyway – I have loved Advent.  Now we are on the brink – we’ll commemorate the birth of the Savior of the World!  Almost time for the rejoicing to begin.

mary yes

But just before that, the hush, as we remember  how Mary, the one who said “Yes, Lord – be it unto me as You have said” gives birth and holds in her arms the very King of Kings…

Evangeline being born just before Christmas this year has made it all so much more easy to imagine.

We welcome Christmas Eva.


And Jesus – we welcome You again and again into our lives!

Prepare the Way! Advent music filling the air over here

BIG announcement below…

I have never actually seen an Advent-Music category at a music store and while I do have a pretty high stack of Christmas records (the old vinyl kind, ya know) and CDs, I don’t have an Advent music category.  I am just visiting all styles and types of music with words that seem appropriate for this high-church tradition of the days leading up to the {12} days of Christmas, as evidenced by most of my blog posts these last 2 1/2 weeks or so.

baking day just getting started

What I am doing is trying to make sure I just take a few minutes,  the length of the time of the song, to observe these days from a perspective I was not raised in (I come from the day-after-Thanksgiving-to-the-day-of-Christmas-is-just-a-mad-rush-to-but-to-bake-to-have-a-gazillion-church-activities-and-parties-and-then-collapse-in-utter-fatigues-the-end variety) and think about {in expectant waiting and preparation} Jesus – and all His coming changed, the first time…

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;  on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.”  Isaiah 9.2

And I don’t want to be as blind and as busy and as un-expectant as those who may have missed Him the first time.  We are people of the Light and we just live like…nothing is different (I included you in that sentence so I wouldn’t have to take all the blame, *wink).

So for Advent, I am remembering that the Light, Jesus, He came and that we’ll be celebrating that in a few days.   But that He is not finished and He has gone to prepare a place for us and He will come again and we are looking for Him, preparing for Him and waiting for this momentous occasion with expectant joy, on earth as it is in heaven!

Today’s happy-song of watching and waiting: Prepare the Way by Charlie Hall

Prepare the way, because we still can for so many living in darkness.  An oldie, but goodie.  :)

I didn’t post yesterday (because of something BIG). But I did observe Advent in probably its’ most recognizable heart-longing way, which I shall explain…

I won’t tell the whole story here, but there will be details to follow, I am sure.  BUT, on Sunday, we had our Annual Girl’s Baking Day at the house.  We get together with sugar and flour flying through the air.  Nuts are chopped, pretzels are dipped, chocolate is melted,  icing is squeezed…and at 6 pm, all the guys show up and ooh-and-aah over tables and counters full of Christmas treats and sweets.  Every year, we cut back, waaaaaaaay back.  And yet yearly, there are just mountains of sweets and Christmas treats – it is crazy!  But then everyone has some festive goodies to get them to December 25th, or to share with neighbors and friends.  It is ONLY once a year!  Because otherwise….no bueno.

baking day 2013

So, we did that on Sunday.  Ay-yi-yi!  We worked our buns off.  And Tredessa, completely pregnant, with a baby due THE NEXT DAY, worked and worked and worked!  We were hoping she’s go into labor because of it.  Instead, we wore her out!  And me, too – the doula!

9 pm…whew!  Tired.  Everybody leaves, everybody is exhausted by the merry-making.  Everyone has been up since before the days-shortened dawn.  Then, suddenly…her water breaks at that moment, at that least-expected, boy-we-could-sure-use-a–good-night’s-sleep moment as she was leaving.

We get to the hospital a couple of hours later and blah-blah-blah…

EVANGELINE WAS BORN!  *happy-dance*  *singing and rejoicing*

She came at 1:23 pm on her “due date.”  She was 20″ long, weighed 7 pounds and 10 ounces and has some curly looking honey-colored hair and is just gorgeous-gorgeous-gorgeous!  I LOVE her!


Stephanie took this one, a first glimpse at Evangeline

So I didn’t post a song yesterday but it was mainly because I was in a room filled with longing and expectancy, a birthing room.  The room was filled with holy music the entire time and it was beautiful and all I could manage to do was Tweet about it.

tweet evangeline

After they told Tredessa, late morning,  she was dilated to 5 cm and she had been hoping to be so much further, I backed away as she and Ryan literally danced through contractions.  He’d reach out his hand to her like they were at any romantic event and she would lean into his chest and they’d sway softly, Tredessa breathing carefully while Ryan cheered her on and encouraged her.  Then as the contraction would subside, she’d sit down to rest for a minute or two and then he’d say, “Let’s have another contraction.  Are you ready?”  And he’d reach out his hand and lift her, as if he had just said, “May I have this dance?”  And they had a contraction every single time, on and on, for nearly an hour.  And I sat in front of my majestic snow-capped mountain backdrop on this perfect sunlit day praying for them, praying for my sweet daughter to have the strength she needed, and I wept.  They were working hard for their love, for this baby…

birthing day out the hospital window

This was part of what we saw through the window at the hospital

The birth of a granbebe shows me the Advent-Christmas connection in Technicolor You wait with longing for 9 months, you labor through dark hours hoping, concentrating, wondering if you can see this thing through…then in a moment of total surrender, when you believe you cannot go on – she arrives…LIFE!

birthing day dessa and eva

Welcome to the world, little Evangeline Lilly.  Your Nonna already loves you.

birthing day the family

And now to Ryan and Tredessa: Prepare the way for Baby Eva!  Eva!!!

Song for a Sunday // In Expectancy and Preparation

We wait.

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We wait with expectant joy.  A baby is coming.  Joy will be fulfilled and realized with the final Aaaaahhhh-she is here!  She has come!  We understand the anticipation and longing there was for the Messiah “for a people living in darkness…” this year with more vivid zeal and holy anxiousness than ever.  Like children who can barely get to sleep on Christmas Eve as they excitedly anticipate the gifts they’ll find from mommies and daddies who love to give them good things, we await Evangeline’s arrival, sometime before Christmas.

Just a year ago, we were hoping-waiting-cautiously-opening-our-hearts for Malakai.  He came early.  In January.  It was sweet and the consummation of so much prayer and eager yearning.  So sweet…

kai meeting the big santa dec 1 2013

Kai is here today, checking this Santa character out. He isn’t sure about him.  Malakai will be full-fledged walking and running by Christmas morning, I am sure of it.


And today, the first Sunday of Advent, we remember, with exceeding joy, that the long-awaited Savior of the world, once a mystery and a desiring, yet He already was waiting for us and we acknowledge the beauty of His coming and look for Him again.  He is the Promise.  The Hope and Perfection of all things!

I had an idea!

I didn’t grow up in high-church tradition, so we didn’t observe Advent and the traditional readings and candle-lightings and services that went with the four Sundays leading to Christmas, nor the daily devotionals.  But I discovered them when my children were small and have so so so always tried (or maybe more accurate: wanted to try) to implement the observation, the wreath, the candle-lightings.

Today, after all, the first Sunday of Advent is about HOPE.  It is about the story of the Old Testament Patriarchs, Jesus’s ancestors, looking, waiting, hoping, longing for His coming.  Hope is needed now more than ever…

So, as I was wondering, what song to do for Song for a Sunday, I realized how Advent could totally be a time of songs, too.  Which it probably already is, but I am going to set myself to selecting songs for this season, each one to sing and think about, each to represent our longing and worship as we enter this busy season.

I plan to set apart a few minutes each day, at least long enough for a song, to meditate on the Joy of my Desiring, a Savior!  I’ll share with you if you’d like.  I think this could help lots of busy families who want to observe and celebrate Advent, but can’t find the time.  A song!

Today,  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by Francesca Battistelli

And my anticipation is doubled because soon, a new grandbebe. And this year, I will comprehend in deeper ways.  And look for Him in my day to day…And this is blessed.

And we watch.  And we wait.

Holy shambles!

Christmas lights are twinkling through bedroom windows as nightlights and I pray over cherub faces and tuck each child in with the requisite two stuffed animals and/or squishy toys.  We whisper our good-nights, the boys in one room, and 4 little girls next door.

grandkids at christmas

I give the regular if-you-wake-up-before-everyone-else-please-just-read-a-book-and-don’t-wake-your-cousins speech, though I know with 100% certainty that it will be ignored at 5:54 am sharp tomorrow.  Still, I go through it and ask one more time: Did you go pottie?  Brush your teeth?  I add more blankets so they won’t get cold.  They kick them off, “I’m hot, Nonna.”

Everyone is tucked.  I can’t help but pray over them again and again for God’s anointing on their little lives and for peace and joy and for good restful sleep and a smile in their hearts and for God to heal little sniffles and keep them safe from evil, who lurks near our babies – this, we know.  I pray and I pray and they let me.  They make their requests known and soon, if I don’t say amen, we will be up all night praying over every detail in their universes…

More hugs, more kisses, more one-last-drinks…whew.  We made it.

I walk into the hallway and through my house.  O.my.goodness.  There are globs of toothpaste in every sink, toothbrushes teetering on counter edges.  There are overcoats and outer-wear and underwear strewn about in bathrooms, entry, living room, family room, and yes, even in the kitchen.  Every couch pillow and cushion has been used otherwise and our floor is covered with blankets and baggies of cheese balls and water bottles with names written on them.  Are there any toys left in the playroom, I wonder?

12 29 12 with their reindeer prints

Is that a marshmallow gun target on our front door?  Why, yes, it is.  Why do you ask?

Evidence of a family feast-night and a disco dance and watching the Turtle Man- Christmas episode and a couple of Gilligan’s Island re-runs (to my great dismay) and my house is in utter, complete and total jumbled, snarly, tangled, topsy-turvy, chaos and clutter, with a side order of full-blown dishevelment.  Yep.  It is a mess.

And me?  I love it.  I am neck-deep in grandbebes and it is grand!

Still basking in the glow of the holy days of the holidays. Merriment continues…

Heaven on Earth

Rock-man and Proxy


Resurrection Fellowship (www.rez.org) does Christmas great.  The “Christmas Letters” are really good, old-fashioned testimonies and very touching!  Great orchestra, dancers from adults down to 24″ tall, an orchestra, a choir – they do it all.

Rocky invited the wonderful Lewis “Proxy” Brown to sing on his song.  It was great.  Oh, and I didn’t know all the guys with the silver trash cans, but the amazing SETHRY CONNOR was one!  :)  Hi, Sethry!

I was here.  At Rez, in church.  This morning.

Just 16 days until the first day of Christmas.  :)

PS – If you have Apple TV, you can watch my Youtube channel: wholehearteddevotion (all one word).  Go, enjoy!

When Christmas specials were really special

Ah, the 1960s and 70s…

Andy Williams churned out Christmas specials regularly. They are part of the background noise of my growing up years, an easy-listening soundtrack to my life and times.

Obviously at some point I became too sophisticated and cool for Andy’s shows (she says rolling her eyes at her posturing silly-determined-girl phase, before real maturity set in).  Apparently the whole world got over him, too.  For the Christmas specials ceased.

He died a few months ago and I wrote about it {HERE}, but I happened across this yesterday on YouTube (thanks for the suggestion You-tube-robots – you really do get me, it seems) and how delightful!  59 minutes and 17 seconds of  pure, unadulterated red-and-green-over-the-top-joy-to-the-world-sacred-and-silly CHRISTMAS.  Yes, CHRISTMAS in all caps!

There are appearances by the Williams Brothers Singers (Andy’s sibs) and the Osmonds started with Andy, ya know.  Claudette Longet, Andy’s French and oh so very modern and extremely cool wife is a treasure.  She sings.  Lovely!

Hook it up to your giant flat-screen TV and get some hot chocolate and cookies and I promise you will have a Christmas experience like never before…unless you were watching in the 1960s and 70s…in which case you will do it because you KNOW it was wonderful and the best of Christmas times!  A little hokey?  Well, heck yes!  That is why I LOVE it.

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year!  Just ask Andy!!!