You may remember when I shared about this day when Becky and Laura and Becky's handsome son, Spencer, visited me. That was such a wonderful day because, well, because Becky and Laura and Spencer ARE wonderful. I will never forget our time together.
Becky's cottage home beautifully reflects Becky's loving spirit and her vignettes melt my heart every time. A gifted seamstress, she creates the most adorable treasures and I am the lucky recipient of several of them.
But what I am most lucky about is that our very special Guest Blogger came into my life.
Becky is everything that is RIGHT with our world. She honestly is one of the most beautiful spirits - inside and out - that I have ever met. She is compassionate and sensitive to everyone around her.
She is an inspiration to me in so many ways. A most loving mother, Becky has gone through something in the last year that NO MOTHER should ever ever have to go through. And through her loss and through her pain she continued to be an angel to all of us.
She is my hero.
And here she is....
Greetings! Before I share a little about me, let me take this moment to thank sweet Kim for inviting me to be her December guest blogger. This invitation is like being invited to a Presidential ball! No kidding! Kim is like a breath of fresh air - one of those women in life that really make an impact on you, and she makes you want to be a better person. She is a true inspiration and I am so thankful to have her in my life. Like Fifi said, Kim is genuine. Kim is honest, kind, full of love and sincerity. A true friend for life!
Some of you may already know, but for those who don’t know, I had the pleasure of meeting Kim and Laura (Lallee’s Cottage Blog and fellow Scottie enthusiast), in June of 2008. My two boys, Jordan and Spencer, drove all the way from California to Florida together and I flew back there to meet up with them and visit (and make sure they arrived safe and sound) before seeing Jordan off to his new USAF assignment in Florida. We were so happy to have Jordan back in the states after having served in England and the Persian Gulf for two and a half years. He was really excited about the new base assignment and how wonderful the base was - which was a stone's throw away from the beach!
Before my trip, I had contacted Kim and Laura and told them that I would be in Florida for a few days. Well, with a little planning and after several emails, a date was set to spend a day together and meet each other for the very first time. I tell you what; it was like going to the first day of school! To get to meet two good blog friends - who live clear across the country - was so exciting and so surreal at the same time. Laura made a two hour drive south to meet us at Kim’s adorable Daisy Cottage (and YES, it is as fabulous in person as on her blog!!!) Spencer was a bit reluctant to hang out with us gals all day, but Kim made all us feel right at home. She served a delicious lunch of hot chicken salad, croissants, strawberries and her sinful chocolate chip bundt cake. We visited, shared stories, laughed, played with sweet Maggie (Spencer swooned over her), took pictures, exchanged gifts and had a spectacular day!! It was as though we have all known each other for years. This day, my entire trip, is etched in my heart and mind forever.
I have to be quite honest with you now, when Kim invited me to be her guest for December I wasn’t sure if I could accept this gift. You see this Christmas is the most difficult Christmas ever. This is the first Christmas without our dear, dear and loving son, Jordan, who became one of Heaven’s angels this past February. This just breaks my heart to pieces to even write about, but I will. I will because I know that I don’t walk this road alone. We all lose loved ones in our life ~ and for some of you, like me, our children have gone before us. It seems so unfair because that is not how we, as parents, expect it to be. It was our family dream to grow old with our children and to have our WHOLE family together to share those special times with and continue making memories.
Kim’s invitation was like a gentle little nudge to take another step in the direction of healing. Funny how this little nudge made me think, so what do I do? Do I pull out the Christmas decorations? Do I even want to decorate this year? My husband and children always loved the Christmas “fluff” and never missed telling me how much cozier the house feels at Christmas time. They shared their appreciation for the time I spent on decorating our homes over the years. I have to remember though that my dear sweet Spencer so loves Christmas time too and it would not be fair to him to not decorate this year. It has been since 2005 that Jordan has shared a Christmas with us. Having a child in the military doesn’t afford the leisurely abilities to come home whenever you wish. We were hoping that this year would be the year we could share Christmas together, however there was a good chance that he would be deployed back to Iraq - like his two good friends (Bobby and Blakely) are right now. However, the cold reality is that Jordan won’t be physically coming home to share anymore Christmas’ with us. So with that thought, I was compelled to decorate as though he was…because I believe he watches over us and will be home for Christmas - in spirit. My heart was set into motion to create a cozy atmosphere for ALL of my family ~ for those in Heaven and on earth.
Do you have family traditions? Besides baking biscotti for family and friends each year, another tradition I started was to buy a Christmas ornament each year for my boys. Most of the ornaments are from Hallmark. I tried to buy one that had a personal relevance to whatever was going on in their life at that time. On the inside of the flap I always wrote a little note about why I chose that ornament and signed it “love, Mom.” The boys loved looking through their box of ornaments - and, needless to say, the storage boxes have grown over the years! For this year, I decided to carry on with our tradition. Spencer and I went to a Hallmark store and he picked out an ornament for himself and together we chose one for Jordan, too. This past weekend, Spen and I spent an afternoon decorating the “family” tree and had some good laughs, shared memories and shed many tears. Both of us felt that Jordan was watching over our shoulders the entire time and checking out his box of ornaments as we carefully hung them up. Spencer was so sweet and insisted on hanging Jordan’s up first. He was actually worried that if he didn’t there wouldn’t be any space left on the tree after he hung all of his own ornaments. I do think that he now realizes that the tree can hold a lot more ornaments than he ever imagined!
Awhile back one of my blog readers wrote to me asking how I manage to get through my days after losing Jordan. Besides the huge support of my friends and family, I find myself having the need to create and stay busy. Decorating this year for Christmas has actually been very therapeutic. Each year I try to change things up a tad bit and this year I decided to add a tree in our recently redecorated dining room. The room was done on a pretty tight budget, so in keeping with that, I decided to decorate with ornaments from The Dollar Store and make some handmade ornaments out of burlap. A burlap garland was fashioned by cutting 2 ½” wide x 56” long strips and tying them together in a chunky bow. For the “tinsel” I simply stripped strands of burlap and draped them on the tree. Our hydrangea bushes gave us ample blessings of big fat blossoms this year. The dried blooms, along with some cherished ornaments from friends, filled the tree in rather nicely. Simple, easy and affordable.
Another fun tree to decorate is our small kitchen tree. My collection of cookie cutters, especially my Scottie ones, has grown over the years thanks to many thoughtful friends - and you all know who you are! Along with the cutters, I tied on some vintage salt and pepper shakers and ornaments I made for our very first Christmas (the little yo-yo wreaths). Sitting next to the kitchen tree is a sweet Santa that my lovely mother gave me this year. He couldn’t be more perfect next to that tree! Now if only I could put him to work to help make those biscotti that my dad and his girlfriend love so much.
The most important thing to me about Christmas is that we would not have Christmas without Jesus. This is HIS day, His very special birthday. Funny how this works, it is HIS birthday yet HE gives us all a gift. A gift of life for an eternity through believing and having faith. I cannot think of any better gift in life than that. Hallelujah!
Awhile back, Kim wrote something to me that I think about every single day. She said, “Becky, you are now breathing for Jordan.” And she is right. Think about these words….I am now breathing for my son. So how do I do this? I do this by carrying each and every special memory of him close to my heart and thank God for giving me Jordan as a gift ~ a beautiful blessing. Life can set me two steps back, but my Faith in our Lord pulls me three steps forward. I know that my sweet brown-eyed Jordy boy can now look Jesus in the eye and tell him face to face, “Happy Birthday, sweet Lord - Happy Birthday!”
Wishing all of you peace and love this Christmas. Thank you, Kim, for giving me the gift of your friendship. I just love you so much!
Thank YOU Becky and I love YOU.
Now, let's treat ourselves to these beautiful images that Becky captured just for us of her California home all decked out for Christmas!
*click on any photo for a larger view*
Everything is so pretty isn't it? Don't you just love her Scottish Terriers, Fiona and Doogs? If you haven't visited Becky's blog before, please do because each visit will warm your heart.
AND Becky is treating us to a Giveaway! She is generously giving away these extra special treasures....
If you would like the chance to win this lovely Giveaway from Becky which includes the book Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen; a pennant that Becky handmade and is a beautiful tribute to the season; a piece of rhinestone jewelry and burlap; a burlap cone for your Christmas tree - just like the one that is on Becky's; a FAITH book marker; four gift containers for food; old crochet lace; and a pair of Christmas socks, then please leave a comment below - in this post - and I will pick the winning name on Sunday.
Thank you for welcoming Becky. It was an honor to share her with you and I know you are going to love her too.
*edited* to add a photo that Becky shared with me today.
I think THIS photograph of Becky and her precious son, Jordan, is the most beautiful one of all.