Christmas Part Two.

You want to know one of my favorite things about this Christmas season, as far as social media goes anyway? It was all the warm and cozy scenes on Instagram!  I am a huge fan of Instagram and share glimpses of our everyday life on a regular basis.  You can follow me or just browse my pictures here.
I just loved getting to see what everyone else did for the holidays.  All that delicious food and close family time-wonderful! 
And so to me, by all means, please photograph your Christmas!  Even keeping within a traditional Christmas, my family will look much different than yours.  There are unique moments tucked into each home and little scenes waiting to tell a story. Like this one.  All of the sweet grandkids patiently waiting a turn to open a present at my parent's house. 

I love the difference from the photo above, which looks picturesquely sweet and calm to this photo.  The real life side of having to wait your turn! One even down on the floor-oh my! :)  I feel like this about waiting too kids. 
I love this picture of my mom with my Anna Ruth opening her new set of Lincoln Logs!
And these two make me do a double take almost every time!  This is my niece, next to my Betsy.  They really resemble each other and both have deep chocolate eyes.  
We have different gift-giving traditions at each house.  At my parents house they give each grandkid (there are 10!) one present and then my mom usually gives each family a basket of goodies.  This isn't expected and surely must take her so much time! Look how cute that basket is!  We have gobbled up those peanut butter pretzels FAST.  I'm especially excited about the two envelopes-one is for a lane rental for bowling and the other is a membership to our local children's museum that is set to open this June!  You can also use it for admission to other museums across the country as well!  We are really anticipating spring and summer and getting our fun on! 
Did you know I'm a twin?  Clearly I look like the more awkward one here. :)  I always find it so very odd when people don't know I'm a twin because it's just exactly who I am.  But a lot of people in my adult life meet just me and don't know about my better-half (besides Brett that is, I suppose I have two better halves!)  Meet Jana, my twin!  

Even though I do look desperately awkward in this photo it's a favorite one of my sister so I had to post it anyway.  When she laughs hard her nose crinkles and it's the most beautiful, cute thing I've ever seen.  Hopefully she's not mad I posted this pic!
As our college friend stated, we were "womb mates" and have been best friends ever since.  We talk or text daily.  She is my nurse, doctor, organizer, and advice-giver.  When I have a question about the girls relating to anything really, or about running a household-I ask Jana.  Someday my girls will thank their Aunt Jana for helping raise them!  
And then there's this funny little moment!  Allow me to explain….
My parents had some fun games for the adults to play and this was one of them.  You had to stack your whole tower of red cups into a pyramid WITH ONLY ONE HAND and then slide the cups back into a tall tower again….all done quickly and again, with only one hand!
I was holding Betsy Grace (what's new) and said I most definitely didn't want to play.  Like at all.  I figured I would get so frazzled I wouldn't be able to stack a single thing! I never was any good at games involving speed or quick thinking, unless it was a game on how to set a table pretty quickly-ha!  But then I stood off to the side and watched Brett play the game (who kept winning by the way, before I came along).  I counted how many cups he was putting in each layer and decided I'd give the game a try after all.  
And I won!! I beat my brother-in-law Seth who you see here AND Brett, all while holding Betsy Grace on my hip with one arm and playing the game with the other arm! 
I let out the loudest hoop and holler when I successfully beat both guys.  Mama has some talent from all that baby carrying after all! Does your family do anything that's both fun and friendly competition?  

And that, my friends, was our Christmas.  It was both loud and quiet, busy but calm.  Anchored by the peace and love of Christ.  As for the new year, I'm looking at a huge blank slate and a lot of "I don't knows".  Some of those, regarding Rosy Retreats and my upcoming schedule, I've been mulling over (but not too much where it turns into worry) and praying about them.  I'll talk things over with Brett and get back to you in my next post with a schedule for Retreats this year!  I hope you'll plan to attend. 

Happy New Year's Eve!  Let's ring the new year in with some rosy, however that may look in your life!

Winter tablescape.

Tablescape, as defined by "Wiktionary" (such a reliable source, I know)-
An artistic arrangement of articles on a table
Our table most always has art supplies in the middle of it and I prefer that. One afternoon recently Brett got the girls up from rest time and excitedly told me Anna Ruth walked straight to the table and started watercoloring, all by herself! This was music to my ears.  

But along came Christmas Eve and I wanted a special table. A dressed up version.  We don't typically do candles at the girls level because that means it's a constant job to keep Betsy Grace out of the candle herself!  But I also think it's very good for little girls (and boys) to experience the fancier side of life and know how to appreciate it fully.  So a fancy tablescape was set. 
I hadn't dressed up our table in a while and was quite surprised when I pulled this together quite quickly.  In fact, I even told Brett I was so pleased to see I "still had it in me!" to quickly come up with a creative idea.  Thinking on my feet…if you will. 

The details of this table are actually quite simple.  Think: layers.  
 The middle centerpiece, as you can see, is made from very ordinary items you could find in your yard or on sale at Hobby Lobby! By combining them and mixing items of various heights, as well as texture, your eye is given many places to look and roam, instead of just landing on one arrangement in the middle of the table. 


We ate salmon..ok, so I actually had chili with mustard (lol).  But everyone else including our guest of honor, my mom-in-law, ate salmon and asparagus and baked potatoes.  We listened to the most beautiful Christmas music and afterwards Nana played with the girls while they danced alongside Brett as he strummed Christmas carols on his guitar.  Once he played Jingle Bells the other carols meant nothing to Betsy Grace.  She'd look up at him with those chocolate eyes and say "Sing Jingle Bells Dad" in her two-year old gibberish only us can understand.  

It was truly one of my favorite nights of Christmas. 
I hope you'll arrange a winter table of your own! 
If you do, I'd love to see! 
Email me a picture if you'd like (sunshinebysara@hotmail.com)
Happy Tablescaping! 

Christmas Part One. (I've missed you!)

Hello blogging friends! Boy, have I missed you! My real world people and blogging world friends don't usually intersect…occasionally a real life person will ask me about a post but most of the time I'm not quite sure who reads or when.  So with that said, it has felt very quiet not connecting on the blog the last week or so! We are well, have enjoyed Christmas immensely, and are ready to move on towards a new year.  You? 
I've titled this "Christmas Part One" because we traipsed to four different Christmases this year.   Your immediate reaction is probably stress and lots of scheduling.  The holidays actually weren't at all like that for us.  There was a lot for me to do as far as buying and wrapping presents, getting snacks to the girls school, delivering and mailing Christmas cards…all the usual.  But nothing that didn't need more than just a bit of daily discipline.  
Our first Christmas celebration of the year took place at my Grandma and Papaw's house.  Now, I will have to eat my words a bit here because they are most definitely my real-life people AND read the blog and keep up with every single bit of art I make.  They even have a few pieces of mine hanging on the wall at their house.  Isn't that just the nicest thing you've ever heard? 
I grew up spending a lot of time at their house as I've mentioned on here before.  It is a very, very rosy place for me.  The girls and I go visit about once a month which has been so lovely because Anna Ruth and Betsy Grace have really gotten to know Grandma and Papaw quite well.  When we all gather for a Christmas celebration (my sisters and I), there are 10 children between the three of us.  So things are just a bit more busy than on a normal day at Grandma's.  

I was asked to read the Christmas story, which was a favor that kept up at the other Christmases too.  Perhaps it's my "teacher voice" that's still in there somewhere? (I used to teach fourth-grade..)
Our family's Christmas, all four of them, wouldn't be much of anything if it weren't for pausing to reflect on the amazing birth of our Savior, Jesus. 

Brett took over the camera more than normal over the break because Betsy Grace is still a total Mama's girl.  She's quite like superglue at times.  I've developed some extremely strong arm muscles from this little season of life for that very reason! 

I adore both of these captures of me with my girls…..

Isn't he a cutie?! We had a little Variety Show for the kids to participate in and my nephew played his harmonica a bit.  I *may* have gotten a bit confused about the actual Christmas this was to take place on and came rather unprepared for my girls to perform.  No surprise there, seeing as scheduling and remembering dates and making lists is something I work very hard at, but still fall a little short sometimes on.  
This is my sweet, talented niece.  Isn't she beautiful? She's even performed in two shows at our local theater (that requires tryouts even!).  
One of my most favorite things ever at my grandparents house is to watch my girls play with the same toys and dress-up clothes I enjoyed as a little girl.  Such wonderful memories I have of getting all dolled up, my girl cousins and sisters and I….and then we'd set up an elaborate "store".  Maybe I do have a bit of a business side in me huh! 
To top off the wonderful Christmas, Papaw even put up lights outside their house this year! He said he hadn't done that in about 15 years I think? I was ever so glad he did…

if I ran a town or city I think I'd require everyone to leave their lights up at least six months out of the year.  Wouldn't that be magical? 

As is "tradition", going on year 2 at least, Brett took extra time off around Christmas so we could really ease on into the celebrating.  He and I even got to have an evening at the cabin on our farm, with a dinner date beforehand! It was so deeply relaxing. 

We celebrated our family of four Christmas on Christmas Eve, starting with some fun little stockings for the girls.  Anna Ruth kept saying everything was "so cool".  :)  Thanks Target Dollar Spot and Dollar Tree for making stockings very easy for this mama! 

I never knew how jolly it was to drink coffee out of a jolly mug.  
I think I'll be on the lookout for more of these mugs in the next year.  
Isn't that just the most cheerful face you've ever seen?  

I've already made mention of the fact that my one little word to focus on for the year is "slow".  
Doesn't that sound unpopular?  It does to me…everything in America seems to be about fast.  Fast food, internet, change in health, mail delivery, success…..

I admit, when God began to whisper and yell and tuck the word "slow" into every nook and cranny of my world my first reaction wasn't joy or relaxation. It was sheer panic!

Surely slow means I'll get behind?  Become invisible?

But no, that's not what I'm learning at all actually.  This picture sums up so much of what I've already learned of the word.  Time at the table, warm coffee in hand….(Brett's hand here obviously, ha!), letting conversation ease in and out of the morning.  

I did most of the present buying but Brett really wanted to treat his girls to something that he picked out all on his own.  He did a super job getting them this neat farm set at Tractor Supply! 

Those are definitely some country girls right there…
they both knew exactly what each piece of equipment or trailer was for.  
Raising them right! :) 
I failed miserably when it came to photographing the presents I wrapped but here's a little sneak peek. I have a few more pictures on my Instagram (which you can find a link to above).  

Wrapping paper is so expensive so instead I bought a roll of Elmer's Poster Paper for $7.99 at Target.  It was 75 feet long of white paper, wrapped every single present in our house, and still left us with plenty leftover for playtime later! 

I also embellished the paper with some watercolor paintings I'd done, red doilies, and the use of my own homemade stamps! 

(and yes, our rug really looks that dirty most of the winter….we are a wood-burning, two fireplace family! We are in the market for a new rug this spring and I'll be needing your suggestions!)
And at last, we've reached my favorite photos out of the day. 
Sweet little Betsy Grace playing basketball for the first time.

She reached real high...
made a basket!,
and then got her victory dance on and be-bopped all over the place! 
Get it sister! :) 

This is exactly how enthusiastically I hope to enter the new year..

I'll be back with more Christmas posts, results from the reader's survey which you can still (pretty please!) fill out in the post below this one, a whole group of new items for my shop, an easy DIY winter tablescape, and more!  

Rosy Life Reader Survey 2014

Hi friends! How was your Christmas? I can't wait to share the stories and photos of our Christmas this year! I have a little survey for you today…..I know everyone is busy and this will take a few minutes of your time to fill out. But I'd really appreciate it if you'd lend me your thoughts for the day. To complete the whole survey, scroll down on the post so you can see all 8 questions. Thank-you Rosy Life readers! I'll see you back here soon!
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Merry Christmas!!

Merry, merry, ROSY Christmas friends! 
I pray you are feeling God extra close today. 
He is so near, always, never leaving us for even a second. 

I look forward to seeing you back here in a day or two for a fun reader's survey! I want to hear your thoughts on The Rosy Life! :) 

Best of 2014..


Hi everybody!! In anticipation of the magnificent Christmas week and celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, I'll be taking a break from blogging.  I look forward to seeing you back here on Saturday, the 27th, where I'll be asking for your thoughts and ideas on what you'd like to see more of on The Rosy Life in the new year!

For the next week, I thought it would be fun to leave you with a few of my favorite things….
favorite posts of mine from the last year!

Lots of goodies to enjoy!

I am truly so thankful for each of you.  Thank-you for showing up and reading at The Rosy Life. I pray that your world is overwhelmed with the love of Jesus Christ this Christmas week.  That when you close your eyes, you feel His presence.  That when your feet hit the floor in the morning, you feel clothed in His love and strength.  I pray God's peace and protection for each of you….and the comfort of His loving forgiveness.  

Enjoy! 

Favorite ROSY LIFE posts: 















A thrill of hope. (the longest post ever).

Yesterday, I did it.  I finally tackled the beast known to households around the world as a "dirty house", wrestled it to the ground, and won.  I kid you not, once the last swipe of the mop had been run across the floor something in me clicked into celebration mode.  We are completely and totally ready for Christmas.  
Every single family celebration, fires to sit by, treats to eat, presents to wrap and then unwrap. Giggles and laughs to share.  
More than anything, ready to wrap arms of love around our Savior, and celebrate the absolute miracle that is His birth.  I've been reading little snippets of the birth of Christ all throughout this week and it just blows my mind.  Every bit of it.  The humble people and places God chose to work through, grace and hope found in the most unlikely and unexpected of places.  God went for real and raw people, not the fanciest king or most popular person he could find.  He loved the ordinary right into extraordinary. 
THAT is what makes our hearts merry and light.  It is the thread that stitches all the other parts we love so much about Christmas, together. 

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices"…

I entered the fall and then winter, kicking and screaming.  Certainly NOT ready to be shut indoors, the whole rhythm to our days disrupted.  Then along came our fires that warm you from the tip top of your head to the very bottom of your toes, homemade hot chocolate, conversations with Brett while  he strums his guitar, reading, art videos, and being close in the kitchen with the girls…

and then I realized I was ready for winter and not just ready, enjoying it.  
We've fallen into a nice little rhythm for our days, the girls and I.  Somedays we get terribly off balance but things always straighten out in a day or two.  We've come a long way in a year.  Last year Betsy Grace was still very much a baby and this year she's taking the world by storm.  I suppose if I were to think about it, it is rather tiring keeping up with two toddlers.  But usually the good things in life both energize and tire you out entirely at the same time.  At least that's been my experience.  My girls do both for me.  They are my greatest joy.  Goodness, I love my little girls….
I look at them all day long and think "Oh, isn't that pretty?" 
"Isn't that pretty?" is a question I find myself murmuring a lot to no one in particular…
even this mess of a studio looks pretty to me!  This means that life is happening in this tiny room and I like that.  It means gears are turning, fingers are painting from the heart, and new ideas are marching in one by one.

(a funny story-occasionally I get contacted by companies who compliment my blog….they usually go quite overboard on the compliments and in a roundabout way end up asking you to review something for them or write them an article.  For free.  You can guess how many of those I've taken on.  So this week I got one of these emails from a nail polish company.  I laughed clear out loud!  The well-meaning folks at the company clearly hadn't visited my blog all that much.  The only color that ever gets applied to my nails is paint.) 

The craft room/studio was in all sorts of disarray which made my eyes twinkle so I snapped a few photos.  I'm often standing in conversation with others and hear statements that make me realize just how odd I must truly be.  Like for instance, this type of mess would stress some people out (most probably) and they wouldn't ever, ever think of a scene so messy as "beautiful." My brain however, automatically bypasses the stress factor and just goes straight to "Oh, that's pretty! That's beautiful." 

To each their own. 



Sometimes I'll even notice the way paper scraps and colors have piled up, serendipitously, and that will spark an idea for a painting. 

This week I'm proud to say I've woken up early (like real early) to go into the craft room by myself.  I start out by reading my Bible and journaling a tad, coffee always in hand.  Then if there's time, I'll paint a bit or browse through an inspiring read.  Maybe even sketch.  I've found this is such a lovely way to ease on into the dance that is our day.  

Of course, sometimes the little girls must figure my little game out and wake up real early themselves. 




Are you creating these days?  If so, what?  

I have a little list jotted down of projects and art ideas I'd like to try soon.  Stretching my wings creatively, so to speak.  






Of course, I'm still painting.  I can honestly say I love it more each time I pick up a brush.  How I made it to age 30 without every really diving into painting is just mind-boggling.  It sure has been a gift discovering the world of paints.  I have so much more I want to learn and so much more I want to let my paintbrush feel.  Painting to me is part knowledge, but also a whole lot of heart.  



I've been trying to focus on my word for the year as well, which is "slow". 
That means not agreeing to multi-task, 24 hours a day.  
It's surprising how good this has been for my soul, as well as my girls.  They're watching and definitely notice when I'm more present, instead of multi-tasking in the car when Brett's driving, or constantly on the go at lunch.  

Boy, I sure hope my girls learn at home how to really slow down and enjoy and gaze and wonder and reflect and breath deep. 
The table is our go-to spot for creativity, conversation, questions, laughter, eating, and just being together.  I added a few things to this toolbox to keep everyones spirits bright. 

Some interesting art books for me, art supplies and seasonal trinkets for the girls.  I've found them examining and enjoying the cedar, pecans, and pomegranate many times. 

Have no fear, my clean friends.  I DID clean up the studio, in hopes and preparation of Christmas crafting.  Yesterday we cleaned the whole house, from top (well, almost the top) to bottom and I made myself a smoothie afterwards. 

Silly choice, it chilled me right to the bone!  I didn't think I'd ever get warm again. 
But of course, dear Brett came home and built the most warm fire and I quickly began to thaw out. 

 This is my newest art print! 
If you go looking for it in the shop, you won't see it yet.  I'm going to be adding several new things in January, once everyone has had time to sleep off the turkey and eggnog. 
 I have a rule for myself…I must love all my canvases I paint and list in the shop.  I must! How can I expect someone else to love my work if there is no heart and soul and love from me there in the first place?  So many times I paint something and it gets painted over again or just never ends up in the shop.  Not so with this piece. 

I had such fun creating the background with all kinds of delicious layers and then thought real hard about how I wanted the rest to look.  I had a clear vision of this flower and painted here and there on it. When it came time for the words my first thought was to browse my favorite quotes on Pinterest that I'd saved.  But that didn't feel very authentic this time around so instead I sat with my soul and thought real hard about what it is I might need to hear in this season of life. 

And there you go…the words were born.


That's not the only thing I've been up to! 
I'll also have some smaller original canvases to list,
wood photo/note holder blocks,
and a few more goodies in January! 

I'm so excited to share and wanted to give you a sneak peek today! 

Inquiring minds want to know-what's pretty in your part of the world? 
Are you ready for Christmas or ready for it to be over? 

I pray a thrill of hope finds its way to you today.

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