Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Thursday Greetings!
Happy birthday, Theodore Geisel– the beloved Dr. Seuss–the man who made every child after his time fall in love with books! 

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Gratitude and A New Year

Hello All!

The New Year season is a time of reflection and resolution, is it not? We think back on all the things we accomplished or experienced… or didn’t accomplish or experience; then, with fresh determination, we plan for what will be accomplished or experienced in the future.

I have been among the ponderers and planners of New Years. In 2016, my sister got married, my brother got engaged, twelve college classes were completed, I spent a week in Quebec, and I started a novel, among other things. Of the many events taking place in 2017, my brother will get married, I will graduate with an associates degree, and I will transfer to Salem College (hopefully). Aside from these are the things that I had hoped for or hope for in the future. Naturally, I had resolutions for 2016: I wanted to exercise more, I wanted to improve my piano playing, I wanted to become more fluent in French, and so on. This coming year, I wouldn’t complain were I to get fit, or finish the manuscript for my novel, or discover the love of my life, or…, or…, or… We all know the story.

My point is, we all come up with these grand schemes, and by all means, we can work toward them, but things don’t always work according to our carefully laid plan. In fact, they almost never do. Sometimes, I map things out in my head, then scold myself for doing so because now that I’ve got it all planned out, it is certain not to happen that way. C’est la vie–That’s life.

I am about to baffle you… Are you ready? Here goes:

I am thankful for all the things God has blessed me with–for every time He’s worked things out just like I thought they needed to be–but more than that, I’m so very thankful for the times that God withheld from me my own desires. For when things didn’t go just how I wanted them to, or in my own timing. For every relationship that didn’t start, despite how I felt in the moment. For every argument I didn’t win, every time I didn’t get my way, and every cancelled plan. Am I out of my mind? Maybe a little. But I believe that God’s plan for my life goes far beyond the human-sized life map I’ve drawn up. His ways are higher than my ways, and His timing is always perfect, even when it is ridiculously difficult for me to understand. So whether its 2016, 2017, or twenty years from now… Whether I’m where I had wanted to be in life or in a place I had never imagined for myself, I will be grateful in all things. I desperately hope you will join me.

One last thought for your New Years:

“Destinations are where we begin again.” –Josh Groban, “Believe.”

I thought this was suitable for the end of one year and the beginning of another. What does it mean from your perspective?

Happy 2017.

Love, Alyssa.

The Dulaney House at Christmas

There is now a grand total of seven stockings hanging… they have outgrown the mantle, so this year one hangs on either side of it as well. There would be nine, but Mum and Dad aren’t much interested in hanging some for themselves. Thus, seven it is–for my older brother, his fiance, my older sister, her husband, myself, my younger brother and my younger sister–all shadowing a dancing fire. The stockings, the fire, the tree–they are all mere spectators of our laughing family at Christmastime.

I’m learning that things like Christmas change as you, and those around you, grow up; but not necessarily for the worse. While some things do slink into the past, like having a the whole family there to decorate the tree, new things begin to emerge, like catching up over a cup of hot tea after the long (and eagerly) awaited arrival of my sister and brother-in-law. I know that things will never return to what they once were, but then, things don’t have to be the same to be marvelous. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year, no matter what.

I rather enjoy laying upside-down on the couch (feet in the air and all) in a Christmas sweater and Santa hat, surrounded by my family, listening and contributing to the endless chatter; most of which is provided by the 5 year old sister, who entertains us all. I love migrating to my Wurlitzer piano to play and sing Christmas hymns in constant anticipation of Dad’s inevitable request for me to “play softly” in light of his headache. I relish an evening devoted to a Hallmark Christmas movie and a cup of hot cocoa. I take great joy in the celebration of Jesus’ birth–the reason for the “Christ” in Christmas.

Times change, and traditions with them, but I will always cherish a Dulaney Family Christmas; may it be past, present, or future… Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to pour myself a hot beverage and check on the progress of the gingerbread houses!

The Merriest of CHRISTmases to you all and the most blessed of New Years.

Much love,

Alyssa Dulaney

 

Proud to Be An American

Happy Monday and Memorial Day to you all!

I wanted to take a moment as our day of hikes, cookouts, and family time ends to remember what this day is really all about. Honoring those who have served to keep our country free. Those who loved their nation enough to sacrifice. To fight. To take a stand and say, “For our children and our country… We are willing.” 

It is these soldiers – these patriots – that make me love America. It their willingness that makes me cry and swell with passion when I sing the National Anthem. 

I may not always like where our nation is heading, but I am proud of where it has been. I am proud of its soldiers, and I am proud to be an American. 

God Bless Us, Every One

Merry Christmas, one and all!
I do so hope that everyone is having a merry Christmas! I know I am. Despite the fact that it has been storming and raining all day, my aunt and I are making the most of it by playing an intense game of scrabble (I’m winning, by the way. 😉 )

My holiday is being spent in a Mississippi small town with my dad’s family. There are some things about a southern Christmas that you simply fall in love with. One being my mawmaw and pawpaw’s delectable old-fashioned cooking. I may be gaining weight, but I’m not compaining!

I love the joy of being surrounded by family. We’re all a little crazy, and sure, Mawmaw’s house gets unbelievably crowded and loud, but we love each other-most of the time, that is! Haha!

Hearing stories about the past is something I have always loved and always will, and something I get everytime I am here. Not to mention the tales about my dad when he was young-that never gets old!

My mawmaw is one of the most fun people in the history of human beings. She has been known to sweep you into a dance when you least expect it. So much of yesterday and today has been spent singing loud and dancing around the kitchen. I love it!

My cousin and I cannot possibly get together and not  have a good time. We are kindred spirits, to be sure, and we keep each other (and those around us) entertained.

So a Mississippi Christmas is my favorite kind. Food, family, and fun all wrapped up in one. Get it? Wrapped up like a Christmas present! 😉 Here comes all the family, so I have to get back to socializing. Have a very merry Christmas, and GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!

The Most Wonderful Time

Hello All!
Christmas is my aboslute favorite time of the year, no doubt about it. My family had their “Christmas” this evening, because we will be out of town over Christmas, and it’s rather hard to vacation with your Christmas tree and gifts. 😉 Needless to say, I have excess Christmas spirit; thus, I am here to share it with you all! I thought I would list some of my favorite things about the Christmas season for your enjoyment. Let me preface it by saying this: The number of times the word “Christmas” is used in this post, will probably break some kind of record. 

 

1. Christmas Music

This one comes first because it’s probably the thing I start first… Like, in July… Unashamed!

2. Christmas Movies

There is no way I’m going to leave this one out! From cheesy Hallmark movies all the way to classics like “White Christmas.” I can’t live without them (or rather, I choose not to.) 

  
3. Christmas Decorations

Who doesn’t get a thrill at the sight of a well-lit Christmas tree?!

4. Downtown in December

I live in a small town with the most adorable downtown of all time. “Mayberry”, NC does Christmas-time right! Giant lit-up snowflakes, Christmas decor in every window, and hot cocoa at Pages coffee shop. 

5. Food

Ham, hot cocoa, sweets, everything peppermint… Enough said.

  
6. Family

Isn’t family the most important thing any time of the year? But around Christmas, we seem to take them less for granted. At least, we should. The holidays are best when one is surrounded by family, no matter how crazy they may be. 😉 A good ole Mississippi Christmas at Mawmaw’s house is my favorite kind. 

7. The true reason for the season- Jesus Christ

I wanted to put this one last, because I wanted you to remember it the most. We often get so caught up in the other great things, that we forgot the reason it all even comes about every year- Jesus Christ. God, the King of the universe, humbled Himself, wrapped Himself in flesh, and came to this broken, corrupted earth, to give us a chance at salvation. He came for us, not when we have everything together, but when we are at our worst. When we put every other petty thing before Him, He loves us with a love so overwhelming and indescribable. He came as a baby to live life as we do and to die the death that we deserve. Our hope for salvation came down to earth in the most unexpected way… and today, he can born in our hearts.

  
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

~Alyssa