Thursday, December 27, 2012

scenes from a christmas morning

Our Christmas morning started very early since we knew we would have a house full for breakfast by 9 AM. As I was rushing around trying to get breakfast casseroles in the oven, cut up fruit salad, and quickly wrap a few last gifts-- I looked out the window and was hit with this view. 

Long lay the world in sin and error pining / till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth / a thrill of hope the weary world rejoices / for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

And then I stopped. And thanked Jesus for coming. And thanked him for this New and Glorious Morn.
 And remembered that He had to come, so that I could live. 

It's not about the presents, it's not about the food, it's not even about being with family. All those things are great and such wonderful additions to the Christmas season, but the reason we celebrate, the reason that we are ALIVE to celebrate is because of Jesus. The giver of life. The only good and perfect gift the world will ever know. 

Being far away from home and from family this Christmas season has been hard, but it has totally brought me back to this truth. That Jesus came on Christmas day and lived a perfect life and died a horrible death. For me. For you. For this fallen world. So that we could live. And that is worth celebrating. 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Isaiah 9:6

Brian started our morning off with a little family devotion from our favorite: His Utmost for My Highest.

Then: PRESENTS! Ya'll. I admit it. I feel LOVED through gifts. It's maybe not my first love language, but it's up there. Call me selfish, but I love a present. Actually, I love surprises even more than presents.
 So come visit me, and don't tell me you're coming. Okay?

(also, my husband surprised me with an AMAZING present. it deserves it's own post.)

The People: Hey Kenz, We really wanna see what you look like before coffee with 6:30 AM sleepy eyes. 

McKenzie: You people are lucky I love you. 

Facetime Gift Opening with the fam! This was technically Christmas Eve. But, who's really counting?

 My family is so generous! Awesome wooden chopping block from my sis, Apple TV, and a kindle fire!
Plus lots of other little treats. 
My mom is an awesome gift giver, and funny enough: 
I am an awesome gift receiver :)

And these are pre-Christmas Eve candle light service. We decided to get a little fancy. 

Hey Handsome.

We hope that your Christmas was restful and joyful and that you were reminded of 
all the ways the Lord has blessed you over the past year. 

From the Hardings in Okinawa, to you, wherever you are:
Merry, Merry Christmas and a wonderful, blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

weekend recap + a recipe.

Rainy days. 
Friends over for dinner.
Grilling out in December.
Christmas candles. 
Christmas lights.
Christmas socks. 
Christmas carols at church.
Enjoying our cozy home.
Chai Tea. 
Coffee. Lots of coffee. 
Naps. (yes, plural)
Sushi take out. 
Pumpkin, cranberry, chocolate bread. 
Movie watching. 
Couch laying. 
Low productivity.
No agenda. 

The kind of weekend I spend my weeks dreaming about. 
The kind of weekend that is full of the little things that make life sweet.
The kind of weekend we need every now and then.

This bread was moist and delicious and was born out of cleaning out Thanksgivingy foods from my fridge. I found 2 half cans of pumpkin and come fresh cranberries. Mix that with some pecans and dark chocolate and BOOM. This lovely little treat. I just used my favorite pumpkin bread recipe and then added some cranberries, some dark choco chips, and a handful of pecans. 

Cranberry/Pumpkin/Chocolate/Pecan Bread
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs, beaten well
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup fresh cranberries
how ever much chocolate makes your heart happy
a handful of nuts (pecans, walnut, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the dry. Mix the wet. Mix them together. Add cranberries and chocolate and nuts. Pour in a buttered bread pan. Throw in the oven. Enjoy the smells coming from your oven. Bake for 5-60 mins. Take out of oven. Devour. 

Enjoy! I don't know why this is the first recipe I have ever posted. I love cooking (well, mostly baking) and want to start posting recipes more often. We will see what I come up with! Hope your weekends were wonderful.


Linking up with Lindsay!