New Christmas

I can't believe it's Christmas already. For some reason this year Christmas has snuck up on me. I decorated our place, I signed cards, I did some shopping, I sang carols, and I went to parties. Yet I'm still in shock that tomorrow is Christmas day. I think the biggest reason for this is the fact that nothing I've done this Christmas season has followed my normal traditions.

My life is completely different than it was last year. Last year I was living in Tulsa, close to all of my family. I left on Christmas day and spent the holiday in Germany and Paris. In the years before that I spent time shopping with my little brother, playing games with my family, swapping 'white elephants', taste testing all of my granny bob's desserts, and hanging out with my parents. Austin, my older brother, would come into town and we'd stay up all night playing games and catching up. I never knew how much all of these little traditions would mean to me until now.

Now I live in Nashville. I'm married. My husband is a pastor of a small Baptist church. His family lives in North Carolina and mine is hundreds of miles away. We're starting our own traditions. This Christmas we are spending time with his family in NC. We've already had a great time catching up with his parents and are getting ready to go have a family dinner. This is our first holiday as a married couple. I'm anxious and nervous to see how I fit into his family's traditions. I'm excited to see how our families are similar and how they are different. I'm excited to get to celebrate the birth of our savior in a new way!

I'm curious to hear stories from other couples about first holidays together. How did you mix traditions? What were some challenges you faced? Any tips? Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Off to dinner! I wish you all a very very Merry Christmas!

Book Review

I'm starting to review books for Thomas Nelson Publishers. Below you can find some information on the first book I'm reading. Let me know what you think and look for the review coming soon!


December to Remember

Wow! December has been such a busy month! I can’t believe it’s almost half way over. Although it’s been going by fast I feel like it’s been productive. I’ve gotten a lot of things accomplished! A few highlights:

Name Change! I am officially Alyson Drew Costner. My driver’s license proves it! (And it’s a Tennessee license, to match my new Tennessee license plates…that’s right, officially a Tennessean!) However, I still have to get my new social security card and passport. But I need to wait until after our honeymoon so I can take my passport with me. Speaking of that…

Honeymoon! Our honeymoon is booked! We are taking a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas. We’re flying down to Ft Lauderdale the day before and staying the night with some family friends (the Kennedy’s for those of you who know them). They’re going to help us get to the cruise ship the next day and to the airport when we get back. We’re so excited for warmer weather!

Baking! I have been baking like a mad woman. All sorts of muffins and cakes have been coming out of the oven. And tomorrow it’s red velvet cake and mini cupcakes. I think I’m also going to make cupcakes for the ladies I eat lunch with everyday. They always exchange small gifts for Christmas and I thought about getting them a cup-a-cakes and putting one of my famous gourmet cupcakes inside! Or at least one of my made with lots of love and care cupcakes. :) This picture is of the well I made for the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. The ‘well’ is one of the reasons I make muffins. Weird I know…

Cards! I am finally caught up on all of our wedding and Christmas present thank you cards. Now it’s time to address and send the Christmas cards. I got some sweet encouragement from a lady at church tonight so I’m motivated to finish that project tomorrow morning. Plus, Matt has promised to help and two is always better than one!

Finally…Tree! We got a pre-lit tree at Costco and it’s been up and decorated for a week! I had to make sure I spread out my ornaments evenly so there were not too many blank spots. Even though I left the whole back side blank, the front still looks sparse. Oh well, I figure we will add to it every year so it will get more and more. See what I mean?

What’s been keeping you all busy this month?

How Dreadful!

Last week after Matt and I got married, I spent the next couple of days “setting up house”. I had moved most of my stuff over to his place a few days before the wedding and it was all piled up in the spare bedroom. I love things to be clutter free and organized so I wanted to get all my stuff put away as soon as I could. First I separated my things according to what room they would go into. Then I made a place in each of those rooms for my things. I got all of my bathroom toiletries organized and stored away first. Then I moved on to my favorite task…the closet! I am kind of a freak when it comes to my closet. I organize everything by color, type of sleeve, collar or no collar, etc. I know it is excessive organization but I like it to look clean and neat. I finished the task and just stood in the closet for a while admiring my handy work. I felt such a sense of accomplishment.

Fast forward to this afternoon:
As soon as I got home from work, Matt and I went to the County Clerk’s office to unsuccessfully get my car tag replaced. (more on that later) When we got home I was going to put my shoes in the closet…in their designated space…I opened the closet door and my heart sank. All the hard work, all the organization, my entire sense of accomplishment was laying there on the floor in an unrecognizable heap. The entire shelf and bar had come out of the wall. I was so frustrated. Matt was telling me how it was fine, and that we would go to Lowe’s and get new shelves. He even offered to put them up tonight. He wanted to rest for a few minutes and then he would help me clean up the mess. I didn’t care about a single thing he was saying. I couldn’t sit and relax when I knew what was waiting for me down the hall. I told him to rest and I got to work.

Looking back on the situation, it would have been so much easier if I would have listened to my husband. I wouldn’t have been in the closet sorting through my chaos all alone. I wouldn’t have been fighting falling shelves and wire hangers by myself. The work would have been finished in half the time. I think sometimes it’s so much easier for me to choose to do things alone. I’ve been quite independent as an adult. I don’t believe God led me to my mate for me to continue my life ‘as is’. I have a partner now! We can face all of life’s challenges together, even if it’s just as simple as a few clothes on the floor.