Now, truth be told we put up our Christmas decorations a little early this year, a few weeks early to be exact. We happened to be bored one night and wanted our little house to be festive for the holidays a bit early. Who knew that it was going to be a busy week of Thanksgiving goodness and we wouldn’t have the time. And so here we are, four weeks away from Christmas and the house is decorated and lit, we have and will be loading up on hot chocolate and wassail and presents will be bought and wrapped and put under our nature themed Christmas tree. It truly is ’tis the season!
*Note the gloves on our chair, tilted Ikea lamp shade and Emory’s confused look! A very Merry Christmas indeed! *
You know, as long as we have lived here in Fort Worth, we have never seen the grand tree downtown being lit. We cut out of the Parade of Lights early last year, and while we have seen the tree already lit every year we have been together, we never saw the countdown. Well, riding a post-Thanksgiving food and amazingly perfect MUPPETS high, we picked up Emory and joined our family downtown, weaving through the crowds post-parade and ended up with a great view of the tree as the crowd began to sing a Fort-Worth version of the 12 Days of Christmas and the 10…9…8 countdown began. The tree was bigger than ever, as beautiful as we had ever seen it and Emory became a huge hit with a lot of the revelers around Sundance Square. It was so much fun to experience our city in a purely joyful mood of the holiday season, and with our family. Emory was in heaven, exploring the streets and the Omni Hotel. It was nice to have a fireplace in the lobby so we could get fully immersed in the Christmas spirit! I think Bo was look for some marshmallows to sneak in and toast over the flames? Thanksgiving was a success, and we do believe Christmas will be even better.
Heather & Bo
P.S. We apologize for being Emory enthusiasts…Lord help us when have a child of our own.
The holidays always begin with a time of reflection and wonder about how we got from the first day of the year to this final push to another calendar year. Just how we survived and conquered all of the challenges and opportunities that 365 days bring is truly something to be amazed at, and definitely be thankful for. This year has certainly been both beautiful and incredibly hard. From a full calendar year of employment for myself (something I haven’t had in over three years) and the opportunity to take mine and Heather’s collective passion and begin the process of starting a business out of that dream, to the honest difficulty of navigating the rhythm of marriage and the struggle to maintain the ties of family…this year has been packed full of both wonderful and incredibly difficult moments. But both are exactly what to be thankful for. That we have the opportunity as two people, both similar in tastes and extremely different in thought processes, to struggle and overcome the challenges of life is more than amazing. We are thankful for so many things. That we have our base needs taken care of, from shelter and food and clothing to gainful employment and free time together, well, we make it in this world even if by a fine thread at times by the grace of God.
We are thankful for family and all that implies, from excellent models of togetherness to the opportunity to change those things that are often barriers to depth in relationships. We are thankful for Emory, who over the course of the last 15 months has been a constant source of happiness, laughter and comfort…with only a little frustration! We are thankful for the freedom we have as human beings to be honest with ourselves and the direction we feel our life should go in, from moving in place and focus in my ministry to how we spend our energy in both experience and documentation of our life on a daily basis through Heather’s lens and heart. We are thankful for a God that we believe in that is not forced into the boxes so often created and fought for by those who are religious and/or political. As a husband, there is not much I can ask for that Heather doesn’t already give me. I am personally thankful for how she loves me in spite of my own idiosyncrasies, how she often forgives me and challenges me to be a better man and is protective of who I am and what I want to become. It is rare to have someone in your life who is so present to all these joys and challenges of life together, and who shows from her love and care of Emory to how she gives to everyone from the closest friends to homeless strangers how life can be lived well.
Together we are figuring out how to live in a way that shows those around us that love wins, that all are accepted by the God we believe in no matter what, that honesty is best in a world of thin veneers of false successes, that generosity is a lifestyle and that at the end of the day and the end of each year we are alive and we are together and we have enough within us to do all it all again for another year. We hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving and we are happy to wish you all a very happy holidays!
P.S. These are some Thanksgiving 2011 family pictures that we wanted to share as we haven’t taken any of us all in a while and we wanted to share them. We want to thank you all ever so much for sharing in a little glimpse of our world with every day and every post. We live our life openly and this blog is merely a by-product of those moments lived out loud. We enjoy all of you and your consistent and wonderful kindness that comes our way. Simply thank you. ~Heather
We are ever Thankful for the freedom to express ourselves, including all the blessings in our lives; we are thankful for: life & breath, our life together w/ all its challenges trials victories & joys, Emory Holden Liles, our families, our home, our employment, our dreams in life & business, our transportation including our car & our stable of bicycles, our worldview, our country, our education & beliefs, our ability to give back to our community, the neighborhoods in Fort Worth that we are in love with, our entire city with all its eccentricities and foodie ways, other favorite cities and places such as New York or DisneyWorld, french macarons, breads and cheeses, chocolate fondue, street tacos, good parks and gardens with rivers and flowers, films and shows it brings to inspire us, music & records & radio that gives us music to dance & sing about the house to, for sunrises & sunsets, for open roads & possibilities, for love always winning, for hope enduring and the God that is moving in all of us, around us and through everything to prove that every single one of us is loved and accepted. That’s Thanksgiving to us.
Just some of things that have been going on in the Liles world lately through the lens of Instagram. It’s the build up to Thanksgiving, and we’ve survived the stress and now its on to days off, sips & bites and the Brooks family joining us for an all local, stay at home holiday. Cheers to relaxing and getting healthy and happy as Christmas (our favorite holiday) approaches!
As fall continues marching towards the holidays and a new year, our house has been humming, with fall wardrobe changes of jackets, coats and boots; holiday decorating and Christmas music on the radio; sweet treats and copious amounts of hot cocoa, cider and coffee; Emory being fully aware of the holiday season; lists lists lists of all types, from Christmas giving and wish lists to decorating & grocery lists and the hope of a time for reflection and dreaming of the hope of the new year will bring for ours and your dreams all around. Here’s to the holidays!
Everything was quite fine this weekend, as we went thrift shopping at one of our favorite spots in Haltom City just north of where we live, got lots of delicious treats at the market, saw an amazing dinosaur…you know just normal occurrences around town. I then began to decline pretty fast with this nasty sinus infection. We have to keep it real, life is often nights in lounge clothes with no makeup, in need of a shower with Kleenex in hand. Neither one of us do well being sick, we both tend to whine at times when fevers and the chest colds set in. God help us if we ever get sick at the same time. But nothing helps feeling bad than homemade chicken soup, bread, chocolate cake and the newest Anthology! It has made the recovery time much easier. Now, its mid-week and its time to begin the holiday plans! Is it too early to begin putting up the Christmas decorations? No, never!
P.S. Bo took that last photo, I found it later in the morning and I kept it!
The holidays are our favorite time of the year, but it isn’t all about self-indulgence and presents. It is about giving back for all that we have been given. Something we should do all year long. One of Bo’s co-workers presented us with this opportunity to give back. We have often thought, when giving to those who by circumstance are forced to live on the streets, what people who are without homes or in transition need on a daily basis. The Labre Society addresses this question every year, when they pack 700 adult and 40 children’s’ reusable backpacks with the things they need. This is so amazing and exactly what we have been looking for in a volunteering opportunity. We have found it very hard to volunteer at times, because many organizations do not provide adequate information and are difficult to get in contact with. Labre Society provides clear and simple information and their website provides more in depth information into the program. We are so excited to get involved and pack these bags with other who see the need and are stepping up to make a difficult time of the year just a little better for those in need.
Each Christmas Gift Bag is packed with love, containing the following items:
2 All-day bus passes 2 cans of Vienna Sausages 2 bottles of body wash / shampoo Toiletries
2 pairs of white cotton socks 2 packages of peanut butter crackers
1 pair of winter gloves 1 knit scarf 1 rain poncho 1 towel 1 pocket Bible Food
Why Do We Give-
Socks? A successful businessman in Fort Worth once donated a case of socks to a local restaurant which serves Christmas dinner to the homeless. He expressed his desire that all dinners be accompanied by a pair of white cotton socks. The reason, he explained, was because he had once been homeless and remembered his biggest need was for a pair of clean, dry socks, as he had to walk everywhere he went. All gift bags from the Labre Society contain 2 pair of white cotton socks.
Ziplock Bags? A local agency which serves the homeless was asked what it saw as the biggest need of those living on the streets. The answer was large ziplock bags, used by the homeless to keep paperwork and clothing dry. All gift bags contain 2 one-gallon ziplock bags.
Bus Passes? The recipients of the bags over the years have expressed how important bus passes are to them. When you have no transportation, an all-day bus pass is priceless. Recipients have reported using the passes to get to doctor’s appointments and to visit family they would otherwise not see. If the Labre Society could only provide one item, it would be bus passes. All gift bags contain 2 all-day bus passes.
To be honest things have been pretty awfully stressful around our home lately being that the days left in the year are few, providing that we have been homebodies too often lately, so it was a nice moment when I asked Heather what we were to do today and she had an answer on the ready. Her timing was pretty spot on, as a nice drive would give her plenty of time to peruse the new issue of LULA magazine she received in the mail. Into the wind we went, Emory in tow, to explore old favorites from our brief time as Dallas residents. It may have been windy, but autumn weather is never a bad thing and White Rock Lake was pretty and full of happy people. Emory loves exploring new outdoor spaces, and he acted as if swimming might be in order. But the light was fading, and we had a cupcake waiting. The best thing about Sprinkles Cupcakes? The puppy cupcakes. Emory was excited like it was Christmas, as he proceeded to inhale it. As if our day was not centered around him enough, a trip to Half Price Books in Dallas were he was petted by every child in sight confirmed it…Emory had taken over our day date. And why not, he is a lovely part of our life…he makes us laugh every day, he is full of energy and whenever we are stressed out, all it takes his constant desire to cuddle to set the world right. He is over a year old now, and today was one of those lovely days were we officially got excited about Christmas and all the memories we will make with our little fluff ball, puppy-child. So, as the night descended and we headed back to Fort worth, we put on the Peggy Lee album we found at Half Price, and took deep breaths…life is good, when you keep it all in perspective. And I think we can often say that we have Emory to thank for that.