Tidings & EXTREME Warm Thoughts

Happy New Year!

The last dozen months have been ~EXTREME ~ in so many ways ~

A long standing Stertz tradition of designing cards was relinquished this year. We are pleased to bring you our Christmas joy through photos that more easily share our traditions. YULE enjoy a closer look at how we prepare our home to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Our family delighted in a Boston Clam Chowder in bread bowls this Christmas dinner. Celery root salad and Sam Adams filled out the New England fare.

(Mom note) I finished a scrapbook for our daughter Morgan which was no secret since I have been working on it for 2 years! The bond grew ever stronger on my end - but the best gift in return was her decision to be the resident photographer so that I would have MORE photos to scrap. Thanks for catching the angles just so—

Yes Virginia, there is a favorite decoration.
Thanks to Lynda the "GREAT' who started our collection of hand painted ceramic ornaments 17 years ago, they now hang delicately from a beautiful tree. We look forward to the talented designs by Santa Theresa Tileworks https://www.santatheresatileworks.com  each year. 

Rick painstakingly searched his record album collection and with a little bribing decided to contribute the long cherished record album sleeves to the art project that created special LP album 'gift' boxes for each family member. You could say he 'rocks'!

Cleaning out a junque drawer was the reason for this advent calendar but in reality shopping for this calendar is the reason that it will probably be on display all year! This was my merry, merry!

Thanks Grandma Valin for 'watch'ing over us.
So perfect as art!

The scrap swap girls had a most delicious meal with the most awesome hostess and bestie Karen. I shared my home brewed vanilla and tried my hand at letter stamping to personalize the gifts.

A Christmas tradition that I look forward to sharing with my friend Sharon is high tea at Chantilly Tea Room. Winter tea blends are celebrated and the pastries are some of the best fare. Victorian Christmas treats, handmade ornaments and a strolling flutist turned back the clock on our day.

Our mothers now reside in a shared assisted living facility each struggling with finding peace. I pray that the Lord will pour His love over them. I am reminded that gifts are often wrapped in time and love. I could not resist snapping this photo of the Catalina Mountains dusted by God's hand one morning when I was visiting. Simple beauty and a reminder that Jesus was ever present...I could not have created a more reflective moment.

The best gifts are, of course the gifts that cannot be wrapped.  So in a most peculiar and singular facebook posting the impossible 'presented' itself.  In my wildest dreams I never imagined that there existed a brother and sister with whom I was not acquainted. Seeds have been planted and are being nurtured with gratitude from all. Blessed beyond my wildest expectations there exists a connection across two countries that is remarkable by any standards.

What we DID this year is less important than our personal reflections and committment to honour, integrity and service all of which were rich in our lives. We continue to learn about ourselves and others through our hobbies and divine appointments. A commission of a different colour forced a major shift of reason as Rick sought wisdom while serving on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission as appointed by the Arizona Senate President. http://www.azredistricting.org  Nine years left and counting!

A recent message that struck a chord is what I would like to share with you.
 'Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.'
T.H. Thompson and John Watson

We share the gift of life with our daughter Chelsea & son-in-law David. BABY JACK will win over our 'hearts' when he arrives in February. The REVEAL party was so exciting!

Bets were placed...

The cakes were baked
Chocolate for Jacks
Red Velvet for Hearts

Guesses are in
and BOYS win!

Any of these 2011 events stand alone as spectacular unto themselves. We are grateful for the presents that have been chosen for us and aspire to be 'present' in our hearts and minds in all that we serve.

We rather like this new world over the miles to you...our first holiday Skype to family in Italy and news of the closing of the Tucson post office certainly post a new mark.

Bring on Twenty Twelve!

All our love, Rick & Debbie


  1. Lovely blog, as always, dear Debbie! Your photos have captured what (I'm sure) you set out to do. Loved reading this!

  2. Debbie that advent calendar is gorgeous! Did you make it? I would love to have something like that hanging in my place year round. Can you give me some tips on how to create something similar? I always remember your house being such a warm, wonderful, and most certainly beautifully decorated place during the holidays, nothing seems to have changed! Happy New Year!


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