Our most favorite time of the year has rolled around again as we welcomed in the Holiday season at our store with our 17th annual Christmas Open House! November was extra busy for us this year with three out-of-town shows, plus getting ready for our open house, our biggest event of the year! After a week in Birmingham, it was quite a feat to get everything ready in just one week! The shop feels so magical at Christmas time, full of glitter and twinkle lights. There is something about decking the halls that brings a sense of peace, hope and excitement. This year's them was "O Holy Night," which set the tone for such a beautiful afternoon!
The front window display has quickly become one of my favorites that we've done. The vintage stained glass windows make it feel so reverent and peaceful, and it is absolutely gorgeous at night! Katelyn did a beautiful job hand-lettering the lyrics of "O Holy Night" to set the stage before guests even walked through the doors!
Our "front porch" was stocked with perfect holiday selections that speak to our simple, southern style.
Our vintage mule deer, Burl, received his annual Christmas spruce-up.
Our Southern Merc kitchen was looking super festive, and those of you that see us on the road will recognize our fun mantel, full of stockings and garlands!
The dining table was set with sparkling eucalyptus, brass vases and our favorite ornaments from this year.
The children's room was stocked with happy Christmas Jelly Cats and fun Christmas books. If you guys aren't familiar with one of our favorite makers, Melissa of Greener Grass Handmade, check out her website here. She makes the sweetest tepees, play costumes and holiday decorations.
Tara made a beautiful and delicious tiered coconut cake for the occasion. Side note, this is my most favorite cake!
We kept the food simple this year with a beautiful grazing table full of meats, cheeses, nuts and dried fruit.
Jorjanne did a beautiful job setting up our spread!
Open house week is always a whirlwind, especially when I am just running in between trips! I couldn't do all that I do without this group of gals! They are so talented and amazing at what they do. The Shoppes and The Southern Merc wouldn't happen without them.
Now on to this year's Holiday travels! Life on the road can be weary at times, and I won't lie, I am still tired from our trips! Loading and unloading the trailer, set-up and take-down, squeezing in laundry in the two-day window you are home; it is a lot to take on. I will say that getting to visit with all of you makes it totally worth it! From Birmingham to Ocilla, and Atlanta to Perry, we loved every minute of being with you this holiday season! Your smiling faces, compliments, and excitement over your finds keep us motivated to keep it up. Thanks for supporting us, either in person or online; we couldn't do it without you! Here are some highlights from our trips.
We'll be back on the road this spring so be sure to keep a watch on our schedule to see if we'll be in a town near you. If you haven't already joined our email list, head on over and do that now. It's the easiest way to keep up with where we are headed, what specials are going on, and you'll be able to take advantage of discounts that we only offer through email! We promise you won't regret it! We hope all of you have a very happy holiday season! We are already looking forward to seeing you in 2020!
I LOVE to wrap presents! After 12 Christmas seasons in retail, you would think that I would be tired of gift wrapping by now! Lovingly wrapping gifts is one of my favorite activities that comes around with the Holidays. Every year and I am scouring the after Christmas sales for cute gift wrap, cards, tags, etc. I was too embarrassed to take a picture of my entire gift wrap collection so I just picked a few of my favorites to show you! I think it is so much fun to dress up my packages and put extra thought into the presentation of the gift. Here, I am sharing with you a few of my tips on creating beautiful and special gifts!
All Southern Mercantile Handmade Gift Tag Kits
Now, if you are not from the South, you may not know what a moon pie is, but let me tell you, there is not a more Southern snack than a moon pie with an RC Cola (except maybe peanuts and a glass bottle Coke!). A moon pie is “the perfect combination of marshmallow, graham and chocolate” - just check out the story on www.moonpie.com!
(My big boys are convinced that Perry is my favorite because I take more pictures of him, but they rarely let me take their pictures! Caleb was a good sport this weekend and posed with Perry a couple of times.)
We also attended the Georgia Sweet Potato Festival here in Ocilla! My big boys marched with the band in the parade while we watched and caught candy with Perry. He loved watching the motorcycles, old tractors, fire trucks, floats, horses, and of course, the band, all of which brought back memories of marching myself and watching the parade with my older boys when they were Perry's age.
I quickly realized how funny it wasn't as the contractions became stronger. I had been reading books and watching documentaries all to prepare me for this moment, and somehow none of it mattered. Lila was on her way, and that was all I could think about!
She arrived at 10:58, a little over two hours after my water broke. What a whirlwind!
She was tiny, dark and beautiful. I couldn't believe I was her mom. As I held her close and stared at her, all I could think about was how miraculous of an experience this all was.
Then an overwhelming peace came. She belongs to God. He is in control. He will take care of her. And if He decides to call her home, she will come, whether I am ready or not. Acknowledging that truth early on allowed me to fully love her without overwhelming fear. (*I am human, so not completely without fear.) To care for her and raise her with the attitude that she belongs to God. Now, I know she has only been here for 3 months, and the reality is that as time passes and she grows, it will be challenging to remain in this mindset. However, by choosing to raise her in this way, I will take it day by day. Daily I will choose to lift her up to the Lord. Daily I will love her like the miraculous gift she is.
Like I said, early on in my pregnancy, I was able to train my thoughts and come to grips with the truth that Lila belonged to God. Although Phillip knows this in his mind, it was still sinking into his heart. Phillip became anxious about foster care and its role in our family's life. He was fearful of what could happen to her once we welcomed other children into our home--children who come from a broken past and who have experienced violence and abuse. Through many prayers and discussions, we finally agreed that foster care is the path that our family is called to. That meeting these broken children where they are and loving them like Jesus does is the life we want to live.
" He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” " Genesis 22:2
Take your son, your only son, whom you love...and offer him there as a burnt offering. (If you have never read this story, or it's been a while since you have, read it now! )
Wow. If this story didn't get to me before, it certainly does now that I am a parent. Abraham, being the faithful servant he was, obeyed. He didn't question God. He didn't bargain with God. He was obedient. Was he so full of faith that he knew the Lord would provide a lamb? Or was he acknowledging the truth that Isaac belonged to God? Or both?
I sat, with tear-filled eyes, and thought to myself--I love Lila, but God loves her more.
Lila Monroe Smith is a pure JOY. She is the sweetest-natured baby and loves everyone she meets. She looks just like her daddy, but might have her mama's eyes. She is the best snuggler and loves to chat. She loves being outside and reading books. Lila is the best gift--and we are so excited to be her mom and dad.
Coach Nobles’s wife, Tammy, is also a teacher, and the number of students she's influenced herself is countless! My oldest son had the privilege of being in her class for three years in a row, and I don’t know if he could ever replicate such a bond with any other academic teacher. As a mother, I nothing means more to me than knowing she's there for him and encourages his sense of humor and silliness when other teachers don’t appreciate it. She just “gets” him, and allows him to be himself.
But, speaking of "Diehard," Bruce Willis has been filming near our small town, and even he took the time to show his support!
Please pray for our Coach, his wife and kids, our kids, and our entire community. And, let’s all encourage each other, whether there’s a crisis or not. I’m not sure who should be given credit for this quote, as the Internet names many different authors, but it’s been repeated often enough, I’m sure you’ve heard it before.
While fishing was when I discovered just how patient my Papa was. I actually remember thinking one time, "Why in the world does he let us come fishing with him? He spends all of his time getting us untangled, and he doesn't even get a chance to do what he loves so much." Maybe I misunderstood what it was that he loved so much.
It seems like just yesterday that I stood hot and sweaty, with spoon in hand, as he towered over me. Standing at that old enamel sink, scraping the scales back against their natural growth and watching them fly through the air (often times landing on my arms and face). The smell of fish lingering on my hands for what seemed like days along with the strand of mosquito bites down my legs that I couldn't stop scratching. (Which then made my legs smell like fish too.)
When my Papa got sick, I reflected on what it was about him that I admire and would miss so much. I decided that if I could marry someone that was half of the man he was, I would be happy. Little did I know that Phillip would come calling, and I would find him, too, honest, trustworthy, dedicated, patient, kind, hardworking, simple, and loving. The funny thing is, Phillip is also a carpenter (like my Papa), and he too loves to fish.
And in case you didn't know, lemon pie is a must when fish is on the menu. If you don't have a recipe of your own that you love, try out our Southern Pies cookbook!
Possibly the most confusing "salad" we serve at our Cafe is a dish called "Hot Chicken Salad," which is really more of a casserole. Adding to the confusion is the fact that we keep these Hot Chicken Salads in the freezer for sale for customers to bake at home!
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