Thursday, December 31, 2009

Finally ... an updated blog posting

I can't believe it has been over 20 days since I have updated my blog. To say life has been hectic is an understatement. Here are a few thoughts about the past three weeks and the final blog of 2009:

Sharron and I took a quick trip to Charlotte to visit family and received BIG news from Danielle. She has verified that she was 20 weeks pregnant and the ultrasound indicated that she is having a BOY! We are so excited about our first grandson! The projected due date is May 6, 2010

Sharron has wanted to visit the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC for the Christmas Candlelight Tour. I surprised her with a trip on Dec. 17-18 to Biltmore. Here is a little info. about the house:

Be inspired by the relaxed elegance of George and Edith Vanderbilt's 250-room family home and country retreat in Asheville, NC. Discover original art from masters such as Renoir, magnificent 16th-century tapestries, Napoleon's chess set, a library with 10,000 volumes, a Banquet Hall with a 70-foot ceiling, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, bowling alley, and priceless antiques. Opened to friends on Christmas Eve 1895, this French Renaissance chateƔu remains America's largest privately owned home.

It was a wonderful evening! We enjoyed the trip with our friends Phil and Joanie Richards.
The rooms were filled with the lights and sounds of Christmas. We enjoyed a meal at a restaurant on the property then a two hour tour of the house. As we departed Asheville on Friday morning the snow was falling. Sharron was able to see snow for Christmas - more that I could have imagined!

At the church we had a great time at the student led Jingle Jam. The meal was fantastic! The students did a great job in the program for the day. I really liked Pastor Jordan and the students leading us in a time of worship.

Our Christmas Eve Service was well attended. I was surprised that the ushers added chairs to accommodate those coming late to the service. The attendance cards indicated several new families visiting and four people making the decision to accept the personal gift of salvation offered through Jesus Christ!

Christmas Day well celebrated as we travelled to Charlotte and spent time with family.

Danielle and Jessie were surprised by their family gift:

Josh seemed very happy with the family gift we gave to them:

Sharron and I returned to Raleigh the day after Christmas to be at church. I concluded the teaching series on Simply Christmas. The worship was led by Melissa Cordovia and the worship team using the i worship series. The worship was so authentic. It was evident of God moving in our midst.

I caught this picture of Alyse as she enjoyed a snack at the Connection Cafe. She was very thankful as she prayed.

Stephanie shared her BIG news with us on Christmas day. She is about 20 weeks pregnant and her ultrasound has verified that she is having a GIRL! Do you think Sharron and I are excited?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Church board and staff Christmas Party 2009

Tonight Sharron and I prepared for the Christmas party to express our appreciation to the members of the church board and the staff of NRN. Actually - I just stayed out of the way for Sharron to prepare all the "goodies" and took care of a few "honey do" chores at her request.

We placed a few lights around the outside of the house:
The kitchen table was prepared to receive guest for good conversation and laughs....
The Christmas tree in the living room was trimmed. The Nativity set below the tree was hand painted and prepared by Sharron as her project during her pregnancy with our daughters in 1980.
The tree in the Family Room is decorated with the ornaments collected across the years as a family. The star on top is made from the original cardboard staff I cut from a box and covered with aluminum foil and placed on top of the first Christmas tree Sharron and I had after we were married. The staff is a reminder of simpler days. And also reminds us of how blessed we truly are.

This year Sharron had plenty of chips and salsa with 7 layer bean dip; vegetables with ranch dip; fruit salad; and cranberry frozen salad. Then came the chicken salad sandwiches; party ham rolls; pigs in a blanket; Angus beef meatballs and little smokies in a crock pot. But everyone seemed to especially enjoy the section for desserts:

The iced water and ice tea were complemented with the variety of teas and coffees as well as hot apple cider on the stove.

Then the time came to eat and enjoy a great evening of fellowship:

Several people took a "goodies bag" home with them. The first guest arrived about 6:30 and the final guest left shortly after 10:00. It was an enjoyable evening with great conversations - plenty of laughter - and a great spirit among us.

Sharron is awesome as she worked so hard to prepare for the evening.
I am so blessed to have her in my life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Preparing to celebrate Christmas

How are you preparing to celebrate Christmas?

Need an idea for hanging lights of your house?

See if this makes your head and shoulders rock:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Simply Christmas part 1

The last few days have been quite hectic in the Hudgens' household. I am really enjoying preaching this Christmas season. On November 29th we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent and I began a new teaching series called Simply Christmas.

Here is what I said on the first Sunday of Advent: Let’s pull back the layers of Christmas in today’s culture and focus on the core of the holiday. Join with us as we see what Simply Christmas is all about ~ a real authentic Christmas this year.

Every Sunday of this time of advent we will feature a presentation from the Seasonal Choir; a live drama vignette and the lighting of the candles on the advent wreath.

We began this series by viewing Christmas through the perspective of Mary ~ to trust God for the impossible. Last Sunday we viewed Christmas through the eyes of Joseph ~ to never under estimate your influence.

On December 13, we will feature our children’s ministry as we view Christmas through the “stinky, smelly shepherds” – to seize the moment.

December 20th we will view Christmas with a simple perspective through Jesus–the name says it all!

We will bring our celebration of advent to a crescendo on Thursday evening, December 24, at 5:00 p.m. as we will gather for our annual Christmas Eve Service–featuring a moving time of worship, the Christmas message through a simple format, the candle lighting and communion. Christmas is wonderful time of the year to invite friends, family and neighbors to join you to experience Simply Christmas.
This past Sunday we enjoyed the presentation of the Seasonal Choir under the direction of Rose Thomas.
The drama vignette consisted of a reader's theater and the drama ministry portraying the scene in silhouette. It was very moving to see this live portrayal.

We are really excited about this coming Sunday with the Children's Ministry presenting a mini-musical about the shepherds of the Christmas Story.

By the way - What do you think of my first attempt for a new background?