Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year’s Eve Reflections

Cat Looking Out Window

Today I'm reflecting back on the year past and thinking about the coming year. I'd like to share my thoughts with you. The past year has been one of change and struggle as we tried to grasp the reality of losing our young son-in-law and the impact it had on our daughter and her three children. As I look back I see one thing very clearly – we’ve made it through only because God has been faithful and He has given us strength for every step. There is no way any of us can see what lies ahead, and that’s a good thing, but we know this to be true – God is good all.the.time!! He hasn’t forsaken us and he promised He won’t ever leave us alone in the future.

In the middle of the loss and grief of the last months God has blessed us with special things that we knew were gifts from His hand. A wonderful, dream vacation with my sweetheart; an unbelievable college reunion on the campus where I spent those years in San Francisco; time with new friends and friends from long ago – and most of all more blessings and grace each day than I imagined possible. There have been tears and laughter, hugs and gentle words spoken, surprises and things long waited for. We have walked through changes – some hard to comprehend and some incredible blessings. No matter what, we have had a lot of love in our lives – from God, from friends nearby and from you, my dear friends. You enrich my life beyond belief! I love the way we share our lives – the fun, the tough times, the silly things, the real, at times the unreal, our comings and goings, and the beauty of our homes and families and the world around us.

Thank you for letting me share a bit of your life. Thank you for the way you share mine. I never dreamed how much the dear friendships made here would touch my heart. And life. You inspire me, you make me smile, you make me feel loved (and hugged), you teach me, you remind me what’s important and more than you know there are days you give me strength to hang on. Looking back, I’m so glad we’ve walked the road together this past year – and I can’t wait to walk on ahead with you. There are surprises and changes ahead – of that I’m sure – but I can’t wait to see what God planned. For you and for me!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Doggy Birthday

Today is a very special day at our house. Our puppy is a puppy no more - he’s a big boy now. He’s one year old today!! Of course I didn’t know him a year ago today but that doesn’t matter – it’s still a special day for him. I’ve been telling him he’s a big boy and he’s pretty proud of the fact that he has finally made it through all the things a puppy needs to survive to get to this day. This is what he looked like the day I met him in March. My oldest granddaughter was holding him.


He was the sweetest, little guy and my heart was totally ‘taken’ by his snuggly, cuddly personality. He was just eight weeks old and such a little doll. It was love at first sight but I didn’t take him home that day. Instead, my daughter and her children sneaked and bought him for my birthday and the next day he became mine. (That was early March – my birthday wasn’t until August!)


The day he came to our home was the day our whole world changed!


Things haven’t been the same here since then. We learned to put our shoes away when we took them off or they became good teething ‘toys’. . .


We learned that we didn’t need to shred papers and booklets – Joey would do it for us. . .


We learned that puppies sleep a lot through the day and not so much at night. . .


We learned to see and hear things in the world around us that we’d never noticed before. . .


But most of all we learned that there’s nothing quite like being loved by a puppy!


Joey is full grown now and he has a mind of his own. Most of the time he just wants to be with us – or eat – or play – or go for a walk – or chase the cat – or sleep. Late yesterday afternoon it began to snow at our house. Joey sat at the patio door and barked at the snowflakes as they fell. Then he wanted to go out to see what it was all about. After running a couple of circles around the yard he quickly ran back inside and looked at me as if to say, ‘What was that all about’? In the evening we had to take him out on the leash because he refused to step out into the cold, white stuff on the ground. Even having his cool camouflage coat and hood on didn’t seem to impress him.


He didn’t linger long out there and very quickly he let us know it was time to come back inside – and there was no doubt that he didn’t appreciate what we had just made him do.


So today we will celebrate Joey’s birthday in style – with a gift or two and some treats and lots of hugs. And probably a puppy doggy kiss or two!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Give Me A Little Light, Please

Butterfly Nightlight

I had planned to show you a special little light I bought quite a while ago but it seems I forgot! This sweet, little butterfly sits atop our dresser and adds color to the room during the day and a touch of soft light at night. Our bedroom has been in the process of a makeover – a much-too-long, drawn-out process. I must admit that I’m the one who needs to get busy and get it done. Everything my sweetheart needed to do is been done; now I need to spend some time at my sewing machine or with a paintbrush in hand to finish the special touches that will give our bedroom the look we love. But I thought you would enjoy seeing our pretty nightlight. At Christmastime, a year ago, I put a pretty lighted ceramic Christmas tree on top of our tall dresser. The effect in our room at night was almost magical and we loved it so much we knew we wanted to find a special lamp to keep the glow all year long. It took a lot of looking but suddenly one day – there it was! You can see the detail and the colors that go with the walls (Sherwin Williams Soft Sage – not gray, like in the picture) and the fabrics in the room. I have several nightlights around the house that I turn on each evening around dusk but this is definitely my favorite.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Love Was When

We love him, because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19


Love was when God became a man,
Locked in time and space, without rank or place;
Love was God born of Jewish kin;
Just a carpenter with some fishermen;

Love was when Jesus walked in history,
Lovingly He brought a new life that's free,
Love was God nailed to bleed and die
To reach and love one such as I.

Love was when God became a man,
Down where I could see love that reached to me;
Love was God dying for my sin
And so trapped was I my whole world caved in.

Love was when Jesus met me, now it's real;
Lovingly He came, I can feel He's real!
Love was God, only He would try
To reach and love one such as I.

Song: ‘Love Was When’
Words and music by Don Wyrtzen
Artwork: ‘Silent Night’
Artist: Liz Lemon Swindle

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas - from our home to yours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting Ready For Christmas

Christmas Hats

We’re getting the last things ready for Christmas at our house. We had Christmas with our kids and grandkids last Saturday night. It was great – and we had such fun together. A sweet gathering of adults – my sweetheart and I, my dear little mother , my cousin and her hubby – will be here on Christmas Day to celebrate the Savior’s birth and to share gifts from our hearts with each other. Last minute preparations are happening and a few decorations are being tweaked. Oh dear, Joey feels bad because I forgot to say he will be here, too.


He’s getting ready – reluctantly!


Joey and I hope you are planning for special times with people dear to your heart. And we hope you make some time for yourself during the next two days. It’s a gift you can give to yourself. It’s free – the only cost is a little time!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pittock Mansion Tour – The Sewing Room And Beyond


Georgiana Pittock had a big heart – she had a heart for those in need and she used her influence to gather a group of ladies around her – and into her lovely home – to meet the needs she saw in the community. She established the Ladies’ Sewing Circle and invited them to meet in her sewing room where they made clothing and household items for people less fortunate than they.


Can you imagine getting much sewing done if you had this view outside your windows?


I love the crocheted snowflakes at the windows.



And then – just a few final bits and pieces to see before we leave this gorgeous mansion. Delicate china and exquisite details. . .

Pittock Mansion - Collage1

Stockings hung on the Music Room mantel. . .

Pittock Mansion - Collage2

Special touches throughout the house. . .

Pittock Mansion - Collage3

Scenes inside the house and outside (the carriage house and the Gatekeeper/Gardener’s House). . .

Pittock Mansion - Collage4

And, the last stop – the Carriage House, now turned into a Gift Shop.

Pittock Mansion - Collage5

A final look back –


And then goodbye. But we have plans to return again, sometime in the Spring or Summer, with picnic basket in hand, when we will enjoy a lovely, warm, sunny day high above the city below and the view of the mountains beyond. And always - memories of our Christmas tour will stay forever in our hearts.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Ultimate Gift


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

(Nativity set: my handmade creation – December Nineteen-seventy-six for two-year-old son – stable handmade by my sweetheart from scraps found in our humble, little woodshed the same year. Wise men and camel very travel-worn and weary - out for extensive repairs. See here for update and further description.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Celebration – Part 1

Our kids and grandkids, my dear little mother, my cousin, her husband and my sweetheart and I will all be together today. We are celebrating Christmas with our young ones because they will other places on Christmas Day. This grandma is about as ready as I can be – I’m nursing a bout of tendonitis in my right wrist with splint and doctor’s orders not to lift or use it. Right! I’m right-handed. The other hand has a very sore thumb that’s also being treated. What can I do? Let a lot of things go and just sit back and enjoy every minute with my family. That’s.what.I’!!

In the meantime I wanted to show you some gift tags I made for our grandkids. There is a rivalry amongst family members – fans for the two major universities in Oregon. We are using recyclable shopping bags for gift bags for the children – bags with the insignia from both schools, depending on their preference. So, in keeping with the decor (inside are hats from the respective schools!), I made gift tags for each one. They look like this – for the Oregon State Beavers.


To: xxxxxx
With love from:
Grandma and Grandpa

Merry Christmas!

And this one for the University of Oregon Ducks.

image To: xxxxxx
With love from:
Grandma and Grandpa

Merry Christmas!

I think we’re going to have fun! Our little two-year-old grandson insists the baby in the manger is ‘Baby Moses’! Hey, at least he is thinking of a Bible character! We’ll let him play with the little soft fabric nativity set I made for his daddy when he was two. The one with the camel whose knees are worn through and a sheep whose legs just sprawl because he’s been stood in some of the strangest places and made to lie down for many years before this. And an angel who was caught in the middle of a war between our son and daughter - a war about the location of the angel. She was in some really unusual places but I guess that's what angels do best.

So, my friends, may your day be merry and bright! That’s the way it will be in our home today, I know.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pittock Mansion Tour – Part Three


Up the Grand Staircase – to the first landing – turning around to look back!PC044722

And then – looking up toward the bedrooms on the second floor.


At the top there is so much beauty to see. A guest room is ready for holiday visitors.


An ornate, silver pitcher and bowl wait on the wash stand. (It was very heavy!)


The guest room includes a ‘sleeping porch’ for hot, summer nights. What a great idea!


The view from the guest room, overlooking downtown Portland and the Cascade Mountains in the distance. Oh, how I had hoped for a clear day!


Another bedroom is ready for guests.


Garlands of green and cones and touches of copper fill this room.


The tree is filled with ornaments, dried flowers, copper ‘mesh’ ribbon and – my favorite – lots of old keys hung with pretty, little tassels.


Even the granite top of the big dresser is decorated for the season.


Green and copper ribbons crisscross the marble top of the dresser to coordinate with the room decor.


Mr. Pittock’s room was a bit more subdued – with a more masculine look, of course. See his monogram on the pillow?


Mr. Pittock owned The Oregonian newspaper – Oregon’s main newspaper, still published daily – and he was a member of the first party to climb Mount Hood. I was intrigued to learn that he arrived in Oregon barefoot and penniless yet went on to build wealth and fame in several industries.


The stockings – his. . .


And hers - were hung by the chimney with care.


His dressing room appeared to be ready for his next event.



And the master bathroom was like a dream come true!


The shower was an innovation for the time. . .


And the tub was filled with ‘bubbles’ – ready for a bath! A bubble bath with a view -oh, my!



Mrs. Pittock was known for her generous heart, shown by her support and work on behalf of single, working mothers and a well-known children’s home. Her room reflected the Ladies’ Sewing Circle she established to make clothing for the children and her love for the finer things of life.


The tree in her room had ornaments made of spools of thread.



Georgiana’s bathroom was the cutest place! Because of her work with a well-known, local home for children the decorators chose to ‘play up’ that part of her life. Babies frolicking in a tub of ‘bubbles’ (made of fiberfill batting and clear and frosted glass ornaments) made us laugh. The room was filled with old children’s clothing and memorabilia from the local Nursing School.


I would love to have a dressing room!


Across the hall, the nursery was filled with sweet toys and little furniture and things to capture the heart of a child.


In the window, the 'Old Year' was quietly preparing to slip away. . .


To make way for the ‘New Year’.


Another bedroom and attached sleeping porch completed the tour of upstairs bedrooms. This room was occupied by the Pittocks’ niece and her husband. A peek into the sleeping porch. . .


And some of the decorations there.


There’s more to share – I can't wait to show it to you. Next, a peek at Mrs. Pittock’s Sewing Room . . . and then a collage of bits and pieces from this fantastic, old home before we leave this gorgeous mansion high atop the west hills of Portland, Oregon.