Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections

 As this year comes to a close and a new one begins, I always reflect on the past few months.  There have been highs and lows - times on the mountaintop and times in the valley.  There have been smiles and laughter - tears and sadness.  Praise - and prayer.  Much prayer.  My word for this last year was Hope.  Little did I know when the year began how appropriate 'hope' would be for what came our way.  In the words of the old hymn, we found 'strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow'.  As we look forward to a new year that will begin in just a few, short hours, not only do we continue to hope - we continue to give thanks and offer prayer for the unknown that is ahead.
 
Our year brought new life. . .

And new beginnings. . .

 
Travels to see family far away. . .
And quiet moments at home.
Time with our daughter's family (and my dear, little mother). . .
And our son's family, too.

Work. . .
And play.
 
On the last day of the year I always remember the words of a song I used to sing a lot.  I think it sums it up pretty well - we've come this far by faith.
We've come this far by faith
Leaning on the Lord
Trusting in His Holy Word
He's never failed us yet
Oh, we won't turn back
We've come this far by faith
 
I wish you a very Happy New Year, dear friends.  We've come this far by faith - so, let's go forward by faith!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Wishes. . .

From my home to yours. May your day be merry and bright.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Juggling Act

Do you feel like this Santa?  Too many things to 'carry' right now?  What happened to plans for a simpler holiday season?  Things happen and plans don't always go the way we think they will - but, no matter what - Christmas will come (soon!) and we will look back and talk about how much we enjoyed every minute of it.  I have no doubt!

We're busy at our house - juggling schedules and holiday plans and things that have nothing to do with the holidays but everything to do with everyday life at home.  Some have asked about our daughter and her children.  They have moved from our home and we are busily putting things back into the rooms we emptied for their things when they moved in a few months ago.  It's strange to see our rooms as they come together, as they were before.  My sweetheart and I laughed as we observed how 'big' our bedroom seems now that we've taken the whole wall of office out and put it back into the room across the hall.  Our home always seemed so small to me - until now.  But as we put things back, it seems much bigger - and quieter!  Oh, so quiet without the sounds of children and the schedule of a family of five added to ours.  But, they live just a few blocks away and we see them often.  Coming to grandma and grandpa's home is something special once again.  Now they come just to see us!  And the hugs we get (and give) are even more special than ever before.

So, my friends, in the busy-ness of the season, don't forget the things that are most important.  The love of those dear to you - laughter and smiles (even when the load you carry seems heavy) - and, most of all, the love of our Heavenly Father for each of us.  Reach out and touch someone's life with a special something during this holiday season.  You never know when a word or two, a gesture of kindness and friendship or a hug could be just the thing they need.  At that very moment!

(This cute, little Santa was seen a shop at the Oregon Coast when we sneaked away for a day last month.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas Prayer

 
Dear Jesus,
 
It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
 
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
 
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
 
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
 
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
 
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
 
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
 
Hopefully,
Your Children
 

'A Christmas Prayer'
Written by Max Lucado
December 14, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Song Of The Bells

Sometimes the words to familiar carols and songs just become routine.  At times, when we re-read them, we realize that - even though they were written long ago - the truth of their message is true for our times.  Such is this old carol that a dear friend posted somewhere else following the events of the past few days.  Take time to focus on the words - and their meaning.  They hold such a strong message we need to remember!

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
 
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
 
Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
 
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
 
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
 

 
Song: 'I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day'
Written by Hen­ry W. Long­fel­low, 1864

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Gift of Peace


Gift of Peace The events of the past few days have made me sad - beyond belief. 
 
Early this week my heart was deeply touched by tragedy at a shopping mall not many miles from my home. The senseless shooting at a big shopping mall here in Oregon where I often shop, left two dead and one young woman seriously injured. It was a miracle that more were not killed or injured. If the shooter’s gun had not jammed we don’t know what the final outcome might have been.  Stories of bravery and acts of heroism abound in the wake of the event.
 
Then, again, yesterday when news broke about the senseless killing of innocent children and brave adults in Connecticut, I watched in disbelief.  My heart aches for the parents and loved ones who lost their children and dear ones for reasons that don’t make sense.  Stories of the quick thinking and brave actions of teachers and staff that protected the other children amazed me.  It reminded again that there are good people who will step forward when the see a need.
 
Late yesterday afternoon I got an email from Marilyn, a dear blog friend, of Cottage Lamps, Etc. (formerly The Cutest Cottage Lamps).  An email from Marilyn is not uncommon – we have been emailing each other for quite some time.  She often sends cute, little things that make me smile.  Often her emails are so funny that I sit here and laugh out loud.  She lives just a few hours away from my home and her home is a short distance from my sweetheart’s brother’s home.  We have talked often of getting together the next time we visit family there.  We talked about it but life seemed to get in the way and it never happened.  So, we recently decided that it was going to happen next year.  For sure!  We made plans for my sweetheart and I to meet her and her hubby at a favorite lake high in the Cascade Mountain Range next summer.  It’s a lake we both enjoy and our fellows were looking forward to time to get acquainted and enjoy fishing together.  Marilyn and I planned to talk and laugh and just enjoy being together.  We knew we wouldn’t run out of things to say!  Late yesterday afternoon I received an email from her - and email that I was not prepared to read.  Her email said that her husband, Roger, died shortly after falling from a parade float he was working on for their hometown parade.  My tears flowed and my heart ached for her.  Please pray for Marilyn and for their family - I know she would appreciate it more than words can say.

What do we do in times like this?  We pray and hug our dear ones a bit closer.  We tell the people who mean a  lot to us that we care for them.  We can’t, for one moment, take time with them for granted.  And we pray for our families and friends.  And our country and our leaders and the people who so valiantly step into the front line of danger to protect us and anyone else who is in harm’s way. We love and support those who have lost the ones who mean more than life to them.  And we remember that the only real peace comes from God alone!  He is our peace.  In the good times – in the bad times.  When we understand – when we don’t.

Jesus said:
’I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.’
John 14:27

(New Living Translation)

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Step Back In Time

On one corner of Annie Apple’s Antique Gallery there is a wonderful diner – it's a blast from the past.  The nostalgic d├ęcor is wonderful – right from the nineteen-fifty’s, complete with chrome bar stools and four-seater booths.studebakers_logoJust stepping into Studebaker’s is a fun experience.  Rock ‘n’ roll music from the fifty’s is playing and the food is absolutely fantastic.  Real food made from scratch – old-fashioned ice cream milkshakes and scrumptious burgers, salads, sandwiches and delights of all kinds await your dining pleasure.  The ‘look’ is a bit industrial with memorabilia on the walls and hanging from the ceiling!  A vintage tricycle in exquisite condition hung near our booth. . .2012-12-05_12-07-40_784
And a Sky King airplane, complete with Raggedy Ann at the controls, hung not far away.  (I couldn’t get a good shot of Raggedy Ann without climbing on something close to the ceiling, so I didn't even try – but I could see her!)2012-12-05_12-08-13_359
All around the room there were forty-five records hanging from the ceiling.  That definitely brought back memories for all of us who grew up playing them on our little record players.  We were curious – we wondered what songs were on all of those records hanging high above our heads.2012-12-05_12-08-49_4322012-12-05_12-08-57_816
Above the window into the kitchen – across from the vintage-topped counter and chrome stools – THE STUDEBAKER!  Gorgeous.  And yellow!2012-12-05_12-08-35_313
Even the ladies’ room was wonderful – all pink with black and white tiles on the floor.  In the corner, a huge vintage china cabinet FULL of original Barbie dolls, perfumes I remembered from the fifties, toys and pretty things any girl would have dreamed of back then.  I didn’t have my camera – or my cell phone – in there with me, so you will just have to imagine how wonderful it was!


If you ever find yourself in the Cashmere, Washington area – or Wenatchee or Leavenworth – it’s definitely worth the time and the drive to Apple Annie’s Antique Gallery and lunch at Studebaker’s.  Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the Aplets and Cotlets Gift Shop in downtown Cashmere.  You won’t be sorry you took time to visit this little town!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lost In An Antique Mall

Well, I wasn’t really lost, but I could have easily gotten lost in this huge antique mall!

On our way home from Leavenworth last week we made a little detour from the main highway so we could check out a little community we heard about before our trip north.  We headed east a ways to the little community of Cashmere, Washington – the home of Aplets and Cotlets, the famous Apple-Walnut & Apricot-Walnut Candies.  We stopped at the Liberty Orchards Gift Shop and found some bargains on the candies and nuts before we went on to the big antique mall my cousin and I had read about.  Apple Annie Antique Gallery is advertised as the Northwest’s largest antique mall!  They say they are ‘“70,000 square feet of antique paradise’ under one roof.  And they are right!Apple Annies Antique MallWe browsed and browsed and could hardly believe how many vendors had wares that begged to come home with us.  (I love that set of mixing bowls!)PC055401Of course the vendors were ready for the holiday season.  The ‘chalkboard’ below was made out of a huge cookie sheet – what a neat idea!PC055402Look what I found!  Just my color!PC055404Wouldn’t it be fun to change your kitchen during the holiday season?  Can you imagine all of this vintage red and white fun in your house?PC055411When I saw this hall tree, I thought of the vintage home we had when our children were very young.  I had an incredible entry way with a gorgeous staircase with a carved banister to the second story.  I always wanted to find a hall tree like this one.  Now I find it and I don’t have an entry way!  It was a nice thought, though, to think how wonderful it would be if I still had that house – and this nice piece.PC055414
A Maytag washing machine for your wash-day pleasure!  My mother had a wringer washer when I was young and I heard tales of doing laundry back then.
PC055415The building was so large it didn’t take long before you needed to rest.  Signs like this were seen in several places around the building but we never found any place to rest (except the rest room!)  We think there used to be places to sit and rest under these signs but every one we found had a vendor stall underneath.PC055416We did stop and rest for lunch before we ‘went’ again.  Tomorrow I’ll show you the fun, little diner that is part of Apple Annie.  After lunch we went back to shop again.  I thought this was a cute way to display things for sale.  (I switched to my cell phone because I was almost out of space on the memory card of my camera so these photos aren’t quite the same quality.)2012-12-05_12-55-18_214Cute, little tote.2012-12-05_13-01-05_683The front entry area has cute displays – everything for sale.  I decided to go back and look again.2012-12-05_13-31-32_61Then one more trip back to look at another vendor’s area.  A gorgeous cabinet filled with Christmas!2012-12-05_13-33-44_832Then a trip to the ladies’ room before we headed south toward home.  When I opened the door – I could hardly believe what I found in there.  And it was all for sale!2012-12-05_13-35-46_423And in the other corner – more!2012-12-05_13-35-59_898And then, to the car – and home!  I did buy one thing that needs some work.  It’s a Christmas piece that my sweetheart worked on and now we need to find a needed part.  Some day I’ll share it with you.  When it’s ready!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

As Seen In Town

I’ve shown you much of the sweet, little town of Leavenworth, Washington and I’m sure you can imagine the magic and fun you can find there.  There were little things here and there that caught my eye and I want to share some of them with you before we leave this winter wonderland. A sign near the door of one of the shops made us laugh. No, I didn’t put a leash on my sweetheart!2012-12-03_19-36-44_935Glimpses in shop windows made us stop often.2012-12-03_19-37-46_7202012-12-03_19-38-01_892A stop at The Gingerbread Factory was a delight for the senses – the aromas were incredible and the delights to the eyes and the taste even better!2012-12-04_14-06-04_346Beside the door – a pretty wreath. . .2012-12-04_14-06-32_405And the sign on the door made us smile. One of the gals who waited on us told us a man once actually opened the door and rolled in!  They hadn’t seen anything quite like it before – and no one has done that since then.2012-12-04_14-06-18_507Would you believe I left this yellow truck behind?  I keep thinking about it – and I wonder if it’s still there!PC035259Nutcrackers are everywhere around town.  There’s even a Nutcracker Museum but it was closed during the days we were there.  The windows of the museum had the most amazing, ancient nutcrackers on display.  This fellow who stood inside a little mall was almost as tall as me!PC035260
The Festhalle – the Community Center – is where many events are held.
PC035261
A welcome, in German, awaits guests.PC035262The architecture is seen all around the area – even in some of the churches.PC035264Snowflakes ‘fall’ inside one of the little malls.PC045306After dark, the lighted windows come alive.  At the nutcracker shop, nutcrackers of all kinds, in all sizes and styles, stand watch through the night.PC045377I fell in love with this little baker man with his gingerbread house and gingerbread man and nutcracker cookies when I first saw him in the window.  I went back again to hold him and look and dream of bringing him home to my kitchen.  But it was not to be – he was a ‘designer’ nutcracker with a price to match.
PC045378Meanwhile, down the street at my favorite shop. . .PC035304Santa’s elf is sound asleep after a busy day. . .PC045366While Old St. Nick stands watch beside Swedish Candoliers of all kinds.PC035305Lighted snowflakes decorate all of the lamp posts throughout town, along the main highway through town and across the bridge that leads into town.PC045389 - CopyIn the middle of all the lights and festivities, our country’s flag shining in the night touched my heart.  It brought me back to reality – the freedom we have is one of the most precious gifts anyone could give us!  At Christmas time and every day.PC045376