Friday, December 31, 2010

At The End Of The Year

New Years EVe

On this last day of the year my thoughts always turn to the past. I think of experiences I've had through the years, friends and family who have touched my life along the way, good times, not-so-good times, laughter, tears, blessings beyond my ability to count! When I look back I see the same thing every year - God has been faithful through the years. Every year!

I think back to a little church in a small town in North Central Oregon where my young husband was the pastor. We were newly weds and one of the youngest couples in the church. I remember so clearly the first New Year’s Eve we lived there. The dear people in our church gathered to spend the last hours of the year together. My mind ‘sees’ me playing the piano and I ‘hear’ their voices raised in song. Most of them are gone now – many in Heaven with Jesus; others moved on to other places. The closeness and beauty of that evening with them will live in my memory forever. Common, ordinary people we were. Young and old, farmers and transplants from the city. Loving and praising and serving God together. And loving each other immensely!

Each December thirty-first my mind goes back to the day of New Year’s Eve when I was rushed into surgery. A sudden, acute appendicitis attack changed all of our plans for the evening – and that of the doctor, I’m sure! Our son was just a baby and, as suddenly as the emergency came about, God put all the pieces in place for people to watch our baby and to take care of the details of a New Year’s Eve gathering at our church.

As I think back through the past year I see exactly what I saw way back then: God has been faithful. No matter what! He hasn’t changed! He has held my hand and walked with me through the sunshine and the storm, leading me every step of the way. And each year, on this day, I always remember the song I sang that night in that tiny church all those years ago – and my heart sings it again.

We've come this far by faith
Leaning on the Lord
Trusting in His Holy word
He’s never failed us yet
Oh-h-h-h, can't turn back
We've come this far by faith!

We have come this far by faith. Yes, we have – and we will continue on. As we have lived in the past we will live in the future. By faith!

To each of you, my dear friends: I wish you the best New Year ever – filled with the most amazing blessings from God’s hand to yours – and faith. Faith beyond measure. Faith to keep moving forward through the coming year. Faith in Him Who is Faithful!

Faith makes us sure of what we hope for
and gives us proof of what we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1

With a grateful heart,


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Update And A Question

An update on my dear, little mother: Thank you for your many comments and emails and prayers for my dear mother. She came through her cataract surgery with flying colors. She is recovering more and more each day. I stayed with her after she came home on the day of surgery. Yesterday I took her back to the eye doctor for a check and things are going quite well. She rested at home through the afternoon until I arrived with a pot of hot turkey-vegetable-noodle soup, freshly made salad and delicious rolls for dinner together. It hit the spot – just what we needed. Each day my mother is seeing a bit better and she is amazed at the improved vision she has since the surgery. I teased her and said we won’t be able to sneak anything around her anymore! She’s a dear and we’re so glad this surgery is behind her. Late next month she will have the cataract removed from the other eye. Now we know what to expect and the questions have been answered. Time will tell what her vision capacity is – it’s too soon to tell right now but all signs are that things will be good. We both thank you for your love and support and words of encouragement.


On this damp, gray winter afternoon in Western Oregon my home is a maze of Christmas decorations, storage bins and things to be put back in their place after the busy holiday season. I have been working on a list of goals that I want to accomplish in the coming year and as I work to put all the seasonal decorations away my mind goes to a question that I’ve wanted to ask you for awhile. My ‘forgetter’ has worked overtime and I think I’d better ask it before the thought goes away again! Many of you dear blog friends have more than one set of dishes. I see your collections often as you share tablescapes and glimpses of your family celebrations. One or two of you have shared your storage areas for your multiple sets of china and all of the accompanying pieces. Now, I want to know – if you don’t have a closet or cupboard or butler’s pantry in your home, if you have to store them in a garage or basement setting – how to you store all of your dishes? Do you stack them neatly together on shelves? If you do, do you wrap them or put something between them? Do you store them in bins or boxes? If so, do you wrap them or protect them in some way? If you wrap them, what do you use?


I have gathered a wonderful set of Christmas china (seen here) and many accompanying pieces. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you know that I live on Holly Street and a few years ago my sweetheart suggested that we ‘feature’ holly in our Christmas decorations. I loved the idea and that began a whole new plan! For the first time this year I was able to fill the little corner hutch in my dining room with my holly china! It was such a delight to my heart. Now, as I put things away, it’s the perfect time to organize things and store them in a safe place. I have a wonderful, new storage cabinet ready for my sweetheart to assemble and install in the garage. It would be nice for my china and other decorating pieces. I have great cupboards and cubbies in the garage that would work well but I’m in a quandary how to best store my pretty dishes. So, I turn to you, my friends. Help, please!


Since this is the perfect time to get ready to start a new year, I’d like to organize myself a bit better than before. Your suggestions and help would be most appreciated. (I have big plans for decorating my little hutch next year. I’ll work on some of them through the year and you will see the difference about a year from now!)


(Here’s a little out-take! Do you see something that doesn’t belong in this photo? When I opened the lower doors on the hutch Joey decided to stick his head inside, sniff around and check it out!)


Monday, December 27, 2010

New Sight

Bible and Glasses

My dear, little mother has come to a point in her life when her vision has gone through big changes. Over the past weeks she has quietly, peacefully accepted the fact that she can no longer drive. As she approaches her eighty-eighth birthday in a few weeks, things keeping changing – but she stays quite active and involved in the lives of the people God has placed in her life. She still lives in the home that my sweet dad built when I was in high school and she is a blessing to many people near and far. If you could peek into her living room twice a week you would find her teaching the truths of the Bible to young women who seek her out – they want to grow in wisdom and knowledge, and they see the strength of her faith and desire to learn from her. During the course of a week much time is spent reading and studying as she prepares to teach her Bible Studies. First thing each morning – and last thing at night – my dear, little mother spends time reading her Bible and other devotional material. Her eyesight is a very precious part of her life.

Over the past few months I have taken her to the library every week to find an armload of books to read. She is an avid reader and it’s hard to check out enough books to keep up with her! Recently I have had to help her find books at the library because she could no longer read the titles of the books on the shelves. Once she got them home she was able to read. She was a librarian before she met my father and she thinks there’s printer’s ink running through her veins!

Later today I will take my dear, little mother to a nearby vision center where she will have cataract surgery on her right eye. The doctor assures her that her vision will be much improved and that she will certainly be able to read the titles on the books at the library. And more. In a month she will have surgery on the left eye. There is a slight possibility that she may be able to drive again but that remains to be seen (no pun intended). Please pray that all will go as planned during the surgery and recovery time and that God will give the surgeon wisdom and guide his hands. A verse I learned long ago comes to mind. I have taken a bit of ‘poetic license’ and I have changed the words him to her – it fits my dear mother so well.

You will guard her
and keep her in perfect
and constant peace
whose mind
[both its inclination and its character]
is stayed on You,
because she commits herself to You,
leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
Isaiah 26:3
Amplified Bible

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Light


My home is quiet today in comparison to the past weeks of activity. Reflections of the lights and decorations of the season and of times spent with those dear to my heart keep flooding my mind but I come back often to think of the One whose birth we celebrate. Returning home after a brief time of Communion at church this morning my thoughts turn again to who Jesus really is. He is more than the baby in the manger – He is more than a story – He is more than a good man! He came to a dark world – and He was the light. He didn’t bring the light. He WAS the Light! His light has remained constant and strong through the centuries. It will never fade or go out!

An old gospel song begins to resound in my heart and find it’s way to my lips – The Light of the World is Jesus.

The whole world was lost
In the darkness of sin,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday,
His glory shone in.
The Light of the world is Jesus!

No darkness have we
Who in Jesus abide;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light
When we follow our Guide!
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Ye dwellers in darkness
With sin blinded eyes,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash, at His bidding,
And light will arise.
The Light of the world is Jesus!

No need of the sunlight
In Heaven we’re told;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
The Lamb is the Light
In the city of gold,
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Song: ‘The Light of the World is Jesus’
Words and music by: Phillip P. Bliss

Friday, December 24, 2010

From Our Home To Yours


Merry Christmas
From our home to yours!

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
Ada V. Hendricks

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas In The Country

I promised to share my country village pieces yesterday. Did you notice that it didn’t happen? Well. . .due to technical difficulties (a nice way of saying I needed my sweetheart’s help with something) and the unexpected chance to have three of our grandsons here for the evening last night – and the opportunity to meet a dear friend for lunch yesterday, it didn’t happen! I had the best of intentions but when the chance came to spend time with dear ones close to my heart I didn’t think twice about delaying the finishing touches on the Christmas countryside at the end of my hall.


So – without further adieu – I present to you. . .Christmas in the country.





You can see the wonderful linen cupboard with a deep counter at the end of my hallway. I have hopes and dreams of redoing some things there but it will always be a great place to display things I enjoy. The countertop is usually filled with family photos but at Christmastime the photos give way to the countryside you see here. I have plans to improve the display next year – I just got the idea a day or two ago. I’ll work on it through the year so it’s ready to add in time for the holiday season. A year from now! Until then, I’ll just enjoy each little part of Christmas in the country right now.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas In The Village

I’m back in business again – finally able to download photos from my camera to the computer! Did I find the ever-illusive, missing cord? No! A few of you asked why I didn’t just go out and buy another one. The answer is simple – the camera shops are in nearby communities so I couldn’t just ‘run’ down to the store to pick up a new cord. But, as I was on my way somewhere the other day I stopped at a camera shop to ask about a new one. No, they didn’t have cords. But they did introduce me to something I hadn’t heard of. I bought a card reader! My memory card slips into it and it plugs into a USB port on my computer and – viola! – photos download. Just like that! It seems some of you already knew about them but it was a new idea to me. Now I’m back in business and ready to share photos with you again. Here’s just a little peek at some of the decorations in our home. My Courier and Ives village is at home on my mantel. (You can see my ceramic tree across the room reflected in the mirror.)


These are just some of the pieces in the village collection. Tomorrow I will show you the rest. This is the ‘city’ – tomorrow I will show you the ‘country’. It’s in a more ‘rural’ setting – a ways from the city!


Several years ago I fell in love with this Courier and Ives village. I looked and looked, time after time, before I decided to jump in and start my collection. They were on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics near the office where I worked at the time. I didn’t want to pay full price – and I didn’t. I used coupons that came in my mailer and I watched for sales that resulted in lower prices than I could get with my coupons. I gathered them one piece at a time. New pieces were issued the following year and I began my trek up and down the hill again to get more. Between sale times and coupon dates I spied out and planned my next purchase. Often, on the first day of a new sale or coupon, I would take my morning coffee break and quickly drive up the hill to be sure to get the next piece I wanted before they were all gone. Accessories were added but I wasn’t content to only have the pieces that came with the collection. I had to have more. Imagine my excitement when I discovered pieces the same size and scale at the Dollar Store! So, I added more and more little parts to the scenes.


When I started my village collection I displayed the ‘city’ portion on the top of our entertainment center. It was perfect! At the time our mantel was very narrow and rather plain. When we remodeled our fireplace (seen here) we didn’t plan the mantel width to accommodate the buildings but it worked out just right! When we moved to a larger television we found we needed a new entertainment center. We chose to purchase units that would accommodate a bigger screen in the future but we lost the surface above the television. Now, where would I put the village? Last year I was thrilled to find that my village fit on the mantel.


Last year I put a fleece-y fabric under the village but it wasn’t what I wanted. This year I started to do the same and had some thoughts about enhancing it a bit to improve on last year. When I began to put it all together it wasn’t what I wanted. I thought maybe I would purchase some white felt and cut the edge that hangs over to look like icicles, but that didn’t seem right, either. Then – suddenly – I had a thought. I remembered a beautiful piece of damask that I bought at a garage sale. It had a gorgeous crocheted edge. Someone had cut it and had made it into a valance and I was sure it would work. It was just perfect! It was the exact length as the mantel and the crochet design looked like snowdrifts gently falling down. Every time I look at it I smile – I’m so pleased with the way it turned out.


Sometimes I look at the village on the mantel and the reflection of the tree and decorations around the room and I just smile with contentment. I love the way it looks and I always feel sad when it’s time to put it away. Every year my sweetheart asks me to leave it up long after the tree and other decorations are stored safely away for another year. Then the Christmas village becomes a winter village! For just a bit more time we enjoy the little lights that shine from the windows and the busy people who come and go on my mantel. I wonder – do they see us here? Watching them and smiling? And loving every moment their little village graces our little home with their presence? Hmm. . .perhaps.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Decorating Lament

I’m singing the blues – in a strange kind of way. I have photos to share with you and I can’t let you see them! Most of my home has been decorated for the holidays and the photos are on the camera but (sigh) I can’t find the camera cable to connect to the computer. I can’t download what I want to share. Oh, I’m so sad! You see, about a month ago we had new carpet installed and in the process it was necessary to completely empty most of the living area of our home. In the end, much of the furniture and pretties from many of the rooms were stacked, stuffed, piled and shoved into a few rooms of our home. Sometime during that time I remember winding the camera cable and putting it somewhere where I could find it in the mess of things. I remember thinking, ‘That was a good place to put it – you won’t forget this – you will always remember to look here!’ Well, dear friends, my forgetter seems to have been working overtime and I must admit that I have looked in all of the obvious places (and a few not-so-obvious) and it’s nowhere to be found. This morning I began to pray that I would find it. So, until I find that silly cable I’ll share a photo or two from Christmas past at our home. And when I find it – even if it’s July Fourth – you will be the first to see the coziness of our home this holiday season!








Oh, Miss Savannah, you silly girl – you sneaked right into the Christmas decorations. Well, I guess you think you are part of them.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Prince Of Peace


His name will be. . .prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Heaven opened herself
and placed her most precious one in a human womb.

The omnipotent,
in one instant,
made himself breakable.
He who had been spirit became pierceable.
He who was larger than the universe became an embryo.
And he who sustains the world with a word
chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl.

God had come near.

From ‘Everyday Blessings’
by Max Lucado

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Is Coming


The Christmas season has arrived at my home – a little bit of it, anyway. I’ve made progress but there is more to do before I'm ready to share it with you. I decided to use what I have on our new tree and then I ran into a problem. Too much tree, not enough decorations. Most of the tree has been filled with pretty things and fun, little ornaments here and there. After I decided not to buy any new tree decorations I found that the two and a half dozen pearly white Christmas balls I own ‘disappear’ into the snowy branches of our new tree. I need to find some colorful things to add to it before I’m finished. I hope to finish the tree and add a few more touches of the season around the house soon – and then I’ll share it all with you. Until then I’d like to give you a peek behind the scenes at Historic Deepwood Estate.


About two weeks ago I joined the gardeners and some volunteers as they decorated the grand old house for the holidays.


I helped with a bit of decorating and then I wandered here and there with my camera – here is just a bit of what I saw.



This little forest vignette on top of the piano added a natural look to the decorations - a touch of the familiar. Oregon is covered with millions of acres of forest land. They are beautiful any time of the year.


Seen on the antique buffet in the dining room. . .


And then a peek into the Butler’s Pantry. . .


Up the stairs. . .


And around the corner to see the tree in in the ‘Children’s Room’.


And then back downstairs to look at the elegant mantle in the parlor.


Well, I have work to do so I’d better get busy. I enjoy taking a break now and then to spend time with each of you but it’s time to get back to work. I’ll be back to share my home with you soon. Real soon.

With a grateful heart,


Monday, December 6, 2010

One Thing Leads To Another


Have you ever found that you do something that seems to be just perfect – and then you have to change something or do something else to go with it? You may have to completely redecorate your room, or get a new car to fit the need, or buy new clothes to go with the pretty earrings you found. Am I the only one who finds – all too often – that one thing leads to another? Well, it’s happened to me, my friends. It’s like this. . .we needed to replace our artificial Christmas tree this year so I shopped and looked and dreamed and measured. And finally found the perfect one! I told my sweetheart about the tree and I took him along to the store to see it. The good news was that he loved it. The bad news came when he reminded me that our home and those built in our area around the same time have lower-than-normal ceilings (supposedly to help conserve heat) and this tree was the exact height of our ceiling. There would be no way to put the star on the top of the tree! We left the store that day without a tree and I left with disappointment in my heart. Over the next couple of weeks I shopped and looked and measured and checked out trees in stores and online. None compared to the beauty of the tree we had seen. One evening last week my sweetheart suddenly remembered that the star on our tree does not go on the tip of the tree – it clips on the front of the tip. As we talked we decided that this was the right tree and it would work for us. So we drove to the store and brought it home with us. A couple of evenings ago the tree went up and became the center of attention in our living room. Our tree is covered with ‘snow’ – it looks like it was standing in the middle of a forest when snow gently fell and graced its branches. We love it! Yesterday our schedule took us away from home most of the day and my plans were to decorate the tree when I got home. As I sat and looked at our tree I realized I might want to do something different – so until I’m certain what I’d like to do this year we are enjoying the tree and lights. Soon I will decide what changes to make, if any, and my pretty, new tree will be ready to make it’s debut.

With a grateful heart,



(photos from years past)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus


Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

Song: ‘Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus’
Words by Charles Wesley
Music by Rowland H. Pritchard

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Glimpses Of Joy

Since the Christmas season is quickly closing in on us and most of us are busy decorating our homes I thought I would catch up a bit and share a few photos taken of my dear ones on Thanksgiving Day. Little by little the Christmas spirit is emerging in places around my home and I can’t wait to share some of it with you soon but first I want you to see the special people who fill my heart with thanksgiving every day – they are at the top of my list!

Miss H. and my cousin’s hubby, Mr. V. enjoyed a bit of time together. She is six months old now – and teething. Everything goes into her mouth. Especially fingers.


There are places to go, people to see and things to explore.


Our daughter - Mrs. M., our oldest granddaughter – Miss A. and Miss H., our youngest granddaughter, with her mommy and sister.

PB258754Just before dinner our grandson, Mr. G., read a Bible passage on being thankful.


Our two youngest grandchildren, Mr. H. and his baby cousin, Miss H., enjoyed time together.



Moments spent watching Mr. H. playing with his daddy’s Space Legos, saved from long ago, brought special memories of the days when his daddy was young and played with the same pieces.



Cousins, Mr. G., and Mr. C. (with his purple-mohawk hair) waited patiently at the table for dessert!

PB258775'You don’t choose your family.
They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.'
Desmond Tutu

‘Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.’
James 1:17

On Thanksgiving Day – and every day – I am thankful for these precious gifts from the Father above. I am blessed. And thankful. Every day.