Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Finds and Old Treasures

Not long ago I spent the day with my dear friend Elizabeth, of Just Following Jesus In My Real Life.  We spent several hours thrifting and took time for a delightful lunch together.  Time with Elizabeth is like a breath of fresh air – a pick-me-up for my soul.  We have such a good time together and I always come home with new finds and some real treasures.  A few days before our thrifting adventure I found a blog I hadn't seen before.  As I browsed and read that blog I was drawn to a plate rack on her wall and I thought I would like to find one for my wall.  Would you believe I found one during my day with Elizabeth?  I was totally enchanted with it – it was just right.  Without hesitation I put it in my basket. It was half price that day! Two dollars and fifty cents.  It didn’t take me long to hang it on my wall when I got home.  Over the next few weeks I played with several possible arrangements of plates I already owned but none of them were quite what I envisioned.  A few days ago I stopped at a favorite Goodwill on my way home from an appointment and there they were.  Plates that were just right for my plate rack and they were half price that day!  Two dollars and fifty cents for four.  Just what I needed, plus one more.  As soon as I put them on the plate rack, I smiled.  They were just right – and they made my heart sing! (There’s no way to get a great photo on this corner of my living room that is filled with shadows – we have too much light coming from all directions.  Not a problem.  I like light!)P7284297Back to my day with Elizabeth. . .
At the next stop she found a cup and saucer rack that matched my new plate rack.  Just what I needed.  And the best news?  Half price.  One dollar and fifty cents.  P7284282I knew it would be perfect on the only wall in my dining room – above the picture that my sweetheart gave me several years ago.P7284280(oops – the picture is tilted a bit!)  Isn’t it perfect there?  You can see here what was above the big picture before I got the cup rack.  They were moved to a little wall in my kitchen.  I tried several different combinations of cups and saucers and I didn’t come up with just the right thing.  I stood on the other side of the room one day and studied it, trying to decide what I wanted to do.  All of a sudden, I knew!  I had the perfect plan.  My dear, little mother’s tea set was what I needed!  She had given it to me some time ago and she was keeping it stored safe and sound until I decided where I wanted to use it.  I knew now it was time to claim her gift!  And she was very pleased!P7284281The cups and saucers you see are the Royal Albert ‘Tea Rose’ pattern.  This is a set of six cups and saucers and one luncheon plate.  My father was a minister and for many years he travelled throughout the United States and Canada, preaching in different churches and Bible camps.  My dear mother travelled with him.  Before I was married a dear Canadian friend gave her the first cup and saucer that was the beginning of this set.  She received one or two more as gifts and then purchased the remaining pieces whenever she returned to Canada.  I would love to add more pieces to the set.  I’ll be watching for good deals online and in my thrifting and antiquing trips.   These cups and saucers are part of my history – old treasures that mean much to me.  They won’t always hang on the wall.  From time to time they will come down and be used to serve tea to my friends.  Maybe you could join me for tea one of these days.  I’d love to share it with you and let you enjoy my new finds and old treasures.P7284287There is a sad ending to this story:  in the unpacking of the tea set I discovered one carefully wrapped saucer had not survived the storage.  My dear, little mother had carefully wrapped each piece well and placed them in a heavy-duty box that was stored on an out-of-the way shelf that didn’t get much ‘traffic’.  What happened may never be known.  I’m hoping to find a lone saucer to replace it sometime.  In my thrifting stops I often find beautiful, single, orphan saucers that have been separated from their lovely cups.  I’ve seen this one in the past when I didn’t think I needed it – now I’ll wait until I find one again!  In the meantime I’ll enjoy what I have and I'll always treasure the dear ones who shared themselves with me and made this all possible.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Big Announcement!

I planned to share some new-to-me finds today but I must postpone that plan.  One of the finds has an issue – a slight off-balance issue.  I need my sweetheart to help me fix it, straighten it on the wall, before I share it with you tomorrow. Otherwise, it will look pretty strange.

A little ‘housekeeping’ – blog business – is in order.  I was recently asked if I had experienced a career change recently.  A blog friend observed that something was different – and she noticed that my chaplain badge was no longer displayed on the sidebar of my blog.  She was right.  In the rush of the holidays and the beginning of a new year I didn’t announce that I retired from my chaplain ministry at the end of December.  The time had come for me to be more available to help my dear, little mother and to be more involved in the lives of my grown children and my grandchildren.  Little did I know that things would change so rapidly for my dear, little mother and I am so glad I have the freedom to be available for her as she needs me.


I’ve been waiting for the day that  I could tell you. My sweetheart is going to retire! His last day at work will be October fifth! Seventy days from today! He announced it at work yesterday – and we are excited. Plans have been discussed, decisions made, paperwork completed and the time will be here before we know it. Life will change for us and we are ready. We have dreams and hopes and plans. We’re passionate about some things we want to do. We are about to embark on the next stage of our lives.  We believe this time of our lives will be an encore – we’ve lived a good, full life so far and we’ve been blessed beyond imagination.  Now, the best is yet to come!  We really believe that God has saved the best for last!  And we are ready. Very ready.  There will be adventures and challenges and adjustments. We’re not afraid – we’re eager to begin this part of the journey.  We’ve waited a long time for this.  Now we wait patiently to see what lies ahead.  We wait with anticipation.  And excitement.  And wonder because, even though we don’t know what the future holds, we know the One Who holds our future.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Little of This. . .A Little of That

Summer is moving along so fast and it may seem that I’ve disappeared!  Most days find me moving quickly from one thing – often from one place – to another.  I decided to slow down a bit and catch you up on some of my doings.

One of the members of our family seems to enjoy afternoon naps outside.  Miss Savannah takes several daily naps somewhere in the back yard.  Sometimes in the sun.  Often in the shade of the afternoon.  Her favorite spot seems to be in the middle of the lawn right where she can listen for and watch the birds moving in our neighbor’s trees.  She comes alive when a squirrel or two runs along our fence from one place to another.  No matter where I am in the house I can always tell the squirrels are out and about and Miss Savannah is somewhere close.  They chitter and chatter and scold her at the top of their little voices.

My dear, little mother has improved.  It's a blessing; however, she still needs to take life pretty slow and get a lot of rest.  While she hasn’t been able to return to most of her usual duties she enjoys being in her home and is glad she can fix her own meals again.  Unless she has an invitation to my home.  Then, she jumps at the chance to let someone else do the cooking and squeeze in a good visit at the same time!  Sometimes we take a meal to her house and enjoy dinner there with her.  She has some new medications that are helping her heart work a bit more efficiently.  While she is improved, life has changed for her.  And for me.  I’m so thankful I can be here for her through these days.  She is a dear – and I am SO blessed that she is still here!

I’ve had a couple of fun experiences over the last two weekends.  One Sunday afternoon I joined several of my Portland area Sisters from Sisters On The Fly.  We had a great time as we chatted over a delightful potluck lunch and talked the afternoon away.  One of our Sisters invited us to her lovely home.  We had a good time and we've decided to take turns and make this a monthly event.  I ‘borrowed’ this group photo from our Facebook page because I didn’t take any pictures!  My camera was in my bag inside our hostess' home – and I was outside having too much fun!  Our hostess took the picture so you won’t see her here. (I’m peeking through the middle of the back row!)
SOTF July Lunch
Last Sunday afternoon I enjoyed a special bloggers lunch at the home of my dear blog friend, Marilyn of Delights Of The Heart.  Again, I didn’t have my camera!  (Note to self:  You need to work on that bad habit. There's a pattern developing here!)  Please stop by Marilyn’s blog (here) to see her beautiful greenhouse where we had lunch and to read about our time together.  Marilyn's husband built the greenhouse, using recycled windows and materials.  Two summers ago she and I had afternoon tea in the greenhouse.  You can see more of her beautiful home and yard here.  There was a special tea ceremony in her yard later last Sunday afternoon.  I was not able to stay for tea time but I enjoyed lunch time with blog friends I’ve ‘met’ online and some who were new to me.  I love the way the blog world brings people together who might never have a chance to meet.

Things have been very busy – sometimes crazy – here at our house over the past few months.  We have some big changes coming soon.  We are waiting for the arrival of our sweet, little granddaughter in about a month.  We can’t wait to meet her and spend time with her.  And love her a lot (and spoil her just a bit)!

I’ve been tweaking and rearranging things in my home.  I'm trying to simplify our home a bit and give it a different ‘feel'.  Some of the changes are still in process but I’ll show you what I’ve been doing soon.  Tomorrow I will share some recent finds and treasures that have found their way to special places in our home.  And I’ll share some big news I’ve been waiting to share!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day By Day

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He Whose Name is Counselor and Power.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
Ever to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

Song: ‘Day By Day’
Written by Karolina W. Sandell-Berg in eighteen sixty five

Monday, July 2, 2012

An Update and a Special Visit

P6104137I haven’t blogged for awhile because of my dear, little mother’s health needs.  Her recent heart attack left her very weak and in need of help with many things she had been doing on her own.  We’ve had some scary days (and nights) and often wondered if she would be with us much longer.  Of course we continue to rest assured that she is in God’s hands and there can be no better place for our dear ones to be.  My dear mother has improved a tiny bit but is still needs a lot of rest.  She saw a cardiologist last week and his words brought hope in my heart.  He was kind and took more time with us than I imagined possible.  He gave her new medications to help her heart work a bit better.  She is having some light side effects as her body adjusts to the changes but is able to do some things around her home. 

My days are busy but I am right where I want to be, doing just what I want to do.  I’m always amazed when I look back and see how God has prepared me – and the circumstances of my life – for times like this.  I retired from my chaplain ministry at the end of last year with a sense that I needed to be more available to my dear, little mother.  Little did I know how true that would be.  Thank you for your notes and emails and prayers.  We see God’s care for our dear one and for us every day! 

I love the way God sends special moments just when we need them most.  One of those times happened just a few days ago.  I had a surprise visit from a young lady who marched right into my home – smiling!  Miss H. was so happy to see me and it wasn’t long before she was in my back yard, offering help with my garden beds.  Of particular interest to her was an area that has not yet been planted.  And a tiny, old shovel quickly brought out her ‘gardener’ skills.  Her little face still shows signs of the treat she brought to share!P6144251Her consultant was close by to give advice and be of assistance.P6144253It wasn’t long before she decided to have a brief conference with him to see if he would give her some help.P6144254After the hard task of gardening was finished I was treated to a concert of the finest quality.  There was a bit of commentary, too, as the sound of music filled the room. Notice the clean, little face - the rule at my house is that hands (and face) have to be clean before you can play my piano.P6144257I invited my young helper to come back again soon.  She left with hugs and kisses – and a promise to return again soon.

(The photo above is not from my garden.  I wish it was!  It's from a beautiful place I visited on a garden tour recently.  It's good inspiration!)