Saturday, November 30, 2013

Southern Oregon Charm

Before Thanksgiving Weekend is over and the Christmas season gets busy I want to share a bit of Southern Oregon charm with you from my recent trip to Jacksonville, Oregon.  History has influenced this little town and it shows in the homes and businesses all around town.  You can see it in the churches around town. . .Jacksonville Church CollageIn the beautiful, old buildings downtown. . .Jacksonville Building

Jacksonville City Hall

Jacksonville Inn

Jacksonville Building 2And a few of the wonderful, old homes. Here are just a few I enjoyed as I walked around town.Jacksonville Home 1

Jacksonville Home 2

Jacksonville Home 3Then I hopped on the trolley. . .Jacksonville Trolley And saw even more.  The first one was ordered from a catalog.  It came by freight.  Piece by piece.  A single man built it, thinking it would help him find a wife.  It worked and he eventually impressed one of the town's prominent businessmen enough to convince him to allow him to marry his daughter!Jacksonville Homes CollageThe trolley tour is amazing!  If you ever visit Jacksonville, be sure to take time to take the guided tour.  The driver had a great personality.  He shared a lot of great history and stories and trivia about the area.  It was so fascinating - I wondered why I had never gone on the tour before. Jacksonville Trolley 2Every minute I spent in this charming, little town in Southern Oregon was wonderful.  I plan to return again.  I’ve heard it’s an enchanting place during the holiday season.  Someday my sweetheart and I will be sure to visit when we can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Christmas season.  Until then, I can only imagine how delightful it will be.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Blessings
Wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

From our house. . .to yours.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fall In A Southern Oregon Town

Jacksonville Fall
Before Fall turns to Winter and the Christmas holiday season begins, I want to share a bit of Fall with you again.  I’m taking you to the southern part of Oregon – to the sweet, little town of Jacksonville where I spent a few days with my dear friend, Jane, from Tickleberry Farm.  I told you about my trip here – but I never got back to share more with you.  We met and stayed at a sweet, little cottage right in the heart of town.  We felt right at home there.
Jacksonville House CollageJacksonville is a historic, little town that is filled with antique and specialty shops and eating establishments with incredible eats of all kinds.  The town was ‘ablaze’ with color.  We definitely chose the right time of year to spend time there.  All the lampposts around town were decorated.  Each one was slightly different than the others. Jacksonville Fall 2We enjoyed a walk around town together.  Leaves crunched under our feet and we loved spending time together in this beautiful place.Jacksonville Fall 3
Jacksonville Fall 4
Jacksonville Fall 5
Jacksonville Fall 6
Jacksonville Fall 7 ‘Jane’ and I took a break and stopped by Magnolia Inn. Jacksonville Fall 8She and her hubby had stayed here a few months earlier.  The proprietor was in.  He welcomed us and invited us to sit and visit with him in the parlor.Jacksonville Fall 9As we walked along the sidewalk on the corner by the inn we had seen this sweet, vintage trailer parked in the back driveway.  We learned that it was an anniversary gift from the proprietor to his wife.  We asked if we could have a tour.  He was happy to tell us all about it and let us go inside.Jacksonville Fall 10 Soon I’ll show you a few more sights from Jacksonville.  And I have a special announcement to share early next week.  Until then, the colors and sights and sounds of Fall may fade but its beauty will be a sweet memory through many long, winter days.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Truth About Letting Go

Autumn Gate
I’ve been missing in action a bit lately.  I’ve been ‘sneaking’ in to read blogs occasionally and – once in awhile – I have left a comment or two to let you know I’ve stopped by to visit.  My intentions are good.  I often plan new blog posts in my mind - then life comes running at a faster pace.  More demands on my time take me away from what I hope to do. 

I sat down to write a new blog post a few days ago and I didn't finish it. It started out to be one thing - and it quickly went another direction and became something totally different! I didn't post it to my blog. I didn't know if I would ever share it. There is so much more I could say - more behind the scenes than what I wrote. I saved it and I'd like to share it with you today - because this is what’s on my heart. And what God is doing in my life. I wrote:

New thoughts about priorities and expectations and obligations have settled into my heart and mind. Change is happening in many parts of my life. The answers aren’t there yet for some things – I can’t explain it all. Other things seem more clear than ever before. God is doing something new and I’m on board with whatever it is. 

I find myself letting go of things, letting go of people and letting go of a sense that I have to be there to ‘fix’ things for everyone. There are times and seasons in our lives. There are times people need us and times they don’t need us the same way as before. They move on. We move on. It’s almost as if God is stripping away things that bind - things we may hold too tightly. My sweetheart and I sense He is stripping things away one at a time. Sometimes it hurts for awhile but then it brings such freedom!

My sweetheart and I had an experience not long ago that gave us a taste of what a new place of freedom could look like – freedom from expectations (mine and those of other people), freedom from things (stuff), freedom from doing things the way they’ve always been done in the past, freedom to move into something new as God leads. It can’t all happen yet. It may never happen just the way we ‘saw’ it but we had a glimpse – and we want that kind of freedom. We really believe it’s possible to have that kind of freedom - no matter what our circumstances may be, no matter what we think others expect of us, no matter where we live or what God calls us to do.

The hardest part of letting go and embracing that kind of freedom is saying ‘no’. Saying ‘no’ to myself, saying 'you don't have to do it that way anymore', saying ‘you don’t have to do that at all anymore’, saying, ‘it’s time for someone else to do that if it’s going to be done.’ Oh, I’m not giving up – I’m not running away. I’m not abandoning responsibilities. Not in any way. But I am letting go so I can hold more tightly to the things that really matter. Things that really make a difference when all is said and done.

I’ve always seemed to care more than I should about the opinions of others. To my own detriment, at times their opinions seemed more important (and easier) than doing what was really in my heart. It’s been a struggle at times. It’s not that I don’t care about other people anymore but I’m learning to let go and – at times to let them go – so I can embrace the best. The best that God has for me - and for them. Sometimes we stand in the way of what God wants to do in their lives. Sometimes we need to let go and let Him do His work. At times letting go means releasing them to do what they are going to do, all the while knowing it may not be for the best, but praying and believing that there will be a day they come to find the best and embrace it with their whole heart.

It may sound like there are big problems or crises going on in our lives right now. No, not at all! We have just come to a new place in our lives. We are taking more time to talk and pray and dream. We have come to realize that some relationships – while good – are not as close as we once thought they were. Others are more precious than ever. We have come to grasp what we already knew - that possessions are not as precious as they seem. And while there are things we still love, letting go of them doesn’t hurt nearly as much as once thought. We have come to know that, while we are on the back side of life in the eyes of some, we are at an exciting, new place. We are facing new horizons - sensing new things to come. Letting go so we can embrace the very best. God’s best. We want to embrace His best and walk into new places with freedom and joy. We may walk in places we never dreamed possible - places only God knows right now. We are planning for something – something we don’t understand yet. We are sorting and cleaning and releasing and letting go. Change is happening in relationships and plans and schedules and our home and the way we do business. It’s a good thing!

These Scripture verses keep coming to mind: 'One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You. . .

To all of our veterans who are serving or have served – and the families who have sacrificed – to give us freedom.
Veterans Tribute
As a tribute, please listen to this moving rendition of our national anthem here as a reminder of the incredible gift our veterans have given to us. (You may want to open the video to full screen for the full effect.)