Monday, December 8, 2008

Saturday Trains and Sunday Pains

This grand loves trains and most especially Thomas and crew — James, Neville, Emily, Fergus. You know, the names that flow trippingly from the tongue. The grand was going on and on about "cranky" Saturday and I thought he was mimicking something that his mother or father had called him. No, "Cranky" is a crane. It's going to take a while for this Nonni to catch up, but I'm trying. Oh, boy, I'm trying.

The grands have a train track that runs directly behind their home and a railroad crossing just one house down. Whenever the trains go by and the whistle is heard, Sam shudders and says "Bert." Bert is a dreaded diesel engine. :D

My mother, the grand's great-grandmother, had decided that he should see the vintage train show at the local garden. It was being held in the shed and barn...I now know where the expression "it's as cold as a barn" comes from...brrrrr. It was wonderful to see Sam respond to all the trains, but most especially to the set of Thomas. Thomas kept leaping the track and had to take a rest, which delighted Sam for some reason. The only time that he got upset was when we had to leave for he didn't want to say goodbye to the trains. Now I'm hoping that his father will get out his childhood Lionel set and place it under the tree this year because Sam will absolutely love that.

After lunch, Sam's great-grandmother had another surprise for him — creating a gingerbread train. Ohhhh boy! It provided us with an opportunity to practice that it's not about the product; it's all about the process. Here's the little picture story.

Oh yes, there was a whole lot of munching going on.

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Yesterday afternoon after church, John took me out to dinner. I hurriedly gathered my new sweater since I knew that it was bitter cold and the restaurant would be cooler than usual. (Every place is keeping the heat way low.)

As we finished our meal, John leaned over to pick at my sweater with a puzzled "What's this?"

I'll tell you what it was...the sweater size, one that I'd prefer not to advertize, boldly proclaimed in what might as well have been neon lights from my shoulder to my waist. Nothing like a little humble pie along with one's sirloin tips!

Have a delicious Monday, Dear Ones!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas is a Time to Love

(Imagine a brightly lit Victorian Christmas tree with a family dancing around it hand in hand.)

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith

One of my children's favorite Christmas songs from their childhood was this:

Christmas is a time
Christmas is a time
Christmas is a time to love
Christmas is a time
Christmas is a time
Christmas is a time to love

We often start to worry and people get upset
When things don’t go all right on Christmas day
What we should remember in all the push and shove
Is Christmas is a time to love.

Maybe things don’t sound right or look the way they should
And maybe they’re not perfectly in tune
It really doesn’t matter, let’s keep our eyes above
Because Christmas is a time to love.

~Ernie Rettino and Debby Kerner-Rettino

My kids later added this chorus:

Jesus is the way
Jesus is the way
Jesus is the way to love
Jesus is the way
Jesus is the way
Jesus is the way to love

It's beautifully simple and the melody is sweet. I often find myself with tears in my eyes listening to it. I'm reminded again that Christmas is a time for love and that Jesus is the way to show it. I don't know about you, but I have some "un" lovelies in my world. Showing them love is very important all the year through, but, at this season, it's crucial.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Take Some Time...

There I am in the upstairs sewing room. Can't see me? Let's take a closer look...

Hmmm, still not there.

Oh, here I am looking out where I was just standing.

I tell you, it's getting so intense that I am not sure whether I am coming or going! Is it the same for you?

May we all find some extra time today to focus on how wonderful it was that the Lord was willing to come to us.

Perhaps some Scripture time with a good cup of tea and something yummy to munch on. You can find the recipe for these delicious Gingerbread Cupcakes at Sweet Tidings on Christy's December 1 post. You'll love'em. Oh, 90 grams = 1 stick of butter. Double oh, double the recipe!

Saturday Blessings...

Friday, December 5, 2008

There's A Certain Slant of Light

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

~ Emily Dickinson

That Emily! I was with her right up to the end of verse one, except for that "oppresses" bit. From then on, it was all downhill. One must be careful of these melancholy poets.

Anyway, I have been noticing that certain slant of light and especially in the mornings around here. There are light patches that never existed before. I've tried to capture them with my trusty camera, but I doubt that it'll look like much. Just believe me that when I first walk into that part of the house, sometimes I stand there simply amazed.

So many of you appreciated #3 in yesterday's list. I am happy to report that my beloved describes it as the best part of his day. Remember when I mentioned that I would be using Miss Sandy's gift as a way to save some of John's quips? Well here's one that you may appreciate.

Me: We don't have a book to read.

He: We've got a bookcase full.

Me: Did you select one already?

He: (Nods)

Me: What?

He: Advanced Engineering

Me: :D

Have a wonderful Friday!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Book Tag

Both Pat and Paula tagged me quite some time ago with a book tag.

The rules of this tag are these:

1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share seven random and/or weird book facts about yourself.
3. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. My degree (English) required a lot, nay, a ton of reading. I have never read as much as I read during those years, lots of classics, of course, but I still love to read. I seldom read the classics anymore, though.

2. I began reading Nancy Drew, Ruth Fielding, and Judy Bolton books at age eight. I particularly loved the Judy Bolton series because she got married. It was a romantic wedding under a double rainbow and all the bridesmaids wore a color of the rainbow. Sigh.

3. John and I read aloud to each other both morning and night. We are reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis in the evening. Mornings are Devotional reading and Scriptures.

4. My favorite authors are James Herriot and E.B. White. If you've ever read either of them, you'll know why!

5. There's a trail of unfinished books in the house. I can pick up a book in any room and start in where I left off without a hitch. Must be that I am too lazy to gather a book or to carry it about with me.

6. If I don't read them, I decorate with'em.

7. After years of teaching, I have lots and lots of children's books. My grands are going to thank me one day, I hope! They're already happy with their current stash.

Since it's such a busy time of year, I'm going to suggest that if you're intrigued by this book tag that you take up the challenge. Please let me know if you do because I'll want to read yours, too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Perfect Day

Don't you love a perfect day?! We aren't always aware of them for some reason, but yesterday was just such a day. It began, as it usually does, with coffee and quiet time. As John was reading morning devotions, I interrupted him to point out the Eastern spruce, which is just beyond our patio doors. It was sitting there twinkling in the morning sun. I've never noticed it before. For over an hour, we sat there and watched the tiny drops of water sparkle like twinklelights on a Christmas tree. As per usual, this is the best that I could do with the camera. Look close! Do you see them? There's one especially good one to the left.

After breakfast and after I'd visited a number of you, we decided to take my sister's Christmas decorations to her at her workplace. After leaving them off, a trip to Goodwill seemed in order. So many of you have such good luck there...well, at least Mary always does! Anyway, that's what you're seeing next — all my Goodwill treasures — a complete roll of wrapping paper, a candy dish, two boxes of ornaments, a book, and a little sign that says "and to all a goodnight." And all for less than ten dollars! I received three dollars in change.

I remember this well because I forked it over again late in the afternoon when we stopped at Tim Horton's for coffee and a blueberry fritter — make that two as we didn't share.

John took me out for lunch and I had something Mexican that was very good and didn't taste at all like turkey...yay! He had a salad. Honestly, I hate it when he's good on his diet. It just makes me look bad.

Then we shopped for all of his family and finished. Finished! Well, except for two aprons that I've got to get busy sewing.

Bought more fabric, bought more perfume, and avoided buying any magazines. I have all the inspiration I need right here in Blogland!

Edited to Add: About an hour after I had this post "in the can" using Post Options, I realized that something exciting was going on. I was receiving lots and lots of visitors! Most were arriving from The Inspired Room. Why, I wondered. Seems that Melissa has honored A Haven for Vee as her blog of the week. I am so blessed and so humbled because beautiful blogs abound here in Blogland. Talk about a perfect day, yesterday was it!

Soooo...welcome to all who may be visiting this blog for the first time. I do hope that you will comment so that I may visit you, too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just About Ready

(Imagine a vintage sewing machine with the name Vesta written upon it in gold scroll.)

My sewing room that is! I am so excited about it that I can't even settle enough to actually begin, but everything is there...the machine, the fabric, the tables, the accoutrements. I love that vintage machine above named "Vesta." It's my great-grandmother's name. My machine is a "Genie" and Suzanne named hers "Beverly"...what's your sewing machine named?

Here are some photos of my newly claimed space...

I believe I see evidence of elves in that last photo...all those tiny chairs. Well, I do wish that they'd finish up the packing!

Enjoy your Tuesday, Dear Ones...

Monday, December 1, 2008

How Long 'Til Christmas?


Well, obviously, Thanksgiving was late this year and that always throws me off. Even so, we did get the tree constructed and lights hung. John wanted to stop at this stage — you know, the "just toss them on there" stage and call it good. That's because of the five rolls of working lights packed away, only one was working when they were unpacked. What happens to those things?! We made a dash for Wal*Mart at 8:30 Saturday evening, which left us with not a lick of energy left for the job, hence the fright you see here.

Course you know, slave driver that I am, John finished up the job late Sunday afternoon. Then he helped with ornaments, too.

Sis had left a message about picking up things today if I had them ready. Hmmmmm... Anyway, that meant my scurrying about this morning to get as much out the door as possible. I won't miss the naked man, but I will certainly miss this picture of my niece.

Sis brought yummy cookies and we did all sit down to enjoy them over some piping hot and strong coffee.

Last evening, thanks to a wonderful post that Miss Sandy of Quill Cottage wrote, we participated in an Advent activity (?)...having never done it, I'm not sure what to call it other than wonderful. We had such a nice, quiet time reading the scriptures Miss Sandy provided and lighting the candle. We don't have much of an Advent wreath yet, but what we did have worked.

Looking forward to sharing this wonderful season with all of you — have a great first day of December!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Entering Advent

(Imagine a straw advent wreath with a red plaid ribbon.)

“Betwixt us and God there is no between.” ~Julian of Norwich that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
~Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)

Excellent Article on Entering Advent

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Giving Thanks List

Following Leah's good example, I'm putting my list into a blog post so that I'll know what I shared and it will be here to find. Thanks, Leah!

My Giving Thanks List

1. The Love of God
2. The gift of a wonderful husband
3. A family that includes parents, a grandmother, a daughter, a son, a daughter-in-law, two delightful grands, a sister, two nieces, and all of John's family, too...
4. The privilege of voting
5. A warm bed
6. Chipping away at a task really does work
7. Skillful doctors
8. Quiet, rainy Saturdays
9. Quiet, rainy Sundays
10. Waiting on the Lord
11. For all those who have served in the armed forces
12. Sunny Days and Moonlit Nights
13. Heating Oil
14. Pets, especially cats...
15. Sweet little surprises
16. Hot coffee
17. hobbies
18. Good advice
19. Fun
20. gum
21. Fresh air
22. Leisurely Saturday mornings
23. Enough
24. pumpkin frost
25. The first snow
26. Helpers
27. Laughter
28. Plenty
29. New fallen snow
30. You! ♥

Friday, November 28, 2008

An After Thanksgiving Picture Story

Gotta get busy as we're doing it all over again at six tonight!

Hope that you all had a wonderful holiday and enjoy those leftovers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Been saving this beautiful Thanksgiving card from Kari to wish you Happy Thanksgiving says it all. Many blessings to you and yours on this Thanksgiving Day! I am richly blessed by your friendships.

To everyone else...Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A New Winner

Nancy of My Crafty Little Page is the new winner! Thanks, Nancy! I have your addy and I'll send it along today.

God bless those who are making preparations for Thanksgiving. I know how crazy busy you all are! Speaking of which...

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So here's my table all set and ready for tomorrow...

(Imagine a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Table.)

What? You don't believe me?! Shoot! Since Martha started labeling all her photos, I just can't get away with these tricks anymore.

Okay, so here's my table with its painter cloths as tablecloths, the gold and silver chargers, the nametags, and the runner created from a four yard length of cheap cloth. Oh, and those are my 67 cent pumpkins.

Did you happen to notice the napkins? I've driven myself crazy looking for napkins and finally settled on these...cheapo!

No, we don't have a table that large. John was able to create a surface using quarter inch luan plywood; he even rounded the corners. It's going to be very nice having the family all seated together at one large table.

Wishing you lots of fun as you bake, cook, and clean your way through Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time Keeps Slipping Away

Thanksgiving is coming in just two days. Two?!! I think I'll just keel over now. Time is definitely running out and I'm beginning to run around like the proverbial chicken with her head cut off. Now that really is an unfortunate simile given the holiday. ;>

Let's see, the silver has been cleaned.

Its case has been fixed.

The painter cloths that I'll be using for tablecloths are in the washer. (Yes, I did make those drapes and they came out great. I may become the painter cloth queen if I keep coming up with things to do with them.)

The china still needs washing; the house still needs cleaning; the baking still needs doing; and I'm sure that I'm forgetting something. Oh, but I didn't forget the turkey as that's been thawing since Saturday. Yes, of course, in the refrigerator!

Speaking of time running out...CurtissAnn, where are you? If this winner doesn't come forward by seven tonight EST, I'll be drawing another name. Joy, your package is on its way!

Hoping that this evening I'll be able to sit down, put my feet up, and have the time to enjoy a relaxing moment. Hope that you all do, too!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Now what? You never know what I'm going to have that man up to next. Poor guy was up and down the ladder so many times getting that hornet nest in just the right spot.

He even had to take a nap.

(Oh yes! We made sure that nobody was home.)

He had just enough energy to play "The Hand." :D

Congratulations to Joy of Books and Life and to CurtissAnn who doesn't yet have a blog. Ladies, please get in touch via my email addy located in my profile with all pertinent information and I'll send your sweet smelling prizes right along. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Oh, thought you'd like to see where that nest landed in the end...