Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Such Good Songs

Come and gather around at the table
In the spirit of family and friends
And we'll all join hands and remember this moment
'Til the season comes 'round again

Let's all try to smile for the picture
And we'll hold it as long as we can
May it carry us through
Should we ever get lonely
'Til the season comes 'round again

One night holy and bright
Shining with love from our hearts
By a warm fire,
Let's lift our heads high
And be thankful we're here
'Til this time next year

May the new year be blessed
With good tidings
'Til the next time I see you again
If we must say goodbye
Let the spirit go with you
'Til the season comes 'round again


May the new year be blessed with good tidings
'Til the next time I see you again
If we must say goodbye
Let the spirit go with you
And we'll love and we'll laugh
In the time that we had
'Til the season comes 'round again
~Jarvis, John Barlow, Randy Goodrum

Such a good song with such good advice.

Hang on for I Need a Silent Night♫ if you can! (The quality of the first video is not terrific...don't click through unless you'd like to really know what the melody is. I sure miss Playlists and Grooveshark for sharing music. Edited to Add: I found a great You Tube for I Need a Silent Night. Just click on the notes plus words highlighted or watch below. )


Formatting is wonky here today because of the copy and paste I did on the lyrics. ☺

Have a super day!

Love Vee

Monday, November 26, 2012

What Will Your Christmas Look Like?

Have you planned what your Christmas will look like specifically? If not, may I suggest that if you do, your Christmas will take on even more meaning and joy than you might ever imagine. I was reminded of this recently while reading *one of my favorite posts of all time* written by the incomparable Brenda of Coffee Tea Books and Me.

So I am taking Brenda's advice again this year...I took it two years ago, which you can read about in Brenda's comments because I told her all about it while I was there.

Christmas 2012 List in no particular order

* lots of Christmas music
* lots of candles and pleasant aromas
* honoring Advent Sundays and having an Advent wreath for the table
* Christmas cards with notes for the ones we love
* some baking
* lunch out with Bea
* breakfast out with John
* breakfast out with the family
* some crafting
* some sewing
* manageable chore lists
* making a Christmas Day menu early
* having a visiting schedule that works
* Christmas Eve service at church a must!
* watching some quality Christmas programming and movies
* wrap gifts early
* Devotions by the tree with it LIT
* Keeping Christmas lights on for those dark and gloomy days
* Re-reading Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon

I may be adding to this list!

Love Vee

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It Felt Like Christmas~Mosaic Monday

* Perhaps it was a visit from a new great-grandgirlie...
* Perhaps it was a visit from a daughter or even two...
* Perhaps it was a visit from the first great-grandgirlie who had just been to see The Nutcracker Ballet yesterday and can now dance on point...
* Perhaps it was the teddy bear in the tree...
* Perhaps it was the lights reflected in the window...
* Perhaps it was the reading of Christmas recipes...

Whatever the reason, it felt like Christmas today.

Linking to Mary at Little Red House.

Love Vee

Festival Joy

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!
Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
Strong God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
will do all this.

Isaiah 9:2–7 The Message

Festival joy? Sunbursts of light? Sounds like Revival and Restoration to me. 

As we go into Advent season, which begins next Sunday, my prayer is for Revival.  He has already come to us as an infant. The next time He comes to us will be as the Ruler of the World. Can you imagine a world where there will be no limit to the wholeness He brings

One of my favorite videos ever! It rather sets the tone for the season.

Love Vee

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Well I am off to a great start...the blog is decorated...sorta kinda. Now if I can get the tree up today or even the leaves and pumpkins down, I'll feel as if I've accomplished something.

Jake arrived to spend some time with me last Wednesday while his big brother was off to have his stitches removed. Jake's the little guy in my header with the afghan backdrop.  He announced, as he was taking off his coat and hanging it up, that his mother's grandmother had passed away. Hmmm, I thought to myself, I do believe that happened some time past, as in years and years ago. I told him that I was sorry to hear this news and asked if he knew his great-grandmother's name. He thought for a moment and said, "Her name was Bar*ck Ob*ma." Ha! What a hoot that child is. I later learned that her name was Barbara. Yes, I can see how he got a little confused...lots of "B"s and "a"s and plenty of syllables.

Later, while on the sofa, he had his pudgy little fingers poked through the holes in the afghan. I mentioned something about this activity and he looked me right in the eye and said rather accusingly, "This is a fake blanket." Yes, Jake, I have thought so a few times myself when wishing for a sofa nap and a warm blanket and while feeling a draft.

During snack time, he refused to drink the apple juice I'd purchased for him in the individual box containers. He wasn't raising a fuss; he just wasn't enjoying it as 
he usually would. After a bit, I asked him why he didn't drink it. No response. Finally, I asked "What's wrong with it?" 

"It tastes awful." Ahhh, so now I knew.

His mother speculates that he can taste the carton and I'd not be surprised. 

I had switched to the individual cartons because a few weeks ago I had served Jake some fermented white grape juice. (Sam prefers milk.) Jake chugged two juice glasses full without saying a word. It seemed as if the bottle had only recently been opened, but no, it had gone too long. Acccckkkk! Well, Jake did have a perfectly delightful and somewhat subdued afternoon and has not, as far as I know, had any lingering affects other than thinking, you know, that his great-grandmother is Bar*ck Ob*ma.

Have you ever done anything this terrible to your grands?

Love Vee

Friday, November 23, 2012

Taking it Easy

~a glimpse of yesterday's table~

~wishbone napkin ring~

Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving? A few I know have already had two or three Thanksgivings by now and are planning another today. We're going to do a lunch and pie for dessert meal at noon with everyone in tow or nearly.

(Lois @ Walking on Sunshine is offering some brilliant tips for the Day After Thanksgiving right *here.*)

I am thinking how my full speed ahead attitude over Christmas may have been evident on my Thanksgiving table with the wishbone napkin rings, which actually turned out to be "Merry Christmas" napkin rings, though I shall not be decorating for Christmas today after all. Tomorrow perhaps...


This morning's paper contains a story that has us laughing. John read it to me while I folded laundry and sipped my coffee.

Seems a man went to a popular eatery up Bangor way and left his F150 truck running near the door. An "elderly" woman came out of the eatery and got into the truck and drove it home. Some time later, after the truck had been reported stolen, a friend of the woman's called to say where the truck was located. 

Are you as upset by reporting as John and I are these days? Don't you think a great many details have been left out of that story? Most of our fun has been to fill in the gaps. =) Now I'll leave it to you to do the same!

Have a terrific Friday!

Love Vee

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Not My Turn

Since it's not my turn this year, we will be doing Thanksgiving Lite. Not in terms of gratitude, though certainly in terms of food preparation. I'd love to be making these sweet little place cards for my dining room table, but there's no need when there are only three!

I asked John what he needed to see on his Thanksgiving table and he said, "A cup of coffee and a piece of pie." If only I had known how easy this could be! =)

I'm noticing that it is very quiet in Blogdom as those of us in the States get ready for Thanksgiving. I'll be joining my brethren and sistren in the all quiet department until after the holiday. The rest of you, keep those Christmas fires burning until we can join you!

Please have the most wonderful of Thanksgivings filled with the meaning that has attended this holiday from the earliest days of its history and with family surrounding you.

And may there be a cup of coffee and a piece of pie!

Love Vee

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Strength for the Journey

May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. ~Colossians 1:11–12

Love Vee

Friday, November 16, 2012

Old Book

On a blustery Saturday afternoon, in an unheated flea market, I found an old book that looked promising. It was on a shelf titled "Maine Authors." The title: The Old Ashburn Place. The author: Margaret Flint. The setting: a homestead in Maine. The novel: A $10,000 prize winner.Would you buy it? Would you buy it if it were about your own locality?

I am always looking for strong and charming descriptions of home.

It really doesn't matter that this storyline is odd and awkwardly told. It is one week from Christmas on one page and on the next, it is spring. On one page a character is wailing and pacing and on the next she's been killed in a wreck. And so the reader lurches through a lifetime in a mere 299 pages.  

Sometimes this sort of writing can mean that the author is unwilling to "go there" or doesn't know how to tell the truly difficult bits — death, sorrow, even joy. So logical progression is definitely not the book's strong point. Not to mention that this novel is about a betrayal because of a love affair, yet it is not compellingly told. I do not make a habit of reading about love affairs, but really it is tame... very... and in the old manner... or perhaps the current manner... the woman is all to blame and the man is nearly blameless. (The use of ellipses often means that this writer herself doesn't know how to "go there.") 

I'm going to share a few paragraphs that I enjoyed since there were moments when I knew that Margaret was "writing Maine." That and it doesn't take too much to make me happy.

The house, as it had been developed by alterations and additions throughout the years, was typical of the Maine countryside—low-posted, with two dormer windows on the front, facing east, a broad doorway with fanlights at the sides and above, and a central chimney to serve the main part of the dwelling. On either side of the front door were two small, twelve-paned windows, and there were two more below and one above on each gabled end. You could see at a glance that the Ashburn place had good rooms upstairs, under that broad and gently sloping roof. There was a L running back at right angles to the house, and as high as the house part way, then dropping off to a low, narrow, covered passage which connected the milk room and woodshed with the barn. You could walk from the parlor clear to the cattle tie-up without going outdoors, which was a comfort in bad weather. 

It was fall again—time for getting in the corn and apples and garden truck, time for cutting the hemlock banking for the house, for putting in the storm windows, for unpacking the woolens, time for tightening up generally, anticipating the cold to come, time for fires at night.
We still see some of the old farmhouses wearing hemlock bankings or fir boughs around the foundation to keep in the heat. I usually bank my home with snow once it falls deep enough.

Dinner tasted good. It was a sort of pick-up meal, since Elsie had been baking all the morning, and scrubbing, and cleaning up generally. They had some baked potatoes, and fried salt pork, and slabs of cheese, a dish of mustard pickle, fresh apple sauce, sliced bread, and a big plate of warm, sugared doughnuts, and of course the pot of strong, bitter tea.
That storeroom was always a beautiful sight in the winter, packed full with the fruits of fields and orchard—cabbages, root-crops, apples; barrels of salt pork and of cider; crocks of pickles and mincemeat; two swing-shelves suspended from the overhead rafters and laden with glass jars and jelly tumblers, all neatly labeled and dated. 
Can't go wrong with descriptions of food! ☺

The blaze of autumn glory that had been running like fire over the hills for weeks past was now rather dimmed; its smoky richness lay smouldering, drowned in the melting frost as the sun penetrated the woods and underbrush... The horse was climbing steadily, and from the hilltop Charlie looked off toward the northwest where Mount Washington was a pale blue shape clean cut against a paler sky.
You could see clear to Mount Washington, and follow the course of the river for miles. As you got closer to Stafford's place, and turned to look back, that view would hit you right in the eye. It was almost too much to believe... "Nice view ye got here."
"Think so?" Stafford had said. "Well, folks say 'tis. Can't say I ever noticed it."
Charlie had got the onions and gone home. But he got more than onions. He had seen so plainly just how much a man depended on his own state of mind for enjoyment in life. Stafford could have had that good feeling of exaltation any day in the week by just opening his eyes to the view, but he'd never done it. And his doing it wouldn't have hurt the onion crop a bit either!
Good use of local landmarks — from my home and on a hilltop, Mount Washington lies due west. Like Stafford, can't say that I always pay notice.
One rainy day he took his tools and went down the road to mend a break in the fence. There were usually about a dozen such fiddlin' jobs waiting for a rainy day, when it was too wet to work in the fields. The softly drizzling rain was nice to be out in, and there was something different, intimate, about the chirp of the birds and the rustle of water-laden leaves. Why couldn't a man just grow roots, and so be at peace? Or like the animals, run nature's course and not keep tearing his shirt over it? Look at all the little lives and homes, all around him, beautiful, entire, and clean. It seemed to take a man, with his notions about advancement and civilization, to step in and cover things with smut. Man's dirty cities—man's dirty machinery—man's dirty morals.
At least our hero has the good sense to be ashamed.

So my dollar spent on a book published in 1935 and long fallen from favor, turned out to be a little blessing after all.

Have a lovely Friday...

Love Vee

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More About Vanilla

Two weeks ago, I discussed making vanilla *here.* There were many wonderful comments that day with lots of terrific ideas. One was the following...

Vanilla sugar! Mildred of Maple Lane mentioned it and then, when I couldn't find a link at her blog, she sent me *this one*. Yes, I am highly suggestible. Please mention nothing about jumping from a bridge. 

So now I have a batch of vanilla sugar going; I'll let you know if it's worth the bean and the effort in two weeks. My batch of vanilla is looking fantastic, getting darker every day, so I know that it will be ready in time for Christmas baking, IF I do any Christmas baking.

Another thing, I froze the leftover vanilla beans. Not good. Not good at all. Neither freeze nor refrigerate vanilla beans. Keep them in sealed glass jar in a cool, dark place. Now I need another bottle of vodka to rescue my frozen beans.

Love Vee

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Update on Sam

Thank you so very much for all your good thoughts and prayers for Sam. He spent an extra night in the hospital this time because of pain levels, though he is waking in his own bed this morning as did his mom who spent those three nights in the hospital with him.

We were there last evening when he suggested that we all play a game of Old Maid. Let's just say that he and I should never attempt Poker. He's so cute and funny: "I have a very nice card right there on the left." "No, no, not that one." "I don't have the Old Maid. Really I don't." Doesn't it just seem wrong to break a leg and then get stuck with the Old Maid, too?

Closing comments today so that you may read and scoot. You've done so much already.

A reminder to keep visiting at Sand Flat Farm to see where Vickie and Tony went after they left us. You'll love the photography and the beauty of a New England autumn.

Love Vee

Monday, November 12, 2012


That's how the weekend went...

What began in bike rides, walks, and Hide 'n Seek games all Saturday afternoon ended with my grandson's breaking his leg again Saturday evening. (You may remember that he first broke it last March.) Sometimes life is just plain hard. The very thing that was supposed to be the cure turned out to be the cause this time. One of the screws that was used to put the first break back together caused the second break — nearly all the way through the bone and just below the old break. I certainly hope that those doctors know what they're doing. (Sometimes a gal has her doubts.) This time they've used shorter screws and more of them.

For years the pastor used to preach an ongoing message about how everyone is connected in the Body of Christ. I can tell you what you already know, when one person in the family is hurting, the entire family is hurting. Poor little brother is so somber and sad. He couldn't give it words, but agreed with ours..."You are sad that Sam broke his leg" and he whispered, "again." Sigh.

So the little guy and his family start over from scratch. Did I already say that sometimes life is hard? Yes, oh yes, we appreciate any and all prayers on his behalf.

Love Vee

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Video Tribute to Veterans

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. ~John Stuart Mill

Believe it or not, this was played in church this morning. I found it a rousing tribute.

May God bless our Veterans!

Love Vee

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Meeting the Sand Flat Farm Folks

One day late last summer, Vickie of Sand Flat Farm wrote to say that she and her husband were going to take a bookend journey to the Northeast after their West coast trip last fall. Would John and I like to meet? Sure we would! And so we did on a foggy day in October. We found ourselves back on Rt. 302 because Vickie and Tony were traveling through Maine to New Hampshire and adventures beyond and I was trying to keep them on a scenic route.

John and I have found that meeting bloggers is a pretty easy thing as it's not as if you have never had a connection before. Vickie and I have been chatting nearly since she began blogging away back in 2008.

Now Vickie is not at all as I expected her to be, other than being beautiful and a sweet soul. It must be all that "Keep yer skirt down" stuff. She was perfectly quiet and demure, dear and charming. I was having trouble reconciling the
snake-killing, golf ball-retrieving, gopher-shooting Texas gal I'd come to know with the lady at our table. =) In fact, when I later reminded John that Vickie was that gal, he was shocked. Wish I had reminded him earlier! We could have really jazzed up the conversation then. Her husband Tony is one of those charming men who seems larger than life and who is an excellent spokesman for Texas and the good old U S of A.  We felt so comfortable talking with them both and felt as if we'd known them a long time.

So what did we talk about?  A bit of everything from children, grandchildren, parents, pets, homes, drilling, other bloggers, cooking, blogging, and anything else we could cram into our time. Vickie tells me that if John and I should ever make it to Texas she can cook us an amazing chicken fried steak with a nice crust and delicious white cream gravy. Oh my! Tempting, very tempting...

I received two gifts...I've actually received many gifts from Vickie that I have shared before *here*, which you see often upon my wall. Vickie is a wonderful artist. My recent gifts are two cookbooks...one from Maine and the other from Texas. I've been reading them this week. Nothing is as comforting as reading the Word of God and cookbooks!

After a picture taking session, I pointed out some red chairs that I had taken a photo of a few years ago when we met our first blogger—Karen and her husband Ken.  Vickie was quite convinced that she could get a shot of those chairs even though she'd heard the call to "board the train." Leaving the men chatting, she first walked down closer to the lake, then turned back and headed down the sidewalk for a closer shot. "Vickie, time to go..." She turned and said, "Coming." Then she looked at me and said, "Doesn't that sound just like a kid to say 'coming' all the while walking away?" Made me laugh.

If you want to check out Vickie's story of our time together, you'll find it *here.* She's got me cropped within an inch of my life, which I so appreciate. Thanks, Vickie! You'll enjoy getting to know this charming, snake-killing, golf ball- retrieving, gopher-shooting, keep yer skirt down Texas Gal.

Say, Vickie, I found a sweet little yellow house for ya that day!

Love Vee

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our Destiny

Those disappointments were our destiny I guess. My opinion is that our long national nightmare has only just begun.

Taking time off indefinitely.

Love Vee

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting 2012

If you believe the disappointments—if you believe the disappointments in the last few years are a detour and not our destiny, then I'm asking for your vote. ~Mitt Romney
Last night was so beautiful around here. My daughter, who as I've mentioned, has been very active through this political season, had been to a few engagements yesterday (and even had to borrow some of my signs). Well, I'll just show you instead of wasting time on words.

Oh that's not it... This is my daughter and Charlie Summers who is running against a King. Charlie is fiscally responsible and a Conservative whom we'd love to see go to Washington. It would end decades of RINOs from Maine serving there. It is more than time! 

And this is how dear daughter looked at the end of her busy day having just returned my sign to its rightful spot. Think freezing. See that one little rose? Think popsicle. I do believe that it is truly the last rose of the season; although, that rose bush has surprised me all autumn long.

We only have sunsets and these colors in this season of the year. I'm hoping that tonight we'll have another and that, tomorrow night, we'll have another and the night after that... 

Many blessings as you head out to vote — if you live in the U.S.A. 

Love Vee

Monday, November 5, 2012

Calming Pastimes

We're all very relaxed here at the Haven today. How're you doing? 

Usually, I find that napping works well to pass the time. This works especially well if one is under a certain amount of stress, which nearly everyone in this country is feeling lately. 

Today, thanks to spending some time in Blogdom yesterday, specifically over there rocking along with Linds, I have been crocheting. (Oh Great! I just went to get the link and Linds thinks that she is posting on this very thing again today. She even mentioned a nap. Please go visit her to see what these creations are really supposed to look like.) 

I started with the yarn stars that Linds linked to and ended with crochet thread stars that I Googled. Lots of patterns. I have a few clinkers; I just carry on; it's not rocket science. Perhaps these will be made into a garland for my Christmas tree.

Say, has anyone tried using this kind of yarn above? I lasted about five minutes and concluded that it'll make lovely snowballs in a bowl by the door.

Speaking of snow...it feels as if it could. 

Love Vee

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake. ~Victor Hugo
Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.
~I Corinthians 16:13 (The Message)

Love Vee

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Before the Storm

Last week was window washing day. And, though I do help, you know, between taking photos, most of this falls on John. I try to make it as fun for him as I can!

Doesn't everyone wash windows just before a hurricane arrives? In our case, it also meant the transoms on the garage and the garage doors.

After an entire year, I'm still in love with my kitchen window. It was especially lovely when we used to have sun shining through the golden leaves just beyond the row of pines. Perhaps tomorrow the sun will return; in a year, the golden leaves will.

Raggedy pot of rosemary soaking in some weak sun.

One of the last pretty views of the neighborhood before the storm.

Have a wonderful weekend! Will you be washing windows?

Love Vee

Friday, November 2, 2012

Four Things

That's right. I have four things to share today. I feel as if it's Show and Tell on a Monday Morning in the little brick schoolhouse down the way. I live a stone's throw from my first schoolhouse. Someday, I must post about that school.

Last night I finished up the afghan I was working on for the back of the sofa. It's just a giant granny square. One could use any granny square pattern that appeals; mine is very basic. That sofa was starting to look like a black hole... Now John tells me that we may not be ready for Christmas, but we'll surely be ready for Hanukkah.


Besides, it rather matches the morning sky. My wooden salad bowl on the right there works beautifully for containing whatever ball of yarn I'm working with allowing the ball to slip around a bit without rolling away so that the yarn comes along easily.


This is my sister's table runner. It was mailed late last week before Sandy blew in. Sis doesn't have it yet nor does she have any mail at all as mail deliveries have been suspended for now.


Have been making my own vanilla for about five years now. Vanilla beans are outrageously expensive when purchased in the grocery store. You can see that the bottle I'm working with there only had two pieces of bean and so is very anemic. It should contain one bean for every ⅓ cup of vodka. Recently, when visiting Brenda, she said that vanilla beans could be purchased inexpensively at Amazon. My eyes lit up. Now I'm in the vanilla making business again.


Here are my trick or treating grands. They made a cute zebra and a cute lion, though I had no idea of the significance. Apparently, they are Alex and Marty or Marty and Alex from the Madagascar movie. Here's one Nonni who must brush up on current childhood culture.

Are you up on current culture?

Love Vee