A Haven for Vee

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not. ~ Mark Twain

Twain, what a pistol he is even after he's been gone for nearly a hundred years. He reminds me of a pastor friend who often says, "I've already told you more than I know." Sometimes I feel this way blogging.

Today, I am reflecting back over this past year. Those who have been reading Haven, and I thank you, know that two eventful things happened to me in 2008. The first was that my sister married in January. This is made more pertinent in that we had shared a home for seven years. Even now we co-own a home, this very haven where I am now living. 2007 was a year filled with anxiety as I did not know how I would cope with all the changes; 2008 began in anxiety as these same fears continued. I was trusting God on the one hand, but still feeling nervous. Here I was, just like the disciples in the boat with Jesus, yet scared silly when a storm blew up.

The second eventful thing was that I married in July. I'll not retell the story, though you can find it here, if you are unfamiliar with it. What a blessing to marry a friend! I highly recommend it.

Still, there are concerns. The economy struggles on and this has affected us a lot. (I know that this is true for many of you as well.) I find myself wondering what 2009 holds and what challenges we will face. Grateful I am that God does not reveal everything in advance. Even as I am asking (begging?) for answers, I don't want to know e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Enough light for today — enough grace, enough mercy, enough love, enough wisdom, enough with some to spare.

And there are also many joys: A new family to get to know better, grands growing up like weeds, children who delight. And John will become a great-grandfather twice in the new year! (Let's not mention what that will make me as I'm just now used to being a grandmother. :D)

Thank you, Dear Ones, for being a part of my journey here at A Haven and for being the supportive souls that you are. I appreciate and love you more than I can possibly express. I look forward to sharing your journeys in the new year, too.

May your reflections on 2008 be sweet and may 2009 be the best year evah!

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:12–14

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Am an Award Snob

The horrible truth is out. Sigh. Wonderful bloggers present me with beautiful awards and I leave them on the table. I do believe that the last one was a gift from The Voice of Melody...a delightful blog, though I am not sure if the blogger's name is Melody. Perhaps she can enlighten me...anyway, my way of handling these has been less than satisfactory all the way around. I save the award in a special folder and I usually save its name and the person who gave it. Sadly, I am equally as likely NOT to do so. Sometimes, I send the information to myself in an email, but now that my email is wildly out of control...ackkk!

So, one of my New Year's resolutions is to rejoin FlyLady and start receiving her daily reminders again until I get a grip on this organization thing again. Three Four of my blogging buddies are in the throes of moving to new homes...Melissa at The Inspired Room, Sue at Thistle Patch Hill, Jenny at Things From My House, and HappyOne at Life is Good. (How could I have forgotten this one? I mean, I've been watching her beautiful townhouse go up for several months now and the time for moving is next week!) Perhaps I can take some clues from them and pretend that I'm moving.

Last up today...Mystery Playlist...rich and beautiful...even classic. This playlist is from one of our dear friends in Blogdom who must fly under the radar for a while. It's too good not to share.

Monday, December 29, 2008

An Assortment of Christmas Leftovers

Saturday's post brought my third and final win of the week. What incredible good fun it was to look forward to the mail. (That's one of my favorite things about the Christmas season...actually looking forward to the day's post.)

This was my win from Miss Sandy at Quill Cottage. It's a Christmas Cookie Recipe Book for me to write in my favorite recipes.

Don't you just know that that sweet little Merry Christmas tag was recycled for Saturday evening's party.

Thank you, Miss Sandy! Your craftmanship is unequaled and I treasure this highly. Now I'll have to work on my penmanship for jotting in the recipes I especially want to save. Let's revisit this in a year, shall we?

Now for some of my favorite photos of Christmas Day at my parents' and here Saturday evening...most will speak for themselves.

Do all of you look that intently at your laptops? ;D

The boy has toys, but he's inspecting coasters.

Rocket Launching

I wish that John would stop fighting with the dog!

Do you remember all the references to sewing and aprons? Here are my aprons all in a row...

Though I tried to capture each recipient's response, I only managed to capture one good one...my niece's who looks quite pleased with her apron.

There was an apron for every woman in my family, including my grandmother. She's particularly pleased to have an apron made with one of John's old shirts...a purple one at that!

Thanks for looking at my pictures...have a fantastic Monday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Tale of Two Piano Stools

I haven't felt so conflicted about a new gift since I was six years old and received a new doll when I was still perfectly content with my old one. Dolls have feelings you know and I wasn't about to give my beloved doll any concern for jealousy. I can well remember my mother having a gentle conversation with me about the entire issue.

This is my dilemma. I received a new piano bench. Isn't it pretty?

Oh yes, and very comfortable, too, as my ever-expanding derrière is well seated.

But why? Why?! I love my old piano stool!

My grands "drive" it like crazy when they visit. It's been a part of my world for the past 21 years having arrived with the piano...a graduation gift from my parents. It has beautiful feet...four of them just like this:

And its lines are graceful and charming...

Oh, I can hear you gasping from here. Yes, so what about it?! My graceful, charming, eagle-taloned piano stool is held together with panty hose and a prayer. Sigh.

Okay, there's just one thing for it as my mother reminded me all those years ago. No need to give up one friend to receive another! This should make all three of us happy.

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Christmas 2008 has almost passed. I say "almost" because round three begins this evening when my kiddos and grands join us for a lasagna supper and gift opening. This makes round four for the grands. Poor l'il heads must be spinning.

And per usual, I am skidding along by the seat of my pants...no wrapping done, etc. I will catch up with you all eventually. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Another win has arrived. I am quite certain that the post office in my hometown is wondering what's going on here with all the packages that I receive and all the packages that I send. It's a small town; people do wonder.

These gifts are from sweet Angie at Free Spirit Haven. She sent a book and it is my fond hope to find the time to sit down and truly enjoy it soon. The sweet little ornament is already on my tree where I know my grands will love to see it and the good thing is that they can touch it, too.

She also sent a blessing and a little card that says it all...

Thank you so very much, Angie! What a blessing!!

Today is Christmas Eve and below you see our Advent Centerpiece and how it will look once we have lit the final candle representing the Christchild. I'd just like to thank Miss Sandy over there at Quill Cottage again for providing all the information that we have needed to participate. Cindy at
In a Garden
has pointed her readers to Barbara's most excellent essay entitled The Glory of the Unlikely. We will be reading this as well for our Christmas Eve Advent. It's tremendous.

God bless each and every one with a wonderful Christmas! Remember, you are much loved!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Minute Ideas

Whoaaa, talk about skidding in...

I'm thinking that you, yes, YOU, are going to be the death of me...wouldja stop having such great ideas? Please? :D

No, no, I don't really mean that. Let me tell you, as quickly as I can for I know how busy you are, how your great ideas have been working for me.

First of all, gift wrapping. I found the best ideas for gift wrapping here and here.

Tina at Cherry Hill Cottage made an adorable rosemary wreath. After being inspired by Miss Sandy and Margo, I did these gift bags with my rosemary, which has been in the house since September 16 and doing great. Then I took it a step further by printing out and including Ree's Crash Potato recipe. (If you're really smart, you can use some of your fancy Christmas copy paper.) Now folks will know what to do with those little rosemary snippets.

Have a terrific Tuesday! Hope that we all get a lot done. I'm still shopping

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gassner Custom Soaps

If I keep winning, I may have to buy a lottery ticket. Three wins in three weeks? I feel so blessed!! (I'll be sharing my other wins as soon as they arrive.)

One day when I was playing *LeapBlog, more on that later, I found Amber at Such is Life who directed me to Elizabeth at Gassner Custom Soaps who was having a drawing back on November 25.

Friday's mail brought me my prize and oh what a prize it was. Let me just share the box and its contents in a picture story and then I'll tell you what I really think about the products.

Both John and I have been using the soaps for a few days now. What I noticed immediately was that my hands are not so dry and I am not using as much lotion. This coffee soap for the kitchen is wonderful...not a heavy, perfumed soap, but one that cuts odors on the hands while soothing them. It's hard to describe. I want to say creamy and ultra smooth so guess that I will. :D Doesn't it look good enough to eat? And I love the lip balm...so soothing and emollient. Wonderful stuff!

Now I've been visiting the Gassner web site via the link I have on my sidebar and I see that Elizabeth makes scents for men. Hmmm, I'm just wondering if it'd be possible for her to come up with my beloved's favorite scent. (Just follow the color code.) What do you think? ;>

Elizabeth, thank you so much. I'll be enjoying these gifts for a long time to come!

Amber, thank you, too!!

*LeapBlog...a game where one leaps off to a blog listed on her own sidebar and then jumps to a blog unknown to her continuing for 10x. Then, on that tenth blog, the blogger must find her own blog listed in that tenth blog's sidebar in order to win. Winning isn't everything! I rarely win LeapBlog in this way, but I do find a lot of new and wonderful blogs.

Happy Monday, Dear Ones!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Skidding In...

Some Christmas cards have more meaning than others for they share the story of Christmas. Because I know how weary some of us have become, including myself, I want to share one card's message this morning.

We need a song to sing—
A message of hope and cheer
We need a LOVE that
Transcends time and space
Our hearts seek the knowledge
That amidst all the change
And the clatter of life
There is SOMEONE Who cares.
Jesus is God's
Deliverance given to us
He is the King of Kings
And the Lord of Lords
He is Immanuel, God with us.
He is God's Message of Love
With the angels and shepherds
And all God's children we sing,
"Jesus is Born. JOY to the world."

For all the stresses of life...all the losses of life...all the heartaches...all the pains...all the busyness...all the depression...all the emptiness...all the anger...all the fear...all the worry...all the you.fill.in.the.blank...for all of these, He came. We need to be rescued. It's just that simple.

Today and the remainder of this week, I am building arbitrary time into my day. I am taking a Jesus break every few hours to spend time reading the Word, inspirational messages, and just pray. I think my day will go better.

Two suggestions for you today: Please consider joining Miss Sandy at Quill Cottage for today's installment of Advent observances and join http://daisybouquet.blogspot.com/ for Santa Is Sooo Busy!!!! Edited to Add: Have just been to A Scrapbook of Inspiration where Karen shares a term new to me and gives us an example. It blessed me.

So, if you find yourself "skidding in" today (as am I), let us take the time to "cozy down" and refocus on the most important thing of all...our relationship with the One who was willing to Come just for us!

Image: From my personal Christmas card collection

May the One who cares so completely for you bless your Christmas with joy...your home with peace...and your lives with love.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Gingerbread Student

(Edited to Add: Scroll Down to see the completed project! )

That's me! Thanks to Suzanne of At Home With the Farmer's Wife who's been doing a great tutorial all week. So in spite of not having one gift wrapped, shopping finished, house cleaned, sewing done, nor visiting a soul, I've been making a gingerbread house. :D

Okay, if you find yourself snowbound, give this a whirl. It's been a lot of fun and the house smells soooooo goooood.

A wonderful Friday to you all!

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Adding more photos of the progress made. You'll be able to watch this thing go up through the day. But I am waiting until the carpenter comes home for lunch before I carry on any further. LOL!

I'm just trying to scare Suzanne with this one...

Saturday Morning Update! (It is still morning isn't it?)

You are all soooo patient. Thanks for visiting. Please note how restrained Suzanne is in her use of photographs. I, on the other hand, am just being boastful. This is my first Gingerbread House and, by golly, you're gonna see it in all of its leaning, Alpine glory.

First test of the marriage...can it stand the strain of creating a Gingerbread House? Oh yes! With flying colors. First of all, The Carpenter didn't care for the dimensions of that chimney elves or no elves! That meant some serious whittling.

The Gingerbread House had to have a window box reminiscent of my Haven's.

Suzanne, thank you so much! This has been a life long dream of mine. No kidding. You're an excellent teacher and I hope that lots of folks will join you in Gingerbread Land.

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. I'm going to go find a place to collapse. :D