A Haven for Vee

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Tree and An Early Gift

It's so much fun reading comments. I'd never bother to write another post if I could just guarantee reading comments. Many times I cry when reading them. Yes, I'm weird that way. On the other hand, when I read Lea's comment on my Monday Mosaic post, "are you saying your tree is only three feet tall?" I burst out laughing. Why have I gone this mini-tree route when I am only a sweet young'un not even having reached my sixtieth year? It's all about the lack of space. If I put up a full-sized tree, I lose seating space in our living area and I can't afford to lose any seating space when this is the home where my family gathers. This way I can comfortably seat eight; I can uncomfortably seat fifteen. ;>

An early gift came from my dear friend Miss Sandy@ Quill Cottage. I nearly keeled over seeing the book she sent and the materials that I can use to make some of the projects. Such a thoughtful thing to do! Keep your eyes on Quill Cottage as Miss Sandy loves to share Christmas crafts with her readers. She's already been busy! Thank you so very much, Sandy. You bless my soul.

November 30 and I have reached the end of my commitment to the Giving Thanks Challenge. It became a gift to me (thank you, *Leah*! ) very early on. Some days were such a struggle that I found it difficult to think of anything positive. It's a very good thing when one must examine gratitude. God's gifts abound especially in those tough days. All we have to do is look for them. Today I am grateful for a living hope: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable...reserved in heaven for you. I Peter 1:3–4 

Stay tuned tomorrow when I share another gift from a completely different source based on my review thereof... It's pretty. It's red. It looks like Christmas.

Edited to Add: My daughter just walked up to this tree that I have had since 1995 and asked if it were real. No, it is as fake as fake can be. It is a 6.5 foot tree, but thankfully it comes in sections so I didn't even need John to cut the trunk. I just used the top section.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mosaic Monday~Hodge-Podge Christmas Decorating

This week marked the first snow of the season, which has helped to set the mood. I've been puttering with Christmas decorations. Something here; something there; nothing pulled together. I included the little graphic (from my own collection) because it so perfectly represents the size of my tree this year. Why, you might be tempted to think that I am growing old!

Join Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics. They're always a lot of fun. This week and next and next..., I'll be looking for ideas!

Prepare the Way

Checking the Lights

A voice of one calling:

In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
~Isaiah 40: 3–5

It is wonderful to make our Christmas preparations a "preparing of the way." I am not John the Baptist, but I want to do the work he did. Every little thing from the checking of the lights to the topping of the tree can lift up Jesus. Blessings to you this Sunday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

First Snow

With widening eyes, I watched as one after the other of my blogging friends, living in far more temperate climes than my own, displayed their winter wonderland photos. I knew that it was just a matter of time...

To say that I am less than impressed would suggest that I don't enjoy snowfall. Okay, on this my little sister Molly and I are in complete agreement.

What is this?

If you guys think I'm going to my usual "spot," forget it!

May I come in now?

He isn't so blessed...

One took photos

And congratulated herself on getting the outdoor Christmas decorating done early...

Hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving; we certainly did. My mother just called from the living room,"Say, you know the family that rented the Congregational Church hall for Thanksgiving? They have over 70 members and served 15 pies. We had 12 members and made eight pies. What's wrong with this picture? " She made me laugh! At least we have plenty of leftovers so that today we can do it all over again!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Aunt Jan's Cranberry Salad

The baking has begun in earnest this morning; although, we were able to get a jumpstart on a few items like this family favorite. I have enjoyed this salad every Thanksgiving and Christmas my entire adult life. One year, I even remember making a hasty call home from Arizona to get the recipe. It wouldn't have seemed like Thanksgiving without it. Is there a dish like that for your family? Tell me!

Printable Recipe for Aunt Jan's Cranberry Salad

Happy preparations and safe travels...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

And I know that you all are, too. It's a happy kind of busy, though, and I hope it's the same in your home. Mother is the list-maker and so has kept busy making them; I am kept busy following them.

This morning, Molly got a bath because, while we can stand many things, we cannot stand a stinky dog. I understand that Bailey, the Black Labrador Retriever and Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix, who'll also be in attendance for Thanksgiving, is getting her bath today as well.

Here they both are begging for food. My sister is fending them off with her sneakered foot while she grips her drink and snack. I'm a bit concerned about Thanksgiving and what we'll do with these little beggars. Obviously, they're not going to be trained not to beg before then; we can't put them outside; there's no room that closes off where I trust them both together. Oh dear! I know, if this is the biggest conundrum I have, life is good. So, tell me, if you have dogs, what do you do with them when the family gathers for a meal?

Edited to Add: Hmmm, I may have just come up with a good gift idea for the dog lovers in my family...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mosaic Monday~Thanksgiving Tablescapes

Green Grape and Green Plate Source
Mini Pumpkin on White Plate Source
Remaining tablescapes Source
Girl Peeling Apples Source

Thanksgiving is this Thursday in the United States. I am scrambling as half of the family had made other plans. Now that's all changed and we will all be celebrating at Haven. I don't imagine that my table will actually look as elegant as any of these, but I can dream.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all those who'll be celebrating!

Please join Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics!

The Promise and Another Excellent Word

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~Philippians 4:6

The Promise
by The Martins

I never said that I would give you silver or gold
Or that you would never feel the fire or shiver in the cold
But I did say you'd never walk thru this world alone
And I did say don't make this world your home

I never said that fear wouldn't find you in the night
Or that loneliness was something you'd never have to fight
But I did say I'd be right there by your side
And I did say I'll always help you fight

'Cause you know I made a promise that I intend to keep
My grace will be sufficient in your time of need
My love will be the anchor that you can hold on to
This is the promise, this is the promise I've made to you

I never said that friends would never turn their backs on you
Or that the world around you wouldn't see you as a fool
But I did say like me you'll surely be despised
And I did say My ways confound the wise

I didn't say you'd never taste the bitter kiss of death
Or have to walk thru chilly Jordan to enter into rest
But I did say I'd be waiting right on the other side
And I did say I'll dry every tear you've cried

'Cause you know I made a promise that I've prepared a place
And someday sooner than you think you'll see me face to face
And you'll sing with the angels and a countless multitude
This is the promise, this is the promise I've made to you

So just keep on walking don't turn to the left or right
And in the midst of darkness let this be your light
That hell can't separate us and you're gonna make it thru
This is the promise, this is the promise I've made to you
Oh, this is the promise, this is the promise I've made to you

Today I am sharing the lyrics to "The Promise," which has meant so much to us in the past week or so and :

Let me say this very carefully. A fact that every one of us has to face is that when we feel that life is meaningless, when we are bored with life, when we feel dead in our spirits, with our emotional hurts and pains, with our mental confusion ... all of those phrases add up to one thing, that at least at that moment we are IGNORANT OF THE LOVE GOD HAS FOR US. For when I know the love God has for me, then my mental confusion disperses like fog on a summer’s morning. The hurts and pains of my life are healed by His presence. Boredom is a word that can never be used of a person who walks in the love of God. This is the answer. It is the final key to all of our spiritual, mental, emotional health and, indeed, our physical health, too. The Love of God.
This is the first paragraph of an article found *here.* How I stumbled upon it Monday evening when I needed it most, I attribute to the Spirit's leading. I wasn't even looking for anything about worry or the Lord or anything like that, I was researching autism of all things. Bookmark it and save it for a time when you can read it or print it off as I am planning to do as soon as I get some printer ink.

As always, comments are closed on Sunday morning posts. Have a blessed day...

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Little Christmas Carol Talk

Sometimes, Christmas comes when we need it. We've needed Christmas around here a few days this week and, yes, I confess, that I have already begun playing Christmas music. It's early. I know it's early. But it is some of my favorite music and my mother's favorite music and so we are finding it comforting and peaceful and sweet and dear and meaningful beyond words. 

When my niece was working on the video I mentioned yesterday, she worked with *Grooveshark* to build a playlist. It took me no time to sign up for a free account and to begin building my own playlists. I found this site easier than most I've worked with. Of course, I did have the benefit of watching K work on it for some time before I gave it a whirl. So thought I'd mention it for now is the time to make your list if you want to beat the clock a bit. It'll be ready for you just when you need it.

Somewhere In My Memory

Candles in the window,
shadows painting the ceiling,
gazing at the fire glow,
feeling that gingerbread feeling.
Precious moments,
special people,
happy faces,
I can see.

Somewhere in my mem'ry,
Christmas joys all around me,
living in my mem'ry,
all of the music,
all of the magic,
all of the fam'ly home here with me.

Edited to Add: OOps! Wanted to add mine...

And the good thing is that it won't play unless you want it to.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Week Before Thanksgiving

Just one week to Thanksgiving! Where, no really, where does the time go?

Last evening, I went strolling through Blogdom. I didn't comment often, but it certainly was good to catch up a little. I also visited Country Living where I looked at Thanksgiving Table settings. The one I am using in my header was called "Family History" or some such thing. The old photographs reminded me of our past week as my niece created another video using many vintage photos of Nan.

We don't quite know how Thanksgiving is shaping up for our family. Some wished to visit away, but with only three available days to accomplish all that travel, it didn't seem prudent. We'll see...

I'm leaving you with two vintage photos. One is a wee picture of little baby Nan in her mother's locket where we can tell that she is dressed warmly for those Moncton winters. She wears a knitted cap close to her head and a fur cap as well. One eye is closed in a cute little baby wink.

The other was taken at "The Rocks" near Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick. This is how we prefer to think of her now. Stepping forward and smiling back. This was how my niece closed the video:
Nan 1909–2010
Forever in Heaven

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thank You for Everything

Just popping in to say thank you for all the wonderful emails and cards. I have been truly blessed by the community of Blogdom; your words touched my heart.

This past weekend was a blur of activity with Nan's graveside service on Saturday involving six hours of travel and her Memorial Service yesterday at the church she attended in our community.

I've not had nearly enough time to collect my thoughts and so will be taking even more time off from blogging. And, as always, when time away happens, I've missed you. I'm looking forward to getting back.

Enjoy a wonderful November day...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Giving Thanks List 2010

30. A Living Hope

29. Modern medicine

28. The opportunity to "prepare the way"

27. A slower pace

26. A wonderful Thankgsiving

25. All travelers are home safe and sound

24. Cherished family recipes

23. My husband's prayers

22. Cozy mornings reading blogs

21. Happy planning

20. Time with a grandson

19. A good hot cup of coffee

18. Christmas music

16. and 17. Mild weather

12. to 15. Sweet Memories

11. Those who have served and who serve

10. Poetry

9. Music that soothes a restless spirit...

8. For the comfort of family and friends...

7. For Nan being safely home...

6. The normal, everyday things of life...

5. This red plaid flannel nightgown...

4. Quality Conversation...

3. For the difference a new morning can make...

2. Giving thanks for the great privilege of voting...

1. Thankful to be looking forward...

This is a way for me to share what has been on my sidebar. I'm going to need the reminder!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Corinthians 15:55

Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?


Nan has been a thread throughout this blog, a very important part of my life. She passed peacefully around 11 last evening. Thank you so much for your prayers.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday Snack

Won't you join my mother and me for a bit of cheese, milk and honey bread, and some apricot jelly? Here it is nearly noon and I have no post up, but thanks to a church fair visit and my mother's open purse, I have something to share.

Thank you for your prayers. They mean so much. Such a rough evening last that my mother decided to spend the night there with my grandmother. I don't know how my mother had the energy for the fair; guess it's one of those things that she missed last year and didn't want to miss again.

My purchases were for the boys. Aren't these trains the cutest things?

They're made from a roll of lifesavers with a pack of gum beneath. To the gum has been added the peppermint candies for wheels. A Hershey nugget and a pom-pom are on top to complete the train. I just asked my mother for the names of the train parts and she said, "Ask Sam." Okay, that's fair. I don't know the names either. Oh I give up...I found the directions *here* if you are interested.

Today, I am grateful for the normalcy of life...the doing of dishes, the folding of clothes, the attending of a church fair, the enjoying a snack...right in the middle of trying times. It says that "life goes on" and that "life is for the living."

Enjoy a great weekend...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Red Flannel Nightgown

Day five of my giving thanks challenge and I know what you're thinking: red flannel nightgown...oh come on!

It may be a bit of a reach, but I am truly thankful for things that envelop me — warm hugs, cool fog, cozy fleece blankets, and this red flannel nightgown.

Flannel nighties are a part of New England life. I don't know any gal who lives here who doesn't have at least one. It's cold up here. Mighty. Wicked. Whatever adjective you'd like to give it. And we're trying to be frugal with the heat...oil prices being what they are. So a lovely, soft, warm, flannel nighty is just the thing.

Now be honest, do you have a flannel nighty?


Yesterday afternoon, the nursing home called. It is the third time that they were concerned enough to call. My grandmother has stopped using her call button; she sees people in the room that no one else sees and she reaches for them; and she had stopped eating. When we three arrived, my mother, John, and I, she was deep in sleep. Thought that I would do well with this transition because it has been such a long goodbye, but found myself tearing up and when my mother whispered to her, "Don't worry about me. I'll be okay" ...well, let's just say I don't have nerves of steel.

We went out for a quick fast-food bite to eat and when we returned, Nan was perched up in her bed, bright-eyed, and hungry. She ate for the first time in a while and communicated with us even telling John that she loved him and telling my mother how much she loved her. It's all very strange. I know the day is approaching and I will be thankful for that day. It is no tragedy to live to be 101 and to be living in this limbo land between this world and the next is not easy on any of us.

On that note, I'd like to direct you to Mille Fiori Favoriti where Pat shares a video of *the most remarkable 106-year-old woman.*  There is much more to the story and it is a great blessing to see.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Talk is Cheap

I have not asked my mother what she thinks of our time together, but I have enjoyed having her here immensely. Not only do I enjoy my own conversations with her, I also enjoy overhearing John's conversations with her. Our time together is drawing to a close and I shall miss her right here in house to sip coffee with and to chat on and on and on and on. (John may think differently; I've not asked.)

We have discussed many, many things because we have had the time. Time itself becomes the opportunity to delve more deeply into a story life. Mother is working through so many things. Perhaps I have become a good sounding board. No, I talk too much myself to be a really good sounding board, but I do ask a lot of good questions. Perhaps Mother is secretly thinking, "Right. Thanks for that, Dr. Vee Freud." She has shared some new things with me, even disturbing things. On the one hand, I am deeply honored by her trust and, on the other hand, it's been tough to hear.

Isn't life that way? When we get down to the nitty-gritty aren't we going to hear some difficult things in order to really know another on a deeper level? It certainly has helped me to understand my mom better and that's a very good thing.

This explains my giving thanks for today... I am truly thankful for thoughtful, deep conversation. How about you?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pilgrim Girl Found

Not that I ever knew that she'd been lost... Mother was digging through paper piles when she came up with this one. I couldn't deny it for my name is scratched on the back in a typical six-year-old font.

Had to smile at my much younger self and my great average coloring abilities. Love the attempt to create color on the face. Now I was a brunette with brown eyes (still am, if one doesn't count the gray streaks ;> ), but I chose to color this little girl as a blue-eyed blond just like my little sister. Interesting. And why oh why didn't I match things up (brown cap with a blue dress)? Still being a rebel after all these years.

Yesterday, Mother and I went to visit Nan in tandem. First, we stopped at our favorite store...

where we practiced the fine art of frugality and...

What? Buying snowmen ears for Molly isn't frugal? Pshawww!

Where was I? Oh yes, and I twirled about the baking goods island set in the center lane for the holidays like a kid at a candy store. I want sugar and flour and raisins and chocolate chips and butterscotch chips and corn syrup and dates and spices and... Do you feel that way when you first see that special section?

(Wasn't going to do it, wasn't going to do it, wasn't going to do it, but oh well here goes. We went to bed last night with mounting dread because our illustrious {tongue firmly in cheek} news team was predicting that none of our candidates had won. This after less than twelve per cent of the vote had been counted. By morning's light, we find that our candidate is running neck and neck with six thousand more votes than the closest runner. Funny thing how dark a night can feel and how differently things can look in the morning. That's my giving thanks item for today.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Small Chew

Voting is brisk in my community today. The polls opened at nine this morning; John wanted to be there by 9:30. I didn't want to go alone so tagged along with him.  You never know whom you'll see so I was busily getting ready so that I could pass muster. The last thing I did was to grab a half stick of gum to chew... discreetly, of course. Good thing, because I ran into many people I know and hugged and chatted with them. Really, voting places should serve coffee and donuts and set out tables and chairs. ;>

When we got home, I told John to stand by the deck so as to take a picture of the ubiquitous "I Voted" sticker. Instead I sneezed. Violently. Without a chance to cover or even stop, drop, and roll. (Say, have you seen the proper way to sneeze? It's well worth the watching at Colleen's Main Street Memories. Anything to not spread cold and flu germs this season!)

So this is a picture of John looking for the wad of gum.

What are the chances of finding it in all those pebbles? We both looked and looked. Nothing. I knew that it was going to wind up on someone's shoe.

I gave up and took this nice picture of the "I Voted Today" sign over the top of a clipper ship emblem on
John's jacket.

Then he insisted on taking my jacket from me...it's 34F this morning...and slinging it over his wrist.

Two votes!

And a wad of gum stuck to my jacket. I am not much impressed by wads of gum so I have altered this photo.  

And that's our voting story for the day. It was well worth having to park in the back acre behind the town hall in the mud to have the opportunity. (I do love a prepositional phrase.)

Happy Voting out there!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vote Smart and Giving Thanks Challenge

Oh I am so excited about voting tomorrow. More excited than I have been in a decade. I found a great little tool online that helped me figure out some of my choices. It's called *Vote Smart.* It allows you to answer questions on a variety of topics and find the candidate who thinks most like you. That is how I vote. I am not molding my opinion to match the candidates' opinions; I am looking for the one who best agrees with me.

I found this post via Mosaic Monday. It's called *Why Women Should Vote.* It is a powerful reminder of the not so long ago days when women in this country didn't have the right to vote. Did you know that ____? No, I will resist the urge to fill in the blank. Please read it for yourself and you'll be very glad that you did. Rett at The Gazebo House did a wonderful bit of gathering for this one.

In other news, Leah at South Breeze Farm is once again hosting her *Giving Thanks Challenge.* You can check it out here or on my sidebar. I will be posting a daily gratitude for every day of November right in my sidebar. (Then I'll be saving it and placing it somewhere on my blog to remember by.) I have tried to participate every year, though I missed last year because of the broken computer. (I'm beginning to sound like a broken record mentioning a broken computer twice in succession.) So it's obvious that I am grateful for a new computer and I'm grateful that my beloved pays the bill for access.

My goal is to put serious thought into this challenge and to be intentional. I will not be listing the obvious: my God, my faith, my family, my love of country, my love of friends, my home, my cat, my clothes, my car, my possessions, etc. This could get interesting! I know that Leah would love to have you join us and so I'm inviting one and all to participate. Let's get our "giving thanks" groove going!