A Haven for Vee

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Review

~January through December 2013 left to right~

If I could choose only one photo, it would be the Christmas tree and books. I think. 

Yes, those are killer icicles. That photo was taken yesterday. We're in an active storm pattern.

Now without explanation, I have selected my "favorite" post of each month. I have flip-flopped a few times, but a gal must carry on so I'll let these speak for themselves. Feel no compulsion to visit them. This is more of a documenting thing.

January~The Gold Tack
February~The Footprints Tell the Story
March~Fake Ballerinas
April~So Much Depends
May~Odd Little Jumbled Thoughts 
June~Some Levity Please
July~Enchanted Garden Meets Twilight Zone
August~Border Skirmish
October~A Vulture Story and More
November~Lovely November Mornings
December~Some Thoughts on Christmas

This final day of 2013 is a good one to thank you very much for visiting me. There are many wonderful blogs in Blogdom and I am incredibly honored that you find your way to this little spot. I love you for it.

Have a Very Happy and Safe New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Documenting Christmas

Made a liar out of myself again. I finally came to and realized that the New Year arrives the day after tomorrow! I don't want to be sharing Christmas news in 2014 hence the documenting. 

 ~Before and (Nearly) After the Tree~

 ~John opening a book—always a good way to keep one occupied~

 ~Her favorite color this year~

~The Grands with Mom and Dad~

~fascinating chit-chat between John, Michelle, and Me while watching the sledders~

~Larger Family Gathering (12) on Friday Evening, December 27~

And fun times were enjoyed by all...I hope. (My son is wearing an interesting expression in that parting shot.) 

The cheese ball was delicious! (Even if it is shaped like an octopus — I ate octopus once. Never again. Now cheese balls are another story! My nieces made it...those two could keep Pinterest humming right along.)

Thanks for stopping by. I have yet to make it around to everyone. It's my goal!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Encouraging Words

A wonderfully comforting and encouraging word for the new year from C.H. Spurgeon: The Vanguard and The Rear Guard of The Church. (I cannot recommend it highly enough.)
P.S. We are well. We enjoyed a very Merry Christmas. I am tuckered and taking a few more days, though I hope to drop by your place soon.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

I thank God for Christmas. Would that it lasted all year. For on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, all the world is a better place, and men and women are more lovable. Love itself seeps into every heart, and miracles happen.

~Peter Marshall

~Merry Christmas~

I wish my corner looked this way. Instead, we have the dreaded ice that has coated everything in its path for the past three days. How a thing can simultaneously be so beautiful and so treacherous...



Yesterday, both grandsons and I played Monopoly for an hour and then the younger divested himself of his monies and holdings. ☺ The elder played on for an additional hour. I have not played Monopoly in nearly thirty years! (And certainly not for that length of time.) Fun times.

It may be that I am over and out for several days. It's not easy playing games, preparing for Christmas, and visiting my Blogdom friends. May your Christmas be merry and blessed!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Just Imagine It!

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
~Luke 2:8–14

There are huge comparisons to be made between the birth of Christ Who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger and His birth announcement. One was very lowly and humble and the other was a real showstopper. 

No one has ever had the birth announcement that God made to those frightened shepherds on that hillside! 

First a scary angel of The Lord appeared in a big spotlight (must have been scary since he had to tell the shepherds not to be afraid) and then the angel gave them a very odd message about the Savior being born and now lying in a cow's dish. 

Finally, a multitude of similar beings showed up and they were singing some exquisite music that praised God. If they had been singing the Hallelujah Chorus, that would have been one thing, but they were singing heavenly praises. By the way, how many is a multitude? I'm thinking thousands. Can you think of a bigger birth announcement? I can't.

I hope to reenact this scene for the benefit of at least two. I think we have all the elements we need.

I've already set the stage with a game we call "Rescue the Sheep." It's played by hanging over the cliff (the big chair) and reaching down with Great-grandmother's cane, and muckling onto that sheep that wandered off. It's proven to be great fun.

Love to you this icy Sunday. We remain happy, happy, happy here.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Go Mango!

After the grands have gone home with their dad, I sometimes find the sweetest treasures. This one, for example. I am impressed by the spelling and the subtle inquiry into Santa's health and that of his reindeer. The go mango had me stumped for a minute, but I figured it out.

Dear Santa, 

How have you been? How are your reindeer? Are they in good shape? Then go, man, go!

Ahhh, very good advice for us all at this point I'm thinking. Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 20, 2013

It was Going to be a Quick Post

Oh dear! We've already lost a few who are putting up their Merry Christmas posts and saying so long until 2014. Why does it sound so far away when it is only the week after next?!

Well I plan to hang in there for the long haul if at all possible. In fact, I'm beginning to feel a little like this melted snowman cookie (made by my sister). Sadly, he seems to have had an unfortunate 
you'll-shoot-your-eye-out incident.

Yesterday, I was reminded all over again that God laughs when we tell Him our plans or that life is what happens while we're making other plans

I had no sooner struck out for my shopping day when the car began to shudder and shake. I had to turn back and praised God that I made it. So John, bless his heart, pushed me into his truck (almost literally) and hauled me off.

 Vroommm...rumble...trumble...rattle...shake... down the road we went. If you've ever seen Mrs. Bucket (that's pronounced bouquet), you'll imagine what I felt like in John's work truck. Ackkk... It's a little less fun hauling home the gifts and groceries in the bed of a truck. Not to mention that I did not look one bit dignified climbing into or falling out of said truck. 

While shopping, John received a call that the furnace was down at his rent. It was an easy fix, but the point is that it's always one thing or your mother...sister, brother, daughter, father...fill in the blank. It's why Jesus came to this world. We need Him! We sure do!

*Found some tags I really like online* and will be wrapping and tagging like a fiend today.

That's it. This post has gone three miles over a quick one. I never can shut up!

Love to you...have a great day and may all the wrapping, decorating, shopping, baking, card writing get done with plenty of room to spare so we have a moment or two to thank Him for being willing to come to us.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thank you!

Thank you so much to all who participated in this month's Note Card Party. Some posted, many visited, it was just wonderful. I was surprised for such a busy month.


The snow that now rests on my little porch arrangement covers a multitude of sins, but it is too cold to open the door and leave it open to take the shot. Yes, things are just that tight around here. 

Keeping up with everyone is a great joy. It is so much fun to see what you're up to whether it's decorating when you didn't expect to or baking or traveling. How much longer will the collective "we" be able to keep all plates spinning. We'll see!

Speaking of spinning plates, I'm off to shop today. Dear Lord, may it be the final day I'll have to go out to face the madding crowd this year. ☺

Have yourself a happy day!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Note Card Party

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. 
~Norman Vincent Peale

~photo from 2011~

A package all the way from the UK brought the wee banner above and the Christmas ornament below. Someone has been crafting. I love them! Thank you, Linds !

This calendar is a recent win at Donna's Cottage Days and Journeys. What a wonderful way to use one's own photography. Donna, you continue to amaze me!

And I'm so looking forward to your photography. The storm isn't coming in until later this afternoon so all will be well with the Note Card Party world.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Note Card Party Reminder

Yes, we made it safely through the storm and clean-up. Clean-up is always the worst part. There's another storm coming overnight that may prove to be a problem. It involves ice and I don't like ice anywhere except in cold beverages and sculptures. 
This means that Mr. Linky will be up even earlier than usual (probably tomorrow morning the 17th) just in case I lose power. If I'm not about, hold down the fort and carry on. I'll show up as soon as possible.

 Remember that the real date for December's Note Card Party is Wednesday the 18th through Thursday morning at 10. (Believe me, I understand how busy we all are at this point in December. No pressure!) 

How is it looking for your corner? 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How Are the Elves Doing?

It had been very much on my mind in the wee hours of the morning and not so much when I could do something about it. That is the Christmas arrangement for the cemetery. I used to say for my mother, but that's ridiculous. She's been happily living in glory for nearly three years. Time goes by so fast. Anyway, I would fret in my nighttime thoughts that it would snow and the gate would shut and I would not be able to get in. Sure enough! That's exactly what happened. 

Yesterday morning found two figures walking bent into a stiff wind carrying the paraphernalia required for setting up a small spray. We were some kind of cold! I asked John later how far we had walked and he began with a mathematical equation, the likes of which I had never heard, and finally concluded that it was about a half a mile all told. I don't know. What I do know is that I should pay attention to those nighttime warnings.

We have both been quite busy. John has been working at his shop in this bitter cold, but did this drilling for my project right here at home. 

There are a number of these to do. I will put names on many and Christmas phrases. This is a Pinterest idea. The method I used was to stamp the disk first and then retrace and fill in with a brown Sharpie.

Nothing is wasted...not the bittersweet from Thanksgiving nor the twig ends from the birch saplings. Now I must gather the greens and fast — a blizzard is coming! *This idea* from Rosella was so darling that I copied her!

Elf will be our weekend movie viewing. There is one scene that I compare to the fantastic DIYers out there who put me to shame. It makes me howl with laughter. I need a good howl. 

Have a delightful weekend...

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Personal Photo Challenge for December

Time once again for Donna's Personal Photo Challenge! The topic this month is light and the title is 
Let There Be Light. 

The reason I am including the photo below again is because of the hidden backlight. It has made me enjoy and appreciate this vignette ever so much more than if I could see all the twinkly lights, which I feel would distract. (There are other times when I feel that lights add to a vignette so don't call me!)

~Christmas Vignette~

I did set up the tripod for the shot above. The two below were taken without the use of a tripod.

~a study in contrasts~

The shot above is just the sort of atmospheric photo I enjoy. When I see these sorts of photos, it feels like home. (It's okay. I've known that I am weird for a long, long time. ☺) I like the contrast of light and dark. I like the way the jar is lit on one side and dark on the other.


This is my favorite and I don't think it's just because of the subject. I was practicing for this challenge on 11-23-13 when the very first photo I took specifically for the challenge turned out to be my favorite. I love how Fioré's fur looks so well defined in the light and I adore her softer reflection in the glass.

If you have never tried the Personal Photo Challenge, I can assure you that it does stretch the thinking a bit lot and Donna is a very helpful guide. I will link as soon as I am able. Until then, you may read more  right *here.*
~Sam's Snowflake~
Thanks so much for all your sweet comments on yesterday's post. I want you to know that pick-up went off without a hitch last afternoon. Phew! 

Sam has been enjoying the Pavilion at Chudleigh Manor (see earlier post) and created this lovely snowflake. I thought it so fine that I had to share! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Nonni Story of Week One

Here I am, a mere three days into caring for my grands after school, and I already have a story

I live on a street that apparently is something of a nightmare for a schoolbus since the street is narrow and winter only makes it worse; there's also an S curve. Bottom line is that the grandchildren can not be delivered directly to my home. 

And, because I am unwilling to hang out on a corner a block down the street (pitbulls running amok, freezing temps, icy roads), it means that I must fetch them a little after three in the afternoon. 

I tried the picking-them-up-in-
the-school-lobby thing on Monday and Tuesday. Have you been in a school lobby lately? (Imagine what it might be like! Talk about chaos and confusion. I don't know how anyone functions there.) I decided to request that the boys be dropped off at their own home not five minutes from school and I would pick them up there thus avoiding the entire school lobby scene.

Yesterday was my first day to get to their driveway; their home is even closer than the school; it would be so easy to receive them directly from the schoolbus. Fine. It should have been fine. I was more than fifteen minutes early after all. 

Unfortunately, just as I reached the railroad crossing, the lights began to flash and a train blasted its horn and thus began my nightmare. The train stopped on the tracks doing goodness knows what. I was beside myself and praying most desperately for The Lord to allow the bus to be late, for the bus driver to recognize the crazy woman in the Impala with its blinking headlights or whatever it would have to be. I prayed more in that ten minutes of time than I have in weeks as the train fiddle-flipped back and forth, back and forth without ever clearing the crossing. 

I was nearing a meltdown when I called John. He could access their home from the other side. His cell phone rang and rang and rang. No answer!

Praying, praying, looking beneath the train for signs of a bus on the other side. Plenty of pickle prayers going heavenward. Finally, finally, the train backed up to where it had been when it blew its horn in the first place. I gunned the car and got across those tracks with the RR lights still flashing red — don't mess with me, Mr. Engineer. You're not going to fiddle-flip around when I've got grandkids being dropped off over there. The baby grand is autistic. I'm going! You can not stop me!

I turned into the drive seconds later with nary a sign of a school bus on the horizon. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving. I was safe. Safe! (Even if my heart was still pounding out of my chest.) I hopped out to pick up the spare booster seat and heard children's voices in the barn. With mounting horror, I realized that those voices belonged to my grands. My grands! They were in the barn! 

They called out in their sweet sing-song voices, "We get out of school an hour earlier on Wednesdays." 

What?! I truly thought I was going to faint. Keel over. They'd have to revive me with cold snow in my face. It was going to be awful. 

Just when I was sinking down, I saw my daughter's face in the barn loft door. Thanks be to God! They had not been alone all that time!

The rest of the story:

Auntie was home having decided to take the day off. As she was fetching a bag of pellets in the barn, she heard the bus, looked out, and realized that it was just waiting so she ran down the drive and got the boys off the bus. If she had been upstairs in her apartment, there would not have been enough time to meet them at the bus. They were all happily playing basketball in the loft when I arrived. 

Here I was praying that I'd be there in time for that bus and I was already over an hour late. (My son forgot to inform me of this entire Wednesday early dismissal thing. Yes, in fairness, he had mentioned it several weeks ago when we were first discussing the boys hanging out with me after school, but I am olden and need a reminder. The last thing I heard from him Tuesday night was to be there at 3:30.) 

All that worry and suffering and God had everything under control all the time. He knew that the boys get out of school early on Wednesdays. He knew that I was going to forget. He knew that my son was going to forget to remind me. Auntie stayed home, which is highly unusual. She may think that she stayed home to study for a test. I think she stayed home because God wanted to keep the boys from feeling frightened. 

(I am told that if no one had been home, the boys would not have been allowed off the bus. They would have continued on the bus route and been taken back to school where their mother (my daughter-in-law) would have been notified at work. They would have been fine. I, however, would have required an ambulance. ☺)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Virtual Skating Party

~Skating Party Circa 1912~

I thought we'd have a little fun today with a virtual skating party. The only kind of skating I've ever done is on my ankles, though I've often imagined myself skating very fast down a river in Holland. (Too much reading of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates in my childhood.) If I were one of the folks above, it would be the poor gal in the light clothing. ☺ 

 So put on your virtual skates, tie them on nice and tight, and allow me to send you to five places that I have very much enjoyed seeing over the past week or so. Perhaps you've already been there! Let's check!

1. Here is where I learned how to make a *wonderful wreath/spray.* Carol tells us everything we need to know and it is easy-peasy. One of my favorite requirements of Christmas.

2. Just this morning, Linda gave the *recipe for candy* that I have been looking for, which also, you guessed it, qualifies as easy-peasy. (While there, check out those quads!)

3. Brenda is my "go-to" gal for thought-provoking posts. She's put up a re-post that spoke to me. (*This is for those of us who must deal with the Bah-humbuggers of the world.* LOL)

4. *Found what sounds like will be the hot chocolate in my crockpot this Christmas.* 

5. *Music...always a blessing.* This won't be everyone's cup of tea; however, I like listening to classical choral arrangements since I don't know them well enough to sing along. This becomes important, trust me. I love the beautiful lilting music in the background as I go about my morning chores and visits to you. 

Have a beautiful day... Get lots done!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Doesn't everything look better when decorated for Christmas? I always think so. And even though my tree is wearing only lights, icicles, garland, and pinecones, I think it is done. That's the joy of decorating slowly. I might better learn when a thing is finished. 

Early last Saturday morning, John and I were making the trek to Portland, an hour's drive south. Our mission was a string of lights to match the others on our tree for, as you recall, the mid-section went out. Target had them and they also had the tea lights that John was using for the birch log candle holders. 

We noticed immediately that the greater Portland area had received snow when we had not. The sun shone at that 9 am angle on the perfectly decorated little evergreens lining I-95. So very pretty. It would have taken us hours to decorate that way. All of our decorations are very poor imitations of what The Lord does every day. I was reminded of this again this morning when the eastern sky glowed vivid pinks and golds for all of thirty seconds before fading to gray.

The Nativity nestled between oil lamps and sharing a shelf with the radio. Odd juxtaposition. I probably shouldn't be finished. One day, I may have an updated Nativity set that more accurately represents the story. Blond Mary? How embarrassing! ☺☺☺ 

The final incarnation of the China Cupboard top. This is my home's mantel. The first place one's eyes rest upon entering. I think I'm done.

Yup, that's half the battle—knowing when the decorating is a done deal. 

It has been so much fun visiting in Blogdom and seeing the beautiful decorations. And how about you? Are you finished?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Advent Calendar

A wonderful gift of Christmas came to me in the form of an Advent Calendar from Jacquie Lawson and Lorrie of Fabric Paper Thread.  Thank you, Lorrie! ♥ What games I have played and arrangements I've made! There are so many things to do that I may never find them all. 

Today, I begin caring for my grandsons after school and on vacation days. I think they may quite enjoy hanging out in Chudleigh Manor, too.

And, just because I can, I may be sharing more of the things I have been doing there. I'd not be surprised to know that many of you have also been hanging out in the English countryside. ☺
P.S. Oops, forgot to say that, for those with iPads, there is a free app for a Christmas Village Advent Calendar also from Jacquie Lawson. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

God With Us

Lots to ponder here! A blessed Sunday to you...

Friday, December 6, 2013

It Was Definitely a Muffin Day

Three and a half hours later, we still had not figured those lights out. At that point, I mentioned strawberry muffins and John said, "Sure!" I used a Mennonite Gal's recipe (Kathy's) for *Blueberry Crumble Muffins* minus the blueberries and crumble. Instead, I put a generous dollop of strawberry jam in the center. Very tasty. 

So there she still sits unadorned and looking pitiful. We had planned to fetch lights this morning; however, the weather just isn't cooperating. My niece was here last night using her powers of setting things to rights and it proved even too difficult for her. No, she is not a fairy godmother; She is just great with all things electrical...usually.

The rest of the aprons showed up! I am learning to be grateful for small successes these days.

Even the apothecary is filling slowly. 

All is coming together, but really, Christmas is soooo very close that I am feeling the nerves.

Okay, are we down here far enough? Oh those people? Lesley Ann Warren and her prince from the 1965 version of Cinderella. Yes, I am old enough to remember that program well. I don't know what night of the week it aired, but I do remember being allowed to watch and enjoying it very much. I always thought that Lesley was so very pretty and I still do. 

So dare we discuss The Sound of Music? I'll go first. I had company for the first bit so wasn't watching closely; I dozed there for fifteen minutes or so; I tried not to compare any of the players to the movie actors or the story itself to the movie, but wound up doing so anyway. In the end, one was a movie and the other a stage production and quite a remarkable one at that so comparing wasn't fair. I'd have to say that it lacked a certain pizzazz for me, but I still found the final scenes gripping. The stresses of that time always make an impression on me. 

If you'd like, you can scroll through photos of the live performance *here.*

What did you think?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Copy Cat

Being a copy cat is one of my favorite things. I owe this idea to Melissa at The Inspired Room. Now her decor is inspiring! This little branch gets a work out around here, though. Until yesterday, I'd never tied it to anything. I'll probably fiddle with this some more in a few days. 

The bowl is one that was given to John's parents on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary around 1958. I'm happy to include it in our decorations this year. 

I used my vintage German Christmas bulbs. When can we call something vintage anyway? (These are over 40 years old. Maybe they are just old.) The little bells in the first photo are also German.

I need to do something more in this corner, but I found my Christmas apron from Susan! Things are looking up! BJ might think that the apothecary jar looks empty and send me some Christmas ornaments. Don't worry, BJ. I have more somewhere!

And, obviously, I've been hanging around Carol too much because my tree has caught a bad case of no lights in the middle. Gah! I am extremely annoyed by Christmas lights that don't work.

“I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

~Maya Angelou  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Movie and Music Suggestions from My Friends

Thank you so much! What a big help you all are. I spent the evening gathering a list. I provided a link if I was unfamiliar with the movie or if I found something of interest. I also discovered that You Tube has some movies in full as is the case with The Gathering and The Waltons. (I am not sure about the quality.)

Christmas Movies:

1.One Magic Christmas
2.While You Were Sleeping
3.It Happened on Fifth Avenue
4.The Preacher's Wife
5.The Bishop's Wife
6.The Holiday
7.It's a Wonderful Life (my pastor's favorite)
8.National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
9.Miracle on 34th Street
10.The Gathering
11.A Christmas Carol 1984
12.Walton's Homecoming A Christmas Story
13.The Muppets' Christmas Carol
14.Holiday Inn
15.Christmas in Connecticut
16.Special Delivery
17.A Christmas Story
18.How the Grinch Stole Christmas
19.Shop Around the Corner
20.Merry Christmas Charlie Brown
21.Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas
23.Christmas Child based on a Max Lucado story
24. Home Alone
25. The Nativity Story 
26. The House Without a Christmas Tree
27. Prancer

(Though my links don't show up clearly, just mouse over them to see those you might be interested in. Many are linked.)

Will anyone be watching Carrie Underwood in *The Sound of Music* this Thursday at 8 on NBC? I'm looking forward to it! (No, this is not a paid advertisement. ☺)

There were many wonderful songs suggested and I knew all of them until I read "Let it Be Christmas" by Alan Jackson. I'm also providing the video below if you'd like to watch the sweet illustrations.

Decorating around here has fallen into the category of It Needs a Little Somethin' and I can prove it.

Case closed! Hope that things are going better your way!