Wednesday, December 31, 2014

looking back on December

 Earlier this month we met some of our family at a halfway point for a
Christmas gathering complete with a Charlie Brown tree.
December is a time for family, and we remember those now missing
from our celebrations. While we miss them, we find comfort in a new generation,
 also a bonus of growing older.
Sisters: one learning to play the piano, while Littlest has discovered pouring tea.
 Both the Gardener and I were sick on and off with a virus through the month
but I at least managed to enjoy Little One's school program and our church's Messiah.
We savor meals with good friends around our table--even more as the years pass it seems.
 Time with grandchildren is always precious. Here we are doing a sock puppet show.
A favorite time of the whole year is Christmas Eve with our family gathered around.
Joining Cheryl's last Gathering the Moments. 
Thank you for hosting, Cheryl.
I've enjoyed participating this year and am grateful for Cheryl's friendship, 
and for her encouragement to slow down, 
to look back, and to savor the moments each month!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Digital photos are great, especially when they help us remember the past year.
The above show somewhat randomly the year that was:
an abundance of snow, times with good friends near and far, travels locally and far 
from home, our mentoring gatherings, birthdays, grandchildren, my knee surgery, 
and the youngest grandchild's delight at Christmas.
Grateful to God and looking forward with anticipation to all the new year holds.

Joining Judith's Mosaic Mondays.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Wisdom's Crown

(Don't you love it when someone sends you a photo of a gift you gave them being used?)

See how humankind received him;
See him wrapped in swaddling bands,
Who as Lord of all creation
Rules the wind by his commands.
See him lying in a manger
Without sign of reasoning;
Word of God to flesh surrendered,
He is wisdom's crown, our King.
See how tender our Defender
At whose birth the angels sing.

~from a Medieval Dutch Carol

May the wonder of why the Christ child came to earth fill your hearts
with joy overflowing as you celebrate Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

on the third try

When we found an old fireplace surround and had it restored, I was really excited 
about decorating the mantle each season (or more). Little did I know
 how challenging it could be, especially placing things against a red brick background.
My first try this Christmas just didn't cut it (I don't have a photo it was that bad). 
Then I thought to go to all red and white.
This was voted down quickly.
The third try, I think I found something that worked.
And this one we're sticking with.

Joining Judith for Mosaic Monday

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Photo Challenge

This was straight point and shoot and then cropped.
 Macro lens on my point and shoot.
Merry Christmas!

Linking to Donna's Photo Challenge today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

a cloudy morning

I love the way a cloudy day--at this time of year--makes me think
it's winter and maybe snow is coming (but of course it's not.)
I had our mentor group over for a meeting breakfast last week and
was actually glad it wasn't a sunny day as a candlelight breakfast is so pretty! 
This year we put the tree in the dining room so we can see it from
several rooms. It's a bit crowded so we'll see how we like it.
I love the way my pink depression glass (or I should say my grandmother's)
compliments the Castle Christmas dishes.
Homemade Christmas cloth napkins from years ago.
I put the "snow candles" in the center and they lit our table nicely.
Before they left I gave each friend one of the candles off the table, wrapped in a brown bag.
Breakfast menu: quiche, muffins, fruit, juice and coffee.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

surprised by snow

Well, not real snow. 
I've seen these sweet snowy jars all over and decided I needed to make some.
I love jars anyway, and candles too.
I got my supplies, set it all up, and was done in five minutes or less.
Just that easy. 
Paint the jars generously with Decopage. Place epsom salts in a pie tin and roll
the jars in the salt until covered. Let dry for up to a day.
Decorate with twine and whatever you have to add to the twine.
I wasn't totally happy with what I used, but it was what I had on hand.
Put in a little tea light and it makes a great decoration or hostess gift, etc.
Just know you don't want to handle it too much as it will shed a little snow!
I'll show you more of how I used them on a table later this week.
Joining Judith's Monday Mosaics.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

From both sides

I've had these window views to share from our visit to
Germany this past summer so thought I should post them before they get too old.
Nothing to do with this season, but I do love windows, looking in or looking out.

One of Munich's most beloved oddities is the "Glockenspiel", or carillon. 
If you notice the books in the foreground you see that I've taken this 
picture from inside a huge bookstore on the city square. 
It was five o' clock and the players had come out to play (see top of tower).

Saturday, November 29, 2014

November Means Gratitude

 November did not exactly fly by as I recovered from surgery.
Six hours a day lying down and using a knee bending machine allowed 
me to look up and out and watch the leaves slowly change color.
November has been a mix of physical therapy and trying to 
get back to normal living, or my "new normal" for
now. The Gardener helped me haul Christmas out
of the attic and it was actually fun to  s l o w l y 
decorate together. I'm happy to be going to church, book club, 
and even one big box store with my cane in use and the Gardener in tow.
It's so good to have time with the grandchildren again and
watch their sweet wonder as Christmas unfolds.
The bushes are heavy with red berries which can mean--if they are holly, per
an old wives' tale--that we have a big winter ahead. I wonder if its the
 same for this Nandina bush so heavy with fruit.
The Gardener has been preparing lots of firewood for us.
There is much to be grateful for this month, and not only because
it includes a holiday to be thankful.
My heart is filled with gratitude.

I'm joining with Cheryl's Gathering the Moments
and Judith's Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Coming Home

It almost felt like coming home. Well, at least "home to Mitford." It had been a long time, 
so reading Jan Karon's new book (Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good)
felt like catching up on old friends (characters) in a small town 
we'd come to love years ago. There had been a break in Karon's books about Father Tim, 
his wife Cynthia and the town of Mitford, but when we heard a new book 
was coming, we knew we would do that for our book club. 
Maybe we love it because Mitford is based on a little mountain town
 (not quite fictional) in our state. Or maybe we love it because there is the enticement
 of community that draws us in, townspeople caring about each other.
Anyway we found ourselves gathered around a beautiful late fall table for a 
breakfast feast. Our hostess thought of every detail to bring appreciation 
and delight as we ate, drank tea, and talked about the book. 
Father Tim's favorite raisins, a map of Mitford, little take-home boxes of candy treats . . .
For those that know Mitford, yes that is Esther's orange marmalade cake.
We always like sharing quotes from her books and this is full of wonderful ones.
We talked about how Father Tim and Cynthia wrote each other love notes.
"Love letters are hard," Father Tim says. To which his wife replies,
"But that's what makes them good."
"No matter how far we travel, the memories will 
follow in the baggage car."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hugs from afar

It's easy to stay busy with life, responding to the urgent things that come along.
I used to be much better at writing notes or sending cards, keeping in touch,
but life seems to have changed a bit, and not entirely for the better.
So when I saw how friends cared for me after my knee surgery, 
it was a reminder to do better.
There is something so special about getting a card or package in the 
mail … especially when you're not feeling well. It's like a hug from afar.

My cousin sent me this amazing card she made. Wow, I looked and looked at it, and looked 
at it again, admiring her handiwork, being grateful for her words of encouragement.  
Even though there are no cats in my house, I loved it! 
I even heard from some blogging friends, sending a book or a card 
and cups of tea. I am so touched to be encouraged in this way.
 May I never forget this gentle lesson.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

a season fades

Fall, leaves, fall, die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree
 ~Emily Bronte

Very soon the trees will be stripped bare of leaves 
and the green grass will be seen again. 
Amidst the bleakness of winter peeks out the cheery Pansies,
 always smiling, ready to perk up their heads no
matter how cold our winters may be.
Joining in Judith's Mosaic Monday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

color on my street

For years I'd rise at dawn and head outside for several miles of fast walking. I haven't been able to do that the past few years because of the arthritis in my knees, so it was a special pleasure the other day when I grabbed my cane and headed outside for a walk. I needed to look down to watch my strides, but my eyes kept being drawn up to the deep blue sky and the beauty of the trees.
Fall is finally in full swing and the leaves have changed color and are dropping and dancing on their way to the ground. My rose colored sunglasses made the leaves even more vibrant in color as
I soaked in all their glory around me. Granted my steps were slow and the soreness
and feeling of weakness reminded me of my recent surgery, but I was walking
without the arthritis pain. It was just as amazing as I heard it would be.
I continue to make progress and now will go to outpatient therapy.
That will be a whole new game and probably new ways to experience pain.
But I know in the end it will be so worth it.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

along the way

My sister and I were driving at the beach near her house when we passed a familiar
looking house. We paused and looked --- all the rich foliage around the house was gone,
as were trees in the side yards. How different it looked. 
This "beach castle" holds a special memory for us as we had an extended-family 
vacation week there after a family wedding. 
It is such a beautiful, romantic place. 
The stairs were in the turret, the rooms filled with antiques, 
and it was old even back then. 

Joining Judith at Lavender Cottage for Monday Mosaics

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