Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day after Christmas .....

The day after Christmas and all through the house!!!!  After returning from an appointment at the hospital with the doctor this morning, the house felt empty and sort of hollow.  All the guests have departed, gifts presented, recipes baked and cooked and leftovers stored away, cards mailed.... the tree looked a bit lonely with no ribbons shining on presents or gaily colored boxes beneath it.  Here are a few photos of the night before Christmas, though, to remind me of all the anticipation!
This was awaiting delivery on Christmas day.
One special lady has a birthday just a few days before Christmas, so she gets a birthday present along with the Christmas gifts.
 Such fun to wrap and decorate .... and anticipate just how the receiver will react when opening each gift.

Now just memories remain of visits from out-of-state family and grandchildren, and trips to the homes of the in-state family the following day to share good food and exchange gifts.  I think the most fun is seeing everyone and being there to witness the gifts to each other and feel the joy of this Christmas.  The food was scrumptiously good.  We are blessed with bounty in this country for sure.  The day after is kind of a letdown, but memories remain.

My plan is to take my camera to church to photograph the beauty present in the sanctuary and chapel - the holy presence there .... the stained glass windows inspiring worship of our Lord and King.  Perhaps I can slip in during the week when a service is not taking place to shoot some photos to share with you.  It did not seem appropriate to photograph anything during the Christmas services or during a Sunday service - but maybe during the week I can do that.  During Christmas the banks of poinsettias and stately evergreens add a beauty all their own.  It would be nice to share that with you.

Hope you had a joyous and blessed time with your friends and family.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Priceless Ornaments!

In the 1940's when I was growing up, our tree decorations consisted of construction paper chains we glued together, popcorn strung on thread, a few glass ornaments and lots of tinsel hung everywhere.  Today we have such a variety of ornaments available, beautiful but not the same as a 'real Christmas tree' of years past.  The tree in this house is full of homemade items from the children over the years, some from friends, and 'store bought' ornaments received as gifts with memories attached.  Take a glance:
 A quilted ornament from one of my sewing friends who meets here weekly.  Look at those points - perfect.  Next to that is a gingerbread shrink art ornament from one of the children years and years ago.
 A photo of our first grandson who is now over 21 years old!!!!
 A dough ornament from another of the children, hanging proudly next to a mouse in a thimble ornament from a co-worker over 25 years ago.
 Then that precious grade school ornament photo glued on construction paper and decorated with glitter.  Oh, the memories!
 And a dough star all painted yellow - next to the tiny doll ornament from my mother so long ago.
 A two-colored hand knitted bell from our daughter when she was practicing her new knitting skills - what forty years ago??
Finally, a felt ornament gift from my new little grand nephew who just celebrated his first birthday.  Isn't that precious!  Look at his little hand print!  Love it.

All decorations for the tree that money cannot buy.  Priceless.

Watch for more tomorrow!



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas fun!

Ok - I have a confession to make.  I still like to have all the lights off in the house except the lights on the tree - then sit down and squint my eyes and look at the tree with the lights kind of fuzzy and blurry through my squinty eyes.  This was a habit begun back in Upstate New York when I was just a child - and I seem to want to do it every year.  Does anyone else do that?
 One night I came out all ready for bed to unplug the tree for the night.  I just decided to sit down and half close my eyes and enjoy the tree.  Then it struck me I should grab the camera and take some shots. I am sure at least one person besides old me likes to do that half-closed eyes trick!  The little lady in the same office as I was right before I retired admitted one night that she also did the 'squinty eye' trick.  She was a tiny little thing - no bigger than a minute.  I would tease her and say I could leave the top drawer of the five-drawer file cabinet open and she would be able to walk under it without bumping her head.  Anyway, we decorated the office in a beautiful country/nature theme with lots of greens, pine cones, berries and a little tree with twinkly lights and red ornaments.  We liked to turn off the office lights at the end of the day and sit all squinty eyed and look at the twinkly tree. 
 I don't have one of those beautiful ornament - everything matching trees.  I have what I call my sentimental tree - full of shrink art ornaments (top right), dough ornaments, construction paper decorations with toothless first grade photos stuck in the middle and surrounded by glitter, and marshmallow snowmen and knitted stars and knitted bells, all made lovingly by the kids as they were growing up.  Some new decorations and ornaments have been added as gifts, and I always think about who gave them to me and what they mean to me. Many are home made or quilted even, and I love them all.  Priceless.  Anyone can have a tree with color coordinated ornaments, but not everyone has a priceless tree like this one!

A fun "Cookie Exchange Luncheon" was the big event today. I was invited to attend this annual event held in a beautiful big country home.  We were treated to a scrumptious lunch and delicious desserts, as well as a bounty of cookies.  One little lady came dressed to the hilt in a glittery sweater complete with fringe, lighted bulbs, glitter and even ornaments.
 Look at that fringe!!!!  And the ornaments around her collar and around her wrists!
 She kicked off her boots (we had wonderful snow outside) and low and behold - get a look at those socks!  Complete with fur no less!  White fur to match the trim on that sweater!!!
 When she twirled around - she had fringe across the back!!!!!
 Fifteen ladies attended, each bringing five dozen cookies and recipes to share! 
 Just look at those yummy creations!
Peppermint truffles!
 Gingerbread reindeer!
 Cookies with coconut ....
 and raspberry creations all decorated with frosting ......
 and sinful nut/chocolate yummy cookies ..... that is only a few of them!!!!!
 And what should be sitting on the table in the kitchen?  A homemade gingerbread house, no less, complete with gumdrops and peppermint and all kinds of candy.  This was a creation of the young man who lived at this country home.  He happened to be at a birthday party or I would have given him a high-five for this wonderful centerpiece.
In the dining room was a glass bowl centerpiece full of shiny ornaments and glistening Cardinals.
With more Cardinals nestled in angel hair.
 Then I come home and find Sandrew all comfy cozy among the greenery on the table behind the couch, perilously close to the clay nativity Christine brought back from the mission trip.
He is quickly falling asleep - obviously in no hurry to move.

What a delightful time - I am so blessed to have good friends and live in a beautiful state with open country and kind, good-hearted, sharing people.  Life is good.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas .......

Everywhere in this house .... even the teddy bears are dressed in their Christmas sweaters.  I think they whisper together at night - getting a bit excited about the Christmas fun!
 Making my lists and checking them twice!  Scratching some items off and adding new ones - am I out of tape????  How is the supply of sugar?  Need eggs?  Did I forget a present???
Wrapping paper, ribbons, pine cones, glue gun, scissors, tape ... bits of glitter and sparkle - pieces of things all over the place.  What's left to wrap - oh yes, all those in the downstairs closet.  Oh dear me!
 Yummy yummy in my tummy!  Chocolate cookies fresh from the oven.  Ohhhh, the aromas wafting from the kitchen - am I in Hershey, Pennsylvania?????
 Reminders of what it is all really about - the precious unspeakable gift of Jesus leaving heaven for this earth with all its pain and sorrow.  This is the inside of a lovely clay pot with the nativity inside - a gift from Christine when she returned from a mission trip in Central America.  Lovely.
Bannister wrapped in garland - poinsettias standing in the entry way ....
More wrapping to be done - grab those labels - am I almost out of them??? Where's the list?
 Basket for the Christmas cards is dressed in holly and ivy.
 Glass jar full of festive balls placed in the dining room - this was a gift from the sweet women who worked in the same department as I did several years ago.  It's a nice reminder of their thoughtfulness.
 Glittery trees are standing at attention on the mantel.
The bulbs are beginning to bloom already - did I start them too soon?  Oh well, they smell wonderful and add a bit of beauty all their own!

Busy we are!  Let's not forget to honor Him who loves us so much - His gift of salvation is a forever gift - won't rust or corrode with time.

Love to you,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Special Creations

Grandma Holton married that talented man who carefully created toy furniture, tiny tables and chairs to play with and even cabins for Grandma and Grandpa to call home.  It is no wonder I married a pretty talented man myself!  See some of the things "My Mister" made over the years........

 This wooden toy chest is a gift my special husband made and is being given to our great-nephew for his very first birthday.  I know he would be happy to know it is going to this very special little boy to be enjoyed for years to come.
This big brown wooden horse is the last one of many he made over the years.
Our first two little daughters received the sweet yellow and red pony as a gift from their Daddy in the early 60's.  He has been rocked on and loved to the point where he had to receive new ears and some minor repairs to get back in tip-top shape again! 
 When we were newly married, we had no place to put our precious china, so "My Mister" got some wood and fashioned this corner china cabinet, still in use today - one of my favorite things
 In the last years of his life, "My Mister" decided to learn how to make cut glass creations.  Here is one of his little angels, now sitting as a Christmas decoration in the kitchen window!
 These gorgeous cut glass angels grace the front windows and make the house more beautiful with their being here.  He was quite the master craftsman, I think.
Another little trumpeting angel, now taken out of the boxes and put up for Christmas, sitting in one of the windows in the guest bedroom upstairs.

It is so good to have all these pieces he made for us over the years.  I am a blessed woman for sure.



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

Yes, the official Thanksgiving Day is a memory now, leaving behind leftovers to devour and enjoy for a few more days. Happy memories of loved ones and laughter, funny stories and delicious food.  My thought is we should have our own private moments of thanksgiving every day.  God is good.  He loves us through thick and thin, good days and bad.  His blessings are bountiful indeed.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. He fashioned the flowers .... and the spectacular autumn leaves.  Look at the size of that maple leave!

Praise Him all creatures here below.  God created an absolute miracle when He made the honeybee.  Not only do they pollinate fruits, vegetables and flowers, but they produce this nutritious golden honey.

Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts.  He made that sunrise as it quietly peeps above the horizon.

And then makes the sun shine so brightly through the kitchen window....
and across the kitchen table.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Amen.  He came that we might live.  Let's praise Him, thank Him, follow Him every day.
Love and blessings,