Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Full and Delightful Day

Sometimes a minor frustration leads to a new discovery.
This was the second time we ladies from church were planning
a tea together when the tea house we love was already booked
and we weren't able to go there.

However, our friend Deanna, who was making reservations for our group,
knew about this tea room on the Pennsylvania/Maryland border.
Seeing it from the outside you wouldn't really think it was going to be
as special inside as we found it to be.
Large rooms with high ceilings and fantastic woodwork
really grabbed my attention.

I didn't get photos of it but they also had very vintage looking wall paper
in the entry area and lots of white trim and doors.
Makes one feel as if they have just stepped into a 
Grace Livingston Hill story.

Upstairs is this fun tea room for kids.
There are clothes for dress up all ready in the closet
and this fun mural on the wall.

In the hallway this little pop of color.
Just for fun.

 I think we all greatly enjoyed our time together.
Of course we missed many friends who just couldn't make it today.
It is always a blessing to take time to connect and encourage
each other in fellowship.

This evening we headed out to an event we thought
might have to be cancelled due to weather.
We are getting big storms as I write this.....but the organizers
of this event were praying like crazy that the rain would
hold off for their fundraiser lawn party at 
Green Meadow Farm.

They had tents set up because it surely seemed that 
avoiding rain was a not likely.

The rain went to the North and South of us.
Totally cool to see on the radar. 
We were left with a very cooling wind.
Not a drop of rain until we were headed 
for our cars at the end of the evening.
Such a blessing.
So much work had gone into this event.

I'm on the periphery as the candle maker/fundraiser helper.
Each person who has been a monthly sponsor this past year...
or signed up to sponsor this year received a strawberry candle 
with a special label.

Such a blessing to be involved at this small level. 
This ministry changes the lives of children.
Many of whom are adopted and have issues to work out
from circumstances that are unique to lack of bonding normally
or finding it hard to communicate their feelings verbally.

Green Meadow provides a program that meets them where they are.
Qualified volunteers assist them in learning how to ride and take care of horses
Chores around the farm are shared by those who are in the program 
but no fees are charged for any of it.
Supporters are vital to the continuation of this amazing ministry.

There was live music of which the husband of one of my friends was a band
member.  An introduction of the horse therapy program by the founders, John and Beckie.
A speech given by a wonderful woman, Kim Meeder, who shared from the 
heart about the power of HOPE.  
Just one flicker of hope can encourage and keep someone going
when all else is lost.
Her own story is one that had many of us in tears.
But God is so good to bring light out of unbelievable darkness.
He is using that story and her willing heart and hands to help so many 
at the ranch she runs today.
Kim has been a very important resource for John and Beckie as they have 
learned about this ministry that God has called them to 

This was a full and very special day.
Happy Sigh.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Random Photos From My Phone

I've been totally neglectful of purposefully taking 
photos with my camera over the past year.

It is something that hit me yesterday
and I definitely want to resume.

The area we live in is simply too beautiful 
to ignore like that.

But I just took a little stroll through my phone
photos for the past two weeks and these 
were in there.  They each tell a little story.
Believe it or not.

You see our back yard is blessed with many tall trees.
They are tulip trees which smell amazing once a year.
Then they drop their flowers which have something sharp in them
making it hard or impossible for me to go barefoot which is my norm.
After a while that gets better and I am a happy camper again.
All through the year these trees shed.
Our windy weather lately has had some pretty big stuff 
falling from them.
Since Warren wanted to mow last night I picked up the latest
fallen branches yesterday morning.
Since he does three yards each time he mows it takes a lot of time
if he has to pick up branches first or as he goes so this made it go faster 
this time.
Lucky for him the weather cooperated in making me do it cheerily.
We had a one day break in the horrid humidity we have been 
suffering from.
With the sun gently falling between the leaves and the cheery red
wheelbarrow helper it was not a bad job.
I was just hoping no more of those big guys were going to come
down on my head. 

Mom and Bear came to visit the other day.
He is so photogenic.
But the real story here is how blessed we are to have our mothers
right here!
To see them as we all come and go.
To know that they have our backs in both advice and prayer.
Last evening both moms came by and we chatted in the kitchen for a while
before they headed out.
I walked along to see them out.
We made it as far as the driveway while still chatting
and pretty soon Chelsea and Chadd joined us there....
next came Warren.
We just really enjoy being a family.
A very good thing, I think!

This photo is one that I see differently today than I did the day after I took it.
Rachel is performing in her cello recital.
She just got her new instrument for her 16th birthday but has been playing
long enough to be good!
I taught music to another student of Yolanda, the teacher, and so I knew
that a recital of her students would be very good.
We were not disappointed.
But back to the photo.
The first time I used this photo I cropped that man's head out.
Today I leave it in for a very important reason.
That is Rachel's Grandpa, Bob.
He and I were friendly competitors back in the homeschool bowling days.
He is one of my very favorites!
Bob is in the hospital right now after taking a serious fall,
He has staples in his head and is needing tests to see what is 
going on with him that may have caused the fall in the first place.
For more on the story you can visit his daughter, Deanna's blog.
Prayers are definitely appreciated for this dear friend.

The final photo is one of just pure delight.
Warren is having a birthday this month.
We started celebrating early
in order to use a coupon,
Can I just say that it was delicious!??!
Longhorn Steakhouse.
They do it right!!

So, there you have it.
Four random photos.
Seemingly with nothing in common.
However, they are the bits and pieces that bring back
what is important to us around here.

I really need to use my camera more.
Capturing memories.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Shock Absorbers

This post takes us back to the style of writing this blog began with.  More of a devotional style look at life.  Occasionally things just strike me in a certain way and last week was one of those times.

Our van had begun handling strangely.  Kind of a skipping sideways action at random times as I would drive down the road.  At first I thought I was just imagining it but as the week went on and it happened more frequently I found myself saying so right out loud.  "That is not my imagination!"  Maybe you never talk to yourself... but in some cases it is the only way to deal with my freaking out self.

 And so, I told my personal mechanic (Warren/Hubby) about the situation.  Now it was with mixed emotions that I received word from him that he had noticed the same funky shimmy when he had driven it on Tuesday.  Oh, interesting.   Well then, what do you think it is?  I asked expecting him to say that it was this or that but certainly not anything urgent...since he hadn't immediately told me to stop driving the van.  He didn't know.  Perhaps a sway bar or some other part of the suspension.  He would have to look.

Yes.  Please.

And so he did look.  A day or so later.  And he found that a shock absorber had a hole in the outer housing and the fluid was draining out.  Apparently this was the issue.  He would know for sure once the new parts arrived and were installed.  In the meanwhile, being content that a tire wasn't going to fall off or the frame break mid lane change I continued to drive the van.  And so there was the added excitement of the occasional hop, skip and jump sideways when there was unexpected roughness in my lane.

New shocks arrived in the mail.  Isn't that where everyone gets their car parts these days?  With so many older cars in our driveway I know we get car parts in the mail very, very often.

Warren installed both rear shock absorbers, because it was the right thing to do, I guess.  I'm definitely no mechanic.  :-)

We drove our next mission.  I have no idea where we went that day but we did notice how amazingly smooth and straight that ride was.  Even when we hit bumpy sections that would formerly have knocked us off course.  The tires which had previously left the road momentarily now seriously gripped it.  It is a whole new experience. Although it had been the case always, except when it wasn't. I had simply never thought about it.  Now it is front and center in my mind as I head down the highway.

This is why I got to thinking about it.  We all know that in this life there are irregularities and unexpected bumps in the road.  Believers have shock absorbers that help us to maintain our place on the road. I see the Word of God as our shock absorber.  If I am pondering, memorizing and meditating on it I am much better suited for those bumps in the road.  If my prayer life is active I'll turn first to Him when the hurtful thing happens that would otherwise make me want to be angry or vindictive.  There is much less chance of being knocked sideways with those shock absorbers at work.

 It may be  stretch to make this analogy.  It wouldn't be a first for me....but hey, it is what God used to speak to me this week.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Something Has Happened to Me

I've apparently had a pretty serious change in food likes.

A little more than a year ago I took a class in healthy eating.
Clean eating.

You'll probably remember me chatting here about it.
Fresh from the farm.
Healthy fats that are great for our bodies.

That began the change.
Some things stuck and others have fallen by the wayside
due to lack of priority or passion.

I'm still drinking Creamline milk 
from our local dairy.
It is Pasteurized but not Homogenized.
I just feel better with this choice over raw milk.
I know I'm not getting the great nutrients 
that would be whole in the raw milk but at least the milk
hasn't been modified to a cellular level that keeps the 
body from recognizing it as milk.
It also isn't stuffed with salt and sugar 
that are in the low fat milks.

Sugar has become an occasional treat
rather than a way of life.
I'll probably never, ever get rid of it entirely...
although that would be for the best.

Raw Honey is a staple around here now.
I have a source for cinnamon cream honey and 
vanilla honey with a very real bean in it 
that scares people when they see it.
Of course they think there is an uninvited guest
in the jar.
Tonight we had cinnamon honey and butter
on cooked carrots.
They were a big hit!

White flour is an almost never.
This past weekend I "indulged" in a cheese steak from 
a local dive that is famous for them.
I was so sure that I was going to LOVE it.
I didn't.
It was ok...but the bread had no flavor.
In years past sub rolls had been my favorite.
My "poor" tastebuds don't know what is good anymore.

Sunday I went to Subway to grab our "brown bag" lunch
to eat at church with our spiritual family.
I found myself being so excited at the prospect of guacamole
on the chopped salad.
When did that happen?
That I would learn to not only tolerate but truly anticipate and 
enjoy avocados in any form?  

Well, it turns out that I needed more of that kind of
goodness today because Chelsea and I had a lunch date
at Panera Bread before she was going to meet up with Chadd
to do some errands this afternoon.
What did I just have to have?
The chicken and Avocado Cobb salad.
Those delicious chunks of avocado 
were better than ever.
It has become a favorite.
I've been thinking about it ever since.

All is not lost.
Chelsea made strawberry shortcake for us last evening
and it tasted so amazing!
Dessert is not over nor has it lost its appeal.
But it tastes so much better when it is fresh and 
occasional rather than just another sweet thing
among many in my day.

This is not really about losing weight.
Although I don't want to put back what has come off
and I'll gladly keep saying goodbye to pounds who feel 
unwelcome here.
This is about cleaning out a liver and a body that
has spent many many years filtering harmful chemicals
and sugars from what I have put in it.

What amazes me is how nearly painless it is when 
one has knowledge and makes decisions based on 
health rather than vanity.
I'm simply not that vain. 
Be that good or bad.
It is truth.

I've been there.
It wasn't that great.

So, I guess the point of this entire post is that I'm amazed
at how our desires and tastes can truly be changed
when we do something consistently over time.

Who'd-a-thunk it!

Can't wait to find out what the next discoveries and 
changes will be.
I'm officially not too old to change.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Getting Our Tea Fix

Chelsea and I made the journey to Kennett Square yesterday.
To our favorite place to purchase loose leaf tea.
Mrs. Robinson's Tea shop

We resupplied Over the Moon....
Which goes pretty quickly around here.

Pomiscus, which is only a slight second to Over the Moon.
Although I made it too strong once and am only now ready to 
go for it again.

and a new to us flavor with a kind of amusing name.

This was the sample tea they were serving yesterday.
It was excellent!
Can't wait to have another cup!

Are you a tea drinker?
Do you have a special place you go to purchase it
or does anything do?

Ahhh....a delightful little journey to a quaint little town.
We are very much at home there.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bad Weather Makes for Good Work Days

I have had a struggle with getting around to work when 
the weather is so tempting to be out and about.
Well, that issue has been resolved with 
severe thunderstorms and heavy rain over the past 
24 plus hours.

Yesterday I was a candle making maniac.
Well, not really.
But I did get a bunch done.

Two really cute designs were finished up.


Then there are the more traditional candles that I'm finishing 
up to ship today.
I'm also making candles for my shops again.
They are keeping me much busier this year than last.
A very good thing!!

The end of last week and the weekend were so busy
and fun.
Thursday evening we went to dinner and Sight and Sound with 
Warren's cousins, Aunt and Uncle.

Chelsea was working but still got to see her second cousins.

Poor Georgia had just returned from her big trip to Mexico and Panama
when we told her they were coming that evening.
She said she wouldn't miss it for the world but boy
did she pay for it with exhaustion.
Even so...she was thrilled to get to see everyone.

Friday we picked up a new recliner
purchased for us by our eldest son.
How sweet was that??
The other one was just plain worn out.
Warren is enjoying this new chair a lot!

Saturday we went to visit a dear friend who is in the hospital.
She is going to be o.k. but was dealing with some 
serious stuff.

Sunday we had a blessed worship service and then a picnic
at a local park followed by a birthday celebration
for Rachel Rabe of Creekside Cottage.
You have met Rachel as one of my candle helpers.
She has been looking forward to this 16th birthday
for a very long time!
We are so happy for her.
I've linked to a post her mom did about her birthday.

And then the storms came!
Boy, did they.
The rain remains but it is not in the form of 
severe storms.

Today I will finish up goodies for Fresh Vintage by Amy
and deliver them to the shop.
Irish Moss has been requested specifically 
and as it is one of my favorites I'll enjoy making
them first thing this morning.

Hope you are having a wonderful new week.
Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

And the Switch Has Been Flipped

Those of us in Pennsylvania really notice dramatic weather changes twice per year.  Once is in the Fall when the big yellow buses begin making their rounds.  It is pretty consistently much chillier and less humid from that time, usually just after Labor Day.  To me that brings the exhilaration of football and I associate those days with precious times with my father watching Penn State win and lose....but mostly win!

The other time of the year when you can just know the weather will make a marked change is just around or after Memorial Day.  In this case the heat, humidity and summer weather begins.  It is when the pools open for the season, picnics mark the beginning of the outdoor season and for regular people flip flops come out of the closet.  I am not regular people.  I would wear my flip flops year round if it weren't for the risk of frostbite therefore my feet come out to play well before Memorial Day.

Well, this year is no exception to this rule.  We experienced noticeable chilly weather last week.  This week we are hanging out around the 90's.  Thunderstorms are a daily possibility.  That switch has flipped and summer weather is here.

I love seeing the farmers across the street make hay.  It is a process.  That of the cutting, drying, turning, checking and finally baling.  Takes me back to my childhood when my very best friend lived on a farm and we helped them bring in hay one very hot summer day.  I loved it soooo much!  Memories of that day and others where I got to enjoy visiting their farm.  Talking to the very cows who gave us their milk, giggling at the antics of the pigs and piglets, daring myself to challenge hens for their eggs and other such things that my friend just took for granted.

Perhaps that is why my heart is so given over to Lancaster County in my adulthood.  I truly love living around farms, cows, fields full of crops and hard working practical people.  There is little more beautiful than the grouping of buildings that make up a farm.  The barn, perhaps being the most obvious but there is almost always corn storage, multiple small out buildings and one or more houses. The other evening we were over at Rockvale Outlets and I looked across the road just before dusk and noticed one of these very common sights but with a deep blue sky with fluffy white clouds above it.  I stopped to just take it in.  I considered snapping a photo but knew that the lighting was too far gone to do it justice.  I couldn't bear to look at it less than as it was in real life.  Sometimes you just have to take a minute.  Out from behind a lens to just soak up the beauty.  To let your mind wander back to special times and friends who are now on the periphery of your life.  Not because anything is wrong....just because we no longer live in the same neighborhood and we have grown into other lives.
And so here we are.  Beginning the days of summer that will both go quickly and cause us to groan every now and then at the extremes of temperature and humidity.

Because the switch was flipped.....yesterday.