Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lazy Saturday

It may be stormy and gray but at least it isn't icy and frigid.
Warren took Chelsea to work this morning 
and ended up enjoying breakfast at a nearby restaurant with 
our oldest son, Jonathan, as he got off his overnight guard shift at the same 
hour that Chelsea began her day shift. 

I've puttered around here
doing dishes, chatting with friends online, 
walking a slow mile on the treadmill, reading, 
making candles to fulfill orders and doing some online research.

Warren came home and got busy working on Chelsea's car.
We knew it needed some things...sadly it is worse off than we
knew so we will have to discuss it with her and see
what the next step might be.

I have a turkey out to defrost.
The plan is to roast it overnight and use it in meals
next week.  Perhaps we'll have turkey for lunch tomorrow
or perhaps we'll go out.
I'm flexible on that.

Laundry is calling my name.
Only because I find clothes to be non-optional
and our selection of clean ones is dwindling.
Clean clothes are preferred.
Over dirty ones, that is.

I know I should be moving more and cleaning more
but it is just one of those days that makes one want 
to hibernate and relax.

I'm still a bit woozy from time to time
after the big vertigo event.
Thankfully it isn't too bad and is worst first
thing in the morning.

This past week was plenty busy with our ladies
Bible Study, Music classes at Co-op and 
a new piano student on Friday added onto the 
regular family and candle stuff that keeps us busy.

So perhaps...a restful day is not a bad thing.
Not bad at all.

Especially before I convince Warren that he wants to head
out for a steak dinner with me this evening.
Poor guy has a bit of a cold so we'll have to see how 
he feels about that in a couple of hours.
Sounds good to me though.....

Oliver has been spending the day like this.....

 Photos taken some time ago but it looks the same today.

Hope you are having a wonderful, and maybe even lazy, day.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Topsy Turvy

I woke up at 3 am thinking it would be a normal trip to the rest room.
How very wrong I was.  Upon taking one step I fell sideways.  Hard into the wooden
pole at the foot of our bed.  I grabbed it and held on for all I was worth as the room 
swam and I broke out in a cold sweat and nausea.  

What in the world?

I am no stranger to vertigo but it normally presents as a swirling room, not like this.


So, there I stood.  Still foggy from sleep but in kind of a bad way.  I didn't want to 
"get sick" right in our bedroom but I couldn't imagine making it to the bathroom on 

my own either.  I thought about waking Warren but thought that might cause a panic
that could end up at the hospital and wasn't wanting that to happen....so I just stayed.
Attached to the bed and hoping that this would pass.

Finally I felt I could move if I held onto something all the way. So that was just what I did.
Groping from dresser to doorknob to wall and on I went until I made it to my goal.
The sweats and nausea were awful.  The swimming sensation in my head a stranger to me.

I checked my smile in the mirror.  Both sides of my lips went up 
and so I was relieved that this didn't appear to be a stroke.

Finally I carefully made it back to bed and collapsed onto my right side.  Oops.  That didn't work.
I felt that I was rocking in a boat on a storm filled sea.  Over to my left side.  Ahhhh....much better.
The "sea" was stilled.

I slept restlessly until sometime just before 6 am when I decided I had tried hard enough.  I came to the computer to see what it had to say about vertigo.  Sure enough!  Every one of my symptoms were there.  This is apparently just a different type than I've ever experienced before.  

As the day goes on I'm much, much better.  Warren and I have been out and done our grocery shopping without any embarrassing falls or sickness.

Here's hoping that it was just a one time event that never returns.  But I am carefully considering if I even want to attempt to sleep on my usual right side tonight....or just play it safe and sleep on my left.
That was bad enough that I'm leaning toward avoiding all risk.

Do you have experience with vertigo?  Any helpful hints?  I know about the exercise/positions you can do to move crystals that can cause it....however, I think this time that the source of the problems originates in my neck somehow.  Must be a nerve thing is what I'm thinkin'.

Otherwise life is pretty awesome.   I have no complaints.  

Really.  

I'm loving my work, my family, the opportunities at Bible Study, Church and Co-op to participate in music, and even my crazy needy pets.  All FOUR of whom try to get my attention regularly 
and at the same time.  

Yep...no complaints. 

See you again soon.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Always a Work in Progress!

One can never be satisfied with their skill levels.
I am always, always, always trying to improve presentation
and packaging for my candles.

It is my biggest challenge.
I know I make awesome candles.
I know this because so many people come back 
for more and more.



However, in order for people to come back for more 
they have to want to try them in the first place.
This means that I need to grab their eye.

I want to make them prettier and prettier.


The power of the label became obvious when all of a sudden my little owl
baby shower favors became popular.
I was blown away at the response to them.
It continues even today.
Even though I have many other cuties 


those particular owls are just so popular.


The frogs make me giggle.




As Melissa helped me prepare for the Chambersburg show
this past November she encouraged me to feature French Lavender
in its own section as a spa/relaxation option.
I typically hold the French Lavender for Spring
but I took her advice and had fun with the labels.
Even though space was limited for the feature
those who love it ...found it.


I continue to have a blast working on baby shower favors.
There are so many adorable images available to purchase...
and I'm getting them.
More and more designs will be available this year.


Being creative in the colors and styles
is what keeps it fresh and fun.

If I was shopping for a candle this one would catch my eye
because of the soft teal color.


She is just adorable.

Elephants are kind of popular...but not as much as owls.

See another owl?
Too girly for many but those that love it.... love it!


It is all a part of the journey.
Sometimes I come across older candles that I have made
and I just want to hide them from sight forever more.
But on the other hand, just as in life we are always a work in progress, 
so is the work of our hands.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Here's the Scoop!


Literally!

I've been having issues with ligaments in my thumb that were aggravated
by scooping wax with a bowl.

Therefore, I am now using this fabulous ice scoop.
The handle is sized well for my grip and it scoops so much more
at a time with a great shape which directs the wax 
into my melter and pots very efficiently.

Little changes.
Hoping for BIG results.



Friday, December 26, 2014

A Few Images from Our Christmas

 It was fun to change up all of our Christmas Decor this year.  
We did it on a budget and we were strategic.
But Blue, Silver and White were all through our home.
From the snowman shower curtain, a paper wrapped dog crate, 
window decals and the ornaments on the tree.

 Michael and Emily  brought us a poinsettia.
It is beautiful!

 Chelsea did a great job decorating the Chalk Board with a favorite
Christmas Scripture.
Love the attention to detail. 

 The annual gingerbread men.
Chelsea and Chadd had a great time making different expressions and designs.

 These two!  Oh boy are they funny.
Jonathan got this red panda suit for Chelsea.
She had us splitting up as she posed in it.

 You may wonder if they are too old for this?
Well, I say not!
It keeps all of us young.
Laughter is wonderfully great medicine!

There was no shortage of gifts this year.
What was great about it was that all of the gifts were useful and very wanted.
Our hearts were so blessed to see how the next generation has learned about 
giving and caring about the recipient.
Now, I need to remember that I don't have to buy as much next year
since I'm not the primary gift giver in our home any more.
I'll be working on remembering that.

I hope your day was blessed as well.
I don't mean filled with presents....
I mean filled with the true meaning of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It Is Christmas Week!

Wow.  How did that happen?  Somewhere, somehow as I was mixing, pouring, labeling, delivering thousands of candles the days, weeks and months slipped by and here we are.  I'm delighted!  This is such a blessed time of the year here at our place.  Understand that there is always some grumbling and complaining about the commercialism and expectations that we place upon ourselves.  There is also the pain of missing our loved ones who have already graduated to their Heavenly home.  But there is also that underlying peace and joy that comes with the knowledge that we are going to celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord.  It is because of this baby and infant King that we can mourn without despair.

Even now there are people close to me who are losing family members.  Each day takes them a bit farther away.  My heart is broken for them.  Especially so because at this point these family members are not known to be Believers.  However, who knows what God is doing in their hearts in these final days and hours.  There are signs in both cases that He is at work.  I'm just going to keep on praying!

Saturday evening found Warren, Georgia and Myself in Lititz at the Moravian Christmas Vigil Service.  Back in York we called this the Love Feast.  It is a treasure of a service filled with amazing music, the sharing of bread and coffee/milk, and candle lighting.  Warren's mother was raised in the Moravian Church and so it was tradition to attend this service on Christmas Eve.  She has missed it dreadfully and so we, with some difficulty, got tickets for Saturday night's service. They were already completely full for Christmas Eve.
The church as it looked Friday when we went to get tickets for the service.

The church as it looked Saturday evening.


 It amused me that when we got there before 7pm for the 7:30 service it was almost completely full already and we headed to the balcony.  The seats available there were in the back row and you couldn't see a thing.  So looking down and across we spotted seats in the very, very front that we figured were probably reserved but Georgia went down to find out.  Pretty soon she was looking up in the balcony and motioning for us to join her.  So, to the very front row we marched.  How cool it was to see everything from such great seats.  There was an embarrassing moment when I almost dropped the offering plate.  Hey!  It was surprisingly heavy.  They don't have no cheesy fake metal plates at that church!  My eyes got huge and as the usher caught the plate on the way down I looked at him and whispered, "Oh!  That's heavy!".  He laughed with me.  Bless his heart.  I like him, whoever he is.

Sunday was our Christmas service at church.  We always enjoy tons of music and special performances by our young people and some adults who like to write or sing.  This year Kelly wrote a beautiful piece called "Love Came Down".  It was from the perspective of a shepherd boy named Caleb.  I told her she must have written well because it didn't take long for me to get over the shock that "She" was a a boy named "Caleb".   Yes, it was well written and we enjoyed it so much.
All of our little musicians have grown up and are playing so well.  It is amazing to hear the growth in them from year to year.  We have a lot of stringed instruments in our church.  Large ones mostly.  Cello's and a Bass.  Although we still enjoy Ben's violin, which is a manageable size.

We had a vocal ensemble headed up by Susanna and Joe Musser this year.  They did a fantastic job of keeping us on pitch as we sang acapella.  It was amusing when we met for our final rehearsal to discover that we hadn't remembered a pitch pipe.  But we decided to see if there was "an app for that".  And indeed, there was.  So it was downloaded, our starting pitch was found and off we were.  But the silly app must automatically repeat the pitch every ten seconds or so because soon after we started singing there it was again.  It happened both in the rehearsal and again in the performance.  It was all we could do not to break into giggles...but it did put a big smile on our faces, which is never a bad thing for pitch control and a pleasing view for the audience.

I have been getting to dust off my singing voice this year.  It had been way too long since I was able to really cut loose.  I do sing from the piano at church sometimes but it is just in congregational singing, I'm leaning into the mic and it just isn't the same as opening up the diaphragm and letting her rip.  This year I found a friend who's voice is strong and clear.  She is an amazing vocalist.  I've been blessed to sing with the ladies at our Change of Pace Bible Study where she, Jana, is the lead singer.  We got to lead worship at a local Mennonite church that another friend attends one week and sang the song Hallelujah with fabulous Christmas words.  It was amazing.  So, when Chelsea got a cold and wasn't able to sing with me in our service as we had planned I contacted Jana.  I figured that it was too late and she would have other plans but asked anyway if she would want to come and sing that song with me.  She was free!  She came!  We sang.  Oh, my goodness.  It was so amazing to be able to open up and let it out.  Not since my Dad was alive have I been able to really be free like that.  It was the best Christmas gift ever.  I'm good.  Done.  Don't need a thing.  Well, maybe some really absorbent kitchen towels, but that's it.  Really.  :-).

Warren and I are enjoying each other's friendship so much these days.  Our kids are grown and need us less and less.....until grandchildren start coming at least.  Michael and Emily have a lovely home and are so happy together.  It is such a blessing to see them together.  She hosted Mom, Georgia and I to dinner one night this past week.  We feasted on chicken with roasted veggies and asparagus and then watched an old movie, Holiday Inn, while enjoying hot chocolate, chips and cookies.  A real girls night out.  We are so blessed to have this lovely addition to our family.

Chelsea is dating a nice young man that she met at work.  She continues to learn Thai and work on her music.  She is still in contact with her friends in Thailand and is thrilled to see what God is doing in that mission field.   She is torn about wanting to go back.  We'll see what God has in store for her where that is concerned.  And Jonathan continues to work as a security guard.  His hours are a bit funky so there are some days that things need to be kept on the quiet side around here.  But we are so thankful for his faithfulness to his job and for opportunities that are opening up for him because of it.

So....Warren and I have lots more time just to pal around and chatter together.  We like it and are so thankful to have come through the parenting years still as best friends.  It isn't something that should be taken for granted.  It is a gift.  That gift is hopefully going to get us through some remodeling that needs to happen around here.  I'm thinking that could be potentially stressful but it is how we began...in a little crooked house in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania so it will be interesting all of these years later to see if we still have the ability to hang drywall, paint and install plumbing.  We have two bathrooms to overhaul and a work studio to build for me.  I'm finally going to get to hang the paintings I've purchased from my friend Niki over the past few years. Woo-hoo!

These last few months were absolutely crazy when it came to candle making and sales.  Two animal rescues added to the usual rush in very positive ways.  I am so pleasantly surprised at how well the local group did with selling candles.  I don't know about the Chicago group....but I'm hoping they were able to sell what they purchased.  The shows and fundraisers alike were all very successful.  I love helping groups raise money to do good things.  I was invited, kind of last minute, to a local show that is known to be "big" around here.  It ate up a lot of my inventory and made for a lot of extra candle pouring but that also means it was a huge success.  If I'm invited back next year I will prepare in advance for it and it won't be so stressful.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity and the people I met there were just delightful.

Well, this novel of a post is much longer than I had intended.  But I enjoyed writing it out and reliving the experiences, so to speak, as I did so.

We will have a rather quiet Christmas Day with just a few of us and then we will have another round of festivities on New Year's Eve when Allan and Bev arrive to celebrate with us.  That's when we will open our Christmas stockings...always a highlight....because we look for "fun" things to put in there and make quite an event our of the opening of them.  I'm glad to have an extra week to find those things.  I'm kind of running behind.  Thank goodness for Amazon and their ability to get things here quickly.  Yes, it has come to that.  :-)

O.k.  Catch you all later.  Have a very, very Merry Christmas.  Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends.  I know it is a very warm and special time for most of us.  To those who are struggling with loneliness or grief...you are on my mind.  I am praying for you, if I know about it.  Hugs!


Friday, December 5, 2014

"My" Little Girls from Burma Sing....



I hope this shows up!

It wasn't always easy to go into Lancaster and pick up these precious ones.   But as you can see the end result was worth it.  I felt badly that my commitment until November had to be cut a few weeks short because I just couldn't keep up with all of the candle orders coming in.  But thankfully God provided another driver...and one that the girls already knew and loved.   That really helped.

Whoever filmed this focused in on the girls frequently.