Thursday, January 19, 2017

Giveaway on Candle Page!

This week the Good Neighbors Candle Page passed 500 likes!  I have not promoted the page very much since starting it but that is changing.  And so I invite you to celebrate with me and head over to the page before Saturday evening at 9pm to enter to win this 12 ounce Lavender Candle.  Just click on the link below the photo and away you will must comment on that entry to be entered in the giveaway.  You must also live in the US.  Have fun!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I Love You, He Loves Ewes

My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me.  John 10:27

For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:  I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.
Ezekiel 34:11

You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture,  and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.
Ezekiel 34:31

Just one of the photos I took while at The Makers Cottage yesterday before hot chocolate candle class began.  It spoke to me.
I'll show you more photos soon.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Today, We Make Chocolate....Candles that Is....

I'll be headed out in just a few minutes to teach a class on how to make hot chocolate mug candles.  The last time I did this is was for two classes of about 8 middle school students.  This morning it is for adult women.  Hmmmm.....which is better?  That is yet to be determined.  :-)

I had so much fun finding mugs yesterday.  It has been a very long time since I had to do that.  But I got some "sweet" ones...

Hope wherever you are today you stay warm and safe.  The weather is ugly in some parts of the country.  We will get some snow and freezing rain later, they say.  Hoping we are all tucked safely back into our homes before that happens.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Candle Crazy!

It didn't stop with Christmas.  The orders have been coming in very steadily over the past few weeks. I've been to my local supplier twice already for wax, jars and melter clamshells and have placed a long distance order for more wicks and other needs.  What a blessing because so often it gets slow after the holidays while people enjoy their candle gifts.

Here are a few of the candles I'm working on...

There you have it.
These and store stocking....that's what I'm up to these days when it comes to candles.
Jonathan misunderstood me this morning when I said I was 
going to go stock stores.
He thought it was scary and weird that I was going out to stalk stores.
Well....maybe next week I'll try that. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

"Blue" Christmas Payback

We just had a very delightful weekend with my brother Allan, Beverly and her sister Betsy.  It was their year to spend Christmas away and New Years with us.  It tends to stretch out the season a bit, which I find kind of nice.

Yesterday Jonathan had a migraine and so he held his gifts for Uncle Allan and Aunt Bev until today after lunch.  I'm so glad he did.

You see, about three four years ago Allan and Bev had gifted the kids these "cute" blue one piece jammies.  We thought it was super funny seeing them all in their suits.

Jonathan came home and ordered blue suits for 
all of the rest of us and planned to give them to us 
the following Christmas.

However, on that Christmas Day he had a stomach bug
and so he neither came over for the gift exchange nor sent his 
fun gifts along.
(We wouldn't have wanted to touch anything from his room anyway)

Then the blue suits were forgotten for a time.....
three years or so.

Flash forward to today.

Two special people were gifted blue suits.
The givers of the originals.

Uncle Allan and Aunt Beverly
are such great sports!

Pretty soon they were running through the kitchen and around
to the living room where they caught up with 
Jonathan and "thanked" him properly for their delightful gifts.

Look at that face!
Feel the love???

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

All Praise to God!

On our drive to court today for Chadd's sentencing I wondered what it would be like IF the other family would be forgiving and there could be healing and reconciliation.  I tried not to get my hopes up too far.  But moments before Georgia had shared that her Daily Devotional today had the title, Rising from the Wreck.  Really?  Friends sent us scriptures that were of comfort and hope.  Our attorney prayed an awesome prayer with the 20 something of us there to support Chadd and Chelsea.

In the courtroom the family had asked the Prosecutor to read a statement.  It was heartfelt and moved all of us.  I've often thought of the horror of that day for them.  To hear it in detail was a confirmation.
Tears flowed.  All over the courtroom.

Then it was time for the three of us who were speaking for Chadd to take our turns.  I have to say that all that I had prepared left my head as I listened as two of Chadd's friends went first.  I just had to pray that God would replace those words with what He wanted to have said.  My heart was pounding so hard that it kept getting out of rhythm and then would give a hard re-set beat.  I wondered if I was going to pass out.  But figured I just had to get through it the best I could.  Words came.  What I remember most were the intent and kind eyes of Judge R.  He didn't look away once!  I couldn't tell you most of what I said, but it was from my heart and I think it covered most of what I had wanted to say. Some that I hadn't planned too, I think.

Then Chadd's attorney spoke before Chadd, broken,  turned  to the family and told them how very sorry he was and that if there was anything he could have done after the fact to change it he would in a second!  There was a lot of weeping in that moment.

Judge R spoke.  He reviewed the epidemic problems with cell phone distractions these days.  It is so true!  I'm guilty!!  Although, much less so in the car since July 16, 2015.  My mantra now is, "Please put that cell phone in your glove compartment before you drive.".  I'm totally serious.  You may not even be touching the phone but if it causes you to crash even by you looking down at it for a couple of seconds you can be charged. This is what they say happened to Chadd since the text that had arrived before the accident was still unopened.   Anyway, the long and the short of the sentence was that Chadd will serve six months of house arrest, pay $6,700 in restitution plus some other amounts, complete 200 hours of community service and will be on probation for five years.  Mercy.  Grace.  And a testimony to Chadd's life of walking with the Lord and the support of a community.  The judge was pretty impressed with the amount of letters (60) of support written for Chadd.  He had never seen that many for one defendant before.

Here's the best part of the day as far as I am concerned.  Remember I was hoping for healing to begin?  One of the Kunkle family friends approached Chadd and his attorney to offer to go along when he does talks for teens or other groups about this experience to work together to keep this from happening to anyone else again.  She told him that the family doesn't hate him....they are seriously grieving though.  In fact, in their statement it said that Mr. Kunkle had forgiven Chadd before he died.
The family wants to meet with Chadd to work toward healing.  Prayers answered!!

Our prayers will continue for this process to go well, if the Lord allows it.

All Praise to Jesus.  He has carried us all the way to this point.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Leaning On The Everlasting Arms During Christmas 2016

Our family had a blessed Christmas.  We enjoyed just being together.  Gifts were exchanged with more time being given to the ones that were put together with a personal touch, such as the calendars that Emily had made for the second year in a row.  Of course, she kind of had to.  We requested them.  Not that we don't enjoy the free calendars distributed by local merchants but nothing can compare to family photos.  2016, it turns out, was a rather significant year in the life of our family.  While we have all felt we were holding our breath this year it seems that really good stuff still happened.  Chelsea and Chadd were married, there was continued growth in careers for several in our midst, I survived a horrible illness that lasted most of the summer and we are eagerly anticipating the birth of Chelsea and Chadd's baby next Summer.

As we got closer to Christmas day I noticed the elf hat on a shelf in the garage.  One cannot do Christmas Day without the Elf Hat.  And so we grabbed it on the way out the door to Grandma Ruth's house where everyone gathered.  Mikey is our usual elf.  This year he had a mini me.  Well, at least as far as the elf ears were concerned.

Molly made the rounds.  She was on every one of the kids laps (except Chelsea's) as the morning went on.  Bandit enjoyed coming to Grandma's house too.  But she isn't quite as welcome on laps as Molly.  Nor does she tend to stay long if welcomed.

Chelsea and Chadd had purchased some treats at Central Market 
the day before.  On Christmas Eve Molly had eaten one and come
back for more but they wisely made her wait until Christmas Day for another.
It was time....

My "biggest" gift?  A new mailbox!  Our current "barn" mailbox is falling apart.  Mom got us a new one that will actually hold small boxes that currently have me running to the post office nearly daily.
During Spring and Fall I will be able to just pop them in the box and put the flag up and off they will go.  How sweet that will be!  Winter and Summer I won't do that because candles are so sensitive to extreme temperatures.

This year was a clothing year for Jonathan.  In a big way.  Poor guy.  Next year we will try to go back to fun stuff.  Chelsea and Chadd mostly got home decor and a few fun things on their list.  I gave Chadd a package of frozen summer sausage made in York.  It is something our family introduced him to that he loves.

I found some neat headbands for Emily that she seemed to like.  Mikey had asked for an accessory for his gun which was given from all of the parents and grandmoms.

All in all it didn't feel like an "over the top" was better than that.  Cozy, together, meaningful and sweet.  Christmas dinner was Roast and Ham with the trimmings.  Yum!  We had to meet up again later that evening to enjoy the apple and cherry pies that mom had made.  There was no room in our tummies immediately after dinner.

During the break in the late afternoon Warren and I had gone to the Harrisburg International Airport to pick up Pastor Mike and Jenny on their return from China.  What a trip they had.  Of course, Jenny was there for a less than wonderful reason as her father was dying when she arrived and had been buried when she returned.  We were so very thankful that Pastor Mike was able to get there before her father passed and then was able to spend time in Jenny's home country for a few weeks.  We missed them here, of course, but this was so important.  As they had been awake for a very, very long time Jenny slept on the way home but Mike shared much about their experiences.  We are looking forward to seeing more photos and hearing more.  But as for that day we were grateful for warmer temperatures and no precipitation.  There is nothing quite like going to an airport in a snowstorm to make you not want to repeat the experience.

And so you can see that we had a special Christmas Day.  I'll leave you with the reading with which we closed out our gift exchange time.   It comes from "The Singer" by Calvin Miller.  My Dad used to read this aloud to our family and so the words were familiar and poignant.  Mom read it this time.

“The Father and his Troubadour sat down Upon the outer rim of space. "And here, My Singer," said Earthmaker, "is the crown Of all my endless skies-the green, brown sphere Of all my hopes." He reached and took the round New planet down, and held it to his ear.
"They're crying, Troubadour," he said. "They cry So hopelessly." He gave the little ball Unto his Son, who also held it by His ear. "Year after weary year they all Keep crying. They seem born to weep then die. Our new man taught them crying in the Fall.
"It is a peaceless globe. Some are sincere In desperate desire to see her freed Of her absurdity. But war is here. Men die in conflict, bathed in blood and greed."
Then with his nail he scraped the atmosphere And both of them beheld the planet bleed.
Earthmaker set earth spinning on its way And said, "Give me your vast infinity My son; I'll wrap it in a bit of clay. Then enter Terra microscopically To love the little souls who weep away Their lives." "I will," I said, "set Terra free."
And then I fell asleep and all awareness fled. I felt my very being shrinking down. My vastness ebbed away. In dwindling dread, All size decayed. The universe around Drew back. I woke upon a tiny bed Of straw in one of Terra's smaller towns.
And now the great reduction has begun: Earthmaker and his Troubadour are one. And here's the new redeeming melody--The only song that can set Terra free."

― Calvin MillerThe Singer: A Classic Retelling of Cosmic Conflict

How thankful we are that ONE so mighty would become one so small and grow to give his ALL for us.  To change our fate from one of destruction to one of LIFE and HOPE.  May we be reminded of this important piece to this human life we live.