Monday, December 31, 2012

In Which the New Week and New Year Come Together

When I grow up
I want to do all kinds of things.
One of these things could involve being
a published author.
But if I ever do that
I would want to do something classic.
Something whimsical and uplifting.
I don't think I want to write a memoir
or anything heavy like that.
Perhaps a children's book
a humerous devotional.
Laughter and God's Word could
be just the perfect way to begin a day,
don't you think?
I don't really know what got me started
on that tangent other than the title
I wrote for this post which made me
think of A.A. Milne and Winnie the Pooh.
Don't be dismayed if you didn't follow that.
It's early here and I'm still working out the cobwebs of
my sleepy brain.
I think I may be suffering from hyper awareness of this
New Year and all of the possibilities it holds.
We have been "not" talking about the future of
the candle business here.
I bring it up....
he says "not yet".
But I get little snippets of his thoughts
in the process. seems we take it a day at a time while
we consider the entire world's possibilities
for my life.
Not the least of these being about six months worth of
cleaning, painting, and organization within
the sphere I call my home.
I kind of like that the New Year Celebrations
and our Monday coincide.  
This being New Year's Eve
allows for some business to be completed and then
a Holiday again.
2013 is the year that is scheduled to see our
Chelsea off to her big Australian adventure.
We were practicing Skype yesterday.
The wonders of technology.
Thank you, Lord!
I don't know what 2013 will hold for us.
That's probably good.
But, I do know the ONE who knows.
And He is able beyond anything we could
dream or imagine.
So....we begin this New Year with
joy and excitement about all that is to come.
Knowing that it will pass very quickly
and that these days one needs to live
quite intentionally to
appreciate it.
Here goes..........
Anything you care to share
about your New Years thoughts or plans?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sometimes Themes Get Mixed

You may remember the funny labels I designed for
a local salon some time ago?
Well, one of them stuck. 
It is this
Hippy Chick (Patchouli Vanilla)
12 ounce candle.
I don't think that animal print
and Hippies have anything in common.
But, Hippies and Patchouli certainly do did.
The animal print was a nod to the Salon,
Faux Real Spalon.
There is animal print everywhere.
Even the wall to wall carpet is
animal print.
Much more tastefully done that you
could possibly be imagining.
So today I was working around the kitchen
and dining room making up orders
that have accumulated while I was
off enjoying visiting family
and Christmas.
All of a sudden I noticed something left
on the dining room table by one of the
my offspring.
It was a hat.
Alas, it had a very similar design to
the print on the label I had just
attached to a candle jar.
Well, as long as we are mixing
our themes anyway why not take it
a step further.

And so I did.
Isn't it adorable?
So hap - py to-gether!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Filled With Laughter and Tears

 This is Mikey's first Christmas since moving out there on his own.
So his Christmas list was pretty much about survival items.....
mostly cash
but we threw in his favorite Cheez-its
and he got gift cards for food.
However, we are a family that also enjoys opening
gifts so.....
I found a bunch of party items for the New Year
and then put a pile of dough in the hat.
He loved it
and put on quite a show for us.
Now he is looking for a party to attend on
New Years Eve.
Aunt Bev gets the award for the absolutely funniest gifts.
She got these Lazy Suits from Woot.
One for each "kid".
Its hard to call them that these days....
except that they played the role pretty well on Christmas Day.
We laughed so hard to see them in these silly
but apparently very comfy blue lounge overalls.
 Grandma Ruth checked out the softness.
 Mikey demos the convenient flap in the back.
 And then there were three!
Just too cute!
I wonder what they would think of this in Australia.
We did have a very sweet day together.
Mom started our time with a poem that my Dad had written
but we had not heard.
It was as if he was speaking to us directly.
So moving.
Bittersweet tears were shed.
We laughed again when Mom and Georgia
exchanged identical concert tickets for the
Three Irish Tenors....
I cried like a baby when Mom gave Warren and I
a vacation that involved a four concert event
in my favorite Southern Gospel genre.
I have another favorite gift to show you
but it is going to get its own post.
It is something pretty.
Warren and Jonathan did well.
My brother took a huge risk
by giving Bev a car cover
instead of a garage.
Yes, there is a bit of a difference.
She actually liked it.
He scores.
Later in the day Bev's sister, Betsy,
arrived from Ohio
and then Pastor Mike
and our friend Jenny came for a delicious dinner.
Allan made venison with a creamy wild mushroom sauce.
(He and Bev are educated in mushroom collection)
Jonathan made a Dr. Pepper Ham.
Which was very good.
We ate....laughed....talked....ate...
Then went outside and launched chinese
lanterns.  We were thankful that it had lightly snowed
so there was plenty of moisture should the lantern
come down before being extinguished.
If you haven't seen them it is like a small
tissue paper hot air balloon.
There was a breeze so they went up, up, up
and off into the distance.
Well, all but the first one.
It was like the kite that found the neighborhood tree.
But it burned itself out as we watched.
All in all this Christmas will go down in
history as one of our favorites.
Pretty gifts,
Yummy food,
delightful people
the true reason remembered.

Monday, December 24, 2012

So Blessed

Yesterday was so special.  By day's end I could hardly keep my eyes open to watch the Von Trapp family sing their way over the mountains of Austria on their way to freedom.....but it was worth it.

It was "Christmas Day" at church.  As you have gathered our church is a bit unusual.  We operate as a family.....all of us. While it is really a community of families........we have large families, small families, couples, widows, singles, adopted and biological.  We are a very diverse mix. 

But within that mix we are family.  We love each other.  Sometimes we disagree.  Often we laugh the point of tears.  We have our good days and our bad days.  We try to work within our strengths so that everything gets done cheerfully. 

Chelsea took all of the photos in this post.  I think they reflect nicely how we see things on a weekly basis...the big kids and the little kids blend very nicely together.  Everyone works and plays together learning and growing.

Hannah and Asher play peek a boo!

So cute!!

Miss Juliet looking all cute as she eats M&M's that were a gift from an older couple in the church. All of the kids were well sugared up by the end of the afternoon!

Daniel and Sonja study music. 

I love the bag on one shoulder and the much loved bear on the other.
It is a very great place to be.  We are more than delighted that this once very tiny church family has grown.  There were more than 80 people at our Christmas luncheon yesterday.  Wow!  God is so good!!

Worship service yesterday was pretty wonderful.  The music was great and Pastor Mike preached on the Christmas Geneologies.  Interesting stuff!  Not exactly what I would have thought.  Because my eyes tend to glaze over as I get to those name lists. (Except when we were home educating and I would use those lists to get my kiddos giggling like crazy on a hard school day.  They loved the sounds of some of the names.)

After the service we had a delightful sit down luncheon organized by Mrs. Rabe ( Deanna).  She decorated beautifully.  She arranged for some young people to act as servers.  She, Lindsay and I plated up the food.  We had ham, cheesy potatoes and green beans.  Fruit cups and rolls were on the tables.  Dessert was cake.  Yum!  All of the ladies who were able had signed up to bring something for the meal.  Our friend, Jenny and my Mom, Ruth, both made wonderful hams.  They were delightful.  Brigette had made a ham too but it was barely touched since we didn't even get there as we served.  I heard it was mighty tasty though.  One never wants to run out of food so we made sure there was plenty.  Our servers did a fabulous job!

Then came the time for last minute practice before our Christmas "Eve" service.  So many of our families come from a distance. We wanted to make sure that they could make the most of their time together over Christmas so we moved that service up to yesterday.  It is so amazing and a picture of how the church should work that I simply make an announcement inviting anyone who would like to take part to let me know what they would like to do.  Over the weeks leading up to it I hear from this one and that one that they have a reading to share, a song to play on this instrument or that.  The children always get to do a song together and we have our resident audience.  They simply enjoy encouraging those who participate.  And by doing so create a wonderful environment!

This year we had a violin/cello duet, a bass and piano duet, Three hands on the piano (As I played with a recuperating Joseph after hand surgery), a vocal ensemble, a vocal duet, a reading by Kelly, several piano solos and an instrumental ensemble that blew us all away with Carol of the Bells.
We have been blessed with amazing musical talent! 

I enjoyed a little chat I had with the children just before they sang Go Tell it on the Mountain.  Lately I've been thinking about how we talk about stories from the Bible.  It seems to me that  young ears hear stories all of the time.  Some of them are fairy tales and some of them are Bible truth.  So we talked very briefly about the difference between Fairy Tales and True Stories.  The Author is very different when it comes to the Bible Stories.  While fairy tales can have merit they aren't the same.
Boy did I enjoy that little time with those children.  So bright eyed and joyful.  Gotta love them!
They sang their little hearts out!!

Quickly we came to the end of that service and it was time for our traditional candle lighting and singing of Silent Night.  Four verses.  During that time it is so special to look around in the glow and see all of the church family that we have come to love.  To celebrate together an event that happened so long ago....but is just as relevant today. 

Then we came home to find that our newest neighbors had left Christmas cookies on our doorstep.  LOVE that!!! They are in their first year of marriage and are just a delightful young couple.  I can't wait to get to know them better.

AND as we pulled into our driveway Allan and Bev (brother and sister in love) pulled into Mom's driveway.  Yay.  We decompressed for a few minutes here and then went across the way for fun conversation and some turkey sandwiches.  YUM!  Ham and turkey all in one day.   Delicious!
As is usual for us when Allan is here we laughed a lot.  He is just funny.  I like him.  Bev is such a wonderful sister to me.  I never had a sister.  But she reminds me that I have one now.  And I love her.

Sometime after I allowed my eyes to close in sleep last evening, my boys came home.  Jonathan had worked and Mikey agreed to pick him up so we didn't have to run out again. joy is complete.  All three of my children are under one roof.  We can continue with our celebrations of the birth of a Savior.

Today we will sing carols at a local nursing home.  I will sing a solo of Mary's Song (Breath of Heaven).  It has been so long since I've used my voice this much.  Hope it holds up.  Between last night and today I've been reminded of how much I love singing.  The piano has been my instrument for the past 12 years....but I need to work to get my vocal strength back because I now have an accompaniest and friends who love to sing as much as I do.  JOY!!

So, as you can see, I am so very, very blessed.  God has been so good to us.  We are thankful for His goodness and for His Son.

I pray your family has a delightful Christmas celebration.  May His love warm your heart and home.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vee's December Note Card Party

I had no trouble selecting a theme for this month's note card party.  Longwood Gardens has provided the perfect note card fodder.  Albeit, I don't think they would appreciate my selling them for is fun to play around.

This is the table art in one large wing of the conservatory.

 The bows on the chairs were all done "just so". 
For some reason that just makes my heart happy.

Can you just imagine sitting down to this table?
Well, I can...sort of.
I'd fall into that water.

Better that I just enjoy it from a distance.

Come on over and enjoy Vee's Note Card Party.
Rules of the game are that you choose four photos
that you have previously shared on your blog
and make a "set" of note cards.

Then link up 
so that others can see your work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Misty Morning

While out with the dogs I enjoyed these views
across the way.

Thought I'd share before I run to 
get Jonathan from his overnight shift 
and then take Georgia for her cataract surgery.

Have a great day.

Monday, December 17, 2012

From a Manger....To a Rolling Stone

Christmas Day is coming.
It's coming oh so quickly!
However, the Christmas season has been with us for a while.
We who have shops on Etsy have been planning our Christmas
products and sales since July....
most likely.
So then all of a sudden we are within nine days of 
this most beloved Holiday and I find myself 
finally able to turn my attention to the enjoyment
and celebrations which celebrate my Savior's birth.
Continued at the CAST TEAM Blog
where I am guest posting today.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Bake Sale, A Whale and Final Christmas Orders

It is a whirlwind around here.
Let me tell you!

On the surface I seem calm most of the time
but my family can tell you that I have a short 
fuse these days.

Poor Mom.
Poor Chelsea.

They have definitely seen the stress
fraying the edges here.

the end is nearly in sight.

Just two fundraiser orders to complete.
One ships to Michigan ~
the other is local.

Two custom fill orders
and some Etsy orders to complete.

Then I am good to go into Christmas mode
for our family.

Georgia has her cataract surgery scheduled for next week.
It is time to start checking the weather to see if we are 
going to have a blizzard or something.
This is the surgery that has been postponed twice so far.

Speaking of Georgia,
she has been such a blessing to Chelsea
in baking lots of cookies for Chelsea's bake sale.
This sale is happening at her work and will help 
raise the funds to get her home from 
Australia next year.
We were joking last night about the fact that 
Chels has about half of what she needs.
She earned it by working her regular job.
So, we figure she can get there......
we'll be raising the money to get her home
so she doesn't end up a permanent 
resident in Australia.
Chelsea and our friend, Sarah, have also been 
baking for the past couple of weeks.
Our freezer has been very full of all kinds 
of delightful treats.

I've been totally immersed in Sight and Sound's latest 
production this year.
Jonah is so amazing.
The cast is one of the best I've ever seen.
Of course it probably helps that we have gotten to 
know some of them
but I've really noticed an openness and heart for ministry
in this group that goes above and beyond.
Last evening we took advantage of a ministry 
opportunity and took a guest and her children.
We are praying that the message she saw
touches her heart which has been hurt
by "Christians".
May God speak to her and continue the healing
that has already begun in her life.
The whale tale is so much more than a tale about a whale!
(I know...big fish!)

I would appreciate your prayers as I am running on fumes.
I look forward to a clean house,
a kitchen without piles and boxes.
A dining room with a usable table.
A living room without more boxes.
And open horizontal spaces to dust.

Life is good.
No complaints.
Just prayer for the strength to finish 
a very rewarding candle season.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Exciting Announcement!

Although it is not quite ready to debut 
I just have to share my excitement.

I've been working with a soap maker
for the past few months
Hand Crafted soaps!

Husband and wife team, 
John and Bonnie 
have been making soap for their own 
family's use for a while
but were agreeable to work with me
to come up with a couple to 
match a couple of my most 
popular candle scents.

I've tested this soap
and let me tell you...
as someone who was not a fan of 
handmade soaps
I have been converted.

These lather beautifully,
leave your skin soft and happy.

The fragrances come out 
light and lovely.....
that lye smell that I really dislike is 
nearly nonexistent in the bar shown here.
It is the Citrus Infusion.
I'm so in love!!

We have a lot of details to work out
but I had to tell my best bloggy buds 
about this fun development.

Which of my candle scents would you most
like to see in soap?

For now we have perfected
French Lavender and Citrus Infusion.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Christmas Tea

 Last evening was our annual Ladies Christmas Tea.
It was the first year that I was not involved in the planning.
Granted, my friend Mrs. Rabe, has always been the 
planner, decorator and hostess of this tea
but I was her trusty sidekick.

With the coming of more people to our congregation 
there are more people to share their gifts 
and our new friend, Amy, joined 
Deanna in the planning and presentation this year.
They did a wonderful job!

As someone who has been involved in just about 
everything that has happened at
Sonrise Christian Fellowship for the past 
twelve years it is amazing and wonderful 
to see this taking place.

Kind of like watching your child grow up 
and leave the nest successfully.

The decor was gorgeous as usual.
Georgia brought poinsettias 
which were put to very good use 
in the table decor.

Deanna and Amy brought lamps to 
warm the room.
No harsh overhead lighting.

New this year was something that needs to become tradition.
Young men served us.
And they cleaned up.
Yes, that includes washing all of the dishes.
 Anthony offers us an amazing tray of pastries.

After the food was served
we played a game 

I'm sure you've played that game
where you choose a gift and then the next 
person gets to take it or choose their own?
Well, we did it with unwrapped ornaments.
I'm not sure if Laura got to keep this one
or if it was "stolen".

In the background you can see Laura's oldest 
brother pouring water.
He has been a huge help to me this year
during my busy season as he has started 
playing the piano for worship
every other week.

He seems to love it
and does well.

I don't think I want him give me the boot
completely but it is soooo nice to 
get to be freed up for more opportunities to 
sing (I'm not so good at singing while playing)
 and to chat with my friends.
I find myself more involved with the other 
ladies now that I'm not 
"tied" to the piano.
I didn't realize how much of a difference 
it made.
But it does and I am enjoying 
the freedom.

This was a simply delightful evening.
Good times with family and friends.
Good eats.
Excellent mint tea was my tea of choice.

We kept those guys hopping!
That was fun!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bart Fire Christmas Bazaar and Jubilee

 Saturday was so much fun!
I did my annual craft show at Bart Fire Company.

I love seeing the familiar and friendly faces.
I struggled with envy as the lady across the way
sold greens by the boatload. 
She had done the same last year and I had
totally forgotten.

It was fun to get reactions to some new 
baby shower items.
The sugar shakers as candles.
They are cute and so much fun.
Everyone who checked them out
really liked them.

These kept being mistaken for soap.

Making more and more tart melters all of the time.

 It was so much fun to display them in this little case.

 This is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.
$32.00 plus shipping.
 The candle is Candy Cane scented.

Here we go again...
roses that are wax, not soap.
These blueberry muffin tarts 
smell sooooo good and look very 
sweet in this vintage type tin.

It was a very full day.....
Saturday evening found Warren, Mom, Georgia and I 
at a concert by three amazing groups.
Greater Vision, Legacy Five and The Booth Brothers.
So much fun and entertainment
but with an excellent message.

 The theme of the evening was being faithful.
Wherever God has placed us.
If He calls us to the stage or television
to be faithful there.
If He calls us to be homemakers with a houseful
of young ones, 
If He asks us to work full time at 
a secular job...
or even as a stubborn candle maker.
To serve Him faithfully in all things.

A memory was shared of a man,
one of whom we can probably all relate.
He was the candy man at the church.
Every week he would 
fish those pieces of candy out of his 
deep pockets with a little phrase
about how much Jesus loved
the children who were the very happy 
recipients of these goodies.
 The life of Gerald Wolf was impacted by this man.
The message went deeply into his heart.

No one would have thought too much of the importance
of a simple man in bib overalls who handed 
out mints each week at church.

he was faithful.
And it mattered.

May God help me to be faithful.
Every day.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Longwood Gardens After Dark

Monday evening found us back at
Longwood Gardens for a special Member only night.
I thought this might mean fewer people.
Well, I suppose as the season goes it was 
pretty light but it was definitely busy.

We enjoyed it nonetheless.

Thanks for bearing with my mostly photo post...
things are hopping here at
Hospitality Lane.
Candle making,,,,,Chelsea's Australian Mission trip planning.
It is crazy.
In fact yesterday Georgia was supposed to 
have a cataract surgery 
but after we got there she found out that 
she couldn't have it due to an unexpected 
Nothing too serious...
but no surgery on that day.

As God would have it, though, 
because we headed out early because of a random snow storm
we happened to be killing time at a local Christian Bookstore
just as Rick Santorum was holding a book signing.

How cool is that?

I wanted him to be our next president.
But that didn't quite work out.
I'm so happy that he didn't roll up in a big ball 
of self pity....
He's working hard to educate Americans 
about our heritage....and more.

Good stuff.

Anyway, I didn't get to talk to him 
but I was able to leave a book for him to sign
and he did.

Color me happy.

And with that....
I'm off!
Enjoy the beauty of the gardens......

 Out at the trains.....
A replica of the Conservatory.

The moon was making a statement 
all its own.
So bright and beautiful.

The dinner table after dark.

 How gorgeous is this????  
Oh my.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland......