Monday, November 30, 2015

Looking Back on Last Week

Last week was beautiful.
Especially Thanksgiving Day and the weekend.
Mom had asked Chelsea to come up with table decor and so she did.

Delightfully simple so there would be plenty of room on the table for the food.
Even so....we moved these things when it was time to really dig in.
We are just that committed to food.

The place holders were apple seconds with the sheen of hairspray and glitter.
Chelsea made each tag with care.

My Aunt Crystal, Uncle Steve and cousin, Nate were able to come up 
from Virginia to join us.  It was very special to have them there.
You should have seen all of the salads and desserts they brought with them!!
Aunt Crystal had been in touch with a third cousin that I don't remember meeting
although he remembers me as a little girl in pigtails.
That goes back a long ways.....and he is a smidge older than I am
so I'll use that as my excuse for not remembering him.
But Dan and his lovely wife Teresa came to join us as well.
I liked them both instantly!
She and I share many things in common and she is so warm
and easy to get to know.
Dan is very musical and so several of us sang for a couple of hours after dinner.
Simply delightful!

After the singing Chelsea, Chadd, Warren and I headed out to Longwood Gardens.
We had done the same last year when Chadd was just learning about our family
and he remembered.  So they suggested we do so again.
With this year's warm weather it was so very nice to attend the opening
night of Christmas lights in the gardens.

Approaching the Conservatory....

Inside the Conservatory....

And then it was time to go.
Obviously there was much more to see than I could share here and I wholeheartedly
recommend this as a fun and refreshing activity during the holiday season.

The weekend was a very relaxing one with only four hours of working at 
Christmas at Lime Valley Mill.
I had set up on Wednesday and once I had served my four hours on Friday afternoon
 my duties there were done until last evening when I picked up the unsold items.

I made NO candles through the weekend.
It was kind of great....although I look forward
to getting back to work today.

 But on Saturday Warren and I watched two movies.
We have both been so busy that it had been a while since we
sat down in the same room at the same time to just chill.

My next three weeks will be very challenging and full
so it is a good thing to have had that little respite.
Much of my inventory is gone.
The show at the Mill was very successful!

I need to get down there and make more for my retail shops
before the fundraiser orders begin to pour in again.
Four groups have deadlines coming soon.

As you can see my life is blessed.
I am so very thankful...and not just on Thanksgiving.
Tonight is our annual Ladies Tea at church.
I'm in the process of turning ten pounds of chicken breasts into 
Poppyseed Chicken
to be served there this evening.
It is always a beautiful night of pampering
with real tea cups and tea pots, 
candle light and much laughter and fellowship.
My friend, Deanna, works so hard to make this special.
She hasn't missed yet!

And so, I'll leave you with best wishes for your day.
And a special Happy Birthday to Betty in Denmark
if she happens to read this post.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving and Please Don't Delete our History

This is perfectly strange timing for a post such as this but it is also the time that I have to write what has been on my mind for a while now.  Today we celebrate Thanksgiving.  A day that hearkens back to the very origination of our country.  I love the United States of America.  It is all I know and it is the best I can imagine on many levels.  However, thinking about it the other day I understand that our coming was total disaster to the Native Americans who were living here at the time.  We brought disease, a sense of self importance which pushed them from their homes and many other disturbing things to their lives.  Someone posted a cartoon photo of the Native Americans standing with signs saying they were not taking refugees.  Well?  What if?  Their lives would have been greatly improved.  But...that is not the point of this post.

So, what is then, you ask?  It is this.  Over the past decade there has been a very strong, and successful trend to rewrite history.  Most recently at Princeton where some students want all references to Woodrow Wilson erased due to his racial views.  President Woodrow Wilson lived in a time where racism was a given.  It appears that he was very extreme in his views and actions.  I believe with all of my heart that God created all human beings to be equal.  I don't believe it is anywhere near right to raise one skin color or culture over another.  However, in history there was racism.  Today there is still racism.  That is completely and totally wrong and not based on the teachings of the Bible.  However, history is something to be learned from....and not erased.  Can we please use this as an opportunity to have a civil conversation?  To change our ways and not our history?

When Joe Paterno was being investigated for how much he knew of the absolutely horrible actions of Jerry Sandusky a panel decided that they would just erase his lifetime of work.  Really?  When did this become possible?  Accomplishments by hundreds of players, staff and even fans could be written off as if they had never occurred?  I guess so....since it has become the policy in the classrooms.
Don't like what actually happened?   Just delete or rewrite.  If they can get away with it so publicly....

How can we avoid the same pitfalls that our predecessors made if we don't see what they were and what the outcome was?  History books are omitting or putting a spin on much important history these days.  This next generation is at a disadvantage.

History is NOT to be about putting forth what we WISHED had happened or what we hope WILL happen. It is about the truth of what has happened and what we can learn both positively and negatively from it.

Recently there was a rewriting of the NIV version of the Bible.  Those writers decided to gender neutralize it.  Seriously???

We are at a very serious crossroads in our country and our churches.  One in which we will either learn from past mistakes or do it all over again.  I wonder if we know enough to make the right choices?  I pray there is still enough truth out there to prevail.  Whatever the case, our Heavenly Father has not and cannot be edited and His Spirit still speaks to the hearts and minds of His people.  Here's hoping we listen and obey.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving Day.  May it be blessed by the truth of the wonder of community loving and serving each other.  I hope you are celebrating with family and perhaps some who don't have family nearby.  We will celebrate with family from a distance and some cousins I've never met. And now, I should go put the ham in.  Mom has the turkey started at her house.  See ya!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Crazy Beautiful Weather in November

This is a very busy week.  With my second largest 
craft show beginning on Friday and running through Sunday
there is a need for me to have a lot of things made up 
and organized.

We are also having an extended family Thanksgiving
this year, which we are excited about.
We have family coming from Virginia and cousins
I don't ever remember meeting coming from York County.
I can't wait to make their acquaintance.
I remember being at their Grandparent's house 
when I was a kid.
Precious memories.

I've been back and forth about the best timing to 
do the shopping, cooking, candle making and packing.
This morning Chelsea and I thought we would get to Costco
just as they opened and beat the crowds.
Well, you can't blame us for trying.
We got there fifteen minutes after they opened
and drove around and around waiting for a parking 
space to open up from someone who had actually 
been there fifteen minutes earlier and had made 
record time gathering their items.

I've been making candles at every available moment
and today was no exception.
This afternoon I thought perhaps I would begin setting
up over at the Lime Valley Mill.
And so Chelsea and I loaded the car and headed over.
However, it was all locked up.
I must have hit it just at a bad time when no one
was there to set up, etc.
It isn't a problem.
I'll just do it in the morning but since we were there
and it was so pretty I decided to walk around 
and grab a few pictures.

One of the covered bridges that Lancaster County 
is known for.
Sadly, this one is closed at the moment.
Hoping it can reopen soon.

 The glass is wavy.
Just look at those windows.

I decided to try using the panorama setting. 

It was soooo cold last year this time. 
We will be in the 50's through the end of the week
from the sounds of things and that will make 
hanging out in The Mill much nicer.
This is going to be GOOD!

Soon after getting home I was folding laundry 
when Warren's mom popped in.
She was doing some yard work and found this 
Clematis blooming on the side of her shed. late November.
What a year!!

I would gladly sign up for the same kind of 
November next year.
The roses are going strong and the cows are 
still enjoying a green pasture.
Not so bad.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2015

These Busy, Busy Days....

The usual Autumn crush of candle making, events and fundraisers is ON.  Having my new workshop is fantastic but has not kept the craziness in the basement.  Until the rest of the downstairs is completely recovered from the flooding we had earlier this year I have to do my packing upstairs and so the dining room continues to be overtaken by bags and boxes.
Sorry family.  
So sorry.
However, Chelsea greatly appreciates the ability to bake in the kitchen whenever she wants to!  And she is doing so.  This is apparently the season for testing out wedding cake recipes.  She is doing so by making cupcakes.  She understands the texture would be slightly different in cake form but at this point it is about flavor.  We sample and then send the rest to work with Warren.  His department is getting to give feedback as well.  How fun for them!

The I Heart Handmade Marketplace in Chambersburg is now behind me.  It is the BIG one.  I love doing it... and I dread doing it.  There is the need to make a huge amount of inventory at the same time that my largest fundraising group is also demanding a lot of inventory.  Then there is the three hour drive into the sun to get there.  But from there on in it is ALL good.  Repeat customers, new customers and fellow vendors all add up to a fantastic time!  My friend, Angel, is a genius event planner.  She has turned this into "the place to be" for much of Chambersburg on that day.

The set up.

I also have fun with my friend Melissa as she goes along to be my muscle and right hand.  She was a super seller this year.  We had this thing going where she would be all animated and enthusiastic and I would be mellow.  O.k. so it wasn't really a thing when it was just us being us...but it turned into a thing.  And it was funny.  People noticed and commented.  So funny.

We also enjoy a dinner out after setting up on Friday evening.  This year I asked Melissa to do some research and choose someplace nice, and relatively healthy.  She did great!  Cafe Del Sol was the choice and the food was fresh and full of flavor!

My chips and was pretty HOT.  

My California Salad...Yum!

Melissa's Pork Tacos.

Melissa's Red Rock Bisque

The restaurant was super clean and the food delicious!
And so...we had a very good trip this year and it is a relief to check that off the busy days list.

Monday evening just following I Heart was the largest fundraiser delivery of the date.
My van was so full that I had to buckle bags onto the seats.
Funny....but it worked.

Yesterday was the last homeschool co-op session for 2015.
Made it through ten weeks of classes.
They went so very quickly!
It is a highlight of my week to go and exercise my brain in trying to stay
ahead of those youngsters who are kind of like sponges.
They are so enthusiastic, opinionated and challenging.
Up next will be the Spring Semester where we will work on music
for a Spring Concert.

Wedding planning continues.
We ordered invitations last evening!
Chelsea and Chadd designed them from two separate locations while
she was with us in the Poconos.
We waited for a sale in Vistaprint and that happened yesterday.
So...we went for it and they will be here before we know it!
That is the upside of current technology.

Well, I'd better get going.
I have some important candles to make today.

They are the kind that go to couples who have suffered infant loss.
It is always an emotional thing to make them....
but what a blessing as well.
By the way....we are looking for people to sponsor these candles
for Sweet Grace Ministries.
This year God is moving the ministry OUT of the home of the dear couple
who founded the ministry and into an office.
This will be an added expense to the ministry but will enable them
to have more space and opportunity to serve.
Sweet Grace is growing very quickly.
Sad because of what that means....but great that those who
need the support have a place to get it.

O.k.  I've chatted long enough.
Hope you are having a wonderful Autumn.
Here's hoping I'll be back here soon....

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Embracing the Light

A couple of weeks ago this scene 
caught my eye.
What can appear unremarkable under other circumstances
becomes simply stunning when the light
shines on it.

Some things are less attractive when fully lit.
A few restaurants I know must live by that rule.
But, other things are beautifully transparent
when the light streams through.

I hope that I'm the kind that can stand up to the light.

This guy caught my eye on the same day.
Growing under our trees 
with a funny little face.

Love the contrast and details.

Kind of looks like a UFO from this perspective.

Look UP!

We took some neighbor friends to see Sight and Sound's 
Miracle of Christmas.

Afterward Warren was showing them around "Heaven".
This is my reminder to us today to 
Keep looking UP!

Be as transparent as we can be.
Seek out the light and allow it to shine through us
so that others are attracted to the source.

These are very busy days for most of us.
I have multiple BIG deadlines happening over the next 6 weeks.

In all transparency I will tell you that I often wake stressed
and worried these days.
But God meets me in that stress and helps me to 
resist the temptation to panic
about many real and terrifying possibilities
for our kids, my work and our health.

My prayer is that the light will be more powerful than 
the unknown.
That it will push aside the worries and doubt
of darkness.

And because I know the source of the light
I know beyond a doubt that the light wins!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tangled Moments Can't Erase the Beauty

As we were coming home from our vacation my Mom was 
leaving on one of her own.
She headed out to South Carolina to spend time with her brother
and sister in law.

This means that I am now the caretaker of three dogs
when you add hers to our mix.

He stays at her house but since it is just two doors away 
I walk him a couple of times a day and let him 
out quickly a couple more.

My dogs are on high alert each morning for that moment when
I prepare to go walk Bear.
They don't want to miss it for anything in the world.
I'm just a crazy enough dog lady to not want to disappoint them
and so on their leashes they go
and we head over to get Bear.

Two small dogs on leashes are fairly manageable.
And if our leashes worked better would actually be easy.
They end up tangled with each other before we make it to Bear
but that's not a big deal.

Then we head out with the larger dog.
He is a mix of Australian Shepherd and Chow.
A very handsome dog and very leash trained.
That's not the problem.

Taken last week when there was frost on the ground.

It is when they all decide to look at something different 
at the same time.
Or when a neighbor dog appears from nowhere and they all 
get excited.
Then things get very interesting.
Or, like this morning, when I went at the same time
as several cars, a truck and the school bus went through.
Each time a vehicle comes I make them come and sit at my 
feet so that they become used to respecting cars.
Bear has no fear of cars.
He sometimes tries to play chicken with them by 
darting toward them at the very last minute.
Heart attack!!

Anyway, as we headed out this morning I just had to wrangle leashes and the phone
at the same time to capture the foggy and colorful views.
Definitely worth enjoying even while becoming totally wrapped up.
Yes, this was the day it happened.
The three of them somehow surrounded me at the same time and my legs 
got so tangled in leashes that I couldn't move my legs 
more than a couple
of inches.  
Panic was just around the corner and most likely would have happened 
if a car had come along just then
with me in the middle of the road and helpless.
But since that didn't happen I just had to laugh
and get myself out of it.

It didn't help that the neighbor's dog appeared just about then 
and my little troupe all got very excited.
But they do listen pretty well to genuinely meant 
stern words about them being quiet.

I'm not sure exactly how I managed to escape the tangle but I do 
know it involved dropping my dogs' leashes.
Not Bear's.... or I would still be attempting to recapture him.
And we made it back all intact.


And now I must get to work.
I hope your day includes some fun challenge.
It is actually quite good for us.....
At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Mom comes home today and so tomorrow
is looking to be rather quiet in contrast.