Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My Head Is Mostly Mine Again

The past two weeks were rough, rough, rough!  I strongly dislike having a head that feels like it has a mind of its own and is very rebellious in attitude!  And add to that the need for a million naps a day and you really have a recipe for an unhappy me.  I like to move, groove and do stuff.  We have so much stuff that needs our attention and yet it was all I could do to get up and started every day.  It started with extreme vertigo and is ending with mostly just weird pressure in my head and tiring easily still.

I think it was allergies.  To the extreme.  But it is possible that it was a virus.  Slightly possible.

Anyway....enough about that.  I'm counting on continuing to feel better with each and every day.


This morning I went to pick up candle supplies from my favorite local jar company....Fillmore Container.  Apparently they enjoyed the moms, who went there while I was sick to pick up an order for me.  They were quite impressed at how much fun the ladies were having running my errands.  Gotta love those moms.  They do just make fun wherever they go.


I got sad news on Saturday evening.  It turns out that a blogging friend's husband passed away Saturday morning.  This was not some distant husband who was rarely mentioned.  This man was the subject of many a post.  The blogging community who read this blog is going to be as sad as I am and I know that many are praying for this dear friend and that those prayers are much appreciated!

Mom and I went car shopping last week.
It wasn't a whim, exactly, since we had been thinking about it but we hadn't planned to go that day.  However, we do have a tendency to fly by the seat of our pants more than Warren would prefer.  It all worked out great though since we went back to a trusted sales person at the dealership where Georgia and Jonathan have both purchased vehicles now.  Mom chose this Toyota.

Isn't she adorable??
The tall guy is Andy.  If you are local and in the market for a car, new or used, 
you might want to ask me for his contact info.  
Full disclosure....there is a referral fee in it for me
AND he is a really great guy!  
I like his easy going style.

Our friend Nick graduated at church on Sunday afternoon.

It was a great service.  Nick's speech was fantastic...and made me weep a bit.
We've known Nick and his family for eight years and have watched him 
grow into a very special young man.
Many, many of his friends and family came which filled up our little sanctuary.

Memorial Day started out to be a quiet affair and grew into a bit of a party.  I thought it was going to be just Warren, Jonathan, Georgia and I.  Turned out it was us - plus Mikey and Emily, Chelsea and Chadd and friends Xavier and Karly.  My mom even showed up for a few minutes upon her return from a visit to my brother's house in Central PA before she headed out to a picnic with friends.  Made my heart very happy to see all of those faces in one place.  :-)  We grilled chicken, burgers and a few hot dogs.  I made pasta salad and baked beans.  Chelsea brought herbed potatoes and Georgia made veggie stirfry.  We finished the meal with strawberry pie (berries picked that morning) and ice cream!  Summertime!!

I have just returned from taking Chloe back to the vet for her first check up since we found out she is in heart failure.  She is showing some improvement on the medication and so I'm very happy we chose this path...  Minus all of the vet bills in our future.   It is good to see her perky little face each morning as she tries to get me to play with her.  Dr. Olsen says I can play gently with her.  So I will throw her toys with less gusto so she doesn't have to run so far to get them but that she can still feel the thrill of the hunt.  That Fox Terrier in her loves to hunt!  We are going to increase one of her medications and hope that it continues to help get the fluid out of her lungs.  As I was driving home from the vet with her I had to chuckle....kids grow up and go out on their own and the dogs start needing time and care.  What can I say?  It's just how it is....and as long as Chloe is happy and not in pain it is how it will be.  I am officially an old dog lady.  Read that last title however you like.  "Old dog" lady.  "Old dog lady".  :-)

This morning's other fun....besides running my errand to Fillmore Container....was starting a new voice student.  It is a young man who is just dripping with talent.  I was a bit concerned that he would be well beyond me but after chatting with him this morning I think we have found some areas to work in.  He is interested in being stretched out of his comfort zone.  Oooh....Exciting!  That makes for a fantastic teaching opportunity.  And I do LOVE to teach!  So color me happy once again with another voice student.

Our house guest, Jared, will be moving in this weekend.  He has accepted a position for the summer at the theater that this entire family works for...except me.   Since his permanent home is quite far away he needed a place to stay and as it happened we had a room available.  We are very excited to host this young man over the summer months.  It will be fun to get to know him better and maybe even do some fun trips around the area with him.  Last we spent much time with Jared he was quite young.  So we will have to get to know him all over again.  I'm pretty sure he will fit in very well here.


It is time to go figure out what to make for dinner.  There are options....but I'll just have to settle on something and make it.  Hmmm....I'm hungry. Jonathan is hungry.  Warren will be coming home any minute....hungry.  I'd better get moving on that.

Chat with you later!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sad News Today

This is my first day to resume normal activity since I've been sick.  Well, sort of normal.  I went to a doctor's appointment for me first thing and then an emergency appointment for our Chloe.  She is about ten now and has been having some coughing episodes for a little while.  I knew if she was still coughing after we got through the wedding I would have to face the music and take her to the vet.  Even so, it has taken me until now to do so because I was afraid of where this visit would take us.  Finally over the weekend I could see that she was struggling to breathe.  I did some research and kind of figured that she would either be diagnosed with congestive heart failure or cancer. I slept in the living room beside her crate last night and she actually woke me up a couple of times with her breathing.  And so this morning I called our veterinarian's office.  We have gone to them for 16 years.  They have put three of our fur babies to sleep and have taken care of the rest of them very well over the years.  It was Dr. Young at this office who diagnosed Bandit's slipped vertebrae not long ago.  We were super impressed at his tenderness and thorough exam that caught the source of her pain.

Today it was Dr. Olsen who was seeing patients.  He had the unpleasant duty of putting our Sally to sleep many years ago.  What this means is that he has seen me in tears before.  It took him about two seconds to grab the tissue box and slide it across the metal table to me today.  I was teary.  After all I've been dreading this for a while now.

Today.  She was begging to leave...."Please Mom???"

After a considerable amount of time examining and listening to Chloe he confirmed that she had a heart murmur as well as fluid in her lungs.  Then he proceeded to tell me all of the tests he wanted to run and gave me a quote that made my heart sink.  We couldn't afford all of this.  And then to treat her as well?  We would have to say goodbye.

But something made me ask if we really had to do ALL of those things at one time or could we take smaller steps to find out what was going on.  He was agreeable and we decided on the x-rays to start.  They confirmed fluid in both lungs and a very enlarged heart.  My poor baby.  I thought that was the end.  At best he thought we would get weeks to months with her.  He could maybe see a year at which he reminded me that in dog years that was really three.  I kind of didn't think that should play into the equation....one year or three "dog years".

Just a few weeks ago....

Now, I'm known around here for not letting any animal suffer.  The family all warns the animals to look strong NO MATTER WHAT because Mommy will take you to the vet and that is BAD.  But I looked at our Chloe and saw life.  Lots and lots of life still in her.  There she was with such a challenge just to get air and she has been begging with me to "play toys" with her as recently as yesterday.  I would always cut our play time short because she would start coughing.  But she was so willing and eager to play, play, play.   Today when I asked if she wanted to go for a ride in the car she jumped right up and tail wagging came eagerly.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that she wasn't ready to give up and so I could NOT give up on her either.

With "her" kitties.

And so, for now, our baby is home and on medication.  We will love her to pieces while we have her.
I'm praying that she gets a nice relief from the medication and gets to continue playing with her toys for a good bit of time yet.  It is her second favorite thing to do....second to eating.  That girl LOVES to eat!  Must run in the family.  :-)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sick Week!

Exhaustion, vertigo and nausea have been the themes of the week.  I have spent hours and hours in the recliner in the living room.  If you know me, you know this is highly irregular.  I don't sit still for long.  But this week I've slept for hours and hours on end.

Whether this is the fall out from nearly a year of stress or a viral attack doesn't really matter at this point.  It just was.  And to some extent, still is.  At least this morning I woke up at 3:30 am bright eyed and clear headed fretting about an order that had to be made and shipped today...by 11am.  There was no more resting until it was done and so I got up and did it.  By now, 9:13 am I feel like taking my third nap of the day.  And I just might.  But the order is made, boxed and I just have to put the label on it and take it to the post office.  Since I haven't had vertigo this morning I think I am fine to drive it there.  However, if Warren happens to be ready to leave the house by 10:30 I will let him drive me.  Just to be on the safe side. :-)

I did go to the doctor yesterday with the help of Georgia.  I'm not sure we accomplished much but some tests were run and we will see if they show anything.  I'm stepping up my water drinking in case I was dehydrated.

If you wanted to whisper a prayer that my strength would return that would be great.  I have a couple of orders that really need to go out on Monday and Tuesday.  It is all I can do to spend an hour down in the candle workshop right now.

Blessings on your week.

Catch you soon!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Some Candle Photos

It has been a while since I have shared much about candles, other than as they related to the wedding.  However, I have still been quite busy with both retail and custom orders.  These are a sampling of the candles I have made recently.

The same candles but with the photo taken out of doors.  
It does make a difference.

I can't say one looks more like the real thing....
they just look different in natural light and artificial light.

Next up....
Love, Hope and Joy!

A customer in California contacted me late one evening and we spent a little 
while creating these together. 
It was soooo much fun!
She asked for, and received, a dozen to use all around her home.
It is her favorite fragrance, Grandma's Kitchen.

By purchasing that quantity she saved
30% from the individual candle pricing.


Another customer, this time from Texas, reached out to see if I would make
white candles in her favorite custom scent.
She and her family were moving into the home of their dreams 
and she could envision these candles with a photo of the home 
beautifully there.

Her custom fragrance is a blend of Country Bumpkin and Christmas Cabin.
It really works.
Who would have "thunk" it. 

Testing, testing.....

Initially the Havenshire candles were supposed to be in these Mason jars.
However, there is not a flat side for a label so my customer
asked me to switch jars.
No worries.  
I repackaged these for retail.
You can find some at The Painted Chair in Quarryville
and soon Back Home Again in Lititz.
I was planning to take some to Lititz today but am struggling 
with some vertigo this morning.
If it goes away I might make it up there this afternoon.
Otherwise it will be Thursday.

Three 12 ounce candles in shops....

So you can see that I've been having a great time in the 
candle workshop.

It is so good to have that place to go and work for hours 
at a time.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

So Much Has Happened!

In some ways it would be so easy to just pick up and move on from the wedding
without documenting the most recent happenings.
However, since this blog also serves as my journal and I enjoy reading back
to bring back memories there are some things I would really like to 
put here because God's fingerprints were all over them.
There are just enough hard times in our lives that it is good to have
reminders of the other times that HE showed up!
Well, let me say that differently....
He SHOWED us that HE was there.

God has been leading in my purpose and ministry in life.
I don't know how many of you are former home school mamas but 
if you are you may relate to the "what next" phase.
For years we pour ourselves into our own children and if we do our job
well and God is merciful they grow out of being a daily responsibility
at some point.
We got there.
When we knew that Chelsea would be married I knew my job
as a full time mama was about to be done.

For the past few years I have felt a real calling to work with 
young people in some way.
God has answered that desire in so many ways!
And much of that revolves around music.  Another passion!
How blessed am I????
Just last evening I was approached about a new voice student.
O Happy Day!

Over this summer we will also have a student house guest who, 
while he won't need me to mother him, 
the situation has potential to allow
 me to feed and support him in a surrogate mama role.
My heart feels so blessed.

Chelsea's room won't feel quite so empty in the transition time.
God knew I couldn't go cold turkey.
I have to be weaned off this nurturing role.

Things continue to progress in the legal challenges we face as a result
of Chadd's accident.
There was a big event this past week.
We have survived it and are in waiting mode again to the next thing.
Just please continue to pray.
As parents it is torture to watch these kids go between the happiness of 
being newly married and the uncertainty of the future.
However, I have to say that it is so good that they are married.
To not have to leave each other during these stressful times is obviously
better for both of them.
We feel very good about the decision to continue with the wedding in the midst.
It was for the best.
Mr. and Mrs. suits both of them very, very well.

And now, 
the FUNNEST of the FUN stuff.

I got an unexpected call the other day from my very dear friend, K.
K is the only English (non-Amish) woman I have ever known to marry an 
Amish man.
I'm sure it has happened before but I don't know about it.

K and her husband were at a local birth center and had just received discouraging news.
Baby was not cooperating.
Something in her voice made me ask if she would like me to come over.
K has told multiple people since that she was hoping I would say that 
but didn't want to ask.
Out the door I went and we met up in front of the birth center.
This was the beginning of being a pawn in the very hands of God.
And I liked it!

Over the course of the next hours K came to some realizations
that would change the course of her very life and that of her baby.

She had been resisting the need to go to the hospital to deliver
because she thought that would be a failure.
However, her mama heart knew that was where she needed to be.

God used my big mouth to mirror her words and concerns back to her
so that she could come to the conclusion that the hospital was the 
place she needed to be.

((All of that sales training paid off! LOL))

From the local Amish restaurant where we had shared lunch and talked, 
we walked back along a very busy road....no sidewalk...
with huge trucks and many cars whizzing by, back
to the birth center where she nervously told the midwife her 
conclusion.  In a completely opposite response of what she had expected
the midwife was enthusiastic about K's decision.
She said she just knew something wasn't right and they were going 
to have to watch K closely.
You could feel the relief in her.
Midwives often get a bad rap for being dogmatic about keeping it 
all natural.
However, my experience is that these professionals do want safety
and peace of mind first.

I admit to fearing that the midwife would look at me as
a bad influence.  After all, I had shown up and everything had changed.
It was so good to hear her shared concern and relief at the decision.

We packed up and headed out with some hours to kill before 
the hospital would be ready for us.
I suggested we pick Warren up from work and make it as fun 
a double date as could be.
And so we did!

As God would have it we were able to meet up with their other 
children at K's Mom's house in Lancaster and had a great time
chatting and getting the kids prepped for a few days without Mom.

Then we headed to the hospital...about 35 minutes away.
As we were driving the labor progressed.
K and I sat side by side in the back seats of the van
and prayed that we would get to the hospital quickly.

This sweet couple generously invited me into labor and delivery with them.
There we met a new midwife and a couple of nurses.
There were some very scary moments but finally K was in full labor.
By 9 pm, or just shortly after, another friend, Kelly, came at the request of K
and we all did what we could to help K through.

My favorite part was when K asked me to play 
10,000 Reasons on my cell phone and we sang
 "Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul".
Midwife and Nurse included.
It was so very special and a memory I will keep forever.

Meanwhile Warren sat in the waiting room.
He, of course, wasn't up for delivering a baby that night.
Since he was there I was so torn.
I wanted to stay until sweet baby had arrived, but I also knew he had to 
be at work the next day and so we took our leave as things had calmed 
down into a good pace and it seemed a baby would arrive within hours.

Not so!
That baby was 11 pounds and 4 ounces.
He was born by c-section at 6 am the next morning.
Kelly stayed all night.

Mom and baby are both very fine.
I spoke with K within hours of delivery and she sounded great!!

But, no doubt, at all that K's instinct was right.
She needed to have this baby in a hospital.
By the way, she has had one hospital birth, one home birth
and one birth center birth prior to this.

People, really, that "gut" feeling is pretty important.
It just may be GOD talking to you.
He loves you so much and speaks softly.
Always be willing to listen.

As if that wasn't enough fun for a week last evening we attended the graduation
of two very special young ladies.
Rachel and Quinn graduated at a state wide graduation held in Harrisburg.
It was beautiful.
I cried.
But I know that doesn't surprise anyone reading this.

This was before the ceremony began.
The girls and their dads.
One of the most special things about the way this day 
is done is that the parents are honored by the students 
for the sacrifice and important role of teacher and support
all through the years of home education.
Especially moms.
We weren't sitting in a spot where I could get any good photos 
with my phone but it was sweet.
It made me miss our homeschool days.
A bit.
Just a little bit. 
Mostly it just made me happy that we got through it 
in a positive way and that our three are all doing well, 
loving Jesus and making a living.

He is good!!

And we thought it would be a big let down 
when the wedding was done.
Not a bit.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Final Wedding Post

A look across the fields at the wedding tents.
The large one is obviously where we held the ceremony and reception
but the smaller one with the point was the appetizer tent.

I was so happy that the appetizers were so well received. 
I didn't get any photos of the spread but we set two nearly identical tables
with cheese, crackers, grapes, olives and spreads.
Everyone said how excellent the cheeses were.
I didn't get to try any of them so I'll have to take their word on it.
The selection was Gouda, Smoked Gouda, Sharp Cheddar, 
Onion Cheddar, Swiss and Port Wine.
On the drink table we served fruit cheese balls.
One was Blackberry and the other was Key Lime.
There were assorted cookies and sweet crackers available to use those on.
Drinks were water, raspberry tea and pink lemonade.

Now we will backtrack and catch some photos from the ceremony.
Chadd spoke his vows.

It occurred to me that during rehearsal there had been more room
for the guys and I wondered how they would manage a 
smaller space to squeeze into.
They did great!!


It was planned that the guys and girls would alternate as they left.
This caused some confusion for at least one older guest as they 
were accustomed to couples leaving together.
I had to smile.
But they managed to get themselves out in a very orderly way.

Kevin....getting married to Heidi in just two weeks!

Emily and Jocelyn.  They tag teamed all the way!

Xavier...who beat cancer and is fond of all of his friends mama's.

Emily.... who got stuck with the flower girl's basket.

Travis....Got married recently as well.

Heidi....getting married to Kevin in two weeks!

Joe....who is beating cancer!  Just finished Chemo!!

Kim,,,,this girl knows sports!!

Steve....who was probably silently studying for finals the entire time!

Megan.....Who sweetly encourages all around her!

What a wonderful group of young people who have supported Chelsea
and Chadd all through their dating time and engagement.
It was the encouragement of Kevin and Heidi that made me think
that Chadd was worthy of Chelsea.
They knew him best then.

Here are few more shots of the reception decor....

 These roses were purchased from Costco for the Rehearsal Dinner.
They were still so pretty that I decided they should be used on the 
gift table.

Every other table had this arrangement on it rather than the large 
basket centerpiece.

 Because of the table size and enormity of the tent we were able to set up 
in a very spacious arrangement.  Most tables held six people.

The candles were at half fragrance load
 in a mix of vanilla, caramel and coffee.
General rule of thumb....when lighting candles near food
they should be either food scented or unscented.

I didn't have enough time to make as many pillar candles as we wanted to 
use...I have exactly one pillar candle mold.  However I was able to 
pick some up and they complimented the rest of the decor very nicely.
Warren had to fuss with them to get them to stay lit but once he did that
it was all good. This was taken earlier in the day while the cakes were
still tightly wrapped for freshness.

Chelsea hand wrote each and every table tag as well as the name
tags which were on the flatware bundle.
That way our caterer, The Daily Grind, could put the right picnic box at the right places.
Choices were offered with the invitation.
It was good in that our guests knew in advance that this was 
going to be a bit unique.

Chelsea's vision was to have an elegant picnic.
And so, she did. 
So sweet!

 Here you can see the picnic boxes on the tables.
We provided labels with the sandwich choices for the boxes
in wedding colors.

Chelsea and her brothers are very close.
I was able to get she and Jonathan together for these sweet pics.

Soon she was back with her husband again.  
It means the world that they were able to have this wonderful day.

And then they came into the reception!
The DJ is a friend and his wife has been Chelsea and Chadd's direct
boss for a few years now.  We were so touched that they would 
be willing to dedicate so much time and talent to the wedding.

Before they went to their places at the Head Table they came to the 
floor in front and had their first dance.
I am very, very sure that Chelsea was relieved when this was done!

After we ate Chelsea went and changed into the dress she wore when 
they got engaged before they cut the cake.
It is such a cute dress and easier to move in so we thought it was 
a fun thing to do.
And there was the meaning that went with it.

I wasn't in a great place to get photos of the cake cutting.
But the photographers were and so we will get those later.
Mom did well....she was preparing to serve.

 Then came the speeches.
I missed a photo of Emily but she did such a fantastic job with hers.
It was tender and touching.
Then came the guys.
So funny!
Kevin pretended to be unprepared so Xavier
took over for a bit....then they passed it back and forth.
I won't try to recreate it.
Just trust me...it wasn't a boring speech.

A friend, Kyle, sang a love song and then Chadd surprised Chelsea
with a song he wrote for her last week.
She was so touched!

After a bit more mingling and chatting with the guests 
these two were prayed over and sent on their way.

Grandma Ruth made people wonder what was up as she ran to their car
with something in her arms.
I asked her what in the world?
She replied that it was a fire log for the fireplace that will be 
in the place they are staying.

Leave it to Grandma Ruth to have the last gift.
And most appropriate.

That's all I've got.
And I got tired of editing so most of these are dark and uncropped.
Perhaps I will take care of that over time....
perhaps not.

Thanks for sharing this very fun and special time with us.