Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Wedding



Were they living, my darling parents would have celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on Wednesday.  I've always loved their wedding photos: Their Christmastime wedding was so elegant and sophisticated.  I only scanned a few for this post.  Perhaps I'll post more another time.  I've forgotten what color the bridesmaids' dresses were ... surely red or green?

My mother's father was a professional artist and worked in advertising.

The happy couple (my father looks so young in this photo!):


Admiring the "rock":


Cutting the cake:



So from my house to yours, this Christmas I wish you ... Peace:


Love:


Joy:



I dedicate this post to my wonderful family:  All my love to each and every precious one of you, in-laws included! Oh ... and Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!



And to you, Dear Readers and Followers, and to the owners of the wonderful blogs I read, have a very Merry Christmas and an outrageously blessed 2012. I'll be taking a holiday break and will be back sometime in January. Until then, remember:

For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus!
Bess


I hope to be linking this post to the following wonderful places/posts. Please go visit them, you'll be glad you did!

Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Kathy at A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Martha at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday
Terri at Artful Affirmations for Tea Cup Tuesday
Pam at A Breath of Fresh Air for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Wanda Lee at Silken Purse for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Mary at Very Merry Vintage Style for Share the Love Wednesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Merry Christmas Gracious Ladies!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And A Call to Sing

Lettering and little drawing by my Great Aunt Addie.



Psalm 95 from the New King James Version:
A Call to Worship and Obedience

1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

3 For the LORD is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.

4 In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.

5 The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you will hear His voice:

8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,

9 When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.

10 For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’

11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”


Singing (even if silently in our heads) gets us through so much: waiting for a loved one to arrive; hospital tests where we are admonished not to cough for twelve minutes (x two); times when we feel frustrated, impatient and even angry; moments when we're wallowing in self-pity, because singing our praise and worship songs distracts us from those very things and places our thoughts on Him. This, of course, assumes that we would rather not feel worry, fear, frustration, impatience, anger, and self-pity. And if we're going through a period of grieving, as we draw nearer to acceptance, our songs can serve to provide strength to go on and support for the journey. (Because I'm never trying to say we should stick our heads in the sand, denying appropriate feelings, and not taking appropriate actions, as clarified here.)

Of course, I'm not 100% successful, but I don't know where I'd be if I couldn't "sing to the Lord,"
Bess

Linking up with Charlotte today for Spiritual Sundays.  Charlotte, thanks for hosting!



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Primitives


We didn't have our promised sunshine yesterday, and today was even darker, so these photos were taken with the flash. As I have mentioned before, my family did a lot of woodworking years ago. I would have painted all these Santas around 1989.  Below are some Santas we made (painted by moi) for hanging on doors or walls:



There were actually three designs, but I seem to have wound up with only two designs, and two renderings of the same one. It was always fun to see how the different pieces of wood were going to take the paint and stain. The black outline was simply permanent marker. Below are some large free-standing Santas:



We used to make the cutest Santa with moveable arms and legs that sat on the sleigh with his tree. Sadly, I don't seem to have one now.


The smaller free-standing Santas, and some trees:



A Christmas horse as shown in my first Christmas post (some of the pieces have cracked):


Here's a comparison of the fronts:



To the backs:





Finally, the little Coca Cola Bears were perturbed that they weren't included in my previous post. They say who wants to read a story about bunnies! They've found a wonderful story about a Christmas teddy bear:



Hope you've enjoyed seeing the decorative Christmas wood primitives my family used to make.  We made loads of different items, pull toys, rocking horses, bears, chairs, etc.; alas, I only have a small portion of them. But I'm so happy to share what I do have with you, my dear readers!

I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Civilla D. Martin  1905

Hope your week is filled with much merriment,
Bess

I hope to be linking this post to the following wonderful places/posts. Please go visit them, you'll be glad you did!

Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Mary at Very Merry Vintage Style for Share the Love Wednesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Thank you, Gracious Ladies!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Bears' Bedtime


 

The Christmas Bears are getting ready to read a bedtime story. They are all comfy against a couple of throw pillows and each other.

I made the french knot pillow many years ago.

My grandmother embroidered this one in the early 1970s.

What are they reading?


Who's listening to the story, too?



Ah, it's Kallie:

Grandma also made this afghan.  The pattern is
called "Sea of Tranquility," and she made
several afghans in this pattern.  Someday I hope to make one.

All done.  Now it's time to say prayers and sing a little song or two.  


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Reginald Heber 1826

Good Night Bears, and don't forget to wake up singing!
Bess

PS:  The Christmas Bears are happy to learn they are the stars
        of my 100th post!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas: Chapter Two


Today I'm sharing the only Christmas/Winter dishes I have.  The pattern is Winterberry by Pfaltzgraff.  Several years ago I purchased two place settings for my parents as an anniversary present (they were married on Dec. 21 and my dad always quipped about it being the longest night of the year).  Then the following year I bought two more place settings for my mother for Christmas so that she could use them for company, too.  I kept all the place settings when we were going through their things.

The cup has the same pattern on both front and back;
the "placemat" is actually a miniature Christmas tree skirt!

I think there are several other pieces one can buy.


Here's a vintage Santa in his red velveteen outfit.  I suppose he was my grandmother's???


The costume earrings below were my grandmother's, and the Christmas tree pin as well:



The large ornament could be used for a small cookie/candy jar;
it was part of a holiday floral arrangement I received.

"Dashing" through this post in a one-horse open computer so I can soon be reading Betsy's Wedding, all warm and cozy under my covers.

I hope you are keeping warm and cozy,
Bess


I hope to be linking this post to the following wonderful places/posts. Please go visit them, you'll be glad you did!

Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Martha at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday
Terri at Artful Affirmations for Tea Cup Tuesday
Pam at A Breath of Fresh Air for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Wanda Lee at Silken Purse for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Thank you, Gracious Ladies!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Bit of Christmas: Chapter One


Hello Dear Readers and a Big Welcome to my new Followers!

I had mulled over the idea of a larger Christmas vignette, but in the end decided I'd go with smaller displays as the spirit moved me.  The little tree was a gift from a friend; the elves were my grandmother's and I would guess they are at least 50-60 years old.  I bought the Winter/Christmas doll several years ago.  I controlled myself the first time I saw her, then decided I had to have her.  When I went back to the store, she was not where I had seen her so I thought I'd lost her.  Since the clerks were busy, I looked around and around and finally saw her (either the original or a duplicate).  Most of my dolls have been gifts, but I just had to have this one:



Isn't she lovely?



Some Christmas woodworking my family made over 20 years ago:



These are my Christmas books (I don't collect them, so only have a few):



Copyright 1992 The Hearst Corporation

With five kitties, I just don't dare leave out any pretties that aren't really sturdy or washable.  This little girl, Sweetie, takes the greatest interest in helping me and checking out anything she hasn't seen before.  She says she's not the P word (pest), but rather "quality control."  ;-)




It runs through my mind I picked up the little framed rendering of Jesus years and years ago for possibly under a dollar.  It's very beat up, but I like it.  The angel ornament was a gift from my mother:

He is the Reason for the Season!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Louisa M.R. Stead 1882 (Verse 3)


Blessings for a wonderful week,
Bess
I hope to be linking this post to the following wonderful places/posts. Please go visit them, you'll be glad you did!

Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Kathy at A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Mary at Very Merry Vintage Style for Share the Love Wednesday
Thank you, Gracious Ladies!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zapping Persistent Negative Thoughts


In my fantasy world I'm the type that makes a proper pot of tea for her enjoyment, but the reality is that I just zap some water in the microwave until it boils, take it out, pause until it just stops boiling, then pour it over a tea bag in a cup.

I hope it's not just me, but I've noticed that every time I do this, when the zapping is done, the handle to the measuring cup (or any cup I've used) is to the back of the microwave.  Always.  And this makes it a little bit difficult, not to mention annoying, to remove the cup without getting burned.

No matter how long I set the timer for, or even (and this puzzles me) if I put the cup in the opposite direction from the way I usually do, when the microwave shuts off, that handle is to the back. 

I suppose there is simply a mathematical explanation for this outcome: something to do with the number of revolutions per minute and the fact that my shortest microwave setting is in 10 second increments.  Therefore, the outcome is always the same--with the handle to the back.

So, as we've all learned, the surest way to have the microwave stop with the handle to the front is to intervene and interrupt the microwaving process.  By setting the timer for longer than it takes to boil, I can keep my eye on the cup and stop the microwave as soon as the handle is where I want it after the water breaks into a boil. 

With overcoming negative thinking, we also have to keep our "eyes" on our thoughts.  We have to be our own interventionists, over and over and over again.  Those unwanted thoughts are constantly trying to bubble to the surface, making it difficult to "get a handle" on them. 

The very moment we become aware of negative thoughts in our minds, we need to intervene on our own behalf and interrupt our train of thought.  If we have an "arsenal" prepared, steering our minds immediately to a better place becomes much easier to accomplish.  Among my arsenal are the following:

1.  Knowing by memory numerous hymns, praise and worship songs, Christmas carols, children's songs, patriotic songs, Broadway tunes, or any other wholesome song to begin singing silently to myself as soon as I notice unwanted thoughts.  I can "choose" from this repertoire, but it's amazing how once I turn to my songs, different ones just drift into my mind for me to sing to myself.  (I like to think that's the Holy Spirit helping me out.)

2.  Reciting silently to myself memorized Bible verses that comfort and empower me, and there are legions of them!  I only wish I had that many memorized.  I keep adding them, though.  (And I keep saying "silently" because in my world there are very few times I can be reciting or singing away out loud.  The people I'm around might start commitment proceedings!)  :o)

3.  Saying my thank-yous to God, all kinds of thank-yous for the greatest to the seemingly smallest of blessings.  Some keep a gratitude journal, but for on-the-spot use wherever I am, I just start seeing what I can come up with to be thankful about.  I like to get creative with this one and see if I can come up with some new ones each time.

These are the main tools I use to zap my negative thinking.  Again, it takes practice, checking up on what we're thinking as we go through our day, and then intervening and interrupting as many times as necessary.  In fact, I suppose I should change my sidebar heading to "Tools for Fighting Negative Thinking" because technically we can't stop negative thoughts from coming into our minds.  But eventually we can become so proficient in rapidly displacing them that they are as close to being overcome as possible.

Yes, just as sometimes one has to outsmart and overrule the microwave oven to grab the handle of a cup, we have to outsmart and overrule our thought processes to get a handle on a better life.  What a tragedy to let negative thinking ruin our lives.  Let's not allow it any longer!

(You can read more about overcoming negative thinking on my sidebar.)

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
Psalm 13:2

I will sing the Lord's praise,
for he has been good to me.
Psalm 13:6

Let's not ever give up striving to have the kinds of thoughts God wants us to have,
Bess

I'm joining lovely Charlotte for Spiritual Sunday.  I hope you'll go check out the many fine posts!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

If I Didn't Have to Work Tomorrow, I Might...



- polish more of my inherited silverplate silverware than the few pieces I use for blog photos, 



- spend a couple hours reading Victoria magazines and sipping tea, or stay in bed all morning reading a delicious book,


I haven't read The Enchanted April yet.
(And I see I grabbed a Hoffman magazine, but not Victoria.)


- go through all the family photos and organize them into envelopes so I could see just what I had of who,

My grandmother and mother in the forefront; my grandmother's sister behind them.

- sit at the piano and play through some lovely, soothing music,




- do a little beloved knitting or crochet,

A prayer shawl that's taking me forever to knit!



- wash and iron all of my grandmother's old hankies and find a prettier box in which to keep them, 


The cup is EIT English Ironstone.


- write a nice newsy letter to one or two friends, tucked inside a beautiful card,



But...




Since I do have to work at the office tomorrow, I hope to make the best of it, enjoying the day and doing what little I can to "mine ownself be true" while fulfilling my obligation to perform my duties well.  And that takes practice ... and prayer ... and singing ... and patience ... and knowing oneself.  Knowing that I can't knit a shawl tomorrow, but I can knit a couple rows; I can't read a whole book, but I can read enough to feel satisfied; and most importantly, knowing that I am so very blessed to have a job, one that is a gift from God and suits me well... 




Every now and then, though, a gal's gotta do a little daydreaming!  I think of it as just a pause that refreshes, but just in case:

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10   (KJV)

Hoping your tomorrow is splendid, wherever you are!
Bess

I hope to be linking this post to the following wonderful places/posts. Please go visit them, you'll be glad you did!

Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Kathy at A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Martha at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday
Terri at Artful Affirmations for Tea Cup Tuesday
Pam at A Breath of Fresh Air for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Wanda Lee at Silken Purse for Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Patti & Paula at Ivy & Elephants for What's It Wednesday
Mary at Very Merry Vintage Style for Share the Love Wednesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Thank you, Gracious Ladies!