Wednesday, December 31, 2008

As one year ends and a new begins I'm thankful for the wonderful friendships that I've developed through this strange and wonderful blogland. My prayer for each of you is that as you reflect on 2008 you would remember the blessings and the lessons, but that the hardships would fade away.

That as you begin 2009 there would be joy in your hearts and a skip in your step

and that whatever sorrows have laid waste your heart you would have the courage to lay them at the feet of Him who desires to carry them for you

and above all else that you would begin this new year with Jesus as your guiding Light.

Have a wonderful New Year !!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men.
The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God;
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren,
whatever things are true,
whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just,
whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—
meditate on these things.
Philippians 4: 4-9

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17

Looked at in context, this admonition from James can be taken to mean the existence of two gifts: the very act of giving, and the gift itself. James didn't believe in a passive, laid-back kind of piety. He was an activist. He believed that not only are all the gifts which come our way from God, but the privilege of giving in the name of Jesus is also his gift. I should approach life thankful for the privilege of giving and sharing in the work of God.

Taken from the book: "Today, Lord, I Will"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Peaceful Slumber and Daydreams

Yesterday was the most peaceful time I've had in years on Christmas day. My morning was spent on the couch curled up with puppies and a steaming cup of coffee. I napped...I read...I did a little blog hopping, and spent some time with the Lord.

Hubby scampered off around noon to deliver his mother's gift and didn't return until after 6.
We finished the evening by watching The Fellowship of the Ring. Don't you just love Arwen's gowns?
I'm feeling much better now. Today will be spent puttering about my cottage and drafting up some plans for a new piece of furniture. Santa was gracious enough to fill Hubby's stocking with a plethora of carpentry tools...just in time for a New Years project.
I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Good morning and Merry Christmas!
I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with many Christmas blessings and that whatever you do you have gentle reminders of what this holiday is truly about:
the birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ who came into this world to bridge the gap between God and man.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:22

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Well this is a Fine How do you Do!

Photo courtesy James C. Christensen

By the way, does anyone know where that saying comes from? I certainly don't but I do remember my mother using it all the time.

Well it's Christmas Eve and I'm sitting here bundled up on the couch with a soar throat, runny nose, and other such lovely ailments . Hubby has gone off (unwillingly I might add) to join his siblings for some Christmas Merriment at the ever popular Claim Jumper restaurant. We all decided to be Grinches this year as n one was willing to do the hosting. Quite sad, don't you think? Believe me when I say, "it's a long story that you'd rather not hear." So I won't bore you with the details.
we had to cancel our plans for tomorrow's festivities at my cousins house and will be staying home. While I don't mind spreading my germs around amongst the adults I didn't want my sweet little cousin (who's only two) Sadie coming down with any of my cooties.

So I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve and an even more wonderful Christmas Day!
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A new Pink shoppe in Town

Welcome Ladies to another Pink Saturday. There's a new shoppe in Old Town Orange called The Heavenly Hostess...have you heard about it? They carry the sweetest little aprons around and many of them come in the color pink. If you get a chance to stop by and take a peek they're located on Glassell Street where the Someplace in Time Antiques Mall used to be. And if you're not in the area just click on the name Heavenly Hostess .

I hope you all have a wonderful Pink Weekend. I'm off in search of more pink.
Oh! Don't forget to stop by Beverly's blog for more Pink Posts.

Strolling down Main Street USA

I can hardly believe this month is almost over and that Christmas is next week. Where did the month go? It always seems that the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas simply evaporate into thin air. Poof! It's over and a New Year has begun.

Well, one of my favorite activities during this time of season is to spend some leisure time strolling the streets and walkways of Disneyland with a hot cup of coffee in hand.
I especially love it when it rains.

Have you ever seen the TV series Gilmore Girls? I used to love that show and the town that it was filmed in... Stars Hollow (really just the back lot at Universal), but they made it look like a genuine turn of the century town complete with a Gazebo in the town square. That's where I've always wanted to live...Stars Hollow. What does strolling the streets of Disneyland have to do with Stars Hollow you might be wondering. Well, Main street was designed after these small towns that dotted the landscape here in American and this is the closest that I will ever come to living in one of those sleepy little towns that time has forgotten. So every chance I get I wander and window shop and dream about sweet things and simpler times.

Monday when I was there the skies were very moody with grey and white clouds.
The castle looked more like a painting from a fairy tale then an actual three-dimensional building. I don't think I've ever seen it in this light before.

The Grand Emporium with it's Mansard Style roof and widows walk above. Did you know that when this style of architecture was popular homeowners were taxed according to the square footage of the exterior of the house? The tax assessor would measure the base of the structure and count up to determine the square footage of the house while the homeowners would say that the upper portion was attic space. You couldn't be taxed for attic space... clever don't you think?

Wednesday night I met one of my cousins and her daughter at the park for a few hours. It was pouring down rain and the park was nearly empty. Around 5:30 they dimmed all the lights on Main Street and lit Sleeping Beauty's Castle. My picture hardly does it justice, but it was so beautiful with all the drippy blues, lavenders, and white icicle lights.
By the time we left we were soaking wet, but it was so much fun!

Candied apples were being made in the candy shoppe.

Stands and stands of twisted lollipops...

Even the plastic candy looked tasty.

I always love the window displays of the old coffee house on the corner. It's always filled with old apothecary jars and tin type pictures.

I have a fascination with signage and old marques. Isn't that coffee mug just wonderful? It would be fun to have a miniature one in my kitchen...hum...hubby loves to carve things out of wood. Maybe he could make me one in between all his other upcoming projects that he doesn't know about...sshh, don't tell!

This is my absolute favorite widow display in the park and the inspiration for what I want to do in my guest room. I love the greens and pinks with the dark woods and creamy fabrics. Whenever I wander Main Street I always stop and take in the beauty of this window.
I am a true Victorian at heart and find it difficult to change.

I always shrink the size of my pictures before downloading them, but I think if you click on the image you may be able to see the textured wallpaper.

More of the wonderful signs overhead.

Did you know that Disneyland has Reindeer? Every December they show up with Santa and frolic about in the paddock. When I stopped to visit they were busy eating and didn't bother to say hi. There was one that was so sweet with a big flat nose and long spindly antlers. He reminded me somehow of a bunny rabbit I once owned named Poppet. I think it was the goofy blank stare in his eyes as he stood there eating his hay. The rain was coming down so hard that I couldn't take a picture.
Well today is my birthday and I have much to get done so I best be going, but I hope you all have a wonderful stress free day and that the Lord sends a special blessing your way.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I wasn't about to show you my stockings and then my darling friend Fairmaiden asked so sweetly that I couldn't resist. I have to admit it's somewhat embarrassing owning stockings so large and they're not necessarily the prettiest either, but they are huge and you can load them up with an assortment of wonderful and magical gifts. The one above belongs to sweet hubby.

Hubby and I started dating around the beginning of September so when Christmas rolled around and we were still dating we started sharing childhood Christmas memories. I was sharing with him how opening my stocking Christmas morning was my favorite part of the holiday. My mom always put the best gifts in each of our stockings and in my excitement I always crept out of bed in the middle of the night to see what was inside. Then I would peek in my sisters too...oops!
Then hubby started sharing his stocking stories. He and his siblings would pull a sock out of their drawer and hang it up on the fireplace mantle. Then Christmas morning they would all go screaming out of their beds to see what was in their socks. SOCKS THAT THEY WORE ON THEIR FEET! My hubby had no Christmas stocking...isn't that sad? He laughed about eating hard candy that had sock fuzz on it. Yuck! I'm a finicky girl and surly would have thrown those candies away!
So that year I made him a stocking and filled it with all sorts of fun and wacky gifts.
The stocking above is mine. I've been wanting to make a new one with a crazy quilt toe and vintage lace, but I haven't been unable to find the time. Maybe I'll start in July.

This was my original stocking ...the one my mother said belonged to a greedy child. I was seventeen when I stitched it together on my little'ol sewing machine and I thought it was quite clever with its bright red stripes. Now I look at it and think, "what were you thinking?" It has been passed down to the bunnies and the birds and the puppies who all in their turn have enjoyed crawling or hopping into the top and finding all sorts of magical toys and treats.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9:2-7

I love this scripture because it reminds me so much of the true meaning of Christmas, but it also reminds me that one day (hopefully soon) our God will reign in Righteousness. As the Jewish people always say, "wouldn't now be a good time for our Messiah to come (again)?"

For more ABC's of the Word visit Pam @ Grey Like Snuffie and help us stir up God's Word in our hearts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Charlie Brown Christmas

It's Tuesday night and I still haven't finished my Christmas decorating. I just never seem to have time between work, laundry, puppies, and hubby. Maybe I'll finish this weekend just in time for Christmas, but then Christmas has been canceled at Brambleberry Cottage. Anyway I thought I would share a bit of my Christmas decor.
I usually don't like to have Santa's out for Christmas because it's really not about him but, when I saw the pattern for this one with the sparkle in his eye I couldn't resist. He was just too cute. I left one afternoon and by the time I came home my amazing talented hubby had cut him out and glued him up. The only problem is he's so big that I never know what to do with him.

In the dining room sits an old 1860's baker's rack that I'm forever playing with. Hubby thinks it looks like a strange laboratory with all the glass jars filled with silver and gold balls. I love the way it sparkles.

Here's our sweet little Charlie Brown tree propped up in the plaster urn. It's so small and pathetic that it reminds me of the one Snoopy picked out. Every tree needs to be loved no matter how small, don't you agree?
It's proudly displayed on the dining room table behind the couch with a collection of faux gifts.

Everywhere you look there are sweet little gingerbread men and girls. Growing up I lived across the street from a woman named Rose. I of course called her Mrs. blank but in my heart I longed to called her Toots (her nick name was Tootsie).
Every year all the neighbor kids would gather at her house to make Christmas cookies that were used to decorate their tree. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of times spent in her kitchen as she cooked and created so many delicious things.

Our little cottage is so small that there's nowhere to put everything so Christmas is simply added to what's already there. Can you see the little porcelain sugar cookie
peeking out from the tea cup? You may be wondering what that other thing is next to old brass door knob from the turn of the century. Strange I know.

I bought these darling pink stars while in Jacksonville and haven't found a place to display them.
I was thinking about stringing them from ribbon and wrapping them over the arms of the 1910 light fixture that hangs in the dining room. Its looking sad and unadorned. Very unChristmasy.

Shiny things under glass jars that reflect the light so beautifully.

Ooh! Happy Birthday to me! I saw this while hunting for shiny things and decided it would be perfect above the bakers rack. Sweet hubby granted my wish and let me buy it for my birthday present...lucky me!

More shiny things...

And still more shiny things...

And more sugar cookies.
I wouldn't dare show you my stockings. They're so HUGE that they have to be hung by doorknobs instead of the chimney with care. My mother once said that they must belonged to greedy children :).
Well! All I have to say is "no comment."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Jacksonville


There's nothing prettier then a little Victorian church set against a deep blue sky.

A few posts back I was telling you about the wagon we rode around town in while singing Christmas carols. Well this is it minus the cover, but if you look at the picture below you can see the skeletal structure that supports the canvas.

That was our driver who was filled with interesting facts about Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. Isn't the wagon so festive with all its Christmas greenery?

Here are the Dickens carolers who accompanied us on our tour of the town. The old guy in the middle of the two women...he was funny and sang several carols that he had cleverly re-written the lyrics to. I just can't remember what they were.

Here they are again. What a dream job that must be. To the right of them was a small fire where they roasted chestnuts.

These two guys are Kurt and Tom. Aren't they gorgeous! They're Belgium Horses from where else, but Belgium. Each weighs roughly two thousand pounds and lack the heavy long hair that you see on a Clydesdale. I think they're a wee bit smaller too. They were so sweet and allowed all the children to nuzzle them and tug on their forelocks when they could be reached.
We had such a relaxing time being pulled around by these two guys and were able to see part of the town we hadn't explored yet and forgot to go back to I might add. Next time.

I felt a tinge of sadness when it came time to pack and head for home. There's just something about these little Victorian towns that tug at the strings of my heart, but I don't know if it's the beautiful architectural details of each structure or if it's the idea of being able to wear layers of petticoats beneath beautiful long gowns and attend balls in lovely mansions. Maybe it's the idea of living in a time when things were slower and simpler where men were men and women were women and each one knew their role in life. Maybe it's just that deep down I'm a hopeless romantic or maybe, just maybe, I will never know why I love these little towns so.
I woke this morning to the sound of pouring rain beating against the window panes. I can't remember how long its been since its rained this hard or for such a long period of time. Usually when the weather man says, "There's rain in the forecast" it rains everywhere but here. On our drive to Jacksonville I was shocked at how low the lakes and reservoirs were.

As I lay there in bed listening to the rain beat against the windows I was reminded of one of my favorite scriptures and thought I would share it with you. It's from Isaiah 55: 9-11

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “ For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

I hope you all have a wonderful rain soaked day, but not too soaked.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

Mark 6: 31

In some ways this passage breaks my heart, for it exposes for all to see, an ailment that afflicts too many of us Christians. Somehow we can't seem to find time for sufficient fellowship with God and meditation on the Word; we shove communion with our heavenly Father to a back burner. As a result, hearts are hardened for lack of spiritual rest. A man who rarely takes time to breathe deeply-or who lives in an atmosphere where it is unsafe to breathe deeply-is not a truly healthy man. And the same is true in the spiritual realm. Just as the physical man must learn habitually to breathe deeply, so the one who seeks spiritual health must take time to make deep spiritual breathing a habit. While I cannot always "come away" to a lonely place physically, I can foster in my life a spiritual atmosphere that will favor fellowship with the Father.

Taken from the Book: "Today, LORD, I Will"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gingerbread Cottages

White are the far-off plains, and white
The fading forests grow;
The wind dies out along the height
And denser still the snow,
A gathering weight on roof and tree
Falls down scarce audibly.

The road before me smooths and fills
Apace, and all about
The fences dwindle, and the hills
Are blotted slowly out;
The naked trees loom spectrally
Into the dim white sky.

The meadows and far-sheeted streams
Lie still without a sound;
Like some soft minister of dreams
The snow-fall hoods me round;
In wood and water, earth and air,
A silence everywhere.

Save when Some farmer's sleigh, urged on,
With rustling runner and sharp bells,
Swings by me and is gone;
Or from the empty waste I hear
A sound remote and clear;

The barking of a dog, or call
To cattle, sharply pealed,
Borne, echoing from some wayside stall
Or barnyard far afield;

Then all is silent and the snow falls
Settling soft and slow
The evening deepens and the grey
Folds closer earth and sky
The world seems shrouded, far away.

Its noises sleep, and I as secret as
Yon buried stream plod dumbly on and dream.

"Snow" Music and Lyrics:
Loreena McKennitt

Cottages of the Floral Park
Santa Ana, CA.