Friday, December 31, 2010

‘Twas the week before Christmas and…


Depoe Bay, Oregon

This photo was taken the week before Christmas from our timeshare unit.  I woke up to this sight out my bedroom sliding doors.  From my bed we appeared to be floating on the ocean; no land in sight.  Standing in the kitchen and living room it was the same: the ocean surrounded us as though we were in a luxurious cruise ship.10-12-20-14-35-44H We made plans 13 months ago to have the week before Christmas at the beach, and it was harder to get away than I expected, but we took our international students, and one daughter came over for a few days.  I was afraid the boys would be bored which is almost unimaginable for me and DH since we both love to read so much and can lose track of mealtimes and whole days at the beach.  But the boys aren’t that easily entertained.  However, with their laptops and Netbook and the rec center and swimming pool and workout room they were satisfied.  We made them get up to walk into town with us one morning just to see what the little place was like.10-12-23-17-45-50H

Our typical beach behaviors^ 10-12-23-17-47-23H Alan

10-12-23-17-47-48H  John10-12-20-21-35-02H 10-12-21-12-03-08H

Eating breakfast oceanside


Walking into town

10-12-21-12-55-02R 10-12-21-12-55-13R 10-12-21-13-02-27R  10-12-21-13-11-52R 10-12-21-13-15-27H

Buying salt water taffy for all the Christmas stockings—one of each kind for 10 stockings

  10-12-21-13-23-14H10-12-21-13-16-32R  The Depoe Bay bridge over the channel into the harbor10-12-21-13-17-25R


Whales were migrating south but were 3 to 5 miles out so we didn’t spot any this time.


The shops along the waterfront 10-12-21-13-52-12H  Inn at Whale Point  10-12-22-08-59-34H  10-12-22-09-00-02H 10-12-22-09-00-19H 10-12-22-09-00-30H 10-12-22-09-00-42H  10-12-22-09-01-41HSailing into the rainbow


10-12-22-09-02-33HFrom our deck     10-12-22-10-55-12H  10-12-22-11-39-43R 10-12-22-11-40-08R

10-12-22-11-42-13ROur kids had decided that our gift exchange should be handmade items, so I took my machine along and spent several days sewing flannel seasonal pillowcase sets for  them:



10-12-24-09-21-51HAnd of course I was eager to make something for my little grandson Noah; it’s a tubular pillow that keeps him propped on his side for sleeping.  He was born December 15 at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, and only 3 lbs, 10 ozs.  We are so grateful that he was able to breathe on his own and is doing very well. He is a whopping 4 lbs. now!  10-12-23-15-38-41H  

This past year has had some landmarks for me.  I turned 60 in May as did all my high school buddies and I became a grandmother for the first time in December.  I am filled with longing to make both the experience of being a senior citizen (oh, how can that be?) and grandmotherhood rich, fulfilling, and productive.  So many things to do/be!  Do/be/do/be/do.  (Has a certain ring, doesn’t it?)

It is New Year’s Eve now, 10 PM, and soon the calendar will turn a page to a clean start for us all.  I wonder what your hopes and dreams are.  I have many, but I’m not going to say them out loud now and thus be accountable to you all.  Mostly I am going to practice being an fabulous senior citizen and an adoring Grandma!

Happy New Year to you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where we’ve come from, as Boomers

   sunset2 Recently my cousin Jim wrote a letter to my brother Steve which was on Facebook.  I was so impressed with Jim’s recounting of the formative days of our lives as the Baby Boomer generation.  When you see history compressed like this it is quite impacting, at least to me.  Our culture has certainly changed rapidly in our lifetime.  I am trying to keep up and not be an old fuddy-duddy.  I want to be culturally relevant and yet maintain standards which some would call old-fashioned.  I think I’m becoming my own Grandma.

Jim said,

“I just found a picture in our archives with Jack and I wearing the same jackets and bow ties. It was dated 1960 , just 14 years after World War II, so I was 9 and Jack was 7-1/2. We look like innocent little men in that shot. It was the brief peaceful period of our lives before the perfect storm arrived in the mid 1960's. Then began a 10 year explosion of powerful music, civil unrest, and cultural change, driven by the upheavals of America at the time, that changed the country forever. The fear of the nuclear bomb we and our enemies have that could obliterate each other off the face of the earth. The assassinations of our president John F. Kennedy,his brother Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. The drug culture, Woodstock, pot, LSD, Timothy Leary, antidisestablishmentarianism , Patty Hearst and the SDS, The Weatherman- a subversive underground violent protest group, conscience objectors to the war, Charles Manson, bombings by violent protest groups and murders of police officers, hippies, the never ending Vietnam war- the most divisive and hated war of our lifetimes and unwarranted anger towards servicemen who risked their lives for us, major riots in the streets, sit-ins, the civil rights movement, protest songs and movements, the black panthers, the pill, communes ,the massive changing of social, sexual, and cultural mores, free love, do your own thing, tune in and drop out, if it feels good do it, country wide civil unrest, The Watts riots, the killings of 4 students at Kent State by the national guard, Watergate and President Richard "I am not a crook" Nixon, who resigned the office of President in disgrace, the loss of faith and trust in our own government. All of this happened by 1969 and are just highlights off the top of my head.”

I wonder what all this stress has produced in us. IMG_1364 My brothers and me, born 1950, 1951, 1952.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Giving Thanks Continually

 Dear Friends,    

This is a little unusual for me to do, so I must explain myself.  I went to the annual Thanksgiving service at our church—it is always a wonderful, joyful time—and one of the men who prayed offered this prayer.  In our denomination, we don’t usually have prayers written out, and never recited, but this was so thoughtful (and long) that I thought there might be some notes.  And there were!  My brother, Duncan, prayed this prayer and very kindly sent me a copy of his notes which he filled in at my request.  I share it with you not to honor Duncan (though I highly esteem him) but to share the richness of thought that it represents. I do wish you could have heard his slow, thoughtful, quiet voice as he spoke to God.  As we move from the “Thanksgiving Season” to the “Christmas Season” I encourage us all to continue in the spirit of giving thanks. 

10-05-07-18-43-09HLord God, we come to You in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Creator and Sustainer of life and all we know.  We thank You for creating us in Your image, providing us with worth and meaning.  We thank You that You saw creation, and it was good, and even though now marred by sin, it is still good.  Thank You for satisfying all of our earthly needs, which are a reflection of our real need of You.

Thank You for the family of mankind, for those who sacrifice for our physical safety and well-being - armed service, police, fire, volunteers, donors, contributors - for those who protect and enrich our lives we give thanks to You.

Lord, thank You for our earthly family and those who sacrifice for our human development - for those who live with us and bear the burden of our attitudes, anger, frustration, and wrong choices, and do so graciously with love and acceptance and loyalty, we thank You.  Thank You that Your heart is for families, to "... turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the children to the fathers."  Father, thank you for this glimpse of our relationship with You.

Holy God, we thank You for the family of God - those who sacrifice for our spiritual life - for shepherds, teachers, those who encourage, counsel, and support.  Lord, thank You for those who pray!  And Lord, we miss those too infirm to be with us today, and ask You to please grant them a special measure of grace and Your Spirit and closeness to You.  For such a cloud of witnesses, Lord, we offer thanksgiving.

And thank You for the even greater witness of Your Word and Spirit, for Your Word is Truth, and Your Spirit guides us into all Truth.  Thank You for Scripture that leads us to You.

Father, thank You for the indescribable Gift of Your Beloved Son, in Whom You are well pleased.  Yours was the consummate sacrifice.  Thank You for His utter obedience and devotion to fulfilling Scripture and carrying out Your will.  And thank You that this was Your kind intention, crafted before time,  carried out at Calvary, and that Your commitment to our best good is as life-giving today as it has always been. 

Lord, thank You for the promises in Your Word that give us a future and a hope, and we eagerly anticipate being together with You.  Thank You for including us in what You are doing, for indeed "... our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ."

Father, thank You for Who You are:  Faithful and True, Righteous, Just, Compassionate, Merciful, Changeless, Sovereign Judge, Caring for the needy - thank You that You are not vengeful toward Your creation who rejected You, but holding out loving arms to embrace any who turn to You.

Lord, thank You for teaching us to be thankful.  We offer thanksgiving in the Name of Your Beloved Son, our only Savior and King, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Luncheon in Fairyland

My Thursday morning Bible study group had its Christmas luncheon in the home of my friend, Janis.  She lives about an hour north and commutes to the study from her country home.  We all piled into vans and went to her house because, as you will see, it is rather spectacular at Christmas.

I know there are at least 12 trees decorated in different themes.  There are wreaths in 12 places, maybe more.  Some of them are real show stoppers!



But it’s not just a wreath because sitting under it on a pedestal is a darling Santa /elf.  Doesn’t he have a wonderful face?:


But, to start at the beginning, as you come in giant doors you enter a hallway lined with scenes and vignettes like the shop windows at Christmas. 


This is a close-up of the sleigh of elves (above right):                    (Elves designed by Mark Roberts)10-12-02-12-45-13H


This lovely little tree is covered with Swarovski Christmas Crystal annual ornaments.  Just the tree skirt alone is velvety luxurious in a frosty forest pattern.  The Jack Frost fairy (Katherine’s Collection) is a new find this year:


In the “formal” living room there is a beautiful wreath with Santa, as I showed you in the first three pictures.  The tree is covered with hundreds of Christopher Radko ornaments, the blown glass ornaments of an earlier era which have come back primarily through Radko’s efforts.


Here is a picture of Janis talking to us about her collection:


A detail from that tree (I’m telling you, the ornaments are stacked six deep):


   On the coffee table in the living room a majestic reindeer pulls a sleigh loaded with goodies and elves:    (Katherine’s Collection sleigh and reindeer with 3 Mark Roberts fairies) 10-12-02-12-32-00H

There are two “contemporary” trees which are her artist series (done by Patricia Breen), featuring paint brushes and paint pots, ornaments in the style and colors of Van Gogh, Picasso, etc.


    This Santa has a Van Gogh-esque sunflower design:10-12-02-12-29-21H Moving along to the guest bedroom, we find a luscious wreath over the four poster:


and a Willow Tree nativity in the window sill:



In the kitchen there are bits of whimsy all around.  I didn’t take pictures of everything because, after all, I was a luncheon guest.  But I took lots because I was wanting to share this with my blog friends.

One tree (designed by Patience Brewster) is decorated with figures representing the 12 days of Christmas.  Below you see the 8 maids-a-milking:



10-12-02-13-10-42HThe Nutcracker Suite, above.(Patience Brewster design)

The 12 Days of Christmas plates in the hutch with a gum drop village in front:


 10-12-02-11-13-53H  The kitchen table ^with matching linens to the plates (Williams Sonoma)

In the family room the Disney tree with a train running around its base:


A close-up:10-12-02-11-14-59H Along the fireplace mantle runs the “Christmas in the City Village” (from Dept. 56).  Janis’ husband made the mountain backdrop for her:




After lunch we sang carols in the family room and heard a couple delightful Christmas tales which inspired us to extend kindnesses (and not just presents) throughout this season.  Two great Christmas tales are:

A Cup of Christmas Tea by Tom Hegg, illustrated by Warren Hanson 

An Unexpected Christmas Guest by Alda Ellis 

These were wonderful stories to hear!  10-12-02-12-50-54H  Moving down the hall, we find a swag laden with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves ^

In the Master Bedroom a tree decorated with fancy ladies and frou-frou reigns. Janis calls this “The Fabulous Femme” tree:10-12-02-11-18-28H A detail: (Radko and De Carlini ornaments, free blown in Italy)


Here is the tree mirrored in Janis’ armoire.  Last year, one of the ladies said her bedroom was “better than Versailles”!


In the study, Janis has moved her Cowboy/Western themed ornaments. 


They are accompanied by very western-outfitted Santas who are armed with snowshoes and all the necessary gear to get the job done.  This particular tree has a tree skirt that I love, love, love.  It is red and brown plaids and ticking with embroidered winter leaves and berries.  I guess I really am a country girl!



This massive desk was designed by Janis based on several things she’d seen.  It has just been finished.  Atop it are her collection of Kachina nutcrackers which reflect her American Indian heritage.



Other tidbits abound:

10-12-02-12-26-02H   Birds, music, a Patriotic Tree (below) and detail:

10-12-02-12-23-15H 10-12-02-12-23-22H  Two trees with Charity ornaments, i.e., ornaments sold to support special causes (ornaments by Radko and Joy to the World)10-12-02-12-24-20H 

Cases of particular collections: (top shelf is Patricia Breen patriotic ornaments, the next two shelves are Radko and her most prized pieces)10-12-02-11-16-37H   

    A Patience Brewster Music Tree filled with her charming and fanciful creatures:10-12-02-11-16-02H A darling detail:


I am going to Janis’ again next week for her annual open house, and I expect I shall see many more things that I didn’t notice this last time! 

Thank you to Janis, my friend since 8th grade, for allowing me to share her home with you.  She is lovely and generous.  (I have to tell you something, though.  For years Janis lived in a very small home –like 765 sq. ft.-- and couldn’t display all these things at once.  She just used a few things each year.  I had no idea what was going on in her warehouse!  So a few years ago when they moved to this country home it was a huge revelation to me what she’d been hiding away all these years!  I had no idea!  She is really enjoying being together with her treasures and sharing them, too.)

I wish you all happy decorating as you enjoy this season of delights.