Monday, January 30, 2012

Grandmother Treats on Etsy

   All I know is that if I had a big blank wall ANYWHERE, I would have to put one of these wall decals in my home. I raised three sons and a daughter and sometimes I felt like I lived in a house full of monkeys. Besides, seeing this on a daily basis would certainly make me smile. Could there possibly be a better rationale for a purchase than that?
Simple Shapes has a great touch for the graphics. Check her out!
   And all the way from Jolly Ole England, I bring you the incomparable Belle and Boo. I have ordered from these delightful young ladies before, and trust me, they never disappoint. Isn't this coat the cutest thing you have EVER seen?!
Boo Crimson Coat
You better act quickly, they are running a 30% off sale on all winter items. It's too good to pass up!

    And if you don't want clothes or art prints, Belle and Boo have a wonderfully priced birthday and stationary line. Here is one of the featured items from their blog:
courtesy of

Simply charming!
     And from the land down under, comes this precious little vintage chenille Babushka doll. No button eyes to worry about, it's a wonderful child-friendly toy just waiting for a cuddle!
Laura Plush Vintage Chenille Babushka doll

     And this little gem is perfect for those burgeoning toddler imaginations. I spent a lot of time with my children pouring beans and rice into stainless steel cups...this looks like so much more fun!
Applenamos has a whole collection of handmade wooden toys based on the
Waldorf and Montessori principles of education. 

     Finally, I am also all agog over these darling little playhouse sets. Lizzie Boutique has hit a homerun with all four of her options, each with a different story and child-friendly felt characters!
Perfect for storytime with a toddler and a grandmother!

Happy Shopping or Happy Looking, take your pick on Etsy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wedding Treats from Etsy

    Wedding bells are about to ring at our house. I cannot help but be excited, and have been having some fun wandering around Etsy as I admire their marvelous collection of charming wedding wares. Take a look at some of the special delights I found!   
Brooch Bouquet Crystal Brooch Custom Made Rhinestone Brooch
You can find this gorgeous brooch bouquet (perfect for a vintage wedding) here:
Valentine Personalized Ribbon - DECORATIVE Ball - Personalized gift i love you wedding decoration valentine decorations Valentines Day
Can't you just see this romantic touch of whimsy from The Lonely Heart
woven in and out of the table decor where the Bride and Groom will sit?!
Woodland moss-8" Moss covered letter-Wedding Table decor-Woodland Forest Party-Cake Topper
Bring the outdoors in or add a woodland touch with these moss-covered letters.
You can purchase them at Teresa's Plants and More!
It would be fun for the wedding couple to pull these out and
dine with them at every anniversary!
Bella Jackson Studios can stamp whatever you
wish on vintage silverware, so get creative!
Blue Birds Vintage Fabric Floral Birds
Don't you find this modern interpretation of the traditional "love birds" utterly charming?
I wanted to purchase one of nearly everything in Cotton Bird's Store

PRINTABLE VINTAGE FLOURISH - 200 Personalized Place Cards - Gift/Favor Tags, Cupcake Flags, Labels, Stickers, Thank You/Note Cards
And these place cards look just like letterpress! What's not to love!
Find them at the Scarlet Sage Tree!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Pair of Christmas Stars

    I am finally getting around to posting a few pictures from Christmas. I am somewhat hampered by the fact that my computer left click button is no longer functioning which means that I cannot successfully crop photos. However, I am confident that there is a way to overcome this short of going out and purchasing a mouse, but I haven't figured this out yet...but I digress.
   I am enclosing some pictures of the two stars of Christmas. Of course I am referring to the two little girls who shine brightly in our hearts and bring us continual joy, even when they are cranky, grumpy, or out of sorts. Here's to Little One and Little Two and the wonder of Christmas as reflected in their eyes!
Little Two is exploring all of the toys that Nonna and Pappy
keep under the tree....just for her and Little One!

Little One and Little Two working their first puzzle
together; Little Two wants to eat the pieces.
 Little One is very patient with her!
Cousins helping each other....
Little One is thinking,
"My, my, what precious cheeks Little Two has..."
We all agree!

Nonna reading a book to her favorite girls
It's a tradition that everyone has to come "down the stairs" to see
what Santa this case, it is "Grand Santa."
Sharing a little Christmas love...
Eldest son with new Golden Retriever puppy:
 Miss Merry Love Christmas,
otherwise known as Lovey.
What was I thinking?
Do I need a little more chaos in my life?!!
The big children who still want Santa to come visit them!
Which, of course, he does!

Monday, January 23, 2012

More Christmas Love

I am blessed to know a young woman who is an amazing graphic designer, the inimitable Emily Holmes, purveyor of Emily O. Holmes Custom Paper Lovelies. She has designed our Christmas card the past two years, and I could not have been more pleased. She will also be doing the rehearsal dinner invitations for the upcoming wedding of our eldest son. In addition to being a delightful person, Emily is creative, tireless, prompt, and can work within a budget. In short, she is a dream! 
    Take a look a some of her beautiful design work, followed by a peek at our Christmas card!

frames and thank you notes for sale! custom order the verse or quote!

 See what I mean?!!!
            And if you give her a call, tell her I sent you!

all graphics are the work of Emily O. Holmes (

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Christmas Redux

    I barely got some (and some not at all) of my Christmas cards in the mail this year. I was not able to go my typical extra mile to put on my over-the-top, grandiose and glorious Christmas celebration that I always somehow end up doing. It was instead a time to travel the week before Christmas to bury a loved one. Hence, out of necessity, every plan was adjusted, some things were cancelled, and everything was scaled back. And to my surprise, I found that I not only survived the necessary adjustment, I discovered that I was blessed by it. For one week after Christmas I was flat on my back with the most horrific flu. It knocked me down and out for ten whole days. Next year you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be getting a flu shot. I also had a lot of time to reflect during those ten days, and I determined that I will gladly be continuing some form of a scaled back and scaled down Christmas. I am learning in my old age that I don't have to kill myself propagating some vision of Christmas that apparently only exists in my head.  It took a funeral and the flu for the good Lord to get it through this thick skull of mine. Simpler is better. Read that again and say it aloud if you struggle from the same delusional notions of Christmas that I did: Simpler is better. It's not more holy, it's just better. Remember that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. I am learning what this means. And thankfully, God is oh so very good to this incredibly stubborn and oft times, dense, woman.
  For me Christmas began with the Ish Girls' Bible Study Christmas celebration of giving our "Favorite Things." It was sweet and tender and lovely as each of us felt the joy and love of the others and of the Christ as we gifted one another with our favorite things.
     Here we are in all of our joy and silliness!

Obviously, some of us are sillier than others!

Can you tell that I keep my house too cold for these young lovelies?!

     It was a precious day with precious women who continually inspire me with their love for the Lord, their love for their families, and their commitment and service to their communities.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Magnificent Obsession

   Sigh...the long awaited debut of Season 2 of Masterpiece Theatre's famed Downton Abbey has finally arrived. So these days I am living Sunday to Sunday as I immerse myself once again in this fascinating commentary on life in England just before and during the onset of the Great World War. History buffs will find themselves just as fascinated as those who enjoy the counterplay and commentary on the outmoded caste system of class that once dominated British life. And what's not to love about the changing fashions and the glorious sets which give us all a glimpse into what is sure to seem a fantasy world. Here's to Downton Abbey. If you have not yet made its acquaintance, I urge you to do so! Warning: it could be hazardous to your Sunday evenings and your Monday mornings and all of your daydreams, musings and random ponderings throughout the week! And while you decide, here are some lovelies upon which you may feast your, my, that sounds terribly British, does it not?!
The cast, the house and the Golden Globe!
Dame Maggie Smith steals every scene in which she appears...even when all she does is raise an eyebrow!
A veritable masterpiece of fashion design!
Looks just like one of my intimate dinner parties at home...
Nobody does a uniform better than the British...don't you agree?!
Fashion forward Lady Sybil bares the ankle in her harem...gasp...pants!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Updated Book List from The Mom

I have been second guessing myself about this update for about a year. If I add another book, does it mean I have to remove one? What angst that thought inspires! My favorite books are like old friends. They hang around in my head for a long time and are sometimes by best companions. As I have said before, the List is almost akin to a living entity for me; it is in a fluid state, a state of flux, and I am constantly sifting through various books to see if they are worth making it onto "The List." So, please bear with me; I will probably find myself continuously editing this, or at least adding to it. I am already asking myself, "Why, oh why, did I ever commit to listing my 100 favorite books?" They are not in order of preference, because on any given day, the order can change.
   A special note: I am not listing the Bible on my list because it is THE BOOK, the one book that has ultimately changed my life more than any other, and I believe with all of my heart that it was not written by mortal men, but is the inspired Word of God. The Bible therefore has a separate category all its own so that is why you will not find it on the list, even though I am tempted to put the Psalms of David, Job, Romans, and Revelation as four of the books on my list...

Again, in no particular order:
My Top Twenty-Five  -- Give or Take a Few
  1. East of Eden ~ John Steinbeck
  2. Brothers Karamazov ~ Dostoevsky 
  3. Chronicles of Narnia ~ C.S. Lewis
  4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. The Fountainhead ~ Ayn Rand
  6. Absalom, Absalom and Go Down Moses ~ William Faulkner
  7. The Great Divorce ~ C.S. Lewis
  8. Night ~ Elie Wiesel
  9. King Lear, Hamlet, Twelfth Night ~ William Shakespeare
  10. The Man Who Was Thursday ~ G.K. Chesterton
  11. All the King's Men ~ Robert Penn Warren
  12. Shadow of the Wind ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  13. One Thousand Gifts ~ Ann Voskamp
  14. Frederick Buechner's Autobiographical Series: Telling Secrets, Sacred Journey, Now and Then
  15. Can You Drink the Cup and The Wounded Healer ~ Henry Nouwen 
  16. The Scent of Water ~ Elizabeth Goudge 
  17. Anna Karenina ~ Leo Tolstoy
  18. Hyperspace ~ Michio Kaku
  19. Wise Blood ~ Flannery O'Connor
  20. The Sparrow ~ Mary Doria Russell
  21. Tale of Two Cities ~ Charles Dickens
  22. Pride and Prejudice ~ Jane Austen
  23. The Glass Castle ~ Jeanette Walls
  24. Prince of Tides, Beach Music, South of Broad ~ Pat Conroy
  25. Cry the Beloved Country ~ Alan Paton
  26. Out of Africa ~ Isak Dinesin
  27. The Dispossessed ~ Ursula Le Guin
  28. The Dune Series ~ Frank Herbert         
The BEST of the REST, at least according to The Mom...
  • Pensees ~ Blaise Pascal
  • Seven Storey Mountain ~ Thomas Merton  
  • Ulysses ~ James Joyce
  • Paradise Lost ~ Milton
  • Odyssey ~ Homer
  • Inferno ~ Dante
  • The Art of the Commonplace ~ Wendell Berry
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek ~ Annie Dillard
  • To Kill A Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee 
  • The Tapestry ~ Edith Schaeffer
  • Peace Like a River ~ Leif Enger 
  • Ragamuffin Gospel ~ Brennan Manning
  • A Wrinkle in Time ~ Madeleine L'Engle
  • Winston Churchill, The Last Lion Multi-volume Biography ~  William Manchester
  • Of Human Bondage ~ Somerset Maugham
  • Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born ~ Bruce Feiler
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran ~ Azir Nafisi 
  • Anne of Green Gables (Series) ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Dark Is Rising (Series) ~ Susan Cooper
  • The Children of Men ~ P.D. James
  • The Collected Poems of Robert Frost ~ Robert Frost 
  • Exodus ~ Leon Uris
  • Jane Eyre ~ Charlotte Bronte
  • Wuthering Heights ~ Emily Bronte
  • Age of Innocence ~ Edith Wharton
  • Huckleberry Finn ~ Mark Twain
  • On Walden Pond ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • Lost Horizon ~ James Hilton
  • Tess D'Urbervilles ~ Thomas Hardy
  • Contact ~ Carl Sagan
  • Candide ~ Voltaire
  • The Road ~ Cormac McCarthy
  • Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns ~ Khalid Hosseini 
  • House of Sand and Fog ~ Andre Dubus 
  • A Lesson Before Dying ~ Ernest Gaines
  • The Awakening ~ Kate Chopin
  • Beloved ~ Toni Morrison
  • Time Traveler's Wife ~ Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Historian ~ Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Help ~ Kathryn Stockett
  • Edgar Sawtelle ~ David Wroblewski
  • Integrity ~ Stephen Carter
  • Redeeming Love ~ Francine Rivers
  • Catcher in the Rye ~ J.D. Salinger
  • 1984 ~ George Orwell 
  • The Stranger ~ Albert Camus
  • Metaphorphosis ~ Franz Kafka
  • Faust ~ Goethe 
  • Doctor Zhivago ~ Boris Pasternak
  • Mists of Avalon ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Le Morte D'Arthur ~ Thomas Malory
  • Bullfinch's Mythology ~ Bullfinch
  • The Constant Gardener ~ John Le Carre
  • Hunger Games ~ Suzanne Collins
  • A Severe Mercy ~ Sheldon Vanauken
  • Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret ~ Howard Taylor
  • Amy Charmichael: A Chance to Die ~ Elizabeth Eliot
  • Christy ~ Catherine Marshall
  • Catherine the Great ~ Henri Troyat
  • Ten Little Indians, et al ~ Agatha Christie
  • Works of Edgar Allen Poe ~ Edgar Allen Poe
  • The Civil War ~ Bruce Catton 
  • Band of Brothers ~ Stephen Ambrose
  • Lonesome Dove Series ~ Larry McMurtry
  • Snow Falling on Cedars ~ David Guterson
  • Joy Luck Club ~ Amy Tan
  • Memoirs of a Geisha ~ Arthur Golden
  • Shogun ~ James Clavell
  • Pillars of the Earth ~ Ken Follett
My Favorite Books I Read as a Child and Loved Again When I Re-Read Them as an Adult
  • Winnie the Pooh ~ A.A. Milne
  • Black Beauty ~ Anna Sewell
  • Little Women ~ Louisa May Alcott
  • Black Stallion Series ~ Walter Farley
  • Last of the Mohicans ~ James Fenimore Cooper 
  • The Velveteen Rabbit ~ Margery Williams 
  • The Secret Garden ~ Frances Hodgson BurnettE.
  • Where the Wild Things Are ~ Maurice Sendak
  • Heidi ~ Johannah Spyri
  • Treasure Island ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Peter Pan ~ J.M. Barrie
  • The Sword in the Stone ~ T.H. White
  • Charlotte's Web ~ E. B. White
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet ~ Madeleine L'Engle
  • Misty of Chincoteague ~ Marguerite Henry
    Addendum: (I knew that this was going to happen)
    Special Note: There are so many books that I could have included and did not include, but I tried to list those books that changed or altered my perspective on life, influenced my worldview, or challenged me in some way; I have also tried to remember those books that stayed with me long after the pages were closed. Some might quibble with the fact that the list is so weighted heavily in the area of fiction, but the majority of my lifetime experiences with reading have been for pleasure and therefore I have been drawn to books that offered the best hope of escape, travel, or adventure!
    • Diary of A Young Girl ~ Anne Frank
    • The Killer Angels ~ Michael Shaara
    • The Bright Shining Lie ~ John Paul Vann
    • We Were Soldiers Once...and Young ~ Harold G. Moore
    • Siddhartha ~ Hermann Hesse
    • The Glass Menagerie ~ Tennessee Williams
    • The Scarlet Letter ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    The Pursuit of Truth

       We took a radical departure this fall in our Ish Girls Bible Study. We left the tried, true and somewhat predictable route of an organized Bible study and wandered into the land of the Enneagram. I think every woman in our group felt safe enough (after three years together) to begin to explore the hidden aspects of our true selves in order to know how it is that we have been wondrously shaped by the hand of a Holy and Loving God. This journey required trust, vulnerability and a willingness to be exposed, yet it has proven to be an invaluable experience for each of us. I have come to understand aspects of each sister that either puzzled me or were beyond the scope of my understanding. The benefit is that it is helping me to see, love and encourage each sister in a manner that is glorifying to God .
     We did make use of a manual. Under the tutelage of two of our members who have extensive experience with the Enneagram, we each read Richard Rohr's The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective and then listened weekly to a series of recorded lectures on the different subtypes. One of the sisters also developed weekly homework that was based on a biblical study of Christ as He reflects and represents each of the subtypes.
      Since I come from a counseling background and had used the Myers-Briggs extensively as well as a variety of other instruments, I was initially somewhat skeptical. That is until I took the test and read the chapter on my type.
       Then I wondered who had been following me around during childhood, reading my private journals, and peeking into my dreams, hopes and desires. My best self was there. And so was my worst. I felt exposed. It was totally eerie. It was also embarrassing to see my glaring faults laid out in such a straightforward, no-nonsense fashion. Ever so slowly I found freedom when I discussed my struggles and found my sisters nodding their heads at me...they understood, they saw, and blessedly, they loved me in spite of myself. That's what the body of Christ is all about. Loving each other in spite of ourselves...loving each other because of what He has done and is doing in each of our lives. I found I did not have to be afraid. I did not have to pretend. I did not have to be perfect or construct a false reality to protect myself from the pain. I could relax. I could be silly. I could share deeply from my heart and not feel condemned or castigated. It was freeing in a way that I have seldom experienced.
       The quote from Pinterest at the top of the page just about sums me up as well as any one sentence could. In case you are wondering, I am a SEVEN. I am also married to a SEVEN which makes for a very interesting life.
       This may sound a bit like the crazy wanderings of a middle-aged woman, but the study of the Enneagram has proven to be very self-illuminating for me and has helped me see the Creator and the Redeemer in a whole new way. Here's to a Happy New Year of walking in the Truth. The only Truth that matters and the only One that will continually set you free!