Friday, December 5, 2014

"My" Little Girls from Burma Sing....

I hope this shows up!

It wasn't always easy to go into Lancaster and pick up these precious ones.   But as you can see the end result was worth it.  I felt badly that my commitment until November had to be cut a few weeks short because I just couldn't keep up with all of the candle orders coming in.  But thankfully God provided another driver...and one that the girls already knew and loved.   That really helped.

Whoever filmed this focused in on the girls frequently.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend 2014

 We don't have to go over any rivers or through any woods
to get to "Grandmother's House".

But we do walk down this sweet country-ish road
to get there from our house.

It was a lovely day for this walk as we 
carried our green bean casserole contribution
to the annual feast.

With the only downer being my mother's cold, 
which she didn't complain about one bit, 
we had such a lovely day.

I have no photos of the meal....
but trust me it was amazing.

Our "events planner", Chelsea, wanted to go to Longwood Gardens
to see the first day of the Christmas Lights display.
So off we went.

Poor Warren has a sprained ankle so we moved slowly
in the COLD night toward the Conservatory.

It looked so festive.
And when we got inside we saw that it truly was
in a very party kind of a mood.

Inside the music room.
All decked out for a dinner party in Peacock.

I don't think I am going to edit any of the photos found in this post
in the interest of getting this post up. 
(This dark photo is killing me....) 
These days are absolutely so crazy busy with candle business.
What a fantastic year this has been 
So....please just accept the beauty for what it is...
through a camera lens in the raw.

 Longwood showed its sense of humor with 
Penguins in the desert.

And a recap with some new sights added.
All of the above photos were taken with my cell phone.
The following were taken with my Canon point and shoot.

 There are so many details on the many, many 
decorated trees.
I loved the lacy shadows on the floor.

 Gotta love the vintage....

And the sparkle....

Golden Paper roses....uh-huh!

And then it was time to go.
Chelsea and her friend both had huge three show
days to work Friday and Saturday so we headed out
at a reasonable time.

What a wonderful day.
So special and packed with happy memories.

I had two shows over the weekend that were incredibly exciting and fun.
Lime Valley Mill Conservation Society
hosted its 17th Annual three day Holiday Craft Show.
This year they invited me at the last minute when their usual candle
person had something come up.
I was so happy to get to know them even as I scrambled to 
have/make enough inventory to fill the generous space I was given.
Most nights I went to sleep with my head literally spinning from exhaustion.
The reward came on Saturday when I worked a four hour shift 
at check out at the mill.  
Meeting the customers, other crafters and getting 
to know the delightful 
caretakers of the mill.
An experience to treasure.
I'll be delighted if they ask me back next year.
We'll see.
One other crafter cracked me up when she said,
"You are in like Flynn!".
Love her optimism.

My second show this weekend was an emotionally special one.
My friend, Katie, is raising money in order to be able to run
100 miles in an event in California organized to raise money to prevent suicide.
Her family was personally touched by the tragedy of suicide so 
it was very special to help this lovely woman on her first step to 
such a huge goal.

A treat and honor came also this weekend when my friend Carol 
wrote about the candles on her blog.
You can see that sweet post here.
Thank you, Carol.
What a treasure and precious friend you have become to me...
and the family members who were blessed to meet you
on our trip to NYC this past summer.

Mom continues to be sick which caused a run to Urgent Care
yesterday.  The doctor diagnosed Pneumonia and mom is under treatment
for that right now.  She will see her family doctor this week to see how 
that is progressing.  Jonathan and my brother both managed to catch the 
bug....we are hoping and praying it stays out of their lungs.
We would appreciate any prayers about that....
and that the rest of us could somehow avoid it.
It may be asking too much...
but I can't help it.
With so much to do it would really make things

Thanks for visiting.
I've missed blogging regularly.
Maybe one day I'll be back at it again.
But for this day and this week I hope to be back 
with some photos of our annual ladies tea
to be held this evening
at Creekside Cottage.
She is getting ready for us 
with such delightful 

I need to figure out what goodie I'll be taking to share.
And picking up the unsold candles at the mill.
And checking in on Mom.
And shipping orders.
And playing with my puppies..aka...old dogs.
And cleaning the messes made all week last week in the
mad rush.
And loving on my sick son....poor dude.
He must be sick, he called off work.
That never happens.

Yep..busy life.
Real life!
Good life.

See you soon!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Why Fast Food Had Better Watch Out!

Others who had my "bug" that was neither a cold nor the flu had said it lasts about ten days.  They were right.  And so I was not yet fully back to myself last week for teaching music but at least I was able to actually teach rather than show videos like the previous week.  It was during that class with the second and third graders that I got such a good laugh.  And it has come back to bring a smile many times since.

With a throat that needed support I had brought my unsweetened tea into class which was prominently marked with a big yellow M.  The kids had been told during the pre-class opening to take it easy on me that day since I wasn't feeling well and so it was on their minds.

When one of them proclaimed loudly....You have been to  (Insert name of Ronald's place here)!!
They all began to add their two cents.  All of a sudden one voice rose above all of the rest.  "NO WONDER YOU ARE SICK if you are eating there!" .  There was a chorus of agreement among the little bodies.


I wonder if it is just homeschoolers who are getting the message about eating healthier or if those fast food places are "going down" in this next generation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

So Many Candles.....

 Number One Seller when sniffed.

 My Favorite Tin....

 The hidden Treasure.  A very delicious candle.

 The most popular candle when not sniffed.  :-)  
But they come back for more.

 I don't think anything really needs to be said......yum!

 Definitely not a jar candle.  A throwback to how this company began.
But currently available in my Etsy shop. 

 When the stress of many orders and short time gets to me...
making these helps so much!
Relax with lavender.

Just heard another order is coming in for these.  
So glad this ministry is getting benefits from their candle sales.

These are a tiny fraction of the candles being made here.
It is so much fun!
I'm a happy camper.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Unexpected Memories

It is a day of fever, a sore throat
and generally feeling blah.
I've cancelled my schedule for Wednesday
in favor of trying to accelerate
recovery from this "bug".
Besides my voice sounds like a foghorn
at the moment and isn't much good for
singing or teaching.
Tonight was supposed to be a long
awaited dinner with Michael and Emily
but can you believe she is also feeling
under the weather?
Poor dear.
I tell you all of this in an attempt to have
you judge me less harshly when I tell
you the reason I was inspired to
pop on here and write this post.
You see
I just noticed something that took me back
to some very special times in my childhood.
Back to the days when we lived in the parsonage
beside the church my Dad pastored.
In that church was a study
where Daddy spent many, many hours
preparing for his Wednesday evening prayer meetings,
Sunday morning and evening sermons.
In the course of most days he would head next door
with plates and cups in hand.
He would return empty handed.
After a while there would be a noticeable shortage
of dishes and glasses in our cupboards.
When this happened Mom would offer my
brother and I an opportunity to earn some
money by gathering all of those things back up again.
Off we would go with a basin to carry our treasures in.
We enjoyed this.
I mean, the man had plates, cups, saucers, spoons, knives and forks
everywhere over there.
It was a very real treasure hunt!
We were paid in coin
but to us it was just what we needed
 to purchase
Bottle Caps, Gobstoppers and Grape Bubble Yum
at the little grocery store a few miles away.
It was within reach by bike.
Now you may have figured out what it was that inspired this
memory today.
Perhaps not....
But it was the moment I looked up at the window sill
and saw not one, not two...
but three cups from today.
My cups.
One for hot tea, one was coffee
and one was orange juice.
Apparently the apple doesn't fall far from
the tree when it comes to collecting
cups, at least.
And in a time when my dad is on my mind
I just don't feel too badly about that.
I hope I have other traits of his as well....
since this wasn't one that we generally bragged about,
ok, we never bragged about it....
but he could have had much worse vices
than that of eating in his office.
Well, and not returning his utensils.
But don't you find that it is the little things that
bring them back to our minds?
These ones not with us now.
I'm thankful that it has come to a point where the
pain of loss is less than the sweetness of the memory.
For those who are facing new grief
know that time does help.
Walk the path.
Feel the feelings.
Trust the Lord.
Look forward to that day when the
memories bring sweet comfort
and smiles to your heart.
Miss you, Daddy.
See you when the time is just right.
This post is dedicated to two wonderful friends
who have recently lost their fathers
 very unexpectedly.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Missing Time with the Camera

Hello!  It has been more than a month since my last post.  Unbelievable!  I guess without taking my camera out and capturing beautiful things it just isn't as exciting to blog.  But that doesn't mean that nothing has happened.  Not at all.  We have been living it up!  Hehe.

Warren and I had a very fun date on Saturday.  We went to see Mark Lowry and The Martins in concert at the American Music Theater.  It was great.  I loved how chatty Mark was.  Getting to hear more from him than one can when you see him at a Homecoming event or the Gaither Vocal Band.  It was very special.
Taken with my phone from the balcony.  They were there...not the ghosts they appear to be. 

The Martins are siblings who have very tight harmony.  They have a new acapella project and sang some songs from it.  We enjoyed it very much.   And then we were off to meet up with some friends who are doing a candle fundraiser toward their adoption of a second little boy from China.  His name will be Hudson.  Here's the really fun part about this meet up, though.  We decided to go to Chili's near their home and meet someone there for the candle exchange.  Right beside the Chili's is a Dunkin' Donut.  So....Warren and I enjoyed a fabulous dinner and then he got after dinner coffee as we met two of the family's beautiful daughters to hand off the candles.  Mixing business with pleasure?  Always!

Speaking of business and pleasure.  I've hired a helper on a semi regular basis.  I really have two helpers but one in more persistent in asking to help.  :-)  I love both of them!  Melissa has been a long time friend and so having her here once a week or so to help me get stuff done is more like hanging out with a friend than having a work night.  Although, I do make her work for her pay.  :-)  Ask her about wicking tea lights and how much she likes working with my poor old broken hot glue gun.  Ha. It is definitely time to get a new one.  It is just one of those things that you get used to working with and really don't think that much about until someone points out how bad it really is.

Last month we had a one month anniversary party for Michael and Emily.  It was so special to see family that we haven't seen in a very long time.  Aunts and Uncles came in from far.  I was going to say near and far but none are near they all came from far.

 It was also fun to see cousins again.  Our kids don't really know their second cousins because they are all ...far...away.  But they enjoyed each other's company.  We took the family guests to see Moses.  I think they liked it.  What's not to like, right?  I enjoyed seeing the show again.  It is a great production and a truly wonderful story.

Chelsea got good news recently.  She was promoted to full time at Sight and Sound in concessions. We are very happy for her.  She loves to stay busy and without a firm plan for her future this was something she really needed.  It took effort and growth on her part since they were looking for her to become more outgoing and confident.  In her usual Chelsea way once she knew what they wanted she set out to challenge herself to work hard on this area.  Forcing herself to start conversations with guests and other employees, etc.  She really made huge strides and surprised herself by enjoying this new aspect of her job.  She has made some wonderful friendships among her co-workers and it pleases us to no end to see her settling back in after nearly a year of struggle after her YWAM trip.  There are many wonderful things about doing missions....coming home and readjusting are not some of them.  We knew going in that it would be hard but it isn't something that you can really prepare for.  Even while she is doing the work of settling back in she is studying the Thai language seriously.  It is so neat to hear it roll off her tongue.  It is on her heart to return to Thailand at some point in the future.  And while she has applied to return as early as July we have serious doubts about that....with the world in the condition it is in and other things to consider.  However, God knows.  He would have to change the hearts of her parents on that one.

I'm leading a Small Group at a large ladies Bible Study.  Ridiculous of me to try to do this in the Fall with all things candle at record levels but it just makes me rely on the Lord more.  I know I can't do it in my own strength and so far He has supplied my needs there.  We are doing Beth Moore's study on I and II Thessalonians.  Amazing!!  Altogether there are more than 100 ladies coming.  We have about 12 in our group.  Twelve lovely and encouraging ladies.  What a blessing!

The other blessing that is coming out of this Bible Study is the gift of song.  I get to help lead worship each Wednesday morning.  This is a dream come true.  I feel as if God has "Opened up the Floodgates" of blessing in my life lately.

And on the same note...I am also teaching music at the co-op we graduated from.  Two classes...2nd/3rd and 4th-6th.  What a blast this is!  We sing together, laugh and play as we learn music theory.  I am so delighted to have so many long held desires met all at the same time.  I feel the love of God poured out in my life.  We have come through very dark and trying times in the past year but He was faithful through them all and is blessing us with JOY now.

At the same time I must ask you to pray for one of my dear friends who lost her father unexpectedly.  I saw her yesterday and the pain is intense.  I know she would appreciate your prayers.  And also for another friend, whose son fell from a horse yesterday.  He fell directly onto his face and has lost some teeth and also broke his jaw.  There are some other damages as well but those were the most severe.  In this world we WILL have trials....but we know the ONE who has overcome.  Holding onto HIM.  Lifting these families up in prayer.

Well, enough of my rambling.  Have a blessed day.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Full Days that Are More than Just Busy

Sometimes we just fill our days with busyness.
Sometimes God fills our days with stuff of substance.
I prefer to let Him do it that way.

Lately it feels as if that is the case.
I know that it is His doing because I am being stretched!
Totally stretched.

Thankfully the easiest things in my everyday life are the candles.
There are so many orders and many many candles to make but 
they fit in here and there....
lots of here and theres.
Don't get me wrong.  I am about to hit the ground running in 
candle season.   Fundraisers are being planned
and the Etsy orders are picking up on random candles, 
as opposed to favor candles, are coming in daily.
I have signed up to participate in my favorite "Not Your 
Average Craft Show" in Chambersburg again this year.
So it is a very, very huge part of my daily life.

And then there is our ministry to the Karen (Burmese) children.
It has changed to my taking five of them to choir practice on a weekly basis.
And...I get to help them with their music homework too.
You know I don't mind that.
The part that is totally stretching is logistical.
I have to go to three different houses in varying parts of Lancaster City
and find parking...sort of. 
I am quickly learning the ways of maneuvering in a city.  
But not without some serious fear.
Some of you are more comfortable in a city than in 
a small town or the country....
but I'm just not.
This week was my first time.
And it stormed.
Another one of my big fears.
Heavy thunderstorms.
Especially when bearing the responsibility 
for children that are not my own.
But, God is so good.
He allowed me to stress about the storms ALL around
and yet we were not impacted more than some drizzle the entire time.
Even the large doe that intended to cross right into my path on the 
way home turned and ran the other way.
I returned home energized and looking forward to next week's challenge.

His second project for me this year is to teach Homeschool Co-op Music/Choir
again.  As you know it has been a few years since I've done this.
And to make matters "worse" they have a curriculum they would like me 
to teach from.
I don't love curriculum that is prepared.
There are many out there who are not comfortable with coming 
up with their own...but they are not me.
See where this is going?
God has given me ministry to complete, (which I LOVE),  but on His terms.
I must trust Him to help me get through very hard things for me in 
each and every case.

The final big challenge for my time this year?
Leading a small group for Beth Moore's new study on 
I and II Thessalonians.
This means that I HAVE to do the homework.
Not intend to do it ....and scoot by when I just don't volunteer
to enter the discussion.
I must do it.  Every day, lest I fall behind.
One half hour each day.
Time with the Lord.
On days when Facebook calls, candles are waiting 
or who knows what else comes up
I will HAVE to spend time with my Lord and 
His Word.

Gotta love Him.
He cares for us so much.
He's rearranging my life just to get more time together.
And I am good with that.