Dec 31, 2007



My New Year's Resolution track record is unimpressive. I am much better at assessing and adjusting on a daily basis. Nonetheless, New Year's Day is an opportunity to pause and take inventory of the pleasant and not so pleasant—inventing useful ways to use both.

Humorous New Year's Thoughts

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other.

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.
—Oscar Wilde

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
—Bill Vaughan

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.
—Anais Nin

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions.
—Joey Adams

Dec 28, 2007

New Year's Countdown — Times Square

Vintage Postcard of Times

As we count down to 2008, I thought it would be fun to take a vintage look at a monumental timekeeper: Times Square. What a slice of history! Talk about saying bye-bye to bygone days! I have only visited Upstate New York. Have you been to Times Square?

Dec 27, 2007

The Results of the "Interactive Christmas Story"

[Two posts ago, I invited my blog buddies to help me write an Interactive Christmas Story—one sentence at a time. Being that not everyone identified themselves, the participants may be viewed 2 posts down under comments. With 21 submissions to work with, I then began to weave the story together by refining the continuity, editing repetitive thoughts or words, and working toward an ending that makes sense. I did my best to stay as close to the original comments as possible. Thank-you so much for your wonderful images and enthusiasm!]

Written by a circle of romantic hearts...

Charisse held the gift in her palm uneasily. Her lack of emotion seemed so discordant with the thrill that had driven the hunt. After all, she had spent an exhausting three weeks pursuing what she believed to be the perfect Christmas gift. Now, as she wrapped her fingers around the prize, she sensed that there was something missing...

Her mind swirled just thinking of all the time she had devoted to finding the perfect gift. She cuddled it close—careful not to crush it—as she also considered the one who was to receive it. This gift had taken so long to find and yet she realized it was incomplete, it wasn't perfect…

She reflected back to the first moment she had seen it; so beautiful and beckoning her from the highest shelf in her favorite store. She had it wrapped in blue with velvet ribbon that she petted as if it were a kitten.

She recognized that she was devoid of the exhilaration she dreamed she would feel at the completion of her mission. Now she was beginning to think that the perfect gift had more to do with the spirit of the giver rather than the gift itself. And her spirit just was not in it this year.

"Oh sweet nibblets, whatever shall I do," gasped Charisse. “Must I return this gift to find the true Spirit of Christmas?” Suddenly, a vision of Christmas Past stopped her in her tracks as an inaudible voice emphasized, "The perfect gift is your companionship on Christmas Day." She agreed that there were too many Christmas's in the past where they had both focused on the gift and not the giver.

Perhaps she needed to add a beautiful card; a card that showed her warmth and personality, something he had not truly understood—or so she thought! So, she set off pursuing again, this time for what she believed to be the perfect card.

Later at the card counter of one of the village shops, she found it—the card that captured the emotions tumbling between the two of them all of these years! It was a handmade card—not for sale—tucked in amongst the cards gleaming with glitter and sparkle, but lacking refinement. Who had created it?

While pondering this cut-and-paste, haphazard greeting, Charisse began to laugh—not so much at the card, but at herself. This card was not a carbon copy but a one-of-a-kind. It reminded her of the relationship the two of them shared. The edges had an uneven deckle-cut design and the center contained a small window in which to peek at the one word that summed it all up. Charisse thought, "I’ve been searching so hard, and here—in all its simplicity—is the true expression of my feelings."

And that one simple word was LOVE; a message with such power that it brought tears to her eyes. She now understood that imperfection had become the messenger.

Dec 25, 2007

Christmas Blessings!

C H R I S T M A S !

My family is awakening with expectation and the hope of Christ! Before embarking on my day, I wanted to extend Best Blessings to all of my blog buddies! I must be craving sweets because I pictured the globe as a big scoop of vanilla ice cream with my affection spreading luxuriously—like rich chocolate syrup—to every part of this luscious orb! I pray that all of YOU are enjoying this delicious day of celebration and miracles!

If you are curious about how Santa got along last night, check out the Santa Claus Blog!

Dec 19, 2007

An Interactive Christmas Story . . .

Artella "Caroling" Kit 2007

Charisse held the gift in her palm uneasily. Her lack of emotion seemed so discordant with the thrill that had driven the hunt. After all, she had spent an exhausting three weeks pursuing what she believed to be the perfect Christmas gift. Now, as she wrapped her fingers around the prize, she sensed that there was something missing...


I am asking my blog friends to help me finish this story— one sentence at a time. Will you join me? The guidelines are below. The deadline for you submissions is: Sunday, December 23rd at Midnight PST. I will compile all of your sentences together, perhaps with minor editing, and publish the result!
  1. You may submit one sentence per post.
  2. Please wait for someone else to post before you add another sentence.
  3. Do your best to follow the flow of what each posting person has contributed.
  4. Use your imagination!
I can't wait to find out how the story ends!

Dec 18, 2007

Christmas Prayer


Oh, God...
help us rightly to remember
the birth of Jesus, that
we may share in the songs
of the angels, the gladness
of the shepherds, and the
worship of the wise men.

May the Christmas morning
make us happy
to be your children.

— Robert Louis Stevenson

Dec 17, 2007

Today's Bouquets

Artella "Caroling" Kit 2007

My holiday hurdles were lined up by priority and I started jumping! Now, as I come up for air, I marvel that it's behind me. With Divine assistance, I...
  • completed a course entitled EE through my church
  • filled the role of comic auctioneer for a prison ministry fund raiser
  • spoke for a women's ministry where I also sang and led worship with a wonderful singer-friend
  • performed in a 2-person sketch for a Christmas banquet
  • hosted a Christmas Showcase that featured my drama and voice students
  • acted as MC for a Christmas presentation
What an honor it is to be able to participate in so many positive and life-changing events!

"All is calm, all is bright."

Artella "Caroling" Kit 2007
My motto for Christmas is, "All is calm, all is bright." After a challenging year, my family is paring down our Christmas spending, pouring our efforts into handmade gifts and heart derived tributes. My daughter and I, especially, are approaching this with great enthusiasm.

Most of us don't need reminding as to how many days are left until Christmas. If you're done shopping and decorating, no worries. However, if you're like me and shopping is determined by cash flow and a busy event schedule, the ticking clock grows louder!

I recently discovered,
Organize, a sleek, somewhat sophisticated magazine proving that function and organization need not resemble a container store. Although the photos of people are a trifle staged, the magazine contains noteworthy information and elegant touches.
In my July 11th, 2007 post entitled, Gifts, I illuminated on gift giving and the dilemmas of clutter. One Organize magazine feature entitled Clutter Free Gifting* by Monica Ricci, coincides with my post! Although Monica has gone gift-free—much like a carnivore becoming a vegan—she realizes that most of us hold fast to our traditions. So, she offers a philosophy based on a thoughtful process of assessing a person's taste and interests, and then presenting something that won't contribute to clutter.

Monica divided Clutter Free Gifting into the following categories: financial or charitable gifts, consumable gifts, gifts of service, education, memberships or passes, technology, and gifts of experience or quality time. The specifics may be obtained from her featured article, but the gist is this: consider dust-free giving.

Well, I have a gift card to a local cafe to bestow upon our mail carrier. I better hurry before he gets here!

* Organize magazine,
(pages 74-81, November/December 2007)

Dec 13, 2007

The Creative Spirit

Aside from the obvious theme of this vintage postcard, I was fascinated by it's similarities to my own nature. I'm not a painter, but I am compelled to create. Rarely, can I touch a thing without transforming it somehow: taking ownership, signing my name to it.

Had this furry friend been painted as is, the finished product would have, no doubt, been charming. However, imagination gave this model a role to play, as well as a story that will be translated differently by each one of us.

Dec 11, 2007

Pumpkin Chai Pots de Créme

Pumpkin Chai Pots de Créme - Victoria Magazine

If this isn't the ticket for midnight cravings, then I must be sleep walking! In the flurry of excitement over Victoria Magazine's reemergence, you may have missed this recipe for Pumpkin Chai Pots de Créme on their website. Do check it out! There have to be sugarplum fairies dancing somewhere nearby!

Dec 8, 2007

An Original "Christmas Tree" Napkin Fold

"The Christmas Tree" Napkin Fold

One of the benefits of conducting workshops in retail settings is having access to so many lovely linens, as well as a plethora of tableware and decorative accents! What bliss to be able to play and create tablescapes—all in the name of demonstration!

During workshops, my goal is to present fresh material that isn't on a trend of replication in home-themed magazines. Sometimes, having exhausted ideas from my numerous volumes of napkin folding books, I resort to creating folds of my own. "The Christmas Tree" fold (above) is an example of one such inspiration, and I have never seen this idea published. For your holiday pleasure, I would like to share this napkin fold with YOU!

This is one fold where the napkin should not have a wrong side. I used a reversible print to make the fold interesting. Cotton linens—with or without fringe—work extremely well. If you opt for synthetic fibers, try to include cotton in the mix. Also, realize that this is one napkin fold where neatness counts.

Start with a napkin of even measurements and fold it 2 times to form a smaller square. Point the 4-layered corner toward you.

Begin to peel up each of the 4 layers to align with the top point of the napkin. Space each layer about 1 inch apart. Once done, the napkin should look like the photo below.

With hands placed on the top and bottom of the napkin, flip it over from right to left. The fold should resemble the photo below.

Bring the left and right sides together, neatly aligning the top of each panel to form a triangular space at the top of the napkin. The bottom point should be about 1 inch wide. Now flip the napkin over from bottom to top.

Once the napkin has been flipped over, take the top flap and gently peel it up until it forms a neat triangle. It will look sloppy if you allow the triangle to droop. Be careful not to pull the top up too far as this could result in having to start over.

Repeat this step with each layer, tucking the tip beneath each previous fold. Make sure the bottom portion is perfectly aligned with the backside.

At this point the napkin can be arranged flat on top of a plate, or it can be placed upright by pulling the back panels out slightly or leaning it against something. This fold looks beautiful as is, or a metallic star sticker can be placed at the top of the tree. Place-cards shaped like little gifts can be assembled under the tree or tucked under the boughs. I have even placed a pretty pin—as a gift—at the top of the tree, always making sure that it has a backing.

Note: Feel free to use this fold for your own Christmas celebration! Please do not use these photos or publish this napkin fold without my express permission. Thank-you.

Dec 6, 2007

A "Favorite Things" Giveaway

Oprah's not the only one
With lists of "Favorite Things";
We all can itemize the joys
This Christmas Season brings.

"Gim'Me Memories" wants to know
What's on YOUR Christmas List;
So the Giveaway she's offering,
Contains a special twist!

— By Karen June Miller (KJ)

Sheila at Gim'Me Memories is hosting a Surprise Christmas Giveaway! The winner will receive a gift tailored to their list of Favorite Things. All you have to do is post your Favorite Things in the comments section of her Giveaway. (Unlike Oprah, she won't be giving away cars and KitchenAid Blenders.) PLEASE DO ME A FAVOR AND MENTION THAT "KJ" SENT YOU. Sheila is giving extra entries for referrals! Okay, go ahead and click HERE.

UPDATE: On Sunday, December 10th, Debrak at The Bunnie's Bungalow was announced as the winner! (I think she's packing a lucky rabbit's foot . . .)

Another Simple Centerpiece

Two simple pedestal cake plates, matched or unmatched, provide a unique platform. The elements are borrowed from what's already owned and from what nature is ready to contribute.

This I like . . .

The tablescape above is a suggestion from Better Homes and Gardens. Glass candle holders are used to elevate red metallic ornaments that sparkle with "NOEL". Many times, beautiful ornaments on a Christmas tree are upstaged by the competition. I like to showcase some of my favorites on top of a crystal goblet, vintage glass, or a charming collectible that will keep the ornament stable.

"Creativity is an endless journey
where we should always take the scenic route."
– Tim Holtz

With only 19 days until Christmas, I have been throwing my creative juices into the blender. I need to be a tad frugal this year, so I have been seeking inspiration online. Inevitably, I always find things that I like for me.

Tim Holtz Products

Papercrafting is a passion of mine and I have drawers and shelves of supplies to prove it. When I saw this Stamp Pad Case by Tim Holtz, my heart fluttered. My present storage method is unsatisfactory, and I've needed something accessible and portable. This would do the trick!

Tim is also featuring "The 12 Tags of Christmas" on his blog. Each day he demonstrates numerous stamping and papercrafting techniques to create eye catching Christmas tags. He is presently on day 6.

Dec 4, 2007


No one has ever become poor by giving.

— Anne Frank, diarist, 1929-1945

Giving presents is a talent: to know what a person wants, to know when and how to get it, to give it lovingly and well.
— Pamela Glenconner, writer, 1871-1928

Dec 1, 2007

Good Taste & Christmas Fun

  • Although my blog is not specifically about food, I do identify with Tea at Tea and Cookies. Tea's witty account, Diary of a Mad Food Blogger, dishes up some tasty insight into how blogging captured her time and attention. Eventually, her blog became the springboard for a soon to be published book, which is elaborated in her post, Gratitude! Tea proves that there is nothing like a good marriage of food and storytelling. Her soul-tingling treks invite, delight, and excite the culinary passions in all of us—and her recipes are wondrous!
  • Scroll 4 posts down to read my Daddy's first blog comment under the title, "Long Beach, The Pike, & The Cyclone Racer." In his post he reminisces about his boyhood memories at The Pike!
  • Jenny at Allsorts, offers free whimsical patterns and tutorials for your Christmas pleasure. You may select felted projects such as: an elf clog, a tiny button tree, and a peppermint star. If you are looking for a high resolution alphabet to integrate into newsletters or projects and/or Christmas gift labels, you will find simple solutions ready for printing and clipping! Equally fun are her 2 interactive web pages: Home Sweet Home, where an online gingerbread house is decorated, or Dress Zoe Christmas Edition, a virtual paper doll waiting for her Christmas garb. Hey, never mind that it says, "Illustration for Children," at the top! It's time for the inner child to come out to play!
  • Check out the The 2007 Countdown Calendar from Ten Two Studios. It is an Advent Calendar of sorts, where each day reveals a new set of downloadable vintage clip art. The downloads are free as long as you place a link on your blog to her site.

Nov 29, 2007


FOLLOW THIS BUNNY! Yes, you heard me. Look, the snowmen are heeding my instructions! Debrak at The Bunnie's Bungalow is having an awesome GIVEAWAY that has the bunnies "pa-rum-pum-pum-puming!"

The Giveaway includes:

  • snow flake candles, gift bags & ribbons . . .
  • pretty paper plates & napkins . . .
  • tags & tins, some filled with chocolate . . .
  • cards & postage stamps and bonus goodies . . .
And the TOPPER!
  • A 1994 Christmas Collection Edition LONGABERGER BASKET: complete with plastic liner, fabric liner & a holiday tie-on!
Hop, don't stop, to The Bunnies Bungalow. JUST DO ME ONE FAVOR... When you post your comment, tell DebraK that "KJ from EYE-DYLLIC" sent you! DebraK will give me an additional entry for every time someone mentions me! Okay, just click HERE.

Deadline: December 5th at Midnight (probably EST)

Nov 28, 2007

Bells & Punctuation


Oh, he did whistle and she did sing,
And all the bells on earth did ring,
For joy that our Saviour He was born
On Christmas Day in the morning.

- From an Old English Carol


An English professor wrote the words, "a woman without her man is nothing" on the blackboard and directed the students to punctuate it correctly.

The men wrote:
"A woman, without her man, is nothing."

The women wrote:
"A woman: without her, man is nothing."

Punctuation is everything!

Nov 27, 2007

Long Beach, The Pike, & The Cyclone Racer

The description on the back of this vintage postcard reads: Near the entrance of the famous Rainbow Pier, is the popular Amusement and concession center, known as "The Pike," where crowds congregate daily to enjoy the many interesting and amusing attractions. [My note: The Plunge, seen in the background, was an indoor salt water swimming pool.]

My brothers and I were born in Long Beach, California, as were both of my parents. My Mom spent most of her youth in Nebraska; however, my Dad grew up in Long Beach where he later met and married my mother after she moved back to California. They then purchased a newer suburban home in Long Beach and raised 3 children.

By the late 60's, The Pike (shown above) was a fading flower. Much like it's star attraction, a wooden dual-track racing roller coaster called the Cyclone Racer, the amusement park had taken it's last ride to the top and was rapidly declining.

The Cyclone Racer at The Pike in Long Beach, California

Before The Pike was torn down, my Dad felt compelled to share a final Cyclone Racer ride with me– his eldest. At 10 years of age, I had only ridden the tamer Disneyland attractions, never the serious stuff. The Cyclone Racer– functional from 1930 to 1968– was one of my Dad's favorite childhood pastimes, an added bonus of living in a beach resort city. Introducing this ride to me was perhaps his way of saying good-bye. For me, it was my "ride" of passage.

As our train slowly gained elevation, my emotions were like a mixed cocktail of fear, apprehension, and ecstasy. This exhilaration was tethered to my confidence that Dad could protect me from anything. Nevertheless, this "confidence" was challenged when our ride gained momentum. I remember clinging to my Dad as my feelings seesawed from fright to glee. I walked away from this experience with an indelible daddy-daughter memory, and an insatiable love for roller coasters.

A vintage postcard of the Pier at Long Beach, California - 1910.

Nov 26, 2007

Holiday Recipe


A very nice spread for toast at a Christmas brunch!
  • 1 lb. sweet butter, room temperature
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1/2 c. orange rind, fresh
  • 4 t. lemon juice
Mix butter and sugar until blended very smooth and soft. Slowly add the orange juice, orange rind and lemon juice.

– Juanita Rieser

Nov 25, 2007

Today's Bouquets



There are 2 inspirational poems written by the poet Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959) that have given me great inspiration: It Couldn't Be Done and Myself. Yesterday, due to the prompting of another blog, I traveled deeper into this poet's body of work. I was delighted by how each his poem's resonates with the human spirit; much like a Midwestern football coach delivering the team pep talk or ruminating on life's pleasures.

The poem below, Friends, hits an immediate chord, especially in light of the many challenges my family has faced in 2007. In addition to the Faithfulness of God, friendship has been a life preserver. When our ship appeared to be sinking, I would feel a firm hand on my shoulder, often before I could turn for help. My parents, too, have been constant friends.


Ain't it fine when things are going
Topsy-turvy and askew
To discover someone showing

Good old-fashioned faith in you?

Ain't it good when life seems dreary

And your hopes about to end,

Just to feel the handclasp cheery

Of a fine old loyal friend?

Gosh! one fellow to another

Means a lot from day to day,

Seems we're living for each other

In a friendly sort of way.

When a smile or cheerful greetin'

Means so much to fellows sore,

Seems we ought to keep repeatin'

Smiles an' praises more an' more.

- Edgar Albert Guest

One Month Until Christmas (or 30 Days)

I am standing on the threshold of Christmas and I can feel myself pulling up chest voice to exclaim, "I'M GOING IN!" Admittedly, I was hiding in my foxhole on Black Friday, not wanting to engage in hand to hand combat. Instead, I did some small online boutique shopping from the comfort of my home, my feet parked on carpet instead of concrete. Ah, life is good . . . Nonetheless, I have donned my fatigues (looking more like pajamas) and I am ready to take it on: all of it!

Today, I begin my Christmas To Do List– itemizing anything that seems realistic but is always subject to editing. To implement this list with diligence, I plan to focus on 4 goals per day.
  2. GIVING: the continual lookout for ways to bless and affirm others
  3. DECIDE AND CONQUER: accomplish 1 or more things on my list
  4. INDULGENCE: something to fuel me (a sweet treat or a discovery)

Nov 23, 2007

We have a winner . . .

Thanks to ALL who participated in my "Give Thanks" Giveaway! I was inspired by your thoughtful comments regarding giving thanks! Gratitude– as a lifestyle– propels the soul!

I placed all of the entries into my glass, cranberry colored basket. My daughter, Briana, was given the honor of drawing the winner . . . and that lovely individual is . . .

Congratulations to Sheila of Gim'Me Memories. You have won the TeaTime Magazine 2008 Calendar plus a little surprise! May the calendar inspire you to indulge and experiment with the wonders of tea!

I'm going to give Sheila a chance to find this out through the grapevine. She links with a few ladies who visit here regularly. Sheila, when you hear the news, drop me an email with your address included and I will give you the particulars.

Nov 22, 2007


This Thanksgiving painting by Norman Rockwell, 
embodies our freedoms. (Notice Norman's double 
self portraits in the 2 lower corners.)

I'm thankful for the freedom to assemble with those we love and the bounty that God has enabled us to share!

A Returning Marine - Norman Rockwell

I'm thankful for our Soldiers and the price they pay for freedom– often far beyond the battlefields.

Nov 21, 2007

An Attitude of Gratitude

Cornucopia Fine Art Print -

Recently, I was reminded of Corrie Ten Boom's plight in the Nazi prison camps. Corrie and her sister, Betsie, were imprisoned for hiding Jews and members of the Dutch underground workers in their Holland home during WWII. The sisters spent 10 months in 3 concentration camps; Betsie eventually died during their time at the infamous Ravensbruck.

The barrack conditions were unbearable, being located very close to the crematorium and the overwhelming stench of prison atrocities. Add to this the hours that the prisoners were forced to stand at attention in freezing temperatures and their cramped, flea infested quarters.

When being admitted to the camp, Corrie had miraculously smuggled in a Bible under her cotton dress. This enabled the ladies to conduct Bible studies, made easier by the fact that the soldier's rarely made visits. At one point, Betsie suggested that the prisoners give thanks to the Lord for their situation. Betsie quoted I Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJ), "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Corrie struggled with this, especially since she could not fathom the idea of thanking the Lord for fleas! Betsie reminded Corrie that God didn't limit thanksgiving to perfect situations, but that gratitude was all inclusive.

It is interesting to note that the scripture states, "In everything," not for everything. This makes a notable difference in our approach because an "attitude of gratitude" basically acknowledges that God is continuously in control and working behind the scenes. There is always something to be thankful for, even if it's simply to rehearse what God has already accomplished for us and what His Word promises in present circumstances.

It was later that the ladies learned of why the soldiers were so scarce. The reason? Fleas!

[Corrie Ten Boom is the author of The Hiding Place. Through the efforts of the Ten Boom family and their many friends, it is estimated that 800 Jewish lives were saved. In Jewish tradition, only very blessed people are allowed to die on their Birthdays. Corrie passed away on her 91st Birthday on April 15th, 1983.]

Nov 19, 2007

Another Giveaway

Faux Pumpkin and Bird House Arrangement,
Better Homes and Gardens

Beverly at Tea Time & Roses is hosting a Giveaway to celebrate her 50th post! [Deadline: Friday, November 23rd at Midnight PST.] Beverly is a tremendously gifted woman in the crafting community. Loveliness permeates each of her posts. Her beautiful photos capture her latest projects, as well as her walks through the garden! Be sure to watch for the grand opening of her new online shop!

Nov 18, 2007

Thanksgiving Joys

Joys, Girl Herding Turkeys - Fine Art Print,

Hiatt & Peek - The Long Beach Marketplace

Yesterday, I participated in the annual Holiday Open House at Hiatt and Peek, located in the posh Long Beach Marketplace in Southern California. This "Specialty Gift Shoppe" is temptingly divine with offerings that appeal to a variety of tastes. Susy DeLucca, the gracious proprietor and a good friend, is passionate about fine and vintage collectibles, having visited her share of estate sales. Shoppers will find these well sought out treasures inserted amongst the newer and eclectic merchandise.

The perfect holiday cupboard!

Susy's sister, Carol James, designs the store's faux floral arrangements with remarkable flair. Her creations utilize unusual symmetry and unexpected surprises. I think it was Martha Stewart who once suggested that faux florals should never replace fresh flowers in the home. Martha has never seen Carol's work!


Antique furnishings abound in this shoppe! Although I love the clean and fresh look of Shabby Chic (and I do own 2 nightstands in this style), my taste in decor is decidedly provincial and I've always had a love affair with the natural grain of wood.

The Choir Loft

My good fortune is that I am invited to participate in this Holiday Open House! I usually have a small table of my own where I exchange holiday inspiration for sweet smiles. Often, I romance the store's merchandise by supplying the imagination for using purchases at home. Yesterday, I taught napkin folding and papercrafts, highlighting the gift card container and truffle box (shown below). Both of these items use Japanese washi paper and include a fresh sprig of rosemary and oregano.

Papercraft Gift Card Container and an Origami Truffle Box

Hiatt and Peek ~ (562) 594-6255

Nov 16, 2007

"Give Thanks" Giveaway!

In the spirit of the season, I am hosting a brief "Give Thanks" Giveaway! I will be blessing someone with a 2008 TeaTime Calendar from the publishers of TeaTime Magazine– with an added "surprise" bonus. Enter simply by leaving a comment that expresses what you are thankful for. The entry rules are below...

  1. Post a comment that expresses what you are thankful for.
  2. You may only post one comment and it must be contained under this heading.
  3. You will receive one additional entry for each person that you refer to this Giveaway. They must mention your name in the post.
  4. The Deadline to post is Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 22, 2007) at Midnight PST.

Denise, at the Hope Street Studio blog, is hosting a Sterling Silver "Lock and Key Charms" Giveaway! This Giveaway coincides with the launch of her new website which goes by the same name. Her online store includes glass window charms, sterling pendants, sterling silver charms, custom window charms, and initial bracelets. All of these items will make wonderful one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts.

Nov 15, 2007

Välkommen till min blogg!

Välkommen till min blogg!

Karin Krut has this posted at the entrance to her blog– a blog that also bears her name. I don't know many words in Swedish, but this phrase was immediately recognizable and instantly felt! Blogs have enabled us to extend the wonderful bond of hospitality without physically stepping into one another's homes. It's amazing that a world brought to life by electricity and thousands of pixel fairies, can engage us on such a realistic level. More often than not, the warmth of what's written or made visible has me feeling so at home that I'm reaching for a cookie, adding sugar to my tea, or commenting aloud– almost as if I was facing my hostess.

The word "welcome" is derived from the Old English wilcuma, indicating "a person whose coming is pleasing." I believe that hospitality is determined by the degree of welcomeness.

A Korean Warm Welcome

Two evenings ago, some of my church members and I made a house call to a sweet young Korean woman who had recently visited our church, La Palma Christian Center. When we arrived at her home, we were enthusiastically greeted by her father at the door. He promptly invited us in, even though his daughter was not at home and we were strangers to him.

The entrance of this otherwise tidy home was littered with shoes. Being familiar with this tradition (and also being a practice in my own home), we removed our footwear and proceeded into the living room. We were greeted by all who were home and given refreshing Aloe Vera juice while they attempted to reach our party. Had we been able to stay longer, bowls of kimchi had already been removed from the refrigerator to serve as appetizers. We all felt extremely welcome!

It is this kind of welcome that embraces a visitor on many blog doorsteps and continues to put one at ease after being invited in. Shoes are kicked off and an exchange begins. It is the manner of being greeted that sets the tone.

NOTE: For a glimpse of Scandinavian Advent traditions, take a little trip to Sweden by visiting Ingela at FRIDHEM. Ingela is a hospitable soul who makes even the non-Swedish speaking visitors feel at home by including English in her posts. I so enjoy her friendship! I plan to slip this Advent tradition into this year's
Christmas celebration!

Nov 14, 2007

God Will Never Fail Us or Abandon Us!

Park City, Utah. A stately white barn during rain at sunrise.
(Photographed by rhyman007)
My family and I are currently standing in the threshold of Faith, positioned for yet another miracle in our lives. God is Faithful and He is bound by His Word! Hebrews 11:1 states, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (NKJ)" The Message Bible paraphrases this same scripture as such: "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd." Faith is what we don't see and by Faith, we understand...

Below is a marvelous story that speaks volumes to me. It came to me without attribution and I have been unsuccessful in identifying the author. If you have any information, please let me know so that I can add it to this piece.

-Author Unknown

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage?

His dad takes him into the forest blindfolded and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it.

He is all by himself.

He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each lad must come into his own manhood. 

The boy in our story was, naturally, terrified. He could hear all kinds of noise. Beasts were all around him. Maybe even a human would hurt him. The wind blew the grass and earth and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold.

It would be the only way he could be a man.

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he saw his father sitting on the stump next to him — at watch the entire night. 

"I will never fail you. I will never abandon you."

-God (Hebrews 3:5)