Friday, December 28, 2007


It's hard to believe it's over. Just like that! After weeks of decorating and chosing just the right gifts and all the anticipation. It's over! What wonderful memories we have, though.

Christmas Eve afternoon my junque syster Sharron (a.k.a. Vintage Girl at Heart) came to visit bearing wonderful, scrumpdelishious goodies for MWHITW, a beautiful one-of-a-kind shabby angel made with love, two absolutely gorgeous vintage prints (one of which I had drooled over when I first saw it on her blog) and a decorating book. We had a wonderful visit. She was thrilled with her goodie box from us - containing totally thrifted and repurposed junque. Having a friend who understands and shares your passion for treasure hunting in thrift stores and yard sales (and the occasional dumpster or curbside trash pile) and who gets as excited as I do over receiving gifts from said sources, is truly a blessing!

Handsome, talented and incredibly funny son came for a lasagna dinner that evening. He was going to be spending Christmas morning with his girlfriend's family so we decided to exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve. He was also the recipient of a couple of my treasure hunting finds. MWHITW and I had come across a vintage wooden shoe shine kit on our last trip to Kentucky. It was the perfect gift for Ryan because he is the last of a dying breed that actually still polishes his shoes. The other treasure I bestowed upon him is a little less practical, however befitting of a newly graduated EMT preparing to embark on RN/PA training, and filled with some of those practical "mom" gifts. It defies description, so you'll have to see it for yourself.

They just don't make 'em like this any more! Tools of the trade! I'll bet NOBODY else in his classes will have one like it (or even know what it is)!

He and Celena gave me a much desired copy of "Hairspray". I've wanted to see it since it came out, but never got the chance. They gave MWHITW a thermos in the shape of a huge red shotgun shell with the explanation that he shouldn't be able to miss the target with this shell (there's a story behind that but we'll save it for another time). They also got him an air horn for his pickup. His big, beautiful truck had the wimpiest little horn we had ever heard. Well no more! It now has a horn befitting the big, beautiful truck it is. People will get out of the way in utter fear now - not just pull over to the side of the road laughing hysterically at that little wimpy sound coming from that big truck!

Part II of our gift from the handsome, talented son came later that evening at a Christmas Eve service at one of the local churches. He is an extremely accomplished musician and had orignially been set to go to a music conservatory to pursue a career in music. However, through a series of "clerical errors" on the part of a misguided school counselor . . . . enough of that! At any rate, I hadn't heard him play since his graduation in May and oh, how I've missed it. His grade school music teacher is the music director at a beautiful old church in town and had called him to see if he would solo for her. He said his first impulse was to say no, but then he thought about his mother and how much it would mean to her for him to play and how much money he could save if he called his performance his gift to her (hey, he's talented and smart!). It was beautiful! I cried as usual - that's' my baby all grown up!

Part III of our gift from the handsome, talented one is a future daughter-in-law! He and Celena became engaged on Christmas Eve! There won't be a wedding for at least 2 years, until he finishes his RN training, but I couldn't be happier. I always wanted a girl!

We stopped by our friends' (Jim and Janet) house on our way to the Christmas Eve service for a quick "Merry Christmas" to all and a "Happy Birthday" to Jim. Their house was beautifully chaotic. Three of their five grandchildren (all under the age of 3) were there - explanation enough for the chaos? It was a great visit!

Christmas Day was wonderfully relaxing! MWHITW and I lounged around in our PJ's for a good portion of the day, watched a couple of Christmas programs and just enjoyed each others company. We were joining Peggy and her family for Christmas dinner at 5:00, so there was no rush to do anything or be anywhere.

Dinner was wonderful as usual. We always enjoy spending time with Peggy and her family. They are the closest thing I have to family. Our kids have grown up together. We've shared some good times and some not so good times. The bond of Peggy's and my friendship has strengthened little by little over the past 23 years. Although there is no blood relationship between us, she is my sister in every sense of the word . . . a gift I will forever cherish. Peggy gave me the most beautiful collectible ornament in the shape of a vintage perfume bottle. I've never seen anything like it! I plan to look for a glass display of some type so that I can keep it out year-round. It is much too beautiful to pack away.

As beautiful of a holiday as it has been, I'm itching to pack the decorations away and get the house ready to put on the market. We've got a couple of major projects to finish (we've been living without a closet in the master suite for 6 years, but potential buyers may not appreciate the anbience of using vintage armoires) and some minor "tweeking" to do before it will be ready for a potential buyer, but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. We're gettting just a little closer to beginning our incredible journey! Hey! If anyone knows of someone who is in the market for a reasonably priced, cozy, three bedroom, three bath house sitting on a 1/4 acre corner lot in Central Florida, send them our way!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child! Welcome Holy Child!

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home. Please make Yourself at home.

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world! Welcome to our world!

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow pepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born! Unto us is born!

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God. Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world.

Chris Rice

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Wow! What a wonderful, busy day I had yesterday. After working on my transcription for a couple of hours early in the morning, doing a couple of loads of laundry, and even managing to run the vacuum cleaner, I spent several hours at Sister's Thyme helping Ms. Peggy out. The store was busy with last minute Christmas shoppers. It was a different busy than you might have found at the malls or WM, etc.. People were so pleasant and relaxed. Sister's has that effect on people, though. Peggy is so gracious and friendly and the atmosphere of the store reflects that when she is there. We went through mountains of tissue paper and endless beribboned kraft paper shopping bags. I actually think the credit card machine was breathing heavy by the end of the day. Peggy and I were able to talk between rushes, sharing dreams and fears and memories. She is preparing to embarq on her own incredible journey as she and her husband prepare to retire to Tennessee in a year or so. We were exhausted when the time came to lock the door for the day. For me at least, it was a good exhaustion. One born of hugs and smiles and endless wishes of Merry Christmas. Another memory of a wonderful day spent with a good friend to tuck away in my archives.

Last night was our choir Christmas party. For some reason my heart just wasn't in it. I've been craving simpler, more intimate holiday celebrations this year. We decided to forego the party and instead asked friends if they'd like to join us for dinner at Greensides, a local restaurant with a very calm, quiet atmosphere. I am so very glad we chose to have a party for four as our celebration last night. We had such a sweet time of fellowship with our friends. We were all able to sit back and relax and enjoy each other's company. There was no noise or confusion. We talked and laughed and enjoyed a wonderful meal together. Somehow, I think this is the way Christmas celebrations are meant to be. Simple times spent with people we love. Taking time to remember why we are celebrating this holiday season.

I came across a sweet blog yesterday called Cherub Wishes. I think it must have been devine intervention, because I had clicked on another link, but was sent here instead. This sweet lady has posted I Corinthians 13 - the Christmas version. I've included a link to her site in "my favorite blogs". I'll let you go there to read the post in its entirety, but one particular verse sums up in a nutshell the way I've been feeling:

"If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point."

Merry CHRISTmas, my friends!

Friday, December 21, 2007



The little dog peacefully asleep in her sunbeam.


My MWHITW stopped between service calls to give me these.


I've finally finished putting together a Christmas gift for a special friend. . . .

Hmmmm wonder who it's for and I wonder what it is?

I'm on an emotional rollercoaster ride today so I won't start rambling. I may never stop. I simply wanted to share a little piece of my day so far.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Ramblings . . .

You can tell the weather has finally (although temporarily) turned cold because:

1. I have exchanged my standard capris and t-shirt work ensemble for sweat pants and a long-sleeved henley and I have ressurected my favorite purple BUM hooded sweatshirt to wear when I walk the little dog.

2. Instead of my usual bare feet/flip-flop foot attire I'm wearing socks and my fuzzy red slippers to work in.

3. A hot, steamy mug of chai tea has replaced the glass of iced tea sitting on my desk next to my computer.

4. The couch is covered with a hodge podge of blankets because the big dog has decided that his twelve-and-a-half-year-old arthritic body feels much more comfortable on the couch than on his deluxe memory foam doggy bed.

5. The little dog has MUCH more energy than usual (yes it is possible for Brigi to be MORE energetic) and she's been snuggling just a little deeper beneath the blankets and pillows on whichever chair she decides is the most comfortable at the moment and it doesn't matter if it's already occupied. (Doxie Creed: If I can see it, it's mine!)

6. There will ineveitably be a slight power struggle to see whether MWHITW or I get to soak in a nice hot tub full of bubbles first (oops, sorry! Real men do not take bubble baths. The jets make the therapeutic sport mineral bath that is guaranteed to soak away your aches and pains foam up and it only looks like bubbles!). I think I'll let him go first since he's been working so hard out in the cold air all day.

I borrowed some inspiration from Kim at Cottage Life. She lined her kitchen cabinets with the most beautiful toille wallpaper and it looks so fresh and country and cottagey. (FYI - I plan to borrow a LOT of inspiration from Kim when it comes time to move). My cabinets were long overdue for new shelf paper so on a recent trip to Big Lots I found a roll of gingham check vinyl wallpaper. I guess the weather has given me a little more energy today too, because I started relining the cabinets and drawers. I had to quit part way through because the office had the odacity to send me work to do. What is done though, looks really great. Some of the plastic trim had broken off the front of the shelves, so I cut the paper with a pair of scalloped scissors, folded it down over the front of the shelf and voila! the shelves look as good as new. My only question is . . . why in the world didn't I think to do this two weeks ago while the bottom cabinets and drawers were emptied out for the new coutertops to be installed?????

Wow! Just as I was getting ready to start dinner (OK so I was pacing between the pantry and the freezer trying to figure out what in the world to fix for dinner tonight), my neighbor Theresa called and asked if we'd like some homemade veggie soup and some fresh rolls for dinner tonight. It took me all of a nanosecond to tell her that would be wonderful! So, when MWHITW gets home, he'll have a nice hot dinner waiting for him and I didn't have to lift a finger.

Pictorial dictionary: CONTENTMENT

Friday, December 14, 2007


It just occurred to me . . . well not JUST . . . but for some reason I was just struck full force with the fact that when the Christmas decorations come down it will be time to begin "staging" my house so that prospective buyers can envision it as their own. Gone will be my country clutter. Away with the family pictures. We removed the wallpaper and repainted the great room and kitchen months ago . . . before we made the decision to put the house on the market. But even then I had vintage plates and kitchen gadgets on the walls in the kitchen. We have spent so much time making this 30 year old cookie cutter home into our one of a kind oasis. Our bathroom will still be a country getaway, but without the bowl and pitcher sitting on the little antique cabinet that my MWHITW brought home from an estate sale. I'm torn about whether to leave the window/mirror on the wall above the tub (you see there is no window in our bathroom, so we made our own) and if do leave it up, do I leave the swag up, replace it with boring curtains, or leave the "window" free of fabric? Should I leave my little vignette on the top of other's chest of drawers, do I leave it bare, or do I replace it with a vase of grocery store flowers? Is my 1939 World's Fair vinegar bottle turned lamp (one of Mother's souvenieres from the World's Fair that Daddy electrified for her after they were married) too personal to leave on my night table . . . and should I remove the hand crocheted table topper and just leave the bland solid colored topper behind?

We have worked so incredibly hard over the past 12 1/2 years to turn this house into our home. I know in my heart that no matter where we go, no matter what type of a house we end up living in, that the same things that have made this house our home will help to make our new house a home. It's really not about the location or the decorations . . . it's about the love and the memories and the people we share it with. And most of all . . . . it's about the One who has given us the opportunity to live in this house and who is giving us the opportunity to fulfill our dream of living in the mountains again.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

. . . and visions of junque danced through my head . . .

We had a real estate agent take a walk through the house yesterday to give us an idea of what else we need to do before putting the house on the market. I was expecting one of those bashings like you see on "Designed to Sell", or "Secrets That Sell". Other than the few cosmetic things we had already planned on, he was actually very kind - Christmas clutter and all! He also suggested that we wait until mid January or early February to actually put the house on the market (thankyouthankyouthankyou!). He recited a mountain of statistics and strategic reasons - but I didn't hear a single one because I was so overcome with the relief flooding over me. Instead of visions of sugar plums, I've had visions of paint brushes and rollers dancing through my head at night. I could actually picture myself on a ladder Christmas morning, paint brush in one hand, spackle and putty knife in the other, rushing to get everything done. Thank you Coach (don't know his first name - or maybe it is his first name, but he introduced himself as Coach and his official ID badge concurred) for putting my mind at ease and allowing me a little bit of room for visions of sugar plums.

I had a doctor's appointment in Kissimmee after our appointment with Coach. I couldn't wait to get there. Excited about a doctor's appointment? Well, not exactly. I was really excited about the fact that when I was finished with my appointment I'd have time to do some junquin' at the big Salvation Army store and the Goodwill store. To a junquaholic, there's hardly anything better. I hadn't been to the Salvation Army in weeks - since my last doctor's appointment. I just knew I would come out of there loaded with treasures. Disappointment doesn't even begin to describe my feellings when I left that store empty handed. I just knew I was going through a junque slump. I almost bypassed the Kissimmee Goodwill, but decided at the last minute to give it a try. And WHAT A DECISION IT WAS! I found a whole cartload of goodies including three Christmas cookie molds that I shared with Sharron and Joleigh, a small Christmas tree for my son's room, a wonderful new light fixture for the "office" bathroom (brand new, never out of the box Hampton Bay for less than $10). But, my best deal of the day was an absolutely beautiful hand painted gourd. Gourd? Yes, gourd! It is huge - standing about 18 inches tall and at least that big around. My descriptions won't do it justice, so feast your eyes on THIS . . . Just look at the detail! There must have been countless hours of work put into this!

And I can't believe anyone would have sent it to Goodwill! And, to top it off I only paid $2.99 for it! He is sitting in front of the fireplace right now - a place of honor for all to see. After Christmas is over, he will be lovingly wrapped in bubble wrap and packed gently away with the rest of the decorations, more than likely to be unwrapped and proudly displayed next year in the mountains of Kentucky!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

From "The Heart & Home of Christmas" by Karla Dornacher

Salvation has come to this home today . Luke 19:9 NLT Christmas is a special time of year, a season set apart from all others to celebrate a miracle. And what a miracle it was! God came into the world to bring us the gift of salvation. In fact, He was the Gift! Salvation was born that Christmas Day so long ago. His crib wasn't delivered to a masion or a motel. His crib was not found in a townhouse or a ranch house. No fancy wrapping or ribbon either. Sent by the hand of God, Salvation entered this world in a borrowed stable, always looking . . . ever seeking . . . for a home to call His own. Since the day He was born, Jesus has been knocking at doors throughout the generations, among every culture and people. He longs to find a home ~ a dwelling place ~ in the hearts of people who will simply believe. Yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate . . . to rejoice . . . not only in the miracle of Christ's birth, but with even deeper joy we celebrate the miracle of His being born into our lives, making his home in our hearts.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Photographs and Memories

Well, I think I've about finished decorating for Christmas. All except for the front door. Cannot for the life of me figure out where the little doo-dad is that I hung on the door last year. Hmmmm. Gremlins again? Maybe that's what the cute little welcome sign was for! But it looks so great where it is now, I don't have the heart to move it. Maybe another trip up the attic steps or better yet . . . a trip to the thrift stores in search of something "new"!.

My beloved stuffed Santa has a new place of honor this year. He is standing proudly in the entry way on the bench that my Junque Syster, Sharron so graciously presented to my wonderful husband on a recent furniture exchange expedition. I've had Santa since I was three years old - back in the day when the pictures were black and white and the tree was silver tinsel sitting on a rotating base being illuminated by a little gizmo that had multi colored gels on a rotating disk and as the tree rotated on its base, the gizmo projected colors of red, green, blue and yellow on the tree. No need for lights. The reflection of the colored gels on the silver tinsel tree and glass ornaments provided a light show that I don't think Disney himself could duplicate. Of course, those are the memories from loooooong ago. If I were to take a trip with the ghost of Christmas past, I'd probably see something totally different through my - uhm - vintage eyes.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Gremlins and Greenery

I suppose there is nothing like a backlog of work to put me in the mood for the very first entry in my very first blog. The urge to ignore the backlog of work has also put me in the mood for unpacking some more Christmas decorations. There are some amazing surprises hidden in the depths of these totes. I found great "welcome" sign that I don't remember ever seeing before. It fits in so well in our little "cabin corner". I'm not sure if it was a thrift store find, a gift or if I bought it on clearance somewhere. OR maybe the Christmas gremlins knew that I'd love it and snuck it into the bottom of my greenery tote sometime over the summer. Hmmmmmmm?