Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

You know how the old year going out is depicted by an old man with a cane and the new year coming in is with a cute little baby?

One of my sisters made this tiny doll for me. And of course I love her. She is crawling on her tummy. I wonder what I will learn and how I will grow next year?

Happy New Year's!

For some reason...I'm not really sure, we say that on the eve of every holiday!

Love, Rachel

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Almost Gone?

This past year has been full of changes.
The light is shining toward the new year to come. Are you looking forward to it? What is one of your New Year's resolutions?

I plan to be more intentional in tiny acts of kindness to my children and husband.

Have a fun day.
Love, Rachel

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Winner!

Yay! Congratulations! The winner of the magazine is "Jeanne" listed under Anonymous. She was chosen by random pick, so if you could email me with your address, I will get the magazine right out to you! It is my gift from the heart to you!
Thank you so much for your kind and sweet comments. I am still adding in the links to my "Blogs I Enjoy" list, so if you would like to be added just leave a comment with your link information.
Have a fun Monday!
Love, Rachel

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thank You!

A friend gave me these twisted wire snowflakes. There are 4 of them. You can use them all together, or obviously separately. I think they are absolutely darling. I hope you had a merry little Christmas. I don't have to think very long and hard to find myself feeling thankful and joyful deep inside. We had family all around. We have peace. We have health and safety. In spite of all this past year has held for us, I am still thankful. I count my blessings with emotions that are sometimes as varied as snowflakes!
One of my blessings has been you, my readers...those of you who leave comments and those of you who don't. You have been so kind to me and I appreciate that.
I thank those of you who have found me and told me you enjoy this blog. I have learned so much this year through all of you. I have made some wonderful friends.

When I give gifts, they may not be large and flamboyant, but they are from my heart. You know if you've read my blog very long, or know me personally, that I LOVE decor magazines. I read them from cover to cover, backwards and forwards, forwards and backwards, over and over. I feel like I know the editors and writers and stylists and photographers like friends...though I really don't! I'm just me...little ole' Rachel!
I've felt the ups and downs as the magazines have changed editors or direction with decor and marketing. I have a few favorites that are 10 years old. Yes really, but they are organized.
As my way of saying thank you for this year of blogging fun, I am going to draw a name from the comments that are left on this posting, and I will send you my most current issue of "Romantic Country". Whew! There I got it out!
I know a lot of you have already purchased this magazine, but I've contemplated this for days, and I finally realized that I just needed to give it up.
It truly is a gift from my heart.
Leave a comment, and I'll draw a name from the comments on Sunday night!

Also, you have mentioned to me that you use my "Blogs I Enjoy" list to go to other blogs. I know I have used other blog lists in the same way. SSSSSSSOOOOOOOOO, if you do not see your blog link in my "Blogs I Enjoy" list, it would make me so happy to add you to my list. Please just let me know your blog info through your comment, or my email...found under "About A Romantic Porch".

I'm looking forward to talking to you again on Monday when I tell you whose name is drawn for the magazine. Have a wonderful weekend!
Love, Rachel

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Twas the night before Christmas.
Not a creature was stirring.
Not even a mouse.
Well, only except for momma who was up making sure that Santa ate his cookies and Rudolph ate his carrots! Sort of!
But then the delightful smell of iced cinnamon toast wafted from the kitchen and all creatures began to stir.
Even Ivory had a yummy feast as she wiggled and squirmed with glee at the taste of fresh sliced orange.
Have a special, one of a kind Christmas day.
Merry Christmas!
Love, Rachel

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pausing on Christmas Eve

Each year the Nativity story is depicted in such pretty and perfect terms, almost a sterile manger scene of sorts. I'm sure you know the story well.
I pause to think, how could that be? Wasn't the world harsh and cold? And wasn't a meager stable a place where farm animals ate and slept...a small shelter from the cold and the harsh night beyond?
In the darkness and cold the glow of a light brings much more brilliance than when it is shining in the warmth of sunshine.
Did Mary talk to the animals? Did she ask them to move over? Or did they scurry to make room for her as they heard her cries of anguish. She was probably just looking for a place to lay her head, a place to lie down, to pause and take deep breaths as she pondered the magnitude of the labor to come.
Did the animals come close to bring her warmth? And did the sheep offer his side for a pillow? I don't know!

I do know that the world is harsh and cold.
I do know sometimes our shelter may feel like a meager refuge from the harsh night beyond.
I do know life can be hard and filled with pain and anguish.

And so for all of this we need a Savior...a Light shining brilliantly to bring hope!

On Christmas Eve I pause and ponder...HOPE!
Love, Rachel

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

White Christmas?

We've had cold cold cold temps and ice and freezing rain is predicted in a few hours. Then I think it is supposed to warm up and we'll probably have a slushy Christmas at that point.

However in the true spirit of things I can offer you a few of my tiny white items of decor.

But if that is not enough, and you just must, absolutely must have a white Christmas, I think you should just click right here and see Karla's porch!

With that being said, are you still dreaming of a white Christmas?
Have a dreamy white day!

Love, Rachel

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thinkin' about Saturday Work On Sunday

See that line of trees way over there? Yes, WAY over there! In our business we would say " 1/2 mile in and 1/2 mile out". A survey crew works their way back turning angles and shooting distances to determine the new property line, and then you walk all the way out. For those of you who are savvy in geodetic science, this story would be different if we had robotic instruments and 4 wheelers, but we don't and so this is how it is!
This instrument has been faithful and "trusty" all these years, but alas a problem has developed and the company that repairs and keeps it "fine tuned" says that new parts are no longer made for it...hhhmmm, sounds like someone, just might want to sell a new instrument! So I'm tellin' ya this baby, the instrument that is, gets a lot of pamperin' cause we can't have him just give up on the job!
Our teenage sons are great help to their dad and they are all good at pamperin' the "baby". However, there are times when they have other, shall we say obligations, like REAL jobs *smile* or stuff like that, and they can't help...SSSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOO I help. Now, I'm not so confident in pamperin' the "baby". That's where the "1/2 mile in 1/2 mile out" story comes into play. Without giving you a class in Land Surveying 101 right here on this blog, lets just say that land surveying involves a lot of walking AND not always in the best of conditions or weather. The person who runs the instrument...not so much! Well of course the instrument man still has the same weather and conditions, but they are at the instrument.
For the person carrying the rod, yep, there's a lot of walking, however it is the cute and smart guy, my husband, in the picture above who knows shall we say...where to walk. After all he's, the surveyor. However, when it is my turn to help, on my knees *slight...ok huge! exaggeration* I beg and plead to be the one to walk, because I'm highly intimidated by the instrument to which we must coddle and coo! And so, I load up...for this job...2 rebar, 2 lathe, spool of pink ribbon...yes, I really said pink...see me smile, 2 survey caps, the 1 pound sledge hammer, oh yeah, and the rod AND the walkie talkie...I'm thinking at this point, I should have brought the little pink Barbie backpack.
We've done all the stuff we do to set one point and now I'm headed to the final point...1/2 mile in. I'm thankful that the ground is frozen, I'm not sinking in mud with every step and losing my shoes as I pick up my feet. I'm thankful I didn't have to climb that fence that I just walked passed. I'm thankful that I'm not trudging through a foot of snow. I'm thankful that the corn has been harvested and I can just cut across the field not having to worry about the farmer's crop. I'm thankful that it's not too windy, just cold! I'm thankful that we have this job. I'm thankful that I have 2 sons, even though they couldn't help AND I'm thankful for my husband. I hear static, and then his voice comes across the walkie talkie. "Hey, babe, I'm really really really sorry you're the one having to do that." See he's been watching me all along through the tiny little scope on the instrument. He knows right where I am and truthfully right where I'm headed. I don't.
I told him before I started out to keep me on track. Isn't that funny! I chuckle to myself.
I've walked many miles with 2 little boys and now little princess to stay by their side while they rode their bikes, surely I can do this!
My hands are full, I keep walking not wanting to stop and dig in my pocket for the walkie talkie to respond.
But I listen. And walk. His voice is silent. Silent. I think I must be doing OK...I listen and walk and walk.
Again static, his voice, "I'm watching you, and you're a little off line, go left about 4 the other left". I'd gone right!
I adjust my steps, and hear static, his voice, "Good line." I walk AND listen. Silence. Walk and walk and listen. Static, his voice, "When you've gone about 20 more feet, I said feet not paces, stop, and I'll check your distance." We do that process. Eventually I am in the spot where I need to be to set the rebar property corner. His voice, "That's it! Set the pin right there! And come on out!"

I'm so happy! I laughed at myself as I realized I had tied a BOW with the pink surveyor ribbon! Now I'm traveling lightly with just the laser rod and the sledge hammer...1/2 mile out! Yahoo!

But I thought about God too. I believe he's always watching me and you too for that matter. Sometimes as we walk it is silent. But when we hear his voice, we know he's been watching all along. HE knows where we are headed and the angles and distances we will have to turn to reach the goal!

Oh God, You are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Old Testament Psalm chapter 63 verse 1

Have a wonderful restful Sunday!

Love, Rachel

Friday, December 19, 2008

Anniversary Thoughts

If my parents were living, today they would be celebrating their 72 anniversary. They did enjoy 61 1/2 years together. They were married toward the end of what historians call "The Great Depression". Mother was 19 and Daddy was 21. I've heard them tell how hard times were for them. But they had love and faith and hope. One year later on Christmas Day, their first son, my oldest brother was born.
Mother and Daddy were strong and generous and cared about the needs of others. They worked harder than hard...if that is possible...and taught all ten of us how to work and stick to it even when the going got tough. I never heard them say I give up. They were an unbelievable team.

I think about them so much, and even though they are gone from my physical presence, I still learn things from them. As I live my life, through the ups and downs, I can look back and remember their responses to different situations they faced, and so I learn again.

As I contemplate this season...they are in the forefront of my mind and I'm pondering and learning...and missing!
Love, Rachel

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas In One Week!

What? Next Thursday? How can that be? I heard on the news this morning that 41 million people haven't started their Christmas shopping! How do "they" know? I guess I would fit into the haven't started category, but sssshhhhhhhhh! we're not telling are we? I'm still trying to get the fabulous glow of the Christmas lights on the Christmas tree captured through the lens of the camera.
I don't want to be caught up in the stress and drama that makes Christmas a time for dread. Daddy carved several of these wooden spoons. He called them "Swedish Love Spoons". I was fortunate enough to receive one of them from him. It reminds me to take life a bite at the time, and fill it with love.
Can you see that tiny folded bit of lace behind the gold beads? I know it is kinda blurry isn't it? Several years ago I opened a letter from mother. This 6 inch fragment of lace fell from the page as I opened it. In the letter she said that she had found this piece of lace somewhere and she was just sending it on to me because she knew I would love it. Yes! I loved it then and I still do. I folded it into a bow and placed it into the keepsake tree. A friend's teenage daughters told their mom that they wanted to give me their grandma's rose pin because they knew I would love it! Yes, I loved it then and I still do. I pinned it to mother's lace. These are such small things but filled with a spoonful of love one bite at a time.
I want to appropriately express the love I have in my heart for others. Love is not necessarily expressed in the big and colorful gifts quickly purchased at the last minute. Those gifts can truly be an expression of love, but across the years I've learned that many times it is the small things that show love...expressions of concern, a small remembrance, a caring hug, a kind word, an apology to a spouse or children for words harshly spoken in haste.
So if your are scurrying around finishing up Christmas shopping with the other 41 million, I hope you will still have time to savor the sights and sounds of the season, the laughter and the small bite size blessings that come your way.
Love, Rachel

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Keepsake Tree

I mentioned in an earlier posting that the tree in the dining room is our keepsake tree. I took several pictures of keepsakes to show you, but for some reason they turned out blurry. I'll try again. In the meantime, I will show you this pink glass ornament. It has 7 sides. On the back inside it is "mirrored" like mercury glass. I have a clear glass one too. Several years ago, I went to a yard sale in a retirement village. The lady told me that she remembers these ornaments on her parent's tree when she was a child. She was retirement age. I was happy to trade my quarter for these ornaments from her childhood. She didn't act like it mattered to her. I think about her everytime I put them on the tree and wonder why she didn't care about them.
I usually just use things I have on hand to decorate, so the top of this tree has ribbons and flowers. After Christmas, I'll do something else with them.

One year while designing costumes for a Christmas show, I needed glitter ribbon to edge a costume. Since the only ribbon I could find like that had wire in the edges, I used my serger blade to cut the wired edge off. When I looked on the floor and saw the beautiful curls of wire lying there, I just hung them on the tree instead of dropping them in the trash. Now each year I put them on a tree somewhere in the house. That's just a tiny idea that you can do too, if you need to "stretch" the use of your ribbon.

Have a wonderful day.

Love, Rachel

Monday, December 15, 2008

Squint Test!

Do you do the squint test? You know when you are putting the lights on the Christmas tree, and you stand back and squint your eyes when you are looking at it, to see if the lights are evenly spaced all over the tree.
I see a few sparse places in the lights on this tree now that I'm looking at this picture that I didn't see after I "squinted"!
I just love the cozy glow of Christmas lights. Don't you?
Happy Anniversary to my wonderful in laws today! I hope it will be extra special for you!
Love, Rachel
P.S. Have you ever totally undecorated a tree and completely redecorated it because some of the lights went out on it? Please tell me! AND yes, I have!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday's Rest

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;

I will not be afraid.
Old Testament Psalm chapter 56 verses 3 and 4 NIV

Have a beautiful, peaceful and trusting day.
Love, Rachel

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Caroling

Do you like to go caroling? You know...where you ride around in the cold and dark, jump out at different homes and sing Christmas songs to the people who live there while you stand out in the front of their house. I have great memories of doing this as a child. It is always neat if the people open the door and stand and listen to you. It is also fun to give them a plate of cookies or treats when you are finished singing.
A few nights ago, while driving, my husband and I thought it would be fun to jump out and sing at several friends homes that we were driving past...the kiddos...not such a great idea in their opinion. So we didn't. sigh* sometimes impromptu adventure makes the best memories*
But who wouldn't enjoy a rousing rendition of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" all special just for you on your front lawn?
I think I better go bake some cookies and prepare myself for another caroling adventure.
I thought you might like to see a photo of the mantel...just using things that I already have. I guess that is the way I decorate usually, just using things in different ways.
Have a fun Saturday.
Love, Rachel

Friday, December 12, 2008

We've Been Busy!

This is the latest craft of choice by the kiddos in our household...duct (or is that duck?) tape anything!
And then of course there are the letters to Santa.

Earlier in the week we attended an awards banquet for our son who is in high school. He was being recognized along with other high school students for his grade point average. It was an interesting and fun evening. Everything was well planned and very organized.

When the students who are Seniors this year were given their certificate, they had a teacher standing with them. After receiving their certificate, each student stepped to the podium with a large plaque and then said that the teacher standing with them had been their most influential teacher in their school career. After saying why that teacher had been most influential, they presented the plaque to the teacher. It was all so very touching to this sentimental mom who feels her emotions and the emotions of others quite deeply.

The Seniors were so poised and explained themselves well. Of course, there were a few clowns who had the entire audience laughing.

I must tell you to the best of my ability what one young lady said about a teacher.

The student said she had never had this woman for a teacher. She had interacted with her through club and extra-curricular involvement. The teacher was so caring and truly dedicated to all she did. She had inspired this student to be a better person and do all she could to achieve to her highest potential. Again, I am paraphrasing.'s the heart breaker. The student said, "Mrs. "Jane Doe" has never received 'A Most Influential Teacher Award' and I am so pleased to be the first student to ever present her with one, because Mrs. 'Jane Doe' teaches Special Education."

Isn't that absolutely touching? Teachers give of themselves everyday to build up the lives of their students, not just in learning ways. I know several teachers well. I have siblings and in - laws who are teachers. But because of the way our educational system and grading system is structured, those students who struggle to achieve the grading standards set forth by the state, will not have the opportunity in a setting specifically like this, to say thank you to Jane or John Doe who pours into them day after day.

One of my cousins was a Special Education teacher. Oh how she loved her students. They were her whole life. A few years ago late in October she was diagnosed with cancer and by mid- November she was gone. Her students were devastated. They never had a chance to stand at a podium and with pride present her with a plaque, but I believe that teachers don't teach because they expect plaques and acknowledgement. They teach because they love seeing others learn and grow in ways that would be impossible otherwise.

My first grade teacher. Read about her here.

You know, I have those constant reminders that this moment is all we are truly blessed with to make a difference, to live life to the fullest. I don't want to waste it. I hope I haven't.

Love, Rachel

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And The Winner Is..................

from Sweet Victoria Antiques.

View her beautiful porch photos and read what she says about each one. Drop by and wish her a Merry Christmas!

Victoria writes,
"I am a single mom of a 22 year-old daughter, named Rachel (smiles). I moved to Middle Tennessee on June 1. I am celebrating my first Christmas in the South! I have tried to stay in the Southern Spirit of decorating for my porch.

I decorated the wreath and garland myself.

The topiaries came from Home Depot. I enjoy antiques, sewing, gardening, floral design and of course, decorating! I have been blogging since March of 2008 and love all the friends I have found through my blog. I am a Christian and look forward to Christmas each year, not only as a time for having fun decorating, but to remember the true reason I celebrate, the birth of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. "

You will love Victoria's blog and home decor. If she's not already on your "favorites" list, I'm sure she will be soon.

Thank you to each one of you who submitted your beautiful photos for the contest.

Love, Rachel

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Cold and Snowy Day!

The weather outside is frightful.
It is 12 degrees and frosty and cold with snow.

When it snows, she (a wife of noble character) has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

Old Testament Proverb chapter 31 verse 21 NIV

I hope your day is warm and cozy and restful.
Love, Rachel

P.S. Don't forget to join the contest mentioned in the previous are coming in!

Friday, December 5, 2008

An Idea and A Contest

By now it is probably no surprise to you that I love glass ornaments. This year I thought it would be fun to add these to the top of one of our Christmas trees.

So I pulled out a few supplies and went to work. Using a wire berry spray and plain old tape, I slid one of the glass balls down onto one of the berry stems, then taped it in place.
I didn't want to lose the clip from the top of the ornament, because I probably won't do this next year, so I taped the clip onto the stem too. When I take the Christmas decor down, it will be there ready to clip back onto the ornament!
Then I just slid the "ornament sprays" down into the top of the tree. It made me smile and I was happy! I hope you are too! It's SO easy! Hurry, go make one for yourself!
And now for the contest. It is time to feature a December porch. So until Sunday evening at midnight, I will be accepting email photos of your porches all decorated for Christmas. On Monday, a team of five very qualified judges (as in my family huddled around the computer screen viewing email files) will select the winning porch and it will be posted on Tuesday. So come on y'all, start sending the photos. I've even given you the weekend to finish up the decorating. Yay! I'm so excited. This will be fun! AND it's all about fun and spreading cheer isn't it?

When you submit your photo, tell about yourself and your porch and your favorite part about decorating it for Christmas. You don't need to have a blog to participate. On my sidebar under Personal Links, if you click on "About A Romantic Porch" you will find my email.

If you'd like to know the story behind the vintage pixie elf and how he can come to live with you, just click here!

Have a wonderful day!
Love, Rachel