Friday, December 19, 2014

Newlywed Nativities

Every gift which is given,
even though it be small,
is in reality great
if it is given with affection.

The Year 2014 joined three young couples in marriage. Each was a) a secret ceremony (in January), b) a private ceremony (in the summer), and c) a small family affair (in November). The reason we only attended c) a small family affair is because my husband was the officiant.

E for Estrada

My plan was to slip a cross stitched monogram ornament inside each wedding card along with some cash. But as Christmas drew near, the unique wedding gift of a hand-carved nativity came to mind.

Each newlywed couple is of Filipino heritage, so in Manila we purchased three hand-carved nativities. This identical nativity was seen recently on O'ahu, Hawai'i, in the Dole Plantation gift shop for $88! In Manila they cost P800 (less than $20).

Green tissue padded the bottom of each box and was misted with Olio, Inc.'s "Apples 'N' Spice" enhancer oilFor the past decade I've sprayed this on silk flower arrangements, on greenery, on wicker items, onto the backs of nightstands and headboards, inside drawers, and even on the floor under carseats in our vehicles. I also spray it onto torn snippets of facial tissue or toilet paper and vacuum it into the vacuum. I have to be very careful not to get it onto my skin because it's a very strong oil. Initially it's a cinnamon scent that eventually takes on an almost vanilla aroma.

Each carving was wrapped
in red tissue.

 When the newlyweds open the nativity box each year to display it for Christmas, they'll have that wonderful scent, won't they?

Here are Mr. and Mrs. Bruce (Candace) Estrada III who told me they decided to collect Christmas tree ornaments. My own honey and I have done that since 1998, and like our tree, the Estradas' will evoke a menagerie of memories through the years.

Our summer-marrieds are Mr. and Mrs. Victor (Ariana) Malveaux.

Our joy has been watching each of these couples grow from high school-age, then go to college, and now form families of their own.

Last but not least are our November-marrieds, Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie (Keisha) Malveaux, Jr. (Yes, Ronnie is Victor's big brother.)

These Malveauxs were setting up their First Christmas tree that Sunday evening, they told us, and were elated to have the nativity.

May these families' future Christmases
always be Christ-centered,
remembering that

Jesus is the Reason
for the season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Handmade Christmas Photo Cards

Bless us, Lord, this Christmas
with quietness of mind;
Teach us to be patient
and always to be kind.
~Helen Steiner Rice

I made our Christmas cards this year.

inspired me.

 Hers are waaay cooler, aren't they?

Some old Martha Stewart
Living magazine vintage clipart
(duplicated) embellished the backs.

If the recipient desires,
the 4" x 6" photo can be plucked
from the card and framed.

I will never
make Christmas cards again.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Moon Over Saipan

I see the moon

And the moon sees me.

God bless the moon

and God bless me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pillow Proverbs

The pillow sits there on the bed
and awaits our company again.
~Seanasea Wallen

Back in August, I began a Scripture pillowsham project. I bought ecru canvas/duck. The Firstborn wrote on the fabric with a water soluble marker the verses she had used on her original gifts, Scripture pillowcases... of which only God Himself knows the whereabouts. 

Last seen on Crowne Plaza bed pillows
Manila, July 2011

I shared the pillowshams' embroidery progress in mid-September and a week later.

DMC 738 was backstitched
onto ecru duck.



And here they are.

The just man walketh
in his integrity: his
children are blessed
after him.
Proverbs 20:7

Her children arise
and call her blessed;
her husband also,
and he praises her.
Proverbs 31:28

Remember we live in the tropics, so no heavy blankets are needed on our bed that is typically dressed in cotton white or cream. I made some new and simple pillowcases, too.

Is it time to read yet?

Thank you, sweet Dana,
for the thoughtful gifts in 2011.
Though your pillowcases are gone,
they are certainly not forgotten.
Now Daddy and I can read
your treasured sentiments
every day.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is His reward.
Psalm 127:3

Friday, November 28, 2014

Poised for the Pillowcase Project

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night
stays these couriers from the swift completion
of their appointed rounds.
~Postal Tribute

Ahoy matie! ~ stars and circles ~ monkeys ~circles and stars ~ zoo animals

National Children's Hospital Day is in 27 days and the pillowcases I recently put together above push the total number of contributions to 161! I wholeheartedly agree: That is phenomenal! 

Annie and I are poised to distribute all your goodies on Christmas Day! I'll be packaging diapers of all sizes and sachets of hot cereal and milk powder inside small plastic bags. Annie has arranged a team of at least three more helpers from her church to help us drag the hundreds of diapers, sachets and pillowcases up four flights of stairs--YES! According to the diaper size the NCH patient needs (if at all), our plan is to then drop a bag inside your pillowcase(s). In return, Annie's team and I will receive the reciprocated smiles-- the recipient's gift to you!-- and record them with my trusty camera. 

Again, I can't thank enough those who were able to contribute pillowcases for the Pillowcase Project in honor of my precious mother-in-law, the Christmas-month birthday girl, whose heart has reached out to the young and ill by "doing what she could" (Mark 14:8). I am so very grateful!

She stretches out her arms to the poor
and extends forth her hands to the needy.
~Proverbs 31:20


Generous Contributors to the Pillowcase Project
1.  My precious MIL
2.  Sherry at Createology
6.  Annabel in South Australia at The Bluebirds are Nesting
7.  Dayle at A Collection of Days and her mother, Mrs. Ruth Allen
9. Marlynne at Marlynne Creates Daily and the Chat & Sew gals at First Baptist Church (Archie, Missouri)
10. First Lady Claudia and her ladies of Higher Ground (Twin Falls, Idaho)
11. Our Firstborn Dana
12. Our great-niece Abrielle

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2013 Reflections

I can feel the warm feeling of love
and thankfulness in the air.

Thanksgiving Day 2013

Abrielle's 2013 essay,
"My Thanksgiving day"


Dionna's "pumpkin" tangerines

Dad, Mom and two of her brothers

The bountiful meal was spread out
and enjoyed at my husband's
younger brother Tom's church.

Ironically, we settled down at the table from the oldest at one end to the youngest at the other. left at head of table My husband's Uncle Jim is in the last stages of cancer this year...

After feasting, during family prayer together I recorded this treasure.

Dad and Mom with their children:
left Fred, Deborah, my David and Thomas

Dad and Mom with their grandchildren:
standing left
Dan and Melissa, Rebecca, Zachary, Kara, Andrew and Marybeth, Diana's in front of our Justin and Dana, our Danielle and Corey
Travis and Justin

Dad and Mom with their
Abrielle, Jackson, Liliana and Moriah
and photo-bombing Zach

Our family with Dad and Mom

I wore this outfit.

These embroidered Thanks cards were presented to each family/individual, embellished with beautiful fall leaves.

Thank you, Lord,
for every 2013 blessing!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving 2012 Reflections

I'm thankful for every moment.
~Al Greene

Thanksgiving 2012

From left Sam Go, David Flowers, John Wolfram,
My Handsome Mr. and Dean Larson

Clockwise from left
Donna Flowers, Miss Larson, Deb Wolfram, Kendra Shock
Miss Larson, Moi, Kelly Jo Larson

I think the men were fed up!

Thank You, Lord,
for every 2012 blessing!