Wednesday, December 12, 2012

...Now you are light in the Lord...

Live as children of light 
~ for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth ~

Ephesians 5:8-10

That is my prayer each and every day...
because it's just so easy sometimes "to make that comment"
or "think that thought" that lets the darkness creep in.
It's so good
to be reminded that we are light in the Lord.
 How is everyone doing?
I miss everyone!

Our Christmas decorations are going up slowly.
The tree in the sunroom was decorated last weekend.
My smaller tree that stands with the Christmas village had
its turn tonight.


Ever since "my little birdies" flew the nest, Advent seems
to rush by.  When they were small, wiggly children, Chris and I worked so hard 
before and after supper to create a special time for Advent prayer and candle lighting.
The forty days of Advent seemed so long :o)
Now, before we know it, these next couple of weeks will breeze by.
Faces of loved ones will be at our front doors and
gathered 'round our tables.
the winks and smiles
  the unstoppable laughter
the endless baking and cooking and
coffee and more tea
and another hug

is all we really truly wish for

I wish you all happy and joyfilled moments
in the coming days ahead
and always,

Love to all!
~ Maria

Photo taken inside the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
    Author: G.K. Chestertoni

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Blessings always,
~ Maria 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hello Orion

chilly nights

extra blankets
fuzzy socks


I love Orion.
rising and setting in the late autumn sky,

a constellation

a heavenly drawing

to remind me
that God
has a flare for creating amazing beauty.

On Monday, October 22, Chris woke me up before dawn to see the Orionid.
{The Orionids are cosmic leftovers — bits of rock and ice that remain behind from Halley’s comet, 
which last passed through the inner solar system in 1986.}

I didn't get to see any shooting stars, but Chris saw three of them.
The second one he saw while I went back into the house to get my camera.
My father was sleeping in the bedroom downstairs, so I had to be very quiet.

While I tried to find the right setting, I snapped the pic above prematurely.  I was happy to see that I actually captured a few stars!  It was then that Chris spotted another shooting star.

I really like the first photo.
It is from flickr and looks so similar to our view from the backyard.
Orion was framed so beautifully between our tall white pines.

Here are two great videos I found on flickr of an Orionid meteor.

 and closer:


“Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.”
 Henry Van Dyke

Enjoy more skies at Sky Watch Friday!
Enjoy your weekend and always look on the brighter side of life!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stealing a moment or two

I stole a few moments for myself.
 September was such a busy month at school.
I just had to come up for air

...and take myself...
somewhere where I can easily lose myself 

... wandering through the past...
at Something Olde ~ Something New
{my favorite consignment shop}

...where I found this sweet gem of a teacup
and the little birdie that looks so cozy inside

and this adorable Warren Kimble hen and chicks lamp
that is now on my kitchen table.

 The sweet cross stitch tablecloth was a must.
as was the milk glass hen and chicks covered dish.
..I didn't stop there...

I also found a J Jill cashmere sweater set for a steal.
... I think I need the soft and cozy hugs of this sweater set 
along with all my prayers
to keep me sane at school :o)
{I love my students - they keep it real... it's all the state and national pressures making it unreal!}

 Oh... and for just a few dollars, I picked up fresh new Liz Claiborne reading glasses for my purse.
Can you believe how many things are typed in size 9 font these days!?!
~     ~    ~
 I love visiting this consignment shop filled with vintage treasures.
It makes me feel like I'm touching the past I'm back in the days of my mother and grandmother...
a wonderful
and comforting
Wishing you all wonderful and comforting October days.
Blessings and Overflowing Grace
to you

~ Maria

Thursday, September 6, 2012

summer makeovers

I love looking back at little projects that
still put a smile on my face.

This little dresser was $15.
It had chipping and peeling icky brown paint.
"Please bring me home, Maria"
 (Okay :o)

I was so happy when I brought it in the house all clean, creamy white and with 
its vintage brass knobs polished and pretty.
Barkeeper's friend brought the shine back like a dream!

 This worn little side table was only $10
but because it was so sturdy, I took it home and rescued it from a rainy garage sale day.

It just needed a little elbow grease
polish and stain.

 I smiled when this was finished.
$10... not bad!

I forgot to take a photo of the very, very old cottage dresser that I bought for my sewing room...
but I gathered the drawers for a "group shot" that would give you the idea of how it looked before.
For me this is another icky color.
It reminded me of that old "avocado green" color of the 70's.

I love using Stix Primer.
It really does stick to any surface.  The dresser got a little rough sanding first...
nothing too serious... and then two coats of Stix Primer.

 The gallon of creamy white Behr Paint in "heavy cream" refinished so many pieces this spring and summer... and there was still plenty to use for this dresser too.

It's great looking back to see some work finally done... some sweet little rewards of summer...
My spools of thread are all organized in the top drawers and folded fabrics in the bottom drawers.
Many of my patterns are in the drawers of the little dresser.
My feet are up tonight.
Back to school week is always so exciting.

I hope you had a great week too!
Blessings always, dear friends and family  

 {Happy to be participating in Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday}
 Furniture Feature Fridays

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

 "I count myself lucky, having long ago won a lottery paid to me in seven sunrises a week for life."
- Robert Brault

This beautiful quote
{and so ingeniously clever as always with Robert Brault}
reminded me of what my father so often says...

"When I open my eyes each morning, I thank God for the gift of another day."
Dad will be 88 next month!
 ... to start each day with gratitude...
this is how we grow
{Thank you for the hot air balloon photo, Jason!}

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A River Walk

We had a beautiful trip to Austin, Texas last week. 
We loved every minute we spent with Jason. We were also
lucky to be there with our daughter, Amanda. This time, we
flew into San Antonio. The price was so much lower, we were
able to rent a car for the difference. 
We stayed at the Crockett Hotel, on the recommendation of my friend,
Claudette - who stayed there this spring. They have lovely rooms that
overlook The Alamo and a wonderful continental breakfast.
 Isn't this great?
It was delicious too!
After resting a bit from our travels, we enjoyed the evening sun
and walked through the grounds of The Alamo.

We also spent hours strolling along The River Walk..
There was a warnm, dry breeze...

...the aroma of amazing food everywhere!

..and the music...

After two days in San Antonio, we drove with great anticipation to Austin.

Getting BIG family hugs was the best part of the week...
nothing tops that!

Wishing you much love, peace, and joy,
warm summer breezes,
and most importantly
knowing how much
you are loved by
an awesome

Monday, July 30, 2012

Surprised by Joy!

I'm still, very slowly reading Ann Voskamp's book "0ne Thousand Gifts."
Her chapter, "Go Lower," is so beautifully written.

"Surprised by joy!"

C.S. Lewis, she writes, was 'surprised by joy.'

She writes of the sheer joy and delight of a small child
~ through the example of her youngest child ~
You can search the world over, Ann writes, and find joy LIKE THAT only in a child.
"The secret to a child's language of laughter, their domain of delight, is perspective. "

"The heights of our joy are measured by the depths of our gratitude."

May we find the greatest joys in the small and simple things ~ discovering that gratitude precedes the miracles!

Wishing you many beautiful days ahead ~ sprinkled with ...
Showers of grace and blessings for you dear friends and family,
~ Maria

Quotes from "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp
Photo of my oldest ~ Amanda, when she was very small 

Sunday, July 22, 2012


 "Lifelong prayer brings peace to your lion's den."


Last week, the associate pastor of the church we attend, spoke those words.
Those words settled deep in my soul.
I needed to hear them.

We all have our own lion's dens.

This summer, I looked into the "eyes" of the three overstuffed bedrooms
where my children stayed... as little ones and as adults...
With Chris' help and God's daily offering of Grace
we brought peace to that lion's den that seemed so daunting.
Ahhh Peace!

Another lion's den I face is what has become of my profession.
The jaws of government wait.
The evaluations will be impersonal and litigious.

It's easy to feel like a small animal who spends unimaginable time and effort
trying to avoid becoming prey...

* instead *

 I will pray every day for my school, colleagues and students
and bring PEACE
to this lion's den.

...just had to share this with you, my friends and family

Thursday, July 12, 2012

busy as a bee

Just stopping by my little blog to show you some of the
work we've been doing and the progress we've made.
Amanda's old room went from "teen dream"
to "woodland white."
{a Benjamin Moore color} 

My sewing room went from "industrial"  
{no before photo, but imagine three base cabinets with a countertop that went the width of the room
and a twin bed on the other side with a tray-table night stand} a sweet and cottage*y place to dream and sew...


I searched this spring for vintage dressers and really enjoyed the transformation process!
I'll post my before and afters soon.

 We've been cleaning out closets and sorting through lots of things that belong to our children.
It brought back memories to find things like
Pokeman cards {Jason's closet}
and NSYNC concert photos {girls' closet}!

Yes, deep cleaning, fresh paint and organizing was long overdue!

I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel...
We will be painting the hallway and stairwell next week.

Amanda has long been on her own and is now enjoying some sparkling times of her own!
 {Taken by Amanda earlier this week in Cape Sebastian, Oregon}

It is nice "to be back" in blogland this morning!
~ I'll be visiting you all soon ~

God bless you always,
Wishing you much summer JOY!

{Enjoy more summertime joys at Sky Watch Friday!}

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Time to Relax

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.  
~Lily Tomlin

To sit with a dog on a hillside {or boat} on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace.  
~Milan Kundera

~ Looking forward to some relaxing moments this weekend ~

Wishing you a lovely, and relaxing weekend
which includes a few boring and peaceful moments!

Enjoy more relaxing views at Sky Watch Friday

photo credits:
collage made with photos by Amanda and Nick
photo of Timber taken by Rachael and Juan

Friday, June 22, 2012

God's Herald

Let us take time to marvel

at God's fingerprints on the world around us.

We see it everywhere, from a watercolor flower to a brightly painted butterfly.
Let us also see Him in one another.

Wishing you all a beautiful summer weekend
with eyes and hearts aware.

May we find His signature everywhere on the garments of what He has made.

{Psalm 8}
Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
  Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
  When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
  what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

  You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
  You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
  all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
  the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

  Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Wishing you joy
as we care for each other
and for the beautiful gifts God has given us.

Friday, June 8, 2012

{while maintaining her sparkle and shine}

People are like towers

and stained-glass windows

they sparkle

and shine

when the sun is out

but when darkness sets in

their true beauty is revealed

only if there is a light from within.

~ It started as a dream ~

 and became a reality.

These are just a few of my niece's beautiful photos of Paris.
A few years ago, she traveled through Europe en route to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.
She went there for the summer to do more studying in the field of internal medicine.
Sarah graduated this May from medical school with many distinguished honors.
{Auntie Maria is proud of you!}

Thank you for sharing your photos Sarah!
It was fun to use them for this fabulous virtual trip to Paris
with Anita and a so many other blog friends!

Fly on over to Castles Crowns and Cottages
for more Paris fun!