Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another Year, Come and Gone . . A New Year Now Comes

The New Year

Another year has circled to its close,
Another rose blown to eternal rest;
Sweet Memory, farther fading, sweeter grows--
The Wind sweeps on, that once the Rose caressed.
Another year! Ah, have we nearer pressed
To that far goal whereon our aim is set?
Another year! Have we perchance confessed
The lasting bitterness of vain regret?
Yet still the dew-pearl decks the rose's breast!

A year has fled, its triumphs and its pain
Borne far away on Time's all-sweeping crest;
Another following, pressed on amain,--
The Rose-tree in fresh bloom is ever dressed.
Though one rose die--ah, was that rose the best?
So in the coming year let no dismay
At Life's unkindly aspect frighten, lest
The tear we shed today dim yesterday;
For still the dew-pearl decks the rose's breast!


was, but will be! This is Life's behest;
This year, not was, but will be, one more test;
And ever, though the ages fade away,
The clear-eyed dew-pearl decks the rose's breast!

~H. Bedford Jones


Good morning, dear friends!

We hope that everyone had a wonderful, blessed Christmas, however celebrated and kept~

Our Christmas was a quiet one, spent at home in the morning, and at my mother's in the afternoon.

Cowboy Frank sure likes his new get-up!

And Evangeline is now "The Little Young Woman Who Lived in a Shoe"!

On Christmas Eve (And Christmas Day at Grandma's) we were treated to a performance of the Nutcracker by the children~

Followed by a live Nativity, narrated by Mr. Graham~

Followed by our attempt at a Tasha Tudor-style Nativity in the woods (a.k.a. back yard)~

(Let me tell you, lighting lots of candles when it's six degrees outside is no small feat!)

Followed by a long winter's nap!

Now we have begun packing away the little Christmas things that we have enjoyed the past month (except our little elf-men, who now smile at us from the computer top)~

(How can we resist their impish faces?)

And are looking forward to a new beginning with the New Year~A chance to look sweetly back on the good times, and to learn from the perhaps not so good times. May we all be blessed with a freshness of spirit, with joy, and with peace, as we bid yet another year farewell!



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

At Christmastide. . .

Now, in the deep of night,
Sounds of the day are still,
The crisp snow glistens white,

The air is frosty and chill,

And the moonbeams' tremulous light
Falls soft on copse and hill.
Oh, Peacetide of the year!

In many a land and clime,
From church towers, sweet and clear,

The mystic bell tones chime;

The world in her Christmas cheer

Turns back to a far-off time;

To the night, so long agone,

When over the wastelands wild,
Led by a light unknown,

A new star fixed and mild,
Wise-men from the East fared on

And found the dear Christ-child.

~by Eugene C. Dolson


~Little Baby Jesus is the sole remaining piece of my parents' first Nativity~

Dear friends,

How blessed to have you here again, to share a little of our home and family! We feel so touched to have met so many kindred friends through the happy land of Blog this past year~To have met so many of you who are seeking to make your homes be Heaven on earth. Thank you for sharing your personal stories, your homes, your experience with us. Thank you for being who you are, and for bringing a bit of light into this dreary world!

May each and every one of you feel the peace of this wintry season; and especially the peace which passeth understanding, as we seek to become a little more like the One who gave His life for us, that we may live eternally.

Here are a few photos of Christmas decorations around our home (our idea of Yuletide decorating is to find whatever looks cheery and bright, add a few greens, a few new items, and call it good :) ).

~We were so excited to win this ornament and postcard from Audrey Eclectic!~
~Mr. Horse looks rather pleased with his new decorations!~

~And new vintage elf-men; a gift from Grandma~

~Our sweet adopted neighborhood grandma gave us this China doll. We named her Mirette, after the character in this wonderful book our dear friend Lynn sent to us~

~A new Nutcracker from Grandma and old Dutch children that belonged to my grandma~

~New and old, this and that, happily residing together~

~And AnnaMarie painstakingly made this teeny-weeny Nativity scene for us-Can you see the gold threads in the Wise Men's clothing?~

Love to all, and a merry, merry Christmas,

From all of the Graham family to yours!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dear Friends,

Thank you again for your sweet comments and support; they bring cheer into our lives!

Christmas day is fast approaching, and we have been blessed to be able to enjoy a quiet season (in spite of the pipes freezing for three days), full of simple pleasures~

The big Christmas cactus is in bloom~

Our sweet friends the Watts sent a box of beautiful clothes~

We had a tea in honor of Jane Austen's birthday (the 16th)~

Complete with blueberries!

And made a family of snow people in the back yard~

We've spent time reading about how the Ingalls spent their Christmases~

Mr. Graham has been portraying Jacob Marley in "A Christmas Carol" (Scaaary!)~

And of course, the dolls have been busy sending off cards and gifts to their friends!

We hope that you are enjoying winter's simple pleasures, as well; be sure to take time out to nurture your own soul, and to remember the real reason we have Christmas! Let's all work to make it a true remembrance of the birth of our Savior again :) .




"The True Christmas Spirit"

by Magee Pratt

The purpose of the Christ day is this: To bring together the fortunate, happy, blessed people who have precious things in abundance, and the poor, sick, friendless, ragged, hungry ones who are despairing--the people who have no true knowledge of the best. And they meet, these two sorts of people, to make merry together, not for the comfortable to make the wretched forget their pain by their gifts and leave them, but to be happy together for Christ's sake on Christ's day. Now this can be done by those who have little money but much love, which is better. In my short journey through the world, in great cities full of wealth, or country places where a few hundred live, I have discovered streets and villages where death or misfortune had needy victims, where there were lonely, empty lives. Everywhere there is someone who would be grateful for a loving word, everywhere is a need in man or woman or child, and the Christmas season seems cruel to those who have no friends, few clothes, and poor, hard fare. Every mother out of her mother love could do a little for them, give them a present of the Christmas sacrificial good. It might cost something more precious than money, cost thought and time and love, but the good it did would be worth so much more--just to steal away the burden of pain from a breaking heart for the Christmas day.

(From the Mother's Magazine, 1909)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"A Christmas Gift for Tabby"

I have got a little needle,
And I've got a spool of thread,
And a pretty piece of satin,
And some lace and ribbon red,
And I'm goin' to make a cushion
For old Tabby cat, because
The only place she has for pins
Is to stick them in her paws.

~Amelia Price Avers

(From Little Folks Magazine, December 1906)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Girlhood Home Companion

Dear Friends,

Thank you for coming by our home today~we hope you enjoy your stay!

Today we would like to share with you one of our favorite magazines: The Girlhood Home Companion. Although this magazine is geared toward girls from age 10 to 18, I know a few ladies without daughters who enjoy it, as well!

We have had the opportunity of perusing the holiday edition, which was recently been published, and must say that it is as beautifully done as any of the other issues we have seen. Each issue is filled with godly encouragement for young ladies and their families, and includes well-written articles concerning manners and morals, as well as "how to" articles covering meal planning, serving others, etc. And, to top it off, it has paper dolls! :)

If you haven't been introduced to this wonderful publication already, we think you would enjoy it very much!




God Bless the Commonplace

God bless the commonplace! We strain and fret
Through wearisome and unproductive days,
Striving to carve new destinies, or blaze
A trail through unaccustomed lands. We let
The feverish years possess us, and forget,
In our tense seeking for untrodden ways,
The common heritage, nor care to raise
Altars to dear familiar things-and yet
When shadows lengthen and the busy hum
Of life falls faintly on half-hearing ears,
With vision dimmed and feeble step we come
Back to the homely joys of bygone years--
Love and a hearthstone and a dear worn face,
And through our tears we bless the commonplace.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Merry December!

Dear Friends,

Can it really be the first of December? It must be, for whisperings of Christmastide are in the air~
The small dolls have even put their trees up (which they harvested themselves)!

(Photographs by the Graham girls :) )

Elvis lends a willing hand~

Farmer Jim seems to have his hands full, taking care of the horses~

And AnnaMarie has made an Advent Calendar for Frankie and Evangeline to open.

We have been enjoying reading our collection of old women's and children's magazines, and came across this gentle reminder from "Mother's Magazine", 1910, which we would like to share with you.

"The Need"

By Zelia Margaret Walters

A mother who had to be mother and bread winner both for her child, had often to deny the child's requests, saying, "Mother hasn't time now. She must write to earn bread and butter and shoes and stockings for you."

One day the little girl responded with one of those amazing speeches of wisdom that so often fall from the lips of babes:

"I don't want bread and butter and shoes. I want my mamma to play with me."

Mothers are constantly denying the children their companionship because of the multitude of little things in life that must be attended to. But the children, if they could voice their real needs, would say, "We do not need so much baking and cooking and cleaning and sewing done for us, and we do need our mothers."

No one can doubt that the mother and housekeeper has her hands full. Too often she has more than she should do. But we know that time can be always found for the absolutely necessary things. Why not put the children's needs among the first things, and let the less important fall into line behind?

In almost any home the hour after the evening meal could be kept for the children. The careful housewife may exclaim in horror at the thought of setting the dishes away to be done the next morning. But let the mother consider how much good that hour of song and story and confidential talk and counsel may do for her growing, eager, adventurous boys and girls. How lightly and thoughtlessly they go into their untried ways! And what may come to them if mother has forgotten to be companion and counselor! Surely the children's hour is the most important in the allotment of mother's time.




Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Little Thanksgiving Nostalgia

Dear Friends,

We found this touching video on YouTube, based on a family's experience discovering the true meaning of Thanksgiving.




Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

Dear Friends,

I'd like to share this beautiful article from Godey's Lady's Book, November 1972, couple with a few photos of what our family has been up to lately~

"The eve of our annual Thanksgiving Day is drawing peacefully to its close. Strange, that though this day comes in this dreariest month of the whole year, yet a golden glory always seems clustering about it, and all the joyousness and the bright freshness, and the beautiful charm of spring-time seem concentrated in this one happy day; and our hearts instinctively swell with grateful thanks for all the blessings plentifully meted out to us by the merciful hand of our Heavenly Father, throughout the long but now dying year.

The Night-Blooming Jasmine

The spirit of Thanksgiving Day! who does not recognize its silent and pure presence? No matter how lonely one may be, however far removed from friends and home--where is held, on this day, the family reunion--still in your silent room where you sit in loneliness, perhaps in grief, this peaceful and shining spirit glides noiselessly in, and its cheering presence sheds a golden glory around--you feel that you are not alone, and as if some loved friend had burst in upon you with their joyous welcome and beaming face, your heart leaps with sudden gladness, and your sorrow is vanished as if by magic.

'Tis the holy spirit of Thanksgiving Day. It cheers every heart, and gathers up many tearful thanks--often silently offered--and wafts them on snowy wings to its starry home in the skies.

Liberty likes apple peelings!

May its beautiful presence, on this day of the coming year find all sorrowing hearts made happy, all desolate homes rejoicing, the lonely wanderer sheltered in his haven or rest. That all may offer up, in one grand melody, that glorious hymn to the Creator, "Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good-will towards men."

And Noel likes his stuffed twin :) .



Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Reasons for Thanksgiving"

To have food enough and a place to dwell,
To have work to do and to do it well,

To find the comfort when things go wrong
In a bit of prayer or a snatch of song,

To know good books and share their worth,
To plant bright flowers in rich brown earth,

To have true friends--this is living
And reason enough for Thanksgiving.

~Edith Shaw Butler

Dear Friends,

Thank you for coming by today~It seems there are lots of garlic lovers out there, after all! It's a rather blustery day today, with snow in the forecast. Thankfully yesterday we were able to go outside for a little art time,

as well as taking a peek at what is happening around the garden.

A few of our plant friends are bravely staying green in the cold, including:


Red Clover


Blue Hyssop


And Cinquefoil

And the pussy willows are already preparing for next spring!

But what's this? It looks like a pussy of a different sort has been investigating the gopher mounds in the garden!

Now we would like to leave you with another poem to help us thank all of you for your continued friendship, and all the many blessings that we share.

Thankfulness is an attribute,
A quality of life,
Which can make existence sweeter
And lighten every strife.
To appreciate is golden;
To say so is divine,
And thankfulness should come each day,
Not wait for special time.
Thanksgiving Day is every day;
November brings it near,
Remembering with grateful hearts
The blessings of all year.

~Mary A. Barnard