Thursday, December 22, 2011

For my readers: Merry Christmas

Here's a short story with glimpses past and future of the Solomon's Puzzle characters.

A Christmas Story… “The Perfect Christmas”

May you be kindly understood this Christmas
Still holding the child’s chart, Joe MacBride walked with the woman and her daughter to the front desk. The little girl reached for him, “Up pwee, Doctor,” she said, her fingers Window looking at snow covered garage at Christmas.spread wide, her feverish eyes trying to smile. Joe scooped her up in his arms. “I have a bit of Christmas candy up here for you,” he whispered, “if your mommy says it’s okay.”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The tradition of hanging stockings has been important to me since I was little.  We had no fireplace, so we hung our stockings from the staircase railing.  We opened them before breakfast and found simple treats in them. My favorite treat was a bottle of Coca Cola which my parents bought only at Christmas.  I have some memories of us then getting dressed, going to church, before having breakfast and seeing the rest of the presents under the tree.  This may not have happened every year as I have film of us opening presents in our jammies and robes... who knows?  But for some reason, the stockings have a special, break-of-dawn thrill to me. So of course, the sewing of stockings had to be included at the end of Solomon's Puzzle.

These I made for my family.  I used a variety of patterns but want to note "A Critter's Christmas" by Brandwine Designs for the inspiration of the animals.  Now to stuff them!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Nativity Story

I had a wonderful day recently.  Jack was here and we used the marionettes and stage that I made with my husband Karl, daughters Andrea and Valerie.
I got the idea from an illustration by Tasha Tudor and for some reason thought our family needed this.
It was a summer-long project. But this year, it was ready and waiting in the living room when Jack and I got home.

First we scrounged around for all the stuffed animals we could find. These were to be the audience.  Then the play began.

We did rehearse, just remembering from years' past.
Jack played was versatile, taking different parts.

When the shepherds came, he told me that they had woken the baby up.
"Did he cry?" I asked?
"Yes...."Jack squinted at me. "NO! 'No crying he makes!'" He had learned "Away in a Manger" that morning at his wonderful pre-school.

So we sang it together and showed the rapt audience all the puppets close up.

I was one happy Grannie.

Andrea and other friends are using these puppets at New Hope Chapel today during our Community Christmas Gathering.  Come to see us!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Rehearsal Dinner

When you have sons, you get to host a rehearsal dinner before the wedding. This suits me just fine. The rehearsal for Karl and Rosa's wedding was held on Thursday before the Sunday wedding. This is a great idea for anyone who can possibly swing it. I would highly recommend it!  It helped make everything as simple and relaxed as Karl and Rosa wanted it to be.

Karl will work and serve people, but he hates to ask anyone to do anything for him. He's independent, yes, but also considerate.  He cares about people and doesn't like to hassle.  Rosa is a "big picture" person, and so she also wanted the rehearsal dinner to offer people a lovely dinner and a place to party without too much fuss.  So we had spaghetti and meatballs here at our house.

I had lots of help that day to get ready. Andrew helped clean up AND he fixed my faucet.  My family was such a blessing to come and help.
They really are helping! They are testing the food to see if it is any good.
I love having my family around. It's fulfilling to work together. It was noisy and messy and altogether great!
Aunt Val making Diana laugh

Andrea made the most delicious bread sticks. They were crisp and flavored with salt and herbs.
For some reason, I made pizzelles, which are a crisp, flavorful Italian cookie, for the other two rehearsal dinners, so I had to make them again.  This time, I made pumpkin pizzelles and chocolate!  Yummy.

Joey helped me set the tables! The picture is blurry because he's always in motion.

The flowers are the fun part for me so these pictures are all of the preparation, because once the dinner happened, I was too busy to find my camera!

Val tucked the checked napkin into 3 plastic cups and then we put the utensils int here.  Very fancy!

We set up small tables all around the downstairs, so it felt like a little Italian restaurant.  I've always wanted to do that and it turned out to be warm and conducive to talking and enjoying dinner.

These roses are for Rosa-- red is her favorite and she likes roses... so... Happy Rehearsal Dinner!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

All I Can Say Is... (Karl and Rosa's Wedding: Part WONDERFUL

I've been writing little posts with thoughts that sprang from the wedding and I have another to do after this. But you have got to see the pictures that Tara Sullivan Peddicord took of the wedding.
Tara is Karl and Rosa's dear friend and we consider her and her husband, Ben, part of our family. She's fun and loving and outgoing. She's got a beautiful vision of life, one that involves hope and beauty and service.  She has decided to pursue photography seriously and when you see these pictures, you'll understand why.
Look here and see what I mean!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Room With A View: part 2 of Karl and Rosa's wedding

Karl found Camp Wabanna when he was a senior in high school. Senior year was a difficult one. Faith had awakened in Karl and that changed everything for him... the way he spent his free time, the things he said, and the things he did. It also changed the plans he'd been making for his life.  Now a fresh and beautiful impulse arose inside bidding him look for how best to serve others.

I'm not sure how he found out about Camp Wabanna. I know friends in Marching Band had been there or worked there, but sometime in the middle of that difficult year, he applied to work at Camp Wabanna in the summer. I remember that Mrs. Wolfe lent Karl her office for a phone interview during his study hall with the then camp director -- a kind and generous gesture of support. That interview opened a new way for Karl.
Inside Camp Wabanna's lodge Karl and Rev David Shive plan the ceremony

That summer in Day  Camp he worked with a girl named Rosa.  I remember hearing her name from him and from Valerie (the summer she worked there, too).  Years went by as Karl and Rosa studied at their various colleges. Karl went on to work at a camp that helped at-risk students sort things out in a wilderness setting. He came back home, went to grad school and moved into the Lodge at Camp Wabanna where he worked again in the summers and on some weekends. Rosa had graduated from college, too, was working in a local school system and living with some friends in a condo on the Wabanna property.
Rosa rehearsing with her dad

Love blossomed or awakened or both!  And what better place to fall in love than Camp Wabanna, which I think is the prettiest place in the entire county!
At the rehearsal, Clare said, "Clare is so excited, and twirled on the platform.

 Surrounded on three sides by water, the white buildings and green grass lawns with their ancient stands of trees, seem like a sunny, peaceful sanctuary.  So when they decided to have their wedding there, I was thrilled.
Even the music must be rehearsed, as Clare discovered watching her aunt.

The whole family gathered to watch:

The feeling of friendly excitement meant that even a bit of "kid" noise fit in well.

Clare has been playing "wedding" ever since.

The wedding party came after work, hurrying and excited to begin celebrating.

This was Dave's 41st wedding.  The rehearsal went smoothly.  I'm standing in for Rosa's sister who was flying in the next day.

The room looked west and we were treated to the changing colors of sunset as we rehearsed. The view spoke to me.  What a beautiful view Karl and Rosa have to begin their lives- a view with a history of working together, family and friends around, a view to continued service as they look toward the Light.

As for me, I'm happy and thankful. I'm happy for Karl and Rosa. I loved being at Camp Wabanna with their wonderful friendly staff who helped with all the labors of love that a wedding requires. And I love Rosa--even her lovely name.  It is a joy to see my family growing again.