December 28, 2011

Decorating with Birch

Lately I have been so into decorating with birchwood.  My curiosity of this new decoration itch has led me to do some research on the meaning and symbolism of the Birch Tree, which I found equally interesting and it made me fall it love with the decor even more.

"Birch tree meanings include new beginnings and cleansing of the past. Birch trees are also associated with vision quests. The common name birch is derived from an old Germanic root meaning "white, bright or to shine." The birch is considered the national tree of Russia, where it used to be worshipped as a goddess during the Green Week in early June."  (This explanation is courtesy of

Another website explains the symbolic meaning of birch trees as several different meanings. The 4 that meant the most to me were:  

1) that in celtic mythology the birch is a symbol of renewal and purification.  2) that in Siberia, shamans use the tree for initiation rituals. A candidate carves nine notches in the trunk of a birch to represent the nine steps to heaven of shamanic folklore.  3) German folklore, the birch is regarded as a tree of life and was traditionally used to make maypoles, around which lovers danced.  Welsh folklore associate the birch tree with love, too - lovers met under a birch tree.  And finally - 4) Protection...In the Sweedish city Umea, according to popular legend, the silver birch tree halted a fire that nearly burned the city to hte ground in 1888.  Silver birch trees are now planted all over the city.  In Celtic mythology, the birch was used to protect against evil.  Babies' rattles and cradles were made of birch. (Full explanation can be seen here and is quoted mostly identical to the website).

Well.  All of that being said (or read) it is just no wonder I am so into this lately.

Like these candles in assorted the room a warm, rustic glow.

Or these - tall Birch Branches that I just picked up at Michaels. Mine are much shorter (about 6') and thinner (2' diameter) and I plan to arrange them in a vase in a corner.  One of my friends has this in her home and that is where I originally found the idea which I will try to emulate...but my friend has this type of birch decor all over her home and it makes it feel just enough rustic, woodsy, earthy.  I fell in love with it instantly and knew I had to create something like it as well.

Candles, Birch Branches. Birch Tree

December 25, 2011

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.  [a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"  [Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

quote via here.

December 24, 2011

This Christmas

This Christmas....
I wish you warmth
I wish you safety

I wish you hugs and kisses throughout the year, more than you can stand
I wish you the kind of laughter that makes your side hurt and your cheeks burn

I wish you support from friends. Not just any friends but true friends that know your song and sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

I wish you deep love.

I wish you sweet dreams each and every night,  peaceful mornings when you wake.
I wish you just enough hurt to make you appreciate the good.

I wish that you be surrounded by life's simplest pleasures
I wish that you take a piece of this Christmas in your heart and remember it. 100 christmas's in a lifetime just is far too few.

Image via TinyWhiteDaises.

December 22, 2011

Let Go & Let God

A friend gave this to me on a prayer card...she's more than a friend...she's a baby sister God forgot to give me.

Let Go and Let God

As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God because he was my friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help, with ways that were my own.
At last, I snatched them back and cried, "How can you be so slow?"
"My child," He said, "What could I do? You never did let go."

December 21, 2011

The Optimists Creed

Above picture of nature's beauty seen here.
The Optimists Creed
"I Promise Myself" ~ Christian D. Larson, 1912

To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything, and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past 
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times 
and give a smile to every living creature I meet.
To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, 
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, 
not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, 
so long as I am true to the best that is in me.

Originally seen on The Secret.

December 20, 2011

"I may sound old-fashioned, but I want to think all women should be treated like I want my wife, daughters, and granddaughters to be treated. I notice today that good manners—like standing up when a woman enters the room, helping a woman with her coat, letting her enter an elevator first, taking her arm to cross the street—are sometimes considered unnecessary or a throwback. These are habits I could never break, nor would I want to. I realize today a lot more women are taking care of themselves than in the past, but no woman is offended by politeness." —Frank Sinatra

Chivalry is not dead. I can't quite explain why it makes me feel so good when a man - stranger, acquaintance, friend, or close relative,  openly displays these acts of gentlemen behavior - but I not only appreciate it, I adore it. It's these simple acts of manners that make a woman feel special, adored, and worth great value to be treated otherwise delicately.

I don't expect these acts from the men I meet, but when they bestow them upon me, my cup runs over with gratitude and it certainly makes my day.

Above picture, here.

December 19, 2011

To me, you are PERFECT

One of my favorite parts of the movie.

"But for now, let me say - Without hope or agenda - Just because it's Christmas - And at Christmas you tell the truth - To me, you are perfect - And my wasted heart will love you - Until you look like this.  [picture of a mummy]. Merry Christmas."

Above picture here

December 18, 2011

Christmas Singing

I might have played version at least 100 times this season.  It outbeats Mariah Carey's in my mind {at least this year...}

Take a listen and tell me what you think...

And this is my all time favorite Christmas song.  It means so much to me this year as my uncle is working overseas and cannot come home for Christmas.  If you are lucky enough to be with your family, don't take it for granted. I'd give anything to hug him right now.

December 8, 2011

Irish Blessings

Just beautifully said. This is what I wish for you.  From Irish Nanas Designs Etsy Shop.

Picture from Irish Nanas Designs Etsy Shop.

December 7, 2011

Hand Hooked PIllows

Ahh...just decoration day dreamin' on this December evening.... 

I first spotted these at a little shop in Utah and I am smitten with all of them.  One for every season, I'm dreaming of... {See the rest of these beautifully hand crafted hand hooked pillows, made with 100% New Zealand Wool here at Chandler 4 Corners.  Maybe it's their antique appeal. Or the fact that so much care has gone into creating them. Maybe they remind me of a simpler time when items around the home were made with great care, passed down in hope chests to generations, and cared for as treasures.  Each one reminds me of something I would see in an old home, something that had great meaning behind it. I imagine each one holding up memories of a family.

This rich deep red called "Heavy Snow"...would go nicely with my white couch.  I imagine this one would be one where a young couple might sit in front of a fire and a Christmas tree, using this pillow to lean against.  Sweet...
"Song Birds" welcome spring...I envision this being fluffed and prepped as all the spring cleaning is underway - old decor is put away and the newness of spring is coming about.  The leaves are growing back, the ground is ready to plant, and the air has a freshness to it that we haven't seen all winter long. Long gone are the boughs, pine cones, evergreen, lights, and holly.  It's time for birds, trees, fresh air, rain, wellies, umbrellas, and spring cleaning!

 "Stars & Stripes" God Bless America, and my adorned couch all summer long!  Can't you picture it being taken with to watch the fireworks from your backyard (if you could) ....Or just having a casual summer bbq, using this to prop your arm up as you take a long drink of lemonade.
 "Willows & Cones" bring in the Fall season with its warmth and woods.  Want to snuggle up and take the first nap of fall on this.  This one would be taken up to the Northwoods on vacations because it's just the families 'favorite pillow' and they can't bear to leave it behind so it makes its way up north each season. Sipping apple cider, crisp leaves in the air, the brisk chill of fall, and this warm number to snuggle with.

All pictures courtesy of Chandler 4 Corners. Won't you tell me what your favorite ones are?

Yes you can

You have no idea how amazing you are. And don't let anyone, ever, tell you different.

Picture above here.

When I say, "I am a Christian"

One of my absolute Carol Wimmer. 

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”
I’m whispering, “I get lost!
That’s why I chose this way”

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I don’t speak with human pride
I’m confessing that I stumble -
needing God to be my guide

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong
I’m professing that I’m weak
and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success
I’m admitting that I’ve failed
and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I don’t think I know it all
I submit to my confusion
asking humbly to be taught

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible
but God believes I’m worth it

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache
which is why I seek His name

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I do not wish to judge
I have no authority
I only know I’m loved

Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

Picture above, here.

December 2, 2011

Party Perfect Top

Exquisite, sequined top from Zara. Wish I had somewhere festive to wear this beauty to! I love that it is elegant, yet comfortable. The back has a deep v, so it has a sexy peek a boo in the back of some skin. Just enough, so classy.

Top above from Zara, seen here.

1803 Candles

Welcome to my candle addiction.  1803 Candles.  I first discovered these from one of my best friends who lives in a small town and they are sold in a small shop there.  These are definitely not available everywhere, but maybe that is what makes them so special.

My favorite scent is Mistletoe Kisses which they describe it as: "mama and daddy kiss under the...(mixture of soft greens & berries)"

My favorites also are:
"Simply Christmas: with sprigs and holly (strong cinnamon, clove and boughs of greens)"
"Homestead Holiday: a horse drawn sleigh rides along the river...(spruce,pine,fir trees, warm and woodsy)"  
"Pine, Needles and Berries: grandpa cuts the first tree of the season...(pine cranberry, orange and spice)"

Snniiiffff...they are all so delicious. These candles are also made from Soy Wax - About Soy (Courtesy of 1803 Candles:)  "Soy Wax is made of soybeans grown in the United States.  It is a renewable resource and environmentally friendly.  Soy wax is clean burning, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, and biodegradable. Soy candles will leave your home free of soot on your walls, curtains and furniture." 

Thank you 1803 Candles - you make my house smell scrumptious, and feel like home every time I walk in.  As soon as I get home, I drop off the mail on the counter, slip off my boots, and strike a match to light my candle. These make great gifts for family, friends, colleagues, and ..yourself:)  

P.S. I even use one at work with a candle warmer to scent my whole office. I get compliments on these scents all the time from the whole staff as the scent of pine and berries fills the hallway. Sometimes people will stop by just to take a deep inhale because they love the way it smells.

Picture above and all scent descriptions courtesy of 1803 Candles here.

Winter Wardrobe Wishes

I have to admit, I love these things, and part of me doesn't really care if they are not featured on the runways of Paris or if a man would find them attractive.  To me, I think they are just adorable.

Fair Isle Sweaters, Cardigans, anything printed fair isle (even the name fair isle sounds romantic and swiss)

Fringed Tall Moccosin Boots
I would take these in short, tall, fleece lined, anything. Maybe it brings out the Pocahontas 'wild spirit' in all of us?

Over the knee socks.  Love these for fall and winter!  I feel like they are the 'girl next door' version of a thigh high stocking. Meant to be seen, in a classy way, warm, functional, and they cover your knees for added warmth!  Seen here.

Pictures:  Cardigan, Boots.

My First Stockpile

This winter, I am creating my first 'stockpile' to get me through the season.  Necessities for the winter season that I am able to stock up on and keep in the basement.  So when it's -30 with the windchill, or we get a foot of snow in January and I can't get to the store, I have at least the bare necessities to get me through.  While I'm still working on building up my reserves, here is my stockpile so far. I had not planned on sharing this, but I have told a few people about this so far and have had such great feedback from them and they love the idea, that I thought, why not share with you all:

Basic Stockpile:
Extra Vitamins
1 bag of Coffee
3 boxes of my favorite Tea
2 bottles of Cold Medicine
Extra Candles
2 bottles of Floor Cleaner
Industrial Size Laundry Detergent
Gallon of Bleach
5 boxes of Feminine Products
2 cans of Shaving Cream
5 bottles of Saline Solution
5 boxes of toothpaste
Toliet Paper
Paper Towels
12 Bars of Soap
Extra Batteries

{By the way, can you tell I'm a little obsessed with Target's Up & Up Brand? My favorite item is their Method Wood Cleaner. It smells like cherry almonds. To die for! Be careful you'll want to drink it, but don't! :) }

Other items I would like to add over time:
  • Non perishable food items such as canned goods, cereal, pasta, kept in a large plastic bin
  • Extra Salt for Salting the sidewalks
  • Windshield Wiper Fluid
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Products
Obviously your stock pile can be tailored to your needs - baby food, formula, diapers - I think this would be great especially for single mothers, elderly parents and grandparents that don't like to go out much in the winter, or if you have an injury.  It's just nice to know that all winter long I won't have to run out to the store to get some of those bulkier items.

It makes me feel a little safer, and I get all giddy knowing that I have these extra items in stock, within arms reach,,*just in case* I'm stuck in the house during a blizzard.

P.S.  A immense thank you goes to my mom, who actually gave me some Christmas money for shopping, without which I would not have been able to do this.  I used it for my stockpile ...(and a grey sweater, and some crisp white cotton RL you mom! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!)

December 1, 2011

A Long December

December 1st. How did you ever get here so fast! What a whirlwind this year has been!

However, upon reflection as the Holiday season kicks underway, I must tell you something.  I try to keep the tone of this blog light, happy, filled with goodness. I want it to be a safe haven for me and others to run and escape to. It is not meant to be a platform to complain or bring sorrows.  But I must tell you, that indeed the holidays can be hard.  And I think it's critical to recognize that - because between thanksgiving and new years, there is this period of time that can be quite overwhelming.  But it's not really 'talked' about. It's swept under the rug quite often - and covered with glittery snow, christmas cheer, carols, festive decorations, warm lights, cozy sweaters, comfort foods.  But what Christmas really means is masked, and instead the meaning gets lost at times.  We become stressed over the spending of gifts, overwhelmed with the amount of tasks to do in time, last minute projects at work, short staff at the office,  just too much to do in too little time.

So this year, I encourage you to take a step back and just do 'enough' for you.  Just do what makes you happy, enough to enjoy the season.  It may mean saying no to a couple of Christmas parties so that you have time.  It may mean opting out of a few grab bags so that you have extra money.  It may mean not taking on extra volunteer opportunities and extra work when you might otherwise like to.  Give your time where you want to, not where you feel you are expected to.   Don't stay late at the office to cover that file...get home to your family and snuggle up and watch White Christmas and have some hot chocolate and read them the Polar Bear Express before bed.  The work will be there the next day, I promise you.

"For me the holidays are about remembering the light, celebrating goodness and deeply feeling gratitude for life itself." Helaine Iris