Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Memorial Day Rememberance.....

"Greater love has no one than this,
than to lay down his life for his friends."
~John 15:13~

(Bird Island, Destin, Florida)

In honor of Memorial Day, I will postpone announcing the Give Away Winner until tomorrow.

In the United States,
Memorial Day is on the last Monday in May
and honors Americans who gave their lives
for their country in wars.

The color red captures ones attention and it is a symbol of courage and sacrifice, as in blood spilled in the sacrifice and the courage it takes in the face of lethal danger. Our soldiers, both past and present, know the meaning of courage. The color red represents those who suffered death for their beliefs and their faith. In English heraldry, the color red denotes ardent affection or love, boldness, and enthusiasm. In Japan, red is a traditional color of a heroic figure. Red is one of the most common colors used on national flags throughout the world. On these flags it carries the same meanings which it does anywhere else: the blood, sacrifice, and courage of those who defended their country and the sacrifice of Christ's blood. These are the attributes of the American Soldier and these are the attributes of Christ.

In remembrance of those who have written the meaning of freedom in red I honor them with the following poem:

By: Sandy Babb
(Little Rock National Cemetery, where my father-in-law rests)

The meaning of freedom is written in red,

A bold reminder of the blood our soldiers shed.

These protectors of our great nation,

Deserve remembrance and celebration.

Brave and bold they must be,

To stand firm for life and pursuit of liberty.

Whether on foreign soil or homeland ground,

The brave ones are honor bound,

To protect and serve their people and nation,

With great strength and dedication.

On this day we salute their cause,

For all the freedoms that are ours.

Grateful and thankful ought we to be,

For those who fought to keep us free.

Because the meaning of freedom is written in red,

A bold reminder of the blood our soldiers shed.

(The cross in which I rest! photo source)

The words of Christ are written in red,

A bold reminder of the blood He shed.

Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith,

Bestowed upon us His great grace.

He who was present at the beginning of time,

Laid down His life for yours and mine.

He who could joy in the presence of God,

Became flesh and upon this earth did trod.

He was from the beginning focused on the end,

So that we could gain freedom from death and sin.

He is the Alpha and Omega, that first and last is He,

Eternally grateful ought we to be.

Daily should we rise in the presence of His grace,

And seek to shine for Him and bring a smile to His face.

For the words of Christ are written in red,

A bold reminder of the blood He shed.

With Heartfelt Gratitude,
Miss Sandy

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Road Less Traveled.....

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by.”
~ Robert Frost~
Last Thursday Handy Hubby announced that we needed to take a day trip to destress. He was making arrangements to take the day off on Friday. We plucked out the state travel guide and picked a spot we had never been to, planned a picnic and we were set. Darling Daughter had the day off so she decided to accompany us. We decided to venture further into the Ozark National Forrest and check out a place called Richland Falls. We planned to hike the 2 1/2 miles to the falls and back and then find a nice stopping place for a picnic lunch. With map in hand and somewhat sketchy directions off we went up scenic byway 7.Now, you have to realize that in my home state we have a lot of places that end with Hollow, Creek, and Gap. I happen to live in a gap, Pickles Gap to be exact. Yes, it is a real place, a small community in a larger town. And yes, if you know the area we do lie just east of Toad Suck. I am not making this up!

Where my people come from, up in the hills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains, almost everyone is from some Hollow only it is pronounced Holler. As we traveled further northward we passed through Chigger Hollow, where there is nothing but a trading post.
Hubby asks if I want to stop. I reply, "Uh no! If this place is crawlin' with the critters it's named after I'll pass!" If you have ever been bit by chiggers you know that they are invisible, leave nasty red whelps that itch unceasingly for days on end!

After that we passed through Booger Hollow.
Named for being scary at night like the Boogerman, not anything created by post nasal drip. The small population must not have been able to support their trading post.It is out of business.But they did have some quaint restroom facilities.Note the sign on this double decker:Translation: Upstairs closed til we figur out the plummin'!, meaning, don't use the down stairs facilities!

Then we passed through Piney Creek, of which there are two, Big Piney Creek and Little Piney Creek. We passed through Big Piney Creek and an assortment of other quaint places like Moccisan Gap, where they have a trail ride that takes you through the beautiful forest, across creeks, and to over looks where you will see some stunning water falls.

We stopped off at Pedestal Rocks and Kings Bluff where there are two hiking trails, Pedestal Rocks is 2.2 miles and Kings Bluff is 1.7 miles long. In this scenic area you can view picturesque rock bluffs, swim in crystal clear streams, and hike wooded hillsides. Kings Bluff features a large flat bluff top with a beautiful waterfall that flows over the ledge.Pedestal Rocks is a lesson in the geology of the area. While hiking the trail, you will see layer upon layer of sediment that was deposited when the area was under water. After the water receded, the land raised to form a dome called the Ozark Plateau. Since then, natural erosion has been occurring to form the Ozarks. On the trail, you will see unique formations called pedestals that were formed by weathering, and are the featured destination of this area.After viewing the lush woodlands and enjoying a break, we went on to the town of Ben Hur to seek out Richland Falls. I, being the navigator, pulled out my trusty map and and read off the exact directions in the travel guide. We went around a big curve with a grouping of four or five houses in which several old timers were working in their yards and gardens. They looked up and waived, we waived back. We zipped up the byway quite a ways but never saw any sign of a turn off. We passed a big green bus parked on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. The driver was resting at the wheel, he waved so we waived.After thinking we had missed the turn, we turned around and went back, waving at the bus driver and the old timers as we went by. We went back to our starting point and tried again, passing and waiving at old timers and bus driver again, repeating the process as we zipped back by. On our third trip by an old gentleman pulled off his hat, scratched and shook his head as he leaned on his garden hoe. No telling what he was thinking. Every time we passed the bus driver I begged to stop and ask him directions. Finally Handy Hubby relented.

Fat lot of good that did, he wasn't from the area. I told hubby to be sure and ask him why he was sitting in a big green bus in the middle of nowhere. Turns out he was with the forestry service. He dropped a bus load of forest rangers off to do fire training exercises. After several twists and turns of the map, he declared that he was lost too! I was ready to give up as I was very familiar with the big curve, the scenery, and my waiving arm was getting tired!We decided to backtrack one more time and instead of zipping we moved at a snails pace. I was insistent that we try turning off at the horse trails, surely they would pass the falls. Turns out that I was right! We were to turn off on a county access road, the teeny tiny numbers were prominently posted in that little indented section of the stop sign pole. Now why didn't we see that?

I warned my husband before we left that the guide book said the road that led to Richland Falls was rough and perhaps we should leave my darling car at home and take the truck or the four wheel drive
tracker. Nope, he thought we would enjoy the day much more in my airy vehicle. Turns out I was right again. While my ride is rather enjoyable bouncing up and down the wobbly washed out road was not!Along side the road there were some charming rustic cabins. We figured out where Hilary Clinton vacations, see, her name is on the mailbox!The bump and grind was worth every teeth jarring moment when we caught a glimpse of Falling Water Creek and realized that the road was traveling beside it going down stream.This meant we might come across the falls without the uphill hike! We did! We pulled right up alongside of Twin Falls and it was magical!We went further up the road to check out more breath taking scenery until we came to a part of the road that impassable for my car.We stopped at one spot and went down to waters edge where we came upon an large group of butterflies. They were all out on a little island in the middle of the creek, it was a sight to behold. Several of them fluttered to shore and landed, one on me! Darling daughter caught a shot of a few of them.We practiced our rock skipping skills a bit, unable to access the Richland Falls area, we backtracked to the smaller Twin Falls where we had our picnic atop them with our feet dangling over the edge while dipping our toes in the icy water.The water flowed crystal clear down the creek and poured into a deep green pool below. It must be a popular swimming hole as there were two trees rigged with makeshift rungs that led up to ropes used to swing out over the water where one could plunge into the pool below.The tree formations below the falls area were very unique, this looks as if it were poured in place over the rocks.Two trees formed a large round hollow with windows where you could get inside and peek out or peek through and see the rushing water on the other side.This side pool area looked like a perfect mermaid pool to me.I was totally enchanted by the breath taking beauty, the power and noise of the falls, the colors of the water, and company of the day. We had the whole place to ourselves.We waded in the frigid waters, climbed up, over, and around the rocks and tree roots, whose design I was fascinated with.We took another route home, we decided to let TomTom tell us the shortest route home. He said to turn right at the next road, it was supposed to be the old highway ~ it was a fork in the road. We had to choose from the smooth paved path we were on or the dirt road that was less traveled. We chose the latter up for a bit more adventure. At the same time my daughter and I burst into a recitation of The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

There was a Biblical lesson hidden in our day. In Jeremiah 6:16 scripture says, "This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."Many times throughout the day we stood at an emotional crossroads faced with fork in road choices where we had to choose what our attitude and response to various situations would be. We forsook frustration and just enjoyed the journey. We chose to laugh and joke rather than grumble and complain. We made a memory instead of being miserable.We chose the road less traveled, the one where we usually detour from into frustration. We picked the good way and walked in it, indeed finding rest and refreshment for our souls. I was extremely glad at days end that our whole journey had been on the road less traveled, it did indeed make all the difference.

Miss Sandy

P.S. I hope you all have a good weekend. We are doing some DIY projects and gorgeous grandson is having his 2nd Birthday party on Saturday so the rest of my week is full. I'll be back on Monday to post the Give Away Winner! Click on the blue link to sign up!

There is also a fabulous give away going on over at Faith's Vintage Vanity! To sign up go here. Faith is new to the blogging community, go over and give her a warm welcome and take a peek at her awesome give away goodie. She has some extra surprises up her sleeve too! You will love all the vintage goodness she has going on over there! Faith will pick a winner on May 30th!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Pouring Teapot Give Away.....

"Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company. "
~Author Unknown~
Tea time is drawing to a close, this is the last installment of La Tea Dah's (Gracious Hospitality) blog-a-thon. This last week is all about The Pouring Teapot, which is all about sharing teapots. Tell your teapot story, give it's history, and tell what it means to you. If you have a whole collection, share them all!I am not really much of a teapot collector as some of you are. I do have a collection of teapots and one or two for decoration but for daily use it is my trusty copper kettle that helps me make a good cup of tea!

This pretty little pot was the first gift my daughter-in-love ever gave me.
I love its little round body with its pale rose design and Scripture ringing the lid which says, "Honor the Lord and serve Him wholeheartedly." Joshua 24:14 (NIV). Isn't that a perfect Scripture for a serviceable little pot? It rests atop one of my writing desks beside a translucent cup and saucer that belonged to my mother-in-law, and a framed photo of my husband and myself. These are all lovely reminders of having a servants heart and I do on occasion use them for tea.

You have seen this little guy, my Peter Rabbit pot, in an earlier post.
He was a present to myself as he hopped into my heart with his little lettuce leaf cup and cute cotton tail. He was sitting among an odd assortment of bric~a~brack on a flea market shelf looking at me longingly wishing he had a proper home, so I adopted him. He is my favorite one on one tea time treat. Just he and I will slip off into God's Garden, this is what I call my little acres of woods, and take tea with the birds and butterflies. We sit outside in the whispering wind, still, knowing just as surely as the invisible wind is felt, unseen, but still present, that so is God in our garden. With Peter at my side, in God's chosen spot for me, I think deep thoughts, dream big dreams, and whisper prayers that I will indeed bloom where I have been planted.

This vintage silver pot with its red Bakelite handle and knob are new to my collection. It was seen in last weeks blog-a-thon post.
I just purchased it a few weeks ago. It was reduced as the booth was going out of business and I had looked at it several times but it was a bit pricey. As fate would have it, I was in the right place at the right time and it was the right price. It now resides in my glass fronted cupboard with some other silver pieces and will be put into service when entertaining. I was particularly drawn to this pot because of the play of the red plastic off the silver shine. It sums up my style of entertaining, casual elegance.

The only collection I have are electric hot pots, most of which were made by Brew Master. Here are just a few grouped together in a kitchen cupboard, also from a previous post.
They were manufactured in the 50's, 60's, and early 70s'. Most of them have the new Moss Rose pattern on them. I especially like the ones with the little blue bird on top. They whistle when the water is heated. I have paired down my collection to just my very favorites. I began collecting these years ago before the teapot craze and they were really cheap, usually $2.00 to $4.00 apiece. Now they have gotten collectible and are $20.00 and upward. I used to choose one to use everyday for heating my tea water but they are now more for viewing pleasure and display. They do come out and play tea party frequently, just not daily.

My trusty copper kettle is my mode of making tea now.
I met this kettle in a flea market also. It was new and sitting atop its box all shiny and ready for use. As my old kettle had seen better days and the bottom had been cooked away from years of service, it retired to the garden as a planter and they new one came to replace it. She is not as shiny as she used to be but to me she has the perfect patina and she can help brew a mean cup of tea! I love filling her up with cold water and setting her on the back burner to slowly heat as I begin my morning routine. I know exactly where to fill the water to and where to turn the dial so that the timing is perfect for me to do a quick tidy up of the bedroom and bathroom and putter back to the kitchen where Katy will be releasing a bit of sweet steam. She is cheery and cheeky as she whistles for me to come and join her for the very first sip of morning tea!

That is the extent of my teapots and so we draw a close to this tea party post. This brings us the give away! I love to collect tea cups and saucers, just not in sets. I do have some very lovely sets that were given to me as gifts and I cherish them but my favorite ones are homeless cups and saucers that I like to mix and match into new pairs. I have recently done just that with the two cups and saucers below. I found these precious scenic saucers devoid of matching cups.

This one, with the quaint little cottage on it, is bone china made in England by Royal Vale, with the markings of G 66 4, a product of Ridgway Potteries LTD.
This one, with its charming little woodland scene, is also bone china made in England by Shelley, with the markings of 13370. Daffodil Time.I found two cups, both bone china made in England, that I thought mixed nicely with them, the first being made by Royal Vale with a floral motif that looks as if it may have been plucked straight from the little cottage garden. The colors and patterns compliment each other perfectly. The markings on it are G 3 along with some gold hand painted markings that I cannot quite make out.The second cup is by Royal Albert from the Nell Gwynne Series entitled "Drury Lane". It looks like its pretty yellow posies have sprouted round the cup straight from the woodland floor, once again, they mix and match well.I also picked up a couple of tin serving trays produced for The Wallace Collection London by Elite Gifts Boxes, which are made in England. I think these trays are pretty as well as practical.

The first trays design is taken from a Sevres Porcelian saucer produced between 1775-80 (C397-8). The decoration shows a basket of flowers, including roses, hydrangeas, anemones, tulips, daisies, and convolvulus. The saucer and matching cup were bought by the 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800-70) as part of a Tea Service consisting of a tray, two cups and saucers, a milk jug, and a sugar bowl with cover.
The second trays design was taken from a Sevres Porcelain saucer dated 1774 (C440) with the bold turquoise blue ground invented in 1753 for Louis XV's dinner service. The cup and saucer set were acquired by the 3rd Marquess of Hertford and displayed in St. Dunston's Villa, his residence in Regent's Park, London.I have made up two gift sets that each include a cup, saucer, tin serving tray, a pretty matching vintage hankie pocket which holds a tiny golden rose handled tea spoon, a spot of gourmet tea, and a tiny brass framed tea time print.One gift set will go to La Tea Dah as a hostess gift and the other is the Tea Time Give Away prize!
To sign up for the drawing, just leave a comment on this post. I will choose and post the winner on Monday, May 25, 2008!

Happy Tea Totaling!
Miss Sandy
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