My life is to make everything around me beautiful.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Perspective On Some Things

I was reading recently on the internet, the only place we can get news since we don't have or want a television. I rarely if ever have the radio on either, even in the car. I usually listen to my CDs of old music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I try to live a quiet life centered around God. Trust me, I need a lot of work! But I live in the world and try not to be of the world. But this article just floored me.

A "civilized" European country is seeking euthanasia for minors and Alzheimers patients. This is what they are seeking: the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate. What child could make this decision?! Have we sunk this low that we would kill our children and older citizens? I'm astounded. I know of a professor at a leading university that advocates killing of children who are Downs even after they're born and have reached a certain age. What a sad commentary. I also shouldn't want to be standing near him when our Savior comes. I'll sometimes find myself weeping for what goes on in the world. That's why I try to not read much about it, keeping my life centered on good instead of evil.

One of the little girls killed in Connecticut recently was a member of our Church. Her bishop in her ward is the son of a member of my ward. He—our ward member— called my hubby, a leader in our ward, to say he couldn't help with putting together our yearly widows and single ladies Christmas baskets because the little girl's family wants her buried in Utah and their bishop to travel with them to conduct the service. So the bishop called his dad (our ward member) and asked him to come help him get through the service. I imagine it's going to be a very tough day for everyone. Life is so fragile sometimes and we've cried over the tragedy but we have an eternal perspective that we'll all be reunited once again. Sometimes, that's all that can keep some of us going. Me? I'll just let the Lord decide when it's my time to leave this world. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I've heard people ask the eternal question: How come there's so much evil in the world? Well, we believe the Lord allows it to test us. How would we know what was good if we don't know evil? They're complete opposites! Now, don't get me wrong; I hate evil. But it's what we do in life that defines us, not the clothes, the cars, the big homes or celebrity. It's how we live our lives and the good we do. Again, don't get me wrong; I have a lot of repenting and work to do, but I'm trying my best to be a merciful, good person. It's my daily trial in life Trust. me. ;-)

This is a hotel. Wouldn't you love to stay there?

Sweet and cozy kitchen.

A lovely large bedroom with old wood floors and the most gorgeous lace spread I've ever seen.

I have enough lamps in this house but if I could have one more, it would be like this one. Maybe I'll redo a shade on one. Hmmmm......

This has given me an idea. You can make little crowns with lace by using decoupage and paint and fit them to your kids' heads or add a piece of elastic at the back. I think I'll do one for Caroline and Juliette.

How would you like to have an exquisite bedroom such as this one? Fantastic!

Another quaint cottage with a turret.

This hydrangea is one hundred years old. My hubby saw this and said, "WOW!!"

Cute container for when clipping your roses.

Gorgeous decorated bottles with their very own holder.

Beautiful rose soaps.

Beautiful way to store your laces. I wish I had saved my old spools from laces now.

Talk about isolated! Your own house on your own teensy, tiny island. Going out for a loaf of bread or quart of milk takes on a whole new meaning. ;-)

These have the look of MacKenzie-Childs. I doubt they are as there are so many duplications being made now of their items, but these are still gorgeous.

A Mary Francis designer handbag. It's my favorite one and I'd buy it if it didn't cost almost $300. I think it's absolutely, gorgeously stunning!!!

Washington's Mount Rainier was named for a British soldier who fought against the Americans in the Revolutionary War.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Beyond The Pale

I was perusing the news on the internet the other day. We all know that one story can lead to another and that's what happened this day.

I clicked over to a UK site to read a story and saw another story on the site, with photos—uuugghhh. The story was about a nudist man opening a spa for nudists. That wasn't the disgusting part. The disgusting part was the news show had him and 3 others, another man and 2 women, on the television show. Nude. All of them. The women had a "paper daisy" pasted on the tip of the breast and they all had their hands in their laps, blocking view of the most private area, which didn't do much disguising.

Now, I have no problem with people who want to run around naked in their own homes or at designated camps, which are out of the sight of others, especially children, but to put them on television for any kid or adult to see goes beyond the pale in my book. Why would a program want to air something so disgusting? Don't dare tell me the human body isn't disgusting! I don't think it is. Displaying it for all to see certainly is though.

I have told friends for years things are going to get worse and they just did. How low can we go? I'm afraid it's not going to get better, but much, much worse. I hope they gave them towels to sit on while on the sofa because I doubt many would want to sit on it after they've been there.

When I saw these rings I thought they were beautiful. Now we can have colors in our wedding rings.

Lovely lavender cup and saucer.

Yes, I truly love these old vintage sinks.

Lovely decorated cage.

Another gorgeous bottle.

Sweet brooch.

One of my favorite things: laundry drying on a line in the sun.

Darling center piece of bird nests with blue eggs.

Suitcase full of flowers.

Another cottage in the woods.

Romantic soaps.

Colorful window display of old pots with flowers in them.

Just what our roses look like this morning. We had snow last night.

A sweet pink restaurant along a quaint street somewhere in Europe.

Cuter than a button. ;-)

Tidbit: In 1954, Brownie Wise was the first woman to appear on the cover of Businessweek. Who was Brownie Wise? A housewife who made Tupperware what it is today. She didn't invent it, just came up with the idea of home parties.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas And A Few Stories

I'm sitting here tonight writing this while sending hubby off for a quart of milk and a bag of Werther's Caramels. I like the soft ones but they weren't available so he picked up a bag of hard creamy caramel filled ones. I just may die from Caramel Overload. Werther's are the best caramels in the world. Oooooh and the fact that I told him to read the label and only bring home the soft ones just flew out the door. These are delicious.

More on Miss Caroline. I told my granddaughter to frequently send me things she does because they live 8 hours away and we can't see her but a couple of times a year. Here's what she sent this past week.

Every night she tries a new ploy to get out of bed. Caroline calls Dad into her room after bedtime.
C: I have an idea. I think there's treasure under my crib. Want to get me out and look for it? (Didn't work.)

Dad is kissing her all over. She's protesting that she's a big girl and he needs to stop. She grabs his face with both hands and looks him in the eye.
C: I'm a big girl. Do. You. Understand?!

Naked toddler running around kitchen demanding skittles.
Mom: We can have skittles but the priority is getting your pajamas on.
C: Priority?! Priority?! I'm scared of priorities!

Mom and Dad having conversation. C holds up hand to us and in the best Valley Girl voice ever says:
Shush! You guys are being soooooo loud!

C is telling Dad about somebody (a friend) being bad and needing to be "written up." Dad writes them up in iPad rather than actual notebook. [This actually gets her to behave if told she's going to be "written up." None of us can figure out why but it works, so whatever works.]
C: That's not a notebook. That's an iPad, you silly man.

Another red and pink bedroom for you. Notice the hanging bed by the window.

Can you tell I love eye candy? I'll always post it...FOREVER!

I love that sweet lamp.

A profusion of tulips!

Your own castle and island. Wowzer.

Cute place mats.

A vintage lunch hamper with French details.

A sweet cottage in the U.K.

I didn't make these but I did make one for each of my great-granddaughters...even prettier than these. ;-)

Another view of European cuteness.

Pretty soaps.

I want it!

And this sun room also.

Love the floating flowers.

No cars down these streets. :-)

Four real school names:
Butts Road Primary School
Goodenough College
Universidad de Moron
Pansy Kidd Middle School

Linking up with SSS WOW

Thursday, December 20, 2012

About The Tragedy In Sandy Hook

It has taken me several days to absorb the tragedy in Connecticut, but while it is still fresh in our minds, I want to give you some words of consolation to allow them to percolate in your mind. Yes, it's a horrific tragedy and I hope to never, ever experience something this grievous. This story about my son is the closest I hope to ever get to such a tragedy. (And yes, I truly meant it when I said in that post that I actually felt no hate at that moment, only sorrow for the four young men AND their parents who beat him to a pulp and changed his life. I knew the Lord was with me at that point and felt like it would turn out well for this family.) We are advised to forgive in our Church. If we don't, then we are worse off. Is it easy? NO! Is it necessary? Yes! It begins the healing process for all of us. The Parkers are member of our Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Robbie Parker speaks to the media.

Dave Checketts is not a professionally trained clergyman.  The former chairman of Madison Square Garden and the New York Knicks is currently CEO of Legends Hospitality, the concessions and merchandise company he jointly owns with the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys.  But he’s also a lay minister for the Mormon Church with oversight of ten Mormon congregations in Fairfield County Connecticut, including the one in Newtown.

On Friday morning Checketts had left his New Canaan Connecticut home and headed to his Park Avenue office to prepare for a weekend business trip to Dallas for Sunday's Cowboys-Steelers game.  He and Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones planned to host a group of new investors. But late morning he got an email about a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.  From his laptop he accessed the church records for Mormon families in Newtown.  Five of them had children that attended the school.

A series of phone calls confirmed that all of those children were accounted for except one – six-year-old Emily Parker, a first grader.  Suddenly, it wasn't possible to focus on business.  Checketts cleared his calender for the afternoon.

Robbie and Alyssa Parker had just moved to Connecticut from Ogden, Utah.  Along with Emily, they have daughters ages 2 and 4.  Robbie, a health care professional, worked at Danbury Hospital.  When Checketts reached him there, the facility was on lockdown due to the school shooting.  Robbie was on his way to meet his wife at the fire station in Newtown.   She was there with other parents awaiting word on the children.

Checketts emailed leaders of Mormon congregations throughout western Connecticut: “Pray for Emily Parker.”
He also organized a prayer service for that night.  Then he headed back to Connecticut.  He was almost to the Parker’s home when he got word that Emily was among the 20 children who had died.  “I didn’t know what to say,” Checketts said.  “I go back and forth between tears and anger.  It is just hard to comprehend.”

The business trip to Dallas got canceled.  In an email, Checketts notified Jones and the investors. One by one, they expressed condolences and promised prayers.

When Checketts reached the Parker home, Robbie asked him to lead his family in prayer.  While praying, Checketts felt impressed to say that Robbie would deal with his grief by speaking publicly about the tragedy, and that he would emerge as a powerful voice for compassion and peace.

After the prayer, the family's needs were discussed.  Chief among them was finding a mortician.  But funeral homes in the area were overwhelmed.  Checketts promised to take care of everything, including all burial and funeral expenses.

He called a funeral home in a nearby town.  Six years earlier Checketts had attended a service there for a young Mormon missionary who was killed by a drunk driver in Argentina.

“I had to go tell that boy’s parents that he wasn’t coming home alive,” Checketts said.  It was the hardest thing he’d ever done as an ecclesiastical leader [In the LDS church he is what we call a Stake President and is the leader of a stake, which is around 2,000 to 3,000 people in a geographic area].  However, that experience had introduced Checketts to an unusually empathetic funeral director.

Suddenly facing an even harder situation, Checketts reached out to him and asked if he would prepare Emily’s body for burial.  The church, Checketts explained, would cover all the expenses.

“There will be no expenses,” the funeral director said.

The following day, after authorities released the names of the victims, Parker was the first parent  to speak to the national media.  Without notes or a spokesman, Robbie choked back tears and expressed sympathy for the family of the man who killed 26 people and himself.  "I can't imagine how hard this experience must be for you," he said.

Checketts was moved to tears.“What happened in Newtown is unthinkable,” Checketts said.  “But little children are alive in Christ.  Though the nature of the crime is the essence of evil, our faith tells us that these children burst into the presence of God and are safe in his arms.”

Grief, while heartbreaking, can also give rise to powerful acts of compassion.  By the time Abraham Lincoln gave his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865, the American Civil War had claimed roughly 750,000 lives, resulting in 37,000 widows and 90,000 orphans.

Why did God allow such devastation?  It was a question Lincoln had pondered.  Plus, there were many in Washington that wanted to punish the Confederates for all the carnage. Against that backdrop, Lincoln said:

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.

One month later Lincoln was assassinated.  But those words – with malice toward none – live on.  It reminds me of the story of Kenneth Brown, a U.S. Marine serving in Japan after the atomic bomb.  It was just before Christmas when Brown encountered a Japanese professor of music who introduced himself as a Christian.   He said he had a small children’s choir and asked if they could perform a concert for the American soldiers.
Brown belonged to a unit of hardened fighters that had spent four years away from home, battling the Japanese from Saipan to Iwo Jima.  The concert took place on Christmas Eve in a bombed out theater.  The closing number was a solo from ‘The Messiah’ by a girl who sung with the conviction of one who knew that Jesus was indeed the Savior of mankind.  The soldiers cried.

Afterward, Brown asked the Japanese music professor: “How did your group manage to survive the bomb?”

“This is only half my group,” he said softly.

“And what of the families of these?”

“They nearly all lost one or more members.  Some are orphans.”

“What about the soloist?  She must have the soul of an angel the way she sang.”

“Her mother, two of her brothers were taken.  Yes, she did sing well.  I am so proud of her.  She is my daughter.”

Brown was moved to tears.  “We had caused them the greatest grief,” Brown later wrote.   “Yet we were their Christian brothers and as such they were willing to forget their grief and unite with us in singing ‘Peace on earth, goodwill to all men.’  That day I knew there was a greater power on earth than the atomic bomb.”

So if Brother Parker can forgive the young man of killing his daughter, wish peace for the remaining relatives of that man, then who am I to hold a grudge or speak ill of him. I certainly am sad for that family also and the anguish they must be feeling at all of this.

Darling shabby chic bedroom.

Pretty porch with lovelies.

Pink fabrics are always my favorites.

Interesting old sturdy door.

A chair and pillow I should love to have. There are chairs for company and chairs for reading. This is definitely a chair to sit in properly with company.

Beautiful sparklies.

Very interesting covers for chairs.

Another gorgeous sun room with lace curtains.

Just some darling eye candy cupcakes. I have many sitting around my home.

Italy? I should think living here would be kind of noisy with the breaking of the waves but it sure looks beautiful for a visit.

A shop somewhere with interesting and cute displays. I love this one of bottles and cans matching.

Basket of flowers

A small quiet village.

Oooooh, the plethora of roses over this entrance!

I have cans like this here in my office holding things. Paint a large can, add decals and voilá you've got a stunning display for pencils, paint brushes, flowers, etc.

The four hotels at the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Topicana in Las Vegas have more hotel rooms than all the hotels in San Francisco combined.