Thursday, December 31, 2009


I like what my friend Kat said in her post's the


and, so it is. How would you characterize your 'days of auld lang syne'? ('times gone by').
Was it good, was it bad? Was it constructive? Destructive? Did it make you proud or make you sad? Would you want to live it again?

I remember the start of this decade with all the talk of Y2K. I didn't buy into all that...much. But, I did stock up on batteries...and fill up several containers of water. Just in case!

We've added 4 new members to our family...Suzanne, Will, Ben (by marriage)...and John Thomas (by birth). We've lost two members, my Mom in 2009...and Don's Mom in 2004. And, how wonderful it is for us to know that they are both residing in their mansions in Heaven!

Tonja and Don, Tara and Will, Lori and Ben, Suzanne and Adam, Alex, Ian all moved into new places to live.

Adam, Will, Ian, Suzanne, Tara, Lori,Ben, and Tommy started new jobs. I retired from 20 years of teaching. Lori and Ian both graduated from college with Masters Degrees.

We learned hard lessons, we eased over bumps in the road, we kept going when we didn't think we could. We fell in love, had babies, and celebrated anniversaries!
We learned life lessons, learned more about the way other people act, and learned more about why we do the things we do. And, we laughed, we wept, we smiled, we sobbed, we wanted to live the moment forever, we wanted to die. But, through it all...we survived.

We took it in, and rolled it around in our brains, put it in its proper place, took what we needed, and let the rest fall away. Yes, we survived...and we grew...and we became older and wiser. We came to know that some of those things we thought were SOOOO important...really aren't. We learned that it really IS the little things that matter...we learned that it really IS the 'moments' we remember, we realized that every day really IS a gift!

Oh, how much wiser we are! And, oh, how much we still need to learn!
Here's to the new month, the new year, the new decade! BRING IT ON !!!!



Rare New Year's Eve 'blue moon' to ring in 2010
By The Associated Press
December 30, 2009, 4:00AM
According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. Once in a blue moon there is one on New Year's Eve.

Revelers ringing in 2010 will be treated to a so-called blue moon. According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. But don't expect it to be blue — the name has nothing to do with the color of our closest celestial neighbor.

The New Year's Eve blue moon will be visible in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Africa.

A full moon occurred on Dec. 2. It will appear again on Thursday in time for the New Year's countdown.

"If you're in Times Square, you'll see the full moon right above you. It's going to be that brilliant."

A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, and most years have 12. On average, an extra full moon in a month — a blue moon — occurs every 2.5 years. The last time there was a lunar double take was in May 2007. New Year's Eve blue moons are rarer, occurring every 19 years. The last time was in 1990; the next one won't come again until 2028.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We made it through Christmas, even though it was sad without Mom. We all felt her absence. Each of her grandchildren received a gift from her that Joy and I picked out from among her things. Hopefully these gifts will be a reminder of the love she felt for them. I missed her way of doing things, her delicious dishes, her beautiful smile. I missed her just 'being' there.

I wrote this little poem on Christmas night...after everyone had gone home. Don took care of cleaning up the kitchen, along with the Alex and Ian. I found myself on the daybed, with my feet propped up...laptop in my lap...looking at the pictures I had made during the day.

My home was filled with 'happy' all day. People laughing, smiling, singing, praying, eating. We played games, we opened gifts, we repeated, from memory, the verses from the Bible that tell the Christmas Story...Luke 2:1-20. We were blessed to have a beautiful baby in our midst to ooh and aah over! Beautiful, sweet John Thomas was a delight to have with us. I thought of the words of the song..."O, come let us adore him..." We all adored this sweet baby. And, how much more did the angels and heavenly hosts adore sweet Baby Jesus when He was born!

All is well. All is well in my my my heart...

It's Christmas night,

The day is done.

The food put away

The dishwasher run.

We spent all the day

With our family near...

While missing the one

We held so dear.

And, though we were sad,

We didn't cry.

So in case you wonder

Here's the reason why.

Heaven , they say

Is a place to behold.

The mansions, the streets,

Are gold, we are told.

Now this is my mind

To think thoughts this way...

But, I would imagine

They, too, celebrate today!

In Heaven, it must be

Such a wonderful thing

To actually celebrate

The birth of a King!

To be at the party

Of Jesus, our Lord.

To see and to know

Just how much He's adored.

I imagine there is singing

Happy Birthday...and more.

And, I'll bet there is dancing,

On that golden floor.

And, my Mom is right there

To witness this sight!

I bet she's been singing

All day and all night!

So, we can't be sad

Or dreary or glum

She's there at the party

For God's only Son!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Several years ago, my Mom started giving Joy and I beautiful pieces of Waterford Crystal at Christmas. The first year we received an Angel, the second, a cross, and the third, a beautiful rose. These are treasured by Joy and I both. I proudly display mine in my china cabinet.

As I went about my preparations for Christmas, I found myself thinking of those pieces of crystal, and the thought and love that went into the selection of them by Mom. And, I realized that there would be no more.( Pop is wonderful in many is not one of them. Of course, he never really had to, Mom always took care of everything like that. ) It just made me treasure them even more!

As I have spoken to you about, Joy and I have been going through things of Mother's, and removing what needed to be, and organizing and packing away. We had decided several months ago, that we were going to pick out a special gift from among Mom's treasures to give to each of the grandchildren. And, on Christmas Eve, we went over to Pop's house to do just that.

We want this to be a special time of remembering their Granny. It will be hard without her, we know. And, since we all will be thinking about her...instead of trying to hide our feelings...we'll celebrate her life and how she loved us all.

Mom had a gift closet, and we decided to look there for anything she may have put away. We have been in that closet several times since she died, and have pulled out a few things. We found several gifts that we knew she had purchased for certain people. So, those will be delivered to them. We found some things we were not sure about, so we put them back to deal with another day. Then Joy said, "There are some boxes way back there, but I can't get to them." She went and got a small ladder so she could reach them. I was sorting some other things and had them spread out on the floor. All of a sudden, Joy said, with tears falling and words broken, "Tonja...look...look what she did."

And, I got up and went to see. In her hands were 2 boxes. Marked on the outside was Waterford Crystal. I took one and opened it up as she watched. There, beneath the careful packaging was a beautiful perfume bottle. We just looked at each other, and opened the other just to be sure that they were alike...knowing they would be. And, they were. Our final piece of crystal from our Mom came 5 months after she left us.

Over the last year of her life, Mom was in quite a bit of pain from her arthritis and issues with her bladder. She never went out alone. If she needed to go shopping, Joy always took her. She really was not strong enough to go by herself. But, somehow, some way...she managed to get 2 pieces of Waterford Crystal, and get them into her gift closet. We will never know when she did it...or why she did it so far in advance. Why did she have them pushed so far back in her closet? We never went in her closets before she died. It is surprising that we found them at all!

Or, maybe that was the way it was supposed to be. Something spoke to her heart to cause her to purchase them so early. Something caused her to push those boxes so far back, so we could not easily find them. If they had been in our reach, we would already have found them. And, then they would not be the Christmas surprise that she planned. Something caused Joy to be curious enough to go and get a ladder to investigate! Something...Something?

When God and Mothers work together...ANYTHING is possible!

We decided to put them back and bring them out on Christmas Day. But, Pop came in a few minutes later. He has been quite sad this week...and rightfully so. Mom LOVED Christmas. She enjoyed the cooking and the decorating, and the parties, and the gifts, and the wrapping, and the surprises! She would tell him what she wanted to buy and he would agree. She got us things from her and Pop. Sometimes he would tell her what he wanted to buy for us...and she would go and get it. And, Joy or I would go and do his shopping for Mom. I would imagine that is the way it is in many families.

Joy and I had taken care of getting his gifts to the grandchildren taken care of...but it was weighing heavy on his heart that he did not know where or how to go about getting us something! He even said, "She always took care of that for me."
So, we were able to say to him, "Pop, she took care of it this year also...look what we found!" And, when he saw that she had taken care of gifts for his girls one more time...he was overcome! What a wonderful surprise! What a confirmation of just how special she was. What a reminder of why we all loved her so much! She loved her family, she cared for her family...she cares for us still!

We are blessed!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


This, friends, is the basis of all I hold dear. Because God sent His son into the world, we are able to enjoy all the good things in life. Without Him, this would be such a different world. Any goodness or kindness or joy that you find is a gift to you from God, himself. "EVERY GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT COMES FROM ABOVE..." James 1: 17. With the most wonderful gift of all being the gift of His son, Jesus.

I pray that your days of celebration are filled with all the good this life is full of. I pray your home is filled with warmth, and family, and friends. May you enjoy the bounty that He has richly blessed us with. May your table be filled with good things to eat. "O, TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD" Psalm 34: 8. I pray that you experience smiles and hugs and happiness. And, remember to return the same to others you come in contact with.

God Bless You and Yours!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Wanted to share a few of my nativity pieces with you today. These have been collected over the years and are just a few of the ones I own.

This one of stone is made up of just these pieces. It is one of my favorite because it looks so primitive.

This one is very tiny. I bought it one year as a gift to myself. Each piece is made of solid pewter and the creche is made of a resin material.

This set I have had since before I was married. Mom and Pop bought it when they went on a trip to the Holy Land. It is made of olive wood and the carving is quite intricate.

This little piece was sent to my boys from some missionary friends of ours that lived in Guatemala.

I love this set of nativity boxes! Each one has such beautiful pictures of it. There are 7 of them, and they look lovely next to the tree!

This is, perhaps, the one that is dearest of all to me. This little set is very inexpensive and has been glued back together more times that I can remember. It has been gnawed baby boys and a baby dog. Pieces of it have been carried around in pockets, in school bags, in the dog's mouth. Pieces have been found under the covers of a boy's bed, under the bed itself, in the bottom of a toy box, and even in the bathtub, draining with the rest of the toys that made the bath bearable.

It is the set that was bought for Son #1...and passed on to Son #2 and Son #3. It was the first thing to go under our tree every year, and that was its home base throughout the Season. It was set up, always, on an old block of wood. The pieces would not stand up otherwise. It was arranged and rearranged more times than I can even imagine.

It was a set that said, "Play with me. Touch me. Learn from me." And, they did. They learned the wonderful story, and could tell it easily using the figures as props. They learned that this story was meant to be loved...explored...told and retold.

And, even when the time came that they were too big to play with the figures...they still looked to be sure it was there. Because, under the tree, full of wonderful surprises and gifts wrapped in bright paper and ribbons, was the depiction of the greatest story they would ever learn. The greatest story ever told. The greatest gift they could ever receive.

Fitting it is that this set is modest and simple. That's the way the Savior came. Fitting that it should be carried into every area of a young boy's world. For what it represented has become a part of the lives they live every day. Fitting that it has lasted through the the coming of the Christ Child is what gives meaning to the lives we lead.

One year, the baby went missing for several days. I could not find it anywhere. Until I washed a load of blue jeans. When I removed the jeans from the washer to the dryer...there he clean as I had ever seen him. I asked the boys about it, and one of them finally 'fessed up. "I jes wanted to take Baby Jesus everywhere I go!" Now how do you do anything but say, "Carry Him, Sweetie, carry Him with you every where you go...every day of your life!"

And, here is the lovely Holy Family statue. I gave it to Mom many years go...she gave it back to me in the most special way. It reminds me that love never dies or goes is just passed on from one to another. I think that is exactly what God had in mind when He sent Jesus so long ago. That love and hope and peace and joy that He sent then is just as fresh and relevant today. Because of that little baby, we have hope for an everlasting life. I wish for you this Christmas the peace that only He can give. I wish that you feel His love wrapping all around you. And, I wish you the joy that come from sharing that love with others. God Bless You and Yours!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Hi there, friends! It's Rosy Reindeer, here. Just wanted to check in with you readers of Gatherings to let you know that we reindeer were getting ready for our big night! You know that I'm not one to brag...but aren't my antlers to die for??? I've worked so hard to get them 'just right' for the big trip!

You can see how hard we've been working to get into shape! Long runs through the snow...

Lots of good grooming from the snow boys...sort of like personal trainers...

We've reviewed the tapes of last year's see if there is anywhere we need to improve...

We've practiced our take off and landings...

And , even spent some time brushing up with Santa...

Now I'm sure, being the smart, 'in-the-know' women that you are, you are aware that the Santa uses only us 'girls' to pull his sleigh! It's been that way since the beginning, of course, but there's always some guy who thinks he should be the one leading the group. Sometimes, they will try to sneak in...tie their antlers on and fool the old man. But, Santa is no dummy...he catches them every time!Just look at that sad reindeer...shame on him!

Every one knows that:
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male
and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male
reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late
November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till
after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa’s
reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be
a girl.

It is no surprise to us, is it? ONLY we women would be able to drag a fat man
in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get
lost! I'm just saying...

See ya Christmas Eve...Rosy

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Today's post is really random...just a few things I wanted to document. Inside and out, things that speak to me...

Many years ago, I purchased this quilted wall hanging. I love the primitive nature this has...

One of the many birds on my tree in the rear foyer. This whimsical bird has leaves for his tail...

When my boys were younger, high school age, one of them gave me this little ornament. Quite humorous when you consider I lived in a household with 4 of them! Were they trying to tell me something?...

Close up of a fallen croton leaf in my yard. Perfect Christmas colors, don't you think?...

Love, love , love the colors of the few leaves left on my Japanese Maple trees...

A glittery snowman sits amidst some live evergreen branches on the table on the screened porch! He twinkles at night in the moonlight...

Late this afternoon, I got the nicest surprise. A friend from school, who knows well my affinity for the chocolate, called me and said she had left a surprise by my front door. I went to look, and there was a package...for me! I LOVE surprises! When I opened it, this is what I saw!
Isn't it great? In case you can not read says, "There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate!" This is a big cup...perfect for a nice cup of hot chocolate...with marshmallows! Thanks, DT, you made my day! And the friendship I feel for you is as true as my love of the chocolate!

Just one more to share. I love candles! And, I'll admit I buy too many of them. I really like for my house to smell festive. I have spent much money on many differing brands that promise long lasting scents that will fill your house with the smell of whatever. But, they don't. Maybe if you stand right over them...but not from another room. Here then is the candle I have found that will do just that. I can light it in the kitchen...I can smell it in the bedroom, in the bathrooms, all over the house...REALLY! And, it is available at W*l-M*rt! Yes, that is the place for these wonderful candles. This is the scent I chose for the Christmas Season...Cranberry Mandarin. It is light, but certainly there! They have several other scents as well. Their Mulled Spice is delightful, too! The candles come in all sizes from tea lights to the big round ones. Just thought you'd like to know.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I have just returned from the the the crowds. I actually enjoy getting out and getting into the crowds and enjoying the sounds and signs of the season. Call me crazy! I had a pleasant long as I was inside! But, WHOA NELLY!, when I stepped was a different story.

What is the big deal, folks? None of us are going anywhere fast during this time of year. You should know that. Trying to cross a walkway, I was almost run down twice! And, I had the right of way...they had a stop sign. Instead, I found myself having to run...on the slick the the cold.

People...BE know there is going to be major traffic, and you know people are going to be walking where you are driving. It is the only way we can get to our car, so we can join in the driving train! It costs nothing to let another car get in line in front of you. It is the right thing to do! Cause I promise, you're gonna be the one who wants to get in the line soon, and you want someone to return the favor.

And another thing, when I decide to be kind and use the good manners my parents taught me...for heaven's sake, don't blow the horn at me and tell me to hurry up! I happen to believe that 'what goes around, comes around'...and I want what's coming to me, to be kindness. So should you! Remember this...

And, I'd be mighty careful about being rude to pedestrians trying to cross in front of never know who it might be!!!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Oh, yes! It was a great day! The day was very cloudy and rainy...dark and drab...OUTSIDE! But, INSIDE...there was so much joy and laughter and good food and catching up and hugs and presents! Wow! Is that a house full of happy or what?!! From the moment the first friend arrived, there was never a lull in the merry making! I wish it could have lasted all day! There would certainly have been enough food! I loved getting my house ready, and preparing for my guests...but, they did the hardest work...they brought all the food! And, it was delicious! As usual! I was so busy seeing everyone that I forgot to take a picture of the food...before we dug in! But, here it was afterwards...

I think there were 23 ladies here,we were missing Jana and Jeana. Some sat inside around the table...some sat on the screened porch...some sat in the studio. Don built a nice fire in the outside fireplace this morning and it was so cozy. We were able to have the fireplace burning inside, too.

Then came the presents. Everyone brings a gift with a Christmas theme...and then we choose a gift in a numbered order, and hope the next one to choose doesn't steal it from us! I was a little surprised that TF stole a gift, but actually there was lots of stealing going on! All the gifts are so desirable, and it is always fun to see which item gets passed around the most. I ended up with a lovely snowman cookie jar!

Here are the ladies who attended today...
TJ ...using these ornaments for earrings...


Jennifer and Dawn...


April and Lynn...



Brenda...Debbie...Eve...Mary Alice...


Allison and Bonnie...

And so, I end this post with some words of wisdom from the day...
Wise words.
This should be a season of peace and joy and friendship...not rushing around, stressing out and coming unglued!

Believe! Does it matter just WHAT you believe? Oh, yes, it does! Even though this cute sign (that was so rudely stolen from me-:))is talking about 'believing' in Santa...I look at it as so much more. Believe in the Spirit of Christmas- the merry-making, the good will toward others, the planning of things that will make those you love happy, the
willingness to share with those who are needy, the sharing of your heart with others. And, never forget these words...
"We love, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19. We love others because He chose to love us. We know of love because HE IS LOVE, and teaches us HOW to love.
He loved us enough to send His only son into the world...not to condemn us...but that, through Jesus, we may be saved.
Please remember that Christmas is a birthday. The birthday of our Saviour, Jesus.

And, a message from Andi and Sherrie, and the rest of us FP girls...

*****if I left out anyone, please forgive this rattled brain...which is full of tangled tinsel!!!*****The picture at the top of page is the top of my TV cabinet. I love being able to use my mercury glass pieces. Thanks to Tina, for doing the high ladder work!!!*****