Friday, September 30, 2016

Lakeside retreat, part 3

Today I'll share a little more about our Saturday.  One thing we had hoped to do while away was to find a nice walking or hiking trail to enjoy.  After returning from L.L. Cote, we had a quick lunch and then spent some time thinking and talking about what we would like to do with the afternoon and evening.  We decided that we would have a campfire in the evening and that we would ask at the office about easy hikes nearby.

Mr. T returned from the office with a bundle of firewood and directions to Grafton Notch State Park, not far over the border into Maine, as well as Step Falls Preserve, located beyond the state park.  I quickly looked up the park online and determined that some of the areas were easily accessed in the time that we had -- it was nearly 2 pm by this time -- but other hikes were long and demanding.  Unfortunately he had forgotten the name of the other place (Step Falls) but Linda's directions were impeccable and brought us right to it.  We went there first, but a man waiting in his truck for his family noted that while it was easy enough, the trail was about 1.6 miles long and full of roots.  Not exactly what I wanted to hear, having fallen not that many days before.  So we reluctantly decided to leave that hike for another time and backtracked to the state park.

Screw Auger Falls was the first place we visited, and it was very pretty and easy to get around.  One of the trails was even handicap access! 

Mr. T clambered down over rocks to get some of these photos.
Some of these photos give a good idea as to why this area was named Screw Auger Falls.

We next stopped at Mother Walker Falls, but didn't find much to see there.
At Moose Cave we spent much more time, hiking along a trail that led down to the cave and finding many pretty sights along the way.  There was also an interesting moss garden, but we failed to get photos of that.

Kind of a blurry picture but I thought the leaves in the water were pretty.  They look like flakes of glitter to me.

Returning to our cottage, we reheated our zesty chicken cheese soup from the evening before.  While it heated, Mr. T worked on starting a fire in the outdoor fireplace.  We had thought to eat our soup in front of the fire, but it was rather cold and windy.  But the wind died down and we were able to finish our meal out there.

We enjoyed a lovely campfire

and some pretty sunset colors.

And that was our Saturday!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

One perfect bright red leaf

Found this maple leaf on my way to the mailbox and just had to scan it!  Enjoy -- and, if you like, feel free to save the image to use in crafting or whatever. 

Foliage season is barely started here; just a colorful tree here and there.  Even way up north where we were last weekend, the foliage was far from peak.

I'll leave you with a multicolored leaf, this one also found today.  It's not as perfect, but I love the combination of colors and the yellow veins.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lakeside retreat, part 2

On to part 2 of our lakeside getaway!  The above picture is not fancy (it was taken through the screen) but was so interesting, I thought.  A lone fisherman heads out into the misty, early morning on Umbagog Lake.  We took this early on Saturday morning.

I don't think we took any pictures on Friday.  During the night on Thursday, it started to rain and didn't really stop until Friday afternoon.  However, this was fine with us!  We really need rain here.  We had arranged to meet a friend for breakfast on Friday, but she called and changed the plan, saying she would prepare breakfast at her cabin.  Again, fine with us!  We enjoyed fruit, cinnamon rolls and delicious veggie and cheese omelets.  Then we spent the rest of the morning visiting on her enclosed porch and watching rain fall on her pond.  A wonderful time of fellowship!

On the way back to our cottage we stopped at a Family Dollar to pick up a few necessities.  After lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches back at the cottage, we relaxed thoroughly for the rest of the afternoon.  Mr. T actually took a nap!  Not just dozing in a chair as he frequently does, but actually lying down and sleeping soundly for a couple of hours.  I know he needed the rest.

While he napped, I worked on a variety of projects, mostly my scrapbook journal, which I had thought to bring along.
This is from a previous journal, but you get the idea.
I also did a bit of work on my Sunday School lesson and dipped into a couple of books I'd brought along, and worked on some felt food (future gifts for grandkids).  I also enjoyed a nice cup of tea, thanks to this handy tea wallet that my daughter made me several years ago.

 I use it when we travel to bring along a small selection of tea bags.

When Mr. T woke up, I prepared Zesty Chicken Cheese Soup, a favorite meal of ours for a getaway because all you do is open cans, heat the combination in a saucepan, and add cubed cheese.  So easy and it usually lasts us for two meals!  You can find the recipe here: simple meals for a getaway.  We enjoyed this simply with tortilla chips on the side and/or crumbled into the soup.

After supper we watched the Red Sox win and made an early night of it.

Since I have so little to tell about Friday, I'll add in Saturday morning here too.  We decided to go out for breakfast in Errol, one of the closest New Hampshire towns of any size.  After a nice breakfast of corned beef hash omelets, home fries, and raisin toast, we headed to L.L. Cote, an interesting store that caters to hunters, fishermen, snowmobilers -- really to outdoor interests of all kinds!  Think Cabela's on a somewhat smaller scale.  They also have a very nice selection of gifts.  One thing I wanted to find here was a birthday card for our 10-year-old grandson in Nevada.  Sure enough, we found the perfect card and were able to mail it right next door!
Some of the animals in L.L. Cote, the "Home of the White Moose"
Notice the turkey in the background, and the canoe on the wall
Another animal display
And there you have Friday, plus Saturday morning.

This pretty, misty lake photo was also taken on Saturday morning.
 I'll share Saturday's afternoon and evening activities in tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lakeside retreat, part 1

Sunset on the first night
I'm hoping to share a few posts concerning our recent getaway to Umbagog Lake, way up north.  The lake is actually partly in New Hampshire and partly in Maine.  We had not ever stayed here before and were so glad that we were able to book a stay at Paradise Point Cottages.  (If you click on the link, you will hear the unmistakable, unforgettable sound of loons.)

We headed north on Thursday around noon, making a few stops along the way, including lunch at a favorite north country restaurant.  We enjoyed fabulous meat loaf melts and shared a piece of coconut cream pie.

We checked in just about 4 pm.  Our cottage, named Paradise (they all have rather fanciful names) was small and simple but very nice.  It is all pine paneled and very attractive and "woodsy" on the inside. Each cottage also has a picnic table and fire pit.  Our cottage was literally a stone's throw from the water.

The names of the cottages are stenciled on the screen doors.  You can get a glimpse of the kitchen area beyond.
The first thing Mr. T wanted to do once we got all of our gear into the cabin was to take his kayak out.  The weather was perfect, warm and sunny even at 4 pm.  He had a wonderful time and got some great pictures.  I worked on a cross-stitch project and soaked up some sun while resting my injured leg.

Our little cottage as seen from the water
An island in the lake
We had brought leftover pizza and roasted vegetables with us, so supper was quick and easy.   While relaxing after supper, we marveled that only four hours had passed since our arrival.  We understood and appreciated that God was expanding our time to make it seem much longer than it really was.  The entire time was like that.  How thankful we are for this brief getaway!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Lovely leaf

I just had to share a scan of this gorgeous leaf I found in our driveway this morning when going for the mail.  Isn't it so pretty?  Sort of half red and half green, with the tips of nearly every point outlined in red.  And notice the few "drops of green paint" just to the left of the stem.  Left by the Master Artist!

Mr. T and I arrived home yesterday from a wonderful 3-day getaway -- something we had badly needed.  Hopefully this week I will be able to share a few posts concerning this time which was such a blessing to us!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rest for the soul

"And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile ..."  (Mark 6:31)

"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."  (Matthew 11:29)

God is so good to give us times of rest and relaxation!  And just think ... He promises our souls can experience His rest on a regular basis as we learn of Him and walk with Him!

We are indeed blessed.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A sweet vintage birthday card

I love the colors in this pretty card.  I have never seen one like it and thought others might enjoy seeing it, too.

You can't really tell in the scan, but the card is intended to look like a piece of furniture ... a hutch or other open cabinet.  It is decorated with painted flowers at the top, and the backs of the shelves are painted a pretty sky blue.  It's surprising to me (though it probably shouldn't be, given how colors come into and out of fashion) how the colors look similar to some of my favorite fabrics and projects today.  They look quite up-to-date!

The decorative items on the shelves are so pretty!  It seems they are intended to look like milk glass.  This card appears to be unused, for there is no signature anywhere, but I can see my mother either buying or receiving this card, for she loved milk glass.  The items are embossed, making them look quite three-dimensional.  I love how the little leaves look so real as they tumble from the pitcher at the top.  My mother had a couple of those milk glass nesting hens, and she owned a plate and goblet similar in shape to those on the bottom shelf.   The plate is so pretty, I think. 

Hope you've enjoyed seeing this paper treasure today!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Another wonderful weekend!

Yes, it was another wonderful weekend as I spent time again at The Wilds of New England for a ladies' retreat.  The saddest thing was that I forgot my camera and so had to make do with just a few snaps using the Kindle.  Still, it was such a fantastic time that I have many snapshots filed away in my memory!

(I'll add in a few pictures from last week as well, and maybe one or two from a previous year.)

This time, four ladies went from our church.  We ended up in the same cabin with three friends.
Cabin 5
Last year I had been in this same cabin with my friend Kristina and her friend Missy, both from MA, and two ladies from ME.  This year, Kristina talked her mom, Gina, into coming along.  Gina is a dear friend of mine, a friend of many years' standing, and it was a joy to spend a little bit of extra time with her.  In fact, as I think about it, I would have to say that friends old and new were a big part of this weekend for me.

"Rest" was the theme of this retreat and something I needed badly.  Our speaker, Jen Cox, based her messages in Matthew 11:28-30:

"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
"For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

Just think ... getting into the yoke with Jesus and letting Him take the lead, plus learning to know Him well, will bring rest to our souls.   These were messages I needed to hear.

As always at The Wilds of New England, the setting was beautiful, the music honoring to God, the fun time hilarious, and the food delicious.

Of course I spent some enjoyable time in Cool Beans, the coffee shop. 
Coffee for the cooler parts of the day, and Italian cream soda for the sunny hours, were on my agenda.  Such a nice thing happened as I made my way down from the cabin area toward Cool Beans in the early morning, Bible and prayer journal in hand.  A lady fell into step with me and explained that she was going to get coffee before getting ready for the day.  We were among the first in line, and as we waited for our coffee to be prepared she noted my prayer journal and commented that she would like to have something similar to help make her prayer life more effective.  I opened the journal and quickly showed her how it is organized.  Well, her coffee arrived and she went over to a small table on the far side of the room.  In a few minutes my coffee also appeared and I sat down at the end of a long table which was right at hand, and opened my Bible.  (I thought about joining my new acquaintance, but decided against it in case she was planning to use this for her quiet time.)
And now it really gets interesting.  This chance conversation in a coffee line was actually a divine appointment.  As I sat sipping my coffee and looking at Proverbs 17, a large group of chattering ladies entered the shop and got in line.  In that instant I knew they would be occupying the long table where I sat at the end.  (I had been awake half the night listening to loud, idle chatter in the adjoining cabin and was in no frame of mind to hear more of it.) I decided to move to a quieter corner and chose a small table next to my new acquaintance.
This is an older photo of the fireplace in Cool Beans.  There's now a moose head in the middle with a deer on either side.
The moment I did, she spoke up and asked if I would allow her  to copy down some of the headings and other information from my journal, to  use in making one of her own.  Of course I said yes and invited her to join me at my table.  After a bit, she looked up from her copying and said something like, "This is of the Lord.  I saw you open your Bible and didn't want to interrupt you.  But when you got up and moved to this table,  I said, 'Okay, Lord, I'm asking her!'"
The conversation starter ...
And so my new friend now has some helpful information to assist her in her prayer life!  I also opened my tablet and showed her how to find my blog, as there is much more information here in my prayer journal posts.  My only regret is that I did not ask for her address or at least her email, so she can let me know how it goes.

Yet another "friend moment" came when I took my seat in a Q and A session and someone came up from behind and hugged me, saying, "I know you."  It was a dear friend and pastor's wife from Maine.  As I had prayed for this lady the day before (it was my day to pray for her family), I had wondered if I might see her at the retreat.  And here she was!

My most surprising "friend moment", though, really begins 34 years ago, in 1982.  In a small town in New Hampshire, a young Christian couple lived around the corner from the local hospital.  In the ICU, a young man lay comatose, his deeply concerned parents at his bedside.  They spent every day there talking, praying, and playing Christian music in hopes that he would respond.  When the young mom around the corner learned of this, she began a ministry to that hurting older couple, often bringing them lunch, always praying for them, serving in whatever way she could.  There was to be no "happy ending" in the storybook sense, for the young man (who was my brother) did not recover -- yet, there was a truly happy ending for him in that he is in heaven, completely well.

From that day to the present, this dear woman (now a grandmother, living in another state) has sent a note to my parents every year in early October, the time of my brother's homegoing.  When my mother died, I let her know and the notes continued to my dad.  Recently, I sent this dear lady an update on how my dad is doing, and she sent me such a nice reply ... words that the Lord used to encourage my heart.  So imagine my surprise then, at the retreat, when my daughter pointed across the room and said, "I think that is Mrs. _."

She was right, and before the retreat was over we had been able to talk and share a hug.    At last I could share my appreciation in person for her years of ministry to my parents.  And as I think about it now, I realize that this lady personifies the word I have chosen as my word for 2016 -- faithfulness.  She has been faithful to serve others, faithful in praying, faithful in remembering.  All, of course, because God is faithful.

Throughout the weekend I had many other moments with friends, some of them at meals.  I would be remiss if I didn't share some of the pretty decorations in the dining hall.
A look at part of the table decor.  That's a votive in a glass holder tucked into the hurricane with acorns and other fall trims.  And isn't the mini white pumpkin cute?
The meals were delicious, too.  Saturday's breakfast was cheesy scrambled eggs, sausages, and peach slices; lunch was make-your-own sandwiches and chips.  Friday's supper was pot roast, roasted potatoes (including some purple ones!); broccoli, breadsticks and for dessert, pumpkin chocolate chip muffin tops.  Saturday's supper was sweet and sour pork, rice, green beans, rolls, and caramel apple cheesecake.
Window sill decor -- flowers, leaves and pine cones, plus a floating candle in a goblet
Just a wonderful, wonderful weekend!  So thankful for all of God's rich blessings!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

An easy and practical sewing project

This year's model
For my trip to the retreat this past weekend, I needed to bring along bedding.  The easiest and best way I've found to transport it is in a stuff sack.  A few years ago I made one of these: stuff sack made from shower curtain.  Let me tell you, this is one of the easiest, most useful projects you will ever sew.  You could literally complete this project in half an hour.  Starting with a shower curtain means that all of your grommets are already in place.

The year I made my first stuff sack, I didn't really think about it until the day before the retreat.  I think it may actually have been the day OF the retreat!  We own stuff sacks for our sleeping bags, but those were too small and I always had a problem stuffing the sleeping bags back into them.  This time I was taking sheets plus fleece blankets, and knew those smaller stuff sacks would never work.

I hurriedly looked online to find a tutorial for making my own.  This stuff sack made from a shower curtain looked like just what I needed. There was no time to go to Walmart.  Since I had to do my grocery shopping anyway, I zipped into a Marshalls in the same plaza and found a suitable shower curtain for under $10.

Note that this needs to be a fabric shower curtain, not a vinyl one.  You could probably find one in a thrift store, but when I made the first one I didn't have the luxury of looking around in different stores.  This is such a fast project!  You cut two simple rectangles, turn one into the carrying strap and the other one into the sack itself.  Only straight seams are required, and only a few of them.  I just used cording that I had on hand for the drawstring.

I was so pleased with the finished product.  It held a set of flannel sheets, a full-sized fleece blanket (all rolled up, of course) and a pillow. 
my first stuff sack
With my granddaughter attending this year's retreat with me, I decided to make a second stuff sack for her to use.  I happened to stop by a discount store and found a print shower curtain that I liked.  I decided to make this one a little bit bigger, cutting it 48" rather than 45". 
The finished sack unstuffed
... and stuffed, ready to go.
I was pleased with how it came out.  This bigger stuff sack will work well when my hubby and I visit a getaway cabin this fall.  We need to bring our own sheets and towels and so this will be a simple way to transport them.

If you have need of a sack like this, give the simple tutorial a try.  I think you'll be pleased with the result!