Christmas Front Doors of New England

We are back from California, and I'll have to share some pictures with you soon. We've been catching up on laundry and getting ready for Christmas. And of course, as always happens when you travel, we all came home with head colds. Groan. And the day after Christmas, Colette and I are headed to New York City, at a friend's generous invitation, for a couple of days!

For now, I thought you'd enjoy seeing some Christmas front doors here in New England...pictures I snapped last winter. Enjoy!













Decking the Halls and a Christmas Party

First, for an update on our little granddaughter! She had a couple of brief setbacks, two trips to the ER, and one overnight stay for observation, but I'm happy to report that her latest MRI looked, in her doctor's words, "Fabulous!" So blessed!

So, we quickly (very quickly) switched gears entirely at our home and went into full-blown Christmas mode. Every year for decades, we have had a Christmas party. And since the news was so good about our little one and everyone so looks forward to our annual party, we just plunged into preparations. First up is decking the halls!

Holly, fresh pine boughs cut from the woods, mercury glass, swags of greenery, wreaths, simple antique touches, treasured pieces...all blended together to make everything festive.








Finally, everything was in readiness! Colette had made a candlelit, European Christmas village as her gingerbread masterpiece for the year!


And the menu was as follows:

Meatballs in Raspberry-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
Spicy Chicken Firecrackers
Assorted Cheeses
Crackers
Hummus
Dried and Fresh Fruit
Antipasto Platter
Gingerbread Men, Women, and Moose
Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies
Chocolate-Cranberry Brownies
Orange-Macadamia Cookies
Chocolate-Mint Parfait Bars
Guinness Gingerbread
Lindt Truffles
Christmas Candy
Wassail
Coffee
Water Infused with Oranges and Cranberries

I love our Christmas party! Such a happy mix of generations! People in small groups chatting. A group of kids engrossed in a game of chess at the chess table. Someone playing carols on the piano. A small child feeding a gingerbread man to the dog (uh-oh). It's a joy to create these memories for our friends!







And no sooner was the party over, then we switched gears again to be completely ready to celebrate Christmas, on both coasts, by tomorrow night. We are California-bound on Friday...to celebrate Christmas with family and to attend a wedding. We'll return just in time to celebrate Christmas at home!

If you want to follow along on our California journey, follow me on Instagram! My username is goodwifeh.

JOY!

Yesterday, this sweet little girl went home from the hospital! Most beautiful sight EVER! Words cannot express our gratitude for your prayers and kind messages! Love you all! Praises be to God! 


Step by Step by Faith

UPDATES TO THIS POSTING WILL BE MADE IN THE COMMENT SECTION, AS I AM ABLE.

The three oldest grandkids on Halloween Day - 2015

Our family would covet your prayers today for that sweet little blondie granddaughter in the middle of the picture. The last couple weeks have been difficult ones, as we puzzled over her diminishing motor skills, constant tripping and falling, difficulty chewing, poor grip, and other troubling symptoms for a 3-year old. Last week, an MRI told the story...she has an arteriovenous fistula, or a connection of an artery and a vein in her brain (resting on her brain stem) and the ballooning pressure of the vein is putting pressure on her brain and causing her neurological problems. We are praising God for clarity in the diagnosis so that leaving the problem alone was not an option, because it will rupture at some point...with fatal results.

Today, she is going in for an angiogram and (hopefully!) an embolization (disconnecting and tying off the connection of the artery and the vein) in her brain. 

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
  • Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
    How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
    Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
    Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

"Oh, for grace to trust Him more!" has been the constant refrain of my heart since the diagnosis came. The procedure is a delicate one and not without risks.  But the all too real, all too much to dwell on possibility is that the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and absolute Sovereignty, will take her home to heaven. Could we then say, with Christian resignation and fortitude, as our Puritan forefathers, "It pleased the Lord to take her..."? Could we say that without bitterness or a grief that threatens to swallow our very souls? 

We are praising God for the faithful ministers who have preached the full counsel of God to us, so that the strength we draw from His Word has kept us from being overwhelmed. His Spirit has ministered to our hearts and minds, and for that trust and strength we are grateful and give Him all the glory!

 "God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy."
-Westminster Confession, Chpt. 5:I

We know that He directs all things for His glory. Things too incomprehensible for our puny minds to understand. And we rest in His omnipotence and His goodness...no matter what the outcome. 

We are encouraged that her doctor is "the best in the nation" and possibly the world at this sort of surgery! We are encouraged that he is optimistic for a good outcome! We praise God that He moved us all the way across the country seven years ago, so that some day, this little girl would need this very doctor and she would live an hour from the hospital where he practices! Oh, praises be to God for His Providence in all things! And yet, we are reminded...

 My hope is built on nothing less 

than Jesus' blood and righteousness. 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 
but wholly lean on Jesus' name. 

On Christ the solid rock I stand, 
all other ground is sinking sand; 
all other ground is sinking sand. 

We would be blessed if you join us in praying for her today, and in saying with our family,

"This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it."
-Ps. 118:24

Sola deo gloria!

Pumpkin Patch Time

Monday night was pumpkin patch time with my little punkins...all four of the world's cutest grandkids!





It's this little one's first autumn, and he's looking mighty cute!


A Chill Autumn Day in Boston

On the last day that our friend from The Merry Hearth was with us, we drove into Boston to do a whirlwind tour of some of our favorite sites. After parking beneath Boston Common (did you know there's a parking lot under all that grass?), we caught the subway to the North End. 

We didn't want to walk all of the Freedom Trail, Boston's famous trail that winds through the city's most historic places, but just hit a few of the highlights. Walking shoes on. Ready to go!


There we visited the Old North Church, from whose belfry the lanterns hung the night of Paul Revere's famous ride.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."


The North End of Boston is where the Irish settled during their great wave of immigration to the United States. And eventually, they were displaced there by the Italians, who still occupy it in a most delicious way...the aroma of garlic, Italian restaurants and grocers, gelato places, and a bustling conviviality pervades all. Mike's Pastry is one of those delicious places, where, I must confess, we had desert before lunch...Mike's famous cannolis.


Then we continued following the Freedom Trail (in reverse) through many streets, crowds of Saturday visitors, and traffic back to our starting place and beyond to the quiet, quaint streets of Beacon Hill. We took our time admiring the classic architecture of this sanctuary in the bustling city.





We had a late lunch at Figs in Beacon Hill. Then, with the sunshine slanting low across the city, we strolled through the Public Garden, saying "hi" to the Make Way for Ducklings statues.



We popped in a coffeehouse on Newbury Street and a couple of shops, including the Ralph Lauren store.


The girls paused for a picture at Trinity Church in Copley Square.


This is my favorite picture of the day. There's something really charming about a queue for chocolate...especially when it's out the door!


We had such a wonderful time with our friend, and hope she comes back soon! Be sure to check out the blog she keeps with her sister by clicking here!

A Tour of Concord, Massachusetts

Last week, we took our guest to tour Concord, Massachusetts, which is renowned for it's historical and literary heritage. It was a cool, crisp autumn day and just perfect for sightseeing.

On the drive into Concord, I spied a farmstand and just had to turn in for an impromptu visit. Autumn farmstands are THE best! We admired the squashes, bought some freshly-baked bread, and continued on our way.




Our first stop for touring was Louisa May Alcott's Home, Orchard House. We took the short, guided tour and saw the tiny desk where she penned "Little Women" and the rooms and places that served as her literary inspiration. (No photography allowed inside.)


Then we went down the street to tour Ralph Waldo Emerson's large home.  It had been built by a previous owner as a summer home. Emerson purchased the home in the summer, only to discover that it was nearly impossible to keep warm in the cold, New England winters. The home is beautifully furnished with the family's original belongings.


Then we drove through town and beyond to the Old North Bridge, where the "shot heard round the world" was fired at the start of the American Revolution.





The property next to the Old North Bridge is Old Manse, Nathaniel Hawthorne's home. It always looks so beautiful in the fall.


Just as Hawthorne kept a large garden, so one is planted each year at Old Manse. It's in the foreground in this photo, in its dying, autumn state.


Then it was on to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to see the final resting place of Concord's famous authors.


We did a bit of shopping in the town...coffee and hot chocolate, a visit to the cheese shop and bookstore, and a leisurely browse through my favorite boutique, Nesting.



Last stop in the waning autumn sunshine was Walden Pond.


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