This precious soldered ornament arrived next. The talented Leslie Venable joined the group this year and I'm thrilled I participated to receive this little lovely. The darling shadow box includes a vintage image and tiny bottle tree.
(Photo by Deryn Mentock)
I couldn't seem to get a good photo of the whole ornament, dangles and all so I borrowed this one from my friend, Deryn's blog.
Lesley's gift wrapping was a treat all by itself - a wonderful gift bag with a vintage Christmas postcard affixed. JOY indeed! Thanks so much, Lesley, I love it.
On the same day, I received a package from my long-time friend, Melissa David. Her wrapping was exciting. Lace and rust!! What more could a Texas gal want?
Her's was a down home gift bag for sure. What an added prize. And just look what was inside:
Rustic Texas Assemblage by Melissa David
Melissa always comes up with creative metal assemblages. This one is the best yet! There are so many layers of rusted metal and vintage elements you can't take them all in at first glance! Melissa sent along a great little Texas Christmas poem:
(Click on it so you can read it more easily.)
Thanks, Mel, this ornament was hard to pack away after Christmas. Next year, I think I'll leave it out all year.
First to arrive was a precious fabric and lace tufted Christmas star created meticulously by my sweet ornie-swapping friend, Nellie Wortman. What a work of art this is right down to the hand wrapped wire hook for fastening it to the Christmas tree.
Adorned by Peace
It is adorned with a tiny resin-filled shadow box housing the word peace. Perfect!!
Here's what Nellie had to say on her blog about how she made them: "I used pieces of vintage quilts, remanents of a ladies dress that dates 1900, vintage tinsel, bells, wire and incorporated one of my handmade bezels to make up these ornaments."
Card Pocket on Back
Nellie is always attentive to detail in her work. The back is as artful as the front of this ornament. Here is a little multi-layered fabric pocket to house the mini greeting tag. I love when artists are proud enough of their work to sign it. In my book, I think we must all sign our work - always! It makes it even more precious. Thanks, Nellie, for that.
Gift Bag by Nellie Wortman
Just look at this bag Nellie created to wrap the ornament. It is a work of art all by itself. Thank you so much, Nellie, for these wonderful Christmas gifts. I'll cherish them from year to year always.
Think summer. Think kids. Think rampant fun! Can you guess?
That's right - CAMP TURLINGTON!!!!!!!!!
We picked up our granddaughter, Korie, and our adopted granddaughter, our friend, Liz, in Katy. We met Clint, Stacy, Carly, Korie, and Liz at Denny's for the tradional lunch before camp. First, of course, was the infamous trip to the grocery store where the two girls pick up all the food they want for the week! No holes barred. Any junk at all!
At Giddy Up Glamour's upstairs back door.
After delivering the groceries to the camp house, the first order of business was - SHOPPING! The girls wanted to go to GUG and Target so, by the rules of Camp T, we do whatever they want to do. Off we went!
At Target, naturally.
Next, we even did the traditional trip to the statue!
Can't skip going to the statue and visitors center.
We did all the traditional things here, played on the face, looked at the giant statue, and bought t-shirts at the gift shop.
How we Love Sam' s Face
And how we love to deface the back of his face!
By the way, how do you like Liz's hair? (Korie did it.)
We dedicated this Camp T to Harry Potter because Liz brought the first 4 HP movies. We had watched all four by Tuesday.
Professors Snape and McGonagall
There happens to be a magical clothes storage closet right in the Camp T suite. The clothes in there make great costumes! The campers selected costumes for various Harry Potter characters. Of course, they also used the well worn Sunglasses drawer to round out their looks
We've ordered the last 4 Harry Potter movies from Amazon and extended the camp one day so we'll have time to watch them all.
Our church Arts Ministry Team sponsored a field trip to Houston to visit an Orthodox Church and have lunch at a Mediterrainean grill.
St. George Antioachian Orthodox Church, West University, Houston TX (Website Photo)
The Nave or main worship area with its Iconostasis and Holy Doors in front of the dome of the icon of the Mother of God which is above the sanctuary area behind the Iconostasis.
Father Symeon Kees, holding an incense censor, has opened the Holy Doors of the Iconostasis to reveal the Sanctuary behind where you will see the altar in front of the icon of Jesus Christ, The King of Kings or Great High Priest.
Father Symeon sang a chant for us from the responses to liturgical services.
Psalteria for singing and chanting.
One of my favorite icons was of St. Rapheal because it had a reliquary built in. An icon reliquary is a recessed hole filled with a relic from the saint like a little piece of garment or bone. Here is the whole St. Raphael piece:
(Photo from web site.) Sorry about the glare. Near the center bottom is the reliquary. Here is a close up of it:
The dark piece in the middle is a little piece of St. Raphael's bone.
This is another icon with a reliquary:
The reliquary is under the second figure, and contains a little piece of fabric from St. Herman's garment.
This is a close up of the Holy Doors on the iconostasis (photo by Kaye Smith):
Icons of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John on the Holy Doors.
Did you know that the peacock was an early religious symbol? Because of a belief that the peacock’s flesh did not decay after death, the peacock became a symbol of Christ, and, as such, early Christian paintings and mosaics use peacock imagery. Here is a detail of the peacocks on the Holy Doors:
Here is the rear wall of the Nave. Through the doors is the Narthex. (web site photo)
Icons like this one were painted on the side walls of the Nave:
Icon of St. Barbara.
These are icons of Christ and the Apostles (includes Paul in the circle with Peter) painted on the wall of the Narthex:
Other icons in the narthex:
The Narthex prayer corner:
Icon station for children in the Narthex:
There were many icons in the church - too many to photograph all. I'd love to go back to have time to really look at all of them.
Kaye got a couple of pictures of us in the Narthex as Father Symeon talked to us about the Orthodox Church practices.
It was a wonderful field trip. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We celebrated Christmas with our children and grandchildren on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Weird time? Well, not really. It was still during Christmastide - the twelve days of Christmas beginning with the birth of Christ and ending twelve days later with Epiphany.
Kade, Carly, and Korie
Today, January 6, is the feast day of Epiphany, Three Kings Day, or the Twelfth Day of Christmas. The word epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation" and is commonly linked in Western Christianity with the visit of the wise men (Magi) to the Christ child. Through the Magi, Christ revealed himself to the gentiles.
Visit of the Magi(Artist Unknown)
I think there is a monumental parallel between the journey of the wise men as led by a bright star to find the Christ Child and our own journey to find Christ and His leading us via the Light of Life.
God gave us a light, Jesus, to enable us to come out of the darkness and live eternally in right relationship with Him. In view of such a merciful offering, what gifts shall we come bearing for the Christ Child?
Epiphany by Pieter Aertsen, The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Homily for Epiphany,bishopsblog.dioceseofcheyenne.org
For Those Who Have Far to Travel An Epiphany Blessing
If you could see the journey whole you might never undertake it; might never dare the first step that propels you from the place you have known toward the place you know not.
Call it one of the mercies of the road: that we see it only by stages as it opens before us, as it comes into our keeping step by single step.
There is nothing for it but to go and by our going take the vows the pilgrim takes:
to be faithful to the next step; to rely on more than the map; to heed the signposts of intuition and dream; to follow the star that only you will recognize;
to keep an open eye for the wonders that attend the path; to press on beyond distractions beyond fatigue beyond what would tempt you from the way.
There are vows that only you will know; the secret promises for your particular path and the new ones you will need to make when the road is revealed by turns you could not have foreseen.
Keep them, break them, make them again: each promise becomes part of the path; each choice creates the road that will take you to the place where at last you will kneel
to offer the gift most needed— the gift that only you can give— before turning to go home by another way.
Adoration of the Magi, Edward Burne-Jones, 1887, tapestry, England
This is Jerry and me with our son, Clint; his wife, Stacy; and our three awesome grandkids, Kade, Carly, and Korie. Aren't these guys beautiful?
Brother Jack's Gorgeous Group
My brother, Jack Jr., with his wife, Millie; son, Doug (far right); and his daughter, Jacquelyn; her husband, Stacy (back left); and his fantastic grandson, Jake. And aren't these guys beautiful?
Brother Jim's Glitzy Gang
Here we have Jim and his wife, Linda (center); their daughters, Kim (next to Mom) and Lauren (left); their son, Rodney (far right); and their gifted grandkids, Nick (far left); Amanda (next to Jim) and Ashley (far right).