Thursday, December 31, 2009

JOY is the word

The past couple days I have been away celebrating
the 90th birthday of my mother-in-law.
It was a wonderful celebration full of joy.

JOY is the word I have selected for next year.
It actually felt daunting when it first came to me.
I thought maybe I would have to go to comedy clubs
or read a joke of the day, but I am beginning to learn
to live with it and realize it is much more.
Interestingly, at the Soulstice party I went to we drew words
for next year out of a bowl and I drew "JOY". I had already
decided on the word and then it was confirmed.

"When you mix lots of happiness
with lots of sadness you get joy"
Jerome Berryman

I wish for you much JOY in the New Year.
I would love to know if you pick a word.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Enamored with Glass - part #4

Each year as I approach the new year I choose a word for the new year.
This past year's word was "Create".
In thinking about the word create this year I wanted to learn one new craft in which I had to create. I actually ended up learning two new crafts, both involving glass. I will share the other glass craft another day.
My friend, Teresa, has a glass studio in her basement and invited me to come and create.
What great fun to create these small pendants with glass and see what came out of the kiln. The firing smooths the edges and makes something rough into something beautiful.

As I sit here I am thinking the similarities in life.
As we walk through the fire we become more beautiful.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The reason for Christmas

Merry Christmas

Celebrate Joy, Love, and Peace in your heart
this Christmas season.
Remember the reason for the celebration.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Merry Christmas to each of you!
May you always feel young hearted
throughout the year, but especially
now as we celebrate Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Walking the labyrinth, sharing in a time of celebration with a group
of women. Winter solstice is a time of reflection, thus in the following
writing it is called Soulstice.

December is a woman clothed in saffron
sunsets with stars in her earlobes and
firelight in the palms of her hands. She's
the dancer to the music of the spheres,
the mystery behind the veil of time,
soul searcher, heat seeker, safe keeper
of candlelight, starlight, moonlight, lamplight.
On the longest night of the year the
heart of darkness pulses and glows,
with her blazing embers, scarlet
berries, exit lights and night lights,
blood oranges and red wine, wild
roses, henna tattoos, ruby slippers, silver
bells, amber beads and tangerines, a
saints gilded halo, crimson poppies
and pomegranate seeds. Turn on your
inner light....It's SOULstice time.

SKIRT magazine, Dec 2002

Monday, December 21, 2009

Enamored with Glass - part #3

Glass is a part of my Christmas tree decorations.
A Santa and a teddy bear glisten in the light.
Golden glass beads surround the tree.
There is a glass pickle somewhere on the tree, but I couldn't find it to show you.
You will have to come and find it for yourself and maybe there will
be a prize if you do. A warm cup of tea and a cookie are waiting.
A little Victorian girl is warmed by the light.
Two vintage mercury glass ornaments hang in a special place of honor.

An array of glass balls are waiting to be placed on the tree.
Don't you just love the way glass ornaments shine reflecting the light of the celebration and season?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas at the Aurora Colony

The Aurora Colony is a 30 minute drive from Portland, Oregon.
Each year they celebrate Christmas with an interactive walk through the history of the colony.
Volunteers play the different parts and guide their guests through the museum by candle light.
It had been a long time since I had visited the colony for Christmas and it was a delight recently to walk through history by candle light.
German and Swiss emigrants, established and lived in the Aurora Colony, a Christian communal society, from 1856 to 1883. The story they shared on this evening was the preparations for
a wedding in the colony at Christmas time.
The pageant was fun to visit, but just seeing the museum decorated for Christmas put me into the spirit of the holiday.
What do you do that puts you into the spirit of the season?
Click on the collage to see the pictures in more detail.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

O Tannenbaum, O Christmas Tree

My tree this year in the daylight.

My tree in the evening light.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us.
They're green when summer days are bright;
They're green when winter snow is white.
O, Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
You give us so much pleasure!
How oft at Christmas tide the sight,
O green fir tree, gives us delight!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
You give us so much pleasure!

The Christmas tree delights me.
Seeing all the beautiful decorations in blogland
has been fun; so let the holiday begin
with great celebration.
The teapot is sitting ready for your visit.
A few cookies and peanut brittle are waiting.
Come by for holiday celebrating each day over the next week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Mad Hatter Tea Party

The table is ready for a Mad Hatter Tea Party.
Why not start at the end sharing the sweets.
There were Dormouse Cookies, Meringue Mushrooms, and Eat Me Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Bread and Butterflies were served.

White Rabbits Tea Sandwiches with carrots and raisins.
The Queen of Hearts egg salad sandwiches with just a touch of chili paste.

It is a fun tradition each year as I plan and produce Lily's Christmas Tea.
Lily and her family started coming to my home when Lily was 4 years old and now she is 12 years old. I think we have only missed one or two years. It is so much fun to surprise the family with the theme each year. This year I read Alice in Wonderland and made notes.
Then I started planning.
Of course we would have Orange Marmalade for the scones, this was at the original Mad Hatter Tea Party.
Then before the party we had a game of croquet sent from the Queen of Hearts herself. The flamingos didn't always cooperate, but in the end there were two winners.

There was also Cheshire Cat Smile turkey sandwiches and Mushroom Caps too.

The tea of course said Drink Me and plenty of tea was imbibed.

Now you would think that would be the end of it each year, but my women's group thought it sounded like so much fun. They wanted to be included too. So the past three years they have come the night before Lily's family comes for a trial run. Two tea parties in one weekend, what fun! A tea party tradition for sure for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Montserrat, Spain

Riding up the windy road we arrive at Montserrat on our final afternoon of traveling in Europe.
We were hoping for a quiet time of reflection, but what we found was many tourists.
Montserrat, the serrated mountain, is a religious pilgrimage for many people to touch the black madonna. It has been an important site for the Catalan people for a thousand years.
Inside the monastery, the black madonna sits in the alcove above the monks.
There was such a long line, we didn't climb the stairs to see her up close.
My quiet time was spent here in reflection.

Now it is time to say farewell to Europe.
It was a wonderful three weeks of travel.

Some travel tips:
1. Pack light, you will have to carry what you bring and buy.
2. Take an empty bag for shopping.
3. Plan well and be flexible if plans change.
4. Smile and enjoy the people you meet, even if you don't speak their language.

I met a little boy of about 3 years old on the train to Barcelona.
He was looking out the window saying "mi casa".
I repeated "mi casa" and his eyes lite up that I would speak his language.
Now it is time to return to "mi casa" (my home).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Enamored with Glass - part #2

While traveling in France I walked by this window with lovely
glass jugs and bottles. Thinking about being enamored with glass, I took the picture just for you.
We have similar traits to glass:
Reflection - We often reflect on our faces the mood of what is happening around us. Are we sad when we visit someone in the hospital or are we happy when we visit the carnival?
Fragile -We can break if dropped and our hearts can be broken if hurt.
Shaping - Often through tough times or "going through the fire" we are shaped into what we become.
Strong - We become stronger through the thickness of our skin.
Beauty - We are beautiful no matter the shape.
Vessel - We take and hold things in our hearts.
And sometimes we are broken, but we can gather the pieces together to make something new and beautiful, such as mosaics.
What other comparisons can you think of today?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pretty and Perfect

Do you ever drive by a house all lite up, the windows so brights, and
inside people going about life?
I often wonder how is their life, it looks so perfect and so pretty.
I want to just step inside and be included in that perfect, pretty world.
Then I wonder are they just giving that image of perfection,
but really have daily trials to bear.
From the outside it looks so perfect until we touch the heart and find we are each traveling through life with our hurts, pains, and laughter.
Take time to touch the heart of someone near you and share together in love.
Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Strolling in Barcelona

La Rambla

Our final days were spent in Barcelona.
We had a small taste of this beautiful city last year and just had to see more.
Paris is my favorite city, but Barcelona is a close second.
The Gaudi architecture was the main reason we went back to Barcelona, but just experiencing strolling down the La Rambla and through the small surrounding streets was a thrill.
The people in Barcelona definitely know how to stroll at all hours of the day and night.
We strolled one evening to find wonderful tapas for dinner and the next night was a stroll to find paella for dinner on the water front.
There is only one final stop before we left for home, which I will share with you next week.

Please check out the give away below.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Special Post

I am posting an extra time today.
Please visit Se'Lah at the Necessary Room
for a very special Marmalady's give away.
It would be so fun if one of my readers won this.

Joy in a Teacup

Recently on another blog I saw Joy in a teacup.
I loved the concept and wanted my own picture of Joy.
A friend gave me a Christmas cup this past summer, as she was moving and could not take everything with her. The short friendship was a joy and I was thrilled that she would want me to treasure her teacup. She gave me Joy.
I also feel Joy as I wrap my hands now around the teacup
and Joy comes tumbling out, filling me.
What brings you Joy this Christmas season?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Enamored with Glass

This year my word was "Create". In thinking of create I began noticing glass. I thought it would be fun to have my next Monday series called, Enamored with Glass.
Here I am with the first of the series, at the end there will be a give away.
That will take place when I run out of pictures and thoughts on glass.

Glass has a long history.
In prehistoric times it was used as a cutting devise.
The word glass was developed during the Roman Empire.
Glass comes in many forms and colors.

I love the way it reflects the light.
You can see above the same glass knob photographed
against two different colors and it looks like a totally
different glass ball.

The abstract glass I made out of scraps of glass
that fused together in the kiln became one woven together.
It hangs in my tree outside to entertain the birds or is it entertaining me?
I love the varied colors and the reflections of glass.
What do you like about glass?
Is it the beauty, the color, the function, or the way it reflects the light?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Castles in France

While driving through the Dordogne River region we saw many castles sitting on top of cliffs and hills. Two that were near our hotel were Josephine Baker's Chateau and Castelnaud.
Click on the collage to see a more detailed picture.

The center picture was the entrance to Josephine Baker's home.
There was a display of her costumes and it had some of her original furniture.
Nearby was the chapel where she was married.
If you would like to know more about this fascinating woman, visit
The two pictures on the left were also taken of her home.
Later in life she lost the home due to financial problems.
Grace Kelly and others tried to help her out, but in the end she lost her home and lived until she died in Paris.

Castelnaud was nearby and a very different feel to Josephine Baker's home.
It was full of military armament. You can see the catapult's in the above pictures. The top center picture was taken from the castle looking down into the village below.

This is the final day of pictures in France.
Next week we will move on to the end of our trip with sights from Barcelona.
But Monday I will be starting a new Monday series - Enamored with Glass.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Notice What You Notice

"Notice what you notice" is something a good friend often says when speaking to groups. I like the thought and have decided from time to time I will share with you things I have noticed.

This week I have noticed:

Mushrooms growing at the Christmas tree farm, so beautiful.
The car behind me this morning at a stop light had a woman that was smiling. When I looked in the drivers seat it was full of beautiful poinsettias, they just filled that whole side of the car.
And the full moon the past two nights has been spectacular. Have you seen it? Again the beauty just takes my breathe away.

What have you noticed?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Caves in France

The only picture I have from the inside of a cave in France.
Yes, that is me in the middle with the black wind breaker on.
Since reading Jean Auel's book, Clan of the Cave Bear, I have wanted to see the prehistoric caves in France. This was up there close to the top of my list. I wanted to see the cave paintings and feel what it felt to be tucked away living in a cave.
It was dark, but it felt safe.
No one is allowed in Lascaux anymore, as the paintings are fading;
so they built an exact replica to walk through nearby. All we could see of the original is the forest of trees surrounding it. I wish I could have taken pictures to show you the inside, but
they were not allowed in either cave we visited.
The second cave we visited was the actual cave, called Gouffre de Padirac.
Here is the hole in the ground from above. We traveled down many stairs and walked along a walkway and at the bottom of the cave arrived at a river. There were small boats with boatmen to paddle us along the river under the ground to see beautiful stalactites and share some of the history with us. Thankfully our boatman knew some English; so he did the tour in both French and English. Even just hearing in French, it was beautiful. Thankfully, there was an elevator to return to the top. Whew! That would have been some climb.
Have any of you been fascinated by caves? Sometimes they can be scary to enter, but these two were a joy to see and I could check one more thing off my list of sights I have dreamt of seeing. What's on your list of sights to see? Dream big and dreams can come true.

Just a note, if any of my travels intrigue you and you start to plan your dream come true adventure, I would love to answer any questions you might have and give you tips on planning a trip. I had so much fun planning this trip and then seeing it actually happen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tea in Aspen

Arriving early this morning in Aspen, the carriage picks me up at the airport
and we travel just outside Aspen in the country to a beautiful lodge made out of logs.
The lodge looks out on a lake with the Rockie Mountains in view.
I really don't want to leave to go for tea, but decide to enjoy a casual tea in the lodge.
Still wearing my jeans with a red sweater and snugly boots I stroll through the lodge
to find tea.
The lodge is decorated in a festive celebration of color.
Red jumps out to greet me throughout the holidays.
The lights on the trees just twinkle.

Tea is waiting surrounded by the beauty of my surroundings here at the lodge.
I am wrapped in love like a big woolly blanket.
The snow is beginning to fall.
In my cup is a lovely Christmas White Tea.
Cookies are the perfect accompaniment to tea
and the lodge knew that including Cherry Wink Cookies
would be the perfect touch. They were the cookie my
mother use to make that were my favorites.
At peace, sitting by the fire, watching the snow fall outside the window, and sipping a perfect cup of tea is my dream for each of you this holiday season.
Dream of tea in Aspen, but enjoy quiet moments no matter
if you are in your jeans, a robe, or a beautiful dress with sparkles.

Visit Mr. Toast's First Annual Christmas Tea for more fun
holiday tea events.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Country Roads

Even though we traveled with a GPS, affectionately called Mimi Two, we still traveled many country roads in the south of France and sometimes got lost. Just a note, I am Mimi One and my husband said he had two bossy ladies on the trip telling him what to do.
The country roads were glorious with the beginning of autumn, leaves were just starting to turn golden. The roads were narrow and windy, but oh so beautiful. I just loved the pink nose of that sweet cow. Fire wood and fence posts would be neatly stacked between the trees.
It was walnut harvest time and everywhere we drove there were walnut trees and most often a few people collecting the walnuts under the trees. The orchards were so neat and tidy, I was totally impressed and loved every moment of traveling the country roads.

Double click on the collage for a closer look.

Tomorrow is a winter tea in Aspen and the beginning of the Christmas season here at Delights of the Heart. I will still be sharing travel days interspersed with the holiday season.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gardens in France

Having a Master Gardener for a husband, he wanted to visit gardens.
Since I love gardens too, it was fun to seek them out as we traveled in France.
The first garden we visited was the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, which I have shared already.
In the Dordogne River region there were some beautiful gardens.
The first garden we visited was a water garden with many beautiful water lilies and frogs.
Next we venture out to Les Jardins Du Manoir D'Eyrignac.
It was a beautiful sculptured garden originally developed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Being an apple lover I noticed many apple trees along our travel. The one at this garden intrigued me because it was trimmed into a round shape and even had structured plants around it's base.
Many of the apple orchards we saw were also kept small and covered with netting to protect the fruit from the birds.
Then our last garden was a vegetable garden found at the Castlenaud, which I will show another day. We were fascinated by the symmetry of the garden, pictured in the collage at the left center.
Double click on the collage to see the picture in more detail.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Take Delight in the Day

Take delight in the celebration of Thanksgiving!
I hope each one of you today is sharing with family
or friends in the delights of the day, whether you eat turkey
and pumpkin pie or you live somewhere other
than the US.
Have a wonderful day!
I am thankful for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Laundry and a Windmill

This is sort of a funny thing to write about on my travel, but I was so struck by laundry on our travels in Europe. The picture above is the laundry room at the apartment in Provence.
Sheets were hung to dry in the same garden we had tea in Carcassonne.

If the laundry isn't entertaining enough, wind will help our laundry dry quicker.

I was so amazed that for sure out of the 6 places we stayed at least 4 of them hung their sheets to dry. Beside saving on electricity, sheets smell divine when hung to dry.
I am not sure if they were doing it for the green effect, saving money, or that is just the way it is done. Since I have been trying to hang my sheets this year to save one load on the dryer, this really caught my heart to see sheets blowing in the breeze or in a basement laundry room.
Even the 45 room hotel in Barcelona had a laundry room with the sheets hanging to dry. Now if that isn't dedication? I sat one day watching the bedding be sent through a window into a cart and then wheeled to the basement. When I peeked there were sheets hanging everywhere.

Traveling even in the cities there was often a few pieces of laundry hanging outside a small balcony or just out the window.

I think we have come to expect to use our home dryers too often, we feel entitled. This is my little band wagon for helping to conserve and help with the green effect. If we hung just one load of laundry a week either outside, a small line set up in our basement or garage, or a laundry rack, we could do a little to contribute and have the reward of divine smelling sheets.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Food in France

Several of you were curious about the food in France when I mentioned the good food in the Dordogne River region. It was interesting to us that each region in France had it's specialty.
In Provence there was a lot of egg plant and olive oil.
In Carcassonne it was Cassoulet.
In the Dordogne River region it was duck and goose pate.
And everywhere for breakfast was croissants and baguettes.
Then when we traveled on to Barcelona it was tapas and paella.
No wonder my cholesterol sky rocketed right after returning home.

In the collage you will see sliced baked potato on a lovely beef steak, lamb over a spinach casserole, cheese souffle with mushrooms, paella, and oysters with pate.
The food was amazing as we traveled through France.
Double click on the collage to get a closer look, but beware you might get hungry.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dordogne River

Leaving Carcassonne, we drive to the Dordogne River.
A peek from our window at the Dordogne River.
I actually could sit by the window and see fish jump in the river,
boats float by, bird's walking along the shore, and people strolling by.
As we drove to the Dordogne River and turned to view the small village we would be staying in, it took our breathe away. Simply beautiful! Our hotel is the one with the brownish red shutters.
There were once cave dwellings in the hill side just above the village.
The village of La Roque-Gageac. Don't ask me to pronounce it, I never did get it right.

This region of France had many castles, chateaux, and caves, plus beautiful gardens.
We crammed as many sights as possible into our itinerary, then returned to our hotel at night for the most wonderful meals of the trip. We felt like we were in heaven.
Such beauty and just outside our window.