Friday, January 30, 2009

The Rest of the Story

In response to my email to Bethlehem Master as to who the benefactor was I received the following email.
Hi Mrs. Lawrence,

We hand carved this set out of Bethlehem Holy Land for you because your son is a good friend of ours and we asked him if he would like us to carve something for him. At that point he said make something nice for my Mother

Your set was also blessed at the Holy Nativity church in Bethlehem where Jesus was born and here are the pictures during the blessing

Best Regards,
Bethlehem Olive Wood Supplies Team
Ghasan Darwesh Workshop Manager

Jared's version:
We have a supplier of Bethlehem Olive Wood who I was talking to one day. I happened to mention that my mom really liked nativities, and so he made me give him your address.

This nativity will be a reminder not of where someone has been but of friendship and love.

The company really does produce some beautiful work. You might enjoy looking at their online catalogue. The URL is

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who Is Our Benefactor?

There was a loud knock on our front door, followed soon by another knock - sterotypical deliveryman knock. Sure enough there was a delivery man standing on the other side of the door. I needed to sign for a package. As I was signing he mentioned that it was from Israel. That was news to me - I hadn't ordered anything from Israel. I checked the package and it was clearly addressed to us and was from Jerusalem. I opened the box to discover this beautiful Bethlehem Olive Wood nativity from the Bethelehm Masters Collection. The tall pieces are about 7 1/2". The carving is very detailed. It is far too beautiful to keep packed away for 11 months each year. I am hoping to put a mirror behind the set to reflect the back of the pieces and make the area brighter. To whom do we owe our gratitude?

Thought you might enjoy these close ups.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's the Year of the Ox

In a nod to the Chinese New Year Richard and I hosted the San Antonio Family dinner last night and served Chinese food - as authentic as I could make it. I've learned that we prefer Chinese Chinese food better than American Chinese food. I set the table with a red table cloth and our place settings were dishes Beverly found for us in China.

The first two dishes are from recipes Beverly got when she was in China from a Sister Dong.

Spicy Chicken

Beef with Broccoli

The next three dishes are from from recipes I found at

Cashew Chicken

The finale was a lemon cake - not Chinese but good.

I use two Meyer Lemons I managed to grow on my tree this year.

I'd be happy to fix any or all of these dishes for visitors.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nativity Collection

This may seem an odd time to post pictures of my nativity collection but who's to say I'm not odd. I have finished the finish/trim painting in the family room and the next on my priority list is to put Christmas decorations away. Before I did I wanted to get some pictures of my collection - or at least part of it. I hope you enjoy.

The top center nativity is from China made from bamboo. The pewter set next to it is from Ireland. The ceramic set just below is from the Dominican Republic. Below that is the olive wood set from Israel. Directly below that are three nativities made in Peru. The set on the bottom left is from Columbia. Just above it is a silver nativity from Mexico. The very colorful set in the middle is a marzipan set from Ecuador.

The white display at the bottom is a reminder of Elder Jeffery R. Holland's writing in his booklet "Christmas Comfort:"

“The true meaning, the unique and lasting and joyous meaning of the birth of this baby, would be in the life he would lead and especially in his death, in his triumphant atoning sacrifice …and in his prison-bursting resurrection.

“It is the life at the other end of the manger scene that gives this moment of nativity in Bethlehem its ultimate meaning. Special as this child was and divine as was his conception, without that day of salvation wherein he would gain an everlasting victory over death and hell on behalf of every man, woman, and child who would ever be born – until that day should come – this baby’s life and mission would not be complete.” Jeffrey R. Holland, Christmas Comfort, pp. 3 – 4.
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Family Room Remodeling Saga

Richard spent much of his Christmas break remodeling our family room. (He did the tile this summer.)

He removed the old and inexpensive-when-new paneling.

(We didn't get a before picture so this one of the removed paneling will have to do. )

He also scrapped off the popcorn texturing on the ceiling.

The next step was putting up sheetrock and removing wallpaper from previously sheetrocked walls.

Then came texturing the ceiling and walls. It took a lot of preparation.

And then the paint and baseboards.

(If you are interested we used Lowe's Valspar paint.
Accent wall: Seattle Haze 4003-4B
Other walls: Misty Morning Dew 4003-3C)

Finally about 11:00 PM Saturday night we started moving the furniture back into the family room from the kitchen and entry hall.

We're not finished yet but getting close!

Friday, January 2, 2009


Camellias remind me of my father. My father enjoyed camellias. He raised many lovely camellias, especially when we lived in Orangevale. He chose some of his prize blossoms to make corsages for us to wear to church. He seemed to be especially pleased with one called "Dinner Plate" - aptly named because of its size - and would choose that one in particular for my mother.

Camellias are a challenge to grow in San Antonio because their soil requirements and San Antonio's soil are not compatible. So I have a couple of plants I grow with marginal success in pots. Today the first blossom on one of the plants fully opened. I wanted to share its beauty. After taking a picture of it on the plant, I picked it and put it in the attractive vase we received this Christmas. They are a winning combination.