Descanso GardensWinter is a great time to visit local gardens. The weather is cool and the camellias are in bloom. One of my favorite places is Descanso Gardens, located about 20 minutes north of Los Angeles.

Descanso GardensThe property was originally purchased in the 1930’s by newspaper publisher Elias Manchester Boddy, who bought 165 acres of undeveloped land for a ranch and new home. Interested in horticulture and plant science, Mr. Boddy developed garden areas surrounding the residence, adding trees and flowering plants to the indigenous California scrub.

Descanso GardensIn 1942, Mr. Boddy purchased the inventory of two prominent Japanese camellia growers in California. Today the camellia collection extends through much of the garden, nestled under majestic oaks and redwoods.

Descanso GardensGarden areas include an Oak forest, an Ancient forest, a California Natives garden and a Rose garden.

Descanso GardensThe Japanese garden features camellias, azaleas, water features and a tea house.

Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens

Descanso GardensThe Bird Observation Station allows visitors to view wildlife in and around the picturesque lake.

Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens

Descanso GardensThe original Boddy residence is now a house museum showcasing the elegant styles of the 1930’s. Adjacent to the house is an art gallery.

Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens

Descanso GardensDescanso Gardens has an extensive and beautiful collection of camellias. The gardens are lovely at any time of year, but especially now when these wonderful flowers are in bloom!

On the journey toward Home,

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Christmas was a Rescue Mission

by Lynn on December 18, 2016

Our human existence was never supposed to be this way. In the beginning we were perfect creations. We walked with God. We had everything we needed to be content and happy, and we were at peace with our Creator. But God didn’t want automatons who would blindly worship him, so he gave us a free will. We could do as we pleased. We could make our own choices. So we did. And to our great horror, we were left with the consequences of our poor choices. Beguiled, bewitched, and bedazzled by the father of lies, we chose death over life, and sold our eternal souls into slavery. Now captured by the one who despises our very existence, we are without hope—for there is no escaping the bondage into which we have willingly given ourselves over to.

God has no option but to remove us from his presence. Since he is a righteous judge, he cannot just set aside our sin. Our transgressions have to be dealt with. We are law breakers before the court of heaven and deserve punishment. Unhappily, we find that we have no mechanism to atone for our own sin. In the end, we receive an eternal life sentence for our crimes.

If our story ended here it would be bleak indeed, but gratefully it does not. For our Creator loved us in spite of what we had done, and devised a plan of rescue.

God would provide a substitute—one who would step into our shoes and stand before the Judge in our place. But who is qualified to stand before God? Only a sinless human can do that, and since none are in our world, God chose himself for that task. The Creator stepped into his creation, donning the skin of those he had made.

On that first Christmas, a baby—fully human and fully God, was born into our world. His mission was to live as one of us, but without sin. This made him uniquely qualified to present himself as a ransom for us.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6, NIV

God’s rescue plan is first described way back in Genesis. As we are expelled from Eden, God tells our adversary about the future Champion who will defeat him.

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:14-15, NIV (emphasis mine)

The greatest love ever shown to mankind was the gift of Jesus. He is the Lamb of God, born into our world so that he might die in our place. Without his atoning sacrifice we had no way to get home. Through Jesus, our relationship with God is restored, and we have all the rights and privileges as sons and daughters of the Most High.

There is just one caveat—the free gift of Christ’s atonement must be accepted. God’s gift is not forced upon us, nor is it ours by default. We must acknowledge that our sin separates us from a Holy God, and then believe that Jesus paid our debt in full through his death and resurrection.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9, NIV

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9, NIV

Perhaps you have questions about what it means to accept God’s free gift of salvation. Pastor Greg Laurie explains it here: http://KnowGod.org

Christmas is the greatest story ever told, about the greatest gift ever given. May you be blessed with the receipt of that gift today!

On the journey toward Home,

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Give Thanks to the Lord

by Lynn on November 24, 2016

ThanksgivingYou are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. Psalm 118:28-29, NIV

Blessings to you and your family. Happy Thanksgiving!
On the journey toward Home,

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Victorian Pink Vintage Style

by Lynn on October 22, 2016

Victorian vintage styleA few years back I had a bit of trouble with a leaky roof. When the roofer decided to save himself some effort by nailing down only every other tile, the Santa Ana winds unfortunately unseated and broke a few of them, leaving the paper exposed to the sun which quickly disintegrated it. And since I don’t spend much time on the roof—okay I’ve never even been on the roof—I had no idea of the problem until we had some significant rain fall. A few water spots on the ceiling of the living room quickly turned to steady streams of water I had to collect in buckets by the gallon full. It was a huge mess, requiring significant repair of the room—carpet, wallpaper, drywall, and paint, not to mention a new roof! Oh the joys of being a home owner… But after all the trauma and drama of having everything ripped out, and then having to endure the constant parade of insurance adjustors and construction people traipsing through the house, I actually enjoyed the opportunity to redesign.

I picked out new carpet, wall covering and border, and then upgraded with a new chandelier, dining set, hutch, and side board. Recently I completed a pink drape over the lace sheers, which have long been in need of an appropriate swag. With this addition, the room is now complete and decidedly pink, pink, pink! While it is technically the living/dining room, I like to call it the drawing room or the front parlor as these seem to be more appropriate titles considering the Victorian and vintage style décor. So I invite you to pour yourself a cup of tea and take a pictorial turn around my drawing room!

pink-victorian2aAbove the sofa hangs my favorite painting, “The Commission” by Tom Dubois. Filled with vibrant color, the scene depicts Noah and his family building the ark. The piece is full of symbolism, like the offering of water in the center of the painting which points to Christ as the water of life, and the shadow of an angel at Noah’s side representing God’s presence and direction.

pink-victorian3aThe seating area features a floral sofa and a rose colored chair. Both are antique reproductions I purchased in the 1980’s.

pink-victorian4aThe antique drum table and vintage telephone were purchased at antique stores. The Victorian-style lamp shade is one of my own designs.

David Tutera chiffon ombre rose fabricThe new window drape is made from a chiffon ombre ribbon rose fabric made by David Tutera, and available at Joann’s. The lace sheers were purchased at JC Penney.

pink-victorian6aNothing says Victorian like floral carpets! This pattern is Clarissa Opal, made by Milliken. All of the carpets throughout the house are made by Milliken and I love them! The French-style mirror was purchased from Home Decorators, and the pattern name is Garin II.

Theodore Haviland paisley Carol ThorpeI just love these vintage china pieces! The paisley bullion cup/saucer and tea plate were made by Theodore Haviland, Limoges, France. The pink and gold chintz dinner plate was made by Dorothy C. Thorpe, California.

pink-victorian8aThe painting on the far wall is “Beyond Spring Gate” by Thomas Kinkade. The print on the opposite wall is “In the Woods” by Elizabeth Gardner. The Portfolio chandelier was purchased at Lowes, and features mottled gold glass, Greek style stenciling, and hanging pineapples. It is especially lovely at night.

pink-victorian9aThe wall tapestry was made from a print called “French Door” by Susan Mink Cololough.

pink-victorian10aI love this wall covering and border combination! The wallpaper is called Chateau and it was purchased from American Blinds. The border is Silk Elegance made by Rasch in Germany, and it has an interesting story! After finding and ordering it online, the vendor canceled my order when they found they could no longer stock it. After having my heart set on this design, I could not find a suitable replacement. I contacted another company in Canada who told me it was not available anywhere in North America. However after much internet sleuthing, I eventually found a design studio in Ireland who was able to order it from Germany and ship it to me in the US! I think the pink French swag design complements the wall covering very nicely, and it also matches the design of the mirror.

pink-victorian11aThis vintage style reproduction dining set was made by Orleans International and is part of the La Seine Collection. The chairs have a taupe tapestry design.

pink-victorian12aThe hutch was made by Universal, and is part of the Grand Mansion Collection. When the freight haulers moved it off the truck and into my living room, one commented, “It should be illegal to make furniture this heavy!”

pink-victorian13aThis hutch holds about half of my vintage china collection. A second built-in kitchen hutch holds the rest, aside from the several pieces scattered around the house. I use vintage pieces as décor in every room, mostly because I have so many of them! It’s my cousin’s fault—she introduced me to eBay way back when, and the rest, as they say, is history! However, I am a bit more discriminating now, and try to keep the buying threshold at “exquisite” rather than just “pretty.”

silk embroidery piano shawlThis is another of my favorite vintage finds! It is a taupe silk hand-embroidered piano shawl that I purchased at an antique store. The craftsmanship is just amazing.

pink-victorian15Thanks for joining me on this little tour. I hope these pictures provide great ideas for you to use for your own vintage room makeover! I’m linking up today for Pink Saturday!

On the journey toward Home,

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Chicken Cranberry Spread

September 21, 2016

As we here in California anxiously await cooler weather (daily temperatures are still in the 90’s), some of us are already planning holiday menus! One of my favorite appetizers is a simple-to-make chicken cranberry spread. I’ve brought this spread to many pot-luck functions over the years, and it continues to get rave reviews and recipe […]

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God Sings over Us

August 7, 2016

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17, NIV This verse is part of a passage illustrating God’s promise to Israel about the future reign of […]

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Fourth of July Sale

July 2, 2016

Happy Fourth of July! My Etsy shop, the Drawing Room at Pemberley (listed as lizzieanddarcy) is having a sale! Get 20% off all items now through Monday. Just use coupon code JULY4 during checkout. The shop has a great assortment of vintage china, tiered servers, tea cup sets, floral baskets, and vintage jewelry frames. http://lizzieanddarcy.etsy.com […]

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Trusting God’s Will When Life is Hard

June 18, 2016

We humans love to get our own way. Ever since Adam and Eve decided that their plan was better than God’s plan, it has been our nature to pursue our own desires first. From early childhood, we begin to exert our own will, and learn how to manipulate others into conforming to it. When my […]

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Pink and Blue Spring Tea

May 4, 2016

Collecting vintage porcelain is a passion of mine and two of my favorite colors are raspberry and aquamarine. I’m especially fond of the vibrant pink rose and the turquoise blue found on eighteenth century French porcelain made by Sevres. These pieces are exquisite but also very expensive, so the only Sevres porcelain I’ve seen in […]

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Finding Purpose in the Everyday

April 17, 2016

Do you ever wonder if your life matters? Do you sometimes feel that your presence on this planet doesn’t mean much? Do you ever get discouraged that you can’t seem to identify a clear impact you are having on this world? In a society that absolutely worships fame, it can be difficult for many of […]

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