Lights. Gifts. No Coffee.

Our plan to go see Christmas lights at Clifton Mill, one hundred fifty miles southwest of Sugarcreek, seemed a good one. But as is often the case in real life there were bumps along the road that we hadn't expected. It rained pretty hard on the way down, so there are no snow to make it all wintry white. But we enjoyed our mini-trip anyway and here are a few photos of our today and yesterday.

The beautiful lights of Clifton Mill are a brilliant display of dazzling splendor. There was cheerful Christmas music and a festive vibe all around. I understand it took the crew several months to hang the millions of tiny lights and I, for one, appreciate their efforts.

We did have to look out for the odd patch of mud, well, actually, quite a few patches of mud, where the crowds of people before us had churned up the dirt paths after recent rains. Yes, rain. December it may be but there is rain and forty-degree weather on this Christmas weekend.

What we were most grateful for was that the rain ceased for the period of time that we toured the grounds, so we did not get soaking wet or even slightly damp. Just muddy boots! But we loved it anyway. Isn't that a darling miniature village all alight?

Because it was so far from home and we do not especially like being up late we got a hotel nearby for the night. There, this morning, is where the coffee problem came into play. I tried to drink it but the taste was so terrible I only managed a few sips. I tried juice and it was the same. To my tongue it had a moldy flavor that was too much for me to handle. I found out it was probably due to overly chlorinated water.

To remedy this situation, Jacki and I set out to find a coffee shop. It was not the best area for such a search. We roamed the roads for over an hour (crazy but true) and ended up on an army base in Fairborn (even more crazy) and had to make a u-turn. The young soldier at the booth by the roadside informed us that this used to be a throughway but had been repurposed for military use. Of course, our GPS didn't pick up on the changes. He was sorry he couldn't help us with directions to the Starbucks we were trying to find but seemed most understanding and helpful otherwise.

We did pull up to another potential coffee shop in Yellow Springs but the feel and look of it was all wrong. And the name...The Spirited Goat. We have a thing with names and this didn't fit the bill at all. But mostly, it was the hippie/new age/gypsy aura surrounding the entire village which caused unease in both Jacki and me. We drove away without getting coffee. All that driving and searching for nothing.

Before returning home we had one more stop to make. There was a need to do a bit of shopping in Easton Town Center, less than an hour from the hotel. While the guys were happy to read at Barnes and Noble, Jacki and I walked to Anthropology to do our bit of shopping. Oh, and I finally found my latte!

Sometimes we come away empty-handed but today was quite different. The right gifts were found at the right prices and we had ourselves a jolly time of it together. That is one happy girl with her large parcel of presents!

After more rain on the way home we are all relieved to be safely ensconced by our own fireside. This is a typical scene in the Schmucker living room. Not necessarily all gathered around the fire, but each in his or her favorite chair with a book, journal, laptop, iPad, or magazine. 

For all the rich blessings of 
family, home, love, 
and the glad tidings of the gospel message
I am truly and forever grateful to my Lord.