Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vote for Best Gift Shop in Virginia

Garnier Thiebaut Flamant Napkins
Vote for
r. h. b a l l a r d!
This past year was really spectacular for our shop & gallery. Our Christmas season was extra special as we were able to connect with all of our wonderful customers at a jubilant 
time of year.
There is so much more to come
so stay tuned!

If you have a moment, 
please vote for r. h. ballard shop in the annual Virginia Living Magazine "Best of Virginia" readers survey. 

To vote for us click here:,
Our category is #40, 
"Best Gift Shop".

(We would love for you to vote for our beautiful gallery but there were no art gallery categories this year)

We truly appreciate your continued support 
and look forward
to seeing you in 2013!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year

I've been thinking a lot about 2012, last night and then today.

I must say that it has been a whirlwind of a year filled with lots of challenges and changes. In speaking to friends and customers throughout the year, I discovered I was not alone in these experiences. I was unable to write much of anything on my blog due to the current pace of my life. All is well, no worries! I am just sooooo happy that it is a new year! Here we are at a new beginning.

I am taking a few days off from the shop -- which by the way had one gang-buster year in sales and professional achievements! I am very grateful for all the blessings that came our way.

To begin anew, Robert and I decided to spend New Year's Day lounging at a new restaurant and then going to see "Les Miserables". OMG. This is an emotionally packed and superbly filmed movie and I would highly recommend it to everyone.The acting, sets, costumes, cinematography, were just spectacular.

I have a background in musical theater so I was eagerly awaiting this movie version. I was only disappointed in Russell Crowe's singing performance. Other than that, there was not a dry eye in the house, as the saying goes. Loved it! Hugh Jackman was exceptional as was Anne Hathaway.

The point in the film where it is hard not to shed a tear or two is at the end. As this show has been running for a gazillion years on Broadway and in touring shows around the world, I don't think I am spoiling anything by printing the lyrics sung in the finale. They are quite moving and spiritual, and even if you are not religious you can understand the message of forgiveness and love that permeates this whole story:

Now you are here
Again beside me
Now I can die in peace
For now my life is blessed

You will live, papa
You're going to live
It's too soon to ever say goodbye

Yes, Cosette
Forbid me now to die
I'll obey
I will try

On this page
I write my last confession
Read it well
When I at last am sleeping
It's a story of those who always loved you
Your mother gave her life for you and gave you to my keeping

Come with me
Where chains will never bind you
All your grief
At last, at last behind you
Lord in heaven;
Look down on him in mercy

Forgive me all my trespasses and take me to your glory

Take my hand
And lead me to salvation
Take my love
For love is everlasting
And remember
The truth that once was spoken:
To love another person is to see the face of god

Do you hear the people sing?
Lost in the valley of the night
It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light
For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies
Even the darkest nights will end and the sun will rise

They will live again in freedom in the garden of the lord
They will walk behind the ploughshare
They will put away the sword
The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes!

Aaaaah, aaaaah, aaaah,
Tomorrow comes!