To each his own. To me my own.

Posts tagged “Holidays

Mom

The following is a widely spread story/poem in which the author remains unknown… I felt Mother’s Day weekend was a most appropriate time in which to share. I wish all of you exceptional ladies a very special and memorable day spent with loved ones.

And, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. 🙂

The child asked God, “They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?”

“Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.”

The child further inquired, “But tell me, here in Heaven I don’t have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy.”

God said, “Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel’s love and be very happy.”

Again the child asked, “And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don’t know the language?”

God said, “Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.”

“And what am I going to do when I want to talk to You?”

God said, “Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.”

“Who will protect me?”

God said, “Your angel will defend you even if it means risking it’s life.”

“But I will always be sad because I will not see You anymore.”

God said, “Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.”

At that moment there was much peace in heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, “God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.”

God looked softly down at the child and whispered, “Your angel’s name is of no importance. You will simply call her ‘Mom’.”


Merry Christmas To You

It’s early, barely past twilight, and it’s Christmas. I’ve been awake for a couple hours now even though bedtime came late last night.

Christmas is here, the celebration of our Savior’s birth. The little baby whose bed was a manger on that cold star-filled night. Little did he know what was to lie ahead for him. Then again, maybe he did.

This has been the most amazing Christmas ever. Our girls are here and still snuggled tight under the covers fast asleep. I’d love to get a picture of them, but I don’t feel like getting killed today. 🙂 Stockings are filled, and I’m simply biding time with this little post before I start cooking breakfast and have to wake everyone.

I wish every one of you the merriest of Christmases, spent with good friends and family.

And Happy Birthday, Jesus.


A Christmas Vacation

“The most enduring traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin. Thith tree is a thymbol of the thspirit of the Griswold family Chrithmath.”

~Clark W. Griswold

“Where ya gonna put a tree that big, Griswold?”

“Bend over and I’ll show you.”

My daughter and I are literally obsessed with the movie Christmas Vacation. I’m definitely not the best at remembering some of the quotes, but my girl can pull one out of her the air with absolutely no notice in less than a fraction of a second.

“You surprised to see us, Clark?”

“Oh, Eddie… If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now…”

Now I don’t mean to toot my own horn here, but this kid of mine is a huge pile of awesomeness. Seriously. Just when I thought her awesomeness couldn’t get any more awesome, last night she sends me this picture of a sweater she made for an ‘Ugly Sweater’ Christmas party she was attending. In true Christmas Vacation fashion. (Did I mention the fact that she made it?)

She could market these things. The sweater, that is. 

“They had to replace my metal plate with a plastic one. Every time Catherine revved up the microwave, I’d piss my pants and forget who I was for about half an hour or so.”

This kid could take table scraps and turn them into the most fabulous Cinderella gown you’ve ever seen. Just like clockwork, her Christmas Vacation quotes start annually around October 1st. She still has that same laugh as when she was a baby, and gets a big rise out of making others laugh. And hey, who couldn’t use a little hilarity in a sometimes often stressful season?

“Oh, I was just smelling – smiling. I was just blouse – browsing. I, uh, heh heh. Well, I guess it just wouldn’t… Oh hee hee, it wouldn’t be the Christmas shopping season if the stores were any less hooter than they – HOTTER than they are. Whew. It is warm in here, isn’t it?”

She’s gonna shoot me for posting this, but see, I just can’t help myself. Now I’m getting all nostalgic in typical Clark-fashion. Seems like it was only yesterday when I dipped her in the ocean for the very first time… yeah, just like yesterday…

“Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”

“Naw, I’m doing just fine, Clark.”

Mele Kalikimaka to you all!


Christmas in Boogertown

It’s very entertaining to me to learn the nickname of the area I now live is called ‘Boogertown’. When I first saw it listed that as my location on social networking sites, I honestly thought it was a joke. It’s not! Well, it’s probably a pretty good joke for the people to the north of us. 🙂

It’s true – I live in Boogertown. Hey, at least I’m outside the city limits.

I’m just about ready for the Christmas holidays to be upon us, good thing because it’s happening quickly. I got about the best news ever last night when Keith confirmed that his daughter will be here for Christmas – that means we’ll have BOTH our daughters home for the Holidays! We’re so excited about it, you just can’t get any better than to have your kids together at home on the most important holiday (to me, anyway) of the year. My own family gets together and celebrates on Christmas Eve – my mother, her husband, uncle and aunts – and Christmas Eve will be held here at our house this year. (Did I mention we’ll also have our daughters with us this year?)

‘The Stockings Are Hung By The Chimney With Care…’   (the one in the middle is Camille’s)

We’re already hot on the planning of the Christmas Eve menu. So far I have on the roster a turkey breast, dressing, meatballs, broccoli casserole, cranberries, my Mom’s most famous potato salad, a cheeseball, and many many other delectable goodies. My family will open up presents to each on the Eve, then later in the evening when everyone leaves we’ll all four have a family Christmas with our girls. The fire will be going, Christmas carols on, the lights outside twinkling. Christmas morning Keith and I will get up and cook our special breakfast, and let the girls sort through their stockings full of goodies. After that, we’ll pack up the car to head to Keith’s sister’s house for his side of the family’s Christmas. Just the mere thought of it all is so very magical to me – I already know it’s going to be a Christmas we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.

What have you all got planned for the Christmas holiday? ♥


Note to November

Oh hai, November. You could’ve taken your time, you know – no need to have rushed on my account. Since you’re here now, I’ve been reminded of a few important things.

The last bit of summer I’ve held onto all this time really is gone. Maybe it’s time to finally pick up the pair of flip-flops still sitting by the door and replace them with a pair of warm snuggly bedroom slippers. For just a little while.

You’ve brought along with you a stopwatch. Know that I really really dislike stopwatches. As of today, it’s a mere 53 days until Christmas and 61 days until the New Year of 2012. Our annual New Years beach vacation will, however, be something well worth counting down to.

You usher in the early sunset nights and dinners, where blazing fires abide the fireplace and more movies are watched on television. So be it.

Through it all, you remind me of the most important factor to me – the fact that from the start of coldness and still life will eventually come rebirth. In a short 4 1/2-5 months, a lush spring will once again be reborn.

So it’s finally become real to me that you’ve laid Spring and Summer down to rest for a few months, November. Give them a kiss for me and tell them I miss them. Oh, and how ’bout being a little easy on that stopwatch for the next couple of months?

Love, Bon


Stowaways and Freak Parades

Feels like it’s been ages since I’ve posted anything. I hope everyone had a safe and memorable Fourth of July holiday!

Since I moved, I’m rarely (if ever) on the computer – I’d probably do fine without one. Things are just so interesting outside, I want to stay out there. Even though it’s hot, the beautiful outdoors continue to beckon us. I’m so thankful for the peaceful surrounding area, which feels as soothing as warm chicken soup on a cold winter day. I’m finding myself wishing for this summer to last forever – for the flowers to continue growing, for the frogs, butterflies and fireflies to live twice as long as normal, for the hummingbirds to not have to fly south this year. Not asking for very much, am I?

I love Independence Day, but always seem to associate it with summer being ‘half over’. I wish I didn’t do that, but the older you get the harder becomes to change your way of thinking. I did witness the best fireworks show I have ever seen in my life, right here in the city of Gastonia. They put on a full twenty-minute long show in center-city, even the finale was twice as long as usual. This city seems to have stepped up their game! We both thought it worth the wait of a couple hours for that good spot. People-watching was hilarity at it’s best even if fireworks weren’t involved, but we tend to be a little ruthless in that area. Trust me when I say I have stories.

(Babygirl center)

My daughter came over for a swim yesterday, and brought her newest toy with her – a camera that can snap pics as far as 20 feet underwater. She originally bought it for her cruise in September, and we were glad for the opportunity to play subjects. It works great, and we had a blast with it! Now if only I can figure out a way to stow away in one of her suitcases come September…

Nothing has ever matched all the freedom and happiness this summer has brought me so far. I’m so very grateful for all the opportunities in life that have been presented to me, as well for the ever-blessed time in my life that I met Keith. A real and genuine person is a rare find these days. If a person is lucky enough to find that precious gem – hopefully they’re smart enough to hold tight those qualities and traits, and cherish the person with their whole heart. Because they deserve nothing less than a whole heart.


Bed, Breakfast and Wine

I hope all the mothers out there had a fantastic Mother’s Day weekend! Saturday night we took both of our mothers out to eat (they finally got to meet each other, yay!). Sunday, my daughter took me out to lunch then drove me about an hour down the road to Old Stone Winery. There we enjoyed a wine tasting then some down time on the patio which overlooked the vineyards. I fell in love with the peach wine, of which she bought me a bottle to enjoy later. 🙂

Once back in town, Keith met me over at my place and we gave our best attempt at getting my bed to his house. My mattress is one of the heaviest ever made, I’m convinced of it. As far as help goes, unfortunately I was no good to him so we ended up enlisting help from a fellow apartment-dweller. Many thanks again to a good samaritan! Since my bed’s now a permanent resident of a spare room at Keith’s house, I am as well. There’s still much to do before the final move when I rent the truck, but since I pass right by there on the way ‘home’ at least it’s convenient to be there every day to pack.

It’s now nineteen miles one way to work. I realize some people drive much further than that, but it’s still a big difference from what I’m used to. From the angle I’m seeing it, it averages about two gallons of gas per day. Ugh. But, I knew this beforehand.

K’s new pool liner was installed yesterday! It’s gonna be a good summer…


No Shadow… Spring is Near!!

It’s not gonna be difficult for me to find a subject for me to hop on today…

It’s Groundhog Day, and for the first time in a long awaited while Punxsutawney Phil is not afraid… that’s right folks, NO SHADOW!! Know what that means?

Spring is near!! Spring is near!! Oh gosh… Spring is near!!

The story of Groundhog Day begins with Candlemas, an early Christian holiday where candles were blessed and distributed. Celebrators of the holiday eventually declared clear skies on Candlemas meant a longer winter. The Roman legions, during the conquest of the northern country, brought this tradition to the Germans, who concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, a hedgehog would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather or “Second Winter.” German immigrants brought the tradition to Pennsylvania, but how did Punxsutawney Phil emerge?

In 1887, a spirited group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney dubbed themselves “The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.” One member was an editor of Punxsutawney’s newspaper. Using his ink, he proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil, the local groundhog, to be the one and only weather prognosticating groundhog. He issued this proclamation on Candlemas, and yes, Groundhog Day. Phil’s fame spread, and newspapers from around the globe began to report his Gobbler’s Knob prediction. Info from http://www.visitpa.com/groundhog-day

In related news, February 2nd is exactly the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is the winter midpoint or ‘cross-quarter’ day. The coldest, bleakest part of our winter season is now officially half over!

Spring is near!! Spring is near!! Oh gosh… Spring is near!

Visit the official Groundhog Day site: http://www.groundhog.org/


Born-on date

Is today for my sweet guy, Keith. Happy Birthday, baby! I hope you enjoy your special day, and the year ahead is all you wish it to be and much more. You truly deserve it.

The sixties… it seems so long ago, but yet not so long ago. Sure, we can’t really remember that era as children of the seventies, but we still remember all the hype. A lot of it we heard about from our parents, you could always depend on the media’s skewed views, and anything left we were taught in history class. The protests, the demonstrations, the assassinations, the Vietnam war, the flower power.

The seventies, now that’s really where it all began. Friends, bikes, and spending most of your time outside. Jimi Hendrix. All in the Family. Watergate. Hee Haw. You still remember your surroundings when you heard Elvis Presley died. Disco music. KISS.

I won’t go into the rest of the decades, as I could only document my own. Unbeknownst to us at the time, during the eighties we came together briefly by being classmates of the same graduating year. How I really wish I’d known you then, but then again, timing is everything….

To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
and a time to die;
a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill,
and a time to heal;
a time to break down,
and a time to build up;

A time to weep,
and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn,
and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace,
and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get,
and a time to lose;
a time to keep,
and a time to cast away;

A time to rend,
and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence,
and a time to speak;

A time to love,
and a time to hate;
a time of war;
and a time of peace.

The Holy Bible (King James Version) 
Attributed to King Solomon
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


A White Christmas for the southeast

Really, Charlotte… snow??  Yes!! We actually got our white Christmas after all!!

Imagine that.

According to National Weather Service statistics, the Charlotte area hasn’t seen the likes of a white Christmas in 63 years. Since the NTS doesn’t count anything below an inch on the ground Christmas day as a ‘white Christmas’, 1947 was the last recorded date of snowfall on Christmas – which totalled around 5.5 inches on that day.

View from my third-floor treehouse this morning.

The forecast has made headlines for days now. Not just us, but many of the southeast area states of the US did in fact receive a packet or more of snowfall for Christmas this year. Our such packet didn’t arrive until after sunset last night, but it came nonetheless – and it’s still coming! Heck, it’s still snowing in Georgia this morning, and it was snowing in Myrtle Beach around 7am. It’s funny though… there doesn’t seem to be any bad roads out in the immediate vicinity. The accident rate is low so far, and the parking lots and roads look clear. It’s almost as though God brought us lovely snowfall that we can enjoy and get around well in. What a blessing!

My balcony got a little snow as well. So far my geranium, fern and palm tree don’t mind a bit!

This morning I was reading the probability ratings for various cities across the US (as well as different parts of the world) on the ‘probability’ of snow on Christmas. I found it hilarious that Charlotte, NC ranks right alongside Los Angeles, CA and Phoenix, AZ – all three sporting a whopping 1% probability rating. I heart Wikipedia (umm, except for that leakage thing)… so go ahead, see if your city is on the list and what it ranks. Wiki factoids and probabilities for a White Christmas in your city

Where I usually type my little blog… this morning I very much enjoyed a memorable wintry view.

It’s funny to see all the facebook statuses and pictures posted last night and into today from friends and family. The snow seems to have lifted spirits everywhere, especially households with small children who enjoy getting out and playing in it. Snow on Christmas has just put a whole different ‘air’ out, so to speak. Lighter, brighter and more joyful souls abound everywhere… dare I say, I can almost feel a renewed sense of hope for the new year to come? Whatever the case may be… it is very refreshing.


Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head

The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing, the poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes

I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my side ’til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me I pray

Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there

No, I didn’t write it. But how tender a person that did! It all but takes you right up ON that manger, doesn’t it? An almost secret view, if you will. My most favorite Christmas hymn has always been O Holy Night… but the lyrics to Away in a Manger are probably the most meaningful to me of all the Christmas hymns.

This year I hope Christmas brings peace, tranquility and much love into the souls of us all. May everyone enjoy and appreciate good family and friends. May we all secretly do one special thing for another this year and sit back and contemplate the smile it might bring. May any sadness that exists within your heart be overridden with joy. May everyone share an abundantly overflowing cup of love this Christmas.

And above all… always remember that little baby who started out laying in a manger.
The One who started…

Christmas.


A Real Country Christmas

I received the below story via email this morning. The preface warned that the story was a little on the long side, and it is – but a great read nonetheless. I found the story not only moved me to tears, but more than worthy of posting as a blog subject. Hope you all enjoy.

Now this is what a country Christmas is all about…

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities.  But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors.  It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve.  I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.  We did the  chores early that night for some reason.  I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible.  I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn’t worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in.  It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.”  I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.  We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.  But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens.  Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house.  Something was up, but I didn’t know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job.  I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.  Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand.  I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me.  I wasn’t happy.  When I was on, Pa pulled the sled  around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed.  He got off and I followed. “I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said.  “Here, help me.”  The high sideboards!  It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever  it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing?  Finally I asked.  “Pa, what are you doing?”  “You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked.  The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road.  Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.  Sure, I’d been by, but so what?  Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

“I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.”  That was all he said and then he turned and went back into  the woodshed for another armload of wood.  I followed him.  We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it.  Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon.  He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait.  When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.  “What’s in the little sack?” I asked.  “Shoes, they’re out of shoes.  Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning.  I got the children a little candy too.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a  little candy.”

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence.  I tried to think through what Pa was doing.  We didn’t have much by worldly standards.  Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most  of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it.  We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?  Really, why was he doing any of this?  Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door.  We knocked.  The door opened a crack and a timid voice said,  “Who is it?”

“Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”  Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in.  She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.  The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly  gave off any heat at all.  Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of flour.  I put the meat on the table.  Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.  She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time.  There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best – shoes that would last.  I watched her carefully.  She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started  running down her cheeks.  She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said.  He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile.  Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.” I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood.  I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too.  In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.  My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before filled my soul.  I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference.  I could see we were literally  saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared.  The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time.  She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you.  The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again.  I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true.  I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth.  I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others.  The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left.  I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get.  Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave.  Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug.  They clung to him and didn’t want us to go.  I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow.  The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals.  We’ll be by to get you about eleven.  It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.”  I was the youngest.  My two brothers and two sisters  had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles.  I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you; I know for certain that He will.”

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold.  When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something.  Your ma and me have  been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square.  Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do.  Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again.  I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it.  Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities.  Pa had given me a lot more.  He had given me the look on Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best and most memorable Christmas of my life.

My wish for you all is to have a real country Christmas!  It is, after all, what we do for others that makes CHRISTmas such a wonderful blessing…


Christmas Memories

I watched a special on 60 minutes Sunday night called ‘The Gift of Endless Memory’ detailing rare cases of persons that can literally remember every single day of their life since their memory started registering. The medical term given is Superior Autobiographical Memory. I, along with others who watched it, found the story fascinating.

My own memory is nothing of the sort, of course. That said, it is that time of year when certain memories of Christmases past will pop in and out, some being stronger than others.

Like my uncle giving me a pair of black patent leather lace-up boots, oh how I loved those boots – I was no more than five. Another Christmas and uncle presenting me with a stuffed dog that was just as tall as I was at the time. Riding in the cold on my new bicycle, complete with new front basket with faux flowers. Our dog Archie running wild through the house with a red bow on his head – on the one day a year that he was allowed inside briefly, Christmas Eve. Opening a gigantic box from Mom, thrilled to find it filled to the brim with new books. My cousins as babies, each sporting a little bald head at the time in their adorable Christmas outfits. My mammaw and our calico kitty, Skitz – her touching each of her paws and saying ‘you just don’t match’. Baby girl sitting in her little black corvette with an upside-down smile, frustrated with sidewalk driving at the early age of 3. Bountiful meals and family time at Nanny’s and Nana’s houses. Baby girl walking into a sliding glass door thinking it was open, landing her smack on the floor. Mammaw being barely able to breathe one Christmas eve with her refusing to go to the hospital. Opening a small box from ex-hubby containing my wedding rings he’d had reset, thinking I was the luckiest girl in the world. The smells of BBQ weenies and sausage balls wafting through the air. Years later, hanging with boyfriend’s family enjoying their hearty laughter. Helping baby girl decorate her Christmas tree at her first new apartment…

I look so very forward to the future, and making many more memories along the way. I wish the merriest of Christmas blessings for you all…


Christmas, weekend and beach thinking

In reverse order.

The Christmas season has officially begun for most, but for some reason my mind seems to remain stuck on a warm, tropical setting. Instead of Christmas shopping this weekend, I’d rather be packing for a several-day stint at the beach for New Years. I can’t get it off my mind, and anxiously await the week before to at least see how the weather’s looking for the New Year.

I’m going to give my best attempt at finishing my Christmas shopping this weekend. I’m sure they’re will be a few extras to get next week, but even getting the majority done will be a huge relief. In the meantime, I’ll catch a few new oceanic documentaries that my love dvr’d recently for our viewing enjoyment. Uh-oh, here comes that tropical feeling creeping ’round again…


Happenings

The weekend is over, and back to reality we go. I probably haven’t gotten this much rest over a weekend since, well – ever. I forecasted exactly this type of weekend for ole’ Bon, and it’s truly been appreciated.

Saturday night we braved the crowds at Christmastown, USA – aka McAdenville, North Carolina. People come from out of state to see the former little ‘mill-town’ that has been decorating for 55 years now. There’s a certain way visitors need to enter in order not to sit in 2-hour or more traffic – the likes of which our hearts literally broke looking at on the way out. Since so many people do come from abroad, the interstate (I-85) is jammed up way past the Lowell-McAdenville exit. The most efficient route is to turn left from (I-485) Wilkinson Blvd. exit, and enter the Christmas lights to the right.

My favorite house… especially since Christ still Rules.

Later that night, we made our New Year reservations at the beach again. I can only describe last year as magical, and I can’t imagine anything less this year. Fluorescent armbands/headbands and adult beverages shall adorn the balcony, errr beach, whichever mother nature chooses to allow. It’s an awesome hotel, the rates being SO affordable out of season – and only 2 blocks from a very cool pier. I have a genuine feeling that it’s gonna be awesome, no matter what the weather holds.

I decorated a couple of trees at work Friday. Yeah, they’re only about a foot tall each, but they serve the purpose. Gotta usher in the ole’ Christmas spirit to the office one way or the other!

Hope everyone has a happy, warm and blessed week. 🙂


Birds Eye View

Up early getting ready to watch the annual Thanksgiving parades… just me. But it’s always been just me doing this – funny that for so many years now, it’s become a ritual. Through the years, my family would come wandering out around 11-ish – and only then because we had Nana’s to be at for Thanksgiving dinner. The annual kickoff to the Christmas holiday season was then born. An ever-joyous day off spent with good family, good food and no gifts required. Thank you very much for flying Thanksgiving Air… and oh, please don’t forget your Black Friday ads.

How I have missed my little blog. It’s been so busy at my work I’ve barely had time to breathe, let alone write. When I get home, it’s zombie nation and lights out early. It’s a good thing, I know – especially since these are our slow months, which usually occur between November through February. Bring it on. I think I speak with the voice of most Americans when I say I’m ready for a solution to this failed economy. Why, just yesterday a breaking news email passed my desktop stating the weekly jobless claims were the lowest since 2008. I know this is only one lone city, with screwed up statistics. But when I see this kind of stuff in media, as skewed as it may be… it gives me hope. I HOPE that it gives others hope too, those that are without jobs and on a diligent search for one.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all the holidays. As with any holiday though, there are those who left us behind for which we still grieve. My sister-in-law’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year, she passed away only 3 short months ago. It still doesn’t seem possible. It will be a very hard day for her entire family, and my thoughts and prayers will remain with them throughout the day.

It is my sincere hope for everyone out there to have a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving filled with family and friends. God bless.


One of three

Any weekend with an extra day thrown in there for good measure is an awesomely happy one for me, holiday or no holiday. Originally planned was a mountain trip, but we opted to stay off the roads this labor day a) because of the traffic and huge crowds labor day always brings, be it mountains or beaches, and b) the pickings were really slim seeing how we’d waited-last minute to look for a place. We were gonna have to settle, and neither of us liked the thought of that. Instead, I packed up myself and kittycat Camille and headed over to K’s for the long weekend.

The top thing on my to-do list was wash my car, she’d not been washed since Spring. I know I know, that’s awful. She literally was the worst I’ve ever let her get. We started on her about 10:30 this morning, and just finished up about one this afternoon. Gave her the super-special lowdown… inside and out, buffed headlights, vacuumed, cleaned out glovebox, cleaned out trunk, detail detail detail… you get the idea.

Towards the end of what we lovingly call ‘the fruits of our loins’… I’m thinking this baby now looks good enough to take for a trade-in. Nah, I’ll keep my sweet little paid-off ’04 a while longer. She’s been extremely good to me, and I recognize that for what it is. Why, just the other day she told me she’s in it for the long haul – and Good Lord willing, I’ll be right there with her. Now, that’s what I call ‘owner loyalty’. 😉

Ever hear someone talk about how their car even runs better when it’s clean? Well, it’s true… try it and see!


Post Fourth

I finally got out on the water again. After three long years, to the very day… ole’ Bon was able to partake in a day at the lake.

I never will possess the ability to fully explain the depth of my love for boating. When that boat pulls away from the dock, any and all troubles are left on land – it’s the most freeing feeling ever imaginable to me. I can only assume that bikers get this same euphoric feeling while on the road, as I’ve heard it explained to me, anyway. But as for my love, my haven, it will always be the water – and this will remain so forever.

There’s something additional about the fourth of July on the lake. I’ve only had the opportunity to experience it once, that was back in 2007 in my ‘old life’. We drove a little further down to a different sandbar, one that wasn’t so centrally located in the ‘mainstream’ of things, and hung out there for a couple of hours. We had a good 40-minute drive back to the River Hills area where the fireworks were being launched, and being the lucky souls we are, actually found a empty dockside spot at the local TBones. Dinner was great, and the fireworks were amazing afterwards.

Upon leaving, thank God for all safety equipment being in check (well, almost) because before we even reached the main channel we were pulled over. Anchors and line, check… personal floatation devices, check… first aid kit, check… licenses, check… navigational lights, NOT ON. Shit. We got off with a warning though, yes sir and thank you officer.

Back to the basics today, hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday!!


Christmas pasts

No, I didn’t spell it wrong, or mis-phrase it. The way it reads just makes more sense to me. Not Christmases, or Christmases past. But rather the many ‘pasts‘ that stick out in my mind whenever I think of Christmas.

Barringer. A brand new pair of shiny black patent leather lace-up boots from my uncle and aunt. Came all the way up to my knees, they did. I laced ’em up right there on the couch as soon as I unwrapped them, my family laughing while my uncle videotaped me. Back then, these videos landed on movie reels. That same year in ’73 I got a jewelry box slammed full of jewelry…. I felt like a princess with all that bling. A princess with mega bling and shiny black boots. I didn’t know it at the time, but the pattern of my taste in life was forming, even then.

Collingwood. Mom and Mammaw had both worked that Christmas eve. Still in her uniform, Mammaw was so exhausted that she laid down in the floor right underneath that Christmas tree. My uncle, Mom’s youngest brother, trotted in with many bags and a huge stuffed dog that was taller than me. That dog ended up being mine, it was too big to wrap. Every year he would go out on Christmas eve and to do his Christmas shopping, hauling the load in at the last minute for Mom and Mammaw to wrap up. That night, Mom laid down with me to get me to sleep so that Santa could come. She fell asleep with me, and Mammaw decided to let her sleep. Later that night, through the bedroom window, I saw my Mammaw and uncle dragging a new bike in for me – to Bon, from Santa. 🙂

Old Dowd. A box FULL of new books. Not any old box – I’m talking a box of epic proportions. There must’ve been 40-50 new books in that one box. The Little House on the Prairie collection, several Tom Sawyer adventures, Little Women, and so many more that I can’t remember. I recall sleeping with some of those books that night, the smell of fresh new books was intoxicating. It was an awesome gift that I enjoyed for many years, from my loving Mama.

Hartford. Ham and lots of goodies to eat. Great uncle J talking with no one listening. My first pair of designer jeans, Calvin Klein himself embroidered on the rear pocket. They were too small and had to be exchanged later, but it was official – I was now cool. Maybe not in my peers eyes, but definitely in my own! Archie, the family dog, gets to experience his once-a-year visit inside the house – much resembling the running of the bulls with the addition of a red Christmas bow stuck to his head.

Ever notice the memories of your childhood Christmas pasts usually involve the gifts you received? The ones that made the biggest impact on you often stick in your memory like glue.

Sloan. My Mother’s boyfriend. I wasn’t so sure about this guy…. didn’t think his intentions were quite up to par with what I knew she deserved. Besides, who did he think he was trying to horn in on our family time? I go my own way, where I want, when I want. Hell I just moved back in from being gone for almost a year, and this guy’s practically running the show. Then again, my Mammaw seems to like him. Mammaw’s a pretty good judge of character, and she’s rarely wrong. Hmm, he gave me a stereo for Christmas. This guy may not be all bad. I’ll just have to keep my eye on him.

Fort Mill. My precious little baby girl made out like a bandit, and I’m so glad. Christmas is different now, somehow… I can’t quite put my finger on why, but know enough to realize it involves the newest part of me – my baby daughter. So THIS is why they say that children make Christmas. I have a family of my own now, added to my existing family, plus my new extended family – that of my husbands. Wow, this holds promise of getting a bit hectic. But hey, that’s Christmas! Oh, and that boyfriend of Mom’s? He’s now my stepdaddy, and pawpaw to my baby girl. And a fine job he’s doing at both.

Abbey/Village Lake. Blessed Christmases. Always blessed, always getting way more than we deserve. It’s not necessarily gifts that stick out in my mind now, rather it’s the multitude of bounties our families bestow upon us during Christmas that seems to always catch us up. We all truly have an abundance, thanks given to our families and God. Okay, there is one time around this era where gifts really do stick out. That would be the Christmas when my husband accidentally threw all his gifts away.

Scarlet. Mammaw’s sick. Really sick. She insisted on getting through Christmas without a hospital visit, but this was a bad idea. She can barely breathe, both her face and body are really swollen. Congestive heart failure is what it ends up being – little did we know then. Fast forward to another Christmas. Pawpaw isn’t feeling well. He’s trying to deal, but running a fever, thinks it’s the flu. It might’ve been the flu then. But it wasn’t the flu that caused his heart to fail in front of us two weeks later.

Poplar Forest. New house, and so proud to have Christmas here. Much has changed in past years, we have two who are no longer with us and are reminded of that pain especially during the holidays. Baby girl is continuing to grow into a fine young lady – downside of this is gifts are getting much harder to pick for her. My most memorable gift – my wedding ring set that my husband had reset from yellow into white gold, given to me on Christmas eve. Little did either of us know then of what was to come in the near future.

Hamilton’s Harbor. I have only one Christmas here, so far – but in a couple of weeks I’ll have two, and with that more memories made. The one Christmas here consisted mainly of my past memories. This can be a good thing, as well as being detrimental – but I have to remember that every single thing we’ve experienced and endured in our lives shapes the person we are today. You either learn and grow… or you let it defeat you. Things change, life changes, and we must go on.

‘God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.’ ~James Matthew Barrie, Scottish dramatist & novelist; best known as the creator of Peter Pan