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Posts tagged ‘Christmas Memories’

Tomorrow Is Christmas!

Mom's Santa & AnimalsSanta Making ToysI’ve been rather melancholy this holiday season.  It is the second Christmas without both Mom and Dad.  Even when I lived for years in Texas, I was always home for Christmas with them.  I enjoyed playing Santa for them, delighting them with silly little gifts and candy and ornaments.  I’d help decorate the tree, after Dad got the lights on just so.  I’d help Mom put up the manger—as I always did since I was little.  And together we helped grow the Christmas Village scene with new buildings and characters.  I have some great memories and am pulling out my own Christmas decorations—old and new.  But I still miss them, especially as Christmas comes around.

Norman Rockwell Christmas Village Plates and Some People from Mom's Village

Then this year, there has been so much tragedy.  The terrorist attacks in Paris.  The senseless shooting in San Bernardino and elsewhere.  Some politicians who pander to the fear and anger of some citizens, making things worse instead of exploring solutions.  And there has even been an increase in hate crimes against Muslims.  Heaven help us if the acts of a few Christians marked us all the same.


NativityBubble Light!Now more than ever we need the redemption and salvation of Christmas.  We need the wonder and glory that makes this time so magical.  We need the love, hope, and promise of the holiday, stretching into every part of life.  We might not need the cookies and candy and special meals of this time of year, but we certainly need friends and family and all the good cheer that comes with the festivities—especially the glorious music.  Thank goodness Christmas arrives in the morning, just in time.  Now, we just need to keep the love and good will to others our highest priority throughout the year.


Sleeping Santa Just Like DadChristmas Angels

This “Recipe for Christmas Joy” could help us keep Christmas—the real Christmas, not the hustle and bustle of shopping and rushing—alive throughout the year.  I have seen various versions of such recipes in the past, but I pulled this one from the radio broadcaster Delilah.  If you have not caught her show, you should.  You can Listen to Delilah on iHeart Radio.  Her words and music are always uplifting as she takes calls from across the country—and shares the perfect song for whatever her caller is discussing (love, relationships, starting over, moving on, or celebrating all aspects of life).

Annual Christmas Bears


Preparation Time:  Just minutes.  Serves a multitude


2 ¼ cups Faith

1 tsp. Promise

1 tsp. Gratitude

1 cup (2 sticks) Belief

¾ cup Wonder

¾ cup Awe

1 tsp. Generosity

2 large scoops of Patience

2 cups Laughter

The Light of the North Star

Directions:  In a small bowl, combine Faith, Promise and Gratitude.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together Belief, Wonder, Awe, Generosity and Patience until creamy.  Gradually combine the mixture of the small bowl into the large bowl, stirring together evenly for a smooth consistency.  Stir in Laughter, and at the last minute add the Light of the North Star.

Sleeping Child & Lamb Candle HolderThe mixture will begin to rise immediately and will double in size every day.  Begin serving as quickly as possible.  Multiple servings per day are recommended for maximum benefit.  Excellent when accompanied with a slice of Glee and makes an excellent presentation alongside a full goblet of Glory.  Keep for yourself and give as gifts to family, friends, neighbors and strangers.  The more you share with others, the more you have to give away.  And if you are blessed, others will share cups of this recipe with you as well.  Enjoy!


These songs are some of my favorites from when I was a kid, listening to Christmas albums throughout the season. (Yes, honest to goodness vinyl LPs). These are two of my favorites!

“O Holy Night” by Andy Williams

“The Ballad of the Christmas Donkey” by Ed Ames

And finally, here is a cute little video, reminding us all to keep the love and hope of Christmas alive at all times, especially when dealing with others.  As this little video reminds us, “Be Together, Not the Same!”



Getting Ready for the Holidays: A Little Nature Trip

Mom and Dad yellow flowersThis holiday season has been a bit more challenging than past years.  It is the first year after both Mom and Dad have died.  Their absence is felt more this year than ever.  Last year, I was able to focus on Dad:  decorate his room, visit him over the holidays, and even arrange a small family get-together.  Those activities plus my usual minimal decorating plans at home and festivities with friends kept me busy enough to not dwell on missing Mom.

But this year was different.  Dad was gone too, so I could not keep myself busy around him.  I was down and not really looking forward to Christmas.  Even though it is my favorite holiday.  I knew I needed to do something to help me embrace the sorrow, reflect on memories, and find a way to adjust to what Christmas will be now.  For me, those needs said I better take a nature trip somewhere, anywhere!  Nature always helps me reconnect with life, love, spirituality.

It was early December and even though a small rain storm was expected, I decided I would head to the coast.  I figured a drive down the Big Sur Coastline with some stops at the beach and in a coastal redwood state park or two would help me get ready for the holidays.  I was right.

Dad with camera big surMOM AND LILACSThis specific trip was a drive Dad and I had enjoyed together in the past, so it was like he was with me.  Mom too, actually, since she came along on the Nature trips sometimes and would have loved the fall colors and occasional flowers and birds I saw along the way.  I brought memories of our good times together home with me from that trip.  Mom and Dad—before they moved into the assisted care facility—would come visit me in Bakersfield in early December every year.  The rain was even part of the good memories, as Mom and Dad often got stuck in rain on the drive up or back home.  But we never let the rain stop us.

Once I got home, I started slowly pulling out not just Mom’s treasured Christmas decorations that I could no long use to decorate her room, but also more of my holiday treasures from past years.  Each new box I explored raised more good memories surrounding ornaments and decorations and tangled lights and being tired after fussing with pulling out the boxes.

The trip did its job.  Getting Christmas back, even with the sad bittersweet memories of Mom and Dad, started with my Nature Trip.  Here are the photos from that trip as my little gift to you.  If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, the hectic craziness of the season, take a minute to stroll through nature and remember the good times.  Merry Christmas!

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My trip started in the rain, as I cut over to the coast from Bakersfield, California.  There were even some flowers for Mom.





IMG_4036My first official stop on this little impromptu trip was to drive up See Canyon Road.  This isolated mostly paved road is roughly 13 miles that climb from the very bottom of the canyon all the way to the tip top.  It is situated between San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach.  This destination was not as desolate and lonely as it had been years ago, but it still gave a feeling of being alone in nature and being on top of the world, gazing out to Morro Bay Rock maybe 20 miles distant.  Fall’s muted colors were still lingering even on this mostly gray day.










A stop at Avila Beach was restful.  The dense cloud cover meant there would be no wondrous sunset, but the lapping waves and wading birds always put on a good show.






IMG_4123The next day I headed for my favorite stretch of the California Highway System:  Highway 1, traveling south from Monterey to enjoy the Big Sur Coastline.  There was a bit of rain, lots clouds, and occasional wind gusts, so a good sunset was not expected.  But the coastal drive was still mesmerizing.













IMG_4229A short drive through Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park offered time for quiet reflection and some good views of coastal redwoods and the Pfeiffer Creek.














IMG_4308Back on the road again, continuing south on Highway 1, I headed from one coastal redwood state park to the next.  The sun kept trying to blaze its way through the rain and cloud cover.  It was not a typical sunset, but the spotlight effect was pretty dramatic.













IMG_4351Limekiln State Park was my last stop of the day, for a very short visit.  It was late in the day and rain was threatening again.  And this is a very little state park.  Technically, it is no longer part of the state park system due to budget cuts.  But the solitude, the beauty, and muted colors of the redwoods and some fall foliage were still priceless.

















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