Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category



The herald angels sing

Glory to the new born king……

M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S

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A picture is worth a thousand words. That’s a good thing because I don’t have time during this season to write a thousand words. Pictures might have to do for a few days. I’ll promise to make them festive, with the help of our beautiful tree.

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Texas Vignette

Texas Vignette

Men always say not to fret, that everything always manages to get done somehow. Meet “Somehow,” the women of the world. Somehow has had a lot of help this year from her children and husband. Stephen took me to buy the tree–a perfect tree. Days later he appeared at the door just as I was attempting to put the lights on a seven foot tree. Today we brought out ornament boxes and my husband, fresh from another hospital stay, helped hang a goodly portion. There are crazed balls from our first Christmas fifty-one years ago all the way to the ones I added last year. The dough angel and heart I made when the children were small have survived. My youngest child is forty, so that is no small feat. I’m not saying I’m a bad cook, but I must have the only dough  ornaments not eaten by bugs.


We have one box to go, but you know what? It will get done somehow. It always does.

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pic0011.jpgtree04-0091.jpgI am not ready to throw the Christmas tree to the curb, but we’ll have no choice in a few days. We bought our first live tree in many years — just for one year —  I thought. Jerry has been disappointed in our slim, artificial tree since the first year. It looked beautiful, took little space (and lots of ornaments) and snuggled up in a box demanding nothing when the season came to a close each year. Yet I came upon Jerry at his workbench the other day with a truncated section of this very tree, his clippers mutilating the lights. Dr. Frankenstein was driving a stake through the heart of the tree getting ready to discard it. I rescued that part and hope the other two are in tact somewhere.

I’ll admit the live one is amazing, green, fresh and fragrant, but it has to come down without procrastination. This in the house of a family who once left a tree up until Good Friday. No leaves are dropping and drooping is minimal, but there is the safety factor. The battery in the smoke detector began beeping its demise yesterday. The tree has to go. I don’t think I’m ready. Maybe I’m not ready for any of them to go. Maybe I have an issue with endings. But beginnings, that’s another story. A new year? Bring it on!


Note: In case it is not obvious, the live tree is on the left above, artificial on right.

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A week from today Christmas 2007 will be over. You’ll be in the mood to tidy up, get rid of crushed wrapping and bows, begin to return your storage area to normal. Not so fast! Now you deal with the Box Nazi. The box your computer came in, your mixer, your what-ever with moving parts and sensitive electronics all slap your wrist with the warning that goes something like this: Retain original box for shipping. Sometimes it goes on to predict dire consequences (and voided warranty) should you ship in anything other than THEIR box, with THEIR Styrofoam. You could flatten the boxes, but there is still that specially constructed Styrofoam. So even you who have ripped the tags from your pillows take this seriously.  You stack this Christmas’ boxes on top of boxes from Christmases past, knowing one day soon your storage area will be filled with air surrounded by cardboard.

And all over the land Box Nazis are curling their lips in a Satanic grin.


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lambjesus.jpg“We’re going to see Mary Had a Little Lamb,” three-year old Hannah squealed again.

“No, Hannah,” I corrected her more times than I care to remember, “We’re going to see Mary and Baby Jesus.” Her look humored me. I reminded her of the manger scene at Ahmaw’s house and the first Christmas story. That look again. During the long wait in line Hannah let everyone know she was going to see Mary Had a Little Lamb.

“There are no lambs here, Hannah, just Mary and Baby Jesus.” My granddaughter was going to be very disappointed if she expected to see a lamb.

A Walk Through Bethlehem took my daughter-in-law, granddaughters and me through dusty paths, past markets manned by Biblical figures greeting “Shalom.”  The smell of oil from lanterns, frankincense and myrrh and and sounds of the market transported us to an ancient time and place. In the crisp night air it was easy to forget we were on church grounds. Along the way characters discussed the pilgrimage to register for the census upon edict of Emperor Augustus. Hannah quietly took it all in. Abruptly it seemed, we reached a stall with hay, three opulently dressed wise men, and Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus. A cow lay on the ground with a jackass nearby with the feel of a real manger.

“Mary had a little lamb!” Hannah shouted. I shifted my gaze from the real live baby. There beside Mary, a little lamb bleated as Hannah’s patted its puffy wool.

I know when I am beaten.

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solarlights12-7-0041.jpgMy demons battle each other constantly, the one who thrills to Vegas style lights and the other whose dream is to be “off the grid.” To exist on solar and wind power would be the ultimate to demon # 2. Demon #1 encourages those who set the electric meter spinning by electrifying Christmas in their front yards. If we didn’t pile in the car like a bunch of Oakies on the way to California, would they do it? I don’t know, but the Yuletide Galaxy ends at our house. We decorate, just not luminously. Not until this year!

Jerry craved a fat, woodsy smelling tree, to replace our slim artificial. So, this is his year. Today we brought the most beautiful once-live tree home. It would have LED lights. They save up to 90% in electrical usage over regular bulbs. So why not put them on the firebush out front, too? But that is not what is happening. While searching for outside LED mini-lights I run into –be still my heart – outdoor solar mini-lights! Zero electricity! The instructions said it would take 6-8 hours to charge the batteries behind the solar panel. Two cloudy hours later the firebush lit up. You would think we were wildcatters observing a gusher. We could not believe it. The glow is rather faint, but Jerry assures me it will be brighter after an all day charge tomorrow. Of course, we haven’t yet gotten over the miracle of the sun setting our water fountain in motion. We are easily entertained.

So now I’m thinking of a huge lighted wreath between the front windows, maybe light the crepe myrtles at each end of the house. How about down by the pond reflecting off the water? All this would require no electrical cords snaking through the grass, no meters spinning out a January surprise in the power bill. It may not be easy being green, but it is getting easier.

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