Tag Archives: gratitude

Ho, Ho, Ho…

The stockings are hung…

Ho, Ho, Ho! The stockings are all hung on the mantel with care.

Not with hopes of gifts, but stuffed full of memories from Christmases past.

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa should come on a sleigh. 

Ha, ha, ha—no snow here, but then there are no children here either. So perhaps no one will notice.

The music of the season fills the airwaves, the shopping spaces, vehicles and homes. Taking listeners on journeys back to their past, those years of prior Christmases. Some smile, some shake their head and think it is all nonsense. I’m one who smiles with memories of being a child, memories of being a mom and surprising a child. My memories overflow and allow me to derive pleasure watching others as they celebrate the season.

Back home, it is quiet here. Not an eerie quietness, but a quietness that settles like a soft comforter one wants to snuggle into. This season has brought contentment, joy and peace. I revel in these feelings.

Lights and baubles bedazzle the tree; some shiny and some not. 

Each bauble holds the secret of its history waiting for the dark when only the lights of the tree allow them to speak of their origins and how they became part of this holiday tradition. How I would enjoy hearing them tell their own story, how they feel being out of the box for a brief season. 

The nativity scenes on full display sit in several rooms, emitting their own scenes and memories from years past within the family tree. Now they live together in our home, with our family, and share their pride of being treasured for so many years. Their story continues to live in our lives.

Ho, Ho, Ho! 

May this Christmas season come to your home and bring hope for the future, eyes to see the good in others, and peace to all who enter through your doorway, thus leaving you with many happy memories.

Holiday Decorations 2021

This is the first year since leaving Wisconsin that we have a Christmas tree inside the house. Our Colorado years sported a dressed tree on the deck outside our dining area. Sturdy ornaments able to withstand the elements donned the tree. Many of the years, dustings of snow graced the branches and sometimes birds would land in the tree. All those years our fragile ornaments hid in boxes wrapped in tissue. It was a treat to open those boxes and see treasures stored away.

The decorating process unleashed memories from years back, memories of family events, memories of friends. The nativity set I grew up seeing at my grandparent’s house now lives at mine. Unwrapping each piece stirs memories from my childhood, when its home was a corner table in their living room. I treasure the story of how the set was acquired. First the stable with the holy family, then, as finances allowed, they added to the collection. The pieces don’t match, but they warm my heart as it’s part of my history. Several years back, my husband purchased a new stable for the set. It was our way of putting our own touch on this set.

Antique Nativity

The other set comes from hubby’s family and was purchased by his parents many years ago on a trip to Italy. The pieces all have exquisite facial features, all are in the same style. It is a simplistic piece that finds its home on an end-table each Christmas. I love both sets, and unwrapping them is our introduction to the holiday season.

Italian Nativity

Unpacked ornaments lay on the table, ready for the tree. Hubby picked up a piece and said, “Is there a history here? I see so many snowmen.”

I chuckle. “Yes. I have a friend who knew I liked snowmen and for many years, she gave me an ornament or two for my tree.”

I’m grateful he asked. It brought back so many pleasant holiday memories after my children were adults and I lived alone. Friends are so important in life.

He asked about other ornaments or decorations. Some were from my mom; some made by children; some purchased on travels; some, I don’t remember. Then we talked about some ornaments he brought.

I have many things my mother gave to me over the years. So much has changed since last year when we were absorbed with cleaning, unpacking and getting settled in our new home. There were no Christmas decorations. In retrospect, I recognize that may have been healthier for me. This year, I’m able to pick up a piece and enjoy the thought of my mom giving the ornament or decoration to me. Many of the items reflected her personality. The simple styles, or elegant lines, reflected who she was and how much care she gave in selecting gifts for others. Last year, I wasn’t ready to appreciate the memories associated with those items. 

Time is a healer.

Thanksgiving 2021…

Our second in this house

Much different from the first

When we shared a simple meal alone

This year–

Family, food and laughter filled the house

More food than we needed

Laughter abounded

Memories to savor

Traditions from years past

Introduced with new foods and different stories

For 2021, this event is over

Yet, the memories linger

Thanksgiving 2021

Seven Dwarfs Humor

Storm Clouds

Nothing else matters more than sharing kind thoughts with friends and those you care about. Let me tell you a few reasons why. Friends carry one another burdens. Friends make friends laugh. And friends make life fun. I have friends scattered around the globe and they enrich my life. I’m the connection point in this story that spans three countries. I hope the story stretches even farther.

It all began as the result of a writing prompt from an Irish group I’m part of. They gave us about 10 minutes to answer the following question.

If you were one of the seven dwarfs, which one would you be?

My initial reaction. Ugh. What am I going to write?

Then the words flowed. I read, and to my amazement, the group laughed.

The next day, I was chatting with an overseas friend, suffering from the effects of COVID, and she stated she knew she was grumpy, and hated feeling so. I offered to share what I written, hoping she’d find humor in the piece.

What I received back was totally unexpected. It was delightful and left me laughing. My husband, not wanting to be left out of the humor, read both pieces and joined me in the laughter.

Words are so powerful. If you can share something which will lighten another person’s burden—I encourage you to do so.

Here are the two pieces. If you have a response to either, please leave a comment.

Who knows what type of dialog we may get going here…

The prompt:

If you were one of the seven dwarfs, which one would you be?

Today, I would be GRUMPY. You know how they say one gets up on the wrong side of the bed? How can that be? I share my bed, which means I only have ONE side to get up from. If I’m GRUMPY today, and only have one side to get up from, does that mean I’ll be GRUMPY again tomorrow, and the day after?

I can’t bear the thought of having the name GRUMPY hung around my neck. It feels like a two ton weight. Carrying this burden around continues to wear me down.

“Get outa my way! Can’t you see? I’ve got a load to carry and you’re making my work harder than it needs to be.”

“Don’t you smile at me! There’s nothing to be happy about today.”

“You. You, over there… Stop talking about me. You’d be GRUMPY too if you had to lug this rock around with no one to help you.”

“Don’t go telling me what to do. I’ve gotta mind of my own.”

“When will this terrible day end? …and who else is going to show up thinking they can tell me what to do.”

“What’s wrong with this porridge? It isn’t sweet, and it has lumps in it?”

“Time for bed again already?”

“Hey you. Shut off the lights and shut up your mouth. I wanta get some sleep.”

The response:

Hi, I am GRUMPY this week and I am told Covid is responsible for that bad feeling. I have been SNEEZY, SLEEPY, DOPEY and DOC too. I was so HAPPY to talk to you again today, but when I am better, I think I will be my old self BASHFUL again xx

All the dwarfs loved your poem and amazed you got that out in a few minutes. Thank you for sharing it with me, love from BASHFUL xx

–by Sony Gordon-Farleigh

Still learning…

Fall 2021

Almost a year of tending a rose garden

No prior experience

Gaging water and fertilizer needs

Spraying insects

Pruning for shape and plant health

Always guessing

Questioning decisions

You think you have learned

Then the seasons change 

So do the needs of the plants

Sigh!

Cooler temperatures arrived

Buds abound

First cutting this season

I know way more than last year

Yet know there is more to learn.

I Love Living Here…

Frequently, I’m asked how I’m enjoying my new home.

My response flows.

“I’m loving it more every day.”

They come in all shapes and sizes
New Cacti & Succulent Bed

Perhaps I’m under the influence of the intoxicating fragrances that waft through the air. Depending upon where I stand on the property today, I might smell orange blossoms, or alyssum, or eucalyptus, or other yet to be identified scents. Each offers aromas I enjoy, and I savor those moments of fragrance.

Regularly, I’m learning something new about the plantings on the property. The former owners enjoyed the diversity found in this locale, so there’s a variety of mature plantings to enjoy. Our styles may be different, but our love of plants and being outdoors to enjoy them is something we share with those owners. We’re grateful they invested in the property. We’ve relocated and moved some things to create different spaces or zones; this visually opened the approach to the house; yet maintained almost all the species we worked with. It’s a process and we’re comfortable knowing that it will all take time. I wake up, look outdoors and say,

“I love living here.”

Three Homes

This season finds us preoccupied with houses, selling one, acquiring another. What do these different house styles say about us?

We joined our lives together, each owning a ranch style home.

Together we sold those homes, then combined our assets to purchase the lake house. From the street it was a beautiful ranch home that morphed once you entered into a three-story home that overlooked the lake and embraced the glory of sunsets all year long. It was the house where we thought our children would come to make memories. Not so much. Instead, we made lots of memories ourselves there. It was the house with the impeccably manicured yard and beautiful plantings. We enjoyed the changes of the seasons, the wild wind off the lake, the opportunity to sail whenever we wanted, and even the sound of our winter guests who set up shacks on the lake for ice fishing.

Lake House

From there we moved to the Colorado house, described as an old-style mountain home. We gave up the yard and the effort it took to maintain for more natural and rugged living. This house towered above the ground with the front prow encased in glass. Once you entered the home, you felt as though you could soar into the heavens. Your gaze always drawn into the sky. The air at this elevation was dryer and the skies clearer. All the seasons here seemed to arrive earlier than we expected, but each was a welcome change. Wildlife lived in proximity and sometimes challenged our abilities to cultivate anything green. The wind here surprised me and often prevented us for utilizing our outdoor spaces. It often caused me to ponder the ruggedness of life for the early settlers and wonder how they endured. But even more, I found myself surprised and mesmerized by how close and plentiful the stars appeared; I thought I could reach out and grab one… It was here that we would lie on the deck and watch shooting stars (a first for me). 

Mountain House — Window to the Heavens

Now we are relocating, even further west; something I never imagined. This time we move to a Mediterranean style home, in a rural location with different vegetation from anything I’ve known. Our trips these last eight years to California have introduced me to some of these plants so they don’t appear as foreign as they used to, but I know nothing of their care. Something new to learn. The daytime climate outdoors may be warmer, but the house design should keep us comfortable. The more temperate climate and house design should provide the opportunity to utilize outdoor living more—something we’ve both wanted. A dedicated art room instead of repurposing a room will be a fresh experience and the location where you may often find me. Many of the critters I’ve become accustomed to in Colorado will also live there, plus a few new ones. Our new home will allow an opportunity to absorb the new landscapes and vistas, which will thrill me. Enough space to entertain, yet enough private spaces for us to enjoy living in our comfort zone. Who knows what adventures await us there?

Name to be determined…

Change and change and change. Each house so different from the one before and each filled with pleasant thoughts. I expect the fresh change to continue to offer adventures, hope and another place for us to share our love.

Roots and Wings

Dedicated to my mother…

Words on paper
absorbed in mind
create images

Brings to life
other places and times

Roots and wings intermingle

Twisting and growing together

Each trying to be dominant

The one who planted words and dreams
had deep roots and has left the earth

Yet she birthed the one with wings

Did she know what she planted

Do any of us

She marveled as she watched
the wings grow and develop

Did know she was thanked

Wings captured by my grand-daughter, Felicia Marie

Tumultuous Times allow for Reflection

Afternoon breeze

Reflecting on the first half of 2020 brings many thoughts to mind. It’s a year that has affected everyone. 

Civilizations around the world all touched by Covid-19 have dealt differently with it, each in their own way. Even in other cultures, individuals have responded diversely to the impact. Recognize that I will only address the affects to me, and in no way mean that to minimize or marginalize anyone else’s experience. Personally, Covid-19 allowed me to slow down; no really, forced me to slow down. I considered myself to be a grateful person, yet this slower pace allowed me to recognize even more things to be grateful for. Regular Zoom meetings allowed me to stay connected with writing friends from Ireland, and the local writing group, now on-line connects more frequently. I’ve been able to establish some new patterns or routines in my life, resulting in more consistency in writing. A new children’s story awaits art work; a compilation of short stories (some new and some former writings) is coming together; there’s noticeable progress on the sequel to “Dream Glasses.” With this slower pace, I find after an initial writing, it’s easier to go back and review it with a more critical eye and make corrections. I recognize I’m more calm. Life feels less hectic, and more relaxing.

The question that plagues me is, what of these new patterns will I bring to my future when life returns to some semblance of normalcy?

Have you found aspects of these last few months you want to carry forward? Are you willing to share them?