Tag Archives: memories

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.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea plants explode with color

Petals are thin

Each bloom holds four to six petals tightly together 

Two white dots fill the center of each as identifying marks for the species

Some tower to the sky growing against the house

Others fill large areas of the garden

Whichever, they fill their space with color and gaiety

Colors vary depending upon plant

The blossoms dry then flutter to the ground

They swirl in the air, ultimately landing below

Like tissue paper scattered and left after a celebration

Tissue Blooms

The yard represents life

Family visited for two weeks

House filled with laughter

Children played games, ran in the garden

Shared cooking experiences

A glass of wine enjoyed in the evenings

Tomorrow’s adventures planned

Car loaded

Family departed

Time flies

Memories are left scattered around

Different shades and hews

Much like my bougainvillea tissue flowers

Blossoms, like memories scattered everywhere

The Skies

Window to the Heavens

One thing I love about this house…

The high ceilings and the wall of glass draw my gaze outward and upward. I marvel as I watch the moving canvas of the skies. Some days the clouds roll in layer upon layer, each with a little different shade. Some days the clouds race across the sky, in a hurry to get somewhere else. Other days fluffy white clouds dance by, or frilly thin like lace covers the skies. Then there are the sunny days when the sky is bright cerulean with nary a cloud in sight, taking me back to my childhood and early art projects when my sky was always that color.

These same windows draw me into the heavens after dark when the sun is long gone, and the stars too numerous to count tease me into thinking I can reach out and touch one. They lure me out on the deck where I stand gazing into these skies, often allowed the gift of witnessing a shooting star with its blazing tail. It’s peaceful there and quiets my soul, setting the stage for a good night’s rest.

Azure blue skies and bright sun meet the cold winter morning. Looking out the windows or standing on the deck, I see the sparkling shimmer of tiny frozen crystals falling to the earth. I expect someone in the heavens is sprinkling glitter down on this winter morning. I love the magic of this experience.

Long after this house belongs to another, I’ll remember how the windows called me into the heavens; how the skies are the bluest I’ve ever seen. The emotions stirred within, seared into my soul, will forever be a part of me.

I wish similar experiences to the new owners. If you want to be that owner, contact Kimberly McKinley at McKinley Sales Real Estate, Inc. and ask for information on the Flynn House.  Kimberly’s Phone: 970-925-7477

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

Remaking…

Pause.

Projects.

We are at home. Like many of you, really at home.

Perhaps for the first time in ages.

At our house that has meant projects.

House projects for my hubby.

Mostly writing for me.

This last week, I took on a project to remake an old family dresser.

The chest is sturdy, but made from an era when all wood furniture was dark.

Dark has become so foreboding.

It was time for a change.

I had a plan, however when I started sanding the finish from the old piece of furniture, the wood spoke something different to me.

Plan abandoned.

I kept on working.

As I was doing the finish coat, I found my mind wandering to memories of my father.

He was the one who introduced me to wood and with great supervision, would allow me to work with him in the basement.

Those thoughts bought a smile to mind.

For those of you who know me, there aren’t many times I speak of my dad.

My memories aren’t very pleasant.

In the last few years, I’ve been learning about how we can remake our memories.

Instead of replaying in your mind the same sad stories, stop those thoughts and replace them with more pleasant memories.

I’ve been working on that memory project for a few years.

It doesn’t change any realities, but it changes what my first thoughts are when thinking about my father.

This weekend wrapped up a remaking project and contributed to an ongoing remaking project.

It’s never too late to work on remaking…

2019 Winding Down…

This whirlwind year is coming to a close.

Memories of people and places are swirling through my head like the winter wind blowing in snowflakes; looking to see where they will settle.

As the flakes blow in circles, memories of the year flash before me. Reflections of time spent with family and friends make me smile. Beauty within the world spins by in my mind’s eye.

Winter at the Grand Canyon

God’s love has been obvious this year in so many aspects of my life.

The peace I’m filled with confirms the many things I have to be thankful for. Words and lists are inadequate to express all that encompasses these thoughts.

I wonder how my family, my friends, those I’ve met and interacted with this year, view 2019.

How do you regard this past year?

Bittersweet…

The tulips are gone. The weather turned a corner and I shed my daily sweater layer. We witnessed community clean-up days; people pruned their shrubs, bushes and trees; or painted their house fronts. The sound of birds fills the air, the trees are greening, roses fill walkways, everything is in bloom or soon ready to break forth. Tour bus traffic has increased on the roads since when we first arrived. Ireland has readied itself for the tourist season, just as we prepared to pack up and leave. It is a different place than when we arrived.

We’ve enjoyed two months in County Kerry, and enjoyed the people we’ve met, gotten to know and hope to maintain relationships with.

The current stage is of goodbyes with the question, “when will we see you again?” The answer is in God’s hands.

Friends from home are asking, when you return?

Life activities on both sides of the Atlantic are calling.

Goodbyes are never easy as they pull on heart strings.

We leave with many memories.

A piece of my heart remains here and a piece of my heart is calling me home.

If you were to ask what my thoughts are, Bittersweet is the answer.

 

Because of the people…

Our trip to Ireland, bookended by England happened because of people.

There are many memorable things about our summer trip to England and Ireland, but spending time with people we knew was a big highlight!

We forged a plan to travel to Ireland for 2016 in 2014 while old friends visited from Germany. The four of us wanted to get together again and wanted it to be sooner than the nine years since our earlier visit. The question was, “how do we make this happen?”

We discussed the possibility of meeting up while traveling and moved onto places we wanted to visit, but had not. Tom immediately said, “Ireland.” This location was also on their list.

We agreed on Ireland and the summer of 2016, figuring we had lots of time to make our plans.

Christmas of 2015, family was home from England. They suggested we visit them as well. We planned to do so, but hadn’t figured out the details. Jonny was great in suggesting a route allowing us to begin and end our trip in England. Instead of traveling back and forth in one country and then heading to the other, we would travel in one direction, starting and stopping in London. This also simplified travel arrangements to and from the U.S. Once we had that information and a contact in Europe who could make recommendations to us, the planning became much easier.

We landed in London and took the bus south where we spent the first days of our trip in the Dorchester, Dorset area. Reconnecting with friends and family, enjoying such a relaxing atmosphere was the perfect way to start a long trip. Thank you Sony, Alastair, Jonny and Abby. We had a great time!

Then we were off to Ireland. After landing in Dublin and renting a car, Tom navigated the challenges of driving on the ‘other side’ of the road. The first week we spent alone in county Kerry, Tralee.

From there we drove to county Galway, Galway and connected with our friends from Germany. What a delightful adventure, the four of shared as we toured the surrounding area and explored the seashores. Thank you Gudrun and Caj! We also had the pleasure of meeting Larena and Chris, missionaries to the youth in Galway.

We spent a few days in county Wicklow – Bray exploring by ourselves. One day was a train ride to Dublin where we explored part of the city; one we went to Waterford to visit the crystal factory and a trip to a lighthouse that has been in operation over 800 years; one we explored local gardens and old city ruins.

Then a short flight from Dublin to London allowed us to explore parts of London and wind down with Tim and Marina. This provided an opportunity to slow down a little and reconnect with family before heading back to America and home. Thank you Tim and Marina for your hospitality!

P1040560 (2016_07_30 04_52_45 UTC)

Interactions with people are what I tie my memories of places to. This trip was so rich with those experiences and opportunities. There are many we exchanged conversations with not mentioned here; they each added to my memories.

Thank you all for contributing to my memories. It was an amazing epic trip.

 

Irish Memories Linger…

We’ve been home a few weeks and thoughts of Ireland still resound in my mind.

Here are some photomontages of different aspects of Ireland that stand out for me.If one were to ask for a quick overview, I would respond by saying –

Green! It abounded. The first photo of the trees growing over the road, shaped by the bus traffic is a common sight.

 

Water and Beaches! They were everywhere. I loved the wind coming off the ocean; the ever-moving cloud scenes; the smell of the water and the freshness of the air. The beaches varied from being beautiful sand to rocky. It was very different seeing the Atlantic ocean looking in a westerly direction.

 

Sheep! They were everywhere. They appeared so different from the sheep I see in Colorado. They were shorter legged, more rounded in body and many were dyed to mark who they belonged to. They might be found in meadow fields, climbing rocky cliffs or close to the ocean. Except when we were in a city, we saw sheep everyday.

 

Tower Houses, Castles, Abbeys – old structures

From BeeHive house structures from 800AD, a lighthouse that’s been functioning for over 800 years, to medieval streets in the heart of cities — there were so many old structures. Some were still being used, some have been restored and some are in varying states of decay. It was difficult for me to comprehend just how old these structures are.

 

The Burren! This area was a surprise for me. From a distance it lacked the intense green so prevalent elsewhere. The surprise is how rich The Burren is with small plant growth; what a haven it is; and how rich it is in history.