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Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas 2017

These are a few of the photos we have captured to help us remember Christmas 2017. We have gathered as family and with church family, telling the story with music and lights and books and candles. We have laughed and wept and loved each other, thankful for another Advent and Christmastide!

First Baptist Church Richmond, Christmas Eve 2017

While visions of sugarplums dance in her head...

Nora, keeping warm./

Skye and Nora, Granmary, and Kristen went to the Nutcracker .

Our very own Chritmas Fairy

Dr. Pepper Bread

An honest to goodness Orange Marmalade Cake!

Oliver loves Papa Joe

Snow, December 8, 2017  FBC Richmond

Sean and Teion, Lauren and Skye

Jeremy and Michala, Maddie and Jordann

Ben and Kristen, Nora and Oliver

Nora helping celebrate our 54th anniversary at the Swinging Door.

Shady Oak Nativity blocks

 Christmas Tea Tree

 Woodland Bird Tree

Cookie Cutter Tree

Bare Branch Tree

Family Tree

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Celebrations

November is a month of celebrations for our family. This year we added a few. Michala's birthday, my 77th birthday, Skye's 15th birthday, a successful surgery for her, all led up to a busy Thanksgiving. We had a bountiful spread of food and 17 of us spread around 2 tables.

Thanksgiving 2017

Before all the dishes were washed and put away, Ben began pulling out Christmas decorations and trees from the storage closet!  Trees were up but not yet decorated by the Sunday after Thanksgiving which held 2 big events for Olive- his baby dedication at First Baptist Church in Richmond (a whole pew of relatives) and his first birthday!  More people arrived to celebrate with pizza and birthday cake. 
Nora and Oliver all dressed up for church.

Joe and I are in a group that meets for dinner and poetry readings and the meeting on November 28 was at our house. By that evening, we had decorated 6 trees, wreathed all the doors, and placed our many nativity scenes. Nora helped with everything and Oliver is old enough this year for his blue eyes to shine with wonder at all the lights and color.  So we end November and begin Advent and the approach to Christmas, thankful for family and celebrations.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Nora and Joe and I lit the first Advent candle the day after Oliver was born. We have been marking the days by hanging the tiny figures on our vintage Advent calendar. We have baked Candy Cane Cookies, joyed in the twinkle lights of the Christmas trees, and tried out a few carols. Solstice has come and gone, darkness leaning now toward the light - Advent reflections are in everything. Even in our part of the South Texas Gulf Coast we have had a share of cold weather. Winter is here, although the picture is one from years past. Our Peace sign in the front courtyard is out for Christmastime, but the blessing is for always.

  • “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Collage

If one picture is worth a thousand words, this is a very long (and happy) post!  More comments about our Christmas Day next week, but for now, please enjoy our gathering and celebrating!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Wonder

 “For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” 
― Charles DickensA Christmas Carol

It is also good (wonderful!) to be a grandmother at Christmas. To share in the wonder of twinkle lights and cookie baking, to give even your tea table a Christmas dress and  cover tiny trees with pretty decorations. Nora brings us the delight of her joy this season, making it all new again for everyone in our family. She runs around discovering every tiny manger scene, angel, and Santa. She loves dancing to all the sweet carols.  I find myself being astonished and full of wonder in new ways and saying it just like she does:   "OOOH!   Wow!"  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bringing the Garden Inside

Ben and Kristen gave me a small herb drying rack for my birthday.  Last week, I hung it from the center of my pot rack and added a few bundles of herbs. I love reaching up to pinch a bay leaf, some rosemary twigs, or crush a basil leaf into a pan on the stove. Christmas music is playing, the tree is up, and it smells like Christmas. Last week when Maddie and Jordann and their mom arrived to spend a few days, the first thing I heard when they came inside was "It always smells like Christmas here!" I like that.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, Advent begins tomorrow. The 2 days are not always so close together, but it seems appropriate to move from the posture of marking gratitude to these next weeks of waiting and expectancy. I love so many things about these celebrations. There is the time set aside for personal reflection and recollection. There is time for family gathering and celebrating. This Thanksgiving has brought a keen awareness of how precious our times together are and how much I appreciate the occasion because it draws people home. The coming year brings great change for all of us, some already known. Jobs and homeplaces are relocating, our grandchildren are growing up. Next year gatherings may be different in numbers and place. So I need to say one more time how grateful I am that all our thirteen of our sons, their wives and our grandchildren were together for hugs and laughter, fun in the kitchen, remembering, and circling our great feast for Joe to pray a blessing and thanksgiving for our family, our food, our being together.  Not many pictures, but so many, many good memories.

Thanksgiving 2015. Blessed.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Remember When?

An email from a friend this week contained this photo.  The subject line was "Remember When?"
I am glad my friend ran across the photo and remembered good times.The photo was made in our home on Sekolah Duta II, Pondok Indah in Jakarta, Indonesia, in December 1991.  Joe and I were dressed for the American Women's Association Christmas Ball which was an annual event.   I went to the market and bought a lovely silk sari, took it to another market stall and explained that I wanted a dress and jacket cut from the sari. The seamstress thought it would be nice for Joe to have a matching bow tie and cummerbund! There was  music, dancing, wonderful food, champagne, and I remember entering the ballroom through large ice sculptures.

 In our cabinet along with other glassware is one champagne glass painted with a Christmas Wreath and AWA Christmas Ball 1991.  This dress still hangs in my closet although it wouldn't fit me now,  the earrings are in the granddaughters' dressup trunk, and the shoes long gone. But I do remember!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Gifts Continued

As we packed away our home's Christmas dress, took ornaments off the trees, and reflected on all the comings and goings of our busy family during this season, I thought about the gifts we gave our children and grandchildren. We all know our best gifts are not topped with bows and found under the Christmas tree, but I want the gifts that are there to have meaning. Almost always there are gifts of music and books and games. Every year, I like to wrap up one thing for my "boys" - all of them, including their Dad, that will be fun and bring back memories of childhood Christmases. I enjoy giving them things that encourage their own home building and hospitality. But this year, there was a gift for each of our married sons and their wives (plus ones I mailed for my nieces) that took a little explanation. They all know my fondness for estate sales and might have thought on first look that I got carried away when I found a box of old silverplate.  But these gifts were nothing I shopped for, and cost me nothing other than a few minutes' time to assemble them.  

They each opened a tissue-wrapped, tarnished, mismatched knife, fork, and spoon.  Any questions about the odd set I hope were answered with the printed message I included explaining the origin of the old flatware.  

This worn, tarnished, mismatched knife, fork, and spoon belonged to Mary Clyde Curley Terrell, your great grandmother. I have had these for many years, and thought for a time to make something from them - a piece of jewelry, a windchime, or kitchenart perhaps.  Somehow, it never seemed right to alter them. Do with them as you wish, but I hope you will remember their story, her story.  Grandma Terrell likely never had a matched set of anything, that is part of  your knife, fork, and spoon story. She lived in the years that I remember her best in an old frame farmhouse on a hill not far from the cemetery in Bullard, Texas where she is buried. In the kitchen where she worked I remember a wood stove, a bucket and dipper which were for water drawn from the well by the back door, and a window at one end where food scraps were thrown out for her chickens.

She worked hard with her hands and loved fiercely with her heart. She had few material possessions, never drove a car, never had indoor plumbing util she was nearly 80. She cooked food that made my mouth water - peas and other fresh vegetables from her garden, biscuits, cornbread, and teacakes for a little girl who adored her ad watched everything she did never knowing she herself would someday have granddaughters. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christmas Gifts

The gift of Jordann

We celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, so our lights and trees always stay up past Epihany, meaning that after most of the neighborhood has hauled trees out for trash pickup and stored both inside and outside Christmas trim, we are still in full Christmas dress at our house.  This year, we managed to draw out even the family gatherings and gift sharing past New Year's day. For those of us who live in this area, gathering began Christmas Eve with a tradition that has become dear - going together to church for a meaningful time of meditation and communion, then going home (this year to our youngest son's house) to share a meal together.  Christmas day's meal and gifting followed. Our out of town family joined us earlier this week and New Year's eve was another joyous gift exchange. In the photo above, Jordann discovers how much fun Rainbow tiles can be when you build them on a lighted surface. This makes me think how much light plays a part in our Christmas celebration - in the yard, on the Christmas trees, twinkling behind stained glass, on the mantle and over the grandfather clock. We have a set of little houses Ben painted when he was around 10 that look magical when lighted from within.

But the lights I love best are those that sparkle from our son's eyes when they watch their daughters, and those that twinkle in the children's eyes from all the wonder. Those are my best gifts beyond the One Gift that is the reason for all of them.  I am grateful.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Generations of Joy

Sometimes, family story is as simple as looking at what has been kept and how it is used today. On Christmas Eve 2014, Nora finds joy in this stuffed Santa who wiggles his head while music tinkles "Santa Claus is Coming Town!"  This Santa made her Daddy giggle when he was her age, and through the years perched on various bookshelves, stair steps, and kitchen counters in many different homes through our years of moving often.  He is one of the beloved Christmas decorations we pull out of a bin when we happily begin dressing our home for Christmas every year.

An even older story comes from the wooden high chair where Nora and Santa are playing.  It is also where she joined our family yesterday for her first Christmas dinner at Grandma and Papa Terrell's old oak table. The high chair, circa 1941, used by my sister in the mid 40's, all of our sons, including Nora's Daddy, and our granddaughters as they arrived and shared meals at our house.  The worn spindled back, scuffed footrest, and dented tray hold stories of 4 generations  (5 if you count my grandparents, who without doubt frequently joined Mother and Daddy for mealtime). That is a great deal of joy!