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Showing posts with label holiday celebrations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday celebrations. Show all posts

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!"  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Autumn

"The heart of Autumn must have broken here, and poured its treasure out upon the leaves."=
Charlotte Fiske Bates


Books are everywhere in our home. Even though both Joe and I read many books on his Kindle and my iPad and listen to audio books as well, we have stacks and shelves of printed books. Bible study books, theology books, gardening resources, mysteries, memoir, poetry, and fiction. In the kitchen, 50 plus years of our cookbook collection keeps growing, mostly due to gifts from those who know my love of cooking. In the spirit of cleaning, clearing clutter, and paring down, I have filled boxes to donate to the library, and have passed down a number of cookbooks to family members.  Honestly, I don't know anyone else who has both their mother's and their grandmother's cookbooks!  Treasures, these.  I have written about them before and will again, but soon it is time for them to go to one of my own granddaughters.

There are a number of favorite books of different genre that I keep and go back to regularly.  The little book in the above photo is one of those.  Autumn. by Susan Branch, "From the Heart of the Home." This wonderful collection of whimsical drawings, quotations, celebrations, and recipes was given to me.  It is autographed by the author: "To Mary Ann - Happy Fall! Susan Branch 2004."  But I value more the note written under that - "Thanks for all the nice things you do for others. With love, Jen."

As the title announces, the book is an invitation to celebrate this time of year in magical ways.  I love to settle down with a cup of tea or hot cider and turn the pages one more time.  And yes, we do follow up with "doing" and enjoy some of the recipes. I particularly enjoy the seasonal quotations sprinkled throughout.

Hang bunches of fresh herbs, pepperberries, yarrow, and hyrangea.
Candles, candles, candles! Lots of votives in green or gold glass. Pop a votive in a citrus shell.

"If you were to ask what is most important in a home, I would say memories."  Lillian Gish

"In the village store someone says 'I heard the geese go over,' and there is a moment of silence.  Why this is so moving I do not know.  But all of us feel it."  Gladys Taber

Recipes for Spiced Pecans, Garlic Shrimp, Red Chili Onion Rings, Corn Pudding, Indian Shuck Bread, and Maple Butter!

Bring leaves and pinecones in for a Thanksgiving table.

Fun gifts to assemble in baskets and old bowls for Christmas.

"Display old books!  Heidi, Pollyanna, Wuthering Heights, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  And all your favorites!"

"Autumn is the best season  in which to sniff, and to sniff for pleasure, for this is the season of universal pungency."  Bertha Damon




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Memorial Day

Maddie created our chalkboard sign for Memorial Day. Her enthusiasm and willingness to help make me happy. At the same time, I feel another tug at my heart as I see her sweet smile and feel her eagerness to welcome those arriving to join us as we grill hot dogs and savor our family. Her eyes speak joy for gathering with all of us and enjoying her cousins. Yet I know this day of remembering those who have lost their lives in service to our country is filled with sombre reflections, too.

 I am grateful.  For men and women who gave their lives for our country, for the freedoms that my family and I have which are denied to many. We say thank you in many ways - one of them is by spending the time and freedom provided us in ways that honor the privilege. Maddie got it right, it is a happy Memorial Day.








Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4, 2013



Many years ago we had a 78 rpm recording by Senator Everett Dirksen titled Gallant Men which we enjoyed listening to with our small sons during patriotic holiday celebrations. The record won a Grammy award in 1968 for the Best Documentary Recording.  We lent the record and, most likely in one of our many moves, lost track of who had it.  There have been many 4ths of July, Memorial Days, and other commemorative occasions in the years since when Joe would remark or I would remember "that record, Gallant Men."  I was pleased to find the recording on YouTube this year.  Among several selections, this one is chosen for its audio quality, not to plug Capitol records. Senator Dirksen's deep gravely voice and sincerity still touch me as do the words.  It would be easy to become discouraged at the polarity and disagreements in our nation today, but we can still be most grateful for living in a country with freedom, and for the people now and through the years who give their lives in service to all of us.



When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength of any community is in the hearts and minds and desires of those who dwell there.
Everett Dirksen 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Texas Summer

Summer on the Texas Gulf Coast does not wait for the calendar to mark the solstice.  By late May and early June, we experience burning heat, sprinklers on the lawn,  homegrown tomatoes and hot peppers, katydids singing in the evenings, Crepe Myrtles and Chaste Trees blooming, suppers from the grill, iced tea, cold watermelon, bees buzzing around the basil.  The Touch Me Not seeds are popping, Morning Glories are purple delights, roses slowing down for a second breath, and there are a hundred shades of green. I may complain about being hot, but I love so many things that summer brings.

For Memorial  and Independence Day celebrations, we get the little flags back out to line the sidewalk, and celebrate  birthdays for Joe and Ben.  July brings a bumper crop of figs on our tree,  Vacation Bible School fun, plans with my granddaughters, and family outings.  It will get hotter, and we will watch the hurricane tracking news. We keep ceiling fans whirring and add a buzz fan or two for the back porch. I am thankful for cool evening breezes wafting scent of honeysuckle and cooling the flagstone paths in our garden.

 Summertime!

"Now summer is in flower and natures hum 
Is never silent round her sultry bloom 
Insects as small as dust are never done 
Wi' glittering dance and reeling in the sun 
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee 

Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun."

- John Clare, "June"