Blog, christmas


Day 109

Welcome to my UGH day. I woke up dreading today. It is holiday cleanup day. (At least inside the house.)

Hubby loves Christmas and always hates to let go. This year was harder because of the death of his mom days before Christmas. It did not feel like Christmas at all this year.

So, I have tried to be understanding about leaving the tree up, but it WAS a live tree and now it was more like Jacob Marley — dead as a door-nail.

Decorating is always so joyful, but taking everything down and repacking it for a year is NOT fun. Thanks to Marie Kondo, however, a few things are going to be donated rather than going back into storage.

I am happy to be putting the pictures of the grandkids back on the mantelpiece. I have missed those faces!

Dinner has already been prepared. We will have the 15-bean soup I cooked last night after the power came back on.

Tomorrow I will do a thorough cleaning and get things back to a little more normal.

It’s time to plow ahead into 2019.

Blog, children, christmas, Family, gardens, grandchildren, Holidays, memories, mother, traditions

What a Wonderful Day

Day 86

Today was nice. It was a bit of normalcy after a few weeks of difficulty. We are still trying to take in the holidays a little and today was a last-minute bit of holiday spirit.

Winter Lights

IMG_8305We had tickets to go to see Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum with our daughter and her family back before Christmas. We ended up canceling when we learned that Mom, sadly, would be going into hospice.

After Christmas, hubby and I decided we would like to try to get tickets to go see the lights and were delighted when our daughter and grandson wanted to go with us. We went last year and had such a good time we knew we would love it again this year.

Family Time

There is nothing better than just hanging out with those we love. The family came up and spent the afternoon with us. We went to a local pub-style restaurant for dinner and then drove up to Asheville to the Arboretum to see the lights.

It was much warmer this year than last. Last year was so COLD — in the 20’s F.  Brrr.  This year was in the low 40’s F so it was much warmer. We dressed warmly nonetheless.

The drive into the Arboretum was beautiful. Lights were strung in all the trees in the parking lot and throughout the grounds. It was beautiful and it was a clear night to boot. No rain in sight!

Chandeliers hanging from the trees, bottles of water lit in huge cylinders, lights synchronized to music, and trees decorated like ball gowns. It was fantastic!

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Times like this remind me of what is important. The time we spend with those we love just enjoying one another’s company is the absolute best. We are not promised any time, so take advantage of the time you have.

Mom wanted to come to Winter Lights this year. She had planned to come up with her sister and go see the lights with us. Unfortunately, she was not able to do so. I kept thinking over and over tonight how much she would have enjoyed it.

At the exit point of the light display, there is a Cocoa Shack. We had hot cocoa and I enjoyed a gingerbread cookie! It was a little bit of holiday joy in an otherwise tumultuous December.

That’s it for now. Time to publish this and hit the sack.



blessings, Blog, christmas, Family, Home, loss, Love

Merry Christmas

Day 82

Our Christmas has been very quiet which is what we had planned. It was our first Christmas without Mom.

I had plans to write about many of my Christmas memories, but that will wait until next year. For now we are recalling other memories and staying in the moment.

Last night was harder somehow. That’s the hard thing about grief — you never know what will bring you face-to-face with the reality of the loss.

We enjoyed seeing our 16 month granddaughter on video with her gifts and sharing calls and texts with family. Such good reminders about the joy of living the life we have been given.

Now we are going to drive down to our daughter’s house to enjoy a little family time. We are not the only people in this family that has experienced loss.

I hope your day has been joyful spent with people you love and care for.

Merry Christmas 🎄🎁

Blog, christmas, Home, Love, memories, mother

Christmas Eve

Day 81

It’s Christmas Eve. I went to bed very late last night and as a result, lingered in bed too long this morning. I have enjoyed my morning coffee while having a relaxed conversation with my husband. It feels peaceful. The temperature is finally up to about 44 degrees F, but the wind is blowing the trees around quite a bit. I am guessing it is a little chilly outside.

I woke this morning with the desire to lighten my mood. I started by changing the format of my blog to be lighter and more cheerful. Being a photographer, I loved the black and white images, but it made the blog feel heavy to me.

Today we may go out for a bit — maybe to Barnes and Nobel to peruse the books and have a holiday coffee. We want to feel the air of Christmas and that is always a good non-shopping outing for us.

Later today we will return home, turn on the Christmas lights and enjoy the evening. We have plans to grill Cornish game hens and asparagus for dinner. It will be a quiet evening just as we wanted.

Of course, we miss our families and the hustle and bustle of the holidays. We will still have that experience, but it will just be after Christmas this year. That feels right.

IMG_8182From where I am sitting I see the Hummel Christmas ornament Mom bought for hubby back before we were married. It always goes on the tree, but this year it serves as a deeper reminder of Mom. She had so many adventures and travels and never stopped wanting to experience things she had yet to see.

I do not make New Year’s Resolutions. I do think about the coming year and what I hope to experience and accomplish. Right now, I am just aiming to make 2019 feel lighter. And today is the first step toward that goal.

Merry Christmas Eve to those who celebrate. For others, I wish you a day filled with the love of family and friends.

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” 
Anne Frank


Blog, christmas, Holidays, loss, Love

Finding Christmas

Day 80

Tonight I am thinking about Christmas. This is the first Christmas in a very, very long time that Christmas is arriving in an unfamiliar way. We normally would have our presents purchased and wrapped and under the tree. This year it is not so.

IMG_8181We walk into Christmas Eve accepting all that has transpired. We are suffering a tremendous loss and having a Christmas that sets that memory aside in favor of shopping and exchanging gifts seems wrong.

We will do that a little later, but on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we will simply enjoy each other and give thanks for all we have and yes, all we have lost. We are both looking forward to just sitting with each other in front of the Christmas tree without any concern for gifts or expectations. We will just be together and focus on why we celebrate this holiday.

I have experienced a lot of loss in my life and this Christmas comes on the heels of another devastating loss. We will take our steps slowly with great reverence. And that’s okay. It is the way we will regain our footing and move forward into the new year.

For all of you who read here, I wish you a Blessed Christmas. It will be filled with moments that will become memories — hopefully more good than bad. For those of you who do not celebrate this holiday or who also find yourself in similar circumstances, I encourage you to just embrace the time to find peace within yourself.

“This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love, and then speak it again.” 
Howard W. Hunter