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The Floodwaters

Day 51

Today started off with our normal routine of coffee, a walk and then breakfast. Afterward hubby brought in all the Christmas boxes from our storage area so I could start unpacking and decorate the tree.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with one of our daughters in South Carolina. It was a truly beautiful day with lots of good food and conversation. Lots of children there, too, which always makes it fun.

Today I talked with my son. He spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta with his wife’s family. They are a wonderful group of people and I know they had a great time and a lot of wonderful food as well.

Christmas Memories

christmastreeToday I chose the Martina McBride Christmas channel on Pandora — decorating is much nicer with Christmas music. I love the mix of music on this station so it was perfect.

Hubby helped me start the lights because the tree is just too tall for me. I unpacked boxes and pulled out more lights so we could see if we had enough to go around the tree. Once the lights were low enough for me to reach he went back outside and I continued the lights.

All was going well until “How Great Thou Art” came on. I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. It is a song that touches me in ways I cannot fully explain. When my mother died, that song ran through my head as I flew back to Ohio where I was stationed while in the Air Force. I remember writing my Dad a letter on that flight and somewhere I have packed away the letter he wrote to me in return. This song brings the memory front and center.

As I unpacked decorations, my life from the time I was a child, until the time when my children were growing up through our life as we gained six grandchildren and all the way to this time of retirement poured out in abundance. I was overwhelmed with — not sadness — but a great wave of emotion for all the people who have come and gone in my life and those still here but yet so far away.

I was starting to struggle…

Thankfully, my daughters and my granddaughter video chatted me on Facebook. It was such a great lift. For most of the Christmas seasons in the 22 years since hubby and I were married, they were with us. We shopped together, had Christmas coffees together, and talked ‘nunya’s’ from Thanksgiving until Christmas when we would celebrate together. Now they have a daughter and seeing her enjoy the first Christmas she can somewhat understand is amazing.

Retirement can be a lonely time sometimes and tonight I am a little melancholy. Putting up the tree and decorating is always emotional for me. Our tradition has always been a ‘memory tree’. When we hang the ornaments, each one is named for someone who has passed on or simply someone we love who just cannot be with us at Christmas.  I have not started the ornaments yet. It is always an emotional time for me. So, why do I put myself through it?

I do it because the love I have been fortunate enough to experience in my life is worth the remembering and the tears. After the ornaments are hung, each time I pass the tree, I will think of and remember those people whom I love and miss so much.

I am Blessed

The early part of the Christmas season is always this way for me. I am so blessed and so thankful for everything I have in my life. We have much to look forward to this year. Two grandchildren’s birthdays are upcoming. We are going to see the lights at the North Carolina Arboretum with our daughter and her family. We also have a Christmas band concert and a piano recital to attend as well.

So, dear readers, I will love and enjoy this Christmas season as I always have. It holds every memory about where I come from, who I have been and who I am today. For me, it is symbolic of the faith I hold close and all of those things bring me great joy. I just need to get through this part. The tearful, wonderful and sacred memories of all the people I hold so dear to my heart.

And to my children. When I text too much or call too much just know it is because I am missing you. I am so thankful that each of you has full and meaningful lives, but it does not make me miss you any less. That’s the stuff that moms’ hearts are made of.

“Christmas is not a date on a calendar. It’s more than a state of mind. It’s a condition of the heart.” 
Toni Sorenson

 

 

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Easing Into the Holidays

Day 45

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving. Normally we would be caught up in the swirl of preparations, but not this year. Our family will be spread hither and yon, so we decided not to cook a lot of food just for the two of us. Our daughter who lives fairly close by invited us to join them and we happily accepted.

Morning

It was another beautiful day here in the foothills. We had our coffee and took a morning walk. Ugh. I am really out of shape, but I am determined to get some exercise and move a little more.

The morning was cool, but not brisk like it has been. It felt good to be out in the morning air. It’s getting harder for me because I am showing signs of arthritis in my knees. But, we walked and after a short distance, it became a little easier.

The neighbors have horses and one was grazing by the fence that runs alongside the road. I noticed it had a blanket on this morning. I paused long enough to snap a quick picture on my phone. As we made our trek back toward the house, I stopped again to take a picture of all the horses grazing. The leaves and the grass are slowly disappearing into winter.

IMG_7827Breakfast was simple this morning. Hubby had cereal with organic blackberries and organic raspberries. I scrambled an egg in avocado oil and had a sliced avocado. It was really tasty. I am trying to be cognizant of all the unhealthy fats we add to our food and breakfast can be one of the worst! Afterward, I had a handful of organic blueberries. It was a marvelous way to start the rest of the day.

Afternoon

I spent the afternoon catching up on some blogs of my friends and responding to comments on my own blog. It is nice to take a few minutes to see what is going on in everyone’s life — it makes you feel closer somehow.

Today we planned a simple evening meal — chorizo, kale and potato soup. It’s simmering on the stove now, almost ready for consumption.

IMG_7834While I cooked, I decided it was time to turn on the Christmas music. Normally I wait until Thanksgiving day, but since we aren’t cooking this year, it just felt right. Next Friday we will make the trek to McAffey’s tree farm in Waynesville to pick out a Christmas tree. This has become a tradition for us. They cut the tree and then we get a cup of hot cider or hot cocoa. It’s a great way to kick off the rest of the season.

We have never shopped on Black Friday and I doubt we ever will. Our gift-giving is limited and we just enjoy the lights, the feeling and the meaning of the holidays. It doesn’t matter to me what any of us celebrate. For me, it’s Christmas, but for many of my friends and family, it is Hanukkah. What is important to me is that we cherish the reason for the holiday, be kind to one another and focus on what is important in our lives.

It is a time of giving. I encourage everyone to think about giving outside of your own family. It does not need to be a lot because every donation matters. There is so much need right now, especially following all the hurricanes and fires. Then add in all those struggling with health issues and work issues and financial issues, there is a lot of good to be done.

I cannot help but think back to the two times I worked for companies that decided to ‘downsize’ the first week of December. I pray that companies do a better job in managing their own finances so families will not endure such a hardship at the end of the year.

Off to have dinner. I am ringing in the holidays in my own simple way.

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them,
is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” 

W. T. Purkiser