The Twelfth Day of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas…..

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By Helgi Halldórsson from Reykjavík, Iceland (Christmas is almost over) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

as I prepare to break down Christmas and pack away the ornaments, I sift through the memories made this Christmas season, and my heart is full to bustin’.

There are so many precious moments, big and small, that I have tucked away to keep me warm this winter and in the ones to come, but these twelve stand out for me tonight:

1–The first night that we were all under the same roof for the first time in several months, and I took that sweet, deep breath of thankfulness.

2–Listening to Christmas music while baking Mama’s cookies in the kitchen, using her very own cookie cutters.

3–Taking the Zoo Crew up to Wesleyan on a cold, wet afternoon to hear the Washboard Band play and hear Aub in her percussion debut.

4–The joy of sharing St. Lucia Day festivities with friends and family at Evening Prayer as my writerfriend D and I shared our stories of light for the second year in a row.  It’s a tradition now, y’all.

5–Attending “White Christmas” at a local theater with youth actors and actresses.  Seeing their beaming faces at the end for the curtain call–they were so pleased with the job they had done.  As well they should be. I fell in love with the place, the young people, and the story all over again.

6–The joy of sitting next to One I Hold Dear as I watched my littles perform for their Christmas programs.  When folks do things they don’t have to do out of love and just because they want to, that is a beautiful gift.

7–Hearing Christmas songs played live in my own home. As we wrap up our first year of piano lessons, it has been so much fun to hear the littles playing Christmas carols for us.  I am anticipating even more songs in the coming year to brighten our holidays.

8–The musical offerings talented and beautiful folks shared at Evening Prayer both before and after Christmas.  So much time, talent, and dedication went into those evenings.  I love each and every one of them for making my holidays truly special with their music, smiles, and laughter.

9–Seeing the faces of children, young and old, as they saw Santa Claus when he visited us at Bare Bulb Coffee.  So many precious secrets whispered in Santa’s ear.  The smiles were bright and everlasting.  My heart will never quite be the same again.

10–Hearing “Silent Night” in the candlelit church on Christmas Eve.  I choked up and couldn’t sing all the words.  I felt so connected to the ones who are no longer with us who also sang those words on so many Christmas Eve nights over the years.  I felt surrounded by a host of those I love.

11–Those precious, quiet moments in the wee hours of Christmas morning, when I sat there by myself in the midst of gifts and love, and I was excited, worn out, relieved, happy, and filled with wonder and peace.  And as I sat there, loathe to leave the sweet twinkle lights and their golden glow and the love that filled the room, I thought about how all of those emotions were probably present that very first Christmas morning.  That’s when my heart filled with gratitude, and I found myself weeping as I headed to bed for a few hours of slumber.

12–One of the very best moments was seeing the excitement in my children’s eyes and hearing the anticipation in their voices as they wrapped and then gave their Christmas gifts on Christmas morning. They were more excited to give the gifts they’d chosen than they were to open up the ones with their names on them.  That was a huge gift to me, and I am so thankful for their giving hearts.

Y’all, I was just kidding.  Twelve?  All the little moments.  Cups of coffee with friends.  Surprise visits with folks I haven’t seen for far too long.  Painting with my little friends and watching them focus and work so hard to create their own masterpieces.  Sitting around a fire with precious people as the sun went down and the stars came out.  Watching the children play with their friends as the excitement of Christmas came closer and closer.  Wrapping up in warm, colorful afghans and talking late into the night.  Hallmark Christmas movies.  Watching my brother teach my Aub how to make “Maemae’s” biscuits.  Phone calls and Christmas cards.  Hugs galore.  Cousins who make me smile and laugh.  Oh the joy and peace that passes all understanding!

All of that.

May each and every day of this New Year be filled with just such gifts for all of us.

Love to all.  Merry Twelfth Day of Christmas!

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By Grover cleveland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

On the eleventh day of Christmas…..

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This was not one of my selections. My Mama was not a fan of this song, especially after she became a grandmother, so yeah. Not on my list of favorites. I’d still rather not upset my Mama even now. “Dr. Elmo (Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer) with John Pinette 12-11- 106” by PamWendell – Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

I think of the eleven songs I love the most during this holiday season.

1–“Nothing But a Child” by Steve Earle
My Daddy loved Steve Earle, so of course I do too, but this song is very, very special.

2–“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid
This song makes me tear up every single time. “Throw your arms around the world…..” Yes. Let’s. I think we could all use a hug.

3–“All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey
It is nigh unto impossible to be in a bad mood when this song is playing. Pretty sure you will find yourself dancing. At least tapping a toe or something.

4–“Christmas Time’s a Coming” by Bill Monroe
Bluegrass. You just can’t go wrong with that. I love this song.

5–“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
I loved the song years before I ever saw the movie, but after seeing the movie, OH YES. What a great movie–and song.

6–“Mele Kalikimaka” by Bing Crosby
A great song and everything, but then there’s “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” making it an awesome song. Who hasn’t dreamed about a pool in the middle of winter? (Well, some in Georgia this past Christmas actually did get in their pools, but that’s another story.)

7–“Sleigh Ride” by Johnny Mathis
Another happy song. My finger tends to dance along and direct the band to this one. (And also the medley of this song with “Jingle Bells” in “Sleepless in Seattle”–loved it. “Harses, harses, harses, harses, harses…..”)

8–“Dominick the Donkey” by Lou Monte
It’s just fun, y’all. All the children (young and OLD) like to make the donkey sounds.

9–“Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Pearl Bailey and Hot Lips Page
This is my favorite version of this song. Yes, I’ve heard all the issues with regards to the song. I still love it. I’ve tried not to, but every since I saw Thora Birch and Lauren Bacall sing it together in “All I Want for Christmas,” I’ve found it delightful.

10–“Last Christmas” by George Michael
Other artists have recorded this, and we have discussed this at great lengths in our home. Other artists “speak” the lyrics. I think George Michael is the only one who actually sings the words. But mostly, I chose this one to make my Cousin smile. Because I love her, and because I know she will miss George over this next year. (or maybe not)

11–“Twelve Days of Christmas” by Straight No Chaser
Seriously, this version right here. If you’ve never seen it, treat yourself. Great entertainment, and I laugh out loud every time I watch it.  Check it out here.

Okay y’all, as I was composing this list, I realized there are a whole lot more than eleven Christmas songs I love.  I really, really love holiday music, and tonight I’m thankful for the music services where I can play this music that brings me joy whenever I want.  I’m not ready for the season to be over yet.

May you all have all the music you love to listen to and lift your spirits.

Love to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tenth Day of Christmas

On the tenth day of Christmas…..

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My Frigidaire runneth over, and I am very thankful.

ten dishes of leftovers in the fridge.

I love leftovers.  I really do.  They are the best.  I love having food already prepared, easily warmed and served–especially during the week when our schedules tend to get a little busier.

Over the holidays I did more cooking than usual.  Today it caught up with us, and oh the joy of having leftovers to pull from to feed folks after a busy evening away from home!

And in a timely coincidence, there were ten different dishes of leftovers to choose from.

Potato salad
Chili
Sweet potatoes with apples and cranberries
Black-eyed Peas
Rice
Ham
Squash
Lasagna
Chicken Sloppy Joes
My Brother’s Biscuits which taste so much like Mama’s (enough to bring a tear to my eye, thankful he left us the rest of them left over from our supper last night)

We have enjoyed our mix-matched suppers, and I’m pretty sure we have one or two more left in there. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I wouldn’t be better off to spend my weekend cooking, so every night of the week could look like tonight. Something to ponder anyway.

Tonight I’m thankful for leftovers and for a family who enjoys eating them. I shudder to think what life would be like if they didn’t love them. I’m thankful for the dishes that taste better the second and third time around, but most of all, I’m thankful for my brother and the biscuits he made before he and his family headed out. They taste like home and family. Now there’s something I could enjoy every single day.

Love to all.

The Ninth Day of Christmas

On the ninth day of Christmas…..

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There are nine words that tell the story of the past week, of the past year.  In saying farewell to 2015, I think back over the goodbyes of the year and my heart breaks again.  I much prefer the hello’s and the hugs and and the coffeehouse chats and the long conversations and laughter late into the night.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my story can be told in nine words:

“There you are!”

“I hate to see you go.”

Wishing you all the hello’s and hugs and “There you are”s for the coming year.

Love to all.

The Seventh Day of Christmas

On the seventh day of Christmas…..

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seven loads of laundry…..

or at least that many.  I kind of stopped counting in the midst of the Great New Year’s Eve Lego Challenge and Kids’ Only Dance Party and the Minions Movie and the Keeping Calm of the Dog During the Everlasting Fireworks.  A busy day, but the laundry HAD to be done.

Today.

Because I don’t do laundry on New Year’s Day.

It’s not so much about superstition as it is about tradition.

My Mama honored this tradition in memory of her Grandmother.  Her sweet red-headed Grandmama Eulalia, who let my Mama help her cook and made her feel so loved, never washed clothes on New Year’s Day because of the old saying, “When you wash somebody’s clothes on New Year’s Day, you wash ’em out of your life.”

I don’t have any desire to wash anyone out of my life.

And because I won’t do laundry on New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve becomes a busy day of getting all of the things that we might possibly need the next two days washed, dried, folded, and put away.  It sounds a lot less involved than it really is.

Seven loads, y’all.

At least.

Present Me is really asking Me from the Past Couple of Days why on earth I didn’t do any laundry before now.  It piles up fast with all these folks around here.

So tonight I am celebrating the number 7 and the people behind it.  They bring me much joy, and so, by extension, does their laundry.  Their clothes in the laundry mean that they are here and doing well and that they have clothes to wear and to stay warm and dry and clean and comfortable.

And for that I am very, very thankful.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year, and in the words of my Mama, “Happy Everyday!”

Love to all.

 

 

The Sixth Day of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas…..

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six pairs of little bare feet.

Running through the yard, romping through the house.  Getting them where they wanted to be, catching skinks and lizards and frogs and lovingly creating them wonderful habitats.  Running after each other and riding bikes and scooters.  Wandering all over Blackberry Flats.  Or little bare feet, kicked back, relaxing, just being together.

The cousins are in town, and we are very, very happy.

Love and laughter fills my house and the one at Blackberry Flats, full to bustin’.

Merry memory making has commenced.

And yes, in the photo above, you have counted correctly.  There are only five pairs of feet and fifty toes instead of sixty.  That’s because when you play all day after a long trip from home and you are a little fella of a certain age, you just might not want your feet in a picture.  Even though they are the cutest little feet you ever did see.

You’ll have to take my word for it, because Baby Monkey wasn’t having it.  He had better things to do.

And I’m okay with that.

Thankful for all the sounds of little feet and big, for laughter and stories and make-believe and all the imaginations.  This is the most beautiful sound of the season, and this is what brings Christmas to my heart.

Love to all.

 

 

The Fifth Day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas…..

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…..fi-ive things that sing.

For the second year, we have the droids you may or may not be looking for along with Merry Darth and Yoda Claus, singing joyfully in the front yard.  On the front porch our little snow friend is singing a familiar tune.

Better than gold rings.  Every single day.

When the sun goes down and they come back to life with the flip of a switch, they bring me joy, and that makes one more thing sing–

my heart.

But we won’t count that tonight.

Five is a good number for Christmas.  It’s a number that brings me joy.

Love to all.