Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

Let Advent Begin!

Saturday, November 29th, 2014



All the anticipation has been worth it.

The “Christkirdelmarik”, or Christmas/Advent markets are finally open.

The mayor or dignitary plugs in the towering Christmas tree, the oompah bands play, and the little kiosks are open to selling their handicrafts, warm drinks, chestnuts, bratwursts and just about anything you can think of. Add a ton of evergreens, twinkle lights and sweet smells and you have the recipe that inspires one to be a little kid again.

Two years ago I gave to a local thrift shop all my holiday decorations. It was very freeing. And because of my store, and all the decorating it demanded, my family gave me grace, and I haven’t put up a tree for almost 15 years! NO I am not a Grinch.

All my holidays were consumed by the flower shop and all the church music I was responsible for as organist and choir director.

This year I am decorating for Christmas in my heart by filling all my senses with the sparkle and delight of the coming of the Christ child. I have seen two markets and each was different. THE oldest one since 1570 and rated #1 is in Strasbourg. Two more days!!!

This is a once in a life time experience and I’m loving it!!

Advent Anticipation

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

DSC03226Where the United States starts selling Christmas the middle of October and our special holidays have started running into ‘happythanksmas’, here in Europe (or at least in Austria and Germany) no bulb is lit before it’s time.

Advent is the big build up to Christmas, St. Stephens Day, and 12th Night.

I find it exciting that windows are draped to prevent their seasonal decor from being viewed. Crews are hanging huge light displays across pedestrian malls and city streets but NOT turning them on.

There is a build up that is generating enthusiasm as the stalls for the Christmas markets are being built and decorated. Add to that the crisp air, the fragrances of mulled spices, music everywhere,  and drums of fire roasting chestnuts that are already in place and you have a recipe for a Merry Christmas!

Standing On My Shoulders

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Quite a few years back I took lots of holiday photos to Kinkos (that should date me). They were open 24 hours a day and there I was at midnight a few days before Christmas putting this collage of Christmas pictures from over the years on the face of the copier machine . Then I laminated them into place mats to give as Christmas presents to our folks. The happy photos contained more and more little faces as kids and cousins were born and family traveled to be together. Joy was on every face around the dinner table, or in Santa’s lap, or coming in the door with armloads of gifts.

I have inherited those mats as our grandparents and parents are no longer here to physically share the day.

I miss them.  


I even wondered, as I made them part of the center of my dining table this year, if it was making me too sad to look at them. It was bittersweet viewing me hugging my grandmother, seeing the resemblance of a child to an Aunt that left us too soon, or the kids lined up around relatives who are literally ‘not in the picture’ anymore.

But I think I had an Epiphany (“a sudden, striking realization, a new and deeper perspective”)!

I look at the little faces currently sitting around the kitchen table or that I just skyped, or even at the sonogram of the little one that is growing in its mommy’s belly and I realize to my very core, that they are here! They are here, and they are here because the others moved on. And it’s ok. I miss the past Christmas’ with all my heart, but these current and future ones have such beautiful faces filled with their own joy and innocence. They just melt my heart. Spoken like a true grandma.

I am the oldest generation in the photos now (that’s scary!). I am also an important part of our family legacy because future generations stand on my shoulders and reach high into their own future, just as I did on those who came before me: those whose lives weren’t as easy, or came from other countries, who had other traditions, married us, and melted into what we know as our family today. (Gosh, I’m feeling wise.) Mom’s with us thru a recipe in her own handwriting, Grandad in an awful joke we retell, and we all bear striking resemblance to someone.

Joy never diminishes by sharing it, and I think that is not diminished by time. I am immeasurably thankful to the dear ones who aren’t at the table because they have scooted over for the sweet faces who now share this holiday’s joy. And when the time comes, I will scoot. But ultimately, I look forward to the heaven where Christ will entertain us ALL at His table…that will be some Christmas!!!


Click the thumbnail to enlarge, sorry bout the glare or cut-offs

Training Day

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Steve and I had the privilege of being part of a training day at Kawiya Village outside of  Zomba. We knew to bring head scarves and panties to distribute and you would have thought is was Christmas!!! The singing and dancing that the Gogos did with their new bandanas ( tied all sorts of ways) and the children, many who immediately put on their new underwear.

We prepared and ate lunch with the village and presented knit quilts to the 2 chiefs. We were there about 5 hours.

Soy Grinding

As we were leaving and hugging and singing and dancing, a Gogo in tears thanked us and said ” the Love of God brought you here.” And I’m thinking in my mind,  “wait a minute, lots of planning, lots of money, and lots of sacrifice got us to that crazy place.”  But in an instant, I was shown a bigger picture.  Because I love the Lord, retired, joined SEEDS, see others putting their faith in action, decided to step out, had Partners in Hope and Gogos capture my heart (and it catching many of you)…Yes, I joined her in tears because God loved me enough to bring me there.

Traveling Down Memory Lane

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Got brave and went to a reunion of my sorority at the University of Redlands Delta Kappa Psi celebrated its 100th  birthday at a beautiful luncheon and afternoon tea, and my pledge class celebrated 40 years since we joined.

I haven’t seen most of these Lavender Ladies since graduation, 39 years ago though Christmas cards keep us updated with some.  Many hugs, tears, and remembrances! I think we look great (you can tell who we still are, if that makes sense), and are all on the verge, or have just retired and are eagerly tackling new challenges. And not to be trite, but 60 sure looks and acts like the new 40!

A few aches and pains, several grandchildren — or none at all — lots of travel, and all good people. I even made some new delta friends from other classes.  Imagine, 425 ladies attended out of the 1200 members that are still alive — a whopping third!  We were singing sorority songs, eating, and drinking a lot of wine or ice tea.  I never thought I’d be at this end of the spectrum, age wise, but was amazed and challenged by the sisters attending who were in the decades ahead of me.

What a beautiful day to treasure forever!

December in Vegas

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

All Carnations!

My tales of this years’ travels would not be complete without mentioning LasVegas!  Steve was covering a convention for Pharmacists Dec. 6-9 at the Venetian. It was cold and rainy, but  the storm dusted the surrounding mountains with snow and left everything so fresh and clear.  I was eager to see how Vegas decorates for Christmas and I was mostly disappointed, except in the Bellagio; oh my , what a showstopper!! Lights, flowers, pointsettas, snow, music, and a little magic. 

We also enjoyed meeting up with the Finnanes for dinner at the restaurant “Switch”, a restaurant whose walls and ceiling change decor every 20 minutes, and Suranowitzes for dinner at Grand Lux Cafe , owned by Cheesecake factory.  I had a great time being on my own: window shopping, reading, people watching.  A lot of the Italy scenes at the Venetian tugged at our hearts as they reminded us of our time spent seeing the real thing (like the mimes, or musicians or the art).

Long drives, but got a book on tape from the library and it made time speed by.   Now I return a week behind for my Christmas plans ,and to embark on Radiation. Then I can have a Holiday Glow too!

Nightmare On Shoal Summit

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

We were about to have the time of life, when we got word that  KC’s and Jonathan’s cars were towed by the police.  Despite a “non-operational permit” from the DMV which allowed us not to register it, and permission from the immediate neighbors, the officer cited us for having a non-registered vehicle parked on city streets.

Despite the pleadings of our dear neighbor, Helena, the cop had the cars  impounded.  After numerous calls to any one we could think of, and lots of help from Andy, we came to the conclusion we could do NOTHING but pay up when we get back, in excess of one thousand dollars.   So much for the spirit of Thanksgiving and for our Christmas budget! grrrrr

Post Script:  $1300, plus smogging, and registering them. Don’t get towed.

Mid-Summer Holiday

Sunday, June 21st, 2009


We sure manage to hit the festivals, holidays, and celebrations.  This weekend is Mid-Summer! The Longest day of the year, and as big an occasion as Christmas! Everyone goes to the country and gets together with family and friends, and everything is closed.

We traversed all of Sweden, to get to the island of Oland, off the southeast corner of the country and sitting in the Baltic. We were soooooo fortunate to enjoy the hospitality of Dieter and Gunnel Schoenherr (in the home where she was born!),  They  also own a home in Rancho Bernardo, and live there 8 months of the year.  He and son Klaus are the major fellas at RB Hair team!

What a lovely, quiet, historic (vikings),and delightful place to start the midsummersunsetanticipation of the holiday. Their holiday planning involved errecting tents for the outdoor meals and celebrating the Mid-Summer Eve as well as Day.  With lots of family leaving the cities and heading to Oland (two dots over the “O” sounding like “ewe-land”) we left the family to be together and headed to Stockholm.  Sunset was at 10:30pm and sunrise at 3:30am.  It never really was dark.