Category Archives: Blog

Holiday Variety

Every year my tree is a little different from the year before. This holds even when the tree is artificial. And also when it came with its own lights — last few years.

Yes, some things remain the same. The star goes on top. The skirt is white felt, with a design my sons never really liked. (It was cheap. I needed one.) The difference comes in the ornaments.

There was a year I put on all the beaded garland, stepped back, and said “enough”? This came after the year I put on every ornament I owned — then when un-decorating divided them up to give to children, keep, give away, and this-belongs-in-the-trash.

And this year — it’s dressed modest. No beaded garland. Most of the meaningful ornaments.

And next year? Maybe I’ll splurge. And go with one of each like this display.



Winter Inspiration

The artist named it Adirondack. Note the snowshoes.

It conjures the sort of pictures common on Christmas cards. One of the few places in recent years where the snow is even, clean, and roads passable on December 25.

Have you ever tried snowshoes? Do you live where it’s even a possibility?

For a sweet little romance where the heroine straps them on and goes walking among evergreens — try Starr Tree Farm. It’s available in print or ebook as a single.

It’s also available with five other winter romances in the ebook anthology Snowbound Snuggles.

Whooooo Designed This?

A wreath on the front door welcomes guests. And at this time of year more doors than usual wear them.

Some are simple — a swirl of pine boughs. Or perhaps holly.

Others get rather elaborate.

On my most recent visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, they had a display – available via silent auction – of some beautiful door decor. They were too large for my door and the bids were too high for my wallet, but a person can enjoy for free.

These white owls wisely welcome you to the holiday season.

Holiday Fruit

Fruit trees in the Upper Midwest, where I grew up, bloom in the spring and have fruit ready for harvest from mid-summer to fall. Depending on the sort of tree.

Winter fruit — well — that was from the store. Unless it was from a jar an adult preserved during the local harvest.

And at the holidays we often bought special fruit. Big, shiny apples shipped from another state. Or oranges — they fit so well in the toe of a Christmas stocking.

A few years our house received a box of very special fruit. A relative living in California would send my grandmother a box of “tree ripened” citrus. They were extra large and extra sweet.

Mmmmm. This sight brings back memories.

Getting Seasonal

More than the other months of the year, people in the United States tend to decorate in December.

Holidays. It’s as if the year hoarded them and suddenly needs to use them all up before the end of the year. If you’ve ever had an employer where you could not carry vacation days over to the next year — you understand.

Thanksgiving is over. You may put away the turkeys and pumpkins and cornstalks.

These holidays – some with religious backgrounds — are more suited to candles, evergreens, and gifts. And additional things have become holiday focused during my lifetime.  Santa pre-dates me. Rudolph appeared early in my childhood. And snowmen learned to dance when I was little. Some people like elves – helpful or mischief makers. And others scent the house and decorate with gingerbread houses and cartoon cookies.

Today I present a simple idea — done large.

Greens, cones, and silver balls greet visitors.

Thankful – Intangibles

November is coming to a close. This short series of blogs on thankfulness will soon be in the past. But we have something important remaining.

Faith. Hope. Joy. Love. Health. Companions. Laughter.

Most of these are invisible. And what I consider hope or joy you may call by another name. And health — that’s relative. Is your health improving over a year ago? Decline with age? Holding steady with attention to diet and exercise? Even companions change over time. Friends and family move away or die. New people enter our lives.

A symbol to many of hope and faith in invisible, intangible needs.

Thank you – to my readers.  May we give thanks for all the needs and gifts your receive as 2017 speeds up and rushes to a close.  See you in December!

Thankful Tom

My friend Tom is thankful you did not invite him to your Thanksgiving feast!

Wishing all Americans a wonderful day today. Whether you are shopping, avoiding the crowds, or working — may the season of thanks continue.

Thankful — literacy

Writing. Reading. Books. Printing.

Today I give thanks to all the people, past and present, who share ideas with language. Especially the written language.

A modern day person can find almost everything in writing – facts, figures, historical events, stories, and even lies. Within the covers of books you can learn how to cook, build a birdhouse (or a people house), or weave a piece of cloth.

Paper, or an electronic screen, with the right combination of marks can be a magic carpet and take you on a visit to the next state, the other side of the world, or far into space. You can travel back in time. Or centuries into the future.

Thank you, Mr. Gutenberg for developing movable type. And to parents and teachers for opening the doors to the world through reading.

Thankful — From here to there

People — at least the ones in my clan — are on the restless side. We want to move. Go from one place to another. And while sometimes we may go a little large on this – road trips or overseas travel – many times we go small.

Getting from here to there takes many forms. But we can call it all transportation.

Lets start small. And ancient. My morning walk would be an example. No extra equipment necessary. Shoes on the feet and clothing on the body are the basics. And then, one foot in front of the other and you’re able to go from one place to another. Into a store. To visit a neighbor.

Other transportation takes many forms. Skateboard, bicycle, automobile, train, airplane, or boat all have a time and place. Use with care. Obey the rules of the road to arrive safe.

Many places in the United States a dependable automobile almost reaches the status of necessity.

Thankful — Needful #4

Yes, I’ve added to the three necessities learned in elementary school. Actually, this is so important it should be first on the list.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Inhale. Exhale. Unless you’re inhaling air containing oxygen you’re in trouble. Fast. Minutes instead of the days with food.

The air around us is a natural mix of gases. Nitrogen. Oxygen. Carbon dioxide. The last one has been in the news a lot in recent years. We’re getting an excess of it – threatening to throw things out of balance.

Well, today we’re going to feature one of nature’s ways to keep the balance.Today let’s give thanks for trees. And their distant relatives shrubs and grasses. They are quiet and hard working. Remember your exhale — you’re ridding your body of excess carbon dioxide. And our friends the clever green plants – they take in that carbon dioxide and “breathe” out excess oxygen. How nice of them. So the next time you see a tree — or a smaller green plant — give thanks to nature’s air purifier.