31 December 2011

On The 7th Day of Christmas...

my true love sent to me,

 7 swans a-swimming

I wonder if these were black or white.  I choose white.  A black swan feels so, well, dark (I crack myself up).  Actually, there's an excellent book titled "The Black Swan" .  You should read it.  No, it has nothing to do with the movie starring Natalie Portman.

It's also a recipe; a take on the Floating Island meringue dessert.  Okay, I think I'm getting off track here.

The nicest interpretation, other than back in the 16th century the only things those ladies wanted was livestock and food for Christmas, is that they could stand for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Now for your devotional for the 7th Day of Christmas!

30 December 2011

On The 6th Day of Christmas...

my true love sent to me,

6 geese a-laying
This lover certainly wanted to make sure his sweetheart had plenty to eat! 

A nicer thought on this verse is that the 6 geese stand for the 6 days of creation.

Here's your devotional for the 6th day of Christmas!

29 December 2011

On The 5th Day of Christmas...

my true love sent to me,

5 gold rings

Well, what more can we say about 5 gold rings?  I'd take them wouldn't you??  I might get rid of some of those fowl but the rings are definitely keepers.

A connection to the Olympics?  Probably not.  They could also refer to the first 5 books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch".  Some think 'rings' refer to the ringed pheasant.

Take your pick, then read your devotional for the 5th day of Christmas!

28 December 2011

On The 4th Day of Christmas...

my true love sent to me,

 4 Calling Birds

What in the world is a calling bird?  Through the wonderful world wide web I discovered that the ‘calling birds’ in the song is a variation of the word ‘colly’ or ‘collie bird'. The definition of ‘colly’ is ‘black’ and came from the old word for coal. So simply put, a ‘calling bird’ is a blackbird.  Maybe they baked them in a pie?  Oh, that's from a nursery rhyme; never mind.

Mine, in the picture above, are prettier in red don't you think?

We also like to think of them as representing the 4 gospels.

Get your devotion for the 4th day of Christmas here!

27 December 2011

On The 3rd Day of Christmas...

my true love sent to me

3 French Hens

Maybe there were one of each; the Crevecoeur, Houdans and the La Fleche. The fact that the lyrics referr to a French variety of chicken might tip the scales toward the possibility of the song originating in France;  or the words 'French Hens' may have just sounded good.

Either way, here is your devotion for the 3rd day of Christmas!

26 December 2011

On The 2nd Day of Christmas...

my true love sent to me,

2 Turtle Doves

Turtle Doves have been associated with love and faithfulness.  Mated pairs stay together over many years, and possibly for life.  Scripturally they represent a picture of devotion and loving kindness.
I like the story attributed to Turtle Doves depicted in the movie "Home Alone 2".   If you recall from that movie, Mr. Duncan (the owner of the toy store) gave Kevin a pair; one to keep and one to give a special person.  Mr. Duncan told Kevin "as long as each of you has your Turtle Dove, you'll be friends forever".  Kevin gave one of his pair to the “pigeon lady” who came to his rescue in Central Park.  It was a symbol of the bond they'd shared that Christmas, and that they would always be friends.
Sweet part of the movie.

25 December 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the First Day of Christmas....

Merry Christmas everyone!!  Literally, there’s probably one person reading this.

Many people have the impression that The Christmas season is now over.  Au contraire mon ami!  Today is actually the First Day of Christmas.    Christmas has only just begun!  The 12 days of Christmas begins today and runs through January 5th, the eve of Epiphany.  In the Episcopal Church I grew up in, Christmas Carols weren’t sung until midnight mass on Christmas Eve. 

We all know and love (or hate) the song ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’.  I personally love it and the following video is one of my favorite versions by Straight No Chaser.
There are lots of theories out there about what the “gifts” in the song really mean.  Many believe it is a catechism song whereby 16th Century Catholics could learn and recite doctrine because they were not allowed to practice their faith publicly.  An example would be the 1 partridge stood for the one true God, 2 turtle doves as the old and new testaments, etc.

Although this is a wonderful analogy, there’s really no historical or scholarly reference to back it up.  There is however, a reference in the New Oxford Book of Carols which makes reference to the French roots of the song, but says it's based on a game that children would play on the Twelfth Night, the eve of Epiphany.  In the game, each child would have to try to remember and recite the objects that were said by a previous child.  If successful, the child would add another object to the list for the next contestant to recite.  If not, the child dropped out.  The game would continue until there was a winner.

There is also a song in the west of France known as, "La Foi de la loi,"; the sequence being: a good stuffing without bones, two breasts of veal, three joints of beef, four pigs' trotters, five legs of mutton, six partridges with cabbage, seven spitted rabbits, eight plates of salad, nine dishes for a chapter of canons, ten full casks, eleven beautiful full-breasted maidens, and twelve musketeers with their swords – sounds French doesn’t it?

Whatever the true origins of the song, we are able to enjoy it year after year.   And personally, historical reference or no, I enjoy connecting the lyrics of this song with scripture.

And should you choose to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas beginning today, here is a link for a daily devotional that I found on line. 
Come back tomorrow for the 2nd Day of Christmas!!  In the meantime, click on that video again and enjoy!

22 December 2011

Christmas Ornaments

I have had a lifelong affair with Christmas ornaments.  I don’t know if I can pin point exactly when that relationship began.   I love them so.  They cause a number of emotions to surface and memories recalled.

This year we put up our tree on the 1st of November.  I felt like I was betraying the spirit of Christmas because I N.E.V.E.R. buy and put up my tree before the day after Thanksgiving.  But this year is different. 

We've been blessed to be back in a house after 5 years.  Our ornaments have been in storage for the same length of time.  We bought an artificial tree this year (another betrayal to my Christmas senses).  There are some good aspects like, never having to water it, we can keep it up for as long as we want without it drying out only to become a fire hazard and when I removed all of the ornaments this year my hands won't look like I've been fighting with a cat.

Decorating the tree was truly a Christmas present to myself this year.  Let me share some of the special ones that make me smile.

These 3 were some of the first I can remember.  We were living in Tulsa and I was in 6th grade.  I had seen some pictures of ornaments in one of my mother's magazines that caught my eye.  I traced these pictures, using a sheet of carbon paper, onto some old wood shingles I had found.  I sawed them out with a small saw from my dad's work bench and  painted them with my brother's model car oil paints.

My momma still has most of them but I swiped a few for my tree.

This little angel has the sweetest face (the elf looks a little creepy in this photo doesn't he?).  It was my mother-in-law's and was actually part of some other decoration.

The turtle doves were hers also.

Ornaments fall into different categories

Ornaments made by children,

annual gifts from friends far away,

gift exchanges,

whimsical ones bought at Christmas bazaars

Mom bought some of these hand beaded ornaments from a little old lady at a Senior Citizen's craft fair.  I tell you, the detail on these are amazing!

You can tell a lot about a family by looking at the ornaments on their tree.

pride in school,

pride in state,


childhood sports,


arrival of new family members.

 Some ornaments are made especially for us by special people.  My sister Melody needlepointed this one for me because she knows I love hot air balloons.

More hot air balloons.

Mom gave me these little downhill ski critters back in the '70's

Some ornaments come in boxed sets.  This is a Hansel and Gretel set complete with candy cottage, the wicked old lady and of course Hansel and Gretel.

We like lots of wild life on our tree

There is a hidden ornament on our tree each year.   Look real hard in the middle of this photo and you'll see a pickle.  The first child to find the ornament, that is hidden deep into the center of the tree, receives a special gift.

Since the grand kids were in town for Thanksgiving we had Miss Muffet look for it.  She found it pretty quick!  Her reward for being such an observant child was an Advent Calendar.

Here are some more ornaments that we love just because they're cute, pretty, and sparkly.

 Saint Nick
 Christmas Cactus
Mr. Cardinal 
 A cheeseburger.  C actually hates this one but it cracks me up.
 Paddle Boat
 Nut Cracker Prince
 Highlands Santa
 Yule Log

Hope all of you enjoy your Christmas Trees and have a very Blessed Christmas!!

21 December 2011

Vintage Christmas Decorations

These were decorations that C. grew up with as a child.  I just love them and can't wait to use them each year.


These Frosty and Santa mugs have their original "greenery" in them

 Mr. and Mrs. Claus salt and pepper shakers

 My favorite.  Plastic Frosty carrying a bag of candy canes

These vintage elf pixies are adorable.

 Charlotte was always creeped out by them and couldn't stand to look at them.

Do you have vintage decorations from your childhood?

16 December 2011


Back in October, after I was through emptying my bank account on bulbs and plants at the Houston Bulb Mart, Karen and I packed up her car for a road trip to Corpus Christi.  I had been really excited about this trip because in all the years I’ve lived in Texas I have only driven through or around Corpus on my way to somewhere else.

We stopped in the little community of El Campo, Texas and paid a visit to Prasek's Hillje SmokehouseIt’s not just a smokehouse.  It’s a HUGE place with a cheese shop, meat market, smoke house, wine shop, a Czech bakery, a restaurant, convenience store and so much more.

Karen is a regular at this place as she goes to Corpus on a regular basis.  We picked up some fresh bread stuffed with sausage and jalapeƱos, and other snacks like jerky and cheese.  Their jerky is great.  They have so many types to choose from.  We got some turkey jerky and some venison jerky.  Great traveling food.

The bathrooms were my favorite.  They had hammered copper sinks and the most clever water spouts I’ve ever seen. 

Karen drove.  Thanks Karen!  That was so thoughtful of her.  She wanted to make sure I would enjoy the sights of the country side;

like this.

The first order of business once we hit town was to make a visit to the cabinet shop that is making Karen's and her husband's cabinets and kitchen island for their house.

 This is their island. 

They have a beautiful piece of granite to go on the top.

The shop is super impressive and the owner of the shop was nice enough to give us a tour and show us a huge piece that he was building and putting together the old fashioned way, by hand.

 This is one side of a three sided gazebo.  It is ginormous.  I think the gazebo is going to be larger than my house.

Karen drove me around town to show me how beautiful it is.

Next on the agenda were cocktails and dinner.

 Here we are at a little place on one of the T-Heads.  Food was good, service lacked a little but the worst was serving me my wine in a juice glass.

 Shrimp Cocktail, with pico de gallo rather than cocktail sauce,

 Panko crusted shrimp, and

(warning, the following photo is tremendously un-appetizing - but it sure tasted good!)
 fish tacos.

After dinner we sauntered over to Landry's for an after dinner drink and to enjoy the weather, scenery and music. 

The next morning we got up for a walk on the beach.  There was an awful red tide occurring so there were a lot of dead fish on the beach. 

And birds flying around with, what I'm sure are fish guts, in their mouths.

 We still managed to get a nice walk in despite walking over and around dead fish.

I love the ocean as much as I love the mountains.  I could have walked for hours, picking up shells and watching the ships.


But it would soon be time for lunch which meant shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp.  Karen wanted to take me to one of their favorite out of the way spots that has great shrimp.

 Laguna Reef Restaurant

 It's not much to look at and it sits at the end of a very long road off a main highway.  

It shares a cove with a business that looked to me like you could dock your boat there and also a place where you could rent a boat and guide to take you fishing and when you came back from your day of fishing you could get it all cleaned up for you.

The food proved to be just as great as Karen has always said.
 Fried pickles - these had the crispiest crust; there was nothing soggy about these puppies.

 I ordered the fried shrimp and okra

Karen ordered the fried shrimp and french fries.  The okra had the lightest, tempura-like crust on them; Mmmmm.  But the king of the day were the shrimp.  They were so fresh they literally popped when you bit into them.  I could have eaten my weight in them.

Off for a little more sight seeing. 

 Did you know Corpus was the Home of the National Little League baseball???

 Corpus is also the resting place of Selena, the pop Hispanic singer who was gunned down in 1995 by some really bad lady that worked for her.

 At the time of her death I had never even heard of her.   She was extremely famous with the Hispanic community here in Texas.  Jennifer Lopez played her in her first leading role in a movie.  Just a little entertainment trivia for you.

Someones modest little beach house, HA!  We also went to some really cute gift shops in town.
Saturday evening was spent at the house relaxing and putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
The next day, before heading back to Houston, Karen showed me this cute little building. 
 It used to be a Sinclair gas station owned by her grandfather.

 Now it serves as a drive through cleaners.  I think it is absolutely darling and that Karen should keep her eye on it and if it ever came up for sale she should snatch it up and turn it into a cute little restaurant.  Then I would go work for her.  She would pay me the big bucks and I would be able to retire early.

Over the bridge and off towards home.  Hmmmm.  Once we get back to Houston I still have a 4 hour drive back to Fort Worth.  Thanks Karen for a fun weekend!!