Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Time’s A Comin’


A few of my favorite things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

My friend, Mary,  triggered memories today when she sent me an email  about black walnut divinity.  I started thinking about my favorite Christmas memories when I was a child.  Here are some of them.

  • Big, fragrant oranges and grapefruits, a whole box full of them
  • Nuts and an old fashioned nut cracker, watching tv,  and picking out my favorite ones, pecans and brazil nuts
  • Snow ice cream
  • Drinking steaming mugs of hot cocoa after playing outside in the cold
  • Orange rinds and cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove
  • Russian tea, Mother always made it with Tang, spices and instant iced tea, then we would spoon the mix into mugs of hot water to drink
  • Lebkuchen, we made those wonderful, spicy cookies every November and then stored them in big tin containers until Christmas, they were so good, I have the recipe, handed down for generations, I need to make them again…
  • Chex Mix, cousin Sue’s was always the best, chocked full of pecans and cashews, not only Chex cereal, but Cheerios and Kix, too,  and Bugles and pretzels, and seasoned with garlic, and spicy hot with lots of Tabasco
  • Midnight mass on Christmas eve, the candles, the poinsettas, it was just magic when I was a child
  • Opening gifts on Christmas eve, the anticipation of what doll I would get for Christmas. That was the best part, I always got a new doll, every year…
  • Aunt Ruby’s Mexican Wedding Cookies, still a family tradition
  • Homemade candy, my favorite was called bologna candy, it was a date nut roll, we made it every year.  And that wonderful black walnut divinity and homemade fudge, chocolate and my favorite, peanut butter

As I reread my list, it was all about food, wasn’t it? And it’s still all about the food…  That little girl never quite grew up, and this year I have a new doll to play with, a real, live one.  Baby Abby’s first Christmas.  What a wonderful Christmas this is for our family….

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Christmas present that won’t cost you anything….

I’ve gotten older, hopefully a bit wiser, and my life experiences have made me realize that this moment is all we have, seize it, live it, tomorrow may be too late.

One of the things that I do, and I’ve touched on this before, is that when I say goodbye, I always tell my family I love them, always.

I never leave them without hugging them and telling them “I love you,” and I never hang up the phone without saying it.  It comes as natural to me as saying “goodbye” does.  You may think, “my family doesn’t do this, I would feel awkward, or embarrassed.”  So, what if you do?  And so what if it’s awkward, or maybe even uncomfortable at first, you’re telling them what’s in your heart.

And you don’t do it once and quit, you keep doing it over and over again until it’s as natural for you to say it as it is to say goodbye.  And I’ll just bet you that they will start saying it back to you, and maybe even saying it first.

It’s a wonderful gift you can give the people you love, it doesn’t cost you anything, and the rewards are amazing.  And if, god forbid, it’s the last time you see or talk to them, they will always remember what your last words to them were. 

If you never try anything new, you will always get the same old results, but if you go out on a limb, and take a chance, a whole new world opens up. 

Just take a deep breath and say it, ”I love you,”  it’s a wonderful gift.

~ jan

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