Christmas time is here

Spirit of abundanceI put my Christmas tree up last week and Mom & I had our annual tree trimming party the other night. We have been doing that together every year since my parents retired to Florida in 1997 – Dad used to sit in the armchair and give us directions ūüôā – and it’s a special time for us as we hang the ornaments and share¬†favorite memories. Baby’s First Christmas 1977. Fragile, paper thin glass ornaments, including a treetop star, Mom bought in Woolworth over 55 years ago that were on all my childhood¬†Christmas trees. My Dad’s favorite – Mr. & Mrs. Claus fast asleep in their little cigarette box bed. Ornaments for my cats, Nettie & Ceilie, and my dogs, Stella & Liberty. We always have something good to munch on – this year it was my friend Karen’s delicious (and super easy!) lemon pie. Other decorations and lights have been added¬†and my house looks twinkly, cozy and pretty. I like to sit at night with just the lights on the tree and a candle on the mantle illuminating my living room, Liberty snoozing on her bed, Christmas music playing softly. Ahhh.

Christmas is a special time of the year. Although Jesus is “the reason for the season”, you don’t have to be¬†a¬†Christian to appreciate the lights, decorations, music and food. There is also a feeling – let’s call it goodwill – that feels stronger during the Christmas season. Our hearts are more open, our spirits more generous. We are moved¬†to donate to our favorite charities, drop¬†dollars in the Salvation Army kettles, drop food off at the food pantries, get¬†a toy for Toys for Tots, take clothes to the homeless shelter, and many other acts of kindness we might forget to do during¬†the rest of the year.

We also want to draw our family and friends near to us at this time of year. My celebrations are pretty low key compared to many people. I don’t have a big family or a lot of friends but I appreciate and enjoy every one of them. My son, who lives in NJ, will visit for the week¬†as he does every year. We’ll have dinner at my Mom’s house on Christmas Eve (with Liberty, of course!) and then we’ll spend Christmas Day at my house. One night we’ll walk around a local park that has a beautiful Christmas light display and then go to a movie. Simple pleasures.

This month, whether you are celebrating the birth of Jesus, Hanukkah, or nothing at all, I wish you the peace and love we all desire in our lives and in our world.

Merry Christmas!

Liberty 12-8-15

Hope you get lots of treats and nice surprises! Love & licks, Liberty

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St. Simons Island

Bon voyageAfter¬†my Dad passed away in 2006 I began taking my Mom away for Thanksgiving. When I was still working we would go away for a long weekend but,¬†since I retired, we go for the whole week. My birthday is November 25th so¬†we celebrate that, too. We have spent Thanksgiving in some very nice places and have shared lots of good times and laughs together. Mom says she replays these happy memories like movies in her head when¬†she is back home in her recliner. Since 2009,¬†we have traveled with my dogs – first Stella, who passed away in¬†April 2014, and now Liberty. I’ve been blessed with two good little travelers!

This year we went to St. Simons Island, GA. I had never been before but had been told by¬†several people that it was a nice place to visit. Mom and I like scenic small towns that have an old-fashioned downtown area so we can leave the car in the driveway and walk everywhere. St. Simons didn’t disappoint. The town is very pretty, with streets shaded by lots of trees including many huge old live oaks. There is a “downtown” area with a waterfront park and pier referred to as “the Village” and the cottage we rented( was within easy walking distance of that and the beach. Every person I spoke to – from restaurant servers to shop keepers to fellow dog walkers – was¬†friendly.

Early every morning I took Liberty for her usual walk Рabout 1-1/2 hours Рthen had a second cup of coffee and breakfast with Mom. Some days the three of us would walk to the Village, have a leisurely stroll around and stop for lunch and some days we got in the car and ventured out of town. We discovered a small bakery and sampled many of their treats during the week!

If, like me, you’re interested in history there are plenty of historic sites within a short drive. We didn’t visit them all but we did see¬†the St. Simons Island Lighthouse and Maritime Museum,which is close to the Village, we toured Fort King George in Darien and we ate¬†a picnic lunch on the grounds of Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation near Brunswick and then toured the house and outbuildings. The grounds of the former rice plantation (and later dairy farm) are beautiful with many live oak trees ranging from 300- 500 years old and one next to the house that is 800.

We spent a quiet Thanksgiving Day in the cottage, had the veggie lasagna ¬† I¬†brought for dinner, pecan pie from the bakery, and watched “The Godfather” parts 1 and 2. Although we were enjoying a¬†wonderful get away we were also very aware of the tragic events occurring outside our little bubble. We were still watching stories about the radical Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris on 11/13 when the news broke about the shooting at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. Just a couple of days after we returned home there was another radical Islamic terrorist attack – this time in San Bernardino, CA. I watched with growing anger, frustration and fear as officials and mainstream media pundits did verbal contortions for days¬†to avoid calling the attack what it really was. My happy little vacation bubble was burst and I was back to reality.

In the prayer I said at Thanksgiving dinner I thanked God for all the blessings in my life and asked Him to protect us from our enemies, both domestic and foreign. I also asked for protection from the misguided and foolish actions of our leaders. I should have also asked for protection from hidden agendas.

God bless us every one.

Liberty in front of cottage 11-2015

Liberty makes herself at home at our St. Simons Island cottage

See more of my artwork and books at Lynda Linke Productions