Keeping things in perspective

I hate roller coasters.

When I was young, I pretended to like them- roller coasters are exciting and young people are supposed to love them.  So I kept my real opinion to myself and got into the seat, bolstered my courage and tried to hold my stomach from regurgitating all the junk food I had eaten just before.  It was a sham.  I hated the whole experience- what should have been anticipation was dread, what could have been a thrill was unmitigated fear, and I tried to pull it off with a nonchalance that I was simply not capable of at that time of my life.

Holidays are an emotional roller coaster for me.  There is the preparation and anticipation and then the celebration and then the down time afterward when everyone is recovering from the indulgences and overspending that it takes to pull off a “perfect” holiday. 

I have scaled way back in my celebrating style.  This is the first year I haven’t sent out cards in 20 years.  I only spent what I could afford, and I didn’t go overboard cooking and baking.  And yet, I am still experiencing that down time.

I have been alone here in Chincoteague for the last couple of days.   Alone and without a car, in a neighborhood that I don’t know, among people I haven’t even met.  I am cleaning and readying the house for more family and friends and it is good that I am here, but the silence is becoming thick and the memories faint.

Contemplation is a good thing at the end of the year.  Looking back and evaluating, judging the decisions and paths of the last 12 months makes sense and helps one to be wiser in the coming year.  But- it is definitely a down time.

Down, down, down the hill, flashing past regrets and disappointments, careening around failures, seeing pictures whisk away before you can really focus, feeling your heart and tummy drop as you head towards the bottom and then slowly starting up the next hill ahead.  Making plans, meeting small goals, heading upward with the sure knowledge that as soon as you crest this hill, you will be speeding downwards again.

The joy is that I am not alone.  I am in God’s hands, He is in control, and all of my life is of value in His evaluation.  He uses me and my circumstances to further His kingdom.  And He teaches me to trust, to obey, to keep on walking and to continue on the journey.  It is a relationship that I can depend on forever. 

The only redeeming thing about roller coaster rides is that they are soon over.

Unlike this journey that I am on that lasts throughout eternity.  I am thankful for the road map of the Scripture, the companionship of believers and the Holy Spirit, and the certainty of welcome at the end by my Father.  I am thankful that I am in His care  and not without hope.

Which is why I am a Christian- I need hope to survive.



“Those whom heaven helps we call the sons of heaven. They do not learn this by learning. They do not work it by working. They do not reason it by using reason. To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven.” – Chuang Tse

A sunny day at the beach

  It’s Sunday, December  27th.  We said goodbye to Grandpa and Jojo.

Christmas morning and group pics 095Christmas morning and group pics 067

And then we went out to the lighthouse

Christmas morning and group pics 006Christmas morning and group pics 004 Christmas morning and group pics 008

and out to the beach.

Christmas morning and group pics 014  Christmas morning and group pics 016 Christmas morning and group pics 015

And then for a quick stop to pick up some seafood at Ricky’s-

which meant we passed the giant Viking on Ridge Rd.

Christmas morning and group pics 023 This morning in Chincoteague.

Gingerbread and grandsons

Christmas morning and group pics 038

To say we are having a great time is an understatement.

Aidan and Willow and I made gingerbread cookies on Christmas day.

Christmas morning and group pics 059

And JoJo!  He made a cookie with a little help from his nephew.


Christmas morning and group pics 039

Aidan announced the part of the anatomy he was going to eat right before he bit into it.  “Head.”

Christmas morning and group pics 047


Christmas morning and group pics 061  Christmas morning and group pics 063

“Foot.”                                            “Two feet.”

Christmas morning and group pics 053

He had a lot of help decorating…

Christmas morning and group pics 046 

but the eating part just came natural!

A last minute decorating idea- a quick and easy table centerpiece for Christmas and your holiday entertaining

Christmas Eve 147

I made this up in about 15 minutes- tops!

It  costs almost nothing- and you can make more than one and add your own special touches and interests.

Christmas Eve 101 Start with a 12 inch piece of 2×4. 

Christmas Eve 103 Christmas Eve 104

Pound in 5 -3 1/2 inch galvanized nails- one in the center and 2 diagonally on each side.Christmas Eve 106 Gather up clippings from evergreen bushes,pinecones, shells, magnolia leaves, and 5 pieces of fruit.

Christmas Eve 109 Christmas Eve 113 Christmas Eve 122


Christmas Eve 126 Christmas Eve 128

Then, starting with your largest fruit in the center ( I used a pomegranate, but a small pineapple or large apple would work just as well) add the fruit, impaling it onto the nails.  It will hold your greens in place and is the focal point of your centerpiece.

Christmas Eve 137Christmas Eve 142

Christmas Eve 143

This also makes a wonderful hostess gift if you are going to a lot of parties!

Christmas Eve 145 I added some candles and shells we picked up on the beach today-  and we have a beautiful table for our Christmas Eve feast!

Christmas Carol Identification

I found this list on another blog and thought it was cute.

I offer it to you as a source of puzzlement and fun to share with your family.


Name That Christmas-Time Tune

1. Two hundred eighty-eight Yuletide hours.

2. Proclamation of ecstatic emotion for this planet.

3. Thrice I implore, don’t impede the crystallized precipitation.

4. Minuscule hamlet south of Jerusalem, known as “House of Bread.”

5. The lad, the diminutive percussionist.

6. Assemble, everyone who is loyal.

7. Fantasia of a colorless Dec. 25.

8. Far back in the hay feeder.

9. Identify the juvenile present here.


11. Perambulating through magical realms of the December solstice.

12. Listen, the winged heavenly messengers are proclaiming tunefully.

13. Speechless Sir Lancelot, sanctified Sir Reginald.

14. I envisioned a triad of nautical vessels arriving.

15. Present me naught but dual incisors for this Yuletide festival.

16. Depart and broadcast from an elevated peak.

17. At a particular time in blue-blooded Davy’s capitol.

18. Dost thou perceive the same stimulus that excites my auditory organs?

19. As the guardians of woolly animals protected their charges after dusk.

20. Behold, the aspects of tightly gathered petals as they open continuously.

21. Unmannerly Dolf, crimson beaked draft critter.

22. The arrival was a smogless event, twixt evening and morning.

23. Our audio sensors detected top level celestial messengers.

24. Boulder featuring rhythmic tintinnabulating hollow metallic sounding instruments in triplicate.

25. Psychiatrist’s office or apartment.

I’m putting the answers up in the comments section- try and see how many you get right.

Elves and Fairy tales…

When I was  little girl, I had a tutor who taught me to read.

I was home for the first six months of second grade, and I don’t remember any math or social studies or science.  All I remember is fairy tales.

She gave me a book of fairytales for Christmas and I devoured it.  And I’ve been reading like that ever since. 

But one of my favorite stories was about the Cobbler and the Elves.

You know the story- the poor cobbler can only afford one more piece of leather, so he cuts it out one evening and then goes to bed intending to sew the shoes in the morning.  But that night, elves creep into his shop and carefully craft the shoes into  a work of art and he sells them quickly and for a  good profit.  This goes on until he is quite prosperous and he decides to thank them with little green outfits that his wife sews for them.

The elves love the outfits, put them on and prance about and then leave-never to return- but it is OK because the cobbler is now well known and well to do.

I told you all that so I can tell you this.

I’ve been feeling rather poorly lately, and trying to keep up with Christmas preparations and get ready to go to Chincoteague has just about done me in!

SO, I was taking a small break and napping, and I woke up to see this vision-DSCF0084

AN ELF came to help me and clean up the living room!

I KNOW it’s an elf because of the green pointy hat with a star on the top.


And I am truthfully as thankful as any prosperous cobbler.

Schley Christmas party 007 All I had to provide was a  hat!

Plans for Christmas present and Future

Nor'easter and home cooking 034

My friend, Patty, is a quilter and she made me this art quilt of  Sailors Rest in Chincoteague.  I love it!  I love when someone MAKES something just for me!

It is such a compliment and an act of love.  I know, because I quit buying gifts years ago.  Occasionally I will buy something if it is exactly perfect for someone, but just buying so that I can give a gift? -no.

Anyway, Luke and Willow, Aidan and I are going to Chincoteague on Monday.

Frank and Jordan will come down a couple of days later.  And we will be spending Christmas in Chincoteague!  That is why I’m on a baking frenzy now, so that I can take stuff down and give gifts to neighbors and friends before we go.

I would love to have you all over for Christmas Eve Tea, someday.  Robin and I started a tradition of having a gourmet tea and sharing a literary reading or music on Christmas Eve afternoon.  It was filled with good will and good food and good books… but we have held off from celebrating with the Tea for the last two years because we were burnt out and people were busy or out of town. 

But I’ve been thinking a lot about this and maybe next year, we could have a Christmas Tea for all of you in the local area .   It is truly a blessing to share a hot cuppa  and a greeting from the heart along with a beloved text with dear friends.

I haven’t made or sent out Christmas cards this year.  I’ve been busy, distracted and sick- but I plan to send out after Christmas cards while I’m in Chincoteague.

So, I’m wishing you the Merriest of Seasons and the most Holy of Christmas Celebrations. 


Boxwood Wreath 013 Boxwood Wreath 037 Boxwood Wreath 035

Blurry pictures and Fuzzy head

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 003

Here is a picture of my paperwhites- blooming faithfully away!

It’s blurry.

My life feels blurry right now.  Too much to do- not enough time-

and I’m sick and tired. 

I’ve been trying to keep up with it all, but honestly, I don’t think I’m even in the race anymore.  Cynthia and I made cookies and Quiche this week-  we made the quiches today- 8 of them for Christmas giving.  For enjoying on Christmas morning. 

Fuzzy headed people with earaches and bad headaches should find a warm corner to sit in and drink tea.  Yesterday I went to Allyson’s and did just that.  And watched “The Bishop’s Wife” and played with Aiden . 

I am going to look for a warm corner and drink some chamomile tea, now.

But first,  look at the cute slippers I made for Aidan!

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 075 I put octopi on the top instead of pom-poms!  They make me smile when I look at them- but I’m thinking he will probably pull them off of the slippers, forthwith.

Allyson And Aidan

I’m too tired to write today.  So I will give you the joy of a couple of pictures I took of Allyson and Aidan at lunch today!

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 016

Allyson:  “Hi, Aidan!  Look what I can do!”

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 019

Aidan” “Wow !  That is cool!  I want to do that, too!”

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 025

Aidan: ” Oh, no!  My hands are too small- I can’t see through my little fists!”

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 023

Allyson:  ” Here let me show you again!  I love the hat, btw, may I borrow it ?”


Wreaths and smiles and hats! 021

Aidan : “At least now I can see!  And watch out for that hat- because when you pull it off – your hair is full of static!Wreaths and smiles and hats! 034

See what I mean?!”

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 035

Allyson: ” Oh yeah, I get it- I mean, I GOT it!

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 037

That’s OK- I’ll just cover up my head completely.”

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 042 Aidan:  ” Grandma, I think Allyson has had too much tea and sugar!”

Wreaths and smiles and hats! 015

Allyson: “I don’t know What you are talking about!”