The Oldest Ornament

We have certain Christmas traditions in my family.

At my house my whole family decorates our tree together.

Each person has a box of their own ornaments.

As we place these on the tree we talk about where each came from.

Some were made in school.  Some were gifts from family or friends.

My ornament is the oldest.

I made it in Mr. G’s class in the sixth grade.

Mary has a styrofoam head and is wearing a gown of light blue felt. Baby Jesus is a clothespin.

This precious ornament used to hang on my parents’ tree.

My children decorate their tree while we are there on Christmas Eve. Mom and my two children are in charge of the tree,

while my husband and dad grill the steaks.

Mary made it to my house when my two children were old enough to appreciate her.

When she is placed on the tree each year, I again tell that my twelve-year-old hands made this treasure.

I would like for Mr. G to know that I am still “Singing My Song”.

Now my songs involve a camera and computer.

Almost eleven thousand people from all over the world have heard me “sing” this year.

Thanks for helping an awkward, adolescent girl find her voice.

Bless you Mr G..



What is a Chrismon?

The term Chrismon is a combination of two words, Christ and Monogram.

The original Chrismon ornaments were designed by Frances Kipps Spencer in 1957.

She gave her designs to Ascension Lutheran Church of Danville Virginia.

The original designs are patented.  I am not sure which of the ornaments shown are official “Chrismons.”

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Troutman, North Carolina has the most beautiful Chrismon tree that I have ever seen.

Years ago I was involved  in making some of these ornaments with our pastor’s wife, Rosalind.

We drove to an official Chrismon supply store. The special wire was cut, the beads were counted. These were not the buy-by-the-bag materials. The beads had names and numbers.  Templates had to be followed with precision.  Each had its own list of materials.

I was more of a glitter and glue girl back then.(Still am.) I only completed ONE ornament, and that took several weeks.

When you see a Chrismon tree in a Lutheran church.


Take a closer look.  The details of these ornaments have meaning. Some include the secret symbols of early Christians.  Greek letters have meanings, also. The gold represents majesty and the white stands for purity.


Cross and Crown
Serpent lifted up
Communion Chalice, Christ’s blood
Grains and the cross
Bell, God’s word
Butterfly, resurrection
Alpha Omega, beginning and end
Lamp, light, word of God
Rose, Virgin Mary

I always look forward to seeing this tree in our lovely sanctuary.

Along with our Nativity scene waiting for the baby to arrive.



Rescued Baby Grows Up

In one of my previous posts, I shared that I felt compelled

to rescue some holiday plants left abandoned in a big box store.

These living things were piled among the other left over holiday decorations.

Not only that, these babies were covered in glitter and glue.


I love glitter and glue when it comes to decaupaging things,

but I do not consider it an appropriate decoration for plants.

I brought home some particularly pitiful, abused Norfolk Island pines.

I am happy to report that after much tender loving, cleaning and care

this baby is now big enough to decorate.

Not with more glitter and glue, but with little lights and tiny balls.

Hooray for Post-Holiday Plant Rescue!

Mission Accomplished.  Merry Christmas


Desperate Deer

There is nothing like a good snow to let you know

what goes on in your yard while you are not looking.


The tracks tell the tales of who did what, where.

This last snow confirmed what we all ready suspected.


The deer are desperate for food.


They devoured all those rogue Kwanso daylilies on the bank during the snow.

Now they are eating the iris


and the azaleas


and Mondo grass


and even the Holly ferns.


Feed them Flower, you may think.  Save those desperate deer.

What am I going to do?

Nothing.  I have done too much all ready.

I have filled my yard with juicy vegetation

which keeps the females fat and fertile.

A female feasts.  A female fattens.  The doe goes into estrus.

Next she is pregnant and eating for two or three.


Then she is a hungry nursing mother.

Soon the fawns need my flowers, too.


Now, we have a hungry herd.

Feed them?  So the cycle can repeat again?  So the herd can get even bigger?

To slow down this cycle, there must be limited food.

I have made this artificial environment.

I am not Mother Nature. I have upset the balance.

So I must let them destroy my gardens,

until they eat it down and go away or stop reproducing.


The Talking Bear

The North Carolina Arboretum wasn’t just twinkling lights last weekend.

There was also Buck and Bear drama in a life-sized, wildlife diorama.

These two animals had the speaking parts in the play about nature’s ways..

The old buck was reminding the young cub how to prepare a bed for hibernation.

The cub had forgotten what he and his mother had done to prepare for last year’s winter rest.

Bears make themselves a mattress to sleep on out of twigs, vines and leaves.

There were cameo appearances from some smaller stars. These included owls, raccoons, skunks and chipmunks.

There was even a wild rabbit.

I really wanted to crawl over the railing and pet these precious creatures.

The folks at the North Carolina Arboretum foresaw this urge.

There was a row of little bears outside the railing also watching the performance,

so that children (or crazy women) could sit beside them and pet them.

Because it’s really hard to resist a baby bear,

especially one that talks.


(This is in the NC Arboretum building near the fountain. The display is in a large room to the left of the lobby. We would have missed it, had not a worker in the gift shop told us about it.  The short show is a must-see for children.)


Winter Lights

On a night so cold and dreary, I was out all warm and cheery.

The North Carolina Arboretum has a Winter Lights display through December 31.


It was colorful, exciting and wondrous.

There was a giant tree at the center with lights that danced to music.


There were even chairs for folks to sit and watch this tree-show.


The quilt garden which is usually planted with patterns of bright flowers,

featured patterns of colorful lights which changed rhythmically.


There were sparkling dresses


and chandeliers in the trees.


Even the tiny Bonsai trees were showing off.


Reflections in the water doubled the joy.


Our favorite were the glowing purple flowers


growing on a glistening arbor.


The NC Arboretum is celebrating our season of ice and snow


with holiday music and a happy glow.


Happy Holidays



Throwing Snow

While most folks are shoveling sidewalks and driveways,

the Flower is diligently digging snow off her deck.

Why would I make a path to nowhere?

The bunnies, of course.

Their yard in under the deck. They have not been out for days.

They dislike snow, but more than that, they hate to be dripped on.

Before they can leave the comforts of their bunny room in the basement,

the snow must be removed.

Melting will not do, because melting means dripping.

It’s been a tough week inside for the bunnies.

Barley seems depressed.

It could be indigestion. He ate some bristles off the broom while my back was turned.

Charlotte is bored. She has been throwing the hay pan in protest.

They have been keeping busy inside. But they need to get back outside.

That’s why I shoveled a path to the deck railing.

So I could throw snow over it to the ground below.

It’s all about the bunnies here.

If you don’t believe me, ask Mr. Flower.  He’ll tell you.




Shame and the Snowmen

Back about twenty years or so ago, we only had one nativity scene.

My daddy made it, so I loved it.


It was brown. Flower does not like brown things, she likes green things.

There were only two wisemen and no camels.

Or maybe they were shepherds, but there were no sheep either.

It was hard to tell Mary and Joseph apart. They both seemed to have beards.

Jesus was square.  Poor Jesus.

So this brown, hodgepodge nativity scene was set up in the basement.

The shame occurred in my Sunday School class.

We were discussing the true meaning of Christmas.

Our class was sharing stories of all the distractions of the holidays,

that put Jesus in the “basement.”

Flower, being the open-book fool that she is,

shared the information that her Jesus actually was in the basement

and that our main floor was decorated with colorful snowmen.

Some good Lutheran gasps were heard ’round the room.

So every year since, I have found one special Nativity scene to add to my holiday decorations.

Just to remind me what Christmas is all about.

See any snowmen?