Being a Grandparent COVID 19 glamping holidays home decor Life Parkinson's Disease

“Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. . .”

“It’s the best time of the year. I don’t know if there’ll be snow, but have a cup of cheer. . .” And so the song goes, courtesy of the late great Burl Ives. Remember the snowman on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated special? I was seven years old when I saw it for the first time. It was magical. Now I can’t even get my grandkids interested. The old claymation specials have nothing on today’s computer graphics animation. Ah, but they were magical, at least to my generation.

I got distracted. Sorry about that. I have decided to have a holly jolly Christmas at my house. I don’t care if a pandemic is raging, threatening my family and friends, threatening retailers and restauranteurs, threatening the traditions we all hold dear. Maybe the pandemic is a good thing.

Our Living Room Christmas Tree

What? What did you say? I said, maybe it’s a good thing. It’s changing our priorities. We are focusing more on loved ones, and not things. We are finding out that the most valuable things in life are not things at all. The things we miss are not things, either. Hugging a friend or relative, shaking hands, whispering in someone’s ear, getting close enough to detect a special cologne, gathering in groups at holiday parties, sharing a toast, kids sitting on Santa’s lap, being able to breathe without fogging up your glasses, last-minute shopping in a crowded store. Need I go on?

We have given up much this year because of Covid-19. But look at what we’ve gained: a new appreciation of freedom, gathering with friends, going shopping and dining wherever we want, gathering with family at holidays and special occasions, going to church and fellowship with fellow churchgoers. Boy, do I miss that.

My precious granddaughters enjoying the season.

I’m going to make it a holly jolly Christmas, though. I’m going to:

  1. Enjoy small things like the lights on my beautiful tree.
  2. Behold the wonder in my granddaughters’ eyes as they look at all the decorations.
  3. Experience the delight in the two-year-old’s smile as she touches an LED C9 bulb and finds out that it’s cool to the touch.
  4. Note the pride in the five-year-old’s stance as she finishes decorating the little silver tree for my camper.
  5. Enjoy the taste of pumpkin spice in my morning coffee.
  6. Relish drinking from my special Christmas coffee mugs.
  7. Cozy up to my dog next to me in my chair while wearing comfy pajamas.
  8. Relish a morning when I get to sleep just a little bit later.
  9. Wrap each and every gift with love.
  10. Give thanks for online ordering when I can’t get to a store.
Can you see the silver tree hidden in the tinsel garland? I left it just as she decorated it.

Get the picture? There is a host of ways to make it a holly jolly Christmas. Even as my days are consumed with caregiving and my nights with intermittent sleep between calls from hubby, I choose to focus on the good. Yes, I have days, even weeks, when I wonder how this is all going to turn out–the pandemic, my husband’s disease progression, the next presidential administration, life in general. But I rest in this: my God knows it all, and holds it all, in His almighty hands.

So. . . Merry Christmas. May all your days be holly jolly.


Little “Miss Millie” all dressed up for the holidays.
Being a Grandparent holidays

My Christmas Cup Runneth Over

I’ve lived through 57 Christmases, some of them memorable, some not so memorable, even though I have tried to honor God during most of them by celebrating the birthday of His Son, which is what it is supposed to be about anyway.

But the real meaning of Christmas and the Nativity aside, this Christmas has to be the best ever.  Why?  Because both of my grandchildren visited my husband and me, together, for the first time.  What a great day!

The grands watching a video on Coco’s cell phone.

Our grandson is almost two, and our granddaughter just turned one. To see them open their gifts from Pop and Coco (with help, of course) and interact with one another was priceless, the best gift my children could have possibly given me.  To experience the wonder of a small child at Christmas again was a wonderful blessing, a privilege I don’t deserve but am so grateful for.

My two babies in 1989.

And then to get to share that with my parents, their great-grandparents, was the icing on the cake.  What better Christmas could there possibly be?

I hope I find out next Christmas, if I am lucky enough to have the grandbabies together again.  I am so thankful to my children for sharing them with us this year.  I don’t suppose a person can really know the true meaning of the word “grand” until they have grandchildren.  Yes, my cup runneth over.

What special blessing have you received this Christmas?



Silent Night, Holy Night

The stores are finally closed,
the hustle and bustle has quieted,
shoppers are home with their treasures,
children are anxiously trying to go to sleep in anticipation of the morning’s surprises.
Tomorrow food will be prepared and spread in abundance as families and friends gather to celebrate the season.

Let’s not forget the reason for this hectic season.  As the frantic pace of preparation slows, let us reflect on the meaning of the day we are celebrating tomorrow.
Christmas Day.

Linus says it quite eloquently:
 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.    (source)

Merry Christmas, Y’all!


holidays writing

Argh! Christmas is upon us!

Yes, the Christmas season is upon us, and with it the mad frenzy to get everything done, shopping included.
I’ve been working almost every day at the little business where I do gift wrapping so I haven’t been blogging, as you can tell.
But I did want to tell you about a couple of gift ideas for the readers in your life.
These two books make excellent gifts and even better stocking stuffers.
Our display at the gift wrapping shop.
What’s so great about them, you ask?
Did you catch the author’s name on the covers?
They were written by me!
Night Keeper is a romantic suspense novel about a group of zookeepers who work at night and deal with strange happenings at the zoo, including murder!
I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas:
A Holiday Survival Guide was written after one particularly harried holiday season, and is a humorous take on saving money and one’s sanity during the holidays.  It’s a short read and includes cartoon illustrations by yours truly.
You can order signed copies directly from me for $20 (Night Keeper) and $15 (Black Christmas) with free shipping, or you can find them here on
They are also available in E-book format on Amazon.
Great gifts, great reads!  Let me know how you like them at my author website:
Happy holidays!
Merry Christmas!

It’s Christmas Eve and It’s a Wonderful Life

The gifts are wrapped–all nine million of them–and I am finally sitting in my chair taking in my favorite all-time Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Nine million gifts may be an exaggeration, but I know that I wrapped at least twenty or thirty per day since December 1, so what is that, about 400 or 500?  And my fingers aren’t even bleeding!  I will be blogging about the adventures of gift wrapping in days to come, but I wanted to just reflect on the season a bit and wish my readers a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.
Don’t you love the scene in the movie when the gym floor opens during the dance and everyone dives into the pool below?  What a great idea!  I wonder if school gyms have pools under them any more?
Sitting here in my pajamas in front of a fire and enjoying HD TV with my doggies, I just don’t think it gets any better than this.  My grown children are away at family gatherings of the spouse kind, and my husband is working at the zoo–animals don’t take holidays.  They must be fed, watered, and cleaned up after every day of the year, regardless of the calendar.  But I don’t mind being alone.
My home is cozy, the lights are pretty, the fire is warm, and the television picture is clear.  My Lord is in Heaven still in control of His creation and still reminding us of the greatest gift of His own Son who gave His life to save us from our sins.
Thank you, Father, for not giving up on us and for still loving us in spite of our selfishness and greed.  I pray that the hustle and bustle of holiday consumerism does not overshadow the real importance of this season.  Jesus may not have been born on December 25 but at least we have set aside this day to remember His birth and what it means.
I urge you to take the time to reflect on our Saviour and His great gift as you reunite with friends and family this week.
“May your days be merry and bright
and may all your Christmases be white.”