Posts Tagged ‘family’

We had the best Christmas possible under Covid, Zooming with family who would have been here and sharing time with family we haven’t spent Christmas with in years. Tonight we’ll be FaceTime-ing with friends from Illinois, then tomorrow is not only another day, but another year, something I know we’ve all been waiting for.

Our daughter had some time off and slipped out of California to visit us, although her husband had to stay home and work. So yesterday we drove to Queen Creek Olive Mill for some coffee and mother-daughter time before she headed back to the west coast.

The outdoor area is in an olive grove shaded by olive trees and where there are several Christmas tree-shaped trees guarded by two lions. The trees are decorated for Christmas, the lion thankfully not. But this lion doesn’t look too happy, probably because…

…with post-dawn temperatures in the upper 30’s it’s not exactly the African savanna and it’s a bit chilly sitting outside even with a hot mocha. These gas fires are very cheerful and look nice and warm, but we found that they really aren’t, so we sat on the covered patio which had standing heaters as well as heaters above us. It was so toasty we were able to take of our jackets and just enjoy our drinks. It was lovely.

Yes, the trees have olives, but don’t eat one off the tree. Until they’re cured and fermented, they’re very bitter as my husband discovered in Provence years ago when his sister gave him an olive right off the tree. Siblings!

Since meals and snacks are served here, there are crumbs and where there are crumbs, there are those who try to help clean them up, whether or not they’re being paid.

Relaxing in the sunshine (with additional heat as needed), enjoying time with my daughter while sipping a mocha topped with whipped cream, surrounded by cute little birds and stone lions, admiring the bougainvillea…life is good. Let’s pray that 2021 will be the same.

Amy at The World Is A Book sets us the challenge of recalling precious memories in a year that might have lack any or many. She’s shared lots of lovely photos of happy, mask-less people, something which probably features large in any of our precious memories. I’m going much further back to share the precious memory of family.

Memories, precious to me, of “my” park in Illinois and winter, which I do miss.

Wonderful memories of a memorable trip to Yosemite.

A beautiful welcome to Arizona!

And for the furthest back memory, a selfie of sorts with “my” first horse/pony. The owner brought the pony to our house during his trip around the neighborhoods and my parents paid for my photo to be taken. Happy? Oh, yeah! Much better than the ice cream truck!

Amy at The World Is A Book challenges us this week to show old and new. I challenged myself to find an illustration of that pairing in one photo and I think I did it. As I type, we’re experiencing our first dust storm warning in the desert. The sky is dark, the wind is wicked, and if we were back in Illinois, the temperature would have plunged. As we’re in Arizona, at 7 pm it’s down (if you can call it that) from about 111F to 102. I feel positively chilled. 🙂

for Lens Artists Challenge #67

The girls are home, I have one day of work left (today), and it’s almost Christmas.  That means it’s time to take a blogging break and enjoy the season.  I’m going to share a few of our Christmas decorations and wish each of you and yours the most merry and blessed Christmas you’ve ever had.  Count your blessings, hold your loved ones close, and take time to enjoy the season.  Thanks for being part of the blessings of my blogging life!  I greatly appreciate all of you.

© janet m. webb

Our nature tree

© janet m. webb

Part of the nature tree experience

© janet m. webb

Time for glitz and glitter

And of course, the real Reason for the season.

© janet m. webb

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I know many of us love Christmas.  It’s my favorite holiday, for both religious and family reasons.  But. Just. STOP!!!  You’re missing the holiday chance of a lifetime, a chance to both enjoy family a/o friends, food, and an opportunity to count your blessings.

Before you dive into the appetizers, the drinks, the turkey, the mashed potatoes, or whatever food you prefer (my family tends to like my homemade ravioli for every holiday), take a minute to think about what you’re thankful for.  You might go around the table and do this, make your own lists, take a moment of silence to think about it, but PLEASE, make that list! And put aside thoughts of Christmas just for the day.  By rushing Christmas, you miss the chance to take a just to be thankful.  I think that’s something that in this day and age of negativity, we dearly need!

We have so much for which to be thankful.  Having an “attitude of gratitude” every day and not just on Thanksgiving (which, if you live in the US, is today) makes all the difference.  If you blog, you have a computer and internet access, a blessing in itself. But if you start listing your blessings, you’ll find you won’t have time to dwell as much on the less positive things in your life.

Our family won’t be together until Christmas.  Today it’s just my husband and me,  recovering either from a cold (me) or sinus infection (him.)  But to be able to simply take a day to relax and recover, sleep, read, watch TV, take a walk, or whatever else, together, is blessing enough.  And of course, I’m thankful for each and every one of you who reads and comments on my blog, a daily source of joy.  Thanks to each of you and may God richly bless you, today and every day!

© janet m. webb

© janet m. webb

Our challenge this week is to show one thing without which our holiday seasons could never be complete.  Whether Thanksgiving or Christmas, as a Christian, my holidays depend on God.  But I don’t have a really good shot of Him, so I have to go with something else.  I thought of food, snow (for Christmas), decorations (also for Christmas), presents, and a variety of other possibilities.  I tried to come up with something “different.”  But the truth is, any holiday without my family wouldn’t be the same.  This is a photo of a photo, from “back in the day” before digital photography, before our girls were women, and when we were all much younger.  It may not be unique, but it speaks to my heart.

© janet m. webb

Recipe for a Friday Fictioneers story:

Take one photo.
Add some thought. (Amount is optional.)
Shake (or stir, James) to make 100 words.
Enjoy immoderately.

Serves one or more. No calories.

This week’s photo is from a Friday Fictioneers stalwart, Jennifer (ElmoWrites) Pendergast.  I’m sure it has a much happier memory than the story I derived from it.

Missing

I miss my dad.

He took us on hikes where we found green frogs and slithering snakes, taught us to swim and always splashed us, gave us piggyback rides, told us stories.

That was before he and Mom started fighting.
Before her bruises.
Before she fell down the steps and broke her arm.
Before he was gone.

Mom made a pile of stones, one for every year he’s been gone. That’s where I go over the good times so I don’t forget them. Or him.

Mom said it’s a place I can remember Dad.

They remind me of a headstone.

One of Bill’s favorite sayings is, “Hunger is the best sauce” and riding 50+ miles makes for hunger.   After a shower, for Bill, and the Belmost and subsequent excitement at seeing the first Triple Crown in 37 years, we headed to downtown Custer (only about three minutes away), to look for Black Hills Burger and Bun.  This place had achieved the highest rating on Trip Advisor, which also warned that a) they were only open from 11-2 and from 5-7:30, and b) there would be a line.  I’m normally not much of a burger person, burgers always sounding better to me than they ever taste, but after last night’s deliciousness, I was ready for more.

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