Sample, sample, sample! Here’s another chapter of my new book, Hair on Fire: A Heartwarming & Humorous Christmas Memoir.
Chapter 8: What Are Your Christmas Traditions?
In my country childhood, we had many Christmas traditions: the fun and adventure of cutting down a tree from our ranch, hilarious Christmas programs at the church and school, and fun-filled Christmas caroling around our small town. Our family dominated this holiday’s focus.
My dad’s parents lived just across town, so most of my childhood Christmas Eves were spent at their house.
Christmas at the Horners’
It was a big affair, especially when Granddad got all sixteen grandchildren together. That meant a holiday house full.
Each year, my Christmas outfit was always special. One year a white dress with a gathered skirt, trimmed in red, made by Mom.
Grandma, decked out in her festive apron, worried over the meal. She made the best mashed potatoes, smothered in butter. Granddad’s job came after dinner.
The table was set on the porch so we could all fit, a long line of smiles and laughter.
For those of us who knew the tradition, anticipation set in. We tried to hurry the process, with no success.
Finally, after a leisurely cup of coffee and a cigarette, Granddad would disappear to the front door.
His shout rang through the whole house! It had begun.
“I just saw Santa Claus fly over. Come quick.”
We’d race to the front door, and he would race to the back door.
“No, no, he’s out here now. Come this way.”
We’d race to the back door. This would go on for what seemed like eternity, and I never did see Santa, a reindeer, or his sleigh. I was always a second too late! But this also meant that it was time to open our gifts that had mysteriously spilled out from under the Christmas tree.
A traditional Christmas with the Horners meant cousins, aunts and uncles, sometimes great aunts from Tulsa, Oklahoma, good food, lots of laughter, and traditions that filled my heart with joy and family connection!
Larada Horner-Miller, This Tumbleweed Landed (2014): 67-68.
What was your favorite Christmas tradition?
Sample and savor this precious memory of mine! What was a special childhood tradition you enjoyed at Christmas? Tell me about it!
A mixture of Easter and poetry—yes, that’s a delight for me! Happy Easter. I want to share some haikus that came to me as I prepared for Easter this year. I walked through Lent and Holy Week with my notebook and pen, ready to record my thoughts and feelings in haikus. Remember that April is National Poetry Month!
A Mixture of Palm Sunday & Haikus
Palms covered the ground
Crowds praised Jesus riding by.
Right now, they cheered but. . .
Birds chirping a song.
Jesus prepares for his day.
Their songs comfort Him.
A Mixture of Holy Week & Haikus
Holy Week is here!
The week before my Lord dies
I follow you, Lord!
Each day, I hear you.
(I had three possibilities for the third lines. Which do you like the best?)
Did You dread the cross?
Did You want an escape route?
You did God’s bidding.
The disciples watched.
Their ears so deaf to Your words.
So, they saw defeat.
Mary, your mother
Watched and pondered her son’s words.
She stood at the cross.
A Mixture of Maundy Thursday & Haikus
I sat next to You.
Your elbow softly touched me.
You just washed my feet.
I pondered the whole idea of Jesus asking his disciples to watch and wait with Him in the garden of Gethsemane on Maundy Thursday, yet they fell asleep. (Matthew 26:36-46)
What would I do at that moment? Would I be able to stay awake?
A Mixture ofGood Friday & Haikus
Watch and wait with me!
Join millions around the world.
Jesus, on the cross!
Satan tried to win
With every strike on the nails.
But no, Jesus won!
Every strike echoes
In my soul. Those nails for me.
Jesus died for me.
Jesus died today
On a cross between two thieves.
His death saved the world.
I sit at the cross
Today. Its power remains.
I kneel at your cross.
Your actions say, “I love you.
I did this for you.”
A Mixture of Easter & Haikus
Watch and wait with me!
Jesus, buried in a tomb.
Oh, will I see Him?
Jesus, Lord of Lords!
Everything is possible!
The tomb is empty!
Watch and wait with me!
A new day—Jesus arose!
My heart overflows!
The first eyewitness to see
The Risen Jesus
The first eyewitness
A woman, not a man, saw Him
Jesus loved women!
For me, haikus provide a wonderful framework to express deep thoughts. As I reflected on the days leading up to Easter, I resorted to haikus to dive deep, and I love what happened—very different perspectives of an age-old story that means so much to me through a mixture of Easter and poetry.
Do you ponder the days leading up to the Resurrection? What they meant back then? What they mean today? That’s what I so enjoyed during this Lenten season and Holy Week. And in doing that, my Easter has been a supreme celebration of the Risen Lord. How about you?
All available at my website: laradasbooks.com or Amazon.com
~My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? WON the 2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Body, Mind & Spirit Category. Have you bought your copy yet?Vist my website: laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.
Grab a cup of coffee, a pen and look at a chapter in my newest book!
~For me, it’s Christmas all year long!Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A
Take Flippo with you on your phone and grab an apple to munch on!
~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been three years. History and humor go hand-in-hand! Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.
New Year’s Eve 2021 is here! I always get nostalgic thinking of past New Year’s Eves, so I’d like to share some with you.
New Year’s Eve With Bub & Lela
My brother, Bub, and his wife, Lela were my favorite New Year’s Eve partiers! For a couple of years, we went out to a bar in Clearlake Oaks, California and danced to country and western music. They followed one band and became good friends with the whole band and their spouses, so it felt like family.
My sister-in-law, the perfect playmate, dressed up with me, and we sprayed glitter in our hair and out the door we went. After doing that a couple of years, we became known as the “Glitter Girls.”
When the bar closed, we often went to someone’s house to continue the party—being in our early thirties, we had the energy to stay up late, drink a lot and keep going. One year, we came home after the party at someone’s house and went through all their pictures. We finally went to bed around 5:00 AM.
One year, I rode out to California with a friend on Amtrak. We woke up New Year’s Eve morning in the party car, and we had a party day traveling to Sacramento.
Square & Round Dancing on This Night
When I started square dancing, I loved to dance on New Year’s Eve with the tradition of ending the year with a dance, then starting the new year with another one.
For a couple of years, my ex and I drove to Raleigh, North Carolina, to spend Christmas with his brother and then attend a round dance festival at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that ended on New Year’s Eve. During the festival before the holiday, Charlie Lovelace and Wayne and Barbara Blackford taught us some gorgeous higher-level dances. I loved being on the beach, too.
I had gotten into the habit of calling Mom in Colorado on New Year’s Eve—so, not thinking, I called her from Myrtle Beach when we got back to our room to wish her a “Happy New Year.” I didn’t realize it was late in Colorado, but she didn’t blink an eye! She was so glad to hear from me.
For several years, my ex and I went to Green Valley, Arizona, for New Year’s Eve. They served a delicious sit-down dinner, and then we square and round danced. We have so many friends in Arizona; it was a delight to celebrate with them there.
After Lin and I got together, we celebrated many years at the Albuquerque Square Dance Center with our Albuquerque square dance family. They got into the habit of observing the New York time of celebrating the New Year at 10:00 PM, our time, so we became used to an earlier night on New Year’s Eve.
Unique Night for New Year’s Eve
The most unique New Year’s Eve was Marshall Flippo’s last square dance in Green Valley, Arizona in 2017. About twenty-five callers came from all over the United States to see their mentor and friend call his last dance.
Flippo called a fun-filled dance. During the night, I saw groups of callers watching him on stage, emotions mixed for everyone.
During the amazing night, Flippo handpicked his music. He sang, “Another Square Dance Caller.” He shared a heartfelt thank you to everyone in attendance and ended his final dance with the song, “I’m Leaving Here a Better Man.” I’m sure that’s how he felt that night!
Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, (2020): 327.
What made that New Year’s Eve dance so unique—anyone there witnessed the end of an era with Flippo ending his square dance calling career. I felt honored to be there!
The Last Few Years on New year’s Eve
For a variety of health reasons of ours, we’ve been at-home the last few years on New Year’s Eve—not my idea of how to spend this holiday. And yes, during the pandemic last year we watched TV to ring in the new year.
I enjoy celebrating the end of the current year and the anticipatory feelings of the new one coming. Putting on a silly paper hat, blowing a horn and throwing up confetti make me feel celebratory, but I love to observe this festive night dancing and being with friends.
Do you celebrate New Year’s Eve? If so, how? What is your favorite New Year’s Eve memory?
The day after Christmas is here! Santa needs a vacation. Now, what? As a child, I focused on playing with my new toys on this day. As an adult, what do I do?
Looking back on my Christmas preparations, I created a calendar for a family gift. I wrote, designed and published our annual Christmas newsletter. Then, I sent cards to friends far and near. During Advent, I took part in a group who read Richard Rohr’s Preparing for Christmas, then we shared comments and remarks on WhatsApp because we had an international group participating. What a rewarding group that was!
I had an errands day in Albuquerque, getting a prescription and some groceries. At 5:00 pm, Lin and I virtually attended my church’s, Hope in the Desert Episcopal Church, Christmas Eve service. It started with “La Posada,” a Mexican tradition of the pregnant Mary and Joseph going house to house and being denied any lodging. The last home welcomes them in. In its simplicity, it was beautiful.
After the service, we ate Costa Rican tamales from Lin’s ex-wife and watched two traditional Christmas movies—“Scrooge” and “It’s a Beautiful Life.” Then we watched a contemporary movie on Amazon Prime with a strong Christian message.
On Christmas morning, we opened our gifts and ate blueberry empanadas from Pastian’s Bakery. After that we played two Cribbage games. Lin worked hard so I wouldn’t be skunked on Christmas Day—what a loving man! We ate a late lunch—honey-baked ham, cheesy cheddar potatoes, asparagus, and applesauce. Later, we enjoyed pecan pie. Lin added eggnog ice cream.
From that point on, Lin watched the two football games scheduled for Christmas day. That’s always shocking to me to have football at Christmas. I made a big batch of popcorn balls—my favorite Christmas goodies. I neglected to get my traditional baking in this year.
During the day, we both called friends we knew having a hard time this holiday: one who lost her dad this year and was alone, one who recently lost her husband of fifty-three years and another long-time friend in an assisted living facility. Sharing those calls made our day! We are so blessed to have each other!
The Day After Christmas
So, here we are the day after Christmas. Usually, mega commercials for after-Christmas sales dominate our TV viewing. I have seen none! Probably because the stores’ Christmas items were picked over weeks ago. I went to our grocery store on Friday, and there was hardly anything available. Is this because of shortages or supply chain irregularities because of the pandemic? Unusual, no matter what. Mom used to love to go to these sales, looking for great buys!
I’ve always enjoyed this day. As a child, I familiarized myself with my new toy. As a high school student, we stayed up late each night and watched Johnny Carson and later Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. Later, I savored the time with Dad and Mom, with stories and trips to the ranch. After my niece moved to Texas and came regularly to Branson, she arrived this day, and we looked forward to a few days of loud games at the round table with laughter and stories and trips to the ranch looking for wildlife.
Extended Christmas Season
For me, just because Christmas Day is behind me, the Christmas season isn’t over. My church celebrates the “Twelve Days of Christmas” which ends on January 6 at Epiphany, “a Christian festival held on January 6 in honor of the coming of the three kings to the infant Jesus Christ.”
So, I keep wearing my Christmas outfits and enjoy extending the holiday. We don’t take our tree down until after Epiphany. I love this longer holiday season.
Many people have a big letdown on the day after Christmas—holiday expectations not met, memories of better times haunted by the changes today, etc. You fill in the blank with whatever weighs on you today.
This year, on this day after Christmas, try something different. Call someone who may need cheering up, family or friend. Ask a family member about what Christmas was like when they were children, listen and ask questions to draw out more specifics. Dust off your stack of games and have a marathon game day. Tonight, make up some hot chocolate, grab your coat and hat to look at Christmas decorations in your area.
The day after Christmas has arrived—enjoy it!
What are you doing today? Do you do anything traditional? If so, what?
Try gratitude! My challenge to you is to be grateful this week—about all the blessings of your life. Thanksgiving always makes me think of gratitude. But do you really know what gratitude is? Have we heard it connected to Thanksgiving so often, it’s lost its meaning?
Positive psychology defines gratitude in a way where scientists can measure its effects, and thus argue that gratitude is more than feeling thankful: it is a deeper appreciation for someone (or something) that produces longer lasting positivity.
Gratitude changes people, attitudes and just about everything it comes into contact with! In recovery, I learned the power of gratitude. I often hear people comment about making a gratitude list. We have a phrase, an Attitude of Gratitude, I’ve heard often. For many, negativity supersedes positivity or gratitude habitually, so the habit has to be changed. And how to do you do that? Practice, practice, practice!
So, I created a Gratitude log to chart three things to be grateful for each day this week. Click here to download my Gratitude Log, and start today. It is a Word document, so you can record your list on your computer or tablet. Decide whether to do it in the morning or evening, then commit yourself to that time each day. Maybe put a reminder on your calendar on your phone or tablet.
Email Family Members and/or Friends
To go along with this log, if you are listing people, shoot them off an email. I provide a sample below. If that person doesn’t do email, drop a card in the mail. That would be a shock! Just imagine the double blessing it would be—to get mail from someone other than the ridiculous junk mail vendors and then to open it to a beautiful note about your thankfulness about him/her.
To make it easy for you this week, I know you’re busy, busy—copy this email and send it to people to brighten their holidays.
My Email Example
I have deemed this week to be Gratitude Week, and I wanted you to know you are on my list. As I focus on all the good things in my life, I think of you and here’s why:
Add one thing reason you are grateful for this person
Add one thing reason you are grateful for this person
Add one thing reason you are grateful for this person
Just know I love you dearly and felt like I needed to let you know. (Pass this email on to anyone and bless their day!)
My Gratitude for My Recovery & My God
So, each day this week for the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I’m going to identify people, places and things I’ve grateful for.
My recovery, which led me back to my God, tops my gratitude list. After many years, I have been given, because of recovery, a life I could never had dreamed of. Because of recovery, I came back to a God of my understanding who blesses every day. I had turned my back on the God of my childhood and young adulthood for many years, but because recovery offered me a God I could work with, it all changed.
I often need to add something to a holiday to ground me amid the insanity of our world. Being grateful always centers me once more as I head towards Thanksgiving and then Christmas.
So, can you join me in this challenge and be grateful this week? Email or write someone a note to let them know why you are grateful for them? Try it again next week and the week afterwards? What do you think? Let me know below.
Not really! A vampiress and an alien became the subject of two writing practices in my writing practice group a couple of weeks ago to celebrate Halloween. I had so much fun with the topics (everyone in the group wrote wildly humorous pieces); I decided to share them with you. To enliven them a bit, I’ve doctored them up just a little!
A Vampiress: First Halloween Writing Practice Prompt
For my first ten-minute writing practice, our leader assigned me the following three items: a bakery, banana bread and a vampiress.
Halloween finally arrived! My lips crave your gorgeous neck, but I have to control myself. I move around behind the display case at our family bakery, Delicacies from Transylvania. We specialize in all kinds of exotic breads and pastries, but what’s surprising today is this handsome man-creature wants plain ole banana bread.
I catch my reflection in the window and gasp at my pale coloring. Forgetting my bloodless appearance, I forgot to put on enough rouge to rosy up my cheeks. I have to stop licking my lips, too—it causes my fangs to grow!
As our eyes meet over the bread display, I’m having trouble controlling my cravings. We exchange casual words, but I feel a mutual attraction. We continue our nonsensical back and forth. I see him scan my left hand and ring finger. In its absence, he asks me, “How about dinner tonight?”
My heart jumps in my chest—I can almost feel my fangs growing, so I cover my mouth with a pasty hand and fake a cough. I nod my head yes. After settling down some, I turn back to face him and say quietly, “I have to work until 11:00 PM here because I’m one of the bakers. Can we meet then?”
He chuckles and replies, “A late night get-together—how romantic! Yes, I’ll come by and get you.”
“That works because I live downstairs.”
As he walked out with the banana bread in hand, he looked back over his shoulder with a knowing glance, like he was as excited as I was with our late-night rendezvous.
The rest of the long day went by uneventfully. I baked until 10:00 PM, then raced downstairs to shower. After a speedy spitz, I put on my best red, shiny, sexy gown, red lipstick and black eyeliner. I survey myself in the mirror, more than satisfied with my appealing results.
At 11:00 PM, the door to the bakery opened, and he walked in with white roses—how did he know those are my favorite!
He took my hand in his and reached over for a kiss. Before I knew it, my fangs came out, and his neck became my destination, and I savored his delicious blood! What a start to the night for this precocious vampiress! Now pizza!
An Alien: Second Halloween Writing Practice Prompt
For my second ten-minute writing practice, our leader assigned me the following three items: a beach, poppy seed muffin, and an alien.
I’ve never seen a beach before, but those earthlings seem enthralled with it. That wet stuff moving along the edge of the gritty stuff called “sand” is “water,” or they call it, “Ocean.” How crazy is that! On my planet, “ocean” is a dirty word. My pals back home would be howling.
In our world, our law enforcers have outlawed water because wet stuff deteriorates everything it comes into contact with. In fact, I saw a friend of mine dissolve right before my eyes when he accidentally spilled some on his appendage.
Even though I’m still fascinated. That big orange thing hanging over the edge of the water we see often at home, but when we see it, it’s cold, not warm like it is here on Earth. What a difference our two planets have. In my earthly travels, I’ve learned some words, and it seems they call it the sun, but at home we call it “boomerang.”
I’ve disguised my skinny body today to look like an earthling beach bum with a wide-brim floppy hat and dark sunglasses, so I could walk along the beach with these earth people. So many shapes and sizes amaze me. Some of them don two pieces of clothing but very skimpy to cover their bodies. Those have two bumps on the top they try to cover, but it’s questionable, and the bottom barely covers anything. The others wear only one piece to cover their lower part, and they have hair growing where the others have those two bumps that vary in size. Strange attributes for each.
I see a group sitting down near the water but not in it. My curiosity gets the best of me, so I sit on the edge of the group, making sure I’m not near the water.
They’re putting a round piece of something crumbly into the hole in the top part of their bodies, right under a part that sticks out some. They’re making cheerful sounds and saying, “Delicious poppy seed muffins.”
As I watch, the part they put in disappears, and they then take more and put that into that hole. Its holding capacity seems bottomless because they keep adding more.
One of them realized I was watching and asked me something—I’m not fluent in earthling language yet, so I shook my head up and down which on our planet means “No.”
The person jumped up and gave me one of the “poppy seed muffins.” I followed their lead and put it in the hole under the sticky-out part. Suddenly, the flavor exploded in my mouth! How delicious! But back home, this would be sinful—that much pleasure! What was I to do?
I sat, mouth full of the piece—I did not know what to do. I watched more closely and saw them swallow, so I tried it and almost gagged! Aliens can’t eat food from this planet. What to do now?
I zapped myself over to New York City to avoid swallowing that gooey stuff and embarrassing myself. Let’s see what’s going on here!
A vampiress and an alien—two Halloween characters to enliven your day! I hope you enjoyed my playfulness with a couple of Halloween prompts. What do you think? Do you like to tell Halloween stories? (Scroll down below to make a ghoulish comment!)
“The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.”
Happy Independence Day! America offered me the dream. Looking back over my life, I have realized some of my dreams, but not all. I became a published author, so I am one of the fortunate ones. Not everyone sees their dreams come true. But I always wanted children, and that never happened.
First, we need to see where this festival day originated and see how I saw my dream come to fruition.
“On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.”
I am a country girl who graduated in a class of four from a small rural school. My parents never asked about me going to college—I was going. Neither of them had college degrees and wanted a better life for me. Also, they demanded I go to Trinidad State Junior College for the first two years, so I became a beautician.
I thoroughly enjoyed that career for fourteen years. At first, it uprooted me from the country life and I moved to Denver, Colorado to face life in a large metro area. After divorcing, I became a middle school English and Spanish teacher, the first person in my family to receive a four-year college degree. Then I persisted and earned a master’s degree. I enjoyed that profession for twenty-seven years—my students, team-teaching and my creative projects, yet my writing called.
I enjoyed my two careers, but my dream came true in retirement when I published my first book. Publishing that first book took thirty years. While teaching, I wrote it and put it away. My busy teaching life left little room for writing. Also, I traveled and danced a lot, so my book took a back seat.
After retirement, I dusted it off and published it and felt like I had finally found myself. Five more books and three cookbooks followed, and each one satisfied a deep need I had to share my voice with the world.
My parents and culture raised me to marry and have 2.7 children, but having children never happened. My students fulfilled that need for many years, and I’ve come to terms with it. I accepted it and moved on.
Never let your dreams die. I was sixty years old before I published my first book. What are your dreams?
Easter eggs? Church attendance? A religious holiday? Chocolate eggs? Our secular world celebrates Easter in a variety of ways. How do you celebrate it?
As a child, I focused on the secular side of Easter—finding Easter eggs, my basket, and lots of chocolate. I attended church each year with a new dress, shoes and hat. Our family celebrated with a festive dinner and all the fun activities for children, but no focus on the religious significance. Here I am in 1960, all dressed up for Easter at seven years old.
In 1966, one memorable Easter, I ended up with a broken nose. Our county 4-H group had a roller skating party in Trinidad, Colorado, the night before Easter, bringing together country children from all over Las Animas County. The owners of the skating rink decided to wax the floor before our big event, so we skaters had a terrible time standing up, much less skating., and we skated often, so it wasn’t new to us.
After I finally got the hang of skating on this slick floor, I skated with my cousin and a friend from Hoehne, Colorado, holding hands, laughing and enjoying our night of fun. Suddenly he fell first, and she fell over him. I flipped over the two of them and landed flat-faced on the floor, nose gushing with blood everywhere.
I had been looking forward to this big day for months, so I cleaned myself up and continued skating, cautious and careful, ignoring the pain in my face.
Next morning, I woke up with two black eyes and a swollen, sore nose. The unofficial diagnosis: a broken nose! Even though I hurt and looked horrendous, I proudly dressed in my new yellow seersucker Easter dress, white shoes and white hat that cradled my head. Here I am in 1966 at thirteen years old, but you can’t the black eyes or the swollen nose.
Because I didn’t have children, I didn’t get into the egg hunts, baskets and such. I had a memorable time with my young niece, though, in 1974. At that time, my husband and I and my brother and his wife lived in Denver, Colorado as young married near each other. At nine months, my niece didn’t understand the whole egg dying business. Her mom and I prepared the multiple cups with the different dye in each one.
We wrapped a tea towel around the little one to protect her clothes from the dye and began our joyous adventure. We gently placed an egg in each cup of color and used a spoon to roll them around to deepen the color. The transformation from white to different colors captivated my niece: red, blue, green, yellow! She squealed with delight standing on the chair peering into the multi-colored cups.
Excited and before we could stop her, my nine-month-old niece grabbed an egg out of the cup with her hand—now her hand was red. We tried to stop her, but in her exuberance, we couldn’t. The red dye didn’t discolor her hand too much, or we didn’t notice it.
Then we moved on to the next cup and the blue dye had already darkened to a deep shade. Her mom held her back as I rolled it around a little to get a deeper blue, then my niece’s small pudgy hand darted past her mom and grabbed the blue egg!
Dripping blue dye from her fingers, I quickly snatched it from her chubby hand and giggled. I loved her enthusiasm! But now we had a problem: her hand with fresh blue dye with the red stain already present. We looked down at my niece’s hand and it had turned a horrible shade of murky blackish grey! My niece howled, shook her hand to no avail, and we laughed! She kept shaking it, but the color stayed!
Her mom and I laughed at this strange situation, scrubbed her hand with detergent. The unpleasant color stained her hand still. My niece would look at it and shake it repeatedly, whimpering. Finally, we returned to our task and finished the dying activity with the rest of the eggs dark and colorful. But my niece had lost interest in the whole thing and became a reluctant observer.
After my Dad died, I made it a point to celebrate Easter with Mom every year. One year, her Methodist church from Des Moines, New Mexico had a Sunrise Service at Capulin Mountain, which is a volcano. We drove to the Visitor’s Center, then rode up the mountain in a school bus. When we got to the top of the volcano, the group gathered in a sheltered area to keep warm, away from the wind. Deer grazed inside the volcano and peace filled the air. I remember little about the service or the sermon, but Fred Owensby had arrived early and walked down in the cone. At the end of the service, he played “Amazing Grace” on his trumpet, and I shivered with goosebumps, not the cold. It was glorious! Afterwards, we drove to Des Moines for a pancake breakfast and fellowship and fun—a memorable time for sure!
After that fateful experience with my young niece, I didn’t have another notable Easter with children until 2013. My brother’s family gathered with me and my husband for my mother’s memorial service on April 1. Easter that year was the March 31, the day before Mom’s service. My niece in the story above now had her children there with us. Her brother and sister’s families joined us, too. My nieces and nephew did a remarkable job under dire circumstance to celebrate Easter for their children. They colored eggs, had baskets and made it fun! And it was!
During my lifetime, I have continued attending church on Easter, celebrating our risen Lord. This year, I felt a deeper meaning in the whole Easter story from Good Friday to the celebration of Easter. Today, as I attended my church on Facebook Livestream, I marveled at the wonders and the blessings of this day so many years ago. The Resurrection story still brings a tear to my eyes.
I hope you had a meaningful holiday this year—beyond the trifles this world offers and delved into the deeper meaning of the holiday.
How do you celebrate Easter? Did you gather with family this year? Did you go to church? How was it different to celebrate it this year from the past? The same?
Valentine’s Day 2021—a snowy frigid winter day in New Mexico! We’ve experienced a different celebration today yet so good! How have you spent your day?
Still we face coronavirus restrictions, so we had no choice of eating out to celebrate this day. Our marriage has spanned ten years, and Lin and I have been together for eleven. As the years rolled by, this celebratory day of love has changed.
Early in our relationship, Lin filled it with memorable times of special gifts and memorable nights. Now we comfortably celebrate in much less dramatic ways, yet know the depth of our love grows each year. Now, we exchange cards, flowers and nominal gifts.
As I pondered the whole impact of the holiday today, I found some really poignant and fun memes I’d like to share with you:
Years don’t lessen the love in a relationship—it doesn’t have to grow stale. In fact, we have deepened our relationship, especially with the intense togetherness the pandemic forced on all of us. As we went through this unsettling time mostly 24/7, I found a deep-rooted respect for Lin and his work ethics. His humor delights me every morning when he serenades me and Jesse, my cat, belting out a rhyming ditty he created on the spot. His deep care and commitment to me still leaves me breathless!
The routine we created during this time together comforts my soul: a leisure morning of Lin reading his current history book and me doing my Quiet Time then Cribbage and breakfast. We go our separate ways then lunch together and a thirty-minute comedy series where we laugh together. We spend our afternoons separate on our own endeavors. Then after his workout and my walk, we head towards the hot tub for warmth and again a leisure time to talk over our world’s matters.
After a shower and dinner, we sit shoulder-to-shoulder watching our favorite British detective solve yet another crime. Before the finale, we share our choices of the villain!
Then off to bed we go! Quite a different routine for us than our usual busy lifestyle of constant dancing and traveling. And the benefit yielded—wow!
Right now, Lin naps on the loveseat downstairs waiting for the Nascar race to restart after a rainstorm. This last week, he has worked hard in the yard, preparing for spring planting, so he needs the nap and refreshment.
I write at my laptop in the loft and I hear only his soft snores—the heartwarming music of my Valentine’s Day with a dear, dear man for many years, still so, so good!
Finally, I love the reward of time together in a relationship, and I value Lin Miller as much today as I did ten years ago—maybe more because of what we have experienced.
What’s your routine? How has your relationship grown during the pandemic? How did you spend Valentine’s Day?
Did you miss one of my recent blogs? Here’s a chance to see one from the last three weeks: