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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

The 63rd Carnival of Genealogy (New Year’s Resolutions) is posted at Creative Gene. Once again, Jasia outdid herself with this one! And for all of the genea-bloggers whose resolutions were to “host a carnival” or show some kindness to other bloggers – Jasia is looking for hosts for this year to help take some of the work off her back.

I urge you to go visit each of these blogs to read their New Year’s Resolutions and add a comment or two!

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The New Year

Miriam, at AnceStories2, posted a new word prompt for The New Year.

Do you remember the first time you were allowed to stay up and see in the New Year? How old were you?

Sometime when I was about 7 or 8.  I think anytime before that, I fell asleep.

How did you and yours typically spend New Year’s Eve during your youth? Did you go to a Watch Night Service and participate in communion and prayer? Did you watch the ball drop in Times Square on television? Did your community have a fireworks show?

My family spent it several ways.  During my childhood, my parents, grandparents and I would go to some friends of my grandparents so the grown-ups could all play bridge on New Years Eve.  I remember that the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella (with Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon) played for several years on Dec. 31st – so I was in the family room at the friend’s home watching that.  At midnight, my parents would come to wish me a Happy New Year.  Other years during my youth we’d watch Guy Lombardo ring in the New Year and watch the ball drop in Times Square on the television.  Then we’d all sing “Auld Lang Syne”.

Did you have first-footers, mummers, or bang pots and pans on your front porch? Did you wear party hats and use noisemakers?

We had noise makers and party hats!  I didn’t know what a “mummer” was until our church youth group went to Philadelphia the summer before my Junior Year!

If New Year’s Eve involved feasting of some kind, what were the usual fare and beverages?

I don’t remember anything special about the food on New Year’s Eve.  I’m sure my parents had champagne or something alcoholic to drink.

How do all of the above compare to the way you celebrate New Year’s Eve now?

Now I don’t go anywhere on New Year’s because I don’t want to be out on the road for safety reasons.  We stay home and watch Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve (as I’ve done since I was a teen) and watch the ball drop.  We have some wine or champagne.  Unfortunately since we are in the Central Time Zone, I’ve become very cynical when New York rings in New Year’s because it’s not the New Year yet for another hour where I’m at!  Last year Dallas started doing it’s own NYE celebration so after the New York broadcast we watch Dallas ring in the New Year!

What about New Year’s Resolutions? Did you make any when you were younger? Do you make them now? How well do you keep them? Was there any year when you really did a fabulous job at keeping them? What were your goals and how did you keep them?

I think most of my New Year’s resolutions as a child had to do with being “nicer” and picking up my toys, keeping my room clean, etc.  As a teen most of them had to do with eating right and watching my weight.  As an adult, I’ve decided not to set New Year’s resolutions because I don’t keep them.  I feel that if I have to wait until the first of the year to set goals, then they aren’t a priority.  I should be doing right by myself and others all year.

How did you typically spend New Year’s Day in your childhood and youth? Did you visit family and friends? Did your family host an Open House? Did you watch the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl game or another favorite sport? Or did you go to your favorite ski resort?

New Year’s Day was usually spent with my grandparents, Glen and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson.  We’d have a roast beef normally and watch the Tournament of Roses parade and the Rose Bowl (especially when Ohio State was playing!).  We also watched the Cotton Bowl parade (when there was one!).

How does it compare to the way you spend New Year’s Day now?

I’ve had the Rose Parade on almost every New Year’s Day.  Sometimes my kids will watch it and sometimes they won’t!  For awhile when I lived in Ohio, I would have roast pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s lunch.  In Texas I have blackeyed peas and cornbread!  This Jan. 1st, we spent the entire day with friends, in what I’m hoping will become an annual tradition.

Are there any special customs from your heritage that are integrated into your New Year’s celebrations?

Nothing other than maintaining the childhood traditions of watching the ball drop, watching the Rose Parade and toasting in the New Year!

If you celebrate Christmas or another seasonal holiday before the New Year, when do you take down the decorations and put them away?

That depends on how long the tree has been up and how tired of it we all are!  Generally we’ve been taking the Christmas tree down soon after New Year’s – within a day or two.

Thanks, Miriam, for this prompt!  I had fun answering the questions!

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63cog

For the 63rd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, the topic is New Year’s Resolutions!

As far as my genealogy research for 2009 –  I resolve to:

  • Scan many more documents, photos, and the rest of the slides in my possession
  • Organize my files
  • Obtain / organize documentation for direct ancestors
  • Enter documentation and information into family file

As far as genea-blogging, I resolve to:

  • Participate in more carnivals, memes, word prompts and “fun” posts
  • Post varied information (local, city, county and state links) in order to help other genealogists
  • Visit more genea-bloggers and comment more than I do now
  • Visit other history or genealogy based sites and do a write up on the blog in order to provide others with information

As far as my Graveyard Rabbit blog, I resolve to:

  • Take more photos of cemeteries and grave markers in my area
  • Do more research on local burial customs and cemetery history
  • Post more articles per week

All I ask is to let me get through the holidays first!

(CoG graphic courtesy of footnoteMaven.)

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Genealogy posts will be a little slow for the next week or so as I’m attempting to get caught up on items that need to be done by Christmas – the shopping for gifts, the buying of gifts, the constant asking for lists, the buying of ingredients for baking some gifts, the actual baking, the sorry-we-can’t-attend-the-party RSVPs, the buying of wrapping paper, the wrapping of gifts, the wondering if I’m going to get any laundry done due to washer backing up, the annual watching of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, the normal cooking and cleaning, the finishing of Christmas cards, the paying of bills, the hoping shipped packages will arrive on Wednesday, and the “why am I always in the wrong lane” at stores or on the road!

That said – what I have accomplished so far:

  • Received lists from all but ONE of my children (hint, hint!)
  • Almost done with Christmas shopping
  • Halfway through sending Christmas cards
  • Done with buying ingredients for baking
  • Two-thirds done with baking
  • Three-fourths done with buying wrapping paper
  • Sent regrets to 2 party requests and possibly a third
  • All but ten minutes done on watching “It’s A Wonderful Life”

I don’t know if I can do laundry until later today.  Bills will be paid on Monday.   UPS tracking of shipped packages will be done on Monday.  The rest of the baking of gifts will be done later today (after I purchase containers).  Christmas cards may be finished later today or tomorrow.  Wrapping will commence tomorrow (so if you are at my house on Sunday, I will probably not be much company!). Buying more wrapping paper will be done on Monday or Tuesday – after I see if I really do need more!

Now being in the wrong lane on the road – we’ve had an overabundance of fog at the end of the week.  Then we had sleet and freezing rain early in the week.  Most of the roads I travel on were bone dry – however in North Texas if something – anything – falls from the sky, people are stupefied.  Do I drive like a maniac?  Do I drive like the little old lady from Pasadena?  They have no clue in the world.  I end up behind people who are so scared to drive that they brake every five seconds and drive almost 20 mph.  Oh my goodness!  If you are so scared to drive on bone dry pavement, what in the world are you doing on the road to begin with?

Wrong lane at the stores:  Last night I was in a local department store that I frequent often.  Of course some of the cashiers are new – they have been hired as “seasonal” employees.  No problem if they are doing their best with the limited amount of training they’ve received.  The cashier is very polite and lets me know that her register needs to be cleared and it would be a couple minutes.  She’s very sweet – and probably about my age.  So I get in another lane behind a lady with ten different articles of clothing.  That cashier is very fast.  Then I watch them both stand and wait.  What are they waiting on?  Oh, the customer didn’t bring her purse into the store!  Someone had to go retrieve it for her!  Now, if you’re Christmas shopping (or shopping in general) – wouldn’t it be prudent to bring your money with you?  Not only that but there are dozens of signs all through the city that say “Lock (your vehicle), Take (your keys), Hide (your gifts)” due to the increased number of thefts from cars.  Why would you leave your money in a car at this time of year?  Then while I’m waiting, the first cashier lets me know she can help me.  She was so polite and told me that the next time I come in, she’ll probably be a little faster.  I told her it wasn’t the cashiers – it was the customers.

And why do people allow their just-walking babies to walk?  They dart out in front of carts, always manage to walk right in front of where I’m walking, or start pulling everything off the bottom shelf?  And then there are the “I’m taking 4 year old Johnny with me to see what he wants for Christmas.  Then I’m going to put it in the cart but not let him have it so he can scream at the top of his lungs for the next 30 minutes.”  UGH!  Please leave your wonderful, sweet, cooperative children at home.  And if they can fit in the seat of the basket – put them there!  There are enough people in the aisles – a toddler should not be put in harm’s way like that.  I’m sorry if I offended anyone but at any other time of year (besides the school shopping tax free weekend!) – there is generally no problem.  Your child is going to get hurt.  People can’t get through the aisles that have all sorts of stuff pulled off the shelves.  And we don’t really want to hear a screaming kid all evening.

I’ve changed my meal plan for this year – so here’s hoping it goes over well!  I’ve changed my gift-giving to others this year due to the economy and the fact that I’m always at a loss to get some of our good friends.

May your family have a blessed holiday – whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwaanza or Hannukah.

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deck_the_halls_2007Miriam, at AnceStories, posted her first digital scrapbook page recently after reading Jasia’s post about a new Christmas Around the World digital scrapbook kit at her Creative Genealogy blog.  Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I’m posting this digital scrapbook page I made after Christmas last year.  I designed the paper and elements myself (since I also do “commercial” projects, I don’t want to have to buy licenses to use others’ kits!).  Since I do not own Photoshop and use Microsoft Digital Imaging, I had a pretty steep learning curve due to the lack of “instructions” on how to create digital elements on the web. 

Below is another digital scrapbook page I made to show off my grandson with the Christmas tree.  I didn’t add a whole lot to it as I wanted it to be very simple.

christmas071

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The genea-bloggers are caroling!  footnoteMaven over at footnoteMaven will be hosting all of the carolers real soon! Please go visit her site.

For my carol, I’ve chosen “Mary, Did You Know” – the Kenny Rogers/Wynonna Judd version.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered,
will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know
your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby,
you’ve kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know,
that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding, is the great I AM.

(You can watch this video at YouTube.)  This song is on Kenny Rogers’ “The Gift” CD and was released in 1996.  It was written by Buddy Greene and Mark Lowry.  Lowry was asked by his church congregation in 1984 to write a song for Advent.  In Christianity Today, he said,

I tried to picture Mary holding the baby Jesus on the first Christmas morning and wondered what she was thinking about that child. She knew he was special—the Virgin Birth was her first clue—but could she ever imagine all the things that he would do while he was here?

Buddy Greene supplied the music for the lyrics six years later and the song was complete.  Besides Lowry and the duet of Rogers/Judd,  it’s also been recorded by about 30 artists including Rascal Flatts,  Reba McEntire and Kathleen Battle.

The first time I heard this song – several Christmases ago – I was in my room wrapping gifts, and felt such a peace settle over me as the music and lyrics touched the depth of my soul.  As a mother – and a mother of a son – I am inspired and awed by Mary.  I find myself wondering if, despite the knowledge of who and what her son was to be, she wanted to shield and protect him, just as any other mother would do.  I hear the words “baby boy”, and remember how I used to gaze at my newborn son many years ago, wondering what he was to become and knowing that there were so many opportunities for him and dreams for him to follow. 

Merry Christmas!

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christmastourbnr

Denise Olson, at Moultrie Creek is hosting the Christmas Tour of Blogs that will kick off on Dec. 15th. Genea-bloggers are encouraged to create a post describing their family’s Christmas decorations – past or present.

So sit back and enjoy my tour!

goldwreath
This is the gold wreath – made out of newspapers and painted with gold spray paint – that my mom made for our home when I was growing up.  It hung above our fireplace mantel.  On the mantel were Christmas decorations. 

 

 

60s-83This was the garland hung around the wrought iron railing by the front door.

 

 

 

 

60s-130Me in front of the Christmas tree probably about 1969-1970.  Notice the end table next to the tree has the red Christmas candles on it.  Our windows also had a single electric candle that we lit after the sun had gone down.  For a few years we even decorated the fir trees in our front yard with lights.   In the photo below, you’ll notice that our large, picture window had several of these “candles” on the sill.

 

christmastree

My first real “adult” Christmas in my own apartment included a wicker chair strung with garland and red satin balls because I was too poor to afford a Christmas tree!  The first tree I bought was in 1984 at the local Gibsons that cost $14!  It was pretty lonely looking (sort of like the tree on “A Charlie Brown Christmas”) until the lights, decorations and tinsel was put on.

We moved into our home 20 years ago, so we have had two decades of creating new and wonderful memories at Christmas time.  My husband would bring the tree and all the decorations down from the attic either the first or second weekend of December.  After setting up the tree and stringing the lights, I would hand each child one ornament at a time to place on the branches.  Of course as they grew older, they each had several of their “school” made decorations to use.  For the very first ornament, I took a picture and once the entire tree was decorated (after I hung the garland or threw the tinsel), I would position them on the floor gazing up at the tree in wonder for a photo.

christmas-looking-at-tree

Generally the only other decorations that go up are the Santa Stocking, given to our youngest daughter many years ago by some good church friends, the Christmas Wreath (it has changed only a few times in 20 years),

xmas03_tree

and the gold “Jingle Bell” that hangs between our dining and living room.  The bell belonged to my grandparents and as a child, I loved to pull the string and hear the tune as Santa and his reindeer (on the outside) spun around it.  I was fortunate enough to end up with it many years ago.  If you look at to the upper right of the tree over the floor lamp, you can see the bell.)  My children have on occasion put lights in their bedroom windows and once I wrapped holly vines over the top of the living room arch.

pc250186

 

I’ve either strung regular silver garland on the tree or “thrown” tinsel on each branch.  However, the tree above (2003), I strung pearl beads as garland.  The tree to the right (2006) I draped ribbon down from the top with bows tied on each length at different intervals. (The Jingle Bell is more visible in this picture.)

We’ve had the tree in two different places in our home.  For the last ten years (at least) it has sat in this exact spot.  This tree was purchased at an after Christmas sale, many years ago for half off the sale price!  In 1999 some good friends were moving and gave us their pre-lit Christmas tree.  It had so many white lights on it that we could feel the heat as soon as we walked into the room.  Needless to say we gave it to our oldest daughter the following year and went back to using our well loved tree.

I hope you have enjoyed my tour of Christmases past and present.  And may your family have a very Merry Christmas!

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