100 Day Project 2021

Thursday, December 31, 2020

One Last Look at Christmas 2020


Here we are! New Year's Eve! I thought I'd get my last post of the year up and share a little of our Country Covid Christmas. I put up most of my decorations this year, but not all of them. I knew no one would be inside to see them, so I cut back a little. Not too much, just a little, as I really love my Christmas things! I had a special addition to my decorations this year. I inherited two nativity sets of my mother's. The first one below she painted in the early 1950's. You can tell they are a little dinged up, but they're still beautiful. She hasn't displayed them in several years as she received another set as a gift.

My sister visited Israel several years ago and brought back mom a lovely Nativity set carved from olive wood. There are so many pieces including the stable and they are beautiful. Since my sister has the same set, I was thrilled to be given this one!

Now on to our family Christmas celebration. It was wonderful, different but still such a blessing to have our family together. As we did at Thanksgiving, we stayed outside. I'm so thankful that the day was beautiful; sunshine and not too cool! We had the traditional meal with plenty of sweets. 

We even had a Christmas tree to put the presents under. Well, really around as it was a small tree! The boys didn't seem to mind where they opened their presents, outside was fine with them.  We were all grateful that we were able to celebrate safely together. 

During the month of December I did a little photo project with some of my ornaments. I took them with me whenever I was out and about. Some of the pictures were taken in my yard, but several were taken in random places where I happened to be. I enjoyed finding the perfect spot for them.




With the twinkling of an eye this year has gone. 2020 is a year we will always remember. It was a year with hardships and sorrows, but also one that taught us many things like appreciating what we have and not taking things for granted. One of the ways I survived this year was the practice of gratitude for the large things and for the most insignificant. I plan to keep on being grateful each day of 2021. I am blessed over and over!

My wish for you on this last day of 2020 is that you and your loved ones will have a peaceful, joyful 2021!

Friday, December 18, 2020

A Winter Memory

I barely slept that night. The excitement was too much for my six-year-old little heart. Early the next morning I was going rabbit hunting with my daddy. We rose early right after dawn and ate a quick breakfast. Mom bundled me up in my warmest shirt and pants, two pair of socks, coat, mittens, and a cap. We headed out into the bitterly cold morning and crossed the road to an open field that sparkled in the rising sun. Around the field was a barbed-wire fence that daddy helped me through. I couldn’t believe how deep the snow was. It came up to my knees which made it hard to walk. It was more like a shuffle as I pushed my little legs through the deep snow. I tried to walk in daddy’s footsteps, but they were too far apart. It didn’t take long for the deep snow to fill my boots and soak my pants. This rabbit hunting was tiring and cold. We didn’t see a single rabbit although daddy did point out some rabbit tracks in the snow. I looked back across the field toward home wishing I was inside where it was warm. I really don’t know why daddy took me hunting. He knew you had to be quiet to sneak up on a rabbit and he knew I could be a Chatty Cathy at times. Finally, daddy was ready to return home. We retraced our crooked trail of footsteps back across the field which seemed to be growing as we walked. About the time I thought I couldn’t take another step we came to the barbed-wire fence. Daddy separated the wires and I ducked through, only I didn’t step far enough over the bottom wire. One of the prongs tore my pants and poked into my leg. I still remember the bright red blood on the white snow. That was not such a great ending to a day I was looking forward to with excitement. I was so glad when we were inside in our warm home. My cheeks were tingly, my fingers and toes were ice cold, and my leg stung, but mommy was there to make it all better. Even though rabbit hunting wasn’t near as exciting as I thought it would be, it is still a special memory of a winter day with my daddy.

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Winter Writing Sanctuary
Assignment: A Winter Memory

Friday, December 11, 2020

Hot Chocolate on a Winter's Day

Whether it’s hot tea, hot coffee, or hot cider they all taste bitter to me. That leaves hot chocolate when I need something warm to drink. I’m not much of a fan of hot chocolate either, but sometimes I need the coziness of a warm drink in my hands. The hot chocolate mix that I use sits in a tall clear container on the counter. It’s easy to fix, just scoop out one-quarter cup of the mix and add hot water. I have a pretty green winter mug with a primitive red bird among snowflakes that I use. It’s a strange mug, instead of being round it’s square. Do you realize how hard it is to drink out of a square mug? The hot chocolate tends to dribble out the corners! If I drank hot chocolate more often, I would buy me a different one.

As I stir the mixture, I think about long ago winters when I played outside in the snow until my cheeks were pink, my nose tingly, and my hands frozen inside of wet mittens. When mom called me in to warm up, she would have a cup of hot chocolate ready with cookies or popcorn. Her hot chocolate wasn’t like mine which is made mixing several ingredients together and just adding water. No, hers took more time and effort. She used Hershey’s Cocoa and milk which had to be watched closely as it warmed so it wouldn’t scorch.

One Christmas she bought Santa face mugs for our hot chocolate. I’m guessing my mug is about sixty years old, so I don’t used if anymore except to decorate with. During the Christmas season I bring it out and either fill it with candy canes or jingle bells. Every time I unpack it and place it on the counter, I remember my mom’s hot chocolate. It was much better than mine! 

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Winter Writing Sanctuary 

Assignment – Your Favorite Cuppa

Tuesday, December 8, 2020



Dear Susie,

I sat down today to write and invite you for Christmas lunch, but now I’m rethinking that. Seems I have a problem. A problem that involves a very annoying human.

We all make mistakes, some of them small and some of them huge. This time I made a really big one! I chose the wrong place for my home. I found this wonderful place with oak trees stretching to the sky. Since I love heights, I picked the ­­tallest one. When the wind blows I’m able to fall asleep as the large branches sway. And, the acorns, oh my, there are thousands of acorns. There would be­­ no limit on acorns to stash and during the cold days ahead, I could have a feast every day. It seemed the perfect place to winter.

That was until SHE came out. She had the audacity to sit below my tree. MY TREE! There I was stuck high above with no easy way down. Not only did she sit there, she stayed! With the warm sun shining on her and a book in her hand she had no desire to leave. What’s a squirrel to do? Of course, you know I can jump from tree to tree, but my tree isn’t close to another tree and that was my second mistake. I didn’t plan for an emergency escape route. I tried throwing a few acorns at her, but she just laughed; laughed right out loud! Slowly I crept down the trunk to a lower branch. There was only one thing to do . . . jump! With outstretched legs I launched myself as hard as I could just like a flying squirrel, which I am not. With a loud splat, I landed hard on my belly right in front of her. Ha! I startled her, maybe scared her so bad she won’t sit under my tree again! I took off at a run to the nearby woods climbed a tall pine, rubbed my aching belly, and dreamed of my comfy nest across the way.

Should I find another tree? Build another nest? No, I like my tree and I like my nest! It’s the best tree in the neighborhood. The perfect tree! The perfect nest! Well it would be perfect if I could only get rid of her! I know, what to do. I’ll wish for cold, cold weather and lots of snow. That should keep her and her book inside! I’m wishing! I’m wishing! I’m wishing! And I’m singing . . . Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Oh no, I’ve just had a thought. What if she likes cold weather and snowy days. I’m doomed! Doomed to sitting in a scratchy pine tree gazing longingly at my nest.

Do you think maybe I could come visit you on Christmas? I’ll bring some acorns for acorn stew!

Yours truly,

Skyler the Squirrel

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Winter Writing Sanctuary 
Assignment: a different perspective 

This writing is based on a true story. 
Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Walk of Wonder

Come walk with me. I need a breath of fresh air and I’d like to take a Walk of Wonder. I’d like to see what is changing in nature as Winter is settling in.

Let’s head down the sidewalk and toward the woods. I need to sweep the sidewalk; it’s covered with an abundance of small acorns and they are making such noise as they crunch under our feet. Let’s walk on the grass. It’s not so noisy here and we can listen to other nature sounds; stop a minute and listen. The wind is rustling through the drying leaves and sweeping through the pine trees and more acorns are falling hitting the sidewalk and ground. The squirrels are chattering back and forth as they race around a tree.

I think the little brown wrens have spotted us. They’re darting away deeper into the woods. I miss the summer birds that have flown away for the winter. I miss their cheerful singing. Of course, some birds do winter here with us. I can hear a woodpecker over on that dead tree beating a rhythm while the chickadees sing. Don’t you just love the chic-a-dee-dee song? It’s one bird song I can mimic! It seems the black crows are trying to out sing them, but their song is a little too harsh and loud for me. Oh, look up, quickly! There go geese flying low and honking like trumpeters. They are so low that even with all the loud honking you can hear their wings beating as they head south in their familiar V-shape.

As long we we’ve paused in our walking, let’s look around and enjoy the last of autumns colors. I’m so glad the sun is shining today. It makes the leaves of the gum trees shimmer in yellow and golds. The oak leaves are mostly brown and faded yellows and the leaves on the Bradford Pear have turned a lovely burgundy red. If you look along the fence row that small tree has pretty pink spots on its leaves. I wonder what type of tree it is.

Don’t just look at the ground or at eye level; look up. So many leaves have fallen to the ground and now you can see the tangle of the tree limbs reaching for the sky. I’ve often wondered what makes a limb grow this way or that way. I’ve also wondered why some trees have struggled and grown crooked. I know they try to find the easiest path to sunshine, but some are bent in the strangest ways. Look way up at the very top of that oak tree. With the leaves gone you can see where one of our resident squirrels live. They are cute to watch as they gather the acorns and hide them, but they are persistently trying to rob the birdseed.

I’m getting a crick in my neck looking up, so let’s head on down toward the woods. Have you noticed how many pine trees are around here? They are such tall straight trees. I can see that they are shedding some. The ground below them is covered in brown needles. And, look at the fence and bushes below them! The fallen needles caught on them and it reminds me of the old-fashioned aluminum icicles we used to hang on our Christmas trees.

Let’s go back to walking. My neighbors must be burning leaves again. He tries so hard to keep his yard leaf free. We try to keep the yard around the house free of leaves, but down in the pasture there are more trees and a lot more leaves. Let’s be like children and kick the leaves into the air. Take a deep breath; smell the muskiness of decaying leaves and the dampness of the earth. Seems our kicking has uncovered a patch of mushrooms. I guess the damp earth under the leaves is the perfect condition for them to sprout up. I like mushrooms they are one of my favorite things in nature, but I do not like the rank smell they have when they begin to rot, especially those big brown ones. I will admit that the smell of rotting mushrooms is not one of my favorite smells!

We’ve wandered for a good while now, it might be time to head back in. The air does seem to be getting colder and I’m ready for some hot chocolate and some cookies. Have you seen how beautiful my camellia bush is this winter? I’m glad I planted it right by the front door, This year it has been stunning with its multitude of bright Christmas red blooms. I can see the bees are still hanging around them though they do seem to be moving slower and sitting on the blooms longer. That’s to our advantage, we can observe them closely without the chance of a sting.

I’m glad you walked with me on this gorgeous day. There were so many things in nature that can only be seen, heard and smelled during this season of Autumn turning into Winter. Did the walk slow your down and relax you? It certainly did me. It's a perfect way to reduce the anxiety we’re feeling this year. Come back any time and we’ll do this again. We both need to focus on the beauty of nature and not on our problems. Goodbye and I love you!

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Winter Writing Sanctuary
Assignment: Walk of Wonder

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A Thanksgiving to Remember

Happiness is a choice. As each new day approaches, we decide will our day be filled with happiness or misery. Some days are easy to decide, some are not. This most unusual Thanksgiving made us stop and evaluate the way we celebrated in the past and how we could find happiness in a less traditional celebration. We faced many questions. How could we abandon our family traditions? How could our family safely gather? Many of us were spending the first major holiday without a loved one this year. Many were alone or quarantined. It wasn't the Thanksgiving we were looking forward to!

Fortunately, my family was able to get together. My two children, their spouses, and our five grandsons gathered with us to celebrate. We spend the day outside social distanced. To be safe each family ate at a different table decorated with fresh flowers that Jerry provided.  

We didn't have the traditional turkey and dressing this year. I made a chicken and dressing casserole instead. I thought if we were going to do things differently, lets change the food up a little. We did have our traditional corn casserole, squash casserole, deviled eggs, cranberry salad, and potato salad. As I was cutting up potatoes for the potato salad I realized how fortunate I am that my grandmother and mother passed down family recipes. I also wondered how many potatoes I've cut up for Thanksgiving potato salad over the years.

We were blessed with good weather, not great, but good. It was overcast and a little chilly, but jackets and a bonfire kept us warm. It was peaceful sitting around the fire talking, laughing, and remembering family tales. In the afternoon we made smores and the boys roasted hot dogs. I can't remember the last time I had a gooey smore. I don't really like marshmallows, but on graham crackers with chocolate . . . delicious! 

I am grateful for my family who were willing and happy to adapt to a Covid Thanksgiving. It was a holiday we'll always remember. I would say this Thanksgiving ranked way up there at the top of the best Thanksgivings I've had. 

Our memories of 2020 will probably not include too many great times. We'll remember the fear, the anxiety, and the heartbreak of this year. I know there were good times, too, but they seemed to be overshadowed by bad. So far, Thanksgiving has been the highlight of my year. As we approach another holiday, we'll do the very same thing. We'll plan a safe and happy Covid Christmas. We may need a larger bonfire, hats, gloves, scarves, heavy coats, and long johns, but we'll smile and love it!