Celebrations, Decorating, Family & Friends, Life Lessons




A month or so ago, bottlebrush trees showed up on my radar. Gina of Desperately Seeking Gina showed us how to create colorful ones in a post. Next, I noticed a group of vintage trees on the cover of Martha Steward Living at Winn Dixie. I bought it. Then Talya at Grace Grits and Garden showed us how she used some of her beauties to decorate this year.

Although I have lots of little trees, I didn’t own one bottlebrush tree at that time. But I knew how to remedy that. I’d keep an eye out while I did my Christmas shopping.

Look at what I found.

Those mini trees above were in that bargain section by the front door at Target. Just $3. Wouldn’t they be cute on place cards, packages, or in a miniature village?

I also ran across these pretty plates and napkins there.



This trio of dark green trees came from Marshalls—or was it Home Goods? Anyway, they’re my favorites.

Later, I found this bright 40%-off bargain when I stopped in CVS.


Decorating Fun

This is how I incorporated these little treasures in my decorations.




For Unto Us a Child Is Born

Although I love my little trees and Santas, I find my greatest pleasure in setting up the nativities I’ve collected over the years. They run from folksy and fun to fine and fragile. Here are just a few.


My newest addition. Thank you, Talya!


Getting Personal

Each year, I understand the importance of the birth of Jesus Christ a little bit more.  His coming into our world changed the course of history. Unimpressed with success and wealth, He reached out to the poor, sick, and disenfranchised. He elevated the status of women.

As Emmanuel–God with us–Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He became our link to God the Father and showed us His true nature.

May you have a Blessed Christmas and

Walk into a New Year filled with God’s Blessings!

For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever

believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Blessings, Comfort, Family & Friends, Gratitude, Life Lessons, Memories



It’s been a week since we said our goodbyes. They were leaving for Atlanta Friday morning, preferably by 6:00 a.m. Not wanting us to feel we had to get up to see them off, they insisted on hugs all around before heading to bed. It wasn’t long until we hit the sack, too.


It’s still dark when Terry whispers, “I hear them stirring.”


I glance at the clock—5:50 a.m. I throw off the covers and hop out of bed. As I slip on yoga pants and a shirt, Terry calls from the door, “They’re leaving. Caroline is already in the car.”

I scurry out.

Maria and Emily wait in doorway of the den. We hug and exchange I love yous. Then we follow them outside to give Caroline for one last hug through the window and catch Brad by the car door.

Before we know it, they’re backing out of the driveway. Their headlights sweep across the neighbor’s yard and onto the street. We wave from the porch and step back inside to watch their taillights disappear down the street.

No tears.

Just gratitude for time together and for the good life to which they’re returning. That old girl-kitty, Mimi, and the dogs, Max and Milo, miss them. Plus, they need to regroup before they head back to work and school on Monday.


I remind myself, we’ll see them again soon. Christmas will be here almost before we turn around.

img_3970Wait. Was that chocolate cake one of the girls was carrying to the car?

Perfect send off.






There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecc. 3:1

Family & Friends, Family Memories, Life Lessons, Thanksgiving, Traditions



Our Thanksgiving celebration was excellent. Although Gary and Bonnie and his boys couldn’t be with us (we have to share), we still had a houseful–nineteen hungry folks.

The Georgia Days

Brad, Terry, Caroline, Maria, Emily, and me

This group drove most of Tuesday to be with us. They spent Wednesday helping me cook, taking care of Brad’s mother’s estate business, and shopping with a break for hamburgers with Gary and Josh at the Buffalo Grill.

Show Time

Maria and her crew helped make Thanksgiving Dinner happen from table preparation to clean up.

You may have heard my sighs of relief.

The North Little Rock Johnsons

Seated: Randi, Erika, Graham, Gayla. Standing, Christy & Jeff, me, Erik, and Terry

This crew joined us midday. They came bearing gifts of bread pudding, compliments of Jeff; a festive white cake; and the essential bags of ice.

Yum! Yum!

The Hillcrest Days

Spencer, Sierra, Bryan, behind me, and Betsy

Brad’s brother, Bryan, and his family swept in with Betsy’s not-your-run-of-the-mill-mashed potatoes, salad, apple cheesecake, and chocolate pie.

Smack! Smack!

The West Little Rock Rodgers

Cathy, Terry, me & Dudley

Cathy and Dudley, arrived with amazing smoked pork tenderloin and a fancy cherry strudel pie.

Oh my! Scrumptious!

I was thrilled to receive a beautiful hostess gift Cathy created. I took one of classes. Read about it here. at the Arkansas Art Center Museum School.

Isn’t this cashmere and silk scarf gorgeous?




We repeated our tradition of writing expressions of thanks on leaves to adorn a little Gratitude Tree.

Erika, Randi, & Graham, making Gran happy

Serious Eating

By the time everyone was assembled, the turkey, dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, and two pies–apple and pumpkin–were ready. Four pans of Sister Schubert rolls were in the oven. Our kitchen island fairly groaned under the weight of everyone’s culinary masterpieces.

After a blessing, we dined like royalty, laughing and gabbing through another memorable Thanksgiving dinner.


Afterwards, those wonderful girls: Betsy, Gayla, and Maria cleaned up. I helped as much as they would allow, which was very little.

“Go put your feet up,” they said.

I tell you, their mothers trained them well.

Later, we spilled out onto the porch and lawn for photo ops.

When everyone headed home, Maria’s gang hit the stores again. Terry and I threw up our feet and rested.

What a wonderful day!

I wish you could have been here with us.

Wherever you spent the day, I hope you felt as blessed as I did.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.  Ps. 136:1 ESV