Tag Archives: Christmas

A 1960 California Family Christmas

25 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

I know….I know….Christmas was either three months ago – or nine months to come. So I am either WAY late or WAY early with this post! However, in going through my pictures recently – something I really enjoy doing – I came upon the Christmas before Fred and I married, and it was in California with my parents and Bill and DiVoran.

We stayed with Bill and DiVoran in their tiny little house, so it was cramped spaces, but sometimes that can be the most fun, right?

 

 

In any case, we drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico early that morning, and drove straight through to Inglewood, California. It was a long drive, but there were four drivers, so it wasn’t too bad. We drove in Fred’s car – that lovely, classic 1957 Chevy Bel Air.

 

It was a dream to drive and to ride in. And with the four of us in the car together – Mom, Dad, Fred and me – we had a great time together. I remember starting out that there was frost on the windows. It didn’t take long before the sunshine on the car melted the frost, even though it was so cold outside.

Because Bill and DiVoran’s house was small, DiVoran made the best use of the space, knowing we would really crowd the place. There was no room for a Christmas tree, so she made one out of a tinsel garland, tacked on one wall.

 

 

She placed ornaments on the “tree” and a star at the top. They had a credenza underneath it where we placed our Christmas gifts. It was quite unique and imaginative. She’s so creative, and it shows in the paintings she does, as well.

I remember them setting up a cot for Fred to sleep on.

 

Bill and DiVoran sitting on Fred’s cot

 

There was a couch that I suspect folded down to make a bed, where my parents slept.

 

 

I have absolutely NO memory of where I slept, but perhaps there was another cot somewhere in that room that was my spot for sleeping. Perhaps they put me in the kitchen? It was a one-bedroom little house, and Bill and DiVoran slept in their bed. It was quite cozy!

We had some plans for things to do while there. I know we went to Disneyland one day.

 

 

 

We went to Marineland.

 

 

To Knott’s Berry Farm.

 

We kept busy, and made the most of our trip.

When Christmas Day arrived, we had a great meal together. And it was made even better because DiVoran’s parents came and joined us at the table. My mom and dad ate from TV trays, but that didn’t lessen the fun. It was just a great time together.

It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a lot of space, or expensive tastes, to have a wonderful family time together. And that’s the key – time together. That’s what makes family. We are blessed.

 

I WAS BORN FOR THIS TIME

25 Dec

We are happy to welcome our guest blogger, Patricia Franklin to share a heartwarming story for this blessed Christmas day.

 

A Few Thoughts

Patricia Franklin

 

 

 

This is the story of “Belle,” our fearless leader at the crisis center, who always begins the day with prayer time. She began this day, shortly before Christmas, by emotionally saying “I was Born For This Time,” and I need to tell you my story. She begins….

“In the Bible, the story of Esther relates, ‘I was born for this time’.” ….

Belle’s youngest child was 9 months old, when she became quite ill. She went to the doctor, and subsequently other doctors, who found something in her lung. After many tests and many doctors, the diagnosis turned out to be a fatal lung disease.  It was progressing rapidly and there was no cure for her. The doctors said, “We can try medicines and treatments to make you more comfortable, but it will continue to progress into the liver and kidneys and will be fatal.”

She decided against treatments and told her doctor. “No doctor, I have my own way of healing.” She went home and continually prayed… “God, please give me 15 years to raise my son.” So she carried on the best she could, and at the advice of her doctor, she continued to see him for x-rays and prognosis of her condition, but received no medicines or treatments, and continually prayed her prayer to God.

One morning she woke up deathly ill and went to see her doctor, thinking her time was up. He took his time and gave her a thorough examination.  When he was finished he said, “Belle, do you believe in miracles?” She told him, “YES, DOCTOR, I DO.”  He said, “There is no sign of the disease in your body.  You have been healed!”

So she raised her family, and along the way, served in her church and community. Then, with her sister and many volunteers, took over running this faith-based crisis center. 37 years later, although her younger sister passed away from cancer, Belle is still going strong. She very humbly said, “There is a reason God wanted me here for this time. Just like Esther, I was born for this time.”

Yes, the center continues to grow, as the need is greater all the time. We are now serving at least twice as many needy people as we were a few years ago.  I heard Belle say after the prayer meeting, that she had just come from the hospital where she had visited one of our volunteers.  And although, she did not say it, she is known to visit the homeless camps, and help as many people as many ways as she can along the way, with her quiet, competent manner. Yes, Belle, like Esther, you were born for this time. We could not proceed or succeed without you and your wonderful compassionate and caring leadership.

 

Christmas is Coming~Part 3

17 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES
Judy Wills

 

 

 

More Christmas memories.

I have always enjoyed music. I’m not a terrific pianist, but I get by. Unfortunately, I usually have to have the music sheet in front of me in order to play anything. I don’t have the gift of “playing by ear.” I wish I did, but God didn’t give me that talent.

 

 

I have always loved to sing. As I mentioned in another post, my first memory of singing was my first grade class’s Christmas program. I think I did a solo to Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. I’ve been in choirs of some sort all my life, especially the church choirs. But I was also in school choirs, as well. (Please see my post of October 16, 2016, titled Music to my Ears)

I have one Christmas musical memory that is precious to me. We were stationed at Tyndall AFB, Florida (Panama City, Florida), and I had joined the Officer Wives Club singing group. We performed for quite a few venues throughout the Christmas season, doing our Christmas music.

 

Photo credit WJHG.com
 Credit Google search

 

This one particular time, we were performing our Christmas program for anyone on Tyndall who would like to come to a concert. We did the performance in the Chapel, since it held a large number of people.

 

 

I had told Fred to bring the girls, to enjoy the concert. As I recall, they sat near the front of the Chapel. We sang quite a few songs, then I was to do a solo…I Wonder as I Wander. Since I had always done a bit of public speaking, it was my habit to look at the “audience” as I was speaking – or in this case, singing. As I looked out at the audience, I happened to look at my family. While Fred and Karen were invested in my song, when I looked at Janet (she was about five years old at this time), I nearly stopped singing for joy! Her little mouth was open to an “O” and her eyes were saucers! She was completely swept up in Mommy singing!

Perhaps she had never heard me singing before. I’m not sure. I’m only sure that she was entranced with her mother singing. The look on her face was one I’ve never forgotten. It is so precious a memory for me.

That’s one sweet Christmas memory I won’t forget.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued through Christmas~~~~~~~~~~

Christmas is Coming!! Part 2

10 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

More Christmas memories – but these are recent.

 

Since living in Florida, and purchasing annual passes for Disney World, one of our favorite things to do at Christmas time is to go to EPCOT and see the Candlelight Processional. We’ve done it for quite a number of years now, and have heard many and varied speakers. All of them have been inspiring to us.

 

 

If you aren’t familiar with the Candlelight Processional, it is something that Walt Disney himself envisioned (we learned this just this week during the performance), and instituted back in Disneyland in California, many, many years ago.

It is the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, narrated by a “guest” speaker – usually a known celebrity. We’ve heard such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Jim Caviezel, Brad Garrett, Trace Adkins, Gary Sinise, and others. This week we heard Jodi Benson read the story. While Brad Garrett, with his deep voice, was a delight to hear, and he did mention that it was peculiar that he was reading this story, since he is Jewish, it was still meaningful. However, to hear the story of the birth of Christ, read by someone who is a Christian, or proclaimed believer, that put an entirely different light on the story. Jodi testified that she is a believer, and she believes every word of that story and animatedly demonstrated it. She also was singing along with many of the songs. It was wonderful!!

The music the choir sings, is the same each year, but we’ve come to love each and every song they do. While many of the songs are familiar to us – some Christmas carols, some traditional Christmas songs – it is a delight to hear each one repeated each year.

This week, we had the privilege of sitting next to a gentleman who was there with his daughter. She was in the choir. Did I mention that it is a 400 voice choir? Most of those voices are made up of high school students, mostly from high schools around Florida, but some from other states. There are about 40 voices from the Walt Disney World Cast Choir, and eight from the Voices of Liberty, in addition to the high school students and a 50-piece orchestra. It is a truly magnificent performance!

 

Credit Google Search – this shows only half the choir and orchestra

In any case, this gentleman we were sitting with was on the lookout for his daughter. He told us he had told her he was going to set fire to a napkin and wave it around, so she would know where he was sitting! “No Dad!! Don’t embarrass me like that!!” Of course he was kidding. When he saw her, we saw her looking around, finally saw him and smiled. And she looked for him during the recessional – another smile. He had never seen the Candlelight Processional before, and was amazed at the performance. It was nice to see.

All these things go to make up our Christmas. It’s not just whether we get our house decorated…or the Christmas cards out in time…or who does or doesn’t come for the holiday. It’s everything taken together.

And the best part of all – is that we have the love of God in our hearts, and celebrate HIS birth for the salvation of this wretched world. We thank God He has enabled us to be His children.

 

Crosscards.com

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued through Christmas~~~~~~~~~~

 

You Tube has the complete 2016 Candlelight Processional with Jodi Benson if you would like to experience it this magnificent story.

 

Christmas is Coming!

3 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

Now that December is upon us, it’s time for more of those Christmas memories.

In the 1970’s, when we lived in Panama City, Florida (Tyndall AFB).

Photo credit WJHG.com

 

We had a habit – for Christmas – of taking at least one week off (probably two weekends and the week in between) and driving down to Titusville, for several days with my brother, Bill (Lites – another blogger), and his family. We always had a great time with them, and the cousins were able to renew friendship with each other. Karen and Renie (Charlene), being the oldest in the families, seemed to latch onto each other, while

Janet and Billy did the same. After some days there, we would drive across the peninsula to Clearwater to spend a few Christmas days with Fred’s parents in their “retirement” condominium. They hadn’t actually retired yet, but kept the condo for vacation purposes.

Credit Google search

 

I remember one Christmas especially. It was in 1976. We were planning on our annual Christmas trip to Titusville and Clearwater – when Janet (five years old at the time) came down with a fairly light case of chickenpox! She and I must have been exposed at the same time, because I came down with a VERY light case of shingles on my back at the same time. When Fred was a child and had the chickenpox, he apparently scratched a couple of the blisters on his face, resulting in a couple of “holes” or scars – one on each cheek. When Janet’s blisters erupted on her face, I held her up to her daddy and said, “see those scars on daddy’s face? (She nodded her head yes) If you don’t want those scars on your face – DON’T SCRATCH THEM!” Fortunately, she followed instructions quite well, and never had any scars on her face. Other parts of her body? Not sure!

I called Bill and DiVoran, and asked if everyone in their family had already had the chickenpox. DiVoran’s question was: “why? Are you bringing it down to us?” When I explained about Janet and myself, they both assured us that they were immune to that particular disease. So we made our trip, and all was well.

 

 

As just a side note about chickenpox – Karen never came down with the chickenpox at that time. She seemed to be exposed and exposed through the years, but it wasn’t until she was 14 years old that she actually caught the disease – much to her distress!

I’ll post other Christmas memories in future musings.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued through Christmas~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repurposing Christmas

22 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

We have been enjoying visits from family the past two weeks and I haven’t had much inclination to spend time on the computer. I do want to take a quick minute to share my latest repurpose project.  I fell in love with this gift bag at Christmas and purchased several to tuck Christmas gifts for my friends into them. When we returned to the mountains in May, I spotted one that I had left on the table when we closed up for winter. It brought me so much pleasure, I set it on top of our tea box as a decoration.  When I cut some hydrangea blossoms to enjoy in the house, I decided the Christmas bag would be a perfect way to dress up the plain vase.

 

Life After Christmas

5 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I am emerging from my Christmas fog. It began in mid December when I succumbed to a sinus infection. Since I am rarely sick, I spent quite a bit of time in denial. That might have been a contributing factor for the fog. Suddenly, it was Christmas, then Christmas eve. I do remember that we had a lovely Christmas morning with our children and grand children, then the fog descended once more.  I emerged again to celebrate our daughter’s birthday with a drive to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The trip had been planned for several weeks but after the fires roared through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and down into Gatlinburg, it took on a poignant mood. We drove through one of the hardest hit areas, Chalet Village, and the devastation was heartbreaking. Out of respect for the owners and those who had lost loved ones, we did not take pictures.  If you would like to volunteer your time to help the hurting families, visit Volunteer East Tennessee

We ended our day in Pigeon Forge at The Island. The two big restaurants are The Timberline Grill and Paula Deen and there is an assortment of shops as well as an area with a carnival atmosphere including one of the new Eye rides. It is very pretty at night.

The Island

Two days later we drove to one of our favorite places in Franklin, Wayah Bald. Wayah was one of many National Park areas that were targeted for arson during November and December and we were anxious to see how the park fared. We knew that the roof on the fire tower had burned, but we were unprepared for the extent of the damage to the Flame Azalea plants as well as the smaller trees that lined the path. It was also odd to see green foliage next to burned tree trunks.

 I do clearly remember New Year’s Eve. We spent the evening with at least fifty talkative cousins, aunts and uncles. I love them so much! I have high hopes the fog is gone!

Snow is predicted for tomorrow night. We haven’t had snow yet this winter so I am excited and I have the required milk and bread! Hopefully I will have some pictures and a story  to share next week.

If you are in the path of the storm, stay safe and warm. If you are in Florida, you might want to pull out that sweater you seldom have the chance to wear.

coffee-cup-snowman

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