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A Christmas Un-Tree

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A Christmas Un-Tree

This year my husband and I decided not to have a Christmas tree. It's not that we don't like Christmas trees, on the contrary, we love them. However, this year we decided to be much more simplistic in our decor. I had surgery on November 19 on my right hand for carpal tunnel syndrome; it was quite severe in that hand. Next week I will have the left hand done too. At this moment my right hand is sore but healing very well. It will be lovely to be able to go through life without my hands falling asleep when I write, sew, sleep, or any other activity. I am thankful. Steven and I have about 10 boxes of decorations, this year we took 2 out of the attic and used only about 1 box worth of decorations.

I most certainly wanted to do something decorative in the house to acknowledge the season, so I went into my craft room and gathered up some white branches I had that were leftover from our daughter's, Genette, wedding. From my garden, I brought in a tower I use for my morning glories to climb and cleaned the dirt from it. From the boxes brought down from the attic, I used some of the artificial poinsettias and tree ornaments. I came up with my Christmas Un-tree. I also took out some fabric and ribbon and wrapped the pillows on my sofa to look like packages. I like it. It will be easy to take down after the season as I continue to heal from my hand surgeries.

Genette and her husband Abe will be coming in the weekend before Christmas. Our youngest, Carmen, will be here too and we will skype in our son, Bryon, and his fiance, Amber. We will open gifts from one another then. On Christmas day our youngest will host Steven and I at her house. Genette and Abe will be with his parents. A couple of weeks later I will take down our Christmas Un-tree and put everything away. Then I will store the memory and will tell the story of, One year we had a Christmas Un-tree.

May you have the most joyous of celebrations with your family and friends throughout the season.

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We Remember

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We Remember

At the beginning of November this year I was performing in Tucson Arizona. While I was there Margy, my host, took me to the Day of the Dead celebration. It was an amazing experience for me. People were dressed in costumes and decorated their faces with white, black, and red makeup to look like skeletons. Others brought pictures or mementos of loved ones who have passed on. It is a celebration of remembrance for those who are no longer living on this earth. November is nearly over but when I woke up this morning this celebration was on my mind. It is my understanding that the whole idea is that so long as you speak the name of those who have passed they are never really gone.

Here at the end of the year, we celebrate the holidays. I realized this morning that this is my time of remembrance and it very likely is a time of remembrance for you too. My family celebrated our family holiday together in the middle of November; it lasts for about 3 days. As we all prepared our traditional meal, my sister and I taught our children how to make some of the regular dishes enjoyed on the table. Throughout the weekend we often said, “Do you remember how Daddy…” or “Mom used to …”. We always look at the tiny ones and take note of how much they look like someone who came before them. We remember.

I look around my home and smile as I admire furniture that once belonged to my Grandmother. There are quilts my mother made from clothing once worn by family members. My father’s hat hangs on a hook in my living room, a lamp once owned by my aunt illuminates the pages of my book, I make homemade rolls from a recipe that was created by my husband’s grandmother, we call them Grandma’s Rolls. I often hold a pen or pencil in the unique way my father did to write. My sister’s house is much the same, and she makes homemade noodles from a recipe that belonged to her mother-in-law. We remember.

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There are remembrances and a story of those who have passed everywhere. My husband and I were traveling, and at a rest station, there was a memorial with individual names of police from the area who died in the line of duty. Consider all of the war memorials that carry the individual names of those who have passed, monuments stand strong and tall to remember, auditoriums and parks are often named for those who have gone on…I could continue, but I think you get the idea. We remember.

I tell stories on stage, and at nearly every performance someone comes up to me and tells me about a chord of remembrance that was plucked. We remember.

What fond memory do you have? What story do you tell as you remember loved ones who have passed? Leave me a note, tell me about it. We remember.

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Family Celebration Time

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Family Celebration Time

This has been a crazy, crazy year! Family members have been in very serious, life-threatening situations. There has been chemo, surgeries, loss of jobs, medical emergencies, car accident, emergency birth…I won’t keep on going with that, although I could.

There have been challenges, but there have also been victories. I am hanging on to that.

In a couple of days, my family will gather together for our annual Turkey Treat Holiday. We will eat too much, laugh a lot, tell stories, play games, enjoy a craft festival and celebrate the fact that we are all able to gather together once again. It is gonna be a great time!

And then the day after the gathering is over; I will come back to face another challenge. That means there will be another story to tell and another victory to celebrate!!

Hang tough everybody!!

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 A Halloween Story

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A Halloween Story

Today is Halloween, when October 31 rolls around I sit on a lawn chair in my front yard, a puppet in hand, handing out treats. A couple of years ago I was doing just that when a young woman, a college student, came by with a younger sibling she was overseeing for trick or treating. She looked at me and said, “Oh my gosh! You’re the puppet lady. I am sure you don’t remember me, but I was in your residency when I was in 2nd grade. You’re the reason I decided to become a teacher. Do you remember telling us that you had been a classroom teacher?”

For more than a decade I worked with a local school teaching puppetry and storytelling for their elective program and, yes, they called me the puppet lady. I cannot tell you how many students I worked with in that school, but I know I had a great time with each and every one of them. This moment in my front yard really touched me. You never know when you are going to influence life, touch a heart, encourage a mind, or help someone to make a decision.

Live a great story…it will likely become part of someone else’s story too.

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36 Years Together ... and Another Adventure Ahead!

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36 Years Together ... and Another Adventure Ahead!

October 9 is my anniversary. My husband and I have been married for 36 years. We have been through the ups and downs and the in-betweens. This year has had them all, but we have supported each other and hung on. When Steven and I got married we made a promise to each other, "We will never use the word divorce between us". We have kept that promise but, oh my gosh, do we have some stories to tell.

Our celebrations have become more and more simplistic. Every year, the first weekend in October, we go to the National Storytelling Festival in Tenn. and serve as Tent Hosts. In other words, we work. We came back to Charlotte early this year, on Sunday, to attend a wedding for a sweet couple beginning their married lives together. On October 8 Steven went with me for a doctors appointment. We went to the Olive Garden for lunch and then to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens (we have a membership) and walked around together. We had dessert at Sweet Frog, stopped by Good Will, picked up groceries, and went home to watch a little TV. October 9, our actual anniversary, we were both working. I was unpacking bags, doing laundry, and trying to catch up on house stuff. Steven was back doing IT work for his job. But isn't that what marriage is, doing life together?

We have lots to think about during this next year of our marriage. The company Steven works for is shutting down their local campus and moving everything to southeast VA. Therefore Steven is losing his job. What is next? Where will we be? Where will he work? What opportunities are ahead? Where will I be booked to tell stories? Lots to do and think about. There is one thing for sure though, we will do it together.

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