Ten Decorating Ideas for Christmas

I know lots of folks who jump on their Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving (or sooner!), but I always wait until December 1. Maybe because it’s my birthday. And even then, I start slow, with a few outside decorations, maybe the nativity. I gradually add decor around the house and finally get the tree up a week to ten days out from December 25. But this year, I have a new idea about decorating for the season. My pastor gave me the idea during yesterday’s sermon. What if we added a new kind of decorations this holiday season? What if, in addition to the greenery, tinsel, and lights, we decorated our lives with love? How does that work? I’m glad you asked. Here are ten ways to decorate with love this December: Send an actual, physical Christmas card that you WRITE in to special people in your life. Real mail is getting scarcer than hen’s teeth these days. And mail with a handwritten, heartfelt note is the unicorn of the postal system. Be sure to sign your card with LOVE. Now send an actual, physical Christmas card to someone you only know a little. Maybe someone who might not get many cards. Write them a sweet note, too. Say something nice to someone you don’t know. Maybe it’s a mom in the grocery store trying to shop with kids–tell her how cute her little ones are. Tell the clerk […]

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Appalachian Thursday – Deer Season

It’s almost holiday time in West Virginia. Oh, sure, there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the REAL festivities begin on Monday. The first day of deer season. Many schools are out all week because, well, no one would come if they were open. Teachers, students, staff–they’re all out “celebrating” deer season. So how does one celebrate? If you’re a hunter, it’s obvious. You go hunting. But what about non-hunters? That was always me. I know plenty of women who enjoy hunting, but I don’t happen to be one. Even so, the week was a fun time for me growing up. First, we were out of school. Second, there was plenty of company. Friends and family would come to the farm to hunt, eat, nap, and tell tall tales. Which meant we got to indulge in junk food, questionable conversation, and interesting schedules. And when everyone else was out hunting, I got to curl up in a cozy chair and READ! One friend of Dad’s worked for Lays and would bring us an entire case of potato chips. We NEVER got potato chips. Hunters eat packaged cookies, processed lunch meats, soda–it’s kid heaven. There’d be a fire in the fireplace, funny stories we didn’t always understand, early mornings, and as soon as someone got a deer–venison tenderloin seared in butter. Here’s one of my favorite deer season recipes. My dad is the master of this one. Mmmm, I could eat a plate […]

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Halloween in the Hills

I LOVED Halloween when I was a kid. I’m still pretty fond of it even today. But when I was little it was all about playing dress up and eating candy. I was one of those little girls who wanted to be something pretty. An angel, a princess–something pink and sparkly. And Mom was a whiz at making gorgeous costumes. Although I’m still a little annoyed about having to wear a turtleneck under my princess dress (see photo–that’s just not right!). Never mind that it was 40 degrees. I could have toughed it out. But trick-or-treating was different when you lived in the hills of West Virginia. There was no running around subdivisions or shopping malls collecting candy. We piled into the car (angel wings rated the front seat) and drove from house to house. And we knew everyone we visited. Shoot, we were related to most of them. Aunt Dorothy had homemade caramel apples and popcorn balls, Aunt Bess had full-sized candy bars, Grandma had little piles of candy arranged on a TV tray near the door, Floyd had Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (hands off, Dad!). And at each stop–especially when we had masks on–there was a great to-do about guessing who we were. When my dad was a kid growing up in the mountains of WV, that was a BIG part of Halloween. You actually tried to disguise yourself so that friends and neighbors couldn’t recognize you. And there […]

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Memorial Day–It’s Not Just Hot Dogs

Memorial Day is set aside for remembering those who have died in the service of our nation. Originally, it was proclaimed in honor of the Civil War dead by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. The order became official on May 5, 1868, and was first observed on May 30 of that year (next year is the 150th anniversary!). Memorial Day has also been called Decoration Day because it was the tradition to decorate the graves of those who died in the war. The day was moved to the last Monday in May in 1971 to ensure a three-day weekend (cause that’s what really matters–right?). In 2000 a resolution was passed to try and help remind Americans of the true meaning of the day. Signed by Pres. Bill Clinton it include a bullet “Encouraging individual department and agency personnel, and Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.” So I encourage you at 3 p.m. this afternoon, to stop whatever you’re doing and say a prayer of thanks for those who have died to protect us and for those who are, even now, willing to do so. I’ll be thanking God for some of the veterans I’ll be remembering: James Walter Thomas Sr., my father-in-law, who served in WWII. Bill Johnson, a […]

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