Counting Blessings

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A year ago, we had Thanksgiving in the hospital.  Followed by Christmas, and then New Year’s.  It jokingly became known as the “Holiday Trifecta” between us and the team at UVA.

Many of you remember that we had Thanksgiving in the hospital at the University of Virginia because just a couple of weeks before, Patrick had had a liver/kidney transplant.

The week before that, I had lost my mother.

There’s no real describing the enormity of those two momentous life events, especially when they come at you with such lightning speed.  Still, we had much to be thankful for last Thanksgiving. And small as our celebration was, it was, in fact, very much a celebration.

Fast forward to now, one year and five more hospitalizations later.  We are home this time and most thankful for that.  But we are also just plain grateful that there is a “we” and not just an “I”  who are celebrating Thanksgiving this year.  It might not have turned out this way.

Recently, though, as things seem to have become a bit more stable and less fraught on the health front,  I’ve felt my thoughts turning more towards my mother.  Because in life you must focus your priorities on the living, I never really was able to grieve my mom.  Lately,  however, I find myself suddenly gripped with her loss at unexpected moments.  Those moments pass – and believe me they are as physical a moment as they are emotional – but I suspect the next few months may be kind of rocky.  The beautiful thing, though, is that while I do miss her dearly, I can’t in all truth be sorry for her.  She had lived a long (just shy of 94 years), happy life.  She bore the loss of her husband of 60 years bravely for over 4 years. But she was ready to leave us.

I’m very, very lucky to have had her for so long and I count my blessings every day that I had two amazing parents.

So, getting back to Thanksgiving, I thought of this picture (above) and the most marvelous memories just came flooding back. Memories of the Thanksgivings of my childhood and youth. Every year, we went “next door” (we lived in the country, on a family farm) to our grandmother’s for a family get together and a feast of Dickensian proportions.  It would be us (4), my grandmother (she was my dad’s mom – my grandfather died just before I was born), my Aunt Marnie, and a handful of delightful older cousins (elderly Cousin Mary and her daughters, the Fletcher sisters). Sometimes “Uncle” Rowland, another relative, would join us, too.  It was a spirited and fascinating group. After we had feasted near to bursting from a groaning board of culinary delights, we would hoist ourselves up from the table for a postprandial walk down the lane so we would not collapse into a tryptophan stupor before our annual intensely competitive game of “Guggenheim” (you might call it Categories).

Anyway, this photo was taken in the early 1970s, actually I think it was probably in 1973, my senior year in college. That’s my mother on the left, my sister in the middle, and me on the right.  We were just heading off for our Thanksgiving walk when our cousin, Mary Fletcher, snapped this.

Of all the characters we were blessed to have with us on those Thanksgivings so long ago, my sister and I are the only ones left.  But the memories are so vivid that it’s impossible to be sad.  Instead, I know just how lucky I am to have had them and the folks who peopled them in my life.

So today, Thanksgiving Day 2016, I’m especially grateful for my many blessings. I hope you are feeling thankful on this day, too.

I leave you with this lovely prayer:

 

 

 

Inspiration

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I’m always going on about how wonderful a Glittermoon Vintage Christmas wreath would look hanging over top of a mirror.

Well, I just received this picture of Ding Dong Bell after it was hung in its new home.  Talk about a WOW factor!! Jan took the mirror thing a step further and hung it over this amazing round plaque which itself is on a mirror.  It looks fabulous! And, what a festive atmosphere; check out what else is in the photo.  Looks like its time to party! I love it.

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Ding Dong Bell – this one has that fabulous bell music box on the bottom that plays Silent Night.

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If you are near Richmond, this Saturday, November 19, is the Northside Artists Holiday Artwalk.  I’m back this year and will be located in the Atrium at the Ginter Place condos, 1350 Westwood Ave., Richmond 23227.  We will have 7 artists here alone! This is a terrific way to kick off your holiday shopping by walking the lovely streets of my own neighborhood, Laburnum Park and Sherwood Park in the beautiful Northside of town.

This year we have 48 artists representing a multitude of mediums: everything from artisanal chocolates to jewelry, pottery, painting, fiber arts, and much more. I hope you will join me. This is my last event in the RVA area for the year!

For more information, please click here to go to the Facebook page.

Hours are from 9-5.

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In other news, I’m still totally swamped trying to get things made. At this point, I only have 1 wreath that is available, Blue Rocket. I’m still working feverishly to meet commitments and to have some inventory for you all to choose from so please don’t despair. As we get a bit into December, I hope to have more to choose from. I appreciate your everlasting patience!

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Blue Rocket Wreath $250

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And, finally, I am so honored that Brent and Josh, the Beekman 1802 Boys, invited me to once again be a part of their holiday website.  It went live this week. These are the 2 wreaths that are up first (though I have to tell you that the Santa one sold immediately).  I will keep making more for them as wreaths sell so please do visit their page, Beekman1802.com.  Their products are phenomenally good and are all artisanal.  If you are not familiar with them, they are 2 guys with a fantastic story, who work very, very hard, and who believe in giving back. I’ve written numerous posts about them and about their hometown of Sharon Springs, NY if you want to check them out. I’m incredibly proud to be one of their artisans.

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Santa’s Very Merry, made for the Beekman 1802 Holiday website

 

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Greetings from Paris, featuring Polka Spot the Llama, made for the Beekman 1802 Holiday website

And just in case I don’t get back to you before then, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I have more things to be grateful for than I could ever count.  I hope you do, too. xo

Mistletoe Mart This Week!

I’m in the final stages of getting ready for one of my favorite shows, The Mistletoe Mart in Westminster, MD.  The show runs this Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 10 – 12 and is at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension right in the historic downtown area.  Hours are Thursday and Friday from 10-8; Saturday is from 10-4:30. If you are anywhere near the  DC/Baltimore area, you might consider making the trip!  I wrote all about it here a couple of years ago.

I dropped by to quickly show you a few new things that I will be taking to the show.

First up are 2 new wreaths in glorious multicolored palettes:

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Holiday Bazaar Wreath

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Blue Rocket Wreath

And here are some of the new little things I have made recently:

In addition to Vintage Christmas, I will have the full compliment of Glittermoon Cards (including Christmas cards) as well as my original photography.  My booth will again be located in the Great Hall (where you enter) but I’m in a different spot this time around.

I hope you can make it to Westminster. I’d love to see you!

Have a great night, everyone!