Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
My tree was up before Thanksgiving (yes I know that is early) and my house was decorated, but I was missing one piece – my front door wreath! For several years my younger daughter and I have talked about going to a wreath-making class and this year, we did. We had so much fun! Learned a lot as well – all of the greenery came from the property at Grelen, a quaint nursery and shop in the nearby town of Orange. There were so many different and beautiful types of evergreens and greenery for us to use from white pine to magnolia leaves, including one in particular we loved – Carolina sapphire. The process was nothing like I had imagined – thought we would just use green floral wire to secure the greenery around a circular base, but no. Instead, we had a strong metal form with 14 sections. We chose different types of greenery, cut to about 10 inches, and bundled tightly in our hand. Had to be a handful. Then one at a time, we added a bundle and bent the wire (not floral wire!) down on each side to hold it in. Each bundle overlapped the previous bundle. The bundles added up. Little steps to a beautiful wreath. What a beautiful and special day. Definitely on the list for next year.
“Enjoy the little things in life… for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
Friday night was reserved for my secret crush, not that it is really a secret according to my cousin! But first, I drove to Richmond to see my older daughter’s new office which is wonderful, and then to her house to see her Christmas tree, and to love on my granddawg Paige. Y’all, their tree is a total Carolina tree from the star to the skirt. Nothing red on this tree – red is a banned color in their house (think woof woof – NCSU). And their topper – well, no question they are Tarheels and they bleed blue!
Then it was MY time… drove across town to spend an hour with my favorite author and secret crush, David Baldacci. Even though I was early, the place was packed. Only time I don’t mind standing (and waiting), and I did so for over an hour, listening to him entertain everyone with stories and background on the new character in his latest thriller. This new book is already a best-seller and looks to be another great read. When it was my turn to get my books signed, he graciously greeted me and signed all 12 of my books! I keep my kids’, family’s, and friends’ home libraries up to date with all of his novels – personally signed with a “Happy Birthday” or “Merry Christmas.” But for my book, I just asked him to sign and date it. But what did he write? “To Leslie, Always great to see you!” Be still my heart! Such a little thing, but honestly, made me feel special, made my day. Maybe he doesn’t “know” me, but he does remember me, I mean who wouldn’t!?! I have been coming to his book signings for over 20 years and I always have more books than anyone else for him to sign. I do feel badly for the people behind me in line, but these books are perfect presents! He releases a new best-seller twice a year, which means I get to see him twice a year. Many people say that if they could have lunch with anyone in the world they would choose a professional athlete or famous actor. Me? I would choose an author.
“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” Charles Schultz
Sometimes it’s the little things in life that truly touch us. My teammates at work knew that December 1st was the beginning of my famous Christmas Sweater exhibition, and they showed up Monday decked to the nines in their cheeriest (and only) Christmas Sweaters to join me! So fun for me! Come Tuesday, I was the only one sporting holiday attire, but that is ok! (Wonder if they will be borrowing a sweater from me for later in the season!)
“Christmas it too sparkly, said no one ever!”
If you know me, you know I have been collecting Christmas sweaters for YEARS! Some are 35+ years old (many with shoulder pads). Since my birthday is in November, my mother would often give me a Christmas sweater for my birthday (back when they were in style). And when my kids were in school, I loved sporting them when I volunteered in their classrooms. I have bins of them, and usually add to my collection each year. Still don’t understand why my kids raid them for Ugly Christmas Sweater parties! I plan to wear a different Christmas sweater (or 2) every day until Christmas. Little thing, but it tends to make people smile and truly puts me in the Christmas spirit. It is difficult deciding which jewels won’t make the cut this year. Christmas spirit lives on!
“And we are better throughout the year for having in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time.” Laura Ingalls Wilder
This past Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent. The Hope candle was lit. HOPE. Such a strong and yet wistful word. We all hope. We must hope or we are mired in despair. We hope for our families and friends to be safe, happy, and healthy. We hope that tomorrow will be better than today. We hope for a bright future.
“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”
What hopes do you have for this holiday season? I am hoping all of our dreams come true. I am hoping prayers are answered for my family and friends. I am hoping the Christmas spirit touches each and every one of you. Remember to BE present this holiday season, enjoy the little things that touch your heart, and spread joy wherever you go, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
PS Cheers and Happy 100th birthday to an “old” friend from New Philadelphia Moravian Church who has also found himself a transplant in Virginia. This dear man writes with such spirit, heart, and humor. What an example he is to all of us. Happy Birthday Ed! You inspire me!
AND I am doing something SO FUN tonight! Check out next week’s blog to see what it is!