“Wonderful Christmas” Paul McCartney and Wings 1979

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Countdown to Christmas. One Week. ONLY 7 days! I talked to a friend this weekend who had not started shopping yet. That would make me crazy. I am ready, except for some baking, which I will mark off my list tomorrow as I am heading to my sister’s house for our annual Sisters Christmas Baking Day. I have done a lot of meal prep for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that I can enjoy these last busy days of the Christmas season stress-free. Besides, my days are pretty full this next week, full of many special and fun events. I’m “simply having a wonderful Christmas time…”  Hope you are as well!

 

 

“May you never be too old to search the skies on Christmas Eve.”

I finished up my Christmas shopping at the mall last week and stopped to watch the kids visiting Santa. Some happy and enthralled, some NOT! I started to go sit on Santa’s lap and tell him my wish list, but thought better of it! (My kids would kill me!) Remember going to see Santa as a child? Mom always took us to Sears to see Santa and tell him our dreams of Christmas morning. Of course, this was after poring through the big ole’ Sears catalog and making our wish list. Even though my children’s preschool had a really good Santa for visits and pictures, I still took them to the see the mall Santa many years as well. (Full disclosure here – I found more Santa pictures of my son than the girls! But I do have them… somewhere!)

My babies 1991

 

“I wish Santa would publish his naughty list. What a great way to meet fun people!”

As I said, my days have been full y’all! Last Saturday was a prime example. I left home for an early cycle class at the gym in pouring rain. Had plans the rest of the day with a friend. We had made a bet and the loser had to buy dinner… guess who lost?! Was afraid the weather might put a damper on our plans, plus luminary night in my neighborhood. But my faith in the weather prevailed as I told my friend I was confident the afternoon would be beautiful. And I was right! In the words of my sweet momma, “it burned off.”  First stop was the only winery my younger daughter had not taken me to – Mount Ida Reserve, and the views were gorgeous, including the HUGE Christmas tree! Oh, and the wine, food, and atmosphere were perfect too! Couple of hours later we left to head back to my house to put out my luminaries, light them, and head to dinner on the downtown mall. Remember, I lost a bet. A sports bet between my team and my friend’s team. Football. Thank heavens I did not say double or nothing to include the basketball game as well, because I would be sunk! So dinner on the Charlottesville downtown mall at a great little restaurant was on me. Good food and good wine. Plus the city’s Christmas tree is up and lit. And HUGE!

“Lessons from a Christmas tree: *Be a light in the darkness *We all fall over sometimes *You can never wear too much glitter *Bring joy to others *Sparkle and Twinkle as often as possible *It’s ok to be a little tilted” -Jane Lee Logan

Sunday was busier than Saturday with another early cycle class, followed by church, followed by a quick trip to my older daughter’s house in Richmond to pick up some liquid gold. What, you ask? Sourdough Starter, my friends! My daughter brought me some from her grandparents so that I can resume making sourdough bread and my famous sugarcake. Just in time for Christmas! You cannot make good sourdough bread without real starter that lives in your fridge and is fed potato flakes, sugar, and hot water every 5 days. Took a pan of fresh out-of-the-oven sugarcake to work today to surprise my team! It has been a while – my last sourdough starter died in my fridge from neglect. My fault. Not happening again! But I digress… Sunday’s fun continued as I rushed back to Charlottesville to get my appetizer in the oven before friends picked me up for a Christmas open house. I have missed this party for the last 3 years – it usually conflicts with my Holcomb family Christmas, which falls this coming weekend. When I say the views from these friends’ new house were unbelievable, I am not joking. I understand why they wanted this property for 35 years.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”  Norman Vincent Peale

Monday was a sobering day as it found me at a funeral mass for one of my former neighbors. She was part of a loving couple who had been married for 60 years. The pure love of her husband and family are a testament to the special lady she was. And honestly, the mass was a celebration of her life. So appropriate at this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus and celebrate the love of family and friends.

“The loss is immeasurable, but so is the love left behind.”

Monday night was a pick-me-up as I met a friend for dinner and a show featuring Jim Brickman. I have heard his music on the Christmas stations, but to experience his music in person was wonderful. He plays the piano unlike anyone I have ever seen before. Had a couple of accompanists with him, but basically, it was Jim Brickman and his piano. About every Christmas song imaginable. Loved the show. Very entertaining. I would go again, and if you get a chance, take it.

“It is Christmas in the heart, that puts Christmas in the air.”

I came home from that show and just sat and looked at my tree. (like every other night!) I am loving my Christmas tree y’all. My tree is always personal to me, and this year is no different  – it is all about ME! My tree topper is a starfish, my ornaments all have a special meaning, be it something my kids made in elementary school, or ornaments given to me by family and friends. It shines brightly and tells a special story that I enjoy every night. Plus the wonderful smell of that frasier fir… heavenly. My sweet kids all have their trees up as well. Special.

“You can make your life beautiful with your efforts. Just as you converted a simple tree into a beautiful Christmas tree.”

We lost my dad in November of 2000. Christmas was a bit somber that year. I mean, how could we celebrate Christmas and be merry when we had just lost a parent? I struggled even to find a suitable Christmas card to send out. (This was before I sent out a family picture for my cards.) But amazingly, I found the perfect card, which to this day, remains my favorite, so much so that I framed it. It has a sweet, simple picture of an evergreen tree with the following message: “The evergreen reminds us that through all the seasons and in spite of adversity and change, life prevails and hope grows forever new.” It spoke to my heart in 2000, again in 2016, and every year since. Life prevails and hope grows forever new… How encouraging these words are. We all suffer loss, difficulty, and adversity. We wonder how we will go on. But we do. Life prevails. Hope grows forever new. In this meaningful season of Christmas, let us remind ourselves that everyone we meet is facing something we know nothing about. No one’s life is easy. Let us be kind and encouraging. Let us be supportive and loving. And let us all remember the true reason for this season. Enjoy and celebrate life every day, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”  -Charles M. Schultz

Best,

Leslie

“Simply having a wonderful Christmas time…Oh Christmas time…”  Paul McCartney

PS – Update on the 25 days of Christmas Sweaters in case you missed them on facebook:

 

 

 

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