Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Blessings

This is the time of year when memories flow through me like a clear mountain stream. I love the traditions of the holiday season, and my greatest joy is tending them the way a gardener tends her herbs.

What are holidays without baking? Sara May and I spent time together this week baking cookies. Without any prompting from me, she made a faerie-sized platter of tiny cookies and tucked them into her faerie mailbox to share with our tiny garden visitors.

Sara and her Amma baking cookies
Freshly baked cookies for the faerie...
...tucked into her faerie mailbox

Out come the Christmas Cove Designs hand knit stockings from Maine-one for each child. Four miniature stockings will magically appear on the faerie mailboxes on Christmas morning, stuffed with tiny whimsical gifts.

I remember how each Christmas Eve I searched my grandparent's tree for three things that always hung from the lower limbs. A bright red apple, which honored my Bopie's best friend Bob Lee. A potato, and I can't remember who that was for (but it could've been me), and a carrot, the favorite vegetable of my Bopie's brother.

Edwardian Squirrel
Since my grandparents passed, I've kept that tradition alive, along with some of my own. At the top of our tree is a glass eyed Edwardian squirrel who once decorated a fancy lady's hat, but now reigns supreme over our celebrations. A hundred paper origami cranes, a symbol of peace, were hand folded for me by my daughter-in-law. The multi-colored birds perch happily on every branch of the tree. An old clip on chickie, an early 1900's Santa, a birdhouse my husband made from a walnut, and a Santa Claus painted mussel shell from Burnt Island, Maine, are all keepsakes of many Christmases past.

Walnut bird house and origami crane ornaments
Mussel Shell ornament from Burnt Island, Maine, off the coast of Boothbay Harbor

I'm sick in bed today and missing a much anticipated gathering at the home of a special friend talented illustrator Stephanie Roth Sisson and her husband Fred. I'll take this missed opportunity as a time to wrap stocking stuffers and a time to reflect on the blessings I've been granted–a good family, dear friends (and that includes YOU, my invisible, but ever present blog friends), good health (today excepted), the love of simple pleasures, and the ability to make a living doing something that gives me joy.

Thank you all for your enduring friendship (that includes YOU, Eleanor, friend for 40 years)!




Dawn said...

Sharon, thank you so much for sharing these precious and endearing memories with us. And I love the idea of having a mailbox for faerie friends. What a remarkable idea! Will keep in mind for my future children.
It was so nice to read this post. So personal. It felt like a little tour through your holiday-ready home.
Hope you are feeling better soon. Take goo care of yourself!

Linda Hoye said...

Absolutely precious!

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Hope you are feeling better soon! Maybe you should have some faerie that Sara made! They must have special powers! Thank you for sharing all of your memories with us, Sharon. Merry Christmas!

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Sorry that should have been faerie cookies! Wish there was an edit possibility on comments!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What lovely memories past and present.

Hope you feel better soon.

May your Christmas be filled with love, joy and blessings.


Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Merry Christmas Sharon. You have worked well to keep the imagination alive in all of your darlings. I'm glad you helped me do so with mine too.~~Dee

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I hope you feel better very soon. :)

I just love the idea of the goodies for fairies. It makes me miss when my daughter was little. We used to hunt for Pooh tracks in the snow (when we lived in Western Michigan).

I always put an orange in the toe of her stocking and now she does the same for her children. I can't remember where that started but I think my mother did the same thing. (That's getting older when I forget that.) :)

Merry Christmas!

Jim Longs Garden said...

You need some chicken soup with lots of garlic and thyme. I hope you feel better fast. Wonderful pics of all your little Christmasy things. Funny how you are back in CA but your heart keeps remembering Maine. :-)

The Unusual Farmchick said...

I so love your Edwardian Squirrel. I will be keeping my eye out for one similar. Our property has so many of them plus we have "fostered" a few which have fallen from the tree's while eyes were still closed. To have such endearing stories behind the meanings of tree ornamenst...You have given me a new tradition to start with my family.
Thank you for your comment and visiting my blog. The first time I read your name I knew it was familiar. You were the inspiration for our annual Sunflower houses. The book you wrote inspired the tradition of sunflower houses and their child size gardens which we tend every year. This is a link to the post which you inspired back in 2006. The first of our sunflower house adventures:
Have a wonderful Love filled Holiday season!

Marcie said...

I came by to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Bright and Happy New Year, and a treat awaited me. I love your post about memory and tradition. In particular, your opening sentence, "This is the time of year when memories flow through me like a clear mountain stream," resonated within my heart. What a beautiful thought, from a beautiful spirit. I'm glad I have the opportunity to read your thoughts, here and in your books. Thank you! :)

Unknown said...

Wow - you have great xmas tree decorations! I like to see different items like these representing special memories. I really like the apron/hat combination. Too cute! I wonder if they make those in grown up girl size ;-)
Thanks for visiting me - its nice to meet you! I'm happy to ship to USA is fine, its just expensive. Cheapest by seafreight but can take quite a while. I can work out the pricings and options if you'd like to email the details of the items you're interested in!
Cheers, Karen

Anonymous said...

100 oragami cranes? Oh boy... that's a lot of folding! Thank you very much Sharon for adding my blog to your roll... I look forward to your writings in 2010...Happy New Year to you and your family!