Tree Ornaments Have Become Part of the Family

“Christmas is a box of tree ornaments that have become part of the family.” ~ Charles Schulz

 

Ornaments, to me, are not just red, shiny balls. Every one of them means something; they all hold a memory for me on my tree. I can tell you where or from whom I got the ornament. My tree is not one of those perfectly-placed-ornaments-that-must-be-in-the-perfect-place trees. No. My tree is packed with recollections because every ornament has a memory.

When we trim the tree, we reminisce.

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”~ Bob Hope

Christmas Grandma
My Grandma made this for me
Christmas granny
Mark’s Granny made this angel

I have handmade ornaments from both of my grandmothers and from my husband’s granny. I even have the nametag, attached to an ornament, which was the last gift I received from my MeMe and Papa, before he died. I love that I kept this and that I can see her handwriting. Papa passed away while I was in college and MeMe passed away when Danni was almost two.

Christmas tag

We also have ornaments from our childhood. I have one from Mark and several from mine. They have weathered over the years, as have we, but they are very special to us. 

Patti, my mother-n-law, gave me this when we were married. It is from Mark's childhood.
Patti, my mother-n-law, gave me this when we were married. It is from Mark’s childhood.

Some of my ornaments were made by my children, either at school or at home. I remember this Christmas well.  Alex was almost one and Danni had just turned four; Christmas 1992.  I was pregnant with Cameron; due in January. Alex had Scarlet Fever very near Christmas and we were stuck at home. We had to get inventive and crafty. Danni and Alex made these ornaments one night while we were watching Christmas movies.  This is Danni’s; Alex’s looked very different from hers.

Alex made this when he was one!

“The most exquisite Christmas ornaments are made with little hands, full hearts, glitter and glue.” ~ Deborah Whipp

I have ornaments that were given to me by sweet friends.

When we were first married in 1987, we did not have many ornaments to put on our Christmas tree. I bought a kit and hand-painted a bunch to fill our first tree. I was so proud of them. One still hangs on our tree today.

Hand-painted, as you can tell. I was so proud of our ornaments back then.
Hand-painted, as you can tell. I was so proud of our ornaments back then.

I have ornaments from many, many ornament parties. (The one where everyone brings an ornament then you play that mean game where people can steal the one you are holding!) Our family, on both sides, back in the late 80’s and into the 90’s, played this game for many years, so I am blessed with many memories from these. Many have a few laughs involved, as well.

I have ornaments from a few special places I have traveled, like London, Paris, New York, New Orleans, and more. 

Christmas Big ben

I have ornaments from beloved dogs that have crossed the rainbow bridge. Bailey was a beagle that lived a very long time with our family..  Milli and Darby were very special to all of us. They were very much a part of our family.  I still miss them today. They are the reason I love weenie dogs (a little obsessed actually!).

Our beagle, Barney and on the right, Milli and Darby
Our beagle, Bailey and on the right, Milli and Darby

And because of that obsession, I of course have a collection of weenie dog ornaments.

Christmas weener

But the majority of the ornaments that decorate my tree are the ones I have bought for my children throughout the years.

This is Cameron's first Christmas ornament; Christmas 1993. She was almost one here.
This is Cameron’s first Christmas ornament; Christmas 1993. She was almost one here.

When my oldest daughter was born, in November of 1988, I started a tradition of buying her a picture ornament. She now has 27, my son has 23 and my youngest daughter has 22. That is 72 ornaments with my children’s pictures. That is my heart. My life. My tree.

Cameron from 1999 and Alex from 2003
Cameron from 1999 and Alex from 2003

It is wonderful to see how they have grown over the years. There are many of my son from football and my youngest wearing her cheer uniform. There are missing teeth. There are braces. But always smiles; on my face, at least, when I unpack them every December and place them on the tree.

When they each get married and have their own families (one day!), I will give them all of their own picture ornaments to hang on their own family tree.

Danni and Cameron from 2007
Danni and Cameron from 2007

My husband suggested that next year, I should get a separate tree for all the picture ornaments because there is no longer room for all of them on the tree we now have.

no presents under the tree yet!
no presents under the tree yet!

“It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart.” ~ Marjorie Holmes, American writer.

 

love and blessings~dd

 

 

Don’t Skip Over Thanksgiving

It seems to be a trend lately to skip over the turkeys and the pilgrims and head right into decking the halls for Christmas. I love the holidays; all of them. Including Thanksgiving. I still love and enjoy my pumpkins and I don’t like to rush to put them away. I always add turkeys to my décor the first of November. As much as I love Christmas and my house lit up with merriment at Christmastime, I try to enjoy every last minute of fall and embrace the meaning of Thanksgiving and all that entails.

Don’t skip over Thanksgiving! After all, in Texas, it is just now fall, so we have to embrace it!

 

tree

 

In my family, we call those who are guilty of this bad deed, a “Christmas Turkey”! Don’t be a Christmas Turkey! Celebrate family and be thankful; hold off on the stockings and mistletoe until the day after Thanksgiving.

Make Thanksgiving something everyone looks forward to. It is the less-stressful version of Christmas so enjoy it. Start traditions so that your family looks forward to Thanksgiving, rather than looking beyond this special holiday.

 

Thanksgiving turkeys

 

I look at Thanksgiving as the front door, if you will, of the holidays. (Actually my daughter’s birthday, a few days before Thanksgiving, begins the holidays for us!)

I look at Thanksgiving as the front door, if you will, of the holidays. #thanksgiving #dedradaviswrites Click To Tweet

 

door

We have several Thanksgiving traditions, in my family, which we have celebrated for many years.

The day before, we bake; altogether, if possible. The night before Thanksgiving, our family goes to dinner together and then we go see a funny movie (that may or may not be Christmas-y.).

The morning of Thanksgiving, we all have a light breakfast, in our pj’s, with plenty of mimosas, of course, and then return home to get prepared for the big day. 

And can we talk about the side dishes, I mean carbs! We all prepare our favorites and we end up with about ten different cheesy, buttery, carb-infested yumminess varieties that once resembled a vegetable and then everyone is miserable while watching the Dallas Cowboys. Tradition. Every year and I wouldn’t change a thing. Another coined term in my house ~“thanksgiving full”. Definition, well, you are fuller than you have ever been.

Thanksgiving night, after you have stuffed yourself and enjoyed your family, and were thankful all day, it is all-in-with-bells-on…we watch Christmas Vacation and start decking those halls.

Tradition is defined as the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation. It is never too late to begin a tradition.

 

leaves

Some other traditions I like…

  • Start a Thanksgiving journal. Every Thanksgiving, write down where you are celebrating, who is celebrating with you and have everyone sign the page or write a message. (Don’t forget to write what you are thankful for!) This will be very fun to read year after year.

thanksgiving book

  • Help your children dress up like a pilgrim or a Native American. You can use paper sacks, large t-shirts, construction paper, etc. Pinterest is full of ideas.
  • Let your children decorate. They can help you pick flowers or decorate the “children’s table” with traditional items for Thanksgiving.

thanksgiving pumpkin

  • Pick an easier dish and let your children prepare it on their own, with supervision, of course.
  • Tell stories about your childhood Thanksgivings, your grandparents that have passed away, or perhaps are out of town and can’t join the family dinner. Have your grandparents and parents explain their story of how they met.

grandparents

 

  • Take advantage of technology and call or Facetime with members of the family that are out of town.
  • Have everyone around the table tell what they are most thankful for, either in general or for the past year. This is very important because you learn a lot about each other and sometimes this leads to happy tears.

Don’t be a Christmas Turkey-slow down and enjoy each holiday as it was meant to be! Be creative. Be together. Be thankful. Enjoy the day and the meaning behind the holiday. And then…deck those halls!

To read other posts about fall, click here and view my list of blog posts  I love fall and have written about it several times.

 

love and blessings~dd

 

*I was blessed to write an article about Thanksgiving as a guest blogger for Everything Home Magazine, a new online magazine that is delightful.  Check it out at www.everythinghomemagazine.com

A Night on the Farm

I am pretty much a city girl.  Even though we had acreage and horses for years in China Spring, I don’t consider myself country-like. I really don’t like to get my hands dirty.  I get that from my Mom, although she gets her hands dirty in the kitchen and is not afraid of dirt outside, so who knows?

So a night on the farm was intriguing to me.  Romantic, if you will. And it was.

table lights

 

The lights strung up above the table was something out of a dream.

The table appeared to go one for days, with mix-matched place settings that seemed to be right out of a magazine. Flowers, grown on the farm, and beautiful bottles of water placed every here and there. All of this with millions of little twinkling lights up above; dreamy.

This was a farm-to-table dinner.  On a farm.  At a non-profit farm in Waco, World Hunger Relief, Inc., that teaches interns about sustainable, local and international hunger issues, and sells produce and meats at our local farmers market.

table1

While I fully knew what was on the menu for the evening, I chose to not share this knowledge with my husband.  I am trying new things, branching out, getting out of my comfort zone and he has been attempting to go over-the-edge with me lately, which I appreciate, but I knew the food being prepared for us would not be on his palate.  Or plate.

So the menu was not what we would find ourselves ordering at a restaurant, but I was fine with that; after all it was the experience I was seeking.

goats

Experience brings me to the outside facilities. The bathrooms were outside, (yes, I said outside!) and were actually compost bathrooms. The sustainable farmers, well…make compost out of the waste to use on their veggies and such. Appetizing, huh?

outhouse

A compost toilet is a dry toilet that uses an aerobic processing system to treat human excreta, (WHAT??) by composting your decomposition. After you…well go, you add a scoop of sawdust or peat moss on top.  No flushing.  They did offer antibacterial goop, so that was good.

Good wine; we also had good wine.  And it was flowing so everything was beautiful.

d&M farm

 

Other than the mud (it had just rained cats and dogs or should I say goats and pigs?), and the outside facilities, and the bitter cold, and the meal itself, it was a perfect evening spent with good friends and good wine. I am extremely happy that we went and I am better for it.

love and blessings~dd

Magnolia Market media event

The day I spent at the Magnolia Market Media event with my daughter, Cameron, still tops all the amazing days I have had in the new writing-life I am blessed to live.

The invitation to the Magnolia Market Media Event~

Friday, October 23, while enjoying the rain, I opened my email and noticed  something that said “HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines” in the title.  Being confused but intrigued, I opened it and the shouty capitols started flowing.  I text my daughters, my husband, (my son wouldn’t have known the wow factor of this so I didn’t text him!), my two best friends, my mother-n-law and called my parents to tell them that I was invited to a MAGNOLIA MARKET MEDIA EVENT TO MEET,  AND HAVE Q&A WITH CHIP AND JOANNA GAINES!! CHIP AND JOJO!!!

Me? What?

I was able to bring along a photographer so naturally I invited my daughter, Cameron, with me to not only help me by taking pictures(she has a better camera!) while I took notes, but also to keep me grounded and not act like a fan-girl!  I had to be professional!

The event~

After picking up our credentials, Cameron and I headed to the Magnolia Market at the Silos, in downtown Waco, excited and ready to go.

We had both already been to the new market on Webster, so that wasn’t where the excitement was focused on; the excitement was all focused on meeting Chip and JoJo! This was about to happen!  And THAT, is what had my heart racing!

Magnolia Marketmedia event

We were able to see the actual reveal screens that they will use in the HGTV show Fixer Upper.  It felt so real.  I could hear Joanna in my head saying, “Are you ready to see your fixer upper?”

Magnolia Marketmedia event

When Joanna came out to cut the red ribbon for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony for the new market, that’s when it got real.

Magnolia Marketmedia event

Down to earth, dressed in comfortable jeans and boots, hands in pockets, not uptight or concerned about the thousands about to visit the silos, coffee in-hand, she led us through the tour of the silo compound, along with Brock Murphy, the Director of Public Relations for Magnolia. She answered our questions and made jokes, especially about her husband, Chip, that had yet again pulled a characteristic stunt and hurt his back. (Oh, Chip!)

Magnolia Marketmedia event

Joanna Gaines was a perfect host for the media group that included, The Dallas Morning News, The Waco Trib, all three major TV stations in Waco, and other news agencies, and little ol’ me, a reporter for The Hometown News.

As Oprah would say, “This was an aha! moment”.

Then there was the moment when I asked her a question, got a bit of laughter from my media peers (my who???) and she looked right at me and answered.

Magnolia Marketmedia event

Fan-girl moment.

The garden, the roof-top, the market, the reveal screens, JoJo, the entire morning was unbelievable. Exclamation point. One of the top moments of my life.

Magnolia Marketmedia event

Being able to share it with Cameron; took it over the edge.

love and blessings~dd

*pictures provided by Cameron Davis

Over the Edge

In January 2014, someone I consider a friend, and happened to be my boss at the time, asked me to do something that scared me to death. He asked me to actually use my degree and write some articles and try to get them published. After talking to my husband about this, who encouraged me and told me I could do it, I knew I couldn’t say no; but I didn’t know if I could do it. I knew I had to challenge myself and agree to try. I was scared to death; over the edge.

I not only said I would try, I did it, and the first thing I wrote made it into the Trib. No by-line, but it was mine. I wrote it. The second thing I wrote was published in The Enterprise. I called my parents and told them that I was finally being paid to write and that degree they paid for, back in 1988, was finally being used.

This lead to more bravery.

I quit my job, (sorry friend), and started writing full time for The Enterprise, 26 years after graduating with a journalism degree. He pushed me to the edge and I jumped. And when I landed on my feet, I ran.

Since then, I have slowly become a person that I sometimes don’t know. But I like her a lot. I have pushed myself to do what some people might think is not brave at all; but to me it was heart-racing and uncomfortable, but when it was over I was left, standing, in my new shoes, upright and alright, and better for it.

After all, Marilyn Monroe said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

These things that challenge me, could hold me back or I could push through them and have new experiences and success, either by writing a new story or going to new places, and sometimes both. The momentary fear is scary but by pushing myself, I push toward the payoff.

Darling, let’s be adventurers.

I have now done new-to-me-things like go to the Food Truck Showdown, the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, eaten lunch by myself in public, attended events by myself for the paper, taken my dogs to a dog park by myself, walked in a pet walk for charity, went to London with my daughters without my husband and I interviewed Waco Police Spokesman Patrick Swanton. I have also spoken to Sheriff Parnell McNamara, and called people on the phone that I didn’t want to but had to for a story. Simple things for some. Over the edge for me.

And sometimes, I bring my daughters along, pushing them, also, which helps me be braver.

The Over the Edge for Communities in Service event was the biggest by far. When I was asked if I wanted to rappel down ten stories, 138 feet down the Texas Life Building, as a media person, I was shaking in these new shoes I now wear. Thrilled, excited, heart-racing and scared to death, all at the same time. Who am I? All for a story. For charity. For all those kids that CIS-HOT help challenge daily and help graduate. I can do this, I told myself.

cis overtheedge

Well, I did do it. I am proud of myself but still a bit in shock that I did it at all. While walking backwards, down the perpendicular sidewalk, gripping for dear life, praying to get to the ground safely, I realized I am now a different person because I stood up to me fears, conquered them and lived. On to the next metaphorical cliff.

me over the edge

Thank you, Dr. Marc Faulkner, for pushing me, out, over the edge.

 

 

*So this, my first blog post, is an editorial that I wrote for The Hometown News, a weekly-small-town-newspaper that covers Waco and all small towns in McLennan County. I was reflecting on how I seem to be growing as a person, a writer and how I am trying to “push” myself daily. My life has changed since I began writing.  I feel I have been a writer my entire life but put it aside while I did the most important job of my life-raise my three blessings, otherwise known as children.  And I strongly believe in “All in His time.”

Writing a blog has been a dream of mine for about a year.  I took another leap over the edge with this. Bucket list stuff.  I always say “but I have nothing to write about” and still maybe I don’t. I may never write another post, or I may write everyday.  At this point who knows.

love and blessings~dd

Overtheedge