Dear friends, I wanted to check in and see how you are doing. I hope you are warm and taking good care of yourself. I can hardly believe December is a week old. The cold weather is making its way to these parts. Rain has fallen off and on for a few days, and we're not done yet. I know the cold won't last long, so I'll enjoy it while I can, with cozy socks, a crackling fire, and something good on the stove.
I know it's not very Christmasy, but you're looking at my latest food obsession. The backstory is this: A good while ago, I heard someone talking about avocado toast, so I looked into it and discovered it was exactly as it sounds: avocado and toast, generally sprinkled with red pepper flakes over the top and a tablespoon or so of fresh lemon juice. But in recent weeks, I put a fried egg on top of my avocado toast and now I'm kinda hooked.
Amidst sinus infections and other annoyances, I've managed to get a bit of Christmas up. I'm doing far less than usual but just enough. It's the third or fourth year that I've used a pencil tree, a skinny tree, as I call it. Maybe one day I'll buy another big one but this one is working just fine, thanks to twin sister who generously gave it to me after buying a new and bigger one.
My dated ornament collection grows every year. Most years I only buy one ornament that represents a highlight of that year, but some years require more than one ornament, especially during our years of traveling extensively. I have to say though, no matter where we went or what we saw, there's nothing sweeter than pics of babies on a Christmas tree.
In the above photo, our darling cupcake was barely a day old and of course my 2015 dated ornament was going to have her picture on it. 😃 I bought the frame and had it personalized during my and twin sister's Smoky Mountain vacation last fall. Speaking of that, my heart has been so grieved over the recent fires and loss of lives in that area. Life is fragile and unpredictable. Make every day count.
Our precious Julian in 2008.
He turned 11 in June.
I can't even.
My grand-niece, the one I call sugar plum, entered the world in 2010 and has her place on the Christmas tree.
And my other grand-niece, the one I call pie. She entered the world in 2013 and also has a place on Aunt Dayle's Christmas tree.
Last year, Arabella wasn't quite old enough to enjoy the tree, but she fell instantly in love with it this year. This sweet photo came about unexpectedly. I had been working on the tree late one night, and heard her jabbering, wide awake. Afraid she was going to disturb her mother, who has to be up and out early, I went and got her out of bed. When she saw the tree, she rushed over, completely mesmerized. I adore how she walks around it every day and touches the various ornaments I've collected for four decades.
Not a day goes by that I don't realize how blessed I am that she and my daughter are here, that I get to share these sweet and fleeting moments in time. Life isn't perfect and seldom turns out as we planned, or even hoped. Dreams don't always come true. But I'm reminded of the old saying that the stars shine brighter on the darkest nights. I think it's the imperfections in our lives that open our eyes to those good and perfect gifts that the Bible speaks of. On any given day, despite the imperfections, there's no place I'd rather be than right here, right now. My heart is full to the brim.
One of God's greatest gifts to me was the gift of an identical twin sister. I love this picture of her and Arabella on a recent evening. I don't think a child can get too much love, and I'm grateful that Gayle not only loves me, but she loves my kid and grandkid, and they love her, which makes life sweeter all around. Anytime I say, "Aunt Gayle's coming over," Arabella starts clapping her hands and running to the front door.
Until next time, sweet friends, I leave you with these images of cupcake and Ba-Ba. We bought this lamb for her while in Branson in November and the minute she laid eyes on him/her, she said, "Ba-Ba," which, of course, is the sound she makes for sheep. The name stuck and she is never far from Ba-Ba, even when she's asleep.