This evening, I decorated our Christmas tree. As I opened the ornament box and began unwrapping the treasures within, I found myself praying. Let me show you. This angel has been on the top of my Christmas tree every year since I've had a tree. My best friend in high school made it for me well over 30 years ago. As I put the angel in place, I said a little prayer for Debbie.
This hand-painted goose egg ornament was a gift from our dear neighbors, Bob and Jerry, for our first Christmas in our very own house. Bob and Jerry (yes, she's a she) treated us like their own children. Bob passed away several years ago, and Jerry is in assisted living now. God bless Jerry.
This pretty angel was a gift years ago from a fellow teacher and friend. I said another of many, many prayers for her as I hung it on the tree. She lost her son to suicide last May. He was 26.
These tiny bird houses were made by another neighbor in the days long past when his hands could do such fine work. Now both he and his wife are fighting cancer. More prayers.
My big sister made this beautiful cardinal. She's traveling abroad right now and having trouble with her knee, so prayers went up for safety and no pain or stiffness.
My middle sister made this pretty one. She has blessed me with several of her handmade ornaments over the years. She's been having trouble with her feet for a while now. Praying for healing there, too.
My aunt made this lacy ornament. Can you tell she's a master at crochet? She's also in her 90s and dealing with all that brings. God bless my Aunt Mayo.
Her older sister, my Aunt Jessie, has also given me ornaments through the years. Some she made herself, and some were made by her friends in the Woman's Club. She's 98 now, and having some trouble with high blood pressure. Still more prayers.
Then there are the ornaments my mother made. She loved Christmas! I can remember watching her make beautiful things to decorate our home. She died in 2009 and I miss her more and more. Thank you, Father, for a mother who loved me.
Robin's aunts made ornaments, too. This star and ball are covered with embroidery and sequins, evidence of their fine handwork. They're all gone now, and I miss them, too. Thank you, Father, that I had the chance to know and love them.
This little dough boy was a gift from a school child and his mother, many years ago. That little boy is in law school now. My, how the years have flown. Prayers for Scott as he navigates through life.
And so it went,
unwrapping memories and prayers,
and hanging them on our tree.
When I got to the bottom of the box, the prayer tree was beautiful and my heart was full. And I think that just might be the sweetest blessing of all this Christmas.
Nighttime temperatures have been in the 20s here lately. This makes for some chilly mornings, during which I usually stay snug indoors. This morning, Robin called at 8:00, telling me to get my camera and hurry because the frost and fog ought to make some pretty pictures. "Dress warm," he said. I quickly swallowed the remainder of my breakfast and threw on some clothes. Then I bundled up in my heavy coat, along with a scarf, hat, and gloves. The car thermometer said 25 degrees. Brrr! But it was worth it. The frost was indeed photo-worthy. Here are the best of about 135 images.
There's an old-time fiddle tune called "Cold Frosty Morning." Maybe the long-ago fiddler who composed it was out doing chores on just such a morning as this. Not only was it cold and frosty, it was magical, too.
It happened again! Pretty much just like before. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, click HERE to read about the first time. So here's how it played out the past two days, this time on my side of the family. See this pretty picture frame?
It's an old one that came to me when my sisters and I emptied our parents' house last year.
It hung in the dining room, over the buffet, for as long as I can remember, and probably longer. As far as I knew, it always held this Currier & Ives scene.
This is actually a piece of heavy fabric. I decided to replace it with one of my photographs, so I took it to the framer's to have it put together properly. These big old frames are so heavy, and I wanted to make sure it was hanging securely on the wall. I dropped it off yesterday morning, shopped til I almost dropped, and picked it up before heading home. Sure enough, along with the frame, which now contained my pretty photo, there was this cardboard folder containing the Currier & Ives scene.
I loaded both in the car for the drive home. It was dark when I arrived, I was tired, and we had an overnight guest that needed supper. Consequently, the frame and cardboard folder lay unattended until this morning. I unwrapped the frame and tried to hang it, but it was too heavy to manage by myself, So I turned my attention to the folder, thinking about what to do with the fabric scene. After pulling it out and looking it over for a minute or two, I turned it over. The fabric had been stretched around something and taped with masking tape, which was coming loose in several places. No wonder; it had been there for decades.
Supposing that the fabric had been stretched around some kind of sturdy paper, I investigated a little further, pulling the tape completely loose on one side. I wondered if there was something on the other side of "paper" form.
Sure enough, there were two pieces of something...so I removed the fabric to find this familiar print.
I've seen this image many times. It must have been very popular in its day. I'm guessing this one came off an old calendar. But underneath it was the real treasure!
Another old portrait! The only thing is, I have no idea who this is! And alas, Mom and Dad are no longer here to ask. To my knowledge, he doesn't resemble anyone on either side of my family. Several years before her health declined, my mother put together an inventory of the antiques and heirlooms in the house, and the entry for the picture frame didn't shed any light on this man's identity:
Since my grandfather bought the frame, it could be that this portrait came with it. If so, that would explain why Mom covered it up.
It's a shame there was no name on it anywhere, just a few numbers on the back:
Unless one of my two aunts knows something about this, I guess this handsome gentleman will remain a mystery. But what fun to discover another old portrait! You just never know what could be hiding behind a picture. Maybe you should go check your old frames...