Visions of Sugarplums

Annah Elizabeth2 Comments

Journeyer, as most of you know, Christmas is my most favorite time of year.
I love almost everything about the season:
The lights…
The spirit of giving and that beautiful thing that is the gift of receiving
The wonderful smells that waft through my house be they during my holiday baking days, the ham cooking on our family’s traditional Christmas Eve day gathering, or the scent of the turkey roasting away on Christmas Day…
One of my most favorite parts of the holiday is the tree, which gives me much pleasure long after the festivities are done.
Warren and I began cutting the Christmas tree, always the day after Thanksgiving, from our farm and carried on the tradition of with our children until we’d depleted our suitably-sized supply.
This year we visited a new tree farm that sported the most magnificently pruned and maintained specimens!
We set it up, decorated it, and whereas I usually have forgotten to fill the stand with water for a day or two, I had my natural decoration drinking its fill within hours.
Two days later I noticed piles of needles under the tree but chalked it up to the cats or greenery that was compromised in transit.
The pile appeared to be growing each day, and then as I sat watching a Christmas movie Friday night, I kept hearing a CHT, CHT, CHT, sound, like that of a mouse in a cupboard or a cat clawing at paper.
And then I realized what I was hearing: My tree was raining needles!

Clearly, this tree wasn’t going to make it into January, maybe not even until Christmas Day!
I removed the few wrapped gifts and shook out the pine from their bows Saturday morning, shook out the skirt, swept the floor, and felt a great sense of sadness settle into my bones…
Those twinkling lights are one of the things that helps me through the dark winter days and helps stay the doldrums…
I phoned the company and asked them about my situation; they replied that I likely had selected a variety that doesn’t last long and they would gladly replace the tree.
I don’t have time to tear down one tree, spend half a day selecting/cutting/trimming another…
The comments fellow writers made on my Hay House book proposal need attention…
THE BOOK PROPOSAL DEADLINE IS IN EIGHT DAYS!
Company is coming and the house is a disaster… (no slight exaggeration…I’ll spare you the photos…)
On and on I fretted, felt sorrow, and chastised myself for my melancholy…
But here’s what I knew: I always say, “If people are coming to see my house, then they need to say so and may have to plan that visit around a cleaning schedule.” It can wait…
While the dying art would give me a week of frustration, the replacement would provide me many more days of joy.
Keeping house is a community effort and Warren and my children always help out.
I had seven days to finish the final fine points of the book proposal, and though I am optimistic that I have a great book idea, one that fits beautifully into Hay House’s repertoire, there were many other fine writers and creative thinkers at that conference, which means the final decision is out of my hands.
My happiness, however, is always within my reach, heck, it is mine for the taking!
I could do all these things…maybe not quite like I’d envisioned, in the orderly, Pollyanna fashion I’d hoped for, but I could definitely accomplish these things in some adaptable form.
And, as a bonus, though Fave couldn’t be here during the first event, he could participate in the second!
Oh, joys of joys, he must have been thinking!
Yesterday morning, Warren and Fave, and I set out with our trunk and barren limbs project strapped to the top of our minivan…
after we removed the ornaments
after we removed the lights…
my boys removing the dead tree…
…and went in search of the next perfect tree…
The family joke is how we always come full circle, back to the first one picked, and how long Mama can wander looking for just the right one…
The jokes prevail…
Memories, Journeyer, that’s what each of those moments is: Memories.
One of my fondest has recollections is the year our young cherubs asked us if they could have trees in their bedrooms. From our land, we found three young saplings that were just the right size, and as we descended the hilltop on our four-wheelers, my little cherubs rode with their trees held high overhead, as if each was a prized trophy!
Now we have a new memory…
Gumdrop…

Warren and Fave stumbled upon this stubby little fellow that they said looks like the candy.
We almost brought him home, too, but feared we’d never get him through the door!
We laughed so hard, and with each chortle I felt the stress and tension of That which isn’t going right melt away…
We went on to find several other trees that were serious contenders for The Replacement, including a tree nicknamed Ta-Da! because that’s what I declared when we stumbled upon her…
A few of my other favorite holiday happenings is watching movies like Miracle on 34thStreet, A Christmas Carol, the original Frosty the Snowman is Coming to Town, and those cheesy Hallmark movies, along with any and all Good Tidings themed shows…
I keep the radio tuned to the Christmas station, and keep several copies of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas scattered around my home…


This one comes with its own fond recollection: My mad-dash around Raleigh one Christmas Eve day, searching for this book for my step-mother, who longed for my father to read it to all of the grandchildren who’d descended upon them for the holiday…
I presented my find with this little note written on the inside cover:
“Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, the children were bustling, not quiet as a mouse;

“When what to my wondering ears I should hear—‘Grandpa and I need a story of cheer! We’ll read it tonite to all of our dears; could you find it Annah?, and bring it back here?’”

“As she dashed through Raleigh, not one was in sight, but an African American version, and at $14.95 it just wasn’t right…

“When what to her wondering eyes should appear, but a Barnes & Noble, so full of Christmas cheer;

“And on a small table hidden from sight, she found the treasure which would give them pleasure.

“And I heard her exclaim as she dashed from their sight—Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
Cheesy, right? All I can say in my defense is that it was 1997; I was young, rushed, and sleep-deprived!
Happy happens, Journeyer, sometimes when we least expect it.
The Five Facets Philosophy includes the simple truth that there is always some measure of joy in every life experience, it might seem microscopic, but it is there, twinkling in the midst of darkness and daylight…
Gumdrop might not have saved Christmas, we ended up choosing Ta-Ta-Ta-TA-DA!, but he has landed himself a starring role in my own Visions of Sugarplums film that my family will include in their holiday tales for many years to come…


What about you, Journeyer? What moments brought you a moment of joy, warmth, or laughter during the past week? Share them hear and help spread a little holiday cheer!
Until next time, yours in hope, healing, and laughter,
    ~AE
OH!, Gosh, I almost forgot!! I delivered one more #BestTeachersGifts basket this past week! The principal was one of several whose enthusiasm for this project bubbled over. And, get this, Journeyer, the school has a theme they call “Filling someone’s bucket.” It’s all about showing kindness toward those around you. It’s like their daily endeavor is cuddled right up to this pay-it-forward giveaway endeavor! I’ll be writing an entire post once all of the schools have made their presentations and this project is officially closed, but until then, enjoy this photo of the teacher and I in front of their theme’s wall art!

I received a package of letters from the Florence, SC class whose teacher received a basket of supplies.

AND, not only did I participate in a great discussion with the ladies of the Grief Diaries Show, I received this tasty thank you from them!

AND…(Could all of this possibly happened in the past week?) Warren, Fave, Big Guy and I rounded out yesterday by going to the movie to see the new Hobbit movie. We split up for dinner because Warren and Fave wanted Chinese, while Big Guy and I wanted something a little lighter.
My youngest and I ate at Panera Bread where I had one of the best cups of soup I’ve ever set my mouth on! Check out this acorn squash soup…yummmmmm…

Warren brought me back a fortune cookie that read: “Believe it can be done.”
These events are all among the visions I have for the work I’m doing with The Five Facets…so blessed to see my dreams coming true! J
I believe all right! And now I must wrap up this post and get back to that book proposal. Wish me luck, Journeyer!!

2 Comments on “Visions of Sugarplums”

  1. Elizabeth,
    I just ordered your book. Thank you for commenting on my blog. As you know have companions in grief is comforting. I am looking forward to reading Digging for Light.
    Namste
    Simmer Dougherty
    Agoodmourning.blogspot.com

    1. Simmer,
      I am honored to have you join me and excited to have another Journeyer on the road to healing! Thank you for your kind words and for ordering my book; may you find some measure of healing within its pages…

      Most of all, thanks for being a neighbor in grief and an ally in healing…your story is sure to touch another in need…

      All my best for a memorable New Year!

      Yours in hope, healing, and happiness,
      ~Annah Elizabeth

      ps… If you’re so moved, I invite you to share your thoughts and reflections in an Amazon review of Digging for the Light,,, Namaste…

Leave a Reply to Annah Elizabeth Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.