christmas is coming!

I had an appointment in Wayne so I stopped at Valley Forge Flowers, more specifically The Barn at Valley Forge Flowers.

I love Christmas and I noticed they were literally decking the halls so I had to go in and check things out. They have some fabulous Christmas ornaments and holiday hostess gifts if you are in the market for them.

Especially take note of the fabulous German ornaments in the section known as The Cottage at Valley Forge Flowers. And like a complete dork, that’s the one photo I neglected to snap!

Please note that my opinions are my own and I have not been compensated in any way or given preferential treatment for writing my little review of a fabulous shopping experience. I am just a happy customer!


remembering the soldiers at ebenezer at christmas 

My friend Cathy messaged me yesterday:

“Hey do the soldiers at Ebenezer have wreaths for Christmas?”

I said no, and look what she did yesterday? Isn’t that awesome?

I also thought I should mention we did have a licensed structural engineer have an initial look at the church ruin. No it was not paid for by the A.M.E. Church, but they do have the report. There are certain steps that need to be taken to stabilize the ruin, but they need to give permission before anything happens. They have had the report for weeks I am told, but have not responded to further contact by anyone which is disappointing.

Sadly,  I find the ignoring caring people sadly predictable behavior. It seems to be what they do and not just in the case of Ebenezer. 

But the church has never disavowed ownership of Ebenezer (well they can’t an be telling the truth can they?) and as per what I have been told that they  actually do bear responsibility here no matter what.

We now have volunteers who care and if we keep up a schedule we can keep the graves cleaned up.  We are hoping to get someone to use the equipment like was used at Duffy’s Cut to comprehensively map out the graveyard.

It is Christmas Eve and time for all of us to be with loved ones.  Remember the old souls at Ebenezer A.M.E. in your prayers and thoughts.

Stay dry on this very rainy Christmas Eve and thanks for stopping by!

christmas spirit

dsc_9566Christmas is a beautiful and magical time of year.

One of my closest and best friends stopped over this morning. We were talking about Christmas and how it is hard for people. For some it is the Christmas of today can’t measure up to the Christmas of yesterday, or when they were children.

I totally understand that sentiment.  But where I think people go off the rails is dwelling on how good certain Christmases were compared to others. It is not a competition.

Don’t do that to yourselves.

Use the memories of really awesome Christmases to INSPIRE you to Christmas present. What do you believe? If you believe in the magic of Christmas you will get there.

We have all lost people and naturally we get nostalgic. Some memories are just bittersweet.  For me my moments often come while decorating the Christmas tree, which is probably why I like to do at least some of it myself.


“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.”

You see my late father loved Christmas.  He had a whole science to decorating the tree.  He’s been gone 11 years and I can still hear him in my head telling me where to place ornaments.  And the moments that get me every year?  When I open up the Christmas ornament bins and I see his strong cursive handwriting on a box slowly deteriorating with age.

 “Pine cones.”

“Golden Apples.”  

Instantly I am one giant puddle for a couple of minutes. I have my moment or two and then I am better.

My other moments come when I first get out the bowls to start my Christmas baking.  I remember the year I burnt the cookies.

December 2010.

It was then, a couple of days before Christmas, when my sister tragically became a young widow when my brother-in-law lost his battle with peritoneal mesothelioma. It was a swift, ugly battle discovered too late to save him.  I still have that e-mail message from a few days before he died where he told me to save him some cookies.

Those are my moments, and they are bittersweet.  But these were two people who both loved Christmas.  So I have those sentimental slightly teary moments to myself and then I get back to making my Christmas as good as it can possibly be.  And I love decorating for Christmas.

This year has been a bumpy ride.  I got a flu shot December 2nd that pretty much laid me out for two weeks.  And when we went to put up the tree we discovered that mice had chewed through the wires that make the L.E.D. lights light up where the tree was stored in the basement.  It was a super bummer to take the tree out of it’s box to realize we had a tall and useless piece of green plastic. Actually, I was pretty irritated and I stomped my feet a bit.

No, we do not use live trees any longer.  They dry out too quickly and I would rather see my live fir trees outside.  So our unexpected Christmas expense was another tree. But once I started to get my ornaments on the new tree, my Christmas spirit equilibrium was restored.

Christmas is about giving and receiving. And good will to men. The good will to men part has been difficult in this country in 2016 no doubt.  But can’t we put it aside and celebrate the season just a little?


“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.”

What are your traditions? My neighborhood has a wonderful tradition: we all exchange little family gifts. Different each year. Ornaments, cookies, savory treats, tins of cocoa.

As my one neighbor said recently:

More like when I was growing up, we decorated our tree closer to Christmas tonight…. (It was ALWAYS on Christmas Eve.)….  As I am no longer a child, I am blessed to live near wonderful neighbors and we exchange a little something with each other every year and it is lots of fun! ….This season means so much to so many and for everyone I hope it means a little more kindness and love as you live your lives looking toward December 25th!


My neighbor is my inspiration today.  So I hope she doesn’t mind I borrowed her thoughts. But it is so true that the simple things that make us happiest I think when it comes to Christmas.

Every Christmas will have common threads and every Christmas will be different.

Enjoy the spirit of the season. In a few days I get to see a friend I have not seen in years. She had moved away and we lost touch.  To me this will be one of my best Christmas presents.  I will also have our family with us.  That is what it is all about.  The people who give your life meaning.  Whether they are still here with us physically or not.

Merry Christmas.



why we ❤️ west chester pa

Photo Credit Lee Ann Embrey 2016

I borrowed this photo from my friend Lee Ann. I just love what this business owner did!

The photo was posted with the following comment:

Our own little gem of a jeweler Sunset Hill Jewelers & Fine Arts Gallery decorated her store front after being inspired by the Cartier building in NY. I think she did an excellent job! I ❤️ WC

oakbourne at christmas

One of jewels of Chester County is located in Westtown Township – Oakbourne Mansion.  I was there for the first time early in the fall for Westtown Day – this extraordinary historic mansion is in the middle of their appropriately named Oakbourne Park. The park itself is quite beautiful and has walking trails, what looks like a community garden, and kids’ jungle gym equipment too.

The mansion has an iconic water tower which is actually part of the township logo I am told!

 The mansion is in remarkable condition given its age and is owned by Westtown Township.  It is in need of some maintenance like any house of its age but the place is just so gorgeous! 

The details inside are amazing! From woodwork to tile work and mosaics and the crazy beautiful stained glass windows, this place is magical.  Today it was hosting a Christmas festival kids’ fun day, and the event was hosted by Westtown’s Parks and Rec committee. Their Parks and Rec community volunteers really put together an amazing event – more committees in local municipalities should follow their lead! They are SO much more than playground equipment! And they love the park Oakbourne sits in which is so awesome to see!

Enjoy the photos. Hopefully someday Oakbourne will land on something like The National Register of Historic Places.  I wonder if the National Trust for Historic Preservation  knows this place exists? Do you know it exists? Everyone should check Oakbourne out- it really is so very beautiful! (If I was in charge of restoration work here, I would bring in Frens and Frens out of West Chester!)