Murdo Girl…Practice makes perfect, (so they say)



Of course I will be accepting an audience. The more the merrier. I did have two minor setbacks in my party preparations. I didn’t get the T shirt I ordered. The one Teresa put me onto that said, “All Queens are born in December.” It’s not a huge deal because I can wear it anytime during the year right?

I can’t really call the second thing a disappointment either. Ron, who is a good friend and musician, is facilitating the New Year’s Eve/birthday party. He told me that It’s highly probable that I won’t be the only one singing. I said, “Oh yes, I know. I have backup singers.” He said the clubhouse is normally packed and people we don’t even know might choose to sing. He’s going to have a sign-up sheet. I’ll probably just hover over the sign-up sheet for a while in case it gets out of hand. I’m sure Ron will appreciate that.

Now, except for our practice session tonight, all I have to do is figure out what to wear. Luckily, amost everything goes with aluminum. I’m starting to get excited about it now. I even have a few butterflies.







Murdo Girl…The making of a star

I asked one of my faithful readers if he had a request he would like me to sing at my New Years Eve birthday celebration. He suggested “The Sound of Silence.” I just have this to say..”Hello darkness my old friend. I’ll never speak to you again!” I WILL JUST SING EVERYTHING!

There are so many songs in Ron’s karaoke book. Plus, I have the rap to perform. It’s going to be a long night! I hope they let me take a break once in a while.

I went to the salon to get a crown ready do👸

Someone suggested I should suck on a lemon and drink tea and honey. I’ve been singing, “la la la LA la la la,” a lot. Kip said I need to learn more of that song or less of it. 

Playing on Jamaica Beach after the beauty shop. I didn’t take a pic of my hairdo because the wind blew all the product out.

I have over 13,000 steps on my vivofit watch today which is about 5,000 more than I have been getting in.

Is it okay for a female to sing songs that are sung by guy groups? One of my favorite groups is The Four Seasons. I was thinking about singing “Rag Doll.” I also like “Barbara Ann,” by the Beach Boys.

My taste in music is varied. I also like “Big Bad John,” by Jimmy Dean, and “Singing in the Kitchen,” by Bobby Bare. Oh, I really have to sing “Cheeseburgers in Paradise,” by Jimmy Buffet. With Val’s “Watch me Rap,” there should be something for everybody.

Got to post this. We’re headed to Moody Gardens to the festival of lights. We have to hurry because I’m going to bed 1/2 hour earlier every night so I can stay up til midnight on New Years Eve.

Murdo Girl…I’m a long way from Murdo

I’m packing to head south toward Galveston way. It’s crunch time. B-day is looming before me…and before you, but first things first..Do I have all my crowns?

check, check, check, check. The last one is just a hat. I’m bringing the no make-up crown, but I won’t be wearing it because I changed that rule. The mask with a crown is even scarier than me without makeup.

I do have another crown. Kip got me a crown charm for the Pandora bracelet his sweet sister Karlyce gave me last year. Something tells me a water tower charm will be hard to find.

I haven’t lived in South Dakota for many years, but whenever I’m on a 4 lane highway going through a large city, I still wonder where all the people are going. Unless they’re old like me, shouldn’t they be at work? It’s 10 am on a weekday. 

Go to work people!

 When I hear a horn honk, I still wave. In Murdo if someone honks their horn, it usually means, “Hi, good to see ya.”

We live in what most people would consider to be a small lake community. We went to Denny’s for breakfast the other morning. It was Wednesday around 10 am and it was packed. I looked at everyone in the place and I didn’t know a single person.

In Murdo, unless it was tourist season, I knew everyone everywhere I went.

If you had told me back when I lived in Murdo that someday, I would have to walk my dog on a leash, I would have been surprised. If you also said, if he relieves himself in a manner which doesn’t involve lifting his leg, you will have to pick it up with your hand inside a poop bag, I would have spread a rumor that you were crazy. Berferd would have been mortified.

Awe… Here we go..It’s December 28th and we made it to Galveston Island where it’s 75 degrees. There is a slight breeze blowing over the ocean. Our friends Ron and Barbara just pulled in and Linda and Leroy will be here tomorrow around 10 am. We are at the Jamaica Beach RV Park right across from Jamaica Beach. 

I have to go ahead and post this now. Kip and I have to get out on the highway again with all the other blue hairs. We forgot to get poop bags at Walmart.

Every situation has it’s trade offs. That’s why they say you have to grow where you’re planted.

It’s getting dark. I hope we make it back to the RV park soon. Nothing good happens to blue hairs after dark.

We have rap practice Friday at 10 am. It’s nice that everything happens at 10 am. It’s easier for me to remember.

Murdo Girl…Who’s going to fill their shoes?

This is a reminiscing rerun. They’re different from the other kind.

All those years ago when the south of 16 kids and I fashioned that first crown out of tinfoil, we had no idea what it would lead to. A crown by definition should be made out of precious metals and adorned with jewels. I doubt many would consider tinfoil a precious metal..not even the heavy-duty kind. We didn’t think about gluing jewels onto the adornment.

Crowns symbolize victory, immortality, or the highest part of something. That’s pretty heavy stuff for a 7 yr old, even if she does have a red Kitty Reynold’s gown. It’s hard to believe there was a 10 yr crown drought between the queen of the neighborhood queen, and the Murdo homecoming parade queen…And..let’s see 64 minus 17 is…47. Yikes! I waited 47 years to wear another tinfoil crown minus jewels.

 My mother was Miss Highway 16 almost 78 years ago. She wasn’t Queen of the whole highway, just the Murdo part. She wasn’t a self-proclaimed Queen like I am. She was chosen to reign. She got to go to the Corn Palace in Mitchell even though she didn’t have a crown. She wore a felt hat. She was 18 and beautiful. I think she would be proud of me for trying to keep the dream alive.

I am humbled by the fact that I chose to speak for crown wearers everywhere. Oh I know there is a certain amount of crown envy out there, but you won’t hear me complaining. It was kind of fun signing that autograph when I was in Murdo last summer.

So what does this mean? Give me a minute. I’m getting there.

I can’t think of a thing.

Cousin Val, (sometimes she’s Val and sometimes she’s Lav), represented Queen Elizabeth in the All School Reunion parade last summer. If you saw her, you must have been hard pressed to connect Val with Queen E. I thought she would wear a grey wig…or a powdered one like George Washington, but she just put blonde highlights in her hair.

She was supposed to look sort of matronly like Queen Elizabeth. Here is a side by side comparison.

Not exactly twinsies, but you can’t blame Lav for not wanting to look 90. All she aspired to anyway was to ride in a red convertible.

It’s not really about us. It’s about the future. Who’s going to fill our shoes, or our crowns?

Are there other 7 yr olds out there who are sitting on a folding chair in a horse-drawn red wagon? If some little girl is trying to emulate Murdo Girl, she needs to know it doesn’t happen overnight. Look at me? I only just now figured out it took me 47 years.

Are there other Lavs out there? I guess you could say Lav zumbad her way to crowning glory. She’s gone through some hard times too. Her $62.00 crown broke. It takes guts to continue to wear a broken crown.

That isn’t what I meant by the highest part of something Lav.

This is Lav in the recent Brick House Nativity play. Her broken crown is attached to the Santa hat.

 I think Lav’s ladder is leaning against the wrong wall anyway. When she gets to the top, she will realize she’s on a ladder to nowhere. (I just love metaphors don’t you?) If Lav thinks the real Queen E is going anywhere soon, it’s just wistful thinking.


Someone please tell Queen E the Coyote colors are no longer orange and black! She thinks she’s in the band.

Far be it from me to be a wet blanket on a little girl’s fantasy. I just offer these few words of advice.

1.Never ever be embarrassed to wear your crown in public.


2.Only remove your crown if the tinfoil needs replaced or in Lav’s case, you need to hot glue a broken piece.

3.Lav doesn’t do this, but it could be the reason her crown broke. I always take my crown off at night.

3. Do not go out in public without makeup on unless you have a crown like this!


4. Listen closely to this one. YOUR PETS DO NOT HAVE TO WEAR A CROWN! Just because you are royalty doesn’t mean your fur babies want to be.


On the other hand, some animals love to wear a tiara.


Yes, even you might be a Queen or a King someday…Dream on honey 🙂

That’s it for now. I am procrastinating. I have to pack for Galveston and prepare for my birthday rap debut. If I don’t get it right and record it, I’ll never hear the end of it!

Murdo Girl..Santa and the kiddos

Below is Nikki with Ryan Constance. Skyler is also Nikki and her husband Justin’s little girl.

This is Skyler and she loves owls. She opened this gift from us and immediately put it on. Skyler shares my birthday. On December 31, she will be 7 yrs old.

She loved Santa’s visit Christmas Eve. Actually, Santa was really Santa’s helper played by Grandpa Gus, but we let the kids draw their own conclusions.

The grandchildren brought each gift from under the tree to Santa who called the name of the person the present was for. Each time the gift was to Gus, he said, “Put this with Gus’s pile.” Of course they were a little disappointed when the package was not for them.

Hudson who is 3, hung in there until the very end when the last gift was handed out. 

When his job was completed, Santa went to change. He decided if one of the kids asked where he,(Gus) had been he would tell them he was keeping an eye on the reindeer.

This is daughter Heidi and her mom Dianne from Long Beach, CA. I’m the Texas mom.

After he changed into his regular clothes, Gus walked through the kitchen where he met up with Skyler who said, “Are you Gus?”

“Uh, yes,” Gus said. He thought for sure he was about to be questioned about Santa’s identity.

“I think Santa left some presents for you,”she said. Then she went on her way.

It was a beautiful Christmas Eve at our daughter Heidi and her husband Brad’s home. Our daughter Heather and her husband Scott were there with their two kids and Scott’s family. Heidi’s 2 kids, their spouses and babies were there too. We had a ball with two 7 yr olds, a 3 yr old, and 2 babies.

Upper: Dianne with great grandson Griffin.

Gus’s cornbread for stuffing Christmas Day.

Our son Craig and his family couldn’t make it Christmas Eve, but we met him and his girls for breakfast on the way to take Gus to the airport. Our other son Mason and his family live in Wyoming, and we didn’t get to see them this Christmas.

Mason’s wife Amy lost her Dad just a few days ago, so it was a tough Christmas for them.

Below are pics of Grandpa Gus with Craig and his girls..

So..On to the New Year! Tomorrow I will practice rapping. I must ready myself to turn 65..or 56. I haven’t decided yet.

Guess you’ll have to  “Watch me now!” 

Murdo Girl…Twas the night before Christmas??


2-IMG_0982Twas the night before Christmas and all through Brick House

There was only one stirring in the cold, old school house

Outside the snow was piled belly- high to a mule

And the heat wasn’t working cause they ran out of fuel

Lav put on her coat and without even a peep

Let herself out to go hot-wire the Jeep.

She would go and get firewood. A fire should help some

Though she didn’t know it, her idea was real dumb

She put pedal to metal like you would in a race

Too bad in the Brick House there is no fireplace

“We ALL have pneumonia!” The Town Crier cried

“Donate some fuel or we’ll die!” TC lied

Even though her idea was surely no winner

You can hate the sin, but still love the sinner

MG, at the truck stop warming up in the shower

knew the Brick House would soon be without power

They couldn’t pay the electricity bill..

With a heavy heart, she walked back up the hill

Jerry’s job isn’t as easy as it looks

You can cook the beans, but you can’t cook the books

No beans for electricity, no beans for the fuel

On the Eve of Christmas, the world sure seemed cruel

Pico went to Beckwith’s to sell her gold locket

To Brick House the dollars. The change she will pocket

DM, the defense monitor, was very perplexed

without power or fuel, what would be next?

His job was to keep the Brick House from danger

What they all needed was a real game changer

The Aggressive Informant, also known as A I

Was really depressed cause she couldn’t spy.

She had to keep Air force -1 on the ground

Maybe she should get herself a Blood Hound

Treason thought she’d put an ad in the Coyote

So maybe this story could end on a high note

The ad says, “Come to the Brick House Party this New Years Eve”

It will be 2016 when you get here… 2017 when you leave

Bring a donation, food, drink and a coat

Will you help Next Pres, or will it be all she wrote

When the party is over, there will be people to thank

Then Carol can sing all the way to the bank

It appears our Sherri will be drawing photos all night!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


It’s Murdo Girl’s BIRTHDAY, so please don’t be late.

She wants you to come so we can all celebrate!


I told her not to take any wooden crowns!!

Murdo Girl…Soup saga

I had a terrible nightmare last night. I dreamed it was 2 days before Christmas and I wasn’t ready. I woke up thinking, “Thank heaven it was only a bad dream!” It’s a good thing I woke up thinking for a change, because on second thought..there is only one day left until Christmas Eve and I still have to grocery shop, make something to take to our daughter’s house Christmas Eve, and buy 3 more presents.


I wasted too much time making soup!

A while back, I invited our friends Pat and Jerry over for corn chowder and cornbread. I found a recipe that sounded good, yet was easy enough for me to make. Shortly before it was time to eat, I stirred the soup and discovered it was sticking to the bottom of the pan. As I stirred, little black burned pieces appeared. I quickly scooped them out with a spoon, sacrificing some good soup with each scorched piece I scooped out. Everyone sat down to eat. I took a small serving and said I wasn’t very hungry. Luckily it didn’t taste burnt. Kip and Jerry wanted seconds, so I gave them the little that was left and said it was a new recipe and it didn’t make as much as I thought it would.


I was trying to decide what to fix for dinner last night, and asked Gus if he liked corn chowder. He said he did, so I found the recipe and bought the ingredients.


“What does the recipe say to do now cat?”

I was really carefull not to burn it this time. I was about ready to dish it up, when once again I found little burned pieces floating around in the soup. Well shoot! How could that have happened? This time I didn’t panic. I looked closer. I did not realize that cream of mushroom soup had little dark pieces of mushrooms in it. They really stuck out in the yellow corn chowder. Much more so than in tuna noodle casserole.

Gus read my story that mentioned minced ham sandwiches. If you’re not from SD, you probably call it bologna. Gus is a SD native too, and he said it made him hungry for a minced ham sandwich. I said, “Good deal. That’s what we’ll have for Christmas dinner.” I think I was kidding. Heidi is having the big family Christmas Eve at her house. It’s just going to be Gus, Kip and me Christmas day. I heard IHOP is going to be open, and Walmart has the best pumpkin pie. We’ll be good to go! It’s okay if you’re not a good cook when you know where to buy good food.


My son’s wife asked him, “Of all the meals your mom cooked for you what was your favorite?” He couldn’t think of anything right off hand. Then he finally said chocolate chip cookies. I made 4 batches when I was in Wyoming and they were all as hard as a rock. My cooking ability comes and goes.

That’s enough about my food failures. I was writing this while Gus and Kip watched the football game.

Look at this picture… I said, “Awe Gus, that’s so cute. The cat figured out you wanted her to sit on your lap.” He smiled and said, “I really don’t though.”



I love Christmas time and I love having fun with all of you!




Murdo Girl…Yram and “The Man”

This is Yram Sicnarf and I’m a crack up reporter from Gun Barrel City, Texas where our motto is, “We shoot straight.” Full disclosure here..I actually live in Mabank, but it’s just down the street from Gun Barrel City. When I moved, I never got around to doing a change of address. Besides that, I don’t think they have a cool slogan. It makes no difference anyway because I’m usually on a big assignment in Murdo..Like now. I landed an exclusive with “The Man.” Yes, my career as a crack up reporter is about to catapult. I’ll be a shining star. I’m pretty sure that after this interview is published, good things are going to happen. I’ll most likely be promoted to Sr. Crack up reporter.

I’m about to arrive at a secluded area just outside of town where a helicopter will be waiting to whisk me off to an undisclosed location. I wonder if I’ll be blindfolded. I just hate being blindfolded.

Hours later, the helicopter lands and the blindfolded Yram is led off the aircraft. She looks cold.

Yram: Whooee! It’s cold! Where the dickens am I anyway? No self-respecting snowman would live in a place this cold.

Helicopter pilot: Take it easy crack up, we’re still in Murdo. We just flew around in circles for a while to throw off any would be exploiters of “The Man’s” privacy.

Yram: Well that’s just plum pudding crazy. Why am I blindfolded if we didn’t even go anywhere?

Helicopter pilot: Well, it just seemed like the right thing to do. Now before we meet with “The Man,” we need to go over a few housekeeping items. When we get inside the building, the restrooms will be down the hall on your right. Like always, the men’s room is first then the women’s. We have a continental breakfast, which consists of a variety of Little Debbie snacks, v8 juice, and coffee. Lunch will be the same, which is why we bought a variety. Are you ready to roll?

Off we went to the building that housed “The Man.” I felt the excitement of the moment in spite of having one hand tied behind my back. I wasn’t allowed to bring my photographic drawer. This must be how Barbara Walters felt before she interviewed somebody super important. Still blindfolded, I soon found myself seated in front of an open fire. I couldn’t see it, but I could smell chestnuts roasting. I could sense I was no longer alone. Perhaps because I heard a jolly old voice.

The Man: Excuse me miss. I hate to be bah humbug, but I’m a busy “The Man.” I’ve been advised I need to increase my “presents” in Murdo, which is why I’ve granted this interview. I chose you because of the pitiful letter you sent. Did you really have one of those ghastly aluminum trees and a color wheel when you were a tiny tot with your eyes all a glow?

Yram: Yes sir..Let’s start the interview with something simple. Who are you?

The Man: Lean your ear this way, and I’ll tell you. I’m FedEx on steroids. I’m the head of a large not for profit manufacturing empire. I also oversee what some might call a working ranch. Why do you have one arm tied behind your back? We’re about to be served hot cocoa in a Santa mug and some Christmas cookies. I’ve got a freezer full of them. Let me jingle a bell and get one of my helpers in here to untether you.

Yram: Could you slow down a little “The Man”? Your handlers told me I’m not allowed to take notes. Let’s see. Where was I? What exactly do you manufacture?

The Man: My products are geared toward kids from one to ninety -two. Everything we make comes in a bag. The sky is the limit. Christmas makes me feel emotional. It probably has something to do with all the mail I get this time of year.

Yram: I see.

The Man: No you don’t. You’re blindfolded. Are you peeking? Be good for goodness sake and don’t peek. You better watch out and don’t cry.

Yram: I can’t see a thing. I’m getting rather warm. I’m dressed up like Eskimos. I’ve got to take my coat off. It’s not as if I’ll be dashing through the snow.

The Man: Although I’m sure it’s been said many times many ways, your hairstyle and crown must stick out like a very shiny red nose in Murdo. Where do you reign dear?

Yram: All over the place “The Man.” It sounds like you and I have a lot in common. Do you hear what I hear?

The Man: That’s probably the Mrs. She’ll be bringing our cocoa and cookies.

Yram: I thought we were having little Debbie snacks.

The man: Hohoho…you’re kidding really?

We had our cocoa and cookies. They were the best I’ve ever had. As I was leaving, “The Man” said he was going to lay down for a long winter’s nap. I sure wish I could have taken the blindfold off, but I think I know his true identity anyway. I wonder if he knows mine.


Murdo Girl…Christmas catty – 2017


Can you see me sitting here in the middle of all this Christmas litter? Murdo Girl and Kip had to go to the airport to pick up Grandpa Gus. I thought they would never leave. Oh, excuse me. I’m Dollie the cat, but most people call me.. the cat. MG doesn’t like me to sit on the table, but I can get the best sun here. I’m a little miffed because there’s no room for me to lay down.



Anyway, I’m glad they’re gone for awhile. I hate to let the cat out of the bag, but they tried to clean house together today. That never ends well. Kip volunteered to dust while MG cleaned the bathrooms and vacuumed. Two hours later, MG was finished, well except for finding all of her cleaning supplies so she could put them away where nobody can find them. Kip was still dusting his 2nd set of blinds. I don’t think MG intended for him to dust all the window blinds today. The furniture was disgusting.

This grandpa guy they’re picking up is responsible for the Santa Paws debacle a few years back. I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard the story about a million times. Craig wanted a gerbil for Christmas, so Kip and MG went and bought a gerbil, a cage, food.. yup the whole KITTENcaboodle. . They hid the glorified mouse in the closet, and took care of him for a couple of weeks until Christmas. They also had to keep Craig out of the room that had the closet with the gerbil in it. It was a ” longer than a cat’s tail” 2 weeks.


Grandpa Gus and Grandma Retta were there that year. Craig was so excited Christmas morning when he saw that Santa Paws had brought him a gerbil. Just picture this CATastrophy.


Grandpa to MG and Kip: I can’t believe you kept that gerbil in your closet for two weeks?!?

You could have heard a Kibbles and Bits drop. The cat got everybody’s tongue. No one could think of what to say, so they acted like they didn’t hear it. I do that sometimes too. I get so tired of hearing, “Here kitty, kitty.”

I said Dollie is the fairest of them all…not Doll

I heard Craig looked stricken, but he was smart enough not to let anymore sardines out of the can Grandpa had opened. He didn’t talk about it until years later in therapy. End of story.


I was looking for a recipe for tuna casserole and I must have drifted off. They aren’t home yet are they?




My name is Cyndie. I humans spelled it funny. This is where you can usually find me unless the doorbell rings. Then I run to the door and bark like crazy.

I have a Christmas story. One year MG’s cousin Valerie’s kids got a yellow lab from Santa Paws. The first thing he did was do his business under the tree. Hahaha. You know what “business” is right?



We’re Sammie and Pattie. We’re scared of the cat. She bats at us when she thinks our humans aren’t looking. Once she got caught in the  cupboard that twirls around. They couldn’t find her for 3 hours. Yeah..and we got in trouble just because we didn’t help find her. We could see her beady eyes peeking out at us through a little crack. We were hoping she would whirl around forever.

 I give you books and give you books, and all you do is eat the pages…They forgot my treat!!

She makes us wait in line for water.

MG: Thanks a lot for doing all that dusting today. You know how I hate to dust. I noticed a few people couldn’t resist writing their names on the furniture with their fingers.

Kip: You know, for some reason I thought our bedroom furniture was oak, but it’s cherrywood.

MG: You’re kidding..really?

Kip: Oh, and I forgot to tell you I found your extra set of car keys. They were on the shower ledge.

MG: You’re kidding..really?

 Not to change the subject, but the cat is getting on my last nerve. She’s mean to the dogs, follows me everywhere, and when I sit down, I can’t make eye contact with her or she jumps in my lap and twists her neck around to show me where she wants me to scratch it. She’s wearing me out!

KIP: You’re kidding..really?

Dollie: You’re kidding…really?



I hope they bring me a surprise. Maybe some catnip…or a crown. Jerome has a crown.

Wait! This says dog food…You know I don’t like dog food.


MG and Kip: Your kidding…really? End of story




Murdo Girl…Christmas secrets


When my brother Billy was a little boy, he told Dad, “I’m not going to tell you what I got you for Christmas, but you’re not going to have to use that old knife anymore.”

One Christmas, I was determined that Mom’s Christmas present from me was going to be the biggest one under the tree and it was. It was a plastic laundry basket. I remember how hard it was to wrap. The paper must have cost much more than the huge basket did.

1-Loretta Gustafson's Life in Photos 013
The fireplace where Billy and I hung our stockings

One of my co-workers told about her grandson standing in line to sit on Santa’s lap. It was a rather long line, and the child was somewhat perturbed by the time his turn came. Santa of course asked him what he wanted Santa to bring him. The little guy sighed and said, “I just told you last week at the mall, plus I wrote you a letter. I’m not telling you again.” Poor Santa. Poor embarrassed mommy.

Remember Suzy?

My oldest son was four, when we traveled from Wyoming to Draper, SD to spend Christmas with his grandparent’s. At the very top of his letter to Santa was a spider-man bike. We were so proud that Santa was going to make his wishes come true. Santa’s helpers spent a long time putting the bike, (complete with training wheels), together. We were all excited to watch him discover the shinny new bike under the tree Christmas morning. He was so happy! He said, “Look! Look! my spider-man bike!” He then looked around the room and said, “Where’s all the rest of my stuff?”

Our daughter’s husband Scott loves being Santa’s Helper

That’s the danger of writing letters to Santa. I guess Mom and Dad didn’t make it clear that you give Santa a list of “ideas.” That way there will still be the element of surprise. Besides, Santa can’t always find, I mean, the elves can’t always make what’s on the list…in time.

I called my son Craig yesterday and told him what we had gotten his 5 yr old daughter. He said, “Oh good, she’ll love it.” I asked him to spread the word around so no one else will get it for her. He said, “They won’t mom. You’re the only one I told she wanted it.” I said, “You didn’t tell me she wanted it.” There was a moment if silence on the other end. I knew he was trying to remember who it was he did tell.

This year, our three year old grandson, Hudson asked for a Christmas tree, so I guess there will be a Christmas tree under the Christmas tree.


Our son’s wife Amy looks great in a Santa hat, but it needs something…A crown?

 I’m hoping as you read this, you will be thinking of your own favorite Christmas memories and funny stories.

Our Christmas Eve tradition is to draw numbers for a Chinese gift exchange. One year, our granddaughter Nikki got some lip gloss, which was something she really wanted to keep. Someone else took her gloss, so Nikki had to choose another unopened gift. It was a Santa Claus mug. When I was growing up, I loved my Santa mug and drank hot chocolate from it every Christmas morning. When I saw the long face, I said, “Nikki don’t you like your Santa mug?” She said, “I don’t usually drink from things with faces on them.” We have never let her forget that, and every year someone usually gives her another Santa mug.


I wish I had time to look through all the Christmas pictures we have so I could look through them and decide which one has been the most special. The truth is, in some small way, they have all been the most special .


My memory twig is decorated with things that have special meaning to me, like the close pin reindeer and plaster ornaments the kids made years ago.

I know many of us are also reminded of loss during the holidays. I read a quote in my friend Judy’s blog the other day that meant something to me.

“Everything has a crack in it. That’s how the light gets in.” Love and blessings to all of you this Christmas.