Wednesday, December 22, 2021

A Little Christmas Potpourri

  The cards are written, the presents wrapped, and all mailed to far away states. The tree has been decorated for a week and stands scenting the house with the beautiful aroma of pine. Carols are playing, the tea is hot, and it’s time to breathe and relax and enjoy it all.

  We aren’t making any cookies this year for, you know, waistline reasons, but Mason has been busy.

  He was very proud of his creations and told me, “It’s not the look that counts, Nana,  it’s the deliciousness.”


  I wonder how many calories are in this one!

  One night we did a drive around town to see the beautiful lights and displays on the little shops on Front Street, the big tree on the waterfront covered with lights, and the huge old Southern mansions festive with candles, tall Christmas trees, evergreen swags, and lights.  

  Coming back to our more modest neighborhood, we had a chuckle over this display. Guys sure love their trucks around here! 

  December is when the camellias begin to bloom here and these are from our yard. Although they look fragile and delicate, the blossoms will survive winter nights even in the 20 degree range and different colors and varieties will continue to bloom through the months of January and February. 

   Right after Thanksgiving, Bob got her first mail ever with her name on it.

  “What? for me? No, it can’t be!”

Inside the package was the most precious little hand-carved Norwegian troll, a nisse gode, from blogger Connie in Minnesota!  My Norwegian grandma told us about the nisses that hid things, moved things, broke things and performed other little pranks in her house. She wasn’t above threatening us with the nisses “getting us” if we were naughty either. This little Nisse is very dear and now has a place among the boughs and lights on our fireplace mantle.

  And even though I don’t hate anything about Christmas, I thought this was very clever so I will pass it on to you.

    I hope you, too, can take some time from all the work of getting ready, to enjoy the sweetness, the meaning and beauty of this season. 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Mepkin Abbey Creche Festival

  For the past 18 years, the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey (Moncks Corners, South Carolina) have displayed about a hundred creches from their collection of over 2000  to the public for a few days before Christmas. The beautiful works of art represent the Christmas story through the hands and eyes of artists from many countries and cultures of the world.

  It’s so hard to choose, but here are some of our favorites.

Some of the works were exhibited outside, some inside the beautifully decorated abbey library. 

South Carolina, ceramic

Mosaic detail

Columbia, South America, clay

banana leaf fiber

Ecuador, dough


Nairobi, Kenya


This one and the next three, the wood carvings, are my favorites.
“Birth and Renewal” (above) is by North Carolina artist Anna Koloseike. I love the hands!


Two-foot figures, natural wood


Some Children See Him

Some children see Him lily white,
the baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
with tresses soft and fair.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav’n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
with dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
this Savior whom we kneel beside.
some children see Him almond-eyed,
with skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
and, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
will see the baby Jesus’ face
like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
and filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
and with thy heart as offering,
come worship now the infant King.
‘Tis love that’s born tonight!

Monday, December 13, 2021

Murder, Mayhem: Mystery!

Mystery #1

  This morning The Writer was working in the backyard, installing a new motion light on the back of the house

with his canine assistant, Bob … 

when out of the sky, or possibly the 70-foot pine tree over their heads, fell THIS! 

a dead, partially eaten fish! A good 8 inches long if it still had the head attached, possibly a whiting, definitely from Winyah Bay.  Two feet west and it would have landed on The Writer’s head.
  We live a half block off the bay, so was it the breakfast of an osprey or eagle?  We see both regularly in our air space. 

  So Bob, taking advantage of the Writer’s amazement and confusion over a fish arriving by air, quickly had a good roll in the stinky thing before anyone knew what was happening.  This required an immediate deep interment (fish) and an emergency bath (Bob). 

  On to …

Mystery #2


  Moving our wonderment to the front yard, behold! 

  This same afternoon, discovery of a fresh scene of mayhem and murder in the lawn.  


 Too large to be chicken feathers. What was it, pre-disassembly? And, Whodunnit? 

  It looks like a burial plan was interrupted and the bird, which left a path of feather across the yard, taken elsewhere for consumption. 

  Update: The neighborhood consensus is that Mystery #2 had nothing to do with the fattest and largest possum I’ve ever seen waddling across our yard early this morning (she is innocent of murder and we learned, incidentally, only so fat because a neighbor’s daughter is feeding her cat food). No, the culprit is a fox , and the victim one of a neighbor’s ducks. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Chapel of Ease and a Receiving Tomb


  Strawberry Chapel is the only building remaining on the site of one of the oldest successful settlements in South Carolina, Childsbury. 

  In front of the church is a large vault that is a receiving tomb where bodies were prepared and awaited burial. 

Because of the hot and humid climate of South Carolina, a cool place was needed to store the deceased, allowing  time for the grave to be dug and families to travel for the 

  For coolness, the vault was built partially underground, with a vaulted brick ceiling and a dirt floor. A door was located on the left end and there were several steps down into a chamber with shelves on the walls.

  Strawberry Chapel was built in 1725 by plantation owners as a “chapel of ease”, a mission church where plantation families unable to travel as far as the established church could meet on Sundays.  

Strawberry Chapel was an Anglican Church and its first minister was a French Huguenot. The church property is family owned and services are still held here twice a year.

  As you can see, we are still enjoying some beautiful fall colors and warm days here on the coast. Hard to believe Christmas is only weeks away!