Holiday Reflections

The bathroom radio perched on my vanity table played uplifting Christian songs as I hunted in the drawer for my mascara.   I turned up the volume while I listened to a female calling in responding to the disc jockey's question; the course of my day changed with her message.

The question:  What are you thankful for?  The caller responded how she had been in an accident a few years ago.  She sustained head injuries and lost some memory. 

“I’m thankful for the accident.  I can’t remember the details of a hurtful time in my past so instead of rehearsing old wounds, I now spend more time praising God for saving my life.  I’m not bitter anymore.”

Her courage to admit that spoke volumes.  I imagine I’m one of many listeners who took inventory of my soul to make sure I get rid of all bitterness as the holiday season begins.  It is freeing to welcome the upcoming days to Christmas with a clean heart.

Each heart knows its own bitterness
 and no one else can fully share its joy.
  Proverbs 14:10

I hope my stateside friends enjoyed a fattening Thanksgiving holiday and you ate so much your jeans fit tight like mine.  We gathered with our family for four days cooking and baking, strolling through the shops at Los Abrigados with the children sipping hot chocolate while we admired the lights and Christmas decorations in Sedona.

Bruno behaved remarkably well with the kids.  They gave him a workout, and he slept a lot when they left!

More family arrived in town yesterday to help us celebrate Tom’s birthday.   We chose The Manzanita Restaurant with authentic German cuisine.  We rarely frequent the fancier spots in town, but everyone gave the place, “thumbs up” and I enjoyed the guitarist who played 60’s and 70’s songs.  Tom photographed his choice:  Olivia Pasta Primivera.

In the morning, we drove to Old Town for breakfast.  Afterward, we peeked in the shops for bargains.  Tom’s cousin and wife posed with us.

By the way, our family chose Honanki Trail for the family photo this year.  We had a blast as we left civilization behind and caravan-ed for miles into Nowhereville.  The photo shoot left us with frozen cheeks from smiling so big.  The photographer loved our family and sent us a teaser of our grandchildren.

I patiently wait to see her finished work in that ancient spot amidst the beautiful red rock backdrop. 

My heart is full and I am thankful for all that I have as I pause and reflect at this time of year.  Friendship is important to me, and I think of you, my blogging friends, and smile.


  1. Excellent photos! The one with the girl kissing the dog's forehead is outstanding; it should be framed! The olivia pasta dish looks delicious; it made my mouth water.
    Indeed, you have every reason to be thankful and not bitter: beautiful family, good friends, nice surroundings.
    God is kind, generous, and protective.

  2. Seemed like it was a nice time for you and yours :)


  3. And thoughts of you always bring a smile to me, too, sweet friend! I am so thankful you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and time with your family! Happy, happy, belated Birthday to Tom!! May God grant both of you many more happy years and occasions together! I am grateful for you and our friendship and pray God blesses you this Christmas season!

  4. These are beautiful pictures. To receive love and care from God.
    I'm glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. You are a happy person because you have a wonderful loving family.
    Beautiful is your relationship and excellent pictures.
    Blessed days, Mary.
    Greetings from the rainy Poland.

  5. Oh my gosh, Sedona is so beautiful, I can't imagine how gorgeous it was to see and share with family. You did have a big week! Happy birthday to Tom too, you celebrated him very well. The photo of the girls looks so sweet, I can't imagine how wonderful your family photo will be. Hopefully you'll share it with us??
    Blessings my friend (and good job hiking too!!),

  6. What precious pictures with family. Nothing any better to share time and food with. Happy birthday to Tom. His meal looks yummy. So good to see you up and about and living life. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  7. My goodness, but y'all look like something come to life from a Hallmark movie! My favorites, of course, are Suzanna and Amy ... how that baby's grown!
    So glad Tom enjoyed what looks like a marvelous birthday, surrounded by family and food. What more can one ask? :)

  8. I thank you sister Mary for always blessing my faith with your posts. It's like reading a "devotional" each time I visit. Aside from pondering, your posts make me smile...

    Belated Happy Birthday to bro. Tom. His choice looked awesome and reminds me I haven't bought "mussels" in a while. Sometimes I make 'em with broth. Most of the time, it's good broiled with butter, garlic, and herbs on top!

    As usual, lovely photos and your choice for a photo shoot was great! Then again, I know it doesn't matter where you guys have the photo session...''Coz the best place to be is "to always be together" and your family is filled with smiles, love, faith...I love your pic of "3 generations". But really, I choose 'em all. Your grandchildren are all grown up and adorable.

    I don't know if I can afford to fit the jeans "tight" just had a quiet, portion controlled meals! :) Trying to have better choices without sacrificing the craving for some calorie-laden foods! It's hard to have smaller portions though if you know you're dining with good companies!

    God bless and always strengthen you sister Mary. Love and prayers always.

  9. I also have a radio on my dresser and listen to the Christian stations. There has been many times someone's testimony touched my heart. Looks like you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving, I really enjoyed your pictures!

  10. There is so much to be thankful for, even the difficult times in our lives do usher in some of our greatest blessings. I can't wait to see the pictures taken in Nowheresville, such a perfect spot to capture family pictures! I'm glad you had such a special and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday, and it is great to see that you are able to get around so well after having the double knee surgeries! Blessings and hugs to you today :)

  11. Wow. What a great story and testimony of the lady from the radio. That'll make you think and it'll preach!

    Your post has encouraged me to follow suit in the spirit of happiness and gratefulness. After all, that's what we're called to.

    Thanks, sister. Blessed to count you and Tom as friends.

  12. Lindas imagens. Feliz semana.

  13. Mary I am so happy you enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving. I did also with many of my family members coming here so I could cook for them. Christmas will be quieter, but I will spend it with my daughter's family and my niece. May you all have a wonderful Christmas.


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