Christmas Greetings from Our Home to Yours

Friday, December 24, 2021
It's become tradition to share a holiday house tour here on the blog, but with all the past year has dealt for so many, I don't really feel right about writing a post for the purpose of sharing my festive little home.  I do, however, want to thank you all for giving me a platform for sharing my passion, my writing, and my view of the world.  I have the most dedicated followers, many of whom take time regularly to write me in response to blog posts to tell me my words or photos were particularly moving that day.  I can't begin to explain what that means to me.  
The world is a little upside down these days.  Covid-19 has taken so much from so many and has literally changed how we all live day-to-day.  Some days it's difficult to keep positive and not get stuck in the trenches of despair.  Having the beauty of nature around me and my camera to capture it and having you all to share that with gives me purpose and some days, a reason to get up and 'go'.  I'm so thankful to have things that make me feel alive and thankful for every blessing in my life - despite the things we and all of you have given up the past two years.  
Thankfully Christmas still comes on schedule.  It's exactly the medicine we all need to remind us of the good times, old memories, traditions and the people in our lives - some here, some gone - who mean so much to us.  While Christmas will still be celebrated in the Welter household, it certainly won't be like Christmases past.  There won't be any Holiday Open House, or a flow of visitors coming and going.  (Thanks to Covid). Our family is smaller than it used to be, even with the addition of our grandchildren.   Great aunts and uncles are long gone, both of our dads and John's mom are no longer with us. Our family unit is pretty immediate but I'm thankful for each and every one of them.
My Dad (left) and his first girlfriend back in 1932ish

One might wonder why my Christmas wonderland isn't scaled back under the circumstances.  The answer is simple - as always - I do it for us.  We love Christmas and all that goes with it.  So even if we're the only ones to enjoy it, it's worth the work.  But I do love to share, so I hope you'll take a moment to view a little Christmas video I made for You Tube, with a short house tour and a Christmas message courtesy of Alan Jackson, whose words are as relevant today as they were in 2002 when the song first came out. Merry Christmas (YouTube Video) Click the link to the left to watch!
The cats, as always, are not stirring.  They are not excited with the anticipation of Christmas morning like John and I are to see the grandchildren's joy as they open their presents.  Back in the day, John was serious in his anticipation of Santa's arrival (below), checking the fireplace for any sign his arrival might be imminent and I sure seemed captivated by the big guy back I still am today.

My wish for you this holiday is that the days ahead are filled with people you love, good health, peace and more joy than your heart can hold.  I thank you for your continued support, your friendship and pray that the coming year will bring you and all of us an end to the crazy carousel we're on and hope for a brighter future.  Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!

A Solemn View at the Gerald B. Solomon National Cemetery

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Christmas season can evoke a myriad of emotions from excitement to anxiety, or stress to immense joy, but amidst the hectic pace of preparation, I like to pause.  During that pause, I take some time to step away from the chaos to visit the cemeteries, including the Gerald B. Solomon National Cemetery in Schuylerville NY.

This past Saturday, thanks to the Wreaths Across America program, wreaths were laid on every grave at the National Cemetery and the sight of the decorated gravestones was breath-takingly beautiful.  According to one of my readers, the wreaths, made from balsam fir, originate in Maine.  The sheer number of veterans laid to rest in one location is sobering.  It's a stark reminder that not everyone is able to embrace the holidays with excitement. For so many families who have a veteran buried here, there's an empty chair at the Christmas table.  Just today during our short visit, there were at least two burials taking place.  For those families, and so many like them, sadness and loss will make the holidays difficult.  Visiting these sacred grounds reminds me that the holidays are not the same joyous time for everyone.  Please take a moment to scroll through the photos and ponder the sacrifice these veterans and their spouses made for each and every one of us.

Amazing, right? The wreaths will remain on the graves until mid-January. If time allows, take a drive to Schuylerville and pay your respects to all the veterans who gave so much for all of us.  And then visit the cemeteries of your own family members if you haven't already and when you are sitting around the dinner table on Christmas, talk about those family members who are no longer with you and keep their memories and stories alive for future generations.  
In Memory of All Those Who Left Us Too Soon.

Welcoming the Holiday at Every Entry in the Schenectady Stockade

Sunday, December 19, 2021
I don't think there's a time of the year when there's more love and hospitality shared than at Christmas and no more welcoming entryways anywhere at Christmas than in the Schenectady Stockade.
It's become tradition for John and I to visit the Festival of Trees every December and while we're in the neighborhood, we've also formed a tradition of taking in the beautiful architecture and decor of so many of the homes throughout the Historical Stockade. The inviting entries don't just exist at the holidays. They are just as warm and welcoming in every season. It wasn't until the last 6 years that I even discovered the beauty of the Stockade, so if you're like me and haven't had the opportunity to meander the narrow streets and explore the elaborate's a little tour of just a small group of colorful homes and welcoming neighborhood.  Disclaimer:  I wasn't meandering on foot.  As always, my shots were all taken from our slow moving vehicle.

Gorgeous, right?!?!? So much detail, it's like a row of beautifully executed gingerbread houses. The Festival of Trees is open until December 23rd. If you get a chance to go, take some time to drive through the Stockade. If you don't make it, scroll down at the end of this post to see my post and photos of this wonderful annual tradition. Thanks for visiting Life As I See It! I know it's been busy around here this month, but I have one more post coming your way then I'll be taking a little down time to enjoy the holiday. Life has so much to offer if we just stop our busy schedules for a moment and make time for the little things. I hope the holidays will afford you time to enjoy the things that truly matter in your world.
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