Not All Are Welcome.

Four years ago Wayne and I wanted to attend a service at an Episcopal chapel in a tony area but we were told we were not welcome because they were not open to the public. Services were for the “locals” only. It’s not a good feeling to be turned away from a church that has an “All Welcome” sign in the front. One doesn’t expect a church to be run like a country club, but to be clear we no longer were interested in attending services there. Even so there is a kind of outrage and sadness at the mentality and hypocrisy.

I just had a somewhat similar experience only this was at the level of state government. Maine has a “Maine Made” program with the mission to “build recognition for Maine products, their producers, and Maine industries.” As a Maine business in good standing for twenty years (and I pay the state $85 annually just so I can be in business), I wanted to apply to once again have a business profile on their website now that I have my new line of Christmas luminaries. I had been a member for over a decade until I took a break from making cards and crafts four years ago. Now they are more exclusive and only accept people whose products have been in existence for three years with a few thousand minimum in sales of that product the year prior. The program director told me that when I reached a point where I had to “quit my day job” was when I could contact them to apply.

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The Lawrence Welk Show: I Celebrate “Schmaltz” this Christmas

I wasn’t planning to post anything until after the New Year but feel moved to share this. Last night Wayne and I watched the 1972 Lawrence Welk Christmas special, and we actually watch Lawrence Welk on Saturday “nights” (5:00 p.m.) when it’s on Maine PBS. I’ve had a rough week but watching this last night was so helpful in rekindling the Christmas spirit. Unapologetically*, here are the top six reasons why I think this show is balm for the soul:

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Christmas Fairs in the Country

We opted in for out of the way for today’s Christmas fairs and festivals. There are all kinds of events in the greater Portland area and Kennebunkport is having their epic Christmas Prelude, but battling crowds and partaking in parking fiascos are NOT my thing. It was a beautiful morning with a fresh dusting of snow on the trees as we drove out to Bar Mills and then Limerick for fairs inside charming, historic buildings.

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Our *Real* Tabletop Christmas Tree for 2019

Yes, it does feel strange to have Christmas without assembling and enjoying my vintage aluminum Christmas tree! We both miss it! If we had the space I’d do two trees, but that’s not an option in our cozy little 1,200 sq ft house. However we are really enjoying having a real tree this year. Good news is that in addition to supporting the local economy, our tree will not be going to the dump in January but will be brought into our woods to provide a home for wildlife and provide nutrients for the ground.

Here’s our cute tabletop tree decked out with vintage trimmings for 2019!

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Photographing Wildlife

I looked outside my window at 6:50 a.m. this morning and saw Cider who also saw me. He gets very animated when we make eye contact. It was going to start raining the next hour followed by at least two days of a mix of snow and ice. I knew it might be my only chance to get my Christmas card photo before he went underground until spring!

It can be challenging working with non-traditional models. You can’t make an appointment with them for a photo shoot because it’s on their terms and timeline. They will NOT work for free. You will have to pay the talent in seed currency as you go, no exceptions.

Although I had just dressed and my hair was still wet I ran outside with my vintage Christmas photo props and jar of seeds. I didn’t even pause to put on a coat despite it being 40 degrees.

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Christmas Recipe: Gluten-Free English Yorkshire Pudding

Wayne and I will be having a cozy Christmas dinner for two. Every year I’ve made a standing bone-in rib roast but this will be the first year that I’ll be serving Yorkshire pudding made with meat drippings, yum! Here’s my recipe for Yorkshire pudding prepared with oat flour, tapioca and peanut oil (so meat drippings are optional) that tastes divine.

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Why I Wrote a Letter to Santa Claus Yesterday

When I was little the idea of Santa Claus gave me permission to dream beyond my means and reality. It didn’t matter what was happening in my life, the realities of budgets or whether he would deliver. When I made my list and handed it to my Nana, “Santa’s Helper” as she referred to herself, there was an exciting passage of a few weeks when it seemed that anything was possible.

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