Accentuate the Positive! · Beauty · Christmas · Family · Gratitude · holiday · Something wonderful

Still shining brightly

This Christmas tree always brings joy

This is a re-run of a post I put up several years ago – which is a reprint of an article I wrote in 1993 for a small weekly paper. When my parents downsized they gave me the tree. Enjoy!

Tonight I put up the tree I “inherited” from Dad when they downsized to a patio home. Here’s the story I wrote about that tree 17 years ago for The Georgia Guardian newspaper. Tomorrow or Thursday I’ll post pictures of the decorated 2010 tree. Tonight you’ll have to make do with a picture of Pickles sitting underneath the tree:

Pickles poses by a copy of the original story of our family tree. Dad loved the story so much he matted and framed it. Once you read it, you’ll see why.

Pickles underneath the Christmas tree.
Pickles poses by a copy of the original story of our family tree.

A Tree for All Seasons

First published in the Georgia Guardian, Dec. 24, 1993
Copyright Jennifer Rust

Every family has its Yuletide traditions, and ours is no exception. We’ll be going to parties, attending the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church and decorating the tree. Yet we do something lots of people would never dream of: We pull our tree out of the attic each year.

Yes, we have an artificial tree. During my impossible-to live-with teenage years, I continually referred to it as the fake tree. I would groan and roll my eyes each time my dad pulled it out of its box, telling the story of how he bought it in 1968 for only $15. (What a bargain, I can hear him say.)

When I was in high school I would beg my parents to buy a real tree. We could decorate it with strings of popcorn and other “natural” ornaments. But each year we’d re-assemble that same old tree, sticking branches into the holes on the trunk pole and bending them into place so they’d look right.

As time passed, my brother and I graduated, left the house, got jobs. Now, I have only a few days at home to celebrate the holiday. And I’ve noticed a change in the way I feel about that tree. It happened the year before last, when my dad said, “I think we might replace this one with a new tree.”

You would have thought he suggested we replace Mom. I gasped, “No! You can’t get rid of this tree!” Even as I said it I realized why.

Because of all the laughs we have putting it up each year … because all the made-in-kindergarten ornaments look just right on it … because we’ve had it for 25 years, and how many things last that long? Heck, that tree is the same age as my brother Bill and we’re keeping him.

That artificial, fake but eternal tree has become so much more than a decorative centerpiece upon which to hang the ornaments. It is a symbol of all those Christmases past and all the memories we share. That glorious fake fir has become a holiday tradition of its won. I wouldn’t trade it for the most majestic blue spruce around.

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Gratitude · holiday

Bittersweet….

Even though the liturgical season of Christmas isn’t over (not by a long shot!) I’m falling in line with the secular American way of doing things. The lights have come down; the wreath is off the door, and now the tree is coming down too. Last year in this house! It’s been a good Christmas.

Christmas lights 2015
I wanted to create a “river of light” between my house and my neighbor’s – we settled for a puddle around the tree. We both wanted to charge admission to the street.

Outdoor Christmas lights 2015
The lights at my house 2015, The tree with the lights is on the left.

Christmas tree 2015
In the background you see my Christmas tree. Gotta get some better glassware on the table next Christmas.

Christmas tree 2015
Last shot of the tree for Christmas 2015. ‘Til next year!

me · Toastmasters

Procrastination

This is part of a speech I gave to my Blue Streak Toastmasters club March 3. Note the dated reference to Charlie Sheen.

Procrastination and I go way back. We have a long-standing relationship – probably one of the longest of my life. I’ve procrastinated over things as small as buying a DVD player (so many choices!) to as large as finishing a work project.

I’ve been concerned about my tendency to procrastinate for a long time as well. In fact, to prepare this speech, I consulted a fantastic book “The Procrastinators’ Handbook – Mastering the Art of Doing it Now” by Rita Emmett. The book is packed with useful tips. Trouble is, I bought the book in May 2003. And I didn’t read it until this week.

The book has lots of funny bits too. Like the Procrastinators’ Club “Top Ten” list: Continue reading “Procrastination”