Friday, December 23, 2011

The Gumdrop Bush

The Gumdrop Bush
by F. Hendrix

     Many Christmases ago in a tiny community of folks in southern Georgia, lived my little family of humble folks in a humble home that was cold but adequate. We didn't have much, but we did have each other and we did share the true meaning of what the Christmas season was all about. Mama always made a huge fruitcake in an old warped dishpan. It was filled with fruit of every color and hue; pecans from our grove and baker's ingredients that she would horde for months anticipating this special day. We always had a monstrous bowl of ambrosia. Living near Florida, we were blessed to have citrus on hand. In it were all manners of fruit, juices, nuts and coconut, my favorite.

     It wasn't always easy for a family who lived from week to week, but we had love and we had one ritual that I always looked forward to. It was the adorning of the Hawthorne bush. Some folk called it a Hawk Haw but no matter, it was a branch from a very thorny bush that grew wild in the swamps there. It had tiny, brilliant orange fruit that we ate as soon as they turned. Mama would send me to get a branch. I remember vividly tearing my arms to shreds with the thorns, but it didn't matter, it was a job that I anticipated and my part would go on so that we could all share in the joy of the treat.

     Mama was a simple woman with a hearty laugh and beautiful eyes that would slant when she smiled. She got as much joy from this decoration as anyone. She would take the branch and rinse it off at the well, then she would plant it in a mason jar of black Georgia dirt and wrap aluminum foil that she had washed, folded and saved for just such an occasion. Next, she would find an old piece of red curly ribbon from many Christmases ago, carefully ironing it smooth and wrapping it around the rim of the jar and into a beautiful bow. Now it was time for the gumdrops. Spiced gumdrops - oh the joy of Christmas- was the candy of Christmas to me! Each thorn on the bush would hold one gumdrop and when finished she would proudly display it in a prominent place in our home.

     As the candies were eaten, she would lovingly replenish them. Everyone who came to our house went straight for the gumdrop bush to admire its beauty and to celebrate the Savior's birth in this season. Life was slow then, the simple decorated bush was glorious and brought our thoughts back to the simplicity of Christ's coming.

     Mama went to live with Jesus many years ago and another gumdrop bush has not been erected until today, December 13, 2011. Here it stands, anhomage to my beautiful mother and her love for her son, a tribute to the Savior who bore the thorns on His head and whose sweet blessings are represented by the candy on...The Gumdrop Bush.

Merry Christmas to you all and blessings beyond your wildest imaginations.

F. Hendrix

Friday, December 9, 2011

My last photo shoot…

… of 2011 !!  It sure was a busy fall season for photo shoots for me, but it is ending just at the right time! I don’t have another shoot until spring and after the very hectic past 3 months, that works for me. I love my job ~ meeting so many wonderful homeowners, seeing such amazing homes, traveling the by ways, highways and back roads with a dear friend to do just that, but it doesn’t end when I pack up my gear and head home. There is a lot to it once I get home from a shoot. I still have so many photos to sort through from the fall and now I will enjoy doing that work on the cold winter days after Christmas in the comfort of my home. The cameras, lights, umbrellas, tripods and extension cords will stay packed away for awhile!

For this shoot, Audrey and I stayed pretty close to home, heading to Sutton, MA.  Once inside Cheryl’s home, it was if we had taken a step back in time!  Her home is believed to have been built in the mid 1700’s and it was fascinating seeing the wonderful antiques she has collected over the years and how well they fit in her period home.

I took plenty of close-ups for you to enjoy since this will be my last sneak peek for awhile!!























And look at this sweet little guy who kept us company all day. He wanted to be in every picture!! Audrey certainly got plenty of snuggle time with him. I think she wanted to take him home!














Thank you Cheryl for opening your wonderful home to Audrey and I so that we can share it with our readers!

Looking at the list of homes we have lined up,  I just have to say that the 2013 Holiday issue is going to have a wonderful mix of prim homes ~ something for everyone!!


It’s not often we have time to do anything else on the day of a shoot but being so close to home, we decided to make a quick stop a local dairy store, driving through the beautiful New England countryside to get there. Old homes along with fields and pastures bordered by hundreds of years old stone walls is such a common sight here in New England but it never gets old for us. 

We found the dairy store after a slight detour by more old homes. Audrey is such an animal lover ~ she found a few friends outside just waiting for her!!  Although they seem to be confused as to whether they are cows or reindeer, Audrey didn’t seem to mind!


It was just another wonderful day on the job!!

Until next time ~ prim blessings and hugs, Linda

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Sneak Peek – Christmas in the Catskills

An early December morning rose bright and unseasonably warm as I headed for the home of Janice & John Elderkin. My trip took me thru the scenic Catskill Mountains of New York, only a hop, skip and a jump from my own home. Janice and John greeted me warmly as I stepped into their beautiful place all decorated for Christmas! John lit the home’s 3 fireplaces while Janice showed me around and I unpacked my equipment. There was lots to do so I got busy while Janice eagerly told me about all the changes she and John had made to their home over the years. Lunch time came before I knew it and Janice treated me to a delicious soup, bread and 2 delectable desserts set out on her beautiful kitchen table. Christmas trees were lit and  decorated all over the house, with Santas peeking at me from around each corner! As the sun was setting and I was packing up, Janice and John presented me with a beautiful wooden candle sconce that they had made! I was so touched! It was a great day and so wonderful to meet 2 new friends!  Please enjoy a few sneak peeks into this gorgeous home!


















Thank you Janice and John for inviting me and the readers of APP & CJ into your home!

Until next time ~ prim blessings and hugs, Karen

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Bountiful Blessings of Thanksgiving

Our Senior writer Dan Weaver shared this on our Facebook page and we thought you all might enjoy it as well!!
The Four Freedoms:  The Bountiful Blessings of Thanksgiving
By Dan Weaver
    As Thanksgiving Day draws near, we all find ourselves busily preparing for one of the biggest meals of the year. We are making sure that the table is perfectly set, that the food is perfectly prepared, and that the house is perfectly decorated. Despite the work that Thanksgiving brings, we find ourselves looking forward to spending the day with family and friends. With all the hustle and bustle of the day, we may find ourselves neglecting the true reason we celebrate this wonderful day. We all know the story of the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock. We all know that the Indians helped the Pilgrims survive by teaching them to grow and harvest crops. Unfortunately, over the years, many of us may have forgotten that there have been times during our country’s long history when Thanksgiving Day was not easily celebrated. These brave generations of the past were able to celebrate Thanksgiving during times of war, poverty, and great loss. We could learn a lot from these past generations and the stories they could tell us. These people fought and often died to ensure that the freedoms they were fighting for would be possible for the generations of people who would come after them.
    When I think about freedom, I often recall a very famous artist named Norman Rockwell.  Norman Rockwell is known for depicting life through his art. His art reminds us of a simpler time, while reminding us of the important things in life. Norman Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms in 1943. These were four separate oil paintings that were reproduced and were featured on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post during four consecutive weeks in 1943. Rockwell derived his paintings from the January 6, 1941 State of the Union Address given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. These four freedoms are freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
Freedom of Speech:  Many of us take this freedom for granted. We forget that in a lot of nations, people do not have the right to speak their minds. Many times if these people do speak out they can be imprisoned or worse. If we disagree with the leaders of our nation, we can express our disagreement openly without fear of retaliation. Without freedom of speech our country would not be what it is today. We would be stifled and not be able to express ourselves and lead the lives we choose to live.
Freedom of Worship:  This is one of the reasons why the Pilgrims left England. They were being forced to practice a religion they found objectionable. They could not worship openly according to their own beliefs. Now, we can all enjoy this freedom no matter what our particular religious beliefs are. We can find a church that believes the way we do and enjoy the fellowship of others who share our beliefs without fear of persecution.
Freedom from Want:   We all know people who go without. We all know people who struggle to make it from day to day. Most of us are blessed enough to be able to make a living and provide for our families and still get to indulge ourselves with a passion for decorating and collecting.  Even though there are many people in this country who are living a meager existence, there are programs developed by our country to help them work out of the poverty that they are currently living in. In most countries, these people would have no hope and would live in poverty for generations. In our country we can pull ourselves out of the desperate living conditions we may find ourselves in through the assistance of government programs, our communities and our families.
Freedom from Fear:  Even though we have experienced outside threats to our safety over the years, we still can go to sleep at night and rest easily. Our children can go to school without the daily threat of bombs going off and gun fire. In many countries, worrying about an attack of some kind or the safety of family members is a daily fear. In our country we can live our lives in peace and look forward to a brighter tomorrow.
    So, as you gather around your Thanksgiving table this year and look into the loving faces of your family and friends, take a moment to remember all of the freedoms that we have in this great nation. Remember the people who have gone before us and made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. Remember to thank God for allowing you to be born in a nation where freedoms are bountiful. Remember to count your blessings and to focus on the positive. If we all do this, everyday can be like Thanksgiving. If we all strive to see what we have to be thankful for instead of what we do not have, the world can be a better place and our children and grandchildren can enjoy and cherish the four freedoms that Norman Rockwell so beautifully depicted so many years ago.
As we head off to spend time with our families, we would like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Prim blessings!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Those southern girls do it right!

If you read the last post, you know I recently did two photo shoots in SC. You can read the last post ~here~ if you missed it. And if are a follower of my blog Behind My Red Door, you know that my dear friend Jill had the nerve to leave New England and move to Columbia, SC ! She went from being 2 hours away to 2 looong days away! It had something to do with leaving the snow behind, getting twice as much house for half the price, Jim being able to work outside as well as ride his motorcycle all year round  or some other silly excuses I now can’t recall. All I know is that it is a LONG drive to get there! Now mind you, as capable as I am,  I don’t do the driving ~ the mister does (by choice) but still, it is a looooong drive just the same! Thankfully she moved inland so we can avoid the dreaded rte. 95 corridor. I’ll give her that much! And when we get there ~ well it is always worth the drive!  I’ll tell you all about the fun and food on my own blog when I find time, but today I will treat you to some sneak peeks of her gorgeous home.

For those that don’t know, Jill and Jim make a lot of their own furniture. Jim is a carpenter by trade and Jill took years of woodworking classes at the local trade school in Maine. When they lived in Maine, they transformed the interior of their split entry home into a colonial style home. You can see pictures of that home if you click ~here~. When they bought their home in SC, it was the basic builders colonial with Pergo and carpeted floors, pickled pine cabinets and little warmth. Now, it is warm and inviting with gorgeous hardwood floors, crown moldings and chair rails, stenciling and filled with beautiful prim and colonial pieces. This summer Jim tore down the old deck and enlarged it and closed in half of it making a screened in porch. Between the two of them, they have done themselves proud!  I’ll stop talking now and let you see just a wee bit of the eye candy…..537

















Wait a minute?? Who do we have here?? It’s Sasha!! She wanted to say hi to all my friends in blogland!! 162


Well that is it for sneak peeks for the SC trip! I hope you enjoyed seeing how 2 southern girls decorate!  Thank you Jill and Jim for making me feel right at home! And Jill, thank you for all the help on both shoots ~ I truly appreciate it my dear friend. You are now forgiven for moving so far away~~~~NOT!!


As Thanksgiving approaches,  I would like to take a moment to wish you all gift of time to stop and reflect
on the many blessings of faith, family, friends, life, and love.


Until next time ~ hugs, Linda

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