I love the song “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”, but here in Florida there is VERY little chance of a snowy wonderland actually happening (especially with the crazy winter we’ve been having). So, the only way to get a slight taste of a “Winter Wonderland” here is to visit one of the many attractions around the state with LED snowflakes and bubble solution snow. We’re spending Christmas in Tallahassee this year; so we visited the light show at Dorothy B. Oven Park- Tallahassee’s very own “Winter Wonderland”
History & Culture
The moon was full and bright, the damp air had turned into a crisp cold, and white frost lay on the ground all around. The guns were silent, the sky was clear; and the thoughts of the men were of home and the miracle birth of the Christ Child. 101 years ago something miraculous happened in the midst of chaos and death, it was the Christmas Truce of 1914. The power of love, grace and forgiveness, that is embodied in Christ and the celebration of Christmas made it’s way to the battlefront. Though it was short lived it is a tiny testament to the power of commonalities of men in desperate circumstances.
One of my favorite times of year is Christmas. Since becoming a mother this holiday has become even more special to me. Not just because I enjoy seeing the holiday through my children’s eyes, but because I feel intensely drawn to Mary- the mother of Jesus. God gave us his only son as a sacrifice so that we could experience God’s grace and the gift of eternal life in heaven. Having two sons of my own, I realize even more how great a gift Jesus is to humanity, and what a holy and faithful woman Mary was.
When I was a little girl my Dad and his best friend owned a Christmas Tree Farm. Every year in early December we would load up into the back of my Dad’s old green truck and head out to get our tree. It is usually cold in North Florida December so we would be bundled up and getting to enjoy hot chocolate. It was a magical experience for me. It was almost like being in a magic forest where fairy tale characters lived. Looking up at those trees was overwhelming; I can still see the outline of the top branches against the purple sky as the sun faded. My sister and I (with the help of our mom) would pick the tree and watch as our Dad cut it down, then we would head home and decorate!
When you think of Thanksgiving you think of Pumpkin Pie! Okay, maybe you think of turkey or green bean casserole or Jello- but I’m sure pumpkin pie is pretty high on the list. Pumpkins are the symbol of Fall. In early September they start appearing everywhere. Pumpkins in the grocery store, pumpkin patches on the corner, craft pumpkins, pumpkin recipes, pumpkin wreaths, pumpkin spice lattes, pretty much pumpkins galore! They are a major part of Halloween and Thanksgiving, and are sort of a national seasonal obsession. I for one am part of the obsession! I LOVE pumpkin spice candles and admit to lighting them in August!! Pumpkins decorate my home from September to December; and I make Pumpkin Pie almost every year.
This week I’m in Tallahassee visiting my family. My little boys and I love visiting here. Of course I grew up here; so it is special to me. My boys love getting to play with their cousins and spend time with their grandparents. Tallahassee is an old town, with a rich history. For historians like me- it offers so much! Since it’s Halloween Eve I thought it appropriate to tell a little graveyard tale! Gather around and be bewitched by the tale of Tallahassee’s oldest cemetery- Old City Cemetery.
Just for the record: you won’t find me looking for space time portals in the Bermuda Triangle, or attempting to channel aliens on top of a Mayan pyramid. I’m not a believer in UFO’s and ancient aliens; but I believe in Atlantis! I do believe it was a real place and that saffron-that wonderfully beautiful and flavorful spice- has its roots there.
As I mentioned in my Surprising Uses for Saffron article, saffron is native to Greece and Southwest Asia. In the ancient world it was used not only to flavor food, but also as a medicine. Which brings us to the Saffron-Atlantis connection. Why Atlantis? Because a prominent and popular theory in archaeology today is that Atlantis may actually have existed and that it was located in the Aegean Sea, just south of Greece, not West of the Pillars of Hercules (Straits of Gibraltar), as the legend tells us.
I’ve added a new section to my site about essential oils! I love using essential oils in my home. I’ve been using them for about a decade now, and I am continually pleased with how well they work! They are amazing for everyday health, mood, and are immune boosting. Essential oils also have an interesting and rich historical past. They have been used since ancient times for health care and overall wellness. I find their value not just in their usage but in each oil’s unique historical past.