12 Days of Christmas

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are a sight to behold. They have special events throughout the year. In the spring, we’ll have thousands upon thousands of daffodils and tulips blooming. It is an amazing sight.


In October, the gardens turn orange with pumpkins and gourds. You can spend hours and hours looking at all of the displays and gorgeous fall colors.


But in December, the Arboretum turns into a winter wonderland. That’s a difficult thing to do in Dallas, Texas. This year, our temperatures are staying in the upper 60s and low 70s. We’re supposed to have record-breaking heat for Christmas Day.

Our plants are so confused. The length of days and nights says it is winter. But, the temperatures say it is spring. Most of the trees have lost their leaves, but flowers are blooming away!



(As an aside – I sure wish I had more control over how pictures appear on this blog! I am really tempted to get my own domain name and use a program that can be manipulated!)

So, while we can stroll through the Arboretum and have visions of spring dancing through our heads, we also have the pleasure of a $2 million display of the 12 Days of Christmas. And, that is actually the reason for this blog post. I want to share with you the beauty of the exhibit. If you live anywhere near the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, a visit is definitely worth your time. Please plan to stay all day! I’ve been twice in as many weeks and I still haven’t seen everything I want to see!

On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …


a Partridge in a Pear Tree



On the Second Day of Christmas …


Two turtle doves



On the Third Day of Christmas …


Three French hens



On the Fourth Day of Christmas …


Four calling birds



On the Fifth Day of Christmas …


Five golden rings



And, on the Sixth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…


Six geese a-layin’




And, on the Seventh Day of Christmas …

(my true love gave to me one of my favorite gazebos!)
Seven swans a-swimmin’




On the Eighth Day of Christmas …

Eight maids a-milkin’




This is the only exhibit that you must walk all the way around to see it all. All of the others are on a round-table that spins.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas …

Nine ladies dancing

This gazebo is my favorite of the 12. The detail is more than amazing. It is, unfortunately, situated in a spot where it is difficult to get pictures without glare. Nevertheless, I have taken dozens of it and will post many here for your amusement!

Every lady is outfitted in an amazing dress with jewelry to match. Each carries a dance card.


Close-up of jewelry and hair adornment


Notice the detail in the dress. And … do you see the little white mouse poking his head out from the Christmas tree skirt?
This is obviously a different dancer, but look at the detail. Her ring is a flower shape; she has a pencil hanging on her wrist beside her dance card.


On the tenth day of Christmas…


my true love gave me 10 Lords a-leapin’
Several of the displays have mice hidden in them. We found this little mouse hiding in an old log, watching the lords skating.


On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …





And, finally, on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …





Besides the exhibit, the view at the Arboretum, whether winter or summer , fall or spring, is beyond belief.







Merry Christmas!

Happiness and HOPE

I have been so busy this December that I have had absolutely no time to sit and blog. That’s both a blessing and a shame. I love documenting my journey here. It is interesting to me to look back and see where I have been and what I have been doing.

One side effect that you always hear about when you hear about chemo is chemo brain. Well, I have it! My memory sometimes doesn’t last through a thought, much less an hour or a day! If something isn’t documented on my calendar or on Facebook or here … it might as well have not happened. Sad, but true. (Some tell me that this is not a symptom of chemo and is, rather, a side effect of getting old…)

I am waiting on my son and his girlfriend to arrive now. We are going to go to Texas Discovery Gardens and see the butterflies and maybe the gardens there. It is a fun place to visit. I haven’t been for quite some time so I am excited. I’ll no doubt be posting pictures of butterflies soon!

The Butterfly Garden at Texas Discovery Gardens is kept quite warm. Fortunately, it is not supposed to get very hot outside today … and, at least at the moment, it is overcast. The butterflies are usually not as active when it is cloudy so I hope it remains grey outside! (Sorry to any sun lovers out there!!)

The purpose of today’s post is to put up some pictures I took a week or two ago at the Dallas Arboretum. I met a friend there and we spent hours and hours – daylight and night-time – walking the gardens. It is gorgeous, especially right now. There is a huge display for the 12 Days of Christmas. You have to see the displays to believe them, but maybe later I will post some of the pictures I took.

Kim and I had so much fun taking pictures. I came home with over 1000!! Yes! One-thousand plus! I finally looked at about three-quarters of them yesterday. And now I am getting ready to go take lots more pictures. I may never catch up!

Today’s post, though, is for my yellow flower and bee pictures! I was thinking about them while I was getting ready a few minutes ago. I love yellow flowers. They brighten my spirit. In fact, I love the color yellow (except when the sun is beating down yellow sunlight and heat … I hate Texas heat). So, what I was wondering about while dressing was why I always say my favorite color is blue. It doesn’t lift my spirits like yellow does. Oh, the things one thinks about while putting on mascara!


God’s creations give me hope. Especially God’s creations that are yellow! 🙂 Just joking, mostly.

The bees and flower pictures send me in search of quotes. Keep in mind that these pictures were taken in mid-December. The flowers do not look like winter flowers, do they? And, I don’t really expect to see bees in the wintertime. But, these bees were prolific and very, very active. Just the fact that the flowers and bees are a bit of an anomaly in December imparts hope to me. Does it affect you that way?

Finding Rick Warren’s quote (above) about hope was perfect. Because, absolutely, God’s grace is the reason for my hope. Every single day. Every single moment. Even when we don’t know what is in His Master Plan, He knows. He is in control. No matter what. He has us in His Hands. That knowledge gives me great peace. I have no reason to worry. God’s got this! No matter what “this” is.


Now, I have no clue who Robert Green Ingersoll is, but I liked the quote … I felt like it was appropriate for this picture.  Don’t you know people who go through life without hope? They see the negative in everything. They drag through life. And, you have to wonder how they can make it through each day. Or, I do.Complainers and those who are just never happy make me nervous and stressed.

I can’t imagine always looking at the dark side of life. I prefer to look to the positive. And, those are the people to whom I gravitate. I have friends who are facing tremendous challenges. Their lives are hanging in the balance as lung cancer battles to take them. And, yet, they brag on how wonderful their lives are, how special their friends are, how lucky they are.

I love them. I pray for them to win. But, in reality. They’ve already won. Their cancer is getting very little of their time and attention. They aren’t allowing it to steal a single moment of their happiness or contentment while they have breath.

One of the friends I am thinking of now has published a book about her journey with cancer. She is such a wonderful person, a true advocate for lung cancer awareness.  She looks on the bright side of life. Someone wrote a heartbreaking comment to her on Amazon. They told her they couldn’t believe anyone could be so upbeat while facing a deadly disease. And, they criticized her for expressing joy, accusing her of making other cancer patients feel bad if they don’t share her upbeat attitude.

Really?? The note’s author would rather read depressing tomes about lung cancer and its effects. I feel pity for him or her. And, I feel even sorrier for the person he knows that is battling cancer. A downtrodden attitude, in my opinion, allows cancer to win. And robs the person of life while they are still alive.

Well … I choose Happiness and HOPE. Now and, hopefully, until I breathe my last breath.

Below, I am just going to post more happy yellow flowers and bees. There probably won’t be much more commentary so, unless you want to see the pictures, you can probably stop here!



The trees have lost their leaves, but these flowers spring forward, offering color and nectar.





Notice the huge leaves at the bottom of the tall stalks! I wish I had gotten the name of these flowers. I would like to have some somewhere at my house.







I think the leaves look like lily pads!




Gorgeous maple trees provide the background to these lovely yellow flowers.


These flowers are a different kind … but yellow, nonetheless!

Make today a joyful day!