Mother before the 39 family members showed up for the Hershey family gathering.

Mother before 39 family members showed up for the Hershey family gathering.

I created a new word today: “eves-dropping.”


To prepare a blog post on the eve of a holiday and then drop it on your readers.

Since Christmas and New Years this year fall on Thursdays, and this blog goes live regularly on Wednesdays, you get eves-drops.

As a way of celebrating the year-end of a great year, I send you a few holiday photos. Knowing you are busy, I’ll make the post short. Hope you enjoy seeing a few visual highlights of our last week.

The great grandchildren actually voted to let Great Grandma open her presents first. They helped!

The great grandchildren actually voted to let Great Grandma open her presents first. They helped her open them!

Last Sunday we had a lot of fun at Landis Homes which has a great community center for family events like ours.

After the party, we drove from Pennsylvania to Virginia with our son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren.

Stuart with his favorite audience.

Stuart with his favorite audience.

We extended Christmas two more days by going on walks, reading books, consuming homemade paella, and having more adventures in the car.

Harrisonburg has a great Children’s Museum. It was full of three-generation families, lots of our friends were enjoying family time there.

Owen and Julia loved the Green Room and practiced their make-up skills on me.

Owen and Julia loved the Green Room and practiced their make-up skills on me.

These are some eves-drops from Harrisonburg. How about adding some of yours? Can you name a holiday highlight to share with us?

Shirley Showalter


  1. Laurie Buchanan on December 31, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Shirley — Your photographs clearly, colorfully, and vividly spell F-U-N! Just look at all of the smiles and twinkle-filled eyes.

    Skyping with our son, Evan, was huge on our holiday highlight list.

    Night walks with Willa to admire people’s holiday decorations was extremely enjoyable (especially if their curtains weren’t drawn and we got to peek inside, too)…

    Burning Spiced Winter Cardamom candles while streaming Christmas carols via Pandora radio.

    We attended the “Festival of Trees” (a fundraiser for Saint Alphonsus Medical Center) and “Winter Garden Aglow” (a fundraiser for the Idaho Botanical Garden).

    And this year (our first Christmas in Boise) we attended the Christmas party of a flying club (Len’s a pilot) where after the wonderful meal, we were all treated to line-dancing lessons by a professional group who came in to do a whiz-bang job of it.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: We LOVE Boise, Idaho!

    • shirleyhs on December 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Your Christmas came with smells and bells and sounds peaceful. I like the way you are exploring your new home up one side and down the other while giving your new social relationships a chance to develop organically.

      I look forward to following your 2015 adventures. May they too be merry and bright.

  2. Tina Fariss Barbour on December 31, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    What a lovely family you have! That is so wonderful that the little ones gathered around your mother while she opened gifts. We had some nice visits–and good food–with my mother-in-law. We enjoyed music and lights. And we always laugh at Chase Bird pulling his new toys from his stocking. 🙂

    • shirleyhs on December 31, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      That Chase Bird has a special place in your heart. I can just imagine how many passes it takes for him to extract his toys. Highly entertaining.

      Glad you had some family time, too, Tina. Have a very Happy New Year tonight and throughout all of 2015.

  3. Elfrieda Schroeder on December 31, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for eves-dropping Shirley. I wish I could do that. I’ve been blogging in my head for a while, but just can’t get the time to sit down and actually do it! Have you got a name for that syndrome?
    By the way, I received the book “My Gutsy Story Anthology” and enjoyed your story “Staring Death in the Face.” It brought forth many thoughts and reflections. Thank you!

    • shirleyhs on December 31, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      Failure to drop syndrome?

      Never fear. Many things get a lot better with incubation, Elfrieda. So don’t be anxious about not blogging for a while.

      You should only blog if it helps you accomplish your goals. And you can make up your own rules about how often to do it!

      Glad you got a copy of the book and have resonated with my story in it. You know the heartbreak of which I spoke there.

      BTW, you were among the top five blog post commenters on my blog in 2014. That’s something I celebrate. Thank you!

  4. Kathleen Pooler on December 31, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    “Eves-dropping”..I love it, Shirley! Thank you for sharing your precious family holiday memories. You have a beautiful family. How sweet to see all the generations together. Your Mom looks amazing. Happy 2015 and I do hope this is the year we get to meet in person.:-)

  5. shirleyhs on January 1, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Thank you, Kathy. And the same to you. I feel as though I know you and hope we do get to rendezvous in person in 2015. That would be sweet indeed!

  6. Elaine Mansfield on January 1, 2015 at 9:39 am

    How sweet it is to have little ones at Christmas! It gives me pleasure (and a little longing) to see your family photos. I also enjoy the feminine family lineage from great grandmother to grandmother to child. You look like family and your are family.
    A Blessed New Year to you and yours,

    • shirleyhs on January 1, 2015 at 10:05 am

      Yes, Elaine, you have spotted all the deepest joys of this Christmas together with family. I know that some day I will long to have my mother back again and long for little children in my life again. As long as I have both, I want to celebrate, honor, listen, and love with all my heart.

      You are my teacher as I heal from losses of the past and as I anticipate future losses, including the greatest of all, loss of this beloved world. You have found so many deep sources of solace and joy. May there be many more.

  7. Daisy Hickman on January 1, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Happy New Year, Shirley! The generational impact of your post was lovely … the thread that weaves it all together. Sending all good wishes for 2015. ~ Daisy

  8. shirleyhs on January 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Now that you point it out, I see the theme beginning and end. Sometimes others can see what we only intuited. That’s why we need readers. 🙂

    Happy New Year to you, too, Daisy!

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