Where are you Christmas?


A song that I like during Christmas is the song “Where are You Christmas?”.   There are Christmases that I connect with it more than others. The Christmas after my father passed away was one of those that I felt disconnected from the holiday season. I didn’t know that I would just have 2 more Christmases with my mother after my father passed, that she would pass away as well. Though those aren’t the only times that the song has applied.

Life is about change and that change sometimes is hard to adjust to. My first real coherent memories of Christmas was the Castle Family Christmas when everyone tried to make it in to my grandparents to enjoy Christmas together. I remember the love felt during that time. The gifts weren’t special but the love was very special. Then it disappeared when my grandparents passed away. So Christmas changed.


Sandi’s mom appreciating a christmas basket we put together one year

Then I got married and we would juggle which parents would get Christmas and which one would get Christmas Eve. With the kids, it became a special thing to me again. Watching their little faces light up to all the magic of the season. My wife’s father would do a Christmas hunt for her and myself every year and the kids would get such a kick out of watching us try to figure out the clues. We’d have Christmas at home as well. You know the kind where everyone is in their pajamas, you have hot cocoa and you watch with anticipation as the kids open their gifts.


My Dad wanted a record player for sometime so surprised him with one.

The Christmas after my father passed felt so empty to me, but I never really said that to anyone. My father had a special place in his heart for Christmas, and with him gone it just felt empty to me. So Christmas had changed again. After mom passed, I found myself thinking how we needed to work out whose house we would go to on what day only to remember that we weren’t going to one house anymore. That was a hard change for me.


My Mom would get excited over any gift no matter how small.

Christmas changes again as my wife’s father has Alzheimer’s. With some things becoming more difficult some traditions are going to the wayside because of his disease.


Sandi’s Dad loves Labradors. Doesn’t matter the size.  Love seeing a smile on his and my daughter’s face.

Though one of the interesting changes for me is as the kids have gotten older and our own traditions change. Christmas was always me finding events for us to go enjoy. From a candlelight Christmas in Vandalia to a candlelight walk in Augusta. I was always finding different things to do with lights, etc. I would spend quite a bit of time on event sites planning out the holiday season. Those things have kind of gone away, especially with busy schedules and etc. Something I miss quite a bit.

This year is an off year for me. I am finding it hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit. My tree was just put up today but no decorations yet. I can’t even explain what is wrong, just that this year is different for me. Though I know one thing about Christmas will always remain with me and that is the Love. Love is the biggest connection I have to Christmas from that of the Christmas story to the love of family and friends. Love is the one thing that doesn’t change.


Duquoin has a great light display with an inside thing with trees, shows, etc. My kids and wife being patient with me taking the pic.


In fact it is Love that makes some Christmases harder than others.   So no matter how Christmas changes for me, as long as I can feel the love it is a good Christmas.

I hope you have a great holiday season and hope you feel love this season and always



Life lessons learned from a frying pan…


This morning I got up and made some white cheddar omelets for breakfast for my wife and I.  While cooking I was thinking about the life lessons you can learn from cooking. Before I start on the lessons I should state that I believe everyone should learn to cook at least basic meals and dishes. First it saves cost especially for those first moving out on their own, you can always make a romantic dinner etc. For guys you want to look sexy to your woman learn to cook a little. When dating she’ll be impressed that you cooked, when married she’ll be glad when a meal doesn’t have to be made. This of course presumes the old school view of the woman is normally the one that cooks. In my household I do much of the cooking, as well as I have taught my kids to cook. So they make dinner as well.


Now on with the life lessons…
1. Just like people each thing that you bring to the dish has its own qualities and traits but when paired with the right things can make an excellent dish.

2. sometimes something that doesn’t have the best taste qualities on its own can be come magnificient when paired with something else or prepared correctly. Sometimes it is how we handle it, how we treat it and prepare it that makes all the difference.

3. Sometimes slow cooking is best. Speed isn’t always the best. Sometimes you have to slow down, lower the heat and let the dish simmer to get the best flavor. Sometimes high heat and pressure will just leave you with a burnt dish and a pan that isn’t pleasant to clean.

4. The most flavorful meals are those that work with the other dishes to compliment each other. Would you choose oranges as a side for a steak or honey glazed carrots?

5. food creates memories because it takes in at least three of your senses, smell, sight, and taste. A dish that your grandmother use to make no matter how simple may bring back pleasant memories. I still prefer my pork chops with just little salt and pepper and fried in an iron skillet because it reminds me of my grandmother. How often does grilling bring back good memories?

6. not every dish comes out how you want or tastes how you expect but you still take a lesson from it. You try and learn what can be corrected and how to change it and then you try again.

7. You don’t always make the same dish because it becomes boring. You have to add new experiences new flavors and dishes to keep things exciting and have people looking forward to what you are going to place on the dinner table.

8. Always learning something new keeps things fresh. Such as our trip to miami we tried cuban food and when we came back I made cuban meal for thanksgiving.

9. what tastes good to you may not always taste good to someone else but that should never stop you from making what you enjoy. We all have different tastes, different palates and things we enjoy tasting. My daughter’s boyfriend prefers mostly meat dishes and so when I know he is eating I try to have a meat dish but I also include dishes the rest of us enjoy. Neither of us are offended.

10.  don’t forget the small things whether in seasoning or the drink you choose to serve with the meal. Pizza and soda or beer just works well for me, but pizza and orange juice not so much. If you ever want to learn how much a drink can impact your taste of meal learn a little about wines. 🙂

Have an awesome day. May it be a blessed day.

thanks for reading. Also my editor (wife) was not available to edit this, something about it being to early to fix my issues, so any grammar errors please forgive. 🙂

last thought food is normally about friends and family so cherish those moments shared around the table.


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