Meet Holley Walsh, Owner of Bluebonnet Health Services
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Like most families, our family truly looks forward to the holidays and our time to be together as a family. Each holiday has its own traditions and holds special memories for me and Mark, as well as our children, and now our grandchildren. What we hope to achieve now is a combination of blending the old with the new, honoring our family traditions while embracing and creating new ones as our family grows. We are fortunate there is something we can celebrate which bring us together every month—whether it’s a birthday or a holiday.
Birthdays have always had a special place in our family, with the birthday celebration encompassing a family party with the honoree’s favorite foods, special decorations with homemade signs hung throughout the kitchen, and always the annual birthday picture displaying your age with your fingers and sometimes, this takes more than two hands. Each birthday is special and is an opportunity for us to be together and share the things that mean the most to us.
My parents were responsible for many of the traditions that we follow in our home now—some traditions began when my brother, sister, and I were children. Many have now been shared with our children and their spouses as well as our grandchildren. My parents lived their lives loving God, family, and friends in this order. They set the pattern for us to follow—encouraging us to express our gratitude for all we have been given as we acknowledge the role that our Christian faith and love for God plays in our daily lives.
My dad (who my children called “Honey”) wrote poems or special notes to each of us at holidays. He always signed them with “E Love” or “eternal love” and that still has its place in every card, letter, email or text that we write to one another. My hope is that these special moments will be handed down from generation to generation and continued as a part of our heritage.
Things that my children remember about our holiday celebrations include: spending every holiday with the entire family; scavenger hunts with handwritten clues; cakes that sometimes fall flat in the oven, but were still delicious; favorite “Mom meals” by request (cashew chicken, lasagna, chicken enchiladas and homemade pizza); trying out (sometimes, too ambitious) new recipes together; the Thanksgiving that I got a migraine and the kids had to prepare the food; going to the tree farm in Quitman for each family to select and then, cut down the tree for their own home; sharing hot cider while on the hayrides through the tree farm; decorating my parents’ home and their tree for the holidays; Poppie’s delicious cornbread dressing and her famous homemade macaroni and cheese; the Greenburg turkey; ornament exchanges between the cousins; reading special books together like the “Polar Express”; Easter baskets, Peeps and marshmallow eggs at Easter; fireworks and homemade ice cream for the Fourth of July.
My mom reminded each of us as we became parents ourselves just how important it was to spend time with our children and, as she said, “M.A.M.” (make a memory) because these moments are life-long blessings to cherish for many years to come.
As our family has grown, we’ve added new traditions, especially at Christmas. Those include special themes for each day of Christmas week. Santa has visited us at our home and all of us have worn matching Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. We’ve all sported ugly Christmas sweaters, awarding the most original. We have taken pictures with all of us wearing antlers or Rudolph’s red nose. We have game nights that might include Left-Right-Center (played for real money), WaHoo, and card games, board games, and Bunco. Our family enjoys music and our favorite Christmas songs fill our home throughout the holidays.
We all love cooking together (even the men in the family) and eating delicious foods. Special appetizers always make an appearance as do special theme drinks. Each of our homes includes beautiful flower arrangements during the holidays, too—probably because my grandmother, D.D., was a florist and taught us to love fresh flowers and to enjoy the gifts of nature.
Most significant of all, though, at any holiday or special occasion, is the time it offers us to come together as a family. The update on each other’s lives, as well as sharing special things that have happened since we were last together. If there is sadness or sorrow, we share that, too. We are all in this together and make one large, noisy, joyful, and grateful family—and we try each time we are together to take the time to truly be in each other’s presence. We are reminded to acknowledge those who are missing from our group and to include them in our prayers.
We are encouraged again to thank God for our many blessings and to enjoy these special times together. That is as my mom and dad would have done. They were my heroes and lived as examples of the advice they shared with my family….Be kind. Always. You never know what someone else is going through. Be gentle. Have compassion. Default to empathy. If you can’t find any love in a situation, it’s a signal to be the love the situation needs. Love is the purest expression of this kindness. Spend as much time as you can with loved ones, and never say good-bye without saying I love you. Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.
Holley cares for Waco just as much as she cares for her family and friends!
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