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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Christmas Spirit

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

As I've mentioned before, this year the AOW household has received numerous Christmas blessings from Decorate A Vet, an organization that thanks veterans for their military service by putting skilled artisans and volunteers' hands to work. 

 Jeff Jones, the founder and vice president of Decorate A Vet says when we thank him, "Gotta love the Christmas spirit!"  And the expression on his face when he makes this statement is one of joy.

As you'll see in the some of the photos below, the blessings we received from Decorate A Vet go far beyond decorating veterans' homes for Christmas. Permanent home improvements are made!

Home improvements here started five days before the official decoration day of December 7:

I asked that Decorate A Vet fill with gravel a few holes at the point that our back yard (an area for parking our vehicles) and the paved street meet.   Jeff said, "We can do better than that."  We got a driveway — the first driveway we've ever had for this old house: 

Two loads of gravel arrived.

No more miring up in the carport!

We've long had a macadam area from the front gate to the back porch and the grill area. Over the years, however, weeds have sprung up on the macadam and turned it into soggy ground. I asked for Decorate A Vet to kill some of the weeds on the macadam. Jeff said, "We can do better than that."  We got a scooter-way and a patio area:

Excavation for the scooter-way and patio area begins.

The workmen even replace the crumbling landing at the bottom of our back steps.

The scooter-way and patio area are almost finished.

We can hardly wait to use the new grill area.

Decorating the outside for Christmas began in earnest on December 7. Decorate A Vet brought nearly 200 volunteers to our house, and they went to work:

This old house looks so festive!

Close-up of the azalea bush next to the front porch.  And mulch too!

The fence and the holly bush are decked out too.

On December 9, we had an ice storm, which added more to the Christmas atmosphere here at the AOW household:

Icicles make the ornaments even more beautiful.

Ice, ice everywhere!

Close-up of ornaments with icicles.

On December 10, we had a snowfall, which added even more beauty to all that Decorate A Vet has done for us:

This old house in a winter-wonderland setting

Close-up of the azalea bush after the snowfall

Photo taken while standing on the west end of our front porch

The view from the center edge of our front porch

As Charles Dickens penned in A Christmas Carol in 1843:
And so, as Tiny Tim said, "A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!"


  1. Something as fine, unselfish and wholehearted as this Decorate a Vet movement does a lot to bolster one's flagging faith in mankind.

    Your place looks like an enchanted cottage, AOW! I never quite realized before what a lovely piece of property you have. It looks like a private park. The normally unwelcome snow and ice-laden tree branches gave exactly the right finishing touch to a near perfect work of art -- a Christmas present toMr. AOW and you directly from the hand of God.

    I'm so glad you took these pictures and shared them with us.


  2. A beautiful Christmas present to you both, i really hope this movement grows all over the US and people contribute to this in the coming years.
    As they say 'the lord works in mysterious ways'.
    A Merry Christmas to you both.

  3. AOW, I LOVE your very East Coast style house, for one thing! We don't see many around here in LA like that and I think it's just charming. And then to see the ice storm decorations (!) and then snow.....? Well, you'd have this California girl dreaming of a White Christmas (except Libdope at my site said that was racist!) (I swear he did).
    Thank you for this post; I loved it. These guys did SUCH a great job and used interlocking pavers which are so great! Congratulations...you and Mr. AOW deserve this great pleasure and help.

  4. It is wonderful, AOW ... my best to you and yours!

  5. My hat is off to the volunteers of Decorate a Vet!


  6. Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Clause. This is sure a pick up of the spirit.

  7. I have so many photos that I couldn't possibly post them all.

    The last few days here have been insanely busy -- but a good kind of busy. Last minute interior spiffing-up was accomplished.

    Tuesday was house-cleaning day well into the night. A couple of friends came over to help me.

    Yesterday a former student, who now attends Hillsdale College and has been working the past several months as an Senate intern, came for a visit. After going out to dinner yesterday evening. We yapped till after midnight last night.

    And now it's off to bed I go to take a nap.

  8. Wow, that is great, especially the paved area/patio. What a great thing to do. I had not heard of this particular service until you mentioned it.

    Right Truth

  9. Decorate A Vet is a local organization.

    Jeff would like for the idea to go national.

  10. Indicative of just what a wonderful group this organization is...

    Decorate A Vet omitted going to a party last Sunday to decorate the home of one of our fallen. Jeff wanted the family to return from the services at Arlington National Cemetery to see that the house was decorated the same way that the head of the house had done in years past.

  11. Such beautiful work, Decorate A Vet, did! And the snow and icicles just add to the enchantment.
    With so many vets down here in Florida, it would be wonderful to see them spread out. Two of my clients are vets, one from Korea and the other from Vietnam.
    Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year, all!


    1. TMW,
      We're getting spring weather here for the next few days. 71 degrees on Sunday!

      We may have no more winter wonderland for our decorations' setting. Too bad! The ice and snow out there in our front yard was like an early Christmas present of beauty.

  12. This is wonderful, AOW! Your home looks so festive and happy, and the new grill area is sharp!

    1. Jen,
      I should be warm enough to Sunday to grill here. Yeehaw! I've got the burgers on hand in the freezer.

    2. I'm coming over! ;-)
      We just got another cold front. It went from 70° to 30° in about three hours.

      Enjoy your Christmas burgers!

      Merry Christmas to both of you! Xoxo

    3. Jen,
      We have only two days of spring-in-winter weather -- today and tomorrow.

      Tomorrow is Grilling Day. We eat about 5:00 P.M. Come on over!

      I'd be grilling today except that I have a ticket for a choral concert tonight. My favorite choir here in the D.C. area.

      Merry Christmas, Jen. Your blog site is a place of refuge from all the craziness in the blogosphere.

    4. Jen,
      No grilling after all! We have high winds and thunderstorms today!

      Oh, well. There will be another time for grilling -- before spring, I hope.

  13. Tear time(-:
    Thank you for the heads up on Decorate a Vet-
    I did not know that Mr AOW was a vet--
    Thank you - MR AOW for your service--
    and thank you AOW for yours--
    and for sharing photos of you warm and lovely home--

  14. What wonderful and beautiful blessing!! God bless those precious men. I cannot even begin to thank Decorate a Vet for everything they have done. *tears*

    So happy for you!! Beautiful, just beautiful.

  15. Jen, Carol, and Leticia,
    I just knew that you'd want to see this post, so alerted all of you to it.


    Mr. AOW and I are offering up special thanks this Christmas.

  16. Merry Christmas from the deep snow here in the Amazon.

    Oh! No snow! I was mistaken.

    It's so hot here I feel like I'm melting all the time.

    Oh! I am melting. It is that hot.

    My best wishes to you all back home and elsewhere abroad.

    1. Dag,
      Merry Christmas to you, and may 2014 be a wonderful year for you. You know what I mean by that last clause. **wink**

  17. What a blessing!! Pretty Christmas ornaments and lights. The ice then snow made the decorations look so beautiful. A winter wonderland indeed!

    AOW, wishing you and yours a blessed and Merry Christmas!

    1. Teresa,
      What Decorate A Vet is but one of several Christmas blessings we've received this year. I haven't mentioned those other blessings here on the web, but they are significant blessings and so very welcome.

      Merry Christmas to you. And may your health improve by leaps and bounds in 2014.

  18. A wonderful post.. Merry Christmas to YOU and yours!

    1. Merry Christmas, Fred. Stay well in 2014.

      BTW, Decorate A Vet isn't a group of veterans but rather a group of non-veterans who thanks veterans for their service to our nation.

  19. It's so heartening to know that the Christmas Spirit has survived the assault by Big Government that would pretend that all your needs and wants can only be met by them. This story, as well as so many others this holiday season, shows that the basic goodness and values which made this country great are not dead. They might be subdued but they are quite alive.

    We only need to awaken the sleeping giant of American goodness to restore this country.

    Belated Merry Christmas and HAPPY New Year.


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