Christmas Memories

20161117_125234Feliz Navidad, Frohliche Weihnacten, Nollaig Shona, Cracium Fericit, and Meli Keulieumaseu! As the world celebrates the birth of Jesus at Christmas, in every country many reflect back and remember sweet gatherings of Christmas past. For some, the holidays stir up a mix of emotion as both tears of joy and sadness flow.  Whatever we may feel, it is good to honor our emotions. In a mist of sudden sadness, a memory of a very happy Christmas welled up for me to share. The year was 1957 and the Alley family lived at 33 W. Rose Street, Stockton, California.

Lodging this memory here forever so that family may savor it after I have entered the Feliz Navidad of eternity:  The aroma of our live tree hand draped with shiny tinsel was ever so sweet as it mixed well with the smell of pine and old books. A warm cozy, crackling fire flamed hot in the library just at the bottom of the swirling staircase. Drifting in a dreamy sleep with the joyful Light twinklings and excitement of Christmas, my curious ears perked to hear a rustling sound rising up from the library. With great anticipation I snuck quietly down the hallway and knocked gently on my sister Mary’s door. Sparkling with glee, I dared her to come along to investigate what was going on at midnight on this particular Christmas eve. Giggling as softly as possible, we hugged the banister to creep down the stairs, quiet as mice. We saw dad sitting in front of the fireplace, struggling to put a glorious blue bike together. Our peeking went undetected and we scurried back to bed. Rising eagerly on Xmas morning we delighted to discover a great surprise. Assuming that the blue bicycle was most certainly for our brother Ben, we were so happily astonished 😍 that three glistening bikes stood around our glamorous tree. Squealing with gratitude, yet wearing our custom made granny jams, we slipped on our boots and took a joy ride down Commerce street. It twas the day of Christmas, and all through the house, not a child was stirring, not even a mouse…even Earl and Maria bundled up outside,  hearts bursting with glad tidings to witness our JOY. More Happy memories are now under construction with my husband Michael 🌷 Off to LaPaz then Loreto to visit Ben for Xmas 2019.

Willis Earl Alley

Momma Mia

We sing this song every Sunday “Grace alone which God supplies — Strength unknown He will provide — Christ in us, our cornerstone — We will go forth in grace alone. Every soul we long to reach — Every heart we hope to teach — Everywhere we share His peace —- is only by His grace.  Every loving word we say  — Every tear we wipe away  —Every sorrow turned to praise — is only by His grace.”

“Yet I am always with You;

You hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with Your counsel,

and afterward You will take me into glory.” Psalm 73:23

d3e7c8447f6c9e02921ec272add91405Over the last seven years, Barbara has become my favorite female on the planet. She thrives by affirming her friends and loved ones. God designed her with His plan in mind. Today after listening to Christmas music, with tearful reflection she proudly claimed God as her Father, Jesus as her Saviour, and the Holy Spirit as her lifelong Guide from the very fragile age of 7. His mercies were never wasted as she lavishly distributes grace and forgiveness to those who snub her. She has moments of melancholy mixed with genuine bravery and transparency. As her husband, I am the recipient of all that God continues to pour through her. Barbara is the most generous person I have ever known. She glorifies her heavenly Father with as little, or as much as she has held. She speaks truth bathed in love and she artfully decorates pics with love which make our memories together stick like glue. She delights in filling albums that include every family member! Together we have toured Israel, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Colima, Mazamitla, Loreto, Old Sac, Santa Cruz, Oregon, Multnomah Falls, and Florida. We cruised the Atlantic and the Pacific, and stuck our feet in the Mediterranean. Barbie Sue is loved, trusted and enjoyed by all who come to know her because she is transparently and authentically herself. She rehearses her thoughts by blogging. She is unable to be dishonest as her facial expressions give away her emotions. She is quick to listen, slow to speak and last to judge. Her giggle makes the mundane special. Barbara is more beautiful to me now that I have been a witness to all her compassion, patience and kindness. My heart is just so grateful that God gave me another companion that is so faithful, playful, sacrificial, fun, relevant and real. Merry Christmas to my precious wife! We are excited about all the adventure that awaits us in 2020 and beyond.” Michael HoyleChristmas-Beach-NBS-1200x800


As an heir to the King of kings, our hope is in the promises of God. “My share is wonderful. My inheritance is very beautiful.” Psalm 16:6 “Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” Walt Disney –

Being honest about “to whom we were born”

and the where of it,

this is to be proud of our heritage,

our humanness encompasses,

the good, the grief and all.

Barbara Alley Hoyle

Jason, my son remembered in pictures


Remembering Jason today Good Grief


8 thoughts on “Christmas Memories

  1. Pingback: Photo Challenge: Heritage – lethe

  2. Pingback: Agua Por Favor | Living Abroad

  3. Such sweet memories of yesterday as we look forward to Who is most certainly yet to return again. Psalm 103 – Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.❤️


  4. Barbs Facebook post 2019 “Hanging up one ornament brings such soul cheer. For me remembering those goofy-warm-fuzzy times with family …those are the gifts that keep on returning to make my heart ❤ smile 😃 Trudging in the snow in Bear Valley with Jason singing off key Xmas songs. Recruiting Mikey to pass out a hefty bag (raincoat) with a hat, gloves, orange, and a hope card to homeless souls living under Stockton bridges. Inviting all the singles from church for soup to my 600 square foot condo on Ben Holt on a Xmas Eve. My tiny living space packed out with 15 so…when the soup ran out, I passed out hats and scarves …The tradition continues, we knocked on neighboring doors and sang Jingle Bells…totally off key 😂 And the final time i hosted a Xmas shindig was on Fullerton Ave in Stockton. Once again, more peeps than expected showed up…and without room at the table, we ate dinner in my garage 😂 Its about the LOVE 💘 we felt, not ever the food! My peeps know my signature flair is the laughter, not the vittles 😍 My mom, Jason, Jill, Ben, Blake, Eric, David, Janice, Diana, Ruthie and Doyle all enjoyed the spontaneity of guess-whos-coming-to-dinner. These are the cozy memories that I treasure as i hang up the first Xmas stocking. 🎀 My annual Thanksgiving begins and continues as I think about, and sing ♥️ 🎶 ♥️ about how He picked me up ☝ and turned me around…oh I just want to shout hallelujah, thank You Jesus…for all You continue to provide ♥️ still singing off 🔑 with Michael Hoyle and he loves it. ” yes we are making many great memories together ❤. Mike


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