Boise Christmas…making NEW memories

Last year I came home from spending the day at the hospital with Michael. He was recovering from cancer surgery. When we walked in, I found that my kids and grandchildren had put up our Christmas tree and decorated our California home with so much love and hearts full of hope…hope that Michael would recover. Hope that our losses would become less of an open wound. One glimpse of that tree and tears fell from my eyes. We had no idea that another life changing journey was in our future.

That was just one year ago.

This Christmas is so different. I am actually learning to drive in the snow. My car has icicles hanging off of it. I wear a coat and sweater, a hat and gloves daily. My water bottle freezes when I leave it in my car over night.

Brave Girls Club - Patrice in the snow

I am not wearing my flip-flops while picking out our Christmas tree. I am not riding my bike at the beach sporting sunscreen. Yes, this Christmas is definitely different. We are in a new home…

Brave Girls Club - Boise home

….away from all the holidays spent with family and friends. I just can’t seem to open up the boxes of Christmas past. Too many memories packed in those boxes. It’s still too fresh to sit with yet.

Believe it or not… I am not dreaming of flip-flops and sunny days, not yet at least. My heart is dreaming of making a new nest, filling boxes with new memories, of celebrating the birth of my Savior with my new Boise family and friends.

Brave Girls Club - Patrice's Christmas Window

I’m dreaming of making a new warm place for people I love to land and be nourished with love and hope.

Yes hope… Hope that wherever your path has taken you, near or far from what you know, you can always stop.  You CAN slowly and quietly turn your eyes up and see the miracles that you have left behind.

Be gentle with yourself and allow a new song to be sung…build a nest in your heart to rest and find joy. Believe in the entire new miracle before you.

I have been loving my family from far away. I have been dreaming of seeing those lovely sweet faces. I have also been looking ahead with hope, making new memories, and dreaming sweet dreams.

Since most of my boxes are still packed away for another year, I am making my new Boise Christmas – for lack of a better name.


I wish I could hear you knock on my door. I would jump for joy to share my nest with you. This is the next best thing… I think I hear you knocking. Come in and take a peek of what I have been up to…

brave girls club - stitched candle cozy

A sweet stitched candle cozy, tied on with several wraps of twine….

Brave Girls Club - twig garland

For my fireplace mantel…a rustic garland of twigs…

Brave Girls Club - twig garland

 We started by gathering branches from trees on our street; then we cut them into lengths with small pruning shears….

Brave Girls Club - twig garland

I tied them into a garland with a double-length of natural jute twine…a knot between each twig keeps them in place.

Brave Girls Club - twig garland

Then I added other treasures like these sparkling glittered stars and draped the garland from the mantel…

Brave Girls Club - twig stars

For my dining room I made a rustic tree from branches and added twig stars. To make the stars, begin with 5 twigs. Draw a five-sided star to use as a pattern…

Brave Girls Club - twig stars

Position the twigs on the star drawing, and use simple hot glue to attach them to each other…

Brave Girls Club - twig stars

Hang on branches standing in a tall vase….add old buttons hung with twine or rusty safety pins…

Brave Girls Club - dried fruit ornaments

For our tree…a garland of dried fruit that looks and smells amazing! See how to make it on this post.

Merry Christmas!




  1. Victoria says

    I needed to read this tonight. This is my first Christmas after divorce. My oldest children are out of town and my youngest is spending the night. He is the blessing and it does not matter that I could not bear to open more than one box of ornaments from Christmas past.

  2. Pam Bates says

    I feel so blessed to have met you this past May at Brave Girls camp. Like you I am starting new memories this year leaving a painful past and trying desperately to move forward in my new life at the beach. Love you!!

  3. says

    oh my sweet Patrice…How I feel so much of what you are feeling…My heart is wrapped around your’s and my hand is reaching out to gently hold your hand. Less than 6 weeks ago, my beloved husband John, passed away from cancer. I have been his sole caregiver for the past five years…And 7 weeks before that, our beloved 15 year old doggie passed away. He was our baby, as we had no children between us. This year my house feels so empty. So quiet. So still. This Christmas feels ‘smaller’ in size, but sacred none the less. I have put out a tiny tree and twinkle lights on the mantle. (I LOVE what you have created with the twig garland, and your mantle is so very magical.) Everything right now, feels so raw, so new…but through the tears, I am doing my best to keep my heart and eyes open to the many blessings placed before me on my path…As I know you are. I wish you a most blessed Boise Christmas precious one. ~*~*~* with love, Sandi

    • Sylvia Joyce says

      I too share this word “HOPE” – it just seemed to jump out at me after a long bout of depression I held onto this word and have been enjoying this word and also passing out the Brave Girls words of affirmations… Loved spreading words of HOPE to others throughout this season. I’ve seen many smiles brought to others. May we always cling to this; Our HOPE.

  4. Dianne West says

    I so enjoyed a glimpse at your lovely new home, Patrice. I, too, have those boxes of Christmases past that I just can’t open. No Christmas decorations for me this year, but think I may just start filling a box with new Christmas lovelies so I’m ready for next year. Thank you for the inspiration.

  5. anne says

    Patrice – you are so beautiful . . . and your home is a reflection of your heart. I want to snuggle on a couch in front of the fireplace and tree. Maybe next year!

  6. Donna says

    Patrice, your home looks gorgeous! I love the twig garland and the stars. I live in the country, and you’ve given me great ideas on how I could change up the decorations a little. Thank you for sharing your heartwarming post. Wishing you Happy Holidays and all the very best in the New Year! Hugs

  7. Glenda Propst says

    Life is change, growth is optional….I love how you have made the choice to grow and thrive and embrace the changes in your life. Looking forward to meeting you at Brave Girl Camp.

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