Advent In An Hour: Dec 3


Well, I didn’t quite get my third Advent doodle done in time… This one was pretty difficult to do — both logistically and emotionally — as yesterday I attended my Grandmother’s funeral.

I knew I wanted to dedicate December 3rd’s Advent illustration to her, but I found it impossible to encapsulate the woman in a single drawing. So as we gathered at her house for most likely the last time, I took some moments to walk around, looking for inspiration. There were of course family photos in frames and albums in every corner and on every shelf. I found stacks of quilts in an upstairs chest, created by both my Grandmother and her mother, smelling strongly of cedar. In a corner was her sewing table, with an antique foot-pumped machine, wall of thread spools, and a pincushion shaped like a miniature chair. But my favorite thing about Mammaw’s house has always been her wonderfully odd and kitschy knickknacks.

There’s the ceramic panther ashtray, a letter holder shaped like a duck, the quintessential cat-reaching-into-a-fishbowl figurine. And out in the yard that stretches an acre up a steep hill to the woods are scattered pretty much every outdoor tchotchke ever made. A cement birdbath, a little statue of a Mexican man with a donkey and a cart (which functioned as a planter at some point), a blue glass globe atop a white column, a wooden cardinal with spinning wings… well, you get the picture.

But the fanciest of Mammaw’s things were displayed on small shelves in the windows on either side of the front door. Nestled among the mostly ceramic birds and fish was my most favorite thing of all — this spinny, glass globe thing shown in today’s drawing…

I was always fascinated by it, but until yesterday never stopped to find out what it really was. After several unsuccessful Googlings, I hit pay dirt with a combination of the words “globe”, “glass”, and “spin.” Turns out it’s called a Crookes Radiometer! I won’t go into too much detail as to its history or function (that’s what the link is for folks) but simply put, it spins when exposed to sunlight.

You may not think this is a very Christmassy graphic, but I beg to differ. When I think of this lovely, spinny doodad I think of my childhood, of family, and of light. What’s more Christmassy than that?

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As a bonus, here are a few photos of some of the items mentioned in the above post. Enjoy!

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12 responses to “Advent In An Hour: Dec 3”

  1. Noah Moore-Goad says:


    So sorry about the loss of your grandmother. Words mean little when you remember how much she meant to you…. But remembering her this way is as beautiful a tribute as I’ve ever seen. I see her now as your own personal “radiometer”…. Not a machine, but a dancer twirling when the light of her friends and family reflects off her. I see now where the craftiness you have comes from. An even better tribute still. Hugs my friend.

  2. Lisa says:


    I am so sad to hear of your grand mothers passing. I know how hard that is especially if you were close. Just remeber that she can now keep a birds eye view of JJ! Love you guys!

    • Brent M. Almond says:

      Thanks so much Lisa. I’m really thankful both of my Grandmothers got to meet JJ before they passed away — he’ll always have that connection whether he remembers it or not.

  3. Bryan says:

    Thanks for sharing. The cool thing is I just found out that uncle Myron gave her the radiometer when he was a kid. It was my favorite thing to look at for hours whenever I would visit her house.

  4. Sandra Knoernschild says:

    I know, without a doubt, one obvious similarity between you and your parents, Johnny and Beverly – Your ability to put into words another person’s thoughts before they even try to put their thoughts into words, themselves. Confusing? Maybe. All I know is my days are blessed and enriched by the daily devotions your dad writes about our Heavenly Father. Today, your dad passed that task on to you and you have created a devotion that will keep me going for several days. Thank you for your precious reflections and sensitivity. Aunt Mildred was my only living aunt on my side of the family and I will treasure memories such as this for the remainder of my life. I appreciate your genuine love and kinship. It has been a joy to meet you and your family over the past two years. Lovingly HIS, Sandra and Melvin Knoernschild

    • Brent M. Almond says:

      Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words. As I mentioned when I spoke at her funeral, Grandma Mildred passed on her love of knowledge to her kids and they onto us. If I can be half the communicator my parents are, I’ll consider myself lucky! 🙂
      Much love,

  5. Janice Roark says:

    Thanks for posting such a sweet tribute. I could just see all the things you mentioned as I read them. The spool chair was given to her by her brother (my dad). He gave me one just like it. I still can’t believe she is gone but we all know she is in a much better place. It was so nice getting acquainted and re-acquainted with family these past few days. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas although it will have its sad moments also. But, just think, Aunt Mildred, your grandmother will be having the best Christmas ever. We can only imagine the sights she is seeing right now. Love, your second cousin, Janice

    • Brent M. Almond says:

      Thank you for the added insight into the spool chair. I’ve grown up seeing all those things, but never really knew where they came from — knowing their history makes them all the more special. 🙂 It was good to see you too, and hopefully we can see each other under better circumstances again before too long.
      Much love,

  6. Carol Hurst says:

    WOW, I haven’t been to Aunt Mildred’s house in YEARS but so many of these things are still so EXTREMELY vivid in my memory. THANKS so much for bringing all this back to me. Sorry to have missed the celebration of her life and for getting the opportunity to spend more time with family. Thanks, Brent, for sharing part of yourself with us through this tribute. Peace and Blessings to you and your sweet family this Christmas season. ch

    • Brent M. Almond says:

      Sorry you weren’t able to make the service as well, but glad my little post could help a bit. I’ve also got a recording of what my brother and I shared at the church service, if you’d like me to email it to you. Just send me a message via the “contact” button in the right hand column.
      Happy Holidays to you too!

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