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Giving Back This Season with Balsam Hill

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and along with those twinkling trees and Christmas music playing- the season also brings back so many memories of Christmas past. 

When I was a young girl, I can remember staring out the window and waiting for my grandparents to arrive on Christmas morning.
And when they did, 
I would run outdoors and jump into Grammy's arms for a big hug 
and that fill you up good feeling is a feeling I remember even now.

Many of you know that when I first started my blog,
it was because I was searching a bit for me.
Not that I didn't know me...
I knew that I loved being a stay at home mom and that spending each day raising my babies was the best thing in the world.
 I just knew that my coveted role of Stay at Home Mom, volunteer in the classroom, go on every.field.trip type role  was changing as the kids grew.
And at the same time,
I found myself caring for a very special person who had always been one of my closest friends-
 my grandmother - who had dementia.

In July, I partnered with Balsam Hill to give back by helping raise money for the Alzheimer's Association - and that post really summed up so much of what I wanted to share about Grammy and the good that my Balsam Hill family is doing and I am sharing it again as part of a campaign to
give back this holiday season.

7 years ago, in between the school busy and the renovations on the house,
 I was caring for my grandmother.
And I found myself starting to struggle a bit with who and what I would be when my kids grew up
and my grandmother was no longer here.
And so, at the suggestion of my sister,  I started this blog.
A place to come and chat about pretty things, interior design and the renovations of our cottage.
I would write about something simple- a favorite sofa, a way to arrange plates or a new thrift find
and this blog was a doorway to finding me just a bit.
And in that spot in blogland- I met you.
And other bloggers.
And found this amazing community that I didn't realize that I was missing. 
And slowly, I started opening up a bit more about my world.

And after blogging for a few months, I introduced you to my grammy Betty
  in this post Now I know where to find Me.

Grammy and I were incredibly close from the time I was born,
 and when we moved to the area we live now
 it was to be close by so that my children would be able to know my grandparents
and my grandparents would be able to enjoy them.
It was also so that we would be able to help out if we needed to.

It wasn't too many years after we moved that we noticed a few changes.
Nothing drastic at first, but when a Fire Department in a town 30 miles away
 called me one morning at 6 am to tell me that Grammy had driven into their fire station in the middle of the night and didn't know where she was -
we knew that something wasn't right and discovered that she had dementia.

Over several years as it progressed, the dementia began taking away so much.
 But she was still Grammy.
Her personality and smile and laughter and funny things she would say were there.
And her hand felt the same in mine as I held it when we walked.

Though as much as she was the same, she was different.
She didn't recognize people, or realize when her husband had passed earlier that year.
She didn't remember that she had two children or even know where she was most of the time.

But she was still my Grammy to me. 
She was just hidden a bit.
She passed away this week 7 years ago and I think I will always miss her every single day.
If you would like to read more about Grammy -
you can find it here-
It is a post I wrote after she passed just a few weeks
 after introducing her to you-
but know that it is not a happy decorating or light hearted post.
I cannot read it even now without crying. 

 Dementia and Alzheimer's are diseases that rob the person of special moments
 and memories.
My grandmother lost the memories of love and marriage to my grandfather,
memories of raising their children and the moments that make up life that were special to them-
and so much more.
Maybe the only blessing with this disease is that when it progresses far enough, they don't usually realize that they don't remember and that seems to be easier for them- though admittedly that becomes harder on family members who remember them.

And I am so proud to be able to partner with my Balsam Hill family to give back again this season.
Balsam Hill is raising money to donate to the
Alzheimer's Association  and the best part- they have made it
 SO easy for you to make a difference.

So how can you do that? 

 Every single like on FB, comment on FB and share on FB
 will equal
 a monetary donation by Balsam Hill.
Every comment here on my blog will gift $2.00.
So comment away!

I am posting the post  HERE on Facebook   and I will be posting several times to
keep the momentum going-
and any love you feel inclined to give with a like, comment and/or share
each one throughout the week will be counted. 
This is such an easy way to help raise money for good causes
 with just a simple click. 

And stay tuned for more ways you can give back with:

Brett Aldrege
Miss Mustard Seed
The Yellow Cape Cod
Reba McEntire

They are all posting and raising money for causes near and dear to their hearts.

Wishing each of you a blessed holiday season.


  1. It sounds like a special connecting between you and your grandmother. Alzheimer's is so devastating in the way it robs loved ones of their memories. Thanks for supporting such a great charity.

    1. Very touching. That's wonderful that you could be there for her to provide the love and assistance needed. As an Occupational Therapist I work with many people with dementia and see what a difference it makes to have supportive families. Thanks for raising awareness and support.

  2. How wonderful that Balsam Hill is giving back. My dad had dementia or Alzheimers and the last couple of times visiting him was hard as he didn't know who I was. He lost his battle last year when he fell in his home and was alone and severely injured. I do hope a cure to this horrific disease is found some day. I remember your posts about your Grammy.

  3. The love and tenderness you shared with your grandmother is, indeed, quite special. It is always hard to say goodbye to our loved ones but Alzheimer's truly is the long goodbye. I have lost several loved ones to this disease and reading your post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for partnering with Balsam Hill and thanks to Balsam Hill for supporting this worthy cause.

  4. Wonderfully written. My grandmother had Alzheimer's as well, and it was such a difficult and slow process. However I hold all the memories in my heart that she forgot.

  5. My mom passed 4 years ago from Alzheimer's with Dementia. The youngest of 4 girls...the care fell to me and my stepdad...hard as it was I wouldn't trade those last year's for least I still had her to hug, even though I was a stranger...
    Hugs to you on this anniversary of her passing. Every word in this blog and the ones regarding her, I felt, I shared. God bless you xoxo

  6. Courtney, I happened to come across your blog about 3 years ago searching for french country items for my home. I didn't know why or when you started blogging, so today I went back and read the stories you shared about you and your Grammy. I have to say I pretty much sobbed through the whole thing. We've lived in our current home for the past 16 years, but when we first met our new neighbor, Jill, I knew I'd love being around her. She was so sweet and fun. She was in her late 70's and still played tennis and swam every day. She invited us over for tea and would chat with us if we were outside working in the yard. Over the years, she developed alzheimers and started to ask questions like when we moved in. The police knocked on my door one Halloween night asking if I knew her because she left her home and got lost while following children around. We later learned from her family that Halloween was always Jill's favorite thing to celebrate and she and her late husband would throw big parties for family and friends. After she passed, her grown son's sold her home, but it's still Jill's house to me. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your Grammy was still very wise to the end though. Letting you know it was time for you to go and do your own things. And now we've been able to get to know you a little too. Take care Courtney!

  7. Dementia has touched almost every family! Thank you Courtney for your beautiful post! Blessings~

  8. I am so sorry that you lost your grandmother to Alzheimer's. It such an insidious disease because the person you love is there but not there. I also had a very special relationship with my grandmother and I too, lost her several years ago. I miss her everyday. You are doing a wonderful thing by helping to fund raise for the Alzheimer's Association.

  9. Beautiful post about your lovely Grammy.I lost my Grandma to alzheimers ten years ago. Reading your blog brought back many treasured, bittersweet, memories of my Grandma. God bless you for sharing.

  10. Beautiful post about your lovely Grammy.I lost my Grandma to alzheimers ten years ago. Reading your blog brought back many treasured, bittersweet, memories of my Grandma. God bless you for sharing.

  11. I am so sorry for your loss, but is so touching the way you speak of her. I lost the woman that I knew and loved as a "grandmother'" earlier this year to the same. xoxo

  12. I read this post through teary eyes ,thank you Courtney for sharing and helping. You are still inspiring me every blog and instagram post you do. Happy Holidays

  13. This is really marvelous, Courtney. My husband works as administrator at a nursing home - he has a gift with the residents. So many of them I think of the vital people they were and how they never anticipated coming to the position of being totally cared for - then forgetting every thing. Sometimes, music, games, books and such would reach them. It's a wonderful think you're doing - I am happy to comment and to share! Blessing,

  14. I have a balsam hill tree and it is amazing how real the look!


  15. I also lost a grandmother to Alzheimer's. Thank you for sharing this story and partnering with Balsam Hill!

  16. What a wonderful partnership and campaign! Your connection to your Grandma sounds like a special one. Thanks for sharing your heart!

  17. Both of my grandparents suffered from dementia. My mother suffered a different form of dementia we think called Lewy Body dementia. It was horrendous and she was tortured in every way possible by the disease. Her suffering was unspeakable. It's difficult for me to write about the end of her life.

  18. So glad that you and Balsam Hill have partnered on this great cause.

  19. So glad that you and Balsam Hill have partnered up for this great cause.

  20. Thank you for opening your life and sharing with us, my family has been touch by Alzheimer's as well. Thank you as well to Balsam Hill for giving back!

  21. Bless you for being such a loving and caring person and Granddaughter!!

  22. What a terrific tribute to what was obviously such a special woman! Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday season, Courtney!

  23. I'm losing my mom to Lewy Body Dementia. I'm not sure she will be here for Christmas. This horrible disease has taken her from her family way too soon. Thanks for sharing your story . Maybe at another time I can read more of your grandmother's story . I just can't right now. Thank you .

  24. How wonderful to keep this cause going,I've learned so much about dementia over the past 10 yrs as family members have died, and now my dear daddy is struggling with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease adouble whammy!
    Thank you for reaching out to your followers and giving us a small way to hel.p..

  25. What a beautiful relationship you shared with your Grammy. You are blessed! Thanks for sharing your story and teaming up for this worthy cause. Merry Christmas!

  26. Going through this now with my father. Such a terrible disease. Thank you for supporting this cause!

  27. This is a wonderful tribute to your Grammy. I have been caring for my father for eight years as I watch this wonderful man slip away.

  28. Merry Christmas and Thank You for not only sharing your heart with us but for sharing your family as well. Alzheimer’s is a terrible diagnoses, but it is so very important to keep your good memories of your loved one (not the tough ones). Thank you for being a part of the support team!

  29. My grandfather passed away 3 years ago from Alzheimer's Disease, so me and my family know first hand what a horrible disease this is. I think this is wonderful that you are doing this!

  30. I cried through this post as it’s raw to me now, currently going though this with both my mom and my mother-in-law. I’ve read your beautiful posts about your granny before and they touched my heart then, as now. Thank you for your efforts in raising money to battle this disease!

  31. Courtney- I am crying as I read this, as my Grommy had the same terrible disease. I was very close to my Grandparents and miss them both so much. They both LOVED Christmas and I think I get that from them. My Grommy didn't realize when my Grandfather passed, and maybe that was a blessing-at least that what I tell myself. Maybe some day so many of us won't have this same story.Thanks for sharing your story and BH for their generosity.

  32. Hi Courtney, This is such a touching post. My grandma also has alzheimers and I hold onto her stories and the memories she made with us.I tell my husband it sadness me that my young son won't hear stories and his memories will be different as I lost my mom to cancer three years ago and my grandma has alzheimers. Thank you for the post and the cause your helping.

  33. Such a beautiful post, Courtney. I'm so sorry about your grandmother. It sounds like you two had a special bond that you'll always be able to keep with you. Big, big hugs to you this week my friend. I imagine every Christmas is difficult for you with missing your 'grammy'. But what you are doing with this cause, will help her memory live on and I love that you shared it with us. Balsam Hill is an outstanding company for doing this. Bravo!
    Hugs, Jamie

  34. Dementia and Alzheimers have affected every family in some way. I love the story of your dear Grammy and how so very special she was in your lives. I am sure you feel so blessed to have so many treasured memories of her. I recently traveled a long way to visit someone who was very special in my life...she has Dementia and I wanted to see her even though she may not have remembered me...she said she did, but I kind of have my doubts...but the visit was for me..The Alzheimer's Foundation is truly a most honored charity!

  35. Such a beautiful and touching post about your precious grammy! I've never experienced a family member with Alzheimer's or Dementia but I have worked with individuals who had the devastating disease. It sounds like you have many precious memories to keep in your heart, although I'm saddened for your loss. what a wonderful thing for Balsam Hill to do.

  36. Thanks for sharing your story about your grandmother and raising awareness of the problem. It's definitely a good cause to support. My grandfather suffered from dementia and it was heartbreaking to see him decline. He passed away many years ago but I still miss him, especially around the holidays.

  37. Very sweet and personal mom is developing some form of dementia, and I struggle when I face the person I don't know, and rejoice when she's "Mom" again. It's a hard one.Thanks for opening up your heart and sharing...and thank you to Balsam Hill for giving back.

  38. Such nice memories of your grandmother. And such beautiful Christmas decorations. May I ask the color of the fabric on your settee?

  39. My young daughter was asking me about dementia yesterday. It is hard for her to comprehend that someone who loves you can't remember you. Thank you for sharing your story & for sharing the beauty you create. And thank you to Balsam Hill for supporting your cause.

  40. Courtney, I am so sorry for your loss and yet you're very lucky to have had your Grammy in your life for so many years. I lost my mom over 10 years ago and not a day goes by that I don't think of her. I am sure it's the same for you. Thanks to you and Balsam Hill for such a great cause.

  41. My precious grandmother and I had a special relationship like you and your Grammy. She had dementia, and we lost her 17 years ago. Now my mother is struggling with the disease. We thought Christmas 2017 would be her last, but it seems she will celebrate another one with us. Hoping and praying her mind is clear and we make some sweet memories. It's so heartbreaking to see those you dearly love slip away from you.

  42. Such a beautiful story. My mom passed away in July with dementia. I cried through your story. I hope to be that "Grammy" to my granddaughters. Merry Christmas.

  43. Dear Courtney, I have been on your blog for many years and something made me check my mail, it’s almost 2am. A beautiful tribute to your grandmother as it brought memories of my own wonderful Nanna. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas or Happy Holidays. Much love xxx

  44. I'm glad you are partnering with Balsam Hill on such a special project, Courtney. Your love for your grandmother certainly shows each time you write about her. I shared on another of your posts about my first boyfriend from high school. He is undergoing memory issues with Parkinson's, a form of Lewy bodies. Not good and his confusion is increasing ~ stressful for him and his family. My heart goes out to everyone and to all the bloggers and people who have family and friends with Alzheimer's and other memory issues... <3

    Hugs to you all,
    Barb <3

    1. I really have no words. These beautiful folks on your site have said it all and more. Thank you for adding beauty to my life with your French take on living a sweet life. I stand in pain with all those who have lost loved ones to Alzheimer's. May your work help end their suffering. God bless you.

  45. I read your post about your loving relationship with your Grammy. I just found out today that a wonderful Lady I've known for years has dementia, breaks my heart. Thank you and Balsam Hill for helping. Kathleen in Az

  46. Such a worthy cause. It is so sad to think that someone can live a relatively long life and not even have their memories. Someone very dear to my family had dementia and it was very hard when we went to visit her and she didn't know who we were or the fact that we once lived in the same house for ten years. I sure hope a cure can be found.

  47. I am very pleased to know that you are partnering with Balsam Hill to raise money for this widespread and worthy cause. Dementia, especially Alzheimers, is such a cruel disease. My mother-in-law has it and is slowly declining, and it is just so, so, sad. Like your grammy she can't remember that her husband has passed and every time she is reminded of it she goes through the grief all over again. The disorientation and loss of memory is very hard on her and those family members who help care for her. And I know that you know the sadness first-hand. I had a wonderful grandma and grandpa who were a big part of my childhood and teens so I know how special it is to have those relationships. I am now a grammy myself and love being involved in my four grandsons' lives. I just cherish the time I spend with them.

    Anyway, I am very happy to help Balsam Hill raise money for continued research into the causes and treatments of Alzheimers. Thank you for giving us the chance to support them.

    I hope that Christmas and this Holiday Season are filled with Joy and Laughter for you and your family!
    Blessings to all of you.

  48. I worked with Alzheimer’s patients. I have a soft spot for them. It’s a disorder that needs a cure. Good fundraising effort.

  49. Yes, there are similarities in your grandmother's story as with my maternal grandmother and my own mother. It does become a blessing that they eventually dont realize what they dont remember. Then it becomes the sadness of family and friends who witness it. Thank you for the opportunity to offer some support for the treatment and finding a cause of the disease. I belong to
    Amazon Smile. My chosen foundation for donations goes to Alzheimer Foundation as well. Happy Holidays to you and yours, Courtney.

  50. Hi, Courtney! I've been following your blog for quite a while now. I've known about your special relationship with your grandmother -- I didn't read the post because I knew I would be an emotional mess for the rest of the day. I will read it today. Christmas time was a special time for my mamma and papà -- I feel that they are nearer to me at that time. I'm so glad I got my nativity scene from Balsam Hill this year. It's with the Christmas tree I won last year. I'll be glad to keep this cause going. Bless you and Balsam Hill.

  51. Your sweet and loving post (in partnership with Balsam Hill) was touching.

  52. Thank you balsam hill.

  53. Thanks for sharing. My mother is 90 and had dementia. She is like your Grammy, doesn't remember , asks the same questions every few minutes, it is so sad.

  54. Thanks for sharing your Grammy with us! My mother has dementia too, she is 90 years old and I'm thankful she's still here with me in body and spirit if not her mind.

  55. Thank you for doing this. Hopefully a cause & cure will be discovered soon.

  56. This is the cruelest of the diseases know to mankind. I worked with dear souls having dementia or Alzheimers. It literally robs them of everything! My Christmas Wish is a cure for this disease.

  57. I am sorry about the loss of your grandmother and am grateful that you are raising funds for Alzheimers. I have lost both grandmothers and my mother to Alzheimers. Unfortunately I am now on that path. It may be wrong to post about this but it may be helpful to you and your readers to know that raising funds for this illness is very important. Thankfully I have someone to care for me, my husband. I worry about the stress he will have to endure and I am very thankful that he is willing to do this. I wish I didn't have to go through with it, but here I am. Be thankful for the caregivers who are willing to help your loved ones through this journey. They are bright stars in the world.

  58. What a beautiful memory...
    I too am going through this with my mom...
    She fell the other day and is now in therapy...for 2 weeks
    That is the other side of this disease...
    Bless you and all who care for those who suffer this....

  59. Meaningful cause! Happy to help!

  60. I remember your posts about Grammy. Now I’m a Grammy, and i love the connection you two had and i hope to share that with my granddaughter and pray we are never robbed by Alzheimer’s disease. So happy Balsam Hill is giving to this worthy cause.

  61. A very worthwhile cause. Thank you Balsam Hill!

  62. This post made me cry. My Grandmother, God rest her soul, also had alzheimer's and I think back to how she was in the end and it breaks my heart. I pray that one day there will be a cure.
    God Bless you and have a Very Merry & Blessed Christmas.
    Diane M.