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Archive for December, 2011

It is Christmas Break and I am taking this week as a break from blogging (my family is doubtful that I can do it).

So, if you are looking for something to read from me this week, I would suggest one of my favorite blog posts:

Because you Believe It

See you in the New Year!

Carole

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It is Christmas Break and I am taking this week as a break from blogging (my family is doubtful that I can do it).

So, if you are looking for something to read from me this week, I would suggest one of my favorite blog posts:

The Theme of the Best Stories is Always

See you in the New Year!

Carole

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It is Christmas Break and I am taking this week as a break from blogging (my family is doubtful that I can do it).

So, if you are looking for something to read from me this week, I would suggest one of my favorite blog posts:

Do You Love Me?

See you in the New Year!

Carole

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It is Christmas Break and I am taking this week as a break from blogging (my family is doubtful that I can do it).

So, if you are looking for something to read from me this week, I would suggest one of my favorite blog posts:

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

See you in the New Year!

Carole

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It is Christmas Break and I am taking this week as a break from blogging (my family is doubtful that I can do it).

So, if you are looking for something to read from me this week, I would suggest one of my favorite blog posts:

Creation Calls Me to Believe

See you in the New Year!

Carole

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For those whose birthdays are near December 25th a common experience is shared. That of receiving one gift with a ‘Merry Christmas / Happy Birthday’ message. That has been the experience of my hubby. So, for today, I will digress from my December of Christmas themed posts just for him.

Today hubby will awaken to his fortieth birthday (with a significant number of years of experience … just sayin’).

I will spend the day trekking across the country from east to west with our son. Hubby will, no doubt, be spoiled by his two daughters (aka they will suggest that they take him to THEIR favorite restaurant, and he will pay for the meals), and I am sure our beast will be his constant shadow from morning to night (of course, the gift he wants most from her is that she drop dead or run away). It really sounds like a sequel to “It’s a Wonderful Life!”

You, hubby, are a person who is always doing something for others. You empty your cup daily with little hope of it ever being re-filled. You give and give and give, with little thanks for all that you do.

To our kids you are the one they can count on. When they have a need, you have a solution. They have grown up knowing that they are deeply loved by their dad.

To me, you are my best friend (and best enemy … it depends on the day … I’ll never get a job with Hallmark!). You are the one who I want to tell my best and worst experiences to. It is you who I know will always be there (no matter what I might do to get you off my trail 😉 ). It is with you that I have shared the majority of my life with, and it is with me that you will continue to share the rest of yours with (that is true, right?).

To our beast … well, you haven’t evicted her (yet).

So, to my hubby, on his significantly special day I hope for you:

A good nights rest.

A good morning coffee time.

A day of receiving love.

A day of positive words from others.

A day of being thankful for the day.

A day of no barking by the beast.

A day of no crises.

A day of feeling valued in all that you do.

See you in the early morning hours.

Your bride.

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Being in the East, where the cities and towns are smaller and less inhabited, I have the opportunity to see the stars in the night sky so much more clearly. The sky here does not have enormous trees, sky scraper buildings and gargantuan mountains to shrink the size of the sky.

My family here gets fatigued of hearing me say, “the sky here is so big … it goes on forever.”

The Bible speaks of the star in the east, leading the way to Bethleham, where Jesus, the Messiah, was born. This star was an astronomical wonder, and it was the unexpected messenger of the so very expected message for the Jews, of their Messiah.

The ‘wise guys’, the Bible tells us, were so captivated by the changes in the sky that they took the most excellent adventure in the Middle East. They were men of science, they were men of books, they were highly ‘crainial’ guys who saw something in their study and measurements of the sky that was so unique, they had to leave their observatory to see what this was about for themselves.

They were not content to wait for the journalists, or market researchers, or social media types to tell them about it, second hand. No, they were knowledgable and wise enough to know that they needed to see it for themselves. They sought out the truth for themselves.

As Christmas is in our thinking, why not research for ourselves? Why not investigate the story of Christmas? Why not see for ourselves the story that is still being taught, more than two thousand years later?

Follow that star … it might lead you to the most beautiful place of wonder, this Christmas season.

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Being on the East Coast allows me the opportunity to see family I rarely get to see, and I’ve had this privilege twice this year.

This past weekend I got to see my youngest nephew. He is five years old (that is a handful of fingers for those of you who have not had the honor of receiving a reply from a five year old, to the question “how old are you?”). He is cute (as a button … what on earth does that mean?), never sits still ( 🙂 love that part), and totally brilliant (and, if you were to ask his grandparents … do NOT do that … a very long monologue will be in your future … and you are not the one talking).

My favorite part of spending time with him was when he said ‘yellow’ … pronounced ‘Lellow’. Could there be anything more preciously perfect than a child who mispronounces words? I love it! How is it that pronouncing a word wrongly could create such delight in my soul?

Everything is exciting for this little guy (and, by the way, I would NEVER refer to him as a ‘little’ guy to his face … he thinks he is an adult). And he even has future plans … romantically. Apparently he has a girlfriend in daycare who he is planning to marry, and if that doesn’t work out, there are other possibilities. Gotta love a guy with options!

While he was at my parents he eyed a snowman decoration (I’ll Be Home for a White Christmas) that he was more familiar with than me. It was a simple, tacky cute ( 😉 ) beaded snowman. And when Little Mister picked him up, and pushed a button, the snowman lit up, in colors that faded from one to another like the colors of a rainbow.

Then, the real magic began.

Little Mister stood there, delighting in the color changes, and the shining of the beads, for the longest time. It was a moment of joy, amazement and wonder. He was captivated by the simple beauty that he created by pushing the right button. So simple, so beautiful … not the snowman, but the reaction of wonder that it caused. He was still.

What captivates me? What makes me stare in amazement? What causes me to wonder … to really wonder to the point of stopping all that I do to be amazed?

This is the season of wonder. This is the season of amazement and captivation. This is the season of miracles and a gift giving so grand that the celebrations have lasted for a couple of thousand years.

But, do we stop long enough to be captivated in wonder? Can we, like that delightful nephew of mine, be still long enough to see the beauty of the light that came down at Christmas time? That is the challenge.

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Woohoo! I walk out of a quickly filling big box store, just nine sleeps to Christmas day, and snow flakes are starting to fall from the pregnant clouds. I am in the right place!

I have been humming “I’ll be Home for Christmas” since my son and I boarded the plane on the west coast, heading for the east. And now I get to hum “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” (okay, confession time, I have been humming that since November first … but, I digress).

It is so good to be here, at the home of my birth, as the Christmas season is in full motion. I get to see my parents, my brothers and their families, other family members, friends and old familiar places.

I am discovering that the one way that my mom and I are not the same is Christmas decor. She LOVES it! I usually twiddle my thumbs all Christmas day, hoping my family will let me take the tree down on Boxing Day (it often comes down around the New Year … sigh).

For instance, there are snowmen EVERYWHERE around her house! They are in every room (the bathroom could be called the snowman room (kind of makes you wonder if that is where snowman ‘poop’ came from. She could have a store, and make a mint, just by selling her snowmen.

Then there are the Christmas dishes (sets, mugs, glasses, serving dishes) that fill her china cabinet. There are not enough family members to utilize all of them.

Then there is the tree … I feel inadequate just sitting in the same room as her Christmas tree. It is … perfect! It looks better than any tree in any store that has been professionally decorated! I would not even post a pick of mine on the internet!

I do love how my mom hangs on to things (some things). My mom has on her refrigerator a nativity that she has been putting on her refrigerator for (we added it up) over thirty-five years. It was on a bag of “Ben’s” bread. Mom used her sharp eyes to cut each piece out perfectly (she is the queen of the line, “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right the first time” … therapy is the only cure for that one … just sayin’). Then she wets each piece and presses it to the fridge, in a perfect line.

All joking aside (otherwise my mom might send me packing for defaming her 😉 ), the time here will go quickly, I am sure. It is such a blessing to be able to be here at this time of year. Nostalgia is reigning in my mind and heart! Now if the snow would just hurry up and show my son what a real snowstorm is!

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One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is watch holiday movies. They generally provide joyful entertainment and a fun thing to do with family and friends. On a free evening in December (if you can find one on your calendar) there is nothing better than making popcorn, popping a movie on and snuggling up with hubby, the kids, or friends (or the beast).

I did a little inventory of our Christmas movie collection, and decided on my favorite ones (in random order)!

Elf

This movie, about Buddy the Elf, can be best summed up with his own words, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” And sing Buddy does! He also loves to eat sugary things (even pre-chewed gum in public places). He was a stow away in Santa’s bag one year, and grew up at the North Pole. This movie is full of humor, sentiment and changes in people’s attitudes that can only be summed up with one word … redemption!

Polar Express

Oh, this movie was a beautiful re-telling of the book by Chris Van Allsburg. The illustrations are the fanciful combination of animation and realism that makes you unsure if you are seeing a real person or an illustration. It is a dream about a boy and the children he meets on a train. This boy (the narrator, as well) has begun to question the belief in Santa. But really, it is not just Santa that he has ceased to believe in, it is also a belief in himself. This movie cries … redemption!

It’s a Wonderful Life

Oh the story of the life of George Baily … a true Christmas classic! George’s life is told just before calamity ensues, and he contemplates suicide as a last resort. He feels that everyone around him would be better off if he were never born. As Clarence the angel shows him what life would indeed be like without him, he grows to understand that his life is, indeed, wonderful. A great story of redemption!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” … I bet you are trying to remember the words of the next line! Oh how mean old Mr. Grinch is! He is out to ruin the entire Christmas season for all the Whos in Whoville by stealing their gifts, and decorations, and lights, and even their roast beast. In the end, Mr. Grinch gets (emotional) surgery, thanks to Cindy Lou Who, that enlarges his heart three sizes, when he learns that “maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” And, you guessed it, his view of Christmas was redeemed!

A Christmas Carol

Now hubby would say there is only one true version of Dickens A Christmas Carol (Alastair Sim, 1951 sans color version), but I am fond of any of them. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, lonely, cranky, stingy, mean-spirited, hard-hearted, tightfist. He spends his Christmas Eve dreaming of the past, the present and the future. Through his trips down memory (and prophetic) lanes, he realizes what he has been missing out on … life, and being part of the lives of others. He mainly learns that it is not too late to change (redemption).

Family Man

I just watched this one … and it is one I had forgotten how much I love. Jack (Nicholas Cage) is a most successful man on Wall Street, with all of the trimmings that wrap a life of wealth … including a lack of real relationships. Then he meets a man who volunteers him for reality boot camp, and he awakes into a suburban home, complete with  drooling dog, diapered son, interesting inlaws, and a job as a tire salesman. In this new life he is married to Kate, the fiance from the past that he never married, because he chose his career advancements over her. Jack goes through amazing transformations, and learns deeply about love … in a redemptive sort of way.

Love Affair (1994 & 1939)/An Affair to Remember (1957)

Last, but definitely not least is the movie that was so good in 1939, that is was re-made two more times. This movie is about Mike and Terry, both engaged, but not in love. When these two meet there is something between them that even chemistry cannot describe. The both make vows to make changes in their lives and meet three months later on top of the Empire State building (if you are thinking Sleepless in Seattle … same idea). But tragedy happens. Then, on Christmas Eve the two have a chance meeting, which reveals the truth of what changed their goal. That is about all I can say, other than … it is my favorite movie of all time! I love it! I laugh, I cry. To know that change can happen when one has the right motivation inspires thoughts of redemption.

There is one more of my favorite movies, but it requires it’s own blog post, so stay tuned next week!

You might have noticed there is a theme …

All of my favorite movies have at least a hint of someone being redeemed, changed, made new. To me redemption means hope, and hope means a future. That is what I want, not just in my Christmas viewing, but throughout all of my year.

 

 

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