Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Back in those olden days when I was a child, Christmas had a very different meaning than it does now. Christmastime was magic then, with twinkling lights reflecting in the eyes of children, and stories of the Christ Child keeping our focus off the presents under our tree. Mom and Grandma made sure we understood the Baby Jesus was the reason for all the gaiety, presents, and colored lights.

Now, in my golden years, reminiscence is the Christmas I celebrate in mind and spirit. No Grinches or Scrooges or Humbugs can discourage me. I remember the glory days of Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's, days when all their children and grandchildren gathered in their small house. The scents and sounds of Christmas come back to me like a gift of memory: turkey cooking in Grandma's well used Westinghouse roaster; her secret recipe stuffing baking in the oven; frosted molasses squares resting fragrant amidst a cookie tray so loaded down with hand decorated treasures that the mind boggles now just thinking about it; a cacaphony of chatter and laughter while relatives talked at once in every corner of the house.

No Christmas is complete without recalling Mother's decorated packages. Even the most humble pair of socks came in a package so beautifully decorated that children hated to disturb the wrapping. Mom labored over wrapping every present for hours.
She created breathtaking winter scenes -- drawn first by hand, then finished with colored glitters. Santa Claus with his sleigh and reindeer flying through a night sky, a family of deer drinking from a stream meandering through snow drifts, a nativity scene so glorious it should have hung in the Louvre.

Mom's Christmas cookies were the same. No simple cookies ever graced her trays. Santas with white frosting beards and red candy sprinkle suits, Rudolphs with red sprinkle noses and colored lights hung around his neck, Christmas trees loaded down with lights and gifts, and Angels, stars, candy canes so beautiful that recipients were hesitant to bite into the creations.

No matter what my situation now, I never feel isolated, lonely, or blue at Christmas time. My mind takes me to those gentle places in the past where Mom and Grandma and Grandpa and family celebrated the Christ Child's birth by sharing their gifts of good food and decorated cookies. Merry Christmas and God bless us, every one.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm a squidlet on Squidoo

Have you Squidood yet? I wouldn't even have known about it if not for my publisher, Dandelion Books. Editor Carol Adler emailed me and suggested I try my hand at making pages -- Squidoo calls them lenses -- on Squidoo.
I'm not too gung ho about social networking sites on the internet. You won't find me on Facebook or MySpace etc. because I don't have the patience or knowledge to socialize online. But I dutifully made a lens on Squidoo. Imagine my surprise when other kindly squids actually read what I wrote and left positive comments!! Not only that, creating a lens was as easy as writing a blog on Blogspot. One lens lead to another, then another, until I had four. With each new lens I learned something new.
Now, I'll never be a Giant Squid or Squid Angel. Giant Squids are prolific and have many helpful, creative lenses to their credit. Squid Angels dispense blessings far and wide throughout SquidLand. I'm not too prolific or creative, but being a member is part of the fun. Several Giant Squids have been supportive of my fledgling efforts. I even came in third in a Season of Thanks contest at Thanksgiving time. Such excitement!! I even have FANS on Squidoo. Imagine that.
If you have something to offer that might be helpful to others, consider adding your expertise to a Squidoo lens. And if you have the time, check out my handiwork. My lenses are rudimentary, but they come from the heart. Stop by. Leave a comment on my guestbook, or maybe even make a lens of your own. I'll stop by if you do and leave you a friendly message. That's how they do it on Squidoo.
Here are my lenses:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Thoughts of the season.....

Like most Americans, I'm tempted to dwell on the floundering economy and bailout info we're force fed 24/7 by the media. If government bailouts of big banks and big business wasn't so outrageous, I might even find a bit of humor in the process. If I mismanage my budget to the point that we lose our home, our vehicle, and everything we own, no one will care. We'd be considered foolish failures, pariahs. Folks would whisper about us and cluck their tongues. But.....when bankers or auto makers mismanage their businesses into the ground, the Beltway races in to rescue them from their follies.

This last weekend I experienced life as it is in small town America, life as it should be and is for a majority of us. The rural economy may be sluggish, but I saw no signs of hopelessness in my little town on Saturday. I started my day at a pancake feed to benefit local service groups. Then I browsed a fantastic craft fair, the proceeds of which went to support local schools. I ended my day at another craft fair where all the proceeds went to a fund established to help build a new hospital. Later in the day a soup day was hosted by a local restaurant to help offset medical bills for a local couple. The turnout for each event was huge and crowded with people eager to spend whatever they could afford in support of projects larger than their own immediate needs. I saw many smiling faces this weekend on people happy to be a part of solutions instead of contributing to problems. That is life outside the Beltway.

I don't mind supporting projects that accomplish good results, such as the church ladies who contribute school supplies for grade school children. I enjoy contributing to the greater good when it comes to schools, hospitals, food banks, or common citizens. In this small, rural town you'll hear no whining about needing bailouts or handouts. What you WILL see is people who contribute wherever they can and try to take up the slack ignored by state and federal entities.

Generous spirits thrive everywhere during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. But in my rural Kansas town, generosity flourishes year round.

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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