Category Archives: Holidays

An Early Thanksgiving Proclamation from Abraham Lincoln

In this Thanksgiving season, I have been especially conscious of our blessings: plenty of food, a warm house, clean water, honorable work, good friends and loving family, and the freedom to worship as we desire. As I considered this post, my mind continued to the smaller things: flowers, phones, books, toothpaste, the chickadees and finches, crunchy leaves, soft snow . . . I found myself with far too many to choose from. Instead of my own gratitude list, I decided to share Abraham Lincoln’s original Thanksgiving Proclamation with you.  But did you know he signed several throughout his presidency?  I enjoyed finding this one from Oct. 3, 1863. (The one we usually reference is dated Oct 20, 1864.) I especially like the line saying that we’re prone to forget the bounties we constantly enjoy! We are all so very blessed, this day, this minute. Even in the midst of tragedy and turmoil, whether in … Continue reading

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The Real Gift of Christmas

What’s your favorite Christmas gift? For me as a child, it might have been a doll’s tea set, a flute, or another of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books (the Island Stallion was my favorite). As an adult, hmm . . . My child’s artwork, a small hand pressed into plaster-of-paris and painted at school?  The Lladro piece that fit me perfectly, sent by my husband while he was out on his submarine?  Mostly, it’s just being with my family.Whatever it is for me, whatever it is for you, this is the real gift – and it’s fast become my all-time favorite short Christmas video. Share your thoughts in the comments below.  And take joy this Christmas season!

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Holding on to Thanksgiving

Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas.  Love the music, love the baking, love the special charge in the air.  And I especially love spending the month focusing on the Christ Child. But not yet. When the leaves are still crunchy on the ground, when the air is crisp but (hopefully) not frigid, it’s time to gather family around and give thanks for our very blessed lives. Sure, I’d like a bit more money to accomplish things around the house.  But we have a house.  We have heat and running water and electricity.  We have food to eat, coats on our backs and shoes on our feet.  We have beautiful music and plenty of books.  We have phones to call far away loved ones and cars to take us to ones close by. We have healthy bodies and active minds, and opportunities to put them to work.  We have … Continue reading

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Halloween Story Starters

  Do you love spooky stories?  Ones that make you shiver, jump at an unexpected sound, feel like someone is watching from the shadows? Here are some opening lines to start you writing your own.  But first, a couple of tips:  Fear builds when something unknown happens or might happen.  Don’t simply include gruesome monsters or menacing wraiths – instead, let your character hear/feel things that shouldn’t be possible.  Don’t forget the surroundings, including the unexplainable from above, such as things that move with no wind or that don’t move when they should.  Your character’s observations and reactions will heighten the tension. Okay, ready to write? You can use these openers as written, change the gender or other details, or let them be triggers for your own ideas.  Whether you write a paragraph or a complete short story, have fun giving someone else the shivers! She stared at the candle, … Continue reading

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Christmas Videos to Make You Smile

Having a hectic, last-minute push for Christmas? Take a moment or two and enjoy these videos – they’ll put a smile back on your face. Here’s the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker, played on a “glass harp,” a set of crystal bowls.  Absolutely gorgeous! What’s your preference:  a few tasteful Christmas lights, or going all out with plastic Santas and blow-up snowmen?  Here’s an awesome alternative: And because I love flash mobs, the unexpected beginnings, the looks on people’s faces, and especially thinking about how it must have made them smile all day long, here’s the Hallelujah Chorus in a food court.  It’s almost five minutes long, so if that’s too much, watch a bit and then go to the next one – Ding Dong Merrily On High, which even has a bit of Irish dance in it! Merry Christmas from my house to yours!

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