I thought I should do this early today, just in case my mind decides to empty again at the end of the day.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
I thought I should do this early today, just in case my mind decides to empty again at the end of the day.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I've never spent so much time staring at this blank type box with its blinking cursor... I think I might be drained of all my creative energy today. I have been reading, watching, and making creativity today... and, as I sit here trying to come up with something creative, I realize I'm all "creatived out!" The personal art, art gallery art, magazine art, creating bookmarks art, creating ornaments art, creating... creating... creating... and, now, I have to create a piece of good, creative thought... but, I'm empty. There is nothing that comes to mind at this moment that would be important and interesting enough to speak of...
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
It's Day 330... I've been doing this, everyday, for the past 330 days and, still, there are still these days when I'd rather not share what's on my mind... Well, because I have 35 days left until day 365, I am going to try to take advantage of the fact that day 330 will never come back...
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I'm getting used to sharing other people's stories... but, tonight, I'd like to start off my story by saying, "Merry Christmas to you all!"
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Story #3: Christmas Magic, Lost and Found
It was magic. The day after Thanksgiving always was more exciting than the big day itself. It was the day they pulled out the Christmas decorations from the attic. The day Christmas really became a reality.
"Do you remember where we keep them?" the father would ask.
"Are you kidding me? I know exactly where they are!" the young boy shouted. Then, running upstairs, he headed directly to the far corner of the attic. Rummaging through some recently added boxes, pushing aside the bags of summer clothes, he dived into the dim, dark recesses of the storage area.
"Hey, where are you?" Dad asked. It wasn't really that dark. The boy could be seen perfectly well, but Dad played along with the excitement.
Suddenly, the boy popped out with the big plastic Santa face that always hung in the same spot on the porch just to the left of the front door. "Ho, Ho Ho!" he said. "Have you been good?" the boy said in the deepest voice he could muster.
Dad just laughed and said, "Come on, we've got a lot to do today." This was it. This was a time held precious in the heart of a boy and through the years burned in the memory of the man he was to become.
One by one the boxes were pulled from the attic. It was amazing how so many things were added every year. This was the Christmas house. There was no mistake that Santa loved stopping here each year. It reminded him of home. Well, that's what the boy decided anyway.
Lights were hung. Garlands draped. Paper cut-outs adorned the windows and Christmas designs were carefully stenciled to areas surrounding them. ( If you remember stenciling you're probably older than you would like to admit.)
Oh yes, don't forget the can of spray snow, too. "Okay, that's it!" Dad said. "Let's put these back in the box. We won't use them this year."
The boy was stunned. "What...what are you talking about?" he asked.
"We have too many things. We don't need to put everything up," Dad said.
"Come on, that's enough."
"No, wait. You don't understand. This one goes over there, and that always hangs near the back door in the kitchen," the child said.
"Not this year," Dad replied.
He then began to carry one of the boxes up the stairs. The boy rushed to the bottom of the steps and cried out, "You can't put them back. We have to use them. If you don't use them they'll lose their Christmas!" he said with tears gushing from his eyes. The father surprised to see this reaction, stopped and turned toward the boy.
"What? What are you saying?" he asked.
Sniffling as he wiped the tears away, the boy said softly, "Once you use something for Christmas you have to always use it. If you don't, it will lose its Christmas. Christmas is magic and everything in it becomes magical," he said.
Dad turned around and came back down the steps. Placing the box on the table, he turned and held his son. "Okay, okay, I didn't know that. We'll put them up," he assured him. I can't tell you that it's some old world tradition, but it became one that day and remains so to this very day.
The years passed and Christmas was celebrated in the same way. That is until 1972. That was the year that home lost its Christmas. It was June and a few months prior the boy's mom had suffered what appeared to be a stroke. Later the doctors would discover the previously treated breast cancer had spread. His mom died that June.
He was now 22 and married. Two weeks after her death a flood destroyed much of the memories in that home.
Thanksgiving was nonexistent. Christmas was still a possibility. That is until Dad declared, "There will be no Christmas in this house!"
The son and his wife were now living there. As much as he loved his mother, he believed that her loss had nothing to do with the celebration of the birth of Christ. "Dad, we need to at least put up the tree," he said one day just two weeks before December 25th.
"No!" Dad responded. "There will be no Christmas here."
Then standing near him, the boy touched his hand and said, "But they will lose their Christmas."
An almost unnoticeable smile came to Dad's face. "I lost my Christmas, too."
There was no Christmas in the house that year. Years later, when he sold the house, many of the decorations were tossed away.
I know. I was that boy.
Many Christmases have passed since then, each filled with love, happiness, and memories.
If you are struggling with the idea of Christmas, if you are hurting because of the loss of a loved one, the pressures of finances, or simply can't find Christmas, I ask you to reconsider.
Remember the real reason for it. It is not a party. It is not a package under a tree. It is not a thing.
It's a holy day. It is a celebration of faith. And I promise you this: Even if you hide away in your room that day, even if you don't light a candle, hang an ornament, or sing a song, your heart cannot lose its Christmas. It is right there, waiting for you.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Today was the last day of the Desert Jewels show... the walls are empty now... but... I found a ladybug and I'm keeping her for myself. I've set her down in one of the plants and she lives here with me now... I don't think it'll be that hard taking care of a ladybug...
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike.
The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, I wish just one of them could have won, he said. They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them. Mike loved kids -all kids- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.
That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.
For each Christmas, I followed the tradition - one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.
The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with side-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.
Tip of the Day: Having family traditions is what makes your family yours... treasure them.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I wish there was some kind of angel dust we could sprinkle on ourselves for some Christmas spirit every year. I've grown up with enough Christmas spirit to pass around each year. In the last couple of years, I've felt it fade somehow... I don't have enough of it anymore... This year, I wish for more Christmas spirit... just enough to share with the people around me... just like it used to be...
Friday, December 17, 2010
I apologize for the terribly, scary image from last night. I think I was half asleep and didn't realize how weird it was, but, hey, what can I say, it happens...
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I fell asleep with the laptop on my lap, while I was trying to write today's post... I woke up and realized that it's on these nights that I feel the burden of this project on my skin...
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Well, the pain in my foot comes and goes now... It has reached a healing point where it only hurts when I wear a certain shoe, but no body ever died from a blister... so... I think I'm going to be okay...