Sunday, December 20, 2009
I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
- John Burroughs, essayist and naturalist
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Christmas is Coming, The Goose is Getting Fat, won't you please put a penny in the old man's hat?
Christmas has gotten completely out of hand. Maybe the current recession has a good side to it. We all have to re-evaluate Christmas and our reaction to it. Where we would give in to impulse buying in the past, this year we are asking ourselves if they really need this present and questioning why we are exchanging presents with some people whom we don't see all year and then feel obligated to exchange presents at Christmas.
We should all take a lesson from the Christmas song quoted at the beginning and put a penny in the old man's hat instead of buying the latest game or the newest fashion clothing item. A pair of $150.00 designer jeans will not really be appreciated, they will be worn but they will get stained and torn and not much will set them off from a $10.00 pair of Levis. Take the same $150.00 and but thirty games at Wal-Mart and give them to Toys For Tots (God Bless the United States Marines) or give it to a local food bank to feed the hungry. You money will go a lot father. The game you brought at Wal-Mart may be the only present some child gets. The meal the food bank serves might be the only wholesome nourishment someone gets for a month. Donate some blankets to a shelter. We all have a closet full of coats we don't wear or that don't fit. Why are we saving them. A shelter can use these to keep someone warm this winter.
Go back and read my blog from yesterday and have a Merry Christmas. No better than that, make it a Merry Christmas for yourself and for some less fortunate person.
Friday, December 18, 2009
For the Man Who Hated Christmas
by Nancy W. Gavin
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 ten years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas--oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it--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. 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 a 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 to take down the envelope.
Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Editor's Note: This true story was originally published in the December 14, 1982 issue of Woman's Day magazine. It was the first place winner out of thousands of entries in the magazine's "My Most Moving Holiday Tradition" contest in which readers were asked to share their favorite holiday tradition and the story behind it. The story inspired a family from Atlanta, Georgia to start The White Envelope Project and Giving101, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating youth about the importance of giving. To learn more about honoring a loved one through this special tradition, please visit www.Giving101.org/WhiteEnvelopeProject. On the site, you can browse a catalog of unique giving opportunities, create and send your own white envelope gift, purchase charity gift cards, and more.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
An excerpt from
The Strangest Secret
by Earl Nightingale
George Bernard Shaw said, "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they make them."
Well, it's pretty apparent, isn't it? And every person who discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it out. We become what we think about.
Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn't know where he's going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry - his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing... he becomes nothing.
How does it work? Why do we become what we think about? Well, I'll tell you how it works, as far as we know. To do this, I want to tell you about a situation that parallels the human mind.
Suppose a farmer has some land, and it's good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn't care. It's up to the farmer to make the decision.
We're comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn't care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn't care what you plant.
Now, let's say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand- one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds-one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land...and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.
As it's written in the Bible, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."
Remember the land doesn't care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants - one corn, one poison.
The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn't care what we plant...success...or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal...or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety and so on. But what we plant must return to us.
You see, the human mind is the last great unexplored continent on earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams. It will return anything we want to plant.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Worrying saps today of its strength. Do not spend your time on needless worry. Abraham Lincoln said "It has been my experience that people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Emerson wrote regarding worry that as to the things that confront us in our lives "and the worst of them we have survived but what torrents of pain we endured from dangers that never arrived"
Most people worry about things that have already happened, are not going to happen or will happen no matter what you do. Only about 8% of the things people worry about are things that will happen and about which they can do something so to quote Bobby McFerrin "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
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