18 December 2018
Blessed is the season
the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
Hamilton Wright Mabie
wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars
and open a jar of it every month.
is for children. But it is for grown-ups,
too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and
nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of
chill and hide-bound hearts.
Lenora Mattingly Weber
Christmas is not a
time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and
goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of
All I Want
for Christmas. . . Parents, You May Be Surprised
I am a huge advocate of
parents getting into their children's schools on a regular basis.
As a stay-at-home mom, I am able to assist in my daughters'
classrooms each week. Whether helping with art projects, reading
or spelling, it keeps me connected and allows me direct insight
into my girls' day-to-day lives. It also affords me the
opportunity to connect with other children. And connect I do. The
hugs and openness with which I am greeted are huge indicators that
I have broken through that Grown-up/Child barrier.
It could be that when I
go into the school, I don't dress like an authority figure. You
won't find me wearing Chinos, skirts, loafers, untouchable hair or
any other spiffy adult attire. Instead, look for the person clad
in sweatpants or jeans, a comfy sweater and a baseball cap . . .
always a baseball cap. I come prepared to hug, get dirty on the
playground and sweep the floor with my butt during reading circle.
I also come with enough hugs to go around, twice. As a result, I
have been granted access into the Inner Sanctum of the Schoolyard.
Last week while working
on an art project with a rotating group of kids we talked about
music, movies, swear words, parents, the holidays. As talk turned
to what they hoped would be under their tree for Christmas or part
of their Hannukah 7 Day Gift Haul, I decided to take advantage of
my "non-threatening" status and pose the question: "Name
one thing you would like your Mom or Dad to give you this season
that would not cost a penny."
You could have heard that
penny hit the floor as silence enveloped them, and their young
minds went to work. As they each took turns answering, I was moved
to tears by their candor, their honesty and in some cases the
heartbreaking realities revealed in their words.
It is my holiday gift to
you all that I share what your kids REALLY want this year.
And no, a Play Station is nowhere on the lists of their hearts.
Listen To Me
Please: At the top of their lists is for we parents to
stop being so busy all the time and just listen to them talk. I
know I have been guilty of this one. God knows, we really are not
interested in hearing about the latest unpronounceable character
in their Harry Potter books, but we need to stop, look them in the
eye, and listen. If we don't, they will simply stop trying. And we
all know that the teenage days will come when they won't want to
discuss anything with us, be it Harry Potter or their newly hairy
Teach Me To Cook:
I was surprised by this request, but when I pressed for an
explanation, it quickly became clear. We are raising a generation
of Microwave Kids. They know how to use every button on the magic
box, but have no idea how to simmer, bake or boil. Granted, there
is great messiness in allowing your youngsters to cook with you,
but take it from me, some of my happiest memories are in the
kitchen with my Mom, dusted with flour and smudged with love.
Smoking: One child spoke this wish and it was quickly
echoed by many others. They have seen enough commercials to be
truly concerned about your health and their own, but it goes a bit
further than that. One young girl pulled me aside and whispered
her reason in my ear, "The other kids say I always smell
bad." I hugged her close and bent to kiss her head and she
was right. Her hair did not smell of Johnson & Johnson's, but
of Benson & Hedges. Not her choice and certainly not fair.
Stop Being So Busy
All The Time: If guilt were a color, I would have been
painted with it when I heard this one. How many of us use the
phrase, "Just a minute . . ." or "Hold on . .
." too much? Personally, there have been too many times I
have looked up after "just a minute" to find my child
has given up waiting and is gone.
Read TO Me: We tend to think that once a child can read, our job is done.
Actually, these children expressed a desire to have Mom or Dad
read a chapter book TO them each night. And while they
would really enjoy the reading, it leads to a deeper desire . . .
the other request that made me choke back a tear . . .
Hug Me More: I experience these children each week when I enter the classrooms.
They cling to me tighter than a wet pair of Levis. They are the
ones that are not getting enough hugs and snuggling and attention
at home. For them, I hug them not once, not twice, but as much and
as long as they need.
So while you are running around doing that
last minute shopping, add some of these items to your own child's
list. Rich or poor, they are all things that cost not a dime and
we all have in endless supply. We just have to stop and open our
arms and hearts a little wider.
Copyright 2000 by Linda M. Sharp.
Reprinted with permission.
Linda Sharp is an internationally
published author and columnist who writes regularly on the joyous
and frustrating world of parenting. Her work appears across
the Internet and wraps around the globe in parenting publications
from Canada to Malaysia to all points in between.
Gail Pursell Elliott
The most important gifts are not those that you can hold in your
hand. These, in their purest form, are simply an outward
representation of the gifts that are the most lasting: the gifts
of time, attention, thought, caring, peace of mind, true
friendship, acceptance, patience, tolerance, laughter, joy,
freedom of expression, companionship, insight, understanding,
Sometimes what is really important in life becomes obscured by
outer concerns. These have a tendency to make us feel poor and
wanting when we are not and to pull our attention to focus on
the attainment of symbols of a rich existence, which can
ultimately leave us destitute if we lack perspective and
Money and possessions are not in themselves important.
Only what they represent has meaning. Note also that
power, recognition, reputation, influence, control, and
manipulation are not included on the list of lasting gifts.
Our real life exists elsewhere, for if those inner gifts are
ignored or lacking the rest are empty icons that can symbolize
ultimately not abundance, but lack.
You are fortunate to be both rich and generous with gifts that
have real value. The rest, in the end, is truly nothing.
My wish for all of us this holiday season, is the ability to
recognize, express, and appreciate the lasting gifts in our
Have a Wonderful Holiday and be good to yourself. You
the years our world has changed dramatically.
People often treat each other like objects and
opportunities rather than as human beings. In
many cases we’ve lost touch with one another
people. Each of us is unique; each of us has
wants, hopes, needs, dreams, desires and the
right to dignity and respect as individuals. We
must gain insight and awareness to see each
other with new eyes. This Food for Thought
Anthology is the original collection of
essays, stories and quotes that was released by
Gail Pursell Elliott in 2001.
Wallpaper! Just click below
the size your desktop is
right-click on the
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photo's from a potato
field on Prince Edward Island.)
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It was a
thrill to wake up and find an orange in my stocking, and I'll
forget how excited I was the year I got a banana! We
were a country
preacher's family, and we were poor. But we
had a mighty good time.
Norman Vincent Peale
A Recipe for
I often think of what kind of advice I could give to other people
for enjoying their Christmas holidays. This is kind of
difficult for me because over the years I've also tried to stop
trying to give advice unless it's absolutely necessary, preferring
instead to let things run their course and allow people to learn
important lessons in the process. Perhaps it's just being a
part of this culture in which we like to tell other people what to
do, how to think, and how to act, but there is a part of me that
likes to give advice.
The trouble with recipes, of course, is that even if you follow
them to the letter, the dish you make may or may not resemble the
dish it's supposed to be--and chances are that you'll never be
able to figure out just why it's different. Why did those
stupid chocolate chip cookies get all flat like that? What
did I miss, or do wrong?
So a recipe for a happy holiday can only be accurate for an
individual--somebody else would have more of one ingredient, less
of another, and some new ingredients altogether with some others
left out. So if I'm to make a recipe for a merry Christmas,
it's one that will work for only me, and others will have to
modify it to fit their own preferences, of course. But
that's okay--I've seen some recipes that call for ingredients that
I never would have thought of including, and that make the dish
much, much better. By the same token, of course, some
ingredients aren't at all necessary for me, so I can leave them
out with no problem.
For a happy Christmas, I'd have to start with three cups of
giving. This is a holiday that has as its main focus the
generosity that somehow we keep bottled up the rest of the
year. Giving is one of the most important elements of a full
life in general, but it's a stronger need during the Christmas
season. I give people what I know they want and need, or
think they want and need, and I won't include any giving that's
based on what I think they should have, for that's not true
giving, for it's giving with expectations, and that simply isn't
genuine generosity. Of course, giving isn't determined
solely by the recipients' needs and wants: my friend may
need a new car, but that wouldn't be a very appropriate gift for
I'd also have to add a cup of goodwill, aka Christmas Cheer.
Being in a good mood can be a challenge, but when you're able to
share that good mood with others, the challenge is more than worth
it. Our positive behavior can be something very beneficial
for other people, and if we can share more of it during the
holidays, we're helping others to enjoy their holidays, too.
We definitely have to add a cup of compassion to our
creation. The holidays are very difficult for many people,
and it's far too easy to feel that they're being negative when in
fact, they're having a hard time. It's far too easy to get
the idea that everyone should be happy during the Christmas
season, so we need to temper our expectations with the realization
that others may be going through something that we can't really
Of course, we need to add a tablespoon or so of letting go.
Letting go of expectations is extremely important during the
holidays because otherwise, we're going to face a whole lot of
disappointment when others don't act like we expect them to, when
they don't give us the gifts we're expecting, when they don't
react as we expect them to when they open their gifts from
us. Unfulfilled expectations are especially difficult to
deal with during the holiday season, so it's in everyone's best
interest to allow our expectations to slip away quietly, leaving
us with peace of mind and peace of heart.
Which brings to mind another necessary ingredient:
peace. This is a stressful season, and many people find
themselves with their nerves frayed very early on. Let's add
a tablespoon or two of peace to the whole mixture so that we can
be a peaceful influence on everyone with whom we come in contact
during the Christmas season.
We can season what we're making with our own personal touches on
whatever we give. Simply buying gifts can be nice, but it
can be much better when there's something personal in them.
I may be the only one who knows that she really likes lions, or
that when he was a kid he loved Winnie the Pooh. Such pieces
of knowledge can help us to find special little gifts that are
both important to the person and personal in nature because of our
shared knowledge or background. On the other hand, sometimes
our personal talents don't really match certain people--I might be
very good at canning salsa and some people may love salsa as a
gift, but other people who don't eat the stuff really wouldn't
want it if it will just sit in their pantry, never used.
I can also season my creation with hope. Perhaps there's a
way to show the person we love that there is hope in the world,
that there are reasons for moving forward in life, for keeping on
with all that we're doing, that things are going to change if
they're not going well now. A small book on the beauties of
life can send a strong message to someone who's grieving, for
example, while a book on a certain profession or art world can be
a breath of fresh and inspiring air to a young person who's
looking forward to the future.
Finally, once our creation is done, we can take it out of the oven
and sprinkle it all over with a generous amount of love. Of
course, this love would have been there in every part of the
process--the thinking of, the getting, the preparing, the
finishing, the wrapping, the giving. And it's this love that
provides the heat to help it to cook to its proper consistency,
and the environment in which it can stay fresh and moist and
Of course, a Christmas holiday isn't something that we can see and
touch and cook, but if we do our best to include all of these
ingredients into our next week or so, we're going to stand a much
better chance of enjoying a beautiful holiday season, for these
are the things that will help the others in our lives to have a
beautiful holiday, also. It's not our responsibility to make
the day perfect for everyone else--and we're courting disaster if
we try to do so--but it is within our power to spread some
lovingkindness during this beautiful holiday season.
Good luck with yours!
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What is Christmas?
tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the
future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with
blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.
Agnes M. Pharo
Art of Keeping Christmas
Wilferd A. Peterson
can we best keep Christmas? How can we best defeat
the little bit of Scrooge in all of us and experience
the glory of the Great Day?
sinking the shafts of our spirits deep beneath the
sparkling tinsel of the surface of Christmas and
renewing within us the radiance of the inner meaning of
following the Star on an inward journey to Bethlehem to
stand again in awe and wonder before the Babe in a
rediscovering the faith and simplicity of a little
child, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.
being still and listening to the angels sing within our
quietly evaluating our lives according to the Master's
standards as set forth in the Sermon on the Mount.
reaffirming the supremacy of the spirit in man's
conquest of himself.
rededicating ourselves to the Master's ideals of Peace,
Brotherhood, and Good Will.
resolving to give ourselves away to others in love, joy
using the light of Christmas to guide us through the
darkness of the coming year, refusing to go back to the
dim kerosene lamps of the spirit when the brilliant
electricity of Christmas is available to show us the
morning an orange in one's stocking, along with candy and popcorn,
was the greatest treat. For with no fruit stores as we now
oranges were to be found in the stores only at
Christmastime. An orange
for Christmas! That was
something to remember and feel proud of
having received! It
was something worth telling to your playmates.
Fred L. Holmes
a year of one-sentence reminders
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make the most of our lives each day that we live.
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novel of life and learning; Walker's fascinating journey
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David agrees to
give 70-year-old Hector
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about his life.
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and spending, we lay waste our powers," wrote
Wordsworth over 150 years ago. And we're still doing
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