thoughts about life, art and color

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Santa and the Soldier


This week’s post was going to be about Christmas carols since they seem to transport many folks to a spiritual place and amidst the festivities we are celebrating, a little spirituality can go a long way. C’mon, we could use a little spiritual boost. But, we received a Christmas card from friends who support the Disabled American Veterans and Ed (my husband) asked me to post from it instead. The card contains a poem that some of you may have read before but I’d like to share it anyway. It’s titled Merry Christmas, My Friend by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt, a Marine. There have been a few versions of this poem written to include all branches of the service and each version is lovely reminding us of one of our very special gifts. This is the version that was in our card. The original version can be read at     Wishing you peace and joy, Merry Christmas to all.




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Red & Green

Have you ever wondered why red and green are the traditional colors of Christmas? Here’s the skinny.
The early Pagans celebrated a festival honoring Saturnalia, birth of the invincible sun, during the winter solstice. The Roman church was trying to win over the Pagans so they decided while the Pagans were already in a party mood they would set the official date for celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th. So, the church presented The Paradise Play, the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They needed to set the stage and since there weren’t any apple trees available at this time of year, they fastened apples to the branches of a pine tree which was to represent the Tree of Good and Evil. Red symbolized the blood of Jesus and green was the color of the potential for eternal life. The Christmas tree and these traditional colors then became common practice and used in Christmas displays each year thereafter. Following the church’s example, people began assembling pine trees in their homes and decorating them with red apples. This introduced two modern traditions: the Christmas tree and our seasonal colors, green for the pine tree and red for the apples. Holly, which consists of green leaves and red berries, is meant to incorporate both red and green to symbolize life and blood. As far back as Roman times the holly was brought in to decorate homes during Saturnalia. Holly was brought into Celtic homes to protect the occupants from ill-meaning faeries or to shelter spirits that the druids believed inhabited the tree’s sacred branches. So, there you have it. Have a Merry Holly Red and Green Christmas.

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The Rainbow


Today we are still mourning, trying to understand how and why this horrific tragedy in Newtown could have happened.  The whys and hows must be left for another day when we are thinking more clearly. The biggest immediate hurdle for each of these parents after having lost their child is trying to get through the fog of this moment, each moment, and contemplating what to do tomorrow. When I lost my son I grasped at anything that would ease the pain and help me face the tomorrows. Sometimes just words can bring a small smile, and the warmth of a small smile at a time like this can be a milestone.  This poem is from a grieving parents’ website and hopefully can offer a small smile.

I have not turned my back on you
So there is no need to cry.
I’m watching you from heaven
Just beyond the morning sky.

I’ve seen you almost fall apart
When you could barely stand.
I asked an angel to comfort you
And watched her take your hand.

She told me you are in more pain
Than I could ever be.
She wiped her eyes and swallowed hard
Then gave your hand to me.

Although you may not feel my touch
Or see me by your side.
I’ve whispered that I love you
While I wiped each tear you cried.

So please try not to ache for me
We’ll meet again one day.
Beyond the dark and stormy sky
A rainbow lights the way.
~Authour Unknown

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Operation List Generation

christmas list

It’s that special time of year…Operation List Generation. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t exist without lists. I generate lists for shopping, lists for doing, lists for planning, lists for projects, to do lists; but my paramount list making time of the year is Christmas. I have to make a general list. And then there is a gift list, a to do list, a baking list, a menu and a grocery list, a list of stores that I must visit to get that special something, and on and on.  I come by this act of list making naturally. My mother holds the title, the Queen of Lists. She makes so many lists that she even has post it notes on the dashboard of her car reminding her which lists to check that day. She’s much more professional than I am as she saves all of her lists and many of her records date back to 1942. Good grief! I am not in her league but…

I am thinking that this year I will make some special lists. When the hoopla of Christmas is over and I can settle in quietly with my thoughts, I will go through this past year and list the things that I have accomplished so I’m feeling good about myself when it’s time to make that list of goals for next year. I’m going to make a list of special people who I want to be sure to stay in touch with. Maybe I’ll even make a list of kind things I can do for others so I don’t let everyday tasks get in the way. We get so wrapped up in the doing and the hustle of everyday life; we sometimes forget why we’re doing it. I’m going to remind myself this year what’s important to me.



gingerbread_2012It’s holiday time. Everyone is busy running around shopping, decorating, baking and making lists and feeling like they’ll never be ready. Some families have traditions that have been carried on for generations and others start new traditions. Either way, traditions are a way of connecting family together and making special memories that can’t break or wear out like a toy or a sweater. They give us the gift of celebrating our love and our bond we have together.

My husband and I started a tradition when our grandchildren were born – we do gingerbread weekend! And do we ever! The children are excited knowing its coming, my husband and I are pumped shopping like elves for all of the special candies and decorations needed for our annual project, and we prep the kitchen for flying icing. What started as a small house many years ago has now become a compound to outdo what we did the previous year. The kids arrive and the giggling begins. We laugh, we work, we eat, we lick icing, we laugh some more, we brainstorm on how we will transport the village to their home, and finally, we sit back and admire our work. Most importantly, we have time to focus on each other and add a new memory page to our book of love…and traditions.