What Is Your Reason for the Season?

christmas 2007

(Photo credit: paparutzi)

 My weekly newspaper column:

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

 It is hot (as in 40 degrees C) in Australia right now, which could explain why a blog friend of mine has decided to discard Christmas for the time being. But her real reasons are far beyond the discomfort of the heat.  Her husband is in a nursing home with advanced Parkinson’s; her teenage son has back surgery on Tuesday; the same son was in an awful accident not too long ago which put several of his younger cousins in the hospital — he has been charged and must go to court and may face jail—all because he was trying to give them a bit of fun; her stove has stopped working so there is nowhere to cook the turkey; and she just cannot face the added pressure of shopping and decorating and cooking for Christmas. When she broached the subject with her son, he agreed—in light of all that was going on in their lives, Christmas was not a bright light, but a responsibility which overshadowed their joy.


English: First Omagh Presbyterian Church - Mid...

Presbyterian Church –  Taken at noon on Christmas Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

   They did make one concession though. They are going to go to church on Christmas. My first reaction when I read of their decision to forego the splash that is Christmas was one of pity, and I could not help but think about what they would miss out on. But are they really missing out? They have made a decision to celebrate what they truly believe Christmas is about—the spirituality, and erase all the extras, except for a visit from the son’s grandma which was his one concession to the season.

            I love the hurly burliness of the Christmas season and even when I have had to face the loss of some of those closest to me at the “happiest” time of the year, I have been able to celebrate, though a bit more sombrely and with a little less sparkle.  I find the Christmas season cheers me up—there is something in the air and it seems merrily contagious.  For the most part people are kinder, they smile more, and they greet friends and family and even strangers a bit more heartily. The lights on our trees and houses and decorations bring a brightness to an otherwise dark time of year.

            I love all the things Christmas—but I understand when the pressure to create a perfect holiday makes it less than merry and bright. Some people find blessings in the spirituality of the season and like my Australian friend this year discard what they think of as the commercialization and crassness of Christmas. I embrace the spirituality of the season, but the others parts of Christmas are close to my heart too. Yes, Christmas has been commercialized, but we can make our choice as to the extent we want that aspect to enter into our celebrations.


Cover of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole...

Cover via Amazon

  I think Dr. Seuss had something when he had the Grinch (of How the Grinch Stole Christmas fame) reflect on what Christmas was all about. This excerpt from the book (and movie of the same name) says it all: “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

            Humourist Dave Barry puts a little different perspective on the whole question of Christmas, and though skewed for laughs, he covers several bases:“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall’!”

            Only you can answer the question of the meaning of Christmas and only you can decide how to celebrate it.  I am kind of partial to how President Calvin Coolidge defined it on Christmas Day, 1927 in his Presidential address: “Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

What does Christmas mean to you?

Who I Want to Be

Renée Live

Renée Live (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever find a description of someone you want to be? 

 Today in a post by renée a. schuls-jacobson, she described a blogger that she imagined to be a great writer. She said that the blogger  “can write about anything. She has amazing range: sometimes she’s funny; other times, she’s serious. She uses fresh images. She knows how to tell a story so it is unique and yet universally true. She responds to everyone. She’s generous, and her audience loves her.”

In this description Renée unknowingly described herself.  I am here to tell her that. And I am here to tell her that I aspire to be that kind of writer too. Just thought she should know.

Published in: on July 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm  Comments (41)  
Tags: , , , , ,

~ ? ~ Or Commenting: A Dangerous Sport

Confused Winter Hummingbird

Confused Winter Hummingbird (Photo credit: Ed Gaillard)

Do you ever get comments that you don’t quite get? Or that you think may be humourous, but then again, may not be? And how about those ever so helpful comments you get that tell you that you are wrong about something (because they did not get your attempt at humour). And they always say: “I know you will not take this the wrong way,…..” (but I do). Then once in a while you get these people who take the moral high road and give you a tiny slap in the blog. It does not happen often. I have received (just a minute I am going to check here) 5,523 comments and less than ten were, shall we say questionable or insulting.

 But a few more were confusing—but I confuse easily.

 Because I love to read comments, I will sometimes answer with a ? and then the commenter will elucidate their thoughts (which it turns out was really quite clear in the first place—I am just a doorknob). Sometimes I will serve up a noncommittal answer to their comment with a clever emoticon, or thank them for stopping by when I am not sure what was meant.

When I first joined the blog world I made some mistakes in commenting. Once I was flippant, then tried to cover it up by making an apologetic re-comment. Once I corrected someone who needed no correction and found out that everyone loved her and that if I were to keep my place in the blog world, I better never hint at saying anything untoward to her again (sorry again Brigitte, though the angel that you are, you took no offence).  And once I did correct a spelling mistake in someone’s blog—because the rest of it was so perfect, I could not help myself. They thanked me, but I will bet they did not really want to.

So I have given. And I have received. But I have learned. And I am shocked that I have made so many friends—seriously who knew? I guess people who have a Facebook account know that you can have cyber friends, but I do not have a FB page. I have a Twitter account, but for the life of me, do not yet understand it. So my blog is my foray into having friends at the other end of a keyboard—and I must say I like it (I really like it – this is me channelling Sally Fields in a rather warped way).

So, if any of my comments ever offend you—I am sorry. If any confuse you, just ask me to explain, because I am sure it is my confusion not yours that is to be blamed.

 Adieu, and keep on commenting. (Yes, I mean you brother John. Sister Peggy comments on everything! lol)

Awards Galore! O Happy Day ~ Or If This Doesn’t Spur Me On~I Don’t Know What Will!


award_beautiful-blogger-award_2010 (Photo credit: Chingster23)

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award (Photo credit: nhighberg)


liebster-award (Photo credit: SurvivalWoman)

I have come to the conclusion that I am versatile, beautiful, illuminating, lovely, addictive, inspiring, sunny and appreciated. How did I come to this conclusion?

Fellow bloggers in their generosity have honoured me with The Versatile Blogger Award, the Beautiful Blogger Award, the Illuminating Blogger Award, The Liebster Award (before I had over 200 followers), The Addictive Blog Award, One Lovely Blog Award, the Very Inspiring Blog Award, the Reader Appreciate Blog Award and the Commenter Blog Award!

My head has swollen to such an extent that I can no longer get through the doorways of my house, and have had to hire carpenters to take out the front double window of my abode so I can get outside for some fresh air! Seriously, who would have thought? What a wonderful blogging community I have become a part of—and how generous, sweet, and kind all those who bestowed these awards are.

I have felt extremely guilty for not publicly acknowledging these awards—I have tried to privately express how honoured I was to receive each award and hope I have not missed anyone. Due to a number of factors, I will not be posting any of the awards on my blog because I am too stupid it is just a decision I have come to, somewhat reluctantly. (The awards pictured here are from the WordPress Gallery–it was easy to pop them in–I am all about easy when it comes to pictures and images.)

All I can say is a heartfelt—thank you, thank you, thank you for being accepted and encompassed into this lovely, beautiful, illuminating, versatile (you get my drift) community.

So without further ado—I present you with my individual thanks:

Versatile Blogger Award: thank you to


gobakeyourself.wordpress.com (also gave me the Addictive Blogger Award)

theviewoutside.wordpress.com (Vikki)


Beautiful Blogger Award: thank you to



Illuminating Blogger Award: thank you to:

emptynestfullstomachs.wordpress.com (sandy and denise)

brigittesbanter.com (Brigitte obviously)


One Lovely Blogger Award: thank you to:





ltclifeonhigh.wordpress.com  (Lillian said I could have this or the Sunshine Award– I am greedy so I will take both)


The Liebster Award: thanks to:


Commenter’s  Award: thanks to:


Readers’ Appreciation Award:  thanks to:


Very Inspiring Blogger: thanks to:



I tried to keep good track of all these wonderful awards. If I made a mistake with your name or blog address, I am sincerely sorry—this is hard work putting all this together, and blog savvy I am not yet—though I hope to become more so in the future.

I am coming up to my one year anniversary, and I have to say I am overwhelmed by the response I have received. Thank you everyone! (I am dancing a little victory dance here—but it is good you cannot see it—I am rather awkward.)

I will no longer be accepting awards—as thrilled as I am to receive them.  So thank you all – you have given me a great boost to continue blogging and hopefully continue to deserve to be part of your world. I cannot stress enough how happy these make me—but my organizational abilities are such that I cannot be held responsible for saying the proper thanks.

P.S. If I have forgotten anyone or made any glaring errors, I would be happy to include you or correct the error!