Dr. King advocated for nonviolent resistance to overcome injustice. He organized sit-ins, marches, and peaceful demonstrations that highlighted issues of inequality. Through his nonviolent activism during the civil rights movement, he changed things for others. His actions earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
In 1994, Congress changed the designation to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – “A Day On, Not a Day Off.”
Dr. King believed life’s most persistent and urgent question was
“What are you doing for others?”
This day offers an opportunity to reflect on the past, think about the present, plan for the future, and remind us of what is truly important. A day to make a commitment to engage with your community and honor the legacy of Dr. King.
Whatever you choose to do today, think about my favorite Dr. King quote:
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
This time of year we hear the song “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” a lot. The story behind the song is fascinating.
In 1938 Bob May, a 34-year-old ad writer for Montgomery Ward in Chicago was exhausted and nearly broke. His holiday season held no comfort or joy. His wife bedridden, losing her two-year battle with cancer. His four-year-old daughter Barbara feeling left out, different.
Bob understood. He’d been a small, sickly boy, constantly picked on and called names. He wanted to show Barbara that being different was nothing to be ashamed of and created a bedtime tale about a reindeer with a bright red nose who found a special place on Santa’s team.
Barbara loved the story so much that she made him tell it every night. Because he couldn’t afford to buy her a gift for Christmas, Bob turned the story into a homemade picture book.
Bob’s wife died in early December. A few days before Christmas, he attended a Montgomery Ward company party where co-workers encouraged him to share the story he’d written. There was a standing ovation when he finished. Everyone wanted copies of their own.
Montgomery Ward bought the rights to the book from their debt-ridden employee. Over the next six years, at Christmas, the store gave away six million copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to shoppers. Every major publishing house made offers to obtain the book. In an incredible display of goodwill, the department store returned all rights to Bob.
Four years later, Bob May’s bedtime Rudolph story made him a millionaire. He remarried, had a growing family, and felt blessed by his good fortune. But there was more good fortune to come.
Songwriter Johnny Marks married Robert May’s sister. Marks set the uplifting story to music. Several popular recording artists including Bing Crosby all passed. Finally, Marks approached Gene Autry. Like the others, Autry wasn’t impressed with the song about the misfit reindeer. Johnny Marks begged him to give it a second listen.
Autry played it for his wife, Ina. The line “They wouldn’t let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games” touched her so she insisted her husband record the tune. Within a few years, the song became the second best-selling Christmas song after “White Christmas.”
As the years passed, the story’s popularity never waned. On Dec. 6, 1964, NBC broadcast the first Rudolph TV special and it has been broadcast every year since making it the longest-running Christmas TV special in history.
Rudolph lives through TV specials, cartoons, movies, toys, games, coloring books, plush toys, greeting cards, and even a Ringling Bros. circus act. The story symbolizes Christmas as much as Santa Claus, evergreen trees, and presents.
And, the backstory is wonderful. However, …
a fact check with Snoops says the often-quoted story is only partly true. Bob May authored the story for Montgomery Ward as part of this job as a copywriter in the PR department and “tested” it on his daughter. After Montgomery Ward had given away copies for 6 years, they looked for something new for their Christmas giveaways. That’s when May asked for his rights back and they gave it to him.
The success part of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” on the other hand, is completely true.
Enjoy Gene Autry singing his version with a 1953 Ed Sullivan Show audience.
A Western Santa Claus-decked out in Levis, a ten-gallon Stetson, a cowboy vest, and with a bandana around his neck-makes his Christmas journey on a buckboard piled high with presents. Swooping in over the prairie to the amazement of sleepy residents and jackrabbits alike, a plump, jovial Santa parks his buckboard outside a peaceful ranch house. From boot-stuffing gifts to the faithful “hosses” pulling his “sleigh,” this is a Christmas tale rich in Texas tradition.
A must-read every holiday if you live in my house.
Gene Autry recorded the poem for Columbia Records in the 1940s or 50s. My copy of the original 78 release is still around somewhere. Take a listen to a later release:
Other Lone Star Christmas traditions are not strictly Texan, but unique to customs of the southern states.
I’m always asked where I get my story ideas. The simple answer is my life. As writers, we call on our memories to plot stories and fuel characters’ emotions. Sometimes obviously. Sometimes subtly.
There’s personal memory embedded somewhere in a plot or a character or a scene in every book I’ve written. None more than When Love Endures, book three of the Fitzpatrick Family series. It’s based on one of my favorite holiday memories.
Growing up, holidays involved gathering around the piano and singing. It never mattered how you sounded or how old you were. You sang.
Or you played the piano.
Another thing we did was attend holiday programs either as an audience or participants. School programs, church programs, choir performances, band, and orchestra performances. Listening to the holiday songs always fueled our holiday spirit.
One memory—playing a Christmas duet with my daughter at her piano recital—provided the springboard for When Love Endures, my new holiday novella.
In the story, heroine Sarah’s high school sweetheart moves back to their small town and enrolls his daughter in her school music class. Old feelings return, but Sarah must win the daughter over. There are obstacles, but, like all Hallmark Christmas love stories, there is a happy ending that may or may not involve playing a Christmas duet.
When Love Endures
Sarah Fitzpatrick, pianist extraordinaire, gave up on true love when her high school boyfriend, Nick Stephens, ran off to marry his pregnant ex-girlfriend. When his daughter shows up in her music class eleven years later, Sarah must find a way to keep the little girl and her widowed father out of her heart. She can’t risk losing everything again.
Nicks Stephens has other plans. Sarah is and always has been the love of his life and he’s back in Burton, TX to prove it. But there are secrets Nick must keep, from Sarah and his daughter, that could destroy everything he hopes to build.
Shopping, especially online like so many of us are doing these days, means phishing time for hackers.
Email scams called phishing are an easy form of cyberattack that supplies everything a hacker needs to steal information to ransack personal and work accounts.
The earliest hackers were known as ‘phreaks’ or ‘phreakers’ from those names came phishing, a modified version of fishing…to steal your private information.
It’s been around since the mid-1990s. Since then, the concept has been tweaked so that everyone from the most brilliant techie to the lowly church mouse is susceptible.
Early attempts to scam came with tell-tale signs like strange spelling, weird formatting, low-res images, and messages that often didn’t make sense. Some remain easy to spot today like a long-lost relative who wants to leave you his fortune.
Most of today‘s scammers are more talented when it comes to creating fake logos making scams extremely difficult to spot. A skilled hacker can disguise emails to look like it’s coming from your friends, family, colleagues, and even your boss.
Emails arrive with subject lines about prizes to entice and catch the eye. Remember, if that email ‘prize’ seems too good to be true, it usually is and it’s likely a hacker phishing for your personal data.
Fake emails from your bank or health care provider are trickier to spot. These come with ‘URGENT’ message subjects designed to panic victims into making an error. Some look convincingly legit…until you check the sender source. Always check the sender’s email address. See how below:
If the email address is not visible, you can hover your mouse over it and see who it’s really from. But, if the email is suspect, you shouldn’t click. Instead, go to your web browser, log into your account, and address the financial or health issue there or call directly.
Sadly, phishing isn’t limited to email. There’s vishing (suspicious phone calls) and smishing (messaging services). Even apps trick a target into what the scammer wants. Phishing is also a popular method for installing trojan malware or ransomware.
As Adrian Monk says in his Monk series, “It’s a jungle out there.” Protect yourself this holiday buying season. Don’t be some hacker’s phish. Watch for scams.
Since its origin in 1882, Labor Day has paid tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. In 1894, it became an official federal holiday.
This vintage postcard commemorates that holiday addition.
The day is a well-deserved tribute to all laborers whether their office is a building, a field, a warehouse, a store, a hospital, a patrol car or fire station, or their home. Commitment to their job is what makes our country such a great place to live.
Today I’d like to say a big Thank You.
I’m a writer retired from the traditional workforce. Because you do your job, I can concentrate on mine every day. To writers who work day jobs then write in the evenings, you’re my heroes too.
If you’re among the many workers who have Labor Day off work, kick back and enjoy your free day. Holidays tend to slide by in my world. One day is like the next.Write, write, write.
Because Labor Day also signals the end of summer, I think I may take a break and join the crowd at the grill.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.