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27 11, 2019

Irish Blessing for Thanksgiving

By |2019-11-10T11:43:24-06:00November 27th, 2019|Holidays|0 Comments

To be honest with you, Thanksgiving is not an Irish celebration. The holiday doesn’t exist in Ireland. There is no special Irish prayer, blessing, or grace for the day.

So, unless you have ties with family and friends in America, it’s simply another day. If, perchance you do have family celebrating Thanksgiving, then you might enjoy turkey in November and think of Pilgrims and Indians.

Nonetheless, Chicken Wrangler Sara and I have shared this Irish Thanksgiving Blessing for you and yours for years. And, we’re sharing again this year.

May your day be filled with love and laughter.

25 11, 2019

Thanksgiving Week? Really, Oranges?

By |2019-11-24T18:27:44-06:00November 25th, 2019|A Writer's Life, Holidays|1 Comment

We’ve been watching our two orange trees beside the driveway. Every day the oranges slow turn from green and hidden in the leaves and branches to orange and shouting, “It’s time!”

This weekend they screamed, “Now!”

Here it is Thanksgiving week, the time when there are a million other things to be doing in the kitchen besides squeezing oranges.

But no. The oranges couldn’t wait.

Hubby dear selected the most need-to-be-picked ones and loaded the picking crates and bucket.

Twice.

I prepared the sink area. Because orange juice tends to squirt when juicing, I drape the counters and cabinet doors with towels. Makes cleanup easier-no sticky floor or counters. I also sit on my vintage kitchen chair while I work.This is our third year of juicing. We have a system—an assembly line. He washes then slices the oranges in half and pitches the halves into the colander. I run the juicer and pour through the strained until the pitcher is full then pour the strained juice into quart jars. He seals, dates the lids, and carries to the garage freezer.We recently found a great, small freezer at a garage sale unbelievably cheap and it’s now the orange juice freezer.We prepared five gallons of juice this weekend and there’s another five or more crates on the tree starting to whisper our names. It looks like, while the rest of the world is wrestling and grabbing for bargains on Black Friday, we’ll be into orange juice manufacturing.

I know I’ll be happy come February when I’m sipping fresh orange juice. And, some lucky people on our Christmas list will be excited too.

Except right now, I’m not happy with the oranges. I need to be baking!

18 11, 2019

Two Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

By |2019-11-05T16:36:49-06:00November 18th, 2019|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday, Thanksgiving|1 Comment

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that in order to achieve contentment, we should “cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.”

Blogging about thankfulness and gratitude in November is cliché. But this is the time of year when we pause to focus our thoughts on being thankful.

Most of us will have a thankful attitude on Thanksgiving Day. Too often, though, our thankful attitude wanes for the rest of the year.

I’d like to suggest two ways to focus an attitude of thankfulness beyond one Thursday in November.

Use social media

Create posts, pictures, videos, and tweets that  cultivate thankfulness on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Heaven knows we get enough of wars, earthquakes, floods, fires, sick children, murdered spouses and, lately, politics.

Research shows good news spreads faster and farther than disasters and sob stories. Why not counter the suffering and mayhem of mass media coverage and sharing positive, uplifting posts, memes, and videos to encourage attitudes of thankfulness in yourself and others?

Keep a gratitude list

Writing down what you’re thankful for everyday reinforces positive thoughts and grateful feelings.

Can you think of other ways to foster gratitude?

11 11, 2019

Veterans Day Gratitude

By |2019-11-10T11:16:33-06:00November 11th, 2019|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

November 11 is Veterans Day.

Do you know the origins of Veterans Day? Why it’s not a normal four-day weekend holiday like so many of our other federal holidays?

This two-minute video from the History Channel provides the Cliff Note answers.

I love that the day falls in November now and not October.

After all, November and Thanksgiving and gratitude are so interlinked, it’s only right that we pause today to say “thank you” to a friend, a relative, or a co-worker who is a U.S. military veteran or active member of the military.

These men and women have made tremendous personal sacrifices so that we enjoy freedoms unheard of in so many nations of the world.

It’s been said, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

Don’t let that happen today! Find a vet and say, “thank you!”

30 10, 2019

Romantic Halloween Postcards

By |2019-10-28T11:01:22-05:00October 30th, 2019|Holidays, Wednesday Words|0 Comments

 

 

 

 

About the graphics

All of these are vintage postcards connecting romance and Halloween. Postcards—the text messaging and social media of that period—were sent on holidays.

Being a romance writer, I find them fascinating.

About the postcards

Victorians adapted pagan Halloween celebrations and traditions into a genteel holiday about romance, parlor games, and child’s play. Even ghost stories were softened into tales of passion.

Turn-of-the-century Halloween postcards depicted cute, fat jack o’ lanterns topped with equally adorable chubby-cheeked children. Black cats weren’t portrayed as “witches familiars,” but cuddly icons on these cards, and witches were shown as pretty ladies bringing messages of love.

Sadly, the trend only lasted until about 1918.

Makes me kinda sad. I would prefer romance to scary ghosts, goblins, and vampires.

2 09, 2019

Labor Day 2019

By |2019-08-31T20:34:48-05:00September 2nd, 2019|Holidays|0 Comments

The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union.

The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885, Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country with parades and speeches.

In 1894, it became an official federal holiday.

Today there aren’t many speeches or parades.

We think of Labor Day as the end of summer and celebrate with cookouts, forgetting what it’s truly about — honoring the workers of American.

To all the workers, thank you and to all:

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

3 07, 2019

Happy 243rd Birthday, America!

By |2019-07-02T09:30:04-05:00July 3rd, 2019|Holidays, Wednesday Words|1 Comment

About the graphic:

This is one of my favorite family photos of my two grandsons, John (with the flag) and Michael (leading the way). It also happens to be one of my very talented photographer daughter’s bestselling photos.

I think that’s because it represents the freedom born with our great country on the 4th of July. Like the two young boys running freely down the park path, this country’s constitution grants to each and every one freedom not experienced anywhere else in the world. If you live in America, you can choose which paths you want to run or walk.


Be safe and enjoy your celebrations tomorrow, and as you celebrate, don’t forget to say a thanks for the brave men and women in uniform who are serving all of us here and on foreign soil so that we can continue to make choices.

Happy 243rd Birthday, America!

24 06, 2019

Summer Solstice Fun & Facts

By |2019-06-24T06:16:11-05:00June 24th, 2019|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Summer officially arrived June 21. Short nights, long days begin.

Kinda of hard to wrap my head around the idea that the Summer Solstice marked the beginning of summer. Around here we’ve been experiencing heat indexes in triple digits for weeks. Where we lived in Colorado, twenty-four inches of snow fell over the weekend.

Me thinks Mother Nature didn’t get the memo.

Still summer solstice has been around since the world begin. Ancient cultures recognized the sun’s path across the sky, the changes in the length of daylight, and the location of the sunrise and sunset.

Stonehenge stands as a testament to their knowledge.

Stones are arranged so that the summer solstice sun rises directly above the heel stone. Access inside the stones is granted every year on the two solstice days-winter and summer.

Winter is considered more important than its summer counterpart because Druids believe it marks the ‘re-birth’ of the sun.

Those ancient cultures weren’t wrong in acknowledging the hours of daylight. Scientists have long suspected a link between the level of happiness and the amount of sunlight in the day.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a syndrome characterized by recurrent depressions related to the amount of light at the same time each year. What studies by psychologists have discovered about SAD is it’s not the absolute amount of daylight but the relative change in that daylight.

In other words, the issue is whether a day is longer or shorter than the day that came before?

When daylight hours increase as the summer solstice approaches people expressed significantly higher positive affect than they did when the days move toward the winter solstice.

Therefore, the summer solstice produces a happiness up-slope for half the year whereas the winter solstice does the opposite.

Next year maybe I’ll try this ancient tradition I uncovered while researching the Summer Solstice:

Place a piece of gold jewelry in the sunlight on the Summer Solstice and let it soak in the sun’s power. When you wear the jewelry later, that power will transfer to your own life in the coming year.

Maybe. Seems to me, the heat might be too much on the skin. At least in Texas.

13 05, 2019

Mother’s Day Trivia

By |2019-05-12T13:36:56-05:00May 13th, 2019|A Writer's Life, Holidays, Writer's Life|1 Comment

A long time ago in a land far away, we wore roses to church on Mother’s Day.

I can remember as a child going to my grandmother’s house before church to pick a flower to pin on my dress.I also cut blooms for my siblings.

I would carefully choose the prettiest red roses I could find for me and my siblings, cut the chosen buds and we’d take them home. There, my brother and sister and I would pin the rose to our Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and be ready for church on Mother’s Day.

A red rose meant your mother was living and a white one meant she was dead.

When I tell people about the annual chore, I usually get a puzzled look as if they’d never heard of it. Maybe it was only a Texas thing. There are lots of only Texas things that puzzle people.

Still, it was tradition for our family for many years. After I married and left home I continued the tradition. Once my children became teens the whining and complaining won and I kinda let the wearing roses thing fall to the wayside.

Anna Jarvis started the practice when she honored her own deceased mother with a special day of remembrance at a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908. By 1914, she had campaigned so successfully that President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the proclamation making Mother’s Day a national holiday.

Interesting fact I uncovered as I researched about the tradition, both Jarvis and the President Wilson insisted that the spelling be singular possessive — Mother’s Day — to encourage a personal rather than generic observance.

The wearing a rose tradition makes the day even more personal. Red to honor. White to remember.

I’m thinking it would be nice to revive the tradition. Next year, maybe my rose bushes will be blooming, and I can pick a white one to wear to honor my Mother in Heaven.

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