Christmas Day Open Forum – December 25, 2010


And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And For Our Soldiers……….

A Different Christmas Poem….. (By Michael Marks)

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,

I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.

In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,

A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.

To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said ‘Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.’
‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,’
Then he sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.’
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,

Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’

‘ So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.’

‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,

To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’

h/t FranklyTheNut

66 Responses to Christmas Day Open Forum – December 25, 2010

  1. Merry, Blessed Christmas to you and yours, all you dahlings!

    And….Happy Birthday Baby Jesus! XOXO

  2. ZurichMike says:

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

    If you have not yet seen my Christmas video, here is the link:

    Kind regards,


    • yomotley says:

      Mike, I love your video. I had tried to figure out how to put up over here, but couldn’t. It is very therapeutic to watch with the music you have with it. I even tried to figure out how to play it to repeat itself so I could hook computer up to big screen and have playing during Christmas breakfast! It moves me.

    • Menagerie says:

      Thank you for posting this here. Most beautiful.

  3. Felix says:

    Merry Christmas everyone. Below is the ending from “A Christmas Carol.” It means a lot to me. It was an important part of my childhood and always reminds me of my grand-parents and other important people whom are now gone and I still miss greatly. It helps me remember the true meaning of Christmas even when it is hidden by trivialities.

    “Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

    He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

    • JRD says:

      It’s always been a favorite of mine also, Felix. I have to read it every year.

      The inner child in me also likes to watch Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. The song they sing as they are stealing everything of Scrooge’s after he passes reminds me of the progressives.

      We’re de-spicable, We make ourselves plain sick-able.
      Be-rate ourselves, hate ourselves viciously,
      Still none of us wishes he– would shine.
      We’re slick and shifty birds, with fingers quick as fifty birds,

      While stealing your purse or your ticky tock, Just for a kick we knock you flat.
      La, la,- la-la-la-la-la. La, la,- la-la-la-la-la. La, la,- la-la-la,la-la ,
      We’re just blankety-blank blank, No Good!

      We’re not TEA PARTY blokes, no chitty-chat and artichokes,
      We’re twice as blood-thirsty as canabules, and wilder than animules are we,
      We’re reprehensible, We’ll steal your pen and pencible,
      Then sneer at you, leer at you, naughtily, and really we ought to be, In Jail!
      La, la,-la-la-la-la-la. La, la,-la-la-la-la-la. La, la, -la-la-la-la-,
      We’re just blanket-blank-blank, All Bad!

      Have a Blessed and Very Merry Christmas everyone!

      • NeeNee says:

        Hey, JRD! Thanks for posting this. It piqued my curiosity, and managed to find it. New to me . . . in 1962 I was 14, probably not watching Christmas cartoon specials then. But I’m forwarding it to my grandchildren, along with your printed out lyrics.

      • TXMom says:

        Awesome, JRD. Over the years, I had forgotten about Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. “We’re not Tea Party blokes?” How did they know? ha ha ha ha ha I have to share this. Neenee, what a great find! Thank you both!

      • violet says:

        Not Tea Party blokes??

        That’s hilarious!!

  4. emmajeri1010 says:

    Good Merry Christmas morning, everyone….

    Thank you for the Soldiers Poem…thinking about them today and praying for their peace and safety…I have a great nephew (Army) in Iraq on his second tour of duty. Another great nephew is in Hawaii (Marines) this first Christmas after his marriage in August because he’s part of the flight maintenance crew for POTUS. It was his very great personal honor to serve President George W. Bush in that capacity as well for about a year and a half, gladly serving the man as well as the office and the people of the United States.

    • NeeNee says:

      Morning Emma, I salute your nephews for their service!

      Your mention of the Hawaii duty assignment is interesting. Thursday we lunched with friends and on the way out of the restaurant, visited with a retired Marine officer neighbor. He was saying that in his opinion, Obama takes all these visits because they also serve the purpose of tying up crucial military personnel. “When the Clintons were in office it was even worse,” he revealed. “So many, many times whenever Bill went somewhere high profile, so did Hillary—in a different plane.” He went on to say that several times, Hill & Bill AND Madelaine Albright were in the air simultaneously. And that totally tied up critical teams. Had any rogue nation chose to strike at that particular time, a response would have been next to impossible. Plus the costs were astronomical, mainly because of the “shadow” decoy planes that accompany each presidential plane. “Multiply the astronomical cost of Air Force 1 times two to allow for the decoy,” the neighbor said.

      You’re right. . . say what you will about the Bushes tied in with the Bilderburgers, etc.—they treated their staff with respect and inspired loyalty that’s talked about in those circles yet today.

  5. yomotley says:

    May all my cyber friends have a blessed Christmas filled with the presence of God and a deep knowing and feeling that you are loved.

    Love and prayers, Motley

  6. Auntie Lib says:

    Merry Christmas to All. Hope you all have a perfectly wonderful day!

    Off to spend my day with kids, grandbabies, inlaws – much fun, laughter, and love. It’s how it should be!

  7. Pat P says:

    Merry Christmas to all of my friends at honeytrail! Christmas morning spent in the best way – watching the children open their gifts and trashing the living room!

    I am thankful for the freedom to celebrate the birth of Christ today. Bless all of you.

  8. sundancecracker says:

    A Simple Country Christmas………

    “Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

    It was Christmas Eve. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

    After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn’t worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

    Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn’t know what.

    Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. “I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here, help me.” The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

    After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. “Pa,” I asked, “what are you doing?”

    “You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I’d been by, but so what?

    Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

    “I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.”

    That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

    “What’s in the little sack?” I asked.

    “Shoes, they’re out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little candy.”

    We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

    We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?”

    “Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”
    Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

    “We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

    “We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said. He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.”

    I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

    I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

    In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

    Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

    Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn’t want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

    At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get you about eleven. It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.” I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

    Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles. I don’t have to say, may the Lord bless you; I know for certain that He will.”

    Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

    I understood and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

    For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.”

    Don’t be too busy today.

  9. Bijou says:

    Merry Christmas to all you Honeys!
    I hope everyone has a wonderful day, filled with love, family, fellowship and hope.
    We are truly blessed.

    Here are some interesting photos from around the world, showing how Christians are celebrating this sacred day.
    (Re the first photo…is it just me?)–world.html :)

  10. Merrry Christmas to all. This morning I got to listen as most of my children, grandchild and wife, and great-grandbabies found Santa Claus back home. Once Taylor Anne found the Clifford The Big Red Dog rocking horse/dog she really had no interest in the other present. We had her sent the Doll of the year for 2009 that was named Taylor. When she tried to pick up the ‘baby’ it was larger than her. And the grownups seemed to be having an even better time than the two little ones, just as always. I had a permanent smile on my face as I listened in on the family this mornning. Then they had a family breakfast. I am blesssed.

  11. I think that either my fingers are a little heavy this am or some of my keys get stuck. lol

  12. emmajeri1010 says:

    A Christmas Gift (an old story from among my stuff….author unknown)

    Everything was Christmas-wise. Yea, there was a flurry of tinsel in the Second-grade Teacher’s hair. And the tree did glow and shimmer. It had a gold and silver ropes a-swing. And my wrenched backbone felt as though it were suspended also.

    Now I groaned aloud for weariness. And the Second grade Teacher said, Art thou really sick?

    And I answered, Nay, I only have an ache and pain plus a hurting-all-over. Then as we laughed we heard the patter of small footsteps outside the door. And I whispered, Some little Eavesdropped can’t wait until the morrow. And we arose hurriedly and went unto our boarding house.

    And the next morning the tree stood breathless with beauty. And beneath its shining arms were many gifts for the teachers. Moreover there was much ceremony over the acceptance of these latter gifts.

    Now in the rear of the room sat a Lad. And he come unto us lately from the mountains. And to me, his teacher, he always seemed naught but an enormous pair of eloquent brown eyes attached to a set of undernourished arms and legs. And his blue denim Christmas suit was fearfully and wonderfully made.

    And on this day he was the last one to come forward. And lo, as he approached, I could see his bright red holiday tie somersaulting over the excited little heart beneath. And he said with a breathless rush of words, I fotched you this. And the words sounded reckless and extravagant.

    Then he slowly opened one grimy hand as though he handled a diamond. And there within the moist, dirty little palm lay what had been a chocolate-covered pill. Save that now the brown coating had melted, revealing a pellet of bilious hue.

    Now I accepted this gift with solemn gratitude. But i hid it from all curious eyes. Yea, I wrapped it in Christmas paper, and hung it near the top of the tree.

    And the Lad was pleased. And he said with a quick shy happiness, You don’t belong to thank me. And he sidled up closer and whispered, Hit be for thy hurtin’-all-over.

    Then straightway I understood whose footsteps we had heard beyond the door. And suddenly the Lad’s seven small words made the pill of more value than the costly gifts bearing Merry Christmas in gold upon them. And I marvelled that so often the outward covering of a gift gave so little hint of the wealth of love and solicitude within.

    Now that night I rehearsed unto the Second-grade Teacher the whole story. And I withheld not from her sight the pill. And she laughed merrily and said Dost thou expect this strange remedy to revive thee?

    And I chided her, saying, Let no one call this remembrance poor. For behold it is a Love-cure. Verily it hath been prescribed experessing for the worst of all human ailments: A Hurtin’ All Over.

  13. Shalini says:

    Is it a bit too much that I come in everyday just to wish you all a blessed Christmas. In my defense I thought I wouldn’t have the time t’day. Christmas day here is almost coming to an end but Jesus lives on forever.

    I saw the “Security threat in India” article in Hotair. There were a couple of comments there to which I wish to respond here, ’cause I can’t do it there. I hope Motley won’t mind.

    There was a commentator there who said it was sneaky to attack India on Christmas day as it doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Well, the Christian population might just be 2.3% in India but that’s 24 million people. That is a considerable amount of people and attacking churches during midnight Christmas celebrations is the easiest way to target a lot of people in one place. So it isn’t a far stretch to believe they might have planned to make attacks on Christmas day.

    Another commentator, presumably an Indian, said the government doesn’t do much. My parish has 2000+ families and there’s always a huge crowd for the Christmas mass. We had heavy security for our midnight mass. I think for a country with a population as big as ours, the government really is doing a great job. Especially, considering the kind of neighbours we have. My city, though a metropolitan one, has been very safe so far. Even when there used to be a terrorist attack every two months in every major city, my city somehow survived despite being the 4th major city in my country. (I hope I didn’t jinx it!!)

    Sorry, I just had to say this somewhere.

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      Shalini, no it is NOT “a bit much”!!….so glad you popped in! Now…it’s a marvel to get your report and perspective on these things. Always, always pop in whenever possible. The more of us who are sitting up to the table with our coffee (or coke in my case) at hand, the better perspective and encouragement there is. Merry Christmas to you, friend, and yes indeed, Jesus lives forever. It’s mid-day Christmas Day here, temps near zero, DH is snowblowing the driveway. It was 6″ of global warming on Friday night that we just didn’t have time to mess with yesterday–just kept clopping through it to the car, making a complete mess, because we had to get stuff done! Merry Christmas, Shalini (or Merry One-Day-After-Christmas as we are known to say in our family….)

    • Amsterdam Expat says:

      Happy holidays — and stay safe!

    • sundancecracker says:

      Shalini, please please please drop in daily…. heck, several times a day. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and links. I think we all consider it a blessing that we are able to join in this little cyber-place and most certainly it is a special gift for you to share with us. Your visits are a gift to us all, and we are thankful.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. I pray that God continues to keep you safe, and your family filled with abundance. Warmest regards, always. Sundance.

    • yomotley says:

      Bless you Shalini. Thank you for sharing with us. Please, keep it up as I do appreciate it. I enjoyed your link to pics of Christmas stars. They are so beautiful. I pray you, your family, and city continue to be safe.

  14. Amsterdam Expat says:

    Merry Christmas, fellow mama grizzlies and refudiators!

    (Not to infringe on the holiday, but come Monday, do have a look at this:

    It’s another of O’s foreign policy victories.)

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      And yet, those who read this at-that-time-future clearly and easily were called racists who just wanted to interfere with obama’s wonders.

      “In a WikiLeaks leaked cable from April 2009 written by US Ambassador to Jordan R. Stephen Beecroft, Jordan’s frustration and concern over the Obama administration’s incompetence in handling the Iranian threat was clear.

      “Beecroft wrote, ‘Jordan’s leaders are careful not to be seen as dictating toward the US, but their comments betray a powerful undercurrent of doubt that the United States knows how to deal effectively with Iran.’ ”

      God help us to survive this America-hating stranger.

      With the high percentage of registered voters who are still in thrall to this deceiver, how do we use and survive the next 20 months? The influence of deceivers is always, always dependent on finding those willing to be deceived: unfortunately, the percentage of people in that category in our formerly great country is still way too high. But this kind of article helps blow the cover off….and that’s important right now. Keep exposing the deceivers, the deceptions, the crimes, the criminals….

      • GracieD says:

        “God help us to survive this America-hating stranger. ”

        Emma, you are right about that point! I honestly believe that God is the only hope for America.

  15. Menagerie says:

    Merry Christmas all. Here in northwest Georgia we have a white Christmas. Have at least 6 inches so far and it’s still snowing hard. So beautiful here in the woods. God bless you all.

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      I always have thought the snow in the deep woods is one of the most beautiful scenes. Living in rural Minnesota, we are in open prairie/farmland about 10 miles from the obvious “lake country” starts. We’re right on the edge….2 miles west of us, “the flat” starts. At that point, i’ve often thought if a person had powerful enough cheeks, they could spit to Billings, MT, because the flat that starts there extends all the way across ND (allowing for the badhills bluffs along I-94)…but lots of flat…

      We have friends who live in the official woods here, about 30 miles away, and have often been at their house on Thanksgiving Day, etc. Sitting around the dining room table, looking out the big windows across the deck and seeing deer at the edge of the woods, warily watching as they feed. The snow and the woods are a beautiful, beautiful thing. Enjoy your day!

      • Menagerie says:

        My father’s family lives in Kansas and Nebraska. As a child I always thought it very plain. We are used to our mountains here. The last visit I had, we made a long walk to the one room schoolhouse on the prarie. It was so very beautiful.

        Here’s hoping he power stays on.

  16. Kristi says:

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Will be leaving soon to see my niece and nephew… they are so adorable!
    they are 4 and 8… prime Santa years.

  17. violet says:

    Here’s one of my favorite poems for Christmas:

    by John Betjeman

    The bells of waiting Advent ring,
    The Tortoise stove is lit again

    And lamp-oil light across the night
    Has caught the streaks of winter rain.
    In many a stained-glass window sheen
    From Crimson Lake to Hooker’s Green.

    The holly in the windy hedge
    And round the Manor House the yew
    Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
    The altar, font and arch and pew,
    So that villagers can say

    “The Church looks nice” on Christmas Day.

    Provincial public houses blaze
    And Corporation tramcars clang,
    On lighted tenements I gaze
    Where paper decorations hang,
    And bunting in the red Town Hall
    Says “Merry Christmas to you all.”

    And London shops on Christmas Eve
    Are strung with silver bells and flowers

    As hurrying clerks the city leave
    To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
    And marbled clouds go scudding by
    The many-steepled London sky.

    And girls in slacks remember Dad,
    And oafish louts remember Mum,
    And sleepless children’s hearts are glad,
    And Christmas morning bells say “Come!”
    Even to shining ones who dwell

    Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

    And is it true? and is it true?
    The most tremendous tale of all,
    Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
    A Baby in an ox’s stall?
    The Maker of the stars and sea
    Become a Child on earth for me?

    And is it true? For if it is,
    No loving fingers tying strings

    Around those tissued fripperies,
    The sweet and silly Christmas things,
    Bath salts and inexpensive scent
    And hideous tie so kindly meant;

    No love that in a family dwells,
    No carolling in frosty air,
    Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
    Can with this single Truth compare –
    That God was Man in Palestine

    And lives today in Bread and Wine.

  18. emmajeri1010 says:

    I was just reminded by the comment above about 4 and 8 years old being “perfect Santa ages” about what happened at Christmas 1994 at our house here in the country.

    We had just bought this house a year earlier, still hadn’t been able to do much desperately needed major repair, but had done enough painting, reinforcing and repairs to welcome our son, his wife and 6 children from California to live with us for 4 months while they transitioned to Minnesota living. (3 bedrooms, 1 bath!). It had been their determination that there wouldn’t be any of this Santa nonsense allowed in their children’s upbringing. The kids were ages 2-8 at that time. (Not just a blended family: this was a pureed family….4 different fathers, 2 different mothers…please don’t ask for details. The details require a 25 minute power point presentation.) Anyhoo….we certainly hadn’t made a big deal of Santa in raising our boys and were always really big on being truthful with children about important things, but our son had sort of gone to seed on the subject at the time. So we went along: ok, no Santa. For the time being.

    Well. That worked fine until Christmas Eve. (And we still don’t have any idea who this was–must have been Santa. I guess.) Suddenly, out on the rickety old deck there arose such a clatter. Our son rose from the dining table to see what was the matter. When he raised the blinds….what to his wondering eyes should appear, but a life size Santa and one amazing cute life size elf. Santa ho-ho-ho’d his way into the house after I busted out laughing at our son, and said, “Well, you’d better go open the door….let ‘im in!” So he did. Santa and elf came in with bags full of toys, all for the good little girls and boys and spent about 15 minutes with a bunch of wide-eyed kids, who kept sort of looking back and forth from Dad to Santa to Dad to Santa…. After much ho-ho-ho’ing, Santa laid a finger aside of his nose; winked to his elf and poof! They were gone.. Never saw where they came from. Never saw where they went.

    After they left, I pointed out to our son that his “no Santa” schtick had a fresh wrinkle in it. He just laughed, shook his head and didn’t mention that particular doctrine again.

    That is still so funny to think about after all these years, because our dining room table sort of sits right up against the big window that faces that (now replaced) deck, so when we opened the curtains to see who was pounding on the window, THERE WAS SANTA fully lit up by the lights from inside the house. Hilarious.

  19. Y’all would know…am at an awkward parenting spot.

    Nephew was over last night. He’s 15 and he was talking about how Teh Gheys have their own special club at school and you can’t say “gay” anymore. I told him we were calling stuff gay back when I was a kid 200 years ago and nobody meant it bad in the sense of being an actual homosexual.

    Anywhohow…I figured I should talk about it to Em since she was there…she told me she thinks “gay” means awkward. True enough in the sense which with it is mostly spoken (ie, NOT COOL). But this issue does pop up over and freaking over.

    I honestly don’t care if gay people are gay…the actual fact of it doesn’t turn a hair on my ill-groomed head…I just am not down with the pushy gay agenda.

    Yea, I said it.

    • sundancecracker says:

      WM, I couldn’t agree more. It appears there has become a kinda nuevo-coolish “hip” nonsense around this whole self-sexuality thing now. It runs up and down the age scale. Not sure how it happened, or why the flip it happened, but it sure as hell exists. Started out slowly as “metrosexual” and then seemed to evolve via media into the whole “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” crap. Now the PC sex nazis are hijacking the term “gay” as a disparagement.

      I used to (only a couple of years ago) hear kids using gay as a term to describe “uncool” or just “stupid”. But, now I understand it is a no-no, probably emphasized in the “Bully Education Curriculum Classes” that have replaced composition and history in school. But, I guess the term “pickle puffer” is still ok….. who really knows for sure any more. ;)

    • yomotley says:

      WaltizingM, Well, you said that very well. I have noticed with my household of male teens that “gay” WAS used to mean flippant uncool. But because people were spasming out about it meaning a dis to homosexual, they are now also using it to make fun of each other males “manlyhood”. Also, the very old fashion word “fagot” is starting to come back. To me it seems the young are doing this because they are sick and tired of adults assuming they are being jerks (like they would actually call someone “gay” if they were “gay”) that it is now a game to say it and get more outrageous with using more obvious words like fagot.

      Funny Story. (First off, about eight years ago, it was very, very rare to see someone, in this area, openly and obviously gay. Today it is so common and the local “gay level” has escalated to way beyond the typical Hetro-to-homo ratio.)

      Back to story. Back before it was common place to see feminine men we were in the local Dollar General. The cashier was male but dressed in lipstick and acted like a giddy woman; yet obviously a man. This cashier got my change wrong and said in a very high-pitch, hee-hee-hee voice, “Oops!” several times.
      Well, remember all those teenage boys I mentioned above? Well they were a pack of wee ones then. On the way homes, one of the boys was very perplexed and asked if that “money people” was a lady or a man. I just said the “money people” was a man who felt better acting like what we would see as a woman. I left it at that and went on my merry parenting way. As more and more openly feminine men either came out or moved to the area, I noticed my boys referred to them as “oops” in a high-pitch, hee-hee voice. Only problem is the next batch of younger ones who were not part of that experience thought the brothers referred to “them” as “oops” because God made a mistake! I just could not win!

      (And found out our area had been in some magazine as a top gay-friendly city and that was where the influx came from. )

      • yomotley says:

        First off, I did correct the kids, God does not make mistakes. Never could figure out how they came up with that. And I did put my foot down when the term “gay” changed to mean derogatory towards gay men was dealt with. Which of course gets a, “Mom, you are overreacting” They all know and interface positively with gays and that is proof, they say, I am overreacting. “For crying out loud, Mom, we are Polish and make Polelock jokes and make fun of them. So, go figure.

        • yomotley says:

          Oh, and one more thing. When the older boys realized the younger ones thought the phrase was God’s problem, they quit referring to them as “oops”. I know, I know. why would they refer them as anything. Well, we all describe people we have interfaced with. Whether we like it or not, we racial profile in that description and story telling.

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      I think Rush nails it again on this type of thing….(re Waltzing Matilda’s comment above)….any time a group starts pushing for equality and making a big public push about it, you can know for sure that what they’re demanding is special treatment. Since we’re going to be called racist homophobes anyway, we really don’t have much to lose that I can see by just beginning to let them know we’re sick of the games, we’re sick of being held responsible for everybody’s else warped feelings and expectations while we’re busy living our lives, working, paying our bills and taking care of our families….I think becoming and staying loudly anti-PC is just going to continue to be very energizing in the days ahead. Not necessarily nice or calm. But energizing. There’s too much real crap going on that has to be dealt with to keep on playing this second and third level invisible and vile games that PC requires.

    • Patriot Dreamer says:

      Funny how the word “gay” used to have a completely unrelated meaning. It used to mean merry, lively, happy, etc. Now it’s been co-opted.

  20. DeniseVB says:

    Merry Christmas to all, especially the wonderful people who gave us this site ! Truly a warm family feeling :D

    I can’t wait for the New Year’s party … *clinky*

  21. GracieD says:

    My hubby and I went to the elderly man next door; who lost his wife just before Thanksgiving, and asked if he wanted to join us for Christmas, since we were just going to hang out together. His daughter was on her way to pick him up to spend a few days with his family. We brought him some Gumbo that I had frozen around Thanksgiving. He was happy to get some seafood Gumbo for the New Year. God Bless those who have lost loved ones this year.

    • sundancecracker says:

      Well said, and you are very kind to open your home with love and compassion. It is neighbors like you that make houses into homes. :)

      • butchcracker says:


      • GracieD says:

        That is how I was raised. Years ago, my sister and her then husband, “adopted” a homeless gentleman, who until this year was a part of our family holidays. He spent this Thanksgiving and Christmas with his adult kids, while he was missed at our family gathering, we are so happy he spent the holidays with his family.

  22. butchcracker says:

    Blessings and prayers for all…
    Thank you…for all…
    God Bless America!!!

    The Crackers

  23. PhillyCon says:

    Merry Christmas fellow Hikers! I am finally off the hook with my family, so I have time to check in.

    My son’s birthday is today, he’s the best Christmas gift ever!

    My favorite part of Handel’s Messiah:
    “For unto us, a son is given, for unto us a son born.”

    • Bijou says:

      PhillyCon, that is so cool. My eldest son was also born on Christmas Day.
      At the time I thought it stunk because being in a bed in labour, while the rest of the world was off celebrating, seemed like a huge rip-off.
      But once that beautiful baby was born, I knew I was the luckiest person alive.

  24. PhillyCon says:

    I believe this is one of the most brilliant pieces composed.

    • NeeNee says:

      Handel is just superb, isn’t he?

      Surely every century should have raised up several
      Handels, Bachs, Beethovens, etal.

      Where is the present-day Handel composer?

      Much as I enjoyed the “Where’s the Line to See Jesus?”

      song, it’s no “Unto Us a Child is Given”!

    • violet says:

      Fabulous music, outstanding performance!

  25. Kristi says:

    Hi All !

    What a great day! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

  26. TNWAHM says:

    Merry Christmas fellow honeys and hikers. We’ve had a wonderful day with my parents in NW AR. We had a dusting of snow this morning. My girls ~who have never had a white Christmas~ were very excited.

  27. SleeplessinCA says:


  28. Patriot Dreamer says:

    Hope you all had a Merry Christmas! Spending a few days with family. First white Christmas in some 20 years. Pretty!

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