Sunday, December 29, 2013

I Don't Usually Write this Kind of Blog Post...but this is important

Sirens blared as I waited on my husband to meet me at McDonald’s. We’d driven separately to attend the Christmas Eve-eve service at church. I’d gotten ahead of him in the chaos of traffic.

By the time I heard the sirens, several minutes had passed and he’d not arrived. That feeling of fear hit the pit of my stomach. If you’ve never felt that sick twist to the gut, I can tell you it’s not good. Just as panic seeped through me, the phone rang. Thankfully Tim said, “I’m okay. I’ve been in an accident, but I’m okay.” Even though I knew in my head he was okay, the fear still gripped my heart. I wanted to go to him but couldn’t because of the congested traffic. Instead, I met him at the hospital where he was checked for injury. He ended up sore and bruised.

The car didn’t fare as well. The other driver, distracted by who knows what, plowed into the back of Tim’s Honda CRV. The car was totaled.

I write this because I want to remind everyone of the dangers of texting, using an iPad, or any other distracting device while driving. I don’t know what the driver was doing or what distracted him. But I do know that driving without paying full attention to the road can be devastating. We are thankful that Tim’s injuries are not life threatening. But they could have been. The car was wrapped around him. The back of his seat broke and threw him backwards, which probably kept him from head injury. And thank goodness he wore his seatbelt.

If you get nothing else out of this, please use common sense, pay full attention and don’t text while you drive. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Romancing Christmas: Carriage Rides in the Snow

When I think of carriage rides, I picture Cinderella stepping out of her magically transformed pumpkin with her dress flowing over her glass slippers. I remember watching Lady Diana and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, in their wedding carriages. There’s just something about the horses clip-clopping through the park with the distinguished coachman sitting atop the seat that sings romance.

One of the most romantic Christmas gifts I’ve ever received from my husband was a carriage ride through a near-by city on a snowy December evening. The Christmas lights glowed in the store windows as holiday music floated through the streets. The horses seemed to clomp in time to the music, and the driver treated us like royalty. As snowflakes floated in the air, we snuggled to stay warm.  His kind gesture filled my heart with love.

Many village Christmas celebrations and the downtown city areas offer carriage or sleigh rides. What a fine activity to share with your Christmas sweetheart.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Romancing Christmas: That Romantic Glow

They walked hand in hand as snowflakes danced around the twinkling lights on the low pines. Is there anything more romantic than sharing the beauty of Christmas lights on a dark evening with the one you love? Maybe, but it’s definitely in the top five.

The lights in our local park.
In 1880, Thomas Edison hung the first string of electric lights outside his laboratory in Menlo Park. Two years later, his friend and partner, Edward H. Johnson, draped a string of electric colored lights around their indoor Christmas tree in 1882. His family found delight in the colorful novelty. Although electric lights were not the norm for several years, they did eventually catch on and become more affordable.

Now we see extravagant light displays all over the country. From Rockefeller center to small town parks, sparkling colors and white lights twinkle in the night. My husband and I enjoy driving around the neighborhood to admire our neighbors’ displays. We enjoy walking in the park and seeing the decorated trees.

Romance + Lights =
·         Stroll through a light display together
·         Decorate the tree together
·         Sit by the Christmas tree with a cup of cocoa
·         Take an evening drive and view the lights
·         Go to the town tree lighting ceremony together

Enjoy the glow of the season.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Merry Christmas to You by Sidewalk Prophets

“Lights, please.  "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field…” Linus Van Pelt’s childlike voice filled my car. And I loved it.

Sometime in early November, I listened to a radio interview on K-Love with David Frey, the lead singer of Sidewalk Prophets. He talked about making their new album, Merry Christmas to You. They had wrapped up the music and thought they had everything ready to go when the producers realized they needed to ask the voice of Linus for permission to use the monologue. Unfortunately he had passed away. But, at the last minute they reached his wife and added Linus’s voice to their wonderful new Christmas album.

The music exudes joy as it celebrates the season with fun and reverence. I’ve enjoyed the four new songs the group composed as well as their renditions of familiar songs and carols. This is a great CD for family time in the car or to decorate the tree by. I liked it so much that I bought it for my daughters, and they all gave it a thumbs up.

Link to the story behind Oh What a Glorious Night:

Do you have a favorite Christmas Album or CD? Please share.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Silver Bells by Deborah Raney

In Silver Bells I took a peek into an era before technology took over the newspaper business. Throughout the story Deb’s descriptions of the 1970s are right on. From early microwave ovens to Little Golden books illustrated by Eloise Wilkin, I revisited many of the joys of my youth. Yet under it all the turmoil of the Vietnam War wrestled with everyday life. 

Even though Michelle Penn had a very different future in mind, she took a job at the local newspaper to make ends meet. She never dreamed she’d meet up with Mr. Popular from high school, let alone actually enjoy his company. In an era of women’s liberation, war, and a fight for women’s freedom from domestic abuse, how does a hometown girl confront reality and find love at the same time? What appears as a simple romance dives into the importance of surrounding others with compassion that has no fear. Deb Raney created a story of love and forgiveness that plays on the heart. I enjoyed the love story between Michelle and Rob and the story of love they shared for Becky, a young mom in need. I recommend Silver Bells as a warm-hearted Christmas read that reveals the true spirit of the season.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Romancing Christmas: Mistletoe

There is something magic about love at Christmas that encourages new friendships, sweet affection, and mutual adoration. For December I thought it would be fun to focus on some of the more romantic symbols of Christmas.

The lowly mistletoe, a symbol of peace and joy, has brought giggles from girls, kisses from boys and all around good fun for all. The Norsemen tell a tale about Frigga the goddess of love. She worked to protect her son Balder from death. In her haste to bring together all the elements of earth to protect him she failed to include the mistletoe. Loki, the god of evil used the mistletoe to destroy Balder’s life. Broken-hearted, Frigga cried for her son. Her tears healed him as they turned into the pearly white berries of the mistletoe plant, raising the greenery to a plant of love that conquered death. From that day on anyone who stood under the mistletoe received a kiss and found protection from evil.

Years later in the eighteenth-century, the simple green plant was hung in doorways and proclaimed the kissing ball. A young lady might stand under the beribboned symbol of love and wait for her young man to give her a kiss and promise of marriage. Sometimes they just shared a friendly kiss and went on their way. If the girl was not kissed she had to wait another year for a proposal.

Folks still hang mistletoe around the holidays. Whether there is magic in the green leaves and white berries or if it encourages a man and woman to get to know each other, the mistletoe adds fun to the Christmas season.

Do you remember a kiss under the mistletoe? Did it lead to marriage?