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Notes from the Pond

A Valentine for You

Reprinted from www.homekeynotes.com. Written by my friend Anne Voight:

Hearts Pink & Black

LAUGH…..LIVE…..LOVE!

By Anne Voight

Love doesn’t bring money

but it gives so much in return…

Love accepts, believes, hopes

it’s watching children hug, giggle…

Noticing the elderly couple holding hands,

their eyes twinkling…

Love is a smile, a touch

to reassure, to support…

Love transforms, changes,

towards another or within…

Love is found in deeds, in helping

no matter how small the gesture…

Love says, slow down, look around and on this

Valentine’s Day, “have a heart”!

Be kind, gentle, hopeful and sing within…

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

LAUGH…..LIVE…..LOVE!

 

(from Heartfelt Sentiments by Anne)

Hearts Pink & Black

A Letter to my Readers

 

letter

 

Dear Friends;

I need your help. Would you like to be a guest blogger? Here is your opportunity to voice your opinion on a current affair, write a movie review, or share with us a favorite story, poem, or inspirational insight.

I am currently working on a book and since this is taking much of my time I have decided to let you, my friends and readers, use this forum. One of our friends is working on a story that is guaranteed to amaze and inspire you. It is a story of how a childhood pen pal led to changing a young boy’s life in a disadvantaged country. He came to this country for his education and then returned home to set up a school to help other disadvantaged children to better themselves, their families, and their community. The school has gained worldwide attention and has been recognized as a Clinton Global Initiative (http://www.clintonfoundation.org/main/our-work/by-initiative/clinton-global-initiative/programs/annual-meetings/cgi-annual-meeting.html). This promises to be a fascinating story.

I will add things to the blog periodically but I hope you, my readers, can help while I complete the work on my book. The book, titled Peach Cobbler for Breakfast, is one I have worked on periodically for the past several years. It is about my experiences as a young widow after my first husband died. It is a story of my journey through self discovery to recovery. Over the years the book has gone through many incarnations and titles. However, my goal has been to present an uplifting and sometimes comical look at a subject that is too often portrayed as depressing. True, the subject matter of widowhood can be depressing but that is my point—if we don’t move on and learn to look at the world differently we will never recover.

A publisher has expressed interest in it so I ask for your patience and help while I complete the work on the book. The more contributions I receive from you the more time I have to devote to my book and the faster it will be completed. Therefore, that means I will be able to come back to our regular visits quicker.

Please email me or leave a message at the end of this post and I will get back with you. I, of course, maintain the right to edit or reject any material I feel isn’t compatible with the standards I have set (after all, it is my blog). Send me your ideas or completed pieces. If you have artwork or photographs, please include these also.

Many of you have sent me notes after some of my posts and movie reviews so now I am hoping you will allow me to post some of these. Expound on your ideas and don’t be bashful.

This can be an exciting venture for both of us so I look forward to hearing from you and seeing what you produce. There are stories all around you and I’m sure you have opinions on things happening in the news. My mother asked how I think of so many things to write about and my answer to her was, “Have you ever known me not to have an opinion about things?” Let us know what you are thinking.

Hoping to hear from you soon,

Sheila

 

New Beginnings

With a new year comes new beginnings~~

From the Huffington Post:

Saying #4

Advice for the New Year

From the Huffington Post:

Happy New Year

 

 

Saying

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

Holly border

Have you ever noticed that a lot of Christmas songs and carols mention holly? We have the Old English carol Deck the Halls…, the even older The Holly and the Ivy, and the modern songs Have A Holly, Jolly Christmas, and We Need a Little Christmas.

We see holly decorations everywhere, adorning carolers on holiday cards, and tucked into floral arrangements. I even wore it pinned into my hair on my wedding day a few days before Christmas. But, what is all the fuss about holly? How and why did it come to represent the season?

Believe it or not it is not something dreamed up by Disney illustrators or even Norman Rockwell; but the custom goes way back to the Romans, early Christians, and ancient Druids. Holly is an evergreen and is one of the few plants of the forest that remains vivid and green during the dormant months. The ancient pagans used holly for wreaths and garlands for decorations during the winter months. Its vivid green glossy leaves and red berries promised that things would spring to life later in the year.

The Druids and Holly

Holly played a major role for the Celts during their celebrations of the summer and winter solstice. The Druids or priests wore sprigs of the plant in their hair during the mistletoe rituals at solstice observances. They regarded holly as a symbol of fertility and eternal life.

To cut down a holly tree would bring bad luck but hanging it in the house would bring good luck and protection. It was also thought to protect homes against lightning strikes. Folklore says that the pointy leaves gave magical protection against evil spirits and it was also brought into their homes during the cold months to give shelter to the fairies of the forest.

The Romans and Holly

The Romans used holly during their celebration of Saturnalia as it was considered sacred to Saturn. Therefore, the early Christians used holly and evergreens as decorations for Christmas during the Roman times. The church fathers disapproved of this practice as it was considered “too pagan.”

The Christian Meaning of Holly

The Christians saw holly as a symbol for Christ. The red berries represent the drops of blood shed by Christ at his crucifixion and the prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns. In addition, the holly’s bitter bark is reminiscent of the bitter drink given to Christ when he was on the cross.

Other bits of folklore surrounding holly include the thought that the cross was made of holly and another claims that holly sprang up from Christ’s footsteps.

This Christmas season when you see sprigs of holly decking the halls and decorating the malls remember that it is more than just a colorful plant of festive Christmas colors but a long-established tradition that goes much farther back in time than you ever imagined.