Christmas Wedding

Recently, both our children chose wedding days at Christmas to honor their late Father and myself.  And so I thought they might like this "part one" of THE story of how we met and married.  It was all so grand to us, and a gift of empowering love is their birthright!  But that's another story. More will come.

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Advent Wreath Explained - for the children

Blessed Childhood, especially at Christmastime, included Advent Wreaths and Calendars.  Happily Married with children later,  it was easy to carry on such glowing customs and fill the house with all the good things in preparation for the Winter Holiday ! 

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The Advent Wreath is perfect for homes with young children, and if candles are a safety issue, you can get non-flaming ones, but I simply stay alert - they are lit, honored and then extinguished, always with adults present.   And  soon the children are old enough and  can even help light them - adding the appreciation of the children's growth to the event -  it is all symbols!  

Advent, itself is a commemoration of the ages and ages that mankind was urged to wait in darkness, and worked hard finding bits of the light to prepare for the Coming of the Messaiah -  at Christmas, through our sharing of Him in Communion , to the Parousia, or Second Coming , yet to be !  

The Advent Wreath as we know it today was the creation of a Priest in 1839, to help deal with wiggly little ones, enthusiastic for the coming of Christmas.    

At our home for over 40 years now, this wonderful permanent brass wreath is brought out and shined, and sometimes we add some evergreen boughs around it.    Our home  in those years was a true Holly House, surrounded by the shrubs -  since we'd begun our married life with  a Christmas Wedding - and this one has bells for berries, and one of the leaves snuffs the candles afterward.   It supports the Four candles lit at the four Sundays of Advent, in  certain order and at every suppertime with prayer.    

The Stag at the center holds the CHRISTMAS CANDLE, and both are symbols of the Christ.  The Candle is always large enough to be lit each day thru the Christmas holidays until the Epiphany on January 6th. It is always white and the wick always "virgin" - never lit before Christmas.  The Stag is  also a Jesus symbol, especially among Irish since the stag will route the Irish archenemy, snakes - along with the Irish icon, Saint Patrick;  "the Deers's Cry" his famous Lorica, calls to the symbol of the Christ - the stag.  

The Irish French and Polish American culture is ours and so we chose the style to suit it.   So think and have fun choosing ones that symbolize YOUR family's way.   

Next, after some prayer for guidance for a moment, look online for a nice presentation of Advent Wreath Prayers and Liturgy. This one is from Loyala Press

Gather your family at some regular time - before , during or after the evening meal, and at the first week of Advent, light only one of the purple candles....second week two purple candles, third week is Gaudete Sunday and so the two purple candles are now joined by lighting the pink or rose one...then finally at the Fourth Week of Advent all four candles - three purple and one rose are lit, and each evening the candles and prayer are offered to prepare for Christmas.   JUBILANT - the four candles are now taken away and the one large White candle in the center Reigns - The Savior Christ is Born and we celebrate in prayer and song and gifts and treats and fun social events and fine foods and more....until January 6th when the candle is put away and we thank God for one more Lovely Winter Holiday and its bounty of the spirit to warm us till Spring!     

There is the feeling of immersion in the spirit of the Birth of the Messiah and a beautiful sense of family spirit growth and faith formation...no matter the faith. Such traditions help us to develop a very special sense of the spirit, of  personhood and quality of life.  

The Candle set is found at churches and at Amazon for very little cash - the large white one I always buy specially - this one is beeswax and elegant, but any good white candle is fine - also the large broad pillar candles that stand alone - all that is important is that it be white and never lit before.   So you will want to use it up at special moments thru the year, so it is all gone by next Advent season.   

Elle

p.s. the pedestal is mine and unique - not required;  you can probably do a search for wizard pedestal and find some like it...... but to me it is a holyman and passionately supportive spirit - like Gandalf, Tim Cook from Apple and all Wizards who uphold the best.  

I bought it on impulse and am not silly, so I looked at it , wondering what I was going to do with it and it has been busy ever since. Not always lit...but....When Advent is done the Christmas Tree takes its place. My apartment sized tree is a dazzler and takes tending and delights me and never dies from house heat before the holiday is done !    But the pedestal then  gets set to one side till the next holiday - soon displaying a fancy Valentine, then the Easter Egg display and later flags and pumpkins.     LIFE - it's about life - and please enjoy my wish for a Happy Holiday to you.

How the Robin Got His Red Breast

Legend - fable - fiction - 2006 - from "A Christmas Stocking" by Louise Betts Egan


On that first Christmas, it is said, the night was wrapped in a bitter chill.  The small fire in the stable was nearly out, Joseph had gone for food and the new Mother Mary worried that her baby would be cold.  She turned to the animals about her and asked them for help. 

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The Twelve Days of Christmas Decoded

An Underground Catechism ~

You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I think. To most it's a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written. It is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of unique gifts. 

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Celtic Christmas

Growing up with seven Irish uncles , one dolly auntie, "The Chief" their Da and his Else our Grammie, who was the true power, there was exultation in the popularity of Bing Crosby and several others of the Irish persuasion and their take on the winter holidays - "White Christmas",  "Christmas in Connecticut" , "Christmas in Killarney" and more shared the grand heart with our fine-hearted family.  Sharing here, once more in their memory.

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Polish Cultural - The Lulajze

On Christmas Eve, at our home in the 50s and 60s, holiday preparations focused on the Nativity Scene arranged atop the shiny mahogany music center top - sight and sounds of recorded or radio holiday music, glows in memory even 50 years later.  How we teamed well for a change, to help set it all up, with Mother in charge:  cotton mat for snow and the wooden stable, with the lighted star at top;  the icons in plaster and paint, with all but one of the figures set.   For days, we'd visited the scene with a prayer and anticipation,  gazing longingly at the empty manger  like the Mary and Joseph and all the other figures . 

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White Snows of Winter 2017

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Wednesday November 8, 2017 evening.
Invited to join the farewell to one of our military divisions deploying today - I found the YouTube link to the song,  "White Snows of Winter"   and posted it at their place at Facebook, to send my heart to them all.

the song was  An old one from the Kingston Trio;  sings of the separation of loved ones . May they know happy reunions after their brave service.

We care for all these people, men and women, giving us their lives, right at the holidays - may we be worthy!  

 

So many years later, their story renewed memories of our own military days:   pride, commitment, fear, passion, devotion, more commitment, duty, response!

 our minds and hearts had it easier.   we grew up on the patriotic John Wayne movies and learned to believe we were doing the good thing in our loyalty and support of our land at war.   the idea of demonstrations of such violence against our own military was not known in my parents' time.    there was the daily impetus of  passionate patriotism. among everyone - We simply did support our government in general  and our soldiers , sailors and marines in particular - with our whole hearts and souls.    So I grew up feeling very proud of my country and NOT a friend to its enemies , here or otherwheres.   

Only later in life did I accept the fact that There have been times in our country when a war was very very unpopular ,   beginning with our war for independence.   Neighbor against neighbor in the matter was as bad as it gets , then repeated a century later in our civil war to end slavery and maintain the union.  And times afterward.     But when I was young, the "seven irish uncles" held sunday front porch meetings with the elderly "chief" at the head of the room, presiding.  I grew up thinking all americans were like them - passionately in love with our land, and ready to show it as needed.    all the able-bodied served and were very proud to do so.   Mother made ammunition at remington  arms in wwII and so , of course, at fort Knox, I joined red  cross, as a matter of course.



 During our own "white snows of winter"   Being the angel for my officer and gentleman seemed the only thing to do  - we laughed offthe  high fevers for both of us from  army base viral pneumonia  -  bragging we lost all that weight to look more svelte  for the photo ops at our Christmas Winter wedding, though we could barely walk across the room at first from it..

the next winter, our son was born  at Fort Knox - bringing him home on gray day that felt just fine, because he was our sunshine and we undaunted!     22 days later  we were back in Connecticut, and  winter deploying and hurry-up christening so Daddy could be there for it and then unspeakable fear I thought I hid well.    

 

And one more homecoming - the happiest one with our little family all home and safe and warm and medals won!  Proud to have served. 
 the indescribable holiness of home and loved ones, peacefully asleep so near,  once more!  

they still do not make words in English to say the words for the beauty of such days.   there was still this in my prayer, We earned OUR life together and we Would have it now.    Each day, giving and grateful for our path - helping in church and community and support for those who follow.  

I am widowed for some time now and fine and date and work and jog about , but I am not sad today because we really did our part well in work and love - and I still do -  and I am still fed by the goodness of the many lovely seasons warm and cool we enjoyed as a family - wonderful days  to make for ourselves and all within our reach.   

Thank you for that, life !  I am fine.

 

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Believe! - A Christmas in August story !

It was 1996 - returning to my hometown fixed a broken heart.   After twenty years ,  most did not even know me.  I'd been beautifully raised there, married, off with corporate life and love - parenting, then early and suddenly widowed and empty-nested.  Our children and I worked hard on our grief and won the Triumph! But too soon, I was injured in an accident, while  hot-flashing with menopause, and response work burnout.     

And so it was Christmas 1996.  Till my disability setup was complete, I was Staying at the shelter I had helped before the disability, still helping with things, and doing up alterations of gifted clothing for others, for their job interviews, cultural enrichment,  including music and arts.  And I was able to help with computer training: and  even night watch, which was there for the men's but not the women's floor (but that's another story).

Memories of forty years of bountiful Christmases helped a lot, to buffer the suffering at the shelter, and I was able to generate some Holiday for me and the half dozen "mates" there.  But then another family death took even that bit of cheer from my heart.   I did not even have money for a few Christmas Cards - let alone the hundreds I was used to, since childhood.  My emotions were getting a bit scary.   "ACT ! "  "DO something" , , . I thought !  

As painful as it was, a walk to town was one block away and I went to the art shop where I'd purchased my first artists' mannequin as a girl, and found the thing I needed !   The spark rekindled on the spot !   I purchased it and limped back to the shelter, supper.  Then I found a tv table and a seat in the hall - making Christmas Cards with a stamp pad and Mary Englebreit's Santa image on the stamp, captioned,  in large letters  

"BELIEVE" .  

yes "Believe" I thought , as I set to it.
Soon, I smiled as the memory of a family movie trip, the very funny  Indiana Jones Library stamp scene came to mind.    I turned that thought as loose as I dared.   With each stamp to card, the message of cheer and the word "BELIEVE"  banged at my dulled consciousness - I was not on medications, but so battered emotionally , but this "Believe" stamp project was working -  and so I did more - and more,  now repeating the message to ME and the others in the shelter - 

"BELIEVE"      

Grasp the stamp:   "Thud"  to the stamp pad - "BANG" to card.    
Again and again and again and again - till the murky emotions let up and "normal" was within reach and I marveled at how a thing COULD help.   My mates reacted with holiday cheer and encouragement - YES - injured myself, I was still being a good redcrosslady.

NO it was not over for me:  there were "complications", to my own redemption,  but a bit later, my rescue came, correct care, mybungalow for business and pleasure - and my work at the White House!   "Pretty good believing, no?"    More than I dreamed !

YES I still have the kit and cards and have not needed to repeat the performance with them.  But I keep them handy - I may need them or need to share them with someone who needs to get their inner lights restored.

BELIEVE!  

 you can get this online still - usually used at eBay but my ancient one still works, even if the rubber has petrified a bit...only a bit  Believe :-D  This Christmas in August story is for Nora and Bernie Gadomski, whose "Christmas in August" invention became famous in the houses of healing in Connecticut USA - the story:  one of the rest home clients was much loved but not likely to make it till December, so the family and Nora's Crew at Elm Hill Manor got busy and created the holiday in August with all the bells and whistles!   Santa brought gifts, the resident's family and  children were invited and there was music and lots of food and treats and carol singing and a grand day for the grand person and his beloved folk, who maybe grieved a bit less , when he passed away, for having worked to make the happy Christmas in August.  In following years it was re-done for the memory and some fundraising, I think.  Since it was a small private  Victorian Mansion, in the historic district,  the picture perfect Christmas in August became very popular. And more than once, shared the final holiday with other residents there.

you can get this online still - usually used at eBay but my ancient one still works, even if the rubber has petrified a bit...only a bit  Believe :-D

This Christmas in August story is for Nora and Bernie Gadomski, whose "Christmas in August" invention became famous in the houses of healing in Connecticut USA - the story:  one of the rest home clients was much loved but not likely to make it till December, so the family and Nora's Crew at Elm Hill Manor got busy and created the holiday in August with all the bells and whistles!   Santa brought gifts, the resident's family and  children were invited and there was music and lots of food and treats and carol singing and a grand day for the grand person and his beloved folk, who maybe grieved a bit less , when he passed away, for having worked to make the happy Christmas in August.

In following years it was re-done for the memory and some fundraising, I think.  Since it was a small private  Victorian Mansion, in the historic district,  the picture perfect Christmas in August became very popular. And more than once, shared the final holiday with other residents there.

A Third Millennium Song

A THIRD MILLENNIUM SONG 


"We are diverse and the diversity is the dynamic!

 part of study for "HOME 2018"

part of study for "HOME 2018"

 

Exhilirated

at the sense of our role as visitors in the universe.

We who visit are the sons of the morning,

the daughters of the day!

We have seen our souls at noon,

on the busy park in the center of town,

and danced to rhythms of our own work!

As always, there is the futility,

certainty of disaster, but also of salvation!

We glitter in the interactive,

more and better than ever before and,

accepting our part in the diversity of who we are,

we stopped the lament!

We found our lights!

and we share wholeheartedly,

our individual contributions,

scrambling to use the new lights well;

sons of the morning, daughters of the day -

in a day of light once again!

 

- ellesmith  2002

 

Purpose - Splendid Torch - G.B.Shaw

Purpose

 January Capricornian Earth tones - bookmark on canvas in fixed water media - ellefagan'13  (price on request)

January Capricornian Earth tones - bookmark on canvas in fixed water media - ellefagan'13  (price on request)

If we are clamoring to make America Great Again , we need to look, first, in the mirror, and not always rant at the government or family or other loved ones on the topic.  It is so wonderful to simply realize that there is, quite likely, one small thing each of us can actually DO to be worthy of our citizenship in a government of, for, and by the people ( i.e., us - you and I)  The famous G.B. Shaw wrote this one and its lines are true and helpful to beat "the Januaries". 

The first time these words [by G.B.Shaw] were printed was in an article entitled 'Art and Public Money', published in the Sussex Daily News (7 March 1907).   *

Also named  "A Splendid Torch"  or, "Purpose" -  this is A New Years Inspiration for everyone!  A vitamin of a sort,  from George Bernard Shaw, one of my least favorite persons, but most favorite storytellers.  It is reprinted everywhere under several titles.   I hope you enjoy the easy read!  Elle

 

This is the true joy in life,

the being used for a purpose

recognized by yourself as a mighty one;

the being a force of nature

instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of

ailments and grievances

complaining that the world will not

devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that

my life belongs

to the whole community,

and as long as I live

it is my privilege

to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die,

for the harder I work the more I live.

I rejoice in life for its own sake.

Life is no “brief candle” for me.

It is a sort of splendid torch

which I have got hold of

for the moment,

and I want to

make it burn as brightly as possible

before handing it on to future generations.

 

 

 

** p.s. thank you to Prof. Martin who found the exact source for this famous writing at

http://shawquotations.blgspot.com.es/2014/08/life-is-no-brief-candle-to-me.html

Gustavo A. Rodríguez Martín

Dpto. de Filología Inglesa
Fac. de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Extremadura
Campus Universitario, s/n
Cáceres, 10003 - ESPAÑA

 

 

The Bernard Shaw Quotations Page

GeoShaw

George Bernard Shaw (GBS) Youtube Channel

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