Life. It can be downright hard but it can simply beautiful. Life can be depressing and difficult or it can be fun and enlightening. It really all depends on how a person perceives it. It was once said that the difference between an individual who is successful and a person who won’t achieve the goals and desires of their life…is simply how they deal with circumstances that they experience. They can either learn from a negative experience and grow…or wallow in self-pity and disappointment and never make their life better.
Life is a peculiar thing…everything in it has two sides. How you choose to perceive and manage each event will affect the direction of your life.
This leads me to the following little reminder that I thought would give you “food for thought” when thinking about the virtues of life.
HATE has four letters…so does LOVE
ENEMIES has seven letters…so does FRIENDS
NEGATIVE has eight…so does POSITIVE
UNDER has five…so does ABOVE
CRY has three letters…so does JOY
ANGER has five letters…so does HAPPY
RIGHT has five letters…so does WRONG
HURT has four letters…so does HEAL
It means that Life is like a double-edged sword…..
so transform every negative side into an aura of positivity…
Judging other people can be a struggle for almost anyone on a daily basis. People can find themselves judging others in a variety of ways. If could be something as small as how someone looks or how they act. We could be judging them based on what their government affiliation might be or their religious beliefs. The list can go on and on.
An example of how we can sometimes judge is this short story from psychologist and meditation teacher, Tara Brach who frequently tells this story: Imagine you are walking through the woods and you see a small dog. It looks cute and friendly. You approach and move to pet the dog. Suddenly it snarls and tries to bite you. The dog no longer seems cute and you feel fear and possibly anger. Then, as the wind blows, the leaves on the ground are carried away and you see the dog has one of its legs caught in a trap. Now, you feel compassion for the dog. You know it became aggressive because it is in pain and is suffering.
Your judgement changed once you understood the situation.
I came across this story that simply broke my heart and reminded me of an important lesson: never judge a person until you know exactly of what made them the way they are…
My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.
There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed.
How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, “EEEE, your mom only has one eye!”
I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, “If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?”
My mom did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.
I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study.
Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my Mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.
When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, “How dare you come to my house and scare my children! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!”
And to this, my mother quietly answered, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address.” – and she disappeared out of sight.
One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.
My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.
“My dearest son,
I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.
I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.
You see……..when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine.
I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.
With all my love to you,
“If you judge people….you have no time to live them” ~ Mother Teresa
There is much wisdom to be gained from individuals of advanced age. If we are wise, we would take heed of things that they have experienced throughout their lifetime, and apply it to our everyday lives.
The following list of “Life Lessons” was written by 90-year-old Regina Brett, in the publication, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. It is certainly a fantastic collection of helpful tidbits of knowledge that we should all use.
“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 44 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:” ~ Regina Brett
01. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
02. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
03. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
04. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
05. Pay off your credit cards every month.
06. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
07. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
08. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
09. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness, but you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ”In five years, will this matter?”.
26. Always choose life.
27 Forgive everyone everything.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
34. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
35. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
36. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters, in the end, is that you loved.
38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
41. The best is yet to come.
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
The 23rd Psalm is arguably the most well-known, most memorized, most beloved passage in all of the Scriptures. Millions of people of people have recited it during times of stress, despair, war, and disaster to give them strength and courage. People have used it during times of death, sorrow, and loss for a source of comfort and security. Still others read or cite the Psalm as a foundation for showing thankfulness and gratitude for their blessings.
Whatever be the case, this Psalm has many assurances that many people have, most likely, never considered or realized. Today’s version of the 23rd Psalm is a verse-by-verse breakdown of each verse ending with one of God’s promises. It is my hope and prayer that this “breakdown” of the 23rd Psalm will serve as a source of encouragement and comfort for you.
The Lord is my shepherd = RELATIONSHIP
I shall not want = SUPPLY
He makes me lie down in green pastures = REST
He leads me besides the quiet waters = REFRESHMENT
He restores my soul = HEALING
He guides me in the paths of righteousness = GUIDANCE
For His name’s sake = PURPOSE
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = TESTING
I will fear no evil = PROTECTION
For You are with me = FAITHFULNESS
Your rod and your staff they comfort me = DISCIPLINE
You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies = HOPE
You anoint my head with oil = CONSECRATION
My cup runneth over = ABUNDANCE
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life = BLESSING
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord = SECURITY
Forever = Eternity
The Lord is an amazing God. His promises and love for us is everlasting and a great source of comfort for all of us!
This is a great little story that I found a little while ago that demonstrates two primary things that generally will decide whether or not a person ever becomes successful. It has always been fascinating to me how many people are afraid to let go of their fears or to think “outside the box” in order to be successful. The following short illustration, gives us a good example of this concept…
Monkey-hunters use a box with an opening at the top, big enough for the monkey to slide its hand in. Inside the box are nuts. The monkey grabs the nuts and now its hand becomes a fist. The monkey tries to get its hand out but the opening is big enough for the hand to slide in, but too small for its fist to come out. Now the monkey has a choice, either to let go off the nuts and be free forever or hang on to the nuts and get caught. Guess what it picks every time? You guessed it. He hangs on to the nuts and gets caught.
We are no different from monkeys. We all hang on to some nuts that keep us from going forward in life. We keep rationalizing by saying, “I cannot do this because . . .” and whatever comes after “because” are the nuts that we are hanging on to which are holding us back. Successful people don’t rationalize. Two things determine if a person will be a success: reasons and results.
My grandma was an awesome lady. She used to give my brother and I great words of advice and words of wisdom as we grew up…but that story is for another day. But there is one quote that she used to say to us…especially as she got older…that I am understanding more and more each day, “the older you get, the days get longer and the years get shorter.” WOW! Isn’t that the truth!!
It is hard to believe that it was almost six years ago, February, 2013, that I decided to start a little blog in which I could share motivational, inspirational, heartwarming, and entertaining stories that I would find on the internet or from other people. I used to thunk that if I ever posted 100 posts…that would be amazing…200 or 300 posts would be “out of this world.”
Well, today marks my 1,000 post on “Good Time Stories!”
I never imagined in a million years that I would ever post that many stories, etc. I have enjoyed every minute and every word of each one of them. For people that know me (and even if you don’t), there is nothing in the world that makes me happier, makes my life feel so fulfilled as helping and encouraging others! I truly believe that human beings are wired in such a way, that “it is truly better to give than to receive.” Think about it…when do you feel the best? When you receive something or when you give something to someone and see the joy and happiness in someone. The gratitude and joy that they send back to you is immeasurable…simply awesome. If you ever have a lousy day, try helping someone else or show them an act of kindness…it will change your whole day!!
So, my journey of finding and posting new words and stories of encouragement will continue. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to find these stories and anecdotes to brighten others in a world that primarily a dark place…and give them a reason to smile, laugh, and see that every life is beautiful and our amazing world is a good place to be!
Have you ever felt like a loser? Worthless? Have you ever felt like you are simply “spinning your wheels” and getting nowhere in your life? Have you ever asked yourself something like, What is the purpose of my life?”, or “What can’t I use the gifts and skills that I have?”
Maybe you say to yourself things like, “I’m not perfect.” “I have all kinds of problems.” “I have no ability.” “I have no gifts.” “I’m just not worthy. Why would God want me?”
Well, here are some interesting facts about many of the people that were mentioned in the Bible that God used in mighty ways DESPITE their shortcomings and weaknesses.
Did you know that?…..
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark deserted Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a persecutor of the church.
Moses was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God’s will.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.
But God doesn’t require a job interview for salvation. He’s our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss. He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. He knows who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves
SATAN SAYS, “YOU’RE NOT WORTHY.”
JESUS SAYS, “SO WHAT? I AM.”
SATAN LOOKS BACK AND SEES OUR MISTAKES.
GOD LOOKS BACK AND SEES THE CROSS.
He doesn’t calculate how you failed in in the past. It’s not even on the record.
Sure, there are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t call us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him, He’ll use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, what we have done, or the fact that we are not perfect!
There are times in each of our lives when we need a reminder of the importance of having a spirit of giving and generosity towards others. Thus, is the case for the following story that I had posted on an old blog page of mine. While the author of this story is unknown, it is a beautiful story that I am sure will touch your heart and hopefully, remind all of us of the wonderful essence of a caring heart. (warning: tissues may be needed 🙂
It was only four days before Christmas. The spirit of the season hadn’t yet caught up with me, even though cars packed the parking lot of our local discount store. Inside the store, it was worse. Shopping carts and last-minute shoppers jammed the aisles. Why did I come today? I wondered. My feet ached almost as much as my head. My list contained names of several people who claimed they wanted nothing, but I knew their feelings would be hurt if I didn’t buy them anything. Buying for someone who had everything and deploring the high cost of items, I considered gift-buying anything but fun.
Hurriedly, I filled my shopping cart with last minute items and proceeded to the long checkout lines. I picked the shortest but it looked as if it would mean at least a 20 minute wait. In front of me were two small children — a boy of about 5 and a younger girl. The boy wore a ragged coat. Enormously large, tattered tennis shoes jutted far out in front of his much too short jeans. He clutched several crumpled dollar bills in his grimy hands. The girl’s clothing resembled her brother’s. Her head was a matted mass of curly hair. Reminders of an evening meal showed on her small face. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold house slippers.
As the Christmas music sounded in the store’s stereo system, the girl hummed along, off-key but happily. When we finally approached the checkout register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter. She treated them as though they were a treasure.
The clerk rang up the bill. “That will be $6.09,” she said.
The boy laid his crumpled dollars on top of the stand while he searched his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12. “I guess we will have to put them back, ” he bravely said. “We will come back some other time, maybe tomorrow.”
With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. “But Jesus would have loved these shoes, “she cried.
“Well, we’ll go home and work some more. Don’t cry. We’ll come back,” he said.
Quickly I handed $3.00 to the cashier. These children had waited in line for a long time. And, after all, it was Christmas. Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, “Thank you, lady.”
“What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?” I asked.
The boy answered, “Our mommy is sick and going to heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus.”
The girl spoke, “My Sunday school teacher said the streets in heaven are shiny gold, just like these shoes. Won’t mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?”
My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear streaked face. “Yes,” I answered, “I am sure she will.”
Silently I thanked God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving.
The annual celebration of New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite times of the year. It is during this time that we reminisce about the past year and, at the same time, look ahead, plan, and make resolutions for the future. Millions and millions of people around the world take part in the festivities and revelry as they welcome in the New Year.
As with many of the holidays that we have throughout the year, I always find it very interesting and enjoyable to find some history and fun facts about each day. This holiday is no different. So, I decided to share some interesting facts with you about the celebration of New Year and some other intriguing things…so…here we go.
Interesting Things That Are Dropped New Year’s Eve
Most people from around the world, know that every year, New York City welcomes in the New Year in Times Square, by dropping a big “ball” which gradually descends from the top of a pole to the bottom, where it rests while all kinds of lights blink and shine as the new year begins. It all started in 1907 after there was a fireworks ban. In 1907, the iron and wood ball weighed 700-pounds and was covered with 25-watt bulbs made of iron. Today, it weighs 11,875 pounds, is 12 feet in diameter and is adorned with 2,668 Waterford crystals. Meanwhile, close to a million people in the square, dance, party, hug and kiss, and have a good time at this joyous moment. Around the world, approximately 1 billion people watch world-wide festivities from their televisions or computers.
But are there other things that are dropped in celebration of New Year’s instead of a giant ball? You bet there is!!! Here are some remarkable objects that are “dropped.” So, without further ado, here are some things from around the United States that I think you will find entertaining.
In Brookville, Florida, a giant tangerine was dropped 40 feet in 2009.
In Traverse, Michigan, a cherry is dropped.
In Flagstaff, Arizona, a pine cone is dropped from a hotel.
In Prescott, Arizona, a boot is dropped
In South Lake, California, a gondola is lowered.
In Temecula, California, a bunch of grapes is dropped.
In Niagara Falls, Ontario, a 10 foot guitar is dropped from a specially designed 120-foot scaffold at the Hard Rock Café.
In Easton, Maryland, a red crab is dropped.
In Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a 100-pound stick of bologna is dropped.
In Easton, Pennsylvania, and giant M&M is dropped
In St. George’s, Bermuda, a paper-Mache Bermuda onion covered with Christmas lights is dropped.
In Black Creek, North Carolina, a large red heart drop is lowered.
In Eastover, North Carolina, a three-foot-tall, thirty-pound flea is dropped.
In Elmore, Ohio, a sausage is dropped.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, a flying pig is “flown”, not dropped, demonstrating to everyone that there is at least one occasion “when pigs fly.”
In Red Lion, Pennsylvania. A wooden cigar held by a lion is raised.
In Panama City, Florida, an 800-pound beach ball is lowered from a tower 12 stories high.
In Praire du Chien, Wisconsin, A carp (real but dead) caught by a local fisherman and weighing between 25-30 pounds is lowered.
In Vincennes, Indiana, a giant 18-foot, 500-pound steel, and foam watermelon is raised 100 feet during the final 60-second countdown to midnight.
…..and there are many, many others!!!
Several Amazing Facts About the New Year Celebration
The Babylonians celebrated New Years over 4,000 years ago.
The New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne,” means, “times gone by.”
If you want to have a happy new year, don’t eat lobster or chicken. Lobsters can move backward and chickens can scratch in reverse, so it is thought these foods could bring a reversal of fortune.
The Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah. Apples and honey are usually eaten to celebrate.
In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day to bring good luck all year long.
In some countries, the use of fireworks are used for more than just celebrations…they are also believed to scare off evil spirits and bring good luck
44% of American adults plan to kiss someone at midnight.
61% of people say a prayer.
Over 1 million people line the 40 miles of shoreline of the city of Sydney, Australia.
In Japan, at the stroke of midnight, Buddhist monks strike the gongs 108 times in an effort to drive out the 108 human weaknesses.
New Year’s Day is the oldest celebrated holiday.
Many people in America, eat Black Eyed Peas, cabbage, and ham on New Year’s Day for good luck.
In South America & Spain.
A person will take 12 red grapes and 12 green grapes and at midnight, they eat their first 12 red grapes, thinking about each month that passed this year, and all the things that they are grateful for that happened this year. Then they eat the 12 green grapes, thanking in advance for each new month’s blessings that will come the next year. (I know, it’s a lot of grapes to eat, so most people only do 12 grapes, and I guess they combine the gratitude for the months past and the months to come) I remember Pink or red underwear was usually for Christmas and yellow undergarments for good luck in the New Year.
No matter what tradition, this is a wonderful opportunity to reflect with gratitude for the experiences and lessons we receive this year, and to pan on the areas we want to improve or change as we have an exciting fresh chapter in our lives to start anew. (Contributed by Amira of Body and Soul Nourishment Blog).
Well, I hope that you enjoyed these tidbits and facts. I would like to personally wish each and every one of you the healthiest and happiest New Year!!
We as Americans know the customs of Christmas here in the United States…but have you ever wondered what some of the traditions of Christmas are like in other parts of the world? Well, sit back and discover some short, interesting facts, how other people from around the globe celebrate Christmas.
The children there believe it is kindly Saint Nicholas who brings them their presents. They also believe he rides a horse so they leave him hay and carrots and water for the horse just outside the house on December 6.
Christmas trees are decorated and stockings are hung on the fireplace for Santa Claus to fill with gifts. Cards and gifts are exchanged with friends and relatives. Children put on pageants and go caroling.
The Christians in China light their homes with beautiful paper lanterns. Santa is called Dun Che Lao Ren. The children hang stockings just as we do.
They serve a very large and delicious dinner with many courses. Courses are like a appetizer, followed by soup, then a salad, then maybe the first meat dishes, and so on till the dessert is served. They serve this meal on Christmas Eve and it does not matter how big the family is, there is always a place set at the table that is set for the Christ Child.
Santa is known as Julemanden and he arrives in a sleigh pulled by reindeer with a sack full of gifts. Danish children know the elves as Juul Nisse, and believe that they live in the attics of their homes. Instead of cookies and glasses of milk, they leave rice pudding and saucers of milk out for them.
From England we have acquired several customs. The first is the use of Christmas trees. This was made popular during the rein of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Prince Albert came from the country of Germany and missed his native practice of bringing in trees to place on the tables in the house, therefore one Christmas the royal couple brought a tree inside the Palace and decorated it with apples and other pretty items.
The second custom is what is known as Boxing Day. It is celebrated the first weekday after Christmas. What this means is that small wrapped boxes with food and sweets, or small gifts, or coins are given to anyone who comes calling that day.
Santa is known as Father Christmas, wearing long red robes and had sprigs of holly in his hair. Instead of mailing out their christmas list, children throw it into the fireplace and Father Christmas reads the smoke. England is also where the tradition of hanging stockings by the chimney began, due to the fact that Father Christmas once accidentally dropped some gold coins on his way down the chimney which got caught in a drying stocking. Another interesting thing is that instead of opening up their gifts as soon as they wake up, English children wait until the afternoon.
Santa is known as Pere Noel. He is accompanied by Pre Fouettard who keep track of who has been good or bad for Pere Noel. In some parts of France, Pere Noel brings small gifts in the beginning of December (Dec 6) and comes back to deliver more on Christmas. In France the children get to open their gifts on Christmas, but the parents and other adults have to wait until New Years. In France the children place there shoes by the fire place in hopes that le Pere Noel/Father Christmas of le Petit Jesus/Little Jesus will place gifts for them. They also have dinner at midnight on December 24 this is called Le Reveillon. They have a cake called La Buche de Noel that is served after the dinner.
Tiny clay figures are used in the Christmas Crèches, Mangers. These figures are most unique as they are dressed in what is popular in provincial clothing that year. The figures are Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the Wise Men, the Shepherds, and Angels.
It Italy, the main exchange of gift doesn’t occur until January 6th, the day traditionally believed that the Wise Men reached the baby Jesus. Italy has La Befana who brings gifts to for the good and punishment for the bad. She is the same character as Russia’s Babouschka who refused to give the Wise Men food and shelter. The nativity scene may have first been set up by Saint Francis of Assisi. This first one was set up in a cave outside of a village and the villagers were so impressed by the display that now many of the communities compete for the best nativity.
Houses are decorated with strings of mango leaves. Lights are place on the window sills and walls and a star is hung outside. A sweet holiday treat is made called thali and it is brought to neighbors and friends.
The Japanese decorate their stores and homes with greens. The only part of Christmas that they celebrate is the giving of gifts. HOTEIOSHA the priest is like our Santa Claus, and he brings the children their presents.
Mexico calls Christmas Navidad. They celebrate Christmas for nine days with Las Pasdas. It is a time where people dress as Mary and Joseph, traveling from house to house asking if Mary may stay the night. They are told the is full. After which the door opens back up and all are invited in for a party with food, songs, and for the children a Pinata. The Pinata is made of paper mache and filled with all kinds of goodies. The object is to break it open with your eyes blindfolded. After which the children all dive for all the goodies they can pick up. On the ninth night they are told yes there is room for Mary in the stable and all come in for food and after all go to Church to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.
Santa is known as Sinterklaas, and he came to Sweden originally by boat, setting out on December 6th from Spain. He makes his gift deliveries by horseback. The children leave their shoes out, filled with hay and sugar for Sinterklaas’ horse. In the morning they find their shoes filled with candy and nuts. When Sinterklaas appears to the children, he takes the form of their father or a favorite male relative.
Santa and his helpers are getting ready to deliver gifts to the children of the world.
From Christmas to New Years the streets are lined with lovely stalls called, JOSELKI, each one is carefully painted with scenes from the Christmas story. The booths are elaborately decorated in tinsel and lighted candles.
The children of Spain leave their shoes on the windowsills filled with straw, carrots, and barley for the horses of the Wise Men, who they believe reenact their journey to Bethlehem every year. One of the wise men is called Balthazar, who leaves the children gifts. They call Christmas Eve Nochebuena, and families gather together to rejoice and share a meal around the Nativity scene.
Russia has someone named Babouschka, who would bring gifts for the children. The tradition says that she failed to give food and shelter to the three wise men and so she now searches the countryside searching for the baby Jesus, visiting all children giving gifts as she goes. Santa was known as Saint Nicholas but today is called Grandfather Frost, wearing a blue outfit instead of red.
The Russians use to celebrate Christmas with great joy and happiness before the Revaluation of 1917. They used to stroll up and down the streets with stars on the end of sticks that they called Stars of Bethlehem. The people went to church services and shared a special meal at home. After the Revaluation the Soviet Government banned Christmas. What the Russians do today is celebrate New Years Day with a special tree decorated like we do ours for Christmas and they have a New Years Day Children’s party. The children join hands and sing songs as they walk around the tree. They wait for DYET MOROZ Grandfather Frost, and his helper SYYEGORACHKA The Snow Maiden to bring them their gifts.
Santa Claus is called CHRISTKIND, the Christ Child coming to bring gifts to the children dressed in all white with a golden crown, He is helped by Saint Nicholas.
In Uruguay and Argentina, children wait for January 6 to receive the big gifts that are brought by the 3 wise Magi : Balthazar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India. Children leave their shoes outside and a bucket of water and hay for the camels. One of the 3 Magi usually leaves a handwritten personalized letter sealed with red wax, telling the children about how they behaved during the year. On Christmas Eve a dinner is shared with family and friends, and smaller gifts are left under the tree by Papa Noel. Usually a Nativity set is also placed near the Christmas tree, and the baby Jesus is added to the Nativity set on Christmas day.Special sweets are made for Christmas like “turron” ( a nougat confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake), and “Pan Dulce” or “Sweet bread” which is made with nuts and dry fruits.
Some people go to the midnight mass. There are fireworks at midnight on Christmas Eve as well as in New Year’s eve. Feliz Navidad & Merry Christmas to all! Amira
What is your favorite Christmas or Holiday tradition? Do you know of a tradition from another country that wasn’t mentioned? Please share your thoughts with us if you would like!
We all have dreams and goals of the things that we would like to accomplish in our lives…building a successful business, establishing an effective career, having a positive, worthwhile job, the list can go on and on. The real question is HOW we go about attaining of life-long goals. How do we treat our family and friends? How much time and effort do we dedicate to achieving the material things in life like a nice house, fancy cars, good-looking clothes, lots of money, etc.?
Where is your heart? Your focus? Your priorities?
A short time ago, I came across the following story which, I hope, will serve as a helpful reminder that we should all be careful and wise when we are building the castles of our lives.
A little while ago, on a nice, warm summer day, a little boy, on his knees, scoops and packs the sand with plastic shovels into a bucket during his time at the beach. He upends the bucket and dumps its contents on the beach and starts to work on his creation. After a short time, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created. He spends the entire afternoon shoveling out the moat, packing the walls, and strategically placing the guards around the castle using bottle tops and building bridges with Popsicle sticks. With his hours of hard work on the beach, a sandcastle will be built.
Meanwhile, in a big city with busy streets and rumbling traffic, a man works in an office. He shuffles papers into stacks, delegates assignments, cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. He juggles with numbers, contracts get signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made. All his life he will work. Formulating the plans and forecasting the future. His annuities will be sentries and Capital gains will be his bridges. An empire will be built.
The two builders of the two castles have very much in common. They both shape granules into grandeur. They both make something beautiful out of nothing. They both are very diligent and determined to build their world. And for both, the tide will rise and the end will come. Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the little boy sees the end of his castle while the man ignores it. As the dusk approaches and the waves near, the child jumps to his feet and begins to clap as the waves wash away his masterpiece. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He is not surprised, he knew this would happen. He smiles, picks up his tools and takes his father’s hand, and goes home.
The man in his sophisticated office is not very wise like the child. As the wave of years collapses on his empire, he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He tries to block the waves with the walls he made. He snarls at the incoming tide. “It’s my castle,” he defies. The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs.
So, go ahead and build your dreams but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take – applaud. Salute the process of life and go home with a smile.
Everyone comes from a family and it goes without saying that problems and negative situations will occasionally show their ugly heads. But the one thing that some just can’t seem to figure out is the family and relative terminology such as who is their second or third cousin, great uncle, etc. Stuff like this can drive us crazy. They can really create turmoil and misunderstanding.
If you think your family has problems figuring this stuff out, consider the marriage mayhem created when 76-year-old Bill Baker of London recently wed Edna Harvey. She happened to be his granddaughter’s husband’s mother. That’s where the confusion began, according to Baker’s granddaughter, Lynn.
“My mother-in-law is now my step-grandmother. My grandfather is now my stepfather-in-law. My mom is my sister-in-law and my brother is my nephew. But even crazier is that I’m now married to my uncle and my own children are my cousins.”
From this experience, Lynn should gain profound insight into the Theory of Relativity.