Category Archives: renewal

March to Your Own Drummer

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As a child you may have made wooly lambs and snarling lions to

represent the calm way we wish to exit the month of March and

the wild, windy month we usually start with. I remember using

a large paper plate and cutting out eyes and gluing cotton balls

all over the plate for a lamb. I also remember having made a form

for my preschool students, the shape of a lamb out of brown or

tan construction paper. They loved using the glue and adding the

cotton balls that ultimately got stuck to their fingers, clothes and

everywhere except where they ‘belonged.’

Making lambs and lions with children, as an artistic endeavor,

spurs my desire to share Vincent Van Gogh’s thought:

“Great things do not just happen by impulse but as a succession

of small things linked together.”

Did you know Vincent Van Gogh lived a short and productive

life of only 37 years? He shared and created beauty through his

post- Impressionistic paintbrush strokes. You may wish to check

out this trio of sweet Spring flowering paintings. Van Gogh did

these in his final three years of his short life.

1.  “Cherry Tree,” (1888).

2.  “View of Arles, Flowering Orchards, (1889).

3.  “Almond Blossoms, (1890).

Hope this may inspire you to dabble with paint, chalk, crayons

or start a craft project.

Let’s hope the month starts as a roaring Lion and leaves as a

peaceful Lamb.

Here is a word from Thomas Kinkade, (2001):

“Prayer or simple meditation will nurture your spiritual connection

vital to evolving a focus that is truly personal and intrinsic to

your life.”

MARCH

Gemstone: Aquamarine

Flower: Jonquils

March 1st-

Sunday of Orthodoxy.

There is a complicated explanation about the meaning of this Sunday.

It meant that there was a movement or change among some faiths,

where icons or representations of various important elements could

be produced. This was in the 700’s, Jesus Christ and Mother Mary,

for examples could be depicted through artwork. This is considered

the first Sunday of Lent, 2015.

2nd-

Texas Independence Day.

Would it qualify for celebrating if I had some chocolate Texas sheet cake?

3rd- Town Meeting Day

Vermont likes to have their town meetings.

4- (Sundown) Purim begins. This lasts two days and ends on March

6th. This Jewish holiday celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish

people into the Persian Empire, saving them from a plot to kill

them. This day is one which includes feasting and rejoicing.

5-

Full Worm Moon-

“Add compost to your soil to invite beneficial earthworms into your

garden.”

(2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac.)

To make compost, we used to use the parings of our potatoes, fruits

and vegetables. These days, you consume so much of these, so scraps

of the rinds, stems and inedible parts of your food can be put into a

raised garden. You can till it from time to time, creating a rich place

for worms to thrive.

8- Daylight Savings Time (2:00 a.m.)

“Spring ahead. Fall behind.” This little saying helps me remember

the direction of setting my clocks each Spring and Autumn.

I think many of us will be joyous once the season gets warmer. I

hope this will be a season of renewal and ignite new passions and

interests.

“As we turn the pages of time,

we discover hidden mysteries

and triumphs in each chapter.”

(Flavia, 2003).

9- Commonwealth Day in Canada.

Friday the 13th- 2nd one ‘down,’ only one more to go this year.

This is not a big deal to most, except the superstitious ones.

15- Andrew Jackson Day (Tennessee)

17- Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

“Place stems of fresh white carnations into water with green food

coloring to dye the flowers green.” (2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac.”)

Do you pinch people who don’t wear green today?

Did you know the Episcopalians usually wear orange today?

Also, on the 17th- Evacuation Day (Suffolk Co., Mass.)

19- St. Joseph’s Day

“If it’s on St. Joseph’s Day clear,

So follows a fertile year.”

(Country  saying or Folklore)

20- New Moon

Vernal Equinox

Spring Begins.

“The fiddlehead, which looks like the tuning end of a fiddle

is the top of a young ostrich fern, tightly curled and sheathed

in a brown coating.”

2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac” uses ferns in March’s report.

29- Palm Sunday

Most palm trees require year-round temperatures above 40 degrees

outdoors.

30- Seward’s Day (Alaska)

Shall we have a slice of Baked Alaska, in your honor?

2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac” mentions a plant that is native to

Alaska and Canada,

“Tall Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium acutiflorum) tolerates drought

and creates a ground cover, commonly with blue flowers.”

Words to Live By:

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable

combination.”

~Nelson Mandela

The Smithsonian Backyard series of books came with a

sweet stuffed bird. When I received this gift, my book’s

subject was inevitably about a robin, along with my toy

being a robin.

This book begins with a lovely Spring message and ends

with a helpful glossary of words and description of the

habits of each bird in the series.

“Robin at Hickory Street,” (1995) was written by Dana

Meachen Rau and illustrated by Joel Snyder. Read this

and it will give you a beautiful picture of the changing

of the seasons in nature.

“Winter’s song fills the backyard of the blue stone house

on Hickory Street. A honeysuckle branch taps a beat on

the kitchen window.  Wind whistles through swaying

spruces. Rhythmic drips of melting ice dot the snow.

Soon this chorus will be replaced by Spring’s. The sweet

murmur of honey bees, the rustling of chipmunks behind

the shed and the cheerful melody of a robin who will call

this yard his own.”

The book is 32 pages and in the description of the robin’s

song, it is given as: “Cheerily, cheer-up, cheerio.”

And on that note. . .

“Cheerio!”

Teddy Roosevelt’s Hiding Place

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It is amazing to read another side of a person you may have studied

in Social Studies or in American History classes. Theodore Roosevelt,

Jr. faced horrible losses and a singular joy all in a short period of time.

The pain was so much he needed to get away. He needed to ‘wallow’

in his sorrow and be alone while grieving.

 

“The Light has gone out of my Life.”

 

These words were found in a personal journal, carrying the weight of

true sadness. Theodore Roosevelt’s wife died and in a short amount

of time later, his dear mother died.

 

Both women died in the same house.

Both loved ones died on the same day.

 

The joy was his daughter, Alice Lee.

 

The cause of his wife’s death, as so often happened in the past, was

due to this precious baby. I remember seeing this in movies, in books

and my mother mentioning how common this ‘death during childbirth’

occurred. He was 26 years old, handling the baby by himself. We don’t

hear about the details, except that he chose to escape. His family must

have taken care of baby Alice, while he was gone.

 

“The Elkhorn Ranch” became his place of healing and solitude. This

is place is in North Dakota.

This journey is an incredible story. One where Theodore Roosevelt

sought nature for his grief counseling. This led him to incorporate

the idea of preserving nature into his future plans. Taking care of his

country had not been originally part of his political plans. Teddy

himself said this (paraphrased):

“I would never have been President if not for my experience in

North Dakota.”

Once renewed, he came back to New York and ran for political

offices. . . all leading up to his saving land for National Parks.

 

When the story was mentioned in a brief account on CBS Sunday

Morning, I noted that this story originated from February, 1884. It is

approaching 131 years since Theodore Roosevelt retreated from the

dual deaths, the birth of his daughter and got out of the public eye.

While rustling cattle out West in the Dakotas, he again met death.

Freezing wintertime caused sickness and his herds of cattle died.

 

The image of the sole remaining rock, the only remaining part of

the Elkhorn Ranch’s foundation that is left, was shown. A historian

leaned over the rock, as if studying all of the details of Theodore

Roosevelt’s rocky, rugged path in life.

 

The beautiful miles and acres of land surrounding this place, still

are pristine. The cottonwoods glistening in the sun while shaking and

making a hissing sound captured my attention.

 

But the personal tragedies that Theodore Roosevelt endured is what

really held my interest.

I had to know more. . .

 

As a child, Theodore was a sickly, asthmatic boy. His family was well-

to-do and had him home-schooled. Something in Teddy’s spirit made

him a fighter.  This gut instinct would carry out throughout his life. He

joined athletics, hiked often in the outdoors, and embraced the idea of

trying to strengthen his body.

 

As if he were laughing at the ‘fates’ and was challenging them to a duel,

Teddy wanted to overcome his childhood weakness.

 

Theodore successfully graduated from his home-schooling,

proceeding onward to Harvard for his undergraduate studies.

He successfully went on to Columbia Law School. He met and

married the wealthy Alice, who he lost.

 

Theodore came back from his escape in the Dakotas, having spent

a wild time there. He had ‘licked his wounds,’ found solitude and

regained his determination to make an impact on the country.

There were several steps, you may read about, that led him to

become a politician running for different offices. He rose through

the ranks, showing his acumen for politics.

 

The road to Theodore Roosevelt becoming President was an

interesting political story but I am more interested in his life’s

choices.

 

Again because of a death, President McKinley’s assassination,

Theodore’s path got altered.  Through tragedy he rose to this

place of  leadership, being sworn in shortly after the death.

 

 

Six years later, he met and married his second wife, who he had

five other children with.  His family life is not detailed in the

articles I read, but may be found in historian’s accounts and his

family stories. There are surely many biographies about Theodore

Roosevelt to fill in some of the gaps I have left open.

 

Theodore Roosevelt died at age 60, somehow this makes another

impression on me, one of sadness. I will be 60 this year.

Teddy’s life just seems like it was too short.

I feel his brief life was one filled with great contributions.

One that may be considered “a Force to Reckon with.”

Here’s how he made a difference. . .

~Created the “Rough Riders.”

~Won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize due to his successful negotiations

and mediation between Russia and Japan, ending the war.

~Appointed the first Jewish man to his Cabinet.

~Talked about different races, if they were to be admired or disdained,

he believed each one should be taken individually and considered on

their merit. His open-minded comments sometimes were muffled by

his outspoken, out of context, racist comments. (See what he said

about Indians, for example.)

~Open door policy about Immigration, but again stressed that

the individuals needed to become American and respect the

country that became their own, leaving behind the country they

left.

~Created “Square Deal” and its unique way of political thinking.

~Went on safaris where the hunted animals were made part of

the Smithsonian Museum’s exhibits. Some have not been as sure

that this was a scientific or worthwhile project. These days, it may

be ‘frowned upon,’ by animal protective league members and

preservationists.

~Spoke out and acted for Conservation and Preservation.

~Directly responsible for Congress approving Eight National

Parks.

~”30 million National Parks and Forests” are his unspoken legacy.

(This high number was mentioned in the news essay, I am wondering

if this is meant to include international park numbers influenced

by his great works.)

 

The above interpretation of Theodore Roosevelt’s life

was written by Robin O. Cochran, (1/6/15).

 

 

Two famous quotations by

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. :

1.  “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do

is the right thing.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

 

2.  “Courage is not having the strength to go on,

it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

 

Nature thoughts:

 

“Between every two pines

is a doorway to a new world.”

John Muir.

 

“The wonder is that we can see these trees

and not wonder more.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 

“Plant trees.”

J. Sterling Morton.

 

A book to read, newly written:

“The Art of Stillness,” by travel writer Pico Iyer.

It highlights a wide variety of people, including

famous rock stars, artists and ‘thinkers’ who have

found solace in solitude. It also features yoga,

meditation and how being ‘still’ can lead to

success.

“By slowing down and sitting still one can

spark creativity and even adventure,”

“Men’s Health,” January,2015  issue.

 

 

Sleeping and Music

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When people say it is best not to go to bed angry, I can understand

their logic. There is a saying, often quoted, derived from the Bible,

“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” I used to have a hard time

sleeping, while young,  if things were unsettled or unresolved in my life.

Recently, I read another way of looking at this,  a different perspective

being:  Why ‘battle it out’ while tired? Instead why not go to bed and

‘sleep on it?’

While we are sleeping, many neurons keep on firing in our brains.

Many people come up with book ideas, song lyrics or other creative

thoughts, along with going, “Ah ha!” and waking up refreshed and

having a whole different outlook on their life or problems. I know a

few people who have had a pad of paper and pen or pencil on their

bedside table, sometimes called a ‘night stand.’ The brain still practices

music, it is still active while we are still and deep in our REM mode of

sleeping. Instincts sometimes keep our mind alive, while we have a little

baby in our care, whether we are a parent, grandparent or babysitter.

Animals are on ‘guard,’ while we may be more sorting through our fears,

re-thinking and processing, our cautions may even become ‘fixed’ and

we may solve a way out of our danger, at hand.

While our bodies are slowing down, our metabolism also is slowing.

We have growth and cell repair sources released while we sleep.

Something scary that researchers are now filling us in on is that

those who are more likely to get Alzheimer’s and dementia are people

who have gone through most of their adult life, lacking sleep, this would

apply to nurses, doctors, air traffic comptrollers and others who have a

busy and hectic schedule, allowing less sleep and rest in their lives.

 

Some positives gathered from several sources gained from our deep and

tranquil sleep:

Mathematicians solve algorithms and problems while sleeping.

Scientists figure our solutions, structures and finish ‘their daily work,’ in

their sleep.

When we make mistakes, our mind rolls the process around in our head,

we are much more cautious, an example given, when we approach a slick

piece of ice on a road, after we have had an accident.

 

We may have our best songs that we sing and our best pieces of art,

while creative minds were finishing their projects, organizing and

composing.

Leading me into the next subject. . .

There is a musical milestone that we past last February: 100 years of

ASCAP.

Many songwriters don’t get the money from our downloading ‘free’

music. This organization was created in 1914, representing currently

over 1/2 million songwriters. It ensures the rights to make money while

others may sing their songs.

I have known two local groups who write their own music, who joined

ASCAP.  Team KNYCE (a trio of rappers with some blues and jazz

influences) and Morgan Treni, who wrote all of her own songs on her

Fall, 2014 release of her Essays album. A group that plays locally folk

songs, whose advice I sought about this subject, also all are members.

 

The American Society of Composers, Authors  and Publishers is a long-

standing organization who has famous members, including Irving Berlin.

This is a world wide organization and it is emphasized by mentors of

musicians to join this, to protect your music. When performers sing the

Irving Berlin song, “White Christmas,” his heirs will get checks. It protects

performers who sing their own songs. Although artists get royalties from

sales of albums, there was a time when famous musical composers would

die, virtually ‘penniless.’

 

Just for your interest, I found out the estimated sales of the song, “White

Christmas” make it the most sung and highest number of all time, as over

50 billion song copies sold , with the second most being Elton John’s,

“Candle in the Wind,” at 33 billion copies sold.

 

The President of ASCAP is the well-respected and likable Paul Williams.

I was amazed when I saw him speaking recently on television of all the

wonderful songs he wrote. I enjoy his sense of humor, along with in the

past, numerous guest starring parts on television shows. Here are just

a few examples of Paul Williams’ songs:

Three Dog Night sings his song, “Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song.”

The Carpenters sang his song, “Rainy Days and Mondays.”

The theme song for “Love Boat” still brings Paul Williams some royalty

checks, as it repeats and reruns on television.

 

ASCAP President Paul Williams (composer and singer) says it is very

frustrating how many sources on the Internet ‘try to steal music’ and not

allow the original artist or songwriter to get their ‘cut’ or ‘share of the pie.’

An example of how many songs are streaming was 7 million streams of

one Lady Antebellum song in a short period of time, losing quite a lot of

money for the group and composer, too. Taylor Swift was interviewed

about ASCAP, saying she was pulling her songs off of “Spotify.” Garth

Brooks and Billy Joel were also outspoken while being asked about this

landmark anniversary of the organization. They mentioned Pandora,

as another source which is a concern of theirs, allowing access to songs

without paying for them.

 

So, when you listen to “The Music in Me” (written by keyboardist Bias

Bochell, of the Kiki Dee Band), “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel)

and Stevie Wonder’s “Dance to the Music,” you may not get these free

anymore.

There are some artists, musicians and composers standing up for their

rights, in the face of the internet. We will see if the songs that are pulled

off, will still reach the popularity level that others which are free and

available.

As fellow bloggers and writers, we must admire their integrity and

believe in their right to having their music kept original and protected.

 

Patricia Cornwell was a 1975 high school graduate. I graduated in 1974

which makes me feel like we could have been friends. My brother, Randy,

was a ’75 graduate so I hung out with a lot of his friends. She is an author

I deeply admire. I was interested in knowing how she reached her level

of writing and productivity. Her most recent book, “Flesh and Blood,”

was published in November, 2014.

 

I enjoy her murder mysteries that often dwell upon the forensics found in

the coroner’s office. Ms. Cornwell says her favorite book for years, one she

carried around everywhere, was titled, “The Inner Game of Tennis.” She

has been a tennis player yet never became a professional tennis player.

She suggests there is much to find in the book about life. She also slyly

mentioned in AARP magazine, that she may not play like a pro, but she

has through her writing and recognition been able to make friends with

Billie Jean King. Timothy Gallwey wrote this book Patricia admired and

studied.

 

Although she does not mention sleep and creativity, I imagine she would

say she discovered some of her best plot lines while sleeping. I contemplate

how rest can prepare you for reaching your own personal goals.

Patricia Cornwell on her personal motivation:

“After reading the book, “The Inner Game of Tennis,” I made it my ambition

to pay attention and not live a fear-driven life. When I sit down to write, I

remind myself to stay in the moment.”

 

J.M. Barrie, author of “Peter Pan,” is often quoted:

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able

to do it.”

 

Sometimes, as in Peter Pan, it is fun to be child-like. In “Downton

Abbey,”

Elizabeth McGovern portrays the character, “Cora,” Countess of Grantham.

In her personal life, she may not be so serious, as exhibited by this quote:

“You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

 

Hmm. . .Or is this possibly a ‘slam’ on those who tend to act immature,

even as adults. . . up to your own interpretation.

Resolve: January Monthly Post

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Resolve: it means a few different things to each person. Sometimes,

it means what will get you to keep a few of your January “New Year’s

Resolutions.” I also like the meaning of being strong and sticking to

one’s convictions. This definition fits this the best: “Decide firmly on

the best course of action.” Following through is implicit in this one.

Great attributes to pass on to your children, while others around you

may see this outstanding characteristic in yourself. It is not pointless

to set goals, I believe. It means you are going to try something new,

let others know your choices for change and set personal expectations

of your goals.

This ‘resolution’ can be something you have added to your resolutions

annually or can be a brand new one. Life is busy. Never so much so to

not fit one more activity, exercise, habit or ‘tradition’ into your routines.

After all, you may have doctor appointments and job responsibilities, but

you may just open and see your  2015 calendar  as a ‘blank slate,’ ready for

exciting and new possibilities.

 

JANUARY, 2015

Flower: Carnation           Birthstone/Gemstone: Garnet

Already, I like the month’s flower, which has such a great and unique scent.

The color of garnet is red, which is also vibrant and snappy for this colorless

month we are facing in our Midwest. Hope your corner of the world will have

both color and beauty in it.

 

January 1-

Happy New Year!

 

January 2-

Bank Holiday (Scotland, England/UK).

“Statutory Day” or “Stat Day” for New Zealand and possibly Australia.

 

January 5-

Full Wolf Moon.

 

January 6-

“Epiphany” or when the Three Wise Men reached the manger to see

the King of Kings, some who worship Jesus Christ will find this day

a special remembrance. Thanks, Doris, for the important reminder!

Feliz Navidad!

 

January 8-

If Elvis Presley had lived, this would be his 80th birthday. I listened

to several of his Gospel songs, some with Christmas in them, over the

holidays. He was a fantastic singer with a lot of heart. If you happen

to live close to Tupelo, Mississippi, you may go enjoy a piece of

Elvis’ birthday cake, served at 1:00 p.m. This was where Elvis was

born.

If you live closer to Graceland, you may go there almost all day, to

receive a piece of his 80th birthday cake, starting at 9:30 a.m. when

the cake-cutting begins! (You may enjoy this live streaming from

http://graceland.com )

 

January 10-

Celebrate Rod Stewart’s #70 birthday. Happy Birthday, dear Rod!

Last year, 2014, while on his world tour, an interviewer asked him,

“Do you ever tire of singing some of your classic songs?” (I still love

listening to ones like, “Maggie Mae.”)

Rod answered,

“I still love to sing ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ and added: ‘It’s so joyous.'”

 

January 13th-

Last 1/4 Moon.

 

January 16- The Persian Gulf began in 1991.

 

January 17-

Benjamin Franklin’s birthday.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests in celebrating Ben, to purchase a

Benjamin fig plant/tree, which helps to remove toxins from indoor air

spaces. (Ficus benjamina).

 

January 19th-

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Schools, public offices, the Post Office and libraries are usually closed

on this day in U.S. I have attended city and town breakfasts which give

the money for the meal to needy causes, in MLK, Jr.’s honor.

 

January 20-

New Moon.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, (2015) suggests this month to “plant bulbs

and destroy weeds during full moon times,” then during new moon to try

a different kind of house plant during the winter months. This month’s

featured plant, the air plant. This is like Spanish moss in its ability to

survive without much care of nutrients. Plant nurseries and some shops

have glass globes which can be suspended in small offices, along with

homes on clear plastic ‘threads’ of varied lengths. This creates a very

decorative and appealing January sight. Care includes, ‘light misting’

and feeding using a folian fertilizer, along with placing where it will

receive bright, indirect light. (Fluorescent offices are perfect in this

respect, while you may separate ‘offspring’ to create more plastic or

glass globes, helping spread positive oxygen into spaces.)

 

January 21st-

Evil Squirrel reminded me this is Squirrel Appreciation Day,

wherever you live in the world that has squirrels!

 

 

January 27-

Australia Day.

Celebrate with the Aussies you know!

 

January 29-

Celebrate Tom Selleck’s #70th birthday, with a viewing of one of

his older performances in “Magnum P.I.” (television series), one

of his ‘new’ performances in “Blue Bloods,” with a fine and well

rounded cast of policemen role models, along with a character

that plays his father as a past Police Commissioner and his

‘daughter’ is the District Attorney. This television show is one

which has a huge following, among whom are police around the

country. Tom’s fun character in “Magnum” made him a fixture

in our household television shows and now, “Blue Bloods” is part

of my Mom’s (and when I am home on a Friday night) my own

favorite shows. You may have followed Robert Parker’s mini-series,

where Tom played “Jesse Stone,” from R.P.’s past books. Sadly,

the author, Parker, died so the series must end. This can be found

at the library, in individual. Jesse Stone releases. I like the setting

of New England and there are a couple ‘bizarre’ murder mysteries.

In his personal life, you rarely hear anything about his life, since he

married his wife (Jillie Mack) in 1987. He is not known for too many

controversies, although, he has stood up for the N.R.A. which means

he supportsgun rights.

As far as movies with Tom Selleck go, my all time favorite has to

be the fun one he made with two other special men, Steve Guttenberg

and Ted Danson, called, “Three Men and A Baby.” My children and

grandchildren are very amused with this wild and unbelievable plot

line, but it is also heart-warming and sweet. I liked him in the comedy,

“Her Alibi,” while “Lassiter” and “Quigley Down Under” are good

action movies. (This became a rather long monthly tribute to the actor,

Tom Selleck!)

Happy 70th Birthday, dear Tom!

 

As always, you may add some dates that mean something to you or

your country in the comments for the month of January.

Thank you for making this monthly visit a fantastic one. I enjoy

all the additions I received last year to this monthly post.

 

Sir Basil the Great quotation:

“He who sows courtesy, reaps friendship.

He who plants kindness, gathers love.”

(Greek Bishop who lived from 329- 379 A.D.)

 

What challenges will you set out, for you or even your family?

Help get us motivated by sharing this with us, please.

 

I will make a friend out of an ‘enemy’ or one who I have had past

disagreements with.  I will give to a new, special charity, along

with continue to find more positives in my life than negatives.

 

A time of new beginnings, promises and resolutions is emphasized

in this Flavia, (poet and inspirational writer) 2003 quote:

“Our time on earth is woven of infinite moments,

Each holding a promise and its own exquisite beauty.”

 

In honor of the New Year of 2015,

Thanks to T. S. Eliot:

 

“Not fare well,

But fare forward, voyagers.”

 

 

 

Sit-Com Stars in Hallmark Movie

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On another post, we had just been talking about 1989, when a few

of our favorite funny situation comedies originated. I could not

believe my ‘luck’ when I turned on the Hallmark Channel to find a

movie with a catchy title, “The Christmas Con.” There is an ensemble

cast of six famous actors from more than six situation comedies.

They show their talent and  versatility in this meaningful Hallmark

movie.

 

I will sketch the plot in, along with giving you the ‘who’s who’ of t.v.

series actors. If you are a fan of television trivia games, you may be

able to ‘keep up with me,’ in this essay about performers who have

been around television for years: one since 1982. Although the title

isn’t very pretty nor the story as simple as some Hallmark Christmas

movies are, it tells a meaningful story of hope and forgiveness.

 

There is a collection of outstanding, amusing actors who played

character parts in this story of ‘redemption.’ The movie has two

characters, an ex-convict who needs to change his way of dealing

with people, passing through his life ‘taking’ and never ‘giving.’ The

second character must face his addiction, he has to fall flat on his

face, embarrass himself, go to jail and then, find his way home.

 

The actor who plays the character of an alcoholic man, came from a

caring family, dramatic show, “Party of Five.”  My two daughters loved

the whole cast of this show. They would know this man who later left

this show to play an irascible red-headed doctor.  Although, you may

or may not,  have known the popular teenaged-cast of “Party of Five,”

he was, “Will Mc Corkle.” Then you may have seen him as the red haired

“pain in the butt” doctor from the serious show, “E.R.”  This character

was the head of the “E.R.” as, Dr. Archie Morris. “Archie” was disliked by

most everyone, (nurses and the E.R. hospital staff) which showed quite

a range of talent in this role played by Scott Grimes. It was nice to have

known him as a likable man in the first show, then respect his portrayal

of a ‘by the books’ doctor who sometimes went ‘head to head’ with John

Stamos, who played another type of character on “E.R.” Scott Grimes

went from “E.R.” to act in a few television movies, along with another

series, “Band of Brothers.”

Interestingly enough, Scott Richard Grimes made a ‘soft rock and roll’

album, (also described as  ‘popular rock’) called, “Sunset Boulevard.” He

wrote all of the songs and sang them, too. I have not checked this out

but it was favorably reviewed, in its genre.

 

Then there was the character of the  endearing ex-convict with a ‘heart

of gold,’ who plays Santa Claus, making a promise he nearly is unable to

keep for the son of the red-headed man. Scott Grime’s plays a father/

ex-husband who is unfortunately battling alcoholism. His son asks Santa

Claus to bring his mother and father back together again for Christmas.

 

Santa promises to bring this estranged father back ‘into the fold,’ becoming

part of the trio the boy considers his ‘family.’ The ex-con is played by Barry

Watson, who both my daughters had major ‘crushes’ on, while he was the

oldest son in a family of seven members being raised by a minister, known

as, “Seventh Heaven.” Barry Watson left “Seventh Heaven,” to battle in his

own personal ‘real life drama,’ Hodgkins Disease. My family, son included,

had Barry in our prayers for a few years. His attractive long-haired look in

the family show changed to a gaunt, bald look when he was interviewed

during this period of time. The producers allowed him to ‘spread his wings,’

by being behind the camera, in his writing plots and helping set up scenes.

 

There is a memorable scene, in The Christmas Con,” which paints a fairly

accurate picture of an A.A. meeting, where Scott Grimes’ meets Santa Claus,

out of costume. I feel capable of analyzing this subject, due to my own personal

experience of being married to an alcoholic, having attended one year of A.A.,

two years of Alanon, and taking my three children to Children of Alcoholics

meetings.

 

The man who is Santa/Barry’s best friend is played by, Jaleel White, who

portrayed the dorky, inept character named, “Steve Urkel,” in “Family

Matters.” His character has mended his ways of conniving and trying to

trick others, while also being a good and supportive friend to Barry’s

character. He gets to also romance Barry’s ‘sister,’ in the movie, using his

charming demeanor. He looks ‘nothing’ like Steve Urkel, has grown into

a handsome man.

 

John Ratzenberger’s in the cast of this Hallmark movie, playing a Grandpa,

and you know where he came from?  “Cheers,” where he was “Cliff Clavin,”

the mailman, the one who sometimes kept the bar stool warm for hours.

He was the stocky man’s (“Norm’s”) best friend, “where everyone knew

their names.” This series lasted from 1982 -1993. No wonder we felt these

actors were part of our family! John R. went on to make a few different

television movies, played guest character roles on shows and my ‘grandies’

love him in such familiar children’s animated films as the “Toy Story” series,

“Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars,” where he plays (‘voices’) a rusted-out truck.

 

Another familiar character, where you may wonder, “Where have I seen

this attractive black woman before?” She has a unique character part,

as a female preacher in a church.  By the end of the story, you realize this

does not exist. It is a boarded up church, having been condemned. The

recognizable woman, who you don’t immediately ‘place’ or figure out

where she came from, is  talk show hostess, Wendy Williams. She ends

up being a fantastic singer, when she is caroling with church folks in a

neighborhood. I felt she was the Guardian Angel for Barry’s ex-convict

character.

 

The last famous displaced series player, is the actress, Melissa Joan Hart.

You got to know her as a teenaged witch in “Sabrina the Teen Age Witch,”

if you had children in the 90’s. (This ran seven years, 1996-2003.) Along

with Melissa’s more current role on  the show, “Melissa and Joey.” In the

Family Channel show, she is a town councilwoman and Joey (Lawrence)

is playing her ‘stay at home’ Nanny/Housekeeper. Can you believe Joey

was on The Johnny Carson Show, singing at age 5 years old? He is NOT

in this Hallmark movie, but was in one with Melissa Joan Hart, a few

Christmases ago.

(Yes, the plot for “Melissa and Joey,” resembles the one of “Who’s the

Boss?”)

 

Melissa’s character believes in her brother, the man who has just been

released from prison. You don’t feel he was a dangerous criminal and

are sympathetic to his character. (He had been a ‘grifter’ or ‘con artist,’

hence the name of the movie…)

Melissa and Barry make a believably good sister and brother team.

Melissa Joan Hart debuted as the director of this movie, which is a

new position for her to be in.

 

When Jameel’s character meets Melissa, he shows his debonair side,

which eventually they become close and they make a ‘cute couple.’

Their characters go about playing the ‘normal’ fantasy of carrying out

Christmas routines, as they decorate Melissa’s house, listen to Santa/

Barry’s quandary. Both Jaleel’s buddy character and Melissa’s sister

character cheer for the miracle of fixing the nearly irreparable marriage

and family together again.

 

Yes, I told you part of the ending.

The journey makes it worth watching.

The cast of recognizable people who have become part of our ongoing

landscape of television. Those people who come into our living room,

visit and stay awhile. They become more familiar than big screen

actors.

There are a few ‘surprises’ and twisting turns leading you to the

expected and satisfying ending. I didn’t tell you anything you didn’t

know since almost all of these movies come out ‘safe and sound.’

 

Hopefully, instead you will want to watch this more. Since it is the

way they handle the simplistic story, how they fulfill their duties as

characters which will help you admire Scott Grimes, Jaleel White,

Barry Watson, Melissa Joan Hart, John Ratzenberger and Wendy

Williams. In my mind, this is an ‘All Star Cast’ of television experts.

 

This is a treat to see, savor and remember. It shows me Christmas is

a time for all possibilities imaginable to come true.

 

Serene Sunday Musings

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Here are a few quotations to induce feelings of grace and gratitude

this chilly, busy month of November. (Here it is chilly, in your part

of the world, you may be having a nice warm day.) If you wish to read

my past research about Pilgrims and Thanksgiving, you may browse

the tags on my blog.

 

“Let us not become weary in doing good.

For at the proper time we will reap a

Harvest if we do not give up.”

(In the newer version of the Bible,

New Testament. Galatians 6:9)

 

A short story shared in a church bulletin:

“You are Here”

As I approached a brightly lit, vertical floor plan at a Mall,

I noticed a woman standing in front of it for quite a while.

“Can I help you find something or a store location?”

I offered her help.

As people scurried by and around us, she replied,

“No thanks. I’m just pausing for a moment.”

Then, pointing to the arrow she explained,

“You are here. I need to be reminded sometimes.”

How profound.

Don’t we all need reminders of how blessed or lucky

we are to be here?

When life gets crazy, especially during the holidays, perhaps

we need to stop. Like the wise woman at the Mall, remind

ourselves we don’t have to try to be everywhere at once.

We’re “here.” That is the only place we can be.

Better still, we can imagine a bright arrow pointing to where we

are in life. We can go farther still, acknowledging, “God is here.”

 

A funny set of thoughts:

“You’re over the hill when you think all of your friends are showing

their age. . . but not you.”

“You’re over the hill when styles come back for the second time and

you still have some left from the first time.”

“You’re over the hill when your train of thoughts frequently derails!”

 

“You are NOT totally, personally, irrevocably responsible for

everything.

That’s my job.

— God”

 

Be watchful of signs of nature which lead you to peaceful moments.

Remember them later, cherishing the details in your memory.

Absorb fully, your family member’s words while you listen to them speak.

 

 

 

 

Lighting up one’s life and others

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Debby Boone’s song came over the radio waves one morning this week and I nearly

wept. I had forgotten those words. At the time her song came out in 1977, it was a busy

time and I heard it ‘everywhere,’ it seemed. “You Light Up My Life,” is one I felt blessed

by hearing  and listening to the lyrics, over  and over  again. I was in college back then,

junior year, working hard to keep my life in balance. Books, studies, projects and I had

just been proposed to. Plans for marrying in 1978 were at the top of my list of concerns.

The song’s meaning is full of ripe opportunities for growth helping me understand, even

today, how true love feels, whether towards a friend, family member or life partner.

 

As time goes by, it is with great joy when a familiar, uplifting song spreads its warmth

upon my heart. Like a forgotten gift, found tucked away in a box or unused drawer.

Bringing it out, unwrapping it from tissue or a cloth, there it is.

 

Debby’s message here is for ‘everyday’ but also helps my Sunday. Hope it sheds ‘Light’

upon your week.:

“Blessings are like hugs from God,

To let you know how much He loves you.

Counting blessings is like hugging God back.”

(Found in January, 2001.)

 

Here is some Scripture from the Bible which I will be ‘using’ as a kick off for two

religious jokes. (Blasphemous!)

“Be joyful always;

Pray continually;

Give thanks in all circumstances.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18.

 

Funny Old Fashioned Story #1:

Sister Margaret Ann, who worked for a Home Health Agency, was out making her rounds

visiting homebound patients when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it, a Texaco

gasoline station was just a block away.

She walked to the station to borrow a gas can and buy some gas. The attendant told her

that the only gas can he owned, had already been loaned out. She could wait until it was

returned. Since Sister Margaret Ann was on the way to see another client, she decided

not to wait. She walked back to her car. She looked for something in her car which she

could fill with gas. Every resourceful, she spied the bedpan she was taking to the poor

bedridden soul. Sister Margaret Ann carried the bedpan back to the gas station, filled it

with gasoline. Then she carried the full bedpan back to her car.

As she was pouring the gas into her tank, two Jehovah’s Witness young men rode by on

their bicycles. One of them turned to the other and exclaimed,

“If that car starts, I’m changing faith and going to become a Catholic.”

(“In God We Trust” is all I have to say to this one!)

 

A Revival Funny Story #2:

A minister was completing a temperance sermon. With great emphasis he shouted,

“If I had all the beer in the world, I’d take it and pour it into the river.”

 

With even more enthusiasm, he exclaimed,

“And if I had all the wine in the world, I’d take it and pour it into the river.”

 

Finally, shaking his fist dramatically into the air, he declared:

“If I had all the whiskey in the world, I’d take it and pour it into the river.”

 

The Sermon in the Tent Revival concluded.

The Pastor sat down beside the Choir Leader.

The Choir Leader stood up and walked to the middle of the front of the congregation.

With some trepidation and with a small smirk, holding back laughter she announced:

“Let us sing Hymn #365,

“Shall We Gather at the River.”

(I’ll see you at that river next weekend, ha ha!)

 

Have a joyful week, my friends!