I saw this review of my first book just now. Jim is very honest about how he feels. Considering many guys can’t get into this book, I was pleased with what he had to say. 🙂 Thank you, Jim!
Well, Happy New Year!
I wanted to initiate a challenge to everyone out there as the New Year approaches.
Get your Kindle out or download the Kindle app.
Then, I challenge you to look for new authors to read…perhaps someone you have never heard of before. You know, fancy names don’t mean a book is good. There are many indie authors out there who do phenomenal work! As people, the world revolves around us working together. Read other’s work, know that they are baring their soul to you, review what they had to say, and share it with those you know.
If you think you can write a better story, write it! But give others a chance to become a part of your treasured bookshelf.
You can start with my series on Amazon, my friend Cynthia Hepner, or another buddy: Random Jordan. There are so many authors selling their work for an almost insulting dollar. One dollar bill for hours of entertainment, a journey to another world, a vacation from the woes of reality.
If you take my challenge, feel free to let others know of your experiences by returning here and commenting below! 🙂
As we have settled into our modern day holiday traditions, the history of such traditions becomes lost. If you find that you would like to switch up the holiday experience, bring the family home for a bit of a lesson in how our culture adopted the ways of olde and still celebrate it in the style of yesterday.
Be creative when sending out your invitations (or delivering them) to those you would like to have present. Printed parchment rolled into scrolls and sealed with wax really set the stage. They are expensive to mail, so you may want to hand deliver all of them that you can. Another fun idea is to use the parchment paper like a summons to the lord’s court but instead of spearing it with an arrow in your guest’s door, you can use stickers that look like a wax seal to post it. Don’t knock on the door for delivery, just post it and leave it as a surprise. In the information printed, you should request that everyone come dressed in costume to further the experience.
In the early days, gifts were not exchanged as they are now. It was not until later that the tradition in lieu of the Three Wisemen began. If any gifts were given, it was usually the landlord of the town bestowing gifts on his staff or specific tenants depending on their station. It might have been a meal or a new tunic (shirt), never anything of great monetary value. There were many varying degrees of status in those days. The wealthier you were, the better your gift. That might mean that Jack down the street was privileged to a meal that included a boar’s head! Yet Mike was of a lesser station so he had to bring his napkin and plate with him and eat goose. However, Mike was allowed to take the leftovers with him in his napkin to share with others. Boy, how we have changed through time! How you handle the giving of gifts is up to you. Taking away the burden of finding that perfect gift from the family might make for an even more lighthearted evening!
At one time, it was not allowed to decorate within the home. Many pious people would decorate outdoor trees with hanging apples. Holly and Ivy would deck the entry doors of the home. Both plants are evergreen and symbolize new life that is promised to return in the spring, but Holly is said to begin with white berries that turn red, which refreshes within our minds the moment when the crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head. It is considered a very holy plant. The Christmas tree was a German tradition that was practiced in England many, many years later. Yet, medieval England did use the boughs for decoration.
The typical spread for either the Christmas feast or Epiphany (Jan. 6th) was a boar on the table, an apple in its mouth, mincemeat pies, and puddings like Frumenty. Less fortunate families would sport a goose or other waterfowl unless they were not lucky enough to have gotten a boar on a hunt. Turkey is an American bird and was not present on any table until settling the colonies.
Carols went through a time, when religion was cast in dark shadow, that it was outlawed. The carols we sing today took root in those days. However, it was viewed as being vulgar by the church. The carol of “The 12 Days of Christmas” was a learning song of memorization. Each of the gifts that were given by the true love (God) represented values of their church that they committed to song in order to worship and pass the ideals to their children. If you have time, decode some of the carols and trace their origins back in history. Share that with your guests as you sing songs through the night and think of those who were not free to worship God how they felt was appropriate.
In all, Christmas was a time of reverence and love. Often times in our day, much of the emotion is lost in the expectation of gifts. Taking a step back in time may take some of the commercialism out of your holiday celebrations. It could very well bring a sense of belonging and unity to your family this year.
My heart goes out to all those families in Connecticut. I know how it is to lose something very precious in your life, to mourn and grieve, to be angry. I have learned some very special lessons this week through my own personal tragedy that also happened on 12.12.12.
My daughter-in-law was 21 weeks pregnant when her water suddenly broke out of the blue. We were terrified for her and our son. They were able to stop her labor with medications and place her on bed rest in hopes she could carry this strong little boy for three more weeks.
She was 22 weeks and three days when her labor started again, unable to be stopped. This was on 12.12.12. Our little grandson was born at 5:17pm and tried desperately to take his first breaths, but to no avail. There was no way to save him.
Yesterday, we attended a service to lay his little body to rest, to give us closure and to tell him good-bye ourselves. Our son and daughter-in-law were so strong where I was so weak. I watched them from time to time, their expressions and their silent tears. They held hands, clinging to each other in this time of crisis. I tried my best to draw strength from them but I dried my own tears many times throughout the day. While I was in front of them, I swallowed my grief as I longed to hold that little boy in my arms, and lent them what support I possibly could.
My father-in-law said a very touching prayer, barely able to contain the tears that begged to spill forth. He choked his way through and I could feel such love from this man. He is a great example and father, not to mention an amazing grandfather. He taught me that it is okay to grieve, that everyone in that room felt the same as I did. It was okay.
A man spoke to us and told us what a strong spirit this little one had. He taught me to extend my faith and feel this young baby’s presence around me. Although I never “knew” him, I still feel a bond with him.
Taking this baby to the cemetery made me think heavily upon my own family. Having a large one between my husband and I, reflected on what I would change if I had that opportunity. My family is the most important thing to me and yet, I found I have regrets. Many of them. Knowing I will never see this child in this lifetime, I thought of how incredibly lucky I am to have such a clan of healthy and happy people. To place any of them into the ground would devastate me, probably even more so than our grand baby did for I have a relationship with them all in some capacity.
I have taken so much for granted all of my life. Yesterday’s events made me all the more pressed to improve relations with those that have become strained, to spend more quality time with my children at home, and to appreciate them for every gift they present to me through life.
I can never let those feelings fade. This circumstance has left me feeling raw and vulnerable. I pray I never heal and forget, but that I take my wounds and cover them with the love and support of my family that is here with me. To use it as an amplifier, not a reason to cry. I know that little boy would not want me to be sad for him, although that doesn’t always help. But to take that severe sorrow and turn it to love and tolerance within our family would make him proud.