Showing posts from December, 2013

Lessons Learned

Three days before Christmas I gave a sermon/meditation at my church.  By the end of Christmas day I was totally turning around everything I said and fed up with everything and everybody.    Lesson learned: practice what you preach; LITERALLY. I may have had some joy on Sunday (especially when listening to our guest harpist) and carried a bit of that into Christmas Eve (although I was starting to get crazed with two church services and where and when to do what.  (Like dinner...which turned out to be fast food tacos).  Christmas morning started much too early.  (This should be no surprise, but my son had been up till nearly 10:30 the night before and hence I had been up till midnight, having started by day before 5 AM.  I had hoped that  with him being up so late that I might get to "sleep in" till 7 or 7:30, but I seriously misjudged the power of kid who knows there must be presents downstairs under the tree just waiting for him.)  The morning was great.  And as my boy unw

Finding Joy: Part 2

Well, I successfully made it through this morning's service.  Nervousness aside, I have to say that I enjoyed the experience.  Of course it's all the much better when you are surrounded by people that you know and care about.   For those who weren't there, here's the rest of the "sermon" Today we lit the 4 th Advent candle.  The circle is complete as the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are now glowing; only the center candle, the Christ candle is left; leaving us waiting with eager anticipation for his birth.  I find it interesting that the color of Advent and Lent are both purple, which happens to be my favorite color.  (Some churches now use blue candles in their wreath to differentiate between the two seasons. This is what we did last Advent, I’m not convinced that it had to do all that much with differentiation between the two seasons as with getting Advent wreath candles at the last minute, but I am glad to see that purple is back this year.) I

Finding Joy...

Congratulations, we have just about made it.   Hopefully by now all, or at least most of the shopping has been done; the cookies have been made and the choirs have been rehearsed.  We’re in the home stretch. Christmas is just a few days away.  Pretty soon we’ll all be able to sit back, and relax for a moment and say “It’s over for another year.  We’ve made it through another Christmas.” At that point will all the stress be gone?  Will we at last find peace or at least have a few moments of peace?  When the holiday is over, what will we remember?  Will there have been peace, love and joy? Or will we have spent so much time preparing for “the event” that we will have forgotten what the holiday is truly about?  And that the birth of Christ is just the beginning?  That the joy, the love and the peace of Christ continues on... ...if you want to know the rest of the story, you'll have to stop by the First Presbyterian Church of Verona (10 Fairview Ave, Verona, NJ) tomorrow morning a

Sick of Winter

Yes, Christmas is 8 days away.  The year is coming to a close.  And I am SICK of winter.  Even though it's not officially here yet!  (That honor will happen on Saturday.) Yes, winter is 3 days away and I am already sick of the season.  Probably because we've had 4 winter weather storms over the past 10 days.  And while I realize that I do live in the Northeast, isn't that a little much? I know there are people who have it much worse.  I see the news from the Midwest and upstate New York. (This is why I don't think I could ever live there). For the holidays I love to see fluffy white flakes falling from the sky.  Snow is beautiful...when I'm not shoveling it or driving through it.  But it's not just the snow that I have a beef's the ice.  Nobody likes ice (unless it's in a drink or you've got your skates on).  Sliding downhill in an SUV is not my idea of fun. I know there is nothing I can do about the weather (other than complain abo

"Sappy" Holiday Movies

It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song goes.  While I am no fan of the cold weather,  my guilty pleasure of the season is watching "sappy" holiday movies. Now let me just clarify, there are plenty of movies out there that the networks will have you believe are "holiday" fare, but are not (at least in my book).  The Harry Potter series is fantastic, but it's NOT holiday fare.  And while "The Sound of Music" may be one of my favorite movies of all time, the movie itself is NOT a Christmas one.  (Don't get me started on "My Favorite Things."  Great song, but when it did turn into a holiday classic?  Is it the snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes that qualify it?  Or brown paper packages tied up with string?  I don't get it!).  And "Die Hard" may take place during a holiday party, but that does NOT make it a Christmas movie! While I love watching all those "women's" movies that fl

Worth Watching: Time of Death

A series about death;  "real" death, not the glamorized or sensationalized stuff that television usually brings us, has been one of the most remarkable shows that I have seen on ANY channel EVER.  The series aired on Showtime on Friday nights and consisted of 6 moving and often painful episodes. I'm not sure what the series is considered.  Reality?  It's realer than any other "reality" show that has ever aired on tv.  It's raw and emotional.  How could it not be?  It follows "average" people (although all are extraordinary in their own way) facing death.  It's NOT pretty, but it is incredibly moving.  Within a 52 minute period you are captivated by the stories.  Everyone has a story and "Time of Death" makes you realize that. It also to some extent took away the fear of death for me.  It is there on camera for me to see -- literally as some of the stories actually capture the person's last minutes.  But even when the camer

December 7

A day that will live in infamy. Do you know why that is?  Do you know what happened and where? Sadly there are Americans who don't. History IS important.  And we must NEVER it 72 years or longer.

Everybody's Talking...

Two topics seemed to be vying for the top spot last night and this morning; one serious and one silly.  I find it interesting (to say the least) how passionate people are on the silly topic and how much of less has been made (at least in the social/internet world) of the serious one.  So, in order to be "trendy" and "with it," I thought I'd post my thoughts on these two topics. The Passing of Nelson Mandela:  It came as no surprise.  When a man is 95 and has been ill for many months, the outcome is rarely good.  But if you believe that death brings peace (since no one has ever gotten back to me on what it's like, I cannot attest to one end of the spectrum or the other), then after so many struggles and health issues, the man is finally at rest/peace.  And if this is the case, then there is no man more deserving.  He fought the fight for so long, and for the most part peaceably.  While I thought I knew the story, his passing made me take another look at his

Hope For The Holiday

Thanksgiving is over; it's the first Sunday in Advent.  Although Sunday is almost over.  Like the rest of this long weekend, it's gone by much to fast. Since I never got to cleaning on Wednesday, Thanksgiving day found my family and I cleaning up for company.  And I'm pleased to say that working together we did a great job.  It didn't even take that long.  (Although when it comes to cleaning; it always takes longer than expected).  And then there was the cooking and finally the feasting with the family.  We are a small group, but I am thankful for each one that was around the table (and for those who weren't...I have a small immediate family, but a bigger extended family and though they are not there in person, each one is there in my thoughts). Amazingly I did do some shopping on Black Friday! And before I headed off to work!  No, I didn't go right after the Thanksgiving meal.  I did wake up in the middle of the night and thought about heading out, but was