Thursday, December 18, 2014

Have you ever plugged a strand of Christmas lights in...

…and they are bright and shiny and glittery and magical, until suddenly they start going out, one by one, until the whole strand becomes nothing more than cheap wire with an electrical plug on one end?

You shake the cord. You plug the cord into a different outlet. You shake the cord again.

Sometimes some of the lights flicker on again briefly. And sometimes they just stay totally dark.


There might be times when you stand in that darkness, feeling like everyone else you know has Christmas lights that work. It might even feel like the whole world is filled with sparkle and twinkle and all you have in your grasp is cheap, plastic coated wire that contains no joy, whatsoever.

If things have been difficult for some time, perhaps the lights coming on at all are really the startling thing. That little bit of glow might feel like a broken promise…or the taunt of a world that seems determined to make the darkness absolute.

Loss. Sorrow. Grief. Disapointment. Pain. Worry. Fear. Expectations. Memories.

One by one the lights flicker out. And sometimes they come on, but sometimes it seems that they just continue until it feels like there is no reason to even look for the plug to try anymore.

Christmas in the dark can be a lonely, isolated time.

I wish I had the answers on how to keep those fragile little bulbs from going dark. I wish I had the reasons that life has to be so difficult.

But, I don’t.

The only thing that works for me is even on the blackest of days, I make myself look outside myself. I’m not saying, “Oh, so many people have it worse than me”. I think I’m saying, “Things are pretty lousy right now but if I let them, all the bad things will corrode these lights to the point that they will never work again.” And that is a risk I am unwilling to take. A possibility my heart cannot afford.

So I will continue to play Christmas music loudly, sing carols badly, wrap presents with too much tape and too few ribbons. I will rejoice in my Christmas cards, and drop jingly change into the Salvation Army buckets and I will hope.

And I will hope that if you are sitting in the darkness, the lights will come a-glow for you as well.

Perhaps if we plug all of our light strands together in a sense of community and kindness and prayer and compassion, we can make this holiday just a bit brighter...


…for each of us…no matter if we are sitting in the darkness or in a dazzling, deck-the-hall room!

Once we take down all the holly and the shiny ornaments and throw away the wrapping paper all that really matters are kind words, thoughtful hugs, and finding joy in small moments…

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Alphabe-Thursday Letter E


Good morning class. Welcome to round ten of Alphabe-Thursday!

Today we will be elucidating about the letter:



Please link directly to your Alphabe-Thursday URL (if you don't know how to do this let me know!) and please continue to visit the five links before and after your link and leave a comment. Minimum of 10 links visited please. You can visit more if you like, of course.

I also want to let you know that each week I visit every blog. If it appears I haven't visited your blog by the following Thursday, please let me know!

If you have any difficulties with your link, please make sure to include the number of the link when you e-mail me. It is really difficult for me to find you easily otherwise.

If you have any questions about Alphabe-Thursday or problems doing your link just post it in a comment or send me an e-mail. I'll do my best to help you as quickly as I can.

The McLinkey will be live from 1:00 pm MST time Wednesday afternoon in an effort to assist our lovely "friends across the pond" and continue through 10:00 am MST time Friday morning!

And remember.... link back to this post, you need to be registered as a follower of my blog, PG posts only, and visit at least 10 other students (perhaps the 5 students before and after your post). The links will stay live after the final post deadline has passed so you can even wait and visit over the weekend or whenever you have more time.

Please share your eloquent letter E post now!
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Irish Letter D

Our Irish Grandlittles are home for the holidays!
 
I'm enjoying every delightful moment with them!
 
 
 
D is for delightful.
 
To read other D offerings just click here.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Alphabe-Thursday Letter D


Good morning class. Welcome to round ten of Alphabe-Thursday!

Today we will be discussing the letter:


Please link directly to your Alphabe-Thursday URL (if you don't know how to do this let me know!) and please continue to visit the five links before and after your link and leave a comment. Minimum of 10 links visited please. You can visit more if you like, of course.

I haven't started my C visits but they are on my radar for later today and tomorrow so I will see you soon!

If you have any difficulties with your link, please make sure to include the number of the link when you e-mail me. It is really difficult for me to find you easily otherwise.

If you have any questions about Alphabe-Thursday or problems doing your link just post it in a comment or send me an e-mail. I'll do my best to help you as quickly as I can.

The McLinkey will be live from 1:00 pm MST time Wednesday afternoon in an effort to assist our lovely "friends across the pond" and continue through 10:00 am MST time Friday morning!

And remember.... link back to this post, you need to be registered as a follower of my blog, PG posts only, and visit at least 10 other students (perhaps the 5 students before and after your post). The links will stay live after the final post deadline has passed so you can even wait and visit over the weekend or whenever you have more time.

Please feel free to discuss your dynamic letter D now!
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Irish Letter C

My husband and I took a trip to Ireland in September. I got very sick on the return trip and have been laid up, but I decided to try and participate in Alphabe-Thursday this round with my own little tales of Ireland.

This Letter C is also the third part of a story.   It just happened that way and it's not really going to be a continuing story but more of an exercise to write about the experience.

If you want to read the letter B first, you can find it here.



Intermission?
 
The word was not quite appropriate for what the three of us encountered when we entered the old stable converted to fellowship hall.
 
It should have been called a ‘crush’.

 
 
I can honestly say I’ve never, ever, ever experienced anything like it before.
 

Mr. Jenny led the way in through the open door and the three of us stopped.

 
Literally.

 
The entire space was packed with Irish folk crushed together and talking loudly.
 
It was a roar in the large stone room.
 
The roar wasn’t the amazing thing, though.
 
The amazing thing was the fact that almost every single person was holding a cup and saucer and drinking tea…
 
…and no-one was getting scalded.
 
Mr. Jenny started to wriggle his way to the left where the boozy refreshments were…

 
The middle Grandlittle started to wriggle her way forward to where the sweets table was…
 
…and I started to wriggle my way to the right and the very long tea table.
 
Men walked through the crowd with round trays held above their head laden with steaming cups of tea.

 
People crushed together with barely a half inch between them laughed and talked and drank tea and spirits.
 
On the way to the tea table…

 
I talked to the lovely vocalist who said she had noticed I was moved by the music. 
 
I talked to several wool clad women with a raffle table set up. 

 
I talked to my wide-eyed Grandlittle who wriggled easily through the crowd and who was astonished and happy at the greedy array of sweets.
 
I talked to Anne who hugged me vigorously.  I saw her mouth moving but I couldn’t understand a word she said over the cacophony of Irish voices raised around me.

 
 At the tea table…
 
I talked to several of the men serving up steaming cups and saucers.
 
I talked to several more wool clad women who explained the merits of various pots of tea…I admit to not understanding anything they said.
 
I talked to my Grandlittle who came back to drag me to the sweets table.   I suspect my eyes were as wide as hers as I saw the home-baked, home-canned, home-made array on display.
 
Mr. Jenny and I finally made our way back together when Anne announced from the doorway, “Intermission is over!”
 
The crush of people evaporated, almost literally, as the crowd magically departed to return to the church.
 
The three of us looked at each other in astonishment and then followed.

 
 
This little part of our Irish travel story is linked to the letter C.   C is for crush.   To read other C offerings, just click here.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Alphabe-Thursday Letter C


Good morning class. Welcome to round ten of Alphabe-Thursday!

Today we will be cavorting around the cuddly letter:


Please link directly to your Alphabe-Thursday URL (if you don't know how to do this let me know!) and please continue to visit the five links before and after your link and leave a comment. Minimum of 10 links visited please. You can visit more if you like, of course.

I also want to let you know that each week I visit every blog. If it appears I haven't visited your blog by the following Thursday morning, please let me know!  I am, for the moment, current on visiting, too!

If you have any difficulties with your link, please make sure to include the number of the link when you e-mail me. It is really difficult for me to find you easily otherwise.

If you have any questions about Alphabe-Thursday or problems doing your link, just post it in a comment or send me an e-mail. I'll do my best to help you as quickly as I can.

The McLinkey will be live from 1:00 pm MST time Wednesday afternoon in an effort to assist our lovely "friends across the pond" and continue through 10:00 am MST time Saturday morning!

And remember.... link back to this post, you need to be registered as a follower of my blog, PG posts only, and visit at least 10 other students (perhaps the 5 students before and after your post). The links will stay live after the final post deadline has passed so you can even wait and visit over the weekend or whenever you have more time.

Please share your cute post about the letter C now!
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Monday, December 1, 2014

Irish Letter B

My husband and I took a trip to Ireland in September. I got very sick on the return trip and have been laid up, but I decided to try and participate in Alphabe-Thursday this round with my own little tales of Ireland.

This Letter B is also the second part of Letter A.   It just happened that way and it's not really going to be a continuing story but more of an exercise to write about the experience.

If you want to read the letter A first, you can find it here.



Be still and know…

 
That I am God?

 
That this is a moment out of time?

 
That this time and place and will never happen again?

 
Or perhaps it was all of the above.

 
We drove across a narrow, ancient stone bridge.

 
Around a bend in a road hedged with ferns and fuschia. 

 
And attempted to pull into the parking lot of the tiny, ancient stone church nestled into the small glen of verdant greenery that was the rural Irish countryside.

 
Mr. Jenny was driving.

 
On the ‘wrong’ side of the road.  Our middle Grandlittle was sitting white-knuckled in the back seat of our rented van.
 
We took no pictures that evening.   This is just another picture of Mr. Jenny and our middle Grandlittle.

 
The parking lot was crammed.

 
Light spilled from the open arched doorway of the old church illuminating a group of gathered Irish churchgoers.

 
Mr. Jenny was not being reverent.  A few heathen words escaped his lips as he attempted to back into a tight parking spot.   Middle Grandlittle and I giggled.   And offered advice.  Neither of which was well received.  If laughter and back-slapping was any indication, the little crowd of watchers greatly enjoyed watching his attempts much more than we did.

 
Finally, muttering about steering wheels in the wrong place and backseat drivers,  Mr. Jenny turned off the engine and glanced up to see his audience.

 
He was not amused.

 
His crankiness soon went away when we were greeted with open arms, literally, by our new friend, Anne.  We hugged and smiled and hugged and smiled and she said something lovely and musical like, ” ‘Tis happy I am to see you and your lovely wee Grandchild.  I’ve saved a place for you all.”

 

She escorted us into the little stone church and up the center aisle.  Each dark oak gated pew was crowded with families and candle light flickered across the altar adorned with musicians as well as hydrangea and boxwood bouquets.    
 

She led us to the second from the front pew and opened the little gate to allow us in.

 
A woman in her 40’s and a thin, dark young man in his early 20’s were already seated.  They stood and let us by and we shuffled in…Mr. Jenny sat closest to the wall and our Grandlittle was sandwiched between us.

 
The surface of the pew was piled high with pillows and we weren’t sure what to do with them.   I asked the woman next to me and she laughed and said to put as many as we wanted beneath our bottoms for comfort.  Our Grandlittle was delighted with that reponse.

 
My fellow pillowed-pew sharer and I struck up a lively, whispered conversation as the musicians tuned up.

 
To be candid I could hardly understand her and I suspect it was mutual.   Amidst much laughing, though, I discovered it was her son seated by her…he was incredibly nervous because he was playing the organ during the program…and that she was terribly proud of him for winning some kind of country wide organ contest.  She had just begun whispering questions about America when Anne stepped to the front of the little church.

 
She offered a warm and lovely welcome to the gathering.

 
Our Granddaughter held tightly to both of our hands and then angels came to let their voices dance to the rafters of the church.

 
Oh.
 

Oh.

 
It was beyond beautiful.

 
There were two harps.  There was a violin.   There was a penny whistle.  There was a guitar and another instrument I’ve never seen before.
 

There were beautiful harmonious voices woven together in folk songs and in hymns.

 
There was a charming little boy who walked solemnly to the front and played a violin.

 
His little brother came after and played the trumpet.  His cowlick trembled with his efforts.

 
We tapped our toes.

 
Our eyes filled with tears.

 
I squeezed my Grandlittles warm hand and the woman next to me held mine.

 

“Be still, Jenny,” I told myself.   “Remember these beautiful moments.”

 

I think I actually held my breath trying to remember.

 
After an hour or so of music, Anne once again stood in the front of the church.

 
“This is intermission.   Please join us in the hall for refreshments.”

 
She smiled broadly at us and made a motion toward the rear door.   We stood and prepared to join our fellow music lovers.
 
 
This little part of our Irish travel story is linked to the letter B.   B is for Be Still.   To read other B offerings, just click here.

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