For Auld Lang Signe

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."
(Mark Twain)

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
(Edith Lovejoy Pierce)

Turn the season on its head

I want to rebel. I want to start making a bigger deal out of people's birthday gifts than their Christmas gifts. It seems stranger and stranger NOT to do it that way. Afterall, a birthday is for celebrating a loved one. Christmas, in theory, is for celebrating Christ. And what better way to do that than to spend hundreds of dollars on frivolous gifts for people who arguably could get the darn thing for themselves if they really wanted to?

Hmmmm. Something is amiss. I hate to sound Grinch-ish, because it really is fun to bless people with nice little surprises and in turn receive some of my own. The only trouble is, rarely are these gifts a surprise, because we've been trained to make wish lists so detailed that they have everything but a map to the store. And we all know how obligation zaps any remaining delight from the process. Plus you're spending all that money at once, which leaves our bank accounts saying "ouch!"

Birthdays seem a much saner and more logical option. You can spread your gift giving out through the year, and really take the opportunity to bless that person in a meaningful way (since he or she is the primary person being celebrated).

What got me thinking about this was a display at the department store with at least a dozen World Vision pamphlets, each unique with a smiling young face on the front. Part of me thought it was a smart move to display these so close to the cash register, because people are extra-generous this time of year. Another part of me thought there are probably a bunch of people who would love to help, but are already over-budget on Christmas shopping.

Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Christmas is a the celebration of Heaven's ultimate gift to humanity: Christ. And it couldn't have been given to a more hungry and needy group of people: Us.

Wouldn't it be something if, in honor of HIS birthday, we gave gifts that Jesus would love? Charity. Love. one another. This is what so many of us have received because of Christmas. What better time of year to give it away again?

I want to rebel. I'm going to try this next year. Birthdays of bounty for my loved ones, and Christmases of kindness for those in need. Wish me luck...

A practically perfect Christmas quote

"I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays--let them overtake me unexpectedly--waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: 'Why this is Christmas Day!' "

(Ray Stannard Baker)

Oh "brother"

Again, not to get all political on you, but I think Mitt Romney's latest little diatribe is worth talking about. Here, you can read about a QUESTION (not a statement) Mike Huckabee posed about the LDS faith. He asks whether Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers. Romney labels this question an "attack."

Really, Mitt? Asking a question about faith is an attack? Nevermind that it's actually part of the doctrine. Slick, Mitt, very slick. And through it all, Huckabee remains looking the most "real."*

*The views reflected here are not necessarily an endorsement for president. Lois E. Lane reserves the right to remain nebulous in her stance and to view any candidate as "fair game."

My week last week

I rarely (if ever) post my own photos on this blog, but I'd like to start trying. I've titled this first one: "A Site for Sore Eyes" (taken last Sunday night at our place).

And then came Monday...we arrived home from work only to discover that our tree had fallen over. We lost a few inconsequential ball ornaments to shattering, but there was one cookie-like ornament that suffered the most. It was originally bell-shaped and I, in my childish obsession with multicolored EVERYTHING, painted it to the point of ugliness. But it was my creation, and so it was special. I call this photo "Casualty."

And last, but the opposite of least, was my nephew's/godson's first birthday. I was at the hospital when he was born, and have had the pleasure of watching him grow cuter, as we only live a few minutes away from him and his family. Sweet B.J. devoured his chocolate cake. I titled this photo: "Evidence of Chocolate."

VERY important stuff: My picks!!

Who sings your favorite versions of the following Christmas songs?
{I've added my selections in italics below -- thank you to everyone who participated!}

1• "The Christmas Song" ~ Nat King Cole

2• "Let it Snow" ~ Michael Buble (tied with Harry, actually)

3• "The Christmas Waltz" ~ The Carpenters (though Michael W. Smith's is noteworthy)

4• "O Holy Night" ~ Harry Connick Jr. (if Mariah Carey sang the second verse, I'd give her the edge)

5• "Jingle Bells" ~ Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters

6• "Silent Night" ~ Josh Groban

7• "Joy to the World" ~ Trisha Yearwood

8• "Sleigh Ride" ~ Harry Connick Jr.

9• "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" ~ Josh Groban (an amazing song that doesn't get recorded enough!)

10• "White Christmas" ~ Bing (DUH!)

Which are your two favorite, original Christmas songs (in others words, a song actually written by the artists who sang it first)?
"The Blessed Dawn of Christmas Day" by Harry Connick Jr. and "Christmastime" by Michael W. Smith.

What's the first Christmas album/CD/tape you play when the season begins?
A glorious mix I created (if I do say so myself) that begins with a sample of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed singing "Buffalo Gals" and immediately goes into Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You."