Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Heartwarming Hallelujah Chorus

After all the versions of the Hallelujah Chorus I have seen this year, I might have to choose this one as my very favorite!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas Creche revisited....

One of my favorite stories gets pulled out every year when I once again set up our Christmas crèche. Inside the box is stored this story:

When Ken and I were first married, we bought a complete crèche scene and painstakingly painted and antiqued every piece. We still have all the pieces, minus one chip out of the donkey’s ear, knocked off the shelf by the family cat. We never did find that missing ear and finally decided that the crèche was just perfect without it!

As our children grew, however, the crèche took on “other” meanings during the Christmas season. Our kids had a lot of fun changing the scene. One year the shepherds and wise men formed a rock band, complete with little guitars and drums. Another year, Sylvester the Cat would show up in the scene. Or various animals would roam the stage. Or the smurfs. Or whatever action figures happened to be in vogue at the time. Our kids recreated life, mostly in fun.

But one year, as we were waiting to have our Christmas eve dinner, we got a phone call from our middle son. He had pulled out into oncoming traffic, driving my car, and been hit by a car he hadn’t seen coming. He and his girlfriend were fine, but shaken up, and we interrupted our planned events to go and sort things out.

When we returned home, the crèche had mysteriously morphed into a new scene, complete with a wrecked toy car with shepherds and wise men all looking on with concern. Joseph was on the phone, Mary was sitting at the dinner table waiting for the family. And above it all, the angel hovered, having done her job, keeping everyone safe.

Today the crèche sits, undisturbed by the hands of children, awaiting the next generation’s take on the meaning of Christmas. And, after a half hour search in my completely disorganized photo storage system, I found the picture! If you look closely, you can even see the missing donkey ear.

My grandson, Caleb, when he was 2-1/2, added to our story.  He and I set up my Playmobile creche scene. It has a cardboard backing with a stable and door. We set up the camel, the wise men, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the angel. I was waiting for Caleb to begin acting out the story of Christmas. Caleb picked up a shepherd and resolutely walked him over to the stable door. "TRICK OR TREAT!" he yelled!

Guess we've got a little way to go til he gets the story down!

(Photo by mharrsch, shared via Flickr)

PS:  This year, thanks to my crazy husband, the creche was visited by a Queen, a Rook and a Pawn, in celebration of 6-year-old grandson Gavin's new interest in the game of chess!   Send me your creche stories!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And Yet Another Clever Christmas Rendition....

DO turn your sound off as "Dashing through the Snow" doesn't quite go along with this Christmas story, in my humble opinion.

Find this video here!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Hymn

In gratitude and honesty
Let us reckon well the cost
Of every journey traveled
...And every river crossed

In wintertime, in solstice
When the dew is turned to frost
Let us celebrate the year we've lived
And mourn the year we've lost

Scott Burnett, Director Worship & Art
University Presbyterian Church

Friday, December 17, 2010

Inspiration needed

I guess it is obvious from the paucity of blog posts that I am somehow not inspired to write this month.  Guess I miss my old blog partner from Grace and Gravity!  But here is something I really like to get the Christmas story as though Facebook had been around at the time....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Singing My Kindle's Praises

With the Christmas season fast upon us, I want to make a plug for the Kindle.  I have hesitated to jump in with both feet to the e-book party, but had decided that I would wait until the Kindle was below $150.  When it hit $139, I jumped.  Shortly thereafter, I bought a second Kindle so that my husband could also enjoy the fun.  I am an avid reader and I do love books in their physical form, but I have spent the last several years downsizing, only to find my stash of books growing once again.  My Kindle is the size of a paperback and I opted for just the wireless function.  I don't see why I need to have any other type of connection.  I have enough books loaded to read for days and the only reason I can see for having 3g is if you're somewhere without a wireless connection and have to have a book RIGHT NOW!  Following is a list of the things I like about this new reading experience.  (Google's new idea about reading books "in the cloud" means that you have to have an internet connection to read your book.  This is an important distinction). 

1.  My Kindle was the only book I took along on a recent 10-day trip.  In the past I would have loaded down my suitcase with books, not knowing how much time I'd have to read or what book might strike my fancy.
2.  I purchased the fancy case with the built-in light which isn't quite enough light on it's own but works in a pinch if I'm in bed and don't have a reading light.  I use it for added light when reading at home in certain places where the light isn't quite right.
3.  I can set my Kindle flat on the table if I want to read while eating.  In the past I would try all kinds of tricks to get the book to cooperate, setting heavy objects across the pages or putting it in a recipe holder rack to make it stand up.  It is easy to hold on my lap of in my bed.
4.  A 1000 page book is not any heavier than any other book!
5.  Whenever I open a book on the Kindle, it remembers where I left off.  I realize bookmarks serve the same purpose, but this feature is still nice.
6.  If I want to, I can read the same book on multiple platforms.  I have Kindle for PC and Kindle for iPhone.  If I am in a waiting room somewhere without my Kindle, I can turn on my iPhone and open the book and it will be synced to the last place I was reading.  When I return to my Kindle, it will also sync to the furthest page I've read.
7.  I can increase or decrease the font on any book.  This is great for those of us with diminishing eyesight!
8.  I love current fiction and non-fiction.  I can buy new books cheaper on Amazon for Kindle than at Costco.  Most new hardback books are between $9.99 and $12.99.
9.  Project Guttenberg offers 33,000 books for free!
10. The Kindle will also play audio books.  This is a boon to my husband who listens to audio books while driving to and from work but has difficulty finding what he wants at the public library, runs into download issues, and has to clear off his iPod to make room for each new book.
11. The Kindle will hold about 3000 books.
12.  You can register up to 6 Kindles on one account.  My husband and I are therefore able to share the same book, cutting the cost.  I am looking for someone to join us who likes the same kind of books we like! 

What's not to like?  As an English major I suppose I should be weeping over the demise of the world of physical books, but as a person who loves technology, I am excited about this new reading option.