Why Everybody loves Christmas!!

the library christmas tree

This Library Christmas Tree Should Take me through a year of Reading

It is said that Everybody loves Christmas. Some of that comes from the surprise of the presents we get. Some of it comes from the togetherness with family and friends and some of it comes from the cozy atmosphere created in TV commercials and store windows.  But most of all it comes from a special spirit that envelopes us and makes Christmas so much as cherish all the presents and surprises, or so one would hope.

We all love presence, yet we don’t always like what is happening to us in the present. In the here and now. That may be a mistake. Your present time, your presence, is a gift to enjoy and make it last for the time that it is given. We should all be grateful that we are alive and given the opportunity to make the world a better place, Leave a lasting positive mark. So far this year no one went further with the spirit of surprising, than the good folks at WestJet Airlines as you can see in this video.

The greatest enemy to living in the moment and making things work for you are the memories of the past and the lingering hopes for the future, and things that happen in our mind that never actually occur. So many of us are bogged down by the bad things that have happened to us, and our mind set is that we remain a victim to those things that happened. You are only a victim as long as you allow yourself to be, or even worse, as long as you make yourself one.

There are people who revel in being a victim, because that’s all they’ve ever known, they are comfortable in their habits, and they have committed their lives to staying in misery as long as they live. Don’t be one of those people. Don’t be stuck milling over a painful world that you went through, and therefore have no future. And the other great enemy of your happiness is what can happen in the future. Some people live their lives dreaming of what might be that never comes. There are people who are living for the day they win that lottery, and every night they sit in front of the TV with great anticipation hoping that their numbers will come in, while their bills continue to mount. There is nothing wrong with playing the lottery, but meanwhile, getting a good job that will pay your bills is far more pragmatic.

Living must be an active process, and if you don’t keep up with it, it will take you down. Living is growing, changing, circulating your vitals and finding new worlds while you change the old ones. Living is actively getting off your butt and into the mess, learning, moving, becoming a force in yourself instead of being taken over by it.  Sit in that miserable job for years and accept that comfortable paycheck and one day you realize that life has passed you by. Stay in that miserable marriage without doing something about it and one day you realize that life is passing you by. Time waits for no man, and as time goes by, you suddenly see that you have wasted what could have been active choices and abundant living. You are only given your life once, and that’s why today is called “the present.” Take your present, unwrap it and enjoy it.

There is only one way to overcome the inheritance of a bad past or the hopeless end of a future that never comes, and that is to live in the “Now”, to enjoy the present in all its glory. In fact, it is only by living in the present that you have any power to make your life and the lives of those around you better. If you live in the past, you live in a world that no longer exists, except that you are giving the past power that it never had over you. By reliving it, it makes you and everyone around you miserable again with whatever it was that happened then, that makes you so unhappy. And if you live in the future, you definitely live in a world that doesn’t exist, and who knows what is going to happen then, although you can be pretty certain that it will not be what you think.

Living in the present gives you power to do something about your life and the lives of others around you. You can activate choice, and you can do it immediately. You can chose to motivate yourself, to move out into that cruel world and make it better. If you need to get a better job, now is the time. If you need to love your kids, now is the time. If you need to get a better understanding of life, now is the time. If you need to make amends with some of your friends, now is the time. If you need to enjoy their company, now is the time. If that car needs fixing, now is the time. If you need a better place to live, now is the time. If you need to get out of that unhappy relationship, now is the time. You are not going to live forever. In fact, the only thing you know for sure is that you are living right now. So start living!

What are you waiting for? To win the lottery? Are you waiting for your children to get better? Are you waiting for more money to fall from out of the sky, or for the moment when you will finally forget some poor memories, or for Prince Charming to come along on his horse and scoop you up and take you to his castle? Well, it’s not going to happen until you make it happen.

So make it happen! Stop whatever it is you’re doing for a moment and listen to the wind in the trees. Watch how they sway, how they enjoy the breeze, how they take in every moment without worry and enjoy their existence. Look at the clouds and see their glory: They revel in their existence. Listen to the people around you that are within earshot: Those are the people you need to interact with right now, those are the people who need your help or maybe just attention! Help them. Stop thinking about how you were such a victim in the past. Get into the present and grab your time. Don’t worry about what problems you might face in the future. Instead, take the Power of Now and influence that future to be in your favor by the choices you make today, right now. The greatest power of the present is its ability to influence the future by the choices you make today. So get into the present and decide what you want to do, what you need to do, and do it, NOW

Remembering the Clothesline

Remembering the ClotheslineI found myself using an outdoor clothesline this past year and realized many youngsters had never seen one before.

When my mother sent me the following email, I thought it would be fun to share for a leisure Sunday read. The original author is unknown.

Remembering Mom’s Clothesline
1. You had to hang the socks by the toes… NOT the top.

2. You hung pants by the BOTTOM/cuffs… NOT the waistbands.

3. You had to WASH the clothesline(s) before hanging any clothes – walk the entire length of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.

4. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang “whites” with “whites,” and hang them first.

5. You NEVER hung a shirt by the shoulders – always by the tail! What would the neighbors think?

6. Wash day on a Monday! NEVER hang clothes on the weekend, or on Sunday, for Heaven’s sake!

7. Hang the sheets and towels on the OUTSIDE lines so you could hide your “unmentionables” in the middle.

8. It didn’t matter if it was sub-zero weather… clothes would “freeze-dry.”

9. ALWAYS gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes! Pins left on the lines were “tacky”!

10. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next washed item.

11. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.

IRONED? Well, that’s a whole OTHER subject!

And now a POEM…

A clothesline was a news forecast, to neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep, when clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link, for neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by, to spend a night or two.

For then you’d see the “fancy sheets”, and towels upon the line;
You’d see the “company table cloths”, with intricate designs.
The line announced a baby’s birth, from folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes and diapers were hung, so carefully with pride!

The ages of the children could, so readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed, you’d know how much they’d grown!
It also told when illness struck, as extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe too, haphazardly were strung.

It also said, “On vacation now”, when lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged, with not an inch to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon, if wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows, and looked the other way.

But clotheslines now are of the past, for dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home, is anybody’s guess!
I really miss that way of life, it was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best… by what hung on the line.

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Give the Gift of Service

Give the Gift of ServiceHave you been looking to fill a void in your soul this holiday season? Well, you may want to consider giving the gift of service.

Sometimes the greatest gift you can give is service to others.

Our community is filled with volunteer organizations that can use your time, and your talents.

Here are just a few ideas:
Helping Joy to the Children on Christmas Day
Feeding the cats at Cats Angels
Fostering or walking the dogs at the Nassau Humane Society
Assist a local teacher in the classroom.
Help with the Book Sales that benefit our local library.
Teach a Sunday School Class

I saw somewhere recently that if you read to a child for only three hours a week it makes a huge improvement to their reading skills.

Many of the agencies and phone numbers for some wonderful organizations, located in Nassau County, Florida, are listed on the Volunteer Nassau website. Groups like local theatres, schools, art associations, pet advocates and more can be found HERE.

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What are the Rules to a Gunfight?

What are the Rules to a Gunfight?With many of my female friends getting their concealed weapons permits lately, I’ve read (and discussed) lots of options for the “rules” when you decide to pull your weapon.

The average response time of a 911 call is 23 minutes; the response time of a .357 is 1400 feet per second.

Here are some rules my mom received when she recently received her own concealed weapons permit:

ADVICE:
-Guns have only two enemies: rust and politicians.
-It’s always better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6
-Cops carry guns to protect themselves and you.
-Never let someone or something that threatens you get inside your arm’s length.
-Never say, “I’ve got a gun.” If you need to use deadly force, the first sound they hear should be the safety clicking off.
-You can say ‘stop’ or any other word, but a large bore muzzle pointed at someone’s head is pretty much a universal language.
-You cannot save the planet, but you may be able to save yourself and your family.

“History is written by the victors”
-Winston Churchill-

RULES OF THE GUNFIGHT:
-If you’re not shooting, you should be loading.
-If you’re not loading, you should be moving.
-If you’re not moving, you’re dead.
-Always win! There is no such thing as a fair fight.
-Make your attacker advance through a wall of bullets… you may get killed with your own gun, but he’ll have to beat you to death with it, ’cause it will be empty.
-In a life and death situation, do something … it may be wrong, but do something!
-Never leave an enemy behind. If you have to shoot, shoot to kill. In court, yours will be the only testimony.

“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading”
-Thomas Jefferson-

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How are you preparing your child to trust Gut Feelings?

Hunches Represent the Total Sum of our Wisdom

Hunches Represent the Total Sum of our Wisdom

We all have ‘gut feelings.’ Some of us just seem to recognize their presence more often than others do. Some even go a step further and actually learn to trust their gut feelings, using them as an internal personal assistant which helps in decision making. Having had many conversations with clients who come to me for mental training, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that most women and men admit to recognizing they have gut feelings. You can call it preconceived ideas, but I have been most surprised to hear so many of my male clients admit to having gut feelings. Because, basically, admitting to having gut feelings is like admitting to having intuition.

Wiktionary.org defines ‘gut feelings’ as ‘an instinct or intuition; an immediate or basic feeling or reaction without a logical rationale.’ Wikipedia.org immediately redirects the reader to ‘intuition,’ then defines it as ‘the apparent ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason.’ It continues to say, ‘Typically, intuition is regarded as a conscient commonality between earthly knowledge and the higher spiritual knowledge and appears as flashes of insight.’
So, when I hear a person admit to being aware of gut feelings, to me, he is admitting to recognizing he has intuition.

Who admits to using gut feelings?

Police officers can have a gut feeling that a suspect is holding a weapon or narcotic substances. A woman dating can have gut feelings regarding her safety when around a man she is meeting. A business man meeting a prospective partner can get a sense of that person’s intentions.
What a person is aware of is the fact that there is an internal feeling, be it positive or negative in nature, which signals to a person that what one is thinking, doing, or about to do is either conducive or not conducive to who one is or what one’s intentions are. This beacon reacts instantaneously and automatically, it is a signal emitted from a part of you which is incredibly wise and acutely aware of who you are, where you are (your present), where you have been (all your past experiences and what you have learned), and where you want to go (your desires for your future). It also has the impressive ability to immediately adapt when circumstances change, whether they are in thought, actions or one’s environment. Even though many recognize the presence of gut feelings, it is hard for a person to recognize the full extent of their power, as most have yet to trust them, let alone use them to assist one through life. We are born with and possess an intricate, highly efficient internal guidance system.
No man-made contraption comes close in its functioning or capabilities to that of a human internal guidance system. But still, let’s have a look at one invention which is similar in its function… a missile guidance system.

There are many different kinds of missile guidance systems, but, basically, the technology guides a missile to an intended target. That target can be moving or fixed. When the intention is to hit a target which is moving, the guidance system has three components: a target tracker, a missile tracker, and a guidance computer. One tracker must find and follow a target no matter where it goes. Another tracker must assess the where-abouts of the missile itself and the trajectory of its flight path. Then, a guidance computer, which has been programmed with the mission, must continually gather data and make necessary adjustments to the missile’s course. To reach the target efficiently and effectively, the following information is vital: What is the target, where is it at? Is the target fixed or moving? Where is the missile compared to the target? What path would be most efficient in getting the missile to the target?

Now let us relate this to our human guidance system. What is your target… your current desires, goals, and intentions for your life (these are based on the uniqueness of who you are, your preferences)? The target is moving because as you evolve and, as your life unfolds, you will find that your desires, goals, and intentions for your life evolve as well.
At the present moment, where are you in life compared to your current desires, goals, and intentions? What path and choices are most appropriate for you to accomplish your current desires, goals, and intentions; to live your ideal life, to live a life filled with joy? Your personal and unique guidance system offers you positive feelings when you are on the ‘right’ path for your present-day intentions, desires, and goals; and offers you negative feelings when you are off the path which is most suitable to your current intentions, desires, and goals.

Are you ready to make use of your highly qualified, efficient, dependable internal personal assistant? The first step is to define your target. Get to know yourself. Outline your current intentions, desires, and goals. Then, you can practice being awake and aware of your gut feelings. Start to trust them and make some decisions based on their guidance. Commit to the process, as it does take time and effort.

Once you understand and begin to practice these skills, pass the knowledge onto your children. Teaching them from a young age how powerful they are, how to be awake to their uniqueness and preferences, how to have goals and direction, how to look inward for their answers, and how to trust themselves and their natural, instinctual gut feelings which are always there to guide them through life.
Live In-Joy

Christmas Spirit

Mamma Cat Saves the Day

I was trying to find an appropriately humorous Christmas joke when I ran across this incredibly touching video about a mother cat in the Ukraine, who stopped for nothing to get her baby safely back home. For someone like me, who has no children of his own, the intensity of  a bond between a mother and her children has always been slightly mysterious and admittedly sometimes head-shakingly confusing. This little feline mother and her offspring has opened my eyes.

She never once wavered in the determination of what she needed to do. There was only one way to get back to safety for her child. And that’s what she focused on. Watch it. It’ll warm up your Christmas spirit.

Jaguars Foundation Supports Brunswick Teen Center

Jaguars Foundation Supports Brunswick Teen Center

By Stan Cottle

Amelia Island, FL – A grant from the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation is making it possible for teens to learn life skills in a new way.

In November, 2013, the innovative In Search of Me Café life skills program begins helping teens at the Elizabeth F. Correll Teen Center (ECTC) in Brunswick, Georgia.

“Through our JAGS Teen Talk program, the Jaguars Foundation promotes venues, such as In Search of Me Café, that support teens in making positive choices that lead to success, and avoid the pitfalls of risky behavior and poor choices that are obstacles to being successful.”
Peter M. Racine, President
Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation

The ECTC, a unit of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Georgia, is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built teen center that serves approximately 120 teens. The facility offers teens a wide range of enrichment opportunities including tutoring, leadership development, and with the addition of the In Search of Me Café program, life skills learning.

In Search of Me Café is a comprehensive, interactive, media-rich life skills learning program that helps today’s teens address problems, communicate thoughts and ideas in a like-minded social network, and seek outside help in finding solutions to issues such as bullying, peer pressure, self esteem, substance abuse, underage drinking and more.

Content for the curriculum-based program lives on a robust website that can be viewed at www.InSearchOfMeCafe.org.

Teens who participate in the In Search of Me Café program will learn how to approach difficult issues by asking questions and using the program’s content and resource links to discover they have the power to solve their own problems. The program intends to help teens live more productive lives, thereby reducing the substantial social and economic burden for communities in the future.

“We feel the best way to help teens manage their problems and prepare for focused, productive and fulfilling lives is to provide them with age specific, peer-to-peer methods for helping themselves.”
Stan Cottle, Founder/Director
In Search of Me, Inc.

In Search of Me Café is managed and operated by In Search of Me, Inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Florida. To learn how you can help teens, contact Stan Cottle at 904-476-4302, ccomstan@gmail.com or visit www.InSearchOfMeCafe.org.

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Authors Salute the U.S. Military with FREE Books

Authors Salute the U.S. Military with FREE BooksJacksonville, FL – To honor the men and women in uniform, and their spouses, the thriller-writing team of Gary Williams and Vicky Knerly are donating copies of their e-books to all active and retired members of the U.S. military, and their spouses, during this Holiday season.

“We wanted to recognize all the brave men and women who have served in the U.S. military and their spouses for the sacrifices they have made and will continue to make. We are a free country because of your unending dedication, commitment, and support. Please enjoy our stories and know that you have our heartfelt gratitude.” – Gary Williams & Vicky Knerly

Beginning November 18 and continuing through January 1, service members and their spouses can download FREE copies of novels by Williams and Knerly: Death in the Beginning, Three Keys to Murder, Before the Proof, and Manipulation, by going to:

williamsknerly.com/militaryappreciation1.aspx

…where download instructions are displayed.

About the authors:
Gary Williams lives in Jacksonville, Florida, with his wife and children. Williams has a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and writes full time. His father and two uncles served in the military during World War II. One uncle, Audre W. Markham, paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Vicky Knerly is a native of Syracuse, New York, has two sons, and resides on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Knerly has a bachelor’s degree in English and two masters’ degrees. She has won awards for her research-based writing, and works for a private university based in Melbourne, Florida, where she also teaches as an adjunct professor.

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The Seven Wonders of the World

Six Senses and the Power to Combine them

We all grew up with a vague impression of what constituted the Seven Wonders of the World. From history and geography lessons we learned that Egypt’s Pyramids were somehow part of it and then there was the Grand Canyon and the Wall of China.

Some of us got confused between whether or not The Eiffel Tower was one of them and since the habit of naming the Seven Wonders of the World dated back to our early public school system, we were fairly certain the Panama Canal and Rome’s St.Pieter had been added at some point.

So when a teacher in the Netherlands in her annual quest for the Seven Wonders, asked her students to each make a list of 7 sites, the answers she collected back with few exceptions returned pretty much the same order as it has done for decades:

1. Egypt’s Pyramids
2. The Taj Mahal
3. The Grand Canyon
4. The Panama Canal
5. The Empire State Building
6. The St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome
7. The Great Wall of China

And while collecting the sheets the teacher noticed that one girl was still bent over her paper, so she asked if she could help her. “Well it’s difficult,” the student said, “there are so many wonders of the world.”

Okay said the teacher, up for a challenge that would take the class away from the obvious outcome: “Tell us what you’re thinking off and let’s see if we can help you value them as wonders of the world.”

The girl hesitantly replied: “Well I think the 7 Wonders of the World are:
1. Seeing
2. Hearing
3. Feeling
4. Tasting
5. Smelling
6. Smiling and
7. Loving

The entire class broke out in silence and deep consideration when she added: “All these ‘things’ are so simple and unassuming, that we too easily forget how magical they are.” The most valuable things in life cannot be built or bought.

Remembering my own experience some 55 years ago when classroom confronted with the results of the list for the Seven Wonders of the World, I recall asking: “why is the Grand Canyon on the list“. Not because it is not a magnificent panorama, but because I figured it was the only one on the list not man-made! My teacher had called it a smart observation. Looking back I wished I had had the wisdom of understanding life’s simplicity and beauty like this little girl.
A beautiful message to share and appreciate before the Holiday Season once again will lure us into massive spending on “stuff” we don’t need.

Not Everyone is a Barista

Yamamoto makes all his latte art in under four minutes

It is often said that Starbucks made the word Barista a household name. Maybe, but the word was in existence long before Starbucks became a brand-name in the 1980s. In its origin it’s Italian for bartender, but these days it is mainly if not exclusively used in combination with the art of making good espresso and all its derivatives such as cappucino, latte, macchiatto .

Now it would be easy to make this story short by saying a ‘barista’ is just a fancy word for someone who prepares coffee and operates an espresso machine in a chain coffee shop. And granted most often that would be enough to describe most baristi. However it would sadly not take into consideration that in true espresso loving countries being a barista is a career, rather than a job between high school and climbing corporate employment ladders.
Have you ever wondered in a good restaurant how some waiters and waitresses can spell you a 3 minute list of specials with all accoutrements and sauces into smallest detail, while others can merely point at the specials menu?

Just as some taxi drivers turn out ambassadors for their city with lots of historical, entertaining and business information to share, while others just want to be left alone as they take you from A to B, in many so-called menial jobs, the cream of the crop stands out with amazing clarity. And in the world of baristi (Italian plural for barista) one such example of magnificence is Kazuki Yamamoto, a Japanese barista who constructs eye-popping works of 3D art using just foam and espresso. To underline his popularity, within the six years Yamamoto has been working at a coffee shop in Osaka, he’s racked up more than 100,000 Twitter followers obsessed with his latte art.

Yamamoto says he only uses two very common objects — a spoon and a toothpick — to create all of his art. He pours the foam in first, then uses the toothpick to paint with espresso and the spoon to create shapes.

Now you may be of the opinion, why bother creating a masterpiece if it’s going to disappear down someone’s throat in just minutes? And in our fast world of driven accomplishment, you will find a lot of support for that stance. But that would also entirely deny that ephemeral art has its roots in traditional Japanese aesthetics such as the concepts of wabi-sabi and mono-no-aware, which hold that “many things are beautiful precisely because they are short lived!”
It’s the way of nature also. Butterflies, just like cherry blossoms light up nature for about 2 weeks every year and there is the emotional poignancy of knowing that it is only a temporary state of affairs.

Yamamoto must work quickly to satisfy customers’ desires for a fresh cup of delight. He claims he completes each work of art in under four minutes, so the coffee is still hot when he serves it and those who have seen him work confirm.

2013 Great American Smokeout

2013 Great American SmokeoutWe are about one week away from the 2013 Great American Smokeout. It was two years ago when I chose to play along and not smoke on the third Thursday of November.

About a week before the event, I decided I would go ahead and quit on that day! So I prepared myself emotionally and began cutting back on the nicotine.

So here is your one week “heads-up” from me to you, if you are looking for a gentle nudge to get thinking seriously about giving up cigarettes for good.

Mark your calendar now for November 21, 2013, and if you need a little motivation, hit us up on facebook for tips and motivational support!

Good luck!!!

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Veterans Get FREE Haircut at Great Clips

Veterans Get FREE Haircut at Great ClipsGreat Clips, the world’s largest hair salon, is launching its “Thank a Veteran” promotion on Veteran’s Day this year.

On November 11, active or retired military members can walk into any U.S. Great Clips and get a free hair cut OR pick up a free haircut card they can redeem for a free haircut through the end of 2013. Great Clips leaders say the gesture is one small thank-you for our veterans’ service to country.

Shears Salute
On Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, customers who come in for a haircut at any U.S. Great Clips salon will receive a free haircut card to give to an active/inactive/retired military member of any branch, including the National Guard. Military members can also come in on Veterans Day for a free haircut or to pick up a free haircut card to use, with proof of service, any day before Dec. 31, 2013.

“We’re honored to help the entire nation show appreciation for the men and women who have served our country,” says Great Clips CEO, Rhoda Olsen, who is married to a Vietnam veteran. “We invite everyone to come into a U.S. Great Clips salon on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) to purchase a service and pick up a free haircut card. Give the card to your veteran neighbor, family member or just someone you notice is a veteran to thank them for serving our country. It’s one small way to show you truly care and appreciate their service.”

How It Works:
• Customers come into any U.S. Great Clips salon on Nov. 11 and, with the purchase of a service, receive a free haircut card to give to a veteran.
• Limit one card per customer (while supplies last).
• The free haircut cards are redeemable by veterans at any U.S. Great Clips from Nov. 11 – Dec. 31, 2013 with proof of service. The promotion applies to veterans only.
• Veterans who visit Great Clips in the U.S. on Nov. 11 receive either a free haircut that day or a free haircut card to redeem by Dec. 31. After Nov. 11, veterans must have a free haircut card to get the free haircut.

“Many of our franchise owners, corporate staff and Great Clips stylists have served in the military, or have family members or customers who have served, so we are all excited to be a part of this nationwide ‘thank-you’ to our men and women in uniform,” says Terri Miller, Great Clips vice president of marketing & communications. “To make sure as many veterans as possible have the opportunity to get their free haircut, we extended this promotion through the end of the year. We want to give these great people more time to visit a Great Clips and redeem this thank-you card for a free haircut in honor of their service.”

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Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas ChildIt’s time to pack a Christmas shoebox! Operation Christmas Child is underway and they are asking families to pack a shoebox (or more if you’re able) to add to this ministry outreach.

Each year, Operation Christmas Child collects gift-filled shoeboxes to be sent around the world along with a the Gospel message in the recipient’s native tongue.

Collection week runs Sunday November 17 through Sunday November 24th, the week before Thanksgiving.

Simply get a shoebox, fill it with gifts, and drop it off.

1. Shoebox
Use an empty cardboard or plastic shoebox (average size). You can wrap the box, lid separately, but wrapping is not required.

2. Boy or Girl
Decide whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Download and print the appropriate boy/girl label HERE. Mark the correct age category and tape the label to the top of your box.

3. Fill With Gifts
Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child.

4. Include $7 Donation Per Box
Help cover shipping and other costs related to delivering your shoeboxes to children overseas by donating $7.00 for each gift you prepare. You can give online to discover the destination of your box. Or, you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on the memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the items inside your shoebox. If you are preparing multiple gifts, please make one combined donation.

Note: Follow Your Box is only available through online giving and you can track the destination of your box by going online to www.samaritanspurse.org.

Operation Christmas Child is about kids reaching kids… a great way for families to share the love of Christ with another child in a very tangible way.

Drop your boxes off at The Relay Center located in the Food Outreach Center Of The Journey Church. Located directly across A1A from Chic Fil A at 96064 Victoria’s Place (Next to Atlantic Self Storage).

Relay Center collection hours:
Mon – Fri (18th-22nd) 3 – 6pm
Sat (23rd) 10am – Noon
Sun (24th) Noon – 3pm

To learn more, Operation Christmas Child will be featured at the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers’ market on Saturday, November 9th, and you will be able to drop off your boxes at the farmers markt Sturday November 16, 2013.

If you’d like to volunteer or if you have more questions, please call Laura Beasley at (904) 261-1222.

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Sunday Funday Funnies

I took this shot of an AA plane flying into St.Maarten in 1990

Got an hour more today as Daylight Savings turns back to normal (Thanks to Ben Franklin’s folly) and while my friend Joe Bonamassa is filling my speakers with songs from his 4 DVD Set Tour de Force he did earlier this year in London, I want to share a couple of funny picture galleries, videos and stories I find in my email inbox daily.

By the way I hope this is not what happened to you this morning when the  Alarm Clock was mistaken.

How much music you can still make with what you have left

The first one is a story I can relate to as a string musician. It describes Itzhak Perlman, the world renown Israeli born violinist, conductor and music pedagogue who reportedly had to doubly overcome his polio handicap during a concert at the Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York in November of 1995. Even though this story was published by the Houston Chronicle in 2001, it turned out to be a hoax as can be found on Snopes. But beyond that as a string musician I can attest the challenge of playing leads on less than the usual number of strings on an instrument. When I push a B or G string too far in a blues bend and it breaks, the rest of the song becomes a matter of transposing and rephrasing instantly. A true challenge of the mind. But moreover the message of this story is so heart warming that I decided to share it with you:

On November 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, world renowned violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

He walks awkwardly, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair.  He sits down, slowly puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his leg braces, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward.  Then he bends down, picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and begins to play.
His audience is used to this ritual.  They sit quietly while he makes his way across the state to his chair.  They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs.  And they patiently wait until he is ready to play.

This particular time, just as Itzhak Perlman finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke.  You could hear it snap – it went of like gunfire across the room.  There was no mistaking what that sound meant.  There was no mistaking what he had to do. (What follows is actually the weak part of the story). The audience figured Itzhak Perlman would have to get up, put on the clasps, pick up the crutches and limp his way offstage to either find another violin or find another string for this one, and they would have waited patiently for him to do so.

Instead, he paused a moment, closed his eyes, and then signaled the conductor to begin again.
Of course, everyone in the audience knew that it is virtually impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings.  But that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that.

The orchestra began and Itzhak Perlman played from where he had left off.  He played with a passion, a power, and a purity they had never heard before.
You could see him modulating, changing, and re-composing the piece in his head.  At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to elicit sounds they had never made before.  When he finished, there was absolute silence in the room.  Then the audience  rose as one and cheered.  It was truly an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of Avery Fisher Hall.  The entire audience was on its feet cheering and whistling and doing everything they could to show how much they appreciated what Itzhak Perlman  had achieved that night.

He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his bow to quiet the audience and said in a quietly distinct tone:  “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”
Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he made music with those three strings and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more memorable, than any he had ever made before.

Why did the police stop him?

My friend Eric retired to the Panamanian Highlands in 2005. Before his retirement he was Holland’s top law enforcement officer, which is probably why he noticed instantly the reason why this motorist with his beautiful by-rider in Paris was stopped by the gendarmes, as he send me the following picture show yesterday.

That’s right. The police stopped them because she took the helmet off!!!

A funny Dutch Commercial

Click on the link below

I have something in my garden you don’t


November celebrates National Adoption Month

November celebrates National Adoption MonthNovember celebrates National Adoption Month across the country. The month focuses on raising awareness about adoption, educating communities about the challenges and myths around adopting children, and draws attention to thousands of children in foster care who need good homes.

If you’re thinking about adopting a child:
-Educate yourself on common adoption myths and how to make the process the easiest for you.
-Know that on average, it takes a year from the time you contact an adoption agency to the time a child is placed with you.
-Remember there are several steps in the adoption process, including: completing an adoption home study, getting approved, and being matched with a child.
-Have appropriate expectations and avoid judgments based on information you’ve read.

Learn more about adoption in the United States visit THIS LINK.

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