On Thanksgiving 2017

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Today (Thursday 23 November 2017) we in the USA celebrate Thanksgiving – a day of fun, feast, family, and fellowship. Bountiful Thanksgiving wishes to all.

On this day, I want to give thanks for a few things … OK … just a dozen.

I’m thankful for WordPress providing a platform for linking me to others across the world.

I’m thankful for encountering so many bloggers from across the globe who reinforce my belief that the majority of humanity is good. After all, goodness does not have boundaries.

I’m thankful for YouTube as a platform for everything and anything video, which allows me to share so much with others.

I’m thankful for first responders, caretakers, volunteers, and support staff who are there for the marginalized in any way: the disabled, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the abused, the poor, the suffering, the oppressed, and more.

I’m thankful for the good people I’ve encountered in life through work, neighborhood, church, community, school, events, and more because being around positive people is essential for a good life.

I’m thankful for my senses that allow me to experience the grand nature of creation.

I’m thankful for the ability to learn because the byproduct of learning differentiates stupidity, ignorance, and knowing.

I’m thankful for getting older because I am wiser than ever – therefore I don’t believe in going backwards.

I’m thankful for my Italian roots – and the attraction it gives me to a land afar.

I’m thankful for my wife – for her love, trust, support, companionship, and more for 42+ years of courtship and marriage.

I’m thankful for the existence of joy, happiness, and smiles – along with the many ways they can be attained.

I’m thankful that I don’t get tired of this video because it speaks volume to me about my belief in people.

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On Transitioning to 2017

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2016 is about to end, and we will usher in 2017 … so a toast to you – my readers and those in your life.

To peace, good health, and smiles.

To good people in our lives and the goodness throughout the world

To the kindness and generosity that people are willing to share.

To the people here in this WordPress community that bring me joy.

Salute! Yamas! Proost! Skål! Sei gesund! A la votre! Şerefe! Gān bēi! Terviseks! Kippis! Salut! Cheers! … and take your pick below. (Of course, I want to know your choice). 🙂

On a 2016 Season of Lights

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A candle is a small thing.
But one candle can light another.
And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other.
You are such a light.
Moshe Davis and Victor Ratner

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Such a short poem, yet so profound in many ways … and even better in the season of the lights. On the religious side of 2016, Christians and Jews have celebrations on December 24th – Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah. Three days earlier was another day that provides spirituality for many – the Winter Solstice. Toss in the fact that Christmas also serves as a secular celebration for many, these days impact many.

To me, Santa Claus is a symbol that crosses all cultures – all people – simply because he is the symbol of goodness. After all, goodness across the world as it transcends religions, languages, cultures, skin colors, gender, ages, sexual orientations, and even politics.

As my regulars know well, I enjoy using videos in many of my posts. In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you give me through your interaction here and for your posts. Even through all the craziness in the world, the good feed off each other.

Enjoy any or all of the music selections of the season that are below … but I appreciate knowing which you enjoyed … so stay as long as you wish.

For all who find peace and renewal through the Winter Solstice.

For all finding the light shining bright through the night.

For all who appreciate the music of the season done a different way A few weeks ago we heard – Little Drummer Boy done to the rhythms of Ravel’s Bolero.

For the many regulars here who enjoy The Piano Guys … (I had to include them.)

For all who appreciate the music of other cultures (This one has stuck with me ever since I saw this in person many years ago).

For the fans of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who meld their words with the beauty of Pachelbel’s Canon.

For all who find awe and wonder in deep space with this classic.

For all attracted to one of the most beautiful natural lights of the season – the Aurora Borealis – and set to my favorite version of a classic tune of the season.

Whether it be Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever greeting you prefer, I issue a greeting of your choosing for the season … plus Peace and Joy to all!

On Thanksgiving 2016

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After an election process that has been too long, too costly, and too damn goofy, the election has tested our spirits and patience. While some are upset, others gloat. While some cautiously watch, some don’t worry – even though they are leery.

My Thanksgiving wish for 2016 is that everyone enjoy the gathering. Don’t talk politics, but enjoy the company. Don’t talk politics, but enjoy the food and beverages. Don’t talk politics, but enjoy laughter. Don’t talk politics, but enjoy the little things. Don’t talk politics, but be thankful for all the good people in the world. Don’t talk politics, so smile and be kind – after all, you probably have a lot to be thankful for.

Safe travels for those who will spend time on the road. To those who don’t have family gatherings, peace to you. Happy Thanksgiving … and I’m thankful for all the good people I’ve encountered on my little corner of the world.

There’s got to be a song for you below. Which did you pick? …. and you can have more than one. 🙂

On to 2016

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As we move from 2015 to 2016, a toast …

To kindness, love, and patience … to family, friends, and the good people we don’t know …

To sincerity, honesty, and integrity … to prudence, justice, and restraint …

To generosity, gratitude, and humility… to joy, laughter, and friendliness …. to the positive, the compassionate, the brave, and the humble … and to the majority of the world that is good.

Wishing good health and happiness for all.

Salute! Yamas! Proost! Skål! Sei gesund! A la votre! Şerefe! Gān bēi! Terviseks! Kippis! Salut! Cheers!

On the Spirit of Christmas 2015

Although the daily news goes against these thoughts, but I truly believe the following:

  • The majority of people in the world are good.
  • Smiles are the universal language that crosses all language and cultural barriers.
  • Kindness is the universal action that everyone appreciates.

These points are constantly in my head when volunteering at the English Second Language (ESL) classes – especially with Arabs and Muslims. For me, Matt Harding’s videos support my thoughts. After all, all one has to do is watch the faces in the video. Maybe that’s part of the reason this video frequently waters my eyes.

You may wonder what this has to do with the Christmas season, but (to me) it demonstrates an important essence of the holiday season in today’s world.

Yes, Christmas is a Christian holiday … and yes, I’m a Christian. While some complain about the secular and commercial aspect by proclaiming “put Christ back into Christmas”, my contrarian nature sees another view. For those embracing that mantra, I say go for it – but not at the expense of others because the spirit of Christmas is for everyone.

Besides its religious significance, Christmas is also a celebration of goodness: The goodness that ties the entire human race. The goodness that crosses all geographic and cultural boundaries, including language and religion. The goodness that is for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Sikhs, and all other religions. The goodness is for all ages, all genders, all races, and all sexual orientations … simply the goodness for all people everywhere.

Yes, the roots of Santa Claus lie deep within Christianity. From St. Nicholas (Nicholas of Myra), other traditions developed as baby Christkindl (eventually Kris Kringle), Father Christmas, and Sinterklaas. Europeans brought these traditions (and others) to the United States that serve as the foundation for Christmas today.

Several events in mid-to-late 1800s helped morph Santa: mainly Thomas Nast’s version of Santa in Harper’s Weekly, and Clement Clayton Moore’s icon poem, The Night Before Christmas.

Although Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and various Norman Rockwell paintings helped transform Santa’s image in the early 1900s, it was artist Haddon Sundblom’s portrayals of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola that cemented the image of Santa Claus that we embrace today. From 1931-1964, Sundblom’s Santa served as a brilliant marketing total for the beverage company giant.

All along the journey from Nicholas of Myra to the modern-day Santa, goodness is the common theme. Santa Claus is the spirit of Christmas – the one who portrays goodness and kindness to all. If goodness is for everyone, it seems logical to me that everyone can celebrate Christmas. Santa Claus is the one who sees kindness across cultures, religions, races, and languages. After all, the majority of us want kindness, plus peace and goodwill for all.

In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you regularly give to me. Thank you for helping me maintain my faith in humanity. One hand is sufficient in counting the number of visitors here I’ve physically met, but I am sure of one thing – You are the good of Santa’s spirit.

For my video gifts to you, enjoy two version of Silent Night. The first by Mannheim Steamroller accompanied by beautiful displays from the night sky is one of my long-time favorites. For those preferring a singer, Placido Domingo joins The Piano Guys.

Merry Christmas to those who accept Santa as the spirit of Christmas … Happy Holiday to those preferring that greeting … and to my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas to you.

Peace to all.

2015 aFa Holiday Blog Party

Welcome to my 2015 Holiday Party for my friends, their guests, and whoever stops by this weekend!

In the spirit of the holiday season, this gathering is for everyone: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, and others. I say everyone because I’m a firm believer that the majority of the world is good – and in spite of all the crap we get from the news each and every day, the WordPress community helps prove my point … so peace and goodwill to the global community of goodness!

My wish is for guests get a gift and mingle with others – which also means gifts can be traded!

Come back to mingle with the guest and watch available entertainment.

This is going to be a bit crazy for both readers and your host, so I request your patience! … but make sure you read the Overview and Directions below the next video.

Overview

  • Behind each number is a surprise gift. *
  • Once the number (gift) is taken, it’s no longer available (so state your number in the comment)’
  • While I hope to strike-through taken numbers, I do have to sleep and run errands – so I request readers check the comments for taken numbers. (See the Update note above the numbers for my progress).

Directions

  1. Pick (click) an available number for your surprise gift.
  2. In your comment, type your number (hopefully on its own line so all can see it) and tell everyone about your gift.

Positive cheers to all in the spirit goodness for the season! Have fun!!!!

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UPDATE: (Marked out down through Tim)

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DogElf

* Gifts selected by visitors are for amusement purposes only, thus never intended for the host to purchase and send to those selecting.