On Thanksgiving 2016

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

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!!!!

UPDATE: (Marked out down through Tim)

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

On to 2015

A New Year’s greetings to all!!!

Although I’ve been posting and replying to comments, sorry that I haven’t been visiting much. Break has been good, but I will return to your wonderful blogs very soon. This post is similar to the Opinions in the Shorts assortment, but without the opinions.

2014 was a year of several milestones (150oth post, 200,000th visit, and 5000th follower) – the later is relatively meaningless because most of them don’t visit after following. On the downside, my consecutive streak of years Freshly Pressed ended at two, stats are way down (that’s OK because I enjoy this and my commenters), and I fell short of 50,000th comment (which should be early in 2015).

Many thanks to all my visitors, especially those who comment. Cheers to my top 5 commenters (according to WP): Lame, Elyse, Val, Carrie, & Marina!!! A special shout-out to Catherine because I don’t think WP counts her.

For those who enjoy looking at the annual reports, here’s mine.

Closing the year requires a touch from The Onion.

Celebrations to start your year

  • (Thurs) Bad Hangover Day, Mummers Parade Day, Euro Day, Commitment Day, Bowling Day, Copyright Law Day, Beanie Babies Day, First Foot Day, Global Family Day, Bloody Mary Day, New Year’s Dishonor List Day, Polar Bear Plunge Day, Z Day
  • (Fri) Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Day, Happy Mew Year for Cats Day, Swiss Cheese Day, Cream Puff Day, Science Fiction Day, Pet Travel Safety Day,  Buffet day, Motivation & Inspiration Day, 55 mph Speed Limit Day, Boo Boo Bear Day, Run up the Flagpole to See if Anyone Salutes Day
  • (Sat) Drinking Straw Day, Fruitcake Toss Day, J.R.R. Tolkien Day, Remember You Die Day, Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, Women Rock Day, Festival of Sleep Day, Write to Congress Day, Humiliation Day, Brooklyn Bridge Day
  • (Sun) Pop Music Chart Day, Tom Thumb Day, Trivia Day, Spaghetti Day, Appendectomy Day, Blender Day, Roller Skates Day, Free Flower Basket Day, Dimpled Chad Day

The next post will feature January, then followed by one or two Explore posts before returning to the normal routine. I’m thinking about doing more Explore topics in the future, so I will gladly consider your recommendations. Any ideas?

To keep 2015 on a positive track, I’ll announce the theme for the next act of Life: The Musical on the upcoming Monday Morning Entertainment.

When I heard these songs from the past the other day, I immediately thought they are fitting for the occasion. After all, let’s go into the new year with a some bounce in our steps.

Happy New Year everyone … and cheers to a positive life in 2015!!!!

On Good and Goodness – 2014

Good – an adjective, noun, or adverb – and this is the season of goodness.

Good is a word that transcends the globe in many languages and customs. Through a smile, music, a dance, and many other ways, good touches all and has a way to communicate across language barriers. Do you remember Matt?

Good – a desire or approval … as in living in peace with each other

Good – as in pleasing and welcoming

Good – kind, kindhearted, good-hearted, thoughtful, generous, charitable, magnanimous, gracious

Good – as in showing kindness and respect

Good – something produced for use by others

Good – as in appropriate, fitting, and adherence

Good – meaning valid, valued, treasured

Good – a quality emphasizing the best, finest, and nicest – or considerable, sizable, substantial, appreciable, and significant

Good – displaying or possessing a virtuous moral value – thus virtuous, righteous, upright, upstanding, moral, ethical, high-minded, and principled

Good – respectful, well-behaved, obedient, dutiful, polite, courteous, moral, righteous, and with integrity, virtue, and goodness

Good – referring to the positive qualities of a group of people

We need to reach that happy stage of our development when differences and diversity are not seen as sources of division and distrust, but of strength and inspiration. (Josefa Iloilo)

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. (Dalai Lama)

Goodness is the only investment that never fails. (Henry David Thoreau)

Dream that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion. (Desmond Tutu)

I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others. (Muhammad Ali)

Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it. (Pablo Casals)

I keep up enough with news to know that the world is not lacking bad news. Whether wars, human strife, harm, or killings, many of events are based on culture, religion, politics, race,and quest of power for imposing one set of values while stifling others. Nonetheless, my belief in humanity remains steady.

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

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

Even with all the bad news, I remain convinced that the majority of the world is good. After all, these are people who go about their daily life, and communicate across languages with smiles, dance, music, kindness, and acceptance … and yes, the bloggers at WordPress that I encounter also serve as ambassadors of humanity’s goodness – thus supporting my belief.

Yes, it’s the Christmas season, which is an important occasion for we Christians .. and festive time emphasizing good. However, goodness is a quality continually exhibited many Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, secular humanists, atheists, agnostics, and many other religions throughout the world … so to me, Santa Claus is a figure of good that transcends all cultures – thus not bound to Christianity.

In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you regularly deliver to me. Yes, you are good. Happy Holidays to everyone … and to my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas to you!

But, one question … Which of the musical and visual gifts in this post did you enjoy?

On the 2014 Gift Basket Party

Welcome to my 2014 Holiday/Christmas Party for my friends, their guests, and whoever stops by!

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 that is in spite of all the crap we get from the news each and every day … so peace and goodwill to the global community of goodness!

My wish is for guests to get a gift and mingle with others – which also means gifts can be traded! Then again, it may be the perfect gift for someone you know.

Plus, there’s more …. Santa will arrive around 3:00 PM Sunday (Eastern US) to allow everyone to state their wishes. He’ll be in the Comments, so reply to him there.

The Comments area will also serve as the Entertainment Stage, so stay tuned.

This is going to be a bit crazy for both readers and hosts, so I request your patience!

Overview

  • Behind each number is a surprise gift.
  • Only one gift per person.
  • Once the number (gift) is taken, it’s no longer available (next note is important)
  • While I hope to strike-through taken numbers, I must sleep and run errands – so I request readers check the comments before taking a number. (See the Update note above the numbers for my strike-through 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).
  3. Tell everyone about your gift.
  4. If necessary, bargain a trade with someone else.

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

HolidayGiftBag

UPDATED through David Funk

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