On Somethings New

Click for instrumental music to provide a background for this post.

Those who have watched The Price is Right are familiar with the phrase, “It’s a new car!” For me, It’s a new header! Images from deep space are very meaningful to me – thus a reason why I continue to use them. This one is of the Orion Nebula from the European Southern Observatory. See the Past Headers page for a history of the headers here. On the other hand, the second new item is worthy of an explanation.

Blogging resembles real life in multiple ways. I’ve always said that the most important decision one makes in life is their choice of people to be around. Blogging is the same way as each of us attract certain types of people – plus we visit certain types of people.

Blogging is also like real life because encounters vary in time. People can suddenly appear, but also vanish as quickly. Others remain loyal for extended time. Why one hosts or visits a blog vary – sometimes known, other times unknown. I think life’s encounters as converging lines whereas some remain close for a long period of time while others are brief encounters that are brought together, then quickly separate.

My links to bloggers were in three different places, thus became inefficient – so I took some time to think about those links and a way to organize them. As everyone knows, there is no one way, but it is important to have a way.

Many of the bloggers who have vanished came to mind. Paulette is from my first year as we interacted in the time leading up to the 2008 presidential election. Starla comes to mind as we frequently chatted to start our mornings. Les (@Best Bathroom Books) was a hoot, and I miss his wit. Even after he stopped blogging, his occasional comments made me smile. Tim Valentine was one who cut to the core in his thoughts.

I recall getting the word that Third Stone from the Sun suddenly died (in his 40s), but at least I knew what happened. Same with Larry (Nutball Gazette).

Others have stopped blogging for whatever reason. While Noeleen, White Lady from the Hood, and others no longer display their blogs – but the blogs from Terry, Rose, Mags, and more are accessible, but remain dormant.

Others have passed through these pages, hung around a while, then move on. Some bloggers are regular commenters, while others frequently visit without commenting. One doesn’t know when other will drop by, but when they do, I smile. There are also those who frequently visit without commenting.

With the above said, I encourage everyone to visit my new BlogRoll page, which accompanies changes on the sidebar. Odds are good that I’ve forgotten someone or provide some incorrect or incomplete information – so feel free to let me know.

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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DogElf

On a Break Time

A partial list of a blogger’s struggles:

  • Lack of writing time
  • Inability to keep up with reading others
  • Slow responding to comments
  • Throwing together a post

Yep … that’s me at the moment. I don’t need recharging time, I simply need to get take care of matters at hand. Therefore, I’m taking a break from regular posting … but hopefully not from visiting and keeping in touch. I don’t know how long, but I do know this is the right thing to do. Then again, I just may sneak something in.

I can’t leave you without some of the week’s best from The Onion.

  • Study finds “Blame” now fastest human reflex
  • Seventh grader only has two weeks left to acquire cool identity by first day of school
  • Sex toy discreetly shipped in plain dildo-shaped box
  • Date’s flaws coming at woman faster than she can rationalize them
  • Report:Average American spends 27% of lifetime in the way
  • Exxon-Mobil and Chevron locked in bidding war to acquire senator

I also know you want some reasons to celebrate this weekend.

  • (Weekend) Kool Aid Days, Hobo Days
  • (Fri) The Date to Create Day, Happiness Happens Day, Cat Day, Oldie Day, Sneak some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night, Art Day, Frozen Custard Day
  • (Sat) Bowling Day, Garage Sale Day, Veep Day, Indigenous People Day, Send an Email Day, Rice Pudding Day, Hold Hands Day
  • (Sun) Duran Duran Day, Skyscraper Appreciation Day, Smithsonian Day, S’Mores Day, Paul Bunyan Day, Lazy Day, Family Day, Spoil Your Dog Day, Lion Day

But let’s break with a sing-a-long song … and one that wasn’t part of the last Life: The Musical, but it is a classic. So, until next time, belly up to the bar and clean your pipes to sing along … plus, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Virginia and Santa Claus

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

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

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Yes, Virginia, when I was your age, I believed in Santa – then I questioned – and then I did not believe for a long time – but I was older when I realized Santa Claus is real.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to a Christian holiday, but because of Santa, many celebrate Christmas who aren’t Christians.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is important because he is a spirit for all of humanity. He’s not White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian … He may be all of those or whoever someone wants him to be because Santa is for everyone.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to St. Nicholas (a Christian saint), but the gift of giving and kindness is important to not just to Christians, but to Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Secular Humanists, and all the religions of all the people throughout the big, wonderful world.

Yes, Virginia, some loudly complain about a war on Christmas, buy they do not give Santa much credit.

Yes, Virginia, in the spirit of Santa Claus, I want to give gifts to my readers and anyone who visits this post because I believe there are so many good people throughout the world – and kindness is something all of us have in common.

Yes, Virginia, I want anyone to take as many gifts under this tree as the they want – as long as they tell me in a comment – and they can return as often as they want for more! Yes Virginia, giving is important.

To my fellow Christian friends, Merry Christmas – and we also know what else we are celebrating – and that is important to us to remember.

To all, may the spirit kindness of the holiday season touch each of you … and thanks for all of your doses of Santa kindness that you deliver to my little corner of the world throughout the year and in the time to come.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is about Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All!

christmas-tree2
Many of us are grown up now, but Michael Buble shares a Grown Up Christmas List through clips of classic movies about the holidays.

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This Bing Crosby classic song is a wonderful tradition.

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Lights are one of the joys of the season, so here’s a house serving as a background to an acoustic guitar version of The First Noel by Trans Siberian Orchestra

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Several years ago, Lynn (Composer in the Garden) wrote Father Time, and this is a good opportunity to share her spirit of the season.

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To many, handbells are a sound of the season. Here is a fast-paced version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with interesting techniques that our choir is playing Christmas Eve. (Start at 1:15 in the video)

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Here’s some Christmas flavor from a local legend. Like her famous nephew George, the late Rosemary Clooney’s roots are Cincinnati. Her Christmas Mem’ries will rekindle your memories.

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I find Where Are You Christmas? by The Piano Guys to be special music that is fitting for this post.

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… and their Carol of the Bells is outstanding.

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For the dancers in the crowd, a spin around the floor to the Christmas Waltz promises to deliver smiles.

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A post like this must include on piece of humor, thus so cheers to the Star Trek spin on a holiday favorite.

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A Fire for You (John Boswell) delivers beautiful music to for the Winter Solstice and the season.

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The universe is a spectacular place, and its wonders continue to amaze me. Enjoy a trip through the universe through the Hubble telescope accompanied by a piano version of Oh Holy Night.

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Manheim Steamroller’s version of Silent Night is not only one of my favorite joys of the season, it is also very calming and accompanied by beautiful images.

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For those wanting to celebrate the sounds of Christmas through voices, Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins are wonderful together … and yes Virginia, I believe.

On the AFA Holiday Gift Party

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

I’ve never done a post like this before, but it was fun to put together. Below the image are gifts for many of the faces here and bloggers I visit. These people come not only different parts of the world, but from different cultures and belief systems. They are Christians, Jews, Muslim, Atheists, Agnostics, and others, yet each of them is part of a global community of goodness – so peace and goodwill to all!

The elf below has the gifts. (Quite the helper wouldn’t you say?) There is an order in the listings, but you may have to look around.

If your name isn’t listed, I apologize – so open one of the Grab Bags at the end. Your choice!

Because others want to know what you got, please tell about your gift in the comments. You never know, someone may want to trade with you! After all, I don’t believe there are duplicates.

I encourage everyone to comment about the gift of others. After all, parties involve good conversations.

If you see someone who you know and they haven’t arrived, please notify them to drop by for their present because I didn’t use any ping-back methods as a reminder.

FYI: Different entertainment will appear in the comments throughout the day.

A reminder to stop by for annual Christmas Eve treats of wonder. After all, it will be the one-year anniversary of the 2012 edition that was Freshly Pressed.

Positive cheers to all in the spirit goodness for the season … and thanks for reinforcing my belief system that there are many good people in the world.

Don’t forget to get the T-shirt before you leave. It’s at the end of the post.

DogElf

Thanks to Russell Deasley for this

Al @ A Mixed Bag
Alex @ Things I Love
Alisha @ AbTwixt
Angela @ Mind Margins
Annie @ World According to Cuttlefish
Amy @ Bumble Files
Archon @ Archon’s Den
Audra @ Unfettered BS

Brenda @ Friendly Fairy Tales
BuddhaKat @ BuddhaKat
Bulldog @ The Photographic Journey of the Bulldog

Carrie @ The Write Transition
Catherine @ Always a Redhead
Cathy @ Large Self
Cayman @ Drinks Well with Others
Cindy @ Cindy Knoke Photography
Claudine @ Giovannoni Claudine
Colline @ Colline’s Blog

Debra @ Bagni di Lucca & Beyond
Debra @ Breathe Lighter
Deborah @ Airports Made Simple
Deborah Closet Monster
Don in Mass
D-Fae @ Among the Crystals, Dragons, and Fae

Eleanor @ How and the Hell did I End Up Here?
Elyse @ Fifty-Four and a Half

Fasab @ Fasab
Frank @ Trail Life Hike

Georgette @ Georgette Sullins
GFB at GingerFightBack … with special guest Oily George
Guapo @ Guapola
Gull @ The Magnifique Way

Hansi @ The Blithering Idiot
Hood @ White Lady in the Hood
Hudson @ Hudson Howl

Isadora @ Inside the Mind of Isadora

Jackie @ Breathing to Write
Java Girl @ Java Girl’s Life
Jeff @ Drunken Cyclist
Jim @ The JAR Blog
Jim W @ Still Skeptical After All These Years
Joe H @ London Survival
John in Athens @ The Daily Gaff
John E @ Commentality – Lotsa Comments
John H @ Fiction Favorites
John Phillips @ Is It Possible to See It All
Jules @ McCrabass

Kathy Sister-in-Law
Kathy @ Reinventing in Ecuador
Kayjai @ Kayjai
Kimberly @ Words 4JP

Lame @ Lame Adventures
Laurie @ Pride in Photos Photography
Le Clown @ Clown on Fire
Leo @ Doggy Style
Les @ Best Bathroom Books
Lizzy @ Lizzy Cracked
LouAnn @ On the Homefront
Lynn @ Composer in the Garden

Maddie @ Breezy Books
Madhu @ The Urge to Wander
Marina @ Art Towards a Happy Day
Mark @ Mark Armstrong Illustrations
Melanie @ Our View in Iowa
Mo in Mass
Moe @ Whatever Works
Mouse @ Philosopher Mouse

Nancy @ Conversations in Faith
Nia @ Photography by Nia
Noeleen @ Words Fall From My Eyes

Patti @ Learn Something Everyday

Rachael @ Yo-Yo Dyne
Raye @ Jots from a Small Apartment
Rebecca @ Clanmother
Renee @ Renee Johnson Writes
Resa @ Graffiti Lux and Murals
Rich @ Brainsnorts
RightAngle
Robin @ Breezes at Dawn
Robert @ Yelling Quietly
RoSy @ Sharing Me Myself and I

Shimon @ The Human Picture
Snoring Dog @ Snoring Dog Studios
Spiced Charlie @ Hotly Spiced
Sue @ Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary
Sun @ Simply Charming
Suzanne @ A Window in the Woods
Sylvia @ A Day in Paradise

TBM @ 50-Year Project
Tim: Mr. Marching Band
Tom M @ Within the Spheres

Val @ Tilted Tiara
Vanessa @ Vanessa Chapman
Vivika @ My Guilty Pleasures
Victoria @ Vix Views

Weebs @ Madame Weebles
Wine Wankers @ The Wine Wankers

Grab Bag 1
Grab Bag 2
Grab Bag 3
Grab Bag 4
Grab Bag 5
Grab Bag 6
Grab Bag 7
Grab Bag 8
Grab Bag 9
Grab Bag 10
Grab Bag 11
Grab Bag 12
Grab Bag 13
Grab Bag 14
Grab Bag 15

Thanks for attending. For those who don’t understand the T-shirt reference, click here.

Courtesy of Victoria @ Vic Views

Courtesy of Victoria @ VixViews