Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Christmas Eve nativity

Singing wisemen with Mary (notice Baby Beans is Baby Jesus since we have no baby this year who can stay still long enough to lay in a manager).The dining room is a perfect elevated stage with the audience in the living room below.

Roman dressing as a wiseman the boys played both shepherds and wisemen with Tyfani as Mary and Alyssa as the angel. Sean and I narrated while Mark filmed

Our Shepherds were the best yet. They played their parts very well.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Last BookLook 2010

“Hell’s Corner”
I hope you got a book for Christmas. I did – surprise! I suppose it’s difficult to buy a gift book for someone who reads a lot. One of the books I received was a good-for-nothing read just-for-enjoyment novel titled “Hell’s Corner”. It’s by one of my favorite authors, David Baldacci and I enjoyed taking a break after Christmas with a good book.

The story begins in Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C. aka Hell’s Corner. It’s named for the law enforcement jurisdictional nightmare created when city police, secret service, and homeland security are all in charge, not the climate temperature. The Park is located across Pennsylvania Ave. in front of The White house which makes it a security risk to watch.

Oliver Stone, a retired government assassin witnesses a bomb explosion in Lafayette Park just as the British Prime Minister passes on his way between The White House and Blair House. Stone is quickly issued a badge and partnered with British MI-6 agent Mary Chapman to find the unknown attackers and uncover a possible terrorist plot. The assassin is sent out to catch the assassin but will he be betrayed again?

As Stone and Chapman uncover a sinister plot involving international politics and the intelligence community, they finally call in the Camel Club. Stone’s trusted companions from the past once again risk their careers, their loved ones and their lives to uncover the truth. They enter the story a bit later than past adventures, which is a disappointment if you were expecting the book to be about Stone and his club mates, but they do join the fight just in time.

“Hell’s Corner” is a good post-Christmas read. I like Baldacci because he keeps the unnecessary swearing out of his stories and he spins a good crime mystery. I have a couple more good books sitting on the desk but this one called out to me when I just needed to take a break and read for fun.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark? Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.

I interviewed the Carters since their front lawn is lit up like a beacon and it drew me right in. They have to switch their lights on with six breakers.Look out Griswalds!
Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.

p.s. Christy - it all started about 15 years ago with a big old sleigh and reindeer originally from Modern Display they found at a yard sale!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

BookLook "The Carpenter's Miracle"

“The Carpenter’s Miracle”
The most dreaded words you will hear this week before Christmas are, “Is your Christmas shopping done?” Complete strangers, friendly clerks and elderly aunts will ask with a big smile on their face. I want to reply, “Is yours?” But I am too afraid of the answer. Quick – grab a book for everyone left on the list and be done!

“The Carpenter’s Miracle” is the story of Josh the carpenter. One December day he is ice fishing when a young boy falls through the ice and Josh rescues him. The unresponsive boy Luke is rushed to the hospital but it is too late and his mother arrives to hear the news that her son has died. As Josh touches the cold shoulder of Luke he mutters, “I wish to God you could have lived, kid.”

Luke begins coughing and regains consciousness as everyone rushes back to witness his return from the dead. The nurse points to Josh and says, “He put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and he came back to life.” The story of the miracle soon spreads around the hospital and Josh becomes an instant celebrity but also an instant oddity.

He lives in a small town in Wisconsin where news travels fast and fish tales improve with the telling. Soon the national media hears about the “miracle” and descends on the town hoping to expose Josh as a fraud or a true miracle worker. Despite his constant protests that he didn’t do anything, his once quiet life soon spins out of control as reporters spin their stories trying to boost the ratings for their networks.

I enjoyed the humor in this little Christmas book. It was a refreshing change to read a story with average and oddball characters bringing the heartwarming message that miracles do still happen, even in Wisconsin in December. And when the next person asks if your Christmas shopping is done, smile and ask them when their baby is due.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I love this sign

This sign is posted at the salon I go to. It gets the message across.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

BookLook "Christmas Prayer"

“Christmas Prayer”
Allison age 12 and a student at Art City Elementary enjoyed hearing me read this book aloud to her class. Her excellent review makes me worry about my future job security. On the other hand, when I am old and rambling I am confident she will leave her position at a famous publishing house to take over writing my BookLook column.

Allison wrote a perfect synopsis without any plot spoilers. “The “Christmas Prayer” is a heartwarming children’s picture book. It is about a boy whose father teaches him the true meaning of Christmas. The father teaches the son what Christmas is all about by having him help give gifts to their poor neighbors,” wrote Allison.

I agree with Allison. The author Rian Anderson has been a sheep herder for most of his life and to quote the inside cover leaf, “He wrote this story one freezing night in the desert while pondering true needs and how to share the true meaning of Christmas with his children.” Anderson’s sweet simple story does teach us about our needs, needs of others and how a father’s example is a priceless gift. It was difficult to read aloud and keep the lump out of my throat and the tears under control.

Since I have grandsons, I am always looking for books that appeal to little boys and offer thoughtful lessons. In the story, the boy Matt expresses the reluctance most young men feel when the need for service means sacrificing a warm evening at home. He also lets the young reader know how he comes to feel differently at the end of the evening.

Allison mentioned the beautiful full-page illustrations in her review. “I thought the illustrations were simple, yet showed a lot,” she wrote. The illustrator is Michael Parker who lives here in Springville uses his talented brush to give visual life to the story.

“I loved this book and encourage everyone to read it,” Allison wrote as her conclusion. I agree wholeheartedly and couldn’t have said it better myself.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Our wild turkey survived Thanksgiving

We came home from shopping and saw our wild turkey happily roosting (not roasting) on our back porch outside the kitchen door. There was a couple inches of snow as you can see. Not sure if it's a he or a she and adorable as our new pet is, the size and volume of those bird droppings is getting annoying! We should think up a creative name...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pack your bags we're going on a guilt trip

“The Christmas Experiment”
We’ve all tried to “do” Christmas better. We read the books and articles about simplifying and refocusing (when we can find the time) and try to copy our perfect neighbors. And every year no matter how early we start we’ll never be organized enough to pull off the perfect Christmas.

Reading “The Christmas Experiment” by Denise Wamsley provides an opportunity for personal reevaluation. Our Christmas celebration has become more commercialized and more complicated with every year. If you need to have more peace and joy during the season and less stress and discord, even changing one thing can make a difference. Wamsley wisely suggests customizing our Christmas to include bringing our family closer to Jesus Christ.

The author shares her journey to Bethlehem in book format after fifteen years of verbally teaching six lessons to help put Christ back into Christmas.
1. Simplify gift giving
2. Give all year
3. Create meaningful family experiences
4. Serve one another
5. Teach with symbolism
6. Enjoy quality traditions.

The author wisely cautions us not to fill our "inn" with presents and parties until it is so overcrowded we risk turning away The Holy Family. When Mary and Joseph seek lodging for the Christ Child will you have room in your home?

It's not too late to read this book before Christmas, but it would be even better to buy it now but read it after the decorations are put away. When that nagging little voice surfaces whispering you could have done it better, take a break, open your "inn doors" and consider Wamsley's advice.