Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’



Guest blog from Beverly Lanzetta


Howard Thurman: A Christmas Poem

December 21

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.

~Howard Thurman, cited in “Black Fire: African American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights”

Read Full Post »


It never bothers me that before Christmas comes, I have not written my Christmas notes on cards, created a letter or mailed the special “hello” messages in time to dear friends and family.



The time that it DOES bother me is after the Christmas cards from family and friends arrive in my mailbox.  Not right away does it bother me.

I simply cherish the return address on the envelope and place it in my bright green Christmas gift bag to be read at a later “sit-down” time and date.

The newsletters from friends of high school and college age arrive and I look forward to getting a small peek into what their lives have been this past year.  We now classify as Elders and so I also get glimpses of the children and grandchildren of both family and friends that I don’t otherwise get to see. I love this.


Some of us share more than fifty years of life lived in different parts of the world, various careers and ventures and now creations of new life in retirement.


Family, near and far.  Christmas joy, highlights and excitement shared.


Now as I read their news and notes, I am carrying on a one-sided conversation with them with more news I wish to share. I can’t wait to get to my cards.  Here I come……and here comes your Christmas card, after Christmas and filled with love and gratitude for the gifts we have to share.

A good friend sent me a poem about the Christmas list. And it speaks of many truths:

“Every year when Christmas comes, we go and take a look. That is when we realize these names are all a part, not of the book they’re written in, but of our very hearts…..

For each name stands for someone who has crossed our paths sometime…..we really feel that we’re composed of each remembered name…..

…just meeting you has changed our lives much more than you may think…

So, never think our Christmas cards are just a mere routine of names upon a Christmas list, forgotten in between.

…For when we send a Christmas card that is addressed to you, It’s because you’re on the list of folks we’re endeared to.


Whether we have known you for many years or few, In some way you have had a part in shaping things we do.



Read Full Post »


I get them quite frequently. Lessons in letting go. Some are pretty tough either on the ego or simply on my stubborn will.

Others are just ones to notice. Letting go of the beautiful Christmas flower, the poinsettia is one of the ones I notice each year.

It’s like the yearly Christmas decoration I can’t avoid missing when I put away the holiday season for a year. I always miss one. It is usually in plain sight. This year, it was the jingle bell silver and red candy cane that hung on our entrance closet door. Right in plain sight. Right in front of our “sitting chairs”. But no, everything was put away, packed and trotted down stairs to the basement by the time I saw it.

It is not like there are a lot of things to put away and therefore missing one is quite understandable. No, the same old and few decorations come out each year, and one year soon it may get down to the table top already-decorated Christmas tree and the poinsettia plant. Merry Christmas to all.

It is now the end of January and I am working on putting out our poinsettia plant. In my mind, that is. On the other hand, I keep watering it and arranging the leaves that are still red and evidence of continuing life.

Each year I put off buying mine until the week before Christmas, even though they are for sale much earlier than that. Maybe I ought to switch over to buying them earlier to extend their shelf life in my home. I love seeing them join the presence of the baby Jesus manager on the altar and what they add to the liturgies and celebrations of the Christmas time season up to the Epiphany. Then they seem to disappear quickly from sight as a new church year calendar continues into “ordinary time.”

In the public square and restaurants where they featured a prominent presence, they disappear even faster than that.

The Virgin Islands are breathtakingly beautiful. My parents lived there in the  late 1960s and into the  ’70s. One of the most beautiful sights, along with the Caribbean views from high atop a mountain hillside where their condo was — were the poinsettia bushes growing freely and naturally all around their home and property.

There was no “throw-out” season for them there. They lived and bloomed and gave their beauty at will, returned to their green leaf stage and waited patiently and quietly to announce the next Christmas season in brilliant red from their rich island soil.

We are having a quite snowy and blustery, minus-zero temperatures kind of winter here and actually just about everywhere across our land. I was about to take our poinsettia and set it in the cold garage, ready for Tuesday’s garbage pickup.

But it is only Saturday.

Instead, it only got as far as the laundry room. I retrieved it back to my center island in the kitchen and gave it some fresh water. I will leave it there in the comfort of the house until Monday evening when I will take it out.

Then, I will let it go.

Read Full Post »

One of the really nice rewards I’ve received from writing Napkinwriter is a few blog friendships and one I value greatly is the one CurtissAnn Matlock and I have from sharing our thoughts with each other and commenting on each other’s thoughts that come through in our blog.

We met about a year ago doing this and I see no sight in end as we each continue our blogs. We each seem very interested in what the other is saying, doing and experiencing. We find, among our writing, uncommon grounds, that we each feel deeply and passionately about and sometimes are surprised to find “it could be so with another soul.”

I imagine there are great differences between us too. One on the main ones being we have each written for over twenty years plus; CurtissAnn, author of many, many published novels, with editor and publisher ready for her next creation. Probably even pushing her for them, as Curtiss Ann sells her romantic fiction.

I, on the other hand, (seems like I’ve written this line before) have published as a columnist, feature writer and photographer, and held editor position in newspapers, but not published a book. I have books in preparation that I actively work on at this later stage in my life, but whether they are destined for an agent or publisher is clouded at this point. I both write and read for the pure joy of it.

So it came to pass during this last Christmas season that I won a drawing for one of CurtissAnn’s books. Holiday activity overtook my lazy dream of armchair reclining and reading during the first three-fourths of the fourteen or so days (seemed like 28 at least), but I recouped enough to sit-a-spell post January and into “Miracle on I-40” and didn’t part with it for long until I finished.

I liked heroine waitress Lacey right away. She was trying to accomplish a trip to her parent’s and her “little–girl” home for Christmas. She had business of the past to tend to and an introduction to her parents of her two children, not yet seen by them.

Got the grandmother’s heart in me right there. How she makes this trip is a thrilling tale, filled with the  “I wanna” emotions of children adults alike.

I was getting along pretty good in the story, when I put it down late one night to retire my sleepy eyes. Once in bed, my sleepy eyes popped open and my mind started a tattle-tale list of things I needed to do the next day on a project I was excited about……plus wondering how my story characters were going to handle their next obstacle.

I needed sleep to get an advantage on tomorrow, so I took a  sleep aid, a rare act for me. Back in bed, the non-sleep nonsence continued. OK, I bargained…..I’ll get up and read one chapter….

OK, I’ll read the next couple pages. All right, I’ll read until my eyes feel blurry, that always works.

Now, I’m having trouble. My eyes ARE blurry, I am almost dropping the book, but I can’t put it down. Because I am on 172 and between my droopy, sedated eyes, and my tears, I have to work really hard to see the words.

But I am on page 172 and I must continue because this is so important and I want to see that what I want to happen will  happen.

And I continue reading. And I only look with one eye at the clock as the dong, dong, dong tells me it is slipping past 3 am. And I stay until I finish the end which I am coming to quicker than I want it to end….even if I do have to get back in bed.

And, I only venture to guess, that is why CurtissAnn sells books.

Thanks for the story and the characters I cared about. My project turned out marvelously the next day. The morning just arrived extra early.

Read Full Post »

Deer:  “Is turkey being served?”
 Cat: “Pies are not done yet. Come back later.”

This photo was on the internet. It is too darn cute! And the cat looks exactly like my daughter Laura’s Pepper.  Four year old Amy would have been one excited girl if she had seen this at her home. The deer do come right up to the shrubs and I wouldn’t doubt if they have been on their deck. Pepper always has a look-out spot right there by the sliding-glass door.

Let’s get this post going!  I tried to do this post earlier in the day and I could not get a photo set-in, so I left it for a bit, tried again and then the text was garbled up. So here is my third try.

Napkinwriter has not posted her usual schedule in November but I will get back to it. I have written over 100 posts now since I started twelve months ago and this has been a very fun thing to do. It is actually a cornerstone of the other writings I do and that is a good thing.

Yesterday, on Thanksgiving Day, Napkinwriter was not writing on her napkin, but using it at the beautifully set table and Thanksgiving feast Laura and Kathleen prepared for the family. A gathering of gratefulness, high spirits, really high energy from the youngest in the crowd, and very pleased palates from the rest of us.

You don’t have to look far for your blessings in life when they surround you on a day like this. Our loved ones in good health and plentitude in life, educational growth in the soon-t0-be- college, high school, and elementary school bound in a few years. Life across the spectrum. Grandma, grandpa, (us) daughters & sons-in-law, (moms and dads to others) and grandchildren.  Blessings and talents given to each of us and in grateful return, enlarged upon by us and given to others in someway.

My present moment is overflowing with bountiful goodness. We have all of what I described above, plus a new home we are moving into which feels completely like the dwelling place we are to be in.  There have been other moments in my life which were either tainted by regret of the past, or filled with fear of the future, or just plain confusing at best. The answer to all these moments was to learn how to live in the present moment — now.

That’s what I’m doing. And I find, along with the constant gratitude that fills my being, I also am a little—stunned. As in “moved to inaction.”

Stunned by the goodness. That seems so peculiar to me. I’ve always — most always– had faith in the good, believed in the good, and experienced lots of good….but right now I am caught up in longer moments of reflection of goodness filling and surrounding me where ever I go, what ever I’m doing.

I haven’t had writer’s block, but I haven’t been able to post this blog, not only because my daily patterns are somewhat upended by the “moving thing” again…..and I have lots of things I want to write about…but I am just a little “stopped in my tracks”.  And I never come to the computer to do a Napkinwriter until I hear it begin its lead in my head. As soon as I finish this, I will be boxing up another part of the house to move.

Last year, I had trouble separating from the townhome we were in, and especially my writing space, to move here and I wrote a few blogs on that. This move is a very joyful move and while I had to take some time and do some “inside work” to accept and adjust to this townhome, I did it and have come to love the time,  the journal writing, the computer communications and prayer I’ve done in my creative room here. I will put a special blessing on it before I leave it for good.

Goodness in the present moment helps me draw nearer to my Faith going forward. God’s Presence, always and everywhere, is not forced upon us. The Faith I live today requires a daily response on my part,  and just what is that response? Gratitude is a great door-opener and the Thanksgiving season starts us off with that.

But this Faith, like a gift, cannot be squandered nor hidden. It needs to be shared and experienced openly in kind and loving relationship with others, starting in family and building out to others. It includes my relationship with God, which I keep alive in prayer practice and actions.

Christmas is my Faith tradition to prepare for and celebrate — beginning with innocent, open, unconditional, and childlike trust in God — the Creator and Giver of all life.

As the New Year comes toward us, and my birthday the day after, I get the 1-2 opportunity to remember to have child-like trust in the power of love as God — right here and right now.

Read Full Post »