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December 18
, 2011

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OpalToney7-24.jpg (37075 bytes)As I Was Saying
By Opal Toney

Merry Christmas...
Well, once again, Iím here aching and looking out the window and watching the squirrels go up and down the trees.
Iím not going to stay here very long. Iím going to kick this blanket back and get up and do a little dancing.
But the thing that is bothering me, is that I canít get out and say hello to everybody. So, I decided to use this way to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

honeyandflag.jpg (61206 bytes)The View From Here
By Katherine Veno

Being understood is overrated...
Self-knowledge is inward, but it shows on the outside. The hardest thing about understanding oneís self is that we really do not want to know too much.
If we can take an honest look at ourselves, and really see what makes us tick, then we can grow. I believe that self-awareness gives us the capacity to champion over adversity. If one looks inside really hard, that person has what is needed already.
Worrying about what other people think about what you are wearing, or how you appear to others, is senseless. I am of a certain age when I look at individuality in dress or appearance, choice of accessories or even shoes, to be more interesting than the carbon-copies of my youth. If you did not have what was ďin styleĒ at the fashion moment, you were damaged and outside the inner circle. Being an outsider is not all bad, because through six decades of living I have learned something vastly important concerning the burden of carrying around all that worry. Until I gave up on trying to please everybody else, and let go of my own inhibitions and reputation for being understood, I never realized how heavy a burden it was.
Being accepted is not so important anymore, and I finally know that being understood as just me, is what freedom really is. I know that I cannot be everything to everybody, and I first must be true to my own spirit. I believe that words are powerful, and when used to hurt others, return to do damage as well. Words are actual beings and have spears and wings with which to bring pain or joy. Choosing words carefully can make a relationship better, and can help to heal an unseen injury.
I have found if we change within, our outside will change as well. If I think happy, I will feel happier. Having a good feeling inside is better for the outside of me than a beautician. I know that in order to be understood I must first get in touch with my inner being. I do not have to travel to India to find her. I can find her in a garden, on a winterís day, or even in a bathtub. I cannot bring to mind any great sorrow I have ever known that a wonderful, hot bath did not help.
So, being understood, or criticized for being different, is not a bad thing young people. We join the great party of life after it has already begun, and we are destined to leave lifeís great festivities before the dance is finished. I believe it is wise to scatter good words and good thoughts for as much of the time we are here between the cradle and the grave. Understanding someone else makes us stronger and more forgiving. It is not imperative to explain why one wears polka dots with plaid.
Being young is so beautiful, but being at a point in life where you are comfortable within yourself is pure understanding and freedom. The great beauty of growing older is that one understands more and realizes how few things are really worth worrying about. Being understood is not one of them. Living within your own heart is the courage to be what you were destined to become.


EmilyLundy4-2.jpg (36194 bytes)Escapades of Emily
By Emily Gail Lundy

Simpler holidays...
Once again, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas while I can. My favorite Christmas songs are connected to bells Ė with one ring to remind us of the new year and time to change ourselves into something better. All other rings thereafter are episodes, acts, flaws, disappointments to ring away the past. Here is the chance for a new start with a new year soon beginning.
I tried to think of my favorite Christmas, so difficult, because I really have loved them all. The best would be those spent with my grandparents in large gatherings; that can be no longer true or I wouldnít be enjoying this Christmas as that Grandparent trying to give joy to others.
Itís true that Christmas as we know it should be simpler, less expensive, perhaps more old fashion. I wonder if my neighbors would go singing with me on Christmas Eve as we made it from one house to another. Or would anyone be willing to come to a ďAs you areĒ party with something good to eat on a plate.
My weaknesses in the culinary world have restruck. Innocently dining with friends last week, partly composed of ex-students and a friend of my older son, I heard a new story. This man, now a dad to two, remembered from the past a camping trip with my son and others.
That night, rain made them want to move the only vehicle and try some place else. My sonís Bronco was the mode of transportation, mired in mud that wouldnít allow traction to free the wheels. Pushing, the boys tried wood, utensils, anything to put under the back wheels.
Then, my ingenious son grabbed a pan of food beside him, according to this tale, threw it backward and said, ďUse this. Itís my mamaís cookies. Theyíre too hard to eat, but maybe theyíre good for this.Ē Under one wheel went a Motherís love supposedly, and with human aid, the wheel caught power from the pan and out zoomed the Bronco. One boy was heard to say he thought he broke a tooth on one of my cookies. Laugh, laugh.
When I told this son later about such a situation, he could not recall anything. Of course, he and his friends are in their forties now.
But Iíve been thinking. If my child drove a Bronco, he was out of high school. It would have taken a really special effort to make cookies for someone grown.
I would really have deserved kudos.
Therefore, Iím thinking this didnít happen; could it be a Tall Tale?
I believe I have heard all the stories about my cooking I can take. Iím ending it with the first one to my knowledge. The other son as a preschooler invited a friend to eat with us, telling him his mama could hardly cook. Later during the meal, I heard the guest say to my son as he ate, ďWhy, this ainít half bad.Ē
Next, Iím going to focus on how grownups feel about being born for Christmas. Thatís a story for later. Be safe.



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