Posted in Holiday Joy

“Joyful Christmas and Justice for All!”

Robert and I LOVE sending out Christmas Cards! We feel the practice (slowly disappearing?) is a way to pass along a little cordial and heartfelt “Soul of the Season.”

Our card for 2021. Here, we’re sending it to you!

Happiest of Holidays!

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What’s the backstory for this year’s card, you ask? Well, I AM super holiday busy (it IS Christmas Eve you know) but if you absolutely insist, I’ll take the time from singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to Robert, and explain.

I get the disturbing impression Robert’s just not that into the song anyway. He hasn’t blinked since the first time I sang the verse about the eight maids a milking—which I keep messing up, so of course have to start over from the beginning.

Anyway, back in September, with the pandemic seeming to ease up a bit, we ventured out on our first you-gotta-get-on-an-airplane-to-get-there trip. We spent a gloriously laidback and uneventful week in the Poconos, then hopped over to Manhattan for another week. (Where were all the people?!)

One day we booked a guided tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, led by guide extraordinaire Rob …

What fun we had! And because of Rob, how much we re-appreciated our diverse nation.

When we meandered to the front of Lady Liberty, Rob suddenly threw himself on the ground (!) exclaiming, “I take the best pictures this way.”

And he was right!

Later, walking around Times Square, Robert found Statues of Liberty at every corner.

NOEL! from NEAL & ROBERT

JOYFUL CHRISTMAS 2021 and YES, JUSTICE FOR ALL!

Posted in Holiday Joy

A Most Awesome Father’s Day & Night!

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I hope your Father’s Day (and night) 2015 has been a peaceful and joyful one.  Mine was/is.  Spent time with both daughters and all four grandies.  What a blessing to have them all in my Savannah.  My cards:

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And an incredible Facebook post by older daughter Amy:

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“Happy Father’s Day to my very hip and high impact dad!  I am blessed to have a dad who taught me to love without discrimination, to have joy in all circumstances, and who creates an environment of safety and acceptance where I am free to develop into my best and truest self.”

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What a Difficult and Unparalleled Joy Fatherhood is!

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Posted in Holiday Joy

HH – Holiday Happiness

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It’s Sunday night.  December 28.  Three days after the big day.  Christmas gifts and meals are opened and eaten.

Just a few more days left in 2014.

Sometimes there’s a bit of a letdown after the glitter is gone.

So … what is there to be Happy About?  Especially if you’re alone?  Or sick?  Or frustrated?  Or angry?  Or not where you wanna be?

To be honest, I don’t know.

BUT I encourage you to do this:  Go on a Gratitude Rampage.  Start listing — or just thinking about — what you have to be grateful for as 2014 wanes.

Go ahead — try it.  Make a list.

Here’s a tad of mine:

1.  Air to breathe.

2. Legs that help me to walk.

3.  Imperfect family members.

4.  A mind that allows me to think.

5.  Shoes.

6.  Eyesight.

7.  Collard greens (I just sautéed some for dinner).

8.  Music.

9.  Sunshine.

10.  Cinnamon.

11.  Grandchildren.

12.  People who know my name.

13.  Insurance.

14.  Roaring laughter.

15.  Pecans.

This list could go on and on.

May peace, joy and love be your portion now and forever!

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Gratitude is powerful.  Try it and see how it makes you feel.

Posted in Holiday Joy

Have You Counted Your Holiday Blessings? (Part Two)

A couple of days ago I encouraged you to consider, and attend to, the blessings that are in your life.  I hope you have taken a brief break from the Christmas rush, and done so.

Here’s my Counting Continued:

6.  Sitting Down and Sitting Still for a few minutes.

7.  A Christmas Visit with my parents (father–91, mother 87).

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8.  Sparkly Lights.

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9.  Appreciating my local Savannah Police.  Our police men and women are the first folks we usually call when something goes awry in our homes, neighborhoods and cities.

THANK YOU, BLUE!

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10.  The ability to see.

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Are you counting your holiday blessings?

Posted in Encouragement, Holiday Joy

Have You Counted Your Holiday Blessings? (Part One)

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Have you done so this holiday?  Blessings come in SO many forms and dressings.  I urge you to take a sheet of paper and number your joys.  Here is a sampling of mine:

1.  I had to miss my seven year-old grandson Daniel’s first piano recital earlier this week.  (I was SO frustrated.)  Tonight at my family’s early Christmas dinner, I walked in the door and daughter Amy had arranged for Daniel to dress back up in his Calvin Klein suit and play Jingle Bells (as he did at the recital).  It melted my heart.

 

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(Okay, I’m not sure about the sunglasses either.)

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(Absolute grandfather joy.)

Here’s Daniel at the actual recital:

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2.  The ability to smell Christmas.

3.  Enjoying the power of silly.

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4.  Hosting a Holiday and Hot Toddy Chili Party Saturday night.

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What fun!

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Good buddies Ellie, Jamie and Brennan.

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I read “A Cup of Christmas Tea” to the twenty-something guests–and asked them to think about a person important in their upbringing to toast at the end of the story.  I urge you to do the same.  Who encouraged you along your way?

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“Let’s raise a cup of Christmas cheer, to family and loved ones far and near.”

So take a few moments, and with Bing, count your blessings:

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5.  Tree shadows on a wall during a walk the other night.

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What are a few of your Holiday Blessings?  Come on, share a few.

Posted in Holiday Joy, Savannah Joy

A Savannah Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration

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Anyone who has been to Savannah on or around March 17 knows that Saint Patrick’s Day is a pretty …

Big Deal

… in this city!  From the Greening of the Fountain and Tara Feis onward, Savannah embraces its Irishness, shamrocks growing and showing up everywhere, an already diverse and fesitval-driven city photosynthetically converting excited energy into green Gaelic joy.  And since 2013 St. Paddy Day was Sunday, Savannah opted to hold its primary celebration on Saturday with the parade (the nation’s second largest), River Street revelry and other merrymaking events.

Since Yours Truly lives DIRECTLY on the parade route along Abercorn Street, and since some green Irish blood flows through my veins (Saye =”one who lives by the sea”), I decided to host a little parade-viewing party.

Party Prep Notes For some reason I will never fully grasp, I decided to make Cabbage and Ham in the Crock Pot (or as I call it, Beverly Hillbilly-ishly, “the Slow-Cooking Pot”).   

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Now cabbage sounds fine, and even a bit Irish, until you understand that my place is a little under 800 square feet, positioned at the front of a beautiful old building completed in the 1800’s.  Well, the slow-cooking cabbage produced a Rather Strong Aroma (try not to imagine it), first in my apartment, then wafting across the hall to my next door neighbor and fellow party hostess Audrey’s place, then throughout the entire old building, and probably up and down the parade route and on to the South Carolina border across the river.  People were so nice and pretended that the smell made the party more “Irish authentic.”  But a bunch of folks had drinks in their hands, so I’m not at all certain their sensory perception was on target.  AND I noticed they would get a bowlful of steaming, fragrant cabbage and then quickly run out the door to see the next band or float they “had been waiting on.”

Here’s me helping to set up the area for guests to sit and watch the parade outside my building (my windows have the St. Patty tacky shamrock cutouts and green garlands).

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Before the parade started, I made a quick tour of the squares close to me.  A few sights:

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I met some cool green-clad new friends:

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And then quickly back to my place where the crowd had grown during my foray.

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I found this pretty lady pirouetting in front of my apt, so of course I had to get my pic with her:

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Here’s across-the-hall stylish neighbor Audrey:

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And here’s party guest/good buddy Ellie and her brother encouraging the crowd:

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I wish I was brave enough to dance in the street!

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Hip green-haired son/father duo Ethan and Kevin:

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And Kevin with very significant other Olivia:

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Marching man

Former Everyday Creative Writing Student Jaymes stopped by for a while.  (He knows what’s rocking in Savannah.)

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Buddies Rich and Edward (who brought party-hit basil lemonade):

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Cool St. Patty Baby:

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Made great new friends with some folks visiting from Maryland and staying in the vacation rentals in my building (so of course they were party guests too)–Kathy and Karen with their husbands.  And don’t they look SO Saint Patricky?

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Preparing to kiss the parade marching men:

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(Public Service Announcement:  I think I will rent out my place next year for St. Paddy Day.  Is $2000 for the holiday too much?  I plan to include a HUGE bowl of frozen-but-on-the-table-in-a-jiffy Authentic Irish Cabbage and Ham.)

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New kayaking friend Tom with Edward, Rich and me:

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Church buddy Diane with Rich, Edward, Robert, Jaymes and me:

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Good friend Zach and brother Josh marching in the parade (marching, that is, before I ran out into the street and made them stop).  Their Irish family has been in the parade for something like 1000 years.

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What a wonderfully fun Savannah Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration!

But sitting here after the parade, I started to worry:  “What if my Crock Pot Cabbage Smell keeps those hundreds of thousands of visitors from coming back to Savannah next year?  Can they trace it all back to me?”

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Balloons

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[Related post: https://nealenjoy.com/2012/02/22/2013-savannah-irish-and-cherokee-indiannative-american-book-and-bee-festival/]

Posted in Holiday Joy, The Joy and Wisdom of Children

Santa, Baby

Grandtwins Madison and Matthew:

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Grandsons Gabriel and Daniel:

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Most awkwardly funny moment of the holiday so far–wait, let me set the scene.   We were in the incredibly beautiful and highbrow lobby of the Ritz-Carlton–Buckhead in Atlanta over the weekend.  Just past these Dickensian carolers:

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Resplendent Santa standing by the fireplace, creating a perfect Christmas tableau, with adoring children all around.  Without warning and with great, earnest conviction, five-year-old grandson Daniel yelling, “He’s a Fake!”  His parents threatening loss of Christmas coming.

Joyful Christmas to you!

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