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 Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers (10/31/14)

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It’s All Hallow’s Eve!  (Wasn’t it just July 4th last week?)  And I am spookily happy.  Seriously.  Here’s why.

1.  Yesterday going to my grandtwins’ nursery school and carving a Jack O’ Lantern.  Here it is:

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Okay, that’s a lie.  I took that pic near my place in historic district Savannah.  Here’s the one I did:

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Sorry but that’s a lie as well.  (Is that a bat?)  Here’s mine:

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For more decades than I care to mention, my Jack O’Lanterns have looked EXACTLY the same.  But what fun with Matthew and Madison and their little classmates.

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2.  Speaking of pumpkins, here’s my dinner Wednesday night–Butternut Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls.

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Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Gourmet heaven.

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3.  The Savannah Film Festival this week, hosted by my SCAD–Savannah College of Art and Design.

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Such fun.

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What incredible films I saw, including a fascinating documentary about Summerville, GA artist Americana Howard Finster and a mesmerizing selection of short films from Ireland.

4.  Singing with James Brown in Augusts, GA.

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We’re belting out “Papa’s Got a Brand new Bag,” followed by “Make it Funky.”

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5.  The joy of holidays.

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Happy, Happy Halloween to you all!

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Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers — 9/11/14

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Summer is slipping away.  Can you believe that Sept 22 is the First Day of Fall?!  Would someone please tell Savannah’s daily temperatures that bit of info?

1.  Even though it caused a catch in my throat, seeing the pics my daughter Emily sent of the grandtwins yesterday morning — September 11.

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2.  Actually borrowing an egg from my next door neighbor.  (Is it okay to still do that?)

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(Of course she put the egg in a cute tiny bowl she found in Italy.)

I paid Vivian back with some Werther’s Originals–Chewy Caramels in the same bowl.  (Is that normal?)

3.  This green lion who (which?) lives nearby in Savannah’s historic district.

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4.  Taking four-year-old grandson Gabriel to his first-ever tennis lesson.

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Looking back at me, “Abu,” to make sure I’m watching.

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5.  And speaking of Gabriel, when I picked him and brother Daniel (7) up from school yesterday, G told us that he made a BIG picture of Batman in pre-K art class.  When we got to his house, of course we hung it in the dining room.

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After a few minutes, big brother Daniel, after pointing out that Gabriel had spelled Batman with an M (Matman), said to me, “Matman sure looks like a monkey to me.”

Gabriel screamed, “IT’S BATMAN!”

Happy Friday Folks!

Posted in Encouragement

A Few Things

A Few Things I’m Thankful For this warm Tuesday evening in Savannah:

**  Learning to make Watermelon Gazpacho soup.  So good!

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It took me FOREVER to dice the watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, shallots, etc, but SO WORTH IT.  Yum.

I may just become a Food Network star.

**  Cannons

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**  Peel and eat shrimp

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** Cool backgrounds for pictures

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(Inside Fort Sumter in Charleston yesterday.)

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**  Spoiling the grandtwins with chocolate cupcakes.

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**  Selfies with my parents (90 and 87) and brother Danny.

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** Figs

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** Root Vegetable Roasts!

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** Speaking of vegetables, Vegetable-laden Bloody Mary’s

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So healthy!

** Being able to bend my body

** Fifty Shades

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** Clouds

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Happiest of Nights to you all!

 

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers — 8/15/14

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I love these lazy, hazy crazy days of summer!  Here’s Nat King Cole singing about them.  Listen as you read the Happy Bringers:

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1.  Friendly dogs coming up to me as I sit and read in Washington Square — “my square” here in Savannah’s historic district.

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2.  Going to the Meet Your Classmates and Teachers Social at Grandson Gabriel’s Pre-K class at Savannah Country Day.

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(My grandies call me Abu.  Read why here.)

3.  Making up a cool recipe the other night — Sautéed Collards with Red Beets and Onions.

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4.  The (frequent) sight and sound and smell of late afternoon heavy rain in Savannah.

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(Outside my living room window.)

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5.  The sheer joy of being enthusiastic.

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Here a wonderful article about that very subject:

Enthusiasm is the Key to Happiness

Have a gloriously enthusiastic weekend ahead!

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Posted in Humor, The Joy and Wisdom of Children

Magic Dream Spray

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Do other folks out there do what my family does?  All get iPhones and set up a little Family Group Messaging System?  Well, my two daughters Amy and Emily, along with Donna (even though divorced now, we remain the best-est of friends) have done just that.  And it’s such an incredibly efficient strategy for staying in touch, bothering each other constantly and having SO MUCH FUN!

The other night, daughter Amy (and mother of grandsons Daniel, 7 and Gabriel, 4) sent us this text.

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I LOVE faith-stretching strategies such as that!  My response:

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A bit more of Amy’s explanation:

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Me:

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End of discussion until a couple of days later when we received this text from Amy as she, Orte and the boys were driving down to Florida for the weekend:

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Family … magical.

Maybe that’s what family is … Magic Dream Spray.

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Posted in Delicious Joy

Pot Pie Smiles

One of my earliest joyful memories as a kid finds me meandering off, on warm summer mornings, to the community playground near my house in Cochran Field, near Macon, Georgia.  My best friend Billy and I would play until our mothers brought us chicken pot pies and sweet tea.  Sitting at the weathered, wooden picnic tables, we would  gobble down our pot pies in their little aluminum containers (which we repurposed as treasure collectors).

I have always loved the creamy texture, the flaky crusts, the green peas and carrots, and the homey, Mama-ish warmth of chicken pot pies (or turkey pot pies but NOT cheesy or veggie pot pies).  Of course, they were FROZEN SOLID forty-five minutes before I had all those lovey feelings as a child.  And back then, I didn’t realize that our mothers were watching The Price Is Right or Queen for a Day instead of preparing fresh, homemade lunches for us boys.

So after buying organic vegetables from the local farm-to-table community market (doesn’t that make me sound health-oriented and grounded yet hip and on-target?), I decided to make a homemade chicken pot pie.  HOMEMADE

First of all, do you have ANY clue how long it takes to chop carrots, celery, peppers and potatoes?  Boil the corn and then scrape it off the cob?  Grate the rosemary?  Roll out the dough?  (Okay, okay, all I did was roll it out of the carton, but still.)

But, oh my goodness, what fun!  I may become a famous TV chef or something!

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Delicious!

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Swanson’s may do it faster, but not better!

Posted in The Joy and Wisdom of Children

The Babies Hair Salon

So today I decided I really needed to do something about my limp, flyaway, graying hair.

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I’m frustrated because, well, I’m beginning to look my age.  And, you know, that just doesn’t seem natural.  So I consulted the online Yellow Pages for area barbers and hair salons and read about an intriguing little place out near Skidaway Island (I’m in Savannah, by the way) called … The Babies Hair Salon.

I drove over, parked Skedaddler (my lil gray Scion) (gray seems to be a theme in my life lately) (just not fifty shades of it) (yet) and found myself being promptly greeted by, believe it or not, two surprised-looking BABIES!  Ten-month-old twins Madison and Matthew …

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When he saw my hair, I got the impression that Matthew had initial concerns about his and his sister’s ability to help me …

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Perhaps Madison had the same concern, but she tried to mask her feelings with a blank stare.

Nevertheless, the duo led me into their salon’s inner sanctum.

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“I’m beginning to see a color scheme here,” I thought perceptively and intelligently.

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Matthew and Madison took a moment to look through their style books to see what they might be able to do for me.

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“This is definitely going to be a challenge,” they seemed to be saying.

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I felt my first tiny jolt of trepidation when I realized they were looking at books about cows and sheep.

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With determination set clearly upon their young but professional countenances, the twins indicated for me to help them up into their work spaces.

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“An odd request,” I thought.  “They don’t do that at the Barber Pole downtown.”  But, the completely compliant client, I obeyed.

And for about sixty seconds, everything seemed to be going well.  Just typical stylist assessment techniques such as cranial observation and exploratory scalp manipulation.

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Then, inexplicably, I got the distinct impression that Madison was somehow asking Matthew to consult with the monkeys on the wall about the next step.

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But before I had time to investigate, they got to work.

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“This might be fun,” I thought, kinda smiling.

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Madison gently massaged in soothing hair cream.

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Healthy hair.

Then they both started to get a little rough, I thought,  for ten-month-olds.

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Seemingly out of the blue, I sensed a frustrated Matthew yelling to Madison, “Enough of this, sissy!  There’s no way to help this old man!”

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“Bite him!” she might have said.

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“What going on here?!” I thought in terror.  “Are they baby vampires or something?  Nick at Twilight?!  Whatever.  I’m outta here.”

As Skedaddler and I hightailed it back to Savannah’s historic district where I live across from Colonial Park Cemetery, I looked in my rearview mirror and thought, “You know, gray’s not such a bad color.  It’s kinda in-between.”

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(Thanks to Grandtwins Matthew and Madison for help with this post.  And the iPhone’s reverse camera.)