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 College Teaching

The Smile — and Happiness Shared

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The students in my English 123 (Freshman Composition) classes at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) are doing what I call Visual Essays in this, their next-to-the-last week of Fall Quarter 2014.  We read two books this term, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and Tal Ben-Shahar’s Happier, both relating to our course theme of “Happiness and the Exploration of Joy.”  The Visual Essay project invites the students to MAKE, rather than write, their papers. Traditional essay requirements are still required: a focus and thesis, structure, detail and support, etc.  But this essay morphs into a drawing or painting, a sculpture, a collage, a video, a food, etc.  Basically this project is a visual representation of one topic narrowed into a clear thesis/perspective/idea.  The challenge: how to “show” their thesis.

Debora Jacob (from Brazil) went to Forsyth Park here in Savannah last Saturday.  Here’s her Visual Essay titled “Happiness Shared” on the topic of the smile and its significance.

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Thanks for the encouragement, Debora.

Let’s all SMILE more often.

 

Posted in In Our Own Backyard

Touring Savannah’s City Hall, Y’all

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Every First Tuesday Savannah’s City Hall opens its doors for free tours.  I know, I know, touring City Hall doesn’t sound like the most exciting entertainment venue around.  But hold on just a second, compadre.  After a hefty helping of Gabriella’s Zesty Chicken (on mashed potatoes) at Zunzi’s, I wobbled down Bull Street, remembering just in time to look up before I reached the river, and saw this …

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… Savannah’s incredibly beautiful City Hall.

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Completed in 1905 …

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… City Hall features two figures who adorn the front, just below the clock and gold dome.  And those two pretty ladies represent Commerce and Art.  If you know anything about Savannah, you will find those figures so, so timely.  Because what was true in 1905 is certainly true today:  Savannah is both a big business city (Savannah Port and Gulfstream, for example) as well as a cultured, artistic town (SCAD, Savannah Music Festival, festivals galore).

Come along.

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The original clockwork is now in the lobby:

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I really loved the wood floor.

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Looking up to the interior stain glass dome:

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Some important Savannahian.  (I want a bust made of me.  Where can you go to get that done?  Hobby Lobby?  Michael’s?)

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The plaque below looked historically official, so I stood there trying to read it to make people think I’m smart and all, but then I started daydreaming about the Vanilla Taffy down at River Street Sweets, so I took a picture of the plaque (which sorta still made me look smart because why else would you take a picture?).

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Here I am with the really interesting tour guide (and SCAD grad), Luciana Spracher.  She knew her stuff!

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Did you know Savannah has a flag?

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View from a back window of city hall:

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Very cool open style elevator cage:

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Something important looking:

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I pretended to know the mayor.  But you can only stand in front of her office for so long before people start to wonder what you’re doing.

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TANGENT:  A couple of months ago, I attended an event at the Savannah Civic Center with our mayor, Edna Jackson.

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Okay, okay, maybe I wasn’t exactly with the mayor, but you can’t tell that from the above photo with her and Savannah State’s President, Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier.

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Luciana led us into the Savannah City Council chambers.  For some reason I just got so excited.

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Here I am sitting at the mayor’s desk.  (Does she know people do this?)

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What a fun (and educational) tour!  Thanks, Luciana.

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I Love Savannah!