If you have ever looked at my opening article, you will see that it is a quote from one of my sources of motivation, Og Mandino. So as I prepare for this New Year, I thought it would be only fitting to share with you, something else written by Og Mandino.
Use this as a source of motivation as you prepare your goals and resolutions for the up-coming year.
THE SEEDS OF SUCCESS
God, I thank you for this day.
I know I have not accomplished as yet all you expect of me, and if that is your reason for bathing me in the fresh dew of another dawn, I am most grateful.
I am prepared, at last, to make you proud of me.
I will forget yesterday, with all its trials and tribulations, aggravations and setbacks, angers and frustrations. The past is already a dream from which I can neither retrieve a single word nor erase any foolish deeds.
I will resolve, however, that if I have injured anyone yesterday through my thoughtlessness, I will not let this day’s sun set before I make amends, and nothing I do today will be of greater importance.
I will not fret the future. My success and happiness does not depend on straining to see what lurks dimly on the horizon but to do, this day, what lies clearly at hand.
I will treasure this day, for it is all I have. I know that its rushing hours cannot be accumulated or stored, like precious grain, for future use.
I will live as all good actors do when they are onstage – only in the moment. I cannot perform at my best today by regretting my previous act’s mistakes or worrying about the scene to come.
I will embrace today’s difficult tasks, take off my coat, and make dust in the world. I will remember that the busier I am, the less harm I am apt to suffer, the tastier will be my food, the sweeter my sleep, and the better satisfied I will be with my place in the world.
I will free myself today from slavery to the clock and calendar. Although I will plan this day in order to conserve my steps and energy, I will begin to measure my life in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not seasons; in feelings, not figures on a dial.
I will remain aware of how little it takes to make this a happy day. Never will I pursue happiness, because it is not a goal, just a by-product, and there is no happiness in having or in getting, only in giving.
I will run from no danger I might encounter today, because I am certain that nothing will happen to me that I am not equipped to handle with your help. Just as any gem is polished by friction, I am certain to become more valuable through this day’s adversities, and if you close one door, you always open another for me.
I will live this day as if it were Christmas. I will be a giver of gifts and deliver to my enemies the gift of forgiveness; my opponents, tolerance; my friends, a smile; my children, a good example, and every gift will be wrapped with unconditional love.
I will waste not even a precious second today in anger or hate or jealousy or selfishness. I know that the seeds I sow I will harvest, because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction. I will only plant good seeds this day.
I will treat today as a priceless violin. One may draw harmony from it and another, discord, yet no one will blame the instrument. Life is the same, and if I play it correctly, it will give forth beauty, but if I play it ignorantly, it will produce ugliness.
I will condition myself to look on every problem I encounter today as no more than a pebble in my shoe. I remember the pain, so harsh I could hardly walk, and recall my surprise when I removed my shoe and found only a grain of sand.
I will work convinced that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. To do anything today that is truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can.
I will face the world with goals set for this day, but they will be attainable ones, not the vague, impossible variety declared by those who make a career of failure. I realise that you always try me with a little, first, to see what I would do with a lot.
I will never hide my talents. If I am silent, I am forgotten, if I do not advance, I will fall back. If I walk away from any challenge today, my self-esteem will be forever scarred, and if I cease to grow, even a little, I will become small. I reject the stationary position because it is always the beginning of the end.
I will keep a smile on my face and in my heart even when it hurts today. I know that the world is a looking glass and gives back to me the reflection of my own soul. Now I understand the secret of correcting the attitude of others and that is to correct my own.
I will turn away from any temptation today that might cause me to break my word or lose my self-respect. I am positive that the only thing I possess more valuable than my life is my honor.
I will work this day with all my strength; content in the knowledge that life does not consist of wallowing in the past or peering anxiously at the future. It is appalling to contemplate the great number of painful steps by which one arrives at a truth so old, so obvious, and so frequently expressed. Whatever it offers, little or much, my life is now.
I will pause whenever I am feeling sorry for myself today, and remember that this is the only day I have and I must play it to the fullest. What my part may signify in the great whole, I may not recognize, but I am here to play it and now is the time.
I will count this day a separate life.
I will remember that those who have fewest regrets are those who take each moment as it comes for all that it is worth.
This is my day!
These are my seeds.
Thank you, god, for this precious garden of time.
~ Og Mandino ~
2006 is almost over.
I don't know where it went ... do you?
What I do know, is that I will continue to seek out things to celebrate, today and everyday of each and every year. And in that spirit, I hope you enjoy this short video as you prepare to celebrate the beginning of the new year.
Happy Boxing Day
Today, December 26th, Boxing Day is being celebrated in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada.
Boxing Day is a holiday that is usually spent with family and friends, enjoying good food, while sharing friendship and love. And much like some of our American holidays, the government buildings and small businesses are closed but the shopping centers remain open. Of course for many shoppers, it is a day to utilize the time to go out exchanging gifts or buying merchandise on sale, for their Christmas celebration next year.
However, to keep the tradition of Boxing Day alive, many families, businesses and organizations, will donate their money, time or services, to aid community projects like the Food Banks or they may provide gifts for the families or individuals who are less fortunate. Some of the families, organizations or businesses may choose to focus their support on an individual family that they are aware of, that is in need of financial assistance.
While it is rather clear how Boxing Day is celebrated, when it comes to the origins of Boxing Day and why it is celebrated, there seems to be a couple of different theories.
The first theory is that centuries ago, on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like in today's society when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday it's name, "Boxing Day." The second theory is that Boxing Day comes from the tradition of the churches opening their alms boxes, which were used to collect money from wealthy church goers throughout the Christmas season. When opened, the money from the alms boxes was distributed to the poor, by the church clergy, the day after Christmas.
Sometime in the middle of the nineteenth century, under the reign of Queen Victoria, Boxing Day began. Thus Boxing Day, also known as St. Stephen's Day, became a way for the fortunate members of the upper class, to give gifts of goods or cash, to the less fortunate members of the lower class.
In my opinion, this is such a great extension, even if it is only one day, of the true meaning and spirit of Christmas. Why not celebrate Boxing Day with our own families, and make it a practice to celebrate a day when we give something back to help the less fortunate in our communities. Maybe you could identity a family in your church and volunteer to provide them with an offering of food or clothing. Or why not volunteer to buy a couple of toys for some children at a homeless shelter and deliver them the day after Christmas. The possibilities are endless.
It doesn't have to matter what county you live in on the planet. The simple principle of giving to others who are less fortunate than yourself can be put into practiced by us all.
Every Christmas morning, my sisters and I would wait anxiously for my father to give the "You can open your presents now" command. I'm not sure we slept much at all after we went to bed on Christmas Eve, and we would lay in our beds for what seemed like hours, until we heard Dad's voice. I have such vivid memories of my childhood Christmas's, memories from our days celebrating the holidays in my parent's home.
Over the years, my parents have given me the boxes of our family's Christmas decorations. The big red stocking with my name written with glitter, my first ornaments and of course all the handmade Christmas tree decorations I made for them throughout the years. (I never knew that they saved all of the things that I had made for them!) And often, as I look at some of the real old-fashioned glass ornaments that belonged to my grandmother, I can't help but remember, some of my most cherished Christmas memories of all.
You know, it seems that as we grow older, there are many little things that change throughout the course of a year. But we never really stop and notice them, until as a family, we gather together at the dinner table for Christmas. With the exception of one or two years when my sisters had Christmas at their homes, our family has always gathered at my parent's home for Christmas dinner. For me, it is then, that it almost brings a pain to a little place in my heart where all my hidden feelings go. It was during the season of Christmas, those years ago, when my beloved Grandmother died after a battle with breast cancer. As I look around the table, I can't help but thinking back to when my Grandmother sat next to me at the very same table, helping me to "hide" the food left on my plate so I wouldn't get in trouble. Or when she would slip a five-dollar bill to me across her lap and softly say "This is for you." I miss my Grandmother nearly as much today as I did the day she died.
Yes, some things have changed over the years. Family members have died and son-in-laws have joined the mix. (And in a couple of cases, even a couple of son-in-laws have been replaced with newer models!) There's even a granddaughter at the table now. But as I gaze around the dinner table, I can still remember those who occupied the same seats as when we were children. And if I think back hard enough, I can even remember bits and pieces of conversations that still linger in the child-part of my brain and the secret compartments of my heart. But as sure as I'm sitting here, there are things that haven't changed a bit, because my father still makes us girls wait anxiously for him to command "You can open your presents now," before we are allowed to touch anything. And I still get the same feelings in the pit of my stomach...the feelings of love, and trust and of course, a feeling of family.
As you celebrate Christmas this year, take a moment and remember the past. Remember the friends and family who have helped you grow to be the person you are today, whether they are still here or have passed on. I know that for me, my Christmas spirit is born of the love of family, both present and past.
The feast day of Saint Nicholas, a 4th century bishop from Asia Minor, was celebrated on December 6th. Known as the patron saint of children and sailors, he was famous for giving gifts to children. His feast became a children's holiday in Holland where he became known as Sint Nikolaas.
Because they couldn't pronounce the Dutch name, the English colonists in New York, (previously the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam,) called him “Santa Claus,” and began celebrating the feast day on Christmas.
Another name for Santa Claus, Kriss Kringle, developed in Germany around 1600. The Protestants in Germany, gave gifts as they celebrated the birth of the Christ child, Christkindl, on December 25th. Over time, the name “Christkindl” evolved into “Kriss Kringle.”
In Germany as well as the Netherlands, the man known as Santa Claus, often rode accross the skies on a white horse. Often depicted as wearing the robes of a bishop, and sometimes accompanied by Black Peter, an elf who whipped naughty children, he delivered presents to all the children who had been good.
Throughout the years, the tradition of gift giving evolved. The combination of the religious account of the three Wise Men who gave gifts to the baby Jesus, and the character of the gift giving Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, combined to evolve into a strong tradition of the exchanging of gifts on Christmas.
Here is how the name of Santa Claus is said around the world.
Did you know that you can track Santa around the world as he makes the annual trip to deliver the toys to all girls and boys. Well you can watch and get the updates in real time from NORAD's special Santa site.
It's the Saturday before Christmas and, if you're at all like me, there's still so much to do and so little time to get it done.
Of course, I suppose I would have more of the Christmas stuff done, if only I had spent less time working on my other web projects and watching less football! Oh well ... some how I just believe that it will all get done on schedule. (It always does!)
One of the things I've spent way too much time doing today is searching for the best Christmas videos I can find to share with my readers. And guess what? ... I've found another one.
So while you sit back and enjoy this Christmas video, I'll be wrapping some gifts and baking some cookies. Enjoy!!
Sometime during the next few days, your guests will begin to arrive at your home for the Christmas festivities. And this year, you are going to be ready.
Without some planning and forethought, having company during the holidays can be a very stressful and difficult time for everyone. But if you think ahead and plan accordingly, your guests will feel welcome and comfortable in your home, and you’ll provide a stress-free environment so you can enjoy their company.
Be sure that you decorate your home and tree for the people who will enjoy it. Antique Christmas ornaments are likely to get broken if small children are admiring them. And the likelihood of your best tablecloth getting a marinara stain on it is pretty high if you’re serving children. You are happy your guests are in your home, so take it upon yourself to ensure they feel welcome, comfortable and wanted.
Start the process of preparation in the guest room that your company will be staying in, and make it special. If they’ll be with you for more than just a couple of days, provide drawers they can put things away in so they can easily find things and get ready each day. Make sure your guest bathroom has plenty of clean towels and that you are stocked up on the necessities like toilet paper, shampoo, soap, and toothpaste.
Also, be sure you have plenty available to entertain your younger guests. Board games, crayons, coloring books, and movies help pass the time while the adults visit. Encourage the little ones to draw a pretty Christmas picture that you can display in your home for the holidays, or provide them with enough craft material such as glitter, yarn, glue, tape, and construction paper to make fun Christmas gifts of their own. An outing to a Christmas pageant or a night out caroling or watching the local Christmas parade provides fun for all ages as well.
Try to find out ahead of time if any of your guests require special accommodations, attention, or have special diets they must adhere to or have any food allergies. The last thing you want to have happen is for one of your guests to have an allergic reaction to your oyster stuffing. It might feel awkward to ask, but your guests will appreciate you thinking ahead on their behalf.
Most importantly, try to keep the environment in your home calm and relaxing. After all, it is the holidays and both you and your guests have decided to spend this time together. Take the time to sit back and take it easy with your company.
Keep the days entertaining, but not crammed full of activity. Be sure to schedule in activities they enjoy. Perhaps there’s a special exhibit at your local art gallery or museum they’d like to see while they’re in town. If so, offer to watch the kids while they go, and then take the kids to see a movie or ice skating. If these options are a bit too energetic for you, they might also enjoy playing a board game or watching a movie or television program at home. The gift of your time will be fondly remembered long after your guests have returned home.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS tells the heartfelt tale of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, and all things that go bump in the night. Bored with the same old tricks and treats, he yearns for something more, and soon stumbles upon the glorious magic of Christmas Town! Jack decides to bring this joyful holiday back to Halloween Town. But as his dream to fill Santa's shoes unravels, it's up to Sally, the rag doll who loves him, to stitch things back together. This critically acclaimed movie milestone captured the heart and imagination of audiences everywhere with its Academy Award®-nominated stop-motion effects, engaging Grammy®-nominated music, and the genius of Tim Burton.
I hope you enjoy this clip from the movie.
Most of us grew up listening to the traditional type of Christmas music. Right?
Well, Christmas music has changed a bit over the years and with the advent of video, we can experience some of the old time favorites in a whole new way!
This musical video of Christmas lights, is set to the fantastic music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. So hit the play button, crank up your speakers and sit back and enjoy!!!