Monday, December 31, 2012

Shout, Brother, Shout...Happy New Year!

Shout, Brother, Shout...sung by the Inkspots with FANTASTIC dancing by Tip, Tap and Toe!
When I happily discovered the Inkspots this year, I found this fantastic dancing by Tip, Tap and Toe. (Real names- Samuel Green, Ted Fraser and Ray Winfield.)   Such joy, such incredible dancing!  I wonder if young people nowadays would think this was computer generated, but we know better.  This was just pure talent.  I wish they could have had more opportunities but I am grateful that we have this film that we can still enjoy it today. (And I have read that this dancing and singing scene is the best part of the whole movie!)  Let me know what you think, I was just stunned by how fast they could move. The tap called "sliding style" was invented by Ray Winfield.  Watch the video and you will know what I am talking about!

 These photos were taken at my sister's beautiful home on Christmas Eve. I LOVE her taste!
For the new year..."We'll take a cup of kindness yet".  Yes, that is what I would like for the whole world, an overflowing cup of kindness.   Light and love in the New Year for you all.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Monastery And Arabia Mountain

We went to the Monastery and Arabia Mountain today. . (They are only a few miles apart and only a few miles from us.)  I wish you the peace that we feel when we are in the balcony of the church of the Monastery. When we are bathed in the blue light and with the monks chanting, the same chants that have gone on for centuries, the timelessness and holiness is beautiful.  This is truly a special place.
Arabia Mountain is just as special to us, and I hope you can understand me when I tell you that I also consider it to be holy ground.
Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries...
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sunset Photos

So many things that I want to blog about today, and yet, I am very tired, so they are all jumbled up in my mind.  Better to wait and hopefully, will be better able to post tomorrow. In the meantime, these sunset photos were taken by me in my own yard, backyard in the first photo, and front yard in the second.  (Can anyone see a man's face in the second photo above? It looks like a man wearing glasses, kind of in the middle, to the lower right, do you see him?)  There is a word for finding faces in things, and I have actually written a post about it, but do you think I can remember the word?
There, I found the post from January of 2012.
Anyone else remember the "Finding Waldo" books in England, when you had to find the character with glasses wearing a striped red and white shirt?  We had them in the USA, but they were "Finding Wally" books.  I think "Wally" is kind of a funny thing to call someone in England.  Maybe, they had to change the name for that reason.  Our son liked those books a lot, and was very good at spotting him, whether it was Waldo or Wally!  CORRECTION: It is Waldo in the USA and Wally in the UK.  I am afraid that I got the names mixed up. When you are Georgia Girl With An English Heart, that happens quite often! Still don't know why Wally means a stupid person though!
Oh, and I must not forget...a big welcome to any of my new followers, you are much appreciated, as are any of the nice folks who already read my blog. You will see that you are in very good company! The folks who read my blog are the BEST!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Crossroads At Stone Mountain Park

See all the lights secured to the trunk and branches of this tree?
Another post-card from Richard! (I LOVE this!)
See all the lights on this building?

From my last post, the photo of the building covered in Christmas lights was from "Crossroads" which is what they call the area just in front of Stone Mountain.  There are shops and restaurants there and beginning the first week of November, they start covering all the buildings and fences, the trees and the bushes with thousands of lights.  It is very pretty, especially with Stone Mountain in the background! (Every night beginning at Thanksgiving, I believe, there is a parade for children with a pretty snow angel and Santa Claus.)  Stone Mountain Park is unusual in that, strictly speaking, it is owned by the state of Georgia but the same company who owns DOLLYWOOD in Tennessee, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, has a long-term contract with the state so this company is responsible for all the shows, the cable-cars, the famous "Laser Show" on the Carving, the "Ride The Ducks" on the lake, the Snow-Mountain (they make snow for it), the train around the base of the mountain, and all the restaurants and places to shop.  The Stone Mountain Memorial Association is responsible for all the NATURAL areas of the Park, which takes up two-thirds of Stone Mountain Park.  You must KNOW that is what is most important to me!   Which is wonderful since the park covers 3200 acres!  You may read about SMMA here.   And you may see the site about Stone Mountain just here. Anything that the theme park side of it wishes for Stone Mountain Park must be approved by the SMMA. Recently, when I read that a water park was planned for Stone Mountain Park, I was on the phone to make sure that none of the large trees would be cut down!  I wish that there were more for people, especially for children, to tell them about the nature that is all around them and which a good many of them do not even notice. 

This is where they make SNOW MOUNTAIN! (All must be dismantled in early March.)

 There, remember the big Christmas tree from my last post? Can you see it in that first photo above, behind the fence?  It is really just wires strung over a big tree-like base but I am thankful for it.   As I am thankful that the Stone Mountain Memorial Association is still in charge of all the natural areas here.
(All of these photos are from November 3, 2012 from Stone Mountain Park, Georgia, USA!)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas day, wherever you are in the world!  I appreciate you reading my blog and I am thankful for YOU!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve/Christmas Lights

Lights At Stone Mountain, Georgia. (Richard should sell postcards of this!)

Christmas tree at the base of Stone Mountain.  I am the shadowy figure at the right.  Finally, a good picture of me!
Christmas card I received from Pat from the Isle of Lewis.  Just look at this scene! It is so beautiful, I just had to share it with you.  My photo doesn't do it justice, can you see the lights reflected in the water? And for me, the holly decorating the edge of the card is the perfect touch.
Light and love to all of you.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bright Shiny Aluminum Christmas Trees

What kind of Christmas tree do you have? A real one? A fake one that tries to look real, with green branches? Just this year, I have noticed in the stores for the first time, the shiny aluminum Christmas trees from my childhood. (Our tree was all silver, and it had a light with a revolving panel of colors so the tree would turn the various shades from the light through the glass but thinking of it, it was the 60's, so it must have been plastic.  I loved it.)  Apparently, they were all the rage in the USA from 1958 until 1965.  What happened to make them completely drop from favor? Why, it was the wonderful TV show, "A Charlie Brown Christmas", of course!  (And if you happen to be reading this, and you have NOT seen this, please do yourself a favor and watch it. Go on, do it RIGHT NOW, please.  You will thank me.)  The music, the dear little children's voices, the beautiful message...all of it makes for me, a very cherished childhood memory.  It was always something that I made sure that I always watched with my younger sister, every year, it was a tradition with us.  So much so, that when the music by Vince Guaraldi came out a few years ago on CD, my sister gave it to me in memory of those times together. (My favorite Advent music,  thank you Pam!)  My son sang this song recently, and it is so beautiful, it made me tearful.  I didn't know those last few words, and that seems the whole point of the song to I have the lyrics here for you.
Tree with crocheted ornaments, all made by me except for the lovely snowflakes on the front which I received in a Snowflake Swap. Thanks, Samantha!

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year...

And my Dad always calls me when he sees this is on TV. ("Quick, Kay, turn on your TV, Charlie Brown is on! HEE HEE")  He loves Charlie Brown and so do I!  I love all these characters created by Charles Schulz and I am thankful that even though he is no longer with us, we can still enjoy his humor and wisdom. You may click on the following to read more.  A Charlie Brown Christmas  
Hope all of you are having a wonderful Christmas-time.
"Oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year..." 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gabriel's Message

One of the Sunday School teachers at my church will be out of town this Sunday, so I have been asked to teach the middle school aged children.  The lesson is to be about the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would be bringing the Savior into the world.  So many beautiful works of art representing this, it was hard to choose just one to show you here.  I have been given a "search-for-word" type puzzle for the children after we have read the scripture from Luke.   You know, I will make them do more than just a puzzle, right? I wish I could show them all the works of art and also, I want to make sure that they know this very old hymn, "Gabriel's Message", thought to be 13th or 14th century,  which was translated from the Basque by Sabine Baring-Gould, the Englishman who also wrote "Onward Christian Soldiers".  You may read about him here.
(And we may thank him for the Victorian image of the "wings as drifted snow".)

Many artists have this song on Youtube but my favorite was this one by King's College Choir from Cambridge.  

1. The angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow his eyes as flame
"All hail" said he "thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady," Gloria!

2. "For know a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy Son shall be Emanuel, by seers foretold
Most highly favored lady," Gloria!

3. Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said,
"My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name."
Most highly favored lady. Gloria!

4. Of her, Emanuel, the Christ was born
In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn
And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say:
"Most highly favored lady," Gloria!

It has been suggested that the song "Let It Be" by the Beatles, could be associated with the Virgin Mary.  ("Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, Let it be") Paul McCartney has always denied this (his mother's name was Mary), but the fact is that his words echo scripture very closely here.  It's okay, Paul, this is a very good book to borrow from!

6 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”[c]
29 But when she saw him,[d] she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christopher, Singer AND Writer!


Thanks for all of your nice comments about Christopher's singing! He truly is talented in many areas. I found this newsletter from C.'s first grade class and I wanted to show you what C. wrote. (Each month the class had a featured author.)  Christopher always loved books and he still does!  I hope we got him some Eric Carle books for his birthday that year. Our brilliant son!  He has always been a very gifted writer.  In his college journalism class, just last month he got the highest grade on an assignment and he was given the "It Was A Dark And Stormy Night" Award.  This was done in a humorous, tongue-in-cheek kind of way, but C. was pleased to receive it since he has always loved those words.  We have a slip of paper with those same words in his first grade handwriting that stayed on my fridge for many years... 
Also, may I show you something else?  I have a letter that C. wrote the following year, a letter that he wrote to Santa Claus.  Nothing startling about that, children write to Santa every year.  However, since Christopher wrote his return address underneath "To Santa Claus, North Pole", it was returned to us within a few days after he posted it.  I placed it inside my "Southern Living Christmas Book".  So, since 1997, I have held on to this letter and I HAVE NEVER OPENED IT.  Christopher says that since fifteen years have passed, then he thinks he will open it this year. (He can't remember at all what he wrote, so it will be as much as a surprise for him as it will be for us.) So...look out for a post about this and I will let you in on the letter to Santa from 1997! (See, and you thought I couldn't be exciting!) That is, if Christopher will allow me to have it on my blog! United States Mail is private property!  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Merry Christmas, Darling and Blue Christmas

As promised, here is the video of our son singing this past week.  At one point, you can hear the baby, Esme, squealing in the background and it makes Christopher smile.  Hope you like his Elvis impression!

I think he could be a good Elvis impersonator myself. What do you think? And I truly enjoyed hearing my son sing this...that is me beside my cousin, Chris, singing together at the end.  JOY!

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Still Support And Comfort Me"


Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—Lo! on Thee I cast my care;
Reach me out Thy gracious hand! While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand, dying, and behold, I live.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

The same man who wrote the words to "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" wrote the words to "Jesu, Lover Of My Soul."...Charles Wesley.   Aled Jones is the singer in the video and this video is one that I have been listening to all week, and today there is a special poignancy to it for me.
 "Our hearts are broken"...President Obama.
He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3     Quoted by President Obama in his speech to the country.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Arabia Mountain Trail/ Silent Night Video

Thanks to all who left best wishes to Christopher on my last post.  The arrangements were not ideal (in a department store with people talking, buggies banging around, bad sound system,etc. ) but he did a really good job!  As soon as we can work it it out, I will try to get a video or two on here for you.  In the meantime, it's hard to believe that we had this much color on the trees as of November 18th, which is when we took these photos at the Arabia Mountain Trail and Arabia Lake.  Hope you can see why we enjoy this area so much. 
  Okay! Here is Christopher singing "Silent Night".  Remember, not ideal circumstances, but I think you can tell he has a nice singing voice.    The nice lady singing with him is very good and she seemed to enjoy herself.  You can hear Richard saying "That's good!" at the end, and you can see me holding the little baby. (That is my cousin's baby, Esme. Remember the diaper cake I made for a baby shower back in March?  It was for this baby!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walking In The Air


Christopher will be SINGING tomorrow at a local department store. (Belk in Conyers, GA at 6PM. Come and see him if you can!)  Wish him luck if you can't come!  One of the songs that he plans to sing is "Walking In The Air".  It is from "The Snowman".  If you haven't seen it, please watch it, it is an animated TV show from the 80's, based on a book by Raymond Briggs. The music is by Howard Blake and both of them are English.
  Can you understand why I love this video that I found for you?  The singer is Aled Jones and I am familiar with him as a child singer but it looks as if he has kept singing all these years and has been the host of one of my favorite TV shows (when I lived there in 1985), which was Songs of Praise. Let me know what you think of this video which was on a morning TV show in England from 2007.  This is Aled as an adult singing with a duet with himself as a child. (Sounds like something from Dr. Who, but it is really beautiful.)
Once again, be thinking of my son singing tomorrow, he will be singing songs of praise too!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Shawshank Redemption

I love books and I love movies.  A few, like "To Kill A Mockingbird" are just as good as the book. I very rarely say that about a movie but some films are done so very well that they do great justice to the written word. And after all, even if a film is not based upon a book, there is still a screenplay involved, words behind the images that we see.   One of my favorite movies is "The Shawshank Redemption" and when I first saw it years ago,  I realized that I already knew the story behind it.  It was based on a short story by Stephen King called " Rita Hayworth And Shawshank Redemption".   If you haven't seen it, I really don't want to spoil it for you but it is a very good film and I highly recommend it.  I was very pleased recently when I discovered The Inkspots.  After spending a great deal of time listening to all that I could find by them, I realized that I knew one of their songs but I couldn't think where I had heard it. After some research, I found that it was in "The Shawshank Redemption"!  I found it for you here and I hope you like it as much as I do.  It is called "If I Didn't Care"...
Blue Orchids
There is a pivotal scene in the movie and it also involves some beautiful music by Mozart.  What an incredible scene!  It is one of my favorites!  And I must tell you that the ending of this movie is also one that I can still see in my mind's eye, it is that perfectly done. 
The photo of the blue orchids is one that Richard took for me when we stopped off at a store  yesterday.  Richard has a good eye for color, don't you think? 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

America's Most Inspiring Movies




At this time of year, it might be nice to see an inspiring movie.  The American Film Institute in 2006 came out with the top 100 most inspiring movies.  (100 Years...100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies.)  Some people like romances, some like dramas.  Turns out, I like inspirational films.  Of these 100, I have seen 98 of them.  I need to see the other two so I can say that I have seen them all! (Braveheart and Places In the Heart, the only two I have not seen.)

How many of them have you seen?  And it won't take you long to read through this list.  I can't believe the Chariots of Fire is at #100!  I would have it in the top 10 at least!  Now, if you have not seen hardly any of this movies, then do yourself a favor and seek them out and watch them.  You will thank me, I promise. 

And this is not Scarlet O'Hara from Gone With The Wind in the photo, it is just me on top of Arabia Mountain!  Duh, duh, duh, duh... that's the music in case you don't remember! (And you know of course, that Vivian Leigh was from England and playing a girl from Georgia, right?)


1It's a Wonderful Life1946
2To Kill a Mockingbird1962
3Schindler's List1993
5Mr. Smith Goes to Washington1939
6E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial1982
7The Grapes of Wrath1940
8Breaking Away1979
9Miracle on 34th Street1947
10Saving Private Ryan1998
11The Best Years of Our Lives1946
12Apollo 131995
14The Bridge on the River Kwai1957
15The Miracle Worker1962
16Norma Rae1979
17One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest1975
18The Diary of Anne Frank1959
19The Right Stuff1983
21In the Heat of the Night1967
22The Pride of the Yankees1942
23The Shawshank Redemption1994
24National Velvet1944
25Sullivan's Travels1941
26The Wizard of Oz1939
27High Noon1952
28Field of Dreams1989
30Lawrence of Arabia1962
33City Lights1931
34All the President's Men1976
35Guess Who's Coming to Dinner1967
36On the Waterfront1954
37Forrest Gump1994
39Star Wars1977
40Mrs. Miniver1942
41The Sound of Music1965
4212 Angry Men1957
43Gone with the Wind1939
45On Golden Pond1981
46Lilies of the Field1963
472001: A Space Odyssey1968
48The African Queen1951
49Meet John Doe1941
51The Color Purple1985
52Dead Poets Society1989
55The Defiant Ones1958
57Sergeant York1941
58Close Encounters of the Third Kind1977
59Dances with Wolves1990
60The Killing Fields1984
63Rain Man1988
64The Black Stallion1979
65A Raisin in the Sun1961
67The Day the Earth Stood Still1951
68An Officer and a Gentleman1982
69The Spirit of St. Louis1957
70Coal Miner's Daughter1980
71Cool Hand Luke1967
72Dark Victory1939
73Erin Brockovich2000
74Gunga Din1939
75The Verdict1982
76Birdman of Alcatraz1962
77Driving Miss Daisy1989
78Thelma & Louise1991
79The Ten Commandments1956
81Boys Town1938
82Fiddler on the Roof1971
83Mr. Deeds Goes to Town1936
85What's Love Got to Do with It1993
86Stand and Deliver1988
87Working Girl1988
88Yankee Doodle Dandy1942
89Harold and Maude1971
90Hotel Rwanda2004
91The Paper Chase1973
93A Beautiful Mind2001
94Captains Courageous1937
95Places in the Heart1984
96Searching for Bobby Fischer1993
97Madame Curie1943
98The Karate Kid1984
100Chariots of Fire1981