Sunday, December 28, 2014

All The Joy And Beauty

                                   Hello everyone!  I hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas! (I do still say y'all, it means YOU ALL and that is just what I mean to say!)

                                         Looking forward to the new year?

                                Look, here is my Dad's REAL tabletop Christmas tree!

                                 And my fake one!  When the sun lit it up, it looked nice!

                             We had a lot of rain but it cleared up, just in time for Christmas!

You know how much JOY I wish for all of you in the coming year?  As much joy as you can see in the following photo....

This is my Dad wearing one of the paper crowns that you get in a Christmas cracker!  He loved it!
And for some reason, gave himself "horns" when the photo was taken!  Everyone should have as much fun as my Dad.

Sunshine had a calf the weekend before Christmas, isn't he beautiful?  Wishing you joy and beauty!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

70th Anniversary of the Sinking of Leopoldville

December 24, 2014...Christmas Eve.

   Seventy years ago on the night of Christmas Eve, the Leopoldville was torpedoed by a German submarine in the English Channel.  I have written about W. S. Connor who was a survivor from the Leopoldville.  I had the pleasure of meeting him and arranging for him to speak at the local Rotary Club of his experience.   If you would like to know more about this, I found an excellent article about it just here.

The first book that I read about the Leopoldville was Mr. Connor's book that he loaned to me:

 "A Night Before Christmas" by Jacquin Sanders.

 (And I did return the book to that dear man! I have my own copy now.  Mr. Connor passed away in the year 2000.  I am thankful to have met him.)   Mr. Connor's name is not mentioned in that book but it amused me when he told me that although he was not mentioned BY NAME, I might recognize him in the book.  This puzzled me until I read the account of a soldier giving out candy and gum to the guys up on deck and he was called "Deep Pockets".  Mr. Connor came into the travel agency (which is how I met him) and he passed out peppermints and gum to me and my co-workers! Men don't change really, he was just the same as he was as a young man! He told me that there was another man writing a book and that he should be included in the listing of survivors for that book...I now have that book also, and it is:

"Leopoldville: A Tragedy Too Long Secret"  by Allan Andrade

I love both of these books and I recommend them both to you.

When Mr. Connor was passing out his gum and candy to us at the travel agency, he said to me, "Ever hear of the Leopoldville?"  When I answered in the negative, he said, "No, you wouldn't have, it was kept secret for 50 years!"  After I spoke with him and looked further into it, I was astounded at this and am still surprised that so little is known about it. 

It brings tears to my eyes to tell you that I had some heartfelt comments on the posts that I had written about the Leopoldville from relatives of those who had served on the Leopoldville or the Brilliant (the ship that bravely took on some of the survivors.)

Tomorrow, the movie, "Unbroken" will be released.  I hope it will raise awareness of some of the true stories of World War II.  The families that were affected by the deaths of the men from the Leopoldville deserve to have this story told.   I will always remember W.S. Connor.  Mr. Connor stayed with the ship and went down in the sinking.  He survived in the very cold water and was picked up by a small boat.  It was reckoned you could only survive about 30 minutes in the water.  When I asked him how long did he think he was in the water, he said, with a faraway look in his eye, "I guess about 30 minutes then".

Prayers for those who are missing loved ones this time of year and for those whose stories are known to them alone.

Merry Christmas to you all.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring-United States Air Force Band

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is from a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach entitled "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" which translated to English means, "Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life".    I have only learned those words today and I share them with you...heart and mouth and deed and life.    To The Glory of God Alone 

The video is six minutes long, but if you don't have time to watch it, come back to it later, or just listen to it as you do something else.  It is really worth watching! 

From my reading... "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" is from "Jesus bleibet meine Freude" which more closely translated is "Jesus shall remain my gladness.".  

(I do apologize if it seems that I have been taking German lessons.  It is just that there have been things that I have read that involves German! And since I have at least ONE follower in Germany, I can always have my German verified and/or corrected! Thanks, Meike!)

The United States Air Force was a part of the United States Army. During World War II, the US Air Force was known as the US Army Air Corps from 1926 to 1941.  It was known as the US Army Air Forces from 1941 to 1947.  (After 1947, it became the United States Air Force and was another branch of the military.)  LOUIS ZAMPERINI was a member of the United States Army Air should know this if you have read "Unbroken".  The movie will come out on Christmas day!  I hope that the movie will live up to my expectations.  (Once again, I apologize, but honestly, so many things remind me of Mr. Zamperini!)

I also had a dear uncle who served in the US Air Force.  Uncle Jake...I need to do a post about him! He would have loved this video of the US Air Force Band performing as a "flash mob" in Washington, D.C.    I think we should come up with some other term than "flash mob" for something like about "Special Joy Givers"?     Yes! That's it!  

Wishing all of you special joy!    JOY TO THE WORLD!

   OH! And I forgot to mention, thanks to my favorite librarian in Washington, D.C. for having this video on his Facebook!  Merry Christmas to Dave G.!!

Clouds Over Arabia Mountain...a pilot told me that this is used as a landmark for pilots! Fly over this and you know you are close to the Atlanta airport!




Friday, December 19, 2014

Who Wrote "The Night Before Christmas"?

Do we really know for sure?  The very well known and loved poem, "A Visit From St. Nicholas" but which is more often called by the first line of the poem, " The Night before Christmas" is thought to have been written by Clement C. Moore who was a professor at Columbia College (now Columbia University.)   It seems that he was a bit embarrassed by this poem, he wrote very lengthy books on languages that he felt were much more important!

Perhaps he didn't like to be reminded of it since he didn't really write it?  The poem was published anonymously in a newspaper in Troy, New York on Dec. 23, 1823  It is believed by many that Henry Livingstone, Jr. wrote the poem!  The Livingstone family was surprised to see that Clement C.  Moore claimed ownership of this poem since the children of Henry Livingstone, Jr. knew that their father had read it to them for years! Why would they not dispute it?  It is believed that it could have something to do with the fact that Mr. Moore was the only child of a bishop in the Episcopal church in New York City!

A  mock trial was conducted recently and the verdict was that Mr. Livingstone was indeed the true author! In fact, December 23, 2014 has now been declared Henry Livingstone, Jr. Day in Troy, New York. 

Now, I really don't know for sure, but it seems to me that the arguments in favor of Henry Livingstone, Jr. are pretty sound.  If you read the different writings of both men, you should come to the same conclusion that I could Clement C.Moore have written this? You can read some of the writings of Clement C. Moore but I wouldn't recommend it! They sound NOTHING like the fun and joy of  "A Night Before Christmas"!  Henry Livingstone Jr's poems and letters sound very much like the rhyming scheme and joyful tone found in the famous "Night Before Christmas".!

For one thing...the reindeer names..  Donner and Blitzen (thunder and lightning in German)...were really Dunder and Blixem (thunder and lightning in Dutch).   Apparently, Clement C. Moore knew German but not Dutch.  Could he have made this change simply because he thought the person who wrote the poem didn't know how to spell?  The words are close enough to make one think so, without taking the time to look it up!

Also, it is on record that Clement C. Moore wrote a letter to Troy, New York, ASKING about the authorship of the poem! This is called  the smoking gun. You can read more details about it if you click on that link I just gave you!

The best argument for Mr. Livingstone's authorship of the poem is in the other poems and letters that he wrote in his lifetime.  I have not read all of them. but I read a good many of them and in one of the letters he wrote, " A Thousand kisses for the baby and a thousand blessings upon you!".  Also, he even wrote "Happy Christmas" in one of the letters and that is in the last line of the poem! Now, go and read Clement C. Moore and compare his letters and poems to those of Henry Livingstone, Jr.

What do you think?  Whoever did write it, I have always loved it and I always will! I read it often enough to the boy you see in the photo below! I think I can almost recite it from memory.

"...but I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!"

 And don't even get me started on Dr. Seuss and "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"! I knew that one by heart from reading it so often to my brothers and sister! Hey ! I still do!  And You KNOW I had to try to read it in my BEST fake English accent! Thanks, Boris Karloff for such a wonderful reading of the story, it was truly wonderful!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Welcoming Friends

Cox's Orange Pippin- Never mind the name, it is an APPLE! Don't you want to eat it?

Richard with his friend Henry in Henry's Garden-September 2014

Here we are posing with Henry's parents, Joy & Henry. Don't we look happy?
Everything in Henry & Sarah's garden was lovely.
The fruit was perfectly ripe.  This was a pear tree in Henry's garden.

It might seem that I am going back in time...I wrote about November in my last post and now, I am showing you photos of our trip to England from September!  There are still lots of photos that I can show you and even more that I want to tell you about.  One of the main things though is to say that we don't just visit England, we visit with family and friends and we are made to feel welcome, very welcome indeed. 

School friends since John Ruskin Grammar School!

Lovely meal!

Henry, Richard and Dave...can't you still see them as naughty boys?  :-) Better be good, guys, Santa's watching!
Our visit to Dave in Burwash was a very nice visit too and we took some great photos but that will have to wait for another post!

The Joy of Friends!  That was the name of the post that I wrote two years ago when we last visited England and you may read it just here.  If you don't have time to look at it, I have some photos of Joy & Henry from that post.   Here's to all friends, near and far.  Please, leave best wishes here for our friends in England.  Happy Christmas to you all!  xx
Gorgeous, even the Queen thinks so!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

November Colors With Kisses

Well!  How have you all been?  I have been a bit of a nutcase doing one thing or another.  You would never believe it, but I spent one whole hour today just working on the GIFT bags that I have for presents for the gals at work...yes that is just the art work that I put on the gift bags...that does not take into account the time to buy presents to put into them! What do I think I am, an artist or something? Gee, they probably won't even NOTICE it!  Oh well!
I know everyone is saying "Merry Christmas" already but I want to's not Christmas yet...we need to be preparing for it! And by doing that I will remember the bright colors of Autumn in Georgia! All of these photos were taken in November.
Tree at Arabia Mountain Trail...not sure what it is!
I took this photo! Mums in my backyard.

Sunrise in front of my house!

Walking at Stone Mountain!
This photo was taken Nov. 29th.  I was raking leaves and looked up and loved the red leaves against my house.

This is my pretty sister, Pam, modeling the hat and cowl that I crocheted for her! She is and always has been a beauty! This was on Thanksgiving day and even though it was one of the coldest Thanksgivings I can remember, you can see how bright and sunny it was!
Hope everyone is staying well.  I saw a thing on the news that said it might be a good idea to not shake hands so as to not spread germs...they suggested bumping ELBOWS! They showed it being done and it looked hilarious! Maybe we could just blow kisses like they tell little children to do.
  Blowing kisses to you all!  xx

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

UNBROKEN Movie- Louis Zamperini

I felt like I had lost a friend when  Louie Zamperini died, although we had never met.  We exchanged a few notes and letters over the years, beginning in 2004, when I wrote a letter to the publisher after I had read the book, "Devil At My Heels" which was forwarded to Louie.  (Any of my regular followers will know this, but I state this for those who do not know my great admiration for Louis Zamperini!)     I wish I could have met him in person.  However, I do know the sound of his voice, from videos that I have watched on YouTube.

Before the movie, "Unbroken" comes out on Christmas day, I urge you to watch this video.  I predict that the "Unbroken" movie will be very popular.  Angelina Jolie is giving interviews promoting the film just now and it seems to me that she has given his story the proper respect that it deserves. 

If you don't have time to watch this video now, then just remember to come back to it when you get the chance.   Okay?  And if you are going through any tough times just now, remember the advice that Louis Zamperini wrote to me... "Be hardy"!   

hardy -   robust, capable of enduring difficult circumstances.

Thank you, Louis Zamperini!  I can't wait until the whole world knows about you and your remarkable life through the new film! 

And I have a link to an interview from the daughter of Louis Zamperini, you may read it just here.
I was pleased to see this since I had never seen or heard anything from her before. 

Cover of Unbroken in England...I had to buy this in England, you know I did!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Libera - Boy's Choir From South London

As I crochet, I like to watch TV.  However, it is much better for me to listen to the TV rather than watch it, otherwise, I make mistakes on my crochet work!  Tonight, I watched the local PBS station and really enjoyed a boy's choir from South London.  They are called Libera  and their voices are perfectly wonderful, they sound like angels.  I had never heard of this choir until tonight. Thank you, PBS! What would I do without you?
Still, still, still,
Let all the earth be still.
For Mary in her arms enfolding
Hope of all the world is holding.
Still, still, still,
Let all the earth be still.
Sing, sing,
Sweet angel voices sing.
While Jesus lies in manger dreaming
Seraph choirs from heaven are streaming.
Sing, sing, sing,
Sweet angel voices sing.
Light, light, light
Let all the earth be light.
The holy star its news ablazing
Sign of hope for nations raising.
Light, light, light,
Let all the earth be light.
Sleep, holy Jesus, sleep.

Here is someone modeling my work!  I had made this cap for my Dad last year but it was just a bit too small.  No worries, I told him, I could just add a bit to it! I took it home with me and crocheted a few more rows.  You can see he was pleased with it! Now, I am thinking that his dog, Bandy, is wondering what have I made for him?  Hmm...could there be a dog sweater in the works?  Why not, give me enough time and I will cover the WORLD with my crochet, imperfect as it is, I still love it.
(Reading this again...I meant that my crocheting is imperfect but you might take that to mean that the world is imperfect...never mind, I love the world too!)
Let me know if you know of the choir, Libera, and if not, what you think of them! I was very happy to hear them and happy to share this with all of you.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Silent Night" Movie Made by byutv

There have been some dreadful shows on TV lately...the new Toy Story Christmas (that blue girly dinosaur, what were they thinking?), the CMA Christmas one and last night, reaching a depth of badness that is surprising even for TV, the Rockefeller Lighting of the Christmas Tree! (Darius Rucker and Trisha Yearwood were both good, but other than that...terrible!)

But wait, it really is my intention to write about things that are GOOD rather than bad! I must tell you to watch a movie that was first shown in 2012 but I only just saw it on TV this past weekend and it is one that you MUST watch!  It is...."Silent Night".  (Now, there is a horror movie with that same name made that same is NOT that one!!)
And I have read that in 2013, the Catholic Church bestowed a Gabriel Award upon this film.  
"It's our intent to shine a light on media that is positive, that uplifts the human spirit," said John Kearns, a chairman for the Gabriel Awards committee.

"Silent Night" is about the true story of Joseph Mohr, the assistant priest in Austria who wrote the words to "Stille Nacht", which is Silent Night in German. (The words that we know in English were translated by John Freeman Young...and he deserves his own post!) The beautiful melody is by Franz Gruber and I think that he also deserves a post of his own!   The song was first sung at a mass on Christmas Eve in the small village of Oberndorf, Austria (not far from Salzburg) in 1818.

The song "Silent Night" is a very beloved song and I am surprised that a movie has not been made about the origin of the song before now. This movie was written, produced and directed by Christian Vuissa, an Austrian who filmed this movie in Austria!  (The scenery is beautiful.) This movie was a production of the TV station, BYUtv, which is part of the Brigham Young University from Utah.  I have a trailer of the film for you here...


It has always been told that the organ broke down in the church in Oberndorf and that is why the song was first played on the guitar and that is how it was portrayed in the movie.  I do wonder though after watching this, if the young priest might have simply just wanted to hear this beautiful melody on the guitar rather than the organ and could it be that is how it happened? His earnestness might also be matched by his love for music. (Which might have a touch of irony since he wrote the words to this, but not the music!) This is just wondering on my part, but it seems to me that he could possibly have convinced Franz Gruber that the guitar suited the song better.  I suppose we will never know for sure, but the details of that do not matter much to me. What does matter is that we are left with this most beautiful hymn.  It is simple but truly lovely, "warm and tender, like the warmth you feel around a fire".   Make sure you watch this movie! You may see it here!  (That link will take you to the byutv website and you should just click on and watch the movie.)

A song about the night of the birth of Jesus- worth watching, I should think.
 And in the famous words of Linus, "THAT's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown!"

Saturday, November 29, 2014

P. D. James and Agatha Christie

P. D. James, a very popular British novelist, just died a few days ago.  Since I did a post stating that I prefer non-fiction books, I now must tell you that there are many writers of fiction that I admire and this is one of them! 

image from Wikipedia ...first UK edition.

This was her last novel and you might recognize the title. It was filmed as a TV movie and shown on Masterpiece Theatre just recently.  The story is a continuation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and you might guess that it involves a murder mystery! 

"Cover Her Face" was the first novel published by P.D. James in 1962.  (It was her first "Adam Dalgliesh novel...another TV series you should remember from Masterpiece Theatre!)  When I read that title, I found that interesting since I knew that phrase from Agatha Christie's excellent story, "Sleeping Murder: Miss Marple's Last Case".   The line is this:

 "Cover her face, mine eyes dazzle. She died young.". seems that Agatha Christie wrote her story first, in the 1940's but did not want it published until after her death.  You may read more details about it just here.

Agatha Christie is also another one of the best fiction writers!  I love her books and stories.  Yes, I know I told you to read non-fiction books, and I still want you to...but you have my permission to read works of fiction, as long as you check with me to make sure that they are the crème de la crème of books, okay?  (And I love it...the computer put that little accent over crème for me...ha! did it again!)   And please, I HOPE you know I am teasing you about getting my permission to read any book, I am JUST KIDDING, I hope you all enjoy reading as much as I eyes won't allow me to read as much as I would like!

"The Mystery of Agatha Christie" by Gwen Robyns is a biography of Agatha Christie that I read once and really enjoyed.  I see that P. D. James has her autobiography under the title "Time To Be In Earnest".  Both of these books are ones that I would like to read.  Agatha Christie and P. D. James were both excellent writers and I highly recommend their books!  And you can find them in the FICTION category!
Although, you might notice I still managed in get in a few plugs for a biography and an autobiography.

Thanks to all who left such sweet comments on my last post about Christopher's birthday!  He was very pleased to read them and asked me to pass along his appreciation.  Thank you all very much.

One of the novels by P. D. James is "The Lighthouse" and that is why I have chosen the photo above for you.  It is the lighthouse at Beachy Head in Eastbourne, England.  It is another Adam Dalgliesh mystery, and I want to read that one too!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Birthday to Christopher!

Some people have a birthday very close to Thanksgiving...and our son is one of them! (Sometimes, it is on Thanksgiving day itself!)
Wishing our son a happy birthday and a wonderful year ahead! 
Christopher with his Nana and Granddad!
Christopher with his Papa!
Framed Photo at C's Grandparents' house in England!
That smile! Christopher was a photographer's dream subject as a child, he was always smiling. 
Christopher, you are the BABE!  And don't you ever forget it!

Christopher with his girlfriend, Shoghik.

This was Richard's birthday cake & ice cream when we were in England but it was good, so C. can share it!
"Cotton Fields" by Creedence Clearwater Revival...that sounds like a good choice as a musical selection for this post!  Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2014

You Know You Are A Non-Fiction Fan When...

"The Boys In The Boat" is a book by Daniel James Brown.  It is about the young men from the United States Rowing Team in the 1936 Olympics, who against great odds, won the Gold Medal! 
The 1936 Olympics...everyone should remember them as the Olympics where Jesse Owens won four gold medals for track! (Also, Louis Zamperini was on the same track team and recalled that Jesse Owens looked out for him while they were in Berlin. Louis called him "a prince of a guy".  So these men on the rowing team were in the same group of athletes as Jesse Owens and Louis Zamperini!)
 Now, I have only found out about this book but it is most certainly on my list of books that I will read very soon! (And it looks as if it has now being made into a movie, so look out for it!)
How do you know if you are a big fan of non-fiction books?  When you look up a book and see the comments made by other non-fiction authors and you recognize every one of those authors!
The following is what some of my favorite authors had to say about "The Boys In The Boat"...
" I really can't rave enough about this book. It's like Chariots of Fire with oars."    .....David Laskin (Author of "The Children's Blizzard"...a fascinating book, but a very sad one, which I do recommend.)
"The Boys In the Boat" is not only a great and inspiring true story; it is a fascinating work of history".  Nathaniel Philbrick (author of "In the Heart of the Sea".)
"...a book you will recommend to your best friends".  James Bradley (author of "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Flyboys".)
"Well told history, packed with suspense and a likable bunch of underdogs at the heart of an improbable triumph."...Timothy Egan, author of "The Worst Hard Time"
There was also a review of the book by the author Mitchell Zuckoff (who wrote "Lost In Shangri-La" and "Frozen In Time")...but I can't find that quote for you!  (If I find it, I will edit this and let you know what it is.)
This makes me also want to read the other books by Daniel James Brown.  They are:
"The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Story of A Donner Party Bride"
"Under A Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894"
You know you are a non-fiction fan when you want to tell everyone about all the great non-fiction books out there AND you hate it when you read the review written by Amazon that says..."a nonfiction book that reads like a novel." !!!  NO!!!  Please, I cringe every single time I read or hear reads like a well written book of non-fiction!
Bring on the true stories!  I can't get enough of them.

These photos are from last weekend from our trip to Stone Mountain. That last photo was taken from the parking lot and we even like the view from there! We always say good-bye to the mountain until next time.   We really do love it so.  I guess you can tell!