Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Blessings

by Lois Jamieson

There are times, especially at Christmas, when I yearn for the days when our three grandchildren were youngsters.Such fun,with Grandpa playing Santa Claus in his red suit and me out shopping for toy trucks, building blocks, and dolls.
But then when I’m with our three grown up grandchildren, I find such pleasure just listening to them talk about their separate lives. This year was no exception. All three were home for Christmas.

The first grandchild, a twenty-eight year rock climber and radiology technician living in Flagstaff, Arizona, was with us as we gathered at our daughter’s home. His gift to us was a c.d. of his many pictures of his outdoor activities. His card was the best. Upon opening it, wonderful dance music sounded out, and the card read, “Dance on Grandma and Grandpa”.

Our second grandson, a twenty six year old manager of a high end restaurant in La Jolla, California, flew in for just Christmas day and back to California the next day. In a treasured moment with him, he told me – “Grandma, I want you to know I’ll always be there for you”. How nice is that to hear.

Our granddaughter, a college freshman living at Arizona State University, was also with us. At one point in the festivities she asked me if she could come visit me one day the next week. She wanted to spend the day with me looking at old family photographs. We did just that yesterday, with a manicure and lunch thrown in and we spent four hours sitting at the dining room table looking through scads of photos and eating too many chocolates. She went home loaded down with pictures.

So, it was a special Christmas with our three "grown up grandchildren".

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

by Lois Jamieson

I have always wondered what,and when,is the Winter Solstice. So I did some research and here is what I found out.

The Winter Solstice happens on December 21 or 22. It is the shortest day of the year, or conversely, the day with the longest night time. In today’s world observing the Solstice is rare, but it wasn’t rare in ancient times. It was observed throughout Europe, the British Isles, China, India and Scandinavia.
Solstice is a word that comes from the Latin word Sol Stetit – meaning, “The sun stood still.” For about six days in late December the sun appears to rise and set in almost the same place.
The ancient Romans celebrated the Winter Solstice with a festival called saturnalia – dedicated to Saturn, their god of agriculture. Early in the fourth century, Constantine declared that Christianity would be the new faith of the Roman Empire. That gave a new name and meaning to Saturnalia. With the birth of Jesus, it became known as Christmass or Christmas as we know it today.
Watch for the Winter Solstice on December 21st and 22nd.

Phoebe and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Peace and Love to all.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ageless Spirit

By Phoebe Maurer

I find aging to be a conundrum. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would sell our home to move into a senior residence, now known as independent living. The truth is, we are now dependent on children for advice, legal, financial and bookkeeping. We did it willingly for our parents until they were 92, 94 and 97.
Time cannot be seen, or smelled, or felt, it passes without sound or motion. Years unfold, experiences multiply, until we are suddenly 89 and 90, married 67 years when realization sets in. Our bodies have betrayed us! They sag, develop uninvited mild dementia, loss of hearing, arthritis, back pain and feet that need orthotics and special shoes.

However, it isn’t all misery, since we have ageless spirits. We are now living in a different world. One that offers many opportunities for growth. We are challenged by new friends, men and women in similar situations and fascinating backgrounds.
It is, and will continue to be, a life worth living as long as our ageless spirits determine each day. A story of laughs, tears, remorse, and joy, that comes from knowing our children and grandchildren are prolonging our tradition. We have survived illness, financial difficulties and every known problem that challenged our beliefs. Our values will prevail.

I will not sell my car, it is my last vestage of independence. I relax when I’m in the driver’s seat. It is my time to take control.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kids Without Stuff

by Lois Jamieson

There Are Kids Without Stuff all over the world and volunteers helping them, just like at *StarShine Academy where I volunteer. Just this week I heard that my great niece, Stacy has been volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal. Stacy, an interior designer decided to spend her two week vacation in Nepal. Here are some of her experiences in her own words.

“I walked to the orphanage through the busy and narrow streets. There are 34 children in total . Seven children are pre-school age and there is one baby. I will be spending most of my time with them. The older children are in school. When I first arrived, Krishna who is 2 years old, Himal who is 3, and one boy who normally would be in school but could not attend because he did not have a clean uniform, were playing. I sat and played with them for about an hour. I gave them bouncy balls and covered them in stickers, they loved it. We went outside and I read to them. That is when I met Sony who is 4 year old girl. She came up and jumped in my lap. She held my hands. I learned later that her little friend was recently adopted and she hadn’t been the same since. Later we put together a puzzle.

The next day when I got to the orphanage I was pleasantly surprised to see the children playing outside in the sunshine. They love having their picture taken and then looking at the picture. Later I was upstairs writing with three 5 year old boys when the director’s assistant came in to ask me if I would stay with the baby for awhile. The baby was lying in his bassinet, which is a rusted metal triangular shaped frame that sits on the floor. He was falling asleep when she left the room. Of course the second she walked out he started screaming and crying. I picked him up and held him and started to sing the only lullaby I know. One that my Mom used to sing to me when I was a child. As I sang I lost it. I was sitting on the floor holding the baby and we were crying together.”

Stacy shared some stories about the rest of her time in the orphanage in Nepal. I am so proud of this young professional woman who would give up her vacation and travel so far to help these poor little children without parents. They truly are kids without stuff and Stacy is truly a saint.

*StarShine Academy is a school dedicated to educating the poorest of the poor children. I have spent the last six years volunteering at the school as librarian and have taught etiquette classes to all ages. If you would like to learn more about the school and read the stories my daughter and I write about the children we call Kids Without Stuff, go to