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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Do people fit the meaning of their names? When I was pregnant, I was obsessed with not only what names I liked, but what they meant. I must have had at least five different baby name books, including an Irish Gaelic baby name book. Marty vetoed every one of the Gaelic names, but, to be fair, I also vetoed many of his, like “Lobo” or “Charlie” (Our last name is Brown; it wasn’t happening.). If we did have a girl, though, I would have fought to the death for Aoife.

Have you ever looked up the meaning of your name? Apparently, mine is Latin and means “youthful” and “downy-(soft) haired”. I can dig that, although I prefer “Julia” or “Jules” to “Julie”. I don’t feel my age. I certainly don’t act like it. Soft-haired? Well, I have a lot of hair. Left to its own devices, it’s crazy wavy, but it can (sometimes) be tamed and soft.

Some names have meanings that make me wonder if parents looked them up before bestowing them on their children. For example, the name Brendan sounds lovely and Irish until you learn that while one of its meanings is”prince”, it also means “smelly hair”. “Cecelia”, my Grandma Ruth’s middle name that I absolutely LOVE, means “blind”. There are actually websites devoted to baby names with terrible meanings such as https://closeronline.co.uk/family/news/worst-baby-name-bad-meaning-girl-boy/ and https://nameberry.com/blog/good-names-with-bad-bad-meanings Perhaps the meaning doesn’t matter so much to them, which I can understand.

If you don’t know the meaning of your name, check out https://www.babynames.com/ and see what you think.

So, what are your thoughts? Does your name fit you or not? Comment on Facebook, Twitter, or below.

Happy Holidays to everyone celebrating something this time of year!

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When I was a kid, I had a Magnus Chord organ (look it up) that used to be my mom’s. I loved that thing. It had a short keyboard to be played with the right hand, I can’t remember how many keys, and buttons that produced accompanying chords that were played with the left hand. The minor chords were my favorite. There were music books written specifically for the Magnus Chord organ and I played it all the time, especially between the ages of 7-10 or so.

One of my favorite types of music to play, and sing, was Christmas music. Like, in the summertime. Also in the spring, the fall, and in the long winter months after Christmas. I also listened to year-round Christmas music on my record player. Gene Autry, Burl Ives, The Carpenters. When we got the Avon Christmas tape, I was in heaven. I adored the melodies. the words, the sacred feel of it all. I still do. Of course, I was allowed to listen to it in my room, but playing it in the living room or in the car was taboo until Thanksgiving Day when Santa was given the key to the City of Detroit during the Thanksgiving Parade.

I still pretty much do that, the only exception is when we begin to practice Christmas choir music in October. The difference is that now, I don’t sing or play Christmas music on my own throughout the year like I used to. What changed? I’m not sure, but the best guess I can muster is that it just started to feel less special. I noticed myself getting sick of Christmas music by the time the holiday actually got here and that made me sad. I wanted Christmas to feel special again. Plus, now, it just doesn’t feel right until it gets closer and colder outside. Sometimes, it doesn’t even feel special, then. The feeling has to be just right.

This year, two radio stations that I normally listen to began playing Christmas music on November 1. I’m not upset about it, but I won’t be listening to them again until Thanksgiving. It’ll be great then; Nat King Cole can sing “The Christmas Song” and “The First Noel” 500 times in those four weeks and I’ll happily sing along at the top of my lungs. (Not Mariah Carey, though. I WILL change the station when she comes on.)

Again, I LOVE Christmas music and I have nothing against anyone who wants to start early, I just need it to be closer to actual Christmas.

Enjoy the holiday season, everyone!

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HEY, GUESS WHAT???
The holidays are coming up and what better gift to give your favorite reader than a NEW BOOK? Order your copy of Traveler today and if you’re out my way, I’ll even sign it. 
Available now in paperback and e-book for any device, Traveler will give your middle-grade fantasy reader a memorable adventure back in time.
Oh, and one more thing: If you’ve purchased and read Traveler already, and thank you so much to those who have, could you take a couple minutes and leave a review, even if it’s just a star rating? That would really help me out.
Thanks so much, and have a wonderful holiday season!
#ilovemyreaders

 

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The first of November always brings the beginning of a great debate: how soon is too soon to start celebrating Christmas? Halloween is over, autumn has definitely moved in, and some stores have been setting up their Christmas aisles for the past couple of weeks or so. Target started sneaking in Yuletide decorations at least two weeks ago, shrinking the costume section into one crowded aisle while the Christmas craft sections at JoAnn’s and Michael’s have been up since late August. Santa arrives next Saturday, November 8th at many area malls while the Hallmark channel is showing non-stop Christmas movies all weekend. JoAnn’s and Michael’s I understand; sewing stockings and making ornaments can take quite a while. My own stocking is still only half-done and I started that three or four years ago. The rest of my family have had their home made stockings for a long time, I just don’t think about mine until, well, December 24 when we put them out. Anyway, loads of people complain about the early arrival of the Christmas season, but remarkably, there seem to be just as many who can’t wait and are even now begging the local radio stations to begin playing their 24-7 playlist of Christmas songs and carols.

I am not one of those people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Grinch, I love Christmas. I always have. The way I love Christmas, however, has evolved over the years. As a child, it was all about Santa and the presents. Of course, the whole Baby Jesus thing was always fun, especially when one got to be an angel in the church play and wear a gold glitter halo (aka tree garland) that she refused to take off, but Santa took center stage. For several years now, though, the spiritual aspect of Christmas is what I look forward to. Before anyone jumps in to set me straight, I know that Jesus wasn’t actually born on Christmas and that the Church chose December 25 in order to replace a pagan holiday. Of course, there’s more to it, but there it is in a nutshell. History geek, remember? But there is something so special and so pure about what that day represents that it gives me the goosebumps every time, sometimes not on Christmas Day itself, but there will always be a moment where it hits home what I’m actually celebrating, apart from the cookies, Santa, and choir rehearsals, and even our wonderful family get-togethers. Jesus, the foundation of Christianity, the Son of God, was born (at some undetermined point during the year) and that’s what it means to me.

From my perspective, when we begin to celebrate on November 1, it diminishes the specialness of the holiday. We start taking it for granted. We get sick of it. With some minor exceptions, the Christmas season for our family starts the day after Thanksgiving. (Although, I have been known to cheat while going through radio stations if one of my favorites is playing.) Even starting at that date, I’m ready to put it all away before New Year’s Eve because I really can’t listen to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” one more time and I want the stupid tree out of my living room because it takes up so much space. If I started celebrating now, I’d be almost done with it by Thanksgiving. Just think, that’s two solid months of Christmas, especially if you’re one to leave things up until Epiphany. I try, I really do, but usually the only thing that makes it until January 6 is the Nativity set. But really, that’s one-sixth of the year! What is special about that? It becomes mundane, ordinary. As a kid, the anticipation would have killed me, having to look at that tree every day. If we’d had an elf-on-the-shelf back then, I would have cracked under the pressure of trying to be completely good. Or it would have mysteriously “disappeared”, leaving me in mortal dread of what Santa would do when he found out. I’d much rather enjoy one month of Christmas cheer and think, “At last!” on December 25 rather than, “Thank God it’s over!”

I know that there are people who don’t get sick of it, who start counting down during the summer. Some of them are Facebook friends/relatives who I love dearly, already posting their countdowns to The Big Day, like my adorable sister-in-law, Pam. I don’t begrudge them their enthusiasm, I just don’t share it…yet. Christmas is special, it doesn’t happen all year round. If I drag it out, it loses that magic, that wonder. In life, it’s the special and rare things, things that aren’t the norm, that are treasured the most: true love, true friendship, artwork, centuries-old artifacts. (There’s that history geek coming out again.) I always appreciate something more when I have to wait for it or work for it.

The retail industry begins fueling our enthusiasm for Christmas joy and begins promoting early in order to make more money. I shop for a lot of people, mostly a nephew, nieces, small cousins and honestly, I start in September, little by little so that it doesn’t become an overwhelming chore. I don’t want it to be a chore, it should be fun and normally it is, but with all of the early reminders to buy, buy, buy. it kind of turns my stomach a little. I saw the first Christmas commercial of the season for Best Buy the week of Halloween. Really? I hadn’t even carved a pumpkin yet.

In the nineteenth century and the early twentieth, trees usually weren’t even put up until Christmas Eve. Of course, people made gifts by hand and some planning was involved, but life continued as usual for most folks until then. I’m not saying that we should go back to those times. I love being able to space out events and fun all through December, but maybe there’s something to be said for holding off until the Thanksgiving turkey has had its day.

That being said, people will celebrate how they feel most comfortable and if that’s their thing, then more power to them. Again, I love Christmas, I look forward to it every year, but I also love that I have to wait for it. In the meantime, maybe I’ll dig out that unfinished stocking. It will give me something else to look forward to.

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