CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

June 17, 2017

A FATHER’S FANTASY

Filed under: HOLIDAYS,MEMOIRS,MONTE W. HOLLAND — carolyncholland @ 12:16 am
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Remember the television show FANTASY?  A 1983 show making dreams come true? A show where ordinary people (like you and me) from all over the United States wrote in to have their wishes granted on national television? Well, below is a letter written to Peter and Leslie, the co-hosts of the show that befits my husband Monte’s June 12th birthday and June 18th Father’s Day. The letter below was written by his children Sandra, then 13, and son Nolan, then 11.

Sept. 18, 1983

Dear Peter and Leslie,

Our dad is the greatest dad in the whole world, but also a most unusual person.   For 19 years he was a physics professor. For 13 of those years he taught at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.   In spring of 1982 he sent shock waves through the Physics Dept. announcing he was going to take early retirement to return to school.   But not just any school, he decided to go into the seminary.   As a result we moved almost 800 miles from Slippery Rock (Pa.) to Stone Mountain (Ga.).   (Do you know what happens to a Stone Mountain when it rains?   It becomes a Slippery Rock.)

Now back to the letter.   But what most people don’t know is th

at my dad has a secret passion.   And that is watching “All my children”.   He is enamored with Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) and fascinated with Opal Gardner (Dorothy Lyman).   (He just loves the way she dresses)   Our Dads fantasy is to meet Erica and Opal.   But we would also like to add to his fantasy.   We would just love for him to play a bit part with Erica and Opal. Because we feel that this would be a very appropriate activity for an upcoming minister.

Of course he does not know this letter is being written but if this fantasy does come true, my dad will be the happiest minister that ever set foot on this earth.

Sincerely yours,

Sandy Holland

Nolan Holland

P. S. My mom said they both were going off the

Show in November.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND FATHER’S DAY. Photo taken on the Buffalo, NY, waterfront.

January 1, 2015

To Be Resolved in 2015

CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE

WHAT WASN’T RESOLVED IN 2014

WILL BE RESOLVED IN 2015

 NOTE: Considering the trials and delays in beginning my new blog site (read Problems Creating a New WordPress Blog ) I decided I’d continue posting on this site until the issues are resolved. This first post goes back to January 1, 2015.

Thank you all for bearing with me.

free-new-year-clip-art-2-150x150

Dates that come around every year help us measure progress in our lives.

One annual event, New Year’s Day, is a time of reflection and resolution.

Joseph B. Wirthlin

Have you written your New Year’s resolutions yet? After all, it is New Year’s Eve/Day, time for Old man two-oh-fourteen to step aside (willingly or unwillingly) and allow the birth of newbie two-oh-fifteen.

It’s also the time we are expected to welcome Newbie 2015 with a list in hand—a list of resolutions with which we are to write in the first blank page of a 365 page journal, which, through the year, will become a good book.

The December 22, 2014, WordPress prompt asks How did you do on last year’s New Year’s resolutions? Do you anticipate there will be any leftover items to be carried over to next year?

4 New-Years-printable-artI found my 2014 list of eleven 2014 resolutions…from which I’ll pick the top five to evaluate, based on the WordPress questions. One note: (more…)

December 26, 2014

The Mysterious Christmas Gift

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE MYSTERIOUS CHRISTMAS GIFT

NOTE: This article is being reposted due to a major error on the first posting. I apologize for the mishap. Carolyn

As I drank my morning coffee my eyes glanced over to the bookcase across the room, to a post office envelope sitting on the shelf, partially hidden by an a red poinsetta and an 8 x 10 picture of myself as a child in my mother’s arms, before my father beat and choked my her, almost killing her. That the picture frame had a cracked glass was appropriate, symbolic of the broken family that resulted from my father’s final attack on my mother, who was aided by a woman’s shelter in reframing a life without violence.

The envelope was addressed to the United Way of Westmoreland County in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Janelle, a friend of my neighbor, was taking the envelope and mailing it in a community unknown to me. The intent was to prevent the envelope being traced to me.

As I listened to my favorite Christmas carol, Adeste Fideles, I reflected on the envelope and the strange circumstances in which its contents came to me.

Ten days previously I’d been at a party where Santa Claus was a special guest. I couldn’t discover who this jolly old man was, and with so many men impersonating Santa this white-bearded white-haired gentleman wearing the traditional red costume it was (more…)

December 23, 2014

The Holland 2014 Christmas Letter

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE HOLLAND 2014 CHRISTMAS LETTER

Below is the Monte and Carolyn Cornell Holland 2014 Christmas letter, a summary of the year past.  NOTE: Because Monte sliced one of his fingers with a utility knife his contribution was relayed to me to incorporate in the newsletter, a departure frm his writing his own summary. His finger is totally healed at the time this is posted.

January and February were relatively calm, allowing me to work on two activities, cleaning and writing. The biggest event was discovering that many symptoms I had were related to an iodine deficiency posted at Iodine Deficiency: My Story

In March I had successful cataract surgery on my right eye—the other eye will be done later.

Monte was asked to perform a wedding on the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey. We planned to stop in to visit my brother in eastern Pennsylvania en route, and after the wedding we planned on visiting my New Jersey sister Kitty and then visiting Baltimore, Maryland, to do some genealogy. However, the flu bug hit Monte and he had to cancel.

In late spring several problems arose with some property we own in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. This meant Monte and I constantly burned the rubber over the 82-miles between our current home and Slippery Rock.

On July 5, in Lakeside, Ohio, we attended the 50th wedding anniversary of Alice and Dwight, friends of mine I hadn’t seen in 50 years. Alice reminded me I had shopped with her for fabric for her wedding night lingerie—a print of Adam, Eve, and the snake. She also reminded me I gave her a snake with a (more…)

December 21, 2014

Seasonal Enthusiasm…Or Not

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SEASONAL ENTHUSIASM…OR NOT

 Traditions are difficult to maintain in a nomadic lifestyle combined with normal life changes. I could never quite keep up with the triple holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve—while settling and resettling in new communities. Now, however, we’ve been settled for a while…or at least, until we must move again.

My husband Monte and I have begun what I think is a new tradition tied in with my December birthday.

Last year Monte wanted to take me to a Christmas buffet at a restaurant at our local airport.

“Only if we can go dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus,” I said.

We had a great time.

We followed up that experience with being the Claus couple while ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. This, it seems, encourages more giving and gains lots of smiles.

This year we repeated the performance. Afterward our lunch we went shopping. Each place we ended up with photographs, which will complete this post on getting seasonal.

DeNunzio Restaurant at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Latrobe PA

DeNunzio Restaurant at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Latrobe PA

Is his beard really real?

Is his beard really real?

At Office Max...

At Office Max…

(more…)

December 18, 2014

The 8 Maids-a-milking & the 8 Beatitudes

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING

AND

THE EIGHT BEATITUDES

We’re too blessed to be stressed…even in a holiday season.

Eight maids-a-milking…the eighth gift in the song the Twelve Days of Christmas…is the theme of the Monte and Carolyn Holland 2014 Christmas ornament (each year our Christmas card is a hand-made ornament). NOTE: Each illustration uses one of my seven sisters, plus myself, our heads superimposed on pictures of maids-a-milking.

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

The eight maids a-milking addresses two of the major themes of fifteenth and sixteenth century English celebrations and parties during the Christmas holidays – food and romance.

Typically, the work of milking cows (and goats) was a woman’s job. Although milk was not a common beverage during this pre-refrigeration time (it spoiled too quickly), milk based products did not spoil so rapidly. Cheese, sour milk, and custards—which were prized treats for celebrations.

And the word maid? It’s a shortened form of (more…)

December 16, 2014

Eight Maids-a-Milking from the Twelve Days of Christmas

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING

(Eighth Day of the Twelve Days of Christmas)

Family Tradition

Beatitudes

Tradition.

With various and frequent moves and the ordinary changes life brings I’ve found it difficult to maintain holiday traditions. However, one Christmas tradition started more than 40 years ago is our Christmas card tradition. Each year we—usually me—designs and makes an ornament which serves as our “card.”

Through the years I’ve taken ideas from the song the Twelve Days of Christmas, in which each gift has a secret Christian message.

Realizing I am one of 8 sisters I decided to do the 8th day, the maids-a-milking, in 2014. My one older sister, Nancy Lee, nudged me on, concerned serious health problems might reduce the number in future years.

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

The eight maids a-milking addresses two of the major themes of fifteenth and sixteenth century English celebrations and parties during the Christmas holidays – food and romance.

Typically, the work of milking cows (and goats) was a woman’s job. Although milk was not a common beverage during this pre-refrigeration time (it spoiled too quickly), milk based products did not spoil so rapidly. Cheese, sour milk, and custards—which were prized treats for celebrations.

And the word maid? It’s a shortened form of maiden, a young, unmarried woman.

This combination of milking and maid lends itself to the idea that a gift of eight maids-a-milking might have more to do with romance than with cows.

During this time period the term go a-milking did have strong romantic connotations. Men used the term when they wanted to propose marriage (or a sexual encounter) with a woman. It was a kind of a code word to test a woman’s response—if she reacts negatively, he can always say he thought she might like to help him with the cows, and they could laugh.

Remember, the gifts in the popular Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas each signify a Christian message.

So what do the maids-a-milking signify in the popular Christmas song?

Interestingly enough, it is a code word for the eight Beatitudes that introduce the greatest sermon ever preached: the Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 5:1-12. I could find no information on why maids-a-milking was chosen to represent the Beatitudes. So I still wonder…

Jane: sister 6

Jane: sister 6

In designing the ornament I wanted to incorporated the 8 sisters (including myself), and so connected them, in age and Beatitude order, as follows:

  1. Nancy Lee Cornell Chase:   v. 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit
  2. Carolyn Cornell Holland:   v. 4 Blessed are those who mourn
  3. Pam:   v. 5 Blessed are the meek
  4. Kitty Cornell Duda:   v. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
  5. Darlene Aslam:   v. 7 Blessed are the merciful
  6. Jane Lipsius Driver:   v. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart
  7. Cynthia Lipsius:   v. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers
  8. Sally Lipsius Kilgore:   v.10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

While making the ornaments I thought about the Norman Rockwell family picture: loving parents seated around a holiday table with their offspring, laughing in a close-knit camaraderie. This scene was truer of (more…)

November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving is Every Day: Transformation Through Gratitude

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THANKSGIVING IS EVERY DAY:

TRANSFORMATION THROUGH GRATITUDE

…the problem is, we celebrate Thanksgiving on this one day, but it’s something we should be celebrating every day.

Dr. Gary Welton

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

What is this new sub-discipline of psychology called positive psychology?

Positive psychology was developed as recently as 1998 to seek understanding of the fulfilling aspects of the human experience. It counteracts psychology’s historic focus on mental illness and dysfunction.*

Psychologists Robert Emmons and Robert Stern, upon reviewing the research on the benefits of gratitude, concluded that gratitude has …dramatic and lasting benefits in both the physical and psychological realms.*

Physically (an attitude of gratitude) can

  • lower blood pressure
  • improve immune functioning
  • increase energy

Psychologically (an attitude of gratitude) can

  • reduce depression, anxiety, and substance abuse
  • provide protection from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, and bitterness
  • may offer some protection against psychiatric disorders

(An attitude of gratitude) is larger than the effects of optimism, hope, (more…)

November 25, 2014

Give Thanks for the Ordinary

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

GIVE THANKS FOR THE ORDINARY

When the extraordinary becomes ordinary and the ordinary evolves into entitlement the need for giving thanks dissipates.

When I first visited Kentuck Knob I wondered why Frank Lloyd Wright located the structure a distance back from the knob, denying residents the opportunity to view the knob’s spectacular sunrises over the rolling Laurel Highlands hills, the Youghiogheny River gorge and nearby farmland.w of the .

I learned that Wright chose the location away from the peak to enable the house to become part of the landscape. It’s also my understanding that he also chose that location so that persons who wanted to experience the view had to make an effort, had to walk from the house to the knob—because he understood that a scene of beauty readily available would soon become commonplace, making it ordinary, and therefore less miraculous, less profound.

When we first visited our community of Laurel Mountain Borough it was magical. The one-lane gravel roads, the forested atmosphere, the almost eccentric aura contrasted with the cookie-cutter world we were accustomed to. We felt like we were being transported back in time to an era reputed to be less stressful, to a back-to-earth time. It was magical.

Gradually this profound, magical, feeling dissipated. The sense of uniqueness and magic evolved into the commonplace, the ordinary.

This evolution from the miraculous, the profound, to the commonplace, the ordinary, is a part of the human condition. Once a situation becomes ordinary it evolves into entitlement.

Which brings me to a statement I read in the November 23, 2014, newspaper column, Giving thanks can be a challenge. The quote is somewhat altered: That which was a pleasant and gracious (experience) year quickly becomes an expected entitlement. That for which I was thankful in the past, I now assume to be my right.

The author, Gary Welton, professor of psychology at Grove City College (Pennsylvania), noted that he’s been blessed with incredible health, yet I have never appreciated it. I have only taken it for granted. Only when I am ill do I recognize the incredible gift I have been given.

That for which we feel entitled we don’t feel thankful for. It it belongs to us so there is no need to give thanks.

 

Perhaps we need to step back from the commonplace, the ordinary, in our lives and revisit it with new eyes. So today (and every day) I will be thankful for (in no particular order):

  • my morning coffee, and the persons who planted the seeds, grew it to maturity, picked the beans, prepared them for market, and transported them, all so I can enjoy my morning wake-up time
  • my morning newspaper, and the journalists (who sometimes risk their lives) to research, interview subjects, and write the copy; and for the delivery person who brings it to my newspaper box in the wee hours of the morning so I can relax reading it while partaking of my morning coffee
  • my gray cat King and his former owner, who abandoned two cats in our community, one of which adopted our family. King offers us companionship, adulation, and conversation
  • my family, without whom I would not be who I am today
  • the dishes that clutter my kitchen counter, waiting to be washed and put away. I am no more entitled to this luxury than is the person living in a hut eating out of pie tin
  • water that flows freely from  my household taps, water I am no more entitled to than the woman who must walk a mile to find water to fill the jugs she carries back to her home.

I could continue, but I think you have the idea.

Do you agree with the items on this list? For what do you feel entitled, so thoughtlessly leave off your list of things to be thankful for? I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

May you and your yours have a blessed Thanksgiving.

November 16, 2014

11 Unique Facts About Thanksgiving

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

11 UNIQUE FACTS ABOUT THANKSGIVING

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.

No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless,

set aside a day of Thanksgiving.”

– H. U. Westermayer^^^^^

Many historians believe that only five women were present at the first Thanksgiving, as many women settlers didn’t survive that difficult first year in the U.S.* Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts

Thanksgiving is an amalgam of different traditions, including ancient harvest festivals, the religious New England Puritan Thanksgiving, the traditional harvest celebrations of England and New England, and changing political and ideological assumptions of Native Americans. Thanksgiving is often considered the site of the first cultural war because it contains both a narrative of the birth of freedom and democracy as well as an account of racism, mistreatment of Native Americans, and conflict.**

Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.**** Thanksgiving can occur as early as November 22 and as late as November 28. **

Below is a quiz to entertain and puzzle you. Something to share with your friends and family following your Thanksgiving feast.

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

Turkeys in a garden in East Weymouth, Mass.

QUESTIONS

  1. Was the autumn 1621 Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts the first thanksgiving celebration on North American soil in the New World?
  2. Who is considered the Mother of Thanksgiving?
  3. What utensils were used at the first Thanksgiving?
  4. What popular product did Thanksgiving spawn in 1953?
  5. Who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land?
  6. How did the early settlers plan on celebrating the first Thanksgiving?
  7. What was on the menu at the Pilgrim’s 1621 Thanksgiving dinner?
  8. What is the average long-distance mileage of Thanksgiving travel?
  9. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is not the original holiday parade. Which parade was the first?
  10.  What is the National Day of Mourning?

BONUS QUESTION

Who wrote the two accounts of the first Thanksgiving?

 To learn the answers click on MORE:

(more…)

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