CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

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…)

April 26, 2014

WP Photo Challenge 3/14/2014: Inside

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

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HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY, VINCE

 WP PHOTO CHALLENGE 3/14/2014:

 INSIDE

With the March 14, 2014 WP Photo Challenge being inside I couldn’t help but post the following series of Christmas photographs of Vince—obviously taken a few years ago—for this subject. Amazingly, as I am creating this post (in April, 2014) the public radio station is playing two Christmas carols, The Sussex Carol and On High. 

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070105-33EW

(more…)

December 24, 2013

Santa Claus Christmas

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hug for Jesus

 SANTA CLAUS CHRISTMAS 2013

Snowflakes fell gently and lazily while we rang the Salvation Army bell. Occasionally the breeze would pick up, offering us a wind chill factor. One breeze was sufficiently strong to knock over the kettle support, which we caught before it fell.

Ringing the Salvation Army bell for Heritage United Methodist Church was just one of our Santa Claus gigs this 2013 Christmas season.

IMG_2133E

Up to two inches of rainfall, causing some flooding. High winds toppling trees and power lines. Temperature varying between 72o and 60o Fahrenheit.

Typical, if not perfect, spring weather.

Except this was December 22, 2013, the day after the Winter Solstice, in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

For a complex combination of reasons the Salvation Army kettle campaign wasn’t reaching its goals this year, making their work challenging. But an additional challenge was met by the Salvation Army Mon Valley Citadel in Monessen, Pennsylvania, the rains brought added complications. In the midst of a Saturday afternoon downpour their basement experienced a flood that destroyed $3,000 worth of toys stored there, toys collected for needy children.

Lt. Joel Thwaite  and Lt. Susan Thwaite, husband-and-wife team leaders of the Citadel, were amazed when they arrived at the Citadel was again filled with toys donated, overnight, by community members, including three truckloads from the Mon Valley Leathernecks (sponsors of the Toys for Tots campaign).

“Everyone else is being Santa today. We’re just (more…)

December 22, 2013

Turtle Doves (2nd Day of Christmas)

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for Fran and Jim

  TURTLE DOVES

  On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree
Two turtle doves…

250px-European_Turtle_Dove_(Streptopelia_turtur)

A couple of years ago I was in Buffalo, New York, during the Christmas season. While at the home of my (Kensington) high school friend, Pat, I examined the ornaments on her tree. I was taken aback when I recognized that numerous ornaments were familiar—they were ones I’d sent her through the years.

This often happens, as our family Christmas card has, for 42 years, been a tree ornament. My sister Sally has a tree set aside to display our ornaments.

One goal on my “bucket list” is to complete one ornament representing each of the gifts listed in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Because the ornaments are interspersed with other timely themes, I have many to do.

Couldn't use flash...nighttime...best photo of baby doves

Couldn’t use flash…nighttime…best photo of baby doves

In June my friend watched doves nesting in a planter hung on her porch. I was fortunate to see the baby birds shortly after they hatched and the day before they left the nest. It was even more fortunate that I photographed the latter.

Ready...set...not yet...

Ready…set…not yet…

The picture of two now-adult (or late adolescent?) doves provided the theme for this year’s ornament—On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves… In the musical piece the doves represent (more…)

December 17, 2013

Christmas—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

CHRISTMAS—CHILDREN’S STORIES, POEMS, & MORE

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007-christmas-story

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For children (of all ages) I surfed the Internet and found the following sites with stories, poems, and finger plays that provide CHRISTMAS entertainment.

NOTE: To access a companion Christmas post click on Santa Claus—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More

Subscribe to this site to receive an email of current posts. Type your email address in the subscribe to box at the top right of this page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm the subscription. (Your email will not be made public).

th15JOKES

Why was the turkey the drummer in the pop group?
Because he was the only one with drumsticks!

What’s a sheep’s favorite Christmas carol?
We wish ewe a merry Christmas.

More: http://www.hellokids.com/c_5610/reading-online/jokes-and-riddles/christmas-jokes/santa-claus-jokes#wOS949kWtCBX5C3h.99

Q: What is Count Dracula’s Christmas story? (more…)

December 15, 2013

Santa Claus—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SANTA CLAUS—CHILDREN’S STORIES, POEMS, & MORE

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 For children (of all ages) I surfed the Internet and found the following sites with stories, poems, and finger plays that provide Santa Claus entertainment.

NOTE: Also visit Christmas—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More is devoted to the meaning of the season, celebrating Christ’s birthday, as opposed to Santa Claus, a secular approach to Christmas. Together with this post the Christmas season is covered for children.

Subscribe to this site to receive an email of current posts. Type your email address in the subscribe to box at the top right of this page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm the subscription. (Your email will not be made public). christmas-28

JOKES

Who delivers Christmas presents for cats?

Santa Paws!

More:  http://www.carols.org.uk/christmas-jokes/christmas-joke-08.htm

What do you get if you cross Father Christmas with a duck?
A Christmas Quacker!

Why does Santa like to work in his garden?
Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe!

What is invisible but smells like milk and cookies?
Kris Kringle burps!

What do you call Santa when he has no money?
Saint “Nickel”-less!

More:  http://www.worldofchristmas.net/chistmas-jokes/santa-claus-jokes.html

Q: How do you know Santa Claus is good at karate?

A: He has a black belt!

Q:  What’s black, white and red all over?

A: Santa Claus after he comes down the chimney!

More:  http://www.kidsplayandcreate.com/santa-claus-and-christmas-jokes-for-kids/

What comes at the end of Christmas Day?

A: A Y!

More:  http://www.kidsplayandcreate.com/santa-claus-and-christmas-jokes-for-kids/ christmas-coloring-pages

TONGUE TWISTERS

Seven Santas sang silly songs.

Comet cuddles cute Christmas (more…)

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