CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 29, 2014

2014 in review

Filed under: blogging — carolyncholland @ 7:57 pm
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 70,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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December 27, 2014

Warmth on New England Beaches

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

WARMTH ON NEW ENGLAND BEACHES

As the holidays end, and the cold of winter sets in, dreams of the warmth of summers past on the beaches of the New England coast begin floating, like kites in the wind, through my head.

The WordPress photo prompt for December 26 is warm: show us your take on warmth. And so, I go to New England pictures of past summers on the beach.

Someone came along to snap this photo of me at Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire

Someone came along to snap this photo of me at Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire

It can't be that cold...jackets????

It can’t be that cold…jackets????

Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts

Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts

(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 25, 2014

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE MYSTERIOUS CHRISTMAS GIFT

The Mysterious Christmas Gift

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 (continue reading at The Mysterious Christmas Gift —which is being reposted because I neglected to title the post—I apologize for the inconvenience).

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 20, 2014

December Yellow

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

YELLOW IN DECEMBER

On the Diamond in Ligonier, PA

On the Diamond in Ligonier, PA

‘Tis the season…SAD (seasonal affect disorder) initiated by dark, drab days and depression brought on by unfulfilled holiday expectations, stress, and bad memories.

The WordPress photo challenge for December 19, 2014, is yellow: Away with the colors of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Show us what “yellow” means to you.

Yellow. The color of sunshine, what many people not joyous in the season crave. Sunshine—its cheerfulness, warmth, happiness and energy. It evokes pleasant feelings.

I leafed through my recent photographs and discovered yellow in clothing, nature, art, and signs.

Start with a yellow hat...

Start with a yellow hat…

Add a yellow shirt...

Add a yellow shirt…

End with yellow pants.

End with yellow pants.

(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…)

December 14, 2014

Thy Wife Shall Bear Thee a Son

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THY WIFE SHALL BEAR THEE A SON

070709-09E OVAL h

SCRIPTURE  Genesis 21:2, 25:21, 30:22; Judges 13:2; 1 Samuel 1:19-20   21:2. For Sarah conceived,…. 25:21.  And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  30:22.  And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.  13:2.  And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 19. …And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. 20. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived….(KJV)

Luke 1:13, 2 4   13. …and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  24. And after those days his wife conceived,… (KJV)

Related Scripture:   Mary 3:10-11

DISCUSSION:   Note that God is always punctual to his time: although his promised mercies come not at the time we set, they will certainly come at the time he sets, and that is the best time. It wasn’t by the power of common providence, but by the power of special promise Isaac was born. Note: True believers, by virtue of God’s promises, are enabled to do that which is above the power of human nature, for by them they partake of a divine nature.  (1=38)

When Sarah heard the angel’s message to Abraham she was shocked and laughed. Her plight was poignant. She had ceased to be in the manner of women,” and she asked “After I am worn out, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”  (1=38)

REFLECTION:  Surprise, Sarah! God has good news for you!

Likewise, March 17, 1997 was a good news day in our family, as was a day in May 1971 a good news day.

After much struggle and fear, Sandy and Greg announced that they were with child—evidenced by Sandy’s physical symptoms and a home pregnancy test.

After struggling with a lengthy infertility problem Monte and I discovered we were with child in the spring of 1971 was the time .

Both news announcements were preceded by many prayers and much lost hope (more…)

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