Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas is right around the corner…

So I’ve been thinking about last Christmas and my blogging the 25 days of Christmas.   If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a link to the book I made from the blog entries, which are on this blog.  I’m already blogging everyday for a year on trashsociety.com, with my no retail shopping challenge.  So here’s the big question.  Should I blog this year for Christmas?

Take the poll on the right >

I’m leaning toward continuing to blog on my trash society site.  As much as I love it, it takes a lot of time.  In addition to blogging the challenge, I’m adding ideas for different types of gift giving using my no retail shopping restrictions.  Restrictions is a harsh word, so you can substitute ‘choices’ or ‘ideas’.


‘excessable christmas’ book orders

Wow! I’ve had lots of questions about how to order my self-published book. If you would like to order one, please go to http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1124341, or shoot me an email that you want one, as I have ordered some extras.  Here’s the book info:

ISBN: yeah, not so much.  Self published and I’m not famous… yet.

Price: blurb.com $26.95 + shipping.  From me, $26.00 and I’ll pay for the shipping. **All book proceeds go to Casa Hogar Elim**

Softcover: 120 full color pages (like I would ever do black and white)

Language: English, I think.

Book Dimensions: Square, I like squares, 7″ x 7″

Thanks to all of my friends for your encouragement on this crazy little blog project.  It has inspired me to follow my four year old dream of writing a book, to hopefully get published by someone other than me.  The research begins NOW and you can check out the details at trashsociety.com or become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/trashsociety.

the book is DONE!

Here’s a preview…

Christmas -4 days.

Christmas is done for the year.  We took our tree down, hauled it up to the attic and all the evidence of Christmas is gone, as if it never happened.  We each left an ornament out to remember the changes we want to make this Christmas and throughout the next year, but in our house, that’s not really out of the ordinary.

What is out of the ordinary?  Choosing to help others and live differently in a way that changes life as we know it.  My kids really didn’t seem all that bothered by the lack of gifts they got from me.   They still received the mandatory 27+ gifts from my mother, gifts they will never give a second thought to once they are put away.  They were both on board with the plan of donating money to their favorite charities, but I just wasn’t so sure come Christmas, they would still feel that way.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Christmas evening, after the kids came home, we rented a few movies and enjoyed some time together.  After all, I had not seen them for almost a week.

Yesterday we ventured into the stores, only for the purpose of grocery shopping and finding a small rug for my closet floor.  No store was exempt from the typical long return lines and post-holiday sale events.  Seriously, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

I decided yesterday to clean out my closet and get rid of the mountain of unused linens.  Why do I feel the need to hang on to stuff that I will never use again?  I made the compulsory closet purge, filled up the Infiniti sleigh and headed for the thrift store.

After unloading our surplus of worldly possessions, we went treasure hunting.  No, not shopping, treasure hunting.  Shopping is buying overpriced new ‘goods’ at large chain stores.  Treasure hunting is finding something special, previously owned by someone else at a price that doesn’t break the bank.  My kids quickly made their way to the toy section, disappointed that it was mostly baby toys.  I headed for the crowded book area, my kids not far behind.

I found a Man Ray photography book for 50 cents, which in the bookstore, was probably closer to $50.  Man Ray is one of my photography inspirations, mostly for photograms.  My photogram ‘Coffee Addict’ is one of my favorites… not that I have coffee issues or anything like that.

Cole found a Star Wars picture book, which he kept directly in front of his face in the entire time we were there, miraculously not walking into anyone or anything.

As we were making our way toward the front of the store, I stopped to see if there were any jeans or sweatshirts for the boys.  I guess everyone has been doing their Christmas purge, as the racks had three times the amount they usually do.  I found this t-shirt that pretty much sums up what society is teaching our kids.  “WARNING: allergic to lame gifts.”  I wanted to buy the shirt just so I could destroy it and take it out of the clothing circulation.  I would have saved the small candy cane skull icon though, as it seems appropriate to use as a symbol of our cultural Christmas consumerism.

As we neared the front of the store, Joe didn’t seem to bothered that he didn’t find anything.  That is, until he turned the corner to find a kid-sized guitar, complete with stand and strings.  His little face lit up and I knew that guitar would be coming home with us before he even asked.  I don’t know much about musical instruments, but just the stand alone probably would have cost $19.99, which was the price for both.

We stood in the very short line at the checkout, quickly making it to the register.  The lady at the counter was very nice, talking to all three of us as we were paying for our purchases.  The last item rung up was Joe’s guitar.  The lady asked who it was for and I pointed to Joe.  I explained to her that he has been wanting to learn how to play, but the full size guitar I bought a while back, still has no strings and was really too big for him.  She told me, with a very sad face, that this guitar belonged to her son… her son that had passed away six years ago, and she finally had the courage to part with some of his things.  I promised her that it was going to a home where it would be appreciated and loved.

As we were leaving the store, Joe asked me if the guitar belonged to another kid, as he overheard part of our conversation.  A little uncomfortable with his completely appropriate question, I tried to shuffle him out of the store so I could explain about the previous owner.  The lady heard him and said, “It belonged to my son and he’s in heaven now.”  What does anyone say to that?  There are no words that could have lessened her pain or brought him back.

As we climbed in the car, there was grief-stricken silence.  A silence broken only by discussion of the young boy that we never knew, yet felt so attached to at that moment.  Both kids had many questions about the boy, “How did he die?  Are you sure he really died?  How old was he?  What happened to him?  Why did his mom still have his guitar?”  They were asking questions I would never have answers to, and questions I’m not sure they thought would be answered.  I had the same questions in my head, but speechlessly saying a small prayer that the lady would have some peace around her son’s death, a situation where I cannot comprehend a peace could possibility exist.

We tend to surround ourselves with things we like, stuff that entertains us or makes us happy.  Material things are not evil, that is, unless we order our lives around them instead of people and relationships.  I don’t see a problem with a bound portfolio for artistic inspiration, a book for imagination and fantasy or a guitar to learn self-expression through music.  Inanimate objects are visual triggers for remembrance, things that pull memories from deep within our minds, surfacing them as current thoughts for enjoyment, reflection and sometimes necessary action.

Are all of my non-essential possessions useful or meaningful?  Not entirely, but I can honestly say that most of them have some meaning or story behind them.  I don’t do new year resolutions, but I will challenge myself to be more aware of my attachment to belongings.  I guess belongings is a good word for this, as it is broken down to ‘be longing’.

Christmas day.

Here it is.  A recap of the 25 days of Christmas… in tweets.  All are 140 characters or less so copy, paste and share!  Merry Christmas.  Come back in January to see my next blogging subject.  It’s a good one.

25 days until Christmas…

SUPPORT SMALL BIZ: purchase gifts at local discount & hole-in-the-wall stores #shopsmart http://wp.me/p7CAn-3b

SUPPORT an orphanage: http://casahogarelim.com I love these kids & mama lupita #che #casahogarelim

SUPPORT locally in frisco: http://friscocenter.org volunteer @ the food pantry or frisco resale #friscoresale #tinselectomy

look 4 ‘symmetrical hazy plastic people nativity scene with flying peanuts’ in ur area. #sillyyardart #fun #embracechaos

make darla bluetooth your friend on FB. @luvplasticpeople @embracechaos #mannequinsneedluv

read 25 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-3b #25daysofembracechaos

24 days until Christmas…

take the pumpkin out before putting christmas inflatables out there. #christmas #halloween #dontmix

put ur cell phone in ur pocket b4 going 2 the attic 2 get the tree out in case u get stuck. #stuck911 #noanswer

strip away the social expectations of christmas. #tinselectomy #noshopocalypse http://wp.me/p7CAn-3g

appreciate retail workers, be nice to them, retail sucks during the holidays #benice #putawayanitemoffthefloor

if shopping, make funny faces in the security cams. take a pic of ur face & post on fb. #yourfacewillsticklikethat

use fb for ur christmas card nxt yr. it’s the card that gives all yr long! #facebookrocks #holidaysmadebyhallmark

in the words of rod p. ‘merry christmas or whatever’ #donttalkonstagewithcoldmeds http://wp.me/p7CAn-3g

christmas? i’m going to watch nightmare before christmas so I can find it. #jackskellington @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-3g

read 24 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-3g #24daysofembracechaos

23 days until Christmas…

the frisco sign nazi hasn’t found a ‘clause’ to ban inflatables yet #takedownthatsign #deflate #frisco http://wp.me/p7CAn-3r

mutli-purpose inflatables.  buy the biggest 1 so it can b used as an exterminator tent. #deadyardart #nobugs

rudolph has a condo in florida and only helps when the weather is bad. #plasticpinkflamingos #beach #skelemingo

there’s no $ in reindeer games. dasher & donner r unemployed. #reindeerjobs #recession http://badecono.me

i hope santa delivers basic necessities to those in need. #besanta #volunteer #helppeopleinneed #ursanta

read 23 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-3r #23daysofembracechaos

22 days until Christmas…

God is awesome! #godrocks! http://wp.me/p7CAn-3A

our new family tradition… santa shooting. with a camera! #shootsanta #lightpainting #getoutofmyyard! http://wp.me/p7CAn-3A

‘hired’ lights: spared no expense in purchasing lights & hung by professional elves #hiredlights

‘i have lights on my house because it’s a christmas expectation’, sometimes hoa required. #lightconformist

‘bountiful jumble’ lights: random sets of non-matching lights, replicated walmart’s sample light displays. #led&incandescentDONTmatch!

read 22 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-3A #22daysofembracechaos

21 days until Christmas…

i miss my cousin jim. He was awesome, opinionated & passionate about his beliefs. #ripjim #betterplace http://wp.me/p7CAn-3K

pause in ur busyness and make a phone call 2 someone u haven’t talked to in a while. #justcall #uhaverolloverminutes

stop & talk with an impoverished person. buy them lunch & learn their story. meet tom: http://wp.me/p7CAn-3K #listen

when an opportunity presents itself, act on it! #iwishihad… #stopdrop&listen #2010challenge

his sign said he was broke and hungry. aren’t we all? matt 22:37-40 http://wp.me/p7CAn-3K #homeless #impoverished

read 21 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-3K #21daysofembracechaos

20 days until Christmas…

INSPIRED BY: hank stuever & ‘tinsel’ if this book doesn’t give u food 4 thought, then find something that does. #tinsel #tinselectomy

INSPIRED BY: allison harrell & her amazing writing skills. #allisonharrell #letterjacket4typing

INSPIRED BY: jackson robinson & http://thepaintingexperiment.com #dudehasmeupat5am #gotpaint? #m&ms

INSPIRED BY: robert leahey who will take on any artistic challenge! #macgyverofmusicalinstruments #legoking #canplayanything

“what did we ever do before wikipedia & google?”  pete replied, “we argued.” http://wp.me/p7CAn-3U #debateisgreat

CHALLENGE: go treasure hunting for old, used meaningful books. look for personal notes inside. #usedbooksrawesome #books

my face leaks about once a year, just to clean out the cobwebs in my tear ducts. @embracechaos

admire people’s uniqueness and understand what an important role that plays in our lives. @embracechaos

the most important christmas icon of all is jesus, and I don’t mean the plastic one. @embracechaos

if ur planning on turning christmas upside-down, u better put on ur seatbelt.  It will turn ur life upside-down. #ptcc @embracechaos

read 20 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-3U #20daysofembracechaos

19 days until Christmas…

CHALLENGE: google ‘christmas spirit’. spend less time in cognitive contemplation & more time in the affliction/spirit of ur heart

ehow.com: instructions on how 2 get christmas spirit. it doesn’t tell u what it means, but u can get it in just 11 steps. #11

I’m searching for something big, something life changing, not season changing. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-4f

I’m still looking.  I want to know more about the ‘invisible something’. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-4f

”santa claus suit sales are up demonstrating that christmas spirit is recession proof” #consumeristchristmas #santaspirit #wwsd

if we rename the ‘spirit’ w/o the word christmas, but keep christ in, we can keep it all year w/o feeling like the tree was left up all year

the dead santas. no, it’s not a new band I’m starting, it’s the 25 day blog inspiration. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-4f

kids will need therapy after seeing dead christmas stuff everywhere. #sillyyardart #deadsantas #christmasnightterrors

start the kids therapy fund, then they’ll be well adjusted enough to pay for their own college expenses #linwoodson

read 19 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-4f #19daysofembracechaos

18 days until Christmas…

beer keg tree, funny yard art, peppermint candy rugs… http://wp.me/p7CAn-4L #crazychristmasart

upside-down christmas tree. newest fad in christmas decor, much controversy about the symbolic meaning. #urthoughts?

turning something upside-down makes a mess @1st, but the reorganized pieces might b put back together differently & better @embracechaos

my stylist, #stevehodges, agreed 2 bleach & color a peace sign into my hair. #goseehimforgreatstyle! http://wp.me/p7CAn-4L

make christmas ur own self-expression, depicting what’s in ur heart, not what society is promoting. @embracechaos

read 18 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-4L #18daysofembracechaos

17 days until Christmas…

ACTION: make 30 sack lunches and bring them downtown 4 the daylaborers. #frisco #feedthehungry http://wp.me/p7CAn-5a

got long hair? donate it to locksoflove.org or pantene. @httpsdh is an expert at these haircuts!  #stevehodges #thejodysdidit

on my heart 2 start a prgm in dallas, like http://chicagoshares.org, a voucher-based way 2 give. #wanttohelpme? @embracechaos

ACTION: join our photo group! @embracechaos #photosafari #e #crazypeoplewithcameras

how do we find these people in need and how can we help? #ffs #homeless #impoverished http://wp.me/p7CAn-5a

read 17 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-5a #17daysofembracechaos

16 days until Christmas…

i want to use flamingos as reindeer & a lawn chair for a sleigh. i need a crappy, vintage lawn chair. #needalawnchair http://wp.me/p7CAn-5r

skelly is on vacation… at the abandoned motel. http://wp.me/p7CAn-5r #skelemingo #abandonedmotel #iloveabandonedplaces

CHALLENGE: christmas BOO! someone. read more @ http://wp.me/p7CAn-5r #christmasboo! #santaghost

when my ADHD & OCD collide, that means events happen spontaneously, but everything is more than prepared for it. @embracechaos

busyness, no matter good or bad, takes away from the christmas spirit. is slowing down to experience the joy really possible? @embracechaos

read 16 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-5r #16daysofembracechaos

15 days until Christmas…

Santa’s requests, not asking for typical toys & electronics, asking 4 basic necessities. #krld #badecono.me http://wp.me/p7CAn-5K

u know the economy is bad when kids r happy 2 get socks & underwear 4 Christmas. #happyunderwear @embracechaos

HISTORY: st. nick gave generous gifts 2 the poor, esp to daughters of poor parents so they didn’t have 2 become prostitutes. #wikipedia

SECRET: i could never keep 1, told the whole kindergarten class that santa is not real. #5yroldbrat #startedchaos@anearlyage

tell r kids @ dinner tbl there r starving kids in other places, eat evrthng, & if they behave, santa will bring everything they want? #no!

if santa has resources 2 give us anything we want, then why doesn’t he help out with poverty? http://wp.me/p7CAn-5K #ridpoverty

cole’s response to no santa: “so, let me get this straight. you’ve been lying to me this whole time?” #b&wcole @embracechaos

it’s time to go from believing in santa to being santa. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-5K #besanta

i was people watching and secretly snapped this, but I just can’t help myself. http://wp.me/p7CAn-5K #backwardsanta

read 15 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-5K #15daysofembracechaos

14 days until Christmas…

…everything on my plate is attached to bungee cords… @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-6b #prioritize #maketime

look for the magic word we all crave: BALANCE. #balance #morebalance #wheresbalance? #whatsbalance #whitebalance (oh, cam term) J

read 14 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-6b #14daysofembracechaos

13 days until Christmas…

i got a glimpse into a new world, one I had not experienced before. ??? wrestling. http://wp.me/p7CAn-6l

i don’t get it. where are the decoder rings?  i never found one in my cracker jack box. @embracechaos #surpriseinside

let me just say that i don’t get organized exercise. @embracechaos #kickballflashback http://wp.me/p7CAn-6l

i finally experienced the crazy parents at sporting events. http://wp.me/p7CAn-6l #insaneparents #imustbeasuckyparent

…kids and parents pulling out their electronic pacifiers to deal with the boredom… #oursociety #usaculture http://wp.me/p7CAn-6l

our competitive nature has spilled over into Christmas. @embracechaos #sociteysaddness #ihavemorestuffthanyoudo #materialism

christmas is suffering through the repetitive motions of the season.  #:( #changeneeded #ditchthetraditions #christmasrobots

r we celebrating christmas 4 the right reasons? @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-6l

i hope i can feel the christmas spirit on christmas day… without my decoder ring. @embracechaos #surpriseinside

read 13 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-6l #13daysofembracechaos

12 days until Christmas…

after visiting a few restricted areas in the hospital, I talked to a friend that gave me the correct info. #bettersignageneeded

chateau cinema showing of it’s a wonderful life. My favorite movie. @embracechaos #itsawonderfullife #iloveb&wmovies

CHALLENGE: spontaneously invite people somewhere on your FB & twitter status. #performanceart #seewhoshowsup@lastminute

WARNING: stay away from the dark angel house. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-6F #creepy #scary #keepout

drinking hot chocolate and toasting the giant pillow-sized marshmallows brought back from mexico. @embracechaos

…just moved us 2 the pediatric waiting room maybe bcuz we act like children & they don’t want us disturbing the grown-ups. #:P #E

i went inside to my warm, cozy house & was immediately overcome with sadness. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-6F #homeless

just 4 the record, if “keep out” or “no trespassing” is posted, then we don’t go in.  that doesn’t mean we stay out of trouble. #photosafari

read 12 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-6F #12daysofembracechaos

11 days until Christmas…

if there’s a poster child for the love we feel for casahogarelim.com, it’s candy. #che #love #imissallofthekidsatche!

mall or maul? #tonychavez #ihatemalls #dontshopthischristmas

one would think getting a passport might be a simple process, but like everything else in our bureaucratic, complex society, it is not.

…i have no desire to give them a tv anymore… @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-78 #theyhavesomethingwedont

i wish i had never been spoiled by all of the materialism & possessions of our american culture, because now I’m addicted. @embracechaos

burdened with my knowledge, shackled with electronics and locked in a cell of selfishness and greed. @embracechaos

read 11 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-78 #11daysofembracechaos

10 days until Christmas…

my favorite Bible verse, Romans 12:2.  it’s so applicable to christmas consumerism & might b a clue in finding the christmas spirit.

‘excessable’. Yes, it’s a word, it’s my word. I made it up. #excessable @embracechaos checko  out the art: http://wp.me/p7CAn-7n

…cookie cutters symbolize our current culture and represents the expectation placed on us to conform to our society.

random acts of kindness: ppl don’t want 2 b boastful or prideful, but we need 2 get their stories told as an inspiration 4 others

look closely around u, through the lens of kindness & mercy, and u will c things you’ve never seen before. @embracechaos

read 10 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-7n #10daysofembracechaos

9 days until Christmas…

tick. tick. tick. #timeflies #annoyingclock #imbusy #snooze #theresneverenough http://wp.me/p7CAn-7P

i’m forgetting something. @embracechaos

time, our most valuable commodity.  time, our best friend and our worst enemy.  #timeismoney #timeislove http://wp.me/p7CAn-7P

the eagles understand the meaning of time. in their words, “…you can spend all your love making time.”

i don’t send christmas cards anymore, mostly because it’s an expectation. @embracechaos #anditcostsalot

do we even notice if one of our friends doesn’t send the obligatory christmas wishes? #nocards

LIMIT: one paragraph per person please. #christmascardfamilyupdates #urfamilyisbetterthanmine #childprodigies

reality cards: my kids r struggling in school, I lost my job & oh, btw, u can take his name off the card.  He doesn’t live here anymore.

who chose the jones family to represent our portrait of success? @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-7P

words are great, but we don’t take enough time to use them. http://whydidyougivemethis.wordpress.com @embracechaos #magneticpoetry

maybe we all need a visit from the ghost of Christmas past.

read 9 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-7P #9daysofembracechaos

8 days until Christmas…

aren’t ghosts just people spirits in 32% transparent bodies with a 78% vivid light outer glow? #photoshop @embracechaos

the ghost of christmas past is a vintage poloroid camera… http://wp.me/p7CAn-88 #ghostofchristmaspast

it looked nice, felt warm and seemed surreal, yet i had no idea what ‘it’ was. @embracechaos

the ghost of christmas present. get it? christmas ‘present’?  i crack myself up! http://wp.me/p7CAn-88 @embracechaos

let me just say that i never intentionally bought a pair of mismatched shoes. @embracechaos

i met the ghost of christmas future last night and her name is Flo. http://wp.me/p7CAn-88 @embracechaos

her walker, with tennis ball feet, must be jet propelled. #cuteoldpeople #alzheimers #capturedmyheart http://wp.me/p7CAn-88

the nursing home filled w traces of personal artifacts, arranged into a beige shell, a colorful painting spoke loudly… http://wp.me/p7CAn-88

the christmas spirit? yep, it’s a ghost, & I think I’m a little closer to it now. @embracechaos

read 8 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-88 #8daysofembracechaos

7 days until Christmas…

‘you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family?’ i beg to differ. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-8F

…i noticed a house that had some fun yard decor, more specifically, ‘little skeleton girl’. http://wp.me/p7CAn-8F #littleskeletongirl

i guess God knew I needed some siblings, but decided to bring them in under different circumstances. @embracechaos #jo #selena #ryan #erik

u may not b able to choose ur genetic family, but through love & friendship, u do choose ur ‘preferred’ family. http://wp.me/p7CAn-8F

1 definition of a family is “a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals…”

…a lady at church who accidentally door dinged my beat-up car. #greatwaytomeetpeople #godiscool http://wp.me/p7CAn-8F

read 7 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-8F #7daysofembracechaos

6 days… no, wait, 5 days until Christmas…

whatever.  i can’t count! @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-8Q

although I may not know my love language, I know what it’s not.  it’s not gifts. @embracechaos

the 2009 christmas gift giving guide aka jody’s list. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-8Q #jodyslist

what was the coolest, most mind-blowing gift you received as a child? #whirlywheel #krazykar

hat is the most meaningful or creative gift you have ever received? #skelmingo #bouquetofpaintbrushes

Anyone can go 2 a cookie cutter store, buy mass produced material goods take it home, wrap it in a bunch of fancy paper & call it a day.

CHALLENGE: if you are supporting thrift stores with your old stuff, please continue! #thirftstores #charity

judge a book by its cover. @embracechaos

at the risk of offending someone, I have found a whole new level of ridiculousness to gift giving. personalized wine bottle etching.

CHALLENGE QUESTION: what are your resources and how can you use them to help people? http://wp.me/p7CAn-8Q

don’t get sucked into the vortex of materialism and meaninglessness. #christmasconsumerism http://wp.me/p7CAn-8Q

read 5-6 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-8Q #5-6daysofembracechaos

4 days until Christmas…

A friend asked an interesting question: he asked, “would you still be blogging everyday if you were married?” http://wp.me/p7CAn-9e

holiday balance. where is it? i have no idea. @embracechaos #balance #iwouldlosemyheadifitwasnotattached

i’m intrigued by the name moving colors. i forgot to ask how they came up with the name. http://movingcolorsband.com

maybe I don’t need to leave anything out of the christmas storage box. http://wp.me/p7CAn-9e #dontforget #rememberchange

read 4 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-9e #4daysofembracechaos

3 days until Christmas…

someone found by blog with the search words ‘why do people choose chaos’. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-9m

So do people chose chaos, or is chaos a result of human actions? #choices

cultural chaos: result of masses of ppl coexisting on a planet, development of r interactions & outcome of r participation in society.

cultural chaos is not only having too many choices, but the expectation that we are to participate in all of them on some level.

i’m glad sonic still believes in peppermint wheels. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-9m #sonictoys #cherrylimeade

Can anyone copyright a smiley face? #walmartsucks #harveyball #70’s #whatsthefirstthingyouthinkofwhenyouseeasmileyface?

adbusters.org, a radical & thought provoking publication, addressed the christmas chaos in one of their issues a few years ago. #readit

Civilization creates icons, placing in r subconscious, the type & location of where they want u 2 participate in their piece of chaos.

we choose chaos because it’s what we know and it’s comfortable, even if we don’t like it. @embracechaos

read 3 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-9m #3daysofembracechaos

2 days until Christmas…

i get the distinct feeling people are ready for this to be over. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-9u

ah, the blissful haven between life’s pandemonium and the inescapable reality of a final destination. @embracechaos

…the red push pin & the pulsing blue dot have finally come together.  For a brief moment, the purple cloud of excitement is overwhelming.

did I turn off the iron?  No, because I don’t have one. #noiron #turnitoff #whydopeopleiron? http://wp.me/p7CAn-9u #seriously

i have learned something about christmas this year though, it’s about the journey, not the destination. @embracechaos

read 2 days until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-9u #2daysofembracechaos

1 day until Christmas…

…and found a small package on my front porch. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-9Q #whatwasinit?

i wasn’t prepared for the non-accidental, odd collection, depicting my life. @embracechaos http://wp.me/p7CAn-9Q

pcs of life on tiny scraps of paper, some mocking happiness, others evidence of existence, carefully arranged in2 a loose album of heartache

transposing my insights, perceptions and visions into comprehensible words is so incredibly challenging for me. @embracechaos

…it’s the juxtaposition of an important birthday and our cultural creativity. #mergechristmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-9Q

we’re all quirky in our own ways and I’m simply pointing out that christmas exaggerates these peculiarities. @embracechaos

my expression of negative feelings is necessary, manifested through aesthetic, tangible pieces of art, not crying. @embracechaos

if you’re looking for warm-fuzzy-happy stories, you won’t be reading my stuff. @embracechaos #realitychk

with my treasure chest of words, i can only hope 2 make a tiny impact in this large cultural crater. #changetheworld #trashsociety@christmas

read 1 day until christmas http://wp.me/p7CAn-9Q #1dayofembracechaos

Christmas day.

merry christmas from @embracechaos https://embracechaos.wordpress.com

1 day until Christmas…

I came home late from work last night and found a small package on my front porch. The package was not a surprise. I was expecting it and I knew what I would find inside. I picked up the vintage gray, mottled paper envelope off the ground and carried it inside.

I had received a phone call a few days ago from my mom, telling me she’s coming to see her grandkids. I had to let her know I don’t have the boys this week, they’re with their dad and I won’t get them back until Christmas day. A day later, she left me a voice mail that she would see the boys over there and she would leave some photos by my front door. My mom came to town yesterday, left the photos, just as she had planned. I suppose she saw the kids too, just as she had planned.

Although I was expecting the package to contain photographs, I wasn’t prepared for the non-accidental, odd collection of them, depicting my life. On one end of the spectrum, photos of my parents before I was even born, at the other end, my pre-divorce family photos. What was I expecting? Some snapshots of my kids from her last visit to Frisco. What should I have expected? Anything but some snapshots. What did I get? Pieces of my life on tiny scraps of matte paper, some mocking happiness, others simply evidence of my existence, all carefully arranged into a loose album of heartache. Merry Christmas.

Enough of that. Wow, only one more day of journaling the 25 days of Christmas. Although the countdown is over, I plan to push the digital pencil one final time for this project, a summary of sorts, on Christmas day.

Transposing my insights, perceptions and visions into comprehensible words is so incredibly challenging for me. Images, no problem. Words, easier said than done. Also, there’s the fear of writing something that nobody will read. I realize I’m somewhat opinionated and can be a pushy activist when I’m passionate about something. To some people, that makes me interesting, to others, I’m probably just plain annoying. For now, we’ll say I’m interestingly annoying.

So many have asked, “Why are you writing? What’s the purpose of blogging the 25 days of Christmas?” I have many reasons.

I want people to see the fun, humor and creativity in everyday life.

Remember, this blog started as a way to showcase silly Christmas yard art. Why do we have plastic Santa statues and hang several strings of tiny bulbs all over the place for Christmas? Even though Christmas yard decor seems to be caricature representations of the Christmas spirit, it’s the juxtaposition of an important birthday and our cultural creativity. The evolution of the Christmas story is like hearing a story through a large circle of people. The story is told by each person in the circle, one person telling the next what they just heard. Once the story has made it’s way around the circle, there might be some small resemblance to the original story, but with personal and cultural embellishments, and sometimes, and element of fantasy.

We’re all quirky in our own ways and I’m simply pointing out that Christmas exaggerates these peculiarities. Let’s enjoy this! Not just around Christmastime, but all year long. I’m throwing out a challenge here. In the next week, take one photo of something amusing, creative or just plain weird. Upload it to your Facebook page, write a couple of sentences about it, then tag me on it. This exercise will change the way you see ordinary, everyday sights. And don’t blame me when you start finding ways to take secret photos, like pretending to talk on the phone while snapping pics. Of course, I would ever consider doing such a thing.

I want to challenge people to think differently about Christmas, including myself.

If you’ve read my previous blogs, this doesn’t require much explanation. Think outside yourself, don’t get sucked into the cultural Christmas entropy and keep making positive changes after Christmas is packed neatly away in the attic. I know I will fall back into my old ways, those of being too busy, but not busyness with a good purpose. I don’t want to forget about meeting Tom on the highway or forget about Flo, the ghost of Christmas future. I want to remember Christ’s birth all year long and be mindful of God’s wonderful gift.

Self expression and personal growth.

Some people cry to express feelings of anguish and sorrow, or some might even show displays of anger. My expression of negative feelings is necessary, however it is manifested through aesthetic, tangible pieces of art. I must convey my pain and pleasure through art, to the point that if I don’t fulfill this need, it will pull me down into the depths of depression. Until yesterday, I thought I was the only person on the planet that deals with emotion this way. I’m not. Just last night, I met someone that has the same affliction.

My writing, as well as my art, tells a story. When I take the time to read my written words and gaze at my own artwork, I learn things about myself that I didn’t know. This is my self-awareness process. Now don’t get me wrong, I have many issues, and some I’m sure many I’m not aware of (which I’m sure will be pointed out by my friends reading this), but it’s helpful to me. Sometimes it’s painful, like looking at the envelope of photographs last night, sometimes it’s helpful, gaining an understanding of why I do things so I don’t repeat the same mistakes.

If you’re looking for warm-fuzzy-happy stories, you won’t be reading this, as you would have clicked away long ago. If you’re looking for some thought-provoking, realistic stories with obscure personal views, then you’ve come to the right place. Christmas is hugely important, and I’m not talking about the stock market implications. The birth of a savior has been overshadowed with the cultural Christmas. I don’t want to be in that shadow.

With my treasure chest of words, I can only hope to make a tiny impact in this large cultural crater. Whether you stumbled upon these blogs by accident, found them through a subject search or you know me and I pestered the crap out of you to read them, my hope is that there might be one tiny little piece of meaningful wisdom that means something to you. If not, this has still been a great experience, as I can use it to better my own life journey. The tattered gray envelope and its contents may represent my past, but does not predict my future. Merry Christmas.

2 days until Christmas…

There’s not much time left until Christmas.  It will go by very quickly though.  Looking at the Facebook news feed, I get the distinct feeling people are ready for this to be over.  People are either extremely tired or they are frantically shopping.  Well, maybe they’re just tired of shopping.

It reminds me of what it’s like to take a road trip, the busyness of preparing for the trip, running around making sure you didn’t forget anything.  Is everything packed?  Did I give the key to the neighbor?  Are all of the important items checked off my to do list?  (it’s not even possible to complete all of them)  Should I check my email one more time?  Is the iron off?  Oh yeah, I don’t have an iron.  Okay, I think it’s time to get in the car.

Pulling out of the driveway, I’m going over the mental list in high speed, before I’ve driven too far to go back and get whatever it is I’ve forgotten.  Once I’m on the road for a little while, this restful peace sets in.  Ah, the blissful haven between life’s pandemonium and the inescapable reality of a final destination.

As I dream of the adventures, the gentle rocking motion of the Infiniti sleigh is soothing to me and I’m trying to adjust the volume of the radio.  Turn, turn, turn… to no avail.  Eventually I’ll replace the shocks and get the volume knob fixed… or maybe not.  The sleigh has character and it makes me smile.  Not because it’s been paid off for 8 years, because it’s my happy place.  The sleigh takes me to wonderful places and the unexplored universe of reckless abandon, a place once called home to someone.

I will be in the car for many hours.  I have my journal and camera ready for action.  What great adventures will I find?  On a trip to Austin with Amy and my boys a few months ago, whenever we saw something interesting, we wrote down the exit number, then stopped at all of them on the way back home.  The trip home took 3 times longer and was 100 times more fun.  What did we see?

I think back to the many road trips I have taken over the past several years.  The tiring anticipation of an arrival.  Will it be the ‘getaway’ I expected and needed?  As I wonder if it was worth going at all, the moment finally comes.  Arrival.

I’m here, the red push pin and the pulsing blue dot have finally come together.  For a brief moment, the purple cloud of excitement is overwhelming.  As quickly as it came, the cloud dissipates and reality sets it.   My chaotic life has just moved to a new location.  Plug in the computer, check email, unpack and get out the time-away to do list.  Did I turn off the iron?  No, because I don’t have one.  Maybe I should get one so I can check to see if it’s turned off.

Why does a road trip remind me of Christmas?  People are scurrying around trying to accomplish all of the last minute details to create their perfect Christmas experience.  What did they forget?  Before they know it, Christmas day is here.  Did they find any moments of tranquility or fulfillment?  Did they find their happy place?

I knew Christmas was coming and at some point, I did find a place of contentment and joy.  Now it’s so close, I’m apprehensive and too busy to enjoy it.  What will Christmas day bring?  Happiness?  Loneliness?  Joy?  Sadness?  I don’t know the answer to that question.

I have learned something about Christmas this year though, it’s about the journey, not the destination.  The fantasies and lofty expectations of Christmas are an unavoidable let down.  I plan to enjoy the journey when I can and embrace the Christmas chaos when I have to.  I will not get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, as it creates a false sense of pleasure, and in end producing a massive plunge into a materialistic despair.

I love the true meaning of Christmas and I hope to experience the joy of the day, but honestly?  I’m ready for it to be over.

3 days until Christmas…

Three days until Christmas really means only one more day to get all of my work done.  This year we have Christmas eve and Christmas eve, eve services.  Yikes!  Short blog today?  Probably not.  😉

Last night, someone found by blog with the search words ‘why do people choose chaos’.  I doubt they found the answer to that question here, as I choose to embrace it, but now I’m pondering the question.

First, what is chaos?  Let’s take a look at the definition.  It is defined as ‘a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.’  Synonyms: disarray, jumble, turmoil.  Antonyms: order, peace, calm. Or in other words, my writing style?  Well…

So do people chose chaos, or is chaos a result of human actions?  Is it something that we’re born into, and on some level, will always have to react with accordingly?  I believe life itself contains chaos, and from what I see, an abundant quantity of it.  I do believe we can choose our own level of participation though.  Now I’m not talking about a person just choosing to be disorganized and live in a messy house, I’m talking about cultural chaos.  The chaos that results from masses of people coexisting on this planet, the development of our interactions and the outcome of our participation in society.

Cultural chaos is not only having too many choices, but the expectation that we are to participate in all of them on some level.  Since this is the 25 days of Christmas blog, let’s look at Christmas chaos.  Before I do that, I want to share a conversation I had yesterday with a couple of coworkers.

This little guy was sitting on the desk, inside a plastic bag, smiling at me.  Of course I took him out to play with him, and I also got him a car to ride.  Zoom, zoom!  Peppermint wheels!  I’m glad Sonic still believes in peppermint wheels.  (see Jody’s List from 2 days ago for the reference)

As a few us us were talking, someone said, “It’s the Wal-Mart symbol.”  I immediately argued that Wal-Mart cannot own the smiley face, as it’s a representation of happiness in the 70’s.  Can anyone copyright a smiley?  One person in the room asked, “Somebody designed it, don’t they own the rights to it?”

The answer is yes.  Harvey Ball designed it and owns rights to it, and as you would expect, Wal-mart and their high priced attorneys tried to claim ownership.  In 2008 they lost… or did they?

If we see the smiley and consciously or subconsciously think of shopping and happy prices at Wallyworld, mission accomplished, right?  It hurts me that this symbol of happiness makes people think about a money hungry retail giant.  They might not legally own the smiley face, but make no mistake about it, they do own it.

Now, back to Christmas chaos, which by the way, is just a more specific form of cultural chaos.  Why do you do all of the things you do at Christmas time?  Because you want to?  Because you feel you have to?  Maybe because you’ve been doing it this way for so long, it’s a programmed holiday response?  Is it a tradition?  I recently heard about a child asking her mom what a tradition is.  The mom answered, “It’s something that was started long ago, things we still do today, but we don’t like to do them.”  So why?  Christmas chaos is the fusion of many old customs and countless new practices.  We try so desperately to hang on to something magical from the past and try fiercely to make it work in the present, all the while adding new things, creating a new framework of chaos every year.

Adbusters magazine, a radical, yet thought provoking publication, or as they call themselves, a journal of the mental environment, addressed the christmas chaos in one of their issues a few years ago.  They encouraged people to not buy anything for Christmas and to remember the real meaning of Christmas.  Here’s an image from the article…

The article encouraged people to do a ‘Jesus Walk’, cut out the Jesus face and walk around with it at shopping malls.  They also asked people to photocopy the ‘Garbage Christ’ image and tape it up in any public location they could.  Now, I realize this is radical, and being an activist would be considered reverse chaos.  I  also know some people might find this offensive, but is it anymore offensive than celebrating Christmas without Christ in it?  That’s celebrating the ‘mas’, or mass.

Civilization creates icons of all sorts, placing in our subconscious, the type and location of where they want you to participate in their piece of the chaos.  I don’t want people or large companies dictating what I do and why I do it.  Yes, we have brains and we have to respond, but we don’t have to be clones of society.  They create chaos that we can choose to be a part of or we can learn to coexist with in a healthy way.

Chaos is a really deep subject and I can only hope to scratch a tiny, barely noticable mark on the surface of it in it on a daily blog.  You’ve heard the saying if you can’t beat them, join them?  Chaos exisits, whether we like it or not.  I don’t know if the person searching for the chaos answer was looking for this answer.  In my mind, the answer?  I think it’s ‘comfort zone’.  We choose chaos because it’s what we know and it’s comfortable, even if we don’t like it.  This Christmas, you can beat the chaos, join the chaos, make fun of the chaos or embrace the chaos.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Even if it’s just a little bit, baby steps are good.  Try it.  You can always return to the chaos, if you choose to do so.

4 days until Christmas…

A friend of mine had a very interesting question for me yesterday.  He asked, “Would you still be blogging everyday if you were married?”  My reaction at that moment was yes, probably, but the process might look a little different.  I might just be blogging random stories, and would not have made the 25 day Christmas commitment.  I walked away and didn’t think much about it.

Yesterday was busy, at work in the morning, then a photo shoot scheduled for the afternoon and more work in the evening.  My Sunday afternoon photo shoots usually consist of driving to small towns and looking for abandoned houses with a group of people.  Yesterday, I photographed a band called Moving Colors.  They rock the house everywhere they play and I really enjoyed doing the shoot.  We did some silhouettes behind the big screen, what a blast!

After I left the shoot, I had to run to the bookstore to find some Luke 2 images for a video.  As I was on my way there, having a small amount of time for personal reflection, I couldn’t help thinking about the question again.  Why did he ask that?  Curiosity got the best of me, I had to email him and find out.  I typed it at a stoplight, not while driving… just for the record.

I went to dinner with a friend, one whom needed a break as badly as I did, and had some nice ‘down time’.  Through the course of our conversation, it was apparent to me that nobody gets enough personal time or down time, especially during the Christmas season.  I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, but certainly there has to be some holiday balance.  Where?  I have no idea.

I’m intrigued by the name Moving Colors.  I forgot to ask how they came up with the name.  As I look at it, it’s very descriptive of the way I see things in my world.  Life moves so quickly, it sometimes looks like a blur of colors in a time-lapse video.  The name is obviously based on their incredible talent and I’m quite sure, has nothing to do with a fast paced life.

I received a reply to my email, “…when you are married one tends to process life issues out loud with their spouse.  Since you don’t have one right now you seem to be processing life in your blogs.”  I had never really thought about it that way.  Hmm.  More food for thought.

Trying to live this Christmas more outside myself has been an extraordinary experience.  Spending time doing things for others, not for myself, is just an awe-inspiring way to spend time.  I plan to do this well into next year, not stopping after the Christmas season.  As Jim Johnson said in his message yesterday about living upside-down, we tend to forget the changes we have made to live differently and go back to the same daily grind.  Next year at this time, we’ll start the whole process over again.  Jim suggested we leave a Christmas item out of storage this year to remind us of our promised change.  Being the weird artist type that I am, I already do that, so I’ll have to choose something different that my usual Christmas lights.  Maybe an ornament.  One for me and one for each of my kids.

To answer the blogging question, honestly, I really don’t know what would be different.  I don’t really have a definite answer.  I might be blogging, I might not.  Blogging might be a substitute for adult conversation and relationships.  It might be a daily cure for loneliness.  It might be just for fun.  It might be my down time.  It might be a place for me to express my humorous and complex viewpoints on life.  Whatever it is, God is involved in it.  Maybe I don’t need to leave anything out of the Christmas box.  My blog might be the thing I need to remember the changes I have made.  I suppose I should read my blog every so often throughout the year so the tinselectomy changes don’t fade away.

6 days… no, wait, 5 days until Christmas…

Whatever.  I can’t count!  Leave it to me to try and change the birthdate of Jesus.  Okay, math has never been my thing.  I’m focusing more on the artistic process here, not the time, or time-math.  Work with me people.  Only one person has been brave enough to point this out, and as soon as he gets out of the hospital, you can ask him about it.

Have you read The Five Love Languages?  I have, and although I may not know my love language, I know what it’s not.  It’s not gifts.  With that being said, please enjoy my 2009 Christmas gift giving guide.

The 2009 Christmas Gift Giving Guide by Jody Wissing (aka Jody’s List)

Your most memorable childhood gift.

What was the coolest, most mind-blowing gift you received as a child?  No silly, besides the box it came in?  Mine was a Krazy Kar.  It’s that bright yellow thing with the swirly peppermint wheels.  I don’t recall how long I had it, but I know it was several years.  I’m guessing it was completely worn out, not suitable for anything but plastic recycling, as I loved it to death.  I had no idea what this was called until last week when I posted this photo on Facebook.

The Amloid Krazy Kar Ride-On is available on amazon.com for $75.99

Product description: The Krazy Kar is as equally wild as it is wacky! Drive it forwards, backwards, or in circles for indoor and outdoor fun all year long! Features giant 3′ action ride-on and big 18″ wheels. Made with safe, rugged, durable construction and holds up to 70 lbs. Colors may vary. Adult assembly required.

Although I like the new edition of the lightening bolts, I’m a little saddened that the swirly peppermint wheels are gone.  Oh well, nothing a little paint can’t take care of.  And 70 pounds?  How am I supposed to show my kids how to ride this if I can’t?  Their Green Machines hold up to 180 pounds, not that I ever take advantage of that.  But hypothetically speaking, let’s say you want something like this so you can ride it too.

The Deluxe Whirly Wheel is available at amazon.com for $99.99

Product description: Kids use their hands to power this innovative twist on the conventional ride-on. Lightweight construction helps riders cruise right along, safely take corners, and spin 360s on almost any surface. Features a steel frame, rubber tires and a padded seat for riders up to 110 lbs.

Okay, so I don’t weigh 110, wishful thinking, but I’l only a bit over it, so technically…  Also, if you buy one of these for your kids and they choose to keep spinning in circles, keep them outside for a little while before bringing them in the house.  Is your favorite toy still available?

Creative, memorable and just downright awesome.

What is the most meaningful or creative gift you have ever received?  The most creative for me was a bouquet of paintbrushes.  I’m not a flower kind of girl, and this gift giver, although knowing me for a short period time, gave me a meaningful gift.  I was married for eight years and the man still gave me flowers when he was in the dog house.  That made me angry, spending a crazy amount of money on something that’s dead upon arrival and will look like it in three days.  I cannot comprehend this.

The most memorable gift?  Flamingos and Skelemingos.  Again, this friend took the time to know what I would like, not jewelry, not flowers, not a sweater, but something quirky that nobody else would ever think to buy.  Not that your friend will want these, but just in case…

Skelemingo Pair available at thepinkflamingo.com for $15.95

Product description: NEW!!! One pair of s-c-a-r-y, b-o-n-y flamingoes! For All Occacsions: Halloween, Over-The-Hill Parties, Special Birthdays, Block Parties, Special Occasions, Retirement Parties etc. Can be used indoors or outdoors. “Perfect for the party…then in the yard for the rememberance!” When assembled they stand approximately 34″ high. Made in the U.S.A. of HDPE plastic.

How well do you know your friends?

Red fish, blue fish, old fish, new fish.

Dr. Seuss might be on to something here.  Why do we feel like gifts must be something new?  What’s wrong with old stuff?  Anyone can go into the cookie cutter stores, purchase mass produced material goods (available in many colors and styles), take the stuff home, wrap it in a bunch of fancy mass produced paper and call it a day.  Thought process?  “I’ve made my expected purchases, checked it off the to-do list and I’m on to my other busyness.”  What has been accomplished here?  We’re supporting financial insanity and overseas sweatshops.

Now don’t get me wrong.  We need people to buy lots of new stuff, because without that, there would be nothing at the thrift stores.  I would not have found my $1,300 grill for $70 or my son’s $595 Sleep Number bed for $6.  Okay, I’m being sarcastic, but seriously, if you are supporting thrift stores with your old stuff, please continue!  These stores raise money to help needy people, so why not go treasure hunting?  It’s three times better!   You are saving money, you’re supporting people in need and you’re spending the time to look for something special for your loved ones.

Favorite resale shops:  CCA (Christian Community Action) in Lewisville and The Colony and Frisco Resale, obviously in Frisco.

You can Google these for locations and also look for other resale shops, as there are many great ones in our area.  Buy gifts with character.  What would that person on your list fall in love with and not regift?  Oh, and don’t get me started on the re-gifting thing…

Judge a book by it’s cover.

With all of the used bookstores around, and to use a car dealer term, why not buy some pre-owned books?  There are many great reasons to do this.  First, you can write a special note in it for the person you’re giving it to.  (Unless you’re buying a book for Jerod Chambers, then you need to write on all of the pages in the book, as he loves that!)  Second, with the the endless number of topics and abundant, ingenious styles, it’s easy to find a book for any person on your list.

But my favorite part of giving books as gifts?  Altering them.  That’s right, altering them.  Write notes, scribble, paint, tape things, glue cutouts, add bookmark strings… the list goes on.  There’s two ways to do this, make a book into a completely new books by gluing pages together and adding your own embellishments, like the vintage books pictured here.  The other idea is much simpler, just add your own stuff to the book on the blank pages, creating a personalized copy of whatever book you’re giving.  Either way, I doubt this gift will end up in a thrift store.  Oh, what a dilemma, which idea should you choose?

Personalized recycling.

At the risk of offending anyone who’s done this, I just have to say, this has brought a whole new level of ridiculousness to gift giving.  I have to add this to Jody’s list, but as a ‘don’t do it’.  What is it?  Personalized wine bottle etching, the gift that keeps on… recycling?  So let’s suppose you get one of these treasured heirlooms, and instead of keeping it in a rack, you actually want to drink it.  Hmm, now you’ll have an empty bottle that will look really nice, if you just happen to love empty wine bottles all over your house.  Great, just what I need, a guilt trip if I throw this bottle away after enjoying it, as it was intended.  Or maybe I should keep it, and I’ll set it on the counter when you come to visit.  No, this bottle will be a wonderful addition to my recycling bin.

Look, I’m all about the free stuff.  The engraving is free at Market Street if you buy a bottle of wine over $10.  I have to ask, what is the engraving guy thinking?  He didn’t look all that happy to be doing this, or he might just have been in his engraving ‘zone’.  Do your friends really need a name on their bottle of wine to know it belongs to them?  If you’re not sure, look inside their coat and see if their name is written on the tag with a Sharpie.

Your resources.

I was at a party last night, one where the white elephant gift exchange was the football half-time event.  Cool!  Because I’m all about finding an unusual gift.  The gift I walked away with last night was a good one.  It was someone giving me two hours of their time for whatever I might need it for.  This got me thinking.

This Christmas I’m trying to live differently, giving my time and money to people in need.  Let me just say that I am giving money, but I don’t have a lot to give.  I’m also giving my time, and even though there’s not a lot of that either, I have more time than money.  What are your resources and how can you use them to help people?  My kids and I chose to sponsor Casa Hogar Elim and The Sons of Lwala this year, financially and with an allotment of our time.  What would your friends think if you did this in their name as a gift?  My experience?  It inspires other to do the same thing.  Give to someone that can’t give back this Christmas.  Set an example of giving goodness for others to follow.

The ultimate gift.

God gave us the greatest gift of all, his son.  When gift giving this Christmas, or any Christmas, just remember why you’re doing it.  Don’t get sucked into the vortex of materialism and meaninglessness.  Celebrate the Ultimate Gift by giving gifts with the true meaning of Christmas in your heart.  (Yes, even if it’s an impractical engraved bottle of wine)

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