Fond Memories of Christmas As A Child

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time Laura Ingalls Wilder

This time of year during Christmas there has always existed for me a certain magic!  I can remember when I was just a boy that I could hardly wait for it to come around!  We were so excited as children to take in the sights and sounds, the carols the spirit of Family being together.  I only hope that, through the now ultra-commercialization of the season that today’s children will not be left with the same type of stress that we now feel at this time of the year.

So much as changed since when I was young, or at least I feel that it has. I have such fond memories of when it was Christmas day and we all gathered around to open our presents. and I would get so excited to get a ball or my very first bicycle!  The gifts were not that many as I can remember, but they were so special as they would then become the item or toy that would keep my attention for a very long time.  A toy airplane that I would go and play with together with my best friends down the road!

Things seem to have been so much more simple at that time compared to today.  I feel blessed to have grown up at the time I did as I believe it has helped me to appreciate things more than if I had grown up now.  If you grow up having so much as we have today, it can make you expect more rather than to be thankful for what you do have or receive. 

Of course, being a child is so wonderful, you have no idea of what goes behind all that is happening around you.  The economy is of no interest or concern to you, politics is even of less concern! I think that, if I had known of all the sacrifices that were being made by my parent when I was younger, I would have appreciated them so much more than I did at the time. Now I do know, and now I have a very special respect and gratitude towards them that I never had whilst I was a child. Life teaches us so much!

How do you remember Christmas?

Out with the Old In With The New!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” –Maria Robinson

The Year is almost over, we cannot begin it again, but we can end it the way we want! The most wonderful thing that we have now is another chance to start all over, a new year that we can make things right, a new year that we can turn the mistakes that we made in the past into stepping stone rather than the stumbling block that they once had been!

It can be sad at times to say goodbye to the sun that sets on a wonderful day, a wonderful year.  Often times we can sit back and think of all that occurred throughout the year and if it was a tough year, we can be thankful that it has now come to an end and if it was a wonderful year, we can plan to make the next even greater than the one before.

I don’t know about you, but this year went by faster than any other, as we have drawn near Christmas, I couldn’t help but feel that I had just celebrated Christmas just a short time before! I am thankful for so much, I was able to be near most of my immediate family this past year more than any year before.  I was able to have a place to work and a warm house to live in, and dear friends who have been a tremendous help.  I began this blog which I have enjoyed and with it made a great many new friends.  I have learned so much and have come to know even more of what I still don;t know but need to learn.

I feel that I am now ready to let go of the past and latch on to the future!  It is a great feeling that all things can now once again become new and I can start all over again!  What a liberation that I am not confined to my meager past, but that there is a bright and promising future to look forward to despite the current economic climate!  I refuse to be a victim of circumstance but rather insist on being a force to be reckoned with!  I am a new being!  How about you?

Give And Start Living

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. –Eleanor Roosevelt

Love isn’t meant in your heart to stay, Love isn’t love until you give it away!  I love this little poem! And it is so true, so often we can tend to look at what we don’t have, how we feel that we are missing out or don’t have what we think we deserve! But really, how often do we look at what we are giving out?  Only by doing so can we find out just why we are lacking!  It is a fact that the more you give the more you tend to receive!

So many are miserable because they do not feel loved, don’t have all that they wish they would like to have, but few attempt to give others the love that they would so desperately need and would like to receive!  But really, if you spend more time loving, giving, and caring for others. you will begin to get back so much that it will literally blow you away!

Life is not meant to sit around just wishing you had or wanting more, life was meant to give,  knowing and trusting that what you give out will come back, undoubtedly in greater measure than you give.  Holding back and being reserved will only bring on depression and misery.  So if you want to really live, start giving today!

Merry Christmas!  Are you giving? Only by doing so will you receive!

Spreading Some Christmas Cheer!

But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round… as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely. –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

I love Christmas time it tends to just go to my bones!  Unfortunately like many Holidays it has tended to lose its real meaning in the hustle and bustle of commercialism and stress that comes with trying to do all the shopping in time for the big day.  But as I shared in My Christmas Message 2011 it is a great time to go out of your way and to reach out to others in a very special way!  As I shared in the video message, we do “clown therapy all year round, but Christmas is a special time for everyone to put our pride, and our business aside and reach out to others.

This year, as in past years, we have been visiting several hospitals to sing and make special balloon characters and just cheer people up who may need a bit of cheering.  In this picture to the left both Alisa, our 16-year-old daughter and James, another young man went to visit both the Pediatric and Elderly wards of a local hospital.  They went around with our son-in-law Danilo who played the guitar and sang some traditional Christmas carols for the patients.  After singing, they were also able to share a few words with the patients to let them know that they were there for them.  This one woman in particular was awestruck by these two young people, she is 96 years old and had not experienced anything of the sort!  Needless to say, she was happy to have this special visit!

Sad to say, many of these older folks hardly ever have a visit so it is even more special to have, and in this case, a visit by young people both Italian and American to take the time to have a little chat together!

James went all out and dressed up as Santa to visit with the children in the Pediatrics ward and needless to say they were pretty surprised to have this visit by probably the youngest members of  Santa’s helpers.  The kids didn’t know what to think about this room invasion, but they were glad to get distracted from their otherwise unpleasant hospital stay when they would very much prefer being somewhere else doing anything but be bed-ridden!  It is kind of nice for the parents as well as they tend to run out of things to entertain their children with.

Danilo knows a few magic tricks and will pull out a few tricks here and there as well, a pretty talented Santa’s helper with a guitar strung around his neck.  They spent the better part of the day at the Hospital in Magenta, Italy and had lots of fun. It was a bit difficult to have to leave at the end of the day!

I truly hope that you too will be able to have some fun, even if not in a hospital, just do something unusual to make the days leading up to Christmas more pleasant for those around you, and before you know it, you’ll be having the time of your life!  There are memories that last forever and will go a very long way in making this Christmas, despite the current difficulties you may be facing, the best one ever!


Will Yours Be A White Christmas?

Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” –Bing Crosby

I have always loved the magic of Christmas and have lost count the times that I have sat down and enjoyed the “White Christmas” with Big Crosby and Danny Kay! Another classical Christmas movie that I think that I will never grow tired of is “It’s A Wonderful Life” with James Stewart!  These two movies have been how I have felt during Christmas, a special moment despite the horror of war in the case of “White Christmas” and the tough reality of financial difficulty in “It’s A Wonderful Life”. In both cases there was great joy in the end with a spirit of love and appreciation!

Christmas to me has always been a time to reflect on life and love towards others from the time I was a little boy on through my entire life.  We would always plan as a family to do something out of the ordinary during Christmas to bring a bit of cheer in the lives of those we felt less fortunate.  Whilst in Taiwan our kids were into dancing and so my wife put together a show troupe that went all over Taipei performing a Christmas gala.  One year they put together a Christmas musical and performed it in an auditorium for about 600 people depicting the story of Christmas.  It was so much fun!

If you spread this joy, reach out to others, lend a helping hand, Christmas will always be white! It will never be dark dingy and sad! If you give love, you will receive love!  Life is a boomerang, what you give out will eventually find its way back into your life! Christmas is magic, it can bring an unspeakable joy if you were this joy with others and do not seek it for yourself alone.  That is what makes Christmas truly white! As Bing said so well, it is an occasion to share our blessings!

What has it been to make your Christmas white?


Dream Your Reality!

Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.–Anais Nin

If you never had a dream you could never achieve anything exceptional, and life was meant to be exceptional!  You have to have a goal, a dream something to give you that extra humph to want to stir yourself up and be motivated to go somewhere, be someone and do something!  Every invention that has become a reality started as someones dream! Why should we not believe that we too are entitled to the same?

Dreams, desires, aspirations are so important, every accomplish starts out as a dream! But sadly enough, we stop short of realizing our dreams for different reasons. For one, we tend to allow ourselves to talked right out of believing in our dreams when others try to “help us” come back to “reality” by telling us how unrealistic they are!  Another reason is, often we have unrealistic expectations as to how long it should take for the dream to come true.  We are in too much of a hurry and lack the patience that it takes or for things to fall into place so that they can come true!

Believe me, we have dreams for a very good reason!  We are meant to work for them to come true!  They are meant to envision us, to inspire us to strive for greater heights.  There is a Proverb in the Bible which say “where there is no vision the people perish”.  And it is so true, you can only go on for so long with no vision or goal then you are just sort of floating or existing, and that is no life!  At least how I see it!  I couldn’t go on if I didn’t have some sort of reason to do so, or place to get to, or ideal to strive for!

What is your dream?

A Hug– The Miracle Drug!

Hugging is healthy. It’s invigorating, rejuvenating & has no unpleasant side effects. It’s nothing less than a miracle drug. –Author Unknown

It is amazing just how a hug can work miracles to those who administer and are administered one in the time of need or stress!  Most of us have gotten so out of the habit of hugging, we only do so in dire situation to console someone on extreme occasions.  But really, it should be something that we do on a daily basis!  We could see a remarkable difference in our overall perspective on situations and on  life in general!

There are still families who are in the habit of hugging and they are usually the families that continue to be pretty close and tight-knit.  There are certain countries that are traditionally into physical contact when greeting one another like in southern Europe, and others who are so used to zero contact, even in a family setting such as in Japan.

I remember having been away for several years without seeing my family, brother and sister and parents and upon returning from Italy and South America I was met with a hand shake from my brother and father.  I thought, this is weird and just grabbed them and gave them a big hug and it sort of freaked them out at first. I witnessed the same thing in the London Airport when family and relatives would arrive from a long trip having been away for years and they were met with a formal handshake.

My sister is a very affectionate woman and in her family they are all very affectionate the one with the other and are always so concerned about each other.  It is a very inspiring environment to be in.  They are a mixed family as my brother-in-law is from Iran where they are pretty affectionate in their culture.  I find it important to show affection to those around you, of course it doesn’t mean that I think everyone should go around hugging any and everyone they see, but it is amazing how walls seem to come tumbling down with a simple show of affection, a touch or sincere hug!

My wife is also a real huger!  She will hug people that she first meets here in Italy and even they are a bit shocked when they meet her, but they are also drawn to her in a very special way.  People she hardly knows will begin to confide in her and call on her when they are going through things as they tend to feel a special connection.  I believe they can sense  that she sincerely cares about them.  Hugging does give a message that you are there for someone it has a chemical reaction within you that inspires closeness and works real miracles!

We tend to be inhibited in our outward show of affection as we are afraid of mixed signals being given when we hug. We are afraid that the other will think we have ulterior motives or want more than just a simple show of affection. It is a fact, there are a lot of perverted individuals in the world who do have ulterior motives, but this should not ever be reason to stop us from giving that needed hug.  When someone is coming on to you in a sexual manner, you can usually sense that pretty quickly and can put a stop to it. But this should not give us reason to stop all hugging and affection!  Have you hugged someone today? Don’t you enjoy a warm hug from time to time?

My Christmas 2011 Message To You

Christmas is here! It is now upon us!  It is a time to think about caring and loving those around us, going the extra mile, being there for our family! I wanted to wish you all a very special and Merry Christmas and so I took the plunge and recorded my first (but certainly not last) Vlog.  Thank you to all of you who have been coming to visit My Life Blogs!  I truly appreciate you and look forward to staying in touch through the new year 2012 and beyond!





Do You Feed Your Body But Starve Your Soul?

“Treat your body like a temple, not a woodshed. The mind and body work together. Your body needs to be a good support system for the mind and spirit. If you take good care of it, your body can take you wherever you want to go, with the power and strength and energy and vitality you will need to get there.” –Jim Rohn

Most of us wouldn’t think about skipping meals if we don’t absolutely have to for one reason or the other.  When it is meal time we are pretty consistent with stopping whatever activity we are involved in to go and feed our bodies. It is pretty simple, our stomach sends a message to our brain and lets it know that it really would like to have something to eat!  An area that we can tend to be weak in is feeding our souls or minds with the proper frequency and diet.

Our mind is always seeking input, sort of like E.T. it is always sending the message “input..more input”.  Much of what we “put in” will have a direct effect on us and our spirit just as maintaining a proper balanced diet when we eat our physical food.  The more you eat “junk food” the more you begin to notice the effect that it has on your body.  You begin to get sluggish, despondent and the more noticeable consequence is when you begin to gain unwanted weight. We tend to gravitate towards junk food or fast food out of “convenience” because we simply do not have the material time available to stop and eat a more healthy meal…or so we think.

At the end of a long day, much the same as the convenience of stopping for a fast bite, we just want to relax and spend some time “chilling”.  Often this means sitting in front of the boob tube and taking in what ever happens to showing at the time.  Some are more “careful” and watch the news faithfully, several times a day.  This may seem important, but the only problem with this is that the “news” that is shared is most often chuck full of negative stories that will end up running through our minds once we lay down to “rest” in preparation for the next challenging day!  Just as the junk food will begin sending all that unwanted nutrition-void contents through your bloodstream!

It is VERY important to take into consideration what you fed your mind, and in particular before you lay down to take your rest or sleep at night.  Your mind will continue to work while you are asleep, and what you have fed your soul will eventually begin pouring forth from your mouth, through your actions, in your attitude and overall perspective on life!  You have heard the expression “you are what you read”, well this is absolutely true, and not only, you are also what you watch, and what you hear as it all gets absorbed into the fiber of your being!

So be mindful not only of your physical diet which, if you are, you will be able to remain healthy physically.  But be just as mindful of what you feed your soul in order to remain healthy mentally and spiritually! Your body usually follows where your mind is going, so it may even be more important to watch what you put into your head.  Input is very necessary for your mind just as food is for your body, in both cases you need to pay attention to what you allow in!

Do you feed your body and soul with good balanced and healthy diet?

When Push Comes To Shove

When push comes to shove, it ain’t the science that’s going to lift you up-it’s the belief, the spiritual side of life, that’s going to lift you up, no matter what religion you are.–Kristie Alley

Have you had situations in your lifetime that something comes up, an emergency. a tough bend in the road, something that surely if you had the choice you would certainly choose not to do?  And then, out of nowhere, certainly not within you, you got the strength to get though it all despite you not having the strength to deal with it at all!  I know I have, many times, and some of you might even say, “yeah everyday that I wake up to go to work this very thing happens!”  Ha!

There certainly do come times in our lives that we, within ourselves are simply not able to handle what comes our way!  An accident happens, you are needed to jump in and lend a hand but you know that you are simply unable to stomach having to perform emergency care, but then you make it through the moment.  All the mommies in the world probably have tons of stories like this, having raised kids, things don’t always go smooth when around kids, they have this knack for getting into trouble and tight spots and are often in need assistance!

We are actually all totally capable of doing much more than we might personally believe to have the faith for, but when the time comes, when push comes to shove, there is this extraordinary strength that kicks in just in the nick of time! It is the “mind over matter” the “power for the hour”, and most of us know it has to do with faith in something greater than ourselves!

We often find ourselves in situations that could use that extra bit of faith to get us through it all, but we fail to call on that strength from within, we tend instead to give in to our fears and will look at the circumstances and succumb to defeat! The problem lies in thinking too much about something and talking ourselves right out of having the faith.  The situations that I mentioned above are things that happen when there is no time to think, you just have to act and strange as it may be, it is as though you have grown wings to fly!

This strength or faith, is like a muscle that, if you don’t exercise it, if you fail to use it regularly, you will not have the strength you need on a daily basis.  It is always there, just as the muscles in your arms are there, but they are only as strong as you will condition them to be, and to condition them, you will need to work them….regularly.

We don’t need to wait for an emergency to use them and enjoy the benefit of flying higher, we can do that more often.  This is when you have to believe that it is possible.  Because if you believe that something is possible, than for you it IS possible.  Nothing and no one can convince you to the contrary!  Don’t wait until push comes to shove! Just jump!

Have you experienced things in your life that you had previously thought impossible, but when the time came you were surprised of what you could do?