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"My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds
of people: those who do the work and those who take
the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group;
there was much less competition."

~ Indira Gandhi ... Quotes for YOU

December 20, 2004


Today's Tune (On/Off)


"Most Wonderful
Time of the Year"


THIS WEEK'S ISSUE

From the Inside Out...
On Santa's Team


Yes You Can!...
Nurture Your Child's
Spirituality


Far Horizons...
Kalahari Christmas Trees


Untangling the Web
...
What a Site!
&
Computer Ease

Last Minute Ideas
Just for YOU...
More Great Gift Giving


Fascinating Facts...
Seasonal Truths & Dares


Laughing It Off...
Ever-Festive Eating Tips


Web-Wize Update...
Daily Security Alerts


Joyful Lifestyles...
Allowing Life's River to Flow


Inspiration Online Magazine

BE the World
You Want to See!

It's important to give without expecting anything in return, rather than keeping a tally of whom we've helped and who has helped us. Silence and service go hand in hand. Random acts of kindness, particularly those anonymously accomplished, reflect a healthy non-attachment to deed or outcome.

~ Chelle ~

 

From the Inside OutInspiration Online Magazine - Santa's Team
ON SANTA'S TEAM

My grandma taught me everything about Christmas. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb:

"There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

"No Santa Claus!" she snorted."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun.

"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.

"Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough; but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat.

I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. I didn't see a price tag, but ten dollars ought to buy anything. I put the coat and my ten-dollar bill on the counter and pushed them toward the lady behind it.

She looked at the coat, the money, and me. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" she asked kindly. "Yes," I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobbie. He's in my class, and he doesn't have a coat." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it ... Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.

Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.

Suddenly, Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell twice and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie. He looked down, looked around, picked up his present, took it inside and closed the door.

Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: Ridiculous!

Santa was alive and well ... AND WE WERE ON HIS TEAM!

~Author Unknown
Contributed by Vidya at AwakeningPath.com

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Ye
s You Can!

NURTURE YOUR CHILD'S SPIRITUALITY

Though preschoolers are too young to grasp many of the abstract concepts that go hand-in-hand with spiritual life, they have other skills that will serve them well on the road to spirituality: They have no problem believing in things they can't see, and they live almost entirely in the moment. "Kids this age have an incredible sense of wonder — they're innate spiritual beings," says Marianne Neifert, a pediatrician, mother of five, and the author of Dr. Mom's Prescription for Preschoolers: Seven Essentials for the Formative Years . This is the perfect age to begin nurturing your child's spiritual side — as sustenance for her soul, as a way of answering her cosmic questions, and as a means of strengthening her interpersonal skills. Every religion has some kind of belief embedded in it about loving your neighbor. And giving your child a foundation in faith will also give her something to fall back on in trying times later in life.

What you can do to nurture your child's spirituality:

Clarify your own beliefs. Whether or not you practice an organized religion, you'll need to decide what you believe in order to foster spirituality in your child. That doesn't mean you have to have all the answers, but you can take time to consider the questions: Do you believe in a Higher Being? Do you believe there was a divine element in the creation of the world? What do you think happens when a person dies?

Don't pretend to have all the answers. When your child asks where people go when they die, answer honestly: "Nobody knows for sure, but some people think they go to heaven. Other people think they're born again in a new body." Inevitably, your child will ask what you think. If you have a strong belief, share it. If not, it's okay to admit that there are some questions people spend their whole lives trying to figure out — and this is one of them.

Use daily events to teach spirituality. Big ideas don't always require big actions. You can demonstrate that spirituality is a part of everyday life by incorporating it into ordinary actions and words. When you open the curtains in the morning, you can say, "Look at this glorious day Mother Nature made."

Instill an appreciation of nature. Nature is a great place to find a tangible manifestation of the divine. "Kids learn with all their senses — they love to pick up a rock or jump in a puddle or chase a butterfly," says Neifert. Help your child see nature as something sacred by demonstrating your own love and respect for it. When you go for a family hike in the woods or a picnic on the beach, clean up after yourself (and even others), and be considerate of creatures in their habitat. Plant a garden with your child, and make it part of your daily routine to check on the progress of the plants together. Introduce her to the idea that the Earth is a gift, and that our survival depends upon the survival of the planet.

Tell stories. The world's spiritual traditions are full of stories designed to explain everything from how the world was created to why people sometimes do bad things. Introduce your child to the notion that different people have different ideas about God by drawing on this wealth of literature. Read stories together from an illustrated Bible, a book of Hindu mythology, or a collection of Jewish folk tales, amending and simplifying as you see fit.

Build on family traditions. Spirituality not only connects us to the divine; it also connects us to each other and to the past. If you're raising your child in the same spiritual tradition that you were raised in, be sure she knows that she's carrying on family rituals that were passed along by her grandparents and even great-grandparents. Show her pictures of her grandmother taking her first communion. Let her help polish a pair of Sabbath candlesticks that were handed down by your parents. And be sure to tell the same family stories at holiday time that you listened to as a child.

Make it fun. Spirituality should be more joyful than somber and serious. Together, act out plays or put on a puppet show based on creation stories or your own spiritual themes. Above all, do what spiritual people have done for centuries — sing and dance! If you don't know any traditional tunes, a wealth of CDs and cassettes of spiritual music is available. Don't forget to explore songs and chants from other cultures or traditions as well.

Practice silence. Once a day or once a week, take a minute to sit quietly with your child, encouraging her to be silent and listen to her inner voice. Your moment of silence needn't be introduced as some lofty practice of meditation, but simply as a calming break in a noisy day. Whether your child uses this time to commune with the divine or simply to rest and recharge, it'll help put her in touch with the "big" picture.

Stress the spiritual side of holidays. Try to balance the commercialism of the holiday season with activities that underscore its deeper meaning. Volunteer at a local charity. Donate food, clothing, or toys to a shelter, and have your child do the same by choosing a few items she no longer plays with. Participate in church or synagogue events centered on holiday themes. On the fun side, share some holiday crafts with your child: Create a homemade nativity scene out of cardboard and fill it with little dolls, craft a menorah out of modeling clay, or make a Kwanzaa kinara to hold the symbolic candles representing the principles of the holiday — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

Consider joining a faith community. By regularly attending services and social events at a place of worship, your child will come to see that spirituality plays a central role in the life of the community. She'll also grow up more comfortable with the liturgy and rituals of your faith and come to see a house of worship as a place where she can feel comfortable and secure. "Kids thrive on predictability," says Neifert. "Whether it's a Catholic child seeing the communion bread and wine, a Jewish child hearing the Hebrew prayers, or a Hindu child smelling the incense in the temple, by experiencing rituals kids come to appreciate the predictability of a religious service, if not the deeper meaning."

Follow your child's lead. Let your child ask the questions, and give her plenty of opportunities to discuss her own notions of issues such as what heaven looks like, or what happens to people after they die. Try not to dictate the answers to big questions, begin your answer by asking her what she thinks. Or ask her to draw a picture and tell you about it. Spirituality is a two-way street: If you listen carefully to your child, you might discover something you never thought of before.

MSN.com Family/Raising Kids

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Far Horizons

KALAHARI CHRISTMAS TREES

Botswana
Botswana, Africa
Learn More Here

Early British influence in the African country of Botswana led to Christmas Pantomimes — comical, musical, and very vocal (unlike Mime) presentations. Based loosely on fairytales, they manage to fit in an old maid (played by a man) and a young hero (played by a woman). Somewhat like melodrama's that were performed in the United States, they usually involve audience participation, like booing the villain and cheering the hero. Situated right in the center of Botswana lies the Kalahari Reserve, which is characterized by vast open plains, saltpans and ancient riverbeds. Varying from sand dunes with many species of trees and shrubs in the north, to flat bushveld in the central area, the reserve is more heavily wooded in the south, with mophane forests to the south and east. A typical woody plant in Botswana's bush savanna is the "moselesele" or sickle bush. Its delightful lantern-shaped inflorescences, that light up the trees like Christmas decorations, have inspired the popular nickname: Kalahari Christmas Trees.

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Untangling the Web

Inspiration Online Magazine
WHAT A SITE!

"Winter Travel Assistance"
National Traffic & Road Closure Information: State by state links to state, city, and AAA real-time reports on traffic info and weather and construction-related road closings.
Winterizing Your Car & Tips for Safe Winter Driving:
Check this out before the next snowstorm is predicted.
Flight Tracker at CheapTicket.com: In a season when you can expect bad weather, real-time flight information can be a boon. Also includes airport maps, delay info and travel tips
.
Ski Conditions from Weather Underground:
Browse by state. Tracks weather forecasts, amount of new snow, surface conditions, number of trails, and projected opening dates.

~Reprinted from Neat New Stuff by Marylaine Block

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COMPUTER-EASE

"Forwarding eMail: With Pictures"
What causes the recipients see only boxes with red Xs in them, not pictures when forwarding email? There are a number of possible explanations for little red Xs in Outlook Express.. How to prevent them? Use the "Message/forward as attachment" command rather than the "Message/forward" command. Sending it as an attachment sends the entire message intact. Your recipients can then open the attachment and view the pictures ... hopefully!
~Contributed by John in Mohave Valley, Arizona

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Blessings, Chelle
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others become intimate daily companions to turn to as needed.
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Meowy Catmas from The Cat's Meow
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SEASONAL TRUTHS & DARES


WHAT'S THE REAL STORY?
Mistletoe's Myths...
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Are Santa's Reindeer Girls?...
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Legend of Santa Claus...
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Laughing It Off

EVER-FESTIVE EATING TIPS

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly, it's rare. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes... always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do NOT have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but AVOID it at all cost. I mean, have SOME standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, fudge in one hand, divinity in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

~Contributed twice to Inspiration Line ...
By Don in Flora Vista, New Mexico & Mary Lynn in Peoria, Illinois


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Joyful Lifestyles: Weekly InsightsInspiration Online Magazine - Joy
ALLOWING LIFE'S RIVER TO FLOW

We all want to protect the people, and even the values/beliefs, that we hold dear. The more we cherish them, the more we can imagine how terrible life would be if anything "happened" to them. Our own fears motivate us to enforce fierce boundaries for them ... and for OUR peace of mind. My favorite author, Dr. David Viscott, Ph.D., writes:

"You cannot protect anyone from themselves; you cannot protect anyone from life. You cannot spare a loved one the confrontation with their own mortality, their own stupidity or their own emptiness. Indeed, to take on the burden of sentry, guarding another person's borders, is to interfere with that person's life lesson. If we are the sum of everything that happens to us, to limit a person's experience is to limit their growth."

Dr. Viscott continues: "The wrong protective attitudes isolate us and make us prisoners in our personal life. We strive to find a livable balance between trust and protection. Too much space isolates you from the Flow of Life and keeps you out of touch with the mainstream. Too little space makes you suspicious of everyone, lest they invade what is yours. You cannot fence the world out without fencing yourself in. We are creatures of the boundaries we construct, the limits we test, the goals we seek, and the restraints we abandon to seek new worlds. Not to break through the limits containing you is to be forced to live the same day over and over again for the rest of your life."

By disengaging from a place of control and moving into an "Observer Role," when necessary, we can step beyond fear, anger and sadness to re-create Clarity, Joy and Balance in our personal environment ... which then has a ripple effect upon the entire world. Remember that "The Universe rearranges itself to accommodate YOUR picture of reality." By KNOWING all is well — at a core level — the River of Life is able to flow in a more natural way, so that each person can experience their own evolutionary process and lessons.

My close friend, Gabrielle in Santa Fe, New Mexico, showed me the following Message from the Hopi Elders - 2001: "To my fellow swimmers: There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore, they will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know that the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off in to the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above water. See who is there with you, and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves; for the moment we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt. The way of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves. Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration." Further Reading: Book of the Hopi by Frank Walters and Oswald White Bear Fredericks, plus Medicine Lodge at Manataka.org.

~ Chelle ("Shay") Thompson, Editor


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