The Ghost of My Christmas Future

The Christmas tree is now lonely without all the gifts around it to keep it company.

The Christmas tree is now lonely without all the gifts around it to keep it company.

Christmas was a day late at our house. Well, actually, it wasn’t, we just celebrated it a day later than everyone else. My husband is a truck driver and the load that he was supposed to get so he could make it back by Christmas was canceled. They had to get a load for him at the last minute which meant he ended up coming home over a day later than we had anticipated. I have learned that “you have to row with the flow” when you’re married to a truck driver.

Because we decided to postpone the regular festivities, on Christmas Day, my daughter and I went to see the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty I enjoyed it. I remember having read the short story when I was in middle school. I remember enjoying this James Thurber work although many other students I am certain found it less interesting. As a writer, I also have a secret life, a life where I vicariously live through characters who are of my own creation but who seem to take on a life of their own. The movie, like the book, was thought-provoking, and I think that Ben Stiller did an excellent job bringing the character to life in a unique way.

Yesterday we opened our Christmas gifts, one of mine was a writing tray which I am currently using to support my laptop on my lap as a write. I then cooked Christmas dinner.

Now this Christmas is over, and it is time to think about the coming year. I have determined that New Years resolutions do not work for me, but this part of December is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and to look forward into the next. As in the Christmas classic A Christmas Carol, a good question for me to ask myself is “Where do I want to be next Christmas and how do I get there?” In this story, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge discovers that his future isn’t predetermined. His life can be changed by changing himself. He learns that there is more to living than having money. His value as a human being is determined by the relationships that he develops as he generously gives to those around him–his business clerk (employee), his nephew (family) and the poor (charities). So to take a page from Charles Dickens and ask myself, “What can I do over the next year to foster a happier life?” What I do now and with whom I spend my time will determine how I spend next Christmas. Like Scrooge, I am the one who gets to decide my fate.

The Ghost of My Christmas Present

In Dickens A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is taken by the second ghost to view things as they are in the present. In this video, we see the Ghost of Christmas present taking Scrooge to the house of Bob Cratchet and his family.

The Ghost of my Christmas present is certainly in the shadow of the fact that we have lost two of our loved ones, one in October and one in November. Also the fact that my sister is currently in the hospital fighting cancer weighs heavy on my heart this holiday season. I feel a sudden urgency to complete writing my father’s poem book and memories of his life. I have gone through his poem book and typed out all of the poems and I have added important information such as his birth, marriage, the names and birth dates of his children, and other life milestones. I am however still looking for the stories that family and friends have to tell what they remember about that time of their life. I really need to ask my sister what she remembers about Dad. I remember things from my standpoint. What does she remember from his?

In addition to all of this, my trucker husband Jeff is stuck on the road this Christmas because the load he was supposed to pick up was canceled at the last minute. He spent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday sitting in California waiting to get a load back. He finally has one today. He should be home Thursday, so we’ll have our holiday together then.

Boni and her grandmother going to see The Nutcracker and making Christmas memories.

Boni and her grandmother going to see The Nutcracker and making Christmas memories.

As with the Cratchet family, there have been some good times this season, however, and we have been making the best of it. For one thing, my Mother-in-law took my daughter to the Nut Cracker Suite Ballet. It was the first time for both of them and they both loved it.

In addition, we invited a couple of children over to help decorate Christmas cookies.

decorated cookiesThen we brought a number of gifts to that same family.

I made caramels and peanut brittle because caramel is Boni’s favorite candy and peanut butter is Jeff’s favorite. I also made fudge which is my favorite.

For the recipes, click on the links

Homemade Soft Caramels

Microwave Peanut Brittle

IMG_20131224_092328_435My Daughter and I plan to see the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at the theater on Christmas Day. She will open her gifts from her grandmother Christmas Day, but we will save the rest of the gift unwrapping until her Daddy is home.

We are choosing to remain positive despite the sadness and disappointments. We believe that we embrace need to the idea of sharing, giving and being grateful for all that we have and are able to give. It is certainly the time of year to reflect on all that is good in the world and we will do our best to carry it with us throughout the coming year.

Finally brothers and sisters, Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report. If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Comparing the Poems of R. Leonard Swanson and Edgar Guest

Dad at nursing home 001Since my father’s death on October 19, 2013, I have been working on compiling a permanent memoir of him along with his poems for a hardcover copy of his work. When I was growing up, my father, R. Leonard Swanson always said that he wrote write in the style of Edgar Guest. Because the Nursing Staff at Corry Manor called Dad “Santa Claus” and because it is the holiday season, I thought it would be appropriate to compare Dad’s poems to Mr. Guest’s poems. I have done a little research into Edgar Guest’s work and found a Christmas poem that he wrote and I have a Christmas poem that Dad wrote. There is a bit of difference in style, but there is definitely a similarity.

A Christmas Greeting

by

Edgar Albert Guest

Here’s to you, little mother,
With your boy so far away;
May the joy of service smother
All your grief this Christmas day;
May the magic of his splendor
Thrill your spirit through and through
And may all that’s fine and tender
Make a smiling day for you.

May you never know the sadness
That from day to day you dread;
May you never find but gladness
In the Flag that’s overhead;
May the good God watch above him
As he stands to duty stern,
And at last to all who love him
May he have a safe return.

Little mother, take the blessing
Of a grateful nation’s heart;
May the news that is distressing
Never cause your tears to start;
May there be no fears to haunt you,
And no lonely hours and sad;
May your trials never daunt you,
But may every day be glad.

Little Mother, could I do it,
This my Christmas gift would be:
That he’d safely battle through it,
This to you I’d guarantee.
And I’d pledge to you this morning
Joys to banish all your cares,
Gifts of gold and silver scorning,
I would answer all your prayers.

The Greatest Gift

by

R. Leonard Swanson

On early Christmas morning

The kids ran down the stair

To open all the presents,

They knew were waiting there.

I was so very happy

As I stood beside the tree

Watching them open up the gifts

And clap their hands in glee.

Suddenly I closed my eyes

And I began to pray,

“Dear Lord, help them remember,

Whose birthday is today.”

They, with their toys are playing

In merriment and mirth,

Dear God, impress upon their hearts

The blessed Savior’s birth.

Victims of the worldly things,

Please do not let them fall,

But grant them Thy salvation

The greatest gift of all.

What do you think? Can see the similarities?

My writing is quite different from that of Dad’s for instance, he wrote short carefully worded poetry, whereas I see a bigger, more complex scene so I tend to write novels. I know they say that writers should begin with short stories and move onto the more complex. I didn’t do that. I don’t know that I could write a short story now. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading short stories. For instance I love Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” as well as “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber which will be coming out as a movie on Christmas. I like poetry too, when I’m in the right mood, but I personally would rather write novels and articles. Last month I wrote the first draft of my upcoming novel: In the Shadow of the Millpond which I hope to have finished late in 2015. This past week I wrote two new articles for hubpages. At hubpages  hubs are what they call articles. If you would liek to write hubs for hubpages, here’s the link.

The articles that I wrote this week were:

Chicken and Lentil Noodle Soup

The Legend of Johnny Appleseed

Simply click on the links to read the articles. I want to thank Bill Holland and Lisa V for the comments they made this week! I really appreciate the feedback. It certainly helps know that there are people who enjoy what I write. I will be writing my next post on Monday! Have a Safe and Wonderful Weekend!