Me In The Middle Of Feeling Christmas Spirit (Reblog from 2015 looking back during Pandemic 2020)

Christmas Roses #2 (2)
(c) mlq

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~ The Christmas Rose ~

She stood beside the doorway softly weeping,
without the slightest gift for the newly born
who lay within a manger, peaceful, sleeping.


Three travelers, all richly dressed, but worn,
brought royal treasures for him in their keeping ~
the shepherd maiden wept unseen, forlorn.
In the chill of winter, she had found no rose
nor blossom; ‘midst the rocky hills none grows.

An angel saw her sorrow; understanding
at once the reason, swept away the snow,
revealing there some Christmas Roses. Handing
these white and waxen flowers to her, “Go –
an offering so pure is right,” commanding
with gentleness that only angels know.
The gift was made – beneath the angel’s wink,
the petals blushed from white to palest pink.

© Margaret I. Gibson

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Some of the best memories I have of past Christmas holidays were when I let go of expectations and just let it happen.

 Ever since I was a little girl I’ve felt that Christmas was meant for all people of good will.  It never dawned on me that Christmas would belong to just one religion.  I knew it was the birth of Jesus ~ the tiny infant who was born in a humble stable ~ who came to love the world and the message he brought to us was to love one another.

My early memories of Christmas were more of the feeling of togetherness, belonging and acceptance.  There was a feeling of magic in the air.  There weren’t many gifts under the tree ~ yet it was my favorite time of the year.  There was something infectious about the outpouring of Good Will as you went about the day meeting people along the way.

When my children were growing up it was fun taking on the passing along of this tradition.  Seeing their eyes brighten with anticipation as the day grew nearer, and gathering them around the Nativity Scene to impress upon them that it was this humble birth we were celebrating.

Then there were the times when I was weary and burdened with worries and stresses.  When I didn’t have enough money to get them gifts or a tree.  When I watched the hustle and bustle of every one caught up in the season and felt isolated from it.  I thought it was all going to pass us by.  Surprisingly, these were the times I remember the most because it’s at times like these that even the smallest gift and the smallest gestures of kindness and love mean the most.  It was at times like these that I experienced what the real meaning of Grace is.  It was at times like these that I learned that Christmas happens every day when we’re open to it.  

That humble birth of that one small child speaks to all of us about the simplicity of Love ~ A Gift that shouts out at a World that desperately needs it.  It’s not a gift that belongs to any specific religion.  It’s a gift that belongs to all of us!  

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“Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

Birding Saudi’s Riyadh Province

Welcome to my son, Greg, who’s joined the WordPress community. If you’re a birder and/or want to learn more about birds in Saudi Arabia, take a look at his first post.

Saudi Birding

Visiting birders to the Kingdom’s capital will be happy to know that Riyadh Province boasts some very fine birding with several quality hotspots. Each is a relatively short drive from the city center—about one to two hours—and would make for quite a full weekend of exploring. Tracking down the highlights at each, however, might require a repeat visit or two. As these spots appeal to more than just avian interests, you won’t mind either way.

Al Ha’ir (الحائر)

A little less than an hour south of Riyadh, following the running of the Riyadh “River”, the voluminous flow of treated wastewater coming out of the capital by way of Wadi Hanifah, isAl Ha’ir. On account of the mix of habitats, Al Ha’ir likely offers the most avian diversity anywhere near Riyadh at any time of the year. Therefore, there’s no “best time” to visit. Even during the summer, the…

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Pandemic 2020 ~ November

November 2020 will surely go down in history as the most memorable during this pandemic. After grooming his followers with expectations of massive voter fraud, the president set the tone that the only way Vice President Biden could ever win would be through fraud via mail-in ballots. Meanwhile, states began preparing for a different kind of election because of COVID-19 and put in place a process of requesting ballots early and voting early. In my state alone a majority of the Virginia votes cast in this election were done through early voting to the tune of 2.7 million. From all accounts the process worked well for most states and I learned that there are already some states who have been successfully doing only mail-in voting for some time.

No photo description available.

The Pandemic has also changed the way we are approaching the 2020 holiday season. On going warnings from the CDC and medical professionals brought many to reconsider travel and large family gatherings for the Thanksgiving weekend. It’s expected that the next months are going to be even worse than what we experienced in the beginning. For those of us who are elderly and/or dealing with health conditions that make us more vulnerable, the best option was to avoid exposure to infection in any way. I was grateful to be able to spend Thanksgiving Day with Pat at his long-term-care facility. They served a wonderful turkey dinner and, because it was a gorgeous day, we were able to take a walk outside.

COVID-Wise Thanksgiving 2020

President-Elect Biden continues to be certified as the winner in all states at this time yet there are still steps being taken by this president to ‘steal the election’. It appears that the two main reasons that he lost the election were his disturbing performance in leading us through the pandemic and the fact that he encouraged his base not to trust the mail-in ballot process early on which might have contributed to some not voting at all. In any case, this election brought about the highest number of voters than in any other election totaling more than 155,000,000 votes. To date, Joe Biden is 7,000,000 votes ahead of Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, world-wide case of Coronavirus totaled 63,071,670 with the USA at the top of the list with 13,750,608 (according to worldometer.com). We’re told that a vaccine is coming in the next few weeks. Virginia is getting 70,000 doses which will be given to healthcare workers and the elderly living in long-term-care facilities.

I turned to watercolor paints to help me through this month and keep me distracted from all the ongoing drama in our news. I signed up for Joanne Sharpe’s Holiday Greeting online course. We had a lot of fun sharing our creations and now I’m deciding who gets which card. The next two or three winter months ahead of us are predicted to be bad so I’m looking for ways to keep the stress level down and remain lowkey through it all. Meditation, reading books, watercolor sketching and basically just keeping a calm routine are all a part of my plan. My connection to family and friends is very rewarding and the daily love and support connection over the phone with Pat keeps me going.

My Holiday Card Assortment ~ Watercolor Online Class

To My Blogger Friends here in the United States and all around the world: Be Well! Stay Safe! Happy Holiday in whatever way you celebrate!

Me in the Middle of Being Grateful 2020 during COVID-Times

November Grid

A Dozen Gratitudes for 2019

(This Dozen Gratitudes List was originally written for 2017. It still remains a very meaningful list for 2019. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! )

  1.  For the cup of hot coffee I’m holding in hand while I ponder about this year and how quickly it’s flown by.  Grateful for still being here!

  2. For the ability to distance myself from the noise and drama of this year’s political events.

  3. For the hope that still swells up in my heart with a belief in the goodness and kindness of most people.

  4. For a safe dwelling and a supportive community that recognizes the needs of those of us who are aging.  I’m grateful to those who have filled a need for me this past year. 

  5. For my ‘young-at-heart’ mind that continues to love being creative in my retirement years.  Here’s to more watercolor sketching and creative writing.

  6. For our ‘genius’ system of government which continues to weather through all sorts of abuses yet, hopefully, continues to survive and thrive.  “The presidency is bigger than one man.” ~ President G. W Bush

  7. For the knowledge that my life on this earth is drawing to a close and I’m leaving behind five children, and their families, who strive to make this a better world.

  8. For a stronger sense of resilience and knowledge that I have it within me to face anything that comes my way with strength and grace.  No one is going to rescue me.

  9. For lessons learned this past year about myself, about where some people deserve to be in my life and setting healthy boundaries.     

  10. For the present moment because it is truly a precious gift.  Be aware!  Know what works for you in keeping you grounded and seeking the middle ground.

  11. For the higher power, whatever each person sees that to be, that holds me in unconditional Love through it all.  “You’ve always had the power, my dear.” ~ Glinda (Wizard of Oz)

  12. For the courage I’ve found this year to hold on to my convictions and faith within a very complex culture and society.  Trust your intuition.  You’re the best friend you’ll ever have.

Watercolor sketch © Mary Lou

Pandemic 2020 ~ October

The Right Thing

The graphic above is the Satire DT, not the Real DT. There’s wisdom and leadership in that advice. Something we sadly don’t have. This is pretty much what I’ve been doing since this pandemic started back in early March. And finally I went ahead and checked the right box shown above. I voted very early by mail. It was the only right thing to do. Anyone who has played the kind of reckless games that the current president has played during this pandemic doesn’t deserve four more years.

I continue with my weekly physical therapy wearing a mask yet social distancing is difficult because others are in the rehab fitness center. It’s almost impossible to know when or if you’re exposed even though all precautions are being taken. Here’s a quick photo I took after finishing one of the exercise sessions. Pretty exhausting therapy exercises and I go home and rest:

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The Right Thing
By Jan Beaumont ©️

The New Zealand election has now come and gone
And we’re settling back into our lives
But quite soon they will vote in the United States
And they’ve lately been flashing the knives.

Where we had two women, quite young in their years
The US has two older blokes
One of them seems to be quite dignified
While the other’s the butt of the jokes.

I just hope the American people come through
As their country sure needs to get well
But I trust the majority have some good sense
Or they’re in for four more years of hell! 

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The numbers keep rising (according to Worldometer.com) and medical professionals.

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In spite of ongoing reporting from reputable news media and medical professionals that the virus is going to be getting worse, the president continues to downplay the threat and flaunt the rules of mask wearing and social distancing. In a surreal reality TV show, he’s hospitalized after a positive testing of COVID-19. After a dramatic display of miraculous cure, he continues large campaign rallies and accuses the doctors of lying in order to get money.

In March, the real Donald Trump retweeting this in a sick display of humor: