a tickle of words to create smiles

Archive for December, 2012

Ready? To Let Go and Embrace!


Today is the perfect day to decide what you are ready to let go, release and forgive. Take a moment and ponder. Think about your year. Ask yourself the following questions: What are you ready to let go? What are you ready to release? What are you ready to forgive?

My year was filled with many ups and downs. I am ready to let go of all the hurts, the grief, the struggle, the unnecessary drama, poor communication and misunderstanding, pretenses and phoniness, disconnect, fear, the extra weight upon my frame that only serves to drag down my high spirits and energy.

I ready to let go of my resistance to change and avoidance of new experiences. I am ready to release seeking approval from others. I am ready to let go of criticism, especially self-criticism. I am ready to release my uneasiness around certain people and new situations. I am ready to forgive all the wrongs and negative situations of my past. I am ready to let go of ALL those things and actions that no longer serve me.

2013 will be a powerful year; a year that will allow me to shake out all the old ways and habits that no longer serve me. It is a year to fully step into creative self-expression and abundant support for my dream from all that is. 2013 is a time for my vision to become a reality. I am ready to appreciate, invite and embrace love in my life, success, great health, a fit body, successful publication of my books, travel opportunities and adventures into unknown territory that will bring me prosperity. I am ready to step into my life fearlessly and live!

What are you ready to embrace, invite and appreciate in 2013? Take this opportunity to really think about it. I invite you to narrow all your thoughts from all the questions in this article into one word you wish to fully live in 2013. My word of the year is FEARLESS. (To get the step-by-step directions on how to do your own “New Year Art” go to www.heartsthatcare.net, scroll down to image, FEARLESS, and click).

Christmas and Childlike Faith


As a child faith was so easy, especially if you had loving and supportive parents to lay down the foundation. Christmas was always such a magical time for me. In other cultures it may be another holiday or event that renews the faith of a child. Whatever holiday or event it may be let us hold onto that sparkle that ignites our heart and spirit. May we all be grounded in our belief of love and kindness. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Message of Christmas – Connection


I took over 2oo photos on Christmas Day as I walked (with my husband and my puppy-dog) on the Noland Trail, which is part of the Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia. Each photo captured a beautiful moment in nature that are often invisible to us. The squirrel feasting on his Christmas meal stole my heart when I discovered this sight. It was quite a distance away, but I could hear the squirrel munching away. With the lens of my camera to assist my eye, I was in awe. We are all so deeply connected…people, nature, the material and the spiritual world. Christmas is the time of year that magically opens our senses to really see it. Merry Christmas.

All Christmas Trees

AKO-ChristmasTreeOn Christmas Day my husband, Sasha and I went for a glorious and wonderful walk on Noland Trail, which is a 5 mile-trail surrounding the Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia. This is an outdoor tree in front of the Mariners Museum that has been decorated for Christmas. And, it is indeed beautiful, just like everyone else’s Christmas trees. Merry Christmas!


Christmas Memories

AKO-ChristmasPastRelive your joyful memories of Christmas Past today. It truly was the simplest of things that stayed in our hearts, like those wonderful white Christmases you experienced as a child. Merry Christmas!



Twelve Days of Christmas


Ah, yes, we are in the Christmas season that kicked off yesterday, December 25 and continues until the evening of January 5 with the eve of Epiphany. It is unfortunate that the first day of Christmas ends the Christmas marketing season for merchants, as shown by the number of “after-Christmas sales” that launched today, December 26. The commercial calendar has encouraged an incorrect assumption that the Twelve Days end on Christmas Day and must begin on 14 December (Wikipedia).

I still celebrate the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas accordingly. Many people who observe the Twelve Days may give gifts on each of them, with each day of the Twelve Days representing a wish for a corresponding month of the new year. They feast and otherwise celebrate the entire time through Epiphany morning. Other traditions include: lighting a candle for each day, burning a Yule Log on the first night (Christmas night) and let it burn some each of the twelve nights, and having traditional foods served each night (Wikipedia).

For me and my family, we enjoy our time together listening to Christmas Carols, sharing conversation and leftovers, and reminiscing over Christmases past. We also partake in the “after-Christmas” sales and plan for the New Year. For some, Twelfth Night (January 5th) remains the biggest night for parties and gift-giving. Some households exchange gifts on the first (25 December) and last (5 January) days of the season. As in olden days, Twelfth Night to Epiphany morning is then the traditional time to take down the Christmas tree and decorations (Wikipedia).

Truth be told, our Christmas tree often stayed up until my sister’s birthday, which is just before mid-January. And, since we use an artificial tree, we could theoretically have the tree up all year and simply change the decorations to reflect the changing seasons (Valentine tree, St. Patrick’s day tree, Spring tree, Easter tree, and so on). We can choose to celebrate Christmas, love and light anyway we wish; but, the best way to keep Christmas and love in our hearts, is to give a bit of ourselves to others everyday of the year with the gift of kindness and compassion, whenever the opportunity presents itself. Merry Christmas!


It’s REALLY Christmas Now! (Tissue Alert!)


It’s Really Christmas Now by Kitsy Jones is a story that I discovered in Chicken Soup for the Soul at Christmas (1999). It was originally published in A Second Chicken Soup for the Soul for the Woman’s Soul (1998). Chicken Soup for the Soul at Christmas is one of those miniature gift books that I was given by one of my own generous students back in 1999 when I taught in the public school system; and, it doesn’t seem to be in print anymore. However, I am certain this story has been reprinted in other publications that are still in print. You will want to bring out a box of tissue, because this story will touch your heart! Merry Christmas!

It’s Really Christmas Now
by Kitsy Jones

The Sunday before Christmas one year, my husband, a police officer in Arlington, Texas, and I were just leaving for church when the phone rang. Probably someone wanting Lee, who has already worked a lot of extra hours, to put in some more, I thought. I looked at him and commanded, “We’re going to church!”

“I’ll leave in five minutes and be there in about twenty,” I heard him tell the caller. I seethed, but his next words stopped me short.

“A Wish with Wings’ was broken into last night, and the presents are gone,” he told me. “I have to go. I’ll call you later.” I was dumbfounded.

“A Wish with Wings”–Lee serves on the administrative board–is an organization in our area that grants wishes for children with devastating illnesses. Each year Wish also gives a Christmas party, where gifts are distributed. Some 170 donated gifts had been wrapped and were ready for the party, which was to be held that evening, less than nine hours away.

In a daze, I dressed our two children–Ben, just seventeen months, and five-year-old Kate–and we went to church. In between services, I told friends and the pastors about what had happened. The president of our Sunday school gave me forty dollars to buy more presents. One teacher said her class was bringing gifts to donate to another charitable organization and they would be happy to give some of them to Wish. A dent, I thought.

At 10:30 A.M., I phoned Lee at the Wish office. He was busy making other calls, so I packed up the kids and headed in his direction. I arrived at a barren scene. Shattered glass covered the front office where the thief had broken the door. The chill that pervaded the room was caused not only by the cold wind coming through the broken door but also by the dashed hopes of the several people who stood inside–including Pat Skaggs, the founder of Wish, and Adrena Martinez, the administrative assistant.

Looking out at the parking lot, I was startled to see a news crew from a local television station unloading a camera. Then I learned that Lee’s first phone calls had been to the local radio and TV stations.

A few minutes later, a family who had heard a radio report arrived with gifts, already wrapped. Other people soon followed. One was a little boy who had brought things from his own room.

I left to get lunch for my kids and some drinks for the workers. When I got back, I found the volunteers eating pizzas that had been donated by a local pizza place. More strangers had arrived, offering gifts and labor. A glass repair company had fixed the door and refused payment. We began to feel hope: Maybe we could still have the party!

Lee was fielding phone calls, sometimes with a receiver in each ear. Ben was fussing, so I headed home with him, hoping he could take a nap and I could find a baby-sitter.

Meanwhile, the city came alive. Two other police officers were going from church to church to spread the news. Lee told me later of a man who came directly from church, complete with coat and tie, and went to work on the floor, wrapping presents. A third officer, whose wife is a deejay for a local radio station, put on his uniform and stood outside the station collecting gifts while his wife made a plea on the air. The fire department agreed to be a drop-off point for gifts. Lee called and asked me to bring our van so it could be used to pick them up.

The clock was ticking. It was mid-afternoon, and 6:00 P.M.–the scheduled time of the party–was not far away. I couldn’t find a sitter, and my son started running a fever of 103-degrees, so I took him with me to the Wish building just long enough to trade cars with Lee.

Nothing I had ever witnessed could have prepared me for what I saw there–people lined up at the door, arms laden with gifts. One family in which the father had been laid off brought the presents from under their own tree. It was like a scene from It’s a Wonderful Life.

Inside, Lee was still on the phone. Outside, volunteers were loading vans with wrapped gifts to be taken to the party site, an Elks lodge six miles away. By 5:50 P.M.–just before the first of the more than 100 children arrived–enough presents had been delivered to the lodge. Somehow, workers had matched up the donated items with the youngsters’ wishes, so many received just what they wanted. Their faces shone with delight as they opened the packages. For some, it would be their last Christmas.

Those presents, however, were only a small portion of what came in during the day. Wish had lost 170 gifts in the robbery, but more than 1,500 had been donated! Lee decided to spend the night at the office to guard the surplus, so I packed some food and a sleeping bag and drove them down to the office. There, gifts were stacked to the ceiling, filling every available inch of space except for a small pathway that had been cleared to the back office.

Lee spent a quiet night, but the phone started ringing again at 6:30 A.M. The first caller wanted to make a donation, so Lee started to give him directions. “You’d better give me the mailing address,” the caller said. “I’m in Philadelphia.” The story had been picked up by the national news. Soon calls were coming from all over the country.

By midday, the Wish office was again filled with workers, this time picking up the extra gifts to take the other charitable organizations so they could distribute them before Christmas, just two days away. Pat and Adrena, whose faces had been tear-stained twenty-four hours earlier, were now filled with joy.

When Lee was interviewed for the local news, he summed up everyone’s feeling: “It’s really Christmas now.” We had all caught the spirit–and the meaning–of the season.

The Day Before Christmas


The Day Before Christmas

by: Dr. Angela Kowitz Orobko

It was the day before Christmas
and all through the land.
People trying to complete
their last-minute Christmas plans.

Goodwill is around us,
if you open your eyes;
See people acting kindly;
it is Jesus in disguise.

Smiles and laughter
will rule this day,
With Christmas carols
playing along the way.

However, keep in mind
that a few souls will be
Not as much into Christmas
celebration as you and me.

A hole in their heart from a past
event that brought them despair.
Let us create for them new memories
and fill them with love and tender care.

Appreciate and value every
person that crosses your way,
Know them or not, express love
and kindness; make their day.

Christmas can be a magnificent
and marvelous time to bring
A new season of compassion and love,
let every bell chime and every voice sing.

“Merry Christmas to all and to all Love and Thanksgiving!”

It is Christmas Every Time…


Every time you allow God’s love to shine through your smile, your kind words, your helping hand, and your heart, Christmas is celebrated. Share Christmas everyday with your loving spirit and your warm heart! The gift of God’s love will fuel your own soul and the spirits of others. Have a very Merry Christmas!!


Christmas Magic


Take the time to enjoy the splendors of Christmas and other winter celebrations. It truly is the most magical time of the year. My blogs in the next few days will be short, sweet, and related to Christmas as I spend more time with my friends and family. Have a wonderful holiday weekend! Merry Christmas!! (P.S. The photo I used for Norman Vincent Peale’s quote are the Christmas lights down my decking staircase.)


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