For many of us the holidays are happy times…it’s when we smile, we laugh…we grin but for many others the holidays is when sorrow comes flooding in.


When the waters of sadness rise around them…as they are reminded of a death, they wonder how long they’ll be underwater…how long they’ll have to hold their breath.


And though they know the flood will on day end and their life will resume unimpeded…they wonder how they’ll repair the damage once the waters have receded.


How will they rebuild each time they’re reminded of their pain…if they’re lucky they start to notice little things…like the sky after a rain.


Like how the sunlight paints the morning sky as it welcomes in the day.

Like the laughter of their family…and friends they’ve met along the way.


There is no time limit on sadness…and it may take a while…but eventually they begin to remember all the things that made them smile.


And the more they remind themselves of the pleasures in their life…the less they think about the pain…

a skill they will find useful…when the waters rise again.

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I had a friend many years ago who always said Happy Thanksgiven.

We all smiled at her malapropism…and she was immediately forgiven.


Many years have passed and this friend has long since left my sight

but when I consider what today means…I now think…

she was right.


Every other holiday we celebrate…though they certainly uplift

has become less about the meaning of that day…

and more about the gifts.


That’s what makes Thanksgiving special…more familial…less stressed.

That’s what makes Thanksgiving…different from the rest.


In a society that can be harried, fast paced 

and often excess driven

today is a great day to contemplate and be thankful 

for all the gifts we have been given.


Not the gifts that we unwrap…from boxes we throw away

but the gifts that we’ve been given 

that are with us every day.


Gifts that make life special…gifts that never end

like sitting around a table with family and friends.


Coming together as a family at least one time every year

where we eat, we laugh…tell stories…

and remember those no longer here.


Gifts planted throughout our lives that continuously bloom…

Gifts we see on the faces of everybody in the room.


As we watch our children…now grown up…

we laugh and smile with ease

remembering how it used to feel 

when they sat upon our knees.


Thanksgiving reminds us to cherish these moments 

knowing they will not last long

a reminder of what holds a family together…

of what what makes a family strong.


That’s what makes Thanksgiving special…

that’s why families amass 

because we know the best path into the future…

is by linking to our past. 


Seems my old friend was right all along…

she need not ever be forgiven

Today’s a day to say thanks….


for all the gifts we have been given.



Every year when it arrives we rush to put on our Christmas sweaters

Sit down in front of the fireplace and read their Holiday letter.


In this age of social media, when each day our senses are assailed…

It’s wonderful to slow our pace a little and read their letter received in the mail.


Their letter outlines the year they’ve had…there on the paper for us to see

The highs and lows, but mostly highs, of our good friends and their family.


In what ways were they blessed this year…what set their world aglow…

How their family has grown and what has changed from a mere 12 months ago.


The traveling they’ve done, the places they’ve seen, the what, how, why and who…

What their children have been doing…and, of course, their grandchildren too.


We love reading about their adventures…how their lives all intertwine…

But what we love most about their letter…is what we read between the lines.


The sentiment is lovely, and while reading, we are thoroughly engaged…

We wonder at how the words stay fixed upon the paper 

but the love flows off the page.


For part of the beauty of their letter is the beauty we cannot see…

How the love that went into the writing…floats out onto Deborah and me.


That’s why we can’t wait for their letter to arrive each year

because for a moment our lives are intertwined….

as we sit down in front of the fireplace…


and read between the lines.

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I was intrigued when I saw it on the internet…

as this holiday season neared

I thought, “Hey wouldn’t it be cool this year…

to put glitter in my beard.”


Bryan tried it in his beard this year…

and it worked just like a song

So I thought...a little glitter in my beard...

what could possibly go wrong?


We ordered something called beard oil…

and when it came in the mail we cheered…

It’s what we would use to guarantee

the glitter stayed upon my beard.


We chose to use silver glitter…

and every bottle in the house we commandeered 

safe in the knowledge that silver glitter 

would add a sparkle to my beard.


And it did…

for a while I had these wonderful sparkles throughout my mustache and my beard

But as the evening party wore on…

my sparkles disappeared.


Anyone I hugged or touched or walked by was besmeared

by little flakes of silver glitter 

that had escaped from off my beard.


People had it on their cheeks, their clothing…

in fact everywhere I peered

Sparkling in the sunlight…flecks of glitter from my beard.


Everywhere I sat or walked or breathed 

glitter sprinkled itself below

I even found it in places on my body…

it was never meant to go


Brushing, sweeping, showering…

my world turned eerie, strange and weird

As I tried desperately to remove the glitter 

that had fallen from my beard.


Alas, today no matter how hard I try 

it seems some of the glitter has adhered

to everything in the world I possess…

and yes there’s still some in by beard.


But I remain undeterred…

next year to make the glitter in my beard prolong…

I’ll attach it with hairspray or better yet Elmers glue…

I mean what could possibly go wrong?.

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I’d like to introduce myself…I am July the 3rd

and if you can spare a moment…I’d like to have a word.


It’s time for me to speak up as I believe I have been wronged.

Throughout the annals of history I’ve been overlooked too long!


Many events have occurred on July the 3rd as certainly could be expected

but because I’m not July the 4th…they all have been neglected.


Sure July 4th is important and I don’t mean to be blase…

But have you ever thought without me…there’d be no Independence Day?


The proof its purely mathematical…no wonder my anger’s stirred…

for there could be no July the 4th with July the 3rd!


But I can’t win for losing because if history is to be reckoned

The Continental Congress actually voted for independence…

On Tuesday…July the 2nd!


Which makes my life a living hell…I’m sure you would agree

For I am stuck between two of the most important days in our country’s history.


But then again when I stop to think about it…

there are days whose fortunes are worse than mine…

Yes, I am July the 3rd 

but I could be February…29.


So I will happily take my place

between these two pillars of history

As long as history understands…


They’d be nothing without me!

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