Something to Ponder
Published 9:44 am Thursday, December 23, 2021
I was sitting and talking with my beautiful girlfriend Lorie the other day and it was about the strangest thing — history, that’s right history! I finally found a woman that enjoys history as much as I do. I would not go as far to say as much but a lot. So, on this particular day I was talking about James Monroe. The reason? Well, years ago, I took my son to the James Monroe Museum in Fredericksburg, Va., a wonderful place for adults and children to experience the life of James Monroe, but I digress. I was going through the trunk of my car and I found the quill pen I love to write and draw with just lying there. Ready to be found and used to create. This excited me as I have been looking for this for months. And there it was like an old friend waiting to be dipped in the inkwell and put to paper. I love how smooth those pens write. How just the right twist of the wrist can bring a whole new line or dimension to whatever it is I am working on. The rich dark lines, the smooth curves, and the feel of the ink sliding across the paper — it is an experience all on its own.
As I stated earlier, I love history, as anyone who has ever read my work can attest, especially American history. Like for instance, how something like a few colonies could form such a powerful nation. And how men and women would do whatever it took to establish their own independence. Think for a moment if you will, politicians, farmers, and everyday folks stepped away from their comfort zones and picked up a weapon. They defended their homes, their lands and of course their country without hesitation, fear, or thought. I am not overly thrilled to say that if the same thing were to take place in our world today the men and women of these powerful descendants would most likely run and hide rather than stand and fight, and I am speaking from politicians all the way down the line. Back then, men and women knew what parts they needed to play to help build and sustain our great country. There was no confusion, no questioning. Everyone did their part, and a country was created. I am sad to say if the same circumstance were to happen in our time, we would probably be speaking another language in a matter of a couple of years.
If you have not yet done it I would love to invite you to read about some of these great, larger than life heroes that built our country, or visit the museums for yourself and explore your history a little bit.
And as a bit of added trivia, my birthday falls on the fourth of July but that is not the trivia. The trivia is that three of our founding fathers died on the fourth of July and one president was born on the fourth. John Adams (July 4, 1826), Thomas Jefferson (July 4, 1826), and James Monroe (July 4, 1831) all died on the fourth. Adams and Jefferson, who were longtime rivals, died the same day. And Calvin Coolidge (not a founding father) was born July the 4th, 1872. James Monroe is buried in the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Va. My son and I searched the place over and never could find his final resting place, but we will one day! Just a few things to ponder.
The Greatest Gift of All
Lorie Ann McReynolds
Last month my sweetheart, Tim, surprised me with tickets to see The Nutcracker in December, performed by the Kingsport Ballet. What a great Christmas present! I could hardly contain my excitement as the date of the performance approached. Finally, the night had arrived. We put on our best attire and drove to the Wellmont Performing Arts Center. I could feel the excitement building inside me as we were walking to our seats. I felt like a small child giddy with anticipation of what the night would bring. I love seeing The Nutcracker performed. I love everything about it.
The theater was very nice with spacious and comfortable seating. As I was watching others file in and take their seats, I was wondering if they were as thrilled as I was. As we were waiting for the performance to begin, I could barely contain the joy I felt. I am sure I was smiling from ear to ear. Finally, the lights dropped, the curtain opened, and we were taken on a beautiful journey back to Germany in the late 1800s to the home of Dr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum. Their daughter Clara was presented with a Christmas gift from her godfather, a beautiful but unusual nutcracker doll. Through the lovely art of ballet, the story began to unfold.
The backdrops were amazing. The costumes were beautiful. And the way they interpreted the story was breathtaking. Once it was over, the feeling of delight stayed with me the rest of the evening. I will hold onto the beauty of the exquisite art of storytelling until next Christmas when hopefully I will get to experience it all again. (hint hint..)
The tickets to The Nutcracker were a most special gift. But I have an even greater gift to tell you about. The greatest gift of all. The gift that was given to us by our father. The gift of Jesus: Emmanuel, which means God with us. The tiny baby who was born in a manger all those years ago. He is the reason for the celebration we have this time of year. “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Not only is Jesus a wonderful gift but He also brought an equally amazing gift with Him: the gift of salvation. “And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. Jesus did not come to earth as the King He is, but as a tiny helpless baby that stayed in the same place where the animals lived. “She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:7
So, as you celebrate this wonderful time of the year, remember to make room in your heart for the real reason we celebrate at this time. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
All of us here at the paper would like to wish you and your family a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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