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My Blog

December 2012

End of the Year

The year is coming to it's end.  We have all survived the Mayan Calender.  We have seen all types of disasters and sorrow.  But we have also seen so many wonderful things as well. 
Yesterday I had a conversation with a dear frined who told me her family's resolution tradition and I thought it was wonderful.  They each choose a word to represent the upcoming year.  Then they work towards that word.  She explained that it is nice to work towards something that is positive instead of sometimes impossible.  I know that through the years...most of use make resolutions on New Years Eve and by the day after New Years it is already broken.  Things like:  I am going to exercise more, I am going to go on a diet, ect.  I thought long and hard about what word I would use for my resolution.  She said that they use words like "SIMPLIFY", "AGGREEABLE", ect.  What a nice thing to think about.  That is something tangible to work towards.  After sitting and thinking of words...and how could we not come up with some...I came up with "WONDER", "IMAGINE"," DREAM", "CREATE", HELP", "UNDERSTAND".  These are all words in which I could definitely relate to.  And then I thought about the year.  At least the year that I have had...the year the world has had  and decided that the word for me this year is "BELIEVE".  What fascets of my life could this apply to?  Many!  I can believe in myself, believe in God. Believe in mankind, Believe in my family, Believe in Santa. Believe in my future. The list goes on.  I think that this word is a positive beginning for life.  So many things that we do not, or cannot see....we still believe are there.  Air, love, joy, compassion, creativity.  The biggest challenge will be to  Believe in ME!!  It's the word that will make my dreams come true.  It is the word that will create my happiness, create a better world. 
When we had our conversation, it brought up something that I had previously written about how we are what we eat.  And sometimes it is not the food we eat.  We have all heard the expression "If only I could eat my words"  Well, sometimes we do eat the words and become what they are.  And sometimes our diets are not what they should be.  So I looked at the ABC's of dieting and came up with the following. 
I learned that I fed myself the alphabet. I ate anger, bitch, controlling, defiant, egotistic, fearful, guilty, hateful, insensitive, jealousy ,know it all, lecturer, malicious, needy, opinionated, perfectionistic, quarrelsome, rude, stubborn, unrealistic, vicious, worrisome, X-asperating, yeller, zero. After eating all that , it was no wonder that I became sick to my stomach with everything ….And to be happy is healthy!....  I now eat the alphabet differently…I eat accomplished, blessed ,cheerful, dynamic, enthusiastic, fortunate, genuine, honest, inspired, joyous, lucky, motivated, nice, optimistic, positive, qualified, respected, spiritual, truthful, valuable, worthy, young at heart, X-illerated, zealous. They say you are what you eat…and I choose to eat healthy…become happy. And I would rather be happy than be right over any situation….as long as I can be right and "Believe" in myself.
So I guess the New year will be back to basics.  My wish for each of you is that you learn to "BELIEVE" in yourself and in mankind.  The world will hopefully be a much better place to live in. 
Here is a story relating to this whole idea.
A Farmer's Lesson In Life
A farmer won a first prize at the country fair for his huge radish that was the exact shape and size of a quart of milk bottle. Many were curious as to how the farmer was able to grow this radish that was the exact shape of a milk bottle.

Finally one gentleman went up to the farmer and asked the question. The farmer replied, "It was easy. I got the seed growing and then I put it into the milk bottle. It had nowhere else to go."

You can use this story as an analogy to life - our lives are shaped by the kind of surroundings we place ourselves in, the people that we allow to influence us, and the goals we give ourselves.

These Are Key Ingredients
If we only dream and take no action. then we get no further. But if we plan, set a goal and take action then our life takes a different shape
On a storytelling note, I am please with the up and coming schedules.  I am excited to say that my "Love in Bloom" program....the life and loves of Jack Benny has been very well received and a number of booking are already on the calendar for the new year.  The Hanky program is also on the calendar.  I am working on a Black History program for an upcoming event.  I have researched some wonderful new stories that can touch the heart and awaken the mind.  
I will return to writing some of my childhood stories for a book and "BELIEVE" that this will be the year to get some published. 
As always, I look forward to you comments.  Any sharing of stories is always welcome. 
Hope you have a fabulous New Year and ring it in with love, joy and hope.  I "BELIEVE" that is it for today. 

Christmas Time is here!

Good morning everyone.  Just 4 more days until Christmas.  Where in the world did time go?  I am now at the tale end of my Holiday season with just 2 more perfomances to go.  I am performing tonight at Kappy's Restaurant in Morton Grove for the last time of the season.  I am so greatful for George Alpaganisis for his holiday cheer by having me perform stories for around the table there.  Last week I had a couple of charming children who just hung around where I was performing with that Christmas glint in their eyes.  They helped me sing to Rudolph at the end of the program.  It was priceless.  This past Tuesday at the Sunrise Alzheimer Center in Wilmette it was such a joy to perform for the residents.  When I first started performing there it was sort of a test to see how well the residents would react to storytelling.  With a glad heart I am happy to say that they responded very well...and the Christmas program was no exception.  They were engaged and laughed and smiled in all the right places.  They even sang a song with me.  My job can be so rewarding.  I am also honored to have been asked to perform now on a weekly basis for the residents.  I will also begin teaching art there as well as storytelling beginning with the new year. 
Ah....the New Year.  I have been very blessed with so many bookings alreading coming in from various place.  New Years programs, Love stories and Love in Bloom ( a Jack Benny Program-Vaudeville) have both been popular programs for Feb.  And I must not forget Chinese New Year!!  March begins time for teas and Easter programs. 
Last week I did a program for the Daughters of the American Revolution.  It was a charming gathering of ladies in a beautiful home up in Lake Forest.  I love that I get to meet so many wonderful and interesting people along my life's journey.  The stories were ecclectic...covering the Liberty Bell, the amazing women who were instrumental in fighting in the war....and a charming legand of Agnes of Glasgow.  I loved that I was able to bring some new thoughts and information to such an informative and active group of women.  So honored to be among the relatives of those brave men and woman who fought for our country.
I would like to add to this blog my condolences to all the victims/families and first responders of the horrible attack in Conneticut.  I cannot believe the devastation and the trauma caused by another human being.  There are no words that will ever comfort those left behind.  There are no words to explain the loss of those beautiful children and teachers.  My heart goes out to each and everyone.  The community must stand together for each other and may we all pray for a better tomorrow and that this will never happen again.  It is my intention to write a story to honor those lost and the couragous hero's who saved so many in this time of terror.  I know that I perform a story about 9/11.  It is a program that is well received and heartfelt.  I will attempt to do justice in honoring those lost at Sandy Hook School.  Perhaps this will be a story to do at Tellebration time. Tellebration is held the week before Thanksgiving where storytellers/Storytelling Guilds perform a program to educate the public about storytelling.  We do this free of charge and it is done around the world.  I am the president of the Windy City Storytelling Guild and always looking for a location to perform this event.  If you are willing to donate the location somewhere near Niles, Illinois, please let me know.  The more we can spread the word the better. 
At this time, I am finally finished with all my painting orders and all my teachings.  I am finally cleaning up and regrouping for the new year.  This will be the first time in years that I will not be with our family. A time that I will reflect on all the wonderful Christmas' of the past.  I am looking forward to a candlelight mass on Christmas Eve, dinner and some Christmas movies on the tv.
I am excited to share that I have begun my professional dance lessons and am gearing up for competitive dancing.  This has been on my Bucket list for years and my dream is finally coming true.  It has been fun but grueling...but only because I am such an A personality.  I am practicing my steps like crazy.  I have encountered some interesting conversations with my dance instructor which will be helpful in writing my new Little Read Writing Hood program.  Generation gaps are very interesting.  And as much as there is...I think that so far, what I have encountered is that the older generation is more willing to learn the new...than the new learning about the old.  Of course I am only referring to what I am seeing or hearing and that does not include all. 
Well, I would like to wish everyone the happiest of holidays.  Merry Christmas/Happy Channuka and Happy whatever that you may celebrate. Most of all, May you days be merry and bright, and may all your days be stacked up with memories.  And as always, feel free to share them here.
PS....always glad to hear some ghost stories for my new book and also angel stories for another book.  Please feel free to post. 

December 1

Today is December first and the beinning of the holiday season for me. There is just something about the word December that provokes memories of the season. I have been very busy preparing new stories for my December performances. Escited to have so many news one to add to my list.
The season makes me remember all those wonderful holidays that have past, along with those who have been in my life and in my past. I am greatful to have so many memories of Christmas. I remember that as a child I would race home on the last day of school because my grandparents would have gone out and gotten the tree. When I opened the front door of my home, the aroma of pine permeated the air, not to mention the smell of Grandma popping corn for us to string to adorn the tree. The hot chocolate was cooking on the stove...none of that instant stuff. Real cocoa and marshmallows and whipped cream.
The tree was always GIANT size...or at least so I thought as a youngster. We would unwrap each carefully wrapped ornament and find just the perfect spots to hang each and every one. We would like to Bing Crosby sing on the phonograph. We would sing along and laugh and cry. Grandma always seem tobome more solemn on that day. One day when asked why? She told me because she had lost her mother at that time of year and was thinking of her. I didn't really get the emtions behind it all until I was much older. I can't imagine losing your mother at the age of 13. Whe became the mom of the family. It was she who made sure all the festivities took place. She continued it on with her children and then with the grandchildren and even later with great-grandchildre. When I trim my Christmas tree...I think of them beside me. Just like in the song that Bing Croby sang. On my tree hangs a cookoo clock representing her. She loved that clock and each time I place it on my tree I remember those days of long ago. When the clocks were all set at different times and they coocooked all over the place and drove us crazy, the times they clucked their sound and the door would open and any youn man visiting with me would be told it was 10 o'clock and any decent young man woulld know that it was time to leave. O that clock!!
Christmas was time for making handmade gifts and jellies and cookies and cakes. Yarn and ribbon were always aplenty in my home. Grandma taught me so many things. Like how one should love one another. How inportant it was to follow tradition. How greatful were needed to be for all things...great and small.
Today we hear Christmas music on the raidio...now even before Thanksgiving....my question is..."Why not the 12 days of Christmas?" Has the new generation forgotten them? Christmas begins with Christmas Day! December is just the holiday season...a time to prepare. Seems like the day after Christmas every sign of Christmas is gone! I am sure that I am not the only one who would love to hear Christmas music for the 12 days of Christmas when all the hustle and the bustle is behind us and we can take time to enjoy our friends and family. Well, this year I am making it a point. I am playing Christmas Carols and celebrating the old fashioned way. In fact...I think I might just go pop some popcorn tight now. Look out needle and thread...here I come!!!
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