31 December 2017

Winter Transitions ~ Closing of the Year

Greetings Dear Reader,

It is cold.  I am sipping my last cup of coffee for the year.  I have closed out many of the things that need closing.  I am not a party person.  My New Year’s Eves of late have been spent quietly watching the year drift in and then retiring to a long winter’s nap.

The year has not unfolded at all as I expected.  I am not sure how the coming year will unfold at all.   I am at peace with all of that. 

As I close this year I recount some losses that have grieved me.  Tonight, I will lift a glass to absent friends with the hope that their journey goes on walking a much brighter path.  I feel their absence and do not wish them back but wish I could see them.

I have improved in some things that I wished to do.  I am closer to some of my family and this is precious to me.  I have had more time with my Grandsons and that is a treasure.  Watching them grow is a beautiful experience. 

The sand has slipped through the pinch.  New experiences have marked some of the days.  There has been almost enough baseball to satisfy me.  I feel a little older.  Since the end of my year is not far past the end of the actual year I mark it well. 

As I write this I have my real hour glass sitting before me.  I can see all of the sand but I am focusing on the grains in the pinch.  It is hard to do so.  It takes discipline.  That, however, is how we are supposed to live; aware of the past, an eye on the future, but focused on the moment.  I have been trying to hone this over the last few months.  If one works at it one can do it.  Like all thing that matter, however, it takes discipline.

Thank you for your company this year Dear Reader.  As the New Year unfolds I will begin by looking at the difference between being led and being driven whilst still following.  Your companionship is most precious.  I hope we have many more discussions along the path next year.  The journey draws us ever onward.  Happy New Year Dear Reader.

Closing of the Year – Wendy and Lisa

If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you hope
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we have, and so

We all must learn from small misfortunes
Count the blessings that are real
Let the Bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year

Let the Bells Ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year

Up on the knees of a Sergeant Major
Ride through the woods with the wind in your hair
Silver bells on a golden reindeer
As they race to the castle over there

If I cannot bring you comfort then at least I bring you hope

Now all the winter bells are ringing
Hear them echo through the snow
And the children’s' voices singing
On the streets so far below

This is a time to be together
And the truth is somewhere here
Within our love of people
At the closing of the year

We'll walk in the sun
With all of the faith
And all of the Patience
All of the way
With all of us right
And all of us saying
"No one an island"
We'll fly in the arms of time
Walk in the waves, never fall
Don't fall...

At the closing of the year...
At the closing of the year!
If I cannot bring you comfort, then at least I bring you hope
Then at least I bring you hope...

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

30 December 2017

Winter Transitions ~ Dreams

Greetings Dear Reader,

We all have dreams of some kind.  I am not talking about the night dramas that play in our heads when we try to rest.  I am talking about the things upon which we pin our hopes and if brave enough our efforts.

I have some that I have begun to put hands and feet on.  For some time may have passed them by in a way this makes them unattainable.  One of the transitions that occur as we transit to the new year is we reassess our dreams.

Too often we cast aside the courage to pursue them.  We get caught up in the business and busyness of getting by instead of building our dreams.  I dare to dream of great things.  I am becoming better at working at those things and believing that I can get there.

The thing I intend to do is to do something every day to get there.  The transition to make is to build something.  Create something that is you.  If I am truly following Christ then I will find my way in his shadow.  As I hone the gifts I have and shed the things that hinder me it becomes clearer that I must awaken from the dream that keeps me from my dreams. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

29 December 2017

Winter Transitions ~ Time is Fleeting

Greetings Dear Reader,

Two years ago today I lost a friend very suddenly.  He went to work and died.  He had plans to fulfill and promises to keep.  He was only a building away from me.  I saw the ambulance and it did not occur to me that I was losing a friend.  I did not learn of it until an hour later when someone called me.

The world moves at its constant consuming pace and two more years slip through the glass.  The entire idea of time becomes more precious as the sand migrates downward.  I like Pratchett’s imagery of our lives being represented by an hour glass that will eventually run out.  It is often too late that we realize every grain matters.

As I make my winter transitions this year I realize how much time I have to pursue things that really matter.  I am becoming better at doing so.  It is still there, the wish to go back and redeem some of the time lost and not used.  That wish is also a waste of the present. 

The transition to the New Year is the time marker we all share.  Starting the New Year gives us all some measure of hope.  It is also the scapegoat for our wasted time from the previous year.  Time is given to us as a gift.  I must not squander it further.  The bell will one day toll for me. 

Time – Pink Floyd

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away, across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

28 December 2017

Winter Transitions ~ Analysis

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things we drift into during the doldrums of the week between Christmas and the New Year is an analysis of things.  We begin to weigh the gains and losses of Christmas whether they be financial, material, social, or the scale.  We begin to think about the coming year.

Some find that they have overextended.  Some have overeaten.  Some had hopes that were realized and some had expectations that never can be so.  There are friends who walk through this time for the first time without a loved one.  I have been through this pain and it is inconsolable.  I would carry  it  for them if I could.

Whatever our situation we do some analysis over the past year and look into the new one.  We prepare for the transition with the balance of our lives waiting.  Most of us determine that this will be a better year.  Most of us do not have the courage to make is so. 

What we do not analyze is what keeps us dong the same things over and over when our dreams call for us to come live differently.  As we analyze our transitions we must see the things that hinder us and determine how to dissolve the hindrance.  It may not have to be drastic and take the guillotine drop of the New Year ball.  It may be that we need to slowly change the trifles that lead to our greatness.  Sometimes we can effect great change by changing the little things.


With his back against the San Francisco traffic
On the bridge's side that faces towards the jail
Setting out to join a demographic
He hoists his first leg up over the rail

A phone call's made, police cars show up quickly
The sergeant slams his passenger door
He says, "Hey son why don't you talk through this with me?
Just tell me what you're doing it for."

"Oh, it's a little bit of everything
It's the mountains, it's the fog
It's the news at six o'clock
It's the death of my first dog."

"It's the angels up above me
It's the song that they don't sing
It's a little bit of everything."

There's an older man who stands in a buffet line,
He is smiling and he's holding out his plate,
And the further he looks back into his timeline
That hard road always led him to today,

Making up for when his bright future had left him
Making up for the fact his only son is gone,
And letting everything out once, his server asks him
"Have you figured out yet, what it is you want?"

I want a little bit of everything
The biscuits and the beans
Whatever helps me to forget about
The things that brought me to my knees

So pile on those mashed potatoes
And an extra chicken wing
I'm having a little bit of everything

Somewhere a pretty girl is writing invitations
To a wedding she has scheduled for the fall
Her man says, "Baby, can I make an observation?
You don't seem to be having any fun at all."

She said, "You just worry about your groomsmen and your shirt-size
And rest assured that this is making me feel good."
I think that love is so much easier than you realize
If you can give yourself to someone, then you should

'Cause it's a little bit of everything
The way you joke, the way you ache,
It is getting up before you,
So I could watch you as you wake.

So on that day in late September,
It's not some stupid little ring,
I'm getting a little bit of everything.

Oh, it's a little bit of everything
It's the matador and the bull
It's the suggested daily dosage
It's the red moon when it's full.

All these psychics and these doctors
They're alright and they're all wrong,
It's like trying to make out every word
When they should simply hum along

It's not some message written in the dark
Or some truth that no one's seen
It's a little bit of everything.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

27 December 2017

Winter Transitions ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

For some Christmas is “over”.  Things may be put away.  Some will tell you it is over if you are dressed in Christmas attire or humming a Christmas hymn.  I hold onto the celebration until Epiphany.  I hold onto Christmas all year long.

Wherever you land on the spectrum there are transitions this week.  The changes come whether we wish them or not.  Some transitions are locked into our method or marking time.  Some are just habitual because of tradition or convenience. 

The transitions can change things around us or even change us.  We all make them.  We do not all or always embrace them.  Change and transition is still the constant in our lives.

Walk with me a bit as I examine the transitions that are common.  There will be some positive notes and painful reminders.  The thing that I hope never transitions is the comfort of your company in the journey Dear Reader. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

26 December 2017

Boxing Day 2017

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday was lovely.  I was the first one awake on Christmas morning.  If this surprises anyone you do not know me well.  My eldest Grandson followed at 4:30 AM.  He and I had a beautiful Christmas morning palaver that ranged from the Christmas story to his saying he would rather sit with me than look at all the presents.

His brother awakened at 6:00 and the boys then roused my Son and my Daughter, Christmas.  Stockings, gifts, and a lazy day ensued.  My Son prepared a lovely duck and trimmings for dinner.  I wandered home in the early evening and slept through a perfect Christmas dream.

Today I awaken grateful and blessed.   For many it is a return to work.  For some of those is will be dealing with unhappy people returning gifts of the wrong size, colour, or kind.  On a day that is supposed to be set aside for those who serve us, those who serve will likely receive surly treatment from exasperated exchangers.

We pack so much baggage into our Christmas packages that we forget that no one intends to get it wrong.  We forget to be thankful that someone thought of us.  We can choose to be even more thankful for those who wait on us to help us satisfy our wants.  Perhaps we can celebrate Boxing Day by being the bright spot in the day of a server or clerk.  They work hard and do not get wealthy serving us.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

25 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Closing Thoughts

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

"Don't forget who's birthday we are celebrating."

Thank you for the time you have spent on this part of the journey with me.  I hope my musings have brought you some joy.  Know Dear Reader that you are a source of joy for me all year round.

I commented just before I left my Son’s tonight that I was tired.  My younger Grandson said, “But you got it all done Santa.”

That may be the joy that gets me through the tired.  Now I am on to the joy of Christmas throughout the rest of the year.  Blessings to you. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ Promises to Keep

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

It is Christmas morning.  I have recited the Christmas story from Luke and quietly spent some time in prayer.  Soon the Grandson will awaken to the wonder of Christmas presents.  The promises of gifts will be fulfilled.

We will rest and talk.  We will have the day together.  My Daughter will nap on and off.  My eldest Son will be making the dinner.  We will call family that are far away. 

The promises that matter are so much more profound but echo in all these things.  They are that of peace on earth and good will to men.  They are of a Son who brings us all home when time is again full. 

Remember that the promises of Christmas last the entire year if we let them.  They are always there whispering of love and joy.  They are always there for us giving hope and courage.  Days go quickly by as we dream from December to December.  They will be better if we carry the promises of Christmas with us.

Promises to Keep - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Christmas time
On a cold December morning
All is calm
And the world is still asleep
Christmas lights
That have been caught without warning
Gently glitter on
Stars to wish upon
All the world is at peace

Christmas time and the year will soon be leaving
Cloaked in time till it's just a memory
Christmas stays if we don't forget its meaning
Days go quickly by
Years they multiply
And we go searching for thee

And the dream is still alive
From that first December morning
And it always will survive
As long as we can see
That the dreams we find in life
Are the dreams we tend to seek
And Christmas has its promises to keep

Christmas time
And the moments just beginning
From last night
When we'd wished upon a star
If our kindness
This day is just pretending
If we pretend long enough
Never giving up
It just might be who we are

And so it's good that we remember
Just as soon as we've discovered
That the things we do in life
Will always end up touching others
So from a fading neon star
Somewhere shining in the night
We find a father far away
Now reflecting in its light

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

24 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Games

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“If your child gets a new game for Christmas play it with him and let him win.”

I would not advocate always letting a child win but it is in good spirit to allow it the first time.  The idea is to create joy for him or her in the new game.  The idea is give the chance for learning.

The greater joy is in giving the child joy.  It is in making the choice to put their enjoyment first in the moment.  This extrapolates to deference to others in order to spread the joy of Christmas.

It is a form of giving that we overlook.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ The Son

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

The journey through December is always both long and fleeting.  We have so much to do that time seems to speed through the pinch.  We long for it in ways that make is seem we will never get here.  If we are not careful we miss the greatest promise of the season.

The promises of the Son are so many that we dwell on those and forget that he is the great promise.  He is the reason for everything we hope.  The Son is the promise that all things will be good again.  Darkness and death will lose. 

We dream of so many things but our real hope is the promise of this one small child…It is in him that we live, and move, and have our being...


One Small Child – David Meece

One small child in a land of a thousand
One small dream of a Savior tonight
One small hand reaching out to the starlight
One small Savior of life

One king bringing his gold and riches
One king ruling an army of might
One king kneeling with incense and candlelight
One king bringing us life

See Him lying a cradle beneath Him
See Him smiling in the stall
See His mother praising His Father
See His tiny eyelids fall

See the shepherds kneeling before Him
See the kings on bended knee
Oh, See the mother praising the Father
See the Blessed infant sleep

One small child in a land of a thousand
One small dream of a Savior tonight
One small hand reaching out to the starlight
One small Savior of life

Oh, oh, oh, oh
One small child, oh
One small child, oh




Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

23 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Giving

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Pay a debt for someone”

This is both simple and profound.  I have gotten to see the impact of this.  I have been blessed to have this gift bestowed upon me.   I have been privileged to do so for others.

This is so beautiful.  You provide a measure of freedom for someone else.  You can even go further and do so anonymously.   This is the time of year when these things have the greatest impact.  It the season of giving.  Some of us can give more than others.

Create joy in others by helping their need.  I promise it will create joy in you.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ The Father

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

As a father these last couple of days before Christmas are thrilling for me.  The excitement of the things I have to give my Children and Grandchildren builds in me.  Every gift is chosen out of love for them.  They are boxed and prepared and I anticipate.  Every item is an expression of my delight in who they are.

This is what the Father promises.  He promises that there are good gifts in store for us.  Matthew 7:11 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

One of the great promises of Christmas is that there are good gifts in store.  They will be given freely.  They do not have to earned.  The gift of the Son is the beginning of the great stream of gifts that are our heritage as the Father’s children. 

The purpose of gifts is to show love to my children.  Naughty or nice they are my children and will receive gifts based on my love for them.  They may not always see my purpose or agree with my choice.  We do the same to the Father often. 

The promise of the Father is that he will give us all good gifts.  He will do so according to his love not our merit.  We can ask for anything but he what only give us what he deems good.  He wishes us to ask.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Encouragement

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Give someone who is discouraged the gift of encouragement.”

How often do we have this opportunity?  I would say at the minimum it is daily.  We have the chance to show kindness by bolster the spirit of another human.  These opportunities are there if we look for them.

It is so easy to just have kind words for everyone.  I am not saying platitudes or empty offering of politically correct greetings.  I am suggesting that we be aware of others and find ways to show them that they are visible and valued.  It is in the act of seeing that someone is not encouraged and giving them this gift.

This costs us nothing but time and attention.  It has the potential to change lives.  That is true encouragement.  That is Christmas joy.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

22 December 2017

The Promises of Christmas ~ The Spirit

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

Yesterday I came upon a shop clerk who I know from constant custom in her shop.  She looked weary and stressed.  When I inquired as to how she was doing she offered that she was three hours past her time to be done for the day.  She then related that she has things she needed to do to be ready for Christmas.

I felt a rush of compassion and asked if I could run any errands for her.  I only have a couple of things left to do and there is no pressure for me.  Her response was to start crying.  She asked if I could go pick up something important for her and bring it back to the shop.  I was glad to do it. 

The promise of Christmas is that if you invest your spirit in the lives of others you will get genuine opportunities to be kind to them.  When I returned with her item she had thought through that she had asked a customer to run an errand for her.  She felt embarrassed.  I explained that I was honored to be able to gift her with help in the Spirit of Christmas.

We have this opportunity to invest in the spirit of Christmas.   The promise is that if we do we can build the level of selflessness and kindness in the world.  We are allowed to be a part of something grand and immense.  In that there is the promise that we find the spirit growing in us. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

21 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ The Word “Christmas”

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Never write the word Christmas as Xmas.”

I am aware that this is not removing “Christ” from Christmas.  The X is the Greek letter Chi which is the first letter in Greek for Christ.  I understand this and do not wish to cause strife.

I do, rather, wish to combat anything that diminishes the presence of Christ in the mind of anyone.  Since we not longer live in a culture steeped in Judeo-Christian lore it is vital that we keep a true understanding of who Jesus is.  Christ-Mass is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

One can say that Christmas is no longer about that and there are serious attempts to secularize and syncretize this Holy Day with other cultural practices.  I will not disrespect your faith and practice but I will also fight the dilution of mine.  Jesus is the reason for the season. Remembering why is key to genuine joy.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ The Solstice

Happy Christmas (and Solstice) Dear Reader,

Today is not the “Shortest day of the year.”  Today is the day with the shortest period of daylight.  The interval of daylight for this year’s winter solstice is less that eight hours. 

I know that many are impacted by seasonal affective disorder.  I understand that the extended darkness is a challenge for some.  I care deeply for your struggles and pray that you find some comfort.

The promise of Christmas in the bleak midwinter is this:  From here until the zenith of summer the days will grow longer and brighter.  This is the most physical darkness you will know for another year.  This is the turn or the seasonal tide. 

As we celebrate the child who is the Light we are reminded that one day the darkness will be gone for good.  One day the Light will gives us light that consumes the world with its warmth, safety, and peace.  This is the purpose and promise of Christmas.  One day all things will be good again.

So as the Solstice bells ring out remember that we do have something to celebrate.  The Solstice heralds the celebration of the incarnation and the advent of the growing light.

Ring Out Solstice Bells – Jethro Tull

Now is the solstice of the year
Winter is the glad song that you hear
Seven maids move in seven time
Have the lads up ready in a line

Ring out these bells
Ring out, ring solstice bells
Ring solstice bells

Join together 'neath the mistletoe,
By the holy oak whereon it grows
Seven druids dance in seven time
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming

Ring out these bells
Ring out, ring solstice bells
Ring solstice bells
Ring out, ring out the solstice bells
Ring out, ring out the solstice bells

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
Joyful as the silver planets run
Seven maids move in seven time
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming

Ring out these bells
Ring out, ring solstice bells
Ring solstice bells
Ring on, ring out
Ring on, ring out
Ring on, ring out
Ring on, ring out

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

20 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Every Room

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Put something Christmassy in every room in the house.”

If you needed further confirmation of my madness, Dear Reader, then here it is.  Not only do I do this but I have a reminder of Christmas in every room all year long.  This is easy in my current hovel but more difficult in my former farm house. 

Still this is one of those things that can bring one joy all year round.  It can be as simple as a small nativity or a Christmas bell left on a shelf.  I have a very small Christmas tree in my bedroom on a shelf (no really it is small, less than four inches tall. I promise.).   In the kitchen is a bubble light night light.   There is a pewter nativity, Salvation Army bell, and Christmas bowl on my desk (OK you may think that a bity much in July but they serve a purpose.).  Oh, I forgot the Santa flask and the Sant face light.  Perhaps this has gotten out of hand.

The point is that even as I ponder all the things that remind me of the celebration of Christ I feel ripples of delight in the pondering.  In those days where winter is deep or summer is hot a moment of thinking about the joy of Christmas can right my mind and heart to the journey and its joys.

Laugh at me if you wish Dear Reader.  If you try this you may instead find that you are laughing with me.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ Snow Cream

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

Since our local weather prognosticator has called for Christmas Eve snow I thought I would share a promise that my Grandsons love.  When I was young, on the rare occasions we would get snow, my Grandmother would make snow cream. 

This is a rare and delicate confection that is quickly made and consumed.  Its viability is fleeting as it melts quickly once made.  It is a delight for children as it holds a little of the magic of winter.  You are eating freshly fallen snow miraculously transformed into ice cream.

Where is the promise of Christmas here?  I would hope it is obvious.  The simple precipitation of winter that so many come to view as an annoyance becomes a delight.  The simple things can delight us if we allow it.  We can create a little magic for the young that can become a life-long memory.

We all think of a little magic when it comes to Christmas snow.  We can turn the magic into a moment if we choose to add a little effort and confection.  We can enhance the promise of Christmas by turning the simple into the amazing.

SNOW CREAM RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup milk (any kind)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (I use Splenda)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
8 cups clean snow or shaved ice (more or less depending on the density of the snow)
Topping: sprinkles!!!

DIRECTIONS:
In a large bowl, whisk milk, sugar, vanilla and salt together until combined. Go scoop up some fresh (clean!) snow, and immediately stir it into the milk mixture until you reach your desired consistency. Top with sprinkles or other ice cream toppings if desired.

The ice cream should be fluffy and not runny, but melts quickly. Consume immediately and with the understanding that you are consuming untreated water.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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19 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Some Assembly Required

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Never wait until 1:30 AM Christmas morning to start putting together ‘Some assembly required’ toys.”

My mum and uncle did this.  They spent hours on my seventh Christmas putting together a race track for me.  They followed the directions.  Had everything set just so.  I was thrilled that is was there but the layout did not match the picture on the box.  In less than ten minutes I took it apart and reassembled it to match the box image.  They were quite vexed.

Do the hard gift preparation first.  You will be glad you did.  If it seems too difficult when you buy it get a friend to help with a practice assembly in a secluded location.  Clandestine skullduggery is vital for some gifts.  This too can be fun.

I do not know what became of that racetrack.  I recall that I played with it for hours and hours.  I do wonder if by insisting that it look like the box if I was guilty of “just playing with the box.” 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ Love

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

As we are in the last week before Christmas we must address the dearest promise of all that Christmas offers.  It is love.  It is pure unselfish love.  It is a promise that we are loved without condition or expectation.

The story is so very simple.  A Father who loves his only natural Son knows that his Son is the only way to save his other children.  He and the Son agree that this must be the plan. 

It is love that drives the two to be parted for the first time.  It is their love for all humans that causes the Son to become human.  It is love that chooses a simple life and trade.  It is love that takes on the teaching of the Gospel.  It is love has the Son endure the cross.  The cross satisfies justice, righteousness, and judgment for the sake of love. 

Over the centuries we have foolishly add so much meaningless baggage to the story.  We have let our baubles and trinkets hide the stable and the love.  We have forgotten that men put the all the added weight onto Christmas. 

The promise of Christmas is that the Father LOVES us.  He wishes for us to love each other.  His Son loves us and was born to make a way for us to reconnect to the Father.  The love of God is a Christmas promise that is kept every day if we will but see it.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Constant Celebration

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Tie jingle bells on your children’s shoe laces.”

The idea is that we constantly remind each other where we are in the cycle of the year.  We are meant to be in a time of celebration.  The woes of the world are not gone.  Strife and pain are not on pause.  The devil is not on vacation.

We, however, need to remember that the entire world has a cause for joy.  The very worst there is here is fleeting.  The problems of the world will pass. This season is to remind us of this.

Do things to remind you every moment of where we are in the year and why it matters.  Take a moment to breathe in the joy that is possible to those who allow it.  Wear the outlandish sweater.  Sing or hum as you wander about the day.  Put some jing-tinglers on your heels and dance a little. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

18 December 2017

The Promises of Christmas ~ Hope

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight…”

I have mentioned before that I have a friend who considers “hope” a four-letter word.  She has a deep sense of the cynical and often scoffs at my optimism.  Still one of the great promises of Christmas is hope.

We are given hope that things will be better.  We are given hope that things will return to good.  We are told to have hope that our faith is coming to fruition.  It would be wrong for me to ignore that hope is very difficult for some.   It would be rude to presume that hope is shared as readily as it is available.

Hope is a choice.  It is a choice based on belief.  It is the obverse of the coin of faith.  When I feel a lack of hope then I must address the state of my faith.  I must hold fast to my faith when hope seems thin.  Holding fast is understanding that the promises of Christmas will come true.

I may not be able to comfort all those who struggle or have need.  I can hold out hope that things will be better.  It may not be the way I imagine it or want it.  It will, however, be better.  The promises of Christmas ask us to remember that when we waited in hope our hope was realized.

It will be again.  The promise of Christmas is that the great venture begun in Bethlehem will be realize.  The story is only part way through.  The hopes and fears of the ensuing years will be met as well.

Closing of the Year – Wendy and Lisa

If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you hope
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we have, and so

We all must learn from small misfortunes
Count the blessings that are real
Let the Bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year

Let the Bells Ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year

Up on the knees of a Sergeant Major
Ride through the woods with the wind in your hair
Silver bells on a golden reindeer
As they race to the castle over there

If I cannot bring you comfort then at least I bring you hope

Now all the winter bells are ringing
Hear them echo through the snow
And the children’s' voices singing
On the streets so far below

This is a time to be together
And the truth is somewhere here
Within our love of people
At the closing of the year

We'll walk in the sun
With all of the faith
And all of the Patience
All of the way
With all of us right
And all of us saying
"No one an island"
We'll fly in the arms of time
Walk in the waves, never fall
Don't fall.....

At the closing of the year...
At the closing of the year!
If I cannot bring you comfort, then at least I bring you hope
Then at least I bring you hope.....

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

17 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Anonymous Gifts

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Give an anonymous gift of money to someone who has been laid off.”

I have seen people struggle with this.  It is one of those things that calls out who we really are.  There are good and capable people who are willing to work but cannot find work that suits their skills. 

One of my closest friends is in this crucible.  The need to meet his obligations is at constant war with his call to be a man apart.  It is in this crucible that our character and faith are revealed.  It is in this fire that the dross is burned away and the true person remains.

It you want to do good look to those in need and help them with no possibility of recompense or knowledge from them.  Do so that they cannot even show you gratitude.  Use a third party or creatively contrive.  The adventure of it is astounding.  Need and want are keenly felt at this time of year.  There is no better Christmas carol than seeing it and helping in secret.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ Joy

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

Yesterday I was privileged to participate in helping someone feel great joy.  To me there is little that is better.  This person had a genuine life need and I watched this person's friends and family band together to meet that need. 

At Christmas time the promise of joy is there.  We find it best when we get to reveal or create it in others.  My joy is best lived when I look outward to bring joy to others.  I am most joyous when the lives of others are enriched.

I have needs.  I have wants.  It is not my place to worry over my needs or dwell on my wants.  When I invest my heart and mind in the joy of others my difficulties seem to diminish.  Their ability to distract me from good weakens.

The promise of Christmas is joy is that it will be there.  It is up to me to find it in others and revel in it.  In this I can see the working out of the promises of Christmas.  I can carry this all year if I choose to do so.  Good tiding of great joy are for all people.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

16 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Desert

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Never refuse a holiday desert.”

First let me say that if this will harm you in any way feel free to ignore me.  If, however, even a morsel of the pie, cookie, cake, or other treat will not do you harm then enjoy it.  It is time to indulge without worrying about calories or fat. 

I am not promoting gluttony.  We do not need to eat all the lemon bars or mince pie.  We do need to enjoy it.  We need to savor the sweetness of the season.  We must let it remind us of the sweetness of what is promised in this time of year.

We can afford to enjoy it.  We must not let worry about the future keep us from it.  Find the joy in what has been made to enrich your Christmas.  Have some for me too.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ Good Will to Men

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

I wonder if we really ponder what it is to have good will toward each other.  It could be as simple as having a good predisposition toward others.  It is as complex as laying aside what we are told to think about each other and obeying the command to love everyone.

It is as easy as choosing to be kind to everyone you encounter.  I have written about my “share my table” sign that I use at a local coffee house where I go to write.  The last three times I have been there someone has come to share my table.  That sign proclaims a promise to all who see it: “I offer you good will.  Join me if you wish.”

In the acceptance of that invitation I have made friends with a pastor, a cartographer, and an astrophysicist.  My life has been so very enriched by just leaving the door ajar.  The small promise of welcome at my table is a part of the greater promise of Christmas that I try to embody all year. 

We need to have constant good will toward each other.  It is vital to getting the world back to good.  It is easier than one would think.  I have mentioned in this series letting go of the past.  We must also not collect any ill will along the way.  If others have it seek to heal the situation if you can.  Do not take up the gauntlet of new burdens born by ill will.

We can change the world.  We can get to good.  We must first determine that we will be the difference.  We will have good will to everyone.  The promise of Christmas is that God has this toward us.  We should in turn pass it on to each other.

Old City Bar – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

In an old city bar
That is never too far
From the places that gather
The dreams that have been

In the safety of night
With its old neon light
It beckons to strangers
And they always come in

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The music was low
And the night
Christmas Eve

And here was the danger
That even with strangers
Inside of this night
It's easier to believe

Then the door opened wide
And a child came inside
That no one in the bar
Had seen there before

And he asked did we know
That outside in the snow
That someone was lost
Standing outside our door

Then the bartender gazed
Through the smoke and the haze
Through the window and ice
To a corner streetlight

Where standing alone
By a broken pay phone
Was a girl the child said
Could no longer get home

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The bartender turned
And said, not that I care
But how would you know this?
The child said I've noticed
If one could be home
They'd be already there

Then the bartender came out from behind the bar
And in all of his life he was never that far
And he did something else that he thought no one saw
When he took all the cash from the register draw

Then he followed the child to the girl cross the street
And we watched from the bar as they started to speak
Then he called for a cab and he said J.F.K.
Put the girl in the cab and the cab drove away
And we saw in his hand
That the cash was all gone
From the light that she had wished upon

If you want to arrange it
This world you can change it
If we could somehow make this
Christmas thing last

By helping a neighbor
Or even a stranger
And to know who needs help
You need only just ask

Then he looked for the child
But the child wasn't there
Just the wind and the snow
Waltzing dreams through the air

So he walked back inside
Somehow different I think
For the rest of the night
No one paid for a drink

And the cynics will say
That some neighborhood kid
Wandered in on some bums
In the world where they hid

But they weren't there
So they couldn't see
By an old neon star
On that night, Christmas Eve

When the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
And in case you should wonder
In case you should care

Why we're on our own
Never went home
On that night of all nights
We were already there

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

15 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Tipping (not cows)

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Tip someone who doesn’t expect it.”

This is so much fun.  I have a plan for this every year.  It allows me to be kind to people who provide a service for me but do not get properly thanked.  It is not as easy as it once was to do this.  We often do not know some of these folks. 

This is an opportunity to go a little out of the way to give joy that yields joy.  I could list several suggestions but instead I would challenge you to pay attention to the people that come to mind for you.

Even when I am tight for cash I do this.  It brings me great joy to be kind to those who do not get notice.  I would love to hear of your adventures in this Dear Reader. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)