Patriot’s Day: Light in the Darkness

Patriot’s Day is coming.
Or, as it originated: 9/11. The day known as 9/11/01 when terror struck America. It hijacked and crashed planes into the Twin Towers of New York and the Pentagon in DC. And it had unexpected side effects: it revealed what we would trade for freedom and what we would do for strangers in an emergency. It showed us our best and worst.

How it affected people may have depended on their situation. For instance, I didn’t even know what the ‘twin towers’ were. The internet was just coming into it’s own, for me and I didn’t much read the papers. The papers tend to take a news event that could be one sentence and complicate it into a page. So I rarely bothered.

But I do live in Virginia and therefore, it was pretty close to home. My Grandparents in Arlington said the house shook. My friends and I, horseback riding in a National Park were turned back as all National Parks were closed. And given how often one wished the traffic would clear up, one suddenly decided that was not entirely a good thing when it did. The streets were eerily empty.

But one thing was amazingly, brilliantly clear: the results were not what the terror seekers expected. There were indeed negative side effects. Security tightened and freedom’s compromised. War, just or not, was triggered. But so was sheer heroism and outpouring of generosity.

People sacrificed their lives to save strangers. They ended up with long term health effects after battling horror to find wounded. They gave more blood than could be used. They gave money and supplies. They came together to heal the wounds and comfort those directly affected.

Naturally there was the bad too. People wanted to blame someone and sometimes those even suspected or who looked like muslims were targeted. But even there, people stood up in resistance. The women of one Christian church rose up and wore the veil to show solidarity and support the muslim woman who were being harrassed. Interfaith groups sprang up to create mutual understanding.

Some people who don’t believe in God, say ‘where was he?” Even some who do say that. I say, he was right there. He was the wounded and the healer. He was the fireman running in crumbling buildings. He was the worker who helped a coworker escape.

God doesn’t make the bad happen, and if he allows it, it’s to remind us of the amazing good we can do when we are paying attention. We get lost in our own little problems: tomorrow’s bill, the kid’s bad grade, the frustration with a colleague. We miss how much bad we could easily prevent or the comfort we could give. It would be easier if there was more too it than money: some of us don’t know where to go to volunteer, or have the money to help. But somehow, in a big crisis those things are overcome. In the mini crisis, we often just shrug helplessly.

But we are better than that. We can be. Because: Here is a shock….GREED IS NOT PATRIOTIC. No. The self sacrifice, the reaching out to help, that was patriotic. So let’s stop pretending patriotic wears an elephant or a donkey badge, or runs a big corporation. It’s not sacrificing freedom for security either. Patriotic in American terms is a risk, and has been since the Revolutionary war. It’s also not getting Government do everything for us: because that gives them to much power. We don’t want them to hinder us either. We just want them to make it possible to do what needs to be done. Enable education, roads to get us to work and health care and safety laws so we are able to work without being abused for a paycheck. Food for here and from here to let our farmers have livelihoods. Finally, protection from an enemy who would destroy our freedoms: including themselves and their big corporations when they get too big headed to fit through the average office door.

Wake up on Patriot’s Day America. Be what you say. Real Patriots. People who care about each other because it’s the American thing to do.

Teddy Bear Patriotic Card by Starhorsepax Designs
Teddy Bear Patriotic Card by Starhorsepax Designs
Patriot Day Fireman Pug by: RITMO BOXER DESIGNS
Patriot Day Fireman Pug by: RITMO BOXER DESIGNS

Happy Fourth Of July! – May the Right Spirit Win!

Independence Day

Looking back on our founding father’s woes, its not a shock to realize that we have been a nation divided almost from the start. In order to get all the colonies to agree on the Constitution, they had to let a few things go. The biggest thing was slavery. Pretty ironic, that in order to get a free nation, the founders had to agree to leave some enslaved. Of course, the natives of this land were not considered at all.

The division is there to this day. Getting rid of slavery did not get rid of the problem. The real problem was greed, people putting their business over human life. They might be more subtle about it, but they are still at it. Whether it’s conniving land from mustangs and wild life for cattle and mining, or cutting corners to stuff more animals for slaughter into a farm, they care more about money than their fellow beings..

That’s the real secret of American freedom. That freedom’s cost isn’t just sending people out to defend it. It’s about defending it from greed right here. It’s about saying no to something because it curtails freedoms.  But it’s not so easy to identify it. There is so much demanding our time and attention, it’s easy to just focus on issues we believe affect us.

That’s what the sophisticated greedy think. If they throw enough one sided info at you, maybe you won’t notice they are not telling you everything. Maybe you won’t notice the lies.
For instance, I hear all sorts going on about jobs and the big pipelines. On the other side, I hear about environmental risk. Truth be told, I’ve yet to hear or see anything that told both sides at once. Now the truth is, they are both right. We need jobs, but that doesn’t mean we’d be willing to literally pay with our health or the destruction of our land. Some things, you can’t pay to fix. So the real question is, if these people want to be helpful and run their business and create jobs, why do they think the pennies they save are worth the cost of safety?

My point here is, when it comes right down to the wire, America has two spirits vying for control. One is that wonderful spirit of freedom, independence, help others and creativity that inspired it in the first place. The other is that stubborn pride in money that refused to sign the Constitution if slavery was banned.

That second spirit has new forms now. It hides in businesses that say ‘we are creating jobs’ while cutting corners for profit and dumping toxins that make people sick. The people with those jobs lose either way, because even if you earn money and have health insurance, you end up spending on health care, assuming even that will cure them! They also claim that while dumping huge amounts of money into their account they can’t pay the workers any more.
What’s terrifying is how these people respond to challenge. They take advantage of  their funds to pay for lawyers to get them out of it. Worse, some government agencies are in cahoots. The way the Bureau of Land Management is run, you’d think that land all belonged to them personally, rather than the citizens of America.

I believe when the average person celebrates the Fourth, we are celebrating our freedom, the hope of that chance to not only have a job, but a fulfilling life. But do we? I hope so. But we have to keep battling that other spirit. Gunpowder can make for fabulous fireworks. Our country is full of magnificent creatures, wild and free.  It’s up to us to do our best to see they are their for future generations. It’s up to us to save that gunpowder for the fireworks and not waste in blowing each other up. It’s up to us to keep our authority figures reminded that we elected them to serve us, not their own wallet. To remind the big corporations that without their workers and buyers, they have nothing.  To remind the police that they are there to protect and serve, not bully the people who essentially are paying them.

So here’s to the Fourth of July and our continued fight for independence. May the right spirit win!

Teddy Bear Observations on Valentine’s Day

 Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Welcome to our first Teddy Tips Blog, hopefully to be featured weekly.  I’ve been around awhile, so I’m going to give you tips on what I’ve observed with you humans that specifically relates to love and Valentine’s day.  My name is Vernon by the way.


Vernon Bear
Vernon Bear

1. First, Please do not take it out on the bear  if your boyfriend got you a teddy instead of a diamond or chocolates. You might want to seek counseling however on this desire to reject a teddy bear. A teddy will never abandon you, reject you, betray you or nitpick if you don’t  have it’s dinner ready. It also will last long after the chocolate is eaten and flowers wilt and very possibly long after the boyfriend is gone.

2. Please do not hurt others with your teddy bear. You’ve received a wonderful gift. Don’t be mean to those who got nothing. How would you feel if someone did that to you?

3. If you did not receive a teddy bear, I assure you there are many teddies out there longing for a home with you. They will be just as cuddly if you buy one for yourself. And you can pick out your favorite. Adoption fees are especially low right after the holidays.

4. Please remember a teddy bear given as a gift  should come without strings. Don’t let someone convince you to give up something you can never get back just because they gave you a bear, no matter how wonderful the bear. Wait for your forever love. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, that’s okay. It doesn’t happen to everyone.

5.  Teddy bears are about love. Loving someone means wanting them to be the best they can be.  If someone apologizes by giving you a bear, that may be sweet. But if they are apologizing for hurting you, consider if you are really doing the loving thing by taking them back. One time might be a fluke. Two times? Seek help. No-one using you for a punching bag is the best they can be. They have a bad habit and need help to break it. If they refuse counseling and advice of family and friends and keep hurting you, consider pressing charges, even if you have to run from them and hide. If you love them, do you want them imprisoned for murder? Bad temper and bad habits can lead to this even by accident. Better a small charge now and a warning from the police than a life sentence and your family losing you forever. Loving them doesn’t always mean obeying or staying with them. Sometimes it means letting go so they can learn to be better people.

Until next time, this is Vernon Bear, signing off.


Hugging Day is Today

It’s National Hugging Day!

Hugs are proven to reduce stress.  Reducing stress has a positive impact on your health. But some people are not comfortable showing their emotions, especially in public. This holiday was made to encourage people to recognize the benefits of a friendly hug.  As a matter of fact, it has spread beyond the US and is ‘celebrated’ in other countries. It is officially recognized but is not a legal holiday. (Sorry, you probably won’t get off work on this one!)

Obviously we would highly recommend that you share your hugs with your furry companions as well.

If you sadly can’t find a human to accept your hug, grab your favorite stuffed animal and hug away. They love hugs too. And hug benefits, to some extent, work for teddy bears too.

Everyone needs a hug sometimes!


Smart Heart Living: Hugs and the Heart

Hug Therapy

Four Psychological Benefits of Teddy Bears

The Christmas Lament

Appreciating Grief

When considering the tragedy of murdered children, it occurs to me there are other murdered children, unnamed, that must not be forgotten.

The Last Arrivals at Christmas:  According to Matthew 2: 1-18:
We tend to lump Mary, Jesus and Joseph in Bethlehem with no roof in the inn, shepherds, and wise men all together at Christmas. In reality the wise men arrived later. And they naturally, following the star, stopped first where you would expect to find a new King. They stopped in the palace. Now old Herod, he didn’t have to act surprised but he did hide his alarm and play nice and help find where this prophesied King was to arrive. He sent the wise men on their way.

Now whether it was just the dream that warned them, or whether they heard things about Herod en route to the babe, but they really were wise enough to see he didn’t want them to tell them where that baby was so he could worship. He wanted to kill that innocent child. So, being wise, they blew out of there on their four footed ride’s in the opposite direction.

Matthew 2:1-18
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men

Did God warn anyone else?

Did anyone else heed the warning? Or wake up and think “Oh, bad dream” and roll over and go back to sleep?  What about the soldiers given the order? Did they hesitate, reminded of their own children or siblings?  Did any find themselves alone, with a brief moment of decision when they uncovered a mother cowering with a baby boy and take the opportunity to make a shush motion and hide them again?  How did these men live with themselves afterward? What hatred this must’ve instilled in the survivor’s and their older children – scarred for life by such evil.

Sadly, Herod needed no rapid fire weapons to pull off the atrocity, he only needed soldiers and a position of power.

Some who argue the Bible is false will say that if this truly happened more evidence would’ve been uncovered. But apparently, evidence that Herod was wicked enough to perform these kind of things was common. It’s only news if it rarely happens.

This is where appreciating grief comes in.

It is definitely true to say history is full of children sold into slavery, murdered and sacrificed to idols. Such things do slip under the radar today. But when they rise to our attention, we tend to act, floundering at times and unsure what to do, but we don’t ignore it.  We rage. We cry. We wonder why. So perhaps we should appreciate our grief. For once upon a time it was only the mother’s of Rama who wept for the children. Now we all do. We no longer consider it normal, or the cost of normal kingdoms and rulers, of soldiers and politics. We no longer consider acceptable or unchangeable and hide under the bed and hope we are overlooked.

After a horrific tragedy and mass shooting, lots of people start battling it out about gun control. In point of fact, it’s safe to say what little the Founding Father’s put into the Constitution and Bill of Rights, was based on weapons without modern capability of fast reloads and massive destruction of auto fire. They couldn’t imagine a database of criminals who would misuse the weapons, so how could they plan whether to sell a gun based on it’s information?  It’s also safe to say they weren’t perfect or there would’ve been no civil war later to end slavery, it would’ve happened right then.

I don’t claim to know what will make us safer. Better gun control for automatic weapons, keeping them out of criminals hands, better mental health care. But I know we must care, that the Herod’s of the world should shudder. For no longer do we stand by and accept the norm. One thing we should do is remember that while gun control is an issue debated in our borders, there our other children in the world’s danger zones too.  And we shouldn’t let issues like political red tape or economy prevent us for caring. For once upon a time, Jesus was one of those children too. So was Einstein, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Madame Curie, Charles Dickens, Billy Graham,…..a world of unknown potential waiting to be uncovered. It shouldn’t be stopped by bullet, sword or a rock to the head.

As for where was God?

He was in the Principle challenging the gunman and every other adult in that school who defended and hid the children. He was with every policeman and fireman who runs into the line of fire, whether little or figurative to defend them. He was with children around the world, urging their protection. He was with every soldier who hesitates at the sight of a child and tries to defend his troops and his country without harming the innocent.

In other words…. He’s probably asking where are we. Because you don’t need to be a preacher or a pastor, just a believer whose read about Jesus, to know that he called on us to do the defending. He gave us power to care and pray and act.  And I believe the power has already succeeded in changing us partway. Because now, instead of just crying for the few children in our family or neighborhood we find it in our hearts to cry for them all.

I Care Teddy Bear
I Care Teddy Bear


Principle trying to stop Gunman when Killed – Regarding the recent events in Conneticut

Fair Trade Policy for Chocolate – Did you know slave labor is used in making some chocolate?

Save the Children – Dedicated to the welfare of children around the world.

Prostitution of Children – Wiki of the facts. But there are lots of articles and blogs on the subject around the world. Just Google it.


A Tragic Merry Christmas

A Story Inspired by Reality. This is how I imagine it….

by T.A.Paxton

On Earth parents are weeping. Angels hover close by, offering comfort. They don’t show their wings or glow. They don’t offer empty words of  “This was God’s will” or “If prayer were in schools…” No, they just say, “I’m so sorry. I don’t understand either.” And they offer to help in small ways, for there are no big ones to offer. To do the dishes, watch the other kids while sad arrangements must be made. They bring food to the grief stricken and offer hugs as families contemplate what to do…oh what to do…..with the already bought gifts whose children will never receive them. The Christmas lights seem to dim and they stare at the baby in it’s tiny mini manger and ask why?

Somewhere in heaven, God is weeping. Angels hustle to open the gates as children are ushered in by other angels. One angel stands even sadder than the others. “I could not dissuade him. Why do they misuse the gift of freedom so?”

Children are led straight to God who wraps them in strong arms and says “It’s all right now. You are safe forever.” He dries their tears but doesn’t hide his own.  “You are here earlier than we hoped. As long as you are early will you help us decorate?”
The children peer around in awe at the beauty of heaven. They are led to a room with the greatest Christmas tree of all.
“Would you like to help decorate it?”
One child asks in awe “There are no Christmas trees in the Bible. Do you like them too?”
“Well of course. I invented trees and lights. I think putting them together is wonderful. This is the father of all those trees.”
So the children begin putting balls on the tree, and carved ornaments.  When they are too short, an angel lifts them up.
“I was told you don’t like carved images.” Another child suddenly piped up, looking at God.
“Well, it depends on what it’s for. It’s silly to bend down and worship it. But I love stories. I like telling stories, it helps people learn. And these images tell stories. Look close.”
The child gasped. Others did as well. They could now see the ornaments told the stories of their lives.
“I can see Mom and my brothers hanging ornaments in this one!” One boy held up a bright red ornament amazed by the odd reflection.
“This has my Dad  holding my sister at the beach!”
“This one is a roller coaster….the first one I rode…and I’m in it!”
“Look, it’s my dog and he’s looking right out of this blue ball at me, like he’s carved inside! It looks like he can see me!”
God smiled. “All good things are remembered. And all the bad will be like grains of sand in comparison.”
“This one is moving!” One child looked close. For they weren’t moving like a store bought, battery operated ornament, or TV, but like life in miniature. “Hey! It’ s my family! Right now! They are crying…oh”  Another ball of glass popped out of the ornament, a string…..and the child looked up and saw it becoming a string and a garland.
The others found the same.  “Look, they are surrounded by angels.”
They hung the garlands. “But…it’s so sad. It’s their tears.”
“For every sad tear today, they will have many tears of joy again.” God assured them. “The hurt will poison them if it stays inside, so it comes out through tears instead. So I draw it out, if they will let me, and turn it into beauty.”

The smallest child went up solemnly and climbed in God’s lap, holding one of the ornaments. Looked up at the tall, tall tree, and back at God.
“Will our families remember us? We don’t have ornaments like this on Earth.”
“They will. Right now they hurt terribly. But one day, they will look at your favorite teddy bear ornament and say “oh how he loved this one.”  God looked at another. “Or at that favorite snow globe, or doll, or action figure and say “He or she played with it all the time. And they will smile, for they will miss you, but they will be oh, so glad that they had known you.”

And with that. they all went back to decorating the tree. And God smiled. Here in heaven at least all was well. Someday, He promised, someday it would be on Earth as well.



Comfort Angel Bear
Comfort Angel Bear


If you want to say Happy Holidays, lets say it all Year.

It's called Christmas

It's not that I have a problem with Happy Holidays. It's the fact that some people use it to discriminate. Truth be told just about every day of the year is someone's holiday, from the national Independance, to a birthday to a human rights day or national teddy bear or maple syrup days. Yes, those really are holidays. You could say happy holidays every day of the year, for that very reason. So why now? Because now is when the gear up for Christmas (albeit an overcommercialized one) is. And Christmas involves Christ.

Yes, I am Christian. Yes, I celebrate Christmas.  And if I say Merry or Happy Christmas I am wishing you a wonderful, peaceful, light filled season of joy. I am not whacking you on the head with a baby Jesus figurine and saying believe or else, nor sending a Santa in a tank to force a conversion. Believe it or not, when the Old Kris Kringle or Saint Nick or Santa in 'A Night Before Christmas' says Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas, he isn't even quoting the Bible!

I wouldn't object if you told me Happy Hannukah or Kwanzaa.  I may not believe in them, or know much about them, but I wouldn't figure you meant it as an insult. Happy usually doesn't imply insult no matter what it precedes.

Holidays Are All Year

What's more, you don't say happy holidays on valentine's day or halloween. Saint Valentine and Saint Nicholas and even Saint Patrick were catholic saints. I'm not catholic, but I can still enjoy the holidays without insisting someone say 'happy holidays instead of happy st nicholas or saint valentine or saint patrick.. And I wouldn't assume the person doing the wishing was catholic, though it wouldn't matter much to whether I liked them or not if they were. It's a holiday, what's not to like? Some christians don't like halloween. I say, dress up and eat the candy. The candy will be on sale anyway and costumes bring out people's creative side. If you think dressing as a witch or zombie offensive, you can always dress as a teddy bear or a robot.

I wouldn't be offended to be told 'Happy Saint Patrick's Day' even though I'm not Irish.

Happy New Year might give me pause if it wasn't January first, but explain it's the mayan or hebrew or muslim calendar and I'll go happy new year right back.

As for the fourth of July: for all I know the person wishing me happy independence day could be from canada or australia. Or the person I'm wishing it too could be from Austria or Bulgaria. Just because they aren't a citizen doesn't mean they can't enjoy the fireworks.

Yet for some reason, all these holiday well wishes are 'acceptable' and Christmas is not. Ironic, how everything is tolerated….except being a christian, whether practicing or not.


So Happy National Brownie Day. And National Ice Cream Day, Human Rights Day, Poinsettia Day, National Maple syrup day……….should I go on?  So if we are going to go 'Happy Holidays'……then lets just say it all year. It's probably easier than saying Happy pop goes the weasel day, happy flip a coin day and all that. It's easier on the fatherless not to hear happy fathers day and the childless woman desperate for a baby to hear Happy Holidays than a Happy Mother's day. 

Besides it's a sure fire way to see who is paying attention. Say Happy Holidays in May and someone will probably do a double take.

So lighten up people. Enjoy the Christmas or Hanukkah lights.  No commitment required. Just an open heart and a childlike sense of wonder. But I'll bet without Christmas you wouldn't have all those holiday lights. We started it. And you can't take that away.


Desecration of the Holiday – What are Retailers Thinking?

The definition of ‘holiday’ in most Dictionaries  is a day when there is a suspension of work and a festive attitude.

Apparently some huge corporations have decided to rewrite the meaning. To them, it’s a day to tempt people to spend massive amounts of money on sales and earn a ton of profits. This is not only a different meaning, it’s almost the antithesis of it.
There is no festivity for the employees, who are denied that ‘suspension of work’ and time with their families. There is not a lot of festivity for the shoppers either. Instead of time with family or friends, it triggers a competitive free for all. Everyone is out to grab the bargain price right now. This has been known to cause people to be outright run over, shoved aside and fight for the ‘deals’. Hardly the attitude one intends a holiday to encourage.

 A holiday is usually for a religious observance or a patriotic one. So Thanksgiving is supposed to celebrate ‘thankfulness’ – to count ones blessing. What one already has. Christmas is to celebrate the birth of ‘the Prince of Peace’. Even those who don’t believe in Jesus tend to mark the holiday as a day for family, or have a holiday with similar intention of family, friendship and giving. There are various patriotic holidays meant to celebrate the founding of our nation, the memory of heroes and honoring of those past and present who fought to defend it.

Instead, modern retail stores decide to ignore holidays and their meanings and instead focus on lining their own wallets. They encourage greed instead of thankfulness, anger and impatience over kindness and a free for all atmosphere over time to build relationships. Finally they inspire outright fear in workers who don’t dare risk their job by saying ‘no’ to working on the holiday.

I for one, say no. I’ll sign any petition demanding this attitude cease. Shop small and local and give the business to people who need it. If some people want to work the holiday, that’s fine, so long as it’s not mandatory. And there is no reason these mad sales can’t at least wait until there is no ‘holiday’ to desecrate.  There is an ongoing campaign to stop bullying in schools. Let’s stop it in retail too.


Tell Wal-Mart it's NOT okay to Force Employees to Give up their Holiday to work Thanksgiving

Ask Target to save Thanksgiving for it's Employees

Insist Target that it wait until after Thanksgiving to start it's sales (different one)

Christmas Inspirations

Getting Them and Giving Them

When it comes to Christmas, one almost get’s overloaded on Inspiration. Christmas carols, symbols and holiday lights are all around. Snowmen pop up where there is no snow, usually in plastic of inflatable form. And I’ve yet to encounter a retail store without some version of a Christmas Teddy Bear. For me, having a Christmas tree is one of the big things. It needn’t be a big tree. But there is something about the smell and the lights and pretty decorations that says “Christmas”. It somehow reminds me of the beauty of a star filled sky and a winter landscape with snowy trees even if it’s 60 degrees outside and the tree is on a table in the house.

I love the challenge of coming up with holiday horses and teddy bear designs. And I love admiring the ones I see, special made from Breyer Animal Creations, The Trail of the Painted Ponies, Vermont teddy bears, artist teddy bears and all sorts of others. I can’t often afford to buy, but I can admire them nonetheless.

But the greatest challenge of the season comes from wondering how to give that gift of inspiration to others. The relatives with doom and gloom in their hearts due to bills threaten to dampen my own spirit. In fact, however many bills we have and however difficult it is with a new job and limited funds to pay them, we are well off. Some people have nothing but a cardboard box. Some people don’t even have their freedom or their health.

And I  must say I do get mad at people who stomp on the spirit. Not the ones who are just feeling low and worried, mind you.  It’s why I don’t like black Friday or shopping Christmas Eve. It has nothing to do with how I feel about sales, or the commercial apsects. It’s because instead of inspiring the spirit of giving, it inspires greed. People trample each other just to buy a toy. They rob each other. They block traffic intersections even though they can’t go anywhere and gridlock a whole neighborhood. No. To me that is not what Christmas is about. That takes a sacred holiday (and I mean sacred to most of us, even non Christians) about giving and turns it into a ‘who got the most gifts cheapest and fastest’ festival.

Now for me, I believe in the Christmas story. The whole miracle of God’s son coming down as a tiny baby and being born in a stable is wonderful. Maybe it appeals to me more because it was a stable. Animals are somehow more open and honest than people. I’ve sure never had one lie to me. So it doesn’t seem like a bad place to be born. I would think it would be a quiet place. It’s the theme of the undeserved, unexpected and easily taken for granted special gift. A gift that arrived unlooked for. t’s easy to overlook such things in our modern world. We are busier, noisier and needier than ever before. Face it. Back then they didn’t need cars, or computers. But the modern American economy wish crash flat if they all ceased to function, and a sizable chunk of the rest of the world would too. Of course, I doubt Mary and Joseph thought of it as peaceful to begin with. Traveling by donkey and finding noisy crowds,  then realizing she was about to give birth probably seemed pretty chaotic to them. Imagine Joseph’s reaction when she said the baby was coming. I can imagine him holding the donkey’s rope and going “NOW?” in dismay, whilst looking frantically around for somewhere, anywhere, for her to have the child. He was probably silently pleading with the promised ‘Son of God’ in her womb to stay there for just awhile longer.

Others may just enjoy Christmas as a time of giving gifts and being with family. I believe in Santa Claus too. Look him up you’ll find there really was a Santa Claus. Legend often starts as a grain of truth. It’s often seen in cheesy holiday movies these days that the kid realizes the Santa in the suit at the mall isn’t the ‘real’ Santa. But I’m not so sure of that. He may not be the original Santa. But I think Santa Claus comes back to the purest most basic form of the Christmas story: a giver of gifts, which contrary to the naughty and nice idea may not even be deserved or asked for. If they hold a generous heart every mall Santa is Santa. And so is every Dad assembling a new bike at two AM.  Every Mom is Santa or Mrs. Santa even if she’s a single mom juggling two jobs trying desperately to feed the kid, let alone give them a gift.

Now for  me, money is kind of tight. New job, old bills and the usual woes. But I know there are many people far worse off and this is my prayer: That they should all be given that gift of the unexpected kindness this Christmas. An unexpected dinner from a friend, a bill paid they weren’t sure how to cover, the hug of true friendship and an unexpected bonus of a special toy or music or other inspirational gift.

And I will believe, I have to, both on Christmas and off that we have to have faith in more than just our own little selves. If I only had that, I’d be a wreck. How could I hope to pay these bills? To earn enough money? On my own, I couldn’t. Because it takes more than one person to support one person. It takes an employer to hire, customers who want whatever your offering, family and friends to support when your low or when the first two aren’t available. It takes agencies to help with bills, or job seeking. It takes doctors and nurses to help one stay healthy. Not a one of us really truly functions alone. And when you see someone homeless on the street, they may not have gotten there alone either. Are they really too lazy to work, or do they have health or mental issues? Do they have family? Would they take help if it was offered? Sometimes it only takes one act of kindness to make a difference. And to give that you have to have that Christmas faith that it will help, even if you can’t see the results in the short term or perhaps ever at all. Call it ‘Do unto others’ or even Karma, but in the end the kindness comes back in unexpected ways.

The most important thing about Christmas inspirations is, it has to hold for more than just a day. The power of giving an unexpected kindness is just as strong throughout the year. It has to be because the rest of the year there are no Christmas trees or bright holiday lights to remind us.

New Online Advent Calendar

Get in the Christmas Spirit!

Check here: each day for new surprises behind the doors. Freebies, Inspirational items, stuff I made and things I found to be of interest. But don’t wait too long…it won’t be there forever!

Also keep watching the my Zazzle pages. New items are being added all the time and Zazzle has sales on every day this month! Remember most designs are customizable! That means you can add the recipient’s name or a special message to the design. Check out the ornaments that you can add a ‘to and from’ on the back. They make great gifts or will even double as gift tags.

Cafepress also has items on sale, including Christmas stockings.

Finally, don’t forget your Christmas Cards. For your horse loving friends or for those who love teddy bear, remember my  store at Greeting Card Universe . Expect sales there too. You can also customize the message in these cards. If you want special customizations – a name on front or like a design and would like to see it with a specific message or customization on front,  contact me. It can probably be done. There is a button right in each card page for contacting the artist (namely  me!)

Christmas Teddy Bear and Horse