Count your blessings…

I know you’ve all read or heard many times by many people what I’m about to say, but I’m feeling especially sentimental for some reason this year, so here goes…

I’ve felt very blessed this year as I’ve watched as the number of presents grow under the tree, especially since I know that my daughters have been contributing to them with their own money and time. As I sit here in a few moments of near-silence this Christmas morning, I can hear my family beginning to stir upstairs, and I’m feeling very blessed by those sounds, as well. I recognize that while we’re very far from rich, we are very fortunate. My daughters have grown up with both parents, most of their grandparents, and even many of their great grandparents. We’ve always had a house to call home with a strong, stable family, and have all enjoyed good health, for the most part. We’ve not had many years that we needed to “wipe the year away” as George Michael sang about in ‘December Song,’ but we do still dream of Christmas. I hope it will always be a time for our family to gather and enjoy our biggest blessing, the love we have for each other.

Peace to you all!

December Song:

Link: “Your Christmas Wish”, the Tuesday Picture Prompt at Flashy Fiction

Santa ClausYour Christmas Wish, the Tuesday Picture Prompt for 24 December 2013 is waiting for you at Flashy Fiction.

Hop up on Santa’s knee, tell him your heart’s desire, and share a story about what you wished for and whether you get it or not.

Write Something!

Music Monday – Two of my favorite artists on the eve of Christmas Eve

Another short Music Monday and again Christmas is the subject.  Two of my favorite artists, George Michael and Kelly Clarkson provide the songs this week, with Kelly getting a little help from a couple country superstars.

December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas) by George Michael
(released 2009; peaked #14 UK Singles, #18 Netherlands)

There was always Christmas time
To wipe the year away
I guess that morning they’d decided
That the war would have to wait

There was always Christmas time
Jesus came to stay
I could believe in peace on Earth
And I could watch TV all day
So I dreamed of Christmas

While it has a rather melancholy sound to it, but I like that it alludes to life (good or bad) taking a break for Christmas time and that because it is at the end of the year, it can kind of wipe away the year so you can start over in the next.  Ultimately, it’s a George Michael song and there isn’t much by him that I don’t like.

Silent Night by Kelly Clarkson with Trisha Yearwood and Reba McEntire

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace

Wow!  This is my favorite version of this song.  Three music powerhouses in their own rights.  While I’ve really been digging Kelly’s new album, Wrapped in Red, I got chills when Reba began singing.  She comes on stage just before the third verse (about the two minute mark) and you can see that she’s not just singing a song, she’s proclaiming what she believes.  Awesome!

Music Monday – My Wish

Just one song with week on Music Monday, but it’s a great one, especially this close to Christmas.  For a lot of people, Christmas is nothing more than a time for commercialism…buying and selling, and, maybe, making sure their kids get the gifts they want.  Well, often, the best gifts are ones we didn’t realize we needed, like a kind word or a helping hand, for someone to notice that we’re stressed out and simply ask “Hey, how are you doing?”  It’s along these lines that I post the entire lyrics for this wonderful song.  Maybe you’ll find a word or two to be something you need to hear.  It can’t hurt to take five and give it a listen…to my wish for you!

My Wish by Rascal Flatts

(released 2006; peaked #1 US Country, #13 US Adult Contemporary, #28 US Hot 100)

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow
And each road leads you where you want to go
And if you’re faced with the choice and you have to choose
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you

And if one door opens to another door closed
I hope you keep on walkin’ til you find the window
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile
But more than anything, more than anything

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you’re out there gettin’ where you’re gettin’ to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish

I hope you never look back but you never forget
All the ones who love you and the place you left
I hope you always forgive and you never regret
And you help somebody every chance you get

Oh, you’d find God’s grace in every mistake
And always give more than you take
But more than anything, yeah more than anything

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you’re out there gettin’ where you’re gettin’ to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish, yeah yeah

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you’re out there gettin’ where you’re gettin’ to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish
(My wish for you)

This is my wish
(My wish for you)
I hope you know somebody loves you
(My wish for you)
May all your dreams stay big
(My wish for you)
yeah this is my wish

Music Monday – Tis The Season

Christmas season is in full swing.  Let me rephrase that.  I am acknowledging that Christmas Season is in full swing.  Prior to Thanksgiving, I do my best to pretend that all the Christmas stuff in the stores doesn’t exist.  Heck, this year it was out before Halloween.  So, now that Christmas season is upon us, I’ve kicking off the first Music Monday with some Christmas songs, but not the traditional Andy Williams, Mitch Miller, Roger Whittaker, Mariah Carey (oh, yes, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is a classic!), Nat King Cole, and Brenda Lee with their chestnuts, joy, resting gentlemen, and rockin’ around the tree.  This week, at least, we’re listening to James Galway, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Loreena McKennitt, and Kelly Clarkson.  Lastly, I’ve included a video of one of the many home light shows set to Christmas music.

The Wexford CarolJames Galway
(released 1998)
A master flautist.  I have a number of James Galway’s CDs.  (Yes, compact discs.  I hear you younger folks sniggering.)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerBig Bad Voodoo Daddy
(released 2013)
Didn’t think we needed the lyrics to “Rudolph”.  I think we all know them pretty well.  I do love Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, though.  I’d love to have them play an office Christmas party.
The Bells of Christmas by Loreena McKennitt
(released in 1994 on the soundtrack to “The Santa Clause”)
Now with song we fill the night
While magic dances in the light
To wish you now and all the year
The joy that comes with Christmas cheer
Hear our voices fill the air
To drive the winter’s cold away
And so our hearts with all will share
The love that comes with Christmas Day
Loreena McKennitt has such a beautiful voice.  I’ve been a fan of her Celtic music for years.  This song was featured in “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen.
Please Come Home for Christmas (Bells Will Be Ringing)Kelly Clarkson
(released 2013)

Was I out of my head? Was I out of my mind?
How could I have ever been so blind?
I was waiting for an indication, it was hard to find

I posted over a month ago about Kelly Clarkson’s new Christmas album, Wrapped In Red, and the song ‘Underneath the Tree’.  It’s a jamming little tune that’s sure to be a hit and find its way into the annual Christmas song radio playlists.  ‘Please Come Home For Christmas’ is one of the covers on the album, originally released in 1960 by blues singer Charles Brown.
Past Three O’Clock – James Galway
(released 1992)

Mid earth rejoices
Hearing such voices
e’ertofore so well
Carolling Nowell.

Past three a clock,
And a cold frosty morning,
Past three a clock;
Good morrow, masters all!

Hinds o’er the pearly,
Dewy lawn early
Seek the high Stranger
Laid in the manger

I added this second James Galway song because I hadn’t heard it before.  I’m not saying it’s one of my favorites, but it’s interesting.  While looking for the lyrics to this song, I also found a site (The Hymns and Carols of Christmas) that’s stated purpose is “preserve the rich history of Christmas carols and hymns that might otherwise be lost.”  From what I can gather, this version of the song’s lyrics was written in 1924.

To finish this Music Monday up, here’s a video of one of those crazy houses with the light show set to Christmas music.

Music Monday – Christmas Comes A Bit Early This Year

Kelly Clarkson is releasing a Christmas album entitled Wrapped In Red…and it’s got some great songs.  Duh!  Even if she’d only covered existing songs, it would have been worth a listen, but this album also has a number of new songs and if “Underneath the Tree” is any indication, I can’t wait to hear “Wrapped in Red” and the others.  Kelly also just got married this past weekend, so I suppose I should have led the article off by calling her Kelly Blackstock.  Best of luck to her and her new husband!


Underneath the Tree

Presents, what a beautiful sight
Don’t mean a thing if you ain’t holding me tight
You’re all that I need
underneath the tree 

A catchy upbeat tune, this is sure to be an instant Christmas favorite.


White Christmas

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

A soulful cover of a Christmas classic.

Music Monday – The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For many people, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  For others, it’s absolutely dreadful.  Still many other fall somewhere in between.  In the spirit of Christmas, this week’s Music Monday will be a brief listing of a few of my favorite Christmas songs.

‘Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do?
Baby all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Let’s get this started with the young and yummy and uber-talented Mariah Carey.  From 1994, here’s All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Last Christmas
I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away.
This year
To save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special.

Let’s keep the Christmas party going with my favorite artist, George Michael.  Here’s Wham! with Last Christmas.

For those looking for a slightly more upbeat version, here’s Cascada’s version.

And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace

Unfortunately, I cannot find a video for my favorite Christmas song, “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” by Robert Goulet, so you’ll have to simply listen to it here on YouTube.  I love the pacing of the song combined with his deep voice.  It just works for me.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!  …and if you don’t celebrate it, I still wish you the good will of the Christmas season.

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