Christmas Card 2022

For those of you who know me well, my Christmas Card is early this year! Some years it doesn’t make it out until March!

For those of you with whom I am more recently acquainted… Yes! I do understand that it is a very strange thing to receive a Christmas Card in February! (It doesn’t really ever go out as late as March… well, once maybe! 🙂 ) But it has become a bit of a tradition over these last few decades that it arrives in midwinter…

It is my wish to send a special gift – something from my heart – to celebrate the Joy of the Holiday Season, and to remind us to keep cognizant of the Spirit of Love and Kindness throughout the year! I am a great believer in the power of words. Since my teen years, I would collect quotes and stories about Christmas and send them out to everyone as my Christmas Card. Eventually, I began to write my own original stories. (This, as it turns out, takes even longer! 🙂 )

I am inspired by the experience of each Christmas Holiday Season and every year, I am stirred by its beautiful values. I love to celebrate and savor the time… I usually don’t get to baking until some mid-January weekend. I capture whatever bits of Christmas Magic I can throughout the winter and weave them into a story that I hope will delight you and lift your spirit whenever you may read it!

So, you may choose to dismiss this as, “Oh, that Crazy Guy is sending out Christmas Cards in February again!” or you may choose to receive it in the spirit in which it is sent: May you enjoy all of the Magic and Sparkle and Beauty of the many Gifts of Christmas (Peace on Earth! Good Will toward Everyone! Love and Kindness, Compassion, Generosity and Cheer! Wassail! Wassail!) Boy, oh Boy! Could we ever use more of those things now…

I hope that you will appreciate this years’ story: It is the story five brothers. Perhaps you have met some of them already. And it is about the importance, and sometimes the difficulties and challenges, of sharing the unique gifts we bring to the world!

So please, if you will, make yourself your favorite warm beverage – a Hot Cacao is always nice! – sit back this lovely day or evening, allow yourself a brief respite,  and have a nice read, enjoying the magic, wonder and delight of “Five Brothers’ Unique Gifts…” (more…)

Christmas Card 2021

A Story for a wintry afternoon…. As many of you know, my Christmas Card Story usually gets posted in the weeks following Christmas, sometime between Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Easter Sunday. This year, this seems the perfect week for it. The temperatures are low and the daylight is short… perhaps a story about this little Bakery in the Italian Section of the Bronx a few years before the turn of the century will help remind us to appreciate how much Beauty and Value can be found in the simplicity of what we do. It is sprinkled with Miracles and Italian expletives!

It has been a wild ride these past two years. Perhaps Showing Up for our Lives is the Miracle!
The idea of sending this out after Christmas is in part to remind us all to celebrate Gratitude, Readiness, Openness and Willingness, and all the values of Christmas the whole year through… The other part is that it takes me a while to write it! 🙂
It is sent to you with Gratitude for our manifesting here upon this planet at the same time, for our paths crossing, for the Life that we share, and with Love…

The Course in Miracles says, “There is no such thing as coincidence and chance plays no part in God’s plan.” The poet, HAFIZ, says, “This place where you are now. God circled on a map for you.”

 And so, inspired by the idea of just how Lucky and Blessed we truly are, I offer the following story…
Perhaps you would like to make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, or bubbling herbal tea, or some delightful warm beverage, and take a little time to cozy up and enjoy this Story Adventure…

Un Fornaio Cuoce (A Baker Bakes)

By Arnold J. Mungioli

I. * * * * Mama * * * *

You would have thought her a crusty old lady. Pugnacious and confrontational, Mama was a tough First Generation Italian American Woman from the Bronx with a heart of gold! If you were a child and walked into her bakery, you would often be hit over the head with a breadstick just a little too hard, and then she would smile the warmest smile and hand it to you. It was an act of generosity, as she saw it. She had made the breadstick herself, so it was a heartfelt and handmade gift. Moreover, she never wanted to see any child go hungry. But no kid likes to be hit over the head with a breadstick. Often the children would cry just from the shock of it, not because they were hurt at all. And Mama would dismiss the child disparagingly and unsympathetically as “shpeel la beep’,” “mingherlino” or “affamato.” She didn’t trust skinny people. And she held firm the belief that to spare the rod was to spoil the child.

“Shpeel la beep’” in Mama’s Italian dialect meant literally, “pipe cleaner” and was used derogatorily to insult a skinny person. Growing up as her daughter — a Second Generation Italian American Girl — these dialect expressions would fly by when the families got together – sometimes you would get a translation. More often than not, you’d get slapped for asking because somehow you were supposed to know that it was a dirty word and not appropriate to ask about that one.

Eventually you would learn to just accept that some phrases get translated and others you just have to figure out for yourself – decipher from sequence context. As I tell you Mama’s story, you’ll learn to do that too.

: Christmas Card 2021 (more…)

Christmas Card 2019

Well here it is, February again!
Yes, it is earlier than usual this year.
The writing process is completely individual — mine is somewhat bulky and painstaking, as I grapple with words and mud wrestle with the angel. But what are we as creative artists if not willing to surrender our complete vulnerability?
So, while on one level it may seem absurd to be sending out a Christmas Card story some six weeks after Christmas, I feel that it is always a good time to share kindness and light and tidings of comfort and joy!
Please accept these good wishes as they are intended…
to lift your heart; to lift your spirit; to send you Light and Love in the midst of troubling and turbulent times…
(more…)

Christmas Card 2018

For those who know me, my Christmas Card arriving in February is somewhat of a tradition — well, February might even be a bit early!
Christmastime itself is a time to be fully present. I enjoy this time of year with my partner and with my big Italian Family from all parts of the globe, as well as friends in different locations.
We still decorate our home in a way that requires several days to put up and several days to take down, and of course, we celebrate all Twelve Days of Christmas.
Somewhere in that experience, I will invariably experience some spark to my Soul of something I would like to share with everyone!
This year, I was stricken by the possibility of angels. Not as occurring in a separate time and place, or long ago, but amidst and amongst the physical realities of simple family gatherings and amongst time together with friends.
And so, (more…)

Christmas Card 2017

It’s Arrived!
For those who may not know, My Christmas Card usually arrives sometime midwinter.

After so many years, it has become somewhat of a Tradition!
I think of it as one way to Celebrate the Values of Christmas the Whole Year through!
As we get deeper into Winter, reminders of Kindness, Generosity, Love, Peace on Earth and Good Will toward Everyone are generally Welcome and Appreciated.
I hope that this story can be that for you.
And So, today, on this snow covered morning in the middle of February, I offer you my Christmas Card.
Feel free to curl up with a  Mug of Hot Cacao, or your favorite Tea, and Enjoy!
Sent to you with Love and Wishing You all the Bountiful Blessings of Winter…

(more…)

Christmas Card 2015

IMG_2593…At Last!
And this year, it’s posted before WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY! 🙂
For those who don’t know, My Christmas Card traditionally arrives sometime in January or February, but has always made it out before Easter Sunday! After so many years, it has become somewhat of a Lovely Tradition!
I think of it as one way of Celebrating the Values of Christmas the Whole Year through!
As we get deeper into Winter, reminders of Kindness, Generosity, Love, Peace on Earth and Good Will toward Everyone are generally Welcome and Appreciated.
I hope that this story can be that for you.
And So, here even in the middle of February, I offer you my Christmas Card.
Feel free to curl up with a  Mug of Hot Cacao, or your favorite Tea, and Enjoy!
Sent to you with Love and Wishing You all the Bountiful Blessings of Winter…

(more…)

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  • Life Adventure

  • Some Good Movies

    IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
    THE SIXTH SENSE
    SAINT RALPH
    I AM
    PRIDE
    THE GOOD LIE
    MAO'S LAST DANCER
    MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON
    CALENDAR GIRLS
    WALK ON WATER
    CINEMA PARADISO
    SLIDING DOORS
    THE LIVES OF OTHERS
    LOCAL COLOR
    BREAKING THE WAVES
    EVERYBODY'S FINE
    READY? OK
    INKHEART
    THE LIVING END
    MARRIAGE, ITALIAN STYLE
    THE BUBBLE
    BIUTIFUL
    GYPSY w/ ROSALIND RUSSELL
    and Anything by PETER HEDGES

  • Arnold J. Mungioli