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 2020

This Year’s Tree…

I know. I have been unusually silent on here for Christmas time! There are so many wonderful things to be said about this magical holiday season of Miracles! And ordinarily, I cannot stop saying them!

2020 has been an exceptionally Magical year, giving us time to pause, reflect and reassess how we spend the precious little time we have on this Earth. This Holiday Season has very much followed suit. Shaking it up! Giving us a different way to look at things we have grown accustomed to doing some particular way.

For so many of us, the Christmas Season happens by rote. Every Year it’s the same: Shop, Decorate, Tree, Cards, Wrap, Ship, Family, Cook, Collapse… Nope – Not this Year! This Year we will need to find what is important to us and figure out how to hang on to that!

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Worthy Recipients

Just placed into the stand, and undecorated, five days before Christmas

Just placed into the stand, and undecorated, five days before Christmas

What an Imperfect Holiday, eh?
Whew!
I have been Way Behind.
Christmas was four days ago, and I’m still Way Behind!

Today is the Fourth Day of Christmas.
A reminder: December 25th is Christmas Day and December 26th is the First Day Of Christmas… the Twelve Days culminate in the Feast of the Epiphany (sometimes known in the United States as “Little Christmas”) on January 6th — the Twelfth Day of Christmas!

And so I take a Breath, and I remind myself that nothing is Behind.
No one has failed.
We are simply in the midst of it all!
As Always, Everything happens in the Perfect Time-Space Configuration.
In fact, this is still the first Half!
Breeeeeeeeeeeeathe…
Now pause with me, and take another Deep Breath.
Deeeeeeeeep Breeeeeeeeath…
Take two or three, if you like….
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm…
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Three French Hens

IMG_5902December 25th: Christmas Day
December 26th: The First Day Of Christmas
December 27th: The Second Day Of Christmas
December 28th: The Third Day Of Christmas. Today. Now.

A quick bit of internet research reveals that the Three French Hens in the Carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” have several symbolisms:

Some say they symbolize Faith Hope and Love
Others say they signify the Holy Trinity
And still others believe they refer to a new breed of Chicken.

In some cultures, White Chickens are believed to bring Good Luck.
For many, the Hen is a sign of Motherly Devotion
For others, it symbolizes Divine Intervention.
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Less than Two Weeks

Advent CalendarLess than Two Weeks ‘til Christmas.
What a Beautiful Time of Year!

Oh, I realize it is quite Out-of-Fashion to say that!
What’s popular now is Ugly Sweater Parties
Disparaging Christmas, making a mockery of it.
Santa-con — Reducing Christmas to the most debauched aspect of St. Patrick’s Day!
That seems to me just too Easy!
It’s Easy to Stand on the Outside in Jeer and Derision.
I advocate: Show Up for Your Life!
It’s way more Rewarding to Actively and Joyfully participate IN it.
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