Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com


Home of Jenny the Pirate



This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.


We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.


 Nice is different than good.


Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962



Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors


I am a Blue Star Mother




Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =



The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were






Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.


Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson



When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks



 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.


Keep To The Code








You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts




Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move



Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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Elmwood's angelic, elegiac elements

Erica took me 'taphing yesterday!

Well, she didn't take me -- I drove to the cemetery under my own steam -- but the darling accompanied me and she fetched the car to drive it along the lanes when I strayed too far afield.

The few times I rode shotgun, the Boo was good about proceeding slowly (well, sort of ... she says "slow down" isn't in her vocabulary) on the cold lanes of Elmwood Memorial Park in Columbia when I commanded (or pled), so I could do a little drive-by shooting as inspiration struck.

It was cold! Although the sun was shining fiercely and temperatures were well into the 40s, Boxing Day snow was still laying and many of the monuments were charmingly -- if chillingly -- frosted.

Fortunately I found a grave which more than adequately reflected the ambient conditions.

And I'm certainly glad I was not ill-clothed and ...

How about that? Have you ever personally known a person named Barefoot? There are actually lots of them!

On Find A Grave last night I came across the memorial to a WWII hero named Gillis W. Cornbread. 

That was a first for me too. What if Susie Barefoot had married Gillis Cornbread? She'd have been Susie Barefoot Cornbread.

I can think of worse things than being barefoot in cornbread -- with plenty of molasses -- but being known as Mrs. Cornbread? That had better be true love. But then you could always name the first kid Jalapeno.

Anyway, it was frosty at Elmwood and I had a grave-ilicious time even without cornbread. 

There's actually a story behind this angel. Several years ago the young son of some good friends of ours here in Columbia won an award for a picture he took of this very monument.

I saw the picture and was so impressed by it, I vowed someday I would take a similar picture of that angel and many others like her. 

I'm not sure I even owned a camera then. My first digital camera was given to me in 2005 and this may have been before that. At any rate, I was true to my word. She is majestically, commandingly angelic; don't you agree?

What is she writing?

I even like her feet.

Hello! Barefoot.

Erica is a most blithe little spirit in a cemetery. She never complains but rather engages in her surroundings, if a bit ... blithely.

Look it up.

As always, the shadows captivated me.

And as usual, each stunning detail made me catch my breath.

There are so many children! I try to imagine the grief of their parents at losing them so long ago. I cannot. So I picture these babies on the streets of Heaven, where I believe they are. Safe and sound. No more night; no more pain. No cold snow blanket! Warmth and eternal light.

I'm always looking for crosses because I love the iconic shape and the beautiful way they photograph.

This tombstress incorporates a cross into her repertoire. The way she holds her hand over the top of it reminds me of the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol, come to bring the light of truth to a recalcitrant and grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge.

He changed his tune quickly enough when he looked down on his own grave.

The angels kept getting smaller. The tiny wings of each one seemed to brush right up against my heart.

Even Especially the broken one.

They all wore thin crowns of Christmas snow.

I happened to glance over as Erica drove and my gaze fell on this last one. "Stop!" I said. I clambered over some roughish terrain to reach her.

She was so tiny and brave atop the stone. Her wings were only a few inches long.


The sight of her -- of all of them -- was heartrending, but I didn't cry!

Not a single tear.

Instead, I rejoiced that children whose lives were so brief were loved so well. In this heartless world where unborn (and born) children are murdered by the millions, that's saying a great deal.

And I rejoiced that even now, they live. All of them! Every one. Even Especially the ones who are not mourned. The ones who will never even have a grave, much less an angel guarding it.

Make no mistake: He Who could have called ten thousand angels guards them!

Because we are not bodies; we are never-dying souls. We merely have bodies to use. For a while. And our Creator cares what happens to us.


In other news, on Monday TG and Andrew drove up to Northwest Ohio to see TG's parents. This morning they bundled Grandpa into the truck and sallied forth a good many miles even farther west in Ohio farm country, to a little town called Pettisville.

In Pettisville Union Cemetery repose many of TG's relatives.

This afternoon Andrew sent me a picture of himself posing beside the graves of his great-grandparents. 

Andrew's obviously a namesake! And a very good one.

This next (and last ... for now) picture was taken during the summer of 1990, when Andrew was about sixteen months old. Those are his sassy big sisters arrayed behind him.

(l to r) Andrew, Audrey, Erica, Stephanie

(It's a picture of a picture. Lame, I know, but I don't yet have the ability to scan. Apologies for the poor quality. You can click to make these photos larger.)


I leave you with a few lines written by the great novelist Kaye Gibbons, author of one of my favorite reads of all time, the oft-imitated-but-never-matched-and-never-to-be-surpassed Ellen Foster.

This is an excerpt from the sequel to that book, The Life All Around Me By Ellen Foster. Among other things, I read this each year during the week after Christmas.

Let it be time to bring every memory inside like wood you place in the fireplace piece by piece, wish by wish. The old need that wasn't met, the wants misunderstood, what you absolutely knew and guessed, what you dreamed or half-invented, saw and heard outright or saw and heard in words you read and adored, what was done to you and calls for revenge you let burn away. Each thing is of the same good use, and burning together, continually, the light the bundle makes belongs to you, your love and work, what you see by, how you're seen.

~ Happy New Year! ~


Oh! How it dazzles.

I'm a certified nut about Christmas.

Now, I do my share of flapping around during the month of December about how are we going to pay for it and how am I going to get it all done and why is it I'm the only one doing all the shopping and decorating, et cetera.

And there may be a moment or two of the Yuletide blues thrown in for good measure.

You know. Par for the course.

But in the end, I love it. I love Christmas Eve and I love Christmas Day.

I love Christmas carols, Christmas cards, Christmas cookies, Christmas presents, Christmas ornaments, Christmas lights, Christmas ... did I already say presents?

I love the Christ of Christmas. Thank you for saving and keeping me, Lord.

Even so, this was a wonderful, truly special Christmas.

To quote my darling blogging buddy and new friend Donna M., it was magical.

Now, the grands weren't with us because they spend Christmas in Pennsylvania with their daddy's people.

But they'll be here to ring in the new year!

And at that time we will have Christmas all over again, on a somewhat smaller scale.

Christmas Day was made more exciting this year by the promise of afternoon rain (I love rain) and overnight snow! 

And we got both.

A wet slushy snow began in South Carolina around two o'clock in the morning, turned dry and fluffy toward dawn, and continued off and on until about noon today.

It wasn't quite cold enough for them to gang up on every surface the way they do up north, but the flakes -- huge and made of extreme light whiteness -- made it their mission to gently burden all the tree branches with their pleasantly persistent, silent and silverfrosty, featherweighted aggregate.

A most wintry post-Christmas prospect!

The high temperature for New Year's Eve is forecast at sixty-five degrees ... seventy on New Year's Day. We shall see.

At any rate, in all likelihood we won't have to "suffer" long.

Christmas Day began with Erica making pumpkin pancakes, something about which she has been talking practically nonstop for weeks.

They were very good.

After tidying the kitchen, I trayed up my signature cheese ball.

It must've been very good too because before long it resembled an orangeish crater surrounded by cracker-crumb debris.

This young man may've had something to do with that ... together with his twice-cursed pirate father.

(That's actually the second cheese ball that was reduced to rubble! The recipe makes two. The first one met its inevitably identical fate on Christmas Eve.)

Then it was time to set the Christmas table. Because I had two sizes of Eiffel Tower napkins and because I'm a Francophile (n'est-ce pas?), I devised an impromptu (but no less chic) Paris theme for our festivities.

These cherub candlesticks make Erica nervous because she says she "can't see their feet."



*finger circles at temple*

I assure you they have tiny but perfectly serviceable cherubic feet (should they require same, something I personally cannot envision because don't they fly everywhere? Or, barring that, simply hover wherever they happen to end up?), floating out behind them.

Erica sort of does not understand my fixation with angelic things, especially angel wings.

I think it's self-explanatory: I must be an angel!


Speaking of angels, look at this pretty little red-lipsticked thang!

That's Audrey. Inexplicably, she is single.

One of the great inscrutable mysteries of the universe.

Personally, I think she's just around to keep the rest of us humble because beside her, we look so ordinary.

What say you? Answer freely but don't get brain freeze trying to figure it out.

Erica's single too but she's deeply involved with Josh Groban.

Sorry guys! Talk about a tough act to follow.

Once things were humming along in the kitchen cooking-wise, on track for a five o'clock sit-down dinner, the family began assembling in the front room for the MAIN EVENT, baby.

It was all candle-glowy and twinkle-lighty in there. Don't you love that? 

Me too!

I had to go fetch TG, who was watching sports in the family room. My arm isn't long enough to get a good picture of us both and he didn't offer his long arm, so this is as good as it gets.

He eclipses me, but only slightly. As it should be. Of the two of us, the term lunacy applies much more to me.

The French theme continued as Erica received a bottle of Chanel Chance Eau de Parfum and TG got the new fragrance pour homme, Bleu de Chanel.

Also the somewhat obligatory but no less welcomed assortment of stylish new neckwear.

Ladies, if you want your man to smell divine, this is the substance to slap on him. Trust me.

Andrew got some stuff too. I think he's so cute. Also single.

Javier didn't get anything but he didn't care. The vet told me that with rare exceptions, all your dog really needs is food, water, and love. Javier gets lots of all three.

Truth be known, he has so much of those things, he could stand to give some away to less fortunate dogs.

What we do is, we go around the room clockwise and each person opens a gift while everyone else watches and comments, offers receipts and the random explanation sprinkled with copious I hope you like its.

Well, I left my big present for last. I think subconsciously I knew they'd gotten me the camera but I didn't dare hope lest it didn't come true.

It came true. I cried. I think a few of them cried.

That's just how we are. I love it.

Look at it again. I know it's an inanimate object; I know it cannot love me back. I know it has little intrinsic value beyond its ability to simply do what it was created to do: record digital images.

But it makes me so happy because to me, owning it will open worlds. I want new worlds opened to me in 2011. As much as I love Christmas, I hate the status quo.

Am I making any sense? Please say that I am. 

Even if I'm not, you may take my word for it: that camera is sweet.

Before eating dinner, we posed around the table. Click this one in order to better feast your eyes upon my beloveds. It was taken with the camera they bought me.

We had a delicious meal.

It was a perfect day.

I hope your Christmas was happy too. 

It's snowing again.

I love you!

~ Happy New Year! ~


This is cool

Which is fitting because we're about to experience a white-ish Christmas in South Carolina!

If you count the night of and the day after Christmas as Christmas, still.

Which I do.

Because I can.

And because there are lots of leftovers.

In fact I think I am due for a slice of pie with Cool Whip on top.

I will keep you posted about the snow. With pictures.


Now for your listening and viewing pleasure, I give you the adorable Josh Groban in a live performance of recent vintage in Sydney, Australia, singing his hit The Bells of New York City from his new CD, Illuminations.

By the way, TG also gave me the Neil Diamond CD Dreams, which is fantastic. You should get it.


Christmas is not dead

Neither is the One Whose birth we celebrate!

And no government, no bureaucrat, no president, no king, no despot, no senator, no legislature, no liberal, no activist, no pundit, no man or woman ever has or ever will possess enough power to change it.


And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

(As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

~ The Gospel According to Luke ~ Chapter Two ~


Merry Christmas!


The shortest day we loved a baby in

MelanieSomebody Is Six

Our little Melanie Noel turned six today. She celebrated her birthday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania -- where she was born -- with her "other" grandparents ... Grammy and Pappy, to be exact.

Lots of beloved and seldom-seen aunts and uncles and cousins were in attendance too.

Last Friday, south of the Mason-Dixon line, we observed the momentous occasion as we usually do, a few days early ... in Tar Heel country.

AllissaUnlike last year, there was no snowstorm in Western North Carolina the weekend before Christmas.

Unlike last year, Aunt Erica wasn't able to be there. Work commitments.

Unlike last year, Uncle Andrew was able to be there ... albeit not until the morning after the actual party. Last year he was stuck in the Atlanta airport while we feted our Melly with ice cream, cake, and presents.

Just like last year, Aunt Audrey made the trip to North Carolina to add her special flair to the festivities.

Melly herself was there both years too. She has an uncanny knack for being front and center at her birthday parties.

Born with some difficulties, Melanie stubbornly hangs onto her little developmental quirks as stubbornly as we hang onto her ... and to our hopes that someday she'll catch all the way up.

Meantime, we enjoy her to the fullest and she seems to enjoy life as much as anybody and a great deal more than some.

Every year I buy Melanie a Hallmark keepsake ornament. This year it was Snowball and his little sidekick, Tuxedo, cutting out snowflakes.

She also got a Crayola Model Magic Presto Dots to the Max toy, with which one builds crazy-colored creatures with a non-crumby putty type material.

Audrey got the hang of it really fast. She labored for an hour on her creature, even giving him long strings of white hair.

Audrey had her sixth birthday in 1989.

Melanie liked the colors of the putty and the way it felt in her fingers.

Allissa intermittently watched and begged to use the "rolling pin" to flatten the globs of "dough" so they could be formed into creatures and decorated.

Melanie also received a pink sparkly purse which made quite a hit. That child is nuts about her purse. Just try and touch it ... much less hold it. She'll be ladylike about it (up to a point) but make no mistake: she wants it back.

Other presents included a special pencil holder (complete with pencils) from a missionary friend in Grenada, West Indies, and a Christmas doll with "2010" embroidered on the yoke of her dress.

Not a bad haul for somebody turning six!

(And no, those aren't tombstones decorating her birthday cake. And I didn't do it. Her mother put marshmallow snowmen all over it.)

Send Me Out To The Ballgame

As part of my son-in-law's Christmas, our daughter bought him tickets to a University of North Carolina basketball game.

Despite his Keystone State upbringing, Joel's been a Tar Heel fan since he was a kid.

TG, Andrew, and Joel looked handsome and were in high spirits as they set out after lunch on Saturday for the four o'clock tip-off at Greensboro Coliseum.

(l to r) Andrew, TG, Joel

(I guess it's all but impossible to get tickets to a true home game in Chapel Hill, but nobody was complaining about the neutral venue where the Tar Heels played the Texas Longhorns.)

We girls watched the game at home on CBS. We gasped as the Tar Heels were defeated by two points practically at the buzzer. The one hundred orange-clad Texas fans who'd made the long trip looked very happy indeed amongst a sea of disappointed wearers of Carolina blue.

Ah well.

Sergeant Eckard Is Not Forgotten

A great American hero lies in a cemetery in Hickory, North Carolina. He was laid to rest there last February.

His name was Christopher W. Eckard. He was a husband, the father of two little boys, and a Marine who went to Afghanistan after serving four tours in Iraq.

It was on that fifth tour of duty that Chris Eckard was killed as he assisted combat operations.

He had decommissioned over 240 bombs in 2004 alone.

At the time of his death, Chris was thirty years old.

He had a strong testimony of faith in Christ and I believe he is in Heaven today.


Sergeant Eckard's homecoming and burial made the news in Hickory last winter as thousands of citizens -- including hundreds of schoolchildren -- lined the streets to witness his cortege as it passed.

We stopped after church on Sunday, on our way back home to Columbia, to pay our respects.

Somehow these things are harder to deal with at Christmastime.

Javier Finds New Arms To Hold Him

Javier the Chihuahua is loving life to the max now that Andrew is home to stretch out full-length on the floor, a Christmas blankie for his pillow, the triangle formed between his shoulder and his hands behind his head making a soft warm nest for a silly wee dog.

Sue ... Sue, Are You Listening?

I have a bad cold. Started coming down with it on Sunday.

Even so, yesterday and today I hung tough and finished all of my Christmas shopping.

Tomorrow'll be all about wrapping 'em up, baby.


And now the days grow longer.

~ Merry Christmas! ~