What Christmas Means to Me

By Betty Boyd

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Christmas has been called the most wonderful time of the year and I do believe that it is. I bought a porcelain Nativity scene many years ago and I keep it out all year. This Nativity keeps the meaning of Christmas in my mind all year. The coming of our Lord is the true meaning for Christmas. I really like Advent which helps prepare me for His coming. Advent is a time when one prepares spiritually for the coming of the birth of Christ.

While I wait during the days leading up to Christmas, I practice with the choir all the traditional songs for the midnight Mass which I take part. This preparation allows me to feel more in tune with our Lord’s birth. There is a true link within these songs that makes me feel that all this hustle and bustle is worth it.

I truly look forward to the midnight Mass. Our church is fully decorated, and the pews filled with parishioners ready to celebrate the true significance the season has to offer. I sing my heart out to honor the birth of our Savior. Once the Mass is over, I feel a little disappointed, but I know that this was my present to our Lord, just like the magi.

Life has many expectations, for me, as I wait for the Lord. He is coming soon and Christmas is one way for all of us to celebrate the anticipation of His birth.

Merry Christmas!

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My Grandmother’s Finest

By Betty Boyd

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My grandmother on my Dad’s side was very sweet and kind. She lived in Altoona, PA, and we would visit as often as we could. I remember her voice was mellow and warm when she greeted us, and there was such a softness about her. Grandmother Rose was a full-blooded Italian, and a marvelous cook. Her best dish was homemade pasta and gravy(sauce).

She had a small kitchen and I did my best to help her. The smell of the wonderful sauce permeated the air. The gravy was filled with richness from the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and other spices. Not to be outdone were the meatballs that were cooked alongside the fabulous sauce.

While the gravy was on a slow simmer, the meatballs were added to the pot. Then we made the pasta. Grandmother Rose would roll out the dough for the pasta. She put it through a simple pasta machine, not like the ones they have today, for this was in the early 1970’s. The pasta had to dry before it could be cooked. Once it had dried, then the real fun began.

She brought the water to a boil, then placed the pasta, a little bit a time, into the water. Grandma Rose made enough for several meals, since it was such an arduous task to put the dough through the machine and could take two to three hours to complete the process.

Once all the pasta was cooked, and the sauce was simmered to perfection it was manga time! The freshness of the homemade pasta and gravy were beyond anything I have ever experienced. I have made my own sauce which will never compare to Grandmother Rose’s or even my Mom’s. I’ve never attempted to make homemade pasta, because I just wanted to remember how my Grandmother Rose’s tasted.

Cooking with your family can bring back some great memories. So, go ahead and plan doing a great meal together, and see the chef come out in you.

Here is an on-line recipe for meatballs: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/italian-american-meatballs-3363213. Enjoy!

The Smart Phone Phenomenon

By Betty Boyd

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Can you live without your cell phone? Imagine sitting by a land line and waiting for an expected call. Our smart phones are one of the most technological advancements in the last twenty years.

Initially, mobile phones were generally used for talking. When Steve Jobs in 2007 presented to the world the first I-Phone, this changed the trajectory of what smart phones should be. In the early going, developers added new features such as voicemail. Other brands such as Samsung and Motorola broke into the market and continued to advance.

Our cell phones are now multimedia driven. You can take photos, video chat, stream many forms of content, play games, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and search the internet. The list goes on and on.

The smart phone now comes in many sizes and a variety of colors. They include higher screen resolution and operating system interfaces are of high quality, and have greater storage capacity.

Customers are demanding more and more of their mobile devices. They are replacing our laptops, TV’s, and even tablets. These devices are streamlined. Our data is now stored in the cloud, and artificial intelligence is included in the package.

The smart phone has revolutionized lives over the last twenty years and will continue to advance in the future. What changes are in store?

Writing prompt: How has the smart phone changed your life?

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Are You Ready for Some Football!

By Betty Boyd

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There is a nip of coolness in the air. The tailgaters are once again gathered at their favorite college campus. The anticipation is enormous, and discussions abound on how each team will do in the upcoming season.

Some say baseball is America’s sport, but from what I can see, football really is. While growing up, I can remember sitting around the television every Saturday afternoon, and watching with wonder on how my favorite college team -Notre Dame-would do against its current rival.

There is a unique competitive spirit running through a college football team that is unlike anything any other sport can offer. I marvel at the athleticism, skill and tenacity of every individual on that team. College football is a breath of fresh air, in that, you have a distinctive bond that cannot be matched by any other sport.

Don’t get me wrong, I follow baseball and pro football, but I have never found quite the excitement and thrill I get watching college football. The tradition and nostalgia it exudes is what makes it so awesome a past time.

So, are you ready for some football? I sure am, and I will still be watching every Saturday afternoon to cheer Notre Dame on to victory.

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Writing prompt: What is your family’s football tradition?

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Ecclesiastes-Living Life with Purpose

By Betty Boyd

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A famous song from the 1960’s sung by the musical group, The Birds, was titled Turn, Turn, Turn. This song is based upon chapter three of the Book of Ecclesiastes. When I was young kid, I was fascinated by both the message and the meaning of the words it contains.

I’ve read Ecclesiastes more than once, and I receive a different life lesson each time. The word Ecclesiastes comes from the Greek word for “preacher” or “teacher” and King Solomon was its author.

The examples of living a life with the purpose of serving Jesus Christ is significant to me. This book is about the reflections on life and what we should do to be better people. It contains positive and negative connotations about our existence, and how things really are. Though there are twelve chapters in the Book of Ecclesiastes, the one I most want to focus on is chapter three.

Chapter 3 reminds us that all things happen for a reason. We weep, mourn, love, hate, are born, kill, can be killed, embrace, gain, lose and then there is death. Ecclesiastes 3:12-14 cites “there is nothing better than to rejoice, and to do well in life. For this is a gift from God when each man eats and drinks, and sees the good results of his labor.  …we are not able to add anything, nor take anything away, from those things which God has made in order the he may be feared.”

The rejoicing in one’s work is my favorite concept from this chapter. God wants me to do well, and I depend upon him for everything. Since God already knows what is going to happen in my life, it is my choice to freely say yes, and to realize that all things are possible.

 

Writing prompt: What is your favorite book in the Bible and the one best lesson you learned.