Saturday, December 17, 2016

God Forgives

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The Birds Of The Twelve Days Of Christmas

The Twelve Days Of Christmas is an English Christmas carol that was originally published in a book called Mirth Without Mischief in about 1780. However, the song is believed to be much older than the printed version and there are at least 3 French versions known to exist. Some of the items mentioned in the carol indicate a French origin too. For example, the partridge was not introduced to England until the late 1770s. 

Five Gold Rings

One of the myths surrounding The Twelve Days Of Christmas is that it is a "catechism song" used by young Catholics to help them learn the tenets of their faith. The partridge in the pear tree is said to represent Christ and the other verses refer to parts of the Catholic doctrine. However, this myth has been refuted and although the origins of the song are unknown it is likely that is is secular in nature. 

One thing though is for sure; no other Christmas carol features birds quite as much as The Twelve Days Of Christmas. Here we take a look at the birds featured in the carol and suggest what some of the non-ornithological verses could refer to. 

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me A Partridge in a Pear Tree 
The partridge is a member of the pheasant family and has been a traditional game bird in England for centuries. The partridge referred to in the carol is most likely a Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) or English Partridge. Partridges are usually ground birds who feed on seeds and insects so we are not sure why it would be sitting in a pear tree. 

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me Two Turtle Doves 
The Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) is a common summer visitor to England. It is a dainty dove, smaller and darker than most other pigeons but would have been featured in banquets in medieval times just a today we eat pigeon. 

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me Three French Hens 
There are a four well-known breeds of French hens; Faverolles, La Fleche, Crevecoeurs and Marans. Faverolles have superior egg-laying ability during the winter months so would make an ideal gift for someone's true love at Christmas. 

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me Four Calling Birds 
Most people interpret a calling bird as a song bird. However, the original song referred to "Four Colly Birds". The word colly means "black as coal or soot" so it is likely that the gift was four blackbirds (Turdus merula). We know that blackbirds were eaten in the past from the children's nursery rhyme "Four And Twenty Blackbirds Baked In A Pie". 

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me Five Gold Rings 
The gold rings are not in fact pieces of jewellery as the literal meaning would have you believe but are actually ring-necked birds. These are most likely to be Common (Ring-necked) Pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) which were introduced to England from China in medieval times. Pheasant is still a popular game bird eaten today. 

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me Six Geese-a-Laying 
The geese in this verse are probably domesticated birds so are likely to be the Greylag Goose (Anser anser), the ancestor of our domesticated geese. The Greylag Goose is a large, native British bird and is still traditionally eaten for Christmas. 

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me Seven Swans-a-Swimming 
Nowadays Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) are protected birds but there are many surviving medieval recipes for swans. One such recipe says that "Swan was quite often served as an ordinary dish, without the head......". Swan was roasted along with peacocks, storks and other birds that we would never consider eating today. 

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me Eight Maids-a-Milking 
Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) are small birds with yellow or greyish legs and a yellow beak. As their name suggests, cattle egrets tend to live near cattle as the animals' hooves disturb invertebrate prey. They are visiting the UK in increasing numbers and we think they are an appropriate bird to represent the maids in the carol. 

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me Nine Ladies Dancing 
Many birds perform dances particularly during courtship rituals. Although regarded by some as black, sinister and greedy, cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) have a distinctive bobbing stance when dancing which we think looks quite ladylike. 

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me Ten Lords-a-Leaping 
Grey herons (Ardea cinerea) are tall, with long legs, a long beak and grey, black and white feathering. To take flight a heron must leap into the air and when standing, hunched with their neck bent over their chest they look just like old men. 

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me Eleven Pipers Piping 
Sandpipers (Actitis hypoleucos) make a distinctive three-note piping-like cry as they take off. It is a smallish wader with contrasting brown upperparts and white underparts. Sandpipers habitually bob up and down, known as 'teetering', and they have a distinctive flight with stiff, bowed wings. 

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me Twelve Drummers Drumming 
We think the best contender for the drummer is the great-spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major). They spend most of their time clinging to the side of tree trunks and branches trying to hide from observers and predators although they will venture into gardens to feed at bird tables and feeders. The presence of a great-spotted woodpecker is often announced by its loud call or by its distinctive spring 'drumming' display. 

"Home, Sweet Home"

"Home, Sweet Home"
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Cover of the sheet music for a version published in 1914.
Composer(s)Henry Bishop
Lyricist(s)John Howard Payne

"Home! Sweet Home!" (also known as "Home, Sweet Home") is a song that has remained well known for over 150 years. Adapted from American actor and dramatist John Howard Payne's 1823 opera Clari, or the Maid of Milan, the song's melody was composed by Englishman Sir Henry Bishop with lyrics by Payne. Bishop had earlier published a more elaborate version of this melody, naming it 'A Sicilian Air', but he later confessed to having written himself.
The song's lyrics are:
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there
Which seek thro' the world, is ne'er met elsewhere
Home! Home!
Sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home
There's no place like home!
An exile from home splendor dazzles in vain
Oh give me my lowly thatched cottage again
The birds singing gaily that came at my call
And gave me the peace of mind dearer than all
Home, home, sweet, sweet home
There's no place like home, there's no place like home!


1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2-4 tbsp. milk

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until creamy. Add dry ingredients slowly until all blended.You may refrigerate or roll immediately. Dust the working surface with a little powered sugar to roll.
Bake 5-10 minutes at 350°F.
Frost with icing. Might want to make double batches, these don't stay around long.

Submitted by: Teresa Foster

Holiday Doors of Connecticut | Festive Entryways

Let this charming collection of ten festive holiday doors from Connecticut Instagrammer Deb Cohen put you in the historic holiday spirit!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Matthew 6:25-27 Do Not Worry

Matthew 6:25-27
Do Not Worry
25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 
27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan?…
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Vintage Christmas Card

One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.  
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A sweet gift..


Charles Dickens Quote

 "I have always thought of Christmas as a good time; a kind, forgiving, generous, pleasant time; a time when men and women seem to open their hearts freely, and so I say, God bless Christmas!"  
~ Charles Dickens
Ada Leonora Bowley - English - (1866-1943) vintage Christmas…

Christmas Gifts

 “Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”

Matthew 6:26 (ASV)

Matthew 6:26 (ASV) Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they?

 I love The Romantic world of nature's photo.

Amazing Rain Art by Jerry Gadamus

Proverbs 27:8 - As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

Amazing Rain added 3 new photos — with Tammie Vahle.
Amazing Rain
Art by Jerry Gadamus

Decorating the Christmas Tree

Charles Dickens Quote

 "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." ~ Charles Dickens

The Christmas Tree

“The Christmas tree has taken the place of the altar in too much of our modern Christmas observance.”

All It Needs Is Love

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Bringing Home the Christmas Tree

Jingle Bells

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side

The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh yeah

"O Come, All Ye Faithful"

"O Come, All Ye Faithful" (originally written in Latin as Adeste Fideles) is a Christmas carol which has been attributed to various authors, including John Francis Wade (1711–1786), with the earliest copies of the hymn all bearing his signature, John Reading (1645–1692) and King John IV of Portugal (1604–1656). 
The original four verses of the hymn were extended to a total of eight, and these have been translated into many languages. The English translation of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" by the English Catholic priest Frederick Oakeley, written in 1841, is widespread in most English speaking countries. The present harmonisation is from the English Hymnal (1906). 

An original manuscript of the oldest known version, dating from 1751, is held by Stonyhurst College in Lancashire.

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Oh Come All Ye Faithful 
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the King of Angels:
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

God of God, light of light,
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin's womb;
Very God, begotten, not created:
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above!
Glory to God, glory in the highest:
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given!
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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Christmas is About the Christ

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A King Became a Baby

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Isaiah 9:5-7

Unto Us a Child is Born
Isaiah 9:5-7For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. 
For a child will be born to us, a sonwill be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called WonderfulCounselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.…

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Joy to the World

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Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing
Joy to the world, the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love;
And wonders of His love;
And wonders, wonders of His love.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing

I Am the Light

John 8:11-13
Jesus the Light of the World
11 “No one, Lord.” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you.” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.” 
13 So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not valid.”…

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