Pismo Beach, CA…A “Go To” Getaway Destination


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 30, 2014
Media Contact:
Ann Flower Communications
Ann@annflowerpr.com

Pismo Beach: 10 Top Reasons to Visit in the Cooler Months
(PISMO BEACH, CA) – With mild temperatures year-round, anytime is a good time to visit Pismo Beach, and winter is no exception. A jewel of the Central Coast with miles and miles of uninterrupted beaches, scores of oceanfront hotels and resorts to choose from, a world class wine region minutes away, and hiking through the spectacular scenery of the Santa Lucia mountains, Pismo Beach deserves its reputation as a ‘go-to’ getaway destination.

A few of the reasons winter is still “prime time” in Pismo Beach include:

Monarch Butterfly Grove – November through February
Each year thousands of vibrant Monarch Butterflies flock to Pismo Beach, seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters. From late October to February, the butterflies cluster in a grove of Eucalyptus trees at the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, just 3 minutes from downtown. The Pismo colony is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 of these enchanting butterflies each winter.

Wine Tasting
Leading from the center of downtown Pismo Beach, scenic Price Canyon Road meanders a few short miles through the neighboring Santa Lucia range to the pastoral Edna Valley. An officially recognized American Viticulture Area, Edna Valley is most well known for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Wine tasting rooms vary from tucked away converted barns to impressive contemporary structures, but the common thread is a warm and welcoming attitude. Standouts in the region include Center of Effort, Claiborne & Churchill Vintners, Tolosa Winery, Wolff Vineyards, Kynsi Winery, Sextant Winery, Edna Valley Vineyard, Saucelito Canyon Vineyard and Chamisal Vineyards. Other nearby wine producing areas that offer tasting opportunities are the Avila and Arroyo Grande Valleys, as well as Paso Robles. Within Pismo Beach itself, several businesses offer the chance to sample locally-grown vintages, including Tastes of the Valleys, a wine bar and store with up to 700 wines offered by the glass; San Liege Wines showcasing the talent of Curt Schalchlin and his wines made from Central Coast sourced fruit; and Vino Versato, pouring a selection of 35-40 wines by the glass while also serving as the tasting room for several local wineries, and featuring live entertainment.

Pismo State Beach
Spanning an impressive 17 miles, the wide open and pristine sands of Pismo State Beach extend southward from the Pismo Beach Pier to the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge in the distance. Offering opportunities for long walks, surfing, swimming, kayaking, fishing, camping and even horseback riding, the opportunities for outdoor recreation as well as the views are endless.

Hiking
Winter brings ideal temperatures for tackling the varied terrain and variety of hiking options available in and near Pismo Beach. Right in town, take it easy on the Shell Beach Bluff Trail, a wheelchair-friendly paved path overlooking the water, or take the parallel Ontario Ridge Trail with a nearly 700-foot elevation gain. Combine the two for a 3 mile loop that explores the coast between Pismo Beach and Avila Beach. In July 2015, access will be available to the newly acquired Pismo Preserve, which includes 900 acres of open space. With 10 miles of existing dirt roads and single-track trails, many with spectacular ocean views, it will form a vast resource for hikers, as well as cyclists and equestrians.

Biking
San Luis Obispo County is considered a mountain biking and street biking paradise, and you can bring your own or rent some wheels right in town. For a coastal tour, bike from Pismo Beach to Avila Beach, traversing a path that wanders through lush landscapes and follows an enchanting stream. Take in the wine country on a 15-mile trek through the Edna Valley AVA, or explore the hills on the region’s many mountain bike trails.

Birding
The mild climate of Pismo Beach attracts many over-wintering species, and is home to many year-round bird residents. Pismo State Beach encompasses a variety of habitats for birdlife, providing serious and casual birdwatchers alike with a myriad of choices, from the freshwater lagoon adjacent to the Oceano campground and the Pismo Lake Ecological Reserve to the shore birds found along the beach and dunes. Nearby Montaña de Oro and Morro Bay State Park are also destinations for birding enthusiasts.

Oceano Dunes
Recognized by scientists and conservationists as the finest, most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California, Oceano Dunes are located just south of Pismo Beach. For those seeking to inject some adrenaline into their stay, it is also the location of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. A popular playground for off-roaders, with 5.5 miles of beach open for vehicle use and the surrounding 1,500 acres of dunes dedicated to off-highway vehicle use, it draws visitors from around the U.S.

Wildlife Viewing
Nearby Avila Beach offers opportunities to see California sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters and a plethora of sea birds. Rent a kayak and paddle the calm waters of the bay for a closer look at these extraordinary sea mammals, and explore the ecosystems beneath the Harford Pier to view resident anemones, sea stars and barnacles. Pay a visit to the Central Coast Aquarium, steps from the beach, to experience the region’s sea life found beneath the surface. Winter brings migrating Gray Whales, and common and bottlenose dolphins are also always a possibility.

Shopping
When a dose of retail therapy is in order, Pismo Beach has just what the doctor ordered. With an impressive lineup of 40 sought after brands, including Aeropostale, Calvin Klein, Coach, Jones New York, Levi’s, Nike, Nine West, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Izod, Guess and Sketchers, among others, the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets has something for practically everyone. Downtown Pismo Beach offers even more opportunities, with a diverse collection of boutiques, surf shops, gift and collectibles markets, and wine stores.

Hearst Castle
It may be one of California’s most popular destinations, but the summer months can bring sold out tours and long lines. Winter offers a perfect opportunity to explore the castle and take in some of the more off beat tours such as Cottages & Kitchen, Upstairs Suites and the Evening Tour without the crowds.

About Pismo Beach, California
The Classic California beach town of Pismo Beach is located on California’s famous Central Coast, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along Pacific Coast Highway and US-Highway 101. Overlooking more than 26 miles of pristine Pacific coastline, enjoy Pismo Beach’s great weather, plethora of outdoor activities, rich wild life and nature preserves, seaport inspired cuisine and fresh farmland produce, downtown wine tasting rooms, and neighboring world class wine producing regions of Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Avila Valley, Paso Robles, Santa Maria Valley and Santa Rita Hills. Pismo Beach offers the perfect pairing of Wine & Waves with a truly “Classic California” experience. Pismo Beach is also noted for being one of the most dog-friendly towns in America. See our wide variety of lodging choices accommodating every budget and lifestyle, by visiting ClassicCalifornia.com. Also, join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. Media inquiries, please contact John Sorgenfrei at john@tjaadvertising.com or at 805.541-6020.

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The Top 10 Workout Songs of 2014


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Top 10 Workout Songs of 2014

Fort Wayne, IN – December 27, 2014 – With few exceptions, workout songs can be distinguished by two main attributes: popularity and speed. If a song has cracked the Top 40 chart and has a tempo above 125 beats per minute (BPM), there’s a good chance you’ll hear it in the gym.
In this look back at 2014, you’ll find lots of songs that meet the criteria above–along with a few outliers. Starting with the big winners, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” was the most popular workout song of the year. (Not coincidentally, it’s also the fastest song in the bunch below.) Calvin Harris is notable for being the only artist to make the top 10 twice. Plus, Maroon 5 and Nico & Vinz both had songs so catchy that folks didn’t mind their slower tempos.
Rounding out the list, there are remixes of rock tracks from OneRepublic and American Authors, a song from Meghan Trainor that proved even more popular in the gym than her breakthrough hit “All About that Bass,” and a soaring, club track that pits Cash Cash & Bebe Rexha against dance titans The Chainsmokers.
On the whole, the list makes for an easy way to reflect on the year that’s passed, get acquainted with any songs you might have missed, and prep the perfect mix to kick off your first workout of 2015.
Here’s the full list, according to votes placed on Run Hundred–the web’s most heavily-trafficked workout music blog.
Cash Cash & Bebe Rexha – Take Me Home (Chainsmokers Remix Radio Edit) – 129 BPM

OneRepublic – Love Runs Out (Grabbitz Remix) – 124 BPM

Ariana Grande & Zedd – Break Free – 130 BPM

Maroon 5 – Maps – 120 BPM

Calvin Harris – Summer – 128 BPM

American Authors – Best Day of My Life (Gazzo Remix) – 125 BPM

Calvin Harris & John Newman – Blame – 128 BPM

Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong – 121 BPM

Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Movin – 138 BPM

Taylor Swift – Shake It Off – 160 BPM

About:
Run Hundred is a workout music blog featuring a database of songs that visitors can browse by genre, tempo, and era–to find the ones that best fit their particular routine.
The list above represents the results of 78,000 votes logged on the 260 new singles and remixes added to the database in 2014.
Contact:
Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred
Email: mail@runhundred.com

Merry Christmas to All!


Dearest Readers:

Merry Christmas! Today is the day to give thanks to the world for our Savior and his birth. May your day be filled with many blessings. Much love, and much thankfulness.

To our troops away from home, I say thank you…for your service to our Country…thank you for dedicating your life to the missions and I hope you have a Merry Christmas while away.

I remember the Christmas my husband was away, fighting a war that America refused to support. It was a lonely, sad year for me, and the saddest of Christmas holidays. No e-mail existed. No cell phones. The only communication we had were letters that took 10 days to arrive…an additional 10 days for a reply. Somehow we survived those sad times and each year, I give thanks that we have celebrated another Christmas holiday together.

For me, it is the little things that matter during this holiday season. A smile from a stranger. A nod. A simple “Hello,” or “Merry Christmas.” Those simple, kind moments mean the world to me.

If you are alone at Christmas, make a phone call to a friend. If you have family or loved ones in nursing homes, make the time to visit. Just take one moment from the ‘busy-ness’ of the day to say three words, “I Love You!”

In life, we never know how long we will live. We awaken to a new day, procrastinating until tomorrow for simple things we should do daily. Please take the time and reach out to someone who is alone or lonely during this Christmas holiday season.

Merry Christmas, from our home to yours. God has blessed us with this day. Let us make the most of every moment at Christmas and always! Merry Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas


Dearest Readers:

This is the week of the Christmas holidays. A time to give thanks and to celebrate with friends and family. I would like to wish all of you a joyous and Happy Holiday Season — a Merry Christmas season.

This is the first Christmas season I can recall people actually saying, “Merry Christmas,” instead of “Happy Holidays” in a long, LONG time. Years ago when I worked in retail, we the employees were sent memos that we could no longer say “Merry Christmas,” since that phrase offends some people. I read the memo and tossed it in the trash.

“No one, including the company I work for will dictate to me what I can say,” so I said Merry Christmas to every customer. Never did I get a complaint.

This is The United States of America. Home of the free and brave. Home where we can speak what we wish to speak — and so I say to all reading this during the Christmas holidays — Merry Christmas.

No, I’m not officially ready for Christmas. I still have gifts to wrap. Goodies to bake. The table to set, and dinner to prepare. Church to attend. This is probably the only free moment I will have to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. As soon as I complete this blog post, I must change clothes and get the house prepared. You know the scenario — dust the furniture. Vacuum. Clean bathrooms…etc. Etc….ETC!

Tonight after dinner I am baking cookies. A tradition I broke years ago. Now those traditions are oh so important to me.

Hubby and I will have a quiet Christmas Day with two friends and of course, our special family — our pups.

To our military families, I do hope you get to speak with your loved ones who are away during this time. I can relate to the loneliness and sadness of having a loved one away since my husband was away at war during our first Christmas season. Fortunately, we’ve spent many Christmas holidays together now and we do our best to give thanks and to be appreciative of the love we share during the Christmas season.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I hope you will make the day special. Give thanks to God for all that we have, and all that we are…and above all, Please continue to say “Merry Christmas.” Such a beautiful, melodic phrase.

Merry Christmas to all…and now, I must crank up that silly vacuum cleaner. Ho Hum! If only Santa would do it, instead of me.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday to the Perkins Twins


Dearest Readers:

Today is a special, melancholic day for me. On this date — 100 years ago – December 19, 1914 – my dad and his identical twin brother, Lewis, were born. Before Uncle Lewis’ death in September, 1941 from Bright’s disease, they were known withini
the State of Alabama as The Perkins Twins. Together they sang, harmonizing, sharing their belief in God and their sermons to all who would listen. It is unfortunate for my Dad, Walter Perkins, that the music stopped for him in September 1941. Never did I have the pleasure to meet Uncle Lewis. Reportedly, he and my dad were inseparable. When he died, according to relatives and stories my dad shared, his death broke my dad’s heart so much that he never was the same. Gone was his spirit and passion to sing and preach the gospel.

Happy 100th Birthday to The Perkins Twins – in Heaven!

Unfortunately, I lost my dad to esophageal cancer on July 6, 1999. Today, I have regrets – regrets for not documenting the stories Dad occasionally shared about his life as an identical twin. Like most children, I listened a bit to his stories, but never wrote them down. Reportedly, The Perkins Twins were so identical people could not determine just who Lewis was and who was Walter. Their handwriting was the same. When one spoke, the other finished the statement. As a child, I found this strange – now, as an adult, I wish to know more. Uncle Lewis never married, but according to my dad, “He loved beautiful women…and…they Loved him!”

In Dad’s diaries I cannot find his deepest feelings about what it was like to lose his twin brother. The only comment listed during September 1941 related to Uncle Lewis and his illness was a passage that ‘Lewis was rushed to the hospital and Uncle Vera, their sister, donated blood for a blood transfusion.’ I cannot find anything else about his condition or death. It is difficult to read his diaries still. Although my family had a tradition of writing in their diaries, many of life’s important and dreadfully sad moments were not recorded.

I suppose I should find an archive to donate all of these diaries to, just to record more about the Perkins Family. Perhaps one day I will but for today, I want to remember The Perkins Twins.

My parents were married in the 1940’s. If my memory is correct, I believe it was 1943. Their marriage was not a happy one…more like a torrential storm of events. When I was a teenager, I listened to their toxic fights – always shouting, cursing and spitting violent poisons of hatred to each other. As hard as I try, I cannot remember them hugging or kissing – EVER! After their divorce, my dad changed all for the better.

Gone was the hatred, replaced by a peaceful, calm and happy man who actually said that he loved me. When I first heard “I love you,” from his lips, I stepped back, recognizing this was a new man. I was so proud of him. Over the years, Dad and I became closer. When I graduated from high school, he stood in the audience, applauding me. When my only child was born, a son, Dad sent me a hydrangea plant, with a card signed with his love.

When we moved Dad to Charleston to be closer to us after his retirement, the bonding between us grew tighter. When cancer knocked on his door in 1997, I became his caregiver. Suddenly I became the parent to my parent and it broke my heart to watch him slowly fading away from me.

Now that he is gone, I still miss him. Today is an extremely sad day for me because it is his 100th birthday. How I wish I could sing Happy Birthday to him. How I wish I could hug him, just one more time.

I suppose all of us who have lost our parents have the same emotions and thoughts in our minds on their birthdays. For me, this day is extremely difficult. I walk through my house; glancing over at the dining room table, looking at “Dad’s chair.” The chair he always sat at during our many Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. After his death, I found myself placing a plate, glassware and silverware by his chair, recognizing moments later that his chair would be empty. I don’t set his place now, but I still look to see my dad sitting there. I can almost hear his laughter and the prayer he always expressed so eloquently during the holidays.

Now, it is his time to be with his identical twin brother. This is their day to celebrate their short life together. Today, I wish the Perkins Twins a happy, glorious 100th birthday. To say I miss my dad is an understatement. I still grieve. I suppose we always grieve over losing someone so important in our lives.

Once Dad described me to others as ‘his shining star.’ During a television interview during his illness, the reporter mentioned that Dad was a poet and a writer. Quickly, Dad interrupted him, stating – “No, I’m not a writer…My daughter…Now – She’s the writer!”

I can still hear his melodic voice ringing in my ears. How I miss hearing the expression, “You are my shining star!”

Tonight during our date night, I will sing “Dance With My Father Again,” in remembrance of my dad.
Happy 100th Birthday, Dad…Uncle Lewis. Happy 100th Birthday to The Perkins Twins! Words cannot express how deeply you are missed.

My Thoughts On Friendship


Dearest Readers:

Normally if I write in my blog on Thursday’s I write about my weekly accomplishments with Weight Watchers. Today’s discussion will be about the touchy, sometimes controversial subject of friendship. While at Weight Watchers today, the subject of friendship entered my mind. Why? Simple. I do not have many “friends.”

Did you notice I placed the seven letter words of friends in quotes? Perhaps. Why? Simple — friendship is a complicated subject open for discussion.

As a child, I grew up in many locations. None that I referred to as home, with exception of my grandparents home in a mill village. My parents moved us around like gypsies on the road. Roots never existed for our family. Each time I hear someone describe how they ‘love to go home again,’ I cringe. Envious. During high school (remember those years — only four years until adulthood?) Well, during those four years, I went to six high schools. In one year, I changed high school three times. My Freshman year – the year where I had difficulty passing English? It was a torrential time in my life. My parents fought like maniac cats and dogs — barking…growling…huffing…puffing…cursing…threatening, then — beating each other. When I was 15, on a cold, windy Tuesday afternoon, I pulled them apart again – this time for the last time! That Saturday my mother moved us again — this time, back to our maternal grandparent’s home. At their tiny brick mill house, there were two bedrooms. One bathroom. Four girls. Our mother, and our grandparents. Privacy did not exist.

For weeks, I rebelled. Refusing to go to school, refusing to talk…refusing life. I took walks by myself. I discovered an isolated route leading to the shores of the Chattahoochee River, and there, hovered down, staring at the shoreline, angry and hurt that my parents were divorcing and my mother forced us to live in such a crowded home, I cried. Angry because my mother wanted me to cut the cords with my ‘no good b——Daddy. He’s dead. Dead. DEAD. Don’t ever say his name around me again!”

Unbeknownst to her, I kept in touch with my dad.

I recall thinking about my roots, only I didn’t have any. Thrust in a small mill village where everyone knew everything, I refused to make friends. I hid the secrets of my childhood in the red clay riverbanks of the Chattahoochee River. During another battle with my mother, she shouted to me, demanding that I go to school so I could graduate. She pointed her finger in my face, demanding that IF I did not enroll in high school, she would see me working at the Bibb Mill. Remember, I was only 15! I did not want to work in the mill, nor did I want to live in Bibb City.

Deciding the only decision I could make was to return to school, I enrolled, went to class, but I did not make friends. I sat in the back of the classroom, refusing to socialize with other students. I was ashamed. A mill kid with only the clothes on her back. Nothing more. One of my cousins cleaned out her closet, giving me her ‘hand-me-down clothes.’ When she saw me wearing them, she laughed, shouting something about I was so poor the only decent clothes I had were her ‘hand-me-downs.’ I wanted to hit her, but I walked away, deciding to remain — ALONE.

During my final high school days, my grades improved. All I did was force my eyes into books at the library and at school. In Atlanta, I was a singer for a rock band. In Columbus, the music stopped, with exception of the church and school choirs. I made only a few friends, never inviting them to our home. Why? We had no privacy. If I brought a friend home, I couldn’t play music because ‘rock n’ roll music was a sin,’ according to my grandfather. He didn’t believe we should play with the school kids, but only the kids in the mill village. I rebelled.

Today, at Weight Watchers I listened to the new program learning how I could be more successful with my weight loss journey. Afterwards, I had lunch with two of my dearest friends from Weight Watchers. After lunch, Tammy invited me to go shopping with her, so off we went, driving around the area while getting to know each other better. I must say, I really enjoy this new friendship with Tammy and Sara. I am blessed! Now that I am home, I started thinking about friendship.

Friendship is defined as “the state of being friends: the relationship between friends” according to Webster’s Dictionary. I confess, I have a limited amount of friends. I consider friendship as a relationship between people who trust and love each other. A friend is someone you can count on. Trust. Appreciate. A person who you can spill your heart to while knowing that the trust will not be broken. A friend is someone who will NOT pretend to be your friend, just to go and share your heartfelt feelings to others.

Today, while riding with Tammy I feel a new bonding with her. A connection. No, I will not share our conversations, after all, isn’t that what true friends do — listen. Talk. Relate, while not going behind your back to as I describe, “stab you in the back.” When a friend talks with me, I do not share those conversations to others. I believe in the bond of trust.

Backstabbers are not friends. I have met many. Two that I really thought were my friends, only to discover behind my back they were whispering — starting ugly gossip. Have I shared that I detest gossip? I refer these people as ‘acquaintances,’ not “friends!”

I suppose I am from the old school — where friendship is to be cherished. I suppose my husband is my greatest friend. For years I thought husbands and wives could not be classified as friends since intimacy was combined within the relationship; nevertheless, now I say my husband is probably my dearest friend. He has seen me walk through the darkness of my childhood when I shared the years of abuse with him. He is the only one who held me tight when I fell apart emotionally. On that horrific night of my life, he listened without fighting with me. He knows my darkest secrets, and to my knowledge he hasn’t discussed those issues with anyone else. He guided me to find the strength to break away and to rise above and build a new life with him. Yes, we’ve had moments where I didn’t know if we would survive — many times when I stood my ground with him – refusing to allow him to rule me — however, he is my strength. My foundation. My Rock!

Friendship is truly something all of us need in our lives. A friend will listen. A friend comforts. A friend guides and understands — even when we think we cannot get through another day.

To my closest friends, I say thank you. To Gina, Tammy, and my high school “lifetime best friend,” — Charlotte, I say thank you. Without all of you by my side, I would not be the person I am today, while I journey to find strength and joy within my heart and soul. Due to your encouragement I discovered it is important to love ourselves, so we can be the best friend to our friends.

To those people who say “I don’t need friends…” I must remind you, if you do not have friends, you must live a lonely, isolated unhappy life.

I salute and toast my friends. I would not be the woman I am today without you. The good. The bad…The indifferent…The opinionated…The glitzy, gregarious “drama queen who loves her bling” and mostly the kind, happy woman I smile at in the mirror. The woman who permitted the music to return so she could sing again! I hope my reflections of friendship will encourage all of my readers to take a step to make friends.

Thank you! Happy Friendship!

Reflections…At Christmas Time


Christmas   Is…

 Dearest Readers:

Yes, it is the Christmas season. A time to give thanks and be appreciative for all that we are, and all that we have. A time to celebrate the birth of CHRIST…a time to recognize that IF we did not have the ‘birth of Christ’ as the reason for the season, we would not be celebrating Christmas.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons for this editorial. I cannot tell you how many times I hear good wishes, such as “Happy Holidays.” My response is a quick, “Merry Christmas to you too.” On one occasion while shopping, the employee look stunned at me when I said, “Merry Christmas.”

“We can’t say that,” she replied. “We can only say Happy Holidays.”

“But…this is America. The land of the free. We can express anything here in America.”

She looked down at the floor. “We can only say “Happy Holidays.”

I recall when I worked in the retail sales industry and we were told it was better to say “Happy Holidays,” than to express “Merry Christmas,” after all, we did not want to offend anyone. The philosophy at the department store was that Happy Holidays covered all of the holidays. Still, I expressed, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” covering both. I didn’t care that I might offend someone. If they were shopping for the holidays, then I wished them a Merry Christmas.

I remembered my grandmother and how furious she got when she read “Merry Xmas.” “That isn’t Christmas,” she expressed. “They’re leaving Christ out of Christmas.” As a child I didn’t fully understand what she was saying. Now older and wiser, I do understand and I make certain I write Christmas, not Xmas. I will not leave Christ out of Christmas.

I do not believe that I am the most religious person in the world, but I do believe in Christ and I believe I am a Christian. I do my best to be a good person, and to treat others as I wish to be treated. Of course, I am human, and at times, I am just a bit opinionated, as you will read in this epistle! Yes, I am a feminist and an advocate against domestic abuse of all types. I look for the good in everyone and I believe that everyone in life has a purpose; however, I believe that when we make mistakes, we must admit them, apologize and rise above the controversy or pain we caused to others. Everyone deserves a second chance. We must make the most of every day and live life to its fullest. I attempt to treat everyone as an equal and I do not understand that IF America is the land of the free, where we can express our words freely, then we should be able to keep Christ in Christmas, and by saying Merry Christmas, there should not be any offense to anyone.

Let’s consider Christmas:

C Christmas, a time to Celebrate and to share our love with others. Most of all, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. A time for change and growth within our lives.

HHope. Something our entire world needs now more than ever. Hope for the future.Hope for peace.

R –<ins Reflection. A time to reflect on who we are, where we are going, and what we are doing in our daily lives.

IIntegrity. Everyone needs to strive to have more integrity for ourselves, and for others.

SSalvation.

TTime. We need to share more of our time, especially quality time with our loved ones. We need to make time to shut down or unplug the technology and to share quality time without interruptions.

M – Making the most of each day while recognizing that life is short and we should appreciate those who are important in our lives.

AAdoration. Appreciation.

S – Simplicity.

Last year, during the Christmas holidays, I was sick. Dreadfully ill with acute bronchitis. My body lacked energy. Every breath was a struggle. My oxygen level was ‘less than 85,’ and I was told to get plenty of rest. Resting was not a problem. Throughout the day, I rested in bed, watching Lifetime and Hallmark channel Christmas movies until I could almost recite the dialogue of each movie. When the phone rang, I ignored it. I told my friends to simply let me rest. I suppose it is easy to say I basically shut the world away as I drank coffee, took my pills, coughed my head off, struggled to breathe and to rest. I was miserable. My precious schnauzers could not understand why they were tucked inside the gated community of the breakfast room while I sauntered ever so slowly towards the bedroom. Housework was ignored. My stove actually got so dusty I could write my initials on it. My Christmas holidays were a time of reflection. For weeks I wondered IF I would ever get well. What did I learn during this time?

I must say, my husband was my angel during this time. You must remember, my husband has PTSD. When things do not go as he anticipates, let’s just say, he can be a real grumpy bear of a man. Never did he ask me to do anything at home, with exception of resting and getting well. I recognized my neglect of my home and him when he asked me during the week if I could teach him how to do the laundry. He glanced at me, apologizing to bother me saying, “I’m out of clean underwear and shirts.”

Just how long had it been since I did laundry? Glancing at the calendar I realized this illness began in late October. The calendar staring back at me was December. It was time to do laundry!

Life is precious. It is to be cherished with those we love and we should make the most of every day we live. After all, we never know when the wheels of life may turn and we never know when Father Time may start ticking away. Last Christmas, I didn’t shop, at all! My life and health was in a fog, so I learned that Christmas should not be a time to rush around. It is a time to reflect and to appreciate.

Christmas time is a great time to change our lives. To celebrate and appreciate our loved ones, freedom and the belief and faith we have.

So many of us get wrapped up in the hustle, bustle of the holiday season. We rush to get to the next social event. We rush to get our families prepared for the holidays, and we rush to complete our shopping. Maybe we should slow down and appreciate life.

How many times have you seen the actions of someone during the Christmas season? The rushing in traffic. The rudeness of others? Yesterday, a driver that was behind me in a torrential rain storm decided I wasn’t going fast enough in the center lane. He drove so close to me that If I had to slam on my brakes, he would’ve rear ended me. I tapped my breaks lightly, to give him the message to back off. Instead, he swiftly changed lanes, cut me off, then tapped his break. He displayed his arrogance driving by, giving me the finger. Such a nice man!??? Perhaps a new and tormented “Mr. Scrooge!” Yes, he sent me a message and I hope wherever he was headed in the rain storm, I do hope and pray he made it without causing an accident.

It is my perception that we should slow down and appreciate life, especially during the Christmas rush season. Perhaps while shopping, we could stop and smile at someone. How many times have you noticed someone with a frown on their face? Maybe if you said hello to that person it might change their perspective. Have you ever visited a nursing home at the holidays? There are so many people there who never have a visitor and during the Christmas season they do not receive mail, phone calls, or visits. These residents deserve to have a happy holiday season. I have added a few to my Christmas letter list and I enclose a Christmas card with the letter. My hope is to put a smile on someone’s face during the holidays. After all, Christmas is the reason for the season.

My Christmas wish for all of you reading this is one of simplicity. May you appreciate your family and friends while taking the time to realize Christmas is a time to share your love to others and to man kind. May you never get so busy with the demands of your life that you forget to smile and say hello. May you not over indulge with the spirits of the season, the foods, and the gift giving that you forget the true meaning of Christmas. May you stop for a moment, inhale, exhale and say, “Merry Christmas” with a smile on your face.

Merry Christmas to all, and may God bless us – EVERYONE!

Little things mean a lot, especially at Christmas.