It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas . . .


Merry, Merry, Merry, VERY Merry Christmas to all of you, whether you have snow, or soggy grass, or are in florida enjoying the snow (or lack of it) from a distance.


I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

 . . .Christmas isn't the same without snow.
I need snow. . . 

It is good to be children sometimes,
 and never better than at Christmas
 when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.
  ~Charles Dickens

When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. 
 Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?  
~G.K. Chesterton

I want to look on this Christmas with the eyes of a 5 year old.
all of the wonder, the awe and the imagination that they feel when hearing the Manger Story,
     i want to bring that back into my own Christmas.
this year we aren't doing Christmas presents, which, I admit is going to feel very strange.
but then, if the presents were the only things i was looking forward to, how ridiculously ungrateful I am.
(don't get me wrong, I love presents as much as the next person, and perhaps more.)

I want the wonder of my Christmas to be in the birth of my Jesus, the way he humbled Himself to almost the lowest degree.
I know that we've all heard that a billion times already, and you'll probably hear it a billion more times.
but it's true.
unbelievably true.
I can only pray that God will show me the incredible, incredible story, in a way that I never thought of before.
or just open my eyes to how incredible it really is.
because if I could grasp that, truly, my life should never be the same.

thank you for reading, and now, you really really need to visit this link:

The Christmas Story, 
from a slightly different perspective.

God Bless Us, Everyone.

- C. Celise B.


Just A Hint.

ITEM #1:
For all of you who may be charmed by our family's photogenic-ness (cough),
let me just tell you that this was how it really was. ^
 (when we weren't frozen stiff, mind you.)
(cherie and i were are behind the camera, goading them on..)

ITEM #2:
For all of you who have been wondering, NO.
I have not fallen prey to a deadly cold and have been in bed for a month.

                         (any of you recognize that quote?)

I have simply been very busy, and also am now and currently and right now and this very day,
working on a blog post.
but, it shall take a while to complete, so don't hold your breath.

- C.C.B.
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A Bat Mitzvah To Be Reckoned With

What an incredible weekend.

Friends and family were invited, and some of my dearest friends from Colorado and North Carolina weren't coming.

"Oh well, I completely understand." I thought, "It's not like they'll BUY plane tickets and come just for my bat mitzvah. And Deborah, Deborah has a wedding, so she can't make it."
I was resigned.
I understood how ridiculous it would have been for them to come, it was just too unhandy and too much of a mess.
November 10th.
We were all sitting in the Living Room, relaxing and taking deep breaths before the craziness officially began.
Dad was in a weird mood that night, all jittery and excited.
Him and Zach randomly burst into laughter over things that hardly anyone else could see humor in.
followed by uncontrollable giggles and screams.
I was absolutely thunderstruck.
There, IN OUR LIVING ROOM, stood Monica and Kelci Miller, my friends from Colorado.
It took about 10 seconds for everything to register in my little overtaxed brain.

'monica, and kelci, are in OUR LIVING ROOM.
monica and kelci are in OUR LIVING ROOM.
monica and kelci are in OUR LIVING ROOM.
monica and kelci are in OUR LIVING ROOM.
I was literally shaking and almost speechless for about ten minutes.
I never knew I couldn't take surprises. 
    this photograph was taken a little while after the initial shock wore off, for the good of all humanity.
                                              We immediately began being strange.
                         life is short, we always say.

Soon, my vocabulary returned, and my brain stopped fuzzing, and my limbs stopped vibrating, 
                                The very next morning, some of the illustrious aunts arrived.

They traveled through rain and snow, sun and cloud, night and day to arrive.
(they seriously left at 12:00 P.M.)
     (they are the
We began our day in preparation for the big day.
(We Barkmans are normally so organized and plan-aheaders. I have no idea what happened to us.)
We began the preparation by . . . 
                                              carving pumpkins and . . .
                                                            gutting pumpkins.
                 Reader, have you ever, in your whole life, gutted a pumpkin?
                      No, you say? Well, the next photograph is basically pumpkin gutting summed up.
                                      Please, please click on this picture for utmost clarity.
                                         And then, we began cutting holes into them.
moving on.

                                    The setting up at the church began.
                                 It turned out beautifully with my aunts' ingenius suggestions.

                                                     . . .
       My window, filled with a few of my favorite things.
                                         We stared at random people from the windows . . .
                                      Zachary and Sheila really did all of the dirty work.
                                           Trevor serenaded us with music.
                                          and I received my very FIRST bouqet of flowers.
                                                  it made my day. week. month. LIFE.
                                         And then, the other family members began to arrive.
                                           We had an absolutely topping time.
                              The blessings I received that night (and the next night)
                               were absolutely wonderful
                               I think I could live on them for the next five years.
                               They absolutely blew me away.

                    We had around eleven girls sleeping in one room for about two nights.
it was wonderful, all the inside jokes, and embarrassing moments, and uncontrollable giggles we shared.
Then the very next night, we had the "Main Event" at our church house. I don't know how to explain this evening in words, so I shall simply post random pictures of the evening 

                                                    Zachary was thrilled at the menu.
                                                          Soups and burritos.
                                                                Poor Seg.
                                                   Grandpa was able to come!
                                           P.S. I shall not take credit for most of these pictures,
                                      my lovely cousin Victoria was shooting most of the ceremony.
                                            Father's blessing. Father cried. I almost cried too.

                                 Now, let's all stand back and laugh as the innocent Christy gets
                                   doused with whipped cream. She got quite a few back, I must say.
                                            I would never tell you to click a picture, but . . .
                                                       Oh, Deborah.
                                              DEBORAH. I didn't tell you the Deborah story!
                                 deborah had been invited, but she was so so sad because, she had a wedding on friday, and she said she probably couldn't go all the way back to N.C., and then back up here the same night.
                        *enter gullible Christy nodding head and trying to be sympathetic.*
                     Friday night, (the night with only family) she came and surprised me.
               how she surprised me, I shan't tell, but I'm quite sure that I'll never be able to live that one down.
                            ( I don't think I can take one more thing that's not planned out 20 years ahead of time)

                                             Some of my lovely, lovely friends.
                                                And almost the whole group of us.
                                                      This is how we really and truly are . . .
                                                         When we aren't like this.
                                                        Or this.
                                    Now, before you all begin to think that I am an absolute mess,
                                           and that I have no sense at all and that I am a grasping fool,
                                                        just understand that my love language is gifts.
                                       So, this wonderful pile warmed the "cockles of my little heart".

                                        Isn't this wonderful printed wrapping paper? you may say to yourself.
                                       I am here to say that my friend Kelsey spent a LOT of TIME STENCILING
                                         a bunch of French words, and Eiffel Towers, and a whole crowd of lovely things.
                                                   I am enraptured.
                                               The pen of my dreams.

 I just want to spout a HUGE thank you to everyone who came and blessed me so wonderfully. 
     I don't know what else to say, but that it means SO MUCH to me.
             I shall now leave you with a few pictures that make me exceedingly happy right now.





Feather Pens and Christmas Music.

As I sit here on a drearily wonderful October day in Ohio,
while listening to Bebo Norman Christmas music,
The Subject of Letters popped into my brain.
 Yes, well.

To some, letters are a drudgery of bills, junk mail and magazines advertising everything from diapers to Christmas trees, and every November, some long-lost relative remembers that they're related to you, and thus feels obliged to send you a very heartfelt Christmas card with a picture of them, their children, and their cat.


Poor Them.

I do not profess to be highly professional in the art of writing letters, though I do ridiculously much enjoy receiving one.
And I have some wonderful friends who humor me by sending me letters every now and then. :)
Basically, I could never ever receive too many letters.

Although I do think that it would be a lot easier and tons more fun to write my letter with a feather pen, and dipping it in a pot with black ink whenever it runs out, and then, sealing my letter with red wax.

But, as one cannot have everything one "needs", one must make do with what one has.

The reasons that I love letters so much more than Facebook messages, or e-mails, or texts, is because it takes a lot more thought and (oooo. Josh Groban christmas music . . .) time to sit down and collect your thoughts and write it. With a pen. or pencil. or crayons. or markers. or colored pencils.
And there's so much more "scope for the imagination".
I love doodling. 
And you can doodle as much as you want in a letter.
I am proud to say that my friend, Monica Miller, has sent me a 25 paged letter.
Monica lives in Colorado, so we obviously don't see very much of each other, and letters help us to stay in touch, and are an outlet for bottled up thoughts and dreams and things of that sort.
(and also a large variety of whatever we want. Our letters, see, are very very random.)

Perhaps, you simply don't know how the whole process works.

Here is how a letter gets from the sender to the recipient:
  1. Sender writes letter and places it in an envelope on which the recipient's address is written in the center front of the envelope. Sender ensures that the recipient's address includes the Zip or Postal (if applicable) code and often they include their return address on the envelope.
  2. Sender buys a postage stamp and attaches it to the front of the envelope on the top right corner on the front of the envelope.
  3. Sender puts the letter in a postbox and does nothing more.
  4. The national postal service for the sender's country (e.g., the Royal Mail, UK; US Postal Service, US; or Australia Post in Australia; or Canada Post in Canada) empties the postbox and takes all the contents to the regional sorting office.
  5. The sorting office then sorts each letter by address and postcode and delivers the letters belonging to a particular area to that area's post office. Letters belonging to a different region are sent to that region's sorting office, to be sorted further.
  6. The local post office dispatches the letters to their delivery personnel who deliver them to the appropriate addresses.
This whole process, depending on how far the sender is from the recipient, can take anywhere from a day to 3–4 weeks. International mail is sent via trains and planes to other countries.

I found that on wikipedia.
 Wikipedia is a very useful tool.

It's quite simple, I dare say.
 and letters make my day.

I think letters make the world go 'round.
I think letters are the bomb.
I think letters are wonderful.

Highly Inspirational Thought of the day from :

(A song that absolutely must be listened to is Bebo Norman's Silver Bells.)