Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Poem From AM~Erica

So anyway...

I penned this in 2006 to be a children's nativity play. I thought it would be fairly easy to track down a version of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" with a spin of the telling of the Nativity Story to be adapted into a narrative children's Nativity play. To my shock...there wasn't. So, with a copy of the original poem, a plate of pumpkin pancakes & some coffee at IHOP, and opening myself up to His Word & guidance...I just wanted to be a vessel in His storytelling. And this is what happened. And we did a play that year.

And I wanted it to have the same kind of feel of being gathered around the selected family member to read the story of the night before Christmas by the fire, everyone in their jammies getting ready for bed in anticipation for the following morning...

So, I have made it an annual thing to share it with anyone who is willing to read it.

As your Christmas season winds down, don't forget what was actually going on that night. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

(a few revisions to wording from it's original debut...still the same story)

I bring to you now, "'Twas the Night That was Christmas":



‘Twas the night that was Christmas, when all through the stable,
not a creature was stirring beneath the barn’s gable.
The signage was hung outside the inn with care
with the statement of “No Vacancy” there.

Poor Joseph, with Mary about to give birth,
traveled to Bethlehem to pay up their worth.
Only a stable stall left to shelter Mary from danger
so she could bear a son and place Him in a manger.


The shepherds were resting upon the hillside
of Bethlehem’s outskirts, where their sheep do reside;
after making sure no wolf was around,
they took a nap right there on the ground.

When all through the skies, there arose such a clatter!
The shepherds sprang up to see what was the matter;
they each picked up their staff and their sash
to see that an angel appeared in a flash!

Please, don’t hurt us,” they shouted and prayed;
the angel of God said, “Do not be afraid:
I bring you glad tidings with good news to tell!
The Savior is here in a manger knell.

Then heavenly hosts joined in from above
to help deliver this message of love:
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on the Earth
to all whom His favor rests,” was sung of the birth.

Now run, see the babe in swaddling clothes –
you will find Him in the stable where the large starlight shows.
We give you our word, and on angels’ wing
your flocks will be safe as you bow to the King!


Now there were magi from the Orient, afar,
who studied the skies and found a new star.
They told this king, Herod, by name,
and he sent them to follow after making this claim:

If this leads you to the ‘King of the Jews,’
please come tell Herod so he can praise the little King, too.
But the magi knew (because they are wise)
that what Herod wanted was the baby’s demise.

So, off they set, with no plan to return,
bringing with them gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The journey was long to find Joseph and wife,
and the baby boy Savior, who would change every life.

That star shown brightly, much more than the moon;
a spotlight for the One delivering God’s people soon!
The stage is now set for those who come by
to listen to the mother sing a soft lullaby.

Now lay there, the babe in the manger stall,
being adored by those who received the great call.
So tiny, yet regal, in such a low place,
adorning a halo surrounding His face.

God chose to come to the Earth as a child –
(to be with, and like, the ones that He’d styled)
as a sweet baby boy in a place so lowly,
to arise so divine, and perfect, and holy.

The time has now come to worship and sing
that Jesus Christ is crowned Savior and King!
Now the Savior is here to save us from strife!
So…Merry Christmas to all, and to all, eternal life!


Merry Christmas, everyone! May it be merry, bright, meaningful & thoughtful.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Sunday, December 15, 2013

AM~Erica Makes a Shameless Plea

So anyway...

I'm just going to come out & say it...

Not a lot of build, not a lot back story (OK...maybe some), but I am asking for your support for a good cause. And I will plead a case for it, too.

Here's the deelio:
Teen Girl's choir from #Truman is in a #ChristmasChoirCompetition (oops...creature of the hashtag habit...explain in a moment) for a local radio station, 99.7 The Point. It's a big deal, yo! It's for a $5,000 prize for the school's choral department!

After sending in a recording of a song they did for their Christmas concert, the field of high school choirs were narrowed down to a top which they made! Yea!
And after lots of text voting & hearing a clip of them singing on the radio each day, the field was narrowed to the top which they made! YEA!!!

Here's where it was getting tougher...
Not only are they drumming up the popular public vote thru texting, but they got to sing live in front of the judges! But this was no small hoop to jump thru. It was SO COLD OUT!!! Yes...they sang outside! BRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

But I will tell you this choir was AMAZING! So proud of how they did!

Impressed? You should be!!

Now, beyond this's time to plead their case for your support:

1. They have made incredible strides. Their director, Kim Evans, is only in her 2nd year here. She has been amazing for this group of talented singers!

2. Truman is the only public school on the Missouri side. The others are an all boys private school (anyone in the area knows what school that is), and then two schools on in the Johnson County area. You figure this out.

3. While other schools dream of using the $5000 on big trips to far away places & brand new equipment (because they already have decent funding of sorts), Truman would love to have a budget & be able to use it for things like continuing to have concerts & cleaning their robes. Maybe even to pay for bus transportation for the regional choir competition. Funding for the arts, at Truman, continue to dwindle to move funds to a football team who can't win a game. It's a shame. The $5000 would be substantial for this choral department.

4. They kept hearing about having the best day of their lives on Wednesday. Come to find out, Wednesday morning, the $5000 will be awarded to the winning school along with the band, American Authors, to help deliver the check & to include the winning choir in their next music video. I'm serious, people!

Does this help at all? If's how you can help this group of young & super talented group of singers:

1. By texting...a lot! Til your fingers hurt & your phone starts smoking! Send the word PATRIOTS to 47183. 

2. You can use #Truman on Instagram & Twitter. Oh...also...a lot. Also use #ChristmasChoirCompetition with it. (Look familiar?)

The top 2 left in the competition will be announced at 7:10 AM tomorrow morning! Hopefully #Truman will still be in the #ChristmasChoirCompetition!

Get voting, people! The judges are watching...

Please help if you can...and stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica


Update: 12/16/13

Thank you to all who voted & supported this fantastic group! The announcement was made this morning...and...
...the two Johnson County schools are the ones left in the top 2.

So sad & disappointed for Truman. They needed that funding. Badly. But alas...the local judges still are biased to money. You know the adage of you need money to make money? Yeah...that. Apparently.

Still very proud of how Truman's Concert Choir did. What an awesome choir they are!

But, alas, no more voting for them. *sigh*

Oh...and congrats to the other schools & stuffs.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

AM~Erica's Grown Up Christmas Wish

So anyway...

The tree is up & decorated...OK, actually 3 are up & 2 are decorated. The stockings are hung, there's been some snow around already, the holiday music has been blaring for longer than most would like, and many are attending Christmas events, as well as buying & wrapping presents for under the tree. And, for many of us, our Nativity Scene is in a prominent place.

It appears that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Wouldn't you agree?

I have been taking the last several early mornings & late nights just admiring the tree in our living room. It's a 9 foot tree that has white lights, colored lights, and a few of them slightly twinkle. There's a small handful ornaments left from the first tree my hubby & I had together, along with a collection of newer ones from pretty much each year. There's bows & candy canes, there's bells & poinsettias. Father Christmas, our very first & still favorite tree topper, holds some of the colored lights in his hands as he pulls them from his red velvet bag; sheer white ribbon spirals from the top to the bottom of the tree with a swirly snowflake pattern. It all sparkles, shines & glitters as the ornaments reflect the different light effects dazzling from them. The shiny paper & ribbons of the gifts under the tree catch the soft glimmer, too. It's an amazing sight.

Even though our tree is artificial, it still smells like a Christmas Forest in here. Being in Colorado, for a week over the summer, changed us. It just did. But can you blame us?

Our view from the balcony of our Colorado townhouse we stayed in was our glorious view every single morning

And we made the decision to enjoy our artificial tree, but wanted the scent to waft thru the house, too. We have a Glade plug-in with the holiday scent of Sparkling Spruce. Very fitting for our tree, I must say. So just taking in the scent & the sights in the calm, peaceful & still moments (there are a few) of the early morning & later evening is so blissful.


Several weeks ago, I found a pair of shoes that I had been shunning for a very long time. I'm not sure what it was about fuzzy moccasins that repelled me so much, but they just did. I had seen that they have been & would be a big trend, but I didn't get it. However, Teen Girl was wanting some so badly. Figures. So I saw some on sale, plus I had an extra went to get some for her. And as she was looking at them, giddily, and trying them on, I became more drawn to them. I joined her in trying some on...and that's all it took. I had to have a pair, too. With that, I have worn them nearly every day. Seriously.

But Wait! There's More!

As I was researching the pricing of these moccasins, I also saw some brightly colored ones. I couldn't seem to find them in store...but I know what size I wear in them now. And there was a pair in Chiefs' colors!!! Umm...of course I needed those. Amm-i-rite? So of course I ordered them! So I now have two delightful pairs of this comfy footwear! I highly recommend them. Seriously.


Several years ago, when the family took a trip to Springfield, MO, we visited the Bass Pro Shop there. I'd been before, but something about this trip stuck with me. What was it?
Was it the boats? No.
Was it the fashion sense? Um, no.
Was it the great prices? No.
Was it watching someone feeding the giant fish? Not necessarily.
Was it the wildlife museum? I don't think so.
Was it the food? Meh. Huh-uh.
Was it the hunting gear? Not a chance.
Was it the strategically placed taxidermy? way...
Was it the decor? we are onto something...

It was the lodgey decorum of the Bass Pro in Springfield that made me want that cabin feel at home. And I began to search out how to work it. But I didn't want big, bulky chairs & antlers everywhere; instead, I wanted the feel of a lodgey inn, but more contemporary & elegant. We've made strides toward that look in our living room. It's evolved here & there, but it's our general basis.

Because of this, we are so drawn to the rich & bold pattern of the red & black buffalo check look, and we see some beautiful plaids that make us swoon. I purchased a bright red plaid throw at a fantastic auxiliary thrift store years ago...and it's been used so much. So when we see other blankets/throws, throw pillows, etc. with these plaids, we stop & admire the decor & decide if it's something we could use &/or should get.

Jump ahead to about a month ago...
During one of our routine Walmart shopping trips, my hubby & I came across one of the most beautiful throws we have ever seen! It was a rich red & black plaid. The plaid side was so super soft to the touch, it felt like a heavenly cloud (or what I might imagine that to feel like). The reverse side was a faux lamby, fleecey sherpa material that seemed so warm & cozy! Sadly, we couldn't get it in that visit...but maybe in a future one...

As the fall began to let winter into it's time frame, the thought of being curled up by a fire with one of those throws sounded good. And then we got some sicky peeps in the house...and, with hubby being one of them, was begging for one of the throws. So I went to get some medicine & a throw...but, with the wide array of patterns, I could not find the gorgeous plaid. Hubby said not to worry about it until we could find the one we wanted...

On a different outing, we excitedly went looking for our red plaid throw. luck. We did find a really pretty green & blue plaid though. It was the only one! So we got it. And, in just a couple of days, everyone seemed to be fighting for its use! It's like being wrapped in a warm, heavenly cloud. So, we decided we needed another one...

As we went to find the original red plaid, or to find a match to the green plaid...there was no luck. Geez, these are getting harder to find! But...we found only one of a pattern so striking that we couldn't pass it up! It's a red, ivory & navy (with some gray) wintery, Nordic look. It's kind of fantastic. So we nabbed it!

Our sherpa throws: Nordic & Plaid
There are a lot of hideous patterns in these throws...but if you can get one...DO IT!!! They are disappearing very quickly!!


Folks, it's a beautiful Christmas-spirit moment to be able to have the lights turned down, a fire roaring in the fire place, watching the tree twinkle while smelling the Christmas Forest it could have come from, wearing fuzzy moccasins that are getting quickly worn out from the use, and wrapped in this delightful warmth of the sherpa throw. Even better when you have a hot drink in your mug (like coffee, hot chocolate or cider) with your hands cupped around it. Yep...that's the stuff, people!

So, my grown up Christmas wish is nothing like Steve Martin's (if you are familiar with his SNL skit about this).

Not a great video of it, but it's still his holiday wish. 
*has adult themes, yo*

But it would be more like wishing everyone could have an artificial tree with manufactured pine scent (so there's very little work involved), a pair of fuzzy moccasins for warm & comfy feet, and a sherpa throw to feel like you are cuddled up in warm cloud sent from Heaven. It's the winter combo of the angels, I tell ya!

And, just to make it more clear about the shoes & blanket:
I am appalled by the Snuggie. I cannot even fully put into words how much. However...if there was one done in the sherpa throw style...I would wear it out! Really. I would easily be a "People of Walmart" as I grocery shop in my sherpa Snuggie, flannel pajama pants, thermal shirt, and fuzzy moccasins. Oh wouldn't be attractive, but I'd be warmer & more comfy than most other shoppers. I'd probably be happier, too.

So, just to be very clear, I'm wishing you all:

*Peace on Earth & Goodwill
*Fake Tree with glimmer & Manufactured Pine Scent
*Fuzzy Moccasins & Sherpa Throws
           ...which leads to...
*Comfort & Joy

Glade Plug-in (see it?), sherpa throws & fuzzy moccasins...
...and an artificial Christmas tree

This is a pic of Comfort & Joy, people

Merry Christmas..and God Bless us...everyone!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica