Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Music 2011 #4: Libera

As the year progressed into summer I started thinking about Christmas music and wondered what new music would come out this year.  I was thinking which group I would love to see a Christmas album from and it was Libera!  Surprisingly it happened and I have been enjoying the album tremendously.  The only other album that had a chance to be a runner up was one by William Joseph that his web site said would be coming out this year, but alas it did not show up.  So Libera wins by default.  I will put a couple of the songs I enjoyed below, but know that the whole album is great. 

Carol of the Bells by Libera-- this video shows them singing in a forest.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night by Libera--This video shows the group singing.

In Dulci Jubilo and Jubilate Deo by Libera--Video shows Nativity and other Christmas scenes.

Hope you have enjoyed their music and my four submissions of fine Christmas music this year.  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas lights at Louis Ginter Botanical Garden

This year we were going over our holiday schedule a couple weeks ago and realized our daughter's girl scout troop was going to Louis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond to see the Christmas lights that they put up.  It was something I had never done before and being a lover of Christmas lights we decided to give it a visit at the same time.  I took a few pictures to share with you.  Hope you enjoy them!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I've been reading #11

The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere
I enjoy reading a Christmas book or two when Christmas comes around.  Lisa's book club listed a book of one of this author's books to read for their meeting.  I noticed that she has written a number of Christmas books.  This particular one was the first one and was inspired by a song by the same title by a Christian group Newsong.  I was familiar with the song and enjoyed the book.  It is about a young boy whose mother is dieing and has only one more Christmas to live.  His teacher from school says something that leads him on a quest to get a present for his Mom that has lots of meaning.  It was a short read and not real intriguing but did touch the heart strings a couple times, which is just what I hope for in a Christmas book. 

Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan
My daughter Haleigh had been telling me for quite some time that this is a series that I would enjoy.  I had a number of other things to read but finally decided to ask her for the first book in what is now an 11 book series.  I must admit that I was surprised at how good it was.  It really does a good job of providing action and building the characters of the main people in the book.  Basically it is about a young orphan in about the twelfth century who has the opportunity to be a ranger but really wants to be a night.  He really works hard at his training and at key moments his creativity and training really come forward to show his talent.  This is a good moral book and though it does have violent action in it at times, it is not gory or overly detailed.  I recommend this book to those, including young people, who are looking for a good story to get into. 

The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke
I was watching the First Presidency Christmas Fireside the other day and President Monson mentioned a book I hadn't heard of that he likes to read before each Christmas season.  So I thought I would read it and found it very enjoyable.  It is similar to other classic Christmas books in that it reminds us of what is most important is that we need to give and serve and not just want and get.  But this one goes a little bit further and the point is that our heart must be in it for the right reasons and not just giving and serving so that we can look good or be admired by others.  I found it very enjoyable and a good reminder of something that often gets left out in modern Christmas celebrating.  It is a quick read and I would encourage everyone to read it as the season is upon us or even after Christmas.

Ranger's Apprentice: The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan
John Flanagan has done it again to continue Will's story along in his apprenticing to be a Ranger.  Once again he has made the characters likable as they prepare for a war with Morgareth and Will ends up saving the day in a realistic and honorable way and then ends up getting kidnapped and off to the North countries.  I am impressed with the excellent way that the good guy characters are portrayed where they will honorably do what they say even when tricked and then learn their lesson.  This is a good series if you like action from the middle ages and good characters who are really good and not using the techniques of the bad guys in an effort to do good, but instead stay firmly in the good guys camp. 

The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron R. Hawkins
This is a book that our family has been reading for a while.  This book would optimally be read by about 8-12 year olds but I purchased it for our family because it taught a lesson I wanted my daughter to be exposed to so she could learn more.  The idea is that earning money takes hard work.  In the story a boy is given the opportunity to take care of 100 apple trees and earn the money that he could use to purchase the land.  He learns a lot of lessons about apples, himself, salesmanship and other people.  It was good for our purposes but would have been better if our daughter was younger. 
"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
William Styron

Some of the books I've read this month have had that result.  A bit tired but glad for the trip.  That's better than the book that only succeeds in being a sleep aid each time you pick it up.  Enjoy reading!
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