The Ins and Odds of St. Patrick’s Day

Originally St. Patrick’s Day was a religious feast held in honor of the Irish patron saint, on March 17, the day of his death. In his teens, he was kidnapped near his home, and worked as a slave in Ireland for almost two decades before managing to escape back to England.

After joining the Catholic church, he returned to Ireland to share the gospel. Many legends surround the time St. Patrick spent sharing his faith with the Irish. They are the basis of how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated today.

Celebrations began in Boston in 1737 as a way to honor Irish and Irish-American culture by the colonists. The first time a military unit joined a St. Patrick’s Day parade was in 1762. Since that day in New York, military units have made it a  tradition to march each year.

Did The Irish Really Eat Corned Beef and Cabbage?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is only the Irish-American’s because brisket, cabbage, and root vegetables were cheap in the colonies. In Ireland, beef was expensive, so the Irish ate mostly ham and bacon which were prevalent and affordable. Today’s St. Patrick’s Day menus pay homage to both the Irish and the Irish-American’s. Check out these modern recipes. Continue reading “The Ins and Odds of St. Patrick’s Day”

Making Time

The start of autumn brings memories cascading down around me like the colorful leaves that flutter to the ground and pile high underneath the trees. They warm my heart like a cup of cocoa with marshmallows and at the center of each one is love.

Am I noticing this because I passed the dreaded four-oh. Or is it because I’m learning to appreciate the ‘now’ moments more? I really don’t know why, but each year at this time the memories come unbidden.

Memories Are Powerful

We lived many places during my childhood. My favorite place had  a huge yard with lots of trees. Each one dropped thousands of leaves. We raked them into giant piles. Well actually, my parents did. My sister and I weren’t very old and even though we tried to help,  we created more work. What I do know, is that we spent hours jumping in the piles, burying each other in them, running through them, and restacking them so we could do it all over again. All these years later it lifts my mood just thinking about those fun Sundays.

A few years ago when my niece, Princess Cadence, lived here, she and I spent many afternoons making large piles of leaves and rolling down the hill into them while Oma cheered us on. We’d lay in the leaves, giggling until our tummies hurt.

Tyler in the backyard
Tyler in the backyard All rights reserved Copyright Jillian Pearl

Tyler, my big beautiful boy, loved to chase leaves. He patiently stalked them and when the wind rustled them across the grass he made his move. Chasing and tackling them into submission. Once they admitted defeat, he’d roll on his back, holding several in his arms, and kick them to shreds with his back paws.

Memories are powerful emotional triggers. Just writing these three stories tugged my heart in different directions. Continue reading “Making Time”

Music That Brings Happiness

If you haven’t heard of The Piano Guys you’re missing out. Pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson put their own unique twist on familiar songs. The result is music and videos that are a delight to the senses. Their passion is felt in every note.

The video below is track one from their newest Christmas album. In the first 35 seconds of the video their humor and joy are on display. The rest of the video is an amazing version of Angels We Have Heard On High.

Everything about this video is whimsical and brilliant. These guys use a piano in ways I’ve never seen before. Except for the vocals, all the musical sounds in the song are made with the piano. I’d love to play an instrument this well, but since I can’t I’m glad they share their talent.

There are times during all the holiday hustle that emotions plummet and stress causes me to lose the joy that is the true magic of Christmas. Watching their Christmas videos makes me smile and remember that this holiday is about more than fighting the crowds at the mall or maneuvering through crazy traffic. It’s about love and joy. It’s about giving of yourself to make someone’s day just a little brighter. Their music reaches inside of me, twisting and pulling me in whatever direction The Piano Guys fancy. They beckon me to follow them to a happy place and I do. I’ve spent afternoons watching video after video, and when I’m done, I always feel a mixture of contentment and excitement.

Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine. — Ludwig van Beethoven

I believe The Piano Guys have found music’s secrets and share a part of their souls with us through those secrets. I thank God for the gift of the one universal language–music, and for those whose souls and lives overflow with love and a skillful expression of that gift.

Let’s spread some joy. Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite Christmas music video or song is and why it’s your favorite.

Angels Trumpet
photo credit: Angels Trumpet at Caesars Palace via photopin (license)

Coffee And Spiders

It’s early Saturday morning. 5 a.m. to be precise. The basement is dark, the glow of the night-lights gives just enough light for me to see where Molly’s toys litter the floor. I stumble to the laptop, fire it up and go to brush my teeth.

When that’s done I carefully wind my way past the squeak toys and sit in my desk chair. An IM message from Nikki is blinking at me. She lives halfway around the world from me, but because of NaNoWriMo and the internet, I now call her my good friend. After a quick good morning, I take the coffee pot to get water. I’m tired. The number of times I splash water over the coffee pot and on my hands proves it. Slowly and carefully I carry it back downstairs, attempting to not spill any in my foggy state of mind. Coffee is a must. I simply can’t write until I have at least one cup.

The coffee pot brews noisily as Nikki and I chat and I try to wake up. After a short eternity, the coffee is ready. I pour a dollop of creamer into the cup and add a spoonful of sugar. Yawning, I pick up the cup and the coffee pot. The amazing smell forces my eyelids open a little wider. I imagine taking my first sip and start pouring when I see it…

Continue reading “Coffee And Spiders”