Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yes, (fill in name here)...there is a Santa Clause!

Last night, I had one of those parenting moments when you just don't know what to say. 

I should have known it was coming...there have been clues.
 
The Easter Bunny fell first last spring.  She told me the day after Easter.  He just stopped making sense to her.  Why would a bunny, and a giant bunny at that, bring eggs?  Good question, darling brilliant daughter.
 
Then the Tooth Fairy fell during the summer.  I think the movie had something to do with that.  How convenient that the Tooth Fairy had just left $5 for a particularly yucky dentist visit that involved the early removal of a molar.  Dear daughter was smart enough to "keep believing" in the Tooth Fairy until she had cashed in.

But Santa? 
Not dear, old, Saint Nick. 
Not yet.
 
I'm not ready for this part of her childhood to be gone. 
It's too soon.
(Is it bad for tears to soak my laptop?)

When I was a little younger than my ten year old daughter, I stopped believing in Santa.  My parents wanted my younger sister to keep believing, and I guess they feared that I would destroy her childhood with my disbelief (I probably would have), so they got my uncle to dress as Santa and arranged for my sister and I to "catch" Santa in the act of leaving presents under the tree.  It worked.  I believed in Santa until I was thirteen.  (Yes, I was the only eighth grader in the world who still believed in Santa and, yes, I still have emotional scars from the ridicule of my classmates and my little sister who had stopped believing long before I did). 
I guess I was just really sad that Santa was no longer a part of my life.  My parents and grandparents had always made Christmas wonderful and they knew it would never be the same again once it wasn't about Santa anymore. 
Anyway, my mom found a copy of a letter written to The New York Sun back in 1897 by a little girl named Virginia who wanted to know if Santa was real.  Newsman Francis Pharcellus Church wrote The Sun's response to Virginia. The response is exactly what I wish I could have said to my darling doubting daughter last night when she asked me if there really was a Santa.  I've never forgotten this letter.  When I was sixteen, I purchased a Christmas ornament with the letter and response printed inside.  It's still one of my favorite ornaments. 
I plan to print a copy for my daughter.  Maybe it will affect her like it did me. 
Deep down...I still believe in Santa Clause.  Don't you?  I bet you will after you read it.    

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.



"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.  Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.  Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'  Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
VIRGINIA O'HANLON
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.


You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

(Okay, lots of tears on my laptop.  I'm glad I bought the extended warranty.)

Now, go start your Christmas shopping.  And don't forget to hide the Santa gifts really well. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall Into Reading 2010

Katrina @ Callapidder Days is sponsoring her annual Fall Into Reading challenge.  I enjoyed the Spring Reading challenge, so I thought I'd participate in this challenge as well.  Because I'm in graduate school and working full time (not to mention raising two kids), I'm keeping my list reasonable.  I hope to finish these books and maybe a couple more by the end of the challenge (December 20th).  This is a no pressure challenge and it's fun to see what the other participants are reading.  You can challenge yourself to a few books or a dozen--it doesn't matter.  I'm always looking for books to add to my "To Be Read" pile (like it's not big enough already).  I'll post my reviews of the books as I finish them and post a summary in December.  Why don't you join the challenge, too?  Just click on this link


1.  World Without End by Ken Follett:  After reading The Pillars of the Earth for the Spring Reading challenge, I had to pick the sequel for this challenge.  It takes place in the same town as Pillars, but 200 years later.  Follett is a master writer who really does his historical research.  This book is a little over 1000 pages, so I think it should count as 3 entries.  But, the way Follett writes, I won't be able to put it down.  


2.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson:  I guess I'm one of the few people who hasn't read this book.  I've seen it everywhere and the reviews are promising.  It's the first of a trilogy.  If I like it, at least I won't have to wait for the sequels to be released (as I did for Mockingjay).  The third one was released in May.

3.  Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo:  I'm in the mood for a good thriller, and I've heard this is a great one.  It's set in Ohio Amish country where a serial killer is on the loose.  The female police chief left the Amish faith and knows a secret that involves the case.  Could be interesting...I'll let you know.




4.  Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers:  I really love Francine Rivers' other books, especially Redeeming Love, so I'm looking forward to this book.  It has great reviews and is the first of a two part series.  Francine Rivers is one of the best out there for telling great stories with captivating characters.  I'm sure this book will not disappoint.



Well, that's it.  A short list, but I'll be spending most of my time reading books for my master's classes.  Believe me, they're not near as exciting. 
I hope you'll join the challenge.  Tell your friends.  The more, the merrier.  

100 Word Review: A Great And Terrible Beauty


A Great and Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray


Not great...Not beautiful...Mostly terrible...

The characters never really come together and were
unlikable, unsympathetic, and lifeless.

Just whining, pouting, teenagers each chapter.

Silly...Dull...Disjointed...Scattered...Confusing...

Concepts not explained throughly.

Lost my interest very early.

No moral compass.

Very inappropriate at times, especially for young teens.

Seeks to hit every modern "edgy" issue (the occult, homosexuality, cutting) even if unrelated to the plot.

Sad to say this is the first book I read on my new Kindle.  :(

Difficult to finish.

I will not read the sequels.

Wasted my money.   Don't waste yours.

I still LOVE my Kindle. :)

100 Word Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne collins

Like many of you who are fans of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I COULD NOT WAIT for the release of Mockingjay back in August (Tuesday, the 24th to be exact).  I pre-ordered the book from Amazon in June, received it on the August 25th, and tore into it.  I would like to say that I've been pondering this final book of the series for the last month before writing this review, but I've just been too busy to blog.  With work and graduate school and, oh yeah, kids, blogging has slipped on the priority ladder.  So, now that everyone has already read Mockingjay and half of you have written your own reviews full of literary analysis and expert criticisms, I will throw in my 100 words...exactly 100 words.  No spoilers below.  Oh, and if you're one of the few people who hasn't read this series, you might want to try it.  It's not for everyone, but it was sooooo for me.

     
100 Word Review....

Heartbreaking...

Haunting...Chilling...

Intense...

Brutal...Dark...

Painful...

Superbly written. 

Unpredicatable

Moments of greatness...

A YA book about so much more than teenage angst or romantic love.

What must a society be willing to lose to defeat evil?

A complex, heartwrenching, story with a cast of well defined characters and a suspenseful storyline.

A war story full of sacrifice and impossible choices.

A brave, strong, heroine (so rare in a YA book).

Buttercup (I cried)...

A fitting ending to an utterly amazing story.

Not what I expected...better!

I devoured this book.

By the way, I now dislike roses.  You too?

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks to Annell @ Dragonflowersandbooks for the award.  My very first for blogging.  It made my day...and then I got really guilty about my blogging absence.  You've inspired me to get back to it, Annell.  Thanks again! 

Rules:
1.Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2.Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
3.Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.


So now I pass on this award to bloggers I've recently discovered and really like (in no particular order). Here's to you awesome bloggers!

Lisa Notes...On Seeing God
My Friend Amy
Callapidder Days
Love Well
Amy's Humble Musings
The Art of Doing Stuff
Sock Monkey and Gee
Coal Creek Farm
Country Mouse Chatter House
The Mama Bird Diaries
Bugs In My Teeth
No Ordinary Moments
A Holy Experience
Because I Said So
The Mother Load