A History Lesson on The Bill of Rights…


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(Zentangle(R)-inspired frame art by Jenn Webster)

December 15th is Bill of Rights Day, a day in which the anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights is commemorated; But, you might ask, just what exactly IS the Bill of Rights?! Glad you have asked that question…
The Bill of Rights happens to be the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution; It was created on September 25th, 1789 and was ratified on December 15th, 1791 by James Madison. The amendments of the Bill of Rights add specific guarantees to the Constitution of personal rights as well as freedoms, and clear limitations on the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people.
George Washington, who was America’s first President, had 14 handwritten copies of the Bill of Rights made, one for Congress while another for each of the 13 original states; The copies for the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York had since gone missing, especially the fact that the New York state’s copy had been destroyed in a fire. The two unidentified copies of the missing four, which thought to be the Maryland as well as the Georgia copies, had survived-One stands at the New York Public Library while the other is standing at the National Archives.

The copy of the Bill of Rights retained by the First Congress has been on display in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., alongside the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and it has been on display since December 13th, 1952. But fifty years later, the casting was showing signs of deterioration, but the documents themselves appeared to be well-deserved. So with that, the casting was updated and the Rotunda had been rededicated on September 17th, 2003; Then-President George W. Bush stated in his dedicatory remarks, “The true (American) revolution was not to defy one earthly power, but to declare principles that stand above every earthly power-the equality of each person before God, and the responsibility of government to secure the rights of all.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15th to be Bill of Rights Day in 1941, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ratification of this historic document; And in 1991, the Virginia copy had a national tour to honor its bicentennial, visiting all of the 50 states’ capitals.
There happens to be a whole lot more ground to cover on The Bill of Rights, so may I suggest that you pay a visit to www.wikipedia.org and look up “Bill of Rights” for more information!

Saint Lucy…as In Lucia


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(Illustration by Jenn Webster)

On December 13th, there is a Christian feast day that is celebrated, and I think that this celebration is as meaningful as Christmas itself: It is called the Feast of St. Lucia, or Saint Lucia’s Day, and that day commemorates a third-century martyr by the name of Saint Lucia, and according to legend Saint Lucia “bought food to aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs” using a candle-lit wreath to “light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible”.
The Feast of Saint Lucia coincides with the Winter Solstice, which happens to be the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, and so her feast day has become a Christian festival of light.
There is a traditional story that goes that Lucia was born in the year of 283 of rich and noble parents; Her father, who was of Roman origin, had died when Lucia was only five years of age, and that has left Lucia and her mother without a protective guardian. Later on in life, Lucia was seeking help for her mother’s long-term illness when she went to the shrine of Saint Agnes, and she was in fact cured there, and availing herself of the opportunity, Lucia persuaded her mother to allow her mother to allow her to distribute a great part of her riches among the poor.

Then Lucia had refused to compromise her virginity in marriage and was then denounced to the Roman authorities by the man she would have wed; Legend would later state that she had been threatened to be taken to a brothel if she did not renounce her Christian beliefs, but they were unable to move her. Another story insisted that Saint Lucia was working to help Christians who are in hiding, but in order to take many supplies as possible with her, she would need to have both hands free, so the problem had been solved by attaching candles to a wreath on her head. In the end, although she had remained faithful, it is said that Saint Lucia was beheaded.
Saint Lucia’s Day had become a popular occasion in Sweden, even though it is not exactly an official holiday there; Students hold huge formal dinner parties at many universities as this is the last chance to have fun together before they would go home to their families for Christmas. Meanwhile, a ceremony being venerated on the 13th of December is where a girl had been selected to portray Lucia, thus wearing a white gown with a red sash while wearing a crown of candles on her head; the lights on the candles symbolize the fire that refused to take Saint Lucia’s life when she was sentenced to be burned. She and a procession of women, each holding a candle, sing a Lucia song while entering a room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song, Santa Lucia. A not-so-uninteresting fact: the Italian lyrics describe the view from Santa Lucia in Naples, while the various Scandinavian lyrics have been fashioned for this occasion, which describes the light with which Lucia overcomes the darkness.
Here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A., Saint Lucia Day has become a popular as well as a special thing among Scandinavian Americans, and that celebration has and is still practiced in such different contexts as parties at home, and services in churches.

     Saint Lucia Day is sort of a beautiful prelude to the coming Christmas season; It is still such a wonderful thing to ponder about during this festive season of giving, love, and peace.

 

“LOOKING RIGHT BACK” (LinkedIn Article)


Read my brand-new article for LinkedIn in which I look back at the goals that I have done throughout the year…

What the Heck is a Secret Santa?!


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(Cartoon illustration of Santa by yours truly!)

Even though I have heard this around my food service job, there happens to be word that they are going to have a Secret Santa throughout the holiday season, and when that time is coming, say, close to Christmas, they would give the gifts to whoever name they have chosen to give the gifts to…
So, it is with that that yours truly has just got to find out why the Secret Santa is named as well as how it ever so came to be; I did some searching around, and it came to my conclusion that a Secret Santa happens to be a Western Christmas tradition in which the members of either a community or a group have been randomly assigned a person to whom they give a gift. As for the identity of the gift giver, it is a secret that is to be unrevealed.
Now, for the backstory of how this practice came to be…It derives from the Christian tradition, in which the ritual happens not here in the United States but over across that pond, the United Kingdom to be exact. This American custom is named after that time-honored mystical being that is known as Santa Claus, that certain gift-bringer.

However, it’s not just us here in the U.S. that we have our very own Secret Santa; Other places around the world have that similar tradition, places such as “Kris Kindle” in Ireland, “Angelito” in the Dominican Republic, and in Germany they have something called “Wichtein”; a “Wichtein”, a wight, is someone who does a good deed.
For those who live in South Jersey as well as Southeastern Pennsylvania, there happens to be a different name for Secret Santa, and it is called a “Pollyanna”.
And so, that was how yours truly has found out about the Secret Santa…Maybe I might try this out once my food service co-workers get started on it…

In Celebration of ☕Hot Chocolate Day☕: Hot Chocolate Ideas!


This December the 13th happens to be National Hot Chocolate Day, a day in which we honor that most famous of the winter time drinks; After all, nothing goes with Christmas quite like hot chocolate, right? Whenever the weather get as cold as anything, hot chocolate serves as an emergency beverage-When one drinks it while it is warm/hot, then their bodies become so very warm inside…

To help you celebrate Hot Chocolate Day, yours truly has personally selected these yummy ideas through the courtesy of that ever-so-full-of-ideas website, Pinterest

When it comes to trying a new hot chocolate flavor, you just simply cannot go wrong with: Cookies & Cream Hot Chocolate!
This next idea just happens to be a candy bar lover’s dream: Caramel Marshmallow Hot Chocolate!
For those who like peanut butter, especially Reese’s peanut butter cups, then here is this fun idea: Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate!
And finally, this happens to be the most surprising, as well as fruity, idea when it comes to hot chocolate, so for those who are daring to try this, here it is: Blackberry Hot Chocolate!

COME, FOLLOW JESUS: “Christmas Praise”


Psalm 66:1-8

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“Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His unfailing love from me.” (Psalms 66:20, NLT)

Christmas is the most joyful as well as the most blessed time of the year; Churches all across America and around the globe are getting ready to plan for worship services to celebrate the real reason we have a Christmas season: Jesus Christ, who came to earth to save every one of us from the power of Satan by taking our place to die on the cross for us as payment for our sins…
And yet, there are those who have been facing some very tough times of late, such as those who are facing their very first Christmas after the loss of a loved one, and others who are struggling from depression. Those people have been through so very much of late that somehow, they really do not feel like celebrating Christmas or have absolutely nothing to do with the holiday itself anymore. They just simply want to spend that otherwise glorious day of days, as one would say, hiding under a rock and wished that the entire holiday season would just go away so that they could get right on back with their lives as soon as possible…
But I would very much like for those of you who are or have just begun to read this right now to please open your ears, and listen to what I have to say: God knows what you are going through, and He just wants you to know that He loves you so very much, and He would also like to offer something to you: He loves you so very much that to show that love: He sent His most precious Christmas gift, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the ultimate price of His life on the cross as the payment for you for your sins, all of them nailed with Jesus on the cross at a place called Calvary; His most precious blood is the only one that washes away your sins-Nothing else shall to that! Yes, the precious blood of Jesus Christ that has been shed for you on the cross is the payment that Jesus bought, in which gives you the most blessed gift, not just at Christmas, but every day and for all time: Salvation as well as life eternal.

For those who believe in Him, God answers all our prayers, and as believers, we should always worship and praise God, especially at Christmas and always. Psalms 66:1-8(NLT) is an example of why we should always praise God in a Christmas praise: “Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of His name! Tell the world how glorious He is. Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your deeds! Your enemies cringe before Your mighty power. Everything on earth will worship You; they will sing Your praises, shouting Your name in glorious songs.’
Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles He performs for people! He made a dry path through the Red Sea, and His people went across on foot. There we rejoiced in Him for by His great power He rules forever. He watches every moment of the nations; let no rebel rise in defiance. Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing His praises.”

Yes, we should always sing praises to our Lord God, not just at Christmas, but always; But what about you? Have you ever praised our Heavenly Father because He sent His Son to earth to be born from a stable in Bethlehem and died a criminal’s death on the cross to save those who have been trapped in their sins, especially you? Or have you been too busy being lost in pain and sorrow and have tried to get out of the darkness yourselves to even notice? Well, I think it is time to simply give up your own ways of thinking and devote your life to serving the Lord God by giving your heart to Jesus Christ today…
Yes, God has given you the most wonderful gift that He has ever given you: The gift of salvation through the precious blood of His Son, Christ Jesus, Who has allowed Himself to be beaten, whipped, forced to carry, and then was nailed to, suffering, bleeding, and then dying on the cross at a place called Calvary; Then, three days later, He had been risen from the dead by His Father, defeating death for us all as He went out of that cold, dark tomb, so that all of us could very well have life eternal. I really cannot think of any other gift that you could ever receive than the salvation that comes from Jesus Christ, and there is certainly no better time to give up your old life and to give your own heart to Christ than right now.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16-17, NLT)
And so, are you ready to fully repent of your sins and to give your heart to Jesus Christ right now? Then please pray this prayer with me: “Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, I admit that I am a sinner. I have ultimately sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. I believe that You have died on the cross for Your sins, and have been raised from the dead on the third day, defeating death so that I could have eternal life. I ask now that You please come into my heart, and to let me follow You always as my personal Savior. Thank You so very much that You have been sent to earth to pay the ultimate price of Your Life to fulfill Your Father’s will, so that I shall be free of my sins, and that I have been saved. Please come into my heart today, so that I can follow You for always. In Your holy and blessed name. Amen.”

If you have just prayed this prayer with me, then I would very much like to welcome YOU into God’s Great, Big Family! Now, the very next thing that I would like for you to do now that you have given your very own heart to Jesus Christ would be to read the Holy Bible, God’s Blessed Word, each and every day of your life, and then, I would very much like for you to go to a good, Christian church, each and every Sunday of your life, so that you can praise, worship, and thank our Heavenly Father for the gift that His Son has provided for you, the gift of salvation. I hope and pray that you make the most important decision of your life by inviting Jesus Christ into your heart today, not just at Christmas, but for always, and forever. I would like to thank you so very much for taking the time to read this message today; Lord willing, until next time, may the Lord God ever so richly bless you.

Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. 

 

 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY


The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad. Dark clouds surround him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire spreads ahead of him and burns up all his foes. His lightning flashes out across the world. The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; every nation sees his glory. Those who worship idols are disgraced— all who brag about their worthless gods— for every god must bow to him. Jerusalem has heard and rejoiced, and all the towns of Judah are glad because of your justice, O Lord! For you, O Lord, are supreme over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. You who love the Lord, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked. Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right. May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord and praise his holy name! Psalms 97:1‭-‬12 NLThttps://bible.com/bible/116/psa.97.1-12.NLT

ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF MY “SEA CENTAUR” CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!


Well, that went by quick, again…My final giveaway of 2018 is now officially history once again, but before I announce the winners there is something that I would very much like to share with you: Whenever I start a giveaway and then set the end date for a week later, there comes the announcement that there have already been winners before that end date. I really do not know why this has happened, but hopefully I shall contact those people sometime in the new year and see what happened with the change when it comes to planning on creating future giveaways…

But for now, it is time to announce the winners of my final giveaway of 2018, and they are: crystal s., Debbie S., Page B., and Melissa P…Now, I am still waiting for the announcement of the fifth winner of my giveaway, and once the announcement is made, I shall bring it to you. Meanwhile, I would very much like to say to those winners who may be reading this here: Congratulations, and I hope that you enjoy your prize just as much as any gift that you would be receiving this Christmas! As for those of you who have entered in the giveaway but did not win, I would like to say that I am sorry that you did not win, but you can purchase your very own digital copy of The Sea Centaur at the Amazon Kindle Store at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G8FZ1T4; It makes a wonderfully great Christmas gift for those you love!

After KALEIDOSCOPE (www.jenniferkaleidoscope.com) takes its annual break for the Christmas/New Year’s holiday, then hopefully I shall have another giveaway. In the meantime, may I wish all of you Kindle readers out there a very merry and blessed Christmas!

Happy 75th, My Heavenly Merman…


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(Zentangle(R)-inspired background art by yours truly!)

Tomorrow shall be the anniversary of the birth of the most nostalgically wonderful man that I have ever known; He was born Kenneth Rosenberg in Brooklyn on December 9th, 1943, and would go on to become an original founding member of a 1960s group, and then would later go on to become a singer, songwriter, and music producer. That man whom I am speaking about in this blog post today and whose birthday I am to celebrate happens to be none other than Kenny Vance.
When Kenny was a teenager, he began hanging around the famous Tin Pan Alley songwriting machine, the Brill Building; He then started the Harbor Lites, his very first vocal group, at the age of 15. This group would then go on to record two singles for Ivy Records in 1959. Kenny would later form another group, this time as Jay and the Americans; this all-new group auditioned for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who then later signed them to United Artists Records.

During their time as a group, Jay and the Americans recorded their first hit, “She Cried”, released in 1962; they would become the opening act for not one, but two of the great British groups in their very first U.S. performances: The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The group also appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and in addition to their hit singles throughout the 1960s, they would form their very own publishing and production company, JATA Enterprises.
In 1967, before his time with Jay and The Americans was over, Kenny Vance then managed a songwriting duo who would go on to greater fame under the name of Steely Dan, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen; Kenny would continue to work for the songwriting duo until 1971, and that was when he brought one of their songs, “I Mean to Shine”, to Richard Perry first, then brought to Barbra Streisand, who recorded the song on one of her albums, Barbra Joan Streisand.

Later on in his career, Kenny Vance would go on to session work, as well as writing and producing movie soundtracks, and he also became the music supervisor for two movies, Animal House and Eddie and the Cruisers, as well as American Hot Wax; It was in that movie that he invented a group that, unbeknownst to him, would go on to be reborn in a real manner: Kenny Vance appeared in the movie as “Professor LaPlano”, leader of a fictional group called the Planotones, performing “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay”. Kenny has since contributed music for other TV shows and movies, and would go on to become the musical director of the time-honored Saturday Night Live.
In 1992, Vance would re-form the no-longer-fictitious Planotones, only this time as Kenny Vance and The Planotones; They released their first two albums, Teenage Jazz and Looking For An Echo. Kenny then created the whole soundtrack for the 1999 film also called Looking For an Echo. Since that time, the group has released five more albums, in which yours truly has the pleasure of having, Lover’s Island, Countdown to Love, Dancing and Romancing, Oceans of Time, and their holiday album, Mr. Santa.

    I wish that life was kind to the man that I have and still am falling in love with, had it not been for the fates that got in his way: In 2012, Kenny Vance lost his Rockaway home of 40 years due to Hurricane Sandy, and from 2013 to last year had to take time off from performing do a tear in his artery, and because of that, he had not been able to do that echo that he does during each song that he performs, and of course before his signature song, Looking For an Echo.
I am so very happy and blessed to be loving and still loving a man who is the most perfect match for me: A man who has similar nostalgic interests as I do, and while most people would rather prefer listening to such hip-hop foulmouths as Cardi B as well as teen bubblegum sugar delights as boy bands, it is those times when I need to prefer listening to Kenny Vance the very most; While current artists of the day sometimes irritate me, it is Kenny and his heavenly voice that soothes me.

And tomorrow, I shall celebrate his 75th birthday. Kenny darling, if you are reading this, I just want you to know how very happy I am for you this day; God has blessed me with the gift of a sweet friend such as you. Thank you so very much for cheering me up all these years, and the world thanks you for giving them the nostalgia that they so desperately needed. Happy 75th Birthday Kenny Vance, my heavenly merman, with all of my love from the bottom of my heart-Jennifer W.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tiny, Little Photo Gallery…


As I have mentioned in previous blog posts before, I am now a food service worker for a company called Sodexo at the Patterson Dining Facility at the Dover Air Force Base in Dover, DE; I thought that it would be a good idea for me to share with you some of the pictures that I have taken, before and after a typical working day…

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First, while I was waiting for the bus that would take me to the visitor’s center at the base, I took this picture of these tree branches that are now bare due to the fact that the leaves have fallen for another year…
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And here is the dining facility itself, the place in which I am working in…

Now, the following day, as I have gotten finished from my work for the day, I had taken these two pictures at sunset…

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Oh, there never was a more beautiful sunset like this one…
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When the sun’s about to set, that is the time that the outdoor lights of the base began to shine.