Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year

The Rowdy Santas and I are partying and celebrating the holiday in high style. Here are a few choice thoughts on the season that celebrates the hope of peace on earth, good will toward all.

Merry Christmas! 

It is in the old Christmas carols, hymns, and traditions—those which date from the Middle Ages—that we find not only what makes Christmas poetic and soothing and stately, but first and foremost what makes Christmas exciting. The exciting quality of Christmas rests on an ancient and admitted paradox. It rests upon the paradox that the power and center of the whole universe may be found in some seemingly small matter, that the stars in their courses may move like a moving wheel around the neglected outhouse of an inn.
G.K. Chesterton


Christmas begins with anticipation. The child in all of us yearns for the beautiful gifts this season brings. Remember when you were a child, waiting for Christmas morning when all the glories of wrapped presents, filled stockings, lighted trees, and family feasts would be revealed? Often, when we become adults, we lose that childlike expectancy. Christmas sometimes seems more a chore to get through than a pleasure to savor. But the joyous simplicities of the season can still weave their magic, if we rediscover the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

Renew your sense of anticipation. Acknowledge the yearning of your heart through the symbols of Advent, where the church awaits the coming Redeemer. Feel the joy of Christmas morning, when the Gift is given and God has come to his people. And in Epiphany, honor the sacredness of life, as wise men and women through the ages have learned to do. Let a sense of anticipation renew your heart in this festive winter celebration. 

Celebrate the abundance of Christmas by counting the blessings you have now, and anticipating that the goodness you choose to experience today is a sign of the goodness you will experience tomorrow. Take the time to savor the delights of this season—and you will rediscover the joys of anticipation.

(from Christmas Abundance by Candy Paull)


We are not to make the ideas of contentment and aspiration quarrel, for God made them fast friends. A man may aspire, and yet be quite content until it is time to rise; and both flying and resting are but parts of one contentment. The very fruit of the gospel is aspiration. It is to the heart what spring is to the earth, making every root, and bud, and bough desire to be more.
Henry Ward Beecher



The Paradox of Christmas

The things we do at Christmas are touched with a certain extravagance…
Robert Collyer

Christmas is like life: too religious for the secularist and too secular for the religious. Christmas as it has been celebrated through the centuries has always swung between legalism and license, celebration and contemplation, social acceptance and rejection by church or state. Christmas seems to be too big and too complex for those who like to have their days neatly boxed, labeled, and pigeonholed. This holiday is too wild and untamed, never neatly fitting into anyone’s paradigm. 

For instance, the founder of Christmas begins life in a manger, crying like a baby. What respectable Almighty, all-powerful diety would countenance such a basic beginning? Yet the Bible says that this baby born to poor parents in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire is God himself come to earth in human flesh. There is great discomfort with the incarnation and the virgin birth and secularists cry, “Impossible! Myth, superstition, religious fanaticism.” Angels coming to shepherds, a star leading wise men from another country, dreams and visions and prophecies and miracles—it all sounds a little strange to those who live in a more utilitarian time. Medieval theologians debated how many angels could dance on a pin, modern secularists won’t even admit that angels might exist. Ancient prophecies and the claim that this Child is their fulfillment sound like fantasies in a world that has decided that prophets are out of date and miracles can all be explained away. Christmas is a difficult time for those who want easy explanations.

If you want to work for the kingdom of God, and to bring it, and enter into it, there is just one condition to be first accepted. You must enter into it as children, or not at all.
John Ruskin

Let us enjoy the paradox of a holiday that is both sacred and secular, Christian and pagan, worshipful and commercial. Let us choose to celebrate with mature faith and childlike hearts. Let us learn to see sanctity in the commonplace, delight in the details, and open our hearts to embrace the contradictions. Let us keep room in our hearts for both God and mankind, heaven and earth.

I choose to celebrate the sacred holiday and incorporate the riches of almost two thousand years of thought, theology, liturgy, and ceremony in my life. I also choose to make Christmas joyous by reveling in ancient traditions, folk customs, carols and songs, and lovely nonsense that may or may not have roots in pagan beliefs. I can sing Oh Holy Night with as much joy as I can dance to the Jingle Bell Rock. I will also make time for quietness to meditate on the meaning of Christmas, to treasure memories of Christmas past, and to pray for future Christmas hopes. 


The greatest gift that can come to anyone is to share in the infinite act by which God’s love is poured out upon all men.
Thomas Merton

I choose to be a child again at the sight of a lighted Christmas tree. I also choose to be a sophisticated adult, dressed up for a wonderful party. I’ll shop in malls and worship in church. I’ll spend money on a sinfully delicious chocolate truffle and write a check for my favorite charity. Christmas is a festival of light celebrated during the darkest part of the year. It’s an orgy of spending in a commercialized environment and an opportunity to listen to wonderful choirs singing about the love of God for mankind which is without price. It’s a family reunion, good fellowship time and the time when I feel most lonely in a crowd. Secular saints like Santa Claus and angels singing glory hallelujah in a starry night are both images I can live with. And  I will especially remember the paradox of God come as a child to earth to lift us up to heaven’s heights. I intend to revel in the paradox of Christmas, in all its glory and messiness. Care to join me?

Oh rich and various man! Thou palace of sight and sound, carrying in thy senses the morning and the night, and the unfathomable galaxy in thy brain, the geometry of the City of God; in thy heart, the power of love.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.  Praise ye the Lord.
Psalm 150:6 (KJV) 

Asked to declare the new beverage, coffee, unholy, Pope Clement III sampled it and declared instead: “This Satan’s drink is so delicious, it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall fool Satan by baptizing it and making it a truly Christian beverage.”

Why I Write

Lit From Within

Lit From Within

The good writer seems to be writing about himself, but has his eye always on that thread of the Universe which runs through himself and all things.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe that people who read my books and see my photos will sense spirit speaking to spirit, encouraging them to discover their own inner awakening. Not so much by trying to convince by argument (though I try my best to be logical) but by Presence, because if I am "awake" or "translucent" the light shared will enlighten others and speak to that in them which is ready to awaken. It's a quality of being, supported by authenticity and positive action. Deep calling to deep. I don't always live up to the brightness of the books I write. I have a strong melancholy streak and have not always made the best choices. The books are wiser than I am and teach me as well as my readers. But I also trust the Something Greater is calling me to continue writing.

My books and my photos are my response to my own fear. They tell me, and tell others, that we must choose our sanity, and choose to move beyond our fears, our unreasoning emotions that see a threat lurking in every corner. I look for the light, the luminous Reality beyond dark and threatening circumstances. And the play of light and shadow reminds me to be brave once again.

I find myself more surrendered to the mystery, realizing that whatever ideas I might have about the evolution of my writing may be true in essence, but may unfold with unimaginable consequences. I open to all possibilities. I'm seeing that my foundational work is to continue deepening my spiritual walk, so that no matter what form the work takes, it will be done in a spirit of integrity and translucence (open to the light, even in the times I'm feeling opaque). It is vital that I live what I write, teach, speak, sing, and share. It is my service to the world.


Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.
— Carl Jung
White Lantern 

White Lantern 

But the inner life sits at home, and does not learn to do things, nor value these feats at all. 'T is a quiet, wise perception. It loves truth, because it is itself real; it loves right, it knows nothing else; but it makes no progress; was as wise in our first memory of it as now; is just the same now in maturity and hereafter in age, it was in youth. We have grown to manhood and womanhood; we have powers, connection, children, reputations, professions: this makes no account of them all. It lives in the great present; it makes the present great. This tranquil, well-founded, wide-seeing soul is no express-rider, no attorney, no magistrate: it lies in the sun and broods on the world. A person of this temper once said to a man of much activity, "I will pardon you that you do so much, and you me that I do nothing." 
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Success


When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
— Ansel Adams
Purple Glow 

Purple Glow 

In each soul, God loves and partly saves the whole world which the soul sums up in an incommunicable and particular way… By his fidelity he must build—starting with the most natural territory of his own self—a work, an opus, into which something enters from all the elements of the earth. He makes his own soul throughout his earthly days; and at the same time he collaborates in another work, in another opus, which infinitely transcends, while at the same time it narrowly determines, the perspectives of his individual achievement: the completing of the world.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Seize the Day

All Fired Up 

All Fired Up 

Yesterday is ashes, tomorrow wood. Only today does the fire burn brightly.
— Eskimo proverb
This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today is all you have. The past is behind you and the future is unknown. This moment is where life is lived, not in yesterday or tomorrow. Each day offers opportunities that will never come again. Time is one of your most valuable, non-renewable resources. When you relax into God’s grace, you will discover that every day can be a good day. 

Take time to set your priorities. Instead of frantic multi-tasking or wasting time on non-essentials, focus on what is most important and meaningful to you. Your choices and decisions will color not only this day, but also cast their shadows on coming days. Remember, too, that by not making a choice, you are really making a choice, and that choice always has unforeseen consequences.

Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present.
— Albert Camus
Heart of Fire 

Heart of Fire 

Procrastination, putting off till tomorrow what should be done today, steals precious opportunities. Procrastination produces guilt because you know you should do something but you don’t. Instead, choose to value your time by doing what needs to be done right now, and live fully in each moment.

Flaunt Your Colors 

Flaunt Your Colors 

This moment is all you have. Yesterday is a memory and tomorrow is only a dream, but today is the treasure you own right now. Spend the treasure of your time wisely and you will learn to make every day a good day, no matter what the day may bring.  Be aware that there are hidden depths and dimensions in each day, unique to that day. Yes, there will be other opportunities on other days, but this day lived well will reward you with its own special joys.

Life has its ups and downs. We love the up times, but oh, how we hate the down times. After many disappointments and difficult times, it’s sometimes hard to believe for the best. We become cynical and jaded, ashamed to be vulnerable and childlike, afraid that our hopes and dreams are foolish in the “real world” that often seems to reward cold calculation. Yet when we close our hearts to optimism and faith, we close the door on making our dreams come true in this world. 

You can choose to face the day with an optimistic attitude. Optimism is a learned attitude of faith.  Faith is a choice, not an argument. It is an inner conviction, an unshakable assurance. You make a decision to choose optimism, and to make the most of whatever you have been given to work with. Recognizing that yesterday is a dream and tomorrow is a hope, you learn to focus your energies on what is possible here and now. 

Focusing on the negatives in any situation is counterproductive. You concentrate at what’s wrong, and soon that’s the only thing you can see. Negative thoughts that hold us back include: I can’t. I won’t. That’s a problem. It’s not fair. It won’t work. Stupid. Impossible. Hopeless. It’s too hard. I’m not good enough. What a drag. But we never did it that way before. 

Positive thoughts help us make positive choices.  Choose to replace negative patterns with positive, empowering thoughts like: I can. It’s possible. I’ll give it a try. Let’s go. Yes. I will. It will work. I am able to do this. It will be fun.

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
— Helen Keller
Here Today and Gone Tomorrow 

Here Today and Gone Tomorrow 

Each moment is a gift if you have the eyes to see and the heart to appreciate it. The perfect gift is the present, the here and now. You do not know what will happen tomorrow and you cannot change what happened in the past, but this moment offers the gift of choosing what you will do right now. Will you embrace the present with gratitude and optimism?

• Set a simple goal for today and achieve that goal. Reward yourself with a small pleasure when you achieve the goal.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
— Dale Carnegie
Red Bravado 

Red Bravado 

To bring to the place where you live only the best and most beautiful—what a plan for life!
— Howard Thurman
Make a Statement 

Make a Statement