Thoughts & Sayings (February 2014)


Here are some thoughts and sayings I posted on Twitter and/or Facebook in December 2013 and January 2014. To my knowledge, I made these up (for better or for worse). Sit back, relax, and enjoy the write!

Encouraging Words

1. You cannot deny destiny, but if you do nothing, destiny can deny you.

destiny

2. Doing two things at once takes half the time.

busy

Twisted Words

3. I score a goal every time I hit the coffee puck into the trash.

puck

In Its Own Write

4. I’m writing a book about a pair of normal Romans.

romans

Holidays & Events

5. A human in a polar vortex is like a polar bear in a zoo.

polar

6. ’13 was my lucky year. I made it to 2014.

2013

7. The Mayan calendar ended in 2012. It only took me a year to catch up.

mayan

8. The ring of the cash registers sounds like silver bells.

jingle

9. Before the advent of December 1, there was November 30.

advent

Random Musings

10. Sometimes what’s in the rear view is more interesting than what lies ahead.

rearview

11. Trains of thought don’t always run on schedule.

trains

Click here to visit the Thoughts & Sayings page, or click here to read the previous batch of Thoughts & Sayings.

Images courtesy of Microsoft except Roman Coliseum photo by M.G. Edwards.

WAfK Front Cover (mini)M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant, and Zoe the Zebra, three books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, and a 3-in-1 collection featuring all three. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2014 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

The Christmas Tree


The Christmas tree has become the centerpiece of most modern Christmas celebrations. Whether its origins are Christian is unclear. Legend has it that Protestant reformer Martin Luther began the tradition of adorning trees with candles around 1500 A.D. after being awestruck by moonlight reflecting on a stand of evergreens. He brought a small fir tree home and decorated it with candles lit in honor of Jesus Christ’s birth.

Some claim that the Christmas tree has secular origins that range from the early Egyptian worship of evergreens to the Romans’ Saturnalia festival or Druidic rituals practiced during the winter solstice.

Whatever its origins, the modern Christmas tree represents something different to people who celebrate the holiday now than it did to their ancestors. The evergreen is a changeling in the sense that it can take any shape or form. It can be any color, tall or short, big or small, real or artificial, filled with lights, candles, garland and tinsel or none of them, topped by a star or angel, glittering or austere, and filled with identical ornaments or a hodgepodge of collectibles. The tree looks like whatever the person who puts it up wants it to be.

The only aspect that hasn’t changed through the centuries is that the tree should be a coniferous pine. Perhaps its evergreen nature symbolizes that it will always have a special place in people’s hearts, no matter what form it takes.

Tree

May your holidays ever be filled with the Christmas spirit.

 

 

snowflakeM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

The Christmas Nativity


The Nativity, or crèche, is one of my family’s favorite Christmas symbols. Introduced to Europe in 1223 by St. Francis of Assisi, who wanted to emphasize Jesus Christ’s birth at Christmastime by reenacting the event with humans and animals, the Nativity has become an iconic part of the Yuletide. Nativities can be both live or inanimate with pieces in all shapes and sizes.

My family loves to collect Nativity scenes from around the world. Each one is unique with cultural influences from the places where they were made.

Here’s a wooden one from Africa.

Nativity (1)

This one is a ceramic set made in China and bought at a store in the United States.

Nativity (2)

This is a ceramic Nativity from Peru in South America.

Nativity (3)

This set was made of cloth, metal, and twine in Zambia, a country in southern Africa.

Here’s a porcelain Nativity with Thai figurines from Thailand.

Although each set it different, they all symbolize Christ’s birth, and that has special meaning to our family on Christmas.

Have a blessed Christmas! May it bring you peace and joy.

 

snowflakeM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Santa Claus and the Spirit of Giving


Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas. Kris Kringle. Father Christmas. Known by many names, Santa is an almost universally recognized part of the Christmas celebration. To some, he’s an integral symbol of the holiday; to others, he’s a controversial, commercialized figure who’s pulled the holiday too far away from its origins honoring Jesus Christ’s birth.

To me, Santa represents the embodiment of a giving spirit. Like the 4th Century Greek bishop Nikolaos of Myra, or Saint Nicholas, who gave gifts anonymously and hid coins in the shoes of children, Santa Claus recognizes even the littlest among us. Like Santa and Jesus Christ, who lost his life for preaching a message of salvation, giving to others in need is something we can all do at Christmastime.

Whether in his Swedish, Chinese, American, or incarnation, Santa is one of the world’s most recognizable figures. I haven’t visited his home in the North Pole or Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland (if you ask the Finns), but he often stops by our home to give presents to good children and those who are young at heart.

Santa (1)

My son and I track Santa’s progress via the NORAD Tracker as he delivers presents to children around the world on Christmas Eve. When he’s a time zone or two away from arriving at our house, Alex writes St. Nick a note with his Christmas wish list, puts out milk and something sweet to eat, and darts off to bed. Whenever my son asks me if Santa Claus exists, I simply answer that he only visits those who believe in him. Those who don’t aren’t ready to accept his gift.

Cookies (1)

May this Christmas season be a gift to you!

 

snowflakeM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Christmas Greetings


For general Christmas greetings and more, visit my Thoughts & Sayings.

I want to depart from travelogues for a few days to focus on my favorite holiday, Christmas.

I love Christmas and its many traditions. The celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth and the trappings of the season hold a special place in my heart. No matter where in the world I live or what cultural events and traditions I observe, Christmas will always be my favorite.

When I was young, I used to draw illustrated Christmas cards for family and friends. In the days before technology made it easier to do graphic design, I spent hours sketching cartoon characters and winter scenes by hand. I haven’t had time in years to sit down and sketch a Yuletide scene — I barely have time nowadays to send out an annual Christmas letter — but I still enjoy looking at cards from Christmases past.

Here are some of them. I hope they make your holidays a little brighter!

Card (1)

Card (2)

Card (3)

Card (4)

Card (5)

Card (6)

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season!

 

snowflakeM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Our Christmas


We had a wonderful Christmas.  We were very busy, and the time passed by too quickly, as you  can probably tell from the delay in blog postings.  My cousin Wade came for a visit, so I didn’t have much time to spend on the computer.  He’s a saint for helping me rebuilding my computer.  I upgraded the hard drive, RAM, and the power supply, so it now performs as it should have all along.  It turns out that the culprit was the power supply.  When I last updated about 3 years ago I did not change the power supply.  I upgraded from a 550MB Duron microprocessor to a 2.4GHz P4 chip, but I didn’t change out the power supply.  It never did run right.  Now it does, thanks to cuz’.

While Wade was here we visited the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center located next to Dulles International Airport.  It’s an extension of the Air & Space Museum located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  We also went down to the National Mall and visited the Museum of American History, the National Archives, and the Air & Space Museum.  I had never visited the first two museums, so it was a treat for me to see them for the first time (I never tour the Mall anymore).  We also did a “Lord of the Rings” marathon, watching most of the extended versions of all three LOTR movies.  It’s absolutely mind numbing after about 8 hours.  If you sit and watch all three movies, it will take you about 12 hours to do it.  Definitely not for the faint of heart.  I thoroughly enjoyed it though because I consider the trilogy three of the finest movies ever produced.  They are masterpieces.

On Christmas Eve we searched frantically for dinner.  We arrived home too late to cook and decided to order take-out food.  I contacted at least 5 restaurants until I found a Thai restaurant open.  Lesson learned–don’t try to go out to eat after 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve!  The selection is grim.  We spent Christmas day with Wade’s Aunt Joann, whom I’ve also adopted as my aunt.  She prepared a delicious Christmas dinner and decorated her home for the holidays, putting us all in a festive mood.  Our son was the hit of the party though as we spent much of the time following him around, making sure that he didn’t break anything or fall down the stairs.  We usually spend Christmas with my parents, but because our short time in the Washington, D.C. area we weren’t able to make it home for the holidays.  We have no Christmas or decorations at home other than a single stocking that holds the Christmas cards we receive.  Not too festive, methinks.  Still, it’s nice to have a chance to take a break from the rigamarole of Korean class and briefly enjoy the holidays.

Power Outage


A freakish storm came through here last night, knocking out power in our area.  It also dropped the temperature down to about 14 degrees F.  The wind was harsh, and the windows in our apartment are ill-fitted to stop the cold from seeping in.  The power went off temporarily at about 10 p.m. and then came back on for about an hour before going off again for another 10 hours.  Before the power went off I found a battery-powered clock my sister had given me for my birthday, and I set it up so that it would wake me up just in case the power failed again (which it did).  I didn’t know whether the power would fail again, but sure enough this morning we had no power.  The apartment hall lights and elevators were working, backed up by a backup power generator.  However, the rest of the building was dark and cold.

I still went to work today.  I decided to leave our car with my wife in case she needed to evacuate the family to a warmer place–like a nearby mall.  Thus I had to use mass transportation to get to work.  I caught the apartment shuttle to the Metro station, then took the Metro to another shuttle that then took me to work.  Easy enough, but unfortunately a train had stalled on the Blue/Yellow line, causing significant delays.  I was absolutely freezing waiting on the platform for the train to arrive.  14 degrees isn’t extremely cold, but after Saturday’s balmy weather it was a shock to my system.  Everyone waited in huddled masses for the train, and once it arrived we crammed into it Tokyo-style.  I’ve never been on such a crowded Metro train before.  I held my breath and finally made it to my destination, catching the shuttle to work.  After that I was fine until the power went off at work.  I thought, “Oh no, here we go again!”  Fortunately, the power came back on about an hour later.

My wife picked me up after work, and we ran Christmas errands.  I missed that car!  We shopped for presents, delivered a Christmas gift to someone, and waited an hour at the post office to mail our Christmas presents to loved ones.  Christmas is the one time of the year when everyone waits at the post office in pressure-cooker fashion and yet manages to be polite and cordial to one another.  Waiting at the post office to mail packages made me wonder whether e-tailing would really do away with in-store shopping.  I talked to a store clerk last weekend who mentioned that Christmas sales were down because more people were shopping online.  I still saw a lot of people shopping for Christmas the old fashioned way.  As for me, I bought one gift online this Christmas, but for the most part I went the traditional route and went to the mall and factory outlet stores.  I limited my gift card purchases to two.  It just hasn’t been a good year this year for me to exercise creativity (too busy).

D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams and Council Chair Linda Cropp met today to discuss stadium financing options for the Washington National baseball club.  It sounds promising; hopefully they can broker a deal before Christmas that will bring the club to Washington, D.C.  The next time I return to D.C. I hope to watch baseball in their new ballpark.