Diva Musing: Reason for the Season…

We thought we’d post various thoughts on the holiday perspective from different people’s thoughts.  Here is our first for the season….

The Real Reason for the Season
Learning the True Values of Christmas

By Dale A. RobbinsWinter in the farmlands of Indiana can sometimes be snowy and bitterly cold. This Christmas eve was no exception. I was only 5 years old, but I remember it well. It was my first recollection of the cherished holiday.

A freshly cut pine tree sat in front room of the small farmhouse, decorated with popcorn strings and other homemade ornaments. But beneath the tree was a conspicuous absence. There were no presents. It had been a difficult year for my dad — a farmer by day, and a factory worker by night. Time and money were both in short supply.

Mother was especially discouraged that Christmas eve had arrived without any gifts for her three children. She was in tears when dad got home from work that night. But he brought encouraging news. His boss had given him an unexpected Christmas bonus.

Though the hour was late, my parents were determined to find a way to provide Christmas for the kids. Dad phoned the owner of the dime store in our small, nearby town and explained his situation. In a gesture that would be unheard of today, the merchant actually arose from bed and drove through the drifting snow to meet dad at the store.

All of us were still up when dad got back sometime after midnight. None of the presents were gift wrapped, but it really didn’t matter. By now it was Christmas morning, and we were anxious to see what papa Santa had brought us. Besides candy and other things, he had dolls for my two older sisters, cap firing six shooters for me, and a new lamp for mom. We kids sat around the Christmas tree, playing and giggling. What had seemed to be a grim Christmas eve hours earlier, was now long forgotten.

Although just a little boy, this experience gave me several lasting impressions about Christmas. For one thing, though nothing was said, I figured it out by myself — this business about Santa Claus was apparently make-believe. If there was a Santa, his real name was Daddy.

But more significantly, this loving act by my father taught me something about the real values of Christmas. For many years afterward, I would often reflect upon my father’s love that inspired him to venture out into the blizzardy night, returning with presents for us, yet nothing for himself. I could still vividly remember his own happiness as he sat nearby, watching as his family enjoyed their toys and gifts.

At this early age, I learned the profound truth that Christmas is really about the joy of giving, not merely receiving. Christmas was created by a loving Heavenly Father, who so loved the world, that He gave us the most noble and sacrificial of all gifts. He sent His own Son, in the form of a babe, gift wrapped in a humble manger, who would give His life as an atonement for our sins.

The real spirit of Christmas is giving, loving, caring and serving — just as our loving Father in Heaven has provided to us. So let each of us hold dear these values to our hearts, and use this season as an opportunity to give blessing to others, and to share the love of Christ with our friends and family — for Jesus is the reason for the season.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

 In loving memory of my dad, Myron F. Robbins

Diva Musing: Holiday Middle East…

I pulled the first one I found for our Middle Eastern perspective. Enjoy….
Christmas in Pakistan 
In Pakistan, December 25th is a public holiday, but it is in memory of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Like in 
India, Christians make up a very small part of the population. But as Pakistan has a population over 162 million people, there are more than 5 millions Christians! Most Christians in Pakistan live the country and are quite poor.
At Christian festivals, like Christmas and Easter, a big procession takes place, in Lahore, from St. Anthony’s Church to the Cathedral. It takes hours to reach the Cathedral for the services. These are then celebrated with lots of enthusiasm! Before and during Advent, spiritual seminars take place to help people to prepare for Christmas or ‘Bara Din’ (which in Urdu and Punjabi means the ‘Big Day’). This expression is very popular, even among Muslims in Pakistan.
During the last week of Advent, in many Christian areas, carol singing is performed by various groups. They go from house to house singing carols and in return the family offers something to the choir. Mostly the money collected from such carols is used for charity works or is given to the church.
In the big Christian areas, each house is decorated and has a star on the roof. The streets are also decorated and lit. The crib and Christmas tree are also important decorations. Sometimes there are crib competitions! Christians also sometimes exchange Christmas cakes.
On Christmas Eve, Churches are packed for the midnight or vigil-mass services. The choirs sing very special hymns. After the vigil-mass, in some places, there are fireworks which help celebrate the start of Bara Din. People dance, exchange presents and enjoy the special night.
On Bara Din or Christmas Day, Christians go to Church again for the Bara Din celebrations. People wear their best, colorful clothes. They can stay in the Church courtyard for hours, enjoying various food from the different stalls. The evening is usually celebrated with immediate family or relatives where special food is enjoyed. Adults often visit their parents.
In Pakistan Santa Claus/Father Christmas is known as ‘Christmas Baba’.


Diva Tasting: Banana Bread…

Banana Bread II
1 Cup Butter, Melted
1 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (Coated with flour for even distribution)
2 Medium Bananas, Sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Diva Rambling: Holiday Crazy….

As the madness of the holidays sets in I found this note to gently remind us to stay grounded in all the holiday insanity.  I can’t find my note on who wrote this but I thank them for this gentle reminder…Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Crazy People

If you think people are crazy, are you one of them? If you think you are not one of them, someone else might think that you are crazy!

In this world there is all types of craziness. If an alien comes to this planet and goes to a soccer stadium, he would find it to be an absolutely crazy place! He will not be able to understand why the 11 players are chasing one ball and are trying to get the ball into the net, and why are there 11 others on the other side stopping them, that too for one little ball. He would say, ‘Why are they all fighting over a ball?’

An alien would say, ‘Let me give 22 balls to 22 players. Let them kick their balls and keep them in the net!’

If their goal is to put the ball in the net, he would say, ‘Okay, let us all go and keep it there.’ He will fail to understand why people are kicking the ball and falling over each other and 50,000 people around are clapping and crying and howling!

It sounds absolutely crazy!

Like that there are many such crazy things in the world. I used to find English language very crazy. You write, ‘know’ and pronounce it as ‘no’. I would say, ‘know!’ (pronouncing it with the k sound) You should speak the way you write and read. You write ‘knowledge’ and put a ‘k’, I would say, ‘knowledge’ (pronouncing with the k sound). Everyone found it absolutely crazy.

My mother tongue is such that the way we write is the same as what we speak. In English, several letters become silent and you don’t know which is silent and which is not silent. It was so difficult. I had to write in English and then write in Kannada below that. Once my class teacher looked at my notebook and asked me, ‘What are you writing? It is wrong’.

There is no match between speaking and writing. You say something and you write something else.

Like that there are different crazes in the world. Everything is a craze and people are crazy for different things. Some are crazy about games, some for politics, some for money.

Do you know what happened in China? On New Years, in Shanghai, somebody threw fake currency from the top of a tower and 35 people died in a stampede. Is this not crazy,? People going to get free money falling from some building onto the street? There is no limit for being crazy. At least here it is good crazy! Some people are crazy about mediation and some are crazy about singing. It is okay! ‘Accept people as they are’. Sometimes I wonder, ‘Why did I put this point! I have been trapped by it!’ I have never said anything in my life which I have not practiced, so since I have said this, I have to practice it and I have been practicing, carrying on and accepting all sorts of craziness. I tell you, there is hope! I am still happy!

Diva Tasting: Muffin Recipes for the Holidays Or Any Day …

Muffin Recipes for the Holidays Or Any Day 
Fall Muffins
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup White Sugar
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Cup Butter, Melted
2 Eggs, Beaten
1 1/4 Cups Half n Half®
1 Cup Chopped Cranberries
1 Cup Diced, Peeled Apple (Optional)
1/2 Cup Fig Jam
1 Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin pans or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Make a well in the center, and add the melted butter, milk and eggs, mix until smooth. Stir in the cranberries, apple, figs, and nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Cups should be at least 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
Sweet Potato Muffins Dessert Or Breakfast
1 1/2 Cups Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Cups Canned Shredded Sweet Potato
1/2 Cup Raisins (Optional)
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease muffin tins to hold 12 muffins.
  2. Whisk together brown sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in a small bowl.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and grated sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the egg mixture. Stir the egg mixture, gradually incorporating it with the flour mixture. Stir in the raisins and walnuts
  4. Spoon the batter into the tins. I like to fill each tin to the rim to make a large cap. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Take the muffins out of the oven and run a paring knife carefully around each muffin, then invert the pan, and knock one edge against your work surface to release the muffins. Serve the muffins right away.

Diva Ranting: But I Meant To….

…“I truly meant to behave but there were just too many other great options.” T-Shirt Philosophy

Welcome to my world. Someone once sent me a book “When You Can Walk On Water Take The Boat.”

They fell into my friends philosophy that I am one of the most predictably unpredictable people he had ever met. Choosing you own “ignore the box” options does not mean you really are misbehaving…(only to little uncreative minds) maybe. But who give a hoot. God gave us each incredible gifts many never use because they are afraid of being labeled by the world of Judgey Smurfs, as different. Really??? Gifts you have and do not share are sad to a world that needs you. No one is anything like you. You were specifically programmed by the Universe to be YOU!!! Not some coloring book numb nuts. Don’t waste your precious gifts. My daughter is a comic and I tell her all the time her gift to the world is to make people laugh. What a gift! What is your gift? Share it with our world today. We love you just the way you are. Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Ranting: That little thing….

You know that little thing inside your head that keeps you from saying things you shouldn’t? Yeah, I don’t have one of those. “ T-Shirt Philosophy
I think you know by now if you’ve been around the Crones for any length of time we tend to tell it and not need to sell it. Getting older and wiser is very freeing. I never want to say anything to anyone that intentionally insult or hurts them. However, bullies, biatches, parvenus, just all around mean spirited people….you do not want to take us on. We will knit your britches to your ass and still have time to cook dinner. Standing ground is not so fearful once you’ve practiced it a bit. The “better thans” noted above are not use to bravery. Once you stand ground they are not as interested in taking you down. They’ll move on to some other innocent they can mow down with impunity. Let them know you are not one of them. Namaste, The Queen Cronista