Random thoughts Archives

January 20, 2009

Historic Inauguration

I've been thinking about blogging for a while now,and had many topics in mind to talk about. But when I finally got the courage to request a blog, and Kim sat it up for me very quickly(thanks Kim), it is Inauguration day. So, this will be my first entry.

I was one of those people whose life revolved around CNN during elections. I followed the campaigns very closely,and had strong feelings about Barack Obama, I really wanted him to win and be our president.

I am not going to talk politics here, rather how I feel. Barack Obama's victory and inauguration as a President of the US, marks a victory for the humanity in our nation. It is a clear sign, that most of us at least, are able to look at a person for who he is, not judge him by color, hear his words and respect his thoughts, even when he does not look like us.

It is a signficant coincidence that Obama's Inauguration fell a day after we celebrate Dr Martin Luther King Birthday. It is as if it is meant to remind us of the connection between MLK famous speech "I have a Dream" fourty six years ago, and the day the first African American President of the US was worn in.

I did not live in the time of segregation myself, I read about it, and heard about it from people who lived it. Through their words and tears, I can feel their victory. Is MLK dream fully realized? Maybe not, but we sure are on the right track.

January 21, 2009

Frustrating morning

So after a wondeful day yesterday, full with hope and excitment about the future,I had to wake up to a credit card fraud. Not happy.

Apparently someone decided that I should open an account with verizon, then purchased three Blackberry PDAs and shipped them to ME. How stupid? I don't get what benefit that was to them. So I had a spend my morning, calling my credit card company to close the card, calling verizon to close the account, and then I found out they had my social security number also. So I had to call the credit beauru, was on hold forever, and placed a fraud alert. I really hope that is the end of that.

On a lighter note, I am excited that our assignment here in Washington is almost over(pretty but freezing), and we will be going back to Maui for the rest of the winter. Before that we will be spending a week with my parents in SC , and do you know what visiting my mother means? Yummy delecious mediterranean food!

February 2, 2009

Go Steelers!

I am writing this part of my blog before watching the actual game, so that I am not influenced or biased by the final score.

I am not much of an NFL fan, I don't really have a "team", I kind of just go with the flow or sometimes I have a reason for favoring one team over another. This year,I am going with the Steelers!

I remember watching the last Super Bowl they won in 2006, I was for them then too, just because the group I was with were Steelers fans,do you see how that goes? It was such a good game, and our team won!

Then few months later, I hear about the accident that Ben Roethlisberger ( the number one man of the Steelers) was in, and I just remember the fans worrying about him and praying for him, he was in a bad condition and was in surgery for hours(he was not wearing a helmet either, so that did not help), and I remember wondering then if he will ever be back.Well he was back even in the 2007 season, but this Super Bowl, is his first championship since his accident, hence, I am for the Steelers.

Okay, now I am off to watch the game, reflections to follow.

Continue reading "Go Steelers!" »

February 4, 2009

A toast to Friendship....

My life has never really been very stable. As a kid, my parents could not decide for the lives of them where to live. They are both Palestinian born, but they found their lives in the US when my dad was eighteen years old, many years ago. But I guess a part of them was missing something, so they kept on trying to find it by moving the family back to Palestine, deciding nah, we can't make it here, lets move back to Michigan. Well, the process of self discovery took three or four times of moving back and fourth, between Palestine ( for a year), then back to Michigan(for couple years). The process left us kids....well...confused, but this is another story for another time.

Continue reading "A toast to Friendship...." »

February 13, 2009

A belated reflection....

It is no secret that I don't like winter. However, I love the fall. We were lucky enough to spend the first part of last fall(until October 3rd) in Connecticut, where the fall foliage is just stunning.And it would have been even more stunning if we would have seen it in October.

When we left New Haven in the first week of October, we went to Edwards, Colorado(just outside of Vail), where my in laws have purchased a new home just a few days prior to us getting there, so we went to visit and check out their new home. Well,it was gorgeous, nestled in the mountains, with great views of the ranges......and the beautiful fall yellow aspens.

Continue reading "A belated reflection...." »

February 20, 2009

Aloha Friday..

So, it is Aloha Friday. We got off work and went to our friend's house in Lahaina for dinner, very big Porter House Steaks for the guys, and chicken wings for me, LOL.
I've tried Citra wine for the first time, and it is actually very good. And according to our friend, it is very cheap. We might try this wine again.


Have a great weekend everyone!

March 23, 2009

Easter and a getaway...

Resurrection%20Of%20Christ.JPGI know it is too early for an Easter post, and it is especially early for my Easter. But here it goes anyway.

Easter is a Christian holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ ,three days after His crucifixion. Easter is in the core of Christianity, since the whole faith is mainly built on the idea that Jesus died for us, to erase the original sin and give us a new chance for a life, that we can choose our path in. (Okay, this is how I understand it.)

The Easter date is determined every year following the moon cycle. It is the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon(the first moon whose fourteenth day is on or after March 21st). This year, Easter falls on April 12th. However, this is not the Easter I celebrate. I follow the Greek Orthodox Church, which follows the Julian Calender, which makes the Eastern Easter dates different from the Western Easter dates, normally a week later(although I've seen them both fall on the same day before,like in 2007). So Easter for me this year falls on April 19th.

I've always loved Easter, it is my favorite holiday of the year. I love everything that is associated with Easter, from Great Lent, to eggs dying, to family gatherings, to baking Easter cookies(more in that later), to church functions. I especially love the Holy Week, and love spending it at church as much as I can.

I should mention that in our home growing up, we never did an egg hunt. We boiled and colored eggs, but never hid them and looked for them, so for me as a child, it was a treat to get to participate in an egg hunt in school.

I love my church, so I may be a little biased towards it, but I think the whole church is transformed during this holy season. Starting with Clean Monday(the first day in Great Lent), up until Saturday's midnight Resurrection Liturgy, the church is full of activities. And if one has the time and desire, one can spend everyday at church. What I love the most, is the animation of the events, the Church plays the events day by day, so one could truly live it.

The holy week starts with Palm Sunday,marked by the distribution of palm leaves tied into crosses to the people at church, and usually three tours around the church with palms and icons take place.

Continue reading "Easter and a getaway..." »

March 26, 2009



Cindy Ruth of Baked Alaska gave me a fabulous blog award yesterday! Thanks Cindy, very sweet of you. So, now I am to talk about five things that I think are fabulous, and give the award to five other blogs.

Five things that I think are absolutely fabulous are:

~Bill, my husband. Very thoughtful, sweet and funny. Fabulous!


~Living on Maui with Bill, fabulous times two. We have been enjoying the beauties that Maui has to offer. From beautiful beaches, to rugged trails,Fabulous!


~Fresh fish,seafood, sushi and Poke are my favorite meals, and there is no shortage of these on the island, Fabulous!


~The views from our condo in Maalaea; Haleakala and Molokini are Fabulous!


~These pair of shoes, with a black cocktail dress are Fabulous!


And my Fab-u-lous blog awards go to:

Sandra of A journey of 1000 miles

girasoli of Shave ice and gelato..

Maria of My place in the sun

Annie of Churches in Venice

Kathy of Trekcapri's blog.

This is fabulous. Thanks Cindy Ruth.

April 1, 2009

Finding Steven Saylor.

There are always some events in life that happen just to remind you that life has been going on(and will be going on) even if you are/were not part of it. I was reminded of that about six months ago, while browsing the sale table at Borders.Yes , the bookstore.

It was a warm October day in Houston,Texas,where we were visiting my in-laws. Bill and I stopped by the mall, for one reason or another, and we happened to stop at Borders. And here comes a confession, I hardly ever buy any books from the stores, I'd like to support local bookstores, but I need to support my budget more, and it is so much cheaper buying books online, especially that I buy them in bundles and get free shipping.Anyway, I was browsing the sale table at Borders, and happened to get a glimpse of the Colosseum on the front cover of one of the books. Ah, I forgot to mention that I was missing Rome greatly, so I jumped at the book. It was a novel by Steven Saylor, called Roma: The novel of Ancient Rome.

Roma.jpgThe novel, while considered fiction, is a very factual history of Rome, told through characters over a millennium of time. The reader does learn the revolution in Rome from its first king ,to the end of the crown age and the formation of the Republic , the different phases the Republic went through , until it lead to the great Roman Empire.

From the first chapter, the way Saylor approaches the story is very gripping, I kept wondering how he would be able to connect thousand years in one novel, while still keeping the reader engaged, well, he does so brilliantly. From the girl traveling with her dad trading salt up to the Emperor , you follow characters in a very solid generation line, there is even a generation tree at the beginning of the book to help you connect the characters.

The book is very well written, it is dense, still a page turner. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Rome in particular or well put novel in general.It has become my absolute favorite book.

After falling in love with Saylor's novel, I started checking out his other work, and all I could think was "What was I doing while this brilliant author was writing all of these novels", again life goes on whether I am part of it or not. I am not sure how I haven't heard of Steven Saylor before finding this book, but I am very glad that I "found" him.

Saylor has a series of novels set in Ancient Rome, called Roma Sub Rosa, all featuring Gordianus The Finder, an investigator old roman style. This is what Saylor says about the name of his collection:

Continue reading "Finding Steven Saylor." »

April 2, 2009

Missing Italy: The Colosseum


I am a Rome lover. I fell in love with Rome as soon as my foot touched its grounds. Actually,I fell in love with Rome even before then,during the planning process, and before, when that nagging voice in my brain started singing a Roman melody, and my heart started beating a Roman rhythm. I just had to go to Rome to save my sanity.


We spent a little over two weeks in Rome, living and loving every minute of it. And here I can't help but wonder, if our trip would have been the same have we spent less time there. I have my doubts. There is a pleasure in leaving the map at the apartment, and walking the streets of Rome;it gives a sense that you belong. There is a pleasure in walking down the same street everyday for two weeks, and discovering something new everyday. There is the joy of recognizing the guy,who works at the cafe across the street from your apartment,or the lady at the shoe shop on your street. Familiar is good, and it is very exciting, and this is a big reason of why we like to travel slowly.


One of the first things that I wanted to see,pretty much all of my life, and a big part of longing to visit Rome was the Colosseum. So you can imagine just how many times we strolled down Piazza del Colosseo, and it never failed to amaze me.


Going inside the Colosseum was one of the major highlights in our trip for me. I think I must have had my mouth open the whole time. The fact that the Colosseum is still standing two thousand years later, is amazing, but stepping into the battle field is fascinating. I could just imagine gladiators fighting to death in the arena. I could imagine tigers and lions fighting with men, and could hear Romans cheering. Not necessarily the prettiest picture, but my point is, the Colosseum comes alive even twenty centuries later.


And hear I am, looking at the photos from my trip, and longing to get back to Rome. Ah, Bella Roma.


How many shots of the Colosseum can one have?

April 3, 2009

Fish and Seawatch Restaurant

Annunciation%20of%20the%20Theotokos.JPGGreat Lent is the fasting season before Easter, and in the Greek Orthodox Church, it has many restrictions,one of which is that fish is only allowed in two days during lent: Annunciation of The Theotokos and Palm Sunday.

The Annunciation of the Theotokos falls on March 25th, which happens to also be the day Greeks celebrate their independence by the way. The Theotokos is Virgin Mary, and the feast celebrates the day Archangel Gabriel appeared to Virgin Mary to announce to her that she would conceive and bear Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. And as the feast falls during Great Lent, we celebrate by looser fasting restrictions and eat fish.

Well, I did not go to church that day, but I did eat fish. Bill went all out and took us to Wailea, to watch the sunset and eat fish at Seawatch Restaurant at Wailea Golf Club. It was awesome!


We started out with a delicious appetizer of Ahi Sashimi, with daikon sprouts, pickled ginger & wasabi.


For the main course, I went with the special for that night, uku,a grey snapper, grilled and mango spiced, and the best sweet mashed potatoes I have ever tasted,with mango vanilla butter sauce. Yum!


Bill got the Huikau Eke;Opakapaka (Pink Snapper) , scallops,tiger prawns and vegetables grilled in parchment paper, and opened at the table side. Yum, very delicious!


Seawatch has a nice atmosphere, service is good, not great though, and food is delicious. Compared to similar Lahaina restaurants, I thought it was a little more pricey, but I guess so is everything in Wailea. Overall, I'd love to eat at Seawatch again, it was a pleasant experience.

April 6, 2009

Lets pray for our beloved Italy.....

Italy%20earthquake.jpgI woke up this morning to the awful news from my beloved Italy. A 6.3 earthquake hit the beautiful medieval town of L'Aquila at 3:35 am local time on Monday morning.

L'Aquila is the capital of the central Italian Abruzzo region, and is about 60 miles north of Rome, where residents also felt the quake. Earthquakes are common in Italy, as it is close to two major geological fault lines.However, the last strong earthquake on the Richter scale was a 6.5 in southern Italy in 1980 that killed nearly 3000 people.

The U.S Geological Survey reported that the 6.3 quake followed less than six hours after another quake hit the northern part of the country. That quake registered 4.6 and occurred about 35miles southeast of Bologna.And three more significant aftershocks, ranging from magnitude 4.3 to 4.8 , shook the area within six hours of the 6.3 quake.

As of right now, over 100 are reported dead, 1,500 injured and over 50,000 homeless. And the search continues..

Lets all keep Italy and Italians in our thoughts and prayers:

God, My Father, Lord of all the earth, have mercy on the people of L'Aquila and Italy, the living and the dead, and with all Your power and glory, help them recover for this disaster.

April 11, 2009

Happy Holidays to all....

This week is full of Holidays, so I wanted to wish all and everyone happy holidays.

Happy Easter to Western Christians. Christ is Risen.

Chag Pesach Sameach to Jews celebrating Passover.

To my fellow Eastern Christians, Happy Palm Sunday.

If you are just celebrating the melting of the snow, happy spring.

And to all celebrating holidays I am not aware of, Happy Holidays.

April 12, 2009

Palm Sunday

While many Christians are celebrating Easter today( Happy Easter), Eastern Christians are just kicking off the Holy Week with Palm Sunday today.

I don't quite understand the disagreement on dates, but I know that The Greek Orthodox Church follows the Julian Calender, and even though sometimes the Eastern Easter falls on the same day as Western Easter, it most often does not. So, I am celebrating Palm Sunday today, and Easter next week.

Palm%20Sunday.jpgHere's a description of Palm Sunday,courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery:

On Sunday, five days before the Passover of the Law, the Lord came from Bethany to Jerusalem. Sending two of His disciples to bring Him a foal of an ass, He sat thereon and entered into the city. When the multitude there heard that Jesus was coming, they straightway took up the branches of palm trees in their hands, and went forth to meet Him. Others spread their garments on the ground, and yet others cut branches from the trees and strewed them in the way that Jesus was to pass; and all of them together, especially the children, went before and after Him, crying out: "Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel" (John 12:13). This is the radiant and glorious festival of our Lord's entry into Jerusalem that we celebrate today.The branches of the palm trees symbolize Christ's victory over the devil and death. The word Hosanna means "Save, I pray," or "Save, now." The foal of an ass, and Jesus' sitting thereon, and the fact that this animal was untamed and considered unclean according to the Law, signified the former uncleanness and wildness of the nations, and their subjection thereafter to the holy Law of the Gospel.

Continue reading "Palm Sunday" »

April 19, 2009

Thank you Sunday Slow Soupers

Today is the last official day for making soup with Sunday Slow Soupers. I've joined this great group of cooks on their tenth week of making soup, and I have enjoyed it immensely. I've learned a lot, and increased my soup recipe collection. I've made some soups that I wouldn't probably have made otherwise, and I know I'll be making many of these soups again.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to make Ida's Cream of Artichoke soup for our last week , but it sounds delicious, and I know I will be making it soon.

So thank you slow soupers for all the great recipes and advice.

We are converting to salads for the warmer weather. I am sure it will be fun and educational.


May 5, 2009

Missing Italy: Positano

Rome is not the only place I miss in Italy. Okay, maybe I do miss Rome the most and it is always on my mind. But, Positano is another Italian town we have fond memories of.


We stayed in Positano for three days, at a wonderful B&B, Holiday House Gilda.Actually, the B&B is in Arienzo, with breathtaking views of Positano down below.


Continue reading "Missing Italy: Positano" »

August 13, 2009

Taiko: Japanese Drumming


One of the many things I love about travel is the new experiences it opens up for me, the different culture it gives me the chance to get immersed in, even for a day. And that is probably the reason I like the internet too, when I am not traveling, the internet gives me this chance, to learn about something new. The same goes for reading too. That feeling that I am living outside my skin, even for a very short period of time, is thrilling. I feel very lucky to live in a world that is very open, a melting pot for many cultures, a country where a short drive takes one to Chinatown for a little Chinese experience, to an Indian Reservation for a glimpse of the past, or to a Little Italy for an Italian flavor, it is really a beautiful thing.

Here on Maui, many cultures blend in, but today I am highlighting an aspect of the Japanese culture. More specifically I would like to talk about Taiko: the art of Japanese drumming. If you have ever seen it in person, or watched it on TV or on the internet, or even heard it on the radio, I think you will agree with me at how awesome it is. The harmony of the rhythm, the elegance of the moves, and the determined looks, all make for an amazing show.We had the chance to attend a short,but magnificent, Taiko show at the mall here last month(photo above) performed by the local Taiko group, and I've been meaning to write about it since then.

Continue reading "Taiko: Japanese Drumming " »

August 17, 2009

A Thai elephant on all four again....

When Rick Sanchez shared this story on CNN today, I had to share it with you.
A great story of a 48 year-old female elephant, Motola, receiving an artificial leg after loosing her own ten years ago, stepping on a land mine.

August 25, 2009

Island fever?


The beautiful Maui, with its sandy beaches, rocky cliffs,swaying palm trees,dense mountains, glorious sunrises and magical sunsets. Maui, with the refreshing breezes that kiss your face gently, the rolling waves that take you to serenity, the amazing skies that look so open and blessed,and the beautiful sun that's only purpose seems to be to rise and set over the island painting beautiful masterpieces over the Pacific Ocean and the distant horizons. I've been living here for six months!

Since we got here on February, I woke up to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore,I would hear the birds humming happy melodies as they fly by my open window that is admitting cool breezes filled with beach scents. I would get up early some days and watch the sun rise, replacing the glittering black skies with hues that keep changing until the sky is wearing its blue garment. We would go upcountry to witness a magical sunset, as if we fear it might be the last beautiful one, when the sky is clear, and the orange purple twilight takes over,pushing the sun closer and closer to the ocean, until it is swallowed by the deep seas and the moon takes over, accompanied by little shimmering stars, to lighten up the Maui skies. We've spent hours hiking in Maui's lush rain forests, coastlines, rugged trails, volcano deserts and cloud forests. We've swam and snorkeled in the calm ocean, watching sea life goes by, sometimes we spotted turtles, sometimes dolphins, and sometimes we just had to be satisfied with colorful fishes.It's called paradise, and even though I've never seen the real one, I imagine there would be some resemblance. Then why is it that I am so ready to be out of here?

Continue reading "Island fever?" »

August 30, 2009

On the road..again!

Bags are packed, farewell parties are over, and a new chapter is about to begin.

I am looking forward to all that lies ahead in the long road we are taking. I am thrilled to be off work for a while, I can't wait to spend real quality time with Bill, and reconnect with my Creator. And since I am going on vacation, I decided to give my blog a vacation as well. I'll get back to it in few weeks with lots of photos, and many stories about our journey. So until then, I hope all is well with all.....aloha!

September 25, 2009

Desert Solitaire:A season in the Wilderness, by Edward Abbey

Desert%20Solitaire.jpgIn preparation for our trip to explore the National Parks of Southern Utah, and out of my deep love for our southwest desert, I read Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey. The book has its pros and cons, many parts are enjoyable, some are boring. In some parts I wished I was the author experiencing what he’s describing, in others I didn’t like him. Edward Abbey has strong opinions about the desert and what belongs and doesn’t belong there, and uses some harsh words to express his views.

For a good chunk of the book, Abbey expresses his dismay with “industrial tourism”, paving park roads and “civilizing the wilderness”. I have mixed feelings about his opinions. On the one hand, yes, I would like to preserve the wilderness, but on the other I believe that elderly, and disabled also have the right to these American treasures. It is a fine line. Abbey’s views, although blunt sometimes, are very amusing and will make one scratch his/her head.The book is a passionate vote for the wilderness.

The book as a whole is very enjoyable, Abbey’s love for the desert shines through the words he uses to describe it, and many of the adventures he describes makes one gasp out loud. He’s had a full season serving as a park ranger at Arches National Park. Of course back then(in the sixties), it was a national monument with a dirt road, a few visitors on weekends, and no amenities. Visiting the park today reveals a totally different picture. However, the picture Abbey paints of the solitude, peace and mysterious beauty of the desert is quite uncanny, and I could definitely see it come alive.

Continue reading "Desert Solitaire:A season in the Wilderness, by Edward Abbey" »

October 26, 2009

Food For Thought: Embrace Life's Challenges

Need a pick-me-up?

I just had to share this.

November 24, 2009

Which holiday is coming up?

I have nothing but love for Christmas, but shouldn't we get through Thanksgiving first? All the shops around here (as well as some neighbors) are all decked out for Christmas, and that makes me nervous. I am no where being ready for Christmas, in fact, I am getting ready to go shop for Thanksgiving meal once I finish this post. Generally, I am not one to leave things for the last minute, but my life has been hectic to put it mildly for the past month. My mom finds that amusing since I am not even working. And you would think with the large inventory of houses for sale, shopping for a home should not be hard. Well, it was. We spent the last six weeks here in Jacksonville shopping for a home that we can make our base for travels. We got to Jacksonville on a Monday, September 28th, and decided on a house we like on Wednesday, submitted an offer and waited.

I need to go back here a bit, I have been fighting all kind of guilty emotions over buying a home. The truth of the matter is, here in Jacksonville and most likely most of the country, the large percentage of houses available are foreclosures and bank owned. Homes that belonged to people who for some reason or another defaulted on their payment and were put out of their homes. And here we come, shatter their dreams of ever getting their home back. Our new neighbors are happy we bought a home in their area "you are helping the economy and other homeowners" they say. I still have nightmares mixed in with the happy dreams of owning a home we like in an area we love.

Back to the tedious process of buying a home from a bank. One would think banks should be eager to sell the houses they own. My experience proves otherwise. Price negotiations took decades, and once the agreement was reached, paper work process took what seemed like millennia. Mind you, there wasn't even a loan application involved. What were they doing all this time? Boy, I'd like to have their job with no stressful monitors beeping at me, or angry doctors calling for results, just do things when I get to them. I was almost ready to just drop the whole thing and go back to work. Finally, when I was all out of patience and understanding for this worker, whose our whole life is depending upon his paperwork, not doing his job in a timely manner, our agent informed us that closing was the next day. Yay! And so comes the happy ending to a long, stressful journey and we closed on our home ten days ago.

Continue reading "Which holiday is coming up?" »

December 9, 2009

AnySoldier: Supporting the Troops

I have been meaning to share this post since last week, but somehow I failed to. I came across this great website where deployed soldiers overseas share some of their holiday wishes and general requests.It is called Any Soldier. If you are interested, you can get a unit's address and send them a care package. I realize this might be late to get to Iraq or Afghanistan by Christmas, but I think the brave souls will welcome them anytime.

The site shows you units from all military branches; army, navy, marines and air force. Be aware, you may cry, you may smile and you will be proud. Many posts are from unit leaders representing their team, and many of them say that at the age of 30 or 35, the team calls them "pops". These 18-year young men and women are far, far away from their home. For many of them, it is their first holiday away from home, and there they are fighting in a war. They describe their living condition, I don't think I cam across any complaining or negativity, just stating conditions in a matter of fact way. We live in tents, you read many of them write. The ones that live in trailers will actually declare that they have it better than others, and you can almost sense a guilt they feel for requesting something.

Continue reading "AnySoldier: Supporting the Troops" »

December 14, 2009

Christmas Carols History: Silent Night, Holy Night

A couple of days ago while listening to the local radio's morning show, I heard an interesting story about the history of "Silent Night, Holy Night". Since this is one of my all time favorite Christmas carols, I did a little bit further research I thought I'd share with you.

Rev. Josef Mohr, an Austrian priest wrote the six-verse poem, "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!" in 1816. In 1817, Rev. Mohr was transferred to Oberndorf to assist the pastor of St. Nicholas church, where he met Franz Gruber; the church organist. In 1818, Rev. Mohr gave the "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!" lyrics to Gruber so that he can compose a "suitable melody for two solo voices with choir and the accompaniment of one guitar." And so Gruber did. It is believed that the famous carol was first performed during the midnight mass on Christmas Eve of 1818. After that Rev. Mohr was transferred from St. Nicholas in 1819, and a copy of the poem was shared with many people and the music arrangement was slightly changed.Somehow, the song got into the hands of Karl Mauracher, who shared it with two neighboring families of singers in the Ziller Valley: the Strassers and the Rainers. Both families loved the song and sang it all over Europe first and the world later. The carol was later translated into more than 300 languages and dialects.

How did it get to us?
The Rainers brought the song into the United States in 1839, where they performed it at many locations. Many English translations have been attempted, with the first recorded one being by J. F. Warner in 1849. This is what his version of the first verse read like:

Silent night! hallowed night!
Land and deep silent sleep;
Softly glitters bright Bethlehem's star.
Beckoning Israel's eye from afar
Where the Saviour is born.

Another attempt was by Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott in 1858. The first verse of her version read like this:

Stilly Night, Holy Night!
Silent stars shed their light
Where the virgin mother keeps
Steadfast watch where her little one sleeps:
Jesus high and holy!
Jesus pure and holy!

It wasn't until 1859, that Rev. John Freeman Young--then an assistant minister at the Trinity Church in New York--published the definite English translation as we know it today. In 1867, Rev. John Freeman Young became the second Bishop of Florida, where he traveled extensively throughout the state during his Diocese, building churches and schools. In 1885, at the age of 65, Young was struck by pneumonia and passed away. His funeral was conducted in St. Johns church here in Jacksonville, where he was also buried at the Old City Cemetery.

And here's what the official English version reads like:

Continue reading "Christmas Carols History: Silent Night, Holy Night" »

December 20, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Cookies are baked, bags are packed and house is clean. We are catching an early flight tomorrow to the snowy Rockies (yikes) to pick up Bill's car from his folks' place in Colorado (I think it's been sitting in their garage since November of last year), we then will be driving to Houston to have a non-white (fingers crossed) Christmas with my in-laws. From there, we will drive the car back to Jacksonville, and we'll be almost set here, for a while anyway. I am looking forward to this trip, family time and all. My MIL is especially excited because this the first Christmas in many years (I think four) that everyone is making it home for Christmas. On another note, my sister and my brother left to go to Palestine last week they'll be there until second week of January, so my parents are having an almost empty house (except for my youngest brother, who is going to Ireland to spend a semester there in February and is trying to be on a tight budget to save his moneys for that) and they are spending the holidays with cousins. It is all falling into place, and I must go get some sleep before we catch our early flight tomorrow.

Happy Holidays all. I wish everyone a great holiday season, a merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. See you all next year!

March 3, 2010

Guess Where in the World: Part One

I've been following this blog called Blog From Italy for a while now. And every once in a while, the blog owner Alex posts a photo from Italy with a "Guess Where in Italy" post. I enjoy these posts and thought they would make great quick posts for March Madness on these busy days (like today). But since I want to share photos from other places, I thought the post would be "Guess Where in the World" did I take this photo. To kick it off, I am sharing a photo from my beloved Italy. Can you guess the name of the city, piazza and building where I took this photo? I suspect it is easy for many if not most.



March 9, 2010

Pitch Your Tent in the Land of Hope


This past Sunday, Father Nicholas at St. John the Divine gave (as always) a very inspirational and uplifting sermon. I thought I'd share it with you. (It's an mp3 file).

After Every Crucifixion There Is A Resurrection, by Father Nicholas Louh, March 7th, 2010.

I hope you all are pitching your tents in the land of hope.

March 10, 2010

Thoughts about Great Lent

"Let us fast an acceptable and very pleasing fast to the Lord. True fast is the estrangement from evil, temperance of tongue, abstinence from anger, separation from desires, slander, falsehood perjury. Privation of these is true fasting."
A Hymn of First Monday of Lent By St. Basil the Great.

I attended Lutheran schools for elementary, middle and high school education. We started every school day in the school's chapel with a reading from the Holy Gospel, a sermon from one of the teachers, siting the "Our Father" prayer and then singing a couple of hymns. On Sundays, I would accompany my grandmother at younger ages and my friends at older ages, to the Greek Orthodox Church for the hour and a half or so liturgy (service or mass for the Greek Orthodox Church.) My parents only attended church services on special occasions: Christmas and Easter. I learned at a young age that religion and spirituality are in one's heart and not something to be judged by how often you visit the church. But I always felt such a great connection to the church institution, particularly the Greek Orthodox Church. Perhaps because I know the most about it. At young age, I looked forward to Sunday school. What would Ms. Kathryn tell us today? Which new story would we hear? Which project would we work on? As I grew up, I started paying great attention to the priest's sermons, take notes on occasions and try to memorize phrases they use and points they focus on. With all the moving around my family did (and the moving around I still do), the Greek Orthodox Church was (is) the constant in my life.

The Greek Orthodox Church has four major fating periods, referred to as Lent: Christmas Fast, lasting 40 days from November 15th to December 24th, Fast of the Repose of the Virgin Mary, August first to the 14th, Fast of the Apostles, its length vary depending on the day the Pentecost falls on a particular year and the Great Lent, beginning on Monday seven weeks before Easter. I've never done the Apostles Fast. And depending on the year, I do some fasting for Christmas and the Repose of Virgin Mary. The Great Lent, on the other hand, combined with Easter is my absolute favorite time of the year. I think started doing Great Lent when I was 10 or 11 years old. I suspect at a younger age, it was more of proving that I can do it, but as I grew older, the depth of fasting for Great Lent had evolved with me. I am often asked, why do I do Great Lent?

Continue reading "Thoughts about Great Lent" »

March 11, 2010

Guess Where in the World: Part Two

Another easy "guess where" photo.


Could you all tell where in Italy I can find this staircase?

P.S. My sister is driving from Columbia, SC to spend the weekend with us here. She is officially our first visitor and we are excited! We are having a 70-degree weather and the lows are only in the 50s (Yippee), but as I look out of the window now, it is raining. I am praying and doing the rain dance here that it would stop raining soon. Won't you all join me?

March 15, 2010

"The Place Where Hell Bubbled Up"-David A. Clary






Yellowstone National Park, November 2007.

April 19, 2010

The Heart of Our Country..

It is that time of the year when we are planning on leaving home in Florida and head out on a work assignment. A couple of weeks ago, we received a phone call from the staffing agency asking us f we'd consider going to Omaha. "What's in Omaha?" was my first question. Well, it is just so happened that this specific agency is located n Omaha, and our recruiter started reciting some of the things that one can do in Omaha, add to that a good pay package and attractive work schedule and we were sold. So, here we are packing again and getting ready to drive to the heart of our country for our next adventure. We've never been to Nebraska before and looking forward to knocking a new state off our list. Omaha better has all the horses I hear it has...

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Candi's Corner: Wanderlust and Passions in the Random thoughts category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

PhotoHunt is the previous category.

Things I really like is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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