Christmas Countdown Day 3: Cookie Madness

My kitchen is the last place you will ever look into for traditional Christmas cookies, especially German Christmas Cookies. Let me tell you why: my mother learned to bake cookies very late in life, and had it not been for the American and European expats she met during our years in Kenya and Mexico, she

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Christmas Countdown Day 4: Enjoyment (or 'Twas The Revised Night Before Christmas)

Twas several nights before Christmas, when all through our streetEvery creature was stirring, even the crow, that cheat.The dogs were howling by the gate without a care,In hopes that the St Bernard from nearby would pass without a snare. The guards were nestled all wrapped and bound,While visions of chappatis danced in their heads around.And Mulan in

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Christmas Countdown Day 5: Open Home (or Lady Tiffy Visits Chapter 1)

My mother always insisted on setting an extra place at the Christmas table “just in case someone needs a home on Christmas”, and made sure to cook extra portions for whoever might drop by unannounced. I know of several other families who practice this and I carry on the tradition. This practice of never being

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Christmas Countdown Day 6: Funny Bones

It is quintessential Filipino to first fine the humour in tragedy or adversity. Whether it a political debacle or natural disaster, or even personal loss, the Filipino family will strive to find a way to continue to laugh together. For those who are not familiar with this peculiar trait, or who are married into it

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Christmas Countdown Day 7: Pursuit of Light

“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.”-John O’Donohue, Anam

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Christmas Countdown Day 8: Artistic Expression

The doorbell rang in the middle of a Criminal Minds episode that I was very engrossed in and it threw me off. I wasn’t expecting anyone, and it being Sunday, it couldn’t possibly be a delivery. Much to my delight, when I opened the door I was greeted with two very enthusiastic young artists (three-and-a-half-year-old

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Christmas Countdown Day 9: The Right Tools

One of the aspects of living in Germany that I had to come to terms with very early on was this overwhelming DIY culture. This is the land of precision tools and exact measurements, and where carpenters, plumbers and painters can become certified masters in their own craft. The value placed on tools, trade and

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Das Denglische Weihnachtsgedicht 2019

(this is something I post every year and my attitude towards it changes from one year to another) When the last Kalender-sheetsflattern through the winter-streetsand Dezemberwind is blowing,then ist everybody knowingthat it is not allzuweit:she does come – the Weihnachtszeit. All the Menschen, Leute, peopleflippen out of ihr warm Stüble,run to Kaufhof, Aldi, Mess,make Konsum and

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Christmas Countdown Day 10: Dialogue

 It is not living which is of most importance, but living well. Socrates Dialogue has been the centre of my life these past three days. When given the precious gift of time by people that truly matter to me, I make sure that true dialogue takes place, not just conversation. The difference between these two forms

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Christmas Countdown Day 11: Discernment

By definition, discernment is the ability to judge well (Einsicht / discernimiento) in the hope of obtaining the right insight. Many associate this process with spirituality or spiritual growth, but I prefer to use the word in the context of life-changing decisions. Admittedly, I am a very impulsive person, but not reckless (well, not THAT

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