Friday, December 02, 2011

Our 25 Days of Christmas - Day #2
Today's tea selection, Celestial Seasoning's Peppermint Tea was chosen from necessity due to Gabriella not feeling well and having a fever. It seemed like the logical choice. So we all settled in for an afternoon story with some hot peppermint tea to relax for a bit, then send Gabriella off to bed to rest. We all of course enjoyed it...after all, how can you go wrong with Peppermint?!!  This particular peppermint is particularly watered down flavor disappointment here.  Plus it helped settle her tummy & ease her fever.

We enjoyed 2 stories today, a picture book as well as a short story from the Christmas in My Heart series. Ruby's selection was: The Christmas Wolf by Michael Gay which is a very old book that we picked up at a library used book sale. It was a sweet little story. Here is a review from an reader.

"In response to questions from his cubs (how come Christmas doesn't come to their mountain home??), Father wolf travels in disguise down to the town to try and get Christmas presents for his family, gets outed and sadly starts to make his way home. I cry when I read this book, but in a good way. If you can find this book, buy it. My kids loved it. "

Our second story was called A Few Bars in the Key of G by Clifton Carlisle Osborne (**included in Christmas in My Heart Volume 1 - more info about these books at the end of today's post).   This short tale is set in the old west.  The reader is carried along pell-mell with the O' Henry-ish narrative, not knowing until the very end what in the world is really going on!  The kids enjoyed the mystery involved in this story and at the end all had a big "ah-hah" moment :-) 

The evening hours brought another tea & story time while we all relaxed with our ill patient resting in the recliner.  The kids all wanted to revisit the Sleepytime with Vanilla Tea we had discovered the previous evening because they liked it so much (note to self: will be needing another box soon).  Michael actually chose the story that would take us through several hours...his all-time favorite Christmas book:  The Great Christmas Kidnapping Caper by Jean Van Leeuwen.  Now when I say "all-time favorite", I mean it!  Michael first read this story over 30 years ago, he thinks at the age of 10.  Since then he has read it (THE very same copy of this book he has kept since first discovering it) EVERY year.  When we were dating in college he read a chapter of it to ME every night throughout the month of December until the book was finished...yes ladies, I definitely thought he was the absolute cutest thing ever!  Probably one reason I married him :-)  Now he reads it out loud to our kids - now how cool is that!!??  This year he received an extra special treat; we discovered it had recently been made into an audio book - so this year Michael got to be a listener instead of a reader for the first time ever.  We all enjoyed the story for several hours while sipping our tea.

If you read any Amazon reader reviews you will see just how much of a beloved classic this book is for many.  Here is one example that also gives you the basic story line:

"A Quirky Classic about Mice and Christmas. Read it anyways (5 stars)...

Marvin the Magnificent, Raymond and Fats are three mice out to enjoy life ... in Macy's department store. When the toy department's Santa gets kidnapped they are on the case in the best manner of old-movie private eyes. But how can three mice track him down and rescue him before Christmas?  Narrated by Marvin himself, this story is absolutely hilarious. Don't be stopped by the mice. It was one of my favourite books growing up and I still recall it with great fondness (and a vague sense of irritation that my children's books got sold a few years back).  There are at least three other books about this mouse trio, and I think a couple of them are still in print. This one, however, is my favourite, and worth looking for. "

**Not familiar with the Christmas in My Heart book series by Joe Wheeler...OH MY!  You simply must explore these wonderful stories. I believe at this time, there are around 20 volumes - enough to keep you busy reading all winter! 

"Open up this precious treasury of classic stories and you rediscover what makes Christmas so special.  Fond memories come flooding back as these heartwarming tales transport you to happy times surrounded by family and friends.  What makes these stories such a special gift is that they come from the heart.  They share the spark of Christmas in all of us--the caring, the sharing, and the self-giving love.

Joe Wheeler's great discovery is that the best of Christmas is in our hearts, and we embrace life in new ways when we read heartwarming stories about this joyous season.  He was so convinced of this that he began to collect all sorts of Christmas stories, old and new, from far and wide.  With the trained eye of a seasoned English professor, and the sensitive heart of one who grew up listening to wonderful stories year after year, he knows a good story when he hears it.

In Christmas in My Heart, the author brings together the best old familiar favorites and fresh new yarns from his literary treasure trove.  The riches of master storytellers such as Pearl S. Buck, Madeleine L'Engle, Taylor Caldwell, and O. Henry are combined with stirring tales from the golden age of Christmas stories to form a priceless treasury of holiday classics.

Read them once, to loved ones or in peaceful solitude, and they will forever become a part of your family's Christmas traditions.  Because these stories sparkle and shine with the true spirit of Christmas, they will make you smile, bring tears to your eyes, and give you goose bumps all over.  You may give this delightful collection as a gift from the heart to someone you love, or buy it for yourself.  No matter what, you won't be able to put it down, or to let one Christmas pass by without opening this timeless treasury of heartwarming stories.

About the Author

Joe Wheeler's writing career started in the fall of 1992 with a collection of heart-tugging stories called Christmas in My Heart, a series that he has become well-known for. Joe Wheeler has been called everything from Keeper of the Story to Father Christmas. He has been a frequent guest on Dr. James Dobson s radio show Focus on the Family, and today is considered to be one of America s leading story anthologizers.  When asked how he got started, Wheeler tells interviewers that it all dates back to being home-schooled by a remarkable woman, Barbara Leininger Wheeler, his mother (both a teacher and a missionary) in Latin America. His mother, an elocutionist of the old school, memorized thousands of pages of stories, readings, and poetry, and frequently recited in public. But her specialty was the old-time, sentimental, Judeo-Christian short stories. And his mother poured herself - and her stories - into her son, inoculating him with a terminal case of the storyitis virus. "

1 comment:

Goamick said...

Thanks Hon! -Michael