Thoughts on Peace, and Christmas decorations.

“Peace on earth is rarer than an oyster’s pearl, as conflict around us continues to swirl.”  ~ Roger Hollander, human rights activist.

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Last night I was thinking about the message of Christmas supposedly being “Peace on earth, goodwill to all men.” This time last year, I wrote a blog on my old site, and part of it went like this,

“On Sky News this evening, I  saw the dreadful news coming out of Baghdad and Syria. So many people dead and injured in the latest terrorist attacks. Families devastated in Baghdad as a suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden vehicle, blew himself up outside the office of a government agency fighting corruption. Reports from a human rights group in Syria, tell us that more than 6 200 people including hundreds of children have died in Syria’s crackdown on an anti-government revolt. At least 40 people have been killed and 100 injured in two explosions at security bases in Damascus, which according to state TV, were the work of terrorists.”

I does seem to me that we don’t seem to have learned anything in the last year, because we still have the carnage going on in Syria, and families are still being torn apart by the ongoing war there. So many people throughout the world are suffering because of greedy men fighting for power. I believe that the concept “Peace on earth” is sadly as elusive as it ever was. My heart goes out to all the innocent people caught up in these terrible situations. Because of man’s inhumanity to his fellow-man, for many people, these last days of 2012 have been filled with shock, grief and trauma, instead of joy and celebration.

“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”  ~William Gladstone

For all of us who are fortunate enough to be spending this season with family and friends in a peaceful environment, it’s an opportunity for us to give thanks for our many blessings. I for one am so very grateful that I’m here, and not living in one of those strife-torn countries.

I would like to thank you all for all the congratulations and good wishes expressed on my last post. You are such a lovely bunch of bloggers, and I really appreciate this caring community. On Thursday we leave for our road trip up to New Jersey to spend Christmas with our dear son and his family. On Thursday, we’ll be staying overnight in Savannah, and on Friday, in Richmond Virginia. I’m so looking forward to the drive up there, and have so much present wrapping to do today, before I start packing. I hope I’ll be able to do a couple of blogs whilst we’re away.

Let me leave you with good wishes for the holiday season, and a few pics of some of the decorations I’ve seen around Florida in the past few days. I’m hoping to be able to go into NY city to see all the Christmas lights, especially the huge tree at the Rockefeller Centre.

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My son sent me this photo last year, from the Huffington Post. In New York, people try to outdo each other with their inventiveness for decorating their homes. This homeowner had to dismantle his efforts, after this scene almost caused road accidents, when people screeched to a halt to rush to this dummy’s assistance. He said, ” A 55-year-old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder and almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn’t realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of the many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn’t take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.”

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“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
~ Mother Teresa

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing seasons

The Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Changing Seasons‘, had me remembering some places I’ve been, where the seasons have seemed to be rather topsy-turvy. Sometimes weather can be quite surprising, depending on where in the world you happen to be.

Winter in Rio de Janeiro. Most photos of Rio that I’d seen, made it look as though it was all sunshine, and bikinis on the beach.  Just my bad luck to be visiting  Corcovado Mountain in the rain and fog.

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Summer in San Francisco. It was so cold on 4th July, that I had to buy a sheepskin jacket from one of the stores at Pier 39. They did seem to stock more winter than summer clothes, so maybe the cold wasn’t entirely unexpected.

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Spring in Wyoming. We certainly weren’t expecting snow and ice in May.

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Nothing disappointing about the gardens at the Summer Palace in Beijing. They were so beautiful, and just bursting with spring blossoms.

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Autumn in Cape Town South Africa, was decidedly chilly and grey,

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but it was worth the visit, if only for the beautiful view from the top of Table Mountain.

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Travelling on the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Appalachian Highlands, did have some typical autumn scenes, and we couldn’t resist trying a packet of those deliciously crunchy Pork Rinds.

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Autumn in New Jersey certainly wasn’t a lot of fun this year,

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and some of the streets will never look the same again.

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Winter in my home town of Umhlanga South Africa, always feels like summer to most visitors from cooler climes.

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My sister’s dog Dingo, can always find a nice sunny spot by the pool.

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Even though it’s warm and mild in Florida for December, you only have to visit the shopping mall to see that it’s winter, and that Christmas is almost here.

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To check out more entries for the challenge, just click here.