Here’s another from the Arias Home of Hope.
More of the children at Arias Home of Hope near Kanchipuram.
Another from the Arias Home of Hope.
Sorry for the interruption in my “Face of the Day” series. Life during the holidays was too busy for me to get enough time at the computer and get organized.
At the time we visited it, I posted a story about the Home of Hope. I also put up pictures of us playing “Bomb the Country” with these kids. This was one of the most memorable, touching, heartbreaking, and promising places we visited in our entire trip around India. Located near Kanchipuram and sponsored by Hope Foundation, this is an orphanage for children who either have AIDS or are HIV positive. Generally they were either abandoned by their parents when they became sick or their parents have died from the disease. What we were told is that the fathers become migrant workers, traveling to the big cities to work where they contract the disease from prostitutes there. When they come home, they pass the disease to their spouses and families. It is a tragic story. Home of Hope provides them with meals and medicine. They aren’t sure what to do and what will happen to these children as they reach adulthood. But as you will see over the next few weeks (I have a lot of pictures from here to share), these were the happiest, friendliest, most charming children we met. They laughed, played, ate, hugged, and enjoyed our visit more than anyone else I remember. If I close my eyes and try to remember India, these are some of the first images that come to my mind. If you’re looking for a charity that is worthy of your donations and consideration, I personally recommend this one to your consideration.
There’s a saying in law: res ipsa loquitor, which is Latin for “the thing speaks for itself.”
We may not have a perfect family, but we have always tried to have meals together as often as possible with our crazy schedules. They may not be gourmet or always as nutritious as they should have been, but they were usually eaten together.
More on this can be found here.
As another blogger wrote about this, what a difference thirty years can make. Here’s the abridged transcript:
At Christmas time, every home takes on a special beauty, a special warmth, and that’s certainly true of the White House, where so many famous Americans have spent their Christmases over the years. This fine old home, the people’s house, has seen so much, been so much a part of all our lives and history. It’s been humbling and inspiring for Nancy and me to be spending our first Christmas in this place.
We’ve lived here as your tenants for almost a year now, and what a year it’s been. As a people we’ve been through quite a lot — moments of joy, of tragedy, and of real achievement — moments that I believe have brought us all closer together. G. K. Chesterton once said that the world would never starve for wonders, but only for the want of wonder.
At this special time of year, we all renew our sense of wonder in recalling the story of the first Christmas in Bethlehem, nearly 2,000 year ago.
Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great and good philosopher and teacher. Others of us believe in the divinity of the child born in Bethlehem, that he was and is the promised Prince of Peace. Yes, we’ve questioned why he who could perform miracles chose to come among us as a helpless babe, but maybe that was his first miracle, his first great lesson that we should learn to care for one another.
Tonight, in millions of American homes, the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the love Jesus taught us. Like the shepherds and wise men of that first Christmas, we Americans have always tried to follow a higher light, a star, if you will. At lonely campfire vigils along the frontier, in the darkest days of the Great Depression, through war and peace, the twin beacons of faith and freedom have brightened the American sky. At times our footsteps may have faltered, but trusting in God’s help, we’ve never lost our way.
Just across the way from the White House stand the two great emblems of the holiday season: a Menorah, symbolizing the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, and the National Christmas Tree, a beautiful towering blue spruce from Pennsylvania. Like the National Christmas Tree, our country is a living, growing thing planted in rich American soil. Only our devoted care can bring it to full flower. So, let this holiday season be for us a time of rededication.
Christmas means so much because of one special child. But Christmas also reminds us that all children are special, that they are gifts from God, gifts beyond price that mean more than any presents money can buy. In their love and laughter, in our hopes for their future lies the true meaning of Christmas.
So, in a spirit of gratitude for what we’ve been able to achieve together over the past year and looking forward to all that we hope to achieve together in the years ahead, Nancy and I want to wish you all the best of holiday seasons. As Charles Dickens, whom I quoted a few moments ago, said so well in “A Christmas Carol,” “God bless us, every one.”
When my oldest daughter reached junior high, she took choir as one of her electives. Her choir teacher, Pat Antinone, sent word home in the fall that he wanted to have a parents’ choir perform at the Christmas concert. I made some very nice friends singing in that choir, a tradition Pat kept up for a few years. We didn’t sing easy or cute songs – he had us sing difficult pieces to show us how singing is taught and to show his junior high kids what adult voices could do that teenage voices could not. Parents choir is one of my fondest memories of my kids’ junior high years, which are otherwise probably best left forgotten.
The first year we sang “Still, Still, Still,” a lovely and haunting melody. Kerry played piano as the choir’s accompanist. I hope you enjoy this music.
I’m probably going silent for a day or two. Our family Christmas celebration is today, so I don’t plan to write anything. Thank you all for reading these silly things I write. I wish you all the very happiest holidays, and a very merry Christmas. I pray we all will experience joy, love, and health this coming year.
Update: Epic failure this time. I don’t think it was humidity – I got in a hurry because we had to go to the play, so I rushed it and didn’t beat it quite long enough. I ended up with chewy glob of divinity-like candy. Oh well.
Here it is. The final exam of candy making. The last of my cooking orgy. I think this was my mother’s favorite. Sherry, do you know? Anyway, subject to appropriate atmospheric humidity, here goes the divinity effort. Company arrives in two hours, so I’ve got no margin for error.
3 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 – 2 cups pecans
Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in pan. Heat to 260 degrees. Pour in fine stream over stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly with electric mixer. Add vanilla and continue beating until stiff.
Remove beater, add nuts, and beat with a wooden spoon until candy loses its gloss and a small amount dropped on wax paper holds it’s shape. (This is the trickiest part!) using teaspoons, drop onto wax paper.