Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ainsley Jo's Christmas Newsletter (2014)

The best kinds of gifts aren't always the most expensive ones 
but, instead, 
the ones that truly come from the heart.

Season's Greetings To All Who Read This!!!

What you're looking at now is a stab at writing some sort of Christmas Newsletter this year.

I realize that not all people who read this celebrate Christmas, but I hope you'll enjoy this newsletter even if you don't.  I have no problem with saying "Happy Holidays!" in order to pay respect to those who celebrate other holidays, but I still love to share and celebrate how God sent Jesus into this world to live among us.

In a sense, that was a lot like what has happened to me.

I've always cared about homeless people and have wanted to help them, but I believe that having become part of the homeless population has been an education of what it feels like to actually BE homeless.

Thankfully, my homelessness was what I've often referred to as being homeless princess-style.  That is, I wasn't reduced to having all of my worldly possessions reduced down to what fits into a shopping cart and sleeping curled up over a grate trying to keep warm in nippy weather.

I'm also very thankful to report that I'm no longer part of the homeless population and haven't been since September 22, 2014 when I officially signed the lease on the apartment where I'm now living.

This happened a year and 13 days after officially becoming part of the homeless population on September 9, 2013.

Even though I was able to "couch" with friends (one time for three months until they needed to remodel their home) and spent just under a month in a nursing home right before signing the lease (went ahead and stayed in the nursing home to both reap and give benefits from the experience until I signed out for good on the first day of October), there were things I'd taken for granted at one time in my life such as having my own kitchen where I could cook and a toilet to use without thinking about who might be desperately waiting outside the door, and it was a celebration to get them back again.

Although (as I'm now living in Muncie and would like to live in the Anderson area again in time) where I'm at now won't be the very last place I call home, I believe it will be my home at least until late next September.  After that?  I'll know closer to the time.

For now, I'm really enjoying myself and have lots of really great neighbors and lots of activity.  Yes, there are things that I wish would hurry up and happen (such as getting my minivan up and running again after it finally stopped on me back in August, not to mention having my own laptop and a WiFi connection -- or, at least, something I can afford -- so that I can get online from my apartment building and, hopefully, from my own apartment as well).  Of course, there's some business involving a "day" in court that I hope will take place more sooner than later.

I won't go into all of the details about everything now, as anyone wanting to will be able to keep up with me at least some by visiting the links I'm providing.

As it's getting late and time to leave the library before long (not just because it's closing but, also, because I want to get back home without too much walking in the dark on this rainy day), I think what I'm going to do is to make the rest of this newsletter a bunch of links as I return to my train of thought about how Jesus was born among us.

Actually -- as the weather (as it stands now -- but, when it comes to Indiana weather, who can tell!?!) is supposed to be pretty decent, though a bit colder this week, I don't believe there's much doubt that I'll be returning to the library again, so I think I'm going to temporarily sign off at this time and get back to you on Thursday.

Today is Tuesday, December 16, and the library where I go won't be open again until Thursday -- and, besides, I have all kinds of things to do in the meantime.  Therefore -- God willing and the creek don't rise -- I'll see you back here on Thursday, December 18...

(to be continued, so, stay tuned...)

It's now December 18, and I'm back here picking up where I left off.

And it turned out that I spent most of the time selecting music, so I'll pick up the next time I have a chance...

(to be continued, so, stay tuned...)

Monday, December 22...

I'm still picking out songs to go with this newsletter.  So many great songs that it's hard to select which ones to end up using.

However, I heard a wonderful rendition of a favorite Christmas story by Johnny Cash, and it will be the one I'll use for the final one, as it sums it all up.

Anyway, Murphy's Law is acting up overtime today, but I'm still progressing in getting this finished.
I'm going to try to get everything to hang together as it's supposed to.
For starters, here's a link to the online introduction card I designed in June.  If you want to see the URL to it instead of simply clicking on the above hyperlink, click below:


I think I'll go ahead and show all of the links as URLs so you will know exactly where they will send you in case you're not comfortable to going to unidentified places.

Since designing it, I came across a new (to me) writing/posting/social site and am starting to get active there, so I'm going to give you the link to my portfolio there as well as another link re: how to join it as referred by me, if you like what you see...



I've also written a blog with the theme of empowerment that can be found by going here:


By going here you can get an idea re: what was the story that made me decide once and for all that this blog needed to be created:


This will take you to the latest entry in this blog:


and this will take you to the latest entry in my empowerment blog:


I believe that the best way to learn about what's been happening over the past five years would be to say that a lot was taken from me (including--but not limited to--one Mommy, two aunts, one uncle, several cousins, lots of friends, and one home) but a lot was also given to me in the way of new friends and new adventures.  Someday, I'll be seeing my loved ones again -- and do, at times, even now, in dreams and memories -- and it's time to take care of what is at-hand.

There was a story that the late, great Paul Harvey liked to tell around Christmas that was about a guy who chose to stay home from Christmas Eve Midnight Mass instead of accompanying his family there, because he just didn't "get" that Jesus business.

It was a cold, windy, and snowy night, and he was glad to be in relaxing in front of the TV with a can of beer in his hand.

He was startled by a noise that sounded as if somebody was throwing snowballs at his window, and he got up to bawl out the neighborhood kids whom he suspected were responsible.

Instead, he found that the noise came from birds flying at the window (thinking that it was open space) in hopes of entering the inviting-looking living room where they could keep warm.

The man felt sorry for them and decided that he could at least let them into the garage, so he opened up the garage door -- but the birds kept focused on the picture window and kept hitting it.

He waved his arms to try to motion them into the garage, but they ignored him.

He finally got behind them and made noises in hopes of scaring them in the right direction, but that just made them more confused.

Frustrated, he began talking to himself about how he wished he could turn into a bird long enough to lead these poor critters into the warm, safe garage -- and, at that moment, he heard a church bell ring, and, for the first time in his life, he understood about that Jesus business and knelt in the snow to turn his life over to the One Who came here so long ago as a baby in a manger and grew up to know firsthand what it was like to be human!!!

In a smaller sense, that is what has happened to me:  getting to know things such as being homeless, being in a nursing home, etc. up close and personal.

If I were to write about things like this, I couldn't be told that I don't know what I'm talking about, because I do!

You'll also be hearing about a very special angel in my life named Larry Van Ness (a.k.a. The CanMan).  If you read enough of my writings, you'll be learning more about this amazing man who has taught me a whole lot more about how important it is to recycle as much as you can.  You'll also learn that I had three encounters with him before our friendship stuck for good.

There are more details in my writings about this, but I'll give you the years:  1966, 2003 (or thereabout), and 2013.  The first time, he was just a name.  The second time, he was an interesting person and a guardian angel of sorts.  The final time, he and I became -- and still are -- the best of friends!

On this note, I'm going to sign off because I've given you enough information (as in a thumbnail sketch) so that you can dig deeper if you wish.

Finally, I've created a folder for this and future Christmas newsletters, so this will link you to it:


Have a very blessed holiday season in whatever way/ways you celebrate it!!!

Ainsley Jo :-)