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Today is 1-21-21.

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Today is 1-21-21, and right from the get-go, I want to state that this is not a political editorial. I could not write a political editorial right now, even if I was paid to. I stay as far away from politics as I can, because I have come to a strange and difficult quandary in my life when I can’t or don’t want to relate to either of our political parties. But I refuse to feel hopeless or helpless.
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Nancy's Notes

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Recently I sat down and brainstormed with three of my weirdest friends — Me, Myself and I — and made a list of things that happened in the past year, not necessarily related to or because of the coronavirus or the 2020 Election. What follows below, in no particular order, are the events or situations that we came up with. And while my thoughts are in no particular order, the order of the categories is intentional: I want to get “the ugly” over with, and end with “the good.” I don’t care whether you agree with me or not; this is my list, and I’m sticking to it. So here goes.
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Nancy's Notes

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Last year at this time, we were all telling each other “Happy New Year!” Little did we know what was to come in that new year. I know I had looked forward to the year 2020 because it just seemed like a really fun, cool number. But lately, as we neared the end of 2020, I have been looking forward to 2021 with full hope and prayers that it will be better than 2020. Actually, just about anything will be better than 2020.
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Probably most of us think of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a novelty song. A lot of people even link this old Christmas carol with other nonsensical numbers such as “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” However, even though “The Twelve Days of Christmas” makes little sense to us now, it was once one of the most important teaching tools of the Catholic church.
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Even though “Silent Night” has been recorded more than any other song in history, the fact that we know it at all is a miracle. Created out of necessity and performed in a tiny village on Christmas Eve by two ordinary Austrians and a tiny choir, this incredibly beautiful and simple carol owes its debut to an organ that wouldn’t play and a priest who wouldn’t hold a Christmas mass without special music.
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“O Come, All Ye Faithful” has been sung in churches of all denominations for almost two hundred years and sung in Catholic masses for much longer. It has been translated into more than 150 languages, used in thousands of cantatas and musical productions, and called by some critics “the greatest carol ever written.” It is amazing, therefore, that the song’s author remained unknown until just after World War II.
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By Nancy Becker

In 1847, William Cummings, just sixteen years old, was singing one of the tenor leads in Felix Mendelssohn’s opera “Elijah.” For the young tenor, to be directed by one of the most renowned composers in the world was a dream come true. It is little wonder that that night made an indelible impression on Cummings and ultimately gave birth to a marvelous duo of lyric and melody.

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Several weeks ago, a little book titled “Stories behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas” caught my eye. Many of us love the music of Christmas, and we are always looking forward to the Advent and Christmas season so we can sing or hear these songs again. Christmas carols are timeless traditions in many households; but did you ever wonder where they began?
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It’s Thanksgiving Day, and what a wonderful day it is! The kids are here, having driven in from Flint, Texas and Cheney. Grandkids are everywhere—playing the Wii, a granddaughter is playing the piano, the youngest grandson is acting crazy with Grandpa. The house started out perfectly clean, but right now it is a disaster—a crazy, wonderful, blessed disaster. The happy noise in the house is what I live for at this time inmy life! I had prepared a lot of the meal early, so today I can just relax, enjoy the family, set the table, and then sit down and enjoy a feast with our loved ones all around.
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The recent election season shook me to my core. There has not been, in my recollection or lifetime, an election more exhausting and divisive. I don’t handle conflict well; it settles into my bones and affects my whole body, makes me anxious and ill. It ties my stomach in knots and makes my head hurt. And that’s the way I felt for many weeks, leading up to the election. I didn’t want to watch the news on TV, and I didn’t want to NOT watch the news. All the angry, negative rhetoric seemed to work its way under my skin and fill me with angst. I wasn’t pleased with or supportive of either presidential candidate, regardless of party affiliation.