Iraq Declares Christmas an Official Holiday for First Year!

Now this news is indeed an inspiring and moving news.  I believe Iraq will be the first Muslim country to do so and what a great way to make Christians feel welcomed.  Here is more from Iraq:
Iraq's Christians, a small minority in the overwhelmingly Muslim country, quietly celebrated Christmas on Thursday with a present from the government, which declared it an official holiday for the first time.

But security worries overshadowed the day for many, particularly in the north where thousands of Christians have fled to escape religious attacks.

Overall security in Iraq has improved markedly in the past year, but a fatal car bombing in Baghdad on Christmas morning was a gruesome reminder that serious problems remain.

Another good news was when I read that The EU Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering called on Arab governments to allow Christian Churches to be built in their countries.

About the picture: Shiite tribal leaders and Iraqi officials attend Christmas Day mass at Mary's Daughters Monastery in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008. This year, Christmas Day for the first time, declared an official holiday in Iraq.
(AP/Khalid Mohammed)


History of Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree originated in Germany around 1,000 years ago and was associated with mystery plays. The Paradise play represented the creation of man and the sin of Adam and Eve with their expulsion from Paradise. The Garden of Eden was represented by a fir tree that was hung with apples. It represented both the Tree of Life and Tree of Good and Evil, which stood in the center of Paradise.

When performed in the church, the tree was surrounded by lighted candles. After ending church plays, the candles and tree were taken to a home where the Christmas tree became a symbol of the Savior. Tree decorations over time changed to white wafers, then small pastries, colored paper, tinsel, cookies and other objects.   Continue to read here

Merry Christmas to you and to your loved ones even if you don't celebrate Christmas. Christmas is about the message of Love and your relationship with God. So I hope you will celebrate that. Here is an Irish Christmas blessing to you my dear readers:

The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you
The love of the Son and God's peace to you.

Christmas in Baghdad

Who said change can not come to Iraq? I was delighted to read the news that Iraqis celebrated their first public Christmas. Even the Iraqi Interior spoesman had this to say: "All Iraqis today are Christians." -

More Pictures from Christmas in Iraq click here.

More on Christians in Iraq, click here.


Don't Give In To Fear!

Stop watching the news and you will feel better.  The 24/7 news cycle of doom and gloom makes people to fear of what is awaiting for them and their finances. But don't forget that every news has two side to it.  Even this global ciris has a message that we can learn. Remember you can see the stars, only, when the sky is the darkest!   As Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday he hoped the global financial crisis might help people to rediscover the spiritual message of Christmas. He continue to say:
"Stripped of its materialistic and consumer trappings, Christmas offers a chance to welcome as a personal gift the message of hope that emanates from the mystery of Christ's birth," he added. Benedict, describing Christmas as a "universal holiday," said that "even a non-believer can perceive (in it) something special, transcendent and intimate that speaks to the heart."
So, put the fear aside and go for your dream!

Fear not, my heart,
Even the darkest night must end at dawn!
Clouds and mist may come and go,
But they cannot rob sun's radiant glow.
Look up, mine eyes, keep steady watch,
For never must ye lose your guiding star. . . .
Hold fast! Hold fast!
Rest will come when thy toil is done.

~Swami Paramananda from his Book of Daily Thoughts and Prayers


Brave Afghani Women

A country, where just 6 years ago, used to beat women to death because they dared to walk in the street without a male figure is now allowing women to serve in police force. Here is a pictured of newly recruited female police officers practice with their rifles before a test on a shooting range in Pol-E Khumri, Afghanistan.
Now that is inspiring !


Dear friends, 
Liberty is the most precious of gifts. 
My generation never had to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by people who fought for it with their lives. All throughout Europe American cemeteries remind us of the young boys who never made it home, and whose memory we cherish. 
My generation does not own this freedom; we are merely its custodians. We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe’s children in the same state in which it was offered to us. We cannot strike a deal with mullahs and imams. Future generations would never forgive us. We cannot squander our liberties. We simply do not have the right to do so."

The speech was made by the famous Dutch MP Geert Wilders who is well really famous for making the  Fitna movie.

Friendship Plant

Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.

These wise words  applies for any form of relationship.  I think, you can only appreciate the depth of this wisdom if  you are well in your 40's .  At least it happening for me now.

PHOTO: This plant called Pilea involucrata  which means Friendship Plant.


Moorish Beauty!

I have been in process of building my house for the last 15 months, so I go through a lot of interior design magazines to get ideas and inspirations. 

I am using some Moroccan elements in the house, so when I found this great picture with that moorish background I had to share it with you. Something about this pictures is so soothing! How do you like it?

Image of Lisa Fonssagrives by Irving Penn, 1951, entitled 'Woman in Palace'


Happiness is contagious!

A study of the relationships of nearly 5,000 people tracked for decades in the Framingham Heart Study shows that good cheer spreads through social networks of nearby family, friends and neighbors.  Knowing someone who is happy makes you 15.3% more likely to be happy yourself, the study found.

See, you DO have the power to make a change and it's so easy. All you have to do is to act HAPPY

Los Angeles Times reports on this study:
"Your emotional state depends not just on actions and choices that you make, but also on actions and choices of other people, many of which you don't even know," said Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, a physician and medical sociologist at Harvard who co-wrote the study."
"The research is part of a growing trend to measure well-being as a crucial component of public health. Scientists have documented that people who describe themselves as happy are likely to live longer, even if they have a chronic illness."