Tuesday, December 27, 2005


A poem to finish off the Holiday:


Tiny footprints
Snow-covered world, early morning
scratches in the white, mark little chickadee steps
at the holy time when the world sleeps and life is but a whisper
while birds scurry.

Friday, December 23, 2005

My Last Blog Before the Holiday...
I think Christmas cooking 
is making me punchy...

*     *     *

My Favorite Foods...and Then Some

Turkey and stuffing, potatoes and peas
Love eating each and every one of these!
Christmas cookies from Mom's kitchen oven!
I feel like I died and went straight to heaven!
But one thing I wish that no one would make
Is that petrified, dry, lousy fruit cake!

*     *     *

Someone on the Rooftop

Santa on the rooftop! HO! HO! HO!
Gifts for everybody! Head to toe!
He'll slide down the chimney, 1, 2, 3
Bringing presents for you and for me!
Sure hope he doesn't get stuck up there,
Between the rooftop and who knows where.
Poor jolly Santa, chubby as can be
Stuck in the chimney for all to see!
We'll push his head down and pull below.
We'll wiggle him and jiggle him just so.
We want our goodies! He's gotta drop
Down with our presents! PLOP! PLOP! PLOP!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Following the Star...
A Christmas Story...

I wrote this a couple of years ago.
It has been one of my favorites.

 David yawned and stretched at exactly the same time as a white fire exploded in the sky. A dazzling trail of sparkling dust bled down from the inferno. Next the core of the burst slowly twirled around and around, with sparks jumping off and rearranging into points around a circle to form a glistening star. It blinked once before pirouetting across the expanse of inky black. The young shepherd stumbled in surprise but grasped harder on his staff to keep upright. The white pulsating light danced across the horizon, beckoning the lad with every blink.
 David's heart pounded with such force it was a wonder it didn't burst into a million particles. The star was alive with fire. It telegraphed a message, a familiar one of love...love in its purest, simplest form. The apparition glided across the expanse of black like a sailboat skimming across the water. 
 "I've got to follow," the young shepherd murmured. The sheep had settled for the night. He would slip away. Gathering a blanket, the boy glanced at his animals. A lamb slept separately from the rest. Enamored from the start by the tiny creature, he'd given it a nickname, Gentle. He gathered Gentle in his arms and gazed at the sky. The star continued to travel on its glistening path. 
 David rushed after it in what turned out to be a half night's journey up and over fragrant grassy hills, until finally he arrived on the dry, dusty road leading to Bethlehem. Moving quickly to keep up, his heart sang on the exhilarating journey. His lungs filled with cool air while the spicy aromas of the countryside tickled his nose. He loved the land in all its aspects.
 Father would not be pleased he had abandoned the flock, but an emotion like white fire had overtaken his heart as the starry light led him onward.
 Bethlehem proved to be a busy town, as multitudes of travelers wandered in for the census. The Inns were full, and many camped along the road. Children played together as their weary parents prepared makeshift bedding and scoured their supplies for a bit of bread or water. They stared at the intense young man as he passed by. Oblivious to their gazes, David's pounding heart pushed him farther into the tiny city. 
 He imagined his father would be exasperated at dawn to find the sheep unattended. David sighed. What kind of life is a shepherd's anyway. Samuel, his friend, made a good living stealing at the marketplace in Bethlehem. With hands like a magician, he could grab up an item and hide it in his cloak before anyone was the wiser. Bringing the items home to the village, the town's people were eager to buy cheaper than they would pay in Bethlehem. Samuel would no doubt someday be a rich man. He had offered to teach young David all his tricks.
 "That's what I should do," the boy said out loud, as though speaking the words would make them true. Satisfied with the thought, David barely noticed the star had stopped moving. It pulsated in the sky over a ramshackle stable standing behind a nearby Inn.
 His heart's fierce pounding sounded in his ears again. A yearning in his soul pushed him toward the stable. He needed whatever was there, but what was it?
 A man, a woman, and a baby, who was nestled in a manger of straw, met his gaze. A cow and two horses lingered in the back, the only sound being the gentle swish of the cow's tail, back and forth, back and forth. What were these people doing in a stable with animals?
 The baby opened his eyes and caught David's glance. The little one's gaze burnt with the fiery magic of the star. The baby was the star. 
 Cascading emotions rushed David, dropping him to his knees. His heart was in a cacophonous turmoil of love, reverence, and confusion woven together in a pattern of gaudy mismatched hues. His weakened hand lost its grasp of Gentle and the lamb ambled forward to the babe.
 The infant's eyes paralyzed David in their light. Who was this child? The boy's heart crashed to the ground as the infant's eyes, with a waver, read his heart and desire to be a thief, like Samuel. The orbs shot to David a message like a whisper. He had a decision to make, to follow the righteous path and be a proper shepherd, or follow the way of dishonesty to acquire material riches. 
 Visions of David's flock floated through his mind, and a rush of its sublime and simple beauty wrapped around him like a satin ribbon. He knew he wanted the life of an honest and simple shepherd. All honest work had dignity on God's good earth. On the hillside with the sky and grasses and sheep, he would be close to God. He glanced to the child, and a glint in the tiny eyes reassured him.
 David averted his eyes as his soul filled to brimming. Looking up, he nodded to the man and woman. 
 "The lamb," he said, nodding toward Gentle. "It is a gift...for the baby. For surely this infant is the lamb of God." 
 The woman's smile could light up the entire night sky. David bowed to them and turned to go. The time had arrived for a new beginning, one full of purpose and self-knowledge, and the right path to God. 
*    *    *
Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Picture and a Poem


A snowy day in Pittsburgh. Just a view from my corner of the world. Taken this afternoon around 2:00 p.m. Temperature outside: 21 degrees.

Now a poem:


Gold foil wrapped red green ribbons of giggles
Cascades of broad smiles laced with egg nog
Frothy words drowning in red punch
Mysterious packages
Starry tree lights blinking
Kitchen aromas
Brown gravy dreams
No one wants
Fruit cake
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Here I am again 
with more Christmas poetry...

Christmas Septet

Snowflakes twirl
Stream from ice castles
Announcing time so Divine.
Christmas Eve, a Night with its own Star,
Gleaming in the sky with Joy.
May it bring you Peace.
Holy Night.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Bashful Swan...

Another Children's Story
from Magic Music Forest

*    *    *

Deep in the forest, a little swan named Wanda lived at a place called Magic Pond. A baby swan with fuzzy, grayish down feathers, her mother and father told her how pretty she was all the time. Wanda never believed them because her feathers stuck out in an unsightly manner. When she got older, she would be prettier, but not now.  Alas, it made her feel bashful. She spent most of her time, all by herself, watching the other birds and animals play. Indeed, at the Magic Pond, fun was guaranteed. How Wanda wished she could have someone to play with, but she doubted anyone wanted to be her friend. 
Urging her to be with the other birds and animals, her mother nudged her, "Aren't you going to go and play, Wanda?" 
Wanda answered, "No." She preferred to nestle under some plants along the shore and watch the others. A silly goose named Belinda always brought a smile to Wanda's face.  The bird could not swim, but kept trying nonetheless.  The little goose constantly fell head first into the water.  "She is lucky she doesn't drown herself," Wanda thought out loud one day.  
"You're right." 
The voice startled Wanda, and she turned to see Oscar the Turtle beside her. 
"Hello," she said in a little voice. 
"You are Wanda, aren't you?" the turtle asked. 
"Belinda is sure having a hard time of it, trying to swim." 
"Yes. I guess it must be hard for her to do." 
"Yes," Oscar replied as he bobbed his head in thought. "It looks as though you have some free time. Maybe you could help her." 
"Yes." Oscar leaned closer. "Just between you and me, she told me she really needs help but is too shy to ask anyone." 
Belinda was shy! Wanda never considered the fact that anyone other than she might be bashful. Maybe she could help the little goose. Belinda was, after all, bashful just like her! 
"Well, what do you think?" Oscar asked. 
Wanda ruffled her feathers and prepared to swim over to Belinda. "I think I'll try," she told Oscar. Turning as she swam away, she added, "Thanks." 
The closer she came to the goose, the more she trembled. Upon arriving, she stammered, "D-d-do you need some help learning to swim?" 
Little Belinda, the goose, looked up in surprise at the swan. "Oh yes! I could sure use some help!" she said. "Errr... if you don't mind."    
Well, the two birds became fast friends. Happy she found the courage to offer help to Belinda, Wanda learned a lesson. From that day on, whenever someone made her afraid or bashful, she tried to think of a favor she might do for them. She had discovered a helping hand leads the way to friendship. 

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I wrote the following poem for a workshop. 
It is called a Septet 
and the topic was Angels.

*   *   *


Soft utterances
Words floating above real time
Disconnected and ethereal
Lifting me, welcoming me 
Love words consuming

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Monday, December 12, 2005

Are Burghers Too Principled?

Shucks, Rafe didn't win Survivor!

It happened with Ian last time. He found his integrity, trading the money for friendship with Tom. Bye, bye, million dollars! Now, Rafe decided to be a nice guy and release Danni from their previous pact to take the other to the final two if one of them won immunity at the end. "You don't have to pick me, Danni! That's okay!!" Argh!

Why, why Rafe!!! The burden wasn't upon you to release Danni from the agreement. It was her choice to make on her own. In fact, you made it easier by releasing her from all guilt whatsoever. What a gift!You ended up dumping crap in your own lap when she merely listened to you. Couldn't you be a little more devious, Rafe? If not for you, how 'bout the Burgh? We want our trifecta  of Survivor winners! 

Sheesh, is there something in the water around here?

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A quick poem to suit the snowy day...

White snow princess all aglow
Pirouettes across the skies.
Snowflakes from her head to toe
White snow princess all aglow.
Didn't exist moments ago
Came to view in children's eyes
White snow princess all aglow
Pirouettes across the sky.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Clumsy Goose...
A story to read to the kids...

Little Belinda splashed in the water, flailing her wings while lifting her head as gracefully as she could manage. The sparkling water swished under her wings and droplets flew through the air like liquid diamonds, some landing on her head and running into her eye. Stumbling, she plunked head first into the water. The trail of water  had obscured her vision and knocked her off balance. Floundering her way to the surface, she honked in frustration. The poor little goose would never learn to dance for the Magic Pond Water Ballet. On the opposite bank, Sheba and Cleo, the black swans, were swimming side by side in graceful motion, elegant necks poised. The water rippled behind them as though the pretty waves were the finishing touch to their performance. Perfection! 

Belinda went to the shore and settled by her favorite rock. Sadly, the little goose didn't feel like preening, since she didn't feel pretty. 

"You look unhappy, Belinda!" Oscar, the turtle, had climbed up on the rock. 

"I'll never be good enough for the Magic Pond Water Ballet." 

"Why is that?" 

"I'm so clumsy! I don't have any grace or beauty." The little goose sighed. 

Oscar the turtle was a smart fella, and he crawled dismally into his shell to think about his friend's problem. Shortly, he emerged, with his little head poking out of the heavy shell. "You know, Belinda, just because you can't dance, that doesn't mean you don't have other talents." 

"What? I don't have any talents!" Belinda murmured. 

"Yes, you do! You have the most marvelous 'honk!' I bet you could be in the musical section, along with the little birds." 

Belinda pondered Oscar's remark. Yes, she had an expressive 'honk.' That was true. Smiling at Oscar, she replied, "Maybe you are right!"† 

Rushing to the center of the pond, she cleared her throat to begin. 


The most beautiful sound ever filled Magic Pond! The other birds gathered around Belinda, in awe of her talent. Sheba and Cleo, the black swans, eased into their most elegant number, dancing to Belinda's music. 

"Hurrah for Belinda! Her honk is the prettiest music of all!" the birds and animals all chanted. 

Thus, a clumsy little goose found her real beauty in an unexpected place, by being herself!

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I got this in a letter from someone... 
I don't know whom to credit it to...but it is beautiful....
The words speak for themselves...

*   *   *
The true meaning of Christmas

This is how it happened .. I just finished the household chores for the
night and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front
of the house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise,
Santa himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.

 He placed his finger over his mouth so I would not cry out. "What are
you doing?" I started to ask.  The words choked up in my throat,  and I
saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was
the eager, boisterous soul we all know.

He then answered me with a simple statement.

I was puzzled; what did he mean? He anticipated my question, and with
one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the
tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa said, "Teach the children! Teach them
the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days Christmas has

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it
before the mantle.  "Teach the children that the pure green color of the
stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting
hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of
man's thoughts turning toward heaven."

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR. "Teach
the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago.
God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of
fulfillment of His promise."

He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE. "Teach the
children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of  the
world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who
displaces the darkness."Once again he reached into his bag and removed a
WREATH and placed it on the tree. "Teach the children that the wreath
symbolizes the real nature of  love. Real love never ceases.
Love is one continuous round of affection."

He then pulled from his bag an ornament of himself. "Teach the children
that I, Santa Claus symbolize the generosity and good will we feel
during the month of December."

He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF. "Teach the children that the holly
plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by
our Savior. The red holly represents the blood shed by Him."
Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said, "Teach the children that
God so loved the world that HE gave HIS only-
begotten SON .  Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift."

"Teach the children that the wise men bowed before the Holy BABE and
presented HIM with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
We should always give gifts in the same spirit of the wise men."

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on
the tree. "Teach the children that the candy cane represents the
shepherds' crook. The crook on the staff helps
to bring back strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol
that we are our brother's keeper."

He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL. "Teach the children that it
was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior's birth.
The angels sang 'Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good
will toward men."

Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out
a BELL. "Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the
sound of  the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell
symbolizes guidance and return."

Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that
the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, "Remember, teach the children
the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am
but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship HIM,
our LORD, our GOD."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Having fun in December!...
A little poem about snow...


White lacy sprinkles painting below
Glistening, twirling, angels twinkling
Graceful in slippers dancing on toes
Snowy flake angels hushing, sprinkling

Glistening, twirling, angels twinkling
More slipper steps, joining from afar
Snowy flake angels hushing, sprinkling
Angel chorus, sky white with stars

More slipper steps, joining from afar
Graceful in slippers dancing on toes
Angel chorus, sky white with stars
White lacy sprinkles painting below

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Monday, December 05, 2005

A little poem for the Holidays!...

It's Christmastime!...

It's Christmastime!
Oh! To be six again, wide-eyed and full of fun!
When Christmas was an explosive occasion for one!
The world revolved around me in glitter and stars
Dazzling gifts and goodies, stories from afar.
The morning was spent ripping at paper and bows
Amidst laughter and giggles and plenty of rows,
Fighting over toys, but it was all just in fun.
Quiet came at last, when the presents were done.
Then off to church on a snowy winter morn
To pay tribute to the holy child this day born.
The stable was there, draped in the aroma of pine.
Oh! That smell! So much a part of Christmastime!
The people were all gathered, heads bowed to pray
But the children all twinkled inside on this day.
Home soon to cinnamon and sugar, color and toys,
It's Christmastime! Magic time for girls and for boys.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Little Violin...
An Adventure in Magic Music Forest...        
Another Installment Celebrating December "Be a Kid Month"...

In the Magic Music Forest, there was a wonderful orchestra that played beautiful music. All the animals and birds gathered every Sunday afternoon for concerts. With the sun shining and the birds humming along, there was no better place to be on Sunday. What made the music magical was the fact that the instruments played themselves without any humans anywhere in sight.

Swaying back and forth, the horns lined up in mid air with their amazing toot-toots blaring.  The flutes and other woodwinds jumped and danced while they whistled and peeped their melodies. Sitting in a circle around the dancing flutes, the stringed instruments, with their bows gliding across their strings, made splendid music. The stringed instruments were considered the most important ones, and it was a great honor to be a cello or a violin. For this reason, only the most talented stringed instruments were allowed to play in Magic Music Forest Orchestra.

Many Sundays, Freddie, the littlest violin, listened to the orchestra and wished he was talented enough to play with them.  In truth he was, but alas, he was so shy, his nervousness ruined every audition he ever tried. Little Freddie got so tense around the other violins, he popped a string because he was so afraid.

One Sunday morning, Cassandra the violin, was playing with some birds in a tree. A strong wind startled her, and she fell to the ground and split her beautiful wood case. Charlie, the chief cello, came to see Freddie right away.

"Freddie, you are going to have to replace Cassie today in the concert."

"WHAT?" Freddie asked. His brown wood paled in fear and his strings started to shake. "I can't play.  I've failed every audition."

"You have to, Freddie!  There isn't anyone else!"

"Noooo! I can't!" 

"Yes, you can!" It was the voice of Harry the Harp, who dragged himself over to Freddie and strummed a little greeting on his shiny harp strings. The melody was heavenly and made Freddie feel better.

"Freddie, I know you love to play," the harp continued.  "I hear you alone by the lake every day playing.  Your music is amazing."

"Yes, but I'm so afraid around the other instruments," Freddie replied. He looked down, scratched his bow in the dirt thoughtfully and added, "I'm shy."

"Freddie, you love the music." The harp pulled himself closer to Freddie. "I'm going to tell you a secret. It is the best-kept secret in the Magic Music Forest." He leaned closer and whispered.  "The instruments don't play themselves.  The music does."


"The music plays itself.  All you have to do, Freddie, is surrender to the music and let it play. It will take care of itself, if you just get out of the way."

Freddie studied the old harp for a moment. He had to admit when he played alone by the lake, he became lost in the sounds and the bow moved all by itself.

"Freddie, you have to play today, but now you know the secret." Harry the Harp winked at Freddie.

"Well, I don't know.  I guess I'll try," the little violin said.

At concert time, the stringed instruments lined up, and Freddie took his place. He felt nervous about being with the orchestra. From across the way, Harry the Harp smiled at him and strummed a tune for Freddie.  It was a nice melody that tickled his fancy.  Freddie began to play it while he waited for the concert to begin.  He became so interested in the little song; he forgot to be nervous. When the concert began, Freddie jumped right in, blending with the others. To his surprise, the bow took off with an energy of its own as it moved across his strings and played the lovely music. 

The little violin learned an important lesson that day. He learned if you love doing something, that love is strong enough to push fear out of the way. All you have to do is surrender to your love.

© JO Janoski  All Rights Reserved.