Modern Handmade Child

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Points2Ponder By Alan P. Scaglione

“Take time to reflect—what you caught, what you let go—Lessons Learned in 2011!”

Wow! 2011 is almost over…what a year it’s been!
As this year draws to an end, I feel the need to reflect on the good that has happened this year!
It’s important to take inventory of how the year unfolded, what it produced and how it left you better than when you started 2011!
For example:
At the beginning of 2011, I was still dealing with very present and regular heart attack symptoms.
I have been healed since end of January, with my cardiologist attesting that “it’s like he never had a heart attack—no damage to his heart!”
At the beginning of 2011, I had a broken relationship with an old friend from church.
Through the course of email, we have healed that relationship and “herald and rabboni” are close supportive friends once again!
At the beginning of 2011, I thought that I would not be seeing my aunt Ciria make it to her 80th birthday in July.
She not only made it, we had this BIG surprise party for her, and she told me she “made a lifetime memory today!” – she went to heaven 2 months later!
At the beginning of 2011, I wondered where an old high school friend who literally saved my life was—I felt this heartfelt need to thank her.
Through the wonder of Facebook, my wife found her and her son, my godson, and they are now active members of my “Family” like time never passed!
At the beginning of 2011, I didn’t even know someone was out there looking for me; She asked one thing for her 72nd birthday—find Alan!
Through the wonder of social networking, her children found me and in February, I was the surprise guest of her party and now Mama Mamie is my mom!
At the beginning of 2011, I didn’t know that I would write and finish my first novel “One Unexpected Event!”
Through the unexpected moment of turning a corner in Plant City while strolling my grandson through McCall Park in January, a novel was born!

All these good things happened in 2011, and my life is forever changed because they happened!

But we have to take inventory of the bad also…so we can learn from it…remember it’s a lesson, not a mistake, if you learn from it!

At the beginning of 2011, I had no idea that I would get a call on 1.1.11 that would shake my world to its core and challenge my faith and family.
Through dealing with the aftermath of this revelation, it has strengthened my faith and weakened my family.

I know that all things happen for a reason—but some things, you just have to shake your head and go “Really? I don’t get this! Are you sure?”

POINTS2PONDER  Why do so many people just meander year after year, never taking inventory of the lessons learned in a single year so they can grow from the
Experiences, add the value to their lives and attempt to apply the knowledge to produce a better result in the upcoming year? Why not take stock of your year?

So friend…here’s your homework—Take stock of your 2011—Take an inventory of the good and the bad—Reflect on what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown!
It’s important to know what this year taught you, brought you…before you go into next year!

So for this moment, don’t look to next year, reflect on this year…and Learn the Lesson it was trying to teach you!

I call it “Hurdle 18!”
Hurdle 18, you might ask?
Yep…I think life is a relay race, full of hurdles along the way, each one taking what you learned in the last one and…increasing the difficulty in the next one.
You fail hurdle 18—some people just give up, sit on the sideline and watch others run the race.
When you’re ready to run…
Hurdle 18 is waiting for you!
Gotta get through it BEFORE you get to 19!
Can’t finish the race til you go through all the hurdles!

So…. Reflect!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I'm Just Sayin by Alan P. Scaglione - Christmas Edition

 "Three Generations of Scaglione Men at Christmas 2011!"
“I’m Just Sayin’”

by Alan P. Scaglione

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:8-14

It’s Christmas around the world—angels still declare “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth Peace, good will toward men!

And it’s the one day of the year when we all stop and recognize the greatest gift given to man was not sent through a Palace but

Instead…was delivered in a stable and placed in a manger—God’s gift to His people to save them from their sin!

Isn’t it just like a loving Father to know exactly what His children need…and provide it?

And today, the world stops, and we pause and give Praise for such a wonderful gift—

We don’t deserve it, we can’t earn it, but…we can’t live without it!!! The greatest gift given to mankind-- His name is JESUS!

I have only seen this once, but someday, I promise, when I retire and start working with wood(a dream of mine)

I will build a nativity scene for my front yard that will have all the usual members, but no 3 wisemen(they didn’t show up for 2 years!)

But…at the foot of the manger, it will have Santa, on bended knee, hat in his hand, gazing at the gift he could not give, and it will say:

Even Santa knows….Jesus is the Reason for the Season!”

It’s not about the presents the children are all opening this morning, but it is about the presence we feel in our hearts knowing that

We have accepted the gift of God, His Son/Our Savior, and that is the true meaning of Christmas!

So, as you gather today, sharing your Christmas meal, take time to reflect on this:

On this night, so long ago

A baby born to Mary

Of all those around, only she would know

The burden her boy would carry

For all of us…

Sitting here…

Saved by her sweet Son

He was sent to earth

To give a gift

That could never be outdone

Yes—It’s the Gift He Gave, The Gift He brought from the Father—He was born to die, to give the gift of Life so willingly..

It’s that Gift He gave to you and me!

And if…you are reading this today, and you have never accepted the Gift He Gave…wouldn’t that make this your BEST Christmas ever?

Just Accept His Gift, say Thank You—we can’t earn it or can’t work it off someway—

all we can say…”Thank you, Lord for giving your life so I could be saved!”

Hey….wise men still seek Him…

You know what makes them wise?

That they know…HE is the one to seek!

Have a very Merry Christmas, from our house to yours!

Until Next Time

I’m Just Sayin’…

Brother “A”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Points2Ponder by Alan P. Scaglione

                                          "What a Blessing! My Sister...My Friend!"                                                             Points2Ponder

Everybody’s got family, right?

You don’t have to like ‘em, but you do have to love ‘em!

And don’t let anybody talk about them…Family defends family!

At least, that’s how I was taught and how I have lived.

There was a time when families, cousins, uncles, aunts…all spent time with each other—family was also friends.

Don’t see too much of that anymore.

I am blessed to have a lifelong friend who is also family—she has known me since I was 11 years old, and she has been a sister, a sister-in-law…a friend.

Kay is my brother Paul’s wife, but she is also a friend to me.

The two of them are our best friends.

We choose to spend time together.

We enjoy the time we spend and look forward to sharing our stories of our children’s exploits and successes.

We are family…but we are also friends.

POINTS2PONDER Why do some families not build relationships that include friendships and time spent sharing life and making memories? Why is it so foreign to some people that your family can also be your friend?

Kay has been a supporter and a counselor; she’s been a sister and partner in crime. She has helped me through a lot of rough times in my life, both as a sister and as a friend. She is someone that I know that I can count on to pray for my family, protect my good character and encourage me when times get tough.

And she gets along famously with my wife—the four of us are the Mertzes and the Ricardos, taking our day trips around Florida and our annual Christmas Light Tour.

We just did that this past Saturday Night!

We have 4 different places that we go to each year—just the four of us. Our kids think we are old-fogies, driving around just to see Christmas lights!

If we are…we are the youngest old-fogies I’ve ever met!

You have to see family at holidays and birthdays; weddings and funerals. You always say “we should spend more time together!” But, you never do.

And that’s the sad truth to many families. They just don’t enjoy spending time with family.

Not like they enjoy their friends.

So you have to know how fortunate I feel to have family that is also friends.

We laugh together, we cry together; we even pray together, like in the middle of Perkins Restaurant on Saturday night. Praying for our children is a priority!

I’ve had people comment to me how rare it is that brothers are also friends and in-laws get along.

I tell them that “they are the ones I know we can depend on, count on and look forward to sharing our life with.”

I don’t take their friendship for granted. I honor it with time, detail, concern and priority.

Isn’t that how you should honor a valued friendship?

How much more when those friends are also your family?

If you are one of those fortunate family members who also consider your family your friend, let them know how much you appreciate your unique, valuable relationship.

Believe me, I have been to the funeral with family who haven’t spoken in years, since the last wedding or funeral, and they all mourn the fact that they don’t see each other.

But, they all scurry to their car to get back to their lives, and their friends, because “that may be their family, but they certainly are NOT their friends!”

So, I know just how blessed my wife and I are to have my brother and sister-in-law also be our closest and dearest friends.

We salute them and honor them in our lives.

I don’t need a certain number of friends, just some friends I can be certain of.

And when I can be certain of my friends who are family—I am truly blessed.

How about you?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I'm Just Sayin' By Alan P. Scaglione

                                               Celebrate the Love in Your Life

On the 6th day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me

The BEST wife that there could ever be!

Today is my wedding anniversary—12 years ago today,

God blessed me by giving me the love of my life!

I have often told her…”God gave you to me…just to show me how much He cares!”

I am blessed beyond measure— I really do NOT deserve her, but I wake up each day trying to earn her!

That’s where Bella always says, “yes, and keep trying!”

We always laugh.

You see…I have learned-- all you need to know “what good is”…is to have had bad.

And I can say that my wife is a gift from God to me.

In the last twelve years, there’s never been a day that I don’t wonder, “what does she see in me?”

And when I ask, and yes, I still do ask…she says, “you are the love of my life—I see the man God gave me!”

And I am sure…there are days when she says, “Lord, that man you gave me…give me strength!”

Believe me, my wife is racking up treasures in Heaven for putting up with me and my life that she inherited.

Did I mention that she is as quiet and demurred as I am loud and extraverted?

Yeh—I may have failed to mention it.

And I have to tell you, 12 years ago, I really didn’t see the point of “quiet time”; why not just keep talking?

12 years later, I have come to appreciate and even treasure the “quiet times” when words are not necessary and movement distracts.

I think God sent her to me just to teach me to sit, rest, relax and enjoy the Selah moments of life!

Selah is a word that you may see a lot in the book of Psalms. It means “Pause!”

And I now know the peace that comes with the joy of just pausing and reflecting on God’s goodness.

And it has made me a better person, a better man, a better friend, a better father and… a better husband.

She has taught me a lot—which is surprising only to me, because…I thought I was sent to her to improve her life!

See? God knows exactly what He’s doing!

For those of you who have been married for a while, you know… marriage takes effort, but I don’t believe it should be work.

I still can’t wait to see her each night and look forward to sharing my successes first with her.

She calms me and excites me; She supports me and protects me; She leans on me and holds me up; She defends me and applauds me.

And that’s why I know how Christ must love the Church because the scripture states that a man should love his wife like Christ loved the church.

He loved the church enough to lay down His life to save theirs; to want the best for them even if it means great sacrifice for Him!(Ephesians5:25-29)

I know how much I want to protect and give the best of myself to my wife, so I can only imagine how much more Jesus loves us!

Really hits home when you realize that God’s intention is for us to love and be loved…just like He loves us!

So today, as I celebrate this day with my lovely bride, why not take a moment to reach out to your gift from God called your spouse?

It’s a week before Christmas— why not plan a night to just go see the lights? Maybe walk down through the neighborhood?

Take the time to let them know…

You still thank God for giving them to you…and you still don’t know what they see in you!

And then… rest, relax, reflect:

Take Time to Selah!

Until Next Time

I’m Just Sayin’…

Brother “A”

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Points2Ponder by Alan P. Scaglione

"Who Says Christmas is Just for Kids?"


Anybody know what time it is?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

And… It’s the beginning of a special tradition my wife and I share:

The Twelve Days of Christmas…which started December 13th!

Why should that matter to anyone?

Because…it’s my first day of twelve days of presents…

I know, you’re probably thinking, “he’s a grown man! He shouldn’t be thinking about getting presents!”

And you would be right!

I am grown and…I shouldn’t be thinking of getting a present each day, celebrating the climactic countdown to the most wonderful day of the year!

Did I ever mention that my wife says that we have six kids and 5 grandkids and yet…

She says that I am the BIGGEST KID SHE HAS!

And I have to admit, after careful consideration of the evidence presented…

I AM!!!

We have been celebrating Twelve Days of Christmas since we started dating.

The kids are sooo jealous!

My son said, “Pops, why is it that you get twelve days of presents AND Christmas Day! And we just get Christmas?”

I pondered his point, searching for a philosophic, esoteric, universal, transcending explanation to this query.

Then I said, “Guess I lucked out!”

He was not happy—and yet, I loved every minute of it!

POINTS2PONDER Why do we allow “life” to rob us of the joy of Christmas? Why can’t we still be a “kid” when it comes to celebrating Christmas?

Here’s how it goes:

Every year, we exchange tokens of love and appreciation. You call them presents; I call them “Just Because” gifts.

Just Because…I love you; Just Because…I appreciate you; Just Because…I wanted to!

And the presents aren’t expensive; one year, we made it a Dollar Store Christmas.

I told her that I promised her the world when she married me—I gave her a blow up globe!

See? It can be funny and yet heartfelt.

And each day has a card celebrating the unique moment that we are sharing .

Each year has a theme.

For example, some themes of years past have been: Goals, Dreams, Bucket List, Attitude of Gratitude, and Reasons why I love you.

You get the picture—it really is a time of year when we pause to appreciate our relationship, the gift God gave each of us when He gave us to each other!

This year’s theme…Top 12 Favorite Memories We’ve Made!

Each day, we wake up with anticipation. Not just of the present given but of the words expressed and shared.

And we start our day excited about what we’ve received and revealed…and a smile and a memory to carry us through the day!

And that’s why we do it!


Why not start your own tradition?

Start your own Twelve Days of Christmas.

Share your own memories or reasons why you love your spouse; “Just Because” presents that express your affection.

Remember…it’s the sharing of thoughts and revealing of your love to one another that is the real reason you may want to do this.

And you’re right—you don’t have to do this to share and reveal with your spouse.

But I ask you?

When’s the last time you took twelve days to tell your spouse something specific that you love or appreciate or admire about them?

When’s the last time you shared twelve days of dreams or goals or things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”?

We all say…”they know how I feel-they don’t need me to say it or express it.”

But…who doesn’t like to be reminded every once in a while?

So…the reward is…taking the hustle and the bustle that this time of year can consume us with…and stopping for a moment each morning…

Starting your day the right way!

And besides…

I ask you…who doesn’t love opening a present when you wake up…twelve days in a row!

I know this BIG KID sure does!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm Just Sayin by Alan P. Scaglione

"Forever Grateful!"

                                          I’m Just Sayin’”
                                                                 by Alan P. Scaglione
Sometimes, one person really can make a difference in someone’s life.
And the effects of one event can change the course of your future.
All because, one person touched your life… and you are forever different.

I have an anniversary on December 12th—it’s the day someone stepped in and changed my life.
I will forever know… one person really can make a difference…and I benefited from it.
And I celebrate each year that someone cared enough to spring to action to get involved and…
Step in and do something to affect change in my life.
And I am forever grateful!

We ask ourselves so often…can one person really make a difference? Does my action affect change? Will anything I do matter?
And the answer is a resounding YES!!

In my situation, a high school friend got involved when most would not…and she changed the course of my life.
She cared enough to do something…to not just shrug it off and say “it’s not my place to get involved—I’m only a school friend. Let his family handle it!”

If she had thought that way…I wouldn’t be writing this column today. One person, one friend… made a difference in my life.

Maybe you are struggling with the question “should I get involved? Is it my place? Maybe someone else will help.”
It may be a family in need at the holidays.
It may be a work friend who is alone and needs help.
It may be a stranger you pass on the way while you are shopping for Christmas.

And maybe, just maybe…you are the someone who should help!
Sometimes…there isn’t time, there isn’t opportunity…for someone ELSE to help…
Sometimes, you are the dingy God sends to rescue someone.
Anyone remember that story?
Person is drowning and prays for God to save him.
A dingy shows up, and the guy says “NO, I am waiting for God to save me.”
He knew how God was going to save him, and it was NOT with a dingy!
The guy drowns.
He opens his eyes at the pearly gates and sees Jesus and says, “Why didn’t you save me?”
Jesus said, “I sent a dingy!”

Sometimes, the lifeline God sends is disguised as a dingy—but it still rescues!
Sometimes, you are the “dingy” God chooses to use to send out a lifeline to someone in need.

I am forever thankful my “dingy” rescued me exactly when I needed her help most!

Love is a Verb!

You may be surprised what God will use to send a lifeline.
But in the end, all that matters is…you don’t drown!

Don’t let pride prevent you from being God’s dingy OR from accepting help!

At this time of year…many people are celebrating with their family, trees lit up for Christmas, presents wrapped for everyone.
It can be the most wonderful time of the year.
But…did you know?
It’s also the time of year with the highest suicide rate?
There are a lot of lonely people who don’t have “the family, the tree or the presents”…
 All they want to know is “does somebody out there care about me?”

If God can send His Son, the best He had to offer…
And yet disguise Him as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger…(Luke 2:1-7)
Kind of like sending a lifeline in a dingy…but still…sent to save a life

Maybe God wants to use you RIGHT NOW to help someone who may need a lifeline.
-       Donate presents or food!
-       Give to the poor!
-       Invite someone with no family to share the holidays with your family!

Be that SOMEONE who saves a life this Holiday Season!
You just never know…
Someday… someone may be celebrating December 12th as the day YOU made a difference in THEIR life!

Until Next Time
I’m Just Sayin’…
Brother “A”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Points2Ponder By Alan P. Scaglione

“ToTreeOrNotToTree? An EmptyNester’s Guide Thru The Holidays!


Empty Nesters Dilemma: To Tree or NOT2TREE? That is the question!
Any empty nesters out there looking at a 12 inch fake tree or better yet…a ceramic tree?
Maybe you decided to just hang a string of clear lights on your corner ficus tree—I can see it now!
Those life changing decisions we never thought we would have to make…
What to do with Christmas AFTER the kids are gone?
I have talked to a few empty nesters out there. Here is my polling of a few:
-         “We aren’t putting up a tree. No one comes over anyway. We will just go to the kids’ houses and celebrate there!”
-         “We pulled out our artificial 12 inch table tree. That’s all we need. It’s the same thing, right?”
-         “We have my mother’s old ceramic table Christmas tree with lights inserted in the branches of the tree—they even light up!”
You get the picture—most of the empty nesters have decided to forego the age old ritual of the Christmas Tree… in exchange for…what?
We all have the memories of Christmases past.
Our family has always had a live tree. There’s a reason for that.
When I was young, we were so poor that we had the “12 inch, lights already in the branches, sorry excuse for a Christmas Tree” tree.
Now I realize-- it’s all we could afford. My parents would literally count their spare change to see how the week would unfold.
We had a home, we had food, they had jobs… didn’t have much else…oh yeah, two older brothers who always confiscated my presents! LOL!
I was about 10 years old when someone must have bought a new Christmas tree because…they were throwing out the remnants of their old tree!
I had my first experience with dumpster diving that day…and I didn’t care—I was getting me a Christmas tree to put up.
Did I mention that it was silver! Yep! Remember the silver ones with the rotator light projection? Well…apparently, they kept that part.
This was only the pole and branches—and only 23 of those! There were 39 holes. I remember counting the holes and then counting the branches and wondering?
“Why didn’t they throw out all the branches? What am I gonna do with the remaining 16 holes?”
Oh the things a 10 year old had to figure out for himself!
Did I mention that they threw out a string of c9 outside lights with the tree! They were multi-colored!
You guessed it—on they went!
Silver tree, 23 branches, 13 exposed open holes, and a string of c9 colored lights!
And that, my friends…was my Christmas tree for the rest of my youth!
I used to make myself one promise each year when I put the tree up. I would always say, ”When I grow up, I’m gonna always have a live tree!”
And I can tell you….we always did! Every year! No matter how many times the tree fell in the middle of the night(always seemed to happen at our house!)
All because a 10 year old had to learn to make do with a thrown out tree…to celebrate Christmas!

 POINTS2PONDER  How much of our Christmas traditions are rooted in a childhood experience or memory? Why does it shape our holiday traditions?

Since we became “empty nesters”, we have tried the “mini-me tree”, the “artificial tree” and last year…the “not gonna put up a tree” year!
And each year, I remembered the promise I made to that little 10 year old boy, and I tried to reason away not keeping that promise.
But… it never worked. Always felt like I let him down, in some way…even though, our kids now have their own homes and are making their “own” traditions.

Still…what does it cost to keep a promise to a 10 year old?
Apparently, $29.95 plus tax!
YEP—we got a LIVE one!
And I am sure…it’s gonna fall at least once this season!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

“What’s the best gift we can give our kids this year?”


 “I’m Just Sayin
by Alan P. Scaglione

Everyone loves getting gifts. It’s that time of year when…you give and receive gifts.
Whether it’s the 8 days of Hanukkah, the 12 days of Christmas or…Christmas morning!
We love to see the look on their face when they open that present…you bought especially for them!
Watching your kids open their presents Christmas morning, after a month of anticipation and a night of no sleep-
While they wait anxiously for Christmas to come.
And then… it happens! The presentation of gifts.
This age old custom was started when the Three Wise Men came to see the Savior…and brought gold, frankincense and myrrh!
We’ve come along way from exchanging spices to today’s presents.
But in the spirit of Three Wise Men, it’s all about celebrating…the gift of the Magi!
We exchange gifts to celebrate the greatest gift given to man…a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
But thank God…He didn’t stay in that manger…if fact, when the Three Wise Men met Jesus, he was in a house.
Follow the gift God gave…
From the manger to the house to the temple, to the streets, to the courts, to the cross…to the tomb…and to the Right Hand of the Father!
All of it because…God gave His gift of forgiveness…to see how elated we would be…to receive the gift of grace…unmerited favor!
We cannot earn what God gave, but we can all receive it into our hearts… and then, the real celebration begins!
Years ago, I wrote a song called “The Gift”…here is the chorus:
The gift He gave
The gift He brought
From His Father
Looking down on each of us
His gift was wrapped
In swaddling clothes
To someday hang on top a tree
He was born to die
To give the gift of life
So willingly….
He gave His gift
To you and me.
The words…He was born to die, to give the gift of life…so willingly…
That’s the gift He gave….what will you give?
I had a “text talk” with my daughter Amanda today. You have to know, she will text you for 30 minutes, over 30 texts, and never pick up the phone.
She is very busy as a kindergarten teacher, a loving wife, an attentive mother…but she still makes time for her Papa…and I appreciate the time spent.
We were “talking” about giving the greatest gift at Christmas.
She said we should give the gift of forgiveness—it’s the only gift that benefits you more in giving than receiving, and it mirrors the gift God gave!
We talked about why forgiveness seems to be easier to give to friends than family.
She said it was because we expect more from family than they are capable of providing…we should cut each other a break.
I asked her just how many times can we continue to forgive our family?
My daughter texted back ”I think He said…70 times 7!”
I kind of chuckled…guess this teacher was now her student.
She’s right…we need to cut each other a break…stop expecting more from family than they are capable of providing.
And the Word reminds us in Matthew 18:21-35
“Why should your Father forgive - if you don’t forgive?”
Would we want His gift withheld from us because we withhold from others?
If God can give His gift--you remember…
“He was born to die, to give the gift of life…so willingly…”
How can we hold onto grudges, withhold forgiveness, refuse to offer the gift that gives as good as it gets?
Wouldn’t your family trade in all the presents under their tree…
For your presence around their tree?
Even as the Wise Men entered the house, with gifts for the Messiah…
Be wise-- when you enter your house--give the gift that He gave first..
Forgiveness is a gift best shared with Family!
Until Next Time
I’m Just Sayin’…
Brother “A”