|Posted by birgitpratcher on December 11, 2007 at 7:59 PM||comments (0)|
As you might already know, Christmas is our favorite Holiday and we truly enjoy the season. As you might also know, one of us comes from Germany (that would be Birgit) and grew up enjoying Christmas in German Tradition.
One should think that Christmas is the same everywhere, but the traditions are a little different between Germany and the United States.
When I grew up, you very seldom would find a window that is decorated with lights. Only the stores had those kinds of windows.
In Germany we did not put up and decorate a tree until Christmas Eve. That was the day when my father would bring the Christmas tree from the garage, or the basement, where it had been waiting to be the star of the occasion for at least a week. During the waiting period I was not allowed to enter either the garage or the basement.
On Christmas Eve, in the morning, my father would gather boxes with lights and ornaments and then shut the living room door behind him. From that moment on I was not allowed in the living room until it was time for the presents!
Here let me explain to you that in Germany houses usually have a living room that has a door, which can be shut and locked, as does the kitchen. Small hallways lead all through the house, along the doors of the rooms.
Before Christmas Eve we enjoy the advents time, the last four Sundays before Christmas. On the table, usually the kitchen or dining table, we have a decorated wreath with four candles on it. The morning the first candle is lit is always very exciting, you just know that now it will not be much longer until Christmas. Each Sunday another candle will be lit in addition to the first one and when, finally, the fourth candle joins the light, you are just thrilled to the brim with anticipation.
In the meantime, on the first of December you get to open the first of 24 doors on your Advents Calendar. Behind each door you either find a picture with a Christmas motive or a piece of chocolate, shaped as a Santa boot, a toy or a star. The last and final door on the calendar, the door with the number 24, is the biggest and has the best surprise.
By time our kids were coming up of course those calendars had advanced and you could find an actual toy behind each door.
On the night of the 6th of December or the morning of the 7th of December, probably depending on how good the kids are and how busy he is, Santa Claus, or as we call him, Nikolaus, will come and bring small presents, fruits, nuts and cookies to the children, if they were good.
If the children were bad, well, then they might be scolded or even risk a whipping with his rod of brushwood. Santa Claus is always accompanied by his loyal servant Ruprecht.
Now, Santa Claus can either stuff his gifts into the boots of the children, or, if the child is very lucky, he can show up in person, with his huge book, where he has handwritten notes reminding him about the little good and bad things the child has experienced during the year.
All during the four weeks of Christmas, little gifts can pop up for children. My favorite always was the big oven in my Grandma's house. It was in my aunties living room and it probably could have heated up the entire house, but it was not used any more. However, it had a little opening and when I peeked into it, I often found little presents awaiting me. My all times favorites were books, little pixie books, adventure books, historical books, oh it was a wonderful time! Books all over, all for me! (Yes, I was a little bookworm, all my life)
Of course Christmas time was the time to tell stories, sing lots of songs and read poetry. I was very blessed to have a wonderful aunt and two really loving grandmothers along with great parents, who never grew tired of reading to me, telling me stories and singing with me. Of course, hearing a story just once would never do, I had to hear it over and over again. (How did they ever survive!) And then there are the cookies! Tons of cookies! At least one week straight we were making cookies, two or three different kinds each day, until we had huge trunks filled with cookies, which were under the strict lock and key control of my mother. Every day a small tray was filled with the varieties of cookies and we would nibble on the sweet delights while we sipped hot cocoa.
I know, right now you are wondering: If Santa Claus is already coming so early in December, what are those poor German people doing for Christmas?
Oh, don't worry, we are just getting started!
First, let me talk about the Christmas markets! Just about every town has its very own little Christmas market with stands and rides. Most famous are the ones in Frankfurt, Aachen and Nuernberg. Those are wonderful places to mingle, shop and eat and, most of all, drink Gluehwein. Gluehwein is red, spiced wine, heated up to warm and comfort on those cold winter days. (I really don't like it, but most people do)
Besides all the stories, poetry, the singing and believing in Christmas magic there is the wonderful writing of Christmas-wish-lists. After we sit down and write a wish list (mine always was very, very long and usually started with the wish for a dog and a pony, I already had cats and birds and tiny fury critters) it continued with books and albums of stories. Yes, back then you could put an album on your turntable and listen to a story, isn't that great? It actually was even better than TV, because you did not have to look at a screen and had your hands and your eyes free to do other things, like drawings! (Mine never were any good, but I loved doing it) and Christmas decorations. I was very busy in December, creating decorations for the tree and any spot in the house where you could hang or stand up anything Christmassy.
Letters with the wish-list were put outside the window on the windowsill at night. In the morning the letter would be gone, to the office of the Christkind!
And there we are, approaching Christmas Eve! As you remember, Santa Claus or Nikolaus, is coming on 6th December, which means his job is done for the year, but someone has to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve! That is the job of the Christkind, or Christ Child, which actually is a golden angel and the right hand of little Jesus.
There are many helpers, hundreds of chubby angels, helping getting presents, wrapping them, sorting them and helping to deliver.
The living room, of course, will remain locked, until the time has come, on Christmas Eve, to enter and celebrate. The time is passed with more stories about Christmas, Jesus and miracles, the radio will be playing constantly, filling the house with Christmas songs or stories. Those are the best radio days ever!
Usually a little bell will ring, to let us know that the Christkind and the angels were there and have delivered the presents.
(You would not believe how often I have peeked through the keyhole, yes, we use skeleton keys for our doors in Germany, and was sure that I had caught a glimpse of the Christkind or one of the angels! I could see the beautiful bright light that is surrounding the Christkind and the angels, I think that I even could see the golden wings!)
After the little bell has done what is supposed to do, alarm the family that someone has been in the securely locked living room, we all go in and take a deep breath.
The tree will be so beautiful, decorated so carefully with lots of tinsel and lights and shiny ornaments and a few little pieces of Christmas decoration, created by yours truly, it does not only brighten the room, it brightens the entire house and everyone's heart.
Of course we do not run toward the tree to claim our presents, instead the entire family will stand there, in front of tree and presents and sing Christmas songs. Often one of my parents or my brother would play along on the piano. When I was older I finally had the honors to do the music playing. (Another thing that I was not very good at and more reason to believe in miracles, because they never hurt me for my music-messes).
After we are done singing our favorite songs, we get to unpack our presents. Usually it is still early, celebrating often starts between 4 and 6 pm, so we grab our coats and go to grandma's house. There we will repeat the procedure, sans piano (she only had a violin, which my auntie played so beautiful, it could fill your eyes with tears and get your heart to ache).
On Christmas Eve each present is unwrapped and honored. Christmas day, which in Germany we have two of them, the 25th and the 26th of December, we spend visiting friends and family, or having them over for Christmas dinner.
The visiting, eating, gift-giving and celebrating can last a full week, all the way to new-years eve, where the next celebration will start, but that of course if a different tradition, still involving lots of food but fewer presents.
Last, but not least, in Germany you can say "Happy Holidays" without ever offending anyone. It is not a religious expression, instead you combine the two Holidays of Christmas and New Years. Other than mentioning each day separate, you combine the two (three if you count the German 2nd Christmas Holiday, the 26th of December) Holidays and wish Happy Holidays!
I hope that you enjoyed the little trip to Germany for Christmas celebrations!
Have a merry Christmas, fill your hearts with love and joy and your stockings with our books! (You find them at Amazon!)
Love, light, peace and many blessings,
Birgit and Roger
Visit us at www.wonderfulstories.net
|Posted by birgitpratcher on November 11, 2007 at 10:06 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by birgitpratcher on October 22, 2007 at 9:44 PM||comments (0)|
The Trouble with R&B
As you are aware, we use the name R&B Pratcher for most of our postings and writings. R stands for Roger and B stands for Birgit. Actually quite simple and easy to spot. You see two faces and two initials, figures it?s the name of Two people.
If there is still some doubt, no big deal, one can go and read our profile or have a look at our book covers?. Says right there that we are two, husband and wife and writers.
Sadly, however, most people do not see anything, but R&B, so we must be dealing with music!
No, no, no. Trust me, you don?t even Want us to do anything with music, really. Neither one of us has any talent, or voice for that matter. Of course we both have a voice, hence we write, but we can?t sing (no, not even a little bit, not even a lullaby or Happy Birthday).
The only dealings we do have with music is our CD players and, sometimes, writing lyrics that could be used in a song. Still, more than not, we are approached by people in the music industry, offering to produce our sound or to beg us to produce their sound.
Don?t you sometimes wish people would actually read the words you write? Besides the words in stories and articles, I mean. Those they read (thankfully) I?ll admit. Just the little things that we say about ourselves, somehow they are always overlooked, sigh.
Maybe we should have our names changed? Mickey and Minnie, Pinky and Brain? (we can?t really figure that one out though)
Those are the thoughts of the moment,
Good night, sweet dreams, till next time,
R. (Roger) & B. (Birgit)
|Posted by birgitpratcher on October 20, 2007 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
Win a copy of June Bear Adventures-The Missing Pies on KWAV.biz radio with Babbling Brooke and her little buddy Bruce!
Listen in to KWAV.biz radio and enter for a chance to win a copy of our magical book June Bear Adventures-The Missing Pies!
Lovely singer and Radio-Host Brooke will read excerpts from this magical book and give her audience a chance to win a copy.
Visit Brooke on MySpace!
Her own words on the book, after reading it:
I LOVE YOUR JUNE BEAR BOOK!!!!!! I had the most wonderful time reading your book during my long plane ride! I feel like I have been on a delightful adventure!! I am looking forward to sharing your book with my KWAV listeners . . . I am thinking about spreading the contest over 3 weeks . . . just to add more time to have fun!! I shall thoroughly enjoy sharing your book with others . . . it's a treat for me to be able to share something I believe in so much!! I truly think your book would make an enchanting movie!! I can envision magical sequels / episodes to come!! I look forward to when I can read another June Bear adventure book of yours!!!
Comment by Brooke Singer and Radiohost on KWAV.biz, California
Good Luck to all!
For signed copies, in case you are not a winner, please contact us right here with a short message.
|Posted by birgitpratcher on September 11, 2007 at 11:27 AM||comments (0)|
9/11 We Remember
Current mood: sad
To a Special Friend
She was full of life, very intelligent and wise
A faithful mom to her family and son
Even though he lived overseas she would come
And visit her son every year and stay and pray
Thank the lord for giving us this moment together
And live another day?
She lived in New York
A truth seeker she embarked
Not feeling well on this special day
Her bossed called and she went in to
Work anyway, she was supposed to be off
When she made it to the Twin Towers she
Was on the phone talking with her daughter
On the 27th floor, not realizing to see us again
Would be no more, it sounded like thunder
When the first plane hit
Many lives were affected, and many more wit
The saddest part of all was many lives lost,
To a special son,
He had just lost his mom
Our prayers go out for all the victims, their families and friends.
By Roger and Birgit Pratcher
Copyright ? March 2006
|Posted by birgitpratcher on August 17, 2007 at 9:49 PM||comments (0)|
Book Review: Write to Murder
Fiction, Lulu publishing
298 pages, paperback $15.95, e-book $7.95
Write to Murder
Write To Murder is the title of Jerry (Pat) Bolton's newest fiction/mystery/crime novel, available at Lulu.com. Here are our thoughts.
The Bayou Bards, a fledgling writers? group in the South Louisiana town of Sans Souci has a killer in its midst.
When Mary Lamb, writer of children?s books, is murdered, Detective Lee Fontaine is called from the graveyard of deskwork.
While happy to be back solving crimes, Lee finds that he has been saddled with a new partner, Farla Charlet. Lee believes that she has been assigned to him as a watchdog, ready and willing to report anything and everything he does or does not do.
The Bayou Bards consist of a colorful palette of people, including Numa Richards, who is filled with hate and rage over a literary incident during his youth, Jolene, a prostitute who takes pride in herself and her work, Vonzell St. Germaine, a rather radical writer and Hope Springs with her son Adam, who is supposed to be the greatest writer of the century in the near future, according to Hope Springs and her plans.
Write to Murder will open the world of each character to you. In a fresh and daring way Jerry Bolton brings each one of the characters into your life, lets you feel and understand their thoughts and emotions, their hopes and fears. He awakes your compassion for each and every single character coming into play during this mystery. With great skill and attention to detail the plot unfolds, while it draws you into the depth of murder, revenge and, maybe, insanity.
Occasionally you will hold your breath and then, suddenly, there will be a scene to make you smile, followed by another to bring tears close.
A true page-turner, leaving you anxious for the next Jerry Bolton novel once you?ve finished Write to Murder.
Personally we would just love to read more novels with the characters of Lee Fontaine and Farla Charlet. Maybe there could be a sequence?
? R&B Pratcher 2007
|Posted by birgitpratcher on July 28, 2007 at 11:24 AM||comments (0)|
There is a new and cool place on the net to hang out, make friends, get advise and give advise for fans, readers and writers of crime fiction:
Thanks Harry Shannon for sharing this link with us and our friends!
Please remember to get your copy of our new release:
The Conspiracy - The Black Sheep Squadron Strikes Back
For your children we recommend our new children's fantasy novel, a magical adventure that will keep every child spell bound!
June Bear Adventures - The Missing Pies
Our newest release:
June Bear Adventures - The Missing Pies
|Posted by birgitpratcher on July 2, 2007 at 11:55 PM||comments (0)|
For the Mystery Lovers!
Current mood: excited
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers
For all those who enjoy a good mystery/suspense, our novel The Conspiracy - The Black Sheep Squadron Strikes Back will be released on July 7, 2007!
For sample chapters click here: The Conspiracy
In the meantime, please go ahead and grab your copy of June Bear Adventures!
Our newest release:
June Bear Adventures - The Missing Pies a children's fantasy novel, a magical adventure!
Love and Peace, R&B
|Posted by birgitpratcher on July 17, 2006 at 12:32 PM||comments (1)|
If I could sing, I?d sing you a song
About the love for which I strong for you
If I could write, I?d write you a book,
Filled with the sweetest poetry you ever would read
If I could run, I?d run you a marathon
From beginning to end, by myself all alone
If I could climb, I?d climb to the mountaintop
And bring you back edelweiss to keep
The one we look at each night
If I could swim, I?d cross the ocean and the sea
And then I?d come back to thee, hoping you missed me
If I could fly, I?d fly into the sky past the sun
And bring you a star
If I could die in your place, I?d die for you
So you would see that my love is true.
With this you know and I hope you can tell that a love
Like this can not be missed?
By Birgit and Roger Pratcher
Authors on Authorsden
Copyright ? July 2006
|Posted by birgitpratcher on July 14, 2006 at 10:53 AM||comments (1)|
This was written for a very special friend, one of the kindest and most beautiful people you will find!
Come and Take My Hand
Come and take my hand,
I?ll walk with you
All the way to the end
And no matter what you do,
I will be there to help and guide
Don?t hold back, swallow the pride
And lean on me
I?ll help you to struggle free
Come and take my hand
I?ll sit with you
And wait until we mend
What is broke in two
I won?t let you down
I?ll even wear your thorny crown
I won?t turn away
I?m here to stay
Come and take my hand
I?ll lay with you
Don?t think I can?t
I?ll get you through
All the pain and all the wars
I?ll paint on this sky for you new stars
You will never be alone with me
I?ll be by your side with utmost glee.
Come and take my hand
I?ll run with you
Through fields of flowers
And you will feel my powers
To cleanse and purify
Just hold still, don?t cry
You?ll be reborn, fresh and strong
It will last, an eternity long
By Birgit and Roger Pratcher
? July 2006