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My family followed “The Star”

A star guided the wise men to Jesus a very long time ago and Sunday “The Star” guided us to the movie theater to watch another version of Jesus’ birth. It was a wonderful and well-made animated movie that appealed to Crawford and the adults that brought him there.
The whole movie is told from the animals’ point-of-view with Bo the donkey taking center stage. Though we all know the basic premise of Jesus’ birth and the First Christmas, the rest of this column will contain spoilers.
Among the other animals were birds, camels, mice, sheep, a cow, a horse and some dogs. These animals brought a humorous and light atmosphere to the telling but the integrity of the story stayed intact.
The beautiful ribbon that flowed through the story was one that I hadn’t really expected. The ribbon that swirled throughout the story was forgiveness and acceptance. Forgiveness and acceptance is the bedrock of why Jesus was born to Earth. He grew to be a man and made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
Children probably won’t read all that into this movie but I am sure they will pick up on how different characters were forgiven and changed for the better.
First, Joseph accepts the large load of information that Mary and the angel told him. He slowly learns that this task isn’t above him but he was doing the job God needed him to do. In the process of finding that acceptance he becomes a better man and does what is needed for Mary to give birth.
That forgiveness and acceptance ribbon weaves it way even to the animals. The old donkey accepts that maybe Bo was destined to do something great in his life so he helps him escape from the mill. Along Bo’s journey, friends that are very different than he help him. The story brings the donkey to a crossroads and at first he turns his back on his journey and his friends. When he finally finds what he thought was his dream he realizes that he was on the path he was supposed to follow all along.
In the movie one of Herod’s guards takes his two mean dogs out to find the Christ child. Throughout the movie these mean toothy dogs are after Bo and his friends to complete their goal. However as the story comes to an end, Bo saves the two dogs, Thaddeus and Rufus and sets them free from the chains that bound them. (sound familiar?) This one kind act changed both of these characters.
A baby is heard crying and Bo goes to the stable where he finds his friend Mary and her baby. She tells the animals that his name is Jesus and calls Bo over to her to see. But before Bo goes to her Thaddeus and Rufus come into the stable but are blocked from view by the other animals. Bo looks into their eyes and nods are exchanged and with that Bo says let them in, they are friends. The dogs slowly come in and reverently bow their heads.
Yes, maybe I am a goob but I did cry a little bit. The whole thing was just so sweet and really drove home the power of the small little baby. It brought the whole reason for the season to the forefront of my heart and mind. The power of that star compelled many people and even animals that something was about to change. Oh boy, is that an understatement. The light of that star brought hope, peace and lit the way. That star was the light of Christ’s crown and the flicker of his first birthday. It signaled a new beginning that at that time many didn’t understand. My tears were a product of all of this and the smile on Crawford’s face showed me that the Christmas story is never out of style.

Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The search for love

We fall for people and will do anything to be near them no matter what human logic tells us. It doesn't matter what the statistical probabilities are or what the scientific facts state, when it comes to matters of the heart, you can throw it all out the window.
When we meet somebody, we tend to get this immediate impression. The slightest things can charge our emotions up quickly. We might feel like that person can light up a room and be what we're looking for. We might meet somebody and they may not throw out the first signal that indicates they want us but their personality, their smile, the way they talk, what they talk about and yes even how wonderful they smell when they coolly stride in and out of the room makes us go that's the one.
On the other hand, we could end up getting the creeps just by our first ever contact with the person before we really know them. Something about that conversation maybe a little off or just their overall demeanor may not impress us or make us feel comfortable. Then again, we might not form any opinion of the person because we need more time around them.
Finding the right person is a daunting task. We try to read into each thing they do.
It's crazy when you're a man and you find yourself thinking "If she does this, is it time to make my move?" If you're a woman, you might wonder  "if he does this, it must mean he's into me. He really likes me."
One thing that makes finding the right person tough is finding someone that shares the same feelings for you as you do for them. If you're a man, you might be thinking, "This woman is my dream girl, I have to be with her." Her feelings for you might not be exactly on the same plane.  They might go something like, 'He's okay, he's a nice guy and a good friend. He's like my brother." She might be with another man as happy as can be and you might wonder "What does he have that I don't have?" You have to ask her out to find out where you really stand. If she says no and says she wants to be friends, you've got to move on. Sometimes, you have to learn to be friends with the girl even though you want more. Friendship, more often than not, is the best way to go in that case. It's either friendship with that person or that person is gone forever.
To find the right person, we can't be afraid to keep trying. You might get hurt a lot when you keep asking because you get turned down or you get devastated when you get into relationships and even marriages and they go sour like spoiled milk or bad wine.
Sometimes, you might have a crush on someone but never ask feeling that person isn't interested in you and that ends up being the hang up with each person you might like. The biggest thing to remember in this case is if you don't ever ask the person it's hard to gripe about them not wanting to be with you. You don't know if you don't ask.
We have to learn that a person can feel about us anyway they want to regardless of how we feel for them. We might not can help how we feel about them at the moment, but they can't help how they feel about us either. We've got to move forward and let time run its course.
There are times when we do have to wonder if we're looking for the right things in people. Do we even know what we want? Are we too busy being wowed and wooed by the outside that we don't care about the inside? Do we let ourselves be painfully blinded by the surface that we can't see the real substance or if there's any substance at all?
If you're a man trying to impress a woman or a woman trying to impress a man, don't bury or lock away what makes you you, what makes you real. If you do all those things and still don't have anyone, don't fret. Nothing wrong with standing on your own two feet. You don't need  a person tied to your arm to be a person of value and worth. The old saying, “Good things come to those who wait," can be particularly true when it comes to finding that someone special.
For me after 31 years on this earth, my first date with Pam came in August of 2007 and from there on, things built. On New Year's Eve of 2011, I proposed to her at the gazebo downtown and then on July 13, 2013 we had our wedding in the prayer garden of our church. As I write this, I'm happy to report we're still going strong heading into Christmas.
If you're a person still in search for the right one, always remember be strong, be true and be patient.

Andy Collier is the sports editor of The Bolivar Commercial. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Sentimental journey in ornaments

Decking the halls is what I am all about this and every holiday season. Most of you know by now that the outside of my house is decorated but the inside is just as festive. I love the bold, bright colors of green and red paired with Santas, elves and snowmen.
I have plates, cups and all kinds of serve-ware displayed on my shelves. But the best and most meaningful decorations in my house are the ornaments. I am an ornament collector, especially Hallmark ornaments. But I don’t just buy them because they are cute. Most of them have a nostalgic and sentimental value to me and because of that my trees are extra special.
First, Mama has been giving me a silver plated Wallace sleigh bell every year for Christmas since 1972. I always wondered why I didn’t have one for 1971, which was the year I was born, and Mama said she just didn’t get the idea until the next year. So that put me on a mission. Where to find this 1971 Wallace Bell? Ebay of course but low and behold I found out that it was the first year the bell was made and the resale price was a little hefty for my budget.
After a lot of searching for a long time, someone sold one that wasn’t as expensive as the rest. So Mama bought it and gave it to me for my birthday. So now I have a complete set and they all hang on a pencil tree in my house with silver glittered snowflakes and icicles. That is my Mama tree. In fact I was thinking the other night that when, and God forbid no time soon, something happens to my Mama I will stop getting these bells. I want to know that those bells where given to me by my Mama and no one else. It will always be my Mama tree.
Crawford has a tree in his room that has all the ornaments he has made in school and ones he received when he was a baby. It is a beautiful tree filled with all things Crawford.
I have a tree in my den that is black, white and red and decorated with Mary Engelbriet ornaments, She is my favorite illustrator. It is fun and whimsical and makes me happy.
At the front door is our character tree. It is filled with characters that David, Crawford and I love, everything from Mickey to Snoopy, Barney to Ninja Turtles and everything in between. It brings memories of the phases we all go through in life watching different television shows.
The Big tree in my dining room window has got many, many memories on it. I have ornaments on it that I made as a kid. Ornaments hang that belonged to my Mimi and David’s mother. Destinations are marked by ornaments showing places I, or members of my family, have traveled.
Friends are marked on my tree also. I have an ornament that Krista Shumpert cross-stitched for me when we were kids that has two snails on it and says, “best friends.” I have ornaments that say Delta Delta Delta that remind me of the awesome group of girls that I had near me during my time at Delta State. Out of those girls are my three roommates that are commemorated on my tree. Amy, Renae and Alicia will be my forever friends even if we don’t see each other but on rare occasions.
Stages of my life are reflected in this tree. Of course my childhood is on there and then there is an ornament for my wedding and our honeymoon. There are several on this big tree for having my baby and two other for the babies that went to Heaven.
When I get old and gray, Crawford will have a lot of Christmas memories that he will treasure just from those things we have already. We all look forward to finding each memory as we decorate. It is part of what my Christmas decorating is about.

Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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