Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Little Late, I Know...Meaning of Twelve Days of Christmas

Well, I know that Christmas is over (regrettably) and the New Year is approaching, but I still feel in the Christmas spirit (probably because I still have all my decorations up...I know, I know...it's bad luck to have them up after the New Year, or so my Gran would say, but I just can't seem to take them down...they make the home feel so cozy and warm and I just love my Snowflake Tree!)...anyways, I've digressed...

Before Christmas my grandmother sent me an e-mail with the true meaning to the Twelve Days of Christmas song. At the time, I thought, oh this is interesting and would be a great thing to write about...but then there were presents to wrap, parties to throw, Christmas lights to see and cookies to make...so I'm a little late.

So you've probably wondered what maids a milking, lords a leaping and french hens have to do with Christmas? I know that I've always thought it a little strange, but there's actually a lot of history and meaning behind the song. You see, in England from 1558 until 1829 Roman Catholics were not allowed to practice their faith openly. So, in order to teach the young Catholic children the true meaning of Christmas, someone wrote this song. Only the church members knew what the partridge in the pear tree, five golden rings or any of the other elements really stood for.

Here are the real meanings:

Partridge in a Pear Tree is Jesus Christ

Two Turtle Doves are the Old and New Testaments

Three French Hens stand for Faith, Hope and Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Four Calling Birds are the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Five Golden Rings recalled the Torah or the Law, which are the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy

Six Geese A-Laying stands for the six days of Creation (Genesis 1)

Seven Swans a Swimming represents the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy (Romans 12:6-8)

Eight Maids a Milking are the Eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10) *(See the bottom of the post for these)

Nine Ladies Dancing are the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22)

Ten Lords a Leaping are the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) *(See the bottom of the post for these)

Eleven Pipers Piping stands for the eleven faithful disciples: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas bar James (Does not include Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus)

Twelve Drummers Drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed *(See the bottom of the post for these)

**Eight Beatitudes:
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit
2. Blessed are those who mourn
3. Blessed are the meek
4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
5. Blessed are the mercifun
6. Blessed are the pure in heart
7. Blessed are the peacemakers
8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake

**Ten Commandments:
1. You shall have no other gods before me
2. Do not make an idol
3. Do not take God's name in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath Day
5. Honor your father and mother
6. Do not murder
7. Do not commit adultery
8. Do not steal
9. Do not bear false witness
10. Do not covet

**Twelve Points of Belief in Apostles' Creed:
1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell (the grave).
5. On the third day, he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
6. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
7. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
8. the holy Catholic church,
9. the communion of Saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and life everlasting.

Did you have any idea that that one little song could have so much meaning to it? It teaches a lot about the Christian faith and I'm sure helped the young children remember these key points. I hope everyone had a wonderful, healthy and happy Christmas with their family and friends. And I want to wish everyone a prosperous and healthy 2009.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Update on Scam Alert: Renter's Beware!

Just wanted to quickly fill you in on everything that has happened since I last posted about the renter's scam alert. My husband decided to respond to the Craig's List ad pretending to be interested in renting the home (our listing). He was e-mailed a response along with a renter's application that he was supposed to fill out and return. Well, being the computer genius that my hubby is, he built a computer program where when the spammer clicked on a link it would log his computer's IP address and we could use that to determine where this crook is located.

Matt (the hubby) replied to the scammer and told him his application was attached in the link. Of course, the greedy, up-to-no-good person clicked on the link--the computer captured their IP address and my husband had what he needed. We found out that the person is in Africa, Nigeria to be exact; which makes us feel a little better that they are so far away.

The best part was after the scammer clicked on the link, the following message was sent to them:

"This is your IP address: _______________. We know you have been trying to scam our listing at: ___________. We have logged your IP address and determining your location as we speak. The authorities have been notified and will be looking for you. MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

I thought this was too funny and hopefully scared them into not doing this anymore. We were able to get Craig's List to remove their first ad, but it didn't stop them from posting a second ad; we've had Craig's List remove that ad too. Matt used the IP address to find out who their Internet service provider is and he's going to inform them of what this person is up to.

Unfortunately, we received a call from a woman interested in renting the property; she made the mistake of e-mailing the scammer and sending him the filled out rent application. Thankfully she had not yet sent him money, but she had been asked to send money through Western Union. Before she sent the money, she drove to the property, saw our sign and called us up. I feel so bad for her, because although the scammer did not ask for her social security number, they did ask for a great deal of information. Matt told her to watch her credit reports carefully to make sure no new credit cards were opened in her name and things like that. I really hope nothing bad happens to this lady because of this.

So, please please be careful out there. People are getting desperate to make money and will try to pull just about anything. Be very wary of who you give your personal information to. And be extremely careful when sending money; especially through Western Union which is what most scammers use.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Macy's Pink Pig

The Macy's Pink Pig ride is a fun thing to take your kids to during the holiday season. It's a long time Christmas tradition for Atlanta which got its start in 1953 as a children's ride through Rich's toy department. Children could ride Priscilla the pig for only $.25; today the ride costs $3.00 per child or you can print a 2-for-1 coupon on the Website: http://www.macys.com/campaign/pinkpig/index.jsp

Due to rising popularity, another pig was later added in the mid 1960s and the two were relocated to circle the Rich's Great Tree on the roof. The ride was briefly part of the Atlanta History Center's Candlelight Tours' display during the 1990s and was used by Egleston Children's Hospital's Festival of Trees from 1996 until 2003.

In 2003 the Pink Pig ride returned to Atlanta's Macy's at Lenox Square Mall. The ride today occupies a 1950s themed tent on the upper level parking deck. The ride travels through a storybook of the original Priscilla and all her companions.

Kids of all ages enjoy this long held Atlantan tradition and at the inexpensive fare of $3.00 per person, it is a cheap way to create a wonderful holiday memory. You even get an "I Rode the Pink Pig" sticker.

It's open from now until January 4th and the operating hours vary depending on the day. For more detailed information, please visit the Website: http://www.macys.com/campaign/pinkpig/index.jsp and click on the INFO tab.

Also, a portion of the proceeds are donated to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

*The information in this post, along with the picture was obtained from http://www.macys.com/campaign/pinkpig/index.jsp

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Punch You Should Try...

Apple Pie Punch

I found this recipe on the Internet and tried it out at our annual Christmas Party...the consensus is that it's a winner; you should try it too. It's very simple, tastes delicious and looks festive.

To serve 12 people:

4 C. apple juice or cider (I used apple juice)

8 ounces Spiced Rum (Captain Morgan)

4 ounces cinnamon schnapps (we couldn't find plain cinnamon schnapps, so we used Goldschlager)

*Mix the ingredients together, pour into punch bowl with ice, garnish with chopped red apples

All our guests really enjoyed this drink...I even had to make a second batch!

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Scam Alert! Renters Beware...

The other day, my husband and I were listening to Clark Howard on the radio while driving home from Florida. He was talking about the latest scam affecting people looking for a home to rent. Here's how it works: due to the large amount of homes currently bank-owned or vacant, people are now breaking into those homes, changing the locks and acting as landlord's...they put an ad in the paper or Craig's List advertising the home for rent. Then when the person meets them to rent the home, the "landlord" hands them the new set of keys and collect first and last month's rent, as well as a security deposit. Afterwards, they hit the road, never to be seen again....The people move into the home, thinking they are entitled to rent it...and when the bank gets around to checking on the property, the renters find out they have been scammed.

Well, the story gets better...the next day after hearing this story my husband received a phone call from a man that had seen a rent ad in Craig's List on one our listings (this listing happens to be vacant because the owners have relocated and are trying to sell). Matt (the hubby) told him that he was not aware of the property being for rent, just for sale. Evidently, some crooked person decided to try to rent our listing--they created a fake e-mail address using the owner's name and they copied our listing pictures and description of the property into their rent ad. The man interested in renting the property thought something was fishy after e-mailing the man back and forth, so he drove to the home to look it over...and saw our "For Sale" sign in the yard. That's when he decided to call Matt and discuss it with him.

I'm so glad that the man did not fall for the scam...and that he called and told us about it! We have since sent Craig's List a scam alert on the ad and they have removed it. Please, be careful if you are renting a property. Make sure you know where the supposed landlord's office is and you may even want to take down their license plate number.

To read the article from Clark Howard's Website and also get tips on renting a property, please click on the link: http://clarkhoward.com/liveweb/shownotes/category/4/20/

If you are interested in purchasing a home, please contact me at: anne@therainsteam.com. I would be happy to help you!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recently REDUCED Property on 3 Private Acres in Covington...

This property, located at 90 Laurie Lane in Covington was recently reduced by $9,000 and is priced to sell at $129,900. For additional photos and more information, please view: http://www.90laurielane.com/

The home is on 3 private acres and features professional landscaping. Three outbuildings offer lots of additional storage. The property also backs up to 826+ acres of county land for plenty of privacy.

Inside, the home has been renovated and includes a stone fireplace in the family room. The large kitchen opens onto the family room. The master bedroom is complete with a large closet and a garden tub.

Please contact me at 404.357.2231 or anne@therainsteam.com to show this property.

Savannah Collection...



Black & White Stairs

©2008 Anne Rains Photography

Last weekend I had a photography show in Savannah, Georgia. It was for the arts and crafts festival on River Street. I sold some photos and met a lot of really nice people, so I'm really glad that I went. I was also able to take a few photos while there as well. I've included three on this post, but the others are also on my Photography blog. You can check them out at: http://annerains.blogspot.com. Please take a look at them; I welcome any feedback you may have!

These prints, as well as any of the others on my photography blog are available for purchase; I have a variety of sizes and they can be matted as well. To order, simply e-mail me at annerains@gmail.com.
Have a wonderful day! Enjoy :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Photography Business!

Well, I thought I should let everyone know that I've started a side business selling my photography. Here are just a few of the ones I have so far. The top picture is my favorite! It was taken on my honeymoon to Charleston, SC. This particular photo was taken at Middleton Plantation, an absolutely beautiful place--we got lucky that the azaleas were at the height of their season when we visited. I just love all the different colors in this photo.

I took the next photo on our recent trip to Negril, Jamaica where we stayed at the Couples Swept Away all-inclusive resort. The picture of the caves was taken while on a catamaran cruise; it was so beautiful there! If I wasn't such a chicken I could have swam in the caves...but being a little afraid of creatures such as sharks and jelly fish I chose to look at them from the boat!

The last photo was taken while I was on my three week trip to Australia for Study Abroad. I took this cute little guy's photo at one of the zoos we visited on the Gold Coast. He posed just perfectly for me! Too cute!! By the way, koalas are as cuddly as they look; I got to hold one and he just curled right up to me and held on :-)

If you would like to look at my other photos please visit my photography blog at: http://annerains.blogspot.com/

Thanks for taking a look! Have a wonderful day.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving! I completely stuffed myself so full of turkey and dressing and sweet pototoes and chocolate chip cookies...and the list could go on and on!! I look forward to the Thanksgiving meal every year; I think it's the anticipation of the turkey and the abundance of food that makes the meal taste so wonderful. And being surrounded by family and friends is always great too.

Okay, so I would like to hear about any traditions you may have when celebrating Thanksgiving. For example, my dad's family almost always has Thanksgiving at my Uncle's home...we call it the Farm because there are beautiful horses (as in the picture above) and he has lots of land...we spend Thanksgiving hunting, eating, talking and playing cards. For me, his home just feels like Thanksgiving--his home is beautiful and so cozy and the woods and pastures surrounding it are so colorful during Fall.

Another tradition we have, is that we always decorate my grandparent's Christmas tree on Thanksgiving day. I always have fun putting the ornaments on this tree because throught the years they have accumulated so many! Some of their ornaments are over 50 years old...so much history and memories!

Now it's your turn, please share a story or tradition you have for Thanksgiving!