QUIZ–What Do These Photos Have in Common?

What began in 1893 became a huge tradition reflecting the hopes and wishes of many Americans.

Spanning the years 1910 through 1994, photos from this collection consisted of seasonal influence and tradition.

Baby Boomers will be more apt to guess what these pictures all have in common. Can you?

Long before there was an Amazon or Etsy or even a dot.com, America had a Sears catalogue…or “Wish Book.”

In God We Trust

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.


CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

RIP Mike Nesmith-The Best Monkees Christmas Song

“I’m heartbroken. I’ve lost a dear friend and partner,” Mickey Dolenz, the last member of the Monkees said of Mike Nesmith who died Friday. “I’m so grateful that we could spend the last couple of months together doing what we loved best — singing, laughing, and doing shtick. I’ll miss it all so much. Especially the shtick. Rest in peace, Nez. … All my love, Micky.”

Dolenz and Nesmith just completed the Monkees’ Farewell Tour with a final stop at L.A.’s Greek Theater on Nov. 14.

“I’m sorry to hear about Mike Nesmith. The Monkees had some great songs, those were fun days,” Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson tweeted. “Love & Mercy to Mike’s family and friends.”

Tork, Dolenz, Jones, Nesmith

“My first big artistic hero, Mike Nesmith,” magician Penn Jillette also tweeted. “He’s a big part of who I am. It’s love you bring, no that I can’t deny. With your wings, you helped me learn to fly. Sweet Young Mike Nesmith.”

Paul Stanley of Kiss responded to Nesmith’s death. “WOW! Sometimes it’s hard to know why someone’s passing hits you a certain way but this is another one that hit me,” he tweeted. “I watch my world change as people that I thought to be timeless pass on, and that is sobering. Lives end and life goes on. RIP Mike Nesmith.”

Nesmith with Santa

As a tribute to Mike Nesmith here is a video of the Monkees best Christmas song:

Click here: Unwrap You At Christmas Video

By now most fans know that Nesmith was raised by his mother in Dallas, Texas after her divorce with his father, Wesley upon his return from overseas in the military.

Later, Nesmith attended San Antonio College in the Alamo City where he met his first wife. Soon they moved to Los Angeles so he could pursue his passion of blues and country music.

It didn’t take long for Nesmith to be cast in The Monkees, as one of the made-for-TV band members inspired by the Beatles.

🔹Davy Jones was a British song-and-dance man with a Tony nomination.

🔹Peter Tork was a Greenwich Village folks singer.

🔹Micky Dolenz had played the orphaned Corky in the 1950s TV show “Circus Boy.”

“Who would play what and who would sing and who would write and who would produce the records was of keen interest to me,” Nesmith wrote in his 2017 memoir, “Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff.” “So I was unprepared for the idea that the four of us would have nothing to do with any of that.”

Rest In Peace and thanks for the memories, Michael Nesmith (1942-2021).

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Wise and Frugal Ideas For Christmas This Year

Have a Jolly, Holly, Frugal Christmas!

Be Honest With Your Finances

The first step is to be completely honest with your financial situation at the moment. You aren’t looking for handouts. You just want a dose of empathy and maybe a hug.

Just like everyone else, you want to give your family the world and shower them with gifts.

However, the center of Christmas is about our Savior, Jesus Christ, and coming together as a family and spending time with one another. You don’t need money for that.

Decide on a frugal Christmas budget and stick to it.

Christmas in Boerne, Texas
Church we were married at.

With gift exchanges, you don’t need to go out and buy a brand new present. This is a chance to find something in your house that will make a great gift for someone else.

Here are various types of gift exchanges that cost little or no money:

  • White elephant gift exchange
  • $5 gift exchanges
  • Unused item gift exchange
  • Cookie exchange
  • Used toy, puzzle or book exchange
  • Coffee mug exchange
  • Charity donation exchange
  • Craft supply gift exchange
  • Dollar Store finds gift exchange
  • Fabulously fashionable clothing exchange
  • Dropped that hobby gift exchange

There are just a few ideas on how you can get creative with holding gift exchanges. Not everything must be expensive to be an awesome winner!

Buy In Bulk And Divide Up For Gifts

A frugal trait is buying things in bulk to save money. When the holidays roll-around, this is where you use your DIY skills to come up with frugal Christmas gifts.

If you find a lot of people on your list to buy small gifts for, you can create nice packages of presents to give. Typically, these holiday gifts are ideal for teachers, neighbors, co-workers or other special people that you want to wish a Merry Christmas.

For example, you can buy scented candles in bulk and wrap a beautiful bow on the glass jar. That is an easy way to divide them up for multiple gifts.

Another idea is to buy Christmas treat bags and divide up assorted miniature candies to quickly put together many small presents.

Talk to your families about the idea of only giving gifts to the kids, not the adults.

Frugal Christmas gifts for adults

1. Socks

No you won’t get any awards for creativity. But it is almost guaranteed the recipient will use this gift.

2. Workout clothing

3. Books

Cookbooks and inspirational books are great choices. 

4. A nice pen and journal

5. Bath bombs and soap.

6. Insulated coffee mug.

Holiday lights tour

🔹Bundle up the kids in the car and go for a family drive when it gets dark. Drive your neighborhood or find out the best neighborhoods in your city and go for a festive drive.

🔹Make a holiday letter and send it to family with important highlights from the past year.

🔹Attend a local Christmas event: parade, lights, Church or other holiday happenings.

🔹Get Christmas coloring books and color with your family.

🔹Decorate the Christmas tree.

Secret Santa

🔹Have each family member draw a name and only give a gift to that one person.

🔹Make mason jar cookie mixes to gift.

Forgo wrapping paper altogether

🔹Just wrap gifts with some ribbon or a bow.

Reuse Christmas wrapping and Christmas gift bags.

Make a coupon book for gifts

🔹From cooking a special meal to a foot massage to experiences out.

Write a list of what you are grateful for

🔹This is a great exercise any time of the year but especially at Christmas when there can be excess. It’s a good reminder of how lucky the majority of us are.

Learn to make candles with your children

🔹This is a fun activity and could also be a homemade Christmas gift.

Buy Christmas lights from a dollar store and hang them from your outside trees.

Write a letter to Santa

🔹Mail it to Santa Claus 325 S. Santa Claus Lane North Pole, Alaska 99705

Have a puzzle day

🔹Get a puzzle that’s challenging enough for the whole family but easy enough that the little ones can participate.

Have a Christmas pajama day

🔹Stay in pajamas the whole day on a Saturday or Sunday

Make homemade Christmas ornaments.

Cookie swap.

Go Christmas caroling.

Watch Christmas movies.

Snuggle up with your family and play favorite nostalgic or new Christmas movies. Favorites that come to mind are A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

Finding Money for Christmas Gifts in 2021 and Beyond

Holiday season 2020 was a tough year for retailers and other small business due to the pandemic. In 2021, Black Friday sales hit some all-time lows. With the higher prices for fuel, energy, food and just about everything imaginable, it seems like the 2021 holiday season will be challenging to most people.

Some of us are rightfully concerned about holiday gift giving while others have already begun their buying early. We have all seen the Christmas season creeping in early on Halloween, but this can actually help some people spread out the gift buying over a longer period of time. We much prefer using a planned budget instead of depending on credit cards and suffering depression in January when the bills pile in.

Throughout the year, or as early as possible, it’s a good idea to save $10 to $25 a paycheck. It can add up nicely when it’s time to buy gifts (or make them). With 26 paychecks in a year that’s around $500 when black Friday hits after Thanksgiving.

However, few of us can escape the realities of a harsh economic and political climate today, not to mention the increased hardships (jobless, out of business, or health, for instance) we’ve endured.

It’s a good idea to rethink our spending strategies. Besides just setting aside money from each paycheck, there are other ways to find money to put aside. Some people set up a separate savings account just for gift giving.

Here are some additional ideas some may deem helpful:

🔹Choose a gift of something useful and customized for the individual. This year spend less, but provide more value. A book (instead of a toy or game), health food or supplements (rather than a fruit cake), or something needed (helpful household items versus nonessential decorative ones).

🔹Cutting Down on Eating Out. Lunches out with coworkers can be dropped for one day of the week. At $6 to $12 a day, that adds up to, in a month $24 to $40+ that can be instead put into a gift savings jar.

🔹Reduce Your TV Service. We haven’t had any such service in over three years and absolutely love it: No fake news, social engineering or propaganda has been wonderful. Our time is spent simply living, traveling and experiencing (rather than having). It’s far more meaningful.

Those television ads will have you believing the whole point of Christmas is to spend tons of money on food, shopping and dining out.

Instead of going cold turkey, you can drop down your TV subscription to basic service for a few months or the summer and sock away the savings. This is also handy if you are coming to the end of a promo and can’t get another one; drop down in service for a few months and then pick up the new promos coming out later. You could save considerable money each month and it’s not that hard.

🔹Limit the Coffee/Donut/Sweets/Soda Budget. I remain amazed at the drive thru queues at coffee shops in the morning. This wouldn’t be a lot of money set aside but if you buy a $5+ drink and reduce it by one cup a week, you have an extra $20-$30 to put into savings for gifts.

By making some simple changes to your budget NOW, you can plan to have a terrific Christmas. There are plenty of other ways to save money. Just look at what you are currently spending on any one item and try to reduce it by a few dollars each week. Those dollars add up quickly.

If you aren’t willing to cut back at all, there are a couple of ways to bring in extra money and set that aside for gifts as well.

🔹Save Change. I’ve always been a fan of rounding up in the checkbook and by the end of the month there’s a good $15-$25 higher in the bank than my checkbook shows. That extra money goes to savings without a thought. And add into that any change I get throughout the year, there’s around $250-350 dollars that I didn’t even have to cut back for.

🔹Do you really NEED it? Selling off items around the house (some people I know find stuff on the curb for trash pickup and regularly make more than a few extra bucks). Keep the fees to a minimum and try selling the items off through Craigslist first. The idea is to collect it all in a closet and then have yourself a grand yard sale over a warm weekend.


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

‘FJB” & ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Now a Stylish Phenomenon For Holidays

A New Christmas Cheer!

In the Las Vegas McCarran Airport last week the public intercom kept calling “Would passenger Lesco Brandon, please return to gate six, please.”

Visitors, shop employees and terminal workers burst out laughing after each announcement.

The “Let’s go Brandon” phrase originated Oct. 2 during an interview between an NBC News sports reporter and Brandon Brown, a NASCAR driver. NASCAR fans behind the reporter chanted, “F*** Joe Biden,” but she said they were saying, “Let’s go, Brandon.”

College football stadiums across America were full of crowds yelling the “FJB” chant ritual for a few weeks prior to the “Brandon” mishap. Soon, other sports events chimed in, making the phrases the two most popular in 2020.

Mainstream media, as usual, downplays the phenomenon, but it continues to grow around the globe, revealing what most people think about the current White House Resident and socialism.

There have been at least six “Let’s Go Brandon” songs trending at the top of the several major music charts.

The chant has become trendy and fashionable at various events, including sports games, public events, shopping malls and rallies.

During our recent roadtrip from Texas to Nevada and back, we observed both phrases:

🔹tee-shirts at a John Fogerty concert in Scottsdale, Arizona.

🔹on car, truck, and RV windshields along IH-10 in West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and the Vegas Strip.

🔹on shirts and masks at the Southwest Sonaran Desert Museum near Tucson.

🔹on a huge banner, behind a plane over Phoenix.

🔹numerous banners and signs in cities and towns such as Van Horn (Texas), Kingman (Arizona) and Laughlin (Nevada).

🔹store front windows, signs and marquees in Fort Stockton (Texas), Deming (New Mexico), Needles (California) and Searchlight (Nevada).

🔹Las Vegas and Phoenix shops are selling “Brandon” and “FJB” clothing, masks, Christmas ornaments, Biden toilet paper and other paraphernalia in time for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas shopping.

Toys, games, trinkets and other gift ideas are spreading the sentiments of many Americans with the “Let’s Go Brandon” message.

Besides, music and fashion, the”FJB” fad continues strong in popular culture in 2021, 2022 and perhaps, beyond.


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Was Christmas Being Faucified?

Liberal sheep now have the blessing of Dr. Anthony Fauci to hold gatherings with family and friends on Christmas 2021. However, Fauci says Americans should tell their Christmas guests to show their papers.

Fauci said only vaccinated Americans can feel comfortable and enjoy dinners and gatherings within the home this Christmas.

“People should, if they invite people over their home, essentially ask, and maybe require that people show evidence that they are vaccinated,”

In October, on CBS News “Face The Nation” host Margaret Brennan asked Fauci if “we can gather for Christmas, or it’s just too soon to tell.”

“You know Margaret, it’s just too soon to tell,” Fauci responded. “We’ve just got to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time.”

“Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down,” he blabbed on. “And we can do it by people getting vaccinated and also, in the situation where boosters are appropriate, to get people boosted.”

His propaganda is being met with more public dissection.

“I don’t think anyone is going to be listening to Scrooge Fauci,” Senator Rand Paul observed on Twitter. “I know I won’t be.

“Fauci has lost all credibility with the American people,” Rep. Elise Stefanik from New York, stated. “We aren’t waiting on his permission to celebrate Christmas together.”

Quickly branded a Scrooge—among other things—Fauci quickly changed his tune.

“I will be spending Christmas with my family,” Fauci told CNN. “I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good, normal Christmas with your family.”


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

A Special Message From Jack and Dodie Dennis of CleverJourneys

Big Tech has launched a major assault on Americans’ right to free speech. In their most audacious attack, some of the most powerful big businesses in America joined together to force Parler off the Internet.

Parler, a social media site that rejects Twitter’s censorship policies, had millions of users until Google, Apple, and Amazon deplatformed the entire website, removing it from their app stores and web hosting service.

Americans must fight back against this blatant censorship. While Parler’s working through the courts to get back online, Big Tech continues to silence conservatives and trample our right to free expression.

Fortunately, independent bloggers such as CleverJourneys have found phenomenal growth in reporting what Big Tech try to censor and the “Mockingbird” Media dare not report.


We are migrating to Parler (@Jackdennistexas), Gab (Jackdennistexas), and more.


To circumvent the censorship, please consider subscribing (totally free and we do not give or sell your information to any third party) to receive email notification when we post new articles.

Join our 837,000+ readers today.

Simply “Subscribe” at the bottom of any article at the “NOTIFY ME…” box.

Some of our most popular articles are JackNotes, executive summaries of books, articles, speeches and other useful information that may save you the expense and trouble of reading the entire publication….or it may spur you on to seek more information from the original source.

We are now rolling out another new feature, Accounts of the Old West as a tribute to Jack’s great, great uncle Charlie Bassett, the first marshall of Dodge City, Kansas…and James Allison Morgan–a cattle driver and cowboy, Jack’s great grandfather. (You thought TV’s ‘Marshal Matt Dillion’ was the first didn’t you?)

We also feature “Top 10 Buzz Trends of the Week” highlighting some of the best posts, memes, and photos on the web the prior week.

Another feature is T.R.A.S.H. (Trivial Relevations of A Sick Human-being), an updated version of Jack’s national and Texas award winning column from back in his Texas State University days.

Remember, we don’t just write news. You will enjoy travel, recipes, lifestyle, humor, motivation, wellness and health, how-to, history, reviews, military, crime, police, heroes entertainment, interviews, fun and so much more.

Dodie has over 38 years in the medical, health and wellness field being a registered nurse. She has trained hundreds in nutrition, prenatal and post natal care, pregnancy, parenting, nursing, and general health. Much of her time was also devoted to immunology and vaccines.

Jack is an award winning journalist, investigative reporter, and author. He was an executive for H-E-B FOOD-DRUGS for almost 30 years, a founder and first elected president of Professional Retail Store Management Association (now CONNEX), life coach and private investigator.

Thank you for your readership and kindly sharing our articles.

God Bless America.



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Amazing Snow Sculptures to Make You Smile

In our neck of the woods–the Texas Hill Country, over an hour northwest of San Antonio–we usually have to travel to see winter snow.

Wouldn’t you know it? The one year San Antonio experienced a whopping 13.5 inches of snow in 1985, the International Airport had loaned their only snowplow to Denver.

It was a rarity to even experience any type of snowfall growing up in the Alamo City.

During my college days at Texas State University (Southwest Texas State University back in the mid-1970’s) we would send some of our campus beauty queens to Michigan in exchange for packages of snow. It was a thrilling tradition for us coeds to participate in an actual snowball fight.

Most of my experience with snow has been around Lake Tahoe and New Mexico.

Dodie was a nurse and lived in Vail, Colorado after she left working the cruise ships in the Bahamas and Caribbean back in the late ’70s-early ’80’s.

On the few occasions that I did see snow sculptures (mainly in Cloudcroft, New Mexico), it was a novel delight.

Here are more snow sculptures to make you smile. Be sure to pass them on so others can experience the simple happiness too.

If you enjoyed these photos, you will like:

Whimsical Street and Public Art Click Here

My Sister Has COVID and Loves Christmas so This is For Her

My little sister loves Christmas so much that she watches Christmas movies in January, February, March, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December. I don’t know why she doesn’t watch them in April. There is just something about April that causes her not to watch them.

I suspect it’s because she devotes her April to listening to David Cassidy of the Partridge Family singing his 1970 hit, I Think I Love You over and over and over and over again.

Our Mother once told me she suspected it was because David Cassidy’s birthday was April 12th. I’m not going to tell you what our Father said about it because it might hurt her feelings…and who wants to hurt their sister’s feelings in December, so close to Christmas time, especially if they have COVID.

Yes, it’s true. Bobbi and her husband, Perry both tested positive for COVID-19 last week. When I called to check on her yesterday, she was too busy to stay on the phone. Perry and her were putting a train track together around their Christmas tree. No one has time to talk with their favorite and one-and-only sibling when there’s a miniature train to erect.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that she starts preparing for the next one at midnight each December 26th.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that she doesn’t sing The Twelve Days of Christmas like most people. She sings The Three Hundred and Sixtyfive Days of Christmas. Except on Leap Years, when she bellows out The Three Hundred and Sixtysix Days of Christmas. Her Advent Calender is even 365 days.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that a large portion of her garage and storage shed is dedicated to interior and exterior decorations. That’s for the decorations she doesn’t leave up all year.

My little sister loves Christmas so much my parents had to beg the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Cupid to come by our house because they were so jealous.

My little sister loves Christmas so much she plays Christmas music beginning on St. Patrick’s Day.

My little sister loves Christmas music so much she has more Christmas music than I do Elvis Presley recordings…and I have them all.

My little sister loves Christmas so much she infuses peppermint in every dessert and drink she consumes from Halloween through January 3rd, her birthday. Peppermint is a major food group in their pantry.

Bobbi & Perry with her good friend.

My little sister loves Christmas so much a closet is dedicated to overflowing festive accessories and ugly Christmas sweaters.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that she literally dreams of a white Christmas every night in December. But she lives near San Antonio, Texas and it never snows on Christmas there.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that, despite it being 87 degrees in the foot of the Texas Hill Country, she will turn on the air conditioning and watch a Yule log burn on her television.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that when you visit during the holidays it looks like Santa’s Workshop exploded.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that her home smells like Mrs. Claus’ Bakery…a block away before arriving.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that no one really knows how many Christmas Trees are on their property and in their home.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that Santa hats, reindeer antlers, ties with snowflakes on them, Christmas light earrings, fuzzy socks that are lined with red and green designs— all of these things and more— are required clothing to wear throughout the final quarter of the year. She thinks Business Casual means a full-on elf costume.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that many times she takes her summer vacation to Disney World for the annual Christmas celebrations throughout their theme parks. This started when their daughter Jessica was an infant over three decades ago.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that she’s good friends with Santa Claus. Seriously. Ever since she was a toddler, there was not even a hint of apprehension or fear approaching Jolly Saint Nick at grocery stores, shopping malls or Christmas festival.

I heard him many times call her by name even before she sat on his lap, or yell and wave at her from the top of a Christmas parade sleigh float. They are truly friends.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that she knows where all the best Christmas lights are. She doesn’t settle for the best inflatable snowman and twinkling lights in the neighborhood. Bobbi knows where all the most amazing and spectacular displays are in the region…and will drive across the state of Texas if necessary to see them.

My little sister loves Christmas so much that she knows the real reason for Christmas.

God Bless Perry, Bobbi and Jessica Shipman this Christmas Season and Always.