Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Steve Sanders: The Miracle Of Now

 Steve Sanders is an Attorney for the United States Department of Defense, and Past Judge Advocate for the US Army. He recently spent 6 months working in Iraq. When not working as a lawyer, he spends time in his side business Blackbead's Treasure Chest making and selling beaded jewelry, writing, publishing, as well as participating in Rennaissance Festivals as a Pirate.
He is the author of"Characters: The Buffalo Soldier and Other Solders", Editor of and Contributor to "Raising Black Flags: Original Poetry By and About Pirates", editor and contributor to "Echoes From Other Worlds", performer at The Texas Pirate Festival; Middlefaire; and The Magical, Medieval, Fantasy Faire.  He has been an invited guest at both The Texas Renaissance Festival and Scarborough Faire for book signings and poetry readings. He is the winner of the Grand Prize in the Poetry Division of the "Canis Latran" Writing Competition at Weatherford College, Texas, 2009. "Dad, You're My Favorite Cowboy",  was selected for publication in the 2009 "Voices Along the River", San Antonio Poetry Festival publication.

If you love Christmas, can you say why?
I do love Christmas; not only because it is the celebration of God’s greatest gift to the world but also because it is a time when most Christians actually start trying to live the life that God wants us to enjoy. When I was a kid, people tended to be nicer and actually spoke and shared their kinder sides. You still see that but not nearly as much as you used to; especially in the malls where if you get in the way of someone trying to buy that last present that they HAVE to buy they’ll take your head off!

What’s one thing you’d like to get rid of during the holiday season?

I’d like to get rid of the secular side of the holiday. In my world, only Christians would celebrate Christmas. I wouldn’t mind taking a day of annual leave to celebrate my holiday rather than a day that is allotted to everyone as a secular holiday. We no longer get Easter off so why should we get Christmas off except that it is a HUGE retail hog that keeps many businesses afloat. Did you know that “Black Friday” got its name because that ONE DAY keeps many businesses “in the black”?

If we eliminate the secular side of the holiday then Christians would be in the same boat as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and all other faiths. There is no national holiday for Yom Kippur, Eid Al-Fitr, Samhain, or Holi. And should we force atheists to endure our religious customs? I believe that if you aren’t a Christian then you shouldn’t have to take Christian holidays off work, you shouldn’t have to endure all of those Christmas sales where you get 50% off the merchandise you want, you shouldn’t have to watch the television shows that feature Christmas messages, and you sure shouldn’t have to celebrate a holiday of peace on Earth and goodwill towards men that doesn’t include anything about Jesus, his birth, or what that means to the world.

What are your favorite childhood memories of Christmas?

Watching “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” and realizing that Christmas can be more “glorious than grand”, that there really is a “miracle of now”, and that a Christmas where a family shares their love is much more magical than a Christmas where they share their pocketbooks.

My dad taught me the true meaning of Christmas when he started letting me help him go out on Christmas Eve to a local low-income day care center, collect all of their tricycles, bicycles, and other big toys, bring them back to our house for repairs, maintenance, and a new coat of paint, and then have them back before the end of Christmas Day so that when the kids,  I never met or knew, came back on the day after Christmas, they would have like-new toys to play with. We weren’t rich so they couldn’t be really new but he did the best he could and he never asked anything in return, not even the thanks of the kids. My mom told me that the local newspaper had called Dad and wanted to do a story on him but he turned them down.

Of course, I also remember getting special toys that I specifically asked for – international G.I. Joes, a “remote control” robot that threw ping pong balls and shot a rocket out of its head, a HUGE gun that had about ten different weapons on it, and a Godzilla-type monster that turned itself off when you shot it in the tail with a sucker-topped arrow.

And Christmas music that made my mom cry.

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas meal?
My mom’s paella or one of her chalupa “production lines” where you make your own plate of chalupas with guacamole and chips on the side!

What’s the best Christmas present you ever received?

When I was ten years old, my grandfather gave me a copy of a wargame entitled “Midway.” As a result of that present, and the countless hours I spent reliving history and imagining the different ways things might have turned out, I have enjoyed a very rich and meaningful relationship with the past and my imagination that shares my life to this day. No other present has ever had that kind of life-shaping effect on me and I still have that game tucked away in a box in storage.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever gave?

A book – I had a friend who was also an avid reader. She had read a book and loved it; loved the character, the world it was set in, the premise and the plot. One day, quite by accident, I found a copy of a sequel to the book that she didn’t even know existed. I still remember the look on her face when I gave it to her.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?
“Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol”, “Scrooged”, “Ben Hur”, “White Christmas”, and “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?

Either “Silent Night”, “Joy to the World” or “The Lord’s Bright Blessing”.

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday season?

Being surrounded by family and friends; sharing the miracle of the season with total strangers; refreshing my relationship with God; giving at least one present that takes the recipient by surprise and fills them with joy; seeing the faces of the grandchildren in the light of the Christmas tree; having some quiet moments around the tree with my beloved wife; watching my favorite Christmas movies and TV shows; and making my list and FINISHING it!

Big Smile Chalupas from Pillsbury.com
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Chalupa shells are like flat bread not crisp as taco shells or thin like tortillas.
Place Chalupa shells on cookie sheet and put in oven for 3-4 minutes til heated through.
The production line (adjust the recipe for a crowd)
8 chalupa shells
2 c. refried beans
2 c. shredded chicken
2c.  pulled pork
2 c. cooked ground beef
2 c. shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes
1/4 c. carrot peeled and shredded
1 onion sliced into rings
1 c. grated cheese (american or your choice)
3/4 c. sour cream
1 c. guacomole
Putting them together: Spread refried beans on shell, top with chicken,(or beef, pork), lettuce, tomatoes, garnish with onion, cheese, guacomole, and sour cream.


C. A. Szarek said...

Hi Steve! I met you at Middlefaire in Oct 2010! Glad to see you on here. :)

SusieSheehey said...

Thanks for sharing, Steve!! Love your bio!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Steve, love finding someone else who loves "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol." It's a family favorite, along with "The Muppets' Christmas Carol."

Jeff Turner said...

"Midway" Steve? I still have my copy on my shelves. But it wasn't a Chrsitmas present......

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