Trading Crowns on Christmas




photo by DJ Holliday for CandyLand in SandyLand NJ

“If you wear a crown, you can’t look down.” – DJ Holliday

I have this thing about crowns. I love the sparkle and the majesty, but mostly,  I love what they symbolize….authority, position & power.

I suppose it began with the paper tiaras on my birthday and progressed with my Miss America obsession.   A young Jersey girl, sitting with her stove-top Jiffy Pop, watching with wonder the young ladies chosen to represent beauty and grace, wanting to be one of them.  I watched the faces of those who were not called for top ten, all that hard work, all the promise of the crown was finished for them.  Then came the crowning…a moment of regal tribute and royal splendor….NOT! The tipping tiara, the screaming crowd, the hysterical winner, and the fabulously fake jubilance of the losers. I didn’t want all that chaos, I just wanted the crown.  Not just the crown, but all that went with it. The title, the glamour, and the authority.

Here is the truth about crowns, if you wear a crown, you can’t look down, or it will fall off! If you wear a crown, you must not look down on those over which you rule. If you wear a crown, you must always look up, for me that means fixing my eyes on Jesus, the King who came down and traded His crown…..for me.

The first Christmas …. imagine… Jesus seated on His heavenly throne, taking off His crown of majesty, then looking down towards earth, for me……He rises, places His glorious crown on the seat of His throne, turns left and looks into the loving eyes of His Father, they both smile, they know  –  it is time for Him to take His place on earth.

The first Christmas, when Jesus came to earth…for me. He traded His crown of majesty for a crown of thorns….for me. Jesus  left His crown in Heaven because  He chose to bring all His authority, position, and power to earth, as a babe in the manger, knowing the crown of thorns was ahead.  He did it for me…..and you

When Jesus walked the earth, His crown was invisible to those around Him, but He knew it was there. He knew He was the son of God, He knew He was crowned with all authority and power, the crown was always there. He did not flaunt His position, He just walked with His head up, knowing He was crowned. When they mocked Him and crowned Him with thorns as long as three penny nails, He knew who He was and why He was there…..but He needed to look up, and cry out….perhaps to remind us that we can look up and our crown will never fall off!

I still love crowns, but they have a different meaning to me now. They still symbolize position, power and authority….my position in Christ, my power in the Holy Spirit and my authority to declare His truth over the things of earth so they grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Christmas is really about trading crowns.

Jesus traded His so I could have mine! Because He traded His crown of majesty for a crown of thorns, I can be called a child of the King, a child of the most high God, crowned with glory and honor. I can wear my crown every day, look up and it won’t fall off, look down and I may have to hold on to it ….but it will never fall off! My crown may be invisible to those around me, but I know it’s there…..I just have to adjust it on a daily basis!

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith… Galatians 3:26

You made him a little less than divine, but you crowned him with glory and honor….Psalm 8:5

Daghter of the king-from the heart art

*I am guest blogger today on the True Life NJ Blog!

Why Pie? a poem by DJ Holliday


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Why pie?

Why pie?

It’s 2 am and I’m baking a pie

I think I know why I’m baking a pie


I’m watching Junk Gypsies with Amy & Jolie

They visit Pie Haven with Miranda, all three


Three gypsifying girls sharing giggles and dreams

Making memories and blessings for Mama’s Airstream


I felt the love when I saw them share pie

Joyful celebration is why I baked pie


Holiday memories and aroma of pie baking

Family is coming and memories in the making


My Mom and my Gram taught me filling and crust

Rolling and fork-pinching edges a must!


I kept the tradition and I always baked pie

For my kids I made memories of family and pie


When my sisters stopped coming for pie at my table

My kids missed their aunts so I told them a fable


One day they will knock and I will make tea

Together again, the sisters, all three


We will feel love when we share a pie

A reminder of hope, that is why I baked pie

Truth prevails, Love remains


I never intended to publish this photo, it is a personal reminder of how safe I feel in the palm of His hand. I know there is dancing and celebrating going on in the background….but I am focused on the quietness and confidence of His Truth that prevails and His love that remains. Sharing this photo is my voice in the midst of all the shouting that is going on today.

I hear rejoicing voices, fearful voices and angry voices – all shouting about laws, courts, and cultural change.  I also hear silence……which can be louder than the shouting.  I just wanted to say that in the midst of new laws and cultural changes I know God’s love is relentless and His Truth does not change.

I am not fearful. There is no fear in love, perfect love casts out fear. I know God’s love is perfect and I will do my best to love my neighbor His way.

I am not a judge – I am just a Truth talker who did not want to be silent.

*note: I capitalize Truth as a personal reminder of “I Am…”

The “Piquant Provoker” by DJ Holliday


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I am often inspired in the zero-dark-hundred hours of early morning when all is quiet and I watch arts programs recorded for such a time as this.

Today I was inspired by fellow Jersey girl, Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s reading of her poem Arturo as I watched New Jersey’s State of the Arts poetry festival at NJ Pac.  It is a poem that tells her personal Italian-American story of reckoning as she reclaims her name from Marie to Maria and her declaration of her father’s name as Arturo, not Arthur.

I began to stir up my own memories of poems written in childhood and most recently in times of turmoil. I wondered if the writing voice I have been searching for was one of a poet. So, I followed my usual path of researching terms and techniques but quickly realized that I did not want any more voices in my head! “Just write!” I said to myself.

However, I must confess I did take one of those online quizzes “which poet are you?” and was pleasantly surprised when I got these results….

Which Famous Poet Are You?

  1. You got: Maya Angelou

    You’re a natural leader with confidence and wisdom – people learn a lot whenever they talk to you. You also aren’t afraid to talk about larger issues that really matter, and can use a personal story to really bring people around to your point of view.Getty / Kris Connor

So for anyone else who may be wondering if you have a poet inside…… I dedicate this poem to you.  It is my own attempt at self-discovery and declaration, HAPPY MONDAY!

The Piquant Provoker 

By Deborah J. Holliday

June 1, 2015

 I think I am a poet

I love to tell stories and paint pictures with words


I think I am a prophet

I love to dream dreams and share visions of Truth


I think I am a prompter

I love to inspire introspection and ignite personal passion


I think I am a professor

I love to boldly declare my beliefs and use my voice to help others find theirs


In the end, I hope I am a “piquant provoker”….


One who uses her words to add sparkle and spice

that sharpens emotions and stimulates life

One who uses her voice to help others find theirs

so they can find Truth and boldly declare:


“I am a poet, a prophet, a prompter, professor,

and I believe I AM (is) enough for me!”

*Thank you for reading all the way down and sharing my morning musings! xoxo DJ

Remembering Via Dolorosa…..

Me-Rock of Agony

This is my Gethsemene moment, when I remembered Jesus’ agony before His walk down the Via Delorosa all the way to Calvary…for me.  It was more than 30 years ago – but this was a profound moment in my life. When I imagined Jesus crying out to the Father, I was overwhelmed with love and anguish, my tears came from a deep place, I could not move.

Today is Good Friday. I know the Via Delorosa is called the walk of sorrow, but I am grateful that for the joy set before Him, Jesus walked all the way to Calvary….for me.

Here is a classic song from Sandi Patti about The Via Delorosa. I wanted to hear it and remember what He did for me, and for you too:-)

Gethsemene was an olive garden…

Olive garden-like Gethsemene

Today is Maundy Thursday in the Christian tradition of Holy Week. While most think of the Last Supper today….I am thinking about Gethsemene – the place of the exchange.

So what does “Maundy” mean?

Derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” Maundy refers to the commands Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper: to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his sacrifice.

His sacrifice……most think of the cross…..I think of Gethsemene. Jesus loved to pray in the olive garden. He went there after the Last Supper to pour out His heart to the Father. He asked to avoid the cross, He knew what was ahead, but Love prevailed in the olive garden. Jesus exchanged His life for love.

When I visited Jerusalem and knelt at the Rock of Agony in Gethsemene for a photo op, I was captured by the remembrance of what Jesus was feeling as He cried out for relief….His love would not let Him avoid the cross……all for me. I wept deeply, thinking of His love and sacrifice……all for me.

So on this Maundy Thursday I am thinking of Gethsemene, the place of the exchanged life……where His love prevails and I am fully known and fully loved…..then I am free to love others. The true exchange is to let His perfect love flow through me, that is my sacrifice – to be a vessel of His truth and love, poured out as He wills, then refilled to overflowing.  That is the joy set before me on this Maundy Thursday – Gethsemene here I come!

Palm Tree Perspective….Veridical Views

My Veridical View of Palms

My Veridical View of Palms

It’s Palm Sunday and I will shout HOSANNA! (O be propitious, graciously inclined)

Childhood memories of my Mom’s “before” photo shoot on Palm Sunday in anticipation of the following week’s Easter finery.  A tradition I perpetuated complete with hats, gloves, and white patent leather.  Easter corsages from a doting dad added the final touch of celebration.  I remember the first year my daughters left their corsages in the fridge….it did not deter their dad – he continued until just last year to provide the Easter corsages for all the Holliday women in the house.

This morning I will make palm leaves from green construction paper and tell the Palm Sunday story from Matthew 21:1-11 to group of 21st century kids who will wave those paper palms and shout Hosanna with me.  I knew the Biblical Palm Sunday crowd shouted Hosanna at Jesus, but I had to look up propitious to understand that they were shouting “good success” “be favorable”.

I love palm trees. They bend gracefully in a storm, like the small palm tree I watched double over in a St. Martin hurricane. Palm trees reach higher and higher as they shed their old leaves, like the huge leaf that fell right on top of my head in Palm Springs.  My favorite is the soft, gentle sway of the palms in the breeze of Hanauma Bay in Honolulu, where I captured my veridical (not vertical) view of Jesus in the palm trees.

Veridical: Coinciding with future events or apparently unknowable present realities. 

The original Palm Sunday crowd did not really know why they were shouting HOSANNA!  They saw the donkey, knew that it was a clue to a king, and got caught up in the frenzy of the moment. Jesus had the veridical view of that moment. He knew the future events that would establish Him as King, I imagine His face was somber as he rode the donkey through the shouts of Hosanna.

I took my place in a quiet spot under the palms, to close my eyes and enjoy the shade. Instead I opened my eyes and was mesmerized by the majesty of the palms and the sound of the swaying leaves. I could see the Hawaiian sun and blue sky behind the leaves, but it was the palms that held me captive. It was a moment I had to capture on film so I could remember that feeling……peace beyond understanding.

I have changed my mind – today is Palm Sunday and I will not shout, instead I will quietly declare and share my PEACE IN THE PALMS…..

I see the palms, soft and flowing. I see His face, steady and knowing. I feel my heart, grace-filled and growing.

He knew it all, when He rode through the crowds. HOSANNA! HOSANNA! so loud, so loud.  Not proud, just purposed, so how could He smile…..His only joy was to suffer the trial.

I hear His voice “It is finished” He cried.  Once and for all, I declare it with pride. So today I will cheer “I am glad that He lives!” Waving palms with a peace that can only be His.

Happy Palm Sunday! I am so glad we can wave peaceful palms everyday.

My peace in the palms

My Peace in the palms



Still flying…….after all these years

Debi - still flying

16 years ago I received my second set of wings when I graduated from flight attendant training in Dallas. In 1978 I received my first pair of wings in Miami from astronaut Frank Borman, the President of Eastern airlines at the time.  I returned to flying in 1998 and felt a kindred spirit with astronaut John Glenn who returned to space that same year – we both had to fly again!

Guess there is something about flying that gets in our blood, aviation folks like to say we have “jet fuel in our veins”.  I just love to fly.

I love the speed and the lift of taking off. I love seeing the sunrise from above the clouds. I love flying on 4th of July watching silent fireworks displays. I love the majestic view of the Grand Canyon & Mount St. Helens from the cockpit. I love feeling like a nurse, caring for my sleeping passengers on the red-eye. I love the crew members that feel like family for those hours we spend together from take-off to landing.  I love meeting folks from all over the world and listening to their stories.

The people are the best part of flying.  Celebrity folks are just people. Former Presidents are just people. Olympian Gold Medal winners are just people.  Grammy winners are just people.  I have served them all in my 21 years of flying. I have signatures and photos of the famous folks I admire and respect. The real and treasured memories I have are of fellow crew members who were kind to me and offered support without judgment.

Flight attendants love “jumpseat therapy”! We help each other solve airplane problems and offer free advice on life as we see it. Some of the best focus groups and small groups I have ever seen happen on the airplane with authentic people who share gathered wisdom of life’s experiences.

Flight attendants are a pure and passionate breed.  We are not regular folks. There is a special type of person who loves the fly-life. We love the unique challenges of building a life in the air and on the ground.  I am proud to be a flight attendant. I am proud that I am still flying and hope that my wings never get too tired to soar.


Be what you want   My personal proclamation for 2014!


I am excavating bits and pieces of myself that were left like rubble on the roadside of my life experience.  My discovery of late is that many of my youthful passions are the ones that resonate today in the light of my wiser self. (read: wise-er not wheeser:-)

I am reviving my love for children’s productions, color analysis, charm bracelets and confidence building in myself & others.

Writing this mini-blog is another declaration of my deepest desire to use my words and my voice to build and not break….. this is the first brick in the foundation of my NEW SELF!

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom:-) ….that’s where the you find the root of things isn’t it?