The Donations Have Been Dropped Off!

January 26th, 2017

I was (finally) able to get downtown to KCRM this morning and drop off the donations from the light show this year. We padded it just a touch to make it an even $800. This is our largest donation total yet! I met with Julie, my primary contact at the mission, and she introduced me to a few other people, including KCRM Director Rev. Joe Colaizzi. It’s funny how you can feel like you know someone by reading articles that they have written, and meeting him in person confirmed that he was the warm, gentle but firm person I thought him to be from his writing. Julie even provided me with a gift- a KCRM zippered hoodie! Pretty neat. Every time I visit, I am more convinced that I want to keep helping this great group of people.

Thank you to everyone who chipped in, and please rest assured that your donations will be put to good use.

For those of you who would like more information, please visit KCRM.org

If you would like to make a gift, you can do it directly through their gift page HERE.

While Christmas may be over, it is still cold and people still need the services that KCRM provides. Don’t hesitate to help those who need it most.

-B

And that’s it…

January 8th, 2017

It was a good run this year, but the time has come to shut them down for the season. Short of some filming time this week, that’s a wrap. The show ran almost flawlessly, feedback was positive, and we collected nearly $800 for KCRM-our highest total yet.

Thanks again for all the support.

 

 

 

Winding Down for 2016-17

January 7th, 2017


This is the last weekend this season for those of you who would like to see the lights again (or for the first time). We are running the show from 5:25pm until 9:45pm, tonight and tomorrow night. It’s supposed to warm up some this coming week, so we’ll begin disassembly directly 🙂

Thank you to all of you who have visited this season, and especially to those who donated funds for KCRM. We have new things in the works already for next year, and look forward to next season.

Thank you…

January 4th, 2017

…on a few different fronts:

-Thank you for voting us into the top three in Shawnee’s Facebook Christmas light competition! Julie from the City of Shawnee stopped by tonight and dropped off a bag of Shawnee swag. Yes, I said swag. Shirts, mugs, stickers, and the like. Fun.

-Thank you for making this our largest donation year yet. We are still running for a few more days, but are at around $750 collected for KCRM. Well done!

-Thank you for the notes and nice comments this year. It’s always nice to be appreciated for the work that goes into the display.

If you haven’t made it by, you have a few more nights. I usually run through Jan 6th, but since that is a Friday this year, I will continue through this coming weekend. Hours are 5:25 – 9:30 nightly.

One more chance to Vote!

December 29th, 2016

Shawnee’s Facebook Christmas Light competition ends tonight! If you haven’t voted for us yet, please do so! If you want to vote for someone else, please don’t! 🙂

Just click this link and like the photo of our display!

VOTE HERE!

Thank you!

Lost Charm?

December 26th, 2016

I found a well-loved charm in our donation box last night. I don’t believe it to have any monetary value, but someone has had it for some time. If it is yours, please feel free to come by and claim it:

Home Stretch!

December 20th, 2016

Only a few more days until Christmas! It’s hard to believe, and each year the season seems to pass with increasing speed. Traffic this year has been a little lighter than in years past, but I hope that this week will make up for it 🙂

We will be out on the drive handing out candy canes tonight, so gather your crew and come by! Lights run from 5:15 until about 10:30. We would love to say hi! Tune into 101.7FM as you near the display. If you can, bring by a cash donation for Kansas City Rescue Mission. Every little bit helps, and all proceeds go directly to them. We have collected about half of the total we donated last year, so let’s make it happen for some folks who do a great work serving those who need help in our communities.

Hope to see you here!

Mystery Videographer

November 30th, 2016

camera

I happened to glance outside while the lights were running, and noticed a person out front taking video of the lights. They were set up with a tripod and everything. Unfortunately, I had prior obligations to prepare for, and was unable to go out and say ‘hi.’ If the person who was taking video sees this, could you drop me a note? I would be interested in having copies of the raw footage, if possible, and would like to know where it was headed 🙂

Past that, show is running well. Come on out between 5:15 and 10:15 to listen along. Tune in to 101.7 FM when you arrive.

Up and Running

November 29th, 2016

The display is up and running. I will continue to tweak on it, but I’m satisfied enough to let everyone come see it 😀

Come by between 5:15 and 10:15 (for now, later hours nearer Christmas), and see the new LEDs and the new pixel display elements. We are once again collecting monetary donations for Kansas City Rescue Mission. If you have a pile of goods that meet their needs instead of cash, I would be willing to work with you to get them downtown, just drop me a note: http://williamschristmaslights.com/contact-us/

Let’s get this Christmas season rolling!

KCRM Connect

November 26th, 2016

KCRM has published the 2016 Holiday edition of their Connect newsletter. We managed to get a mention on page 2! You can browse the newsletter at kcrm.org/connect-newsletter/ or read it below:

Thanksgiving

November 23rd, 2016

It’s easy to skip past Thanksgiving in the holiday rush, but there’s many reasons to slow down and put some thought into this day. The history of the Holiday is interesting in and of itself, including not only the accounts of the ‘first Thanksgiving’ given by William Bradford, but also individual days of thanksgiving proclaimed by the Continental Congress and several of our early presidents. While many of the early proclamations of a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer followed national successes, I think it is worthy of note that some of the early ‘Thanksgivings’ were proclaimed not when things were rosy, but when there were trials and the outlook for the future seemed difficult at best. When Sam Adams penned the first national Day Of Thanksgiving in 1777, the British military was still occupying the US capital. When Abraham Lincoln officially declared an annual Thanksgiving Day in October of 1863, the nation was in the midst of a brutal civil war. One hundred years later, LBJ gave a brief Thanksgiving radio address as he began trying to help the nation move past the assassination of JFK six days earlier. Clearly, Thanksgiving Day hasn’t always come in the midst of great circumstances, but the important thing to note is that it was still celebrated. It may not have been celebrated with the Turkey and football that mark current observances, but it was celebrated nevertheless. It was celebrated with introspection, retrospection, observation, and prayers of thanks. It was celebrated with hope for better things yet to come. In view of these things, I challenge you to stop and make an evaluation, not only where you are, but where you want to be, and why. It’s pretty simple to say thanks for what you have when things are going well, but are you able to give thanks for your circumstances when things aren’t what you expect or want? I encourage you to skip the worn out cliche of ‘keeping up with the Joneses,’ and seek contentment and humility in your current situation.

If you are struggling with this, I would encourage you to go do something for someone else, whether through organized volunteering or through acts of kindness to those around you. The easiest way to remove your focus from yourself is focus on doing good for others. Visit the shut-in in your neighborhood. Take a fruit basket to your local police station. Call that long-lost relative. Get outside of yourself, and make someone else’s day while doing it.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for hanging in. Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

It’s Almost Time…

November 23rd, 2016

Most of the display preparations are completed, and as usual it required a crazy of couple weeks to get it done. The show will kick off officially on Friday, November 25th. If you come by on Thanksgiving night you may see some lights, but only in bits and pieces as the final testing is completed.

Kansas City Rescue Mission has released a list of Christmas Gift possibilities for people who are staying at the Mission over the holidays. If you are looking for a way to reach out and help someone this year, here is a great way to do that, while keeping with the Christmas season and its traditions:

kcrm-gift

We’re excited to ‘get the show on the road’ and would love to have you come by!

-B

$2.07

October 26th, 2016

It’s that time of year again, where charities start popping out of the woodwork and asking for your consideration. With the increasing prevalence of GoFundMe pages, and constant social media bombardment from those who would have our money, it becomes easier and easier to just pull back and pocket what we have. Giving when pressured takes the joy out of it, and news reports of fake charities can make one overly cautious, even to the point of not giving to established groups with proven track records.

With all that being said, I would like to encourage you to find a charity that you can get behind during the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Volunteering is a great way to help others without it affecting your pocketbook, and you can see first hand the results of your efforts. This can take the form of something as simple as nursing home visits or ringing a bell for the Salvation Army, or it can be as demanding as you choose, with programs available for mentoring, big brother / big sister arrangements, or meal delivery for shut-ins. Google your area for opportunities that suit you. Get your family involved, and make a difference while making memories. The moment when kids realize how badly some folks have it can be life changing.

For those of you who prefer to give from the pocketbook, there are a number of legitimate charities that make real differences in the lives of those who are hurting. For the past 3 years, we have partnered with Kansas City Rescue Mission (KCRM), collecting funds for them during our Christmas light display. KCRM has kicked off this year’s fund drive for their Thanksgiving programs, which will provide over 11,000 meals during the week of Thanksgiving. Many of these will be at their men’s and women’s facilities, while others will go to elderly and shut-in people. Gift baskets containing larger amounts of food will be given to hundreds of low-income families. The size and scope of the operation is impressive, and allows KCRM to provide these meals at a cost of $2.07 each. $27 provides meals for 13 people, and gives them a glimmer of hope during this season.

You can donate to the cause online by visiting KCRM.org and clicking the Donate link in the upper right corner, or by clicking HERE to go directly to the donations page. If you would rather give physical goods, they have an Immediate Needs list HERE. If you choose to purchase items on the list, I have found that the Dollar Store and similar retailers are a great place to stock up. Dollar razors, soaps and shampoos are perfect to stock the shelves.

Helping others is a great way to build community, and helps us focus on something outside of our day-to-day routines. It can truly be one of the most rewarding things that a person can do.

-B

 

Old Time Radio Christmas, Round 3

October 14th, 2016

radio-xmas

It’s time for our third annual post showcasing Old Time radio Christmas shows. If you have missed the past posts, you can find them HERE and HERE This year, I have selected yet another set of classic Christmas shows to share, and I hope you will enjoy listening to them.

The first selection is from a show called Fibber McGee and Molly. This show was a comedy, and has some seriously funny moments, including many times that the main characters crack each other up during the show. There is also a good deal of word play and some involved puns, which I enjoy. This episode shows the Christmas Spirit of the McGees.

Fibber McGee and Molly – Fixing Broken Toys For Needy Children

Next up is an episode of the Jack Benny Show. Benny is considered one of the most influential comics of the 20th century, with his radio show running over 23 years. His self-deprecating style of humor and great supporting cast made for some very funny moments. If you enjoy comedy, I would encourage you to listen to this series. You will not be disappointed. This is one of the many Christmas episodes from the series, from 1944.

Jack Benny – Trimming The Christmas Tree

Now, here is an episode of the Tales of the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are a police force that has existed in Texas since the days of the Republic in the 1830’s. Over the years, the Rangers have been the subject of many films and radio and television shows, and have made their imprint on pop culture. Two examples of this are the popular Lone Ranger, who was in reality a Texas Ranger, and the MLB’s Texas Rangers baseball team. The radio show followed the adventures of Ranger Jayce Pearson, and this episode shows his good heart around Christmastime.

Tales of the Texas Rangers – Christmas Present

Continuing along, here is an episode of Night Beat, a show about the adventures of Randy Stone, who worked the night beat, writing a human interest column for a large newspaper. The show’s topics are varied, and Stone isn’t always the hero. He tends to be hard-nosed, but his human side always comes through. This series only ran for a couple years, but it is well done and interesting, even to today’s standards.

Night Beat – Five Days off for Christmas

Now, to get to the meaning of the season, an episode of Lum and Abner. This series ran for over 20 years, following the antics of two small town friends. This is a shorter show, in the 15 minute format, and touches on a birth on Christmas eve.

Lum and Abner – Christmas Story

Lastly, an episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. Dollar is an insurance investigator whose cases are varied and well thought out. When this series ended, with it ended the ‘Golden Age’ of radio shows. I enjoy this series immensely. Several actors played the lead role, and while some were very dry and business-like, some were more laid back and portrayed Dollar with more humor and insight. This episode was actually written under a pseudonym by Bob Bailey, who also plays Dollar.

Yours Truly Johnny Dollar – The Carmen Kringle Matter

I hope you take the time to listen to these shows, and they can kick off your fall with thoughts of the upcoming Christmas Season.

 

Chalk up another season

January 6th, 2016

Well, that’s a wrap. The lights have run their last sequence for the season, and the yard has gone dark. It was a successful, though stressful, season, with a good amount of traffic. Feedback on the new display features was overwhelmingly positive. Donations were down from last year, but still 50% more than the previous year. In total, we collected a few pennies shy of $450. Facebook likes shot up past 1000, and website visits are approaching 30k total over the last three years

We have already started planning for next season, and I have new display items in the works. Next year should feature a revamp of the original spiral tree (think taller), as well as many new pixel accent pieces and all new sequences. We are already looking forward to it.

Thank you for another successful season!

Hard to believe…

January 5th, 2016

Two

 

If you want to see the lights, you have exactly two more chances: tonight, and tomorrow night. This season flew by, and I’m sure part of that is due to the late start. It’s been a season of struggles and learning, as we adapted some new technology to the show. We managed to work out all the snags, and are looking forward to what we can do next year, running new technology, but keeping a traditional feel to the show. It should be fun 🙂

Come on out and see the lights! Bring a donation for KCRM (we’re up over $400 so far). I would if I were you…

Late Season Visitors

December 30th, 2015

Nice to see several cars stopped out front tonight. Traffic had been a little thin the last couple nights. The roads being a little slick didn’t help that, I’m sure.

 

The lights will continue running each night through at least 1/5. Come by and take a peek, if you haven’t already. We are still collecting for KCRM, as well.

It’s Christmas…

December 25th, 2015

…for a few more hours. If you’re tired of sitting around watching tv, or bored with your toys, or just a little stir crazy, come on out and see the lights! The display is up and running until about 10:45. It will run each night through January 6th. Don’t forget that we are collecting for the Kansas City Rescue Mission, so bring along some funds for them 🙂

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve, Watterson Style

December 24th, 2015

C&H Christmas Eve

Almost Christmas…

December 18th, 2015

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is almost here. Just a month ago I was fretting about getting the lights up and going. Thanksgiving came and went, and the lights were still dark. After a huge effort by my dad, my wife and me, we finally got the lights (mostly) going by the first weekend in December. However, this delay put the kibosh on our annual open house, and between that and the unseasonably warm weather, it really hasn’t felt much like Christmas. We’ve mostly completed our gift shopping, and are preparing for guests over the holidays, but even that hasn’t bolstered our Christmas Spirits. The kids are geared up, however, and they’re excited for the holiday events. I think we’ve watched Elf about 10 times already, along with a number of other Christmas movies and Christmas themed shows, but even these haven’t really sparked the holiday merriment.

So, what’s the plan? How do you get into the Christmas Spirit? We’re going to head out and see A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Coterie theater today, and then come back home and greet folks who are watching the lights and hand out some candy canes. We’ll likely try and greet folks tomorrow night, as well, and see what we can do towards doing it each night next week. We’ll go out as a family and look at other lights one night. We’ll keep plugging away at the advent calendar. And we’ll work to remember that none of these things really matter, and keep focused on the Reason for the season, and the redemption He brought when he came to this world.

For those of you who are coming out to the lights in the next week, please enter the neighborhood from Woodland onto 63rd Terr, and then you can continue around the corner at the house onto Millbrook Ave, and when through watching, continue down Millbrook to W 64th St, turning left back out to Woodland. This will help reduce some of the congestion that we experienced last year. Thank you for your cooperation 🙂

Please keep in mind that we are still collecting for the Kansas City Rescue Mission, and all donations that you feel compelled to give go directly to them. Helping others is another great way to get into the Christmas spirit!

A Great Night for Lights!

December 6th, 2015

If you’re sitting at home, tired of Sunday evening TV, and looking for something to get you out of the house, go find some Christmas Lights! There’s a link on our front page for the Johnson County driving tours, which are well-researched and put together.  If you don’t feel that ambitious, just swing by our display! Everything is up and working, and we’ve been adding to the pixel tree sequences to fill them in 🙂

 

Finally

December 5th, 2015

I feel like we rebuilt the entire show today, but I’m glad we put the effort in. All the pixel elements are finally up and going. Over 800 pixels were replaced today, including the entire pixel tree and both shooting stars. I also repaired the star on the original big tree, which was a trick to get to, even with large ladders. I also replaced two malfunctioning controllers and one SSR with spares, and repaired a couple light strings. Crazy day, had to delay the start of the show by a few minutes. Once up and going, though, it was all worthwhile. Visitors tonight were very complimentary, and many stayed to watch large portions of the show. Now to tweak some sequences…  I’ll get it all together just in time to take it down 🙂

Improvements coming

December 4th, 2015

Those of you who have come by the show this year have only seen part of what was planned. The pixel tree, our new feature item, hasn’t run all season. Other pixel display pieces have had issues, as well, all due to water intrusion into the individual pixels, causing data errors and erratic operation at best. Tomorrow, the pixel tree will be redone with replacement pixels. These are better quality than the ones we had already. All in all, we plan to rebuild the pixel tree, two tree topper stars, and the two shooting stars this weekend. If you have seen the show already, it will be worthwhile to come back by and see the improvements. It’s been a difficult season, knowing that the show has only been partially operational. After this weekend, it should be up to speed 🙂

Finally, some lights…

November 29th, 2015

Okay, so for those of you who have been wondering about the lights, they are finally running! There are a few pixel elements that are still waterlogged, and will need to dry out before they work again. Hopefully by this weekend, we can be up to full speed. We will keep you updated. For now, all the standard string elements are up and going.

Just relax and look at the center of the picture…

November 18th, 2015

ezgif.com-crop

Keep watching and repeat after me:  “I will come to the light show. I will come to the light show.”

All kidding aside, the new and revised pixel elements are all coming together well and should add some more fun to the display.

We’re down to single digits on the countdown timer. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time! The weather cooling off and some flurries in the forecast for this weekend will probably make it more believable 🙂  Soon!

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