Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I will not be posting on this blog until January 2010.  Many warm wishes to you and yours for a blessed Christmas and a very prosperous and healthy New Year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What's Not to Love About Christmas?

Since we've become empty nesters, Christmas has been a kind of sad let-down. After years of having many children to grace our home, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are quiet and subdued. We go through the motions, but it's not the same.

Christmas Eve is always wonderful because we participate in candlight service at church and drive around to look at Christmas lights. Christmas morning, we empty our stockings and look at the gifts we've bought for each other. We are creatures of habit. We buy candy, a watch, a DVD. We take turns opening the gifts, but our hearts aren't in it.

This year, with hubby being so ill, we've decided not to celebrate with gifts in our stockings. We don't need commercial gifts to celebrate the birth of Christ. We have each other, we have a warm home, we have food to sustain us, and this year we have the anticipation of being able to spend more time together since I'm retiring at the end of the year. We have transportation, enough income to cover our bills, and a wonderful family of children and grandchildren. This year the true spirit of Christmas will live in our hearts.

So, what's not to love about that?

I hope you all have a wonderful and very Merry Christmas however you choose to celebrate.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Cats Snooped and Found Their Christmas Presents...Again!!

In the past, I've shared stories of my cats destroying our Christmas tree each year. Would you believe this is the first year they haven't tried to climb in our tree or knock off any of the ornaments? It's a miracle. We bought a new "slimmer" tree and put it downstairs next to the fireplace. Maybe it's the slimmer design which deterred them. Not sure, but I'm happy about it.

However, they have snooped and found their Christmas presents.  *sigh*  I remember the first year we had them we purchased fuzzy red catnip toys for their stockings. On Christmas Eve, I placed the toys and some treats in each one. On Christmas day, we came downstairs to find they had pulled the toys and treats from their stockings!! They'd unwrapped the toys and were playing with them. None of the other stockings were touched. Little devils. *grin*

Every year since then, they've snooped and scoped out their presents before Christmas. I've hidden them in some pretty good spots, but they always seem to find them anyway. This year I've been so busy that I haven't even been shopping yet. However, on a trip to the store to purchase cat food, I picked out three catnip toys with feathers for our babies. I tied them, still attached to the cardboard, inside a plastic bag, and put it inside another plastic bag with my mother's present and tied that closed. I placed it in a corner of my office, planning to hide the toys later.

About an hour later, groceries unpacked and put away, I sat down to watch the end of a movie I'd taped. I heard some noises, very strange noises, and then a banging noise. I knew that sound. The cats love to bat their fuzzy mouses against the walls in the hallway while they chase them. So I settled back down...until...I saw Wilbur running into the family room with Templeton close behind. Wilbur raced between the sofa and staircase then backed up and began shaking his head back and forth like a dog. What had he gotten into?

Yep, their Christmas presents. He had one of the toys, still attached to cardboard!  I snatched it away, then found another on in the hallway and grabbed it, while racing to my office. They had literally torn a hole through two plastic bags to get their toys. **sigh** I chased them away, with much nasty meowing following, and shut the door to hide the toys until Christmas Eve. Now they are stashed in a file cabinet drawer, inside my office closet. 

Please don't tell my cats.

Have a happy day full of smiles.

Why I Don't Go to the Gym

I don't go to the gym to exercise. There are several reasons why.

  • Do you realize that every few minutes someone working out in a gym pulls a hamstring muscle?
  • I've gotten in touch with my body. It communicated to me that if I took my body to the gym and tried to keep up with the Latin Fusion class, I would die. So I stay at home, sit at my computer, and sway my body to the tune of Golden Oldies.
  • If I wanted to dress my body in spandex and show it to the world, I'd just go on The Biggest Loser where I'd be surrounded by people who might make me feel skinny.
  • I thought machines of torture were against the law, but there are a ton of them in the gym.

Share a smile with someone today! It's calorie-free and you won't pull a muscle doing it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Debate of the Alpha vs Beta Hero

Writers are faced with the challenge of creating the perfect hero for their romance books. Years ago, when I began reading romance, the hero always had a "bad boy" image. I loved the pirate books, where the innocent heroine wound up on the pirate ship and became the lover of the big bad pirate. I also loved the gothic romances where the heroine would wind up in a mansion and fall in love with the angst-ridden hero, who could be a killer.

As the years have passed, romance has taken a change of direction. The heroine is no longer a damsel in distress waiting to be saved. She's grown up. Now, she's stronger and makes decisions (good or bad) without needing approval from a man. This poses the problem of who the hero should be. Should he be a typical bad boy, should he be angst-ridden, or should he be confident and caring at the same time?

I like to write heros who are strong in their own right, but aren't demanding and dictatorial. I like my heros to have a flaw. I also like them to not be afraid to show their emotions. If the hero doesn't show his emotions, how can the reader relate to him? How can the reader root for him?

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 11, 2009

What's Not to Love About Rocks?

What's not to love about rocks?

Many people see shapes in clouds. Me? I see shapes in all kinds of things. For instance, I can stare at the marbled tile floor in our main bathroom and see all kinds of faces and shapes. They change daily.

And rocks! When I look at rocks I see all kinds of animals take shape. My fingers itch to paint the rocks into that image. The other day, I brought home a small rock that looks just like a fish. It is rounded in just the right places and thing and narrower where the tail should be. When I retire, I'm sure I'll find time to go back to my love of bringing rocks to life.

Take time to look around you at all the little things. You just might see something you've been missing. 

Have a wonderful day and I hope you find something to love!

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Tisket, A Tasket, A Little Child's Christmas Basket

When you are an empty nester, Christmas is a time for looking back over prior years and reminiscing those happy times with children. My grandson, who was just a little over a year, spent one Christmas ignoring all the toys he'd received at our house. Instead he had more fun playing in the basket a friend had given me. I still have that basket. It sits in the living room to hold my magazines. But, it still remains in my mind, Jeremy's basket.

Wasn't he just the cutest?  You can see the toys surrounding him. He'd hold onto that handle and we'd pull him all over the floor.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and that I brought a smile to your face with this special picture.

Share your smile with others today! It doesn't cost a cent, and it's the best give you can give or receive.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Writer's Read

I've participated in some lively conversations lately about writers and reading. Some of the newer writers had been told that reading would hurt them, that they would lose their unique voice. That's such a myth.

Most writers receive their passion for writing from reading. While reading a good book, inspiration can come for how to write a better book. We can learn the art of ending a book on a hook, how to up suspense, how to develop characters the reader falls in love with. Fresh ideas can be found in books. One tiny thing can spark an idea for a new book with a unique twist.

Books change over the years. The books written twenty years ago, though fantastic stories, would be penned differently today. The story might not change, but the wording, the phrasing, the pace would change to keep up with the way readers expect to find books written in today's world.

So, reading is vital to a writer's health. Don't feel guilty about picking up a book and rewarding yourself for a reached goal. But, don't let yourself become bogged down in reading to the extent that you don't allow time to write.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 04, 2009

What's Not to Love About Anticipation?

Anticipation drives our world, doesn't it?

As little children we anticipate birthdays. I love to see my granchildren's eyes light up when they tell me their birthday is coming soon! Their faces glow with anticipation of the unexepected.

And Christmas! The entire month of December is one of anticipation. Once the decorations are in place, the countdown begins. Gifts appear under the tree and curiosity drives us to shake, feel, and try to guess what might be inside. For the little ones, Santa represents another anticipation. He'll come down the chimney or somehow manage to enter the house and leave something under the tree. Will it be what they asked for? Or another wonderful surprise?

For me, Christmas represents the birth of Jesus. I anticipate the joy of celebrating that night in history when the shepherds were visited with the good news.

Currently, I'm anticipating the last day of the year when I'll walk out the door of my workplace for the last time as an employee. I'm anticipating what will happen in the next phase of my life. It's frightening, and exciting at the same time.

When I purchase a new book, I anticipate the journey I'll take as I turn the pages.

I realize that for many anticipation means something totally different. Some anticipate the next blow from the hand of another. Some anticipate with dread another day with no food to fill their stomachs, no warm blanket to ward off the cold, no roof to shelter the rain.

There are ways to help. Churches offer food pantrys, free stores for clothing. Firemen and police collect toys and money for children and others in need. And many others.

So, as you anticipate your day today, think about what someone else might be anticipating. I challenge you to open your heart and offer a smile, or a kind word to someone who might need it to get through the day.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Bride Smiled...Until...

It was a beautiful day to have a wedding in the prayer garden at our church. The sun shone brightly and so did the smile on the bride, my soon to be daughter-in-law. My son had picked the perfect woman to be his wife. God clearly made these two to be a pair. All was beautiful.


Have a wonderful day. Share your smile with someone today!