It seems impossible, but another Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I'm looking forward to a great day spent with loved ones. I have so much to give thanks for, and in these trying world times it has never been more apparent and precious to me.
A special thanks to you--the readers. My longevity and success in this little writing career of mine belong solely to you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
2013. Wow, what a year! It’s 5:30 am on Christmas Eve. Presents are wrapped, cookies are baked, family is still in bed. Seems a perfect time to reflect on the year. No matter who you are, twelve months cannot pass by in this adventure we call life without experiencing both highs and lows. In a journey riddled with hills and valleys, one day we struggle with an uphill climb and the next we're running with childlike abandon down the other side.
Still, the exact route we travel is uniquely our own. No two are alike. Sure, there are footsteps all around—some in front or back or right alongside. Several walk with us for a time and then branch off in other directions. A few disappear completely and we're forced to plod ahead without them one step at a time. The path forward is often shrouded in shadows and filled with unforeseen battles, but how we choose to fight through is up to us.
My weapon of choice? I try to be a hero. Now, don’t laugh. There’s no cape or mask involved. I don’t shoot sorceress lightning from my fingertips (well, unless the kids are fighting). No, my heroic powers are much more subtle. It’s there, in the way I interact with my sons. In making an effort to embrace the positives and not dwell on the negatives. In giving back to others (even if it’s a gesture as simple as a smile). I don’t always succeed, of course. I’m not perfect. Sometimes the battle weighs on me and I get tired. My sword arm grows heavy, my patience wears thin. But, I keep trying because I know that if I fail one day, I'll still have a chance to get it right another.
Life. Is. Hard. And, it’s one of the reasons I so love writing heroic fantasy. We all need heroes. That symbolic proof that good trumps evil. The knight in shining armor. The superhero. Or, someone closer to home. The parent who chases away monsters that lurk under beds. The soldier who sacrifices all that is dear to keep others safe. The stranger who lifts people up with a random act of kindness. Heroes inspire. They keep our fears at bay. They allow us to believe in magic, even if for a short time.
This quote sums up the power of heroic fantasy for me.
“She'll kill me if she finds you in here. Can you climb trees? Tell me you can climb a tree!"
Patch grinned, "I can fly.”
― Becca Fitzpatrick, Hush, Hush
Be a hero in 2014. Fly. I'm guessing that people who think they are heroes can change the world. I know that I couldn’t fly without all of you. Writing is such a huge source of joy in my life. Your comments, your reviews, and the fact that you read my words provide the wind that keeps me in the air. Thank you for allowing me to soar this year.
Happy holidays to you and yours!
It is Valentine’s Day, and I have been so busy editing that I am determined to make this an unforgettable evening for my poor neglected husband. So, I dress to the nines and make a fabulous dinner. Just as I finish lighting the candles on the table, he opens the front door.
Me: [Arm goes up] Whoa! Shut the door, the light is burning my eyes!
Husband: [Turns around in confusion] It’s winter. In New York.
Me: I know, but I haven’t been out of my office in a while.
Husband: No kidding. [Pause] You look taller.
Me: I have heels on.
Husband: What is that smell?
Me: It’s called Sweet Seduction [I purr]
Husband: It smells like salmon.
Me: Oh, that’s our Valentine’s Day Dinner.
Husband: [Walks to the table and inspects the food] Wow, it must have taken quite a few boxes for all of this food.
Me: Boxes? It’s all homemade, moron. You know what a great cook I am!
Husband: [Tilts his head in contemplation] Yes, I think I do have a vague recollection of that.
Me: Very funny. Now sit down. Let me make the toast. Happy Valen… [Whoosh…Candles snuff out and a football lands in the middle of the table. Sons rush into the room]
Son #1: Sorry, Mom. Hey, what are you guys doing?
Me: Trying to have dinner. [Icicles are warm compared to this voice]
Son #1: I thought you said we were having Pop-Tarts for dinner.
Me: No, I said you were having Pop-Tarts for dinner.
Son #2: Did somebody die? Why is Mom out of her office?
Husband: Nobody died. We are having a Valentine’s Day Dinner.
Son #3: What is this green stuff? [A pudgy finger pokes through the food on my plate]
Me: It’s called a vegetable.
Son #3: Ew, gross. I’m outta here.
Son #1: By the way, you look great, Mom. You really should come out more often.
[Sons rush out of the room]
Husband: Mmm…I agree. You do look beautiful. [Is he purring this time?]
Me: Nice try. Hey, how about we do this again in six years? By then, the kids will be grown and my writing career will be fond memory.
Husband: It’s a date. [Clink]
A warm and heartfelt Thanksgiving wish to you all.
What are you thankful for today? I know that I have much to be grateful for. Let's see...I'm:
May your stuffing be tasty, may your turkey plump
May your potatoes and gravy, have nary a lump
May your yams be delicious, and your pies take the prize
And may your Thanksgiving dinner, stay off your thighs!
Happy Mother’s Day to all, whether you are a mother, have a mother, or are honoring a mother now departed.
<--------- My husband and three sons spoiled me rotten all weekend long, and I loved every minute of it.
But, this is a bittersweet holiday for me. Sweet because it is a time to celebrate this crazy love journey called motherhood and bitter because my mother is no longer here to share it with. She passed away unexpectedly at the age of 52, and I miss her dearly. She taught me many things about life, but an appreciation for humor and laughter were her greatest gifts to me.
So in honor of mothers everywhere, a few "Momisms" we all can appreciate...
My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."
My mother taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."
My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
My mother taught me LOGIC.
"Because I said so, that's why."
My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that tree and break your leg, don't come running to me."
My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident."
My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."
My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."
:) Miss all your "isms", Mom, but don't worry, I am making up new ones for your grandchildren every day. ♥
Happy Mother's Day!
2012 is almost upon us, which means that the optimistic are frantically preparing their new year goals and resolutions. Fortunately, I jumped off that bandwagon long ago. For me, 2012 will be like 2011 just as 2011 was like 2010. The only variable in my year is the number at the top.
It goes something like this.
January - Vow to exercise more and eat a healthier diet.
February - Convince myself that I look fine the way I am.
March - Kick myself for falling for that dastardly lie because vacation is now right around the corner.
April - Spend time on vacation with family and friends covered in black layers.
May - Dust off the summer clothes and wonder if I ever really fit into them.
June - Pray for one of those cooler than average New York summers.
July - Take on an orangish hue as I rival Jersey Shore’s Snookie in spray tans.
August - Promise to celebrate my birthday without worrying about aging. We all know that the wrinkles merely indicate where all the smiles have been. :)
September - Perform the ritual and liberating back-to-school happy dance. This is what it looks like if you have never seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3z17rUDWEc
October - Embrace October because I get to bundle up in those baggy clothes again.
November - Let go of my feelings of guilt and decide to enjoy Thanksgiving and forget about watching what I eat for the next two months.
December - Vow to exercise more and eat a healthier diet.
Alas, it all ends as it once began.
Kidding aside, I do have very real goals for 2012. Professionally, my hope is to finish writing and then publish Island Shifters - An Oath of the Mage by late spring. The story is developing an amazing life of its own, and I love where it is headed. On the personal side, I think I will keep it simple: Laugh more, worry less, write more, procrastinate less, give more, take less.
Love to you all and best wishes for a spectacular 2012!
As always, thanks for reading…
The very minute I leave my sister’s house on Thanksgiving evening, laden with good food and good wine, I am in Christmas panic mode. I begin to think about the tree and the decorations and the shopping and the wrapping and the cooking and the baking and the cleaning—just to name a few of the anxiety-inducing culprits. But, you know what I have noticed? This panic is confined to me alone. My husband happens to navigate through the month of December with a peacefulness to make the Dalai Lama envious. It is as if he is encased in some type of holiday immunity bubble that no amount of nagging can penetrate. His Christmas planning doesn’t start until around the 23rd of the month when he will call upon a few good buddies for a last-minute shopping spree that will usually end with a stop at the local watering hole.
Ladies, you do know what is available on the 23rd of December, right? Does Chia Pet ring any bells?
Oh, sometimes he'll pretend that he's just as stressed as me, and that’s how I get sucked in every time. As soon as those hazel puppy eyes look my way, I volunteer to take on more and more so he doesn't have the added pressure of the holidays. Between you and me, I could actually buy into this if he looked even remotely as stressed as he does during hunting season.
You know the running joke. “Do know what would have happened if it had been three wise WOMEN instead of three wise MEN? They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought disposable diapers as gifts!”
This post is dedicated to our veterans and the men and women of the U.S. military. I read a thoughtful maxim yesterday that sums up the definition of a veteran as a person who at one point wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for “an amount up to and including his life.”
It takes an extraordinary spirit to drive a person to put service ahead of self. It takes supreme courage to be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom.
It takes a hero.
About a month ago, my fourteen-year-old son informed me that he was considering joining the Army after high school. My first reaction was pure panic, and I desperately thought about all of the arguments I could make to persuade him against doing so, to figure out a way to keep him close to home where he would be protected and safe. Then, I thought how selfish that was. I thought about all of the mothers throughout history who have sent their children off to war so that mine still had the freedom today to make these life decisions. But, I am human. I am a Mom. The desire to keep my children safe is as innate as breathing.
If my son decides in four years that he wants to serve this great nation, I will push my fears aside and encourage him to follow his heart. To me, he is already a hero, and I would be honored and proud to one day call him a veteran.
God Bless the United States of America.