It’s Almost Here!

Today I’m not only talking about Christmas as I declare “It’s almost here!” I’m also thinking of the end of 2020. Thinking of it as the “year that was” should feel good.

And with those thoughts, we can move ahead into 2021 with hope and anticipation of better days ahead.

This Christmas season will be different for many of us. Traditions set aside for safer gatherings. Perhaps one less in that family photo or at the table. Inability to visit and cheer those housed in nursing facilities or in the hospital. And likely many more. 
 
If we love as Christ taught us to love, we are willing to accept these inconveniences.
 

Looking ahead, we hope for the light at the end of this seemingly endless dark tunnel to lead to better times. The vaccine is here, injections are being given, and plans established for each of us to receive it. With gratitude in our hearts, a new year is beginning with the hope of healing and diminishing numbers of victims.

Live into that Light. The Light and Love that came down at Christmas of old is still with us. We need only to live it and share it with others. 

Image Attribution: Diane Wigstone

Featured Image Attribution: Angeles Balaguer from Pixabay

And to all who visit here, I wish you a Merry Christmas, whatever your language or spiritual tradition.

 

Five Minute Friday Link-Up :: Present

present, Five Minute Friday, presence, gatherToday I’m joining a talented group of writers at Five Minute Friday. This community connects each Friday in an online, unedited free-write based on a one-word prompt. My timer is set for 5 minutes. Let’s see where this week’s prompt—PRESENT—leads me.


Likely many are thinking of the list of presents they need to buy, wrap, ship, or deliver. In our family, we’ve created a new process, thanks to the pandemic.

However, before I share that with you, I’d like to tell you about the decision my husband and I landed on some three decades ago. Each Christmas I’d make a list of things I needed/wanted, jot down the store where it could be found, size (if necessary), color, cost. Then Bob could take off shopping with a lot less frustration than if he had to come up with the list and figure out where to shop. 

After watching his frustration for several years, we discussed a new way to give and receive. We asked what gift could we give each other better than we had given on August 15, 1981—ourselves! And so it has been since that long-ago discussion. We don’t buy each other gifts at Christmas or other holidays, not even our anniversary.

Now to today’s process for our kids, grandkids, and great-grands this Christmas. Since we are under lockdown in Oregon and we’re both immune-compromised, I’m shopping online for gift cards. Each family member who lands on our Christmas list will receive one inside a Christmas card via USPS. Hopefully, they can enjoy the delight of shopping for themselves online and not be disappointed.

However, with Advent upon us until Christmas Eve, present means so much more than I’ve written above. I’m stepping outside the busyness, the noise, and minimizing the financial element and stress of the season, only imposed by society and me. I’m inviting in the Christ Child, Jesus, as the presence I’m seeking this Christmas.

2020 has been a long slow slog for all of us. I think His Presence is what is needed for each of us. Being present with Christ is so comforting, soul-satisfying, and joy-filled. Why not make that the present you give to yourself on Christmas Day, 2020?

Saviour, Christ, born, nativity, Star of Bethlehem
Attribution: https://bityl.co/4iKO

Featured image attribution: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Note: Images added outside five-minute time limit.

December 2019

December 2019 is here. Where did November, October, and September go? In my world, they seemed to fly by. How about you? The image above reflects mostly what I’ve been doing–reading by the fire.

In looking through my blog yesterday, I was shocked to find my last post was on November 19, 2019. The post is my review of Kathy Pooler’s second memoir, Just the Way He Walked (see Disclosures). I have other book reviews to share but I’ll be honest and not beat around the bush. My motivation to write, even a book review, is gone. 

I seek inspiration looking out the windows, listening to music, reading others’ work. Nothing happens. Nothing comes to me. I go back over my list of ideas for blog posts. Nothing jolts me into action. And it’s not just writing. 

Some days I can’t find interest in doing much of anything. I tackle the mundane–household chores, laundry, cleaning the kitchen following meals, wiping down countertops. These are chores that cry out to be dealt with NOW!

Why am I telling you all this? Simply to let you know that I’m going to turn out the lights on the blog until January 2020 in hopes of feeling more like the writer/blogger I have been. I may even tackle sending out a monthly newsletter. Who knows what the new year may bring?

With the preparations needed for the holiday season and appointments four out of five days next week, I need to devote time to get through this month. 

I came across this quote from Marianne Williamson this morning. 

Ego says,
‘Once everything falls into place,
I’ll feel peace.’
Spirit says,
‘Find your peace, and
everything will fall into place.’

A still small voice said, “You need to find peace with your current situation.” That’s my plan for December 2019.

Just one more thing before I go…

and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Time to Act Like a Cat–and Pause

Time to act like a cat–and pause.

Have you ever noticed it doesn’t matter to a cat where it rests or naps? Or when or on what piece of furniture? Or in what position–belly up, draping its legs this way and that? Oh, to be so relaxed that it doesn’t matter.

We humans live under too much stress to act like a cat. Yet, I’m going to try. I managed to do it once before and then lost it.

In 2005, I enjoyed a three-month sabbatical with my last employer. Obviously, it was to my credit that my temperament improved from the law firm and its lawyers. At the end of my time off, my husband announced he had enjoyed my time at home with him. So much so, he had decided it was time for me to retire.

In a few months, I retired.

I haven’t looked back with any regrets. With one exception, retirement has been everything I hoped for. However, I tend to take on too much too often to enjoy any time for me. I’m learning to say the word “no” more often, but not yet well-practiced at saying the word “yes” to myself.

I’ve enjoyed the time to write, but life has gotten in the way of publishing my memoir. And I’m growing tired of blogging and social media. I don’t find joy in any of them at the moment.

That’s why it’s time to pause. Like a cat–right now–today.

November 15th is the beginning of personal time for a while.

I will not be posting to the blog for approximately six weeks. There won’t be a quarterly newsletter until after the first of 2019. I will not be on social media for reasons other than family and keeping up with church and volunteer activities.

I am hoping to get some work done on my manuscript, but I’ll also be preparing myself for a third spine surgery. I want to be in the best physical state possible as I want this surgery to work in easing my pain to some degree and to experience a good recovery.

Thanksgiving and Christmas

To each one of you, I send Thanksgiving and Christmas greetings. I hope the season of gratitude and the season of His birth bring hope, joy, and love in abundance to you and yours.

10 Christmas Gift Ideas for the Writer in Your Life

Who doesn’t enjoy receiving gifts related to the work they love to do? No one! And that includes writers.

My hope in writing this post is to ease your shopping burden, and offer you some online shopping options made just for the writer in your life.

 

scrolling-holly-leaves-divider.jpg

Under $20

  1. Writer Emergency Pack has the tools you need when you get stuck ($19.99).
  2. Just One More Chapter, a book quote necklace. Handcrafted in the USA ($15.99).
  3. MRCUFF Fountain Pen Cufflinks Pair are perfect for the male writer ($19.99).
  4. Poets & Writers Magazine Subscription is a perfect gift for writers of any genre
    ($16.95 with varying option renewals).

Under $50

  1. Scrivener Software, for either Mac or Windows, is a great benefit to any writer. This is a download product ($45.00).
  2. A curated, themed box of pens, notebooks, pencils, and items designed to inspire sent monthly with subscription (Monthly subscription $29.00).
  3. Bellaa Decorative Bookends make an elegant gift for the writer or book lover ($29.99).
  4. Leather Journals are always popular with writers and those who like to track their days ($49.95).

Under $125.00

  1. Boxed Set of the Major Works of Charles Dickens in hard cover ($114.49).
  2. Kenneth Cole Reaction Columbian Leather Flapover Computer Case has a classic briefcase style in Columbian leather ($99.44).

 


 

I hope you found some helpful ideas in this list. If nothing here seems right, think about providing your writer with a day in a quiet place to write as long as desired. Quiet time is worth so much to a writer.

Closing Up Shop for December

Yes, I’m closing up shop during December. 2016 came in as usual last January, but it has been a long journey to healing from a fall I took at the end of January. A minor setback recently has required further treatment. I’m hoping by January 2017 to be free of the chronic pain I’ve experienced this year.
Not only that November brought shocking news for some of us with the election results. I won’t deny I have dealt with frustration, fear, and anger. Yet, there is nothing I can do. I have decided to accept the situation by keeping a watchful eye and ear on matters affecting my family.

Bottom line, I’m feeling quite overwhelmed and behind in my writing and family life. I have decided I need to take the month of December to “clean up” my act. Then I will begin the new year with a fresh start to my writing, the blog and newsletter, and even social media.

I will not be posting here or on Facebook or Twitter during December, with one exception. Amber Lea Starfire the 5th year of the “Take the 31 Days of Gratitude Challenge.” The challenge runs during December on her Facebook Page, Writing Through Life. My participation there is all important to what I’m calling an “Advent of preparation.” I need a breath of fresh air and more positivity in life, and this is how I plan to achieve it.

Any writing I do will be on my manuscript, and some time will focus on what I can bring to you in 2017. Christmas and the birth of the Christ Child is the focus of our holiday time.

The first newsletter of 2017 will come out on Wednesday, January 18th. My first blog post will publish on Wednesday, January 4th. Hope to connect with you then.

Sending the warmest of holiday greetings and abundant hope for the coming new year to each of you!

Scripture verse, Romans 15:13
Scripture verse, Romans 15:13

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Peace to you.