Friday, December 31, 2010

What makes us say and do these things?

It was another day of belly laughing for me. My coworker and I had a two hour lunch with a dear friend. She is hysterically funny, has a wonderful and sometimes warped sense of humor. She is so fun to be with. She said she is concerned that on the verge of her fiftieth birthday, she just might be on the verge of menopause. "What ARE hot flashes? I don't think I've ever had one. Everything in the lady department seems to be regular. But I think it's menopause causing my erratic symptoms."

"Well, then, what are your symptoms?" we asked.

"This crazy snake lady comes out of my head, (she entwined her hands overhead like she was doing the Flamenco), wraps around anything or anyone that gets in my way and makes me say things I would never say. I am losing my filter."

It's excusbale, we told her. In fact, I read somewhere that elderly Native American women are forgiven all of their foibles. They can get away with saying anything after menopause.

"Since my husband lost his job, he tends bar sometimes at an upscale restaurant. I am not jealous. I knew he would be out late, so I went to bed. During the night I was awakened by our six year old who had climbed into bed with me, rolled over and plowed into my gut. When I sat up and looked at the clock, this snake-head lady erupted out of my head. I dialed my husband's cell phone. He answered after a few rings and sounded groggy (or drunk). I tore into him. "Do you know how unfair it is of you to make me worry like this? A phone call is all I ask for. There are only two places you could possibly be at this hour, either at a bar or at someone's house. It is 2:30 in the morning and all I want is the truth from you. Where the hell are you!"

Quietly, he replied, "In the other room, trying to sleep in our son's bed."

We were laughing so hard and loud, gasping for air. The manager at Panera Bread Company walked over to us, and when he saw that he did not have to dial 911 for three simultaneous chokers, he feigned interest in removing our dishes. I teach preschool, and I know the art of distraction vs. confrontation. I'm sure he would have urged us to take it down a notch or leave, except he caught a glimpse of the snakes unfurling from our peri-menopausal, smack-dab-in-the middle of menopause, and post-menopausal heads.

Care to share your embarrassing moment? Laughter is good for the system and soul.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year End Musings and Meanderings

I attended a family gathering with my aunts, uncle and cousins yesterday. One of my cousins had me laughing so hard, my sides still hurt today. She said that years ago she worked at a large corporation. It is so big that they have a bus to shuttle the employees from their cars to the door. She walked into the office one morning and everyone was gathered around the television with concerned looks on their faces. She asked, "What's wrong?"

A supervisor replied, "The shuttle blew up."

She shouted, "Oh my God, I just got off of it!"

They all turned simultaneously and looked at her like she was a space cadet. I laugh, because that could have been me. I am forever inserting foot in mouth.

She said, "As soon as I realized they meant the Space Shuttle, I chuckled and said, 'Well there goes any hope I ever had of a promotion.'" Sometimes all you can do is laugh at yourself.

As this year winds down, there are some things I ponder. I get annoyed with Reality TV. There are harsh realities across the globe that deserve our attention. I want to shout at the boob tube, "So, you think you can dance? Write? Tell a joke? Run for political office? Find the man or woman of your dreams, one who will tolerate your screams? You think you can affiliate with freaks and not have a bit of their stink rub off on you?"

Life can be such a mystery. I know that in order to make it in this world, you must believe in yourself, but some people are totally delusional. I am not implying any of the following are delusional. Just making some observations and expressing my personal opinion.

I have a friend who worked really hard to earn a Masters Degree in Psychology, then, she took a job as a master gardener. I wonder if she coaxes the greens out of the ground with gobbly de gook? “Oh pretty blossom, do you feel like unfolding today? Did that bee sit on your stamen wrong? Poke your pistil too hard?” PUHLEASE! The woman is a shingle away from being a shrink, sitting comfortably on a plush couch. Instead, she’s out there squatting all day, dabbling in the other kind of dirt.

Our adult kids cried poor mouth all year, and then at Christmas our young grandchildren came over with their heads down and their fingers and thumbs flying on electronic hand held devices. I Tunes, I Pad, I Pod, I Touch ... I DON’T KNOW the difference and I don’t CARE. What I do know is that I cannot afford a $250 poke it, scroll it, play it, sing along with it gadget. I can barely text and figure out a cell phone. By the way, what ever happened to hand held transistor radios? Paying to hear music? Mindboggling to me.

Those screaming mimis on reality shows, dance shows, and political talk shows make me crazy. I can’t bear to see or hear a particular presidential hopeful shoot off her mouth or her gun. I don’t care if her daughter or anyone else can or can’t dance. I don’t care which stick thin woman is the next top model or which crazed chef makes the cook cry. I think most politicians are liars, not leaders and most Americans are followers not independent thinkers. I don't give a hoot whose hooting about what Oprah is giving away to guests. I think Judge Judy lets her mouth overrule her rulings, and I think Judge Joe Brown should be in every school telling it like it is.

Whew! I am out of breath, but here are a few final thoughts on what I really think: My weight has increased, my memory is shot, my publications are fewer and my husband’s still hot. The weather is crazy, the world’s in a mess, Happy New Year to you all, and may you all be blessed. This post (but not the poem)was written tongue-in-cheek)

Monday, December 27, 2010

A writer's gift to all of my readers

I don't know which is my favorite photo. I like the one of Nicole yanking the snowman's nose, but I also like the one of her yanking her daddy's chain: "Daddy, Barbie's telling secrets in your ear."

Our grandchildren are growing up way too fast, so I am cherishing every minute with our last one, as she is a gift to me.

And click here this is my gift to you. Lot's of publishing opportunities on this website. Happy New Year! Happy writing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Playing in a winter wonderland

We had a white Christmas; it was a wet, heavy, 4 inch snow. The road crews had the main streets cleared, but the ground was covered, which made the young and young at heart very happy. I told the grandkids that I wanted a photo of them in the snow, and then Grandpa said, "Get Nana!" Oh yeah, there was laughter and squeals (mostly mine) and we made memories to last another year.

Nicole wanted to make a snowman, but the snow was too cold for her little hands, so she made a a snow bush. Was she ever proud!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Past, Present and Future

Top to bottom taken in 1990: Tracey holding her daughter, Ashley; Jason; Cousin Veronica, Cousin Michael, Cousin Jan

Cousin Veronica, Cousin Jill (in heaven with the angels now), Tracey and Jason singing, Away in a Manger Photo taken late 1970's

To Grandmother’s House They Go by Linda O'Connell

I love Christmas carols. I can’t carry a tune, but I keep my car radio tuned to the Christmas station during December and sing holiday music at the top of my lungs. One song in particular brings tears to my eyes no matter how often I hear it. The melody takes me back to Christmas Eves of long ago when my son, now 37 and my daughter, 40 were young. They stood on the decorated staircase with their cousins, each claiming his or her step. Their innocent faces radiated love, trust and hope. I taught them the words and hand motions to Away in a Manager, and every Christmas I photographed them in the same poses with their mouths open wide in song. I can still hear the blending of their tiny voices and see their interlocked hands nestled under their chins as they sang about the Baby asleep in the hay. Some were toddlers, there were the kindergarteners and even the big kids who made their fingers flutter in the air as they sang about the twinkling stars. They visored their eyes to look down where He lay. All of the relatives smiled proudly and clapped at the conclusion as their little hands cradled an imaginary infant.

The days of cradling my babies are long gone, but those precious memories unravel like a strand of loose red wool in a comfy sweater. Veronica was pie faced and smiley. Jill with her dark eyes and dark page boy hair-cut looked exactly like the Fisher-Price baby doll she received for her sixth Christmas –the last Christmas of her young life. Months later she was struck and killed by a car as she darted across the narrow one-way street in front of her house. There were the babies yet to come, Mike and Jan, but sadness, divorce and death scattered the family in all directions.

Whenever I hear the carol, Away in a Manager, I am reminded of those Christmas Eves of yesteryear when joy and laughter rang out as the children ran and played with one another and the adults enjoyed the festivities. On the way home, our kids excitedly watched the night sky for Rudolph’s red light. They hovered nearby as I poured a glass of milk and set two cookies out for Santa.

“Don’t forget a carrot for Rudolph.” They stood at the front door shivering as I tied a carrot to the knob. Then I hurried my little girl and boy through the tooth brushing routine and into their footed zippered pajamas. “Listen, I can hear the faint tinkle of bells. Hurry, hurry, climb into bed. Let’s say your prayers.” I was as excited as they were.
“Are you sure Santa can get in? We don’t have a fireplace.”
“Don’t you worry, Santa has magic. He can squeeze into any little boy’s or girl’s house.”
“What now?”
“I love you, mom.”
“I love you too.” I peer down into their faces and say the same thing to each, “I know you’re excited about Santa, but don’t ever forget, this is the night the baby Jesus was born.”
“Okay Mom, I won’t.”
“I know, Mom.”
I back out of their rooms smiling, singing softly, “Away in a Manger.”

Tonight I snuggle on the sofa wrapped in a holiday afghan with sugar plums dancing in my old head. Holiday music plays softly, Scrooge blurs on the TV as I travel to my own Christmas Past. I feel my little boy’s bear hugs and sloppy goodnight kiss. I smell my little girl’s freshly shampooed hair and kiss her soft cheek. My eyelids droop as I envision myself young, tiptoeing into their childhood bedroom, pulling the covers up to their chins. Satisfied with their rhythmic breathing, I dim the lights … goodnight my babies, Merry Christmas.

I awake to Christmas Present: my babies are parents with babies of their own. The phone rings at daybreak; the little ones want to tell me what Santa brought. I am Nana to a blended family of nine little darlings. I prepare a feast and await their arrival. The house fills with laughter, aromas of baked goods and fragrant, flickering holiday candles. One by one, the four families arrive. Adult children resurrect their individual childhood holiday memories. We eat until we’re stuffed. The youngsters huddle on the floor and rip open their gifts on the count of three. Later children are sprawled everywhere, the older ones play video games, the younger ones play board games, share toys and make memories. The adults laugh at the antics of Ralphie in our favorite holiday movie. One by one they prepare to leave and we kiss them good-bye. Our hugs last a bit longer than any other day of the year.

The last family leaves as the outdoor Christmas lights automatically illuminate the bushes. I sit on the sofa and smile at my husband, satisfied to my core. I gaze at the tree glistening with ornaments –some razzle-dazzles made in factories, treasured handmade ornaments from our children and grandchildren. Priceless, age-old heirlooms that belonged to our parents and grandparents hang from the highest branches. The angel atop the tree reminds me of God’s love and the meaning of all this hoopla.

Before I lay me down to slumber, I gaze into Christmas Future, and I know that despite all of the hardships they will have to endure in life, our children and grandchildren have a foundation built on love, faith and family that will see them through. Merry Christmas my darlings, Merry Christmas to you all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spread the Word

If you carry only one of these verses in your heart and pass it on to someone else today, you will be spreading the WORD.


Jesus is Better than Santa
Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited
JESUS stands at your door and knocks.. and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO
JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry"
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.

Santa's little helpers make toys
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree
JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.

It's obvious there is really no comparison.
We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.

We need to put Christ back in Christmas.
Jesus is still the reason for the season.

I found this on Sandie's blog at

Monday, December 20, 2010

Writing contest

For all you dog lovers out there, wouldn't you like to win $500.00 for writing about your pooch, mutt, doggie, pup? Deadline is Jan. 31, 2011, so you have time. Check out the guidelines here.

It is the 25th Annual Dog Lovers AKC Publication Fiction Contest.
Pat, this is right up your alley!

I was thinking about my dog who went blind at the end of her life, but she could smell me peeling an orange from three rooms away. She'd always come find me and I would give her a slice. I also had a cat who loved the pimentos from green olives.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Now, where did I put that?

I am getting forgetful. Not the normal age-related forgetfulness. I often ask where my glasses are, only to find them nestling on top of my head with my sunglasses. I walk into my walk-in closet at school, and I can't remember what I wanted until I walk out! I lose my keys all the time, and I even lost my husband's new car key. OUCH. I never did find his, but I find mine all the time in the oddest places. These things I can deal with.

I don't know if it is the cold weather that freezes and destroys more of my brain cells each year at this time, or if there is a grinch living in our house.

We had a very large, beautiful tree with beautiful glass ornaments for many years. The tree took up too much space, and taking it apart and reassembling it each year got to be a pain. Even using a magnifying glass didn't help me figure out which letter on each artificial branch was a "C" or a "G". So, we downsized, bought a used six foot tall but not half-the-room-wide tree. It was beautiful too, but taking it apart every year became a nuisance; the branches scratched my hands up. So we decided to remove the ornaments, cover the tree in a large plastic bag and store it upright in the basement after the holidays. We did that for three years.

Well, last Christmas, I went downstairs to get the tree, and it was gone. G-O-N-E. I searched the family room, the laundry room and hubby's work area. G-O-N-E. I called him, and by the end of our search we were accusing one another of playing a joke. We even called our adult kids. The tree became a bone of contention and we both quit talking about it. We were driving down the highway, when I saw a beautiful pine tree off to the side of the roadway. AHA! I remembered what had happened to that tree last Christmas. We were taking it downstairs, the bottom section dislodged and we'd said, "Enough!" We'd dismantled it and sent it to the trash heap in sections. When we remembered, we laughed out loud and pointed the finger at each other. We laughed about that incident into January.

Another Christmas, another issue. Last night as I lay on the couch gazing at the tree, I felt that old familiar stirring. "What is missing? What did I forget? Although we gave all of the fancy ornaments to a granddaughter who moved out, and we kept the sentimental ornaments for our brand new small table top tree, I KNOW I did not give her my thirty year old beloved, pain-in-the-butt-to-put-on-EACH-Christmas-light, bulb covers. They refract the light and increase the brilliance of each colored light. I love-love-love them.

I have searched the house over, twice! I did find some things I'd lost, like that Wise Man's noggin that got knocked off three years ago. Nothing like a headless wiseman to scare the heck out of a toddler. Now she'll be confused that he regrew his head.

But those bulb covers are G-O-N-E. If I go to my oldest granddaughter's house and see them on her tree, I will just smile and pretend I remember giving them to her. I have to go find my cell phone. Now, where did I put that?!

Friday, December 17, 2010

An old fashioned-tree with sentimental ornaments

It's a bit old fashioned; it's not fancy, it is not decorated with expensive ornaments, and the angel atop is slightly askew, but our table top tree makes me smile when the lights are on. We used to have a very large, six foot tree that took up half the living room. It was beautifully shaped, but it was just too big for us. Last year we downsized to this little bushy tree. It is such a relief not to have to remove an end table, and move our furniture around to make room for a tree. The only thing that was removed was the lamp.

If you click and scroll on top of the photo you can enlarge and see the ornaments. Notice a tiny yellow gauzy angel in the center. She is a treasure. She belonged to Bill's mother and of course is an antique. There's a miniature stocking to the left that belonged to my grandmother. But most of the ornaments are merely gifts from students or are sentimental gifts from children and grandchildren. There's a decorated tuna can on the bottom of the tree with a photo insert of my step daughter, Michele, as a little girl. There's the paper bell shaped ornament that my son, Jason, scribbled on in Sunday School when he was two and a half. When my daughter, Tracey, was five she chose a Christmas card cut-out of Mary and the Baby to be inserted into the top half of a blue L'eggs (pantyhose)egg. The glittered wooden ornaments take me back to the day my first grandchild, (21 year old Ashley), then six, sat out front on the steps one autumn day and helped me paint and decorate them. There are the paper ornaments that each of the babies scribbled on, the hand drawn picture of my cat decorated by grandson, Austin, at age seven. The paper and the foam snowmen made by grandkids, make me aware of how fast our children and grandchildren grew up.

My favorite and most treasured ornament is not the Eskimo as you might imagine, since I lived in Alaska and had my first baby there. It is the ornament just below and to the right. There are two little chipmunks swinging inside a heart. Bill gave it to me. It has a little red heart that says OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS TOGETHER.

If you look to the right of the creche, you'll notice a pink paper with a hand- drawn Nativity scene. My daughter drew it thirty-two years ago when she was eight years old. It has graced the bottom of our tree for over three decades.

God bless you and your family. May the spirit of Christmas shine on your past, brighten your future and dazzle your holidays. When the lights are ablaze on my tree I am reminded of the light in our childrens' and grandchildrens' eyes each Christmas. I'll never forget the one year when Tracey was five; she opened a package, held up her little purse and shouted, "Look Mom! Santa shops at Target too." Ug! I fogot to clip the tag off.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Simple Treasure, snowmen, warm my heart

As winter hammers the midwest with a bit of freezing rain and ice, I have a snow day. My simple pleasure today is sipping a cup of tea and gazing at my collection of snowmen.

The preschool children cut out paper snowflakes and we displayed them on the school window with the caption: Frosty's Baby Pictures.

Snowmen all start out as flakes, and these soft little snowmen make me smile.
Check out Dayle's blog You will lose track of time over at Dayle's Simple Pleasures.

Take a look at the top photo. It is different from the bottom one, because I have replaced the juvenile snowman with a more suitable mature snowman.

We live on a main street which was clear today, so Hubby and I ventured out, and I found this tissue box cover snowman for a dollar at the thrift store. He is the perfect mate for Mrs. Snowman. Up until now, she was a single mother with all those kids. They make a cute couple and look thrilled with one another, don't you agree?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How do you handle a bad day?

My daughter has car trouble, two friends had to have their dog's put down, a blogger friend got a big fat rejection on her book, and someone stole the nativity scene from the school around the corner from mine. I mean, life can really get you down sometimes. And I haven't even begun to address the miserable cold weather that's sweeping the nation. Sometimes we all feel like chucking it all, crawling under the covers and not coming out until Puxatawney Phil makes his prediction, which we all know will be more bad news.

Funds for Writers is a wonderful web site with valuable information. Hope Clark wrote today about having one of those WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER?! days. We all have them. Check out her site and send her a word of good cheer. Let her know how much she is appreciated. If you are not a follower, you should be.

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Life is 10% of what happens and 90% how I react to it. ~ John Maxwell

Don't let a bad day last more than 24 hours ~ Linda O'Connell

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul, Canned Food for the Body Event

Becky Povich, Theresa Sanders, Linda O'Connell, T'Mara Goodsell and V.P. of Missouri Writer's Guild, Deborah Marshall in back.

The Chicken Soup for the Soul book signing was a huge success, we practically sold out. Becky, Teri, Tammy and I shared laughter and friendship. Thanks to all of our friends, shoppers, my students and their parents and grandparents, my family members,(Aunt Dororthy, cousins, Jeff, Liz, Dororthy, Bradley and Anna) and David Lucas from St. Louis Writer's Guild, who stopped by for a visit or purchased books and brought non-perishable donations for the local food pantry. Deborah Marshall, vice president of Missouri Writer's Guild attended. We shared hugs with Lou Turner, owner of High Hill Press and outgoing president of Saturday Writers and also Donna Volkennant, VP of Saturday writers. These women are all great writers too. Bea Siros covered the event for

Outside, it was a wintry day with occasional light drizzle. There were families bundled up to watch the parade, but inside Main Street Books, the percussive beats of the drum corp reverberated, and we could hear the colorful and charismatic entertainers (the sugar plum fairy, angels, Santas from around the world and more) whooping and hollering. It brought out the child in all of us. We rushed to the windows to watch the gaiety.

If you happen to be on Main Street in St. Charles, MO for next weekend's parade, stop in and say hello to Vicki Erwin, proprietor of Main Street Books, and purchase a book or two for a loved one or YOURSELF.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Shhh! Be the first. Google "The Cookie Chronicles Linda O'Connell". Belief has my story on its page as top story today. The book release is 12/28/10 Please buy a Chicken Soup for the Soul Book for yourself or someone this holiday.

Today is the booksigning for four of us Chicken Soup writers, from 1-3 p.m. at Main Street Books in St. Charles, MO. Press coverage by Last year Santa dropped by to say hi. Bring a canned good and receive 20% off entire purchase at Main Street Books.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gingerbread Family

That happy faced wooden gingerbread man on the top shelf makes me smile. He is an old guy who watched my kids grow up. He sat on a long shelf that held "teacher mugs". The kids moved out, I gave the mugs away, but I could never part with smiley. I took him to school for learning games every December when we did a unit on the Gingerbread Man. The students placed him in on and under, beside, and in between as they learned positions. They'd laugh like silly when I ended the unit by saying to the last child, "Place him on top ... of ... my head!

I came across the four gingerbread boys at a yard sale. Then I happened into the Dollar General store and found gingerbread GIRLS, and why not? So I bought one for every section of my shelf. The stuffed Mr. & Mrs. were just cute and different, and so I added them to my collection. There's a small shellaced gingerbread house made out of crackers and frosting that a student gave me in 1994 and it is still in great conditon. So this is my gingerbread collection, nothing fancy, but they all struck my fancy, and I just had to have each and every one of them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Do you want my autograph? Do you just want to have fun this Saturday?

Not rain, not sleet, not snow, let nothing keep you away from the Second Annual Chicken Soup for the Soul, Canned Food for the Body booksigning event at MAIN STREET BOOKS, 307 Main Street in Old Town St. Charles, MO from 1-3 p.m.

Bring the children to see the magic on Main Street. Get up close and personal with one of Santa's live reindeer; sorry the one with the red nose is busy at the North Pole. There will be chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, carolers singing, drummers drumming, marching bands marching, and last year there was a life-sized angel making her way down Main Street. It drizzled last year but the crowds were spectacular. I saw babies sitting on their daddys' shoulders and toddlers bundled up like Ralphie's little brother in A Christmas Story (You'll shoot your eye out with a BB gun). I even saw a replica of 'the lamp' in one of the windows. This is a magical time of the year, a family activity, sure to create memories. Visit the craft shops, stop and talk to a Santa from another country (not all Santa suits are read and white). Support the local economy and have lunch at one of the quaint restaurants.

Three other local, Chicken Soup for the Soul writers, Tammy Goodsell. Becky Povich, Theresa Sanders and I will be doing a book signing from 1-3. Anyone who donates a canned food item ( chicken soup is nice) will receive 20% off their entire purchase at Main Street Books. Please stop by and say hi. Do tell a friend about this event.

Please post a link to my blog on yours or pass this information on. We'd love to sell a few books, but even more so, we'd like to stock a food pantry with nourishing soup!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I am lucky to be able to squat on the floor with my students to play a game or tie a shoe. There's no way I could hold a yoga pose for any length. When I actually sit on the floor, I have to roll to my hands and knees in the friendly dog position (if there is such a pose) to get up. These old knees have some wear and tear on them; my legs have carried me places you wouldn't believe. I've climbed what seemed like insurmountable troubles, walked a tightrope of heartache; hiked trails that have led to nowhere; and I hopped, skipped and jumped way too fast through my kids' childhoods. I am reminded of how quickly life goes by, especially after hearing the terrible news about Elizabeth Edward's cancer being untreatable now. Her days are numbered and she readily accepts that. As she says, "For all of us, our days are numbered."

'Tis the season for counting down and crossing off numbers on advent calendars. The weeks and finally the days until Christmas unwind like an end roll of wrapping paper. Rushing about, cramming in, making appearances, buying gifts, forcing a smile, decorating our homes and offices to get the "feel" of Christmas or Hanukkah makes us feel flustered, and we wonder if it's worth it.

My bogger friend, Allison has a terrific post titled Creating Space. Take a moment to read her message today about "remembering what is instead of what's next".

As we rush here and there, to and from buying or delivering presents, keep in mind that sharing freely of the gifts you possess love, kindness, joy and your spirituality, are the ones that really matter. Treat yourself to a gift today, read Allison's blog.

Our loved ones, children especially, may want presents, but what they really need is our presence. The gift of time is more valubale than a gift that costs money.

When you feel upset or burdened, see red! STOP, sit still, pretend you are at a traffic light, and ignore the fools behind you honking and wanting you to rush on. Have a pleasant day. Peace to one and all.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Angels and the Power of Prayer

Blogger friend, Claudia, said that a friend told her that angels are closest to the earth at Christmas. Do you seem to feel the presence of deceased loved ones more at this time of year?

I bought this sweet, little creamic angel after my mom died, and it is a constant and vivid reminder of her. I believe that angels are forever near and speak to our hearts when we are still enough to listen. When the world or your life seems crazy, noisy and chaotic, quiet yourself and listen to the angels whisper.

We met friends for dinner and as always we enjoyed ourselves and laughed a lot. They told us about a young teenage girl who developed brain cancer and was sent to a cancer hospital out of state. She met another girl there who was the same age, with the same type brain cancer. They discovered that they both had resided in the same house at differn't times of their lives. Coincident, or angels at work?

Please send up prayers for our friend's brother, Eldon, who was diagnosed with severe leukemia and will begin aggressive treatment tomorrow. He lost his wife to cancer two years ago this month. Prayer is powerful. Thank you.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Smell that?

A scent can evoke so many memories. I have been looking for just the right candle to fragrance the computer room. I spent a few bucks at Yankee Candle, a few more at department stores, and I even burned several candles that had been gifted to me. The 'balsam fir' made my nose run and when my husband opened the door and walked in, I took one look at him and prayed his face wouldn't freeze in that grimace. I swear some clown poured tuna fish liquid into the 'beach candle'. The 'cheery-cherry' candle made my teeth ache, it smelled so sweet. I went to Wal-Mart and found this eight inch tall candle in a jar with a ceramic shade for ten bucks. The fragrance is caramel pecan, and I love it. That aroma reminds me of walking through little shops in Kimmswick, a town about thirty miles away. All of the old turn of the last century, small, wooden homes have been converted to craft shops,and they all smell wonderful this time of year. The messages painted on the shade make me as happy as the fragrance: LOVE, PEACE,HOPE,JOY. These are my wishes to all of you.

Little things make me so happy. Do you have a favorite candle fragrance?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snow happy you stopped by!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, blessings from our house to yours. When hubby retired eight years ago, he decided he might want to do woodworking. This is the project that we worked on together. I drew them, he cut them out of heavy wood, and we both designed and painted the snow couple. We think they resemble us, and I just love them. They stand out front greeting passersby. She wears a neck scarf cut from my deceased friend's robe, so the significance is meaningful only to me, but it looks cute from the street. I will be posting a few of my favorite holiday friends on my blog, and most of them are snowmen. What are your favorite holiday decorations?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Won! I Won!

What do Richard Simmons and I have in common? He and I both have a personal essay in the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul book. He also wrote the foreword for,
Shaping the New You. His story is on page 1 and my story, The Cookie Chronicles is on page 79. I received my box of books yesterday. My story is humorous about hiding a stash of Christmas cookies.

Then I looked at the stack of mail and spied my SASE from Lucidity Poetry Journal. I hate to see an envelope addressed to me in my own handwriting. I opened it, saw the folded small yellow rejection slip, or so I thought. It was a list of winners. My name is on the Honorable Mention list. Woo Hoo! There were 236 entries from across the USA and four foreign countries: Ireland (home of the O'Connells), Canada, South Africa and the Netherlands. First, second, third place winners took a nice monetary prize. There were also twenty Honorable Mentions (a small stipend, copy of the book and certificate). I am ecstatic and so inspired that I checked out Hope Clark's post (on the right side of my blog) and discovered a limmerick contest for The Saturday Evening Post. I penned three limmericks pertaining to the photo of a child clinging to her mother on what appears to be the first day of kindergarten. Having taught for over three decades, I wrote from all three perspectives, the teacher's, mother's, child's. This is a no fee contest, and wouldn't you like to say that you have been published in The Saturday Evening Post? Why don't YOU write a limmerick too, but nothing naughty.

My odds are getting better. Out of thousands of Chicken Soup submissions, mine was one of the 101 stories chosen, and my poem was one of the twenty-three chosen out of 236 entries in Lucidity. Oh yeah! I'm happy dancing.