Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

I'll make this short, but I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

I hope 2017 is wonderful for all of you.


Today is the end of the year, 2016. While we'll all be celebrating the new year tonight, I think this is a good time to look back.

Of course we could consider the news, much of which was upsetting, but let's focus on our own lives instead.

What was the best thing that happened to you in 2016?

Personally, I can't choose between all the good experiences I had.

Many times I got to be with people I love, see beautiful things, read good books, attend events, and have fun. I had quite a few articles published and learned that one of them made a big difference in the life of someone who read it.

I can't even remember what my New Years resolutions were for 2016, but I also tried making some seasonal resolutions. Unfortunately I didn't accomplish everything on those lists. And there are a few things I certainly should have done, especially getting all the papers in my office sorted and cleaned out.

And I wish I had done more to help other people ,and gotten more things written and published.

But if I had the opportunity to do 2016 over again, I wouldn't take it. It was a good year in my life and it's time to move on to 2017.

If you could do 2016 over again what would you choose to have done differently?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


As 2017 approaches I'm praying for peace on Earth and that everyone with physical, emotional, and economic problems will have them resolved.

This is a short post, but that pretty much says it all.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Winter Holidays

It's Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukah.

It's wonderful to have such celebrations in the bleak midwinter - although it's actually only the beginning of that season, not the middle. Winter started on December 21st.

But it's still a cold time of year and we enjoy having fireplaces warm and candles and lights glowing as families gather together and share feasts, if they can. And we think of those who can't be with us.

But what about people in the Southern hemisphere? Down under Summer has just begun. Do people in Brazil and Australia celebrate Christmas with picnics and outdoor parties? I have no idea.

But, you know what?

It really doesn't matter.

What we are celebrating is God's love for us and our love for each other. And those things are here at all seasons of the year.

I hope everyone who reads this feels surrounded by love and joy.

God bless us, every one.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Cards

I've had lots of people wish me a Merry Christmas over the internet, and have sent similar wishes to others. I plan to send a few Christmas e-cards, too.

But I still love getting the old-fashioned, hard copy cards. I'm glad to have received some of those, though not as many as I used to get. And I didn't send as many as I used to, either.

Hundreds of years ago it could take months for letters people sent to arrive. Sometimes they never did get to their destinations since they had to be carried by people who happened to be travelling to the destinations. If someone moved across th ocean to America from China or Europe, the people where they came from might never hear from them again.

In the early California people got mail by pony express, and then by train, but it was expensive to send. Getting a letter from someone back east was a big deal.

When the US Postal Service was developed, letters were much easier to send and receive, and Christmas cards became popular.

But it took several days or even a week for them to arrive.

Today we communicate over the internet and people might read our messages in a matter of seconds.

Maybe in the future we'll all have brain implants and communicate by thought waves. But then the govrnment could read our minds and... (Okay, my writerly imagination is at it again.)

I still love getting the old fashioned Christmas cards, but if you read this and I haven't sent one to you, please accept this as my way to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Merry Christmas

At this time of year we hear and see "Merry Christmas" a lot.

Merry means, happy, and I've been thinking of other words that mean the same thing.

One of my high school teachers used to often say, "Happy, cheerful, merry, gay.". (Of course now gay has taken on a different meaning.)

Other words with meanings similar to merry are joyful, cheerful, pleased, delighted, ecstatic, joyful, lighthearted, and glad.

I'm sure there are many other similar words, but I won't bother to look them up and list them all here.

Having so many ways to talk about happiness shows that we have a culture of positive people in spite of all the gloom and doom in the news.

I hope your holiday season is full of happiness, joy, etc., etc., etc.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Books

When I was a kid on Christmas Eve my parents always read two books to us. The first was The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, which had originally been published as A Visit From Saint Nicholas. It's about Saint Claus and his eight tiny reindeer and kids still hear that story today.

The second was Christmas Carols, illustrated by Fern Bisel Peat. Yes, it's a book of songs, but in the first part of the book each carol has an opposite illustrated page with part of the Christmas story from the King James Bible. Our parents would read that part of the story to us, then we'd all sing the carol on the opposite page. We usually didn't sing all the traditional carols in the rest of the book because it would be past our bedtime and we had to get ready for Santa Claus to come.

Today there are dozens - maybe even hundreds of Christmas books for kids. One of those is the one I wrote, Secret Service Saint.

But those two books from my childhood Christmas Eves will always have a special place in my heart.

Do you remember any special books about Christmas from your childhood?

Saturday, December 10, 2016


At this time of year, people are getting involved in traditions.

We've already had Thanksgiving in America. Now Christmas, Hannukah, and New Years Day are approaching.

No matter when or where humans have lived, it seems like every culture has had traditional celebrations at certain times of the year.

We all also have traditional ways of welcoming babies, celebrating marriages, and dealing with deaths.

Traditions help us remember who we are, because they remind us of our past and help us look forward to the future.

While Christmas is the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus (even though the date might not be historically accurate) it's also the time when we remember our own families and heritage.

For over a century my mother's family always gathered for dinner on Christmas day, but when including all the third cousins and their kids became to large for anyone to host, we stopped doing that. Now we gather in smaller family groups, but still try to keep in touch with the rest of the extended family at this time of year.

And millions - maybe even billions - of people will have lights and decorations on trees and open gifts on that day.

What traditions do you have as you celebrate?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Garbage Man's Underwear

Years ago, when we were first married, we lived in a Victorian flat in San Francisco. Our landlords lived in the flat below us and they became good friends.

He was a retired garbage collector and his back had been injured by falling off a garbage truck.

Several years after we had moved to a house across the Bay, we got a phone call from our previous landlady.

She said her husband had died and she wanted to give my husband all the sweaters she had knit for him. She didn't want to donate them to a local charity or thrift store because she wouldn't be able to bear seeing "some bum" wearing one of them on the streets.

We drove over to the city and got the sweaters, but my husband wasn't able to wear any of them. They were too small for him, and they all had one sleeve shorter than the other. Our landlady had made them that way because after her husband's accident one of his arms had become shorter ,so he couldn't buy clothes with long sleeves.

Respecting her wish, we kept the sweaters for several years before donating them to a charity far away from San Francisco. We wanted to be sure she wouldn't see someone wearing them.

But we kept one sleeveless sweater she had made for her husband to wear as an undershirt to keep him warm on cold days.

It fit me, and I still wear it as a sweater-vest.

So, if you ever see me with a tan, sleeveless sweater over a long-sleeved shirt, you'll know I'm wearing a garbage man's underwear. It reminds me of the sweet landlords we had long ago.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Too Big

Too Big is a middle grade book about Shelby, a ten year old girl who is big for her age. She is doing so well academically she could be moved up to Middle School.

The choice is up to her.

But if she does that she'll have to leave her best friend behind. And if she stays in her current school she must continue to deal with the teasing and meanness going on there.

What should she do?

I read middle grade fiction all the time, and found this book to be a really good one. It's a page turner and I had to keep reading as it brought me through the exciting drama Shelby endured.

The author, Judy Dearborn Nill, certainly understands what it's like to be a kid and she has written an excellent book.