Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Perspective

Along with other fruit trees and plants I have some fig trees and raspberry bushes in my yard. Every year when I pick the ripe fruit I think I've gotten everything, but then look at the tree or bush from a different direction.

Sometimes I bend down, other times I walk back around from a different direction, and sometimes I move branches and leaves aside. When doing that I nearly always see some ripe fruit I've missed.

Now that Christmas has passed it's common for people to look back at the year we've just experienced and start wondering what the next year will bring. Many people made resolutions to accomplish things in 2013 and feel badly if they failed to do everything they had planned.

This year why don't we look at things from a different perspective?

Instead of thinking about what we did or didn't accomplish in 2013 why not look back and think about everything we experienced that we hadn't even guessed would happen back in January?

Instead of making a list of New Year's Resolutions for 2014 let's look at the new year from a different perspective. We can be creative and make a list of the most wonderful things that could possibly happen to us and put that list where we'll be able to see it all year.

Later, if we wish, we can do some practical things to try to make some of our dreams come true, but that's not a requirement.

For right now, lets just imagine what the future might be like if our dreams come true. If we look at 2014 from a new perspective it can be a year of adventure!

What are your dreams for the new year?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


It's Christmas today, so I'm not going to post much. I hope everyone is busy celebrating and won't have time to read blogs today. Anyone who is alone has my sympathy.

Just for fun, here's a cute Christmas picture.
I hope you all have a happy and inspiring day, full of love and joy.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Today is the first day of Winter, otherwise known as the Winter Solstice. This is when the days begin to get longer and the nights shorter and many cultures in history have celebrated that in various ways.

I understand Christmas is celebrated near the Winter Solstice because the Romans had big festivities to celebrate Saturnalia at that time of the year. Since Christianity was illegal, if Christians weren't also celebrating they were likely to be arrested and killed.

Nobody knows exactly when Jesus was born, but I don't think it was at this time of year. It would have been stupid for the emperor to require people all over the Roman Empire to travel long distances in the middle of winter to be taxed. Lots of them would have died on the journeys so there would have been fewer people to demand taxes from.

But, regardless of the actual date, it makes sense to celebrate Christmas at the time of year when more light is coming.

And celebrations of this holiday certainly involve lots of lights.

Speaking of lights, this is a good time to check the ones on cars. I've seen quite a few on the roads with one head-light or tail-light out and that could be dangerous, especially when so many people are driving long distances to celebrate the holidays.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Traditions

When I was a kid every Christmas Eve our family would sing carols from a book illustrated by Fern Bisel Peat. The carols were interspersed with verses about the birth of Christ from the King James Bible and our mother would read those aloud to us.

I still have that big, blue songbook with the lovely illustrations, although it's showing signs of age. (Of course, so am I.)

After we were finished singing our mother would read us The Night Before Christmas, we'd hang our stockings on a bookcase (we didn't have a fireplace) and go to bed wondering what Santa Claus would bring.

The next morning we'd awake early and find the full stockings tied to the foot of our bed to keep us occupied for a while so the grown-ups could sleep a while longer.

After opening the presents under the tree, eating brunch, and playing with our new toys for a while we'd put on some new clothes and take off for the long drive to our cousins' house. There we'd join lots of other relatives for dinner and even more gifts.

Finally we'd drive home and go to bed wearing the new pajamas one aunt always gave us. That night we'd fall asleep right away.

What Christmas traditions did your family have when you were a kid?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Helping Each Other

I don't usually blog about my own books or publicity for them, but I want to mention an event that's a special one because it's about people helping each other.

There's a new business in Grass Valley, CA called The Hub. Most people haven't heard of it yet, and the location is difficult to see from nearby roads.

On Saturday the owner will be hosting me at a book signing for Secret Service Saint, a book for kids which was published several years ago.

Hopefully the signing will help me sell more books and also help more people become aware of the new business in their community.

Since the book is about Saint Nicholas, who discovered the joy of helping others, I hope kids who read the book will want to do that, too.

We see lots of bad stuff in the news, but people help each other all the time. For instance, just this week a neighbor cleared the snow from my driveway and someone else dug out my car when it got stuck in the snow. 

Let's try to focus more on the good things instead of the bad.

Has anyone helped you lately?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Signing

This morning I'm signing books with another author, Penelope Cole, at the Sacramento Downtown Plaza. What fun!

We have a table near Santa Claus and will read from our books and pass out some free gifts to kids who come to see us and Santa from 11:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m..

One of my books, Secret Service Saint, is about Saint Nicholas so it's especially appropriate for the occasion.

I hope to get some good photos and will post them on my Facebook page, Janet Ann Collins, Author, afterwards.

There's almost never snow in Sacramento - it rarely snows in California's Central Valley except for places farther north. But there is snow - the first of the season - and quite a bit in the Sierra Foothills where I live.  That's so appropriate for this Christmas event!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Why do people give gifts at Christmas and Hanukah?

Partly because gifts are a way to show love.

Over 15 years ago a book by Gary Chapman was published that talked about five "love languages," or ways to show affection, and giving gifts is one of those.

But that's not the only reason we give things.

Sometimes it's a status symbol to be able to afford expensive presents for others.

Sometimes people give presents because they feel guilty or want to make someone else like them.

And sometimes people give simply because that's expected in our culture and we've always done it that way.

However I'm one of the givers in the first category. Giving is one of the ways I show love. So if you get a Christmas present from me you can be sure you're someone I care about.

Unfortunately I can't afford to buy presents for everyone I do care about, but I hope all my friends have a wonderful holiday season and remember to focus on love.