Just In Time For The Season

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Longings of a Monterey Pine

Last year I wrote a story about a Monterey Pine that wanted to grow up to become a Christmas tree.  The response to that story was heartwarming for me as a writer.  Many of you encouraged me to make it into a book.

And that’s what happened.

With whimsical illustrations by Terrie Yeatts, a video, some sound effects, and a beautiful song by Alex Khaskin called, “Journey of a Lifetime,” our little story, “Longings of a Monterey Pine” is now an enhanced e-book on Apple’s iBooks. The additional media will bring an extra delight to the children in your life or the child within you, keeping you busy and warm on a cold winter’s eve.

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, I’d like to thank you for all of your comments and words of encouragement you’ve given me for the posts you’ve read here.  Because of you, the story of the Monterey Pine goes into the world now, and has a life of its own.

The Monterey Pine thanks you.

And I thank you too.

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“Longings of a Monterey Pine” on Apple’s iBooks

A Gift for the Season

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This is a tough season when you’re feeling blue.  All the bright lights and music, and holiday fun:  You’d think that the season would cheer a person up.

Except that’s not the way it works, is it?

I had a tough holiday season a number of years ago.  I was out of work, with no prospects on the horizon.  Money wasn’t easy to come by as it had been in the past.  My kids were growing up – entering those years when the last thing they wanted was to spend time with their mom. No job. No money. No kids to play with. It seemed as though everywhere I turned, I couldn’t find my purpose. I was even having trouble writing – something I had always been able to turn to for solace when life was tough. Writing had always been my buffer for when the world felt a little too cruel. Now, I didn’t even have that to comfort me.

And then, one morning I woke up to a story just beginning. I could hear its words so clearly, and in my imagination I could see it.  I wasn’t sure what it was exactly – it wasn’t a story like any I had ever written before.  I didn’t even know what to call what I was writing. Only recently did I learn, when I asked my husband (an English teacher), and he told me, “It’s a fable.”

Longings of a Monterey Pine poured out of me quickly, and when I’d finished it, I felt better.  My worries, my fears, my regrets were all replaced by something new: hope and peace. Those two words, for me, sum up the season.  And this season we need them now more than ever.  No matter what holidays you celebrate at this time of the year, I offer you those two words – hope and peace – as a gift in this little story that I wrote, this fable that helped me in so many ways when I wrote it.

(It’s a story best told when read aloud in the silence of the night.  Whether alone, or with the company of little ones with eyes so bright.  Click on the link, the one just below.  It’ll take you to the story, and you’re all set to go…)

 

(CLICK HERE)

 

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Ready Or Not, Here Come The Holidays

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How do we ever survive the holidays?!

Between cooking, cleaning, staining bathroom vanities (Yes, I was that dumb to take on a home makeover project during the holidays) shopping, family get-togethers…Well, you know the routine.  I had every intention to write a new blog entry this week but here I sit with stained fingers, a filthy kitchen, kids coming home for Thanksgiving, a dog that needs to be walked, and…Well, why bore you with what you too are probably going through at this very moment.

Do you ever feel on top of it?

On top of these bigger-than-life-family-get-togethers that you want so desperately to be perfect but never quite make it? Well, maybe in my mother’s house they’re perfect. I swear, Martha Stewart looks like a slacker compared to my mom. She’s well into her 80s and she doesn’t move with the same speed as she used to move, oh and yes, the last couple of years she’s said, “I just don’t know if I even care to go through all this fuss for the holidays.”  But the other day I noticed she’s already decorated her table with the autumn colored tablecloth, the Pilgrim See’s Candy foiled turkeys; the Thanksgiving wreath is on the door, the little wooden pilgrims are perched on top of the t.v., the pies are already made, and the stuffing is too.

And this is mom at half-speed.

Maybe my brother might have to help her pull the huge turkey out of the oven nowadays, but damn if she’s not still doing it.  Even with all her aches and pains (and Lord knows she could put Job to shame with everything that ails her) she still stands strong at her kitchen counter and gets the job done.  Her house is always immaculate, and her life just seems to click along like the finest of calibrated machines.

My mom just amazes me.

So this week’s post celebrates all the women (and some men too) who are shining stars during these holidays.  The ones who do the crafts, bake the cookies, decorate their homes, do all the shopping, take care of their families, and maybe even hold down a job or two. I’ll never be one of them, but I sure do love and respect the way they organize, accessorize, and do the holidays right.

To the rest of us, the ones who try their best, and run themselves ragged, but just end up tired, frazzled, and certain that mashed potatoes are supposed to be lumpy: Be kind to yourself, people. Thanksgiving is only the beginning of a very long marathon of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and trying to keep the family happy.

Pace yourself!

(Do you always feel on top of the holidays or do the holidays always end up on top of you?What are your tips for making the holidays a less stressful time around your house?)

(Are you new to my blog? Read how Can You All hear Me In The Back? got started.)