Coming soon …

COTRD_3D_Book_Rendering_031013

While all my neighbors have beautifully decorated their homes with festive Christmas lights and wreaths, my house remains in darkness.  This is very uncharacteristic of me, since I am usually seen — precariously standing up on a ladder (with whimsical outdoor tree ornaments strewn everywhere)  — the day after Thanksgiving.  Not this year.  My neighbors have been glancing quizzically at me, wondering if something is terribly wrong.  They don’t know that I’m spending most of my time on my book —which I will  finish by the 21st.  So, if I need to look like Ebenezer Scrooge for a few weeks, so be it.

When the book is done, my neighbors will be stunned.  My house will be lit like the Las Vegas strip!  I will be singing the Hallelujah Chorus at the top of my lungs!  That is, if  I get my voice back.

Until then ….

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Never underestimate a turtle

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”
Gloria Steinem 

Except maybe home reno projects.

One would think that working on a number of book projects in tandem would accomplish less than simply focusing on one piece at a time. Not so.  Although, I speak only for myself.  Allocating time for each book actually helps me to be more productive. By alternating between manuscripts, I am able to resume work on each one — with fresh (and critical) eyes.  Nothing gets stale. And the manuscripts continually get refined, which streamlines the final editing stage.

That is my usual writing process. However, for the past few weeks, I’ve veered away from the regular routine, since becoming completely immersed in my book of short stories — Casualties of the Recession Depression.  I am so passionate and excited about this piece, that I can’t seem to switch gears.  The result of all this writing enthusiasm is that I will have a completely finished manuscript imminently.  By year’s end (think Mayan).

Yes, the turtle is reaching the finish line!  (If my chronic bronchitis doesn’t kill me first).  My desk is a sea of kleenex tissues and cough drops. My husband is worried that I may be coughing up my own vocal cords, but I reminded him that there are benefits losing my voice:  Silence.  See, the cup is always half full, never half empty!

Although —between you, me and the lamp post — he’ll probably miss the constant yapping.

Stay tuned …

The real meaning of Thanksgiving

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”

Mother Teresa

On Thursday, millions of Americans (citizens and permanent residents alike)  — of all faiths — will gather with family and friends to give thanks for the blessings of life.   There is a lot to be thankful for.  And, to those of us who will be enjoying a bountiful Thanksgiving feast, we should bow our heads in sincere and humble gratitude. 

Not everyone will be as fortunate.  Missions, food banks, and shelters will be overwhelmed with people seeking a Thanksgiving meal.  They will rely on the kindness of strangers —  people like you and I,  who donate food and money to organizations that exist for no other reason than to feed the hungry in our respective communities.

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

—  St. Francis

So, as you fill up your pantries with festive food, please remember to keep some aside to share with those in need.  If you can, volunteer an hour or two of your time to serve meals at your local mission.  The staff could really use your help.  There are more hungry and homeless people this year than last year. 

And, if you know someone who is suffering financially or who will be all alone this Thanksgiving, why not set an extra place setting at your dinner table and extend some hospitality? A little humanity will go a long way. 

After all, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is about?

 Many seasonal blessings to you and yours, dear readers!

A Thanksgiving Prayer

In the spirit of humility we give thanks for all that is.
We thank the great spiritual beings who have shared their wisdom.
We thank our ancestors who brought us to where we are now.
We are grateful for the opportunity to walk this planet,
to breathe the air,
to taste the food,
to experience sensations of a human body/mind,
to share in this wonder that is life.
We are grateful for the natural world that supports us,
for the community of humankind that enables us to do many wonderous things.
We are grateful that we are conscious,
that as intelligent beings we can reflect upon the many gifts we have been given.

— Tom Barrett

Veterans Day in the United States — Celebrating the service of all U.S. military veterans

“When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea.  He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect. “

~ Adlai Stevenson (1900 – 1965), American Politician and Diplomat

Today (November 11) is Veterans Day, here in America.  It is a day when we pause to honor the brave men and women who serve in uniform, who fought and continue to fight so that we can all enjoy that wonderful privilege — Freedom.

It is an opportunity for us to thank the veterans who stormed the beaches during World War II,  the men and women who served tour after tour in distant lands such as Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan — and all the battles before, after and in between.

Their bravery has not gone unnoticed.  Today — and always — we salute them.

Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”

~ John Diefenbaker (1895 – 1979), 13th Prime Minister of Canada

Remembrance Day is to the commonwealth countries (such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Malta, Australia and New Zealand, to mention but a few) what Memorial Day is to the United States. It is observed each year,  on November 11 — in commemoration of the day when World War I ended.

The most famous Remembrance Day poem, In Flanders Fields,  was written by Canadian John McCrae on May 3, 1915, the day after he saw his friend (Lieutenant Alexis Helmer) die.  A doctor, poet and WWI soldier, Lieutenant Colonel McCrae tended to the injured during the Second Battle of Ypres in the western part of Belgium.

Freedom. They fought for it. They died for it.  And we savour this freedom (with gratitude)because of them.

Lest we forget.