Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Hello Thursday Morning DevotionHello, Thursday Morning readers! I hope you’re doing well this midwinter morning. It’s cold and a little damp here.

We’re only weeks away from spring. Yay! I’m thinking about what I’ll plant in my flower beds, and that thought is invigorating. Already, the new green is showing through the deadness of my front bed, as you can see in the photo below. We’ve had an unusually warm winter thus far.

I hope you’re wide awake and ready for a great day.

One who is kind benefits himself, but an unkind person hurts himself. [My paraphrase of Proverbs 11:17].

Kindness paves the way for a good day. I know there are times when your kind words are not greeted with kindness, but if you will persist in kindness, it will pay off in the long run.

And pay attention, please. Wake up! Put your phone down and leave it down when you’re driving. Every day, I see people crossing over the line into my lane because they are distracted. Yesterday, a friend of mine told of a near head-on collision with another driver who was distracted. My friend was so shaken, she had difficulty driving home.

So, do me a favor. Do yourself a great kindness. Forget about that message until you get where you’re going. If it’s that important, pull over somewhere safe and deal with it, then proceed.

It will be better to arrive a few minutes late, rather than to not arrive at all.

So, wake up and smell the coffee. Practice kindness today. Sometimes the best thing you can give another person is your attention.Winter Garden 2020

A Favorite Christmas

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I’m so glad you stopped by.

So, Christmas is coming, and for most of us, that means busy, busy, busy. Shopping, decorating, baking, partying—you know the routine. Maybe you need to hit the pause button and remember…

Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?

Here’s mine:

Mike, Ed, & Me!

San Diego, California, 1959 -The house we lived in was just blocks away from the San Diego Zoo and the mission at Balboa, so our yard was often filled with exotic sounds like the roar of a lion, the call of the peacock, the trumpet of elephants.

We didn’t have much money, but my mother could always find a way to make Christmas special for us. She made many of our gifts and baked lots of cookies.

Dad had been looking for another place to live, further out from town, so we’d spend the weekend looking at houses. I liked one particular house very much because it had an upper story which fascinated me. There was even a life-sized cardboard cutout of Shirley Temple in one upstairs bedroom.

The former owners had left a pile of trash in the yard. On that pile, I found a handmade doll cradle. It was broken and dirty, full of leaves and rainwater, but to me, it was a treasure. Only rich kids had such things. I knelt down beside it as children often do, to get a better look. In my heart was a deep longing, too innocent to be described as covetous. I wanted a doll cradle like that one.

On Christmas Eve, my older brother and I were begging to stay up. “Just a little bit longer, please.” To no avail, for I’m sure my mother had a million things to do to get ready for the big day. She stubbornly resisted our pleas. Then she received a little unexpected help by way of a stiff breeze outside. The front door blew open about six inches or so. Mike and I stopped our pleading to gaze at the door, then at each other. His eyes were large and his mouth formed an “o”. Chills tickled my spine.

“See there?” Mom said, always quick on the uptake. “Santa is trying to come, but you two are still up. He can’t come in while you’re awake.” There was no more argument. We ran as fast as we could and jumped into our beds.

Early on Christmas morning, we tiptoed out of our rooms to see what treasures Santa had left for us overnight. Oh, there seemed to be so much stuff beneath that tree. My brothers dived in at once, grabbing toys and showing them off to each other. I stood in awe, for there to my great surprise and joy, was the same little doll cradle I had seen on the trash pile. I knew it was the very same one, even though it had received a fresh coat of powder blue paint and was no longer broken.

Mom had made a small mattress and pillow, complete with an embroidered sheet, pillowcase, and quilt. A brand-new doll lay on top of it all. The doll could cry real tears and wet her diaper, but I barely noticed. I was enraptured with the refurbished cradle, even though I knew its last home had been a trash pile.

Long after I outgrew playing with dolls, that cradle sat in my room. When I was finished with it, Mom (who seldom threw anything away) used it as a planter. Every time I saw it, I remembered that special Christmas. It became one of my most cherished memories.

It’s not always necessary to spend a lot of money to make Christmas special. Sometimes a little imagination and a whole lot of love can bring the most joy to someone’s heart. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

 

Originally posted December, 2009

 

How to Write a Christmas Movie

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! The very busy month of November is now upon us. Can you believe it?

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and the air is filled with … Christmas music.

Are you a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies? I have to admit, I love watching some of them. Some. Of. Them.

I have to be careful not to overwatch because it eats up a lot of time that should be spent reading, writing, cleaning, cooking, etc.

There are benefits to watching Christmas movies. They can help you prepare mentally for the onslaught that we call “the holiday season.” They provide Christmas decorations so you don’t have to. Honestly, if I didn’t have grandkids, I wouldn’t bother.

I am not a Christmas fanatic. I tend to endure the holidays. Those roots run deep, and I really can’t tell you why.

But, I do enjoy the movies. Maybe I’ll write one someday, so you could call it research. 🙂

A pattern has emerged as I watch, and I’ve decided there must be a checklist involved in writing those things.

At some point in the story the couple:

  • Heads over the meadow and through the woods to cut down a tree (or maybe just the tree lot in town).
  • Puts up the tree.
  • Decorates the tree (may or may not involve the girl falling from a ladder into the guy’s arms).
  • There’s a snowball fight.
  • They build a snowman.
  • They create a gingerbread house, which may or may not involve a contest.
  • They make snow angels together.
  • Ice skating!
  • Enjoy hot chocolate together, often after ice skating or snowman building.
  • The “almost kiss”—that first kiss is always interrupted.
  • The small town they live in has a tree lighting, usually on Christmas Eve.
  • The town Santa is really Santa (in disguise). He knows things no one else could know and is often a matchmaker.
  • There’s mistletoe, often in unexpected places.
  • Snow falls, even in locations where it never snows, like Florida, or southern California (Christmas miracle!).

If I’ve left anything out, please feel free to comment!

And now, just so you’ll know I’m not a total grinch, my favorite Christmas movie among the Hallmark offerings is The Christmas Secret.

The casting is spot-on. I love the story and the small town of Wilsonville and Betty’s Bakery of course. I can almost smell those cinnamon rolls! Wilsonville is also the setting for another Hallmark Christmas movie, The Christmas Note.

Last-minute addition: A brand new movie this year, Two Turtle Doves, moves into my list of favorites. It’s heartwarming and intelligently written. I will be watching that one again.

Are you a reader or a watcher?

Would you rather read a holiday story, or see it in movie form?

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Have a blessed weekend!

Hello Halloween Harvest Homecoming

I opened my post and this beautiful white space greeted me. How I love the fresh newness of white space. 🙂

Hello, Thursday Morning and Happy Halloween. I don’t usually celebrate Halloween, but I do hand out candy and smiles to young neighbors. Then I pray for their parents who will have to endure hours of sugar-enhanced wall bouncing.

The last day of October is important to me for two reasons. It’s the beginning of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, closely followed by Christmas and New Year’s. All wonderful opportunities to celebrate with family.

Left-to-Right: Judy, Norma, and Me!

AND it’s my “sister-cousin’s” birthday! Happy Birthday, Judy! This is the day when she joins me in whatever number year we’re in. We’re only a few months apart. I always get there first, of course. *Sigh*

And this is the picture I love to show, one that includes our other “sister-cousin”, Norma. She was our big sister. I loved growing up in a close-knit family where cousins were like brothers and sisters.

You’ll notice I was wearing saddle oxfords and carrying a purse. I was quite stylish at two—or were we three? Whatever, we were cute.

Times have changed. A lot. But, we still love each other, and we’re still cute.

Halloween, Harvest, or Homecoming? However you choose to celebrate, I hope the fun includes family and loved ones.

He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. — Psalm 126:6

Tomorrow, I’ll be at Inspired Prompt – a multi-author blog dedicated to inspiring writers. I hope you’ll join me there!

 

So Late So Soon

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”–Dr. Seuss

Well, if you think my blog post is late, you’re right. The time for coffee is well past, unless I’m having decaf. I think not. The truth is, I forgot it’s Thursday. Yep. The week went by so fast! I’m riding a wave and trying to stay balanced, when suddenly, there’s the beach.

Of course it’s Thursday. Good thing I went to work this morning. 🙂

But it’s Thursday afternoon!

So, in lieu of a long post, I’m sharing another wonderful quote from Dr. Seuss (author of the first real book I ever read). And I’ll leave you with my most recent meme. Yes, I’m still marketing the latest book.

If you’ve already read Annabelle’s Joy, please consider leaving a review at Amazon and Goodreads. Even a short review helps. It’s one of the most thoughtful things you can give a writer. And thanks so much for visiting my blog. I’ll try to be on time next week!

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