Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hallelujah!

On Monday night we went to see a live performance of Handel's Messiah. My daughter was singing in the choir and we drove the two hours to get to the concert and then back home because I had to work the next day. It was the first time I had ever heard this classic masterpiece performed live and I was blown away, especially by the 'Hallelujah Chorus'. It was magnificent. 

This time of year affords many such opportunities. Local choirs, orchestras, ballet companies and theatre troupes are serving up their version of Handel's Messiah, The Nutcracker, or A Christmas Carol. But it's not the just the classics. Sunday School pageants, School Christmas plays, holiday sing alongs... there are so many ways to get into the Christmas spirit. 

So enjoy! What holiday entertainment have you taken advantage of so far this season? Watch this video of a flash mob breaking into the Hallelujah Chorus at a food court!  

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Favourite Christmas Story

One of my all time favourite Christmas stories is 'The Gift of the Magiby O. Henry. In the story, Jim and Della, a young married couple, are very much in love, but have no money to buy Christmas gifts. Each one secretly decides to sacrifice something of importance in order to buy the other a present. Della cuts off her long, beautiful hair and sells it so that she can buy Jim a chain for his heirloom pocket watch. Jim sells the watch so that he can buy Della some combs for her hair. The irony is evident. She no longer has her long hair and can't use the combs and he doesn't need a watch chain since he no longer owns the watch. 

I often think Jim got the short end of that deal - at least Della's hair will grow back! In any case, the real message is that true love is never self serving but will sacrifice all for the sake of the other. 

While the story takes its title from the tale of the wise men who brought gifts to Jesus, I think it is better compared to the ultimate gift that Jesus himself gave us. He gave his very life in order that mankind might be reconciled to God. There is no greater gift than that.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Story Coming Soon!

Here is the cover for my Christmas Short Story releasing next week.
THE BEST BLUE CHRISTMAS



The is part of a collection of Christmas short stories by Canadian authors. My story follows a disgruntled insurance worker as she struggles to avoid the holidays. When she finds an unlikely sympathizer in her good looking neighbour, she finds out that Christmas doesn't have to be all bad...

AMAZON

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Homemade Holidays

I'm indulging myself with some down time after such a busy year. My Christmas 'break' doesn't officially start until December 20th, but I've already watched quite a few Christmas movies and done a bit of reading. Here is a holiday 're-post' from last December that I hope you enjoy. (I'm going to watch Charlie Brown's Christmas now...!)

HOMEMADE FOR THE HOLIDAYS 
When I look back at Christmas's past, I realize that expensive gifts really aren't what has made the season special. In fact, some of my fondest memories are from years when we had very little in terms of money to spend. I've knit sweaters and scarves, painted pictures, made wreaths, and even given baked goods. (Despite the fact that I'm not the grandest baker.)

One especially 'tight' Christmas was in 1991. We literally had no money for gifts. We had three little girls at the time, so I sewed most of their gifts. I made a lot of stuff for their 'Barbies' including wedding dresses, sleeping bags, and pillows. My nieces had outgrown a large Barbie dollhouse that their dad had made, so my husband and I 'renovated' it with some paint, wallpaper and carpet scraps. I made appliances for it along with a couch and other furniture - all out of milk cartons. Everything was made with scraps and literally cost nothing.

And you should have seen their faces!

We can get so caught up in the commercialism that we forget that it's not really about the presents. It's about the heart. Homemade gifts are just one way to focus on the heart, whether you have money or not. There is something about making a gift with that 'certain someone' in mind, that gives you - the person giving the gift - as much or more joy than the recipient.

Whether it's baking, sewing, painting, or knitting, I love giving and receiving homemade gifts. I even put writing into that category since I have given my family members books and plays these last few years. What are some of your fondest memories when it comes to homemade gifts?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Reflecting on a Busy Year

I sent out my final newsletter for 2014 last week and when I actually stopped to look at it, I was amazed at how SANE I feel! (There may be those who would wish to argue that point...)

It was a whirlwind of publishing activity for me, from my first attempt at truly self publishing, to keeping up with multiple book contracts, to writing collaboratively with other authors... The list of published or contracted work below tells the story.


Mutiny On Mt. Olympus Feb. 2014

Of course, let's not forget my 'day job' teaching secondary school and the fact that my drama students put on two major productions per year. The BC teacher's strike which went from mid-June until mid- September didn't lessen the stress, let me tell you!


Brenda and Ruth (2012)

I am enjoying my time on the ICWF Executive as the 'Writing Groups Coordinator' for this Canada wide organization as well as the BC rep. Who knew meetings could be fun? (They are when Ruth L. Snyder is the president!) I was having so much fun that I volunteered to take over the Inscribe blog moderator's position - something I have since found out to be no small task. Thanks to Brenda Leyland for her ground breaking work in this area.


Did I mention that my husband and I are serving as the Interim pastors at our church? This transition took place in late August and we are still searching for a full time pastor. In the meantime, we 'tag team' preach as well as try to keep all the other 'stuff' running.





Here is my list of published/contracted work for the year 2014. Is it any wonder my blog posts have been sparse lately...?

Three new releases in Oct. 2014
THE SLEEPYTOWN EXPRESS - paperback
LIFE IS A HIGHWAY - paperback and ebook
NEIGHBORS - nine individual ebooks and the complete series in both paperback and ebook
COLONY ZERO - 'Contact' (co-written with six other authors)
COLONY ZERO - 'Sins of the Fathers'
*COLONY ZERO - 'Duplicity'
*COLONY ZERO - 'Legacy'

COLONY ZERO - Complete Book I; II*; III*
Ali and the Magic Lamp - stage play
LONE WOLF - novella ebook
*UPLIFTING DEVOTIONALS BOOK III - (a collection by six Canadian authors)
*'The Best Blue Christmas' - short story

*these are the ones still to be released.