Nests

God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest. ~~J.G. Holland

Today, I found my first robin nest of the season and thought I’d share it with you. There’s something about finding pretty blue eggs in a  nest that brings joy to my heart. I love finding these gifts from nature. Sometimes living in a rural area feels pretty darn good.

The Christmas Tree Owl

So I’m an advocate for thought-filled gifts. Most of you know that about me by now. I long ago gave up being impressed by expensive gift buying at Christmastime. I’m at the point in my life when I’m pretty much able to buy something if I truly want it. I don’t often “want” things simply for the sake of “wanting” but every once in awhile I’ll splurge on something that really catches my eye. Truthfully, that doesn’t happen often. My kids will tell you that. Okay, I do buy quite a few books, but books are a need, not a want, right? See, I knew you’d all agree.

I’m just not a shopper. I don’t particularly like to browse the stores. I like to go with a purpose in mind, get what I want and go home. Not much fun, huh?

Now I’m not for a moment suggesting that everyone should stop buying gifts for one another, nor am I saying that a costly gift cannot be a “thought-filled” gift, because it can depending upon the circumstances. We all know that. There are many things that factor into our gift buying, first and foremost getting something we know the other person would like and want.

I’m no expert when it comes to gift-giving. But one thing  I can honestly say is that the gifts that have touched my heart the most, in many cases, have been quite simple. And cost more in the way of time and consideration than money.

Today, I was unwrapping ornaments and came across this “Christmas Tree Owl” my daughter made me last year, and the little poem that accompanied. (I’ve mentioned that this family is big on writing silly poems.) It is a snapshot of that time and place, and will forever be looked back on with fondness— Miss Charlotte’s first Christmas.

I wonder what memories we will make this year?

The Christmas Tree Owl
 
Twas the week before Christmas, and you can be sure
Things were much busier than ever before.
There was a new baby, just eight months old
Charlotte Rose was her name, as the tale goes.
 
When it came time for bed, she’d hoot and she’d howl
For little Miss Charlotte was quite the night owl.
But sooner or later, not before  nine
She’d drift off to sleep with on final whine.
 
Once all tucked in, then Mommy would act
Working hard though the night on this Christmas gift craft;
A little owl for your tree as your yearly reminder
A sleeping baby, you know, there ain’t much that’s finer.
 
Since it’s Christmas, and we should all be filled with some Christmas spirit, can we share with one another our stories about a thought-filled gift you once received or gave?

The Christmas List

December already and I’m attempting to get my Christmas shopping done. I haven’t yet given serious thought to baking, decorating or wrapping gifts yet, but that’s nothing unusual for me. Eventually everything that needs doing gets done before the big day. I’m not one of those people who thrive on the “preparation part” of Christmas. I want to go into Christmas relaxed and able to enjoy the time with my family. When my kids were small that was next to impossible. Sometimes change is a good thing.
This Christmas there will be laughter, food, gifts, and most of all the laughter. Did I mention laughter? Of right, I did. We’re a pretty silly bunch when we get together. Last year seemed to be the year for poetry as a good many poems accompanied the gifts. I’m inclined to think that, for all of us, the poems were the best part, certainly the part that we remember first.
I always ask my kids to make a list of gift suggestions just to make it a bit easier on dear old Mum. I have a full head of hair and I’d like to keep it that way. My kids all know this list is more of a wish list than anything because I’m not about to try and track down everything on it. Besides, now that they’re all earning more money than me I’m thinking that perhaps I’m the one who should be making up a list. It never seems to work that way though. Ah well, that’s the way.
Last year I shared with you a bit of my son’s list where he claimed to have suddenly gone Atheist and therefore didn’t want any Christmas gifts.You can read a portion of last year’s Christmas list. here. It was a fairly substantial note intended to obviously amuse me, which it did. I’m a pushover when it comes to silly. My kids know it.
This year, after an enormous amount of prodding from me, I received this lovely list in an email which he titled “short and sweet.” I thought some of you might be interested to see what’s on the wish list of your typical 24 year old these days. Hmmm, did I say typical?…Tell me what you think. This is how the email arrived to me. I added my response. I simply couldn’t stop myself.

short and sweet:

-A 1000 pk bag of sugar twin.  (I’m assuming he’s developed a sweet tooth, but doesn’t want the calories)
-A 50 pound bag of potatoes.  (This one really threw me..For the love of God who asks for a 50 pound bag of spuds? When asked to specify, he said he’s partial to Yukon Gold.)
-Nair for men (Is there even such a thing as Nair for men? Okay, this one had me worried a bit. But wait, my mind is telling me he’s been lifting weights at the gym, could it be he’s going to become a body builder? Body builders remove unwanted hair, right?)
-Grecian 5, colour AC242  (I have no idea if this is an actual colour, but me thinks not. I’m sure he pulled that colour number out of thin air.)
-Cardamom— (hmmmm.This is one bachelor who knows how to cook and obviously knows more about spices than his mother.. I had to look that spice up. Perhaps it’s an attention getter, you know for when he invites his date in for a meal he’s prepared. Every woman loves a man who knows his way around the kitchen. Right? But will she even know what Cardamom is?)
-Pickled Herring (I knew  sooner or later there would be something fishy about this list of his.)
-door stops –(Yup, what every young man hankers after these days—door stops.I’m sure there are a few rocks around here that would do the trick. In his spare time he can paint them up and make them look quite nifty if he’s truly ambitious.)
-those little pads that go on your cupboard doors ( .Ah yes, those little pads, the ones my second child chewed off my cupboards when she was a toddler. Apparently, they even lack a proper name ..)
-2, 5 gallon SunSpun oil buckets (Free at the superstore)  (Need they be SunSpun, I wondered? Won’t just any five gallon bucket do the trick? I’m assuming these will double for chairs as well as storage, right? You know, for when he invites his date over a gourmet meal of pickled herring and potatoes that he’s prepared himself. He can even sweeten that dessert he’s making with sugar twin and let’s not forget the cardamom, heavens to Betsy we can’t forget that.)

So there you see what I have to deal with. Although, truthfully, it serves to remind me that we needn’t take life or Christmas too seriously. There are far more important things in this world than wanting everything to be perfect.  Perfection is a façade, something that builds up our expectations to greater heights when really it is the simpler things such as peace, hope,joy and love that we will remember and cherish. Let’s not forget the love and support of family. It won’t be that big ticket item you purchased that you’ll look back on with fond memories, but the happy times that you created with your loved ones near.

Now to get back to my Christmas shopping. Anyone know a good place to buy Yukon Gold potatoes? I SO want to get him a bag just to see the expression on his face come Christmas morning.

The Christmas List

I love my kids…I know, you’ve all said that one before.

But my kids really are great.. (Yeah, you’ve said that, too)

A few years back, they all chipped in to buy me a laptop computer for writing. Opting not to buy Christmas presents for each other, so that my present would be within their budgets, they used their imaginations and creativity, and made gifts for one another. I think that was one of the best Christmas’ we ever had. Maybe my judgement is cloudy and perhaps they wouldn’t agree with me on that. Who know? Maybe it was one of the best for me because I got a laptop in the bargain. Seriously though, it wasn’t the laptop, it was the lengths that they all went through to get it for me… See what I mean?

Great kids.

Besides being great people, they all have a quirky sense of humour that I adore. They make me laugh and they love making me laugh.

For me, laughter is one of our greatest gifts..

Today I received an email from my son. I had asked him a while back to make a Christmas list to give me some gift suggestion for things he either needs or would like to have.

Well, there’s no point in expecting a dull old Christmas list from Matt Best. No siree… Here’s a bit of his email:

As the festive season inevitably rolls around, you no doubt are asking yourself: “what does one get for the perfect son who has everything?” Well, I’m here to lay those worries to rest. For I have devised a plan to relax your spirits and allow you to enjoy the holidays all the more.
I’m going Atheist, buy me any kind of Christmas gifts and shit will hit the fan, for no one will be received from me.

Gotcha! Actually the plan I have devised is much more unruly and racket worthy than that….

He goes on to say that he’s met a nice Mormon lady, has quit school and is running away to Utah to start a new life. That means you don’t have to buy me any Christmas gifts….

The list, did I say list? I mean meandering letter, continued…

Well perhaps my true plan will be that much less threatening now that I have built you up: I present to you “Operation: Christmas gifts” a.k.a. my Christmas list. Enjoy this honor I have bestowed upon you.” Hmmm, I notice he used the American spelling for honour.

He then lists several gift ideas, but goes on to say that nothing on his list is expected or required….

See what I mean? How do you not laugh at a Christmas list like that?

Is there anything special on your Christmas list this year? What is one of your fondest Christmas memories?

Friendship

To anyone else we might have looked like two old friends drinking coffee and catching up on the latest gossip. Our conversation was intense. We settled right into the purpose of our meeting, to talk about writing and publishing, and everything in between. We swapped stories, shared a few laughs, spoke of our personal triumphant and the many disappointments we’ve encountered along the way. The time flew by. We parted, promising we’d get together again.

I often imagine that I’d soon bore my non-writing friends to tears if I spent too much time talking about publishing and writing, and for good reason. For many of them they love the fact that I’ve been published, in fact they couldn’t be more supportive, but to them it’s a whole other world and a strange one at that. It’s probably difficult for those who don’t write to understand why writers put themselves through the long torturous wait times, the countless hours spent in solitude working at their craft, and the numerous rejections that come along the way. In what other area of our lives would be take such a beating, such outright rejection, and keep on going?

If I went off to work each day to be told repeatedly by my boss that I wasn’t doing my job quite right, or that I was actually doing everything right but it wasn’t going to make an ounce of difference at the end of the day, I would probably go off in search of another job. And yet we writers swallow it all and keep on going, the serious ones that is. Our need to be published, to feel some validation for our work, is a strong one. And it needs to be strong or else we’d fall at the wayside and turn our backs on our dreams. Not everyone who writes is seeking publication. Some people write for their own enjoyment and have no desire to have others read their words and this in no way demeans what they do. But for the rest of us hopefuls we wait and wait for those glorious letters of acceptance that sends our spirits soaring to the cosmos. Someone thinks our work is worthy of publication. Oh happy day!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon deep in conversation with a fellow author. It was great to share stories with someone who is taking the same journey. Were it not for the fact that we are both writers, I’m sure our paths might never have crossed. Our backgrounds are totally different in almost every way imaginable, our writing styles just as different.

I walked away with the knowing that it’s not necessary to have many things in common with someone to enjoy their company, and bonds can be formed between those who share the same passion no matter what that passion might be.

Most of my friendships have been formed through the years with people who do not share my passion for writing. Many of my friends are not even avid readers, and I’m totally fine with that. These friendships are equally important to me. Yes I am a writer but I am so much more. As we go though life we encounter many different people all with a wide variety of interests. Thankfully, we are multidimensional beings and we all help make the world an interesting place to be. We all bring to the planet our individual gifts that originate from the place where creativity and passion are born.

Today is a day for reflection as I take time to be thankful for the many different friendships in my life—- old and new, “real life” and online. You know who you are!

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  • Publication date April 30, 2020. Available for pre-order NOW.

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