Tag Archives: gift

Wish List, by Carole Howard

It’s my birthday today. There, I’ve said it.

If you’re wondering what you could get me, and you can’t manage to bring about peace in the Middle East or an end to childhood hunger, here are some other ideas – of both the sublime and the ridiculous persuasion. If you could work any of them out, I’d really appreciate it.

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I’d like it if:

… all politicians told the truth.

… ice cream were really really good for you.

… they didn’t have to torture those poor geese to make foie gras – what my friend calls “Liver Haagen Dazs.” Then I could start eating it again.

… I could read as fast as my niece, who seems to inhale books.

… all schools, public and private, were as good as the very best schools are now – and I’m not talking about the results of standardized tests.

… my left-hand pinky were a little longer, so I could get some of those notes on the violin without feeling like my finger’s on the rack.

…everyone bought, read, liked, and reviewed my books. (I just couldn’t resist.)

every citizen did some community service: military, Peace Corps, road-building, candy-striper, whatever.

… ice cream were really really good for you. (You say I listed that one already? Oh well.)

… the blooming period of peonies and lilacs were longer. I’d settle for just two extra weeks. I honestly don’t think I’d value them any less if they weren’t so fleeting.

… there were no mosquitos. (Actually that one’s for my husband. You’re welcome, honey.)

… ice cream were…… Oh right. I’ve mentioned that one already.

There are so many more. I haven’t even gotten to cures for various diseases, finding a place to put your purse when driving a car, or accommodating lefties in a right-handed world.

If you have any wishes – wacky or realistic – that I might also like, I’ll add them to my list. Tag, you’re it.

* * *

Carole Howard is the author of Deadly Adagio, published by Second Wind Publishing.

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Spring by S.M. Senden

By April most of us are impatiently waiting the coming of spring, the warmer weather and the beauty of the earth awakening from winter’s sleep as Mother Nature shakes off the snowy mantle and bursts forth in color and fragrance.  I too look for the signs of Spring; the return of robins, the chatter of birds building nests, the first signs of plants pushing up through the soil, buds on the trees that will soon burst into flower and that fine green mist that halos branches of trees just before the leaves break forth and show themselves.

Spring is an exciting time, for nothing seems to hold still, almost overnight the world is transformed from the tattered remnants of winters last bedraggled efforts to hold the earth tight in her cold embrace, into the bounty of blossoms, glorious color and soft, perfumed scented breezes that invite us to come out of our burrows and dance in the sunlight of lengthening days.

The other thing that spring heralds is change.  Change can sometimes drive us all crazy, or it can be welcome.  Change can be thrust upon us unwelcome, or we can create some of the change we desire.  No matter how it happens change is the only real constant in the world, so we best accept the changes that are happening all about us, and look with excitement and anticipation to what is next.

Some wise person said that we should clear out the old stuff to make room for the new to come into our lives.  Spring is the time that this activity is expected. Spring Cleaning is something I have heard all my life, so I endeavor to take it on. I am in the process of cleaning out the old, clearing out closets as well as old notions that no longer work.  Somehow it is easier to clear out the old notions and outworn ideas than clear out the accumulated stuff that I have in closets and drawers.  This may really sound silly, but I have a goal to have an empty closet.  Nothing stashed away in that little haven of things I will some day use.

As I clear out the years of accumulated treasures, I make piles for the library, books I have read and will not be keeping.  I already have well over 1,000 volumes, with the many books I am reading, have read and intend to read.  Most of my collection consists of books for research!  IRS Tax Note!  For those Book-a-holics out there, having a thousand books or more really is a tax write-off because it is considered a library!  I will gift the overflow to the public library, they may acquisition them into their collection or sell them in the used book shop and raise some funds to buy new books.  Maybe they will even buy mine!

Another pile is for Good Will that consists of clothing, household items and other goodies they can sell in their shop.  I even put up a few things on e-bay to see if anyone wants them.  I am always surprised at what sells, and what does not!

Then there is the pile of ‘What on earth did I keep this for?’  That pile is destined for the rubbish bin.  Though it is the smallest pile, it is the hardest to make headway through as I try to recall why I kept this little memento.  If I really do not recall, why keep it?  It did not make it into the scrapbook, so it now gets to migrate to the rubbish bin.

It feels good to clear out the old; to give away what may become a treasure for someone else, or a book they may never forget.  I continue to work to that goal of an empty closet.  I try to do a little clearing out every day.  As I go through things, I stir up dusty memories of events past, some forgotten, some never too far out of mind.  I have a chance to dust them off, remember, and embrace the good memories.  Some things I will keep, but others are all right to let go of now.

In that letting go, I create a space for something else to come into my life.  I do not know what will come in the place of those things I have let go of, and distributed out to the various places in the universe, but from past experience, what is new that arrives is usually better than what I gave up.

I am off to clear out another corner of incredible treasures, anticipating, with joy and expectation the new and improved future that awaits!

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A Christmas Without . . . Again by Jan D Linton (J J Dare)

It’s that time of year again. The radio stations will not let me forget that bells will be ringing and this is not the time of year to be without the ones you love. Of all the depressing seasons, Christmas ranks at the top for a number of people. The entity of this holiday mocks those who are “barely getting through tomorrow” (Hard Candy Christmas © 1978 by Carol Hall). Most of the songs are downright depressing when you listen to the lyrics.

Last holiday season I wrote about a Christmas Without two members of my family who had passed on: my brother and my partner. My brother died in March, 2010, and my partner died unexpectedly the following July.

It was a hard holiday season to find joy. Last year, I found little bits of holiday cheer, here and there, but mostly, I found peace. Tranquility saw me through the time of year when togetherness with loved ones is seen as the ultimate holiday happiness.

This year, as December 25th relentlessly marches toward me, I add another who will no longer celebrate Christmas in my same realm: my mother. In August of this year, she joined other members of my family in the great beyond.

You can be swallowed up in sadness during the holiday season. If there was ever a time I wished for seclusion away from the world, this would be the time. Over Thanksgiving I told one of my daughters that I did not want to do this again. She thought I meant the cooking; what I meant was the holiday. I did not want to sadly celebrate another holiday with the heaviness of empty places at the table.

In the spirit of directing my mind away from hard reality, I’m going overboard with holiday decorations this month. Overboard for me means putting out more than just a few Christmas candles and trinkets. There is a 3-foot tree in my house. It’s fake, but at least it’s a tree instead of a picture of one on the mantle.

This year, I did something I rarely do: I sent out Christmas cards. Typically, I forget to send them until after Christmas and by that time, I’d feel funny sending them with a “Happy Belated Christmas” note attached. I have several addressed and stamped cards from various years; one is even from the early 90’s to someone I don’t remember knowing.

On Christmas Day, we plan to celebrate just like in “A Christmas Story.” Instead of Chinese, we’re doing sushi. We’ll have some traditional fare, too, for those of us who are expecting some of the Christmas trimmings.

Despite my overwhelming desire to halt the season of good cheer, the lights on the tree blink, the candles flicker and carolers on television continue to sing. This year in my year with my withouts, I don’t feel like celebrating a season of joy.

Yet, the season won’t leave me alone. I’m a reluctant wallflower at this dance of December and Christmas has walked over to where I’m silently sitting and is gently coaxing me onto the dance floor.

As I succumb to the wonderful smells of freshly baked cookies and snappy peppermint, I can picture those who are no longer here surrounding me with approval. “Celebrate,” they seem to say. “Celebrate the season with the ones you love. Celebrate our memories.”

I miss Chuck, Dan and Mom deeply. The holiday season reinforces their absence. If I could turn back the clock, I would take it back to when they were still with me and then, break the hands of time.

My holidays will forever have ribbons of sadness wrapped around gifts of joy. “Live in the moment, count your blessings, be thankful for those who love you.” Yes, I do these things and more, but it does not diminish a yearning for times past.

If, like me, you are celebrating a Christmas Without, I wish tranquility and peace for you. I will be honoring the past, acknowledging the present and hoping for the future this holiday season.

Sometimes the journey toward a goal is more rewarding than the goal itself. With that thought, I’ll continue to walk the Christmas Road to joy. Mayhap I will find it at along the way, mayhap I will find contentment from simply walking toward it.

May your own Christmas journey be filled with the gifts most precious to your heart. May comfort accompany you along the Christmas Road. May your Christmas Withouts be wrapped in tranquility and may the stillness of peace reign now and throughout your coming year.

J J Dare (pen name ) is the author of two published books, several short stories and thirty-plus works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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