What to Do When Christmas Takes Over Thanksgiving

I’m taking a break from my usual writerly fare on this blog with something fun and festive for the holidays. 

Does it seem like, with every passing year, Christmas starts a little earlier each time? It’s actually a fact. A century or two ago, depending on the culture, Christmas didn’t begin till December 24th. A newly-decorated Christmas tree was a gift for the children of the house on Christmas morning. And in some traditions, even today, Christmas isn’t celebrated until January.

But in today’s commercialized culture, Christmas begins before Halloween. Retailers are always at least two months ahead of whatever the current season is. 

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On Being Thankful

With Thanksgiving approaching for those of us in America, I’ve been thinking about gratitude. Gratitude or thankfulness I believe stems primarily from two aspects: perspective and choice.

When I think about gratitude as a matter of perspective, I see children. I remember back quite a few years ago when my south-east coast town was in the grips of a hurricane (not uncommon). This hurricane had brought more rain than wind, and the city was rapidly flooding. Driving home from work, I drove through a flooded intersection where the water was much deeper than the previous few flooded intersections, and my car cut off. There I was, stranded in a neighborhood far from my house, with a dead car that was about to start filling up with water any minute, and no cell phone. (Yes, cell phones had been invented, but I had not invested in such technology yet).

I had a lot to be thankful for in that moment, though it didn’t feel like it. I was alive. The person whose house I’d stalled in front of let me come inside and dry off and use the phone. When I finally did get home, my house was not flooded. But what struck me the most in that difficult and unpleasant moment was the neighborhood children. Continue reading

5 Reasons I’m Thankful for Stories

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are five reasons why I think stories are important, and why I’m so very thankful:

Stories are entertaining. Some may say that there’s no real value in entertainment – it’s just a frivolity. While it’s certainly possible to sacrifice your responsibilities and productivity in the name of always seeking to be entertained, entertainment itself is not a bad thing. Entertainment can lower stress and raise happiness. Good stories do that, and I’m thankful.

Stories teach us. Whether it’s a true story or complete fiction, through stories we can learn about the power of the human will, good versus evil, what true love means. Anything can be taught through a story – whether it’s an elusive human value, or facts about history, science, or other cultures.  Continue reading

Giving Thanks

Here in America, this is the week that we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays.

Instead of a regular post, I’m just going to list out a few things that I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for the God of the universe who created me and who loves me.

I’m thankful for my love of writing. It’s one of the things that makes me happiest.

I’m thankful for loving parents and a wonderful family and circle of friends. I’m thankful for my sister, who has always been my biggest supporter and is often my muse, my editor, my brainstorming partner, and my beta reader.

I’m thankful for all the great books out there that have been written, and all the ones that have yet to be written.

I’m thankful for all of the wonderful experiences I’ve had so far in my life and all the places I’ve been to; I’m thankful that there are so many more places to see and things to do that I have to look forward to.

I’m thankful to be living in this time, where the power of technology enables me to hear music and read books from places I never even knew existed before, and allows me to connect with amazing and talented people all over the world.

I’m thankful for all of the people who read this blog. I hope I’ll continue to write things that you want to read!

Enjoy this holiday, and remember to appreciate the things you’re thankful for!