Getting in the Spirit of Believing

Do you believe in Angels? Santa Claus? Elves?

I do.

No, I’m not particularly religious.  They wouldn’t recognize me even as a bad Samaritan, much less a good one at any of the churches around town.  I’m not in the habit of reciting the Lord’s Prayer (keep getting it mixed up with “Now I lay me down to sleep”).  But I do believe:

I believe in angels

Picture of Tootsie Pop Angels

Our holiday theme this year is “angels.” I made these out of Tootsie Pops and tissue paper.

In Faith on the Rocks I voiced that Fr. John believes people can be temporary angels.  Angels are, after all, simply messengers of good. Haven’t you ever had the urge to do something nice or good you wouldn’t normally do?  Perhaps, in that one moment of time, you acted on your better self and became an angel.

My friend, Trish, was such a being.  One time, she was riding her bike around Dallas.  This in itself was unusual, as she most often drove the proverbial mommy-mobile, a minivan complete with no less than six kids in the back at any given time. Talk about constant noise!

Trish just happened to have found a precious hour to herself on a beautiful afternoon in Dallas, so she went for a bike ride.  Along the way she saw a young woman coming out of a veterinary practice. “Her face was just filled with that something’s wrong look,” said Trish, so she stopped and asked what happened.

“I have to put my cat to sleep.” The young woman burst into tears.

Now, you need to know that Trish was more the army-sargeant kind of mom, than the soft, cuddly kind.  She wasn’t one to comfort anyone over the loss of a pet, but for some unknown reason, Trish found herself laying down her bike and running over to hold the young woman.  They must have sat together in a hug for maybe five or more minutes of Trish’s precious alone time.  The two women talked about the cat, about life and the afterlife, and how things would be okay in the end.

“Thank you so much for stopping,” said the young woman. “I don’t know what would have happened if I had to face this alone.”  The two parted, never even capturing each others’ names.  But Trish knew this was a special moment–an angel moment. You see, Trish had been thinking her life was pretty useless until the angel of need literally fell in her lap.

I believe in Santa Claus

Picture of "Santa's Wreath"

Every time I see this wreath, my holidays are filled with joy.

Santa is like an angel, only he tends to be the message of giving.  It is so wonderful for me to be able to share this little Santa story.

Most of you know that at one time I had a special needs daughter, Sara. For privacy sake, I don’t talk much about Sara’s big sister, but I am equally in love with her.

One time, “Lovie” as we’ll call her, decided to take the Christmas fun to new heights.  It was one of those years (weren’t they all) when Sara was having a hard time getting to sleep at night.  She’d stay awake with me constantly saying “Hush, sleep now,” until I would doze off instead of my little girl.

Christmas Eve came around and I really needed to get to the Christmas wrapping (a story in and of itself for another time).  Lovie said, “I have an idea.” She grabbed a wreath we had that was made out of little brass bells.

Around 10:00 that night, Lovie climbed onto the roof of our house and started shaking that wreath. The jingles resonated with joy. For good measure, Lovie added Santa stomping on the roof, and even a “ho, ho, ho!”

Sara screamed and dove under the covers. I tried to tell her it was okay, but she said, “Go ‘way, Mom. Santa’s here! Go a bed!”

I believe in you

You don’t comment every week, and sometimes not at all.  But then you say something that shows you’ve read this blog, or you let me know about a friend of yours whose read and commented on one of my books, and you make my day.  I can’t see you all the time, but I know you are there.

And because I believe in you, in your writing talents and your reading interests; I believe in your acts of kindness and your dreams of good things happening; I believe that the world is a good place. After all, someone I believe in is a part of my world.

Wishing you a great week-before-Christmas, bustling, shopping, visitor-prepping time. Until then, write well.


First New Year’s Resolution & New Category

When, as a novelist, you’re reduced to writing about sudoku for a blog topic, it’s time to add a new category to your blog.  Luckily the category I’m thinking about is a lot of fun, and I hope you’ll join in the play. It’s called “bragging.”

Book Cover: Brag! by Peggy Klaus

2016’s New Years Resolution One: Do the exercises in this book!

I may have mentioned the book, Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, by Peggy Klaus.  It’s a great motivator for learning to talk well about yourself without becoming an obnoxious conversation hog.  In her book, Peggy has a lot of exercises.  For 2016, one of my resolutions is to work through as many of her exercises as possible.  What better place to do that than on this blog?

But these exercises aren’t just for me,  I hope you’ll play along too.  Are you ready? What? You say it isn’t 2016 yet?  Hmm.  You’re right.  But I always did appreciate getting a head start on things.  If you wait for the New Year, congratulations on your restraint.  As for me, I’m diving in.


Peggy talks about how important it is to build an ever-expanding repertoire of small speeches about yourself, she calls a BRAGOLOGUE.  These can be 30-second elevator speeches or they can be up to three minutes long.  If you think three minutes is a short amount of time, just try to talk to yourself in the mirror for three minutes. Yikes!

How do you start building this collection of monologs that convey in a conversational tone (storytelling style) cool information about yourself that’s both memorable and generates interest in you? Start with taking an inventory of yourself.  Peggy has a “Take 12” collection of challenges.  Here’s challenge one:

“What would you and others say are five of your personality pluses?”

That’s your writing challenge for the week.  I’m taking this question and narrowing in only on one of them:


Doll house murder scene

It’s fun to be creative — bwa,ha,ha,ha,ha!

Okay. I’m creative. Yep. I see things differently from others.  How is that interesting? Hmm. Here goes:

Do you like to read mysteries?  I do.  I’ve read mysteries since I was in the second grade and read through the Happy Hollister stories, and moved on to Trixie Beldon and more.  As a grown up, I not only read mysteries but I like to write them as well. I have two novels in print and am working on another.

This summer, my second novel was released by Gale Cengage and Five Star Publishing.  For my book launch, some writing friends and I decided to hold a “baby shower” for our new releases (did I mention I have some very creative friends?).  At baby showers people expect to play party games, so our party was no exception.

For my game, I found an old doll house and decorated it to be a murder scene.  Good-bye Barbie, hello bwa-ha-ha!  I gave my guests a sheet of questions so that they could play “You the Sleuth!” and test their powers of logic and observation.

One of my guests had enough fun with this that she invited me to set up a life-sized murder scene for her Halloween party at a local dance studio.  This made it possible to talk murder and promote my new book to more than 40 people.

Now It’s Your Turn

Can you take a personality gift of yours and write a small story about you?  Start with a list of 5 personality pluses, and then narrow in on your favorite.  Build a true story around it and start sharing with friends.  I’d love to hear your story, so please do send it along.  What are you proud of in yourself?  What do people say when they’re trying to compliment you?

And be sure to check out Brag! by Peggy Klaus.  This should be on every person’s bookshelf.

Wishing you a happy and creative writing day.