Our Lady of the Roses in Presale Now

Sunday, May 3, 2020

When Little Things Are the Biggest Things


When my twins, Caitlin and Christopher, were about six, I remember watching a rerun of The Little House on the Prairie with them. The episode was one that took place at Christmas when a terrible blizzard strikes. Mr. Edwards, the Ingalls family’s neighbor, walks miles through deep snow and whiteout conditions to deliver Christmas gifts to the Ingalls children. As little Laura opens her gift, she squeals with delight and thanks Mr. Edwards profusely for the gift, which was a peppermint stick.

I remember my son looking up at me and saying, “He’s crazy. He walked all that way in the snow to give her a peppermint stick? I’d have stayed home!” I laughed and hated to be a scoffer too, but I think I would have skipped the trek through the snow too.

Well, we’ve just celebrated an Easter, and for those who celebrate Passover, a season like no other—almost as simple as one on the prairie. We’d become accustomed to donning new Easter outfits, crowding into churches, and enjoying brunches or Easter dinners. We’d become accustomed to the ease of walking into stores to purchase items for our feasts. We’d become accustomed to participating in Easter Egg Hunts and celebrating with those we love. We’d become accustomed to being able to hold our infant grandchildren and kissing the little ones on cheeks. But this year was different—much, if not all, of that was taken away by the Coronavirus. And what did remain was changed.

Perhaps your holiday was like mine. I attended Mass online, stayed six feet away, cordoned off by orange safety cones, to watch my little granddaughters hunt for Easter Eggs. We ate Easter dinner with only those who resided in my house instead of gathering with my whole family. We went online and Zoomed with each other in rectangular boxes as if we were the Brady Bunch. 

Everything that we’d come to know love and expect when celebrating Easter was changed. But as Mr. Edwards went the extra mile in a blizzard to share the Christmas love, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for each small way that we were able to keep the holiday. Though we couldn’t go to church or dine with family, couldn’t shop for Easter finery, foods, candy, or flowers, though we couldn’t hug our loved ones, it helped to make me focus on the little things. My son and I may have sneered at Mr. Edwards back then, laughing at his simple gift of a peppermint stick, but like the Ingalls family who faced a difficult life on the prairie, we now have been humbled and have learned that little things mean a whole and sometimes are the biggest things.

This article appeared in the May 2020 issue of Northern Connection magazine.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

What Does 60 Look Like?


I turn 60 this month. I had to go back and look at those digits and ponder them after I typed them. They look so foreign. Me 60? Recently, when people have learned that I was coming up on a milestone birthday, several have kindly quipped, “You don’t look 60!” But after the third person told me that, I thought, Well, what exactly does 60 look like?

When I was a kid, 60 looked ancient. That was my grandparents’ age. When I went to work, and a I was PYT (Pretty Young Thing), 60 looked like those old ladies in cardigan sweaters on the executive floor. Now, that I’ve arrived at 60, it doesn’t seem that old. Here’s a little secret for all those not yet 60: it’s not that bad. Sure, I’m not as svelte or supple as I used to be, but on the inside, I feel the same as I did when I was 16—only a whole lot smarter. I know a lot more; I figured a lot more things out; I’ve achieved a lot more; and I’ve come to learn what is important in life. I think you spend the first 20 years of your life becoming you and then the next 40 creating and living your life—getting married, having children, building a career— and then all of a sudden you’re rounding the bend and sliding into third at 60.

If I could go back now and visit my 20-year-old self, I think young me would be delighted and relieved as to how I have ended up. I’ve been blessed with so much and by so many people, it’s hard to mourn the passing of the years.

As I mentioned in a previous column, I was fortunate to go on a Caribbean cruise (before the coronavirus hit), and the ship was primarily filled with passengers who were 50 and up, and let me tell you, they were having the time of their lives. Sure, there were a lot of people on canes or were wearing knee braces or didn’t exactly look like Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, but they were enjoying themselves, with a sense of they had nothing left to prove. They’ve married, had children, had careers, faced obstacles, become grandparents and survived. There’s no time to look back only time to enjoy the here and now and make the most of what’s left of your life.

Last summer, my granddaughter Sadie, who was three at the time, was over at my house, and she was playing at me feet. I was wearing shorts, and she looked at my right calf that has a varicose vein that runs down the inside like a lightning bolt, leaving a constellation of three clusters of spider veins. She touched one of the spider veins and smiled up at me. “Grandma,” she said, “I really like the blue spots on your leg. They’re beautiful.”

I chuckled. Only a three-year-old could think a spider vein beautiful. “Why, thank you,” I said.

What does 60 look like?

A lot like a varicose vein. In one sense it’s an unmistakable sign of advancing age, and on the other its simply beautiful.

This originally appeared in the April 2020 edition of Northern Connection magazine.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

FREE DOWNLOAD!


FREE - That's a word to get your attention. In order lighten all our spirits, I'm making my newest romantic comedy, OUR LADY OF THE ROSES, free to download to your Kindle, Nook, tablets, computers, and phones.

It is set in Rome, a place many of us have on our minds today, and is lighthearted and fun--something we all need now. Feel free to share. #romanticcomedy #novel #freereads
#freeKindle #books #FreeNook #Funny



Please feel free to spread the word to your reader friends anyone can download it, and you can read it on your Kindle, Nook, tablet, computer or cell phone. I only ask that if you like the book, please leave a review on the site where you downloaded it. I hope the book helps to cheer you in these crazy times.

Stay strong and stay well!

Janice

Links to download for FREE: