Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cookies, Movies and Music

It's that time of year...the crazy, trying hard to keep up with things, and doing way too much...time of year.

Mailing cards, shopping, gift wrapping, party going, cooking, baking, on and on and on...and then I like to add in reading, movie watching, and relaxing (ya, right.) But of course, I still have to do my regular day-to-day stuff, too, like writing, blogging, editing, marketing,, oh, my and I wonder where all my time goes.

It's no wonder I always feel so overwhelmed. I'm sure you all are relating- right?

Regardless, I try really hard to enjoy every moment, and I have my favorites that make this time of year special.

Cookie baking doesn't come easily for me. Being gluten free isn't my only obstacle. Sadly, I hate to bake. I don't like to cook either, but being gluten free has forced me to do both. And if I want Christmas cookies, then I must roll up my sleeves and bake. Amazingly, I was able to create some good tasting (and looking) cookies. They tasted and looked good enough that I shared with my gluten-free neighbor.

Grain-free/Gluten-free Sugar Cookie Cut-outs

Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies

Grain-free/Gluten-free Snowballs (Walnut/Pecan Sandies)

(pretty good for someone who doesn't bake, huh?)

Every year, I have a bunch of Holiday movies I just have to watch. It doesn't feel like Christmas without them. Most of the time, I have the movie on in the background while I'm wrapping, baking, or finishing up the cards. However, some nights I stay up late on the couch to watch these movies.

Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (dvd) Overview

One Magic Christmas (I think this is by far my favorite Christmas movie)

A Christmas Carol (with George C Scott)

Anything on Lifetime

I love the classic Holiday songs like Rudolf, Silent Night, Let it Snow, Jingle Bells, etc. I basically love them all. But I thought I share with you Train, Shake it Up Christmas

What are your favorite cookies, movie, and music?

Be safe and merry!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Some Things are Just too Hard to Understand

It is too hard to comprehend and words will never express the pain that the entire nation is feeling.

I am sad. I am scared. I am angry.

The hardest thing to do right now is to trust. It is near impossible to let those I love out of my sight and believe they will be okay. How do I tell them to trust that they'll be safe when I don't even know if I believe it myself?

And I would think that after all that has happened, people would come together and treat each other with kindness. Yet, after my experience this weekend, I'm left wondering...

I had to go to an establishment at the mall this weekend for a holiday event. I arrived and found the parking lot to be full. After driving up and down the aisles for a while, I saw someone backing out. I stopped and waited, putting on my turn signal as a sign of wanting the soon open parking space. As I waited, a car turned up the aisle and whipped into the spot. I was completely stunned.  Calmly, I pulled up behind the car and stuck my head out the window. "That was mean," I said in a kind voice. (Really!) I have to note that I was not angry. Upset and stunned that someone would do that, yes, but not angry. All I wanted to do was call them out on their rudeness. The passenger, a women, started to yell at me and tell me what a horrible person I was. (I mean wow...she didn't even know me and had to explain to me what a bad individual I was and how much of a bad influence I was.) It was crazy. Then the driver got out. She was also a women. She turned red in the face and screamed at me. "This was my spot. I've been driving around, and I got here first. You can walk." Well, of course I can walk, (if I had found a spot,) but that wasn't the point. I smiled at her and her passenger who was still screaming at me and telling me how horrible I was. I couldn't believe how irate they were. It was actually pretty funny. I really could care less about the spot in the end, I was just upset someone would be so rude and called them out on it. (and I remind you, I never yelled...) They knew they were in the wrong because they sprung from their car ready to "fight", screaming and yelling. A simple "I'm sorry" would have been nice. Or an "Oh, I had no idea." Before they finished their rounds of yelling, I said, "Well, I hope that made you feel better. Have a wonderful day." She wasn't happy with my response and screamed, "Merry Christmas to you, too," in a really  nasty and sarcastic tone. I was not looking for a fight, so I drove away, stunned and shocked that people acted like that. In the end, it actually brought tears to my eyes that someone could be that rude especially after all that has happened. You'd think last weeks events would be a reminder of how precious life is. A reminder that we are all human, we all have loved ones, we all have feelings, we are all no more or no less important than the other. You would think people would try to be a little kinder to others.

I am saddened.

And yet I want to hold hope. I want to believe most people care. The following day on my adventure to the grocery store, I made a point to smile nicely to everyone. I do not live in a small town, so store visits are not greeted with those I know. And when it is busy, most people rudely push their way through the store. But I was amazed at how a simple gesture changed most of the shopper's frown to a smile and some even started saying "hello."

I hope that as we continue to heal as a nation from this horrible act of evil, we can trust in each other, turn to each other, and be there for each other. It is important to treat others with kindness, to help others. I think it is important to call others out and not just stand by when they are being mean or bullying. I think it is important to reach out for help when we can't handle things by ourselves anymore. I think it is important to educate, talk about, and not alienate mental illness.  

Please join me in standing together.

My heart goes out to everyone in Newtown, Connecticut. They will forever be in my thoughts. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Reading

So, the holidays are upon us, and even though very little snow has fallen in Colorado and I'm so busy I can barely turn around without knocking something over, I still like to grab a good book and curl up to read this time of year. (I also enjoy mindlessly laying on the couch and watching "It's a Wonderful Lifetime" -the Lifetime channel's series of holiday shows, or other holiday movies- but that's another post!)

Here are some of my favorite must-reads this time of year:

The Classics:

The Gift of the Magi-by O' Henry- I love this short story about the deep love of a couple and their desire to give up their most treasured gifts for each other. I am always drawn to this story and is a must read every year.
The Gift of the Magi.jpg

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens- I have to read this story every year. I love the tale and it's message. It has always been a tradition in my family to watch the movie version with George C Scott every year on Christmas Eve.

A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore - A favorite of all. A must read short story before bed on Christmas Eve.

Product Details

Other great Christmas reads:

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah - I read this story a couple of years ago for the first time and loved it. A great story for the season with surprising twists and turns.

Product Details

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts -Any girls go on strike at Christmas time. And of course nothing would get done. "The right way," that is. The movie came out last year, and I have yet to see it. Maybe I'll pick it up and watch this season.
Product Details

What stories are a must-read for you this time of year? What are your favorite Holiday tales?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award


The amazing and talented Amanda Fanger  nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I am very honored and humbled by this award. Thank you, Amanda for all the support and kind words.

If you are not already following Amanda, make sure you head over to her inspiring blog. I am so glad I've gotten to know her on this blogging and writing journey.

I can't tell you how much this award means to me. Too often I feel like I'm going nowhere...not sure if anyone reads what I write, not sure who would really care about what I have to say, so receiving this shout out means the world to me.

As part of accepting this award, I must share seven things about myself, so here goes...

1. I love pinwheels, bright colors, and daisies.

2. I love line dancing and go to class a few times a week for exercise.

3. I get caught up in Hallmark and Lifetime movies, especially all of the holiday movies this time of year. I also love shows like Criminal Minds.

4. I am gluten free...but sadly, I hate to cook- so someday I am going to write about how I cook gluten free the quick and easy way.

5. I am not shy, and love long talks with friends.

6. I believe in talking about the tough issues--even when no one else will--because it's important raise awareness, advocate for others, and let individuals know they are not alone.

7. I am inspired by those around husband, my parents, my boys, my friends. I am inspired by the ladies from line dancing. I am inspired by music and songwriters. I am inspired by other writers and bloggers. And I am inspired by others who speak out, stand up and spread awareness on tough issues.

Thank you all for being there for me, inspiring me, and encouraging me to keep moving forward.

There are a couple of wonderful writers I want to extend this award to...

Kendra Merritt. Kendra is one of my writing buddies. She is an extremely gifted writer and her blog is very inspirational. Make sure you check her out. It is worth sitting down and spending time reading her back posts.

Susan Oloier. Susan is my writing partner over at Moxie Writers. Susan is one of the most talented and inspirational people I know. I am so blessed to have met her. And very honored that she wanted to team up with me to write. She is currently on a break from blogging, but her blog was amazing and I will miss reading it everyday. If you get a chance, check out her website and her books. I love them all.

Michael Di Gesu. I have just recently met Michael and started following his blog. He is very inspirational, encouraging, and supporting.

Who are some great bloggers and writers that inspire you? Please share a link in the comments section. I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, December 7, 2012

And the Tour Comes to an End

I can't believe it's already time to wrap up the Speak Out Against book tour. It has been an amazing adventure, touring around the blogosphere and speaking out against bullying and dating abuse. 

I couldn't have done it without Susan Oloier. She is absolutely amazing, extremely creative, talented, and energetic. It has been such an honor to tour with her. And I am so excited to continue writing with Susan over at Moxie Writers. Head on over and follow us, so you don't miss out on all the fun!

And we couldn't have done the tour without the wonderful bloggers and friends who hosted us along the way. I'm honored to know and to have met such wonderful people. I am so grateful that everyone was so willing to stand up and speak out against bullying and dating violence. It can be hard to start a conversation about such tough topics, but it is so important to bring awareness to these issues. 

I also want to thank everyone who followed us on the tour, left comments, and joined in on the conversation.

My Hope is that everyone will continue to Speak Out Against...


Thank you!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

One Last Tour Visit

Speak Out Against

Today, Susan and I are over at J.L. Campbell's blog for our final visit of the Speak Out Against book tour. Head on over and say "Hi!" and join her in speaking out against bullying and dating abuse.

Thank you, J.L. Campbell for hosting the tour!

My Photo
J.L. Campbell is an award-winning writer who lives is sunny Jamaica. She's always on the lookout for story-making material and can be found lollygagging on this blog most days.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Now and Then

The Speak Out tour continues at Corinne OFlynn's site. We are talking about the now and then of dating abuse and bullying.

Somethings change...some don't.

Join us and speak out against bullying and dating abuse.

My Photo Corinne OFlynn writes novels and short fiction.  She also write essays. As a reader, she have always been able to get lost in books. They whisk her away to this other place where everything is exciting and nothing else matters.  As a writer, she hopes to be able to take you on a journey where you feel completely transported by my stories for a while.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Speaking Out Against with Brooke and Noelle

The Speak Out Against tour continues over at Michael Di Gesu's site.
Michael is hosting an interview with the characters from Outcast and Break From You. Join Noelle (from Outcast) and Brooke (from Break From You) as they interview each other, asking and answering questions on dating abuse and bullying.

And Michael is having a giveaway!

Stand up and speak out against bullying and teen dating abuse.

Thank you, Michael for hosting the tour!

My Photo
Michael Di Gesu- After fifteen years of modeling in New York, I spent the past eight years as an interior designer in Chicago. I decided to take my creative talents and write/illustrate my first m/g novel, Amber and the Whispering Willows. A year later, I wrote The Blinded Gardener, an edgy y/a contemporary. I've been editing for the past six months and I am in the process of querying. I never knew how wonderful it could be to write novels ... I'm addicted.

PS- don't forget about Moxie Writers' giveaway...only a few more days left to sign up and win copies of Outcast, Break From You, and Speak Out Against bookmarks.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bullying Youth with Disabilities and Special Needs

Kids with disabilities or special health needs are at higher risk of being bullied.

Speak Out  YA Book Tour

The Speak Out Against...Book Tour continues

Join Susan Oloier over at her son's blog My Life With Zane.
She is talking about bullying and disabilities.

Stand up and Speak Out Against...bullying youth with disabilities and special needs.

Thank you, Zane for hosting the tour today! And thank you, Susan!