Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

5/5/22, Mothers

Posted on May 5, 2022

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you, and that things are returning to normal after the pandemic. I keep hearing about how things have changed, familiar businesses have disappeared, new employees are hard to come by, many people have changed jobs, or haven’t found new jobs yet to replace their old ones. Every time I need something repaired, at home, or with my car, I’m told how difficult it is to get parts. (I have been waiting for a replacement refrigerator since last August, and I’ve now been told that I wont have it before September. Over a year to get a new fridge). My florist can no longer get certain flowers. Caterers that were easy to come by and ready to take on any event, no longer have the staff they did before and turn down parties because they just don’t have the experienced servers to staff them, and new staff no longer want to work the same demanding hours, and wont work on holidays.  I have been helping one of my children refurbish a house, and shopping recently at popular furniture brands, half the merchandise had been discontinued and the rest was back ordered for many months. What should have been easy to accomplish was much harder than expected, and before the pandemic. I was stunned, and imports are sitting in containers on long delayed ships. And my publishers, one of the largest in the world, are still not back in their offices, and all their employees are working from home. And in spite of less service, and very delayed deliveries, prices seem to have gone up across the board. Everything is more expensive than before. So other than our concerns about our health, whether consumer, vendor, or employer, the ripple effect of the aftermath of Covid is affecting us all.

 

This Sunday is Mother’s Day—-with nine (adult) children, it is still one of my favorite holidays!!! I love it. My mother left when I was 7 years old, and I grew up alone with my father, so there were many instances in my own childhood, when I was without a mother. But it’s interesting how life provides what we need. Throughout my life, there have always been older women who filled parts of that role for me. A truly wonderful stepmother from the time I was sixteen, and a one time friend of my mother’s whom I connected with later in life and was also an extraordinary mother figure for me. And throughout my life, there was always one or several women who fulfilled a motherly role for me, and one or two who still do even now and have served as role models in my life.

 

Being a mother is an extraordinary honor and privilege, and has been the greatest joy in the world for me, more powerful than any other. It is a special bond, which doesn’t always go smoothly, but can be one of the sweetest relationships in the world and an incredible blessing. Motherhood is not for everyone, and for some it is a form of bondage that weighs heavily. Too often one hears that things will change someone for the better when they have children. I don’t believe in that theory. Some women know that they are not cut out to be mothers, and I respect that point of view entirely. Some women live to become mothers and thrive once they are, others dread it and see it as an intolerable burden. Those women are wise not to have children, going counter to one’s nature about something so important rarely has a happy result for mother or child. And many women also grieve and feel incomplete if they can’t have children. But having benefitted so richly from generous women who took me into their hearts to fulfill a motherly role for me, I can say with certainty that even women who are not biological mothers can play a hugely important part in someone’s life in a motherly role that is mutually fulfilling for both and can be as close, or even closer at times, as ‘real’ motherhood.

 

So I celebrate all kinds of mothers on Mother’s Day, whether biological or adopted, or a warm affectionate relationship that can change someone’s life forever for the better. you can make an enormous difference in someone’s life in a motherly role, whether you gave birth to them or not, and whether official or not. It was certainly true for me growing up, and even now.

 

So happy Mother’s Day to Mothers of all kinds and natures. Being a mother is not an easy role, although to some it comes more naturally than others. And sometimes the closest of mothers and daughters can encounter bumps and challenges and friction in their relationships. Love is always the answer, even at the hardest times. And a child who appears to hate you at one time in your relationship may be the child you will be closest to one day.’ Motherhood is not for sissies’, whether real or adopted. And even if it doesn’t always feel that way, and there may be disappointing times, it is always a blessing and a learning process that benefits everyone. No one can humble us or hurt us like our children, or give us as much joy.

 

I hope you have a wonderful mother’s day, and can celebrate it with the mothers and daughters in your life, whether ‘official’ children or not. I hope it will be a happy day for you!!!

 

Have a great week, love, Danielle

4/11/22, Resurrection, Rise and Shine!!!

Posted on April 11, 2022

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope life is sailing along, and that things are going well for you.

 

Every year, during this week before Easter, I touch on the religious and philosophical concept most dear to me. And with holidays of many religions converging at this time of year, it seems the appropriate time. The whole idea of Easter is Resurrection: Rising again, recovering, starting fresh and new. We’ve all had a hard run for the past two years, with Covid nipping at our heels, and a dark cloud over us for a lot of that time of the pandemic. And we are still feeling the impact of it, and are trying to outrun it with vaccines, and masks, and various forms of caution even two years later. It’s been a hard time for most people, particularly those who got sick, or lost loved ones. Covid has been very present in our lives for these two years, and has created new stresses and anxieties in our lives.

 

And aside from Covid, there is just plain old life. All the challenges we face daily, with kids, and jobs, and people we love, and bosses, and illnesses, car repairs and bills to pay. Life is a challenge. Some times are better than others. And some challenges are brutal. Some people’s lives just sail along, their kids never have major problems, their marriages were the right choice from Day One and still are, their kids don’t move away to other cities and live close to home, their jobs work out perfectly, and major tragedies have never happened to them. I know some people like that, although not many. And you probably do too. I wonder how they got so lucky. But most of us don’t have that smooth a ride in life. And among those people, who among us has not had a bitter disappointment, lost a person we loved dearly, or a job we really needed and lost it unfairly, who hasn’t had a problem with a child, or a betrayal by a friend, who hasn’t had a broken heart at some point, or a relationship that fell apart or marriage that ended badly. Most people have been through some tough stuff. It’s a struggle to bounce back from the hard blows, and you can wind up beaten down by life…..and that’s where I love the concept of resurrection. It is good to remember that religiously, before the resurrection, came the crucifixion. And THEN the resurrection came, AFTER the tough stuff.

 

I LOVE the idea of resurrection, rebirth, starting over, starting fresh, a clean slate—-even if you have NO religion. You don’t need a religion to believe in Resurrection of your spirit, of your body, of your life—-all you need is a tiny bit of faith that life can turn around and be okay again—that you can fall in love with the right person after the wrong one broke your heart, or that your bumpy relationship can recover, or that you can recover from an illness, find a new and better job—or the boss who nearly drove you insane and poisoned your life might quit and move on. Resurrection is the rainbow after the storms. It’s the chance to start again—to get another chance. It’s a fresh start after you thought you just couldn’t do it anymore. It is rising from the depths where you may have fallen, and getting another chance at life. And after you have suffered, how much more will you appreciate the gifts that life gives you—the recovered health, the new outlook on life, the relationship you’ve always hoped for, the person you love who recovers from an illness, the really good job that suits you perfectly. Good things do happen. Life can turn around. You are not doomed to be unhappy forever.

 

I love the idea of resurrection, and it always comes at the right time, when you really need it.

 

May you feel new again, and get a fresh start if you need one. May you feel reborn, with all the joy and peace that entails. For any of us who feel in need of a resurrection, may it be yours. And it can happen any time–not just on Easter. Easter is just a reminder that it is possible, and can happen for all of us.

 

May this be a special time for you, of resurrection, and the renewal of hope and joy in your life.

 

with all my love, now and always, Danielle

 

2/14/22, Raise the Hearts!!!

Posted on February 14, 2022

 

Hello Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week last week. I was working full tilt on three books in different stages, which was intense. Sometimes I work that way when the ideas are flowing. A few weeks ago, I finished the second draft of one book in the morning, and moved on to another book in first draft that night. I’ve always found that when I’m working, more ideas come, sometimes in a flood, and when I’m not working (and being lazy), nothing comes. I prefer the flood of ideas to the drought. And inspiration is harder to come by these days while staying home a lot, not going out much, and having little or no social life because of Covid. The Covid worries provide a backdrop of anxiety, and staying home keeps one from seeing the little and big things that spark a book when you have a full life out in the world. So in these sparser times, I grab the inspiration when it grabs me and go with it, gratefully!!

 

So I’ve had a very busy month writing, with a third book percolating on the back burner as I work on the outline. And today is one of those days that can be wonderful or disappointing, Valentine’s Day. I’ve had some great ones and some real lemons in my lifetime. I’ve had two marriage proposals on Valentine’s Day, and both came as a (wonderful)surprise!! One led to eighteen mostly happy years and 8 children, and the other resulted in 8 years together, stormy but exciting, to a fascinating person, and no children. Both husbands were much older than I (decades) and were very interesting men, and both are gone now, I stayed close to both of them until the end of their lives. And I do miss them and having them to talk to. My husband John, the father of 8 of my 9 children was incredibly elegant, gracious, handsome, and the other, Tom, was brilliant and a genius, with an extraordinary mind. Both marriages ended in divorce before they died, we had a good run, and stayed close. Both were father figures for me since they were so much older. And both Valentine’s Day proposals were very romantic. (My first marriage was in my teens–my teens were a busy time. I went to college at 15, married in my teens, became a mother for the first time in my teens, and wrote my first book in my teens, at 19—-I started life early!!!)

 

And in contrast to my two Valentine’s Day proposals, I’ve had some really dreary, disappointing Valentine’s Days—haven’t we all!!!—-when nothing at all seemed to be happening. Some years, romance in one’s life is just not happening. And it can be REALLY discouraging if you haven’t met “The One” yet, or you’re between relationships, or if a relationship didn’t work out. I’ve found that (some) men aren’t very good about dates, not as good as women are about them, and some holidays mean a lot to us as women, and just don’t mean as much to them. So a man who really loves you may not come through on Valentine’s day with chocolates, flowers, or a great piece of jewelry, or a proposal, or even remember what day it is!!! (My husband Tom hated most holidays, and particularly didn’t like Christmas (and I LOVE Christmas) and won the prize one year when he asked me on December 23rd—“When is Christmas this year??”—Soon!!!) So your true love may not make the brilliant showing you hope for on Valentine’s Day, although I hope he (or she) does!!! Some men aren’t dazzlers on birthdays either….there is something about dates that eludes them. And if you have the perfect love who showers you with kisses and gifts on Valentine’s Day—–Lucky You!!! Hang on to him (or her).

 

I came across something in the writings of Joel Osteen this week. It is religious, so won’t appeal to those who aren’t, and I love his writings. They always give me hope and strength:  “God has prepared a set time for His promises to come to pass in your life. While you wait, you can trust that behind the scenes, He is working all things in your favor”. I really like that.

 

And there is a lovely saying in French, “Haut les coeurs!!” when you need encouragement, the rough translation is “Raise the Hearts!!!”

 

So, whether religious or not, I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day, and a great week. And May Love be showered on you abundantly by those you love today and every day. You deserve it!!!

 

with so much love, Danielle

 

 

12/31/21, Bye bye 2021 and Auld Lang Syne

Posted on December 31, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Well, we made it through another year, a challenging one—not quite as terrifying and devastating as 2020, but anxiety causing and pretty damn scary at times nonetheless.

 

2020 was a lonely year for me, locked down in France, far from my family for every holiday, in confinement most of the time, and isolation. I was alone for 10 months of 2020 and another 5 months into 2021. It was a huge challenge for me, having always been very close to my children, and away from them for a long time for the first time.

 

2021 was a lot happier, I got to see my kids again, and travelled to the States to see them four times, and was able to spend nearly five months with them, in the midst of their busy lives. I wrote more books in 2020, since I had nothing else to do, and was in solitary confinement for most of the year. But 2021 was less stressful and happier since I got to see my kids, and I did plenty of writing too.

 

And now here we are, we made it all the way through the year, with ups and downs, a year of vaccines for many, and hope for the world in this crazy unbelievable pandemic that has brought the entire world to a shrieking stop for nearly two years. How lucky we were not to live with this constant menace before. I believe that we will reach normalcy again, and it will have been hard won. But it has brought its share of blessings too.

 

I have never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve, people try too hard, expect too much, it’s dangerous on the roads, it’s usually rainy and cold and no fun to go out. I’ve always spent New Year’s Eves at home, either quietly with my husband and kids, or having friends in to dinner, a few years of poker parties I gave, which were a lot of fun, and in recent years, I’m always working on a book, after my kids leave after Christmas. I forget what day (and year) it is and get lost in the book.

 

And this year, I’ll be home with two of my daughters, enjoying a quiet evening at home. We can’t give big gatherings, and dont want to go to any, worrying about Covid, and rushing to get a test the next day.

 

The world is definitely in fragile shape, and we are living history that people will talk about for centuries. With the Covid numbers soaring beyond belief, it rattles me when I read them, and it scares all of us. But somehow, as we move on to a new year, I am grateful for the blessings that have happened to me in these turbulent years, the special friendships I have made in these two years, the people who have come into my life, and I have come to love, who have supported me through the lonely, scary times, and made me laugh and brought me comfort when I needed it most. I’m grateful for my old friends, my family, my homes. I am grateful for the hope buried deep in all of us that even dark times can’t extinguish. I am grateful for the good times that will come again, the happy days that lie ahead, and the healing of body and soul.

 

May this new year be an exceptionally great one for you, full of new adventures, unexpected blessings, true happiness, great good fortune, and good health. May this year make up to you for the pain and fear of the pandemic, and bring you solace, and enormous joy.

 

Wherever you are, whatever you do on New Year’s Eve, be safe, be warm, I hope you feel blessed and at peace. I’m grateful for my faithful readers, my children, my friends, all those I love—-thank you for the joy you have given me this year, and I look forward to the good times we will share in the year ahead. I feel certain that we will, and that good surprises are in store for all of us. Take good care and cherish the happy times!!!

 

Happy New Year, and all my love,

 

Danielle

 

12/21/21, Happy Christmas!!!

Posted on December 21, 2021

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re doing well in these frantic last few days before Christmas, and today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. (I prefer the longest day of the year in June), but long winter nights can be cozy.

 

The new variant Omicron is causing lots of concern around the globe. The hope seems to be that although it’s possibly more contagious, hopefully it will be less deadly, and that the virus is getting weaker. It’s rotten luck that it’s gotten underway and is gaining speed right around the holidays. I was in New York a few days ago, where the numbers are high, and there was a feeling of panic in the air. It was extremely unnerving, my daughters and I cancelled all our plans, including a birthday celebration and dinner for one of them, but it just didn’t feel safe to any of us, even eating outdoors. Since then, I’ve cancelled my office Christmas party, and we have reduced our family Christmas day dinner to a gift exchange with masks and no meal, in order to be as safe as we can be.

 

But whatever the circumstances, I wish you a healthy, peaceful safe Christmas, with people you love and who love you. I wish you the warmth of friends, and the closeness of all whom you hold dear. I hope you have a very, VERY happy Christmas wherever you are, and whoever you spend it with!!!

 

with all my love,  Danielle

 

12/13/21, “Twas the week before Christmas…”

Posted on December 13, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

The big countdown to the holidays is here, with all the stress of finding the right gifts, wrapping them (I lost a pair of scissors, wrapped into a gift this year), getting everything done, decorating a tree, trying to bring family together, see friends, and sometimes having to come face to face with family members you have old or new grievances with.  Even as adults, with all our childlike hopes, wishes, and needs laid bare, The holidays, whether Christmas or Hanukkah, can really put the heat on us, fray tempers and make some people dread the holidays. And while we fret or complain about our families, others are facing the holidays alone, which is infinitely harder.

 

With nine children, most of my holidays have been busy, love-filled, warm and loving, magical and fun. But not every Christmas looks like a Norman Rockwell Christmas card, and I easily remember the three hardest Christmases in my life. The first one came after my divorce. I had one child, moved to a distant, foreign city, and was alone with my five year old daughter, and on that first Christmas, I had to put her on a plane to spend our first Christmas post-divorce with her father, and I found myself in a new city, without friends or family, alone. It was lonely and tough. I spent the day reaching out to people I knew would be alone, mostly older people without families. The day ended with a warm feeling of community and having reached out to people who were deeply grateful that someone had remembered them.

 

Many years later, remarried, with nine children, the worst Christmas without question was three months after my son Nick had died. It was a brutally bleak time for us, but brought us even closer in the end. I organized a skating party for our family, and all of our friends with young children. It wasn’t easy but it remains a tender memory of a bittersweet time. And it came to me that Christmas to reach out to the homeless, cold and alone during Christmas. I filled a van with new sleeping bags and warm clothes and the night before Christmas eve, I drove around handing them out. that night changed my life, and reminded me how many people were in much worse shape than we were. I worked on the streets with the homeless for eleven years after that, which gave new meaning to my life, having lost a beloved son.

 

And Covid has added another layer of anxiety to our lives, many families have not seen each other for nearly two years now, and in some cases, beloved family members and friends have died. Last year was a deep learning experience for me. I married at 18, had my first child at 19, and went straight from my father’s home to my husband’s, and have never been alone again, even now I still have one daughter at home. But during the long lockdowns last year, I stayed in France and it was too dangerous to travel, and I found myself on Christmas last year, totally alone, 6,000 miles from my children, in an empty apartment. There was no voice, no sound, no Christmas carols, no shouts of delight on Christmas morning. I cant remember a lonelier day in my life than last Christmas, and with the time difference, I couldn’t even speak to my kids until 6 o’clock that night. But it was a deep lesson in gratitude and strength, in realizing how blessed I was in so many ways, and I survived Christmas and many months after far from my family. It will make me grateful for holidays with my family for many years. And it reminded me how many people spend the holidays alone for many, many years.

 

I read something recently that said “Christmas isn’t always what people expect, but it proves to be what we need.” I think that was so true. Spending Christmas entirely alone last year, without my children with me was a sharp reminder of how blessed I am.

 

So if Christmas is a challenge for you, not what you wish it were, and if your dreams aren’t shaping up quite right this year, there is always something to learn, and give and do for someone else. The lessons are hard sometimes, and solitude can be so painful, but the hard years are sometimes more meaningful than the easy ones. And the family members who are sometimes irritating, are a lesson and a blessing too. Christmas is a time for forgiveness, gratitude, and doing for others when we can. How many people do we all know who are sad and alone, and lonely, how many homeless people do we walk past every day?. And a touch, a smile, a moment spent, a call, a visit can make all the difference to someone alone, or even a stranger who may be desperate and in need. After my lockdown Christmas in France last year, I have deep respect for people who get through the holidays alone. It was one of the hardest days I have ever spent.

 

And even on the good years, we begin the holidays at -1, with my son Nick missing from our Christmas celebrations every year. But there is so much warmth and love and good will at our table and in our hearts, that in a way he has deepened Christmas for all of us, and made us grateful for the bond we share. Families are not always easy, but they are a great gift.

 

I read an article about Christmas after divorce, which is also a challenge. But even when a family has been divided, there is great love to share, and one is still a family whether separated or together. It is a time to be gentle if one can be, demonstrate as much forgiveness as one is able, and to cherish what we have.

 

Whether during the holidays, or at any other time, love is always the answer, whether your Great Aunt Tillie annoys you, or your Uncle Wilfred gets drunk at the table every year and is obnoxious, or your parents or children criticize you unfairly, or you’re in a marriage you hope to escape eventually, or have a disappointing girlfriend or boyfriend, or if you are entirely alone, —there is always some part of that that will bless you, if you can pour even a drop of love on the flames of what upsets you, it will surprise you and bless you in some way in the end. Kindness and gratitude go a long way, especially on the holidays, even if the turkey isn’t perfect, or if you are spending the day with the ‘turkeys’ who annoy you!!!

 

“When Love fills our hearts, we are regenerated and reborn. Our old life history with its twists and turns, happy and unhappy events, fades in the beauty of unconditional love.” And “We cannot find love, without unselfishness, meekness and integrity.  Our love will be a bright flame to others, to warm cold hearts, brighten hope, renew faith, and be transformed and newborn ourselves.”

 

Love is always the answer, as much as we can muster, and if we can love enough, and be generous enough in heart and spirit, it will change and brighten our holidays, and those of everyone around us.

 

It’s a big challenge to meet, and a life lesson to learn. It’s a learning process for all of us, to remember that Christmas isn’t just about the gifts we give, but about the gift we are to someone else, which in turn transforms them into a gift to us. I always discover Christmas surprises, from people who touch me, when I least expect it.

 

I wish you such wonderful holidays, and that the days leading up to them will be stress and anxiety-free. I hope that there is something you can be grateful for, and that you feel loved and not alone. I wish you so many blessings and the gift of love in your heart. Have a wonderful week full of happy moments and surprises.

 

With so much love, Danielle

 

 

12/6/21, STOP!!!!

Posted on December 6, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

19 more days until Christmas, barely more than two weeks. I hope your plans are shaping up as you want them to, that your family can get together safely, and most of all I hope that you are safe and well. As I used to say when my kids were little, safety first, then happiness. I hope you will be able to achieve both during these upcoming holidays.

I think an important issue is being overlooked. For the 21 months of the pandemic, I think many of us have been shocked and dazed by the reality of the entire world coming to a dead stop around us. Businesses closed, working from home, masks or not, vax or not, which have become hot political topics in the US, and are only considered safety and health issues elsewhere. We have worried about our families and ourselves, in some cases our jobs and incomes have been impacted by the pandemic, or our businesses have folded. Everything we relied on before seems shaky now, which makes us feel anxious and insecure. And a frightening element has crept in with the basic safety and health issues, and the job issues, an element that has snuck up on us like a thief in the night: violence, and what appears to be the breakdown of our very morality, and an important human element.

 

According to statistics, violence and crimes have increased in every country in the world during the pandemic. There is an underlying tension. A law passed in California last year that theft (from a store) of under $1,000. will no longer be prosecuted. As a result, people are simply walking out of supermarkets, drug stores, and other stores with whatever they want to take, with no risk of being prosecuted. What is basically theft is now common place, and the shelves in many stores are bare, with items being stolen, and managers afraid to put merchandise on display. People are stealing without a second thought. And it appears that the people stealing are not unemployed parents stealing food for their kids, the door has been opened wide to petty criminals, who are stealing for profit. In theory, these are small crimes which have led to bigger ones.

 

From the theft of toothpaste, snacks and toilet paper in grocery stores or at Walgreen’s, there has been a huge leap to what is now called “Smash and Grab”. Luxury stores and department stores have now become the victims of looters who smash windows, enter stores, grab whatever expensive merchandise they can and run, in order to sell it later. Sometimes at night, and sometimes in broad daylight. In other stores, armed thieves enter, terrorize the customers, grab what they want and run, expensive things they can sell. When I was in San Francisco for 2 weeks last summer, armed robberies (of Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus) were committed across the street from where I was standing. I didn’t go downtown again. Three months later, when I was again in San Francisco, 7 luxury stores were broken into and looted in one night, including 80 looters who attacked a Nordstrom’s, and stole whatever they could lay hands on. Maybe some amateurs, but mostly professional criminals who are stealing to resell, adding theft and violence to our woes while Covid still rages on, and people argue about why they should wear a mask. In the meantime “Smash and Grab” has become an ordinary daily occurrence, which is theft on a massive scale.

 

And now, the deterioration of our moral fiber has gone a step further. In Northern California, ‘Smash and Grab’ has become a booming business, and the new ‘sport’ has become ‘Home Invasions’ in Southern California, where criminals break into homes, hold everyone at gun point and steal what they can. A horrifying example of that was the invasion of the home of a well known couple, in the music business, and the 81 year old wife, a remarkable woman greatly respected in LA, was shot and killed in cold blood during the event. So wholesale theft has led to armed robbery, and now to murder. In my own peaceful residential neighborhood in San Francisco, three women have recently been beaten to within an inch of their lives by men who stole their purses, another was beaten savagely while walking her dog, and her attackers stole her dog, and two very young children were kidnapped in the course of a car jacking. On the shopping street two blocks from my home in my neighborhood in Paris, where it was fun to walk, and window shop, or buy chocolates or pastries, we are now advised not to walk anymore, because hoodlums and criminals are mugging people, stealing purses, and ripping watches off their victims’ arms, and jewelry off their hands, ears, and necks.  What is happening to us? Where will it end? What makes it okay to steal toothpaste in one location, expensive handbags in another, beat up old women, steal people’s dogs, tear a necklace off a woman’s neck, or shoot people in their homes? That’s not a ‘home invasion’, that is murder plain and simple. And a young woman I know took an Uber in a normally safe neighbourhood in Paris a few days ago, and was savagely beaten and raped. How? Why? How did this appalling threat to our physical safety, and mental balance enter our lives unseen, and settle in as some kind of offshoot of the health crisis we are already living through. While those who govern us argue about wearing masks, roving groups of random criminals are looting, shooting innocent people, and stealing whatever they can lay hands on with no regard for human life.

 

Violence has become a way of life. I was told not to wear a purse if I go out in San Francisco. You can’t walk down a street in any city now, without fearing for your life. Bad enough that we are faced daily with the Russian Roulette of Covid, praying that we and our loved ones wont get sick or wind up in a hospital,  and now we get to worry about being caught in a shoot out at the grocery store, or in a store like Neiman Marcus, or we could be beaten to a pulp while walking our dogs. WHAT is happening to our moral fiber, where are our lawmakers while they look the other way, and allow people to steal up to a thousand dollars worth of what doesn’t belong to them. Where is the respect for human life that shooting an 81 year old respectable remarkable woman has now become commonplace. This is not a video game, this is our real life, while civilization as we know it is crumbling around us, and unthinkable, immoral, illegal acts are given clever names like ‘Smash and Grab’ and ‘Home Invasion’.

 

No!!! A thousand times NO!!! We all need a wake up call, we need to be profoundly shocked, even horrified by the violence happening around us that we seem to take for granted now. The pandemic has been like living through a war, where our lives are on the line every day. I have a hard time believing that during the Blitz in London, where countless people died daily from the bombs—-I can’t imagine other people shooting the survivors in their homes, or looting stores, while bodies were being removed from the rubble, and others were taking refuge in bomb shelters during an air raid.

 

We need to stand up, we need to wake up, we need to do EVERYTHING we can to stop the violence, end the criminal acts, and take a stand against the violence that impacts us all, and we are beginning to take for granted as a common occurrence. It could be our own homes that are invaded next, for a handful of money, or our loved ones or ourselves are shot randomly. We are fighting for our lives with Covid, there should be no room in our lives or in our world for violence as well. Living through the pandemic is hard enough without being mugged, beaten up, raped or killed as well. Enough. And those in government need to take a strong stand against it. Even the police are afraid of this tidal wave of violence we are facing. It needs to stop, before we have no safety, no moral fiber, and no respect for human life left at all.

 

 

Have a great week, and a safe one!!! love, Danielle

 

11/29/21, “Before the Holidays”

Posted on November 29, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Well, we made it through the first round of holidays, as Thanksgiving opens the season of holidays, followed by Christmas or Chanukah, and ending with New Year’s. So here we go!!! The busiest time of year!!

 

I hope you had a beautiful thanksgiving, surrounded by friends and family, with an abundance of warm feelings of friendship and kindness, and a turkey on your table. I was lucky enough to celebrate it with my five youngest children. It was warm and cozy and everything I missed so much last year, alone and locked down in Covid in France. The Covid numbers all over the world appear to be rising again, and I hope that things settle down and improve again soon.

 

In the meantime, there is lots to do before the holidays, finishing shopping, making plans, inviting friends and family for Christmas, decorating the house, which is so much fun. We picked our tree the day after Thanksgiving, at a huge tree lot that is run as a Charitable event, the proceeds from the trees go to a summer camp for underprivileged kids in the summer, and gets the holidays off to a wonderful, warm start.

 

I hope you have lots of plans you love over the holidays, and there is still time to include friends, or someone who might be alone.  The next few weeks will fly by!!! I wish you a fantastic week up ahead, with beautiful surprises and happy times.

 

love, Danielle

 

11/22/21, Thanksgiving

Posted on November 22, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

It’s a big week this week. The beginning of the holidays, and things are liable to get hectic from now until the end of the year. Tomorrow is an exciting day for me with my new hardcover coming out, “Flying Angels”, it’s a carefully researched historical novel, about the nurses who flew military missions in World War II, to rescue wounded soldiers from the front lines. The missions were extremely dangerous, and many of the brave women who flew those missions gave their lives to rescue the wounded men. The nurses on those flight missions were among the unsung heroes of World War II, and it took the military and the government another two decades to recognize them as the courageous heroes they were, and finally acknowledge and decorate them. It was a wonderful, exciting book to write, and I hope you love it as much as I do. I fell in love with the characters in the book, and I hope you will too.

 

Although holidays can be challenging for everyone for a variety of reasons, either being alone, not having a family, or being far from home. I got a taste of that last year myself, in spite of having a big family. I was alone in France during the pandemic, and it was too dangerous to come home, so for the first time in my life, I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas entirely alone, and it was incredibly hard, which makes me all the more grateful to be with my family for the holidays this year and it gave me a first hand view of how hard it is to be alone for the holidays.

 

Even surrounded by family, the holidays can be dicey and stressful for everyone, if things don’t work out as we plan, or if old problems have not been resolved and surface at family gatherings. But I find Thanksgiving very special, it’s a holiday meant to celebrate gratitude for the food on our table, the people around us, the blessings we have. It’s a time to quietly take stock, and be grateful for as much as we can. Sometimes we don’t even realize how blessed we are, and if we can be grateful for even the smallest thing, it gives the holiday real meaning. And reaching out to family and friends, and including people at our table is part of it. With the vaccines that have become part of our lives, we are able to share our holidays with family and friends again, while still respecting the safety measures that are still important, in order to protect all of us, whether testing before gathering, or wearing masks until we eat, and being careful not to expose anyone unduly, and being vaccinated if we can be.

 

I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving, and a wonderful day. And I hope that you will be able to gather with the people you care about and who care about you.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

love, Danielle

 

11/15/21, Gratitude

Posted on November 15, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Last week was a busy one, as the holidays approach, editing a book, and travelling, and just keeping up with work, doing big and small projects. I find many people tense and anxious, maybe with pre-holiday anxieties, holidays can be emotionally charged for many (most?) people, and many people seem to have shorter fuses than usual. It’s a good reminder to stop and take a deep breath, appreciate beauty and kindness where you find it, and to remember that everyone is stressed at this time of year. I was dealing with an inexplicably undelivered package by Fed Ex, which I am still fighting to retrieve (unsuccessfully so far), and the same petty aggravations and worries we all deal with, which can make daily life a challenge and eat up our time, and can spoil a day. The challenge is to remember our blessings, and be grateful for the things that go right, instead of wrong.

 

I watched my favorite series, New Amsterdam, wrote my Christmas cards, and was lucky enough to share in a wonderful spiritual meeting I participate in every year, which gets me back on the right track. And I was able to spend a few minutes with two daughters and one son, and two days with my two daughters in New York. They all have full, busy lives, and it’s a gift to share whatever time they can spare. At their ages, the last thing I wanted to do was spend time with my parents, so it’s a gift that they spend time with me at all.

 

The Covid numbers seem to be rising steadily all over the world, which is worrisome, and it’s a reminder to us all to still be careful, wear masks when it is wise to do so, or required. The vaccines appear to have lowered the number of deaths, but the number of cases is rising nonetheless. Let’s hope the number of cases doesn’t continue to increase. Our family will gather for Thanksgiving for the first time in two years, with all members of the family vaxxed, and Covid tests taken beforehand, with masks worn when appropriate, and social distancing respected. Our gatherings cant be as carefree as they used to be, but for the last 20 months we have shared no holidays at all, so it will be a huge blessing to be together. It still shocks me to realize that we have lost nearly two years out of our lives, focused intensely on staying healthy, and trying to avoid Covid. And the effects of the last two years have impacted us all.

 

What I like best about Thanksgiving is that aside from the traditional food everyone loves, the turkey, the stuffing, the mince, apple, pecan and pumpkin pies—–it is a holiday dedicated to being thankful, to gratitude for our blessings, large and small. We can’t always be with the people we love on the holidays, and families don’t always get along, but it is a day, and a time when it’s good to remember all the things we all have to be grateful for. It’s a great thing to remember. Gratitude changes one’s outlook about everything, it shifts the perspective to thinking about the people we are grateful for in our lives. It’s a time to reach out to family, friends, and people who are alone, and hold out a hand to them, a time for forgiveness, compassion, and gratitude.

 

I hope this week leading up to Thanksgiving will be a peaceful one for you, and you’ll have time to enjoy the holiday the week after, with whoever you spend it with. And even if things don’t go exactly as you hope, maybe this year it will be your turn to be a blessing to someone else.

 

Have a great week!!! full of unexpected blessings and happy moments,

 

love, Danielle