Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

8/30/21, Ho Ho Ho

Posted on August 31, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve had a busy one, the summer is definitely slipping rapidly behind me, and my September foot on the gas, getting busy, is beginning to happen. And the very good news that my newest book Complications, which came out a week ago is #3 on the bestseller lists. So, thank you for that, and my new paperback Royal is #1 on many lists. I hope you’ll enjoy both books.

 

And I am running true to form for August. One of my more irritating traits is that I start my Christmas shopping in August every year. And in spite of Covid, wearing a mask everywhere, and being cautious about what I do and where I go—-it’s happening. I started my Christmas shopping last week, and I just love it. It’s an early reminder of my favorite time of year.

 

The first list I look at every year are the gingerbread houses I send to children on my Christmas list. Then there are people I send a small gift to, just to let them know I’m thinking of them, and something to people who’ve been especially nice to me this year, or helped me in some way, and people who work for me. And the list of my family and close friends. Christmas shopping puts me in a good mood. I try to finish most of it by October, so I don’t have to push my way through crowded stores, which seems more sensible than ever now, during Covid. It is so fun looking at things for the home, at toys, at pretty clothes, at practical things, unusual items, and silly fanciful ones. Sometimes I send chocolates or a Christmas candle. I used to bake brownies with the children to give to people. I love to Needlepoint, and when I have time, I make a needlepoint cushion for special friends. So, I’m off and running. This is just the beginning. I don’t know why, but I always start thinking about Christmas in August….so here I am…. Ho Ho Ho!!!

 

Have a great week, and I hope that as the summer draws to a close, it has been a good one for you!!!

 

love, Danielle

5/25/21, Re-Entry, the challenges of Good Change

Posted on May 25, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week, and are getting ready for the Memorial Day weekend, which is always the unofficial beginning of summer in the US, a kind of warm up for the Fourth of July. Although holidays have been celebrated worldwide during the nearly year and a half of the pandemic, nothing has had the same atmosphere or mood during that anxious time. And in most cases, holidays that were too enthusiastically celebrated had disastrous after-effects with lethal spikes in the numbers of new Covid cases, with a high price to pay for holidays. With vaccines available now around the world, and more readily in some countries, it will actually be possible for people to celebrate holidays with far less risk, and in some places none at all, although caution is still advised (masks, social distancing, and common sense, with Covid still part of our daily lives, although rendered less lethal now due to the vaccines.)

 

I’m reminded of the wise words of a friend several years ago, a psychologist, who said that good change can sometimes be harder to adjust to than bad change, which several times in my life I have found to be true (like the arrival of a new baby, which is such a joyous event, but can certainly alter your daily life dramatically, and be a bumpy adjustment, and for some even lead to postpartum depression). We’re not suffering from post-partum now, but for many, the adjustment to many changes post-Covid can be stressful and anxiety provoking. I read somewhere recently that some people are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the aftermath of Covid, even as things begin to ease up. I notice changes in my life too. My sleep patterns (and I don’t sleep much in the best of times) have been altered, and haven’t settled down yet to what they were pre-Covid, with sleep more elusive, nights shorter, or waking in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep. (I just get up and go to work, rather than lying in bed and stewing about why I can’t sleep). I hear that from people a lot, that they’re having trouble sleeping. We’ve all been through some harrowing times, and need to acknowledge that.

 

For myself, although I was safer in France at times, and felt more secure there when the numbers of daily cases and deaths were terrifyingly high in the US, which kept me where I was, and Paris is certainly not a hardship post even in the midst of Covid—-three long lockdowns, and the rigors and forced solitude of confinement were an unfamiliar stress, and being separated from my family for more than a year was a challenge every day. Birthdays, holidays, and happy events missed, family gatherings cancelled, weddings and other events being cancelled and postponed sank everyone’s spirits for more than a year, and was a common occurrence in everyone’s lives. The restoration of normal life is an enormous comfort, and being reunited with loved ones a special gift, it still feels somewhat tenuous, and we have all been reminded of how radically and how suddenly life can be changed dramatically. The whole world became a dangerous place, and in many cases came to a dead stop for more than a year. And people are still mourning lost loved ones, and financial stresses are affecting people all across the globe. And ‘normal’ feels suddenly unfamiliar and a challenge to achieve. Unable to be vaccinated myself, and with some members of my family not vaccinated yet for a variety of reasons, I have still not been able to hug my children, but just the sight of them with masks and social distancing warms my heart. We’re ‘back’, but none of us are quite home free yet. But we’re getting there, and well on our way.

 

As with any hard event, even a war, blessings have resulted from it too, family relationships that have become closer, romantic ones that started in the pandemic, people who got to know their children better than ever before, new past times we never had time for before, and helped soothe some of the stresses of the pandemic, a lot of my friends took up gardening and really enjoyed it, or discovered new hobbies, and made new friends. And it seems as though everyone who could got a dog, and are crazy about them now. So we’re left with pluses and minuses. The minuses were heavy, jobs and businesses lost, and lost loved ones, but the pluses are noticeable, worthwhile, and real too.

 

Even happy events in life are not always 100% smooth. And the return to normalcy doesn’t always happen in a straight line or as fast as we wish. Switching from one country to another always has with it an element of culture shock. At the end of a flight, you’re suddenly in another world, another life, with a whole new set of challenges and rules. I had a lot to catch up on coming back to the States, and I jam packed all the long overdue appointments into my first weeks back, medical appointments and exams, the dentist, accountants, lawyers, government papers I needed for international travel, all of the appointments stressful, and I faced two and three a day, so I didn’t have much time to savor my return, and none of the required appointments were pleasant, but I wanted to get through them quickly. My daily role as parent and employer made demands on me too. And all of it after a year of anxiety and worry, and even business negotiations that dragged on far longer than usual. I think we were all stretched to the maximum of our tolerance for stress for more than a year. I worked hard during the entire pandemic every single day, but nothing was as easy or stress-free as it usually is. And winding down from that kind of stress is a challenge too. I missed important family events for more than a year. We won’t get the time back, and we can’t mourn the time we lost forever, we just have to move forward now with fresh energy, and look ahead to the many things we can enjoy now and will in future, and hang onto the blessings we did have in the past year, and there were many of those too. I am really grateful for the good people who came into my life in the past year, and the relationships that developed and strengthened as a result.

 

I only take one vacation a year, in the summer with my kids. There was no way we could do it last year, so I haven’t had a vacation in almost two years. And I almost never take a day off from writing. I keep my nose to the grindstone all year long, and my hands on my typewriter keys!!! My writing schedule is grueling, but I love what I do, which makes it possible. And although time off was inevitable for people during the lockdowns, I was able to work then too, even if not as easily as usual, but I still worked. But I’ve been reminded of the benefits, and necessity sometimes, of time off too.

 

I did something in the past week that I rarely do, I took a day off during the week to drive out of the city with my youngest daughter, to the places she has enjoyed during the pandemic. We drove out to the country, had a wonderful lunch together, and spent a terrific day. I came back to the city at the end of the day, feeling happy, relaxed and renewed. The time together was a special gift. And although the pandemic was isolating in many ways, physically and mentally, I cherish the time to see friends now, or talk to them, and didn’t take much time off to do that before. I think that people who take the time to do that now will make a healthier, happy re-entry back to normal life. We can see more people now, are freer to move around, and do the things we enjoyed before, and hang onto the new past times we’ve discovered in this very unusual year.

 

I think in the long run, the pandemic will have taught us many positive lessons, and much about ourselves and what matters most to us. But don’t be too surprised if your re-entry is a little bumpy, and you feel different than before. We won’t all suffer from Post-traumatic stress, but the reality is that we have all been through a lot, in one way or another, and it will take some time to hit our stride again, but we are well on our way now. The memory of the hard times will leave their mark, but so will the blessings we derived from it too. Take some time to catch your breath, get back to ‘normal’, and be gentle with yourself.

 

Have a great week and a wonderful holiday weekend!!!

 

 

love, Danielle

 

3/29/21, Resurrection

Posted on March 29, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope last week was a good one for you. These are certainly challenging times, from week to week. Now that we’ve passed the one-year mark from when everything shut down and Covid exploded into our lives, I think we are all more eager than ever for life to return to normal. The vaccine gives us hope of more protection, but the distribution of it seems pretty bumpy and erratic in most countries. And not everyone wants to be vaccinated. It’s very new, and many people are daunted by the pros and cons and the speed with which it was developed. There is no question, we have been part of a historical event, a year that no one will forget. It cast us back a century to a situation so similar to the Spanish flu which decimated the world in a very similar way a hundred years ago. But there is a glimmer of light on the horizon now, and sometime in the next months, we will win this silent war that we have fought so bravely. It’s a war with very real casualties. And for the survivors, we have been very brave and paid a high price for the loss of peace, the risk of illness or worse, and the threat to us and our loved ones. One day we will celebrate our victory, while honoring those who did not survive. I hope that day of peace, recovery, and victory will come soon.

 

Of all the holidays, I LOVE Christmas. I love everything about it, the hope, the joy, families coming together, the sound of carols and happy laughter, the smell of Christmas trees and cookies baking. Happy faces, warm hearts. Like all holidays, there can be challenging moments, or family tensions, or some terrible sadness for those who are alone. But on the whole, it’s my favorite holiday. And as I spent it alone last year, in Paris, during Covid, with no family member nearby and none of the sounds of joy, it was a humbling experience and reminded me of just how hard lonely holidays can be. It was a good reminder that Christmas is not joyful for everyone, and it is an agony for some. It was for me last year, alone.

 

Whether one is religious or not, there are lots of non-religious aspects of Christmas that are fun for everyone. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy Christmas, there is something for everyone, if you’re willing to be festive. And some people enjoy the holiday more than others. Christmas is always a warm happy family time for me.

 

But the holiday which has the greatest religious symbolism for me is Easter. As happens at some other times a year, it is not just a time for Christian holidays, but Passover too, and this year Ramadan, all within two weeks of each other. In the Christian faith, the entire religious symbolism centers around the idea of Resurrection, rebirth, new beginnings, recovery, refreshing our lives and renewing hope, and even faith. If ever there was a year when we need renewal and recovery, this year is it. Last year, it was only weeks into the beginning of the pandemic, and we were dazed, shocked, the full impact of it hadn’t hit us yet, the shock, the losses, the fear, the people who got sick, and those who didn’t make it. This year, we have endured the hardships for a year, survived the challenges, lived with anxiety and tension for a full year. The notion of Resurrection is beginning again, rising from the ashes and rebuilding our lives, repairing the damage, renewing our energy, and finding the courage to start over, to feel new again, to rise from the darkness into the light of love and joy and hope. I can’t think of another holiday or theory that is more appropriate for what we’ve all been through.

 

And I wish all of you the strength and the courage to reach out and feel new again, in small ways, and big ones. I celebrate the Resurrection with you, and may you feel the strength of that renewal in every fiber of your being, whatever your religion or if you have none at all.

 

May the idea of resurrection, renewal and new beginnings fill your heart, put balm on your wounds and bring you joy and peace.

 

with all my love, Danielle

 

2/15/21, Love

Posted on February 16, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is going as smoothly as possible for you on the roller coaster ride of the pandemic. The numbers seem to be coming down in a lot of places, and then you read about the “mutations” and it scares you all over again. I hope we’re all being as careful as we can be, and being as safe as we can, without missing out on life entirely. It’s a fine line to walk, following all the rules, and not getting totally isolated, and missing out on life entirely. And lots of people are trying to figure out how they feel about the vaccines.

 

People are social animals, and it’s really hard to be deprived of the company of others and our loved ones. I always feel better when I get out and see people. I REALLY miss seeing friends at restaurants. The restaurants in Paris have been closed since late October, and there is talk that they won’t open again until April and May. I see a few friends at my home, with plenty of fresh air and a respectful distance, but there are only a handful of people I see now. I can’t wait to give a party when this is all over!!! I can hardly wait for that.

 

Valentine’s Day turned out to be really lovely. I talked to all my kids, and they spoiled me as usual, and a very dear friend came by for a visit. It is soooooo nice to talk to a friend, share opinions and just relax, and have a good laugh. And the day before, two other friends came for a visit. So it was a pretty nice weekend.

 

It has been very, very cold in Paris, and icy-scary-slippery on the streets, and it snowed twice. I spent some time with my son and daughter in law on Face Time helping them move things around in their home, to make more room (I swear by Ikea closets, and have them everywhere!!). And it was really fun, being part of it. I am a great ‘space maker’, with nine kids, and always a house full of people, with a ton of stuff—and five daughters who have a lot of clothes, I’ve been figuring out how to create space for ‘stuff and people’ for years. Give me a measuring tape, a note pad, and an Ikea catalogue and I can create miracles. I had a walk in closet with a window once, and turned it into a tiny cozy bedroom. It worked well for several years!!!

 

I’ve been doing some writing and editing. Sometimes I feel that I am slower at getting things done in the pandemic. There is always an underlying anxiety, which is distracting, and I don’t whiz through things as fast as I usually do. I don’t like putting things off till the next day, but some days I just have to.

 

And I was reading your comments to this blog tonight. Thank you for your wonderful messages.

 

I’m going to share something with you that I have on my desk. I have it framed and it inspires me. I’m not sure where I got it, but I framed it so I can see it every day, right next to my computer. Maybe it will inspire and comfort you too.

 

It’s titled “Love”

 

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; No disease that enough love will not heal’; No door that enough love will not open: No gulf that enough love will not bridge; No wall that enough love will not throw down; No sin that enough love will not redeem.

It makes No difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, How hopeless the outlook, How muddled the tangle, How great the mistake; A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If you can love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.”

 

 

I hope that helps you. It does me. Stay safe and take care, and have a fantastic week!!!

 

all my love, Danielle

 

2/9/21, Be My Valentine!!!

Posted on February 9, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Even with all the craziness of our lives these days, sheltering in place, confinements, masks, curfews, social distance (ugh, No kissing), in spite of all that, there are some things we can’t avoid and are going to roll around anyway. And some of them are Wonderful!!—-like Christmas, some birthdays, babies being born, and Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day can be a mixed bag however. But when they’re good, they’re fabulous!!!

 

I’ve had two marriage proposals on Valentine’s Day, which was pretty wonderful, and VERY romantic. And I’ve had some real duds—my Valentine’s Days got off to a poor start, as the only girl in third grade who didn’t get a Valentine. And I suppose Valentine’s Day will be challenging for some or even most people this year. It’s hard to be romantic in a mask, standing 6 feet apart!! And not so easy to meet people with restaurants and bars closed in some places, and no gatherings of more than 6 people, although it only takes two people to make a terrific Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day can be romantic at any time of day, at any distance, and flowers, candy, chocolates, a card and someone you care about remembering you can make it extra special. It can really be a lovely day.

 

So I wish you all the Valentine’s Day of your dreams, and if it misses a bit, and doesn’t measure up, there is always next year. And the nice thing about life is that it’s full of wonderful surprises, not just hard ones, and you never know what or who is just around the corner to turn your whole life around. So have a wonderful day, and thank you for being my Valentine and reading my books!!! I’m working on a new one!!

 

lots of love, Danielle

12/21/20, Twas four days before Christmas…

Posted on December 21, 2020

 

“Twas four days before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”

 

Hi Everyone, just four more days until this controversial Christmas that has everyone stressed out, trying to decide what they should do responsibly, what their families expect of them, and what their neighbors will say…or just do whatever they want. And even the people who truly believe they are responsible, and work hard at it, make concessions here and there. Even people in government and the people who are supposed to set an example have made some flagrant mistakes, and broken their own rules.

 

I hope you had a good week as we lead up to Christmas. Only four more days, and I do find people anxious and stressed out at the moment. But who can blame them. Our own family faced a minor dilemma. For all of my children’s lives, Santa Claus has made an appearance at the end of Christmas Eve dinner, usually at dessert, and by then some wine has been served now that they’re all adults. We hear the bell ringing, and a minute later, there is a resounding Ho Ho Ho!!! outside the dining room, and then there he is. Large and Round, in a red velvet suit trimmed in white plush, with his wide black leather belt and boots, white mustache and beard very convincing, his hat and his sack, and he enters the room and circles the table, stopping at each member of the family to make an appropriate comment about how did that car work out for you, and do you like the boyfriend I sent you last year…..how’s your cooking coming…how’s the puppy I brought you two years ago. And for those moments, no matter how old we are, we really believe he’s the real deal (if he does his job well. That does not include the Santa several years ago that we now refer to as The Communist Santa, who saw us living and eating well, nicely dressed for Christmas eve, and gave us a very stern and surprising lecture about what kind of people were we that we didn’t give away everything we have, and live more simply while working to free oppressed people around the world. We didn’t have him back. The message was a little heavy for Christmas Eve). And always at the end of Santa’s tour of the table with knowing comments, we take turns sitting on Santa’s lap, for photo ops, no matter how old we are (me too), and ask him for the impossible, hoping that by some miracle we’ll get what we ask for, a new house, a better job, a husband, a wife, a baby. We all enjoy a warm moment with Santa. But in this year of Covid, even he is having to work remotely.  We took a family vote, and Santa got voted out both times, the conclusion was that the visit from Santa on Christmas Eve just isn’t worth the risk, even though we’ll all miss him. Only my three children spending Christmas together would have had the visit, everyone else will be in their own homes, to keep Christmas small and risk free this year. Their other siblings and I won’t be with them, they’ll be in their own homes. And I guess Santa will be at home at the North Pole this year, and Rudolph will deliver all the gifts on his own with the other reindeer. So No visit from Santa for us this year. The origin of the at home Santa visit was so that I didn’t have to stand on line for 3 hours at some department store with nine young children, while all the other children coughed and sneezed, and mine inevitably caught the flu from them. And we’re dealing with a MUCH bigger flu now. But our tradition of the Santa visit has lingered, and hopefully will be back next year. We are sad not to be seeing Santa this year, but it’s one more change due to the Coronavirus.

 

There will be a lot of changes this year for all of us, some families not together to celebrate, college kids who can’t travel home, grandparents whom everyone is trying to avoid seeing in order to keep them safe. And hopefully the changes will be enough rules respected to really make a difference and help us to get a handle on the pandemic, bring the numbers down, and not wind up with another huge spike which throws us back into confinement after the holidays.

 

One thing truly shocks me, is how many people are planning major trips during the holidays. Many people in Europe are planning to visit Swiss ski resorts, since the French and Italian ones aren’t open, and it is strongly recommended not to plan ski holidays. Others are escaping to warmer weather in Morocco and even in Dubai, where life more closely resembles what we knew before the pandemic. Some Europeans are going to Spain, which has lower numbers than its European neighbors. Given how we have all been urged not to travel, all around the world, I don’t understand how people can plan these trips, knowing the risks they are taking, and that the fallout from them is liable to worsen the already dangerous situation we are in. And many Americans, as well as Europeans, are not heeding the pleas not to travel, and are planning to do it anyway. It is painful to hear about those holiday plans, knowing that we will pay dearly for those trips later, just as Thanksgiving travel has created the bleak numbers we are experiencing now in the U.S. a month later. I hope that somebody plans to follow the rules and the advice not to travel. Right about now, the pandemic is seeming endless to all of us, and we are all sick and tired of the rules we have to live with, the confinements, the lack of ability to have a ‘normal’ social life, and for many of us, the chance to spend Christmas with our loved ones. Some people are making big sacrifices, while others blithely choose to ignore the rules. We can’t hide from the reality of the pandemic anywhere in the world. And the numbers of people getting infected with the virus, and the death toll are harsh wake up calls.

 

Four days before Christmas, many countries and cities are in full lock down, while others are in a modified version of it. We’re trying to cling to our traditions, and adjust them as best we can, or shelve them for another year. In San Francisco, one of my daughters saw a group of 25 carolers without masks, in a highly populated neighborhood, singing their hearts out, although singing is particularly said to be a dangerous spreader of the virus and is strongly discouraged. Some people just don’t want to listen.

 

ALL of my Christmas will be virtual this year, which makes me particularly cranky about those not following the rules. There will be no Christmas dinner with family, no chance to hug my children, no midnight mass, none of our cherished traditions. I will be alone on Christmas this year, for the first time in my entire life, because it was just too dangerous to travel to be with my family. We opted for caution and safety, and it was a very hard decision to do so. And as hard as it is, I hope that others will be reasonable this year too, at least to some degree, even if they don’t give up celebrating it completely. The more serious we are about the holidays this year, the better and safer and healthier they will be next year, and hopefully we will be able to put the pandemic behind us, all around the globe.

 

In the meantime, I hope that you will have special moments with family or friends, that the spirit of Christmas will shine in your hearts, that you will reach out to those who need to be remembered and may be alone this year. It is a year in which joy will take many new and different forms and creative expressions, when we need to count our blessings, respect others, and work together toward a healthy world again.

 

I wish you joy and peace and good health and love in the coming year, and may all your holiday wishes come true. Please be safe, as best you can, every moment and every gesture of caution counts, for all of us.

 

May you be blessed in every way this holiday, and may you be a blessing to others, with all my love,  Danielle

 

12/14/20, Before The Dawn

Posted on December 14, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope it was a pretty decent week, even a good one. I hope some good things happened, good news. And thank you for your support about my family’s very hard decision not to get together for the holidays, although we haven’t seen each other since February—–a Very, Very, Very long time. We’re a very close family and see each other a lot more often, and it took real courage, fortitude and strength and love for each other to sacrifice spending a holiday together that we love so much. But it was the right thing to do, the loving thing to protect each other, and not take undue risks by travelling. Painful as it is, we followed the rules—-to put our weight in the right side of the scale, to help stop the sharp rise of the pandemic in the US. But it wasn’t easy, in fact one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made, and we are sad about it, but comforted to know that we did the right thing. Hearing your support for that decision meant a lot.

 

Restrictions are tightening up in many places that need it, and easing up in countries where the numbers and conditions have improved. San Francisco went into full lockdown last week, although their hospitals weren’t overcrowded yet. And restaurants are closing in New York today for indoor dining. It’s a familiar refrain all over the world. And the numbers in the US have continued to rise, which is discouraging.

 

And I hope that wherever you are, you can make plans that you will be able to enjoy for Christmas with the people you love.

 

A saying comes to mind that I have often found to be true, “The night is always darkest before the dawn.” Just when things seem the bleakest and most discouraging, something finally shifts, and things start to improve. I feel certain that the dawn is coming soon. Hang in, we’ll get there. And keep being careful, and take care.

 

Have a peaceful, happy, wonderful week.

 

love, Danielle

 

12/9/20, Hard Decisions

Posted on December 9, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is going smoothly, wherever you are—but we seem to be in the same boat all over the world now, in varying degrees. Certain European countries are doing better, after being confined for a month. Modified confinements are being practiced, with restaurants open in some places, not in others, or for takeout only, stores open to varying degrees, while governments try to blend and marry physical safety in the pandemic, with steps to keep the economy afloat all over the world. And in the US, a wide divergence between places with strict confinement, and others with no restrictions at all. And sadly, the result is numbers that are skyrocketing, with the effects of Thanksgiving yet to be felt later this week, and Christmas and New Year coming. We are all dependent on each other and how responsible people are.

 

My family and I made a tough decision about the holidays. We decided not to gather the whole family on Thanksgiving this year, which was a sacrifice for a holiday we hold dear, and include friends in our celebration every year. This year, the family decided to stay where they were and not come home from cities all over the country, and in Europe. And we just made the same decision for the holiday we love most. Our family won’t be together for Christmas, and we will give up our Christmas as a whole family this year. It’s our contribution to the situation, and to each other, to remain safe. It was a very hard decision, one of the hardest I have had to face. We made it jointly in a series of conference calls, and it was a unanimous vote to remain safe, and not bring all of us together. Our family will spend Christmas in small groups across the country, without travelling to be together.

 

I hope that you will give serious thought to your Holiday plans. It’s a very hard decision for all of us, but we all need to be responsible for the common good now. The stakes are high, and the damage too important. None of us can afford to make our loved ones sick or get sick ourselves. It’s grown up time for all of us to make the hard decisions so we can end the pandemic soon. Our family hasn’t been united in ten months, and we are a very close knit family.

 

Families around the world are facing the same decision. None of us want to get sick or make others sick. If that helps us get to better numbers sooner and saves lives, it’s worth it. I hope we are all thinking of how we can make this challenging situation better. It’s not an easy choice, but it may be the sacrifice we have to make this year. Please be safe during the holidays, and consider your holiday plans. It’s a tough decision we all have to face.

 

Be careful, be safe, and take care, and have a great week!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

11/30/20, Countdown Weeks Before the Holidays

Posted on November 30, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week last week, and a heartwarming Thanksgiving, as close to ‘normal’ as you could get it, or maybe a very different one that surprised you and suited you better. Sometimes when we least expect it and dread a change, the new version of something turns out better than the old one. Thanksgiving was definitely different this year. Trying to comply with the Covid rules and recommendations, our whole family didn’t fly home to home base/the mother ship this year, and each little group stayed in the cities where they are and celebrated in small groups of 2s and 3s. Some stuck firmly with the traditions of how we celebrate the holiday, what we do and eat—others made it more free form, with a different menu and style. We had two family face times, one of which allowed me to say grace to start the Thanksgiving meal, which really touched me and warmed my heart. We’re all doing the best we can in the pandemic.  Others, I know, traveled despite the suggestions not to, and I’m hoping that their doing so won’t shoot the numbers of Covid cases way up again. Let’s hope not, so we can get the current situation in control.

 

There seem to be a wide variety and degree of restrictions happening in various countries, states and cities, which are trying to bridge safety and health necessities, with helping the economy, and not shutting down commerce completely, and leaving stores open for Christmas. Trying to respect and salvage the holidays makes it even more challenging. In Europe and some US cities, the closure of restaurants and bars is a hard blow to restaurant owners, but restaurants and bars seem to be among the more dangerous locations, with people having their masks off to eat and drink, at close range in enclosed spaces. Individuals as well as governments are groping in the dark to try and figure out what’s safe and what isn’t. We’re all doing the best we can.

 

In another vein completely, I have a new book out for the holidays, “All That Glitters”, which I hope will distract people and provide a welcome escape from our challenges of the moment. I always try to bring out an uplifting book for the holidays, which makes a good gift. And my little quotation book “Expect a Miracle” is a gift straight from my heart, with all the quotes I love most.

 

We’re starting to decorate the house for Christmas, and trying to figure out how to celebrate it safely, and still honor the season.

 

One of my favorite Bible passages comes to mind especially this year. “God places the solitary in families.” I’ve always loved that, and the idea that even if you aren’t with your traditional family for the holidays, some other solution will happen that meets the need of those who are alone.

 

My thoughts are with you in this month before the holidays, that you will find a way to make the season bright for yourself and others. Even dark times can’t dim the light in our hearts, and the light of Hope, so essential to us all. One of the hardest things we’re all dealing with is uncertainty and how hard it is to make plans. Things seem to change constantly, but hopefully the changes are leading us to a good place and out of the darkness. Together, we will meet the challenge of these unusual times.

 

All my love to you now and in the coming weeks. We will win in the end!!!  I bought some silly Santas and put them on my kitchen table, a snow globe, and two music boxes that play Christmas carols, and the kitchen looks happy now. Corny always works for me!!!  I’m putting the last touches on my list of Christmas gifts, still a few left, even though I start in August. I think we can suspend Santa’s naughty and nice list this year, and assume we’ve all been Nice and deserve a reward of some kind. I send you lots of warm thoughts and virtual hugs in these countdown weeks before the holidays.

 

Stay safe!!!

 

all my love, Danielle

 

11/23/20, Happy Thanksgiving

Posted on November 23, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that everything leading up to the first of these important holidays has been as peaceful as possible. The Covid numbers have been alarming in the US in recent weeks, and most people I know have had to adjust their plans in some way. No one is unaffected by it. Families that are used to coming together from different cities, towns and states, have either tried to implement new measures to make it safer, and many have cancelled their family  reunion Thanksgiving plans. I’m sure you’ll each figure it out in the best way that works for you, while protecting family members. Eating meals indoors is the subject of great controversy these days, in every country, so it’s a challenge, and something of a practice run for Christmas, as each family asks themselves “what will make it safe and work for us?” It takes careful thought and planning especially for people with big families, or big groups of good friends who gather every year. We have 3 dear friends who join us every year, and sadly, they can’t join us this year, as we try to keep the numbers down for safety. Our family will celebrate Thanksgiving in small groups this year, in separate cities. A first for us.

 

And as complicated as the logistics may be, along with all the normal complications of any holiday, what seems most important is to respect and honor what the holiday is really about. Thanksgiving is about family and good friends, and gathering together to celebrate our blessings, not just about how good the stuffing is this year, or whose recipe it was, or how pretty the table looks, and if there was pecan pie or mince, and how delicious that was!!! I’m a pumpkin pie and apple pie person myself, with whipped cream (not ice cream)!! With an avalanche of good food, and either easy or difficult relatives around one table, we sometimes forget the deeper, underlying meaning of this holiday. Put aside the food, what you’re going to wear, and who’s going to be there, with a relative you love or one you loathe—-this holiday is ALL about gratitude. That’s it. That’s the whole show. It’s a MAJOR reminder to be thankful, to be grateful, to embrace and embody and express gratitude, within ourselves, and expressed to others, and even to be grateful to them.

 

Gratitude makes everything better, it adds magic to our lives. Whenever I am down about things, if I can find something to be grateful for, everything changes and gets better. It is so MUCH easier to focus on what we don’t have, what is wrong instead of what is right. No matter how bleak the picture, if we can get just one little glimpse of gratitude, of something or someone we are grateful for, it changes and improves everything, and spreads like magic!!

 

No matter how different Thanksgiving is this year, if the local government has forbidden Thanksgiving gatherings entirely, if you’re too afraid or it’s too complicated to get on a plane to be with your loved ones with the dangers of Covid all around us—no matter if you can’t see your family at all, or are alone, or are eating at Mc Donald’s, instead of your favorite family member’s home, and even if you do get home, and if people are on edge in the pandemic and it’s not how it usually is,—- The more you focus on gratitude, the more you can remember what you are TRULY grateful for, the more blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving will be, for you and all those around you. And I know it’s not easy to be grateful when times are hard.

 

Thanksgiving is about abundance, an abundance of good, of blessings, of food. In Biblical terms I am always reminded of the ‘fragments’ of (I think) 7 fishes and a few loaves of bread that fed 4,000. Not even whole fishes, ‘fragments’, little pieces. And all were fed. No matter how small our Thanksgiving gatherings are this year, how many or few of our loved ones we can share it with, if any, and no matter what is on our table, whether a glowing golden perfectly prepared turkey, or half a sandwich shared with a friend—-if we can find it in our hearts to be grateful this year, of all years, it will be the best Thanksgiving we ever had. How we view it comes from within us, not from without.

 

May your Thanksgiving be richly blessed, with an abundance of blessings in your hearts, all that you need on your table, and may your blessings be too many to count.

 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, with all my love,  Danielle