Archive for the ‘Relationships’ 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

4/19/22, Beautiful

Posted on April 19, 2022

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a lovely Easter, or Passover and are enjoying some sunny days!!!!!

 

I’m excited that I have a new book coming out this week, in hardcover, “Beautiful”. It’s the story of a young Super Model who is at the wrong place at the wrong time, in the terrorist attack of the Brussels airport. One side of her face remains perfect, and the other half is severely damaged, which forces her to rethink what beauty is to her, and in the world. Which half is the one that matters? The perfect half, or the other? Is she still beautiful after the attack?. And more importantly, what really IS beauty, and what does it mean? What makes someone beautiful, a flawless face, or a light from within?. In her quest to face the challenge she is confronted with, the young model digs deep, and goes to Africa, where she discovers the children in Angola, who live with still active minefields and many are similarly afflicted as the woman in the book. Working with them, in the beauty of Africa, she discovers a whole new dimension added to her life, which makes her life meaningful again. I really hope you love the book.

 

It is especially dear to my heart, as I have a young niece who was in that very attack, and has taught us all many lessons of courage and love, perseverance and strength. And it’s interesting for us all to examine what we believe from time to time, about beauty, and what it really means to each of us.

 

Have a wonderful week, with lots of good things happening for you!!!

 

love, 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

 

 

1/10/22, Sidney Poitier

Posted on January 10, 2022

 

A beloved friend has passed away. I have met three or four truly extraordinary people in my lifetime, who made a life changing impact on me, and on the world. Sidney Poitier was among those few. An icon, a legend, a brilliant man, a rare soul, immensely talented, elegant of spirit, wise, gentle, powerful, his voice was mesmerizing, he lit up the world, beautiful in every way, a treasured friend, vastly admired by all who knew him. I was so lucky to know him, he was a wonderful writer, as well as a brilliant actor. So many talents in one person. So much goodness in one soul. Full of fun and mischief, dignity and gravitas, wonderful husband to Joanna, and father to his daughters, and extraordinary friend. He chose his roles carefully for the ethics he portrayed, the message he delivered. He came to San Francisco secretly once, and hid in a hotel, in order to surprise me at a gala event with an award I cherish, for my work with our foundation for the mentally ill. He led a wonderful life, left millions with the gifts of his talent, he had a noble run and lived to a great age. But there is a hole in the world today, and in my heart knowing he is gone. My children and I mourn him. He left us all infinitely richer for having known him. Godspeed, beloved friend, we will miss you

 

photo credit: Thomas J. Gibbons

10/11/21, “Busy Bumpy and Beautiful”

Posted on October 11, 2021

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week, even a great week!!! Mine was busy, bumpy, and beautiful. I write that after sitting here thinking for a minute, asking myself ‘How was last week?’…Not bad, pretty good…no actually, I think it was a good week. Sometimes time slips away from me, and I get swallowed up by the million tasks of real life, of working, having kids, dealing with crises and ordinary stuff, like calling the plumber, but with kids and a busy job of deadlines, the days are full. Most of the time, I don’t have time to ask myself how I am, I just rush along at full speed, trying to get each day’s tasks done. I had a lot of catch up to do this week, including a ‘text proof deadline’ (the very last chance to make corrections before a manuscript goes to the printer to become a book). So, I had that and a lot of work to do, after having fun and playing hooky with my daughters last week.

 

I just read back through your comments and messages on my recent blogs, you touch my heart—the regulars, the recurring names, some new ones. You warm my heart. You can’t imagine how much I appreciate your comments and messages. You always touch me, you give me back tenfold whatever I am able to give to you in my books and the blog. Thank you with all my heart for your responses, they truly mean the world to me, they feed my soul, as you say I feed yours—it is a fair and good exchange that I am so grateful for!!!

 

Your messages are often very profound, I love the beautiful quote from Corinthians to the effect that “Love faces whatever comes along and doesn’t give up.” Wow, that’s a good one and a tall order. I believe it, and sometimes it is so hard not to give up, to keep on going through every storm. But every time I do that, the rewards are enormous. But it certainly isn’t easy sometimes. And it certainly is good advice.

 

I faced a challenging situation this week. I always tell my children, and have always told them, “Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.” Great motherly advice!! So noble, so strong, so honorable—-easy to say and sometimes so incredibly hard to do. I found myself alone in an unpopular position this week. And standing up for what you believe in can cost you: a job, a friend, someone you love. It’s all very nice if everyone agrees with you, but when you take a hard position, based on principle, or your profound beliefs, or you know what’s right, there can be stiff consequences, and wisdom may dictate not to stick your neck out and rock the boat. If you do it at work, you can lose, and we all have responsibilities. It’s easy to take tough, unpopular positions if you have nothing at risk. In any case, I found myself unexpectedly in an unpopular position this week, with a stand I knew I had to take. I truly felt I had no choice. I anticipated heavy criticism, and got some, and the potential for a major storm was great. I wound up alone on the firing line, stuck to my guns as politely as possible, and in the end I had one ally at my side to support me (but an ally who didn’t agree with me). I took my position firmly…..and much to my amazement, the roof didn’t fall in, no major explosion happened, the ‘other side’ had thought it over and agreed with me, and everything fell into place quietly without a battle. Wow!! But I had the guts to take a stand on what I believed to be principle, and I’m so glad I did. Even if you appear to lose from doing that, it’s the right thing to do in the end. It was a good reminder that what I’d always said to my kids was right….but it was scary as hell for a while!!! Doing and saying the right thing is always the right thing, even if it’s hard. I stuck to what I believed in. At every age we are faced with the same questions, the same battles, the same challenges, to test us, and make us stronger. But it’s definitely not fun when it’s happening. It’s a good feeling though, standing for what you believe in.

 

Other than that, I missed my kids, was grateful for their recent visit, did a little more Christmas shopping to cheer myself up, and had ‘tea’ with a friend. (He had tea, I had my favorite drink of recent years, a Virgin Mojito—sounds fancy, tastes great: lime juice, a little sugar, fizzy water, and mint. I love it!!!). I went to a funny little antique shop, and the owner claimed to know my husband years ago, and gave me a gift, which was kind but embarrassing, and appreciated. So, it was a week of challenges and some sweet unexpected moments. Just like life.

 

So hang in, dear friends. Next week will be full of surprises, and hopefully not too many challenges. I wish you an easy week, with joy and good surprises in it, and as few bumps as possible.

 

with much love, Danielle

 

9/14/21, Old Friends, New Friends

Posted on September 14, 2021

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re doing well, the Fall is off to a good start, that the summer brought you some fun and relaxation, time to just forget all your problems and do things you enjoy, and now the kids are back in school, you’re back at work, and I hope you’re busy with some exciting projects and plans. And in many places, countries and cities, the acute phase of the Covid crisis is easing a little, due to vaccines, masks, and sensible practices that have become routine for us, and are easy to maintain.

 

In many, many cases, these long Covid months have separated us from people we love, and want to spend time with. I was separated from my children by an ocean and a continent, and the fallout and dangers of Covid 19 for fifteen very long months. With restrictions, curfews (at 6pm in Paris for a while), and lockdowns, my world and my social life dwindled to nothing, and is still very limited, in terms of who I see, and how much I go out, and only outdoor dining. Many people are still not back in their offices, and are working remotely, people have moved away from the cities where they lived and worked before the pandemic, so there seem to be fewer people in our lives. There are also fewer social activities and opportunities to meet new people with reduced social lives, but in spite of that I have been struck by renewed contracts with people I haven’t heard from in a long time, who suddenly surfaced to inquire how I am. And by sheer happenstance, I have connected with new friends who are a real gift in my life, and were totally unexpected. Unexpected romances and relationships have started in the same way too for many people. Life does go on, even if temporarily on hold and different than it was before.

 

Work, professional activities and our jobs still bring us into contact with new people, even if only on line. Particularly in the creative fields, we are all starving for contact with other humans and experiences, which we need to fuel our inspiration to create, whether it be music, art, design, or literary. Every artist, designer, or writer I have spoken to is suffering from their diminished opportunities for inspiration from a broader world. I struggle with it myself, my life is much quieter and more isolated than it was before Covid. We are all anxious for that to improve, whether creative or not, but I think people in the arts are really feeling the lack of daily stimuli.

 

The flip side of that quiet coin is that we are doing less in the world, in order to be careful and mindful of Covid. Every day requires decisions from us of what is worth the risk, and how much. It’s a movable marker that changes day by day. And I certainly see fewer people, and do fewer things outside my home now, in order to be responsible. With fewer activities, I have written more, but I also have more time to reach out to people I know, on line, or respond to people who’ve reached out to me, whom I might not have taken the time to correspond with before. But with a little more time, and hungry for that human contact, I’ve been more open to new connections, which in some cases have turned out to be a real blessing in my life, and enrich it immeasurably. It’s particularly fun to ‘meet’ other creatives, in a variety of fields. And I’ve met all of them by accident because of Covid, so the experience hasn’t been all bad, and some of my already existing friendships have deepened in the stressful war-time atmosphere that has impacted us all.

 

At the beginning of the pandemic, a museum in another country contacted me, with time on their hands too, they had gone through their archives to ‘clean house” and discovered that my grandfather had loaned them a small painting for an exhibit many years ago, which somehow got forgotten, never got returned, and was still at the museum. My grandfather had died shortly after, no one knew about the loaned painting, and they never claimed it. It wasn’t valuable, but it belonged to his heirs, which was me. They contacted me and offered to return it to me. I didn’t fall in love with the painting when they sent me a photo of it, and decided to donate it to the museum since it had already been there for years. They were very pleased and the curator who had made contact is a lovely woman, and we’ve had a wonderful correspondence that has gone on for a year. In non-covid times, I would never have taken the time to get to know her. Buried under mountains of work, meeting deadlines, travelling constantly to see my kids, I would have made a fast decision about the painting and let it go at that. Working from home, the curator had time too that she wouldn’t have had otherwise. It has been a lovely exchange now for a year, and we hope to meet one day.

 

And I did a crazy thing, during one of the lonely lockdowns in France. My favorite series cheered me late at night when I was anxious and lonely. One of them is a British show that I have loved for years. The sound of the actors’ familiar voices was comforting, alone in my apartment for 77 days. I did something I’ve never done before. I researched the woman who created it and writes the show, got her address from a friend who works in TV in London, and wrote the first fan letter I have ever written, to tell the writer how much the show has meant to me. I would NEVER have done that in normal times. But suddenly, living daily with a lot of anxiety and fear, we are more open and more vulnerable, more emotional, and aware of things we paid no attention to before. It had never occurred to me before to write to the creator of that show, although I’ve loved it for a decade and watch it faithfully. But suddenly, in the craziness of the pandemic, it seemed okay to reach out, so I did on a sudden impulse one night. Much to my astonishment, she answered me the next day, and she had been reading my books since her teens. We had a powerful mutual admiration for each other, had a million things in common, and she has become a fantastic friend, although we still haven’t met. Our birthdays are even one day apart. She writes me hysterically funny letters, and our shared view of the literary world and the world of TV has given us a lot of laughs. She is a kindred spirit, and I adore her. Wow!!! Imagine if I had never written to her. She is a huge gift in my life!!

 

And along the way, I did a collaboration with a young Irish fashion designer, whom I’ve admired for years, and presto magic a new mutual admiration was born, across miles and generations. We did a podcast together, and the collaboration was a wonderful experience!!! Right there, I had three new friends, without ever leaving my house or meeting them. And then a fourth, an artist in Germany sent me a pastel portrait of my late son Nick as a gift (because she had spare time too), which really touched my heart, and we have corresponded too. She is incredibly talented and a lovely person, and she is currently working on a project for me, that I plan to give my children at Christmas.

 

And in addition to that, an artist in San Francisco whom I have admired for years, but haven’t seen in a long time, reached out to me. I have many many of his paintings in my home, but we had lost touch. He wrote to me out of the blue, and said what a hard time he was having painting in the pandemic, and what a challenge it was to create in a vacuum, isolated from people and the world as we know it. I answered immediately and shared that it was hard for me too. (All the people in the arts who have written to me have said the same). I shared my own experiences with him by email, and the exchange helped both of us, and inspired us. I was SO happy to have heard from him, and so grateful that he’d written to me.

 

So even though we are alone more, and spend more time at home, and the pandemic has been isolating for many people, even most people,—-flowers pop up through the snow and ice, and bring spring back into our lives in the frozen winter we have lived for eighteen months. Email has certainly helped us reach out to others, this would all be a lot worse without it. (I accidentally spilled a glass of water into my computer a week ago, and I panicked at the loss of contact for 3 days. The internet is a huge blessing right now, and keeps us connected to others and the broader world.)

 

I am so grateful for these friendships that have appeared, flourished, and the old ones that have survived or been reborn. we are social animals and need other humans, but in the midst of the silence, the darkness and at times the loneliness, some wonderful friendships (and even romances) are born. And I am SOOOO grateful for that, and for the old and new friends in my life.  And I am certain that these friendships will last much longer than Covid, and be stronger than they would have been, because of it. So some good has come of the challenges of the Covid crisis after all!!!Have a wonderful week!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

8/23/21, “A call to Victory!”

Posted on August 23, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good week, and are enjoying the last of the summer. The weather has been chilly in Europe this summer, and on the East Coast of the US, where I just spent some time with my kids, and San Francisco is gray and enveloped in smoke again, fighting fires again. And the East Coast is braced for a hurricane. So, we haven’t been spoiled with the weather. But it’s still great to have some down time!!! And kids are already going back to school in some areas, so this is the last of summer. And it’s been a challenging one, still battling Covid. We’re discovering that even vaccinated people can catch it, less severely, and the vaccinations supposedly prevent death and severe cases that wind up in the ICU, which is a big plus, but people are getting sick nonetheless and can be carriers, so we ALL have to be careful, and all of those who aren’t vaccinated are at high risk, and have to be doubly careful.

And cities and governments are taking a firm stand. In Paris, you have to show official proof of vaccination to get into stores, restaurants, or anything public. They will accept a negative PCR Covid test if you’re not vaccinated. San Francisco (being the other city I know best) will only accept proof of vaccination, and not a PCR test. So, if you’re not vaccinated, you’re pretty well stuck in San Francisco. And increasingly, masks are being required, even outdoors. We’re all trying to do everything we can to beat Covid, especially faced with the highly contagious Delta variant, which cancelled rapidly many of our new found freedoms, and made daily life and any semblance of normalcy more dangerous again.

I have on my desk, a stacked filing box, which I refer to as my Outbox, where I pile things that are important to keep where they can be easily found, or things that I particularly love, letters, poems, a few photographs. It is usually a towering stack of papers, which threatens to cause an avalanche of papers onto my desk if someone bumps it. In order to avoid the avalanche, I woke up early last weekend, and decide to go through it, which I do from time to time, and I’m always surprised to find what I’ve buried there. There are some buried treasures there, and I found a copy of a poster that I always keep and really love. It dates back to June 18th, 1940, the day after the Germans occupied Paris during the last war. I wasn’t born then, but it’s a letter that is dear to most French people’s hearts, and has survived for more than eighty years. When the Germans occupied France, a French general, General Charles de Gaulle was the head of the Free French Forces and the Resistance, fighting to free France again from the occupying enemy forces. The day after the Occupation by German troops, that poster appeared all over France, to encourage people to hang on, not to give up, and to do all they could to regain their freedom and save their country. (It always makes me cry when I read it). You can imagine how people must have felt to have their cities and country taken, and being subjected to their enemy governing their country.  When I came across it, I read it and thought that it applies to our battle against Covid too. Our fight against Covid is like a war against an unseen enemy, which has taken over our lives, robbed us of our freedom in so many ways, and puts us in danger every hour of the day. And so much of General de Gaulle’s poster to rally the French seemed to apply to us now. These are the parts that made me think of our ongoing battle for health, safety and freedom from Covid:

It is written to the citizens of France at the time, but applies to all citizens of the world now.

 

“We have lost a battle!! But we have not lost the war!!!

Opportunistic rulers have taken over, giving way to panic, delivering us to slavery. Yet nothing is lost!  Nothing is lost because this is a world war. In the free universe, immense forces have not yet been brought into play. Some day we will crush the enemy. On that day, we must be present at the Victory. We will then regain our freedom and our greatness.

That is my goal, my only goal!!

That is why I ask all citizens, wherever they may be, to unite in action, in sacrifice, and in hope.

Our world is in danger of death. Let us fight to save it!”.   It’s signed General de Gaulle.

 

It is a rousing call to freedom, a branch to hang onto and not give up hope. So often those words have encouraged me to hang on in threatening situations, and it did so again when I read it.

Covid won’t win in the end. We WILL regain our freedom. We have to hang on and do all we can to reach the end of this rocky road, together, and each of us has to do all that we can to beat this enemy. I hope these words help you feel stronger, and give you hope.

 

Have a great week, and stay safe.

 

with all my love, Danielle

 

8/2/21, Enough already!!!

Posted on August 2, 2021

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Boy, I’m sure tired of Covid, and I’ll bet you are too. Up and down, first wave, second wave, third wave…arrghk!!! The vaccine seemed like an easy solution when it appeared. And it certainly appears to be an improvement, if it prevents cases requiring hospitalization, or fatalities. But there are hitches to that deal that require reason, caution, discipline and good judgement. You have to read the owner’s manual before you can just zip off into the sunset in a new car. In most cases, they tell even vaccinated people to wear a mask now, with cases surging everywhere Although the mask rules were lifted weeks ago.

 

For a minute there, everyone celebrated!! Yippeee!!! It felt like it was over, but it was not. What we are coming to understand is that even vaccinated people can catch Covid, they will just get a milder case, AND they can carry and transmit Covid- to others, whether vaccinated or not–if they give it to a vaccinated person, they will have a mild case, but if they infect a non-vaccinated person, they can do them some serious damage. Non vaccinated people remain vulnerable and have to be reasonable about how they move around in the world. In the past few weeks, some vaccinated people are getting sick, and in many places mask mandates have been reinstated.  My personal view is that some vaccinated people celebrated a little too exuberantly socially, and put themselves at risk again. And the large group of unvaccinated people are keeping us as a whole from achieving herd immunity.  I am not saying you should get vaccinated, or not, only you and your doctor know that. And we are all learning as we go, about the disease itself, and how to live comfortably around it. Wearing a mask seems like a small price to pay, for greater freedom. And I think people will adapt to it. For me, politics just don’t enter into it. Just safety, and protecting myself and my loved ones.

 

So be smart, be safe, let’s get rid of this anxiety and move on. Onward and Upward!!! have a great week,

 

love, Danielle

 

4/19/21, “No More Fear”

Posted on April 19, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

How was your week last week? I hope it was a good one, and you had at least one good surprise, or some really happy moments. Some nice things happened for me last week, we are planning a wedding for one of my daughters late in the summer and are looking forward to it, a celebratory moment and a happy event. We’ve all had a hard year and deserve to have some fun when things are safer. The vaccine roll out seems to be happening in the US but the daily Covid numbers are still high and rising, and we still have to be careful and keep our defenses up. It’s too soon to relax our guard with Covid, the experts say, although I think we are all tired of the strain and stress, and how hard it is to make plans more than a few days away.

 

I finished correcting a set of galleys yesterday for one of my books, and really loved the story, and I am excited about the books I have coming out this year, we’ve been working on the cover for the holiday book, both in the US and the UK, and it’s a book I’m really excited about. And I’m very excited about the book coming out next week in hardcover, “Finding Ashley”, and I really hope you love it too, and the mothers and mother figures in your life. There is an important sister relationship in the book too. As an only child, I have always been deeply touched by the relationships I see among my children, among siblings. It is a very precious relationship, not always easy, because siblings can be very different, but it is a very powerful bond, stronger than friendship. My kids are all very close and I think they treasure their relationships with their siblings.

 

I read something I found helpful yesterday, and will share it with you. I ALWAYS find the writings of Joel Osteen helpful and inspiring. Many of them are written in a way that is useful even for people who aren’t religious, they are so strongly positive. I love Joel’s books, and he recently came out with a small one, on the subject of Fear.

 

I have always been a worrier, even as a child. I had a bumpy childhood, my mother left when I was very young, and I grew up alone with my father. Losing a parent at an early age kind of sets you up to worry about how things are going to turn out—and what if the other parent leaves too, or dies?—then what? Children are sensitive to changes and instability in their lives. And much later, as an adult, I lost my son Nick—which again is a harsh reminder that bad things can happen and you can lose someone you love. So, I do worry, some of my children are worriers too, though not all. On the practical side, if you’re a worrier by nature, things usually go pretty smoothly, because you try to anticipate what could go wrong, and plan accordingly (like what if it rains the day you are hosting a big picnic or an outdoor event—do you have an alternate rain plan??) I also envy the people who just figure they’ll wing it and invent the alternatives as they go along—I would lie awake at night worrying about it, if I didn’t have a backup plan. Like if I’m travelling for some big event, I always take an alternate outfit, because what if the zipper gets stuck, or you spill a bowl of soup on yourself, or someone else does. Travelling with 9 children taught me that little trick early on!!!

 

Being a worrier is a burden too, because you’re always trying to anticipate what could or might go wrong. And some of the events in our lives (like lost loved ones) make us fearful. And Joel’s books are the perfect antidote for that, they are kind of handbooks to life, how to deal with life’s crises. His books have always helped and reassured me immensely. The ones I’ve read are normal length books, with many chapters, and I have loved them all. He also has a great sense of humor which comes through in his writing. (I have been lucky enough to meet him and his family, and he is an amazing person!!)  He recently came out with a very small book called “No More Fear”. There are 30 chapters. Each chapter is a single page. It’s a fast read, and touches on a multitude of subjects, there are photographs in it, it’s a pretty book. But it is once again kind of a fast handbook to life, and this book focuses on fear obviously.

 

It is a warm, kind, reassuring reminder that we don’t need to be scared, that life works better if we aren’t scared, don’t panic, or assume the worst, and keep a positive attitude and trust that things will work out. Let’s face it, we’ve all had a tough year, worrying about our health, the health and safety of the people we love, terrified by the horror stories we’ve heard of Covid. For people with their own small businesses, in most cases it has been a challenging year. For people with jobs, they’ve worried that the company they work for could go under. In cities that have been under heavy lockdown, hairdressers, restaurant owners, waiters, even gardeners have been out of work for months. It’s been hard to make plans, nearly impossible to travel, kids have been out of school a lot, weddings and graduations have been cancelled. Celebrations have been few and far between, social gatherings have been forbidden. All the fallout of Covid has set the stage for us to be worried, even afraid, it has been an anxiety-producing time, and even with the vaccines now, the end isn’t clearly in sight yet. Fear has been with us ever since Covid arrived.

 

I sat down with Joel Osteen’s new book, read it carefully, and as with all his books, when I finished, I gave a sigh of relief. It reminded me that we don’t have to be ruled by fear, that we don’t need to be afraid all the time. Some things are good to be afraid of: an alligator in your backyard, an intruder with a gun, an airplane in trouble, a rattlesnake at your feet—-a pandemic!!! But we can’t live with fear all the time, we have to be able to unplug sometimes, we can’t live in a constant crisis. Joel helps one cope with the ordinary situations in life which frighten us—-that may not even turn out badly, they may turn out wonderfully in the end, but we worry about them until they do. I loved his book, and will read it again many times. It also reminded me of one of my favorite Bible passages, that I have clung to often:

 

“God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of Love and of a sound mind” Timothy II:7 There are various versions of it in more modern translations of the Bible. Most of the time, fear is not a good thing (except in the case of the alligator I mentioned, or the rattlesnake)—-we can’t live in fear all the time. And we’ve had a lot of it in these 13 months of the pandemic. We need to be able to unplug from that fear, to breathe, to relax, to laugh, to have a good time, to see friends and family when it’s safe to do so.

 

I just thought I’d mention Joel’s book in case it would comfort you as it did me. And we all have our own way to seek relief from stress and fear, jogging, other forms of exercise, talking to a friend, a good meal, a glass of wine, religious beliefs. There are many ways to deal with fear, and Joel’s book is just one of them. But I loved it, it helped me, and I wanted to share it with you.

 

And one day, hopefully not too far from now, this whole scary time will be behind us, and a distant memory. But for now, it helps to find something encouraging that makes you feel better and gives you hope again. Joel’s book did that for me. Take good care, and be good to yourself this week, you deserve it!! Have a great week, and I hope wonderful things happen to you!!

 

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