Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

2/8/16, Generosity & Forgiveness

Posted on February 8, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy, writing, changing cities, seeing my kids, keeping up with life. Probably you’re busy too!!!

I don’t usually respond to comments on the blog, but now and then one snags me, and I can’t help but chime in. And one of those caught my eye recently, when someone wrote in “Forgiveness and generosity are not accessible to everyone”. And another person commenting on the blog strongly disagreed—–and I so agree with him. The beauty of both forgiveness and generosity is that they ARE accessible, and possible, and even vital for everyone!!! Personally, I don’t think you can have a decent relationship with anyone, a parent, a spouse, a lover, a co-worker, a boss, a friend, a child without being willing to forgive. And I know, sometimes it is VERY hard. There are a few people who hurt me so badly in my lifetime that it will be, and has been, a life’s work to forgive them. But the person carrying the heaviest burden is the one unwilling to forgive. No marriage works without forgiveness, no friendship, no relationship. I think it’s one of the most important gifts between two people, and that one can give: forgiveness. We don’t even have to invite those people back into our lives, hang around with them, have them over for dinner, but we do have to be able to forgive in order to go on with our lives in a healthy way, in freedom from the burdens of the past. It is in our power to forgive and well worth the hard work it takes sometimes to let go of anger and resentment and forgive. The forgiveness we extend to others blesses us every time.

And generosity is within our abilities as well. Generosity is accessible to everyone!! Not money, not a check, although sometimes that is certainly welcome, but the gift of time, of oneself, helping a friend with a move, a problem, a project, sometimes just listening, calling someone you know is having a hard time, or lonely, or sick, or giving them something you love but know would mean a lot to them. There are so many ways to be generous, which can mean so much to others. I have never forgotten the people who reached out to me when I was having a hard time. A gift like that can light up your day, or your life, or change your whole outlook.

Right off the top of my head, three examples come to mind. My oldest daughter had a Moped accident when she was fourteen. At first it just seemed like a very nasty scrape with some cuts and bruises on her leg, but it rapidly became a much bigger deal with an infection that went into her bone and up her leg, and she nearly lost her leg, and endured seven years of surgeries, intense pain, nerve damage, physical therapy, wheel chairs and crutches until she was well again. A year after the accident, one of her doctors suggested that she do some volunteer work with people more unfortunate than she was. At 15, she volunteered to work with children with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy. She stuck with it for many years, loved the kids she met, and found that she had a real gift for working with them. In the summers, she volunteered to work at a camp for kids with cancer, and did that for many years. She directed her studies toward that kind of work, got several graduate degrees and eventually became a social worker and therapist in pediatric oncology, and has had an impressive career in that field. Her incredible generosity with her time, at a time when she was in so much pain herself led to a lifelong passion and a remarkable career. And years later, when I was devastated over the loss of my son and the disintegration of my marriage, her shining example led me to do the homeless outreach work on the streets that changed my life and brought help to many, and immeasurable joy to me.

When thinking about unexpected generosity at a dark time, I remembered a time when I went to an antique shop to look around. I couldn’t afford anything in the shop at the time, I knew the antique dealer slightly, and I was having a hard time just then, and my spirits were somewhere in my socks. He must have sensed it or seen it, and I looked at a beautiful little miniature antique painted desk. It was just a lovely piece, and I would have loved to have it, but I couldn’t even consider it. It was quite an expensive piece. I went home, and the next day, a gift arrived: it was the beautiful little desk, given to me as a gift by the owner of the shop. It was an incredible gift, I was totally stunned, and no one has EVER given me such an amazing gift, before or since. It was pure generosity and kindness. I was overwhelmed by it, and so grateful for the enormously generous gesture. The desk is still in my living room, and I think of how it came to me every time I look at it. It was really a gift of love that warms my heart still.

The other example that came to me was my friend and mentor, Alex Haley. He wrote the book “Roots”, and was an icon and a legend. He was one of the kindest, most generous men I have ever known, always giving to others, always taking time to listen to them. He couldn’t do enough for people, and he had an incredible, compassionate way about him. People stopped him everywhere he went, he was an inspiration to many, and people wanted to talk to him. Going anywhere with him was a challenge, because every five minutes someone wanted to touch him, or meet him, or tell him their life stories. And it always struck me about him how generous he was, giving of himself. No matter how rushed, or busy, or tired he was, he would stop and talk to them, and seemed as though he had waited a lifetime to meet them, and had nothing else to do. They walked away afterwards, feeling ten feet tall after he gave them his full attention, and made each one feel like they were the most important person world. He was so humble, which was a true sign of greatness, and so generous with his time, and heart and soul.

I’m as crabby as the next person, and there are days when I fall short of what I hope to be, when I don’t take enough time with others, or am grumpy when things go wrong. And then I remember these generous acts and generous people….whether it’s with a cup of coffee, or five minutes, or a smile, or the gift of a book we love, or a touch of the hand at the right time, we can all be generous. It’s a gift that any of us can give, and generosity is indeed accessible to us all.

This coming Sunday is Valentine’s Day, and I hope it turns out just the way you want, with the person you want to be with, and the way you want it to unfold. I hope wonderful surprises are in store for you. I hope all your dreams come true. And just know that all of you are my Valentines every day!!

love, Danielle

1/11/16, Roller Coaster

Posted on January 11, 2016

Hi Everyone,

It’s a cold, rainy Sunday in New York, and I’m visiting two of my children, which is always a joy for me. We had dinner together last night, will have brunch today and hang out together, which is always a gift for me.

I was just thinking about the roller coaster of life, the shocks and not always good surprises that life broadsides us with. It happens to us all. And the bigger the life, the rougher the ride sometimes. I’ve spent the last two and a half weeks since Christmas, visiting two people I love in the hospital, both very sick. One hit unexpectedly with an illness they had 2 chances in a million to catch, the other sick for a long time. It makes you realize again how quickly things can change. Someone I work with had an accident in LA during the holidays and had to be flown back to New York in an ambulance plane for surgery. And I heard from a close friend last night, that his business partner had pulled a power move and tried to shut him out of his business this week, which is going to involve a lot of legal work to straighten it out. It’s the second story I’ve heard like it recently, of people being pushed out of their jobs or business by someone they trusted. It happens to all of us—-we get hit like a ton of bricks by something we didn’t expect. It’s part of life, and definitely not the fun part!!!

I don’t have any great Pollyanna answers about how to deal with the tough things that happen to us unexpectedly. You just have to hang on, go through it, do the best you can, and hope for a good outcome. And no question, long term, sometimes blessings come from it, a stronger relationship, a better job or partnership, a rethinking of what we care about most, a deeper appreciation for the good times and good people in our lives. And I’ve had times when I’ve been thrown for a loop too, in business or my personal life. Big stuff, not just small stuff, and I’m sure those things have happened to you too!!! No one is exempt. Great things happen, but so do hard ones, and suddenly an easy day becomes a very hard one, and some things take a long time to resolve.

Someone sent me a greeting card once that said “Life is like a roller coaster ride” (with a picture of a kid screaming on a roller coaster on the front) and inside” First you scream, and then you throw up”. All true. But after that, you have to hang on for dear life, figure out how to survive it, how to deal with it, and what the best outcome will be (sometimes with unusual solutions you’d never thought of before), and how to make the best of it. Sometimes endurance serves us best, and perseverance, getting through a big problem day by day, or even hour by hour, until the bad time has passed.

I’m sharing this with you in case you’re on the ‘scream-y’ part of the roller coaster ride, and if you’ve been broadsided by some big event that’s challenging you. Hang on!!! The ride does smooth out again in time. We forget that when we’re in the midst of it. The problems do get solved, and somehow we survive it. There will always be unexpected storms in this lifetime, even tornadoes and hurricanes, it’s all about how we survive them, and the things we learn while going through them. It’s not the fun part, but it’s part of the deal. So onward through the storms, and if you’re on the roller coaster ride right now, HANG ON!!!! And whatever is happening, it will smooth out again….I remind myself of that too!!!

much love, Danielle

8/17/15, Breakfast of Champions

Posted on August 17, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Here we are in the middle of August, the summer is almost over, and thoughts are turning to Fall and making plans. September always seems exciting to me, maybe left over from my school days, but life begins anew in the Fall, new season, fall clothes, clean slate, and a burst of energy after the summer, to do new things. When the real new year starts in January, the weather is usually so dreary and depressing (unless you live in Hawaii or the Caribbean!!), but in September, everything starts over again, the cooler weather is invigorating, and the pace steps up as we get busier again after the summer. I actually have a new book coming out on September 1st: “Undercover”, about an undercover agent, fighting the Colombian drug cartels, lots of excitement and suspense!!! I hope you like it!!

So back to breakfast. My real breakfast is not too exciting. I eat the same thing every day: 1 piece of toast, and an iced decaf coffee, which seems to hit the spot as I start the day. I’m not much of an eater, and I share my single piece of toast with my 2 Chihuahuas, Minnie and Blue, who get very excited about it!!! So that’s the fuel I use to start my day, nothing too exotic, to say the least.

But I also try to feed my soul in the morning. Some days are better than others, and I try to keep a positive attitude, no matter what is going on—sometimes more successfully than others. Sometimes I think of the things that are worrying me as I wake up, not a great way to start the day. So I need a little boost to brush away the cobwebs. The first thing I do when I get up, even before my breakfast, is check my emails, to see if I have emails from my kids, my agent, editor, or publisher, or anything urgent. With half my life in Europe, it’s already the end of the afternoon there when I wake up early if I’m in the States, as emails come in from abroad while I’m sleeping. So I read through them first thing. What that means is that my first stop of the day is at the little table my youngest son made for me when he was about 10, in Woodshop, (it was for my birthday, I think, he made it and painted it) and I use it as my computer desk, with a little child’s antique chair. It’s a cozy set up in a corner of my office, since I only use my computer for emails, and not for writing my books. I’m always in my office by 8 am, no matter how late I go to bed (usually around 3 am, sometimes a little earlier or later if I’m writing). And first thing in my morning, I sit down at the little computer desk. So I put things on and around that desk to inspire me and start my day off right, and make me happy.
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8/3/15, “So you’re a writer?”

Posted on August 3, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a good week, and that August is off to a good start. I’m hoping it will be peaceful. We’ve had something of a turbulent summer, which you know, if you read my blog about Sam Ewing 2 weeks ago, “Fallen Hero”. But we’ve had some really good family time together, which is the best antidote to the pains of ‘real life’. And I had a wonderful 10 day vacation with my 5 youngest children. I am always grateful for time with my kids, when they can spare the time from their jobs and busy lives. And in a few weeks, I’m hoping to spend some time with all my kids. So….onward….

In the comments to last week’s blog, someone mentioned that she was writing her first novel, and said that people were really giving her a hard time about it. And oh do I know that one. Somebody told me years ago that there are two jobs everyone thinks they can do, if they just had the time and wanted to: writing and photography. We all know we can’t be brain surgeons, or lawyers or nuclear physicists unless we study for it for a lot of years. But lots of people think they can write, and everyone takes pictures, so they figure they can do it, if they want to bother. And lots of people are talented writers and photographers, but it’s not quite as easy as some people think, and they might be surprised if they try it!!! (My father was a talented amateur photographer, who sold some of his photographs in later years, and let me tell you, that talent is not hereditary—–I can’t take a photo without cutting everyone’s head off, or get it in focus. Although one of my daughters is a terrific photographer. But I’m never going to win any prizes or set the world on fire with my pictures!!)
» read more »

7/27/15, Green Eyed Monster

Posted on July 27, 2015

Hi Everyone,
Before I share this week’s blog with you, I want to tell you how touched and totally bowled over I was by your loving and heartfelt messages about Sam Ewing. As of this moment, there are 146 messages from you about him, and you really, really touched my heart, and his wonderful mother has read them too. I can’t begin to tell you what it means to all of us. Thank you for your incredible kindness and beautiful words. With love from all of us.

And now for some more mundane thoughts!! I hope that all is well with you!!!

I hope your summer is rolling out smoothly and nicely with fun times, some relaxing days, and maybe even a great vacation you’ve been waiting all year to take. I love these summer days.

The Green Eyed Monster I’m talking about is jealousy, and I think it’s a REALLY important subject, for all of us. It is the seen and unseen evil in all of our lives, no matter who or where we are, at whatever level or stage in life. And it can wreak havoc in our lives, and often does.

I read a comment to my blog recently, from someone having trouble at work. I hear it from friends, my children at their jobs, and experience it myself every day. It may come in the form of a small snide comment from a co-worker, or even a boss, that takes you by surprise, or it may even take the form of some truly wicked planning by someone who is out to do you harm. And jealousy often comes from unexpected quarters, from someone you just can’t even imagine would be jealous of you. Some jealous people go to great lengths to hide it, others unabashedly go after you in some way. But whether hidden or overt, jealousy is one of the most corrosive, potentially dangerous elements in all of our lives. I have long since had a great “respect” for just how dangerous other people’s jealousies can be.

As a famous person, people in the outer circle of our lives see the outer trappings (all of them perfectly manicured and dressed up for your viewing pleasure) of a public person’s life. You see how handsome their children are, how big their house, how nice their clothes. You’re told how successful they are, how much fun they’re having, and shown how fabulous they supposedly are. In most cases, you don’t see how troubled one or more of their children may be, how stretched their finances, how bad their marriage (except in the tabloids), you don’t see them crying over the griefs in their life, or on a bad hair day, or with stomach flu. In a way, we are set up to be jealous of them. And they in turn, as famous people, are set up as an open target for other people’s envy—-which is a scary situation to be in. I’ve had my share of threats, and nasty jealous hate mail too, for all those reasons, and have also experienced other people’s jealousy at close range, from people I know. Jealousy almost always comes as a surprise, and it can be a powerful negative force against us.
» read more »

6/1/15, Rising Above the Clouds

Posted on June 1, 2015

Hi Everyone,

How are you?? All is good with you, I hope!!!

The week has been insanely busy yet again. The bats flying in the windows are not quite as large, but it’s the tennis game of life, where a problem heads at us, we hit it to the opposite side of the court, it comes back at us again, and back and forth it goes, until eventually it’s solved, but sometimes that takes time. Also, if you have a big life, with a lot of people in it, inevitably, a lot of “stuff” happens that you have to deal with every day. I wear many hats in my daily life. I’m an employer, and also an employee of sorts, since I produce work for a publishing house, several of them in many countries and they pay me, so that makes me an employee and they make the rules, as employers do. I work with and for many people, with different personalities and opinions. I am the mother of eight adults, who are wonderful people, but I worry about them at times, as mothers do, and we don’t always agree either (although they are extremely reasonable and nice people!!). But there are bound to be bumps in our lives. And then there are the people in the outer circle of one’s life who are difficult, or jealous, or not always honest, who can really make our lives miserable if they work at it. It’s a lot of balls to keep in the air. And even if you’re a Mom at home, driving car pool for three kids, and trying to get them to school on time, and their soccer games, and make sure they do their homework and are doing okay in school, you have your hands full. We all do. And there are plenty of opportunities for challenges every day. If you live alone in an apartment you haven’t left in 10 years, have one single artificial plant, and a plastic fish, your life should be pretty simple. But anything more than that and you’re going to be dealing with difficult things at times—-and also opportunities for great things. But life moves fast these days, and most of us do wear several hats and we have to switch gears constantly, as partner, parent, employee, employer, friend. Just keeping up with texts and emails takes a lot of time out of our day. And some days, I feel like I will never catch up, and probably you feel that way too. Not to mention the people who encroach on our lives, don’t wish us well, intrude on us, and really put some energy into messing up our day, and there are people like that in all our lives too. (I wish they would find something else to do!!! and stay away from me!!). » read more »

5/11/15, Lovable

Posted on May 11, 2015

Hi Everyone,

You know my love for and fascination with words. The words ‘love’ and ‘hope’ always resonate for me, and for most of us. But ‘lovable’ is a word I discovered later in life, and never realized the importance of it for a long time. We talk about being loved (by someone), or loving someone or something. We LOVE ice cream, chocolate, sunny days, vacations, (shoes!!), our friends, our children, and hopefully the person we are married to or dating. We tell people how LOVED they are. We talk about certain people being very LOVING. But we seldom talk about, or think about being LOVABLE. And that’s a real stumbling block for some. We want to be loved, who doesn’t—–but do we believe, truly believe, in the depths of our gut, that we are lovable? Do we believe that we are lovable, and worthy of being loved? We focus on our flaws, and sometimes our loved ones are quick to remind us what they are, we don’t do this or that right, we forget to take out the garbage, lock the front door, or walk the dog. We make a mess here and there. Some of us come from deeply critical families, whose favorite sport is tearing others apart, or comparing us unfavorably to others. Unhappy mates tell us everything that’s wrong with us, and blame us for what goes wrong in a relationship. We don’t do as well as we plan to in life, didn’t get the promotion we want, or don’t feel we are paid enough (and make less money than our sister, husband/wife, best friend or neighbour). We haven’t had a date in 6 months or a year, or our boyfriend/girlfriend dumped us, or we got divorced. And what that all adds up to is that somewhere in our heart of hearts, we feel unlovable: undeserving of the love we want and hope for and need to thrive. We secretly believe we are second rate, or tenth rate, or no rate, and everyone else seems lovable, but us. » read more »

4/6/15, Fascinating Dinner

Posted on April 6, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you’re all doing okay, and that all is well with you.

I had a truly fascinating evening recently, and wanted to share it with you. I was invited to a Shabbat Dinner, (a Sabbath dinner) by friends in Paris. They introduced me to their Sabbath dinners a few years ago, and they give them almost every Friday. I’d never been to one before and didn’t know what to expect the first time, and didn’t think much about it before I went. What I found was a really interesting group of people, of all ages, and the atmosphere was lively, warm, enthusiastic, relaxed, congenial. It was a gathering of all ages, many religions, all walks of life. The friends that do these evenings are a lawyer (she), a cardiologist and researcher (he), and they had friends from their own professions, other lines of work, their children, their children’s friends, their friends’ children. The evening began on a religious note as they lit the candles, said a prayer, chanted a prayer, broke bread and sipped wine (no different from our Christian traditions), and then everyone dug into delicious food and engaged in long, interesting conversations about politics, literature, art, film making, and a million subjects. It is a treat to be invited to their Shabbat dinners, and I look forward to it, every time. I’ve been to 3 or 4 of them now, and it’s a privilege to be invited, and I am always intrigued to see who will be there from their grab bag of friends, colleagues, and young people. And the most recent dinner of theirs that I went to was a knock out, and incredibly eclectic. I love the way they gather people around them, regardless of religion, and one feels warmly welcomed, whatever one’s traditions. (What a contrast to the Catholic traditions I grew up with, with quiet Friday night dinners, and always a meal of fish which I hated, although I loved my religion. But I hated the fish, always felt sick from it, and years later, discovered I was allergic to it). At my friends’ Shabbat dinners, the food is plentiful and varied, Italian, Thai, exotic, hearty, roast beef, many choices, and a huge array of delicious, irresistible, and fattening desserts!!! Even the food is joyful at their table, and everything seems happy. To some degree, although I’ve never been to a Shabbat dinner, other than theirs, I think the evening and the combination of people, interesting mix, and long hours of conversation are more likely to happen in France than in the States. The only thing all the guests have in common at their dinners is that everyone is French, probably not by intention, it just happens that way.

The other thing that always strikes me at their dinners is how seriously educated their guests are, and the variety of jobs they have. My own friends seem to be in business, some in the arts, doctors, lawyers, and have pretty human scale jobs. But their friends are in fields that I never even think of. This time I sat between a nuclear scientist and researcher, whose intellectual capacity is out in the stratosphere somewhere compared to mine, although he was very nice, and he’s married to a school teacher. On my other side was a man who sells gold, the man next to him is the head of all cultural radio in France, there were a film maker, a screen writer, a politician of some kind, several lawyers, the age range was from 2 weeks of age (the hosts just had a baby, their 4th child) to 87 years old, with a group of young people at the far end from 17 to 22, two of them law students (the hosts’ older children). Two birthdays were celebrated, 17 and 87. And all the ages and professions and groups were mixed, and it struck me as I looked down the table of 14 or 16 people, that there were two Catholics I knew of including me, two Muslims, and most of the others were Jewish. We all stood respectfully for the lighting of the candles and chanted prayers, as the baby passed from one set of arms to another, amidst the lively discussions around the table, and as always, the table was crowded with platters of delicious food, Mediterranean, Italian, Greek, roast beef and potatoes. There is something for everyone at their table in terms of religions, personalities, interests, careers, and even food (and way too many delicious cakes, and I tried at least three of them).

The star of the show for me was a tiny woman (I’m 5 feet 1, and she was several inches shorter than I), with bright red hair, a lively personality, she strode into the room looking lively and attractive, bursting with energy, and I guessed her to be about 70, and discovered when we celebrated her birthday later that she was 87, that day. She is a documentary film maker, still busy in her career, just released a new movie, and published a new book, and I found her instantly fascinating as I listened to her at dinner. She was as sharp as a tack, and one of the livelier participants at the table, she had style and energy and a magnetic personality. And listening to her, I discovered that she survived 4 of the worst concentration camps during the war, is a well-known personality, and has made some important documentary films, and was married to a film maker. She was mesmerizing as she talked, and showed us the number tattooed on her arm at one point. She spoke without hesitation or artifice, there was nothing arrogant about her, and listening to her life experiences, especially during the war, was riveting. I have no idea how she survived what she did, and remained whole, alive, full of energy and life. Her family had been decimated by the camps and the war years. Our hostess gave all of us her latest book, which I read the next day, in awe of what she survived in the camps, and how she survived it and demonstrated the strength of the human spirit then and throughout her life. Her book was incredibly touching and poignant, and I was filled with admiration for this woman whom time has not touched, but has been through so much in one lifetime. I felt truly honored to meet her and talk to her.

The dinner ended long after one o*clock, and as always was warm, fascinating, touching. I will long remember the tiny red haired, ageless, timeless woman, so full of life and talent, with a spirit that nothing has destroyed. And once again, I went home feeling so lucky to be included in such a special evening, and to meet so many talented, bright people I would never have met otherwise. And then I went back to my own real life, filled with more ordinary pursuits, and less unusual people. What a blessing to share an evening like that, and come home richer for it. And I will be forever haunted by the film maker’s book about her experiences. I felt humbled by it, and all of those around me. It was, once again, an amazing evening, which I won’t forget. It was a rare night, filled with special people of varied and extraordinary talents. And I felt so lucky to be a part of it……

have a great week!! love, Danielle

3/2/15, Robin Roberts

Posted on March 2, 2015

Hi Everyone,

If you’re in the East of the US, I hope you’re staying warm!!! After 80 degree weather in LA last week, I ‘breezed’ through New York for a few days, and it was bone chillingly cold, and felt Arctic to me. I had forgotten how cold that can be!!!

But despite the freezing weather, I had a wonderful experience in New York. Several times, I have had the privilege and pleasure of being on Good Morning America, being interviewed by Robin Roberts. Once in a while, you meet a special person, who really makes a deep impression, and you know you are in the presence of a truly lovely human being, beautiful both inside and out. And Robin Roberts is one of those rare, rare people. I knew it the first time we met on the show, beautiful, gracious, elegant in style and spirit, compassionate, wise, modest, kind, intelligent, charming, poised. There are never enough adjectives to describe her. She is one of those rare, rare interviewers who totally highlights her guest, puts a favorable spotlight on them, and does nothing to put herself forward. She makes you feel like a very, very special person, and you float away after the show with a warm glow, dazzled by her.

I was immensely relieved to see that she looks better than ever, after her illness, which she battled courageously. She looked fantastic, was adorable, and actually makes the interview fun—–which isn’t always the case for me, in fact never is with other interviewers, because I’m very shy and interviews and live TV always scare me silly. But not with Robin. With Robin, they are a treat, and actually fun to do with her. I was on the show to talk about my new book in hardcover, Prodigal Son, and we talked about it, and then talked about my career more generally, my children, fashion, and the fact that three of my daughters are fashion consultants and stylists. And they even showed two of my fashion ‘adventures’, a couple of really odd things I bought a long time ago. It gave us a good laugh. And once again, I floated off the show after talking to her, and she lit up my whole day, and I know I’ll remember the interview for a long time, as I do all the others. So many interviewers want to challenge you, put you on the spot, embarrass you, and catch you out, Robin just wants to celebrate your accomplishments and share them with her viewers, and it becomes a positive experience for all, the guest, the audience, and hopefully for Robin too. She gives so much of herself to making the guest feel comfortable and at ease, and good about themselves, and look good to the world. I can never thank her enough or the wonderful experience it is being on the show with her.

I had to be at the show at 8 am, and leave my hotel at 7:30 am to do so. I got up at 3:30 am, the hairdresser and make-up artist came to my hotel at 4 am to get me ready, and then we set out in the freezing cold to be driven to the show, where you’re given a dressing room to wait for your time to come on. I am always very, very, very nervous before the show, but once I’m on with Robin, the time flies, and it’s over before you know it. I had a busy day after that. But what a wonderful morning, and what a gift to see Robin again….I would get up even earlier to be on with her, or skip sleep entirely…..I always feel so lucky, blessed and privileged when I see her, and am a guest on the show, interviewed by her. What a very, very special human being she is!!! I wish her every happiness for all the joy she gives to so many. And I feel lucky to know her. And when you see her on Good Morning America, know that, yes, she is every bit as lovely and nice as she seems on the show—–even more so in real life!!! It is an honor to know her.

love, Danielle

2/9/15, Happy Hearts!!!

Posted on February 9, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been whipping through various cities, all of them freezing cold, and some of them buried in snow. I love snow until it gets messy, and this is the time of year when we’re all a little tired of winter and gray weather, but spring still seems like it’s a long way off in most places. And this time of year is always a good time for me to work. And I’ve been busy at my desk, writing and editing.

I suddenly realized that Valentine’s Day is only days away, which I always face with a little trepidation, sweet memories, and a bit of hope. I have a sweet piece I wrote in the February issue of Harper’s Bazaar this month, about when my husband John, (father of eight of my nine children, whom I was married to for 17 years) proposed to me on Valentine’s Day. I’d have to say that that was my best Valentine’s Day, with the most successful results (despite the divorce 17 years later, we stayed very close in spite of it). And we shared some great Valentine’s Days in between. And my husband after that filled a hotel room with roses and rose petals on Valentine’s Day, and we were married 6 weeks later, and we remain very close and good friends too. So I really can’t complain. Two great Valentine’s Days in one lifetime is a pretty good score, even if the other Valentine’s Days were not quite as romantic or exciting, and sometimes downright dull. One of my daughters, who is currently not involved with anyone, said the other day with a look of disgust, “It’s a stupid day, designed to make us feel awful and like losers if we don’t have a boyfriend”. She has a point there too. It’s a day when those of us who are not in relationships stick out like rocks in a stream, as the waters flow around us. I told you several years ago in a blog about the year Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday and I went to church, where the priest asked everyone in couples to stand up so the rest of us could applaud them, and they handed each couple two roses, while the rest of us slunk out of church alone and empty handed, even more depressed than when we came in. No roses for the ‘losers’!!! I complained to the priest afterwards and said that we should have gotten the roses to make us feel better, the couples had each other. But on Valentine’s Day, the world celebrates lovers, and the rest of us eat chocolates we buy ourselves as consolation. It’s an easy day to feel sorry for ourselves if our love life isn’t as we wish it would be. And let’s face it, EVERY year can’t be romantic, and a lot of men think Valentine’s Day is silly, and don’t always pay adequate homage to it, in their wives’ and girlfriends’ opinions. So don’t feel totally alone if your man/or woman doesn’t make a big deal of it. Personally, I love Valentine’s Day, with the right person, in the right circumstances. If not, well, that’s how it is, this year, but not necessarily forever. There’s always next year, which may be a whole lot better, and just as you wish!!! Dreams DO come true!!

I hope your Valentine’s Day is lining up as a real winner, with wonderful surprises in store, maybe even a proposal, or at least a romantic evening!!! I am buried in work at the moment, so I have a feeling that mine will involve me and a box of chocolates at my desk, but you never know. Prince Charming may be lurking out there somewhere, if he isn’t at home watching sports on TV. I have a busy week ahead before that, with a business trip to visit some of the big distributors of my books. It’s something I’ve never done before, but a good thing to do, to meet the people who make a big difference in my work life, and work hard for me, even though we never see each other. So I thought it was a good time to get out there, meet them, and say thank you. So many people are part of the process before my books actually reach you. Editors, publishers, wholesalers, distributors, bookstore owners, supermarket chains, shippers, truckers, printers, book binders, the art departments who come up with the covers, PR people. The list of those involved is dizzying, and I rarely have an opportunity to meet any of them, or thank them. So I’m taking a couple of days to do it. It’s new for me, exciting, and a little scary to get out in the big world, and meet new people as part of the business process. It’s a lot easier staying cozily at home, in a couple of warm ratty old sweaters or my nightgown, at my desk, writing the books for you. That’s the fun part for me. But it seems appropriate to thank some of the people involved, that neither you nor I ever see, but are an important part of the process too.

I was reading some of your responses to my blogs the other day, and some of what you wrote moved me to tears. It means so much to me to know that the books are meaningful to you, that they helped you in some way, and resonated, or that you just had fun with them and enjoyed them. And although I can’t answer all the comments, please please know how much they mean to me and touch me. I am sooooooo very grateful for your support, your kindness, your loyalty, and your very generous words. Writing a book is a very solitary process, you pull the story out of your head, and the feelings out of your gut and heart, weave it all together, and spend a long time writing, re-writing and polishing it, and send it out in the atmosphere like a balloon floating through the skies, and hope that it lands in the right hands, of someone who will care about it, and love it, and that it will have meaning to. It touches me deeply and means the world to me to know that the books mean a lot to you too.

There are a lot of other options to reading books these days, far more than there used to be, most of them on the Internet. You can watch movies at home, send photos on Instagram, tweet, watch funny videos, play video games, or look for the love of your life on Internet dating. Or just hang out at home, watch TV, or play with your dog. People don’t read as much as they used to, so your reading the books is very important to me, given all the other distractions we all have. And the world is serious business these days, with drama happening every time we turn on the news. I still love relaxing, and even escaping, with a good book, and I’m glad and grateful that you do too!!! And I’m very, very grateful that you read mine.

So I hope that this Valentine’s Day will be the best one ever for you—–full of romance and roses and chocolates, and hopefully dinner with someone you’re crazy about. And if not, there is always next year!!! Life is so full of wonderful surprises, that’s the best part of it, you never know what’s going to happen, and even if you’re watching TV alone at home this year, you may be madly in love with someone fantastic next year. You really never know what life has in store, at any age or stage of life, and something wonderful may be just around the corner. And please know that whatever happens, wherever you are, year after year, you are my Best Valentine every year!!!!

with all my love, Danielle