Posts tagged with: Jo Robertson

I’ve Lost Track! What Day of Christmas Is It?

ThSanta, sleighis time of year always reminds me of “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

The famous poem, first published anonymously in 1823, was actually written by Clement Clarke Moore. It’s the seminal verse which formed the modern-day image of Santa Clause from early Victorians to present day. I grew up loving this poem and memorized it as a young child.  For me it embodied all of the mystery, excitement, and magic of the holiday.

My earliest Christmas memories were formed in Berlin, Germany, where my military father was stationed from 1950-1954.  This was before the Berlin Wall went up in 1961.  Berlin before the wallListening to adult talk, I became very familiar that “danger” in West Berlin was only an afternoon’s walk away from my home, a lovely confiscated German Colonel’s three-story home with brick walls surrounding it. A lovely hanging tree draped over the wall from my front yard.

Still, the looming presence of the Cold War couldn’t take away my brother’s and my determination to figure out the reality of St. Nicholas.  Traditionally, German children put their shoes in the window for the jolly man to fill with candies or a lump of coal.

Credit to Jantoo Cartoons

Credit to Jantoo Cartoons

That first Christmas in Berlin, my brother and I decided to test the myth, having just had a long argument about whether this person named St. Nick, was real or a figment of our parents’ trickery.

We told no one, absolutely no one, of our plan.  At the last moment before bedtime, we put our shoes in the window of our shared bedroom, each of us promising we’d stay awake to see the truth for ourselves.  I was seven and my brother was six.  Of course, we fell immediately asleep.

But we felt we had a rock-solid plan for revealing the reality of the generous, but impossibly vague person who brought presents to us each year.  We were in the land of the Germans, after all, and everyone knew they were practical and stern, not fanciful and imaginative like us Yanks.  If Santa managed to get past the west-east borders, he must have magical powers.

The next morning, much to our surprise, our shoes were filled to the heels with little German candies.

credit to timbutu.me

credit to timbutu.me

That was proof enough for us to believe in Santa long after most children no longer did. Even when the real Berlin Wall went up, I figured my red-suited hero could still find a way to get presents to children in all parts of Germany.

My father enjoyed Christmas more than any person I’ve ever known.  He was more thrilled to give presents than receive them, and often “Santa” visited our house late on Christmas Eve before we children went to bed.  Dad manufactured delightful theater for us kids. He’d “heard jingles,” he claimed as he ran out the front door!  He’d just seen Santa Mistletoedashing off in his sleigh. Maybe we could catch him if we hurried!

While we raced down the street, trying to catch a glimpse, Mother, of course, “delivered” our Santa presents.

This little game became a family tradition that my father relished most of all.  My father was a tough, military man who could be hard on his three children, but at this time of the year?  He played Santa and the befuddled father perfectly!

What about you?  How old were you went you gave up the magic of Santa (if you have).  Is there a story behind that event?  What holiday tradition did/does your family share?

ARe JO ROBERTSON MALICEI’m so proud of my new release WITHOUT MALICE, which returns the reader to Bigler County from Book #1, The Watcher, that I want to give a free download of WITHOUT MALICE to everyone who answers the question about learning “the truth” about Santa! The book is only available in e-format.

Without Malice is a story featuring lots of characters who have lots of secrets.  I hope you’ll have fun unraveling the mystery!

Contact me at jo.lewisrobertson@yahoo.com to verify your email address and receive your free copy!

 

Jo’s New Release — Without Malice

Cmas decorationsHappy holidays, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but around mid-December I really get into the Christmas spirit.  Everything before that just feels like days of harried busyness, but by now, everyone usually has their holiday decorations up, the virtual and brick-and-mortar stores are buzzing with goodies and visitors, and the winter solstice is just around the corner.

This year that astronomical event occurs on December 22.

Take a look at this amazing picture of the Winter Solstice in Stonehenge.Winter Solstice

Did you know that the Winter Solstice is actually called Dongzhi and that it represents both the shortest day and the longest night of the year?  Of course you did!  I’m actually looking forward to December 23, when we begin that long, long trek back to the longest day of the year.  I do love me some summer!

Tomorrow is the kick-off day for our annual Twelve Days of Christmas Celebration, so be sure to return right here Monday morning to read Bandita Susan’s hilarious take on the Golden Rooster’s plans for the holiday!  Trust me, it’s enough to shiver your timbers!

ARe JO ROBERTSON MALICEI have been on hiatus from the Lair the last six months or so because of a complicated knee surgery, so am very thrilled to return in time to announce my new release and the first book in a new (or extended) series.  WITHOUT MALICE pairs prison doctor Frankie Jones with Correctional Officer Santiago Cruz to solve the murders of homeless people in Bigler County.  We’ll see our old friend Sheriff Slater (from THE WATCHER) and introduce a new (dare I say insane?) serial killer in this recent story.

Someone is slaughtering homeless people in Jo Robertson’s latest suspense-thriller, Without Malice. It’s personal to Parole Officer Santiago Cruz because the targets appear to be parolees assigned to him.

Dr. Frankie Jones, prison doctor at Pelican Bay State Prison, has a special interest in murders because of anomalies she’s discovered in the prison’s medical records. Both Frankie and Cruz begin private, but parallel investigations of the incidents.

Finally, when Frankie’s life is threatened, Cruz and she are forced to join forces and trace the brutal killings back to their tragic origin.

Find the book exclusively on Amazon, in e-book format: http://tinyurl.com/gv5k5vp

WITHOUT MALICE has been on pre-order since December 1 and releases today!  I’m very pleased this book finally came to fruition because it’s been very difficult for me to write during my recovery.

homeless manThe idea for WITHOUT MALICE came from my observing the way police often treat homeless or impoverished people in my own California county.  I personally noticed the lack of respect and fair treatment these people sometimes receive.

I’m reminded of an article I read decades ago about a woman and her two children who ended up living out of their station wagon after a series of bad luck – an unfair divorce, the loss of a home and job. This was a woman just like me!  She had a job, a marriage, a home, and a life, but suddenly found herself living on the streets, trying to survive with her children.

From personal experience I know that some panhandlers are tricksters, but many are addicts or mentally ill.  I wondered, given certain circumstances, if I, myself, could be just one accident or tragedy away from homelessness.

homeless childWhen I visited my daughter in New York this fall, I noticed how she handled people who asked her for money.  She said, “I don’t have any money, but I can get you something to eat.”  Often the beggar said no, but sometimes they gave her their order, she went into the nearest food service place (there are tons of them in NYC), and purchased their dinner. The recipients were always surprised, but very grateful.

Most of us are quite generous at this time of the year.  We like to donate to worthy causes.  The spirit of giving and sharing abound.  I decided long ago that I didn’t want to be the person who refused the beggar’s petition.

What about you?  What charitable causes do you take part in this season of the year.  As you get older, does it seem harder to serve the needy?  What family traditions do you carry on during this time of year?

Two for One Offer — Brenda Novak’s Curated Boxed Sets

 

Hi, Readers,

I’m very excited to tell you about an EXCLUSIVE 2 for 1 OFFER!! As you know, to help raise money for diabetes research, I’ve joined with Brenda Novak and twelve other authors who have contributed brand-new novels and novellas to create a boxed set titled SWEET DREAMS.

This boxed set is available only until June 30, 2015, after which it will be gone forever as a collective work. We’re hoping to reach our goal of $300,000.

Purchase SWEET DREAMS (which has a beautifully-written foreword from best-selling author Lee Child!) before the end of May and receive your choice of SWEET TALK (another boxed set filled with 10 small-town contemporary romances from some of today’s most popular authors) or SWEET SEDUCTION (a collection of 13 “HOT” romances a la FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, also from some of today’s most popular authors).

Just email your receipt to Brenda Novak’s assistant, Danita Moon, at danita.moon@comcast.net to get a link and coupon code that will enable you to download the second set of your choice for FREE. (Please note, if you’ve already purchased SWEET DREAMS or any of the other sets, you can still take advantage of this offer. If you no longer have your receipt, just send Danita a picture of the set on your Kindle/Nook or other ereader.)

This is our way of saying THANK YOU for helping us raise money for such important cause. Remember, all proceeds of your purchase will go toward diabetes research.  We are close to a cure for this devastating disease.

My SWEET DREAMS novel is titled “Without Malice,” a mystery-suspense story which features a county parole officer who discovers that his parolees are being targeted for murder. With the help of prison doctor Frankie Jones, Parole Officer Santiago Cruz tries to uncover the mystery of why someone is systematically picking off homeless parolees in his county. Even as he joins forces with the lovely doctor, Cruz finds she has dark secrets that may uncover the mystery.

I hope you enjoy my book and the many selections offered in these three amazing boxed sets!

Jo

www.jorobertson.com

 In keeping with our tradition, I have a question for our readers.  Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the States.  What is your favorite holiday in your country, and how do you celebrate?

Available Now

Sweet Dreams

Boxed Set
All Proceeds Benefit
Diabetes Research Institute

Order here: 

 Kindle

 Nook

 iBooks

 Kobo

Engaged in a Worthy Cause

Barack Obama, Giving Service

Barack Obama, Giving Service

Growing up, in your school, community, or church, you may have heard the admonition to be actively engaged in a good cause. There are so many places for our limited resources – time and money – to go that we may feel overwhelmed sometimes about finding a worthy cause.

Many of us donate a portion of our income to our local church or give generously during collection-plate time; others find interest in causes that touch their lives because of family or friends – Breast Cancer Month, Heart Disease, or Domestic Violence.

I was raised to believe I should give, not only within my family, but also within the community where I live.

Collection Plate

Collection Plate

It’s not so much what, how much, or where you give, but the attitude of giving that’s important. Giving benefits both the receiver and the giver.

As many of you know, USA Today and NY Times Best-selling author Brenda Novak has conducted an annual on-line auction for Diabetes Research for the past ten years. This year Brenda and other best-selling authors have combined their talents to offer a limited edition, digital only boxed set of never-before-published novels to raise money for diabetes research.

The romantic suspense edition, SWEET DREAMS, contains thirteen new works by your favorite authors and sells for less than a dollar a story. All proceeds go to The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami, which is doing some amazing cure-focused work.

I feel very lucky to be part of this great fund-raising project with my contribution of “Without Malice,” the first in a new mystery-suspense series.  Today, I’m giving away PDFs of my not-yet-published book to fifteen lucky commenters.

Sweet Dreams Boxed Set

Sweet Dreams Boxed Set

I hope you enjoy the beginning of my new series. And I hope you will enjoy one or more of the boxed sets of new stories. All proceeds from the sales go to diabetes research, so be generous and contribute to this worthy cause while you savor new stories from well-known and debut authors.

Make a difference while you read!  Sets are available at all major retailers:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CZiYtP

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1INYQMz

Apple: http://apple.co/1CVYPlu

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1By6eMw

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1vT84jP

What other authors have contributed to the set SWEET DREAMS?

Fellow New York Times Bestselling Authors Allison Brennan, Cynthia Eden, J.T. Ellison (who is contributing “Crossed,” the long awaited prequel to her Taylor Jackson series), Heather Graham, Liliana Hart, Alex Kava (who is contributing “Before Evil,” the long awaited prequel to her Maggie O’Dell series), CJ Lyons, Carla Neggers, Brenda Novak, Theresa Ragan, Erica Spindler, Tiffany Snow and Jo Robertson.

For the Cure ...

For the Cure …

Once SWEET DREAMS goes on sale, it’ll only be available through June 30. and then retired forever! So grab it while you can! Our goal is to raise $300,000 and, with your help, we should be able to do it.

If mystery-suspense is not your favorite genre, Brenda has also curated a contemporary box set along with a “hot” romance box set. Check those out, too.

You can find more information at http://brendanovakforthecure.org.

Now a question for our readers.  Be sure to leave a comment to be eligible to win a PDF of my latest book “Without Malice,” not yet published.  What worth causes or projects interest you?  How do you involve yourself in community or church service?  How do you decide where to make your donations and when?  Share your tips for giving back to your community!

Such Sweet Sorrow

You’ll recognize the line from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” that bitter-sweet romance so appealing to teenagers and adults alike — “parting is such sweet sorrow.”romeo4

Saying goodbye to people you love, like or have grown close to is much like that – sweet and sorrowful at the same time.

The Banditas have been saying goodbye, so long, farewell all month long to our devoted and faithful readers, even though we know the Banditas aren’t going too far away from social media.  We’ll be here on the blog telling you about our news and contests, releases and special offers, as well as hosting guest authors.  We know how many of you rely on our guests to offer you the latest and greatest works of romantic fiction, so we don’t want to do away with that feature of the Lair.

Be sure you’re signed up for our Newsletter which will continue to give you tidbits and gossip and alert you to what’s coming up in the current month.

As for me, saying goodbye is like Romeo Montague’s emotion – sweet and sorrowful.  I’ve had to say goodbye many times in my long life.  My dad was a military man and we lived all over the country as well as abroad for many years.  When I left for college I moved from east coast to west coast and lost all my high school friends.  Ten and twenty-year reunions didn’t help much.220px-Romeo_Juliet

I lived in Utah and Idaho before moving to California in 1970, and although I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Californian now, I’ve lived in Modesto, Clovis and Sacramento, up and down the San Joaquin Valley.

My children left for college, moved out on their own, or married so that was a painful part of saying goodbye, too.  Now the next generation of my family has left for college, too, another goodbye.

My favorite “goodbye scene” in literature comes from Margaret Mitchell’s classic “Gone with the Wind.”  I like it for its ambiguity.  Scarlett says goodbye to Rhett.  He’s leaving her – finally and forever in his mind – but her last thoughts are that she’s sure she can get him back.  She’ll think about it tomorrow.

I’ve said goodbye to many of my favorite and classic TV series:  Friends, Seinfeld, and Cheers.  I’m always sad to see a beloved series end, delighted when they don’t overstay their welcome, and very happy when they go into syndication for me to watch over and over.  Right now I’m binge-watching “Friends,” and love the laughing out loud antics, physical comedy, and wry humor of this ground-breaking television series.

Saying goodbye can be painful and sad, but I like to think it always offers a new opportunity.  A chance for people to try new places, new people, and new adventures.  So we hope you’ll come with us Banditas on our new adventures on Facebook.

What about you?  What moments were your happiest or saddest moments of saying goodbye?  Breakup with a boyfriend?  Graduation from high school?  Family move?  New career?  Dish, Bandita Buddies, and tell us the sweet and the sorrow of your experiences.

Just in Case

When I was a girl, my military family was stationed in Germany, and all of us kids had to get what I considered a massive series of shots, including those for typhoid and smallpox. Both these diseases had not yet been significantly reduced and travel from the States to another country required immunization.

Typhoid Mary, circa 1907

Typhoid Mary, circa 1907

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection, almost entirely controlled by sanitary practices and penicillin.  You might see why I, as a six-year-old, balked against having the shot.  I washed my hands properly after going potty!

Turns out, in my case, I had an atypical allergic reaction to the inoculation and became very sick for several weeks, delaying our embarcation across the Pacific.  For this reason, when the polio vaccine was approved in 1962, my mother refused to let me be immunized.  Fortunately, polio escaped me!

Those of us who are old enough will remember smallpox inoculation Although some controversy surrounded the use of the vaccine, this disease has been declared by the World Health Organization as eradicated and we no longer inoculate children for smallpox.

Smallpox is an infectious viral disease with a high mortality rate.  Children were inoculated with the weakened virus by multiple injections from an infected needle.  Later medical practitioners used a bifurcated needle, but I wasn’t so lucky!  I remember the nurse counting aloud the number of times she pricked my arm.  It was a big number!  I remember the swelling and the scabbing at the site.

An 1802 caricature by James Gillray depicting the early controversy surrounding Jenner's vaccination theory

An 1802 caricature by James Gillray depicting the early controversy surrounding Jenner’s vaccination theory

When we studied the term ANACHRONISM in my English classes, I explained the term by referring to the smallpox inoculation scar.  Still bearing the scar, of course, I pointed out that actors, for example, portraying pre-1500 characters would not have that round pricked scar on their arms.

My little beasties always wanted to see my scar as proof!

The last naturally occurring case of smallpox was recorded in 1977, but the WHO estimates that approximately 300-500 million people died of smallpox during the Twentieth Century alone.  Million!

Vaccinations like mumps, measles, and chickenpox were not required nor available when most of my children entered school.  Today these vaccines exist, and for a reason I don’t understand, many parents choose not to immunize their children; thus, we have small pockets of measles outbreak.

I remember having the measles – not the fun, three-day, German measles (Rubella) when you hardly know you’re sick – I remember contracting Rubeola: the hard, red measles that make you deathly ill.  I likely had complications, but I ran a 105-degree temperature for days.  My mother could not bring down the fever with aspirin or cold cloths.  The doctor visited and declared me gravely ill.

The curtains remained closed because the light hurt my eyes like a vicious migraine.  I burned and sweat, burned and sweat as my body tried to fight the disease.  I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t talk.

I was simply a tight hard ball of pain.  I was seven years old and I wanted to die.

Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore

A lovely apocryphal story is told about Irish Poet Thomas Moore’s inspiration for writing the song “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms.”  He returned from being away a long time, only to find that his beloved wife had contracted smallpox.  A universally beautiful woman, she refused to let him see her scarred face, believing he would no longer love her. As a result he wrote this poem, later set to the tune of an old Irish ballad.

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms/Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by to-morrow and fleet in my arms/Like fairy gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art/Let thy loveliness fade as it will;
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart/Would entwine itself verdantly still.

Just in case you wonder about how the world will end (with a bang or a whimper [T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”]), think about a world-wide epidemic of some long-eradicated disease.  Why not acquire the best scientific and medical information you can find about what’s appropriate for you and your family?

What about you, readers?  What’s the sickest you’ve ever gotten?  Do immunizations make you “sicker” or lessen your symptoms?  Have you ever had a childhood disease you remember vividly?  Have you ever had food poisoning or salmonella?
Come on, dish!

Why I Love “Madame Secretary”

Thank you, CBS!

Okay, it’s not about the absolutely adorable actor Tim Daly, who plays Madame Secretary’s husband Henry Tea LeoneMcCord on the ABC drama that debuted this year.  Nor the equally delightful Téa Leone, whose acting and low husky voice I’ve always enjoyed (uh, imagine Dr. Big hanging over my shoulder as I write, saying “Yeah, man!”).  Nor is it the we’re-going-to-finish-this-story-in-forty-four-minutes attitude the drama takes, although I’m eternally grateful for shows whose story-lines are actually concluded in the one-hour time limit.

For me, it’s about the universal drama, angst, love, and politicking of family.  Yes, family.  CBS has taken the family to a level where there’s more pressure than a certain unnamed Asian dictator threatening free enterprise with a finger on the “send” button.Tim Daly

I like that Téa Leone, playing Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, is as calm and collected in her home life as she is in conducting the state business of the country.  She’s a woman who knows how to mediate in both arenas.  Seriously, don’t we all think that a cool and thoughtful attitude towards the affairs of international politics is as important a tool in the country and world as it is in the family?

We’re always hearing the phrase, “If women ruled the world … ” but I don’t think we believe it in our collective consciousness.

courtesy www.indusladies.com

courtesy www.indusladies.com

If women ruled the world, there’d be no more wars.

If women ruled the world, aggression and bullying would disappear.

If women ruled the world, they’d exchange recipes.

Oops, didn’t mean that, but I’m sure lots of folks do.

So what I really like about the show is that Elizabeth (Beth) has a normal home life, with a husband a lot like mine, to whom compromise and intelligent conversation are not dirty words.  Where a man or woman isn’t afraid to say, “Oops, sorry, I was wrong” or “I didn’t mean that.”  Where teenagers are brats sometimes and angels other times.  Where even high-level political leaders struggle to solve the problems in their own homes while juggling terrorist  attacks on the free world.

I know, I know, the television show is a fantasy.  But I like my fantasy grounded in reality and knowing I’ll have a solution of some sort to very complicated issues – just like the issues in the home, country, and world.MS logo 2

Right now I’m binge-watching “Friends,” and enjoying how and why the show is so iconic and relevant.  Except for those portable phones.  They’re a hoot!

What about you, readers?  Have you watched “Madame Secretary?”  Do you like it?  Do you enjoy your film and television realistic or doused with a hefty dose of make-believe?   What’s your favorite binge-television watch?  Or binge-book read?

 

BRF Syndrome

Have you ever heard of this syndrome?  BRF Syndrome?

Chatter about it has been going around the internet-sphere for quite some time now, but it meant nothing to me until my daughters reminded me of their growing up years as teenagers.

I led the congregational music in our church.  It was a non-demanding job and I enjoy the great hymns from centuries ago, as well as modern music. Hymnal music is very moving, so I thought I was doing a really good job, swinging my arms around, trying to get the congregation to speed up or slow down, put some emotion into their voices.

One day, my ten-year old asked, “Mom, why are you so mad when you lead the music in church?”

What?

It’s spiritual, it’s moving, and it’s goose-bumpy to put lyrics to powerful music and contemplate the meaning of your religious beliefs.  And I look angry?

What the — ?

It took me several years to realize that I suffer from BRF Syndrome – that’s right, there’s actually a condition for people like me, why my face in thoughtful repose looks, well, just — bitchy.

This YouTube clip finally awakened me to my condition, and my three daughters and I all discovered that we have BRF Syndrome!  Who knew?

It was quite a traumatic experience to discover this, and we are determined that the only solution is plastic surgery to change our “natural” BRFs to pleasant, slightly amused expressions.  We all expect to go under the knife within the next year.

The condition hit home to me again when a congressional staff member recently criticized the U.S. President’s daughters – the delightful Malia and Sasha Obama — for what is clearly BRF (or as the mother of teens know, “don’t give me that look, girl!”)

globalnews.ca

globalnews.ca

Give the Obama girls a break!

Not only might they have BRF, but they’re teenagers and anyone who has ever reared or been a teen (I believe that’s the whole human race) understands that their faces in repose are thoughtful, reflective, and meditative, showing NOT bitchiness, or worse, INDIFFERENCE, but a fine mind contemplating serious matters.

Like — will I have a date to the prom?  Or — does Ronnie Hinchey like me?  — Or better still — is one of my eyebrows higher than the other?  Oh, no!

Please don’t judge those of us with BRF; be grateful if you don’t have it.  It’s so easy to be misunderstood.

What about you, readers.  Have you ever been misjudged for the expression on your face?  Do you have BRF?  

Have you ever passed (or been passed by) someone in the hall and been so absorbed in your own thoughts that you honestly didn’t “see” the person smile or nod at you?  Have you ever been misunderstood when your intention was totally benign?  Come on, share!

Angels We Have Heard

angels kissingAccording to Luke, angelic voices sang the birth of the world’s saviour over two thousand years ago.  The story is lovely, whatever your personal beliefs:  an infant born in a cave among the animals, the shepherds awed by the heraldry, the wise men’s travel from afar to see a miracle.

Whatever an angel means to you – a loved one, long gone; God’s winged creature protecting you; a symbol of hope, love and charity – angels surround us every day.

It’s easiest for me to see angels in the faces of children, innocent and untouched as yet by life’s trials and travails.  I think that’s why infants and toddlers are my favorite stage of children’s development, but I couldn’t resist putting my favorite Winchester boy posed as an angel in this blog (see below).

I also see angels around me in my everyday life – doctors without borders who risk their lives in dangerously pandemic parts of the world, the always-faithful soup kitchen workers, teachers who dedicate their lives because they belief in the future of our youth, parents who sacrifice so their children will have better opportunities than they had.

Winchester Angel

The famous quote about our “better angels,” adapted by writer Aaron Sorkin in the TV drama series “West Wing,” actually came from U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s “First Inaugural Address,” on Monday, March 4, 1861, as the nation hovered on the brink of the Civil War.

Primarily addressing the seven states who’d already seceded from the union, Lincoln said, “I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained[,] it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

baby angel Sorkin embellished the line to say, don’t let the demons shout down the better angels in our nature.  That sentiment still resonates with me, because more than ever, we as world citizens face demons – threats and risks like never before.  Whether it’s the politics of families, nations, or ideologies, we need more than ever in our planet’s history to listen to the gentle reasoning of our “better angels.”

Many of us – readers, Bandita Buddies, and Banditas alike – faced hardships during 2014.  My wish for all of us is that 2015 will bring peace and contentment, satisfaction and hope,  globally and for our individual selves and families.

What about you, readers?  Have you felt the presence of angels in the world around you? dog angel Were they strangers, neighbors, family members, or maybe even pets?  How will you rededicate yourself to making 2015 a year when our “better angels” rule our lives and our world?

 

‘Twas the Night Before …

Twas the NIght coverProbably the most famous Christmas verse known world-wide, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” originally titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” was penned by Clement Clarke Moore and first appeared anonymously in 1823.  Later, at his children’s insistence, he acknowledged that he’d written this simple verse.  A scholar by profession, he was embarrassed by the simplicity of the verse, but it has shaped the image of Santa Clause for Americans since then.

Although some minor controversy exists that Moore did not author the poem, most scholars attribute it to him.Clement Moore

I remember reading the story-verse so often as a child that I had memorized it.  I read it to my own children every Christmas, with them often acting out the various parts of the story.

I thought it might be fun on this Christmas Eve Day if we shared a variation of the poem.

Here are the rules:

Begin your verse with “’Twas the night before Christmas” and … “

Continue with at least one more line, preferably three to complete the stanza, that represents your personal or family feelings at this time of the year.  Exhausted?  Grateful?  Hungry?  Blessed?  Whatever you want.  Dig deep into your creative side, merry or reflective, and share your holiday thoughts with us.

Here’s my version:

‘Tis the night before Christmas; The house is a mess.
My ham is unordered and I have no new dress.
I’m running at half-mast and quite out of steam,
But going to bed, happily to dream
About new cars!!! Or vacations, and stemware wishes —
As long as the presents involve others’ doing dishes!

And be sure to stop by the Romance Bandits Blog tomorrow for our Christmas Day celebration during which we’ll announce the grand winner of our Christmas package.

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