Sunday, December 21, 2008

Give Yourself a Present this Holiday Season

Earlier this week I mentioned an upcoming post at the Stiletto Gang's blog. Below is that post in its entirety;

Recently it seems as though my life has been one reminder after another that life is short. It’s a bit cliché I know, a phrase we hear all the time, but it makes it no less the truth…there is no time like the present. These recent reminders have been weighing heavy on my mind, so I decided to set aside my original plans for this guest post and send out a message to the readers of this great little blog that feels a little more important.

With the holiday season upon us, lots of people are busy shopping for presents for the people they love. As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season begins to take over your life I’d like to suggest you give yourself a present too: take time to nurture the relationships with the people you love. Everyone likes to receive gifts, but really there is no greater gift than making time for someone…and there is no time like the present.

The idea that we might lose someone close to us, like a spouse or a parent, is one of the most terrifying feelings there is. It is during those times in our lives that it is easy to make time for the people we love. We feel vulnerable when mortality stares us in the face, and those times often leave us taking life a little slower, taking time to smell the roses (to use another bad cliché), and spending more quality time with our loved ones.

Sometimes just being on the fringe of an experience like that can be a good reminder, which is where I found myself recently when someone I love very much was faced with the possibility of losing a parent to cancer. Following that experience with my friend, my husband and I were in a vehicle collision caused by icy roadway conditions. We were extremely fortunate not to be hurt and not to have seriously injured anyone else. We found ourselves counting our blessings and telling each other we loved each other a little more often than usual.

There are plenty of examples of life experiences that send us that message, that important reminder that life is too short for anger or regret, for anything but love and meaningful connections. What I’d like to see, however, are more of us living our lives according to that message, without needing to have the importance of it scared into us by a near tragedy. I realize that is not a simple task, because our daily schedules are busy and sometimes even unmanageable. I know the holiday season is no exception to that chaos, but really, if you don’t start now, when will you?

I’m not suggesting you clear your schedule and turn every minute into quality time spent with family and friends. It doesn’t need to be that drastic. Perhaps it could be a phone call to an aunt you don’t see as often as you’d like or an email to a friend you’ve been falling out of touch with. Maybe, as a friend and I recently discussed, it could be spending a day with your mom going through treasured family heirlooms and documenting where they came from, so that when she is gone you’ll know which teacup belonged to your great-grandmother and that the lamp table you would have otherwise gotten rid of had been crafted by your great-great-grandfather.

My books, “The Common Threads Journals”, are all about the importance of making deeper, more lasting connections with the people around us. I spend a great deal of my time talking to people about my books and about the importance of connecting with others, but even I have trouble doing it sometimes. Apparently the universe recently decided I needed a reminder: I needed to live my ideas not just talk about them. Unfortunately I don’t always get the message right away, so it has to be sent several times, in several ways, just to get my attention.

My wish for you is that you start making time for the people in your life before the universe decides it needs to get your attention. Start taking some steps to nurture those important relationships. Tell the people you love that you love them: tell them often. Start doing it now. Don’t wait to be hit over the head with the message, because there is no time like the present.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No Time Like the Present

At this busy time of year, when many of us are busy shopping for and wrapping presents, it can be easy to lose sight of the important things in life. The chaos and outright craziness of the holiday season seems to take over. The shopping, the baking, the parties, the can often be overwhelming.

All those things sometimes make us forget one of the most important presents of all...the present, the here and now. Later this week I have the opportunity to be a guest blogger at, and I'll be musing about the importance of the present and the need to make time for the people we love, to nurture the connections that enrich our lives. I invite you to stop by The Stiletto Gang's blog on Friday and check it out.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Isn't it Romantic?

In a couple of days I will have the opportunity to do a guest post on J.K. Coi's blog "Immortals to Die For" at J.K. is a fellow authoress who writes in the romance genre. (If you, like me, are a fan of romance, I recommend you check out her books.) Naturally she features primarily romance novels and other romance writers on her blog. My books are not what you would typically consider romance books, but I believe there is something romantic about the idea behind them.

I managed to convince J.K. to take a chance on me, and she will be hosting my guest post about the romance of the Common Threads Journals on Monday, December 8th. Here's a short excerpt;

"The more I pondered the idea, the more I realized just how many life experiences there are that literally require having lived through them to be able to understand what a person in the midst of them is going through. Then I wondered: how many people out there are missing the chance to connect with others who know what they’re feeling? Yes, there are support groups for almost everything, but they’re not for everybody. Without them, how are people connecting? I mean really, truly, deeply connecting with one another.

Then I got an idea. What if I tried taking the art of journal writing, something that has always brought me comfort during difficult times, and used it as a tool to encourage people to connect with one another? What if I asked people to look for the things they share in common with others and ignore the little voice that often pops up first and identifies our differences? Interesting questions don’t you think?"

I encourage you, the readers of my little blog, to stop by on Monday, December 8th and join in the conversation. Leave a post and let me know what you think. Once you've had a chance to read the full post I hope you'll agree that there's romance in the idea of making deeper, more lasting connections with the people around you.