Share the Love of Reading #BookGivingDay

 

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Oh my love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
Oh my love is like a brand new book
That’s in a waiting room

What? (I know. Hold on. I have a good reason for that atrocity.)

I’ve written about my love of books before.

I also have a few essays out there complaining about Valentine’s Day.

Red roses, puffy pink teddy bears, gaudy glitter-covered greeting cards, caramel chocolates, and the fact that this stupid day clearly brings out alliteration in full force. Along with the need to butcher perfectly beautiful poetry.

So February 14th is a wonderful holiday. Yes, I’ll say it again. Wonderful.

It’s International Book Giving Day.

It’s true! A glorious day dedicated to the love of reading and, in particular, sharing the love of reading by giving books away.

Know about this? Awesome. Get out there and spread the love.

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Never heard of it? Check it out.

Here are a few ways to get involved, from a toppling pile of books donated to your local school or library to dropping a single book off at a hospital or waiting room. You can even give books from the comfort of your own home to the organizations listed here.

My family? Well…

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My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

What will you do for International Book Giving Day? Let me know—I’d love to hear some good book-giving stories.

If you share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, tag it: #bookgivingday

 

 

I posted this last year on February 14th which didn’t give people who hadn’t heard of this holiday time to plan so I’m re-posting this year to give you a little nudge, heads-up, or reminder that you’ve got a few days to give books. And here’s a PDF to download printable bookmarks to place inside those books you give. Seriously, give a bunch of books or leave just one in a waiting room somewhere. It’s all good.

 

The birds and books blog badge by Marianne Dubuc

The cute foxes bookplate by Karl Newson

The space cat & moon mouse blog badge by Ben Newman

 

Poetry Foundation {Robert Burns}  The poem I ruthlessly butchered in the beginning of this post.

Happy Holidays!

 

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Snow and Sun settle

Upon the slumbering pines

Yuletide gleaming bright

A winter haiku for you, gentle readers. May your days be merry & bright.
Wishing you all a Happy Holiday season! ❄️

 

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from the Heart

 

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These are some of the charities we give to regularly. We love them. I’ve sorted out the ones that let you email the recipient or print your own card.

Quick, easy, heartfelt. The perfect last-minute gifts:

 

Environment / Nature

ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION

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Mission: “to improve water and air quality, slow climate change, and reduce poverty by planting trees.”

These Trees in Celebration certificates are lovely and every single dollar you spend plants a tree. They also offer “Give-A-Tree E-Cards” to send a holiday greeting with meaning. Because. Trees. Behold the beautiful trees! 🌲

 

Animals / Wildlife 

ASPCA

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Mission: “animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected…”

Show your love for our four-legged friends. Give a holiday gift card in honor of a beloved furchild. I can’t stand the cuteness of that puppy. You know you want to help these little munchkins. Available in ecards.

 

Hunger / Poverty

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL

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Mission: “to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”

Choose a donation and print it out, email, or text with a custom message to the gift recipient. Or you can give a gift card (to print out or send via email) so they can choose their own donation.

* My personal favorite gift to give is honeybees. They are awesome. Here are 2 reasons why:

“Food for Life: Honey is the only food that includes all the essential elements necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals and even water. Its unique chemical makeup also allows it to be preserved indefinitely.”

“Farmers’ Helpers: In the process of searching for nectar, bees pollinate plants. The placement of a single colony can potentially double local fruit and vegetable yields.”

Isn’t that incredible? It’s the bee’s knees. 🐝

 

KIVA

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Mission: “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Print these out or email them to the gift recipient and they can start loaning right away. Change someone’s life, get paid back, help someone else… And on it goes. Making spirits bright.

 

Childhood Cancer/Childhood Diseases

ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL

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Mission: “Finding cures. Saving children. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Please do check out the site if you don’t already know about St. Jude Children’s Hospital. And, if you do, well… ‘Nuff said.

Printable Christmas Cards

Ecards for Christmas

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Printable Hanukkah Cards

Ecards for Hanukkah

 

   ❄️ Have a beautiful holiday season! ❄️

 

My Cup Runneth Over

 

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I find myself in the place where life is offering me both olive branches and snakes.

Be careful what you reach for.

There is joy and sorrow. Peace and distress.

I find myself in the place where I am most grateful for the fact that I have too much to be grateful for.

When I look at the big things, the small things, the basic things, the superfluous things…I am amazed.

My cup is so full, it overflows. Regardless of everything else, I am thankful for that.

And I am thankful for you, my friends.

I absolutely must give a special shout-out to all those who showed up to support me last week for the release of my new book. I’m truly touched. Thank you.

 

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow US bloggers.

 

Grilling Fun for July 4th Weekend

 

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Happy 4th of July!

It’s time for some outdoor grilling.

I don’t really cook (at all) so here’s my alternative to a fab 4th recipe for you. Enjoy!

Visit Lemon Shark Reef here (yes, right here – just click right here) for some weekend fun.

Riding Hood’s Grandmother Reveals Identity as Bestselling Author

Because, as we all know, fairy tales aren’t always what they seem.

(You don’t have to celebrate July 4th to enjoy this tail tale.)

The Scrooge of New Year’s Eve

 

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.

 

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For January 1st, I’ve never quit smoking, gone on a diet, bought a gym membership, or sworn to save money.

 

I live in my head; I think about stuff all the time. Why do I need a day to tell me to think about more stuff? And all at once?

I try to learn new things, better myself, and change what’s not working. When this holiday rolls around, I don’t sit and reflect—I barely give a thought to the past year except to say, “Huh. That sucked. Hope next year is better.”

And it isn’t.

It delivers a whole host of new and different problems. So that’s exciting.

But that’s life, isn’t it?

The thing is, like I said last year, I feel pressured to look back over my year and write something meaningful but I simply don’t want to.

What I’d like to do is drink some wine (or Baileys or beer—I’m not picky), watch It’s a Wonderful Life (I know, the irony is delicious), and eat sushi.

So here’s to sitting in front of a movie, drinking, eating, and writing ‘2015’ on all my documents for a few months.

 

Happy New Year, gentle readers. 🎉

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you stick to them? (Let’s be honest…are they even realistic?)

 

 

Mother’s Day Dilemma

 

I wrote the following post last year and, while I still believe there are two approaches to Mother’s Day, this weekend I am firmly in column B. I am going for a pedicure at a spa where I can order a glass of wine while my feet are scrubbed and polished.

Because.

I’m the mum and I say so.

This tree (which blossomed basically overnight) is what greeted me when I walked out the front door. I took it as a sign that mother nature herself was giving me flowers—and I’m taking them.

Happy Mother’s Day

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My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

There are two schools of thought regarding Mother’s Day:

  • I am spending every second of this day with my children.
  • I wouldn’t go near my kids today if you paid me!

A) It’s Mother’s Day. That’s me! I’m a mother. And I want to celebrate motherhood by being with my kids– playing games with them, talking to them, going out to eat with them, and hugging them. A lot. After all, my children are the reason I get to celebrate this day in the first place.

B) This is my day. I am going to soak in a bubble bath, pick up the book I’ve been meaning to read for two months, drink a glass of wine on the porch, and relax. After all, it’s a day meant for me so someone else can take care of the kids and house today.

For some, this is a simple decision. For others, we bounce between the two options.

Notice the “we”? Because I’m one of those moms who want a little from column A and a bit from column B.

I want to be around my kids. I want to play cards or Candy Land with them. I want to play win at Wii. I want to look at old photos and see how much they’ve grown. I want my annual handmade crayon cards with hearts and flowers and smiley faces all over them.

I also want to be a little spoiled. I’d love to get a massage or a pedicure. Some sushi and a nice glass of Pinot Grigio would be wonderful, too. Sitting outside, alone, listening to the birds chirp and just relaxing, is a beautiful way to spend the day.

Here’s what I did. I dipped my little toe into column B by having my husband take care of the crappy things like cleaning toilets, making lunches, sweeping crumbs, and wiping noses. All this while I slept in late, read a good book, sipped some Sam Adams Summer Ale, and took a long shower during which I actually shaved my legs and used that incredible strawberry sorbet scrub that’s been staring at me from my bathroom counter since December.

And then I embraced a bit of column A. I hugged and kissed my kids. I told them stories they’d heard before about when they were little. I teared up quite a bit. I felt my heart grow like the Grinch’s when I opened the cards they drew for me. I played games with them and read to them and spent some time outside enjoying the day with them.

That was a good mix for me. A very happy Mother’s Day.

 

Where are you? Firmly in column A? Column B? Somewhere in the AB area? What did you do for Mother’s Day?

 

Words, Don’t Fail Me Now

 

Why am I stuck? I’m trying so hard (first clue) to put my feelings into words (second clue) for this momentous occasion (and…there’s the third). ThoughtBubble

What happens when you sit down to write something inside a book or card for a special event? A birthday, wedding, or anniversary? A letter to your newborn or college-bound child?

These things leave me utterly speechless, in a writing sort of way, and I wind up with an embarrassing outpouring of unintelligible sentences or an empty page.

When I’m forcing myself to write, I often can’t. Simple as that.

When I attempt to put deep, profound feelings on paper, I find the words aren’t meaningful enough.

The pressure of finding a sentiment that is perfect and unforgettable sends me running from my keyboard and diving under the covers.

Words are my world.

They can’t fail me when I need them most. This is the irrational thought I have before I beat myself up.

Why can’t I write this?!

Though I’ve basically answered my own question and outlined the reasons why, I still have a nagging feeling. And I think to the words, “Please. Don’t fail me now.”

 

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This is what I have so far…

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Sugar Mountains

 

Yesterday, I got a text at 8 AM.

It said:

Do you remember making me a sugar mountain in college for my twentieth birthday? Doesn’t seem that long ago.

To which I responded:

Oh my gosh! I forgot about that!

I didn’t. I loved it. It’s a very clear memory.

I can’t believe your baby will be twenty today.

I know. I’m going to make him a sugar mountain.

This is making me cry.

Weird what things in life end up special memories. A paper cone with sugar packets stuck on it is forever in my memory and now (maybe) his. See what you did? You started a tradition. I’ll never forget that. Thank you.

I did, indeed, tape a piece of paper together to make a cone and staple sugar packets on it. Why? Because you can’t be twenty on sugar mountain. (Also, we loved Neil Young.) My best friend was leaving sugar mountain and I wasn’t. I wanted her to have a place she could return to if she wanted. That sculpture stayed up in our dorm room like a trophy for months.

I also unintentionally started a tradition. Yesterday, twenty-three years later, she made a sugar mountain for her son.

It isn’t always the big things (weddings, funerals, et al.) that make memories. You never know what will stay with someone, what will become a cherished memory. Sometimes it’s the smallest acts, the simple stapling of sugar packets to a paper cone.

Her last text message said:

Your boys are still there. I’ll remember to send them sugar mountains.

 

My random thoughts in 200 words or less.
(Excluding the texts—which I’m not counting. Yes, I’m cheating.)

 

Family Photos: What’s Happening Here?

 

Flipping through our phones, my husband and I look at pictures. There are soccer games, piano recitals, and little boys bundled up in winter jackets building a snowman together. There are adoring parents (that would be us) smiling at the camera. ThoughtBubble

“Aww, how cute! The one of the kids at that holiday festival.”

“Look! I love this one of us at The Nutcracker.”

“Oh, yeah,” we cringe. “That was the time when…”

We have our arms around each other. All of us are smiling. I am beaming. I will not excuse my clichéd word choice here because I am simply beaming, people. My happiness is bursting through the pixels.

Yet I know that I had just barked at one of my boys after he had a meltdown and turned Hulk on the other one after he wandered away from us into a crowd of people (again). And yet there I am all smiles.

Especially during the holidays, when we’re snapping pictures more often, I’m reminded of this.

Sometimes, what we see in a photograph is the honest, beautiful truth. But other times, it is a lucky snapshot of a moment we wish were true.

That’s life – beauty and bullshit.

 

The reality of the family behind the picture isn’t always pretty. Then again, sometimes it’s beautiful.

 

Snowman

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.