THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT OF ALLThis entry is part of a blog hop and is a bit late going up but I have a good excuse:  my mother was in the hospital and I remained with her for the 2 days.  Since coming home, I’m doing breathing treatments every 4 hours round the clock.  So I figure that’s a pretty darn good excuse.

When faced with what to write, I was undecided.   All I could really think about was that I was very grateful that my mother is with me for yet another Christmas.  You see, 9 years ago, she was given 6 months.  Stage 4 lung cancer.  She has beaten the cancer.  One of only 2% to pass the 5 year mark.  But a Thankful or Grateful post is more of a Thanksgiving blog.  So I decided on Christmas Wishes.
When this season rolls around, we are asked:   “What do you want for Christmas?”  And like everyone else, I sure have a list of wants and needs.  But when it comes right down to it, I have what I want.  I have my family.  I have my mother for another Christmas.

At the heart of Christmas, buried beneath the commercialism and brightly wrapped packages and the anticipation of tearing into those lovely wrappings, is Family.  Who do we share that morning with, the day with but Family.

We gather to celebrate the day and what it means to each family.  We eat, visit, laugh, gather around beautiful trees with music in the background and share traditions and of course, those lovely gifts.  But the greatest gift we share and receive this day is the love of Family.

I remember the first Christmas my mother was with me.  I  brought her to my home end of January, knew how close I’d come to losing her Christmas the month before when she was not with me.  That year, it was day by day.  Each day a blessing, each doctor visit a sigh of relief but when that first Christmas came, it was joyous.  I still had my mother with us.  And each year is a stolen year for she was not supposed to have survived 6 months, let alone nearly 9 years.

And every year that passes I am grateful to have that one so important part of Christmas to share:  Family.  My husband, my children, and my mother.   So when asked what I want for Christmas, I have a list for my kids and my children but in my heart, I have what I want.  Another year with each of them and another stolen year with my mother.

So what is Christmas to you.  Who are you most grateful to share this holiday with?

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I know that this should probably have been posted closer to Thanksgiving when we really focus on thanks and gratitude but I believe we should practice gratitude daily.  Even hourly (something I am trying to do).  Their is so much in my life that I am thankful for but for this blog posting, I’m going to focus on just one:  my readers. November and December have been very exciting as I watched the rerelease of the first four books in my White Series in digital format by Carina Press

I am so pleased (and grateful) to have these books once again available to my readers:  new and old and those who missed some of the titles the first  time around.  This series is so close to my heart—each character became my brother, sister, best friend, etc. and to see them republished makes it seem like a long awaited family reunion!   And as I read each book myself, something I never did when the books came out in print format, I am eager to become reacquainted with each character! Even the villains, for there is nothing like seeing justice served! 

I loved writing about this family just as my readers have loved reading about their lives.  Especially Jeremy Jones and White Dove.  Readers weren’t just asking for their story  but began demanding it!  And honestly, I was right there with each and every reader for that was one story that just called to me and I chomped at the bit until the books before White Dove were written.

So from two people Sarah & Golden Eagle, who met by chance (first in my mind), eleven books were born. Over the years, I have received so many reader letters and comments and emails and have been amazed at how these characters from my series have affected so many different people: from the mother who read the books to her dying daughter, to the lonely women who found companionship and to women who appreciated the guts, and the willingness of the heroine’s and hero’s to do whatever it took to overcome adversity and so many more reader stories.

In my writing, I’ve tried to create more than a satisfying story and read.  I wanted to add value to these books by addressing some of society’s problems like abuse and handicaps. My blind heroine, Mattie (a child in White Dreams and not blind until her story in was one of the hardest books to write yet one of the most satisfying. I was so afraid that I would receive letters protesting the fact that she does not regain her sight by a “miracle” but I didn’t receive a single complaint. Mattie was so comfortable and in tune to her world, that “fixing” her would have cheapened the story and her courage.  

I am grateful that my readers agreed. Each of the White Books is a story that means something to me. Jessie in White Wolf is a lot like I was in my youth. Just try and tell me no back then without a very good reason and I was all set to rebel. I could go on and one with each book but then I’d be writing a book instead of a blog! I will say that so many of the letters I received were stories in and of themselves but with one common theme: a love of reading, love and appreciation for characters who made a difference in their own lives.  Even after the print version of the books were no longer available, letters still poured in from readers asking for the books, and even for new stories.

Just writing this letter makes me all teary and homesick for the lives and characters of this series but just as these books are once again available to my readers, they are there for me as I plan to become re-acquainted with each book and each character.  A reunion of sorts! Speaking of reunions, (you knew this might be coming, right?), I am planning a twelfth White book.  So many characters to choose from though!

But right  now, as the title suggests, I am grateful to see the White series available once more.  And I am grateful to Carina Press and very thankful for my editor Angela James, for making this series available once again. How about you?  How do you view “gratitude”.  Do you think of it often?  Rarely?  Can you sit down and write out 100 things you are truly grateful for in your life?  Could you do that today?  And again tomorrow?  And the day after?  What would we be as a society if each and everyone of us practiced gratitude and consciously gave thanks 24/7? 

I’ll start now by saying I am thankful for each and every person who reads this blog.  Oh, I started my list of 100. 

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