Today this author is with her family. She’s enjoying some fresh-roasted turkey with a large helping of her sister’s homemade cornbread dressing.
It’s delicious. And time with family along with dressing and gravy make this MY favorite holiday of the year.
Even better, this is my beautiful granddaughter’s first Thanksgiving and she’s spending it with Lolly and Pop (and her parents and adoring great aunt Connie).
There is plenty of food. We’re laughing around the table while we play games and enjoy spending time together.
Yes, there is football on the television. The “old men” are downstairs watching that while we’re upstairs laughing and socializing. Which do you prefer to do on holidays – watch TV or socialize?
Today is also my sister’s birthday. She LOVES hosting family dinners, and since she lives in Lincoln City, Oregon (within steps of a Pacific Ocean view), we’re happy to accommodate her. Also, I baked a cherry cheesecake dream for her “birthday cake.” Sure beats pumpkin pie!
Aside from telling her “Happy Birthday,” I’d like to acknowledge that she’s my biggest fan. She owns every book I’ve written. She will read them all even if I decide to write some genre she doesn’t read all the time.
That’s what a “fan” does!
Now, on to this idea of being thankful. I’ve had a difficult, transitional writing year, but I still have much to be thankful for. I hope you enjoy my recap of the top five blessings of my year.
#5 – A Money-Making “Traditionally Published” Book
(As a side note, this book has MORE reviews than any of my others. Is that why it has sold so well? Could be! So if you read a book, please leave a review. It helps the author. Really.)
#4 – Persevering to Finish my Indie Series
#3 – A Home for my Heart
#2- Regular Time with My “Core Unit”
#1 – Becoming a Lolly
I’d love to hear about five things you’re grateful for this year. One thing I’ve learned about gratitude, the more people share it the bigger it gets. It’s hard to be grumpy when positive vibes blind you.
In October, I made a huge mistake. It involved my iPad and game applications.
Once upon a time, I played Candy Crush. Then I rammed against a level I couldn’t conquer. But I still opened the application and spent my lives every day. Then friends sent me lives.
It became a time suck.
So I deleted the application.
But recently, I wanted a little “down time” for my brain. So I downloaded Matchington Mansion.
This was a BAD idea.
I want to get through all the tasks. Which means I have to play the levels to earn stars (because you KNOW I’m not spending money on those things).
Don’t download this time sucking game if you have a competitive streak.
Most games have an option to watch video advertisements so you can earn coins or stars or diamonds.
I don’t want to watch ads.
But sometimes I needed the coins. Truly. Because I was this *holds fingers an inch apart* close to beating a tough level.
Now I’m stuck on level 204.
Thankfully, there was an ad for a “free” story game. Choices is the name of the application.
Of course, I downloaded it because I wasn’t beating that level on MM. And when I tried, it stressed me out, so I needed another game to help me relax.
Who Writes These Stories
I’m a storyteller, so the idea of choosing the story line makes me happy. Most of the “books” were romances. Many geared to teenagers, but who doesn’t want to go back and make high school a happy memory.
I should have known.
If the story possibilities aren’t ridiculous, the good choices are going to cost me.
In this game, it’s all about diamonds. A dozen here will give you time to build your friendship with someone. Fifteen here will make you the hero of the day. Not to mention the 18 needed for the perfect homecoming dress.
At a mere $1.99 for 20, why not?
Why did I ever start playing these games?
Now there’s a new one called The Elementalists with magic and a college where they’ll train me to use magic I didn’t even know I had.
It only costs 15 diamonds for those cool magical orbs. And a mere 17 diamonds will give me private tutoring sessions with the smart kid.
Yeah, I’m done for. Today I actually looked at buying 60 diamonds because it worked out to TEN for FREE. Because since starting the Choices adventure, I’ve purchased at least 60 diamonds (more like 120, but don’t tell anyone).
May as well get a deal.
Send iTunes gift cards. For $19.99, I could purchase 250 diamonds! That should keep me in the coolest of Choices for a week or two. What about you? Have you made some unhealthy choices recently?
A holiday is when you don’t have to go to work. If that is the true definition, every person who is retired from employment, or unemployed, experiences a holiday each and every day of the year.
Merriam-Webster says a holiday is “a special day of celebration when one is exempt from work or specifically a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event.” Of course, the first full definition listed is simply “holy day.”
Ah, yes. A holy day. Something specific to religious celebration and thus not politically correct to address in polite conversation. As you’ve long suspected, political correctness falls further down my list of priorities than simple straightforward honest expression.
My list of “holy day”s
As for days of religious significance, I would mark three: Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.
In my mind, all three of these days draw special attention to the One in my world to whom I ascribe deity and offer worship. In honor of political correctness, I want everyone to understand these dates reflect my personal opinion and aren’t meant to infringe on anyone’s freedom to disagree.
Even though Christmas, like almost all “holy days” on our traditional calendar, has pagan roots, I consider it the day to honor the birth of Jesus Christ. He is a historical figure so my celebration of his birth should be no more offensive than honoring February 12 as Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
In my world, this date involves revisiting the account of Christ’s birth as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This generally happens in the wee, dark hours of December 25. Afterwards, my family does paganistic things like opening Christmas stockings and unwrapping gifts beneath the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree.
In the spring, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is a foundational doctrine for the sect called Christianity. For me, it offers hope that transcends the life I now live.
Easter always falls on Sunday. My family attends church services (as we do each Sunday of the year) and worships the living Savior. Afterwards, we feast on ham and buttered noodles (sacrilegious according to Old Testament dietary guidelines) and play games. Laughter is a staple around our table.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts on the subject, my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Although it is a manmade day, it was founded on the principal of giving thanks to God. Our family shares one thing we’re thankful for as we surround the table laden with turkey, stuffing and all the traditional trimmings.
My list of commemorative celebrations
How crazy is it that in a country where the federal government claims eleven national holidays, I consider only three to be “holy days”? One of my holidays isn’t even considered to be a “national holiday” to the U.S. government.
Bonus points to you if you can list these eleven holidays and their dates (without checking either your calendar or an internet search engine). Can you do it? Make sure to take credit in the comments if you can.
In my family, we celebrate January 1 with food and games. Sometimes a large crowd gathers and other times it is just the four who reside under our roof. In case you’re wondering, this is New Year’s Day, and Uncle Sam consents to call this a holiday (not that I need his approval).
Other dates that fall on neither my nor the national register are Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. Perhaps these are important days in your world. Aren’t you glad you’re free to observe them – even if you have to call in sick or take a personal day from your place of employment to do so?
My family ushers in the barbecuing season on Memorial Day. No, this isn’t what the day is supposed to be about. Most of the time, it is also near my wedding anniversary, so my husband and I have been known to fly the coop together during this holiday.
Both my mother and grandmother actually took flowers and visited the graves of people who had passed away on this day. That is a more accurate celebration for a holiday that was originally known as “Decoration Day.” You guessed it. People actually decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers on this day. Some people consider it the beginning of summer recreation (making my barbecuing tradition less blasphemous).
For many years, July 4th was a family gathering with a picnic and birthday cake. Not in honor of Independence Day (the official name of the holiday), but in honor of my only niece’s birthday. Now, she’s an adult. We still like to fire up the barbie and the kid’s like to blow money on fireworks.
Amidst all off these dates, we have other special days known as “birthdays.” I won’t bog you down with the actual calendar numbers, but our family likes to celebrate these days. I’ve even lobbied for this day being granted as a day off from traditional employment.
Around here, I like to make the person’s favorite meal for dinner and whatever sort of dessert they want for their “birthday cake.” My sons believe I’m a terrible person because I stopped wrapping up packages for them on their 19th birthday. Cards and dinners, I’m still on top of that, but why does a birthday have to be about getting gifts?
For years, we celebrated Labor Day by going camping. We wanted to get one last hurrah in before the drudgery of school set in for the kids. Now that we’re all finished with school (well, my youngest has one more year of college), we might have a barbecue and play games.
My actual list of holidays numbers less than eleven, unless you count the birthdays individually. If you do that, I have eleven special days every year – in perfect harmony with Uncle Sam (well, except for the actual dates and significance).
Please chime in with comments about those days you find significant on your calendar of events. You know, special days of “celebration when you are exempt from work in commemoration of an event.”
Don’t forget to take the poll. Share it with your friends. Don’t you wonder what they consider the most commemorative days of the year?
Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Words With Friends, Farmville…and the list goes on. You know what I’m talking about: those free games for Facebook. To really snare you, they make the app free to download on your phone or tablet.
A year ago, I purged a slew of these games from my phone and iPad. I decided to keep two of them and to allow only check on them at certain times. All notifications were turned OFF.
Then someone (who shall remain nameless) begged me to get Candy Crush Saga so I could help them reach higher levels. This is the noose these game inventors use.
I’m a nice person *shrugs* so I downloaded the game on my iPad. It seemed harmless enough. I didn’t see where any help was needed. Oh, right, because you have to connect it to Facebook for that option to appear.
At that time, I didn’t have a Facebook page. Do you see where this is headed? I’m morally opposed to story plots that are obvious. Shouldn’t I feel similarly about my life?
Anyway, the day came when I succumbed to the demand of social media. I want to build my author brand. Facebook is essential for platform building.
With a simple click, suddenly all my games were linked with my Facebook friends. I had a dozen games of Words going simultaneously. Candy Crush Saga reached the point where I begged others to help me “unlock” the next episode. High scores listed on Bejeweled mocked my lame attempts to demonstrate mastery.
Obviously, my competitive spirit jumped to attention and took control of my body. Possessed by this manic gamer, the era of time wasting mowed me down again. Sure, it was only four small games.
Playing these helps me relax *nods vigorously.*
It’s only a few minutes after breakfast and lunch.
When I stand up to refill my water glass, I’ll just check to see if anyone played a word.
Bathroom break – another opportunity to check and see if the three “tickets” I need have arrived so I can reach the next level and crush more candy.
“I hate this level.” My son’s response: “Then why are you playing the game.”
He doesn’t believe me when I say it’s therapeutic. For some reason, screaming at my tablet and pounding my fist on the counter don’t seem like signs of relieved stress.
Kids! What do they know?
In the end, I have had to schedule time for these games. I might check Words often, but I don’t get to spend more than 5 minutes at any one time on it. The others have allotted times during the day – times when I’m NOT on my writing clock.
Do you believe these games are time wasters? Do you think they help relieve stress? Sell me on their advantages so I can lift my personal restrictions. *Shoves game demon back into locked cabinet.*