Monday, December 31, 2007

Good-Bye 2007

I cannot wait to bring 2008 into my family room. My
younger kids, Elizabeth (10) and Benjamin (12) can't
wait either. They've blown up about twenty assorted
balloons and hung them in clumps from the family room
ceiling. They have also made banners and streamers
and documented their accomplishments on digital camera.
My oldest, Rachel (17) is getting ready to join her
friends (away from us) later on. Elizabeth, Benjamin
and I will put on our party hats, watch too much TV,
light a firelog in the fireplace, roast marshmallows,
eat bowls of steaming Japanese noodles, shell peanuts,
and enjoy chocolate. At midnight we will toast
the new year with sparkling cider (they asked for
the expensive kind. It was $2.50
at Food Lion; I guess that's expensive enough)
and blow those crazy obnoxiously-loud noise makers.
And I will shout, This is the year my novel will
be published!

If you hear a shout, it is probably me. 2008
is going to be great!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas, right on time

The display of lights greet me each time I drive
around my neighborhood. Jingle Bells and Silent
blare throughout every store and restaurant
I visit. There is no denying that Christmas is
nearly here.

A week from today it will all be over.

Some may think that is a "Bah Humbug" attitude
and I agree. I am weary of the pressure this
season places on every mom. When a baby was born
in a manger over 2,000 years ago I don't think
the intention was for parents to have to trek
all over town for the perfect gift to go under
the tree.

Actually, I used to like Christmas just fine.
Then a little boy died right after his fourth
Christmas and my thirty-sixth Christmas. He had
a stack of presents, even ones from saints at
the hospital. But not one of those were able
to give him a healthy body. Health cannot
be purchased.

Even though his death was ten years ago, I can't
spring back into enjoying the glow of this season

Instead, I focus on the more meager and lowly
aspects around the season. I reach out to those
who are in pain and yet, somehow, think the
twinkling lights and a cup of hot apple cider
will bring them good cheer. In spite of
the agony of events in their lives, they wish.

I marvel at those who in spite of it all, find
meaning in the simplicity of living. They
bring joy to my world. Their lives - a
symphony of pain mixed with hope - display
in so many ways the truth that a
Savior has been born, not for those who
have it all together, but for those of us
who realize and recognize that life on this
earth is frail and sad and lacking.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thanksgiving....a little late

Sometimes writers log onto
Google and type in their
names just to see what's
out there.... Usually
we do this on days when
we wonder if anyone cares
about us... (You know
our egos are frail.)
Here is something I found
that I wrote when I was
the editor of Sascha's

By Alice J. Wisler
Revised from LARGO, Winter 2001

I have a hard time believing it is the
season of holidays again. While this
year should be easier since it will be
our fifth Thanksgiving, Christmas
and New Years without Daniel, I still
feel myself putting on an extra shield
of courage.

In the cool afternoon air I am reminded
of my first Thanksgiving
since Daniel’s death. On that day I
wrote a poem; it wasn’t very good
but it did express what I had learned
from reflecting on the origins of this
national American holiday.

For the first time I thought that the
initial Thanksgiving among the settlers
and the Indians couldn’t have
been that glamorous. Why not? For
one, there had been many losses.
Around those tables were certainly
fathers and mothers who had had to
bury children. While thankful for
much, these parents held heavy
hearts too.

Continuing to reflect this way helps
me realize Thanksgiving is also a
holiday with reality. It is not a
Norman Rockwell painting. While we
like the warmth this artist has
created in his capturing of a happy
Thanksgiving table, we know that in
most families everyone is not present.
Family members are gone from us
and at times all we can notice are the
silent empty chairs. How can we have
Thanksgiving when we are lacking?
This holiday does not have the be-
reaved in mind at all, we conclude.

But, in time, we are able to reflect on
the presence our loved children held
in our lives instead of only focusing
on their absences. They lived and we
are the more blessed because of their
lives – so vibrant and so loving. We
become more aware of just how
much they impacted our lives then –
and even now.

Light a candle this Thanksgiving for
those we miss. Recall how blessed we
were to have them, even for a short

And remember that the origin of
Thanksgiving does not stem from the
situations of cheery and perfectly
intact families. There had been many
deaths during the difficult trek to
this land from England and Europe
and once the settlers arrived, more
deaths due to illness occurred. The
Native Americans experienced heart
breaking losses as well. Even so,
these men and women found reasons
to be thankful. So, although our
sorrow is great, we can be appreciative
for the memories we hold in our

Thanksgiving is a holiday
which includes each of us – bereaved
and broken.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cover for Rain Song

My novel has a face now. My editor at Bethany House
sent the cover to me last week. My kids and I
cheered. We love it! Rain Song is to be published
in the fall. Only 10 months away, but who's counting?

New website for novel!

Please take a moment to head over to the
new website,
At you will be able to
learn about a grief writing course,
my novel RAIN SONG, and sign up for
Literary Lyrics, a newsletter sure
to be fun to get in your in-box!