2020: The Crappy Year in Review by Rebecca Heflin

2020: The Crappy Year in Review by Rebecca Heflin

It’s my pleasure to introduce Author Rebecca Heflin as my guest today. Rebecca captured my heart with her dedication to help others, to help organize the blogs for Soul Mate Publishing, and read on for the other million things about this amazing working woman.

Author Rebecca Heflin

This time last year I was making my holiday preparations, which included the honor of presiding over the marriage of my nephew and his fiancée on Christmas Day—a truly joyous way to spend the holiday. This time last year, I was looking forward to a new year, fresh with the promise of a new start. Which meant, this time last year, I was blissfully ignorant of what was to come. Instead, I was naively planning two international trips, a local canoe and camping trip, several charity events, two weddings, countless family and social gatherings, and the celebration of my 25th wedding anniversary.

Who could have imagined it wouldn’t be long before the world would be living the plot of some sci-fi thriller?

January and February bumped along as normal, with work, exercise classes, dinners with friends, and preparations for the release of my 10th novel. By the end of February, the dark edges of the coming storm were visible.

The first weekend in March was my birthday. I celebrated it that Friday with dinner out and a show at our local performing arts center. There was also an out of town wedding that Saturday, which my husband and I attended. Looking back, being in those very public venues probably wasn’t the smartest decision on our part, but the tidal wave had not yet hit our area. March 17th was my last day in the office, as the university I work for shut down and sent its employees home to work remotely. It would be only a day or two later when the entire state would go under lockdown.  Again, in my naiveté, I thought things would be back to normal in a month or so. Silly me.

Zoom meetings would become a regular occurrence in my daily life, and the next few months were a blur of fear and adjustments, as my husband and I created new routines for ourselves. We limited our grocery shopping to once a week. If we didn’t pick up an item during that weekly visit, we just lived without until the following week. Toilet paper (when the store had it) was priced at roughly the equivalent of a gram of gold. Preparing for grocery shopping felt a little like preparing to enter a contaminated laboratory: masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes at the ready. After returning home, it felt like entering a decontamination unit: washing hands, wiping down groceries, and disinfecting everything we touched.

We watched in horror as the numbers rose and people died—many of them frontline workers. I obsessed over the daily case counts, horrified when we hit 1 million cases in the U.S., not even considering that we would reach double-digit case counts in a few short months.

It wasn’t all bad, however. We also watched the world come together in a common experience. Music and voices rose from city terraces. Drive-by birthday, anniversary, and graduation ceremonies became a thing with horns beeping, lights flashing, and signs waiving. Humanity found a way to celebrate life’s milestones even amid a pandemic.

For me, working from home meant no commute. This freed up time for other things. And the lack of social engagements and other commitments meant time for jigsaw puzzles, minor home improvements, and gardening. Not to mention more quality time with my husband. We had a beautiful spring—cooler than average temperatures, and beautiful low-humidity days—which gave us the opportunity for more outdoor activities like corn-hole games, bike rides, and long walks. Life slowed down, and I couldn’t complain about that.

2020

As we learned more about how the virus was spread, and businesses opened up again, we developed a routine that gave us a little more flexibility. Masked and otherwise following the public health guidelines, we gradually began to leave our sterile cocoon. We had friends over for outdoor socially-distanced dinners (BYOF). We began supporting our local restaurants with take-out or delivery, eventually feeling comfortable dining outside at our favorites.

In May, my husband and I celebrated a quiet, but romantic 25th wedding anniversary—not exactly how we had imagined, but nice just the same.

We took three short driving vacations, 2 to the mountains of North Carolina, and 1 to the beach in the Florida panhandle. The change of scenery provided a welcome respite to the sameness of the daily routines.

After working remotely for 6 months, I returned to my office, but still isolated from my co-workers. I only see them masked and walking in the hallway or on Zoom. It was surreal when I entered my office in September to see the calendar still on March.

Here we are again with Christmas past and New Year’s fast-approaching. There is a light, in the form of vaccines, at the end of this long dark tunnel that is 2020. It will take some time, and more patience is necessary, but we will get there. We will overcome this. The world did it in 1918-1919, and we will do it in 2020-2021.

But will the world ever be the same again? I, for one, won’t be. I am forever changed by this experience. I will never again be blissfully ignorant. I have lost my innocence.

Even so, not all the changes are bad. I have come to appreciate so many things I took for granted: my health, my family, freedom of movement, hugs and kisses shared among family and friends, big gatherings and shared social experiences. And my good fortune. Throughout it all, I have wanted for none of life’s necessities. I can’t ask for more than that from the crappy year that was 2020.

Rebecca Heflin is a best-selling, award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister sneaked a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job at a large state university.

Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.

Rebecca can be reached at rebeccaheflin@hotmail.com. Feel free to touch base with her.

All of her books are available on Amazon
as well as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Eden Books.
The third book in Rebecca Heflin’s Seasons of Northridge Series, A Season to Dream, will be released mid-2021.

Twelve Days of Christmas Goodwill Challenges

Twelve Days of Christmas Goodwill Challenges

This year Christmas will be different for all.

Who doesn’t love to spend time with family and friends to celebrate the holidays? This year’s parties are off our go-to lists. We’ll be hunkered down in our bubbles. Let’s seek the best holiday cards to shout our cheer, celebrate with virtual games and dress in our finest.

Check out my list below for this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas (and one more).

 

 

Suggestions?
Email me: gailingisclaus@gmail.com.

Twelve heartfelt challenges and one more!

  1. Bring a plate of cookies to your neighbors.
  2.  Make a batch of goodies for doctors and nurses and drop them off at the hospital.
  3. Send an electronic gift card to a single mom.
  4. Send a funny ecard to your co-workers. American Greetings and Jacquie Lawson are my favorites.
  5. Buy a coffee card and ask the cashier to use them for the next person.
  6. Pay for a take-out meal for the person in line behind you.
  7. Drop off holiday cards to a local nursing home.
  8. Volunteer in the community.
  9. Help a neighbor clean up their leaves.
  10. Write a note of encouragement to a retail worker.
  11. Declutter and donate. Give to a homeless person and include a face mask and hand sanitizer.
  12. Donate canned goods to churches, synagogues, inside the entrance of Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and your favorite supermarket.
  13. Contribute to Toys for Tots at your local police station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My current books to be edited and have cover updates.

 

Possible future book cover circa 1886,

FEELING BEAUTIFUL DURING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

FEELING BEAUTIFUL DURING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Gail in red

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and The Holiday Season is usually the time of year when we love to add a bit of sparkle and color to our beauty regimens. Let’s get dressed up even though we might be spending this Holiday Season at home. Take pictures, videos, and hop online to celebrate with everyone. And what better way to look your best than by using healthy and clean beauty products. That’s why I’ve been using BeautyCounter for almost four years.

I want to share with you a brief history of BeautyCounter, founded by Gregg Renfrew, and why it’s revolutionizing the beauty industry.

Gregg Renfrew, Founder of Beautycounter

Gregg Renfrew: Like many of you, I’m a wife and mom—and, like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. As I applied sunscreen, lotion, and any number of beauty products on myself and my kids, I never thought for a second they might not be safe: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything. So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety. And so I started Beautycounter, a company devoted to progress. Here you’ll find a wealth of empowering information about ways we can all make the world healthier, along with safer products you can trust. Because we all deserve better. Our vision is bold; real answers are never timid. Help us put truth back in beauty.

Our Mission To get safer products into the hands of everyone. Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.
There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skincare and beauty industry. What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day, and to make their own judgments about safety. It’s time for a change.
The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and restricted the levels of over 250 more in such products. The United States has only partially banned 30 to date.
We deserve better, and we’re doing something about it. At Beautycounter, we’re committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what’s required by U.S. law: We’ve banned the use of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals through our “Never List”— all while ensuring our products perform and that they’re as indulgent as any other shampoo, lipstick, or oil in the market. It’s not easy work, but it’s well worth it. This is about progress—not perfection. Because every little bit counts.

Learn more about the impact the environment is having on your health.

www.beautycounter.com/ourstory

The prestigious and reliable Scientific American Magazine speaks: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-safe-are-cosmetics/

And just in time for The Holidays- BeautyCounter’s 15% off Black Friday Sale is ON!!!!! Almost everything is included…including gift sets!!! Free Shipping on orders over $50 too. I would be honored if you shopped from me. 🥰

🛒🛍

Give a gift of BEAUTYCOUNTER products. Beauty inside and out.

🛒🛍

My link is below!👇🏼

http://www.Beautycounter.com/gailingis

Gail Ingis is an interior designer, artist, and multi-published author. She is also a wife, mom, and grandma. She takes care of her skin using BeautyCounter. You can contact Gail at gailingisclaus@gmail.com.
Thanks For Giving us the Claus Family

Thanks For Giving us the Claus Family

I’m writing this on Thanksgiving Day sitting in the Claus home in my sister-in-law’s den loving the space in this place, especially the kitchen. As an interior designer since 1969, I couldn’t have done any better with this home. Joyce got it right—function and beauty are in perfect harmony.

The smell off roasting turkey is everywhere. It’s kind of smothering me. I like turkey, but I don’t like to be smothered by anything—except love, of course. I may have to go to my room, but the turkey smell will probably follow me upstairs.

Around 2:30 pm today, twenty-eight relatives will descend upon this beautiful home—aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins—and of course—the brothers Karamazov aka the Claus brothers. (I’m married to the one on the left (wearing the bright blue hoodie) in the picture above.

The Claus brothers are here early to organize the seating,

Mother Claus, a great lady we all adored, is looking down from Heaven. The last time this great, big family got together was in 2011 for Mother Claus’s 100th birthday. Sadly she left us in 2012 at the age of 101. But what a legacy she left us: the love of family and the importance of family gatherings and God’s love washing over us all!.

Yes, the Claus name is pretty awesome isn’t it? Well, they certainly live up to that name. 🙂

We are missing two of Mother Claus’s grandsons, and their brood, for today’s celebration. Guess those statistics are not too bad considering everyone else who will be here for the turkey dinner and camaraderie.

Before the festivities begin, I’m getting in some writing time. My next book follows the life and love of Mia Baldwin, Allie Baldwin’s younger sister. (My follow-up book to The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin). Like the Claus family, the Baldwins are a loving clan; family gatherings mean a lot, especially during the Holiday Season.

I think Mother Claus would have enjoyed the Baldwins and I hope you do too.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays.

xo

Gail Ingis

The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin is available on Amazon.

Mangia! Mangia! Mangia!

Mangia! Mangia! Mangia!

I have a recipe for you today straight from Mrs. Maniscalco’s kitchen. About 70 years ago, I babysat for Mrs. Maniscalco’s grandson, Bennett. They lived above my parents’ variety store in Brooklyn. The one remark from her that stands out to me was, “Never skim off the fat, that’s where all the flavor comes from.” So, forget fat-free pasta sauce. I’m doing this from memory . . . and a little help from my Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.

I’d love for you to join my new facebook group – called GAIL INGIS AUTHOR RECIPE EXCHANGE AND MORE… I posted Mrs. Maniscalco’s tomato sauce recipe – on the group page – but I also included it here. I hope you’ll join me in this fun facebook group – we’ll swap recipes and share memories of favorite food celebrations and family gatherings. I’m planning a Holiday/Christmas Cookie Exchange in November! Can’t wait!

I have fun with food in my new Gilded Age Romance, THE UNFORGETTABLE MISS BALDWIN. My heroine, Allie Baldwin is a food connoisseur and enjoys good cooking like all of you do.

Here’s a taste from chapter 12: Allie poked at the duck l’orange, wild rice, and roasted vegetables, and to make sure no one would go hungry, also served was a platter of pasta covered in the thick brown sauce from the entree. Pasta, Allie’s favorite, not usually served at a formal dinner like this one, was a delightful treat. “Pass the sauce, please,” Allie requested, adding to the already drowning spaghetti. She twirled some onto her fork, using her tablespoon to catch any dangling pieces of pasta, and savored each bite.

The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin is available everywhere online:  Amazon. Hooray! I hope you’ll check it out.

New Year’s Resolutions in Reverse by Gail Ingis

New Year’s Resolutions in Reverse by Gail Ingis

We didn’t need to return the champagne. Two sips, done and yum!

I’m going to tell you a little secret: I’ve never ever made a New Year’s Resolution. There! The cat’s out of the bag. Why? Every positive change I’ve made in my life happened because of slow, steady, hard work. Not after three glasses of champagne at 12:01 on Jan. 1st. You might say I do “Reverse Resolutions”.

There are a few other things I like to do “in reverse” and that includes shopping! Yup! This time of year is all about “reverse shopping”. Every year after the Holidays are over, I put my precious packages under my arm, and trudge to the mall through snow, hail, and threat of 40mph winds, just like the postman used to do. Lately I’ve seen them driving around in their nifty mail trucks.

It’s blooming lovely.

Many years ago, you couldn’t return anything without a good excuse. That was before stores like Costco and Walmart came on the scene and began to implement their return policies, then all the chi-chi stores followed suit. And so every January begins the “reverse shopping” trips: the Christmas lights that didn’t light. The flickering battery candles that didn’t flicker, the blingy jeans screaming bling, too much, even for this sassy Brooklyn blonde. This year Tom returned three bouquets of flowers that had already started to wilt before he even got home! I did manage to salvage a few surviving blooms.

To all of you I say, Happy New Year and remember, you don’t need a new year to make a positive change. But you do need your receipt, well, even Costco appreciates the receipt, but its not required like Walmart,  to return all the new stuff that didn’t work, broke down, or doesn’t fit.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

Oh, Bring Us Some Noodle Pudding . . .

Oh, Bring Us Some Noodle Pudding . . .

Yummy Yummy!

This is no mashugana. And it’s not kugel! It’s noodle!

Have you heard? I’m famous! Well, sort of. I’m the Queen Of Noodle Pudding. In my family that is. Fame in any form is fun. My fame only continues as long as I keep making the noodle pudding. Every Holiday, I am tasked with bringing the noodle pudding. But this year I had a noodle of a problem! I had foot surgery a few weeks ago, so I needed a sous chef pronto! And guess what? Or rather guess who came to my rescue? My husband Tom! Boy did he do great! I’m calling him the King of Noodle Pudding from now on. We’ll share the crown.

Now, don’t get confused. Mine is one of those familiar dairy dishes with cream cheese, sour cream and lots of butter, but NO raisins. I hate raisins. My Aunt Miriam made her noodle pudding with raisins, and that’s where my love for noodle pudding ended. That is until my old friend Sheila gave me the best noodle pudding recipe EVER! It’s easy to make. Easy as pudding! Enjoy!

 

GAIL’S NOODLE PUDDING

Bake 325 for 40 minutes (can be covered and placed in fridge ahead of time.)

When ready to eat –  heat in the oven for another 30 minutes at 325.

Ingredients:

1 lb broad egg noodles boiled 8 minutes and drain

6 eggs or 4 xtra large

1 cup sugar (set aside 4 Tablespoons)

2 sticks sweet butter (set aside 4 Tablespoons)

¾ pound cream cheese mashed

1 pt sour cream (2 cups) room temperature

Topping:

2 cups corn flake crumbs-mix with the set aside 4T butter and 4T sugar. Make when ready to use

Beat on low, eggs and sour cream, add sugar and melted butter, add mashed cream cheese (does not have to be perfectly smooth). Mix with cooked and drained noodles, pour into 9×12 buttered casserole. Spread corn flake topping and bake in preheated oven 325 for 40 minutes, and serve. Also can cover with aluminum foil leave in refrigerator and cook next day, uncovered, in preheated oven 325 for 40 minutes. Freezes well, cooked.

Sooooo Good!

 

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Time For Some Scrooge by Gail Ingis

It’s Time For Some Scrooge by Gail Ingis

My angel is all caught up in the holiday spirit. No matter what I say, she insists i take the time to enjoy the tree lights and sing Christmas carols. She even wants me to paint a winter landscape. She reminds me to be kind, patient and generous of spirit. She says, “Remember Scrooge? Of course! Who can forget the miser who turns into a kind and giving soul?

Ebenezer-Scrooge

A Christmas Carol is the classic Christmas Story by Charles Dickens that so many of us love to read at this time of year. It reminds us to have have joy and peace in our hearts and to be kind all year long.

Scrooge, was a squeezing, scraping, clutching old miser. He hated Christmas, and said it was nothing but “humbug.” Well, we all know the truth don’t we? What ever you celebrate during the Holiday Season – it is a time for sharing and charing and giving. And that is what life is all about isn’t it?

Here are the last two pages from the original book, A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, pp115-116 (public domain-from the Library of Congress)

But he was early at the office next morning. Oh, he was early there. If he could only be there first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon.

And he did it’ yes, he did! The clock struck nine. No Bob. A quarter past. No Bob. He was a full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. Scrooge sat with his door wide open, that he might see him come into the tank. His hat was off before he opened the door; his comforter too. He was on his stool in a jiffy; driving away with his pen, as if he were trying to overtake nine o’clock.

“Hollo!” growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it. “What do you mean by comin here at this time of day?”

“I am very sorry, sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”

“You are?” repeated Scrooge. “Yes. I think you are. Step this way, sir if you please.”

“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Bob, appearing from the tank. “It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.”

“Now, I’ll tell you what, my friend,” said Scrooge; “I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,” he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the tank again—“ and therefore I am about to raise your salary!”

Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it, holding him, and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait waistcoat.

“A Merry Christmas Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back.

“A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive form. His own heart laughed; and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with spirits, but lived upon the total abstinence principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us every one!

The End

If you click this: “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, written 1911, you can read the book and enjoy all the illustrations.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Cookie Exchange by Gail Ingis

The Christmas Cookie Exchange by Gail Ingis

Christmas is a time for giving. Christmas is about spending time with loved ones. Christmas is also about cookies! Christmas cookies that is.. The big Christmas Cooke Exchange happens every year in my family. And boy is it fun. My daughter-in-law and family used to bake dozens of thumbprint cookies and then give them away. These pictures are the end result.  Two dozen stayed in the house and all the tweedles ate them. Not me. I’m watching the waistline.

That was last Christmas. This Christmas our two grandsons, Ben and Stephen, have moved out of the Paul and Joanne Ingis household. Ben is married to Stephanie and living in New Hampshire. Ben is working as an engineer inventing stuff and Stephanie is a nurse at a local hospital making the patients happy and well. Stephen is away at college in Cedarville, Ohio. He’ll be home the weekend coming up. I’m hoping he’ll do the Christmas cookie big bake. Even if he does give  most of them away, there’ll always be a few for the family. As I’m writing this, thoughts of baking them are floating in my head. I was always the baker, then the boys took over. I know, my toe surgery will keep me off my feet, but do I have to stand to bake? I can sit, and delegate, right? I’m going to try tomorrow. If no one hollers at me.

Family favorite Thumbprint Cookies

Family favorite Thumbprint Cookies (Recipe below)

Nothing like a cookie to make life joyous, especially at Christmas time.img_5259

Cookie tray Thumbprint cookies & Meringue

Cookie tray Thumbprint cookies & Meringue cookies

Thumbprint Cookies: Gail Ingis’s recipe
½ pound butter (2 sticks) or 1 cup Crisco
2 egg yolks
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1teaspoon vanilla
1 bag of walnut meal (at Trader Joe’s) or ground walnuts
Mix ingredients (EXCEPT THE EGG WHITE)

Roll into approximately ½” balls then roll into the walnuts, place on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 2 minutes, depress center with thumb, then finish baking approximately 12 minutes for larger cookie or 5-8 minutes for smaller cookie. If you like crispy, bake until edges are slightly browned. When cool, fill depressed center with the icing mixture: a combination of slightly warm water, vegetable food coloring and confectioners sugar to an almost pasty consistency. (Color for holidays if desired).

Enjoy! And Merry Christmas Cooking Eating!

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

Being Thankful by Gail Ingis

Being Thankful by Gail Ingis

Granddaughter love

There are some Thanksgivings my husband Tom and I travel to Phoenix, Arizona to visit our grandchildren in the west. This year our Marietta, GA family joined us here in Phoenix. There are eleven of us, five are the kids. We love it, the cousins love getting together, we have fun, lots of laughing and telling stories and, of course, eating out, eating in, and eating on the big day.Thanksgiving is always a special time for us, a time to reflect on what we’re thankful for. I’m thankful for family and for the time we get to spend with them. Our New Jersey (in the east) seven grandchildren will party with us at Christmas time.

Grandchildren are the rewards for motherhood. Motherhood, a job no one is really prepared for. Parenting isn’t taught, and why not? All we have are the role models that parented us. Right? They didn’t go to school for parenting, neither did their parents. This is sometimes good, and sometimes bad

We learn how to do so many other life jobs, but no schooling for parenting. How about a required course in college? Can’t graduate unless you’ve taken the parenting course. Oh my goodness, who will teach it? Think . . . who is qualified to teach parenting? A psychologist? A psychiatrist? A nurse, doctor, other parents? This is a dilemma. How about a grandmother with a PhD in child psychology and a dozen grandchildren? Did Dr. Spock have it right? He wasn’t bad, but this is a broad subject. Like teaching anything, it depends on the recipient. For example, I taught tennis for years, not all my students learned a forehand the same way. I had to adjust my instructions until they executed a proper forehand. That’s just a small detail, so, what about raising children? How do you teach what ‘NO’ means, what ‘YES’ means? For me, bottom line is always teach with love, patience, and example. Patience, patience, patience – explain why it’s no or yes and explain with love. This is a broad statement, yet basic.

In the bible, The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit according to the Epistle to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” You don’t have to be religious to appreciate The Fruit of the Spirit. First is love . . . bringing up a child is challenging to say the least. They must be taught and disciplined with love and patience. Children need to be taught that there are consequences for improper decisions.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Love to you all.

Julie Lyles Carr is a talented speaker and author who writes about motherhood and raising children. Her most recent book, Raising an Original: Parenting Each Child According to their Unique God-Given Temperament. A book to check out!

Julie Lyles Carr

Julie Lyles Carr holds a degree in psychology which she uses every day in her parenting of eight children and also a degree in English Literature, which came in handy for writing a book on parenting. She is a popular speaker and blogger. Julie is also an audiobook narrator, having voiced a large collection of Harper Collins, Zondervan, and Thomas Nelson projects. She serves as the Pastor of Women’s Ministry at her home church of Life, Austin in Austin, Texas. Julie is also the Founder and Executive Director of Legacy of Hope Austin, a non-profit group dedicated to serving families of children with special needs. Julie and her husband Michael have been married for almost twenty-six years. You can read more about their family adventures at www.julielylescarr.com.

Gail Ingis is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released on Valentine’s Day 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

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