Christmas

Celebrating Christmas

Kate's Choice   

Kate's Choice

 

Christmas is here in less than two days. Every year I think about where I've been during the year and where I might be headed in the coming year. I prefer to leave my goal planning for after Christmas though when all the reminiscing about the past year has settled down with family and friends. The Christmas celebration for me is the culmination of the year's activity and time to unwind and let it go.

As an ex-army spouse, Christmas was usually associated with posting time. We would pack up our home early in December and our belongings would be sent to our new posting and then into storage while we waited for our new home. So Christmas was usually spent with extended family or friends while we travelled to our new location. That's army life.

When my then husband left the service we celebrated Christmas at home. It was a lot of fun preparing by baking, buying presents and decorating the tree with my son. We had my sister and her family over for Christmas Day and had a great time reminiscing about the year behind us. Somehow, we never wanted to talk about the year ahead and that is probably why I don't think about the coming year until after Christmas. In the army days there was always the settling in to our new home to be done and learning as much as we could about our new location.

After eleven years of marriage, my characters in Kate's Choice, Kate and Dusty understand the stress separation puts on a marriage and how living away from family can leave a hole deep inside that feels as though it will never be filled. It can be especially difficult at this time of year when the soldiers are serving overseas. My first wedding anniversary and Christmas was spent alone in Brisbane. It was the first year I lived in the city and I found it difficult to make friends. I had to change a few things about myself in order for me to meet new people. I joined as many interest groups as I could and this helped immensely. From then every time we were posted, joining interest groups and looking for work were my priorities.

Kate and Dusty's Christmas after Dusty came back from Afghanistan was difficult. Both had much to deal with personally, and in their relationships. This is the fallout of army life and it puts so much strain on a marriage. If you are with a service family this year extend patience and grace toward them. If they exhibit unpleasant behaviour, it is because there is something deep inside them that they are battling and are not sure how to deal with it. Emotionally they could be fragile. Take the time to listen to them and hear what they are saying. They could be calling out for help. I have been in the pressure cooker and said and done things I wished I hadn't. It was a call for help that those around me understood and I am so glad they practised forgiveness toward me to help me get through that difficult time.

We all make mistakes. Sometimes all we need is a listening ear. Take the time and you might just make a friend or save a life.

Have a wonderful Christmas break wherever you are and whatever you are doing. See you the other side of Christmas. By the way, if you haven't already liked my Facebook page, click here: https://www.facebook.com/authorLauraOConnell/

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

5 tips for indulging less at Christmas

In two weeks Christmas will be over and I am anticipating being in relax mode. During the days following Christmas my mind wanders to reminisce about the great time I've had until eventually the guilt comes in and has me thinking about the extra kilograms that seemed to have settled around my middle. At this point I feel as though I'm going to burst. Every year I say

2013...Your Second Chance...or Third...

It's 2013 and despite the discussions last year that the world was going to end on December 21, we're still here. Does that mean we've all been given a second chance?

Sometimes we feel we've been thrown in the deep end of life and something bad has happened that rips our confidence out of the core of us. Have you ever been in that place? I guarantee every person on this planet has been there and sometimes it hurts so bad, we wonder if we will ever recover.

I don't know about you, I believe in second chances, or third or fourth. When I've been knocked down I have the choice to reach out and take hold of whatever is offered, a hand, rope, inner strength, whatever you want to call it, and know that I can get up and try again, or I can choose to wallow in my own self pity and let life pass me by.

Yes, you have worked your heart out in 2012 to write that novel and you received a rejection from the agent or publisher of your dreams just before Christmas. So now you feel you just can't get out of bed because you feel you've failed. Have you failed? Or you got the rejection because the market isn't ready for your work, or maybe you might just need a little more time to practise and hone your craft? When a publisher or agent says 'no', it's easy to feel hurt and unappreciated. Feeling hurt and unappreciated is the writer's life. Writers need to grow a thick skin.

When I started my writing career, I wrote five books. Hours and hours of time sitting at my desk handwriting, and typing my stories up on a portable typewriter, then I graduated to a basic wordprocessor and then came the computer. I lost contact with friends, I had to write ... nobody understood why I had to write. Some of my friends still don't understand why I leave the real world to enter my imaginary world to tap on a keyboard. I need to write every day, so that I feel sane and calm at the end of the day. It's an inner obsession I just can't ignore or I'm difficult to live with. Early in my writing career my compulsion had been fed, but my work was still being rejected. Why?

Rejection means I'll try harder next time.

Rejection means I'll try harder next time.

In my next post I'm going to share how I overcame rejection and continued the journey into my writing life. Until then, keep writing!! Don't give up!!

Are you in the doldrums with your writing? Unsure of where to turn next? I'd like to hear from you. This year I want to help you achieve your writing dreams.

Merry Christmas

There's no doubt in my mind that Christmas is a special time of the year. I always look forward to this time of celebration. I work through my schedule so that I have time available to be with family and friends to reminisce, to chill, to share, to laugh, to cry and to wonder why. It's a time when I take time out from my busy life to reflect on the past year, my achievements and those things still languishing on the back burner and wonder if they'll ever come out into the light.

What I also love about Christmas is the energy I see around me. When I go shopping, the sparkle of anticipation in people's eyes as they choose gifts for their loved ones and friends, sends goose bumps down my spine. Yes, there's tiredness in their eyes, too, after a year of toil, but it's the love that's shining up from way down in their hearts that encourages me, leaving me with overhwelming tears of joy that yes, people really do care about each other. How about you, do you feel the power and energy of Christmas? I take this opportunity to wish all my readers a happy and spirit-filled Christmas, and I hope 2013 is a time of discovery and wonder in everything you do. Love to you all, Laura.