All posts by katemcginn09

I am an author who lives in Wisconsin near the Mississippi River. The genres I write in are primarily Mystery/Suspense, Romance and ChickLit. I am currently working on a romantic suspense series -- The Clare Thibodeaux Series.

The Season of Lists

Old St. Nick has one, and so do I. His list deals with who is “Naughty” or “Nice”.  Mine is my own form of self-torture that I’ve honed over the years.  All of the “should-do’s” and “have-to-definitely-do’s” are on it.  Christmas decorating, baking, gift buying, and the dreaded Christmas card conundrum.

I love the whole experience of decorating for Christmas, and I’ve cut back on how much I’ve decorated over the years.  At one time, I had ten Christmas trees with different themes in various sizes throughout the interior and exterior of our home.  Now I am down to one medium-sized artificial tree and four miniature trees.  I used to have a minimum of one tree in each of the main rooms of the house, each bedroom and in the upstairs hall.  Now the trees are in the living room and on the front porch.

My SantaIMG_5491 collecting days are over, and I’m content to limit its total number to thirty Santas.  It’s not the largest Santa collection — I knew a woman who had over 1,000 Santas, but it is enough for my home.  I’m not one for a lot of outdoor lighting either (in the whole Clark Griswold of Christmas Vacation movie fame kind of illumination), but prefer a single candle in each window.

When my sons were little, we’d bake cut-out sugar cookies and gingerbread people decorating them with lots of colorful icing and sprinkles.  The mess in the kitchen was worth the fun.  Afterwards, I’d play some Christmas CD’s, we’d drink hot chocolate with plenty of mini marshmallows floating on top and decorate the largest tree together.

This year I’m almost finished with my Christmas gift list, having a few stocking stuffer items to purchase and a couple hard-to-buy-for people yet on my list.

So, what’s on the agenda now?  The dreaded Christmas card list.  Should I write a chatty newsletter to the people I know, make my own cards with my scrapbooking expertise or send off to a company for a photo greeting card?  Frankly, I did the fail-safe option and bought a couple boxes of old-fashioned Christmas cards.  Despite my card choice, the newsletter dilemma is still looming over me.

It is so easy to get caught up in all of the tasks and lists insteadimg_5352 of enjoying the finer moments this time of year offers to us–Christmas caroling, holiday parties, Secret Santas, watching the little ones as they sit on Santa’s lap or unwrap their gifts.  The wonderful Christmas stories and movies I enjoy year after year.  Eggnog! (It gets its own sentence, LOL!)  Midnight masses crowded with parishioners, the choir’s voices reverberating through the church, and participating in the sacred traditions with millions of people around the world.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday season.  Just try to remember the simple pleasures and try not to worry about the lists.

 

 

Sleep in the Park Event Set for Dec. 9th

This is a wonderful event with the goal of eradicating homelessness in Scotland within five years. Stay tuned for more posts and photos from the event.

theonemillionproject

Blog by Dr. Sheena Macleod

The One Million Project (OMP), a non-profit making group, raising money and awareness for homelessness and cancer globally, are delighted to support Emma Short and Emma Park in their sleep-out to raise funds and awareness of homelessness in Scotland.

Emma Short and Emma Park are attending Sleep in the Park, the world’s largest ever sleep-out event organised by Edinburgh Homelessness Charity, Social Bite. They will be joining about 9,000 other participants who will sleep rough in Edinburgh’s city centre with the aim of raising £4m to eradicate homelessness in Scotland.

Emma Short and Emma Park are excited to take part in this event, which takes place in West Princes Street Gardens on Saturday 9 December 2017. By sleeping out in the cold overnight, they, along with the other participants will experience what homeless people experience every day.

By working together with local people and community…

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Kate’s Causes…

As many of you know, I’ve written several blogs on homelessness and the One Million Project’s commitment to raise money for EMMAUS.  Another event has caught my attention thanks to Dr. Sheena Macleod, Emma Short and Emma Park.  The “Emma’s” will be attending the Sleep in the Park event in Edinburgh,  Scotland on Dec. 9, 2017.

Check out the blog on the One Million Project website for more information about how they hope to eradicate homelessness in Scotland.

Read “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”

One month ago today on Friday the 13th, I flew into San Juan, Puerto Rico. I volunteered to serve as part of the VA Disaster Employee Medical Personnel System (DEMPS) to assist with disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Maria touched down on 9/20. I fully intended to write a journal entry every day, just to capture the […]

via How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? — Tell It Slant Mama

Search for Kong

I am the grandmother of a three year old yellow lab.  He is my baby, and I went to the farm with my son to bring him home with that little wiggly ball of puppy in my arms.  This pup has lived with us off and on during his short life.

He lives full-time in Milwaukee now, so we see him around the holidays.  He was with us this Thanksgiving weekend.  And his “Gma” got to take him on walks by the river, play ball with him and attempt to hold him on her lap (all 90 lbs of him).

And like many grandkids, when it’s time to go, a favorite toy is missing.  His Kong!!!  Oh, no!  The toy we stuff with frozen green beans and peanut butter is lost.  Of course, all of the adults are searching the house for the missing toy.  I’m down on my hands and knees searching under sofas and beds.  I tear the living room and library apart checking between the chair cushions and under throw pillows.  After a search of the backyard, it’s determined that the kong is lost and a saddened puppy and his human get into the car and drive across the state to home.

This morning, I started cleaning the guest room.  Guess what I found under the comforter on the bed?  Yup, a blue rubbery toy.  The search for Kong is over.

Small Town Holidays

I love living in the tiny village along the Mississippi that I’ve called home for over twenty years!

I don’t miss the traffic, the noise and the lines found in larger cities.  I can walk through our streets without feeling threatened anytime day or night.  I get to soak up the beauty of my surroundings without driving anywhere.  In fact, I can walk from one end of the village to the other a couple times without tiring.

Thanksgiving weekend is a popular one here.  The population increases dramatically as all of the children and grandchildren return for the holidays.  Not only is it the start of deer hunting in the area, but there is an alumni basketball tournament at the school over the weekend.

My oldest son has played in it since he graduated, and it has been a tradition for over a decade.  The players reunite with their high school teammates to play against both younger and older teams.  Generations of family members come to cheer on the teams.  At halftime break of each game, the court overflows with children dribbling basketballs and shooting hoops until the teams return for the second half.

I sit in the stands greeting the mothers and fathers of my son’s team.  It’s a bit of deja vu from days past when our high schoolers ran up and down the court.  Our hair has more silver and our faces a few more lines now, but the enthusiasm and goodwill are still abundant.

In the evening, a Christmas parade with lighted floats, fire trucks, horses, music and Santa is followed by fireworks over the Mississippi River.  It is a fitting end to our weekend.

I saw a post the other day where someone wrote that they didn’t understand why Americans had a “day” of Thanksgiving.  The tradition is one of being thankful for the harvest, especially in the rural communities so dependent on a good harvest before the long winter.  It is also an acknowledgment of our country’s early beginnings, and how the generosity of the local Native American tribespeople helped the early settlers survive their first winter.

But, Thanksgiving is about more than remembering to give “Thanks” on one specific day.  For me, it is a time for gathering as a family and a community.  It is a time to realize the shared blessings of being a part of something so much larger than yourself.  It is a time to reinforce the importance of giving of my time, talents and resources to those less fortunate and to those I care about.

Our small town holiday weekend reminds me of what is good in the world and how crucial it is to be an active participant in the world around me.  To recognize and speak out against inequality and injustice while doing my best to be a positive force in the world.

This work doesn’t happen on just one day, but every day.  It all starts with you, your family and your community.  Make efforts to improve each of these areas and the blessings will continue to spread.

A Changing Outlook — by John Nedwill

I wanted to share the most recent blog by John Nedwill on the #OneMillionProject website.

theonemillionproject

Just over a year ago, my family was hit by a devastating tragedy. It was not something we expected; it hit us hard and suddenly. It also had ripples out into the communities my family was part of, affecting people beyond just us. I could write about what happened – indeed, some people might say that it is relevant to some of the things that the OMP was set up to do. But I’m not going to. In the last year, I have been over those events more times than I care to remember. Instead, I am going to write about the effects our experiences can have.

We are all the sum of our experiences. They shape our beliefs, our thoughts, and our deeds. It is also impossible to predict how our experiences will affect us. Something that seems trivial at the time may come back to haunt us, while…

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