I’m Really Trying To Love You

“Let all that you do be done in love.” ~1 Corinthians 16:14

There’s nothing like the Christmas season to test one’s capacity to love.

For example, I had to remember how much I love being American after driving by a Kmart store on Thanksgiving evening that was open for pre-Black Friday shopping.

I had to force myself to think loving thoughts toward a relative who sent an email list of gifts he’d like for Christmas, and ignore the fact that in it he didn’t ask what we wanted or even how we were doing.

I’ve had to work extra hard lately to love going to the gym (always a challenge regardless of the time of year), which unfortunately is located by a mall, because it’s now taking twice as long to get there due to holiday shopping traffic.

Finally, I have to try really hard to feel loving and generous about spending money I’d rather save to instead buy gifts for close to 20 people who don’t need them, for no other reason than it’s expected this time of year. Somehow Jesus’s birthday sparked a Spendandgimmepalooza in our culture. Or was it the advertisers who did that?

In all seriousness, the Christmas season can test our capacity to love in so many ways. For some of us, there are those dreaded family gatherings with relatives who know how to push our buttons, sadness over missing loved ones who are no longer with us, nostalgia over Christmas days long past.  Some of us feel empty, lonely, and left out during the season.

Corinthians says love is patient and kind, but how many of us are patient when waiting in long check out lines or in crawling mall traffic? How many of us are kind to salespeople in crowded stores or are ready to bully others for our right to the last gadget standing? We’ve all heard horror stories of Black Friday stampedes and deaths.

This Christmas season, I’m going to try hard to remember why the holiday exists, which is to celebrate the birth of Christ. I’m going to try and focus on the elements that give Christmas its magic – the beauty of lights, traditions, music and carols, the spirit of peace and childlike joy that pervades our hearts, if only we can slow down long enough to feel it.

When all else fails, there is always love.

Help Wanted: Query Letter And Synopsis Feedback

Dear Readers,

I am bypassing a traditional post this week to ask for your assistance with helping me to fulfill a longtime dream of having my romance novel published. As some of you may know, I recently completed a historical romance novel set in 1929 Newport, Rhode Island. Sweet Irish Kisses tells the unlikely love story of a wealthy debutante and an Irish shipbuilder whose paths cross when the heroine is on the run from an arranged marriage. Writing the 75,000 word novel was easy compared to having to condense it into a 200 word synopsis for submission to Avon’s Impulse line. Then there’s the tricky matter of the 750 word Query Letter. Quite frankly, this process is torture! And it’s scary. Especially when one considers the 200 words could determine whether an agent even bothers to read the query letter and story excerpt.

If you have the time, interest and willingness, could you please take a look at my three synopses and tell me which you prefer? If you think all need work or that I should start over completely, please say so and give me some specifics. Each synopsis is a work in progress and I fully anticipate having to revise one or more. Likewise, I seek feedback on my query letter. If you are a published author or have other knowledge of the publishing industry, your professional critique is most welcome. If not, then your opinion as an every day reader is most welcome. If you have no interest or time to read either, I completely understand. Thank you in advance for your feedback. I look forward to (and in some ways dread) your comments!

michael-gorman

Michael Gorman, my husband’s great-grandfather, whose portrait hangs in our living room, and who inspired the name of my hero. Michael came to the U.S. from Ireland in the late 1800s and bought 12 acres of land, which my father-in-law now owns.

Every Day Teaches Us Something New

i-am-strongWhat a topsy-turvy week this has been.( My blogging schedule – both for posting and reading others’ posts – is haywire because of it.) I found out this week I was duped by someone I trusted, big time. My first reaction was to blame myself, and to question how I could have been so stupid. Thankfully, three strong and wise women in my life reminded me that the responsibility lay with the other person, and that trusting a person and wanting to help is not a license for them to take advantage of you. One of the women texted me this photo quote to reinforce this notion, and also to remind me that life is full of lessons, some good, some not so good, but each one makes us stronger, smarter, and more resilient – if we can get past the  pain and blame. If it helps even one of you today, I’m glad to have shared it. If you’re a man reading this, just change the word “woman” to “man”. Have a terrific day!