What YOU do if a neighbor, at beginning of the Christmas season, had begun

to put vile signs on his property, along with some sexual explicit Christmas decorations, devaluing the general meaning of the Christmas season, not only from the religious aspect, but also, from just being plain good neighbor?

Bill Ansell of Fairley Road in Ross Township, Pennsylvania, has placed decapitated “choir and even a urinating Santa Claus that lights up at night.”

All of the story had been telecast on this evening’s “ABC News 20/20″

What I intend to do: 1] pray for Mr. Ansell; 2] send him the most kindest caring Christmas card I have in my stash of cards; 3] lastly, ask every one I know to mail Mr. Ansell their own most kindest, caring Christmas card. Then, perhaps, there maybe a softened heart on Fairley Road in Ross Township, Pennsylvania.

So give me your opinion–just what would do, if you were Mr. Ansell’s neighbors?

Insomnia so is lousy

to have!! Granted, right now, the time is only 9:30 pm, but I got a hunch I’ll be ‘up’ late tonight! What I be doing? I haven’t the froggiest idea ( no, that ‘r’ isn’t misplaced–just small ode to a friend).

Yes, I could be busy with my story, since I haven’t touched in, at least, a week. . .

Could get going with Christmas cards. . .

Could print off Jan. 2015 “Writer’s Year” calendar. . .

What else?   None of any the above really ‘fires’ me up, like it once did. What IS wrong with me?

Yes!! A yawn!! Maybe, I’ll (shock and awe) go to bed?!?!


Why Are Certain Stories Timeless? What Scrooge Can Teach Us About Great Writing


This is fascinating and written very well, of course!

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

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One of my all-time favorite movies for the holidays is The Muppets Christmas Carol. I believe I’ve seen this movie a few hundred thousand times. I’ve worn out three VHS tapes and at least three DVDs. I play the movie over and over, mainly because, well, duh,  MUPPETS! I drive my husband nuts playing this movie over and over…and over.

I’m worse than a three-year-old.

Muppets aside, I also can’t get enough of the music. I love the story of A Christmas Carol no matter how many times I see it, no matter how many renditions, and I am certainly not alone. Charles Dickens’ story of a redeemed miser is a staple for holiday celebrations around the world and across the generations.

This story is virtually synonymous with “Christmas,” but why is it such a powerful story? Why has it spoken so deeply to so many? Why is it…

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Good-bye, Edmund the Great


I so sorry for her loss!!

Originally posted on HEATHER KOPP:

Edmund on a hike with our daughter Jana. He loved to hike.

Edmund with our daughter Jana. Oh how he loved to hike!

As many of you know, I like to joke about my dog Edmund. I’ve written here about how in early sobriety I hoped for his early demise because I thought it would be a good excuse to drink.

Of course, I didn’t really want that to happen. And these days I no longer think of drinking as something I wish I could do, thank God.

But still, over the years, I’ve had some fun pretending I don’t adore Edmund. Since most dog owners are so over-the-top devoted, it cracked me up to act the opposite way. In a sick attempt at humor, I’d say things like, “Edmund went missing the other day and I really had my hopes up.”

None of that seems funny anymore.

In recent months, Edmund hasn’t seemed himself. I thought he was getting old (he turned ten this summer), or that he might be upset about the chaos…

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Can Being Tired Make Us Better Writers?


This is so needed, by yours truly!!

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

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Image via Lauriesanders60 WANACommons

Last month I participated in NaNoWriMo even though it’s the holidays and, as many of you know, I am battling the last vestiges of Shingles which makes me tired, like down to the BONES tired. But, lest I go crazy, I had to write, because that’s what writers do. We aren’t happy unless we are writing something. 

I figured in the beginning I likely wouldn’t make the 50,000 word mark not only because of feeling puny, but I also have other writing that doesn’t count toward NaNo.

Yet, the interesting thing is, being tired can have benefits. If we wait until that celestial alignment when the kids aren’t sick, our pants fit, there isn’t a heap of laundry, the garage is clean, the junk mail sorted, and we feel energized? We won’t get a lot of writing done, so here is some food for thought…

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My written long synopsis. . .

finally is finished!!  Here it is, I know I’ve got some editing still to do, but I was getting “antsy” to share–

This is the story of my major protagonist, Edie Paul, a young mother of the 1940’s. She has one child, a two-year old daughter, named Becky.

My story begins in Edie’s childhood. A tragedy of Edie’s childhood that affected her deeply was of her best friend Millie’s brother who was Edie’s “first boyfriend”, Stan. He had been killed when running across the street, while chasing Edie. Stan was only six years old, Edie nine. She didn’t see the accident occur; she only heard the screech of a car’s brakes and someone scream.  Days later, Edie had found Stan’s favorite thing in the world, a stuffed toy lamb, in the gutter; Edie claimed it as hers from that point on.  A few decades later, that toy would become a favorite of her daughter’s. Stan’s family, in their deep grief, moved away far away, soon after the funeral. Edie never saw Millie again.

When Edie was twelve, yet another tragedy occurred.  Her father was killed.  There is a mystery behind her dad’s death in this ‘so-called’ accident–William was very well-known in the company, of his safety record. In this on-the-job accident he had slipped from an icy bulldozer tread. When LeRoy, Edie’s future love of her life, he had witnessed William clean his shotgun, and as LeRoy looked away the gun went off, killing William, instantly. LeRoy presumed it had been a suicide. But was it?

Just before this happened, Edie had asked for some money from her father; she didn’t quite tell the truth of the purpose as to the why she wanted the cash. She was going to get her own bottle of rum. Edie couldn’t face going her father’s funeral; she stayed home and went on her first drinking binge. Because of their own grief, no one in the family noticed how drunken Edie was.

As an adult, Edie had made her life miserable by thinking deeply about her losses.  Her very best friend is Wanda, her future in-law, and all-time great drinking pal. When they were together drinking, all was right with Edie’s world. Edie loves to drink her rum and Coca cola drinks, every night, after work as a waitress; she would head to her empty apartment, and there she would drown her sorrows.  One night, alone, after work, she had gone to a friend’s house, where she was raped by someone she cares for a great deal. No one, but Edie knows that she had gotten pregnant by the rapist. A month passes, Edie is in misery; she has a miscarriage.   Soon after, LeRoy proposes to her, Edie accepts, breathing a huge sigh of relief and very soon after their wedding, Edie was pregnant again by her sweetheart and husband, LeRoy.  LeRoy has his own addiction–cocaine. He believes he’s being haunted by William’s ghost, when in reality; it is mental illness that’s heightened by the drug addiction

A couple of years pass, Edie still is drinking. The day came when LeRoy asks for a divorce, and he takes their daughter, Becky. LeRoy, now her ex-husband and his mother, Ruby, have accused Edie of being an unfit mother because of her excessive drinking. Because Edie had taken Ruby’s ‘baby boy’ from her, Ruby hates her former daughter-in-law.  Edie, being a drinker, only intensifies this hatred, though Ruby is a co-owner of a ‘still’, deep in the woods behind the family’s property. Ruby urges her son to divorce Edie, which he does though he continues to love Edie and their daughter, Becky; however, LeRoy wants to obey his mother. Edie might be arrested for neglecting Becky and/or gets fired from her job as a waitress. What will happen to Becky as well as her mother? She does have two allies–her ex father-in-law, Dan and another ex-in-law, Wanda, her best friend. Will Edie lose her first-born, Becky? Will she stop her drinking?

One night, Edie left to go to the neighborhood tavern, leaving Becky alone in the apartment.  A few hours go by, Edie isn’t home. The neighbors hearing the child crying went to check on the baby. They called police, after no one comes home. Few more hours passed, Edie did come home, having gotten badly drunk; not knowing her daughter was in the custody the Family Welfare officer. This begins both more trouble for Edie as well as her path further into the alcoholic pit.

Meanwhile, the now sober Wanda went looking for her pal. She found Edie lying on her bed passed out cold. Using Edie’s phone, Wanda called her sponsor for help in getting Edie out of the apartment and somewhere safe for her to detoxify. They, with help of Wanda’s sponsor’s husband, got Edie in their car and headed to their home. This might the start of Edie’s detoxification from alcohol. Wanda went to Bessie and told what had happened as much as Wanda knew, as well as where Edie had been taken, and why. Bessie, being in a level of denial, didn’t understand everything what Wanda had told her. All Bessie wanted was that Edie and her daughter, Becky to be happy

In a matter of days, since the authorities couldn’t locate the child’s mother, Becky was put into temporary foster care.  Wanda found this out from eavesdropping on one of her instructors whose husband was a social worker for the city. Wanda called Bessie to inform her where to find Becky.

To “help” her daughter out, Bessie with someone else’s financial assistance, bribes the family court judge involved. Unfortunately, this judge comes to a very bad end. Edie’s case goes to another judge, one that goes “by the book”.  A few days later, Bessie has temporary custody of Becky, to the joy of both; however, there was still the issue of permanent custody. Who will get Becky? This judge’s final verdict is of Edie being an unfit mother. The custody of Becky goes to someone rather surprising. Edie had only limited supervised visits with Becky. That night, she went on a three-day ‘bender’, drinking herself nearly to death.

At one time, Wanda had a heart-to-heart discussion with her sister, Ruby about leaving West Virginia, after graduating from nursing school. Wanda always hated living in her birth place. She felt she would have better chances in finding a wealthy, old man to marry, in Chicago.

Several months go by; Wanda has graduated, despite being accused of cheating on an important exam. Both Edie and Wanda decide to begin fresh in Chicago. They tighten their friendship in the move as well as living together in a metropolis much larger than Charleston.

Becky has grown up, and at the age of eighteen, moves out of the house of her legal guardian. This woman some time later passes away, leaving her lovely home for Becky to do whatever she wants to do with it. Becky decides to sell it.

Ruby at this point is living in a group home, due to poor health. She tells Becky that her mom is alive and living in Chicago with Ruby’s sister, Becky’s aunt, Wanda. Becky, then and there decides to begin to search for her mother. Once she finds Edie, who now has a second husband and another child, they begin a relationship. At this time, Edie is working her A.A. program, and has gone back to attending church, as she had as a little girl.