About that Holiday Blog Post…

Top 10 Reasons We’re Slacking Until January 6th

10. Our children selfishly want three meals and quality time over their break.

9.  We’re revising our latest works in progress and it’s going really well. (Hahaha. As if.)

8. We have insomnia due to Elf on the Shelf nightmares. So…scary…

7. We’re crashing Amazon Prime. (Sorry.)

6. We’re too busy researching the best holiday cocktail recipes and we take this very seriously. (See #10)

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“More” versus “Enough”

“More” is a lure. It’s the tantalizing bait always catching the eye. For me, it’s not so much about stuff as it is about all the things I want to do. There’s just so much great experience to be gained, in so many different flavors. Creative. Athletic. Musical. Social. Natural. Service-oriented. Friendship-based. Family-centered. If each event or activity is like a scoop of ice cream, then sign me up for the triple banana split! Not only is it sure to be yummy, but by opting for ALL of it, I don’t have to go through the painful process of choosing.

Never mind that I really can’t eat a triple banana split. Never mind that even trying is sure to lead to other forms of discomfort.

One of several books I’m reading right now (see, I can’t even limit my reading selection to a single scoop) is The Book of Joy by Douglas Abrams. In it, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu share their thoughts on how to lead a joyful existence. Unsurprisingly, both mention gratitude for what we have as being a key factor in lasting joy. Recognizing when we have “enough” is the trick here. Abrams writes,

 “Yet scientists have found that the more we experience any pleasure, the more we become numb to its effects and take its pleasures for granted. The first bowl of ice cream is sublime, the second bowl tasty, and the third causes indigestion.”

I’ve got life experience to back up Abrams’ metaphor. My first job back in high school was at the local ice cream shop. The owner, bless her, allowed us to liberally sample the products free of charge. I can therefore attest, there is a point where “more” – even just one bite – tips over into “too much.” (Sorry, Lorna – and thank you for this and many more valuable life lessons!)

Sometimes the effect of this indulgence is as temporary as indigestion, but sometimes too much can turn you off of something completely. I rarely eat ice cream to this day – and it’s got to be a pretty special flavor to pique my interest.

For me, the sweet hook of “more” has always been the potential missed opportunity. My brain paints visions of the joy an activity could bring in the nanoseconds it takes to contemplate whether to take my child to visit Eggbert the talking Christmas Egg, or if I should set my alarm to get up early to meditate. The thought of my child smiling with the surprise of holiday magic, or of myself, calm and centered at the start of the day – how could I possibly miss these opportunities to better our lives?

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Your Word for 2019…and Exciting News!

First the exciting news…

The talented Rajani LaRocca‘s debut middle grade novel, MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM, will be available on June 4, 2019. She was able to reveal the cover art for her book this week and it’s awesome! (As you can see.) Rajani subscribes to The Space Between and we just HAD to share. It’s beautiful! You can read about her novel here. You can also check out a great blog post she wrote for #MGBookVillage about being a writer AND a doctor here. Pre-order your copy of MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM at any of the links below!

Congrats, Rajani!

IndieBound   B & N    Amazon  Book Depository   Books A Million   Goodreads

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog post…

2019: What’s Your Word?

I know we’re all in holiday survival mode right now and the last thing on the radar is 2019, but I thought I’d throw this out there for you to tuck away in the non-holiday recesses of your mind. Also, I need a break from the writing, and then the immediate losing, of holiday to-do lists. So, this topic is the perfect distraction for me.

If you haven’t heard of choosing your word for the year, I’ll give you a brief overview: After much soul searching and evaluation of your current life trajectory, you pick a word that will be like a battle cry as you race into the new year. A battle cry that encourages you and reminds you of your goals. It’s just that simple and just that difficult.

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Yes, Virginia, You Can Write During the Holidays

Julie got us organized for the holidays back when November was new, sharing tips for gracefully navigating the holidays. Then NaNoWriMo came and blew November out of the water. But now you’ve got several thousand more words written than you did at the start of the month. Congratulations! Time to celebrate! Everyone who writes toward their goal is a winner. Pat yourself on the back, take the credit when it is offered, and then keep on writing – because NaNo is always just the start of the journey. In December, the real work begins.

“WAIT!” you say. “I’ve been putting in extra hours in November that I mentally borrowed from December.” You feel like you need a little break from the fevered pace that brought you across the finish line. Plus, the looming list of holiday events and preparations is a great excuse to put your WIP on the back burner and give back to the creatures (by that I mean family) around you.

It’s tempting to walk away from that work right now.

Don’t do it.

Your project needs you still. Unless you’re waiting on the proofs to come back from the publisher, there is work to be done.

Consider the holidays for a minute, and prepare for an analogy. You’ve bought almost all the presents. You peer back down at your binder (thanks Julie!) and realize there’s one more person to shop for. And you need a couple more stocking stuffers. Not to mention you have to pick up the key ingredient for that special holiday treat that defines the season for your family. You groan. You sigh. You purchase yourself another cup of coffee. AND. YOU. DO. IT.

Why? Because to not do it is unthinkable. You can’t ignore the person in the binder. You’d give anything for the smiles on your kids’ faces to last one more minute on Christmas morning when they’re rooting through their stockings. The family looks to you to make the mood with that special dish – and you’d hate to disappoint them.

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