Friday, December 16, 2005

Scroogin' It Up

Well... Christmas cards are out the window this year.

Last year, I sent out approximately 150 cards. Granted, I participated in a swap that accounted for roughly 50 or 60 of those cards. I received approximately 50 back of the 90-100 cards left after the swap.

That's a pretty good ratio.

My favorites were of course, the family photographs and I have to say, I will miss those this year. Because so far, I haven't sent out ONE SINGLE CHRISTMAS CARD, and I've received fewer than 10.

Now, there are certainly some possible reasons for this...

1. People haven't gotten around to it.

2. Other people are also feelin' Scroogey this year.

3. Nobody remembers our address.

4. People just don't feel like sending us cards this year.

Now, for reason number 1, I do have to accept that yes, people are not generally on my time frame. Last year, I had my cards written, stamped, addressed, and in the mail by St. Nicholas Day (12/6).

But this year, we had to put it off while our new mortgage payment went through. Today, 10 days after St. Nicholas Day, is the first day I truly have the cash to go to Target and buy the cards, or go to Michaels and buy the supplies required to make the cards and spend the next 2 weeks doing that.

And quite frankly, at the end of the day, I just don't feel like sending them out this year. I'll get a box or two and return any that we get, but other than that, I'm done.

I absolve ANYONE out there of Christmas card guilt. You don't have to send me one. I probably will not be sending you one. If you do, I will return the favor. If you don't, I won't be offended, as long as you promise not to be too.

The funny thing?

I don't even miss it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

An evening with Jan Karon

Last night, I was privileged to go and be at the National Cathedral as Jan spoke about writing from the heart. It was a beautifully moving experience.

I was able to coordinate with Sheri (Mitford Citizen at Heart) and her daughter, and we agreed to meet up at the Cathedral.Unfortunately, Michael fell sick with a stomach virus and had to miss the talk. After a lengthy discussion, my sister agreed to come. She said she was going only to hear an author speak--she has never read the books and had never heard of Jan!

We managed to make it to the Cathedral just after 7pm, after fighting the Metro, the traffic, and finding a parking spot. A gal from the Mitford boards, Sheri and her daughter were such dears to save us great seats in the front.We walked down and Sheri spotted me and my plaid coat instantly! (It's a can't miss!)

It was WONDERFUL to meet someone from the boards and we hit it off--her daughter and my sister got along wonderfully as well. We chatted until Jan came out, and I was amazed at her presence, her beauty and grace. She is absolutely glowing with inner light.

The minister of the Cathedral said some words and then another woman introduced Jan and Jan spoke. It was magical to hear her talk about writing and mention the characters and places I have come to know and love through her books. She talked about the process of writing, about being inspired to write, all of it. And she read a passage from "A Light From Heaven" which caused me to actually cry. Towards the end she invited everyone to pray The Prayer That Never Fails, which I did with my whole heart. It felt so good and right.

During the Q&A session, my sister, Sheri, and I were all chosen to ask questions. My question was about if books about Violet would ever be released, and Jan answered yes, next year Violet's first book would be coming out.

After it was all over, we stood in the receiving line, and when it was my It just felt like... Jan made me feel like I was the only person in the world. I thanked her for everything and we had a nice, quick chat. I was overcome with emotion for a good part of the way home.

I asked my sister, "Don't you just love her?"And she replied, "Yes, I do. Give me the books."

We said goodbye to Sheri and her daughter and came home.

Meeting Sheri affirmed to me what a marvelous, magical gathering this BB really is, and I have taken it for granted. Last night felt like being touched by an angel, and my life is so much the better for it.

Photos can be found at:

Sherri wrote this about it:

Since Susan described the evening to perfection, there is little to add. But, I'm sure as I enjoy looking back on the lovely memory of the evening, I will not be able to stop typing!

Let me start by saying that the highlight of the evening, for me, was meeting Susan. She and her sister were delightful, and I truly felt a connection with her immediately. I thanked God at that moment for once again working such wonders through the stories Jan has created.

My first glimpse of Ms. Karon was as she walked down the aisle past us, very quickly, with her lovely green coat on ~ at first I thought it was another guest, like us, looking for a seat, but I did a double-take because I recognized her glorious hair! She was accompanied by two or three people, who virtually surrounded her (but not noticeably so). I was surprised at how petite she is, and how exquisitely lovely. She truly radiates beauty from within and without. I was captivated from that instant.

Hmmmm... how to describe her.... Those of you who were at the Homecoming or have met her in other venues I'm certain have the same words to say ~ I found myself drawn to her, like I am to the words on the pages she so carefully crafted for us to enjoy. Her sense of humor is delightful ~ she had us in a rollicking laugh several times, with many giggles inbetween. I was struck by her eloquence, grace, and the wonderful manner she possesses of a southern gentlewoman. Humble and yet confident, I found her to be completely human and completely extraordinary.

As Susan had said, we were selected to ask questions during the q/a session (Susan is braver than I and asked her wonderful question long before I got up the courage!). Instead of inquiring about something, I explained to Ms. Karon, and to her captivated audience, that her work transcends the page ~ that it has created a unique and wonderful community on this bb and that, together, we help one another through daily struggles and deep hardships and everything inbetween. I mentioned that you all have helped me through this lonely, lonely time with Mark being gone and that, because of this community, my husband has prayer, support, uplifting e-mails, cards, and gifts. She responded with a "thank you, thank you for sharing that, thank you!" And again, in her receiving line, I looked into those lovely eyes and felt absolutely compelled to let her know how she has reached countless people in ways she probably can't even imagine. She asked about Mark and told my little girl, Aubrey, to tell her daddy that she has a wonderful Mommy (so sweet!), and that Jan Karon says "hi" and will be praying for him. Later, my daughter exclaimed, "Mommy! I've never been so close to a FAMOUS person before!" As Susan said, when I was speaking to her, I felt as though she had all the time in the world and that I was the only person in the room. I have no idea how she does this, as there were multitudes waiting to see her. She spent a good amount of time speaking with us and I couldn't stop thanking her and telling her how she has impacted my life as well as so many others, countless others. Gracious woman that she is, she continually thanked me and seemed truly touched that so many people were brought together just because of her wonderful tales of a simple country priest.

We were also blessed to have lovely conversations with two of the ladies who accompanied her (not sure if they were her editor and publicist ~ I didn't want to be rude and ask!), both of whom said that they are continually amazed at the way in which Jan's stories seem to reach people in so many ways and on so many levels. They asked lots of questions of us and seemed truly interested in our responses.

Jan asked me what my bb name was and, when I replied, she instantly lit up and said, "Yes! Yes! I know that name!" One of the ladies (mentioned above) said that both she and Jan visit the bb often, and mentioned several topics that we'd discussed on the bb. I absolutely think they have a feel for the board and for the regular posters, I'm sure.

If you ever have the chance to see Ms. Karon (those who haven't yet done so), I recommend it highly ~ I am still on the cloud on which I floated home last night, and I can TRULY attest to the presence of the Holy Spirit residing in this remarkable woman and all she does. She gave God the glory for all of it and so eloquently told of His working in her life. I don't think I've ever felt or heard anything like it.

I guess I wrote a little more than I expected to! So sorry!

And.... I made a new friend in the bargain! I can't wait to get together with Susan again. She is a truly lovely and gentle woman with a beautiful heart. What a blessed evening!

I just thought you'd like to get another perspective and more details.