The world didn’t end… so what now?

Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

My children and I had fun yesterday, planning an “End of the World” party. The plans included popcorn, disaster movies and staying up late.

As the evening ticked on, they decided they didn’t want to watch disaster movies and we nixed the popcorn.  The family consensus was to watch a rerun of Doctor Who. After all, the world couldn’t end if The Doctor was still fighting for us, right?

One by one, the kids wandered off to bed, secure in the knowledge that Santa would stop by our house on Christmas Eve and tomorrow was right on schedule.

So what now?  Wide awake on the eve of Armageddon and the kids fast asleep…  that familiar pesky question popped up:  “What if?”

Changeling Press authors and readers are tempted every week with a “Flash Fiction Challenge.”  A theme is announced, 100-150 words. This week is Armageddon. What or who would you do if the world was ending?

What would I do? How would I want to spend my last few minutes?

 

 

You Matter

We stood still, looking at the brilliant streaks of light shooting through the sky. At any other time it would be a novelty. Tonight, it foreshadowed the end of the world. Catastrophic collision, meteors, it all ran together in a confusion of doom.

“Tony, I can’t just stand here waiting for the end. Take me home.”

He took my hand and led me back to our house. The white picket fence we’d so painstakingly put up last spring surrounded us with a false sense of serenity as we passed through the gate.

“Wait! What…?”  His low chuckle rumbled against my ear as he swept me off my feet and carried me over the threshold.  “Didn’t we already do this once?”

“It’s never too late to have a second honeymoon.”

“Did you forget the end of the world stuff?”

“Honey, you *are* my world. When I’m with you, nothing else matters.”

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It’s been an interesting year with many challenges, tragedies, rewards and discoveries.  Just remember that YOU matter.

The fact that you exist and participate in this wild, wacky world of ours is a miracle that only you can perform.  So whether the world ends tomorrow or pulses on for a millennium more, you matter more than you’ll ever know.  Thank you for being a part of my world, and I hope in some small way that I’ve been a part of yours.

~ Cassidy McKay
http://www.cassidymckay.com

 

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Where do you buy your books?

Hey everyone!  I’ve been working hard on my WIP’s and just realized that most of my books are now available on Amazon for your Kindle, computers, etc.  I have a Nook myself and use it constantly, but I am addicted to Amazon for movies, TV shows and just miscellaneous stuff.  I’ll buy a book on there if I can’t find it elsewhere, but prefer to put them on my Nook.

How about you? Where do you buy most of your books? Publisher’s website? Amazon? Barnes & Noble? All Romance Ebooks?

~Cassidy

By the way, I’m in the middle of revamping my website, so look for some new designs soon! In the meantime, if you’d like to check out what I have available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, here are the links to my author pages there. I’d love it if you’d “like” my author page and my books pages so more people can find me there.

Cassidy on Amazon
Cassidy on Barnes & Noble
Cassidy on All Romance Ebooks 
Cassidy at Changeling Press (here’s where you’ll find my newest releases!)

New Release! White Hot Christmas: Christmas Stalkings

Woo Hoo!

I got my Christmas present a day early!
My new White Hot Christmas release: Christmas Stalkings is available now at Changeling Press!
I hope you’ll enjoy my little excerpt as much as I enjoyed writing the book. I have to say, I laughed the entire time I was writing it.  Yes, my family thought I was crazy–but then again, they always do!
~ Cassidy
I’m also doing lots of fun things the next two weeks to celebrate the release, I hope you’ll join me for some holiday cheer and a chance to win some fun prizes! 
Details are on my website:   http://www.cassidymckay.com
White Hot Christmas: Christmas Stalkings by Cassidy  McKay
White Hot Christmas: Christmas Stalkings
Cassidy McKay
What’s a Christmas Elf to do when he wants to sex up the North Pole a bit? Make adult toys, of course!

When Henry’s Elven magic goes awry, Santa’s workshop will never be the same.
Excerpt: 
Henry removed his socks, took a quick sniff and shrugged, then hung them on the windowsill. They looked oddly out of place in an apartment that had little to recommend it for the holiday season.
A siren wailed in the distance, quickly blending into the background noise of the city. Tilting his head, the Elf considered the implications of a siren, then ignored it. It’s not really breaking and entering if I didn’t break anything to enter, right?
He rummaged through several of his pockets to bring out a Christmas tree-shaped air freshener, brushed the lint off, and hung it on the window between the stockings with a little suction cup.
With a twinkle of his eye and a gentle twist to his left nipple ring, a bright purple pulse of magic surrounded the items and then faded away. He squinted, looking closer. It couldn’t have been purple. Christmas magic is supposed to be red and green.
He stood back to stare at his makeshift decorations. For a disbarred Elf, he hadn’t done too badly. At least The Claus hadn’t taken away his magic… yet. The hearing wasn’t until after the New Year, anyway.
His last attempt to bring a little joy into people’s lives rushed back as if it were only yesterday. Then he smiled in wry humor — it was only yesterday! But Holy Pointed Elven Ears, what a day…
* * *
Henry really hadn’t meant to cause a ruckus in the Toy Shoppe. He’d just tried to sex up the place a little bit. Everyone seemed to think Christmas Elves were little green androgynous drones with pointy ears, endlessly building toys for good little boys and girls.
Not Henry. Well, he did have the pointy ears, and he did like to build toys. But he really preferred adult toys. He’d brought some of his new inventions to work to present to Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the Approval Committee. Unfortunately, his magic was rather unpredictable at best — and the toys he invented were made with magic.
Foregoing the simple red and green Christmas magic Elves usually used to make toys, he preferred using the rarer, more dangerous purple magic — the kind adult Elves used in secret. However, his attempts at building toys using either type of magic didn’t always make them work the way they were intended to, no matter how good his intentions.
Yesterday’s incident probably fell into the “Worse than disastrous” category. He’d finally been invited to show the Committee his inventions. He was nervous, but he’d put on a good face, even when minor things started going haywire. Things went from bad to worse faster than a reindeer could land on a rooftop.
First, Santa reached into the sack on the table before the Committee and brought out what looked like a toy statue. The tiny female figure it portrayed was buxom, to say the least. The old man’s eyebrows rose and his glasses slipped down his nose when he noticed her black leather corset, short skirt and thigh-high leather boots. Santa’s brows knit together and he glanced at Henry, ignoring the Elf’s frantic scrambling to grab the statue.
“No Santa, don’t push that button, I haven’t fixed it yet…”
Santa pushed the button on the back of the statue.
In the twinkle of an eye and a whirl of purple sparkling magic, the outfit disappeared from the statue, leaving a fully developed, anatomically correct doll, complete with pierced nipples and neatly shaven pubes.
Henry watched as Santa’s mouth dropped open in shock and the old man’s knit brows whipped into a furious frown. “Henry!”
“Santa, I can explain…”
The loud, shared gasp coming from the Committee cut Henry’s explanation short. Santa turned quicker than a wink to see his formerly demure wife now dressed in the wicked outfit that had just been on the doll.
The black leather gear revealed a savagely curved, white-haired, vintage sex goddess worthy of hours of devoted worship. The lethal-looking whip dangling from her hand only added to the spicy image.
Santa’s tenting pants told Henry he noticed, too. More tents arose from the Committee. Could this be a tentative approval?
Mrs. Claus cautiously moved the whip in her hand, watching it writhe with the slightest touch. A naughty smile curved her lips as she gave the whip a swift crack, landing a satisfying snap near Santa. She raised an eyebrow, looking first at Henry, then the doll, and finally at her husband advancing toward her with a telltale twinkle in his eye.
Henry suddenly remembered the other magic he’d installed with the doll. Attitude Plus. Inhibitions zero. “Uhm, Santa? You might want to reconsider…”
“Shut up, Henry,” Mr. and Mrs. Claus said in tandem, their eyes locked on one another.
Mrs. Claus turned toward the door, her deliciously shaped ass outlined in smooth black leather. She walked away in the fuck-me-heeled boots as if born to lead, striding forward with a swinging gait as the leather skirt danced around the top of her dimpled thighs. She turned the lock on the Committee door with a quiet snick.
_________________________________________________________
ISBN: 978-1-60521-740-6
Formats Available:
HTML, Adobe PDF, EPub
MobiPocket, Microsoft Reader
Publisher: Changeling Press LLC
Adult Sexual Content
This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
All rights reserved.

Copyright (c)2011 Cassidy McKay


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Don’t forget!  Changeling Press is having a White Hot Christmas Contest. You can win free books for a year!

http://changelingpress.com/special_event.php



Cassidy McKay 
http://www.cassidymckay.com 

Visual Seduction – Danielle hasn’t felt free to share her exhibitionism fantasy with her lover…until now!
Christmas Stalkings Coming Dec 16th – When Henry’s elven magic goes awry, Santa’s workshop will never be the same.

Six Sentence Sunday – Nov. 20, 2011

Here’s my post for this week’s Six Sentence Sunday, from my work in progress:

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I have nothing to offer her, no way to win against the horde of rogues racing to their deaths, and the subsequent branch of para’s chasing the humans. I hate to fight.

Against my will, I feel the fiery burn as my clothes drop away. The rush of adrenaline flows through me—scintillating, arousing, powerful. My bones shift, transforming arms into wings, flesh into fire, and common sense into passionate fury. Lifting into the sky with a rush, one thought consumes me:

MINE!

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You can follow the official Six Sentence Sunday list at http://www.sixsunday.com or on Twitter with the hashtag #sixsunday.

The Road to Romance is Paved with Rebellion – Guest Blog by Author H.E. Curtis

The Arranged Marriage (173 x 136.5 cm The Stat...

Image via Wikipedia

As a writer, I think it is very important for those of the writing craft to have an understanding of the historical significance of what they do.  The world has come a long way since the printing press, when books were still a rare commodity and often times still copied out by hand with illuminated manuscripts, colored ink and special quills.  We progressed from the printing press, to typewriters, to copy machines, to computer and word processors and now we are going paperless in many domains.  The writer has had to adapt to all of these changes, adapting from shifting roles from honored guest, political rival, revolutionary, moral deviant, distinguished lecturer and idiosyncratic eccentric.

For Romance writers, the historical roots of the profession can be traced as far back as the troubadours, if not farther.  The significance of this period in history stands out in writing and romance because in this particular era, we see the beginnings of the idea that human beings have a choice about who they love and marry and the power to act upon that desire without repercussions from royal obligations or restrictions of the church.  As desirable and mysterious as arranged marriages may seem, the appeal for a free choice flew in the face of every teaching of the church and societal tradition pertaining to love and how love was defined.  It was a stirring that would not only change literature, but society itself.  In an arranged marriage, one could hope at best to be forced into eventually loving the person they were with.  The era of the troubadour, however, told society love was independent, free-willed and subject to no man or woman unless they willed it to be so, free of coercion and political benefit.  To the church this was tantamount to prostitution, adultery and even heresy, for control of sexuality shifted to the individual as opposed to the church.  It set the early foundations for the movements for issues concerning women’s rights over their own sexuality and body and later women’s rights over all.

This battle has not fully resolved itself unfortunately and has entrenched itself along political lines today in various forms.  While censorship itself is protected against, it doesn’t mean that it does not occur and while, at least in the United States we are a nation of freedom, it is still debated as to just how far that freedom is extended to target segments of society who do not conform to conventional morality.

Romance writers have seem to come to grips with this.  The field of romance writing encompasses traditional concepts of love all the way to alternate life styles, and in each the expressions of each aspect of romance and sexuality ranges from the tame to wildly erotic.  This genre has not remained stagnant at all, encompassing styles of western, historical, contemporary, science fiction and fantasy to name a few.  The authors have been both men and women, which in itself can be fascinating in that the field is largely dominated by women so to have a male author arrive on the scene provides a new and different dynamic.

True to form, in a genre born of rebellion, the struggle for romance to be established as a true form of writing has been a hard one.  Early on it took on the stigma of “dirty stories,” fit for only whispered conversations and inclusion in “nudie” magazines.  Romance and eroticism were equated as one and the same, a reflection more of the moral gauge of the prevailing moral culture than actual reality.  However romance writing has fallen victim to some of the stereotypical concepts as well.  Rarely have I seen illustrations of romance book covers depicting males beyond the ages of 35, or women beyond the age of 30.  Males are muscularly built or in some other way ruggedly handsome, none have been handicapped and almost all have a wind-swept look about them (there is never any disappointment that a man’s member is not as expected and no little blue pills to help it along).  The women are almost always buxom, always sensual, without flaw and a size ten or lower.  Any signs of child-bearing are non-existent, no freckles or other blemishes on the skin, no uneven breasts or badly shaved bikini lines or even underarm hair.  Fantasy and science fiction writing is more forgiving in this regard, as the expectation is for wild and “strange” with appearances and behaviors not quite what we are used to.

So perhaps in some ways romance writing has strayed from the path of rebellion.  While finding a voice of its own, it has discarded along the way those very people whom originally found the new love of the troubadours so releasing.  In the wake of rebellion are always refugees, but one of the key concepts most artists have held is to at least bring the plight of the refugees to the notice of society and provide some sort of advocacy.

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Author H.E. Curtis

Author H.E. Curtis

H.E. Curtis resides in the Sierra Nevada Foothills where he spends most of his time barefoot among the wildflowers, oaks and pines. He dreams of returning to Scotland and Ireland with his manacle-wielding wife, three invisible children (Not me, I don’t Know and Nobody), three visual children and a twisted sense of humor and imagination.   He writes mostly Fantasy, Poetry and dabbles in Science Fiction, but will attempt almost anything once, twice if it isn’t illegal.   He has been published in Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Romantic Fantasy. Tribunal of the Rose is his latest release.

http://www.hecurtis.com
http://hecurtis.wordpress.com

So what if you aren’t Cinderella? 5 ways to find your own Prince Charming.

Photo by OiMax

Many little girls (and big girls) fantasize about being Cinderella, at least in some way or another.  They dream of the romantic fairytale, of having a handsome prince accept them no matter their prior circumstances, fall utterly in love and carry them away to live in a palace with untold riches and luxury.

Yet many of these same girls face a terrible awakening when the dream ends and they come to realize they aren’t Cinderella.  They may not look like she does, act like she does, be as charitable, as forgiving, or have an evil stepmother/step sisters. 

So what do you do when your foot doesn’t fit the fabled glass slipper?

We can’t all be Kate Middleton (soon to marry Prince William), as there really aren’t that many eligible and available princes floating around.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t find our own Prince Charming, even if we don’t quite fit the Cinderella bill.

As a romance writer who deals in romance, relationships and reality every day, I would like to toss out a few suggestions for those of you still looking for your storybook hero and/or Prince Charming:

  1. Stop looking in castles.
    I hate to burst your bubble, but your Prince Charming probably isn’t combing the woods, holding a glass slipper, trying to find you.  He might be working a boring desk job to help pay the bills.  He might be teaching a university class in medieval studies. He might be toiling away at a local charity helping less fortunate people. Or he might be cleaning out gutters or working on cars.  The point is, open your eyes to the world (and the men) around you, even in the most modest circumstances. You might be surprised at what you’ll find.
  2. Don’t wait to be rescued.
    For many men, the idea of a woman having to be rescued daily from life’s little mishaps is a turn-off.  A self-sufficient woman who can stand on her own, take care of herself (and eventually her children), and take care of her man can be very attractive.  But don’t confuse being able to take care of yourself with always having to be in charge. Being able to submit to your man in the bedroom (or turn the tables and dominate him instead), is a completely different story.
  3. See with your heart, not your eyes.
    It’s a cliché, I’ll admit.  It’s easy to look at the handsome twenty-something stud-muffin with bulging muscles strutting down the beach in a Speedo, with a bronze tan and handfuls of thick, wavy hair.  Really easy.  But put your ‘time travel glasses’ on for a minute.  That’s right, those funky metallic cat-eye looking ones.  Warp three, Scotty, to the future!  Here’s your handsome hunk twenty-five years later:  wrinkled, leathery skin that looks like it belongs on an elephant instead of a human. His all-over muscles have morphed into something resembling Jaba the Hut.  All that gorgeous hair has fallen out, leaving a shining bald dome.  And he’s still wearing that Speedo.  Oh wait, that’s not your hunk?  Oh yeah, there he is–over there.  He looks much the same: beautiful, strong, muscled… just like his boyfriend (the wrinkled one) likes it.  Outer beauty usually fades.  Inner beauty doesn’t.
  4. Money doesn’t equal happiness.
    OK, I have fantasies about money… oodles of them.  Mostly where I can buy anything I want (and those dreams also usually involve being able to eat anything I want without gaining weight). Yet look at all the rich divorced couples in the world, or all of the celebrity scandals, and all their dirty laundry aired for the entire world to see.  Money can make things easier financially, of course.  We all wish we had more of it. But having it doesn’t guarantee love, devotion, romance, or success.  Love can find you whether you (or he) has money or not. 
  5. The size of the shoe doesn’t equal the size of the . . . heart.
    So maybe your foot doesn’t fit in that narrow, confining glass slipper.  Maybe it fits better in a dancing shoe, or a work boot, or a comfy pair of sneakers.  Just as you don’t want to be defined on whether you fit into a narrow mold, neither does the man out there looking for his forever love.  Maybe he’s not a prince, or rich, or all that charming.  Maybe he is a little shy, prefers books to fighting duels over a lady’s honor, and maybe he’s not quite what you pictured when you first drew Prince Charming on your fairy tale sketch pad.  So?  Adult drawings rarely look the same as those when they were children.  Toss out your old picture and get ready to draw something new!

My point is, that while many of us grew up with the similar dream of a rosy, uncomplicated future with a noble Prince Charming in shining armor riding up on a white steed to carry us away, we have in fact grown up. We don’t all like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches any more, ketchup doesn’t always go with EVERYTHING, and playing with Barbies doesn’t have quite the same appeal (your mileage may vary, of course).  As adults, our perspectives change, and each of our ‘perfect man’ drawings are different, reflecting our own life experiences, viewpoints and preferences.  You may draw your picture as someone deeply romantic who reads poetry to you under a tree on a blanket.  Someone else may draw a picture of a rugged cowboy on a horse who may appreciate their ability to ‘hold down the homestead.’  Yet another may draw a picture of a leather-clad motorcycle rider enjoying the freedom of the road. 

Do any of those ‘pictures’ look like that generic one-size-fits-all Prince Charming of our childhoods?  Not even close. But the one thing they do have in common is that they are the ideal men for each of the women who have stolen their hearts…their ‘Prince Charming’ if you like.  So throw out that imaginary drawing pad and go find the real man waiting to fulfill your dreams of a happily ever after.

A Walk on the Wild Side!

I’ve done it!

I finally followed a friend’s advice and tried writing something different.  I have always written romances, and they will always be my main focus. But my friend suggested I write a short story for a new publisher, and I decided to throw my hat in and add a new branch to my romance tree: erotica.  The publisher was looking for ‘on the edge’ sexual stories, as wicked, raunchy, deviant, borderline-legal as you could write, and hot enough to burn up the pages.

Now if that isn’t a challenge, I don’t know what is.  I challenged myself a few years ago to write a sweet romance (ie: NO sex) that my then-underage niece could read, as she was always so supportive of my writing.  I loved writing September’s Gold (under my sweet pseudonym Ashlyn Barré).

So I let my imagination walk on the wild side, and a naughty little story came out of the trip.  I held my breath and pushed the SEND button, then distracted myself as best I could.  Much to my surprise, my story was quickly accepted by the new publisher!

Visual Seduction, a short erotica story by Cassidy McKay

Visual Seduction, a short erotica story by Cassidy McKay

So there you have it!  Visual Seduction will be coming out soon with Razor’s Edge Press!

Here’s a quick blurb:

Chris has always careful around Danielle, even during sex. She’s afraid he’ll leave if she tells him how much the thought of someone spying on her during sex turns her on. But when Chris catches her masturbating in her bathroom window–in full view of the people on the street below — he loses every bit of his legendary control, introducing Dani to the dark desires he’s been holding back.

Content warning: Rough sexual play, anal sex, exhibitionism

No, I won’t stop writing romances. In fact, I have to admit that I did sneak some romance into Visual Seduction.  After all, I’m a romance writer.  This story just took all those naughty little things hiding somewhere in the back of my imagination and brought them into the light.

I hope you enjoy it when it comes out, I’ll definitely let you know when the book is released, so you can join me in my walk on the wild side.

~Cassidy

If you had only seconds to live…what would your last words be?

I write romance. I admit that I’ve been lifelong romance-junkie. I love the long, seductive glances, the tentative touches, and the tingle just from being with that one special person. The lazy days lounging under a leafy tree on a blanket, those wonderful nights of loving… who could resist spending all that time falling in love, being in love, or rediscovering love?

But a few days ago, I saw something on the news that made me think about those deliciously decadent days a little differently.

Passengers on an airplane mid-flight were startled when a loud explosion sounded above their heads. A large hole had been blown in the side of the airplane just behind the cargo bins, and they could see the sky through it. Oxygen masks dropped and the plane set immediately into a deep dive. Many of the passengers assumed they had only moments to live before the plane went down.

One man on board texted his wife from his phone, saying something like: “Plane going down. Love you.”

As the wife of a man who travels for business occasionally, just the thought of receiving a text like that sends chills down my spine. Then I thought of what I would say in those few moments if I had the chance.

What would you say if you could only send on short text to someone in your last moments? Would it be something loving? A bit of twisted revenge against an enemy? Something romantic and memorable? Something funny for them to remember your humor?

I would like to say I’d think of something so profoundly moving, humorous and memorable that I’d be memorialized in stories of love forever. But in those precious few seconds of panic, how many of us could realistically come up with something even semi-coherent, let alone something that would inspire those we’d left behind?

I’m afraid mine would probably be something more mundane, like: “Don’t forget to feed the kids.”

‘Twas the night before the night before

December 23rd, a most under appreciated day. Few people say they can’t wait until December 23rd (unless it’s your birthday, anniversary, or some such event).  Children are looking forward to Christmas Eve and Santa flying overhead. Parents are usually busy doing last-minute shopping or wrapping, or getting ready for the big day. But do they care what day it is, other than it’s NOT Christmas Eve or Christmas?  Probably not.

In our house, we are as busy as everyone else who celebrates this holiday. We usually spend it chasing cats from the Christmas tree, last-minute shopping for spoilables we couldn’t buy in advance, wrapping presents, cooking, and enjoying the crisp winter air.  Dinner is usually something quick, as we plan to spend the next day cooking (and sampling) annual Christmas favorites.  One of those is my hubby’s famous Pumpkin Dessert.  Man, oh, man, it’s definitely something we wait allllllll year for.  It’s so good that  I ask for it every year for my birthday INSTEAD of cake.  Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t, depending on if I’ve been a good girl or a bad girl (bad girl usually gets whatever she wants!).  It’s delish!  But he won’t let me share the recipe with anyone.   (sorry)

Christmas songs are sung with gusto on Christmas Eve day, along with impromptu dances and jigs, and maybe a jump or three in there (usually by the kids) to add flavor to the mix.  Presents from one to another are wrapped carefully, usually with an excess of tape and covered in bows.  The kids each get to open one present on Christmas Eve, which only whets their appetite for the morning.  Yet lo and behold, every year, Santa’s sleigh flies directly over our house on his way to the other side of the US before he crosses back, and most years, his sleigh has a minor malfunction, and bells fall off into the yard.  The kids wait tensely all night long for even the slightest tinkling of bells, hoping he’ll fly overhead again this year.  It’s been a family tradition since the kids could crawl, and I hope it continues for grandkids and great grandkids and on into the future.  What a legacy.

The kids are sent to bed early, but we can usually hear them up until the early morning hours, whispering and giggling, then tossing and turning.  The doors are closed, but they keep hoping to catch Santa in the act of scarfing cooking and gulping down the milk before he whisks away up the chimney.  Precious hours and precious years we have spent honing the Christmas Eve technique, tweaked every year for unexpected surprises.

Christmas morning starts early (of course), with excited kids tearing up wrapping paper in frenzied joy, adults snapping pictures, and grins all around as Christmas music blasts in the background.  Papers are cleaned up soon after and new toys played with, each given a separate time to be in the spotlight by the children.  Christmas cooking starts just after the paper is done, and Mom takes over the kitchen, whisking, stirring and baking until friends and family show up that evening for a table full of food, a house full of friendship, and arms full of love.

So that’s my Christmas in a nutshell.  What’s yours, if you celebrate?  If you don’t, what do you do instead?  Would love to hear from you and maybe find some new traditions and favorite things to add to ours, or maybe ours will join with yours.

Happy Holidays!

~ Cassidy

Simple Pleasures

A good friend of mine gave me a beautiful reminder this morning, one that in the hustle and bustle of the season I’d forgotten.  If I’m to be brutally honest, I’d forgotten it long before that.  In the hurry of deadlines, the rush of last-minute due dates and children and babysitters, school and homework, husband and promotions, this one little thing slipped from my existence.  And this little thing?  It’s big…really big.

Remember the simple things.

I’m rushing to get presents, get a Christmas tree down from the attic and up, clean the house, bake cookies, get dinner made, plan for holiday parties, etc.  But thinking back to my childhood, what do I remember most about the holidays?

  • A story read in front of a picture window.
  • Handmade gifts I received that weren’t worth much monetarily, but priceless in the thought and effort that went into each gift.
  • Seeing the joy on the faces of those who appreciated the little gifts I made them.
  • Stringing popcorn for the wonky little Christmas tree
  • Singing carols with my brothers on the organ as my older brother played.
  • At the big family gatherings, I remember:
    • welcoming new babies from the past year
    • reminiscing over family who had passed away
    • commiserating over silly things while doing dishes.
    • amazement over how cousins had grown and changed, then as years passed, their children and grandchildren.

The things I remember and appreciate weren’t the things that I am stressing over now, nor are they the things that cost the most or were the latest ‘have-to-have-fad’.  They were a knit dress my mother bought me second hand, which I wore until it was threadbare and wouldn’t stretch any more, then it went on my dolls to dress them in love.  A little knit lamb (Lambie) that finally lost its fight against time.  The last Christmas I had with my mother when I was eight, and all the Christmases since with the rest of my family.  The crocheted blanket I made my then father-in-law that ended up so huge it could have passed for a carpet, was gratefully received and treasured.  The first Christmases with each of my children, and making patchwork stockings for each of them.  Holding hands with my husband and feeling that little tingle, even after all these years.

I don’t remember if the turkey was dry, or if the potatoes weren’t quite done, or if the decorations were perfectly spaced.  Or if there was apple pie instead of pumpkin, tablecloths or sheets, china or paper plates. Those things are fleeting and don’t matter in the long run.

“Look for the pictures in the clouds.”

This is what my friend reminded me of.  Those days laying in the yard on a blanket with the kids, pointing out pictures in the clouds and laughing at each others’ imaginations.  Squinting into the light to try and see the fluffy animals and fierce dragons through the eyes of the person next to you.

Simple things.  The laughter of a child, the warmth of a small body snuggling next to you, the excited voice of an imagination sparked with promise.  I’d forgotten in my headlong rush for improvement, completion, and production, that it isn’t what you’ve accomplished, how rich you become, or how successful you have been, if you pass by the things that are the most precious to reminisce about.

Today, while I didn’t look at the clouds with my kids (it was still cold and wet from all the storms), we played games and drew funny stories on the computer with a graphics pad while they did homework.  We made it fun.  It went by quickly and without complaints, and hopefully it will remain in their memories as one of the fun things of their childhood and school.  I know it will remain a favored memory of mine.

Thank you, Jax, for reminding me of the things that matter.  Including good friends who will kick you in the butt when you need it.

Happy Holidays everyone, and I hope you remember to make memories that you’ll cherish forever.

This blog post is dedicated to my Aunt Annabelle, who passed away this afternoon after a long battle with Alzheimers.  I will always remember her as the fun, quirky aunt who could spin yarn from sheep’s wool, whip up a huge family get together in nothing flat, and who appreciated the things in life that really mattered.  Safe journey, dear woman.  Your time here will be cherished by all who remain.