Thursday, December 23, 2010
Each year, my entire family, siblings, cousins, aunties and uncles, gathers together to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. Each year, we hold our celebrations at different family members houses. A few years ago our yearly celebration was held at my house. Needless to say, I had well over fifty family members of all different ages all under one roof.
The living room was full of presents for everyone in attendance and we had prepared a feast for all to partake of. Our Christmas celebration was in full swing but there was one little problem. Somehow, I had contracted a debilitating stomach flu and I was sick as a dog. I attempted to carry on as usual, but alas, my stomach was not going to cooperate. At one point, as I opened my front door to greet more guests, I literally ran out the door to empty the contents of my stomach onto my front lawn. Needless, to say, I had to leave my guests to fend for themselves as I retired to my room for the remainder of the evening.
On Christmas day, both of my sons were as sick as I was and we all spent the day asleep in my bed with buckets at our bedside just in case we couldn't make it to the bathroom. That year, Christmas day passed us by. On December twenty-sixth, I awakened to the sounds of laughter and the smell of something delicious wafting its way up to my room. Feeling well enough to venture downstairs, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Santa Claus had not passed us by.
Sometime during the night, Christmas elves had stopped by my house and delivered a bag full of gifts and food. Not only that, my kitchen as well as the rest of my house was as clean as a whistle and all the toys had been assembled with nary a missing part.
My sons and I had missed Christmas day that year because of of our illness but my siblings made sure that the spirit of Christmas still made its appearance.
"Caught in the Middle"
My fondest memory of Christmas comes from the first Christmas after my sister and I figured out that our gifts did not come from a jolly white bearded man in a red suit, but from our single parent mother who worked overtime at two jobs just to see us smile on Christmas day.
We were the three musketeers; my mother, my sister and me. It was us against the world and we seemed to hold our own. The only time an outsider was let into the posse was for Christmas when my sister and me welcomed Santa into the fold.
In those early years, my sister and I never understood why Santa’s handwriting looked a lot like mommy’s on the tags on the gifts under the tree. Nor did we understand why her prideful eyes held a little bit of jealousy as we sang praises to Santa for our gifts.
With age comes wisdom and if age doesn’t school you, other kids will. Soon the proverbial grapevine told us there was no Santa and that our mom was the one supplying the gifts. We didn’t want to believe them, but the left over cookies in the refrigerator and the half-drank glass of milk with her lipstick on the glass made her suspect. It soon dawned on us that the schoolyard grapevine was right and Santa wouldn’t leave cookies in a fridge he wouldn’t visit again for another year and from everything we had been told about him, he didn’t wear Avon shade #12 lipstick either, so we knew the truth was that Santa and mommy were one in the same.
After opening our gifts that first Christmas after our discovery, my sister and I allowed our mother to hang on for a little while to the belief that her daughters still had the innocent belief in fairytales and myths. But that Christmas we just said how thankful we were for being fortunate enough to receive gifts; we no longer gave the glory to the man in the red suit. Our mother’s eyes began to have less envy in them for the sleigh driver who had stolen part of her joy for years. When she went into the kitchen she saw the note we had left on the plate of half-eaten cookies that said, “Thanks for all you do.”
That Christmas, we started a new tradition, every Christmas morning we would go out in the front yard, lay down in the snow and move our arms and legs side to side leaving snow angles on our lawn. Mommy was always in the middle with a daughter on each side. We left our marks every Christmas morning that we didn’t need Santa or anyone else because we were, and always would be, the Three Musketeers.
Lorraine Elzia is the award-winning author of "Mistress Memoirs" and "Ask Nicely and I Might." Please visit her online at www.lorrraineelzia.com.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
What Christmas means to me: when I think of this very special holiday, one word comes to mind and that's FAMILY. The one holiday that brings everyone together no matter where they are in the world. I also think of Christmas as a time of reflection of the entire year and being thankful to get another chance to celebrate such a wonderful holiday. No matter if you have money or a million gifts under the tree, as long as you spend Christmas with the people you love you'll feel like the richest person on earth. That's what Christmas means to me.
Jessica A. Robinson is the author of the best-selling Holy Seduction, and Pretty Skeletons. Purchase your copy of Holy Seduction from Black Expressions, and all of her books are available in Kindle, Nook and paperback, and whereever books are sold.
Two years ago
It was Christmas Eve and I was excited about having two weeks off from work b/c I would get to spend time with my mother-in-law who was living with us at the time. She was suffering from MS (had been for more than 20 years), so I was waiting for my sister to come and sit with her so that I could go out and do some last minute shopping. I went into her bedroom with my laptop and sat pecking away at my latest novel. She had been a librarian when she could work and loved reading and books. I began to read the story to her aloud and she asked me for the title of the book. I told her it didn’t one and that maybe she could help me choose and she offered a smile, which was difficult (b/c of the pain) for her.
I didn’t to get a chance to finish my last minute shopping b/c she closed her eyes forever before my sister showed up. I titled my book Dorothy, after her, because that strained smile helped me to remember what was so wonderful about life the next day.
LaToya S. Watkins
Author of In Love with Losers and Dorothy
Memories of White Christmases Past
Most everyone who knows me knows that I’m a native New Yorker that has been transplanted in the south for many years. Although I love the beauty of the warm weather and lush landscapes that the south offers, I will never give up my dreams for a White Christmas. I smile as I remember the days of my youth, watching the snow fall against the Brooklyn asphalt on Christmas Eve, wondering what it will look like when I awaken the next morning. On Christmas day, my sister and brother and I would awaken early and go running into the living room to see what Santa had left under the tree for us. But before anyone opened a gift, we’d all stand at the window, marveling at the blanket of snow that covered the ground outside our third floor apartment. It may as well had been a scene from a Thomas Kinkade painting, the kind you see on the butter cookie tins that Grandma always had sitting on the counter, right next to the holiday nuts and ribbon candy. All day, we’d watch the snow fall and listen to my mother’s Gene Autry Christmas album. Christmas day has an unexplainable beauty of its own, but a white Christmas gives the day that extra touch that makes it just a bit more magical.
~S.D. Denny is the author of "The Baker's Dozen," and soon to be released "Half."
Learn more about this dynamic author at www.sddenny.com.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Male Talk Show Hosts for Why Are So Many Black Women Single?
Tell me, is this rose any less beautiful because it is a single, red rose?
It never ceases to amaze me how and why so many men, namely African-American men, especially talk and radio show hosts, claim to have all the answers to what they THINK is the #1 problem plaguing black women in America today – BEING SINGLE! I’ll give it to them, not all of them claim to have the answer to what they call “the problem”, but, if they don’t have the answer, they certainly seem to have placed it at the top of their list of problems that they deem worthy of repetitive discussions. But for the record, I have to give it up to Steve Harvey... at least he has taken the time to put in writing what he feels will help women of all statuses to maneuver through relationship drama, rather than put them down for being single or make it appear to be as bad as having a disease!
Newsflash… the state of being single for a black woman is NOT A BAD THING!
I am a 45-year-old single woman and mother of two, who has never been married. That may seem unorthodox to some, but my life is what it is and I’ve managed to take what some consider a hopeless situation and turn it around for the better. I don’t hold a degree, but I do have some college courses under my belt. I have worked in healthcare for many years in positions ranging from Customer Service Representative to Business Analyst and I’m the award-nominated, published author of two books, with the third being released in May 2011. Let me also say that I'm also in the process of starting a business, which I plan to be fully operational by summer of 2011. Not bad for a Single Woman, huh?
I’m not saying I don’t need a man, nor am I what some call the male-bashing, so-called independent, strong woman type who feels she has acquired so much strength that she can do it all by herself; however, on the other hand, the life that I’ve lived has required me to be strong at times when women are typically thought of as being weak, when I could have easily fallen apart and lost everything I had, including my mind, and all in the absence of a man to help me to hold things together.
For those of you who think that being single is at the top of the list of a black woman’s woes, let me break down the list of benefits there are to being a single black woman:
• A single black woman has more of the time and the freedom often required to adequately take advantage of opportunities for advancement and personal growth in areas such as education and pursuing one’s dreams.
• A single black woman is more in the position to maneuver within the purpose for her life when it involves community and civil outreach because she has fewer restrictions on her time and availability.
• A single black woman has more of the time and mental capacity needed to work on getting to know who she is and who she is meant to be, whereby being able to make better decisions about her life and better choices with whom she will allow to take up space in her life or become partners with in life.
So, you see, it is NOT a bad thing to be a single, black woman! In fact, women should consider themselves privileged to be at such an advantage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had married women tell me they wish they had one or more of the advantages I’ve listed above, and how many have admitted to wishing they had waited or worked on themselves and their dreams before committing to marriage. It takes time to learn that two half-people do NOT make a whole person, and that the greatest love of all is the love you have for God and for yourself.
There’s a Bible verse, Proverbs 18:22 that says: Whoso findeth a wife, findeth a good thing. So, why have things turned around so in society that single, black women are now led to believe that the number of available, good men is so few that we have to battle it out with other women to land a man, as if the man is the prize? Not so! I refuse to believe that I have to change my values because of this new “black woman you’d better get yourself a man by any means possible” mentality! I’m still a gift and a treasure to behold and I still believe that whoever finds me, finds a good thing!
I’m NOT saying that married black women should now leave their husbands. Please do NOT put words in my mouth. But what I AM saying is that single, black women should embrace being single! You are blessed to be in the position to become a better YOU! Take pride in your singleness and stop letting people tell you that being single is a problem or downfall. I’ll never forget the scene in the movie The Color Purple when Celie finally decides to leave her abusive husband, Albert, and he follows her outside saying “Who you think you is? You can’t curse nobody. Look at you. You’re black, you're poor, you're ugly, you're a woman, you're nothing at all!” He used all the words he could think of in his sick mind to make her think she would never succeed.
Single, black women please take advantage of this time and opportunity to walk in your purpose, pursue your dreams and love the beautiful woman that God has made in you! There’s nothing wrong with you. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting a mate, but until God has blessed you with the right person for you, know that it’s okay to be single in the meantime! And never settle just because society thinks it’s better to have a man than to have no man at all.
Author of The Baker’s Dozen and the upcoming novel, HALF
Available on amazon.com and other fine book retailers
Friday, December 3, 2010
We’re Spreading Holiday Cheer!
Join the Authors of Peace In The Storm as we celebrate Christmas with the 12 Days of Peace, Love & Joy with Peace In The Storm.
Beginning December 6, 2010, we will post trivia, moments and special memories from the authors, and chances for you to win big during our 12 Days of Peace, Love & Joy with the Peace In The Storm Christmas Celebration.
Get to know the Authors of Peace In The Storm and make sure you know your PITS history; you may win a grand prize!
Celebrate Christmas with Us and you are eligible to win Grand Prizes including Books, Music, and Special Gifts!