Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Story Contest

The RJ is having a contest to write a Christmas story. It can't be more than 300 words and you have to use the words, reindeer, jolly, wise men, Dickens, humbug, partridge, star, bell, mistletoe, tinsel, inn and stocking.  Here's my first attempt. I'd really like your feedback.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said as I walked through the Christmas display near the entrance of the Royal Hotel and Casino.

 “What’s wrong?” Charlene said, the bells dangling from her ears tinkled as she swung her head to face me. Charlene Partridege loved Christmas. She put up the office tree topped with a blinking star and hung a stocking on each desk even before Thanksgiving. She set a tiny nativity scene on her desk complete with wisemen and shepperds. I drew the line when she tried to hang mistletoe from my door. She’d even suggested the entire office staff dress up in costumes from Dicken’s Christmas Carol. As the director, I squashed that idea immediately. I had a feeling I knew which role she’d envisioned for me and, although I admit I wasn’t feeling the Christmas spirit this year, I had no intention of going around saying bah humbug every few minutes.

  “Santa’s workshop in a casino? Please tell me they didn’t dress up the cocktail waitresses as Santa’s helpers this year.”

 “I think they look adorable.”

 I rolled my eyes. I didn’t see a jolly Santa on a throne, but off to the side of the workshop sat a giant sleigh and eight huge reindeer on a snow-covered platform surrounded by Christmas trees. Wrapped presents of all sizes and shapes spilled from a red bag. A long line of people wound around the display. I watched as each one handed an elf a wrapped package.

 Charlene walked over and picked up one of the gifts. “See, each one has name on it. Thanks to our employees and customers there won’t be one child in this town that doesn’t have at least one gift this Christmas.”

  I felt it then—the true spirit of Christmas. For the children of Tinsel town we had room at the inn.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Art of Being Happy

My life hasn't been perfect, but other than erasing a few really stupid things I did when I was younger, I wouldn't change it. One of the things I've learned is that it takes a whole lot of energy to be sad, but very little to be happy.

When I took out the trash a few minute ago,  the sun was shining. Warm air caressed my nose and my arms and I felt happy. Happiness can be as simple as basking in the sunshine for just a few minutes, holding a new baby, reconnecting with an old friend, or taking a nap with my husband. It's lunch with my mom and daughter, a text from a grandchild, or hearing a baby laugh. It's taking a moment to enjoy a clean house even if I know it won't stay that way for more than five minutes. It's the smell of clothes straight from the dryer, or fresh baked bread.

Sometimes it's the feeling of satisfaction I get when I work hard, such as losing a few pounds, finishing writing a chapter on my new book, taking a dinner in to a neighbor or even pulling weeds from my flower beds. Or it can be as easy as running my car through a car wash, eating out at a new restaurant, or settling in my easy chair to watch my favorite TV program.

Unlike sadness which can linger, happiness is fleeting, usually experienced in single moments. The art of being happy is taking the time to savor those moments.