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“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days.” – Charles Dickens

It’s almost here! Christmas is circling my house, clapping its hands in eager anticipation. The tree is up, the presents are in hiding, and the carols are queued up on my phone. Outside, the fresh-fallen snow adds a clean beauty to the streets, and everyone seems just a little more friendly to strangers.

Christmas is an odd time of year in Canada. Although we no longer collectively celebrate the birth of Christ, still the season carries a difference. Some would argue it’s been reduced to the triumph of corporate greed, others that it remains for family and generosity, but both these theories ring hollow to me. Why do we binge fanatically on the same old Christmas movies, eat the same food, listen to the same music, and follow the same traditions year after year?

In short, because we are remembering.

In a world that’s lunging forward at a hectic pace, grasping at one more upgrade before hurling itself into the abyss, Christmas is a time to look back. We cling to traditions not because we find such original inspiration in them. (Really, we’re never shocked that Christmas doesn’t come from a store, that Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.) We learn nothing new. We glean no new insights. We are surprised only by the gift (maybe) that we unwrap. And that’s exactly the point.

Ironically, despite the frantic race to buy new things, Christmas is actually about the opposite: old things, old years, old memories. Am I the only one that finds the merriment of Christmas wrapped around a warm melancholy of remembrance?

I’ve just set up my Christmas tree. It’s green and glowing, alive with joy, decked out like a bride. But already dying. It’s needles are stiffening, its fragrance fading, its colour turning. Like our present moment, it is passing from now to then, from experience to memory. Next Christmas will bring a new tree, and new joys, but not this tree or this joy. With this tree are bound up the moments of this Christmas. And so to me, a Christmas tree is beautiful and merry and yes, also sad.

But there is something good about this sadness. It reminds us to stop. Remember. Christmas always reminds me of my mom. She loved Christmas and poured herself into it with giddy delight. At Christmas morning, the coffee table would be groaning with candy, the tree spilling with presents like a cornucopia. It was wonderfully ridiculous! A celebration of abundance! I may not remember every gift I opened, but I do remember my mom’s beaming face and child-like joy, happy to give, to love, to be.

Every Christmas, I am reminded to look back, to remember people who are gone, joys that are now memories, shared times and cherished spaces. And in so doing, I hope I learn better how to drink the present joys before they too are gone, to be won back, just for a moment, to the “delusions” of my childish days.

The Steps We Take

Life happens one step at a time.

Some steps are big and scary. Some are joyous. Some are small, simple things that we never seem to have time for. But all steps have to happen, one way or another.

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was six. I would sneak onto the family computer, load up the big blue DOS writing screen, and start pecking away at my first tiny masterpiece. The protagonist was a heroic dog. The victim, a poor panda bear caught in a river, unable to swim. All appeared lost, the end was nigh, the river a swirling chaos of destruction. Until – at the last moment! – the heroic dog leapt into the river and rescued the panda bear from certain doom.

I thought it was pretty good. I was pretty pleased with myself. That was my first step.

Many years¬†later, in what feels like another lifetime, I continue to place one foot in front of the other. Writing books is all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There is an unbelievable chasm between that first word, bursting with limitless potential, and the final exhausted click of a button that means the formatting is done, the words are set, the endless revisions are at an end, and the printer stands ready. Uploaded. Ready to go. Now the real work begins.

Can you relate? Are you in the midst of a daunting project, or a dream that seems to draw back, the closer you get? Life is full of mystery, bursting with potential, but only if we get up and do something with it. Find who you are, find what you’re designed to be and do. Find the thing you have to do.¬†And then don’t let go.

This website is just another step on my journey towards being a published author. Here, I’ll be able to keep you informed with news, blog posts, updates on my latest projects, and links to my books as they become available. Also, feel free to reach out to me on my contact page, or follow me through social media.

Thanks for stopping by!

Now for the next step.

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