Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Take That in Your Traveling Tupperware and Stuff It

Hooray for this time of year, when in true holiday fashion I can take something reasonably healthy, like oat cereal, and corrupt it until it retains virtually none of its nutritive elements, and like a culinary alchemist, change it into tasty, cholesterol-and cheese-laden gold. Here are

10 Things I Feel Like After Too Much Holiday Food:

  1. A humongous, slightly mobile appetizer made of cream cheese, semi-sweet chocolate morsels, bacon bits, Cheeze Whiz, mayonnaise, and mini-marshmallows on top
  2. Gurgling cheese ball
  3. Chocolate-engorged food tick
  4. Over-moussed moose
  5. Raw, overstuffed poultry
  6. Ginormous, un-popped cheesecake zit
  7. Big glob of extremely well-marbled, past-its-prime rib
  8. Giant, bloated gravy truffle
  9. Piggy-food-bank
  10. Baked couch potato loaded with sour cream, bacon, chives, and Cheeze Whiz

Shouldn’t there be a list of acknowledgments for detractors, naysayers, underminers?  All the people who did not believe in you.  The people who got in your way or who tried to bring you down.  These people deserve to be acknowledged, too.  They should be on lists titled F*** You and Special F*** You and Very Special F*** You.  ~Cynthia Kaplan, Leave the Building Quicikly

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dastardly Dozen

On the twelfth day before Christmas, many hassles befell me:
Twelve people in line,
Eleven shirt boxes missing,
Ten shoppers griping,
Nine un-matching gift tags,
Eight packages that need mailing,
Seven ornaments shattered
Six inches of packing tape left
Five more inches of snow!
Four backordered gifts
Three mile parking lot walk
Two sore feet
And a light that still won’t light on the tree!

It’s been a particularly hectic season here. Isn’t it amazing that a holiday that’s about love and brotherhood can so quickly and ironically make you feel the opposite? So it’s all the more important to me this year to stop and remember all that’s wonderful—and you are one of them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and have a happy holiday!

Squidward: Who would want to celebrate a holiday where a fat man breaks into your house and leaves gifts?
Patrick: Like a genie!

~Spongebob Squarepants

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fifth Annual Chicken Soup for the Soul, Canned Soup for the Body Book Signing Canceled

Shown left to right in 2011 photo: T'Mara Goodsell, Theresa Sanders, Linda O'Connell, and Cathi LaMarche. Not pictured: Nina Miller, Sioux Roslawski and Beth Wood.
It's our fifth year!

Saturday, December 14, 2013 CANCELED DUE TO SNOW! 
Main Street Books, 307 So. Main Street, Saint Charles, MO

We'll try to keep you posted on any rescheduling. In the meantime, stay warm and safe!

Be sure to stop by Main Street Books next Saturday for the fifth annual "Chicken Soup for the Soul, Canned Soup for the Body" book signing. We will be signing Chicken Soup books at staggered times this year. The schedule is:

11AM-1PM: Cathi LaMarche and Nina Miller

1-3PM: Linda O'Connell, Theresa Sanders and T'Mara Goodsell

3-5PM: Beth M. Wood and Sioux Roslawski

Bring a canned good to be donated to a local food pantry and receive 20% off your entire purchase all day.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Orange Prayer

Years ago, when I was student teaching in a rather snobbish Midwestern high school, I sometimes ate lunch with another teacher. The two of us were outcasts who ended up tablemates due to our respective disabilities. Hers was that she was blind. Mine was that I was 21. I don’t remember what my friend’s name was or what she taught. What I do remember is the time she ate an orange.

She divined her way around the rind, then held it in front of her face like a crystal ball and pried off the peel, smiling into the air as she did. The finest sparkling spray, backlit by the fluorescent lights of the teachers’ lounge, poofed into her face like a magic spell. When she laughed with childish delight, I realized she’d cast it on purpose.

Then she carefully separated the segments, arranged them on her napkin, and steepled her orange-scented hands in front of her nose and breathed in the scent as if it were a life-giving prayer of thanks. And I believe in a sense it was.

She turned to me and beamed. “There’s nothing like eating an orange,” she said.

I have never seen an orange in quite the same way since. In fact, she taught me to see thanks itself in a new way.

For that gift, too, I am immensely thankful.

“…that’s why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through our hands.” Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Past Love

When editors Kate Harper and Leon Marasco of Spruce Mountain Press informed me that I’d won an honorable mention in this year’s Past Loves Day competition, they did so through one of the loveliest and most personal letters I’ve ever received. I was moved all over again. If you are so inclined, hop on over and take a look at the 2013 winners.

And take a minute to think about the loves you may have left behind.

This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we’re most sure that love can’t conquer all, it seems to anyway. It goes down into the rat hole with us, in the guise of our friends, and there it swells and comforts. It gives us second winds, third winds, hundredth winds. ~Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies