A Good Home

Myrtle and The Big Mistake – It’s not political!

Recently, interviewers have asked us whether the main themes of the new Myrtle the Purple book were taken from the ongoing headline stories about political misinformation and fake news in the United States.

The quick answer is “No!” The longer answer is: “At least, not intentionally!”

Co-author Lauren and I created Myrtle and the Big Mistake from the same source that inspired all previous books in the series: stories we heard repeatedly from children themselves. This one just happened to be about an untrue story being repeated till many people believe it’s true. 

But perhaps children in school playgrounds and adults have more in common than we know.

Myrtle and the Big Mistake starts when someone is hurt by a fast-circulating lie.  Myrtle and a small group of intrepid ‘investigators’ track down the source.  Once he realizes that he mistakenly started a lie that has hurt someone else, Garrett the parrot does the right thing. He apologizes to the person he has hurt. Then he goes back to everyone and corrects his mistake.  

If only it were so simple in the real world.  The very people who should correct their mistakes are often unwilling to do so – or they simply refuse to accept the facts.  As you read this, your mind may turn to American politicians, but remember this: it’s not just American politicians. 

Why is acknowledging our wrongdoing, apologizing and taking steps to correct it so difficult for so many of us to do? Is it pride? Fear that we will lose something? Or worse?

In Myrtle and the Big Mistake, Garrett the parrot does the right thing.  In response, Myrtle and Snapper, her friend who was wronged, forgive Garrett. Then, assured of his goodwill, they show their forgiveness by inviting him to play with their group.

Lauren and I write stories for children that show children solving a problem – often a problem that takes place on the playground or among friends in the neighbourhood.  Children, like adults, sometimes make mistakes and do something wrong.  We believe it’s never too early to pass on certain values. 

But we’re also hoping it’s not too late for some adults to remember these lessons themselves.

 

A Good Home

On the 4th day of Christmas…

Although my family focuses most on Christmas Day itself, Christmas, the season, starts on December 25.  It continues for 12 days till  sunset on January 5th.

So, in the spirit of celebrating the 12 days of Christmas, I share my harrowing search for the perfect Christmas tree. It’s the first in a series of Christmas poems and stories aired on 89.7 FM in Northumberland County, Ontario recently:
https://wordonthehills.com/2020/12/15/happy-holidays-1/

Stay safe and well, my friends!

Cynthia.

A Good Home

Christmas Words and Actions

I find myself hesitating, trying to find the right words. Is the greeting “Merry Christmas” still appropriate, during such a grim year?

My inspiration comes from my granddaughter, as I watch her picking herself up from falling, and setting forth once more with hope and determination towards a target.

Photo by Hamlin Grange

She falters, wobbles, but never loses hope. She’s going to make it across the room.  Way across the room to a favourite toy, to the ornaments and lights on the Christmas tree, to the loving outstretched arms of her parents or grandparents — or to the sleeping dog (who may or may not spy her just in time to make his escape before she grasps his ear or tail).

She is a bundle of hope, faith and perseverance. And every time she gets up or steadies herself, she’s filled with joy.

Our world may not be a very merry place this year.  But this Christmas season – this tough Christmas season — I wish you hope, faith, perseverance and joy.

May the words become actions and may the actions create reality for each of us.

Photo by Hamlin Grange

A Good Home

Searching for the Christmas Spirit

Trying hard to find “the Christmas spirit”, but I still haven’t found it.  It usually lands in my heart just before Advent — but not this year.  Must have something to do with missing loved ones and not going to church at all, due to the pandemic whose name I shall not call, except to say: “That damned pandemic!”

Yes – a person can both swear fervently and love going to church too. 

So, to lift my spirits, I went searching for blog posts of last year and the year before – when I did have that Christmas spirit.  Sharing this one with you now:

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Here, for your viewing pleasure (I hope), are some images from our home in the week before Christmas. We started decorating a few weeks ago.

Blog Photo - Christmas -Advent Calendar

The thing above is our unusual Advent calendar.

Before Advent officially began (December 3 this year), we wrote notes/quotes and put them in the tiny drawers. Important reminders of love, slowing down and appreciating our blessings.

Next, we brought out an oldish but favourite Christmas book.

Blog Photo - Christmas book exterior

Inside are pop-up scenes marking the 12 days of Christmas, which traditionally don’t begin till December 25.

Blog Photo - Christmas Book third day

Blog Photo - Christmas Book Three French Hens

Blog Photo - Christmas Book inside

Then the tree got properly decorated…

Blog Photo - Christmas ornaments Peace Angel

Blog Photo - Christmas Ornaments Golden Dove

Blog Photo - Christmas Tree 2017

Except for the lower branches.  We ran out of lights, planned to replace them before adding more decorations, but forgot.  

Blog Photo - Christmas Living rm 3

Then I assembled this centrepiece — using birch-bark candles by the talented artist Jean Long, pine cones, baubles, whatnots….

Blog Photo - Christmas plate and candles

And Santa’s sleigh, of course.

Blog Photo - Christmas Santa sleigh

Husband had already filled this very old basket with logs for the fire….

Blog Photo - Christmas Fireplace Logs in Basket

Blog Photo - Christmas 2016 - Logs Burning

Finally, the table was set with Christmas plates ….

Blog Photo - Christmas plate setting

Blog Photo - Christmas table2

And then I apparently ruined the “tablescape”.

Husband asked: “What on earth is that?”

“Those are real autumn leaves and real fake berries,” I replied. 
Blog Photo - Christmas Plate with leaves

“Hmm,” he said.

I didn’t tell him I planned to replace the leaves with green sprigs. A woman must retain some mystery, after all.

Wishing you a good week before Christmas and – whatever your special celebrations or preparations — I wish you all the spirited best of the season. You may interpret “spirits” however you prefer.