At Christmas time we usually had friends for dinner. Of course that was a few years ago but let’s pretend things are perhaps a little more normal than 2021.
Let me reword that first line. A few years ago we dined with good friends of ours. It was two couples we’re friends with (they’re regular humans who don’t know we’re Vampires). It is a dress up affair. We have cocktails; take in the theater or a concert, then have dinner and more drinks. And my darling husband Teddy and I get a little blood donation and leave our hosts feeling warm and fuzzy and full of holiday cheer.
I wore a black dress with red heels. It was set off with a gold necklace of delicate flowers with red garnets, enameled holly leaves and seed pearls.
Last year, around this time, I decided to calm and rest, pause and focus on what’s important. However, even if I kept hope alive inside of me, things didn’t go the way I had planned ( or hoped for). This year, I decided to take a new path and face a new adventure. Christmas time will prepare me for the time ahead of me, and I will ask my Creator to help me through all this, protect me, and show me the way… just as he did show it to the Three Wise Men…
Writer’s Treasure Chest grew again and I have to thank you all, my Followers, Friends, and Readers!
Thank you so much for making my writing adventure a pleasant one!
When I read that quote, I felt like this was the life anchor that held me grounded. It seemed I did a lot of that during my life…
I’m not going into details right now, otherwise, you’re still going to read tomorrow. (And no, just in case you’re asking me that, I won’t write an autobiography). I think, after all, my life was only interesting to me.
I consider myself someone who’s still searching. Searching for somewhere to belong… a place… a heart… a spot… something. At times I walk down a path and then seem to realize I walked in the wrong direction. So, what am I doing? I’m trying to correct that.
I might not have always made the best decisions in my life. But I was never bored. I try to learn from walking in the wrong direction and do better next time. It might work someday, who knows?
Am I asking myself, if that new path I’m about to walk down will be the right one? Yes, of course, I am. On the other hand, as one of my close friends says: “Everything happens for a reason”. Maybe this time I will see what’s at the end of the path… and maybe this time I will find the happiness – and the heart I was looking for…
Gregory David Roberts (born Gregory John Peter Smith; 21 June 1952) is an Australian author best known for his novel Shantaram. He is a former heroin addict and convicted bank robber who escaped from Pentridge Prison in 1980 and fled to India, where he lived for ten years.
Roberts reportedly became addicted to heroin after his marriage ended and he lost custody of his young daughter. To finance his drug habit, Roberts turned to crime, becoming known as the “Building Society Bandit” and the “Gentleman Bandit”, because he only robbed institutions with adequate insurance. He wore a three-piece suit, and he always said “please” and “thank you” to the people he robbed.
At the time, Roberts believed that his manner lessened the brutality of his acts but, later in his life, he admitted that people only gave him money because he had made them afraid. He escaped from Pentridge Prison in 1980.
In 1990, Roberts was captured in Frankfurt, trying to smuggle himself into the country. He was extradited to Australia and served a further six years in prison, two of which were spent in solitary confinement. According to Roberts, he escaped prison again during that time, but thought better of it and smuggled himself back into jail. His intention was to serve the rest of his sentence to give himself the chance to be reunited with his family. During his second stay in an Australian prison, he began writing Shantaram. The manuscript was destroyed twice by prison staff while Roberts was writing it.
On my own account:
Just in case you’re asking yourself: Do I think it’s wise, or even ‘cool’, to quote Gregory David Roberts? My answer is no. To be frank, I’m not the biggest fan of the man – but this particular statement is worth quoting.
After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out.
When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.
Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.
Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.
Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture.
Sundance is a promising young Warrior Angel, the first in centuries to join the Divine Army. With the help of one of the most powerful Archangels, her skill and talent develop, allowing her to master some of the most difficult tasks that face her kind.
Sundance, under the supervision of the ‘Council of Twelve’ seeks to prove that she deserves her unusual gifts in the eternal fight between good and evil. Follow her adventures as she discovers love, fights the good fight, and finds herself in the heat of battle trying to keep her wings from being singed.
Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the Good side. With her unusual looks, her phenomenal sense of smell, and her bravery, she quickly draws ‘The Big 7’s attention to her talent. They hire her to find one of them. Leaving her familiar surroundings and regular work environment unsettles Zepheira at first. But the challenge to prove herself and to increase the reputation of her infallibility tempts her. She is convinced she will be a great asset to ‘The Big 7’. Little does she know she will be a much greater asset in Heaven’s fight against Evil. Zepheira suddenly becomes more than a hired tracker. She finds herself an important pawn in the game of love, heat, and fire. Will her courage and sacrifice be sufficient to dance with the flames?
When Centriel roams the Earth in a dark mood and atypical despair, in a mountain clearing, far from humankind, he unexpectedly discovers a runner, followed by a petite hunter. The way the woman treats the giant fugitive amuses the Archangel, but he quickly learns that neither of them are what they seem to be.
Simin Arnatt is an extraordinary woman. Her occupation as a Bounty Hunter takes her all over the world, as she follows her prey to the most unusual places. She would have never expected to meet the famous Centriel while on a hunt. When he offers to help her, she feels the enormous attraction, but she knows, with the secret she holds, she could never dare to hope for love.
Neither of them could guess that with her next assignment, Hell is breaking loose…
A few years ago, the globally best-known Christmas song was determined. Of course, there was a long list of excellent, famous songs, like ‘Feliz Navidad,’ or ‘White Christmas’ to choose from.
But even though Bing Crosby’s song was the most successful, it wasn’t the best-known song.
Also, ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham was very successful and often streamed. But despite it being played almost too often around the world by uncountable radio stations, the song isn’t the best-known Christmas song in the world. However, some people are convinced it’s the most annoying Christmas song.
The best-known Christmas song, translated into 320 languages and dialects, is ‘Silent Night, Holy Night.’
In 1818, in Salzburg, Austria, curate Joseph Mohr wrote the words as a poem first and then searched for a composer who could vitalize his rhymes. Franz Xaver Gruber found the correct intonations and wrote the melody down on paper. (That particular paper was found in Salzburg in 1995).
The song was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011.
‘Silent Night’ was recorded and sold by numerous singers globally. And here we are, meeting Bing Crosby again. His version of Silent Night was sold over 30 million times.
Even though the original text contained six stanzas, the Silent Night is often sung with three stanzas: the first, the second, and the last.
Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright. Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child. Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight. Glories stream from heaven afar Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia, Christ the Saviour is born! Christ the Saviour is born
Silent night, holy night! Son of God love’s pure light. Radiant beams from Thy holy face With dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus Lord, at Thy birth Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht Alles schläft; einsam wacht Nur das traute hochheilige Paar. Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar, Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh! Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Hirten erst kundgemacht Durch der Engel Halleluja, Tönt es laut von fern und nah: Christ, der Retter ist da! Christ, der Retter ist da!
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht Lieb’ aus deinem göttlichen Mund, Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’. Christ, in deiner Geburt! Christ, in deiner Geburt!
Silent Night has always been mine and my Father’s favorite Christmas song. I remember very clearly with how much passion he sang this Christmas carol and how much he loved it. Even though he passed away 24 years ago, until this day, I cannot sing Silent Night anymore without being forced to give up, choked by tears.
I still love to hear it, year, by year, by year, that beautiful song, filling my heart with hope and peace.
I’ve recently gotten several reports of phone solicitations from a New Jersey-based bookstore called The Reading Glass Books.
Why would a bookstore be calling authors out of the blue? Well in this case, to sell shelf space: $350 for six months. Authors can direct the store to sell the books at whatever price they like, and will get “100% of the royalties” (which of course makes no sense, since direct sales proceeds are not royalties). And if you’re thinking that the store will order the books…no, no, no, don’t be silly. Authors must provide their own copies.
Paid shelf space for self-published authors isn’t a new idea. Here’s one entrepreneur who set up a bookstore entirely on that model (the store closed in 2019). And a few years ago there was some media coverage of independent bookstores that were renting shelf space to self-pubbed and small press writers–in some cases for a good deal more than $350.
Whatever you may think of paying for shelf space, these were all real brick-and-mortar stores in the business of selling books to the public–not exploitative schemes aimed primarily at extracting money from writers. Based on its solicitation phone calls, sketchy website, and array of other paid services, my guess was that The Reading Glass Books fell into the latter category. I wanted to be sure, though, so I did some research.
Reading Glass claims a physical address–7 Wrightstown Cookstown Road (aka County Road 616) in Cookstown, New Jersey. To my surprise, there actually is a storefront. It’s located in a small strip mall on a relatively empty stretch of road. Here’s an image,, courtesy of Google (note the prime location, between Air Transport International and Domino’s Pizza):
The first Advent wreath was created in 1839 by Johann Hinrich Wichern, a theologist and teacher. He made that advent wreath with four big and twenty small candles to bring joy to the street children. During their time of these poor children in the Rauhen House Hamburg, they all together could count the days until the evening before Christmas.
This first Advent wreath became a tradition during the advent time, which means the four weeks before the Holy Night. (December 24). Later, people made their Advent wreaths, smaller versions with four candles, which they placed on their tables. The idea for an advent wreath reminds us of much older paintings and images of light garlands of the Vikings and the Huns. But with the traditional Advent colors red, green, and purple, the form mainly refers to the Christian beliefs.
Later on, the tradition spread out from the North of Germany to the South, Bavaria, Austria, and Switzerland in the late 19th century.
Tradition and use
As mentioned before, the tradition says, the first Advent Sunday, four weeks before the Holy Night, the first candle will be lit. From this day on, that first candle is generally lit every evening, where, in Christian households, family members usually pray. On the second Sunday, the first and second candles are lit, the third Sunday, the third candle is added, and so on.
The candles are the tools to hold the raising light that announces the birth of Jesus Christ, who is called ‘The Light of the world,’ born December 24, in a stable in Bethlehem.
According to the Tradition, the first Advent Sunday in 2021 was November 28.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.
With a heavy heart, I had to take one of my Writing Assistants to the vet. I introduced my “Writing Assistant #2” in a blog post last June.
In November last year, Charlet was diagnosed with cancer. Together with her vet and medication Charlet lived another year, played, purred, and played pranks. Today I had to say goodbye to my little black tabby Maine Coon girl.
Two and a half years ago we moved across the ocean together. Today she traveled on without me.
Charlet crossed the Rainbow Bridge at around 2:30 pm on December 1, 2021.
A Tribute To Charlet
You were my kitty for full nine years
You brought me joy, annoyance & some fears.
You made me laugh and sometimes yell
But you got me stories that I now can tell.
You showed me love, and heart, and also trust
You left toys in the sink and vomit in the dust.
But never you bored me, my wonderful cat
No matter how much you annoyed me, I give you that.
And now, after illness, I can see the big part
You left me your paw prints right across my heart.
Fly free, little Charlet, go straight where’s no rain
Where you’re free of any burdens, fear or pain.
And one day, when I’m ready to walk the same street
That’s where I’ll find you, that’s where we’ll meet.