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Happy Groundhog Day/Happy Birthday

While today, February 2, is Groundhog Day, it was also my father’s birthday. Dad, who enjoyed sharing a birthday with this famous prognosticator, would have been 112 years old if he were alive today.

Happy BirthdayBut Dad was far from being the only member of my family to celebrate a February birthday on a date that was also known for other reasons. Both my sister and I have daughters who were born on Valentine’s Day.

Then there’s my mother, who will be 102 on February 22 and who shares a birthday with George Washington.

And I can’t forget my sister-in-law, born on February 25, who was fortunate enough to be born on a day that isn’t also recognized for another reason.

So here’s wishing a happy February birthday to Dad, Mom, Allison, Lisa, and Margaret.

And to everyone else, happy Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day. For a short month, February sure has a lot going on.

Wishes for 2013

If you had just one wish for the coming year that you knew would positively come true, what would it be?

Improved health for a loved one?

Good health for yourself?

I’m guessing you wouldn’t wish for money or success because those would be worthless without your health or the continued presence of the people you love.

So what would you wish for?

If you’re like me, you’re really glad that you aren’t in a position to make that decision.

So, considering that I have unlimited wishes, I wish everyone health, happiness, and a Happy New Year!

An End Draws Near

The view from my deck this afternoon is one of gloom. Skies are overcast, but it’s too warm to snow, so we’ll have to settle for the bleakness of a December evening.

12-31-12It’s December 31, the last day of 2012, and all the television shows are busily looking back on the events of the past year. There are many tragedies to review and relive, but I like in my personal life to relive the fun times. The family reunions, the visits with my mother (who will be 102 in February of 2013), fun times with my grandson and his parents, and sharing laughter with my husband.

I’m thankful for all of those occasions plus the friendships with my writer friends. We’ve had several years together, learning our craft and sharing disappointments and successes. I look forward to more successes in 2013.

So goodbye, 2012. And hello, 2013. One year from today, I hope I’m here writing a similar post, reminiscing about the good times and looking forward to the future with optimism.

Christmas with Tiffany is free December 5-6

For a couple of days (December 5 and 6), Christmas with Tiffany will be free on Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle app. Here’s a little bit about the story:

Tiffany Elwood’s small-town gift shop has become her refuge. The quiet ambiance she created there helps her find peace after losing her father to cancer and her boyfriend to the sophisticated lures of California. Now, with Christmas fast approaching, she has high hopes that the profits from her annual open house will help her support her mom and little sister through the coming year.

But her peace is disrupted when her tiny shop is inundated with ten times the number of ornaments she’d ordered, not to mention the return of that old boyfriend, Bain Lyndhurst. Every time she turns around, the former man of her dreams is in her shop, and there’s no accounting for his sudden affinity for purchasing Christmas decorations.

With the magic of the Christmas season to aid them, can the two star-crossed lovers rediscover the passion of their youth and establish the trust they need to face the future together?

If you’re in the mood for a sweet and short Christmas story, feel free to download Christmas with Tiffany while it’s free. But if you miss the free days, it’s still a good buy at 99 cents. Enjoy!

Carolynn Carey on StoryFinds

A fond farewell to October!

October is almost gone, which is sad in a way. Not that it hasn’t been beautiful. I love October skies when they are so perfectly blue and clear, the perfect backdrop for the changing leaves. We have a maple in our front yard that turns a bright orange every fall. One day when I was outside working, I captured a beautiful picture of both the sky and the colorful leaves.

The changing leaves often bring with them memories of long-ago autumns. When I was a child, one of the most fun activities of fall was jumping into piles of dead leaves that my mother had raked up. We had many, many maples in the yard at the house where I was raised, and fall always resulted in a great deal of work getting the leaves up.

Other fall memories revolve around the smell of burning leaves. Those were the days when people didn’t have to worry about burn permits. We just raked our leaves into the driveway (which was gravel) and set them on fire. I can almost smell that odor floating on the crisp fall air, a fragrance that heralded the changing of the seasons.

Yes, October is almost gone. Halloween is only a couple of days away, and Thanksgiving will be here in less than a month. Goodbye October. I’ll miss you.

Where did summer go?

I glanced at the calendar today and realized that summer of 2012 will be officially over day after tomorrow. The first day of autumn arrives on September 22. The signs of fall have been in the air for some time, but just this week the mornings have started turning cool in that way that feels like fall of the year. The angle of the sun has changed, and the leaves are beginning to turn.

Some dates near the end of September hold special significance in my family. Tomorrow (September 21) is my husband’s and my wedding anniversary, and next Tuesday (September 25) is our grandson’s birthday. September 25 was also my parents’ anniversary. They were married in 1926. My father died in 1976, a month before they would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

How do you feel about fall of the year? Is it a happy time for you, or does it tend to make you melancholy because it heralds the end of summer?

The Fun of Family Reunions

Food, fun, and lots of talking: These are the ingredients for a successful family reunion, and all were present at the Lester Family Reunion in Jamestown, Tennessee, on July 14, 2012. The reunion takes place every other year, beginning in 2002. The last reunion prior to 2002 was held in Indiana in August of 1962.

What is remarkable to me is that the family members—after a forty-year hiatus and having spread out into various communities mostly in Indiana and Tennessee—had the desire and will to arrange to meet again. I take this as a tribute to the strength of blood ties.

But let’s face it. It’s fun to talk about the past with people who lived it with us (even if we haven’t seen them in years) and to meet others who can trace their lineage back to long-deceased ancestors. Thanks to all who pulled this reunion together and to all who traveled to be with us. I’m already looking forward to 2014.

Everyone enjoyed the pictures taken many years ago of John H. Lester (1872-1952) and Sallie Bates Lester (1875-1954). Many of their grandchildren, great grandchildren, and other descendants enjoyed the Lester Family Reunion.