26 Reasons to be Thankful.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~Melody Beattie

Today, and every day, I am filled with gratitude for an alphabet of blessings. Some are big; others are small. Some are common; others are unique. Some create a framework; others create a patchwork. All bring happiness and color to my life; all make me come alive. I hope the same is true for y’all – that whatever you’re giving thanks for this holiday, it brings a smile to your face and joy to your heart.

It was tough to narrow down this last, really tough, and I love that. Because, truly, twenty-six letters will never be enough to express my appreciation. Let me try, though:

Animals that make our lives better and more fulfilling. Books that transport us into their beautiful worlds and resound with a glittery kind of magic. Charities that provide so much help, in so many ways, for those who need it most. Daydreams and wishes that light our creativity on fire and turn those sparks into brilliant flames. Empathy that allows us to treat others with kindness in a world where there is, too often, not enough of that to go around. Friends and family who support me unconditionally and make my life so much more special, just by being in it. Good health, which will forever be the most important thing. Hot chocolate and hot chicken soup, which not only warm my body, but also my memories. Imagination, which lets me travel to places I’ve never seen and discover things I’ve never experienced. Jasper, my furry little love, who has brought more happiness and companionship to my life over these past two months than I even thought possible. Knitting and crocheting – not because I have any talent in either, but because Gram did and that means I get to have her with me always, just by grazing a hand over one of the blankets she made for me. Lunch notes from my mom – twelve school years’ worth, all of which make me smile whenever I reread them. Music and song lyrics that speak to the soul and remind us we’re not alone.

Nantucket, which has inspired several of my books and given me a place to dream of visiting one day. Ordinary moments that are extraordinary in their own right. Photographs that are freeze-frames in time and let us relive “moments like this” all over again. Qualified and compassionate doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, and teachers, all of whom impact countless lives with their work. Reading – not only books and news articles, but also the letters, emails, IMs, social media posts, and text messages that let me keep in touch with friends who might be far in distance, but never in thought. Shelters, both for people and animals, that offer a warm place to stay, loving care, and a voice for those who are trying to find their own. Television shows like General Hospital and American Idol, which have given me endless hours of entertainment, and, more importantly, friendships that will last a lifetime. Uniqueness – because life would be awfully boring if we were all the same. Ventnor, New Jersey, the place where I spent two weeks every summer growing up, the place that will always remind me of Grandmom Dot and Pop Joe, and the place I’ll always love with all my heart. Writing – my passion that only continues to grow and has gifted me with the most amazing experiences, getting to create stories in my head and meet the characters who write their journeys into my own, and also the most amazing people, a writing community that is, quite simply put, wonderful beyond words. Xylophones, guitars, drums, flutes, and all the other instruments that bring a melody to our everyday lives and make them hum with a new tune. You – all of you who are reading this, thank you for being in my life and changing it for good. Zealousness, because enthusiasm brightens every day.

That’s my alphabet of blessings. What’s yours?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Wishing you all the most beautiful holiday! XOXO.


Happy Thanksgivukkah!

“Thankful for the blessing
And the lessons that I’ve learned with you by my side.”
~Kelly Clarkson, “Thankful”

Hanukkah has always been one of my favorite holidays. Flickering flames dancing atop a rainbow of candles in the menorah, spinning dreidels whirling around and sliding to a stop, latkes and pizza and donuts waiting on the table … it is a holiday of togetherness, a holiday of love, a holiday of warmth. A holiday of miracles. It’s a time to remember our ancestors, to think of that oil which lasted for eight days, its dazzling light refusing to go out. Because that oil? It did the impossible, and Hanukkah reminds us that maybe, just maybe, we can do the impossible, too.

Combine the start of Hanukkah – last night at sunset – with Thanksgiving today and you have something uniquely special. What better duo than miracles and gratitude? I know a lot of people wish that Hanukkah didn’t fall out so early this year, and yes, perhaps it does feel a bit strange, but the convergence of both holidays is beautiful, too. It’s such a lovely reminder of what’s most important. I’ll be spending time with my family today for one holiday and then again on Sunday for another, but I actually adore that. What can be better than togetherness? What can be better than appreciation?

Today and always, I am thankful for:

A family who loves me unconditionally and both supports and takes joy in my dreams. Friends near and far, who share their laughter and inspiration, who are the family I choose. Good health, because, truly, that is everything. Loved ones who aren’t here in person any longer, but who will always and forever be here in spirit and heart. The chance to watch dreams turn into reality for people I love. Warm clothes, warm meals, warm homes. A passion for writing that continues to fill me up with every moment, continues to lift me up, and the opportunity to live out that passion every day. The pure happiness of creating stories in my head and finding my characters taking up residence in my heart, these characters who have become my family and whose stories have become part of my own. The journey to get my books published, because even though it is an emotional roller-coaster of epic proportions, it has also been – and, I’m sure, will continue to be – such a learning experience, such a growing experience. A writing community that welcomes and supports, that has introduced me to truly incredible people and friends. Talented and dedicated doctors, police, and firefighters. Terrifically resonating music, television shows, movies, and musicals, all of which provide an escape and a motivation. Beautiful books that invite me into the authors’ worlds and resound with magic so far beyond their pages. Fuzzy socks, warm scarves, soft sweaters, cozy boots. The Jersey shore and Nantucket, which inspired SANDS OF TIME, and Nashville, which will inspire my next manuscript. The ability to travel, to see new places and experience new things. The ability to daydream, to close my eyes and view unseen places, unseen twists of beauty, in my head. The ability to take long walks and breathe in nature’s magnificence. Comforting chicken soup, steaming hot chocolate, and refreshing frozen yogurt. My laptop, writing journals, and the plethora of pens that splash a rainbow across their pages. The “moments like this” with my favorite singers, authors, and soap stars. General Hospital and American Idol, and the amazing people I’ve met because of them. Polar bears, red pandas, puppies, and all animals. Nail polish, plaques with inspirational sayings, picture frames and the cameras that capture the freeze-frames in times that live inside them. Perfectly formed shells, and not-so-perfectly formed shells, because sometimes there is beauty in the broken. Song lyrics and quotes that speak to the soul. The extraordinary and the ordinary that’s extraordinary in its own right. The memories we make and the moments we create. A past of experiences that still fill me with love and a future ripe with limitless possibility.

For hope and faith, serendipity and action, light and life. For, as Remi and Charlotte remind me to do every day, following my whisper.

And, of course, for friends like you, who make my world better just by being in it. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and Happy Hanukkah to those of you celebrating. Much love. XO.