Ann's Blog
Ann McCauley is a Pennsylvania women's literature author, who wrote the books Runaway Grandma and Mother Love, both available for sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

December 2016
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Happy New Year!
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 3:23 pm

We had a white Christmas, and then a few days later - all the snow melted. Yesterday it started to snow again. Today we are in the middle of a major lake affect snow storm, when I walked our dog this morning, the snow was up to my knees and I am tall. It’s been snowing all day and my tracks are already covered. But we still love snow. It is so beautiful to see the tree branches laced with snow. It gives me a feeling of peace.

I love December with all the hub-bub and gatherings of friends and family. I really do. While at the same time it leaves me exhausted. Some nights I don’t get to bed until one A.M. As I am busy doing all the little extras that make the holidays extra special, and are noticed only if not done. This year I fear I may have forgotten to send some people  a Christmas card, and very likely sent others two cards! Our church Christmas Pageant was beautiful, as always. Even though it included a purple camel. Don’t ask!

We hosted a Christmas dinner party for nineteen dear friends on December 21st, which included a special toast to one of our group who had passed away too soon … due to the cruelty of cancer.

Then on Christmas Eve the family gathered and we hosted a dinner for another nineteen of our favorite people, most of our immediate family. But not all, and we missed those who were unable to join us. My favorite part of Christmas Eve is after the dinner is cleaned up and we turn out all the lights except the Christmas tree. Everyone holds a lighted candle and we sing Christmas Carols, there’s always someone who grumbles about singing BUT I believe most of them like it as much as I do. One of the last songs they sing and with too much enthusiasm is, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Of course, our closing song is Silent Night. Followed by lights on, collected candles and opening gifts. We had three great-grands with us under the age of five. Little ones make Christmas extra-fun!

We have seen several good movies this month:
Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle of Love by Dolly Pardon. We loved this one so much we bought a copy. It is the second part to Coat of Many Colors that she produced last year. The same cast, just wonderful.

Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. Fantastic and haunting movie.

Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Another emotionally charged and unforgettable movie.

From Netficks we watched three noteworthy movies this month:
Australia, starring Nicole Kiddman and Hugh Jackson. An Historical fiction about cattle wars in the Australian outback pre - WW II. A good movie.

All The Way, an historical movie about LBJ and Lady Bird. I don’t remember the actors names but it was well done and definitely worth watching.

Sweet Bean, a Japanese movie with English translation to read. It started out a bit slow but we soon became engrossed and forgot we were reading the dialogue. Another movie worth watching with a story that will long stay with you. (I didn’t realize it was a foreign movie when it started and had set up to finish the ironing, so my husband had to read the all the verbal interactions to me for the first half hour. I just can’t iron and read at the same time.)

And, of course, we watched, Its A Wonderful Life, as we do every Christmas. LOVE that movie, and every year I notice some thing that I hadn’t remembered from previous viewings.

I also made time to read several books: (I love to read Christmas novels in December.)
Christmas Town by Donna Van Liere.An inspiring story about creating family when we are willing to take a chance. *Donna Van Liere sets the bar high in creating meaningful Christmas stories.

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber. (A Christmas Gift.) A lovely quick read to help the reader feel like Christmas.

A Cup of Christmas Tea, by Tom Hegg. A beautiful Christmas book I’ve had for years. Can be read in thirty minutes but has a story that will stick for years.

Tidings of Comfort & Joy, by T. Davis Bunn. Another book I’ve had for years. Historical fiction post WW II, a teenage girl reluctantly
spends Christmas with her elderly grandmother. They
share a part of the past and a part of the future together, and discover a gift that gives
true meaning to Christmas.

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult. This is the best book Picoult has ever written. Not at all like her other novels, which were all above average. She tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice and compassion with empathy and intelligence. I highly recommend this one!

A Time to Heal, by Todd McClimans. (Advance copy for review, the third in his American Epochs Series.) This time travel novel takes the same two characters, Kristi and Ty, to the Battlefields and Hospitals of the American Civil War. The characters growth are portrayed realistically with great research, wit, surprise plot twists and great writing.

Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout. (Library book) An earlier Strout novel before Olive Ketteridge, another  memorable story with good character development and plot twists. A brilliant minister marries a wealthy spoiled beauty, they settle with their new baby in a parsonage in small New England town that has only one church.

my grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry, by Fredrik Backman. (A Christmas gift.) Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and a little crazy. She’s also Elsa’s only friend. Her grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, and the adventure begins. Backman’s writing holds the same comic accuracy as in  A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death, and the right to be different.

As I wrote this blog, it occurred to me that maybe all those movies and books could also be reasons for my late nights!

Till next time, keep reading my friends.

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