Category Archives: Holidays

Susan’t thoughts on some holidays – 4th of July, New Year’s Day, and others.

Christmas Blessings

Dear friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here and it’s only because of one thing – I have been working like crazy to get the manuscript to an editor because – are you ready for this???  I have a publisher!!!

It’s true!  I got an email from a publisher – it may have even been spam!! – inviting me to send in a query package.  I read through it and realized that this was not a self-publisher and I liked the in-depth questionnaire and its emphasis on marketing with a clear program of what I would be expected to do and what help they would provide.  There was no upfront outlay of my funds required and it all just felt good after I had filled out their forms. They said I should hear something in 6-8 weeks and if I hadn’t heard by then to assume that they thought I’d be a better fit with another publisher. (Isn’t that a sweet way to put a rejection?)

So I sent off a prayer and clicked send on the email with its precious cargo.  Four days later I got a phone call from one of their representatives asking me if I was serious about publishing my book and how close it was to being finished.  I almost fell out of my chair!  Four days – not four weeks!  And there was no “well, maybe we’d be interested” or “we’re considering this” – the guy told me if I was willing to move forward, it was just about a done deal.  They still have final refusal if they decide they don’t like the final manuscript but this guy told me that his boss had never done an over-ride on one of his choices – except for one Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde character that turned into the alter ego when he talked to the boss and he didn’t like him.

I told him – don’t worry – what you see now is what he and everyone else will ever get – I am the real thing and I don’t play.  He liked that and I liked him – when we hung up, he told me that his job now was to cajole, push, prod, bully, encourage, and basically do whatever it took to keep me motivated and my only job is to get a completed manuscript to him as soon as possible.

That’s where I’ve been for the past few months – I was working on it at the time but had to ratchet it up a few notches as I found several parts at the end that weren’t anywhere near complete – a fact that had completely slipped my mind.  I called my editor who has evaluated the first part of the book, absolutely loves it, and was waiting for me to call back.  She said she would have the time to do the edit if I could get it to her within the next week because her family was coming for Christmas and they had already laid down the law about her needing a vacation.  So I wrote like mad and I made it.

She has it and will have it ready in a week so I can do the final changes and get it to the publisher, hopefully by the 2nd week in January.  I can hardly believe this is happening – this has been my dream for so long that I keep pinching myself to see if I’m still dreaming!  Well, it hurts when I do that so I’m not dreaming!

My big job now while I’m waiting for the edited manuscript is to put together a marketing plan that has to be submitted with the manuscript – once they approve everything, we sign the contract and they say the book will be printed immediately and guess what then???  You get to buy it!  And tell all your friends to buy it!!  And tell all your enemies to buy it – heck just tell anybody anywhere – that’s what I need – the proverbial and never-failing word-of-mouth promotion program.

I have to say – I am so grateful to all of you who have weighed in here and those who have emailed me and to all my family and friends – your encouragement and kind words have kept me going and going and going . . .I really do feel like the Energizer Bunny of the Computer Keyboard – I just type and type and type and type – well you get the picture.

So, you must be wondering about the Christmas Blessings, which is the title of this blog.  So, here’s my thing about blessings – they are gifts and they can come from anywhere.  Here are my Christmas Blessings:

1. I am blessed by the gift from the God of the Universe who loved me enough to give me the wondrous gift of being able to communicate my feelings and beliefs through simple words.

2. I am blessed by the gift from the God of the Universe who loved me (and all of you) enough to give me a Savior, who in turn loved me enough to hang on a cross, suffer, and die for me.

3. I am blessed by the opportunity to stop and celebrate the birth of my Savior with all my faith singing loud and clear “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!”

4. I am blessed by the opportunity to stop and celebrate this sacred moment within the love of my family and friends, and I am particularly blessed that my son and family are staying home this year!

5. I am blessed by all who believe in me and are genuinely happy that I have finally finished this labor of love.

4. I am blessed by the stupendous gift of an editor who loves my book and a publisher who is excited about getting my book out into the world where everybody else who will love my book will buy it!

5. I am blessed by something that feels like a combination of courage, insanity, confidence, cockeyed optimism, and a whole lot of faith.  This blessing has resulted in my resignation from the “day job” at AAA, where I had become increasingly unhappy and stressed out and has me in front of my computer at home full-time.  I am waiting for all the blessings that I know will be coming from my websites and freelance writing jobs!!

6. My blessing for you all is that God will continue to shower blessings on you as we approach the Christmas season and start a new year.  May you enjoy all the blessings of the season with your family and friends.

So keep watching – very soon you’ll be getting the big Publication Announcement and you’ll be able to tell everybody – I have this friend who wrote a book . . . .

Merry Christmas to you all and may the year to come be filled with blessings from everybody and everywhere, but especially from our loving and generous God.

Susan+

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As you can tell, Susan Bowman, the “LadyFather” has written a book on her experiences in the ordained ministry.  Aptly named “Lady Father,” it is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.  Register below to receive her newsletter and important emails and don’t forget to check out Susan’s Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ladyfather.


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Happy 4th!!

Fireworks3Colors

Happy 4th!!

It’s Sunday, July 4th and I’m loving this day!  It’s gorgeous outside – although a little too warm for my tastes – and I have the rest of the day and all day tomorrow to enjoy! So, what am I doing? Working! But, this is working I like.  I’m pretty much done with punching a time clock and taking orders and am SO ready to do just what I’m doing today – working at what I want to do.  Although I really like the work I do at AAA – making TripTiks and helping people find good, cheap hotels and the best way south without going anywhere near the dreaded DC Beltway – my passion is writing and all I want to do is stay right here under my laptop with my feet up doing just that!

I’m getting closer as I have found several options for insurance that will cover me until Medicare kicks in – and I’m looking for one more gig that will bring me enough income to make up for what I would lose if I would just do AAA part-time. Not quite ready for the total break – still feel the need for a cushion – just in case….

As for my book – which I am trying desperately to get time to finish (another reason I need to be at home working) – I have a dynamite editor and she’s helping me a lot and I’m close – the comment below from a woman named Mable has stirred me up to get out there and really do some serious searching for another home job that’s not some scam that I have to pay $37 a month to possibly make $500 a week, but which in reality will only end up costing me $37 a month and make me mad!

Ring Around The Collar

Ring Around The Collar

In the meantime, I’m working on a newsletter – Ring Around the Collar – with a special message about the 4th of July and freedom and what it all means to me. So if you haven’t registered – it’s right there on the right – see the red arrows?  Go ahead and sign up – I don’t do this a lot so you won’t get inundated with tons of unwanted email – just a note every once in awhile until I get my book finished – then you’ll get the first word in a publication announcement!  So, have a happy day if  you’re reading this on Sunday, 7/4 – if not, hope you had a happy day – hope you are enjoying a day off – and hope you have spent a little time thinking about how great it is to be free in a world where so many aren’t.

If it’s Sunday and you’re reading this – don’t miss the Boston Pops Concert from the harbor – nothing better out there to enjoy the 4th!  Peace to you all,

Susan

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Susan Bowman, the “LadyFather” has written a book on her experiences in the ordained ministry.  Aptly named “Lady Father,” it is now available for purchase from Amazon.com.  Fill out the form below to receive our newsletter and important emails and don’t forget to check out Susan’s Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ladyfather.


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Happy New Year!

I don’t know what you’re doing on this first day of the year 2010, but I am having the happiest New Year’s Day possible – my grandchildren are here.  We’ve been to eat steak and now we’re all on a computer – Jared is playing Roblox, I’m making a bulletin for Sunday, and Emily is working on her brand new mini laptop.  It’s amazing how good she is on it and how much she knows about it already.

A few moments ago, she asked if she could read something to me – this is what she had written – keep in mind, she and her family spent Christmas in Mississippi and they drove without stopping both ways!  Read this and see what tree you think she fell from:

DISTANCE

Dear all parents:
I know that driving long distances will save you money, but it is still not a good idea. You can pack a million toys, but it won’t keep your children happy; they will get bored within 3 hours. You’re better off taking a plane. The first hour you’ll be all excited – second hour is fine – by the third hour you are frustrated searching for something to do. If you haven’t turned around by the fourth hour because of the whining and crying, you are crazy.

I wish you the best of luck.  If you don’t take my advice, you can’t blame me.  Blame your mother-in-law, your sister, or your cousin, but don’t blame me! Emily Bowman

After I stopped howling, she asked me for a subject to write about and I suggested, “how come I can’t ever find anything?”  In few minutes, she read this to me:

How to Lose Stuff

If you need to have an expert on losing stuff, talk to Susan Bowman. If you can settle for me, I would be happy – let us start. So, you need to set an item somewhere. Then put one thing on top of it and then a few things around it or – how Susan does it:  set it on a desk and come back in an hour. And if someone asks where it is, say the elves took it.  If they think you’re crazy – run. If these strategies don’t work, don’t take my advice anymore.

I cracked up again and then suggested she continue with how to find the lost stuff – here:

How to Find the Stuff You Lost

For this subject, you should not talk to Susan; she will not be any help. To find the stuff, you need to go to every room and every pile you see – take it apart.  If you followed my directions on how to lose stuff, the item you are looking for should be in one of those piles.

I FOUND IT!!!!

Now, I ask you, does it get any better than this?  Happy New Year to all of you out there and I hope you are enjoying the first day of 2010 as much as I am!

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Susan Bowman, the “LadyFather” has written a book on her experiences in the ordained ministry.  Aptly named “Lady Father,” it is slated for re-release in the near future.  Fill out the form below to receive a publication announcement and check out Susan’s Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ladyfather.

Christmas “Firsts”

 
I have some of the best Christmas memories!  There are a few that I’d like to not remember, but this year’s celebration will be right up there with the very best! It all started when my son called to tell me that he and his wife had decided to spend  Christmas with his father in Mississippi. When he said the words I was caught between my own selfish “what-about-me?” thoughts and more noble ones like “what-a-great-idea!” and “we-can-celebrate-Christmas-anytime-so-don’t-worry-about-me-I’ll-be-fine.”
 
I know Scott was struggling with the whole idea of leaving me alone at Christmas.  Not only would it be our first Christmas apart, it would be his wife’s first Christmas away from her family and his children’s first Christmas without Christmas breakfast at their great-grandparents’ and without Gabba (that’s me) to pounce on at the crack of Christmas dawn. I could hear the pain in his voice as he laid out their plans to drive to Mississippi and as he related to me how he and Stacey had come to this momentous decision.
It’s been a very bad year for them, beginning with Scott’s botched hip surgery, which actually fixed his hip problem but left him with a “drop foot” and the prospect of a lifetime with no feeling in his foot and constant pain in his leg from a damaged nerve. He then traveled to Houston for nerve transplant surgery, which was “successful” but has not yet resulted in a return of feeling in his foot. The children have struggled with their own “growing pains” as Jared nears puberty (which is a daunting experience in itself but is exacerbated by his Asperger’s) and Emily feels the brunt of being relatively “normal” (which is difficult when you’re 9 years old and you have to struggle for attention from a mother who is stretched way too thin by the needs of the other family members). They needed to “get away,” Scott said and I totally understood.  But, my thoughts kept jumping around between “it’ll be great for you to be with your Dad at Christmas for the first time” and “this will be the first time I won’t be with you for Christmas.” It was all I could do to keep from crying, “how can you do this?”
As I write this on the 2nd day after Christmas, I am so glad that I was able to “take the high road” and NOT make my son feel guilty about turning Christmas upside down for us all. I struggled through the rest of the conversation but I was able to say, “we can celebrate Christmas any time we want to and THAT will be our Christmas Day.” I heard myself saying, “I’ll be fine – I’ll just treat it like any other day off from work and when the day is over, I’ll still be looking forward to Christmas.”  I assured him that I completely understood and I was even able to say honestly that I was glad he’d be able to spend Christmas with his Dad for the first time. I just wished that there was another way that didn’t involve the words “the first time.”
Ginny & Joe's Christmas Tree
Throughout the next few weeks, he and my sister went on a crusade to convince me that I shouldn’t stay “home alone” for Christmas, and indeed, that I should jump in my car and drive to Virginia to spend Christmas with my sister and her family.  Well, I don’t “jump in my car” and drive anywhere these days, much less 5-6 hours away.  Just the thought of spending that much time sitting in a car makes my knees hurt and I rebelled at the idea of putting that many miles on my leased car. They tried valiantly to convince me that it would take me as long, if not longer, to make the trip by plane (adding up the time it would take to get to the airport at least an hour before flight time, get my bags and a rental car, drive the 2 1/2 hours to Front Royal through Baltimore and DC traffic to the hour and a half flight). I was NOT convinced and I was not yet convinced that I should make yet another flying trip to Virginia. If you have read previous posts, you know that I attended a funeral in Virginia the first week in November and then flew down for Thanksgiving with my sister.
A calm head prevailed and I did my “pro-and-con” list with all the reasons I should just stay home and “veg out” in one column and the advantages of “going home” for Christmas in the other. As I made my list, I was immediately struck with the realization that I had started the process with the assumption that I was going to Virginia as the “pro” column began to be filled with reasons in favor of making the trip, leaving the “con” column for all the negative arguments against it.
To keep this relatively short, the “pro’s” won, (especially after we found out that my brother David and his family could come up the day after Christmas), I made my reservation for a Christmas Eve flight and here I am – 2 days after Christmas – and I have survived my first Christmas without my only son and his family. I have survived waking up alone on Christmas morning without my precious grandchildren pouncing on my sleeping body and I have survived the day with only my imagined thoughts of how they were spending their first Christmas without me.
This morning I am packing to return to New York and to belated preparations for yet another Christmas celebration – I haven’t wrapped a thing! – and I am flooded with my memories of all the Christmases with Scott, Stacey, Jared, and Emily but I am also flooded with the new memories I made in the last few days as my brother and sister and I made our own “Christmas firsts.” We calculated that:
Ginny, my "big" sister

Ginny, my “big” sister

  • this is the first Christmas that the 3 of us have been together for 43 years;
  • this is the first Christmas that I have ever spent with Joe, my brother-in-law;
  • this is the first Christmas that I have ever been with Lou, my sister-in-law;
  • this is the first Christmas that I have ever been with Kelly & Will, my niece & nephew;
  • this is the first Christmas that my cousin Fran and I have been together for 36 years;
  • this is the first Christmas that Fran and my sister have spent together – ever; and
  • this is the first Christmas that my sister and I have attended a midnight service together for 43 years.
Not only did we make all those “firsts,” we also made some precious Christmas memories as we have laughed, cried, told stories, remembered our parents, our long-ago Christmas traditions, and how they all had come together to make new traditions in our own families. We have celebrated the monumental “first” of being together for this special day – one that we have always treasured for the fun we had and the family memories we made as well as for the gift that God sent to the world in the person of his only Son, Jesus.
When Ginny, David, and I were growing up church was always a large part of our Christmas celebrations and since I retired from active parish ministry (5 years ago), I have not attended a midnight Christmas celebration – until this year when I went with Ginny, her husband Joe, and cousin Fran to a lovely church in Upperville VA. The music was grand, the church was spectacularly decorated, the sermon was terrific and I totally loved singing the Christmas carols. It was beautiful and it was special – after all, I was sharing it with family and making a new memory with them that I know I will cherish forever.
It was also “being home” for me as the Episcopal Church at Christmas is about as perfect as it gets.  It was also “coming home” for me as I have mightily struggled with God this last year over the whole “why do bad things happen to good people” thing.  My kids are good people and they’ve suffered through way too many bad things lately and I want them to end.  I’ve prayed and prayed and many other people have prayed and prayed and still the “bad things” continue. So Christmas was looking tough for me but when I walked into that church on Christmas Eve only moments before the first strains of “O come all ye faithful” filled the santuary and my heart, I knew I had “come home.”  I knew all over again what I had been telling people for more than 20 years was true.  God doesn’t bring the bad things, God does help by being there alongside the bad things, and that the bad things can never take away the miracle of God sending his only son to die for the sins of the world, including the “bad things.”
So, I was glad to be “home” with God in God’s house, singing about the birth of his son – after all, isn’t that really what makes Christmas celebrations special?
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Susan Bowman, the “LadyFather” has written a book on her experiences in the ordained ministry.  Aptly named “Lady Father,” it is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.  Register below to receive her newsletter and important emails and don’t forget to check out Susan’s Facebook page at https://facebook.com/ladyfather.
 

What Are You Thankful For?

I know the title is poor grammar but it’s still better than “For What Are You Thankful” or “What Are the Things For Which You Are Thankful?”  I am a grammar perfectionist but sometimes it’s just going a little too far.  This is one of those times.  So – that’s the question on this Tuesday before Thanksgiving – “What are you thankful for?”

For myself, I am thankful first of all today that I am once again sitting in an airport waiting to board a flight to Virginia.  This one is for fun – not a funeral like the last trip (see previous post about my hero who died) – but I am still thankful for the same thing, namely that I am able to make the trip, that I can afford to buy the ticket, and that I have people who are important enough to me that I will take time off from work and spend a good amount of money to fly off to see them.  There was a time in my life when I either had to drive or just stay home and, quite frankly, I keep expecting that time to catch up with me again.

Being thankful is a state of mind as well as a spiritual experience.  What I mean by this is that when we are grateful for something, this is a feeling that comes from the spirit; when we say that we are grateful, it becomes an intellectual process.  We feel gratefulness, we say to ourselves “we are grateful,” and then we have to allow our brains to move those words into our mouths so that they can be spoken out loud.  This is how we let the world know that we are thankful for something and it’s also how we express these deep feelings.

I am going to spend Thanksgiving with my sister and her husband in Virginia.  When we sit down for the wonderful

"Thank you for this food."

“Thank you for this food.”

Thanksgiving dinner Ginny and all of us have prepared, Joe always gives us all the opportunity to say what we are thankful for this year.  It’s a great time around the table as we all get to let our loved ones know the things that have happened to us during the year and how we feel about them.  There is no better way to begin Thanksgiving dinner and it always occurs to me that we should start every meal, in fact, every day that way.  Putting ourselves in a thankful mode helps us to focus on the positive side of life and that is the way to live a healthy life.  Focusing on the negative is a sure-fire way to be unhealthy and unhappy; it’s really difficult to keep thinking of the negative side of life when we are saying “thank you” on a regular basis.

So, tomorrow, when you gather around your Thanksgiving table, take a few moments to share with everyone the things that you are thankful for and add them to the list when those thanks are offered to God.

Give a turkey something to be thankful for!

Wishing you a Happy Turkey Day and many things for which to be thankful (how’s that grammar?) . . .

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Susan is a professional writer and she has written her own book on her experience in the ordination process of the Episcopal Church.  Lady Father is now available on Amazon.com.  Register below to receive her newsletter and important emails and don’t forget to read more of Susan’s writings on her Facebook page a https://facebook.com/ladyfather.


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