Celebratin’ Burns Night!

Raise your glass in honor of Robert Burns!

Robert Burns, 1759-1796

I’m not sure if I first fell in love with Robert Burns’ works as a child because of my love of Scotland, or if I fell in love with Scotland because of Robert Burns’ poetry.

I do know that these loves they go hand in hand.

Burns Night is a celebration of Robert Burns, who was born on January 25, 1759 in Alloway Scotland. People around the world host Burns Night gatherings, honoring Rabbie with song, dance, drinking, feasting, the playing of pipes, and by reciting his great literary works.

This year we decided to get in on the festivities, and prepared with the purchase of our WeeBox from Scotland, which was Burns-themed in The Late Great Poet’s honor.

This is our third WeeBox, and I was not disappointed (haven’t been yet!). In it we found a Burns Cottage Candle, Shortbread Cookies, a bagpipe charm, an Ailsa Tweed Handbag, and place cards for our Rabbie Burns Night supper.

So while we will not be serving the traditional Haggis, or playing the pipes personally, we will be feasting on a traditional Scottish dish, Cock a Leekie soup, drinking a dram o’ whisky in Rabbie’s honor, and breaking into our Raspberry and White Chocolate Shortbread Bites from Loch Ness Bakery.

For a wee bit o’ yer own Burns Night fun and festivities, follow the link to hear the traditional Piping in the Haggis.

If you want to try your hand at making Haggis, here’s your chance!

If you want to start simple, try the yummy Cock a’ Leekie soup.

After the meal, it’s time to toast, beginning with a toast the man of the hour, be sure to end your memorial toast with “to the immortal memory of Robert Burns.”

Now would be a good time to read a few poems. Here is a list I found on line of some of his more beloved works. If you don’t like reciting poetry (who doesn’t like reciting poetry!?) here is a link to one of his finer poems, “A Mans a Man for A’ That.”

At the end of your night, be sure to sing one of his most popular poems, which is sung at least (at the very least) once a year … Auld Lang Syne. And according to the directions on how to have a great Burns Night provided by Weebox,  “remember to cross your arms and join hands, only when you get to the line: “And there’s a hand, my tursty fiere, and gie’s a hand o’ thine.”

Remember to raise your dram o’ whisky and toast!
Slàinte Mhath!

LIFE IS FOR LIVING /Bk 2 Earth & Sky Series

Update!

Just received my First Round Edits back from Soul Mate Publishing for LIFE IS FOR LIVING!

We are on track for a release in late spring!

Can’t wait for you to read Barefoot Dan and Lilac Locks’ story! You’re going to love them!

You don’t want to miss Book 1 LOVE IN THE FOREST which can be purchased in digital or print at:

Soul Mate Publishing
soulmatepublishing.com/love-in-the-forest/

Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-in-the-forest-janina-grey/1139804111?

Amazon:

amazon.com/Love-Forest-Janina-Grey/dp/1647162394/

Greeting 2022 with Gratitude and Peace

Are you standing strong or has the undertow of 2021 knocked you flat?

I dunno about you, but 2021 left me scratching my head, filled with a surreal sense of standing on a shore between the past and the future as I watched the continued shifting sands of reality  nearly knock me off my feet.

Like many, my first thought was ‘good riddance’ to the tsunami we called 2021. Falling asleep beside David as we welcomed the new year in behind our drooping eyelids while neighbors somewhere around the corner shot off fireworks, I questioned what was so horrible about 2021? What treasures could I uncover beneath the shifting sands to carry into the new year?

And as I dug deep I found Gratitude. So I said farewell to 2021 with thanks. 2021 was filled with a lot of goodness, despite everything else. And that’s what I’m bringing into 2022. Good thoughts. Appreciation. And Hope.

The start of 2021 introduced an old acquaintance, and for the third time in my life I defeated cancer. No lie, I was afraid. But I did not let my fear consume me. I forged on and found empowerment. A year later I can honestly say that I am kick ass and unstoppable!

Throughout the year, we said good bye to  loved ones—through death, through their moving away, and just life. But we also said hello to so many family and friends we got to meet for the first time, see for the first time in a long time, and just be around throughout summer days that brought a sense of security as we met outside and pandemic infections and death rates dropped.

In February, we lost David’s mom, and as heartbreaking as it was, we know she is at peace and not suffering anymore. And her death brought a lot of loved ones into our lives who we had lost touch with over the years.

Mom Phillips

I got to reconnect with my kin down south, including my grandmother of 96 years, and rellies we’ve not seen in decades. And I got to meet their children and children’s children and it was mindblowing.

Me and Mother, July 2021

We survived another year of the pandemic. We kept our jobs.

I released LOVE IN THE FOREST, Book 1 of the Earth and Sky series; signed the contract with Soul Mate Publishing for Book 2, LIFE IS FOR LIVING, and began writing Book 3, LOST IN YOUR RHYTHM.

Book 1 of the Earth and Sky Series released by Soul Mate Publishing!

I got accepted into a social work Master’s Program (then declined due to finances). But still, I GOT ACCEPTED INTO A MASTERS PROGRAM AT 58 YEARS OLD. Mind blowing.

My educational goals were not hindered by that decision, as I took a death midwifery training course, which was something I’ve wanted to do for more than a decade.

We got to kayak (which we did not get to do in 2020), drum, garden. We camped in our Forevermore a few times and had a blast.

Kayaking with my love on the Mohawk River.

We got to see STOMP! at the Stanley Theater in Utica, which was very cool, because my hero Jack Issa in LOST IN YOUR RHYTHM is a former THUMP! performer, so I got to see “him” in action.

STOMP! at the Stanley Theater!

We haven’t seen the kids since Thanksgiving, due to COVID exposures and their insistence to keep me safe. We will see one another in the new year, and that thought keeps me strong.

Not seeing them helped me understand myself a lot better, and helped me explore what it means to be a Pagan in a very Christian world. This year, without the kids, Solstice was our main holiday except for the awesome Christmas Eve celebration my sister holds each year. With just David and I focusing on Solstice, we found a sense of peace, hope, love, and stability. We acknowledged the one constant that we could hold on to in this crazy, ever-changing world that of late has been so filled with uncertainty. Faith. In each other, our spiritual path, and the promise of tomorrow that is kept with each rising sun.

As we move forward into 2022, I am filled with a sense of peace, hope, love, and most importantly, an understanding that as long as we stay focused on the positives that surround us, as long as we live honestly and kindly, we will be okay.

2022 will bring what we set our intentions for regardless of what happens. Peace is not found in an absence of strife, but in how we handle that strife.

I wish you a year filled with success, health, wealth, happiness, and above all, Peace.

Reading with the Best of the Best

Join me in reading these #1 choices suggested by the authors themselves!

I’m not reading enough. Between working full time, taking care of the house, chores, cooking, SLEEP, not to mention seeing friends and family on occasion, AND writing, marketing, researching, and taking trainings, by the time I get to pick up a book for enjoyment I’m falling asleep. I’m usually curled up in bed, just before midnight, on my side with my tablet or a book clutched precariously in my hands as I doze off after scouring a few paragraphs which will no doubt need to be re-read the next night.

That is about to change.

For 2022, my gift to myself is reading time, with absolutely no responsibilities attached to it. For the most part.

Each month, I will highlight the author and book listed in the image above. I will provide their website, link to their book, and an image of the book itself. When I’m finished, I will do a review and rating both on my website, and at the review site of their choice (probably amazon).

But for now, here is the information I’ve collected. Thanks to all the authors who participated. I’m so looking forward to reading your favorite works.

To my readers, check out the list, check out the authors. Drop by their pages, give a shout out, buy their books. Most of all, keep reading!

Have a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!

January

Saving Grace by Elizabeth Doherty

February

River Magic by M.A. Phillips

March

The Witch’s Child by Corinne Fergason

April

The Apple Blossom Cafe by Emma Cane

May

Do or Diner by Christine Wenger

June

Can’t Outrun Destiny By Patricia Antone

July

The Serpent in the Stone by Nicki Greenwood

August

Secret Vows by Mary Reed McCall

September

Made for Each Other by Char Chaffin

October

Valley of Secrets by Kari Lee Townsend

November

The Knotted Cord by Jessica Trainham

December

Take Three by Gay Ann Collins Kiser