Good Tidings

Yesterday afternoon I was zipping around the house, wrapping gifts, sealing up boxes I still needed to mail, organizing presents for Hawaii and it hit me—I felt happy.


The real happy.  The happy where you smile easily and you tease with your kids and you walk with a little more energy. 

And I realized it’d been a long, long time since I felt this way.  A year or more.  I didn’t feel “happy” during the pregnancy because I rarely felt good.  And then Mac was born and while I felt grateful baby was here, I also felt lost for quite awhile.  Those first seven months of Mac’s life I was just getting by but yesterday as I hummed and hustled up and down the stairs and knocked things off my to-do list, I truly felt…joyful.  I also felt thankful.  And lt blessed.

We can know in our heads that we’re lucky to have our family and friends, but its different when you actually feel it in your heart.  And what made me ‘feel’ it was action.  I did something that put me in the holiday spirit, that reminded me what the season is all about.  It’s about giving.  Giving thanks.  Giving love.  Giving hope.  Giving support.

I took my boys to Toys R Us Wednesday night and we filled a shopping cart with dream toys, the kind of toys my boys put at the top of their wish list when they were younger.  A massive heavy duty Tonka truck a toddler would love to push around the house.  A giant box of the newest Lego.  Action figures and packs of matchbox cars.  And then I asked two little girls to help me pick out toys girls would love and they showed me the Disney Princess section and handed me dolls and costumes and jewelry and tea sets and hair accessories and more.  Once we paid for our basket of toys we gave them all away and the minute we’d left them in the donation container, I wanted to go do it again.   So on the way home we stopped at a Starbucks, visited their giving tree and took the five remaining tags and spent yesterday fulfilling those wishes.  Sleeper jammies for a two year old.  Ear buds for an eighteen year old.  Star Wars lego for an eight year old.  Mittens for a mom. 

I was able to give all these gifts away because I told my kids this year we’re not exchanging lots of gifts.  They’re only getting a few things from me.  It’s going to be a simple Christmas.  They were struggling with the idea of not being spoiled until they got to help give to someone else.

I think we can all give something–thanks, love, hope, support.   Those are gifts that cost nothing.  Those are gifts that everyone needs.  And its funny how when we give, we get so much back.

I didn’t give the toys and mittens and jammies so I could be a saint.  I did it because it felt good.  I did it because it filled me with warmth and joy.

And today my heart is so full it feels like it could burst. 

So let me give one more gift away here.   It’s a delicious treat to warm both your belly and your heart–a red glazed mug from Starbucks, a Starbucks drink card, a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card, and three incredible Christmas novels by favorite authors Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs and Linda Lael Miller.   My Good Tidings blog contest will run through Saturday night and I’ll announce the winner Sunday morning.  The winner MUST get back to me by Monday night  or I’m picking someone else.  So share with me what would bring you joy this holiday season, or what you’re thankful for, and you’re entered.  So good tidings, and love to all.

And by the way, I give thanks for you.


  1. I’m very thankful for my new granddaughter. Although she isn’t so new anymore. She was born March 19th but wasn’t due until July 16th so she spent 4 months in the NICU. I will always be grateful for the wonderful staff there who took such good care of her.

  2. I am grateful for my children, good health, a roof over our heads, clothes to wear and food to eat. I’m also grateful for wonderful memories, living for the moment, and hope for the future.

  3. I would love to have all my kids and their familes home for Christmas but since that can’t happen I’m just thankful for them and wish them happiness and good health.

  4. I give thanks for the fact that my mom is still with us after last year’s long, life-threatening illness. I give thanks for still being able to sing in the midst of disappointment and heartache. I give thanks for the friends that have supported me so unselfishly. I give thanks for being employed, something I never take for granted. I’m thankful for the apartment that has eased so many burdens. I’m so very thankful for my friends at NJRW and LSFW and the inspiration and support they’ve giving me and my writing. And I’m thankful for you Jane, wonderfully generous, dependably honest, frighteningly forthright, inspiring and lovely. A blessed, joyous Christmas to you and yours.

  5. I am very, very thankful for this lightness of mood that came over me this morning. I’ve been in and out of a fog, parenting young children, grandparents in the hospital on opposite ends of the country, keeping up with the house and friends and work…but this morning I woke up feeling awesome…smiling…like everything is right with the world and I can handle everything that comes my way.

  6. I’m thankful that numerous health ailments this year have been treatable and are almost all resolved. Perhaps because I wasn’t supposed to live past my first year of life, I don’t take my health for granted. Instead, I have always felt blessed for every day on this planet, not just for my own health, but especially for that of others. To be blessed with good friends and, yes, good family is a wonderful thing to have and not to be taken for granted. Money is tight, but we’re high on love, and also blessed to have a roof over our heads, etc.

    One of my ways to “give back” is to donate food to our local food bank. I always buy in bulk when food is on sale, so I feel like I can donate even more. It is a difficult time of year for many, whether for lack of food/housing, or even just missing family, and my heart goes out to them. As you said, good tidings and love to all!

  7. I am extremely thankful for my wonderful family who is always there for me. I appreciate the blessing of good health, happiness and being surrounded by loving friends and family.

  8. I am thankful for my family and health. We have started getting items for the residents of a local nursing home. It seems like sometimes they are forgotten about. They are so happy to receive anything.
    I hope your family has a wonderful Christmas.

  9. Aside from also giving thanks for you, Jane, I am thankful for my new part-time job as a medical secretary at Queen’s University, Dept. of Pediatrics, Div. of Medical Genetics and my super cool boss, Dr. Peter Kannu; I am thankful for my family, friends and beautiful dog, Scully and their good health; I am thankful for my lovely, cozy apartment; I am thankful for my clients at Scully Love Promo; and I am always thankful for great books, movies, music, wine, food, and weather! What would bring me joy this holiday season? Finding the means to earn enough money so that I could go to Toys R’ Us and buy a cart load of gifts for those who need them; a chance to go to Arizona for a week this February to visit my parents in their beloved 2nd home; and true love, of course! That would be the most awesome gift of all.

    I wish you and your beautiful family a most joyous Christmas and an extraordinarily Happy New Year! Few things are more beautiful than Jane Porter with a smile on her face!

    Love Christine xox

  10. I, my dear friend, am thankful for you. You always know what to say when I need it the most and your post today made me cry. This last year and a half have been so full of good and bad, some really highs and some major lows but through it all I have had my friends who have been there through thick and thin.

    And now we’re settled into our new home and celebrating the Christmas season in a new state, with new people, and I am so, so, so thankful for new friends and old friends because life would be so very dark without friends.

    Thank you, Jane, for being such an amazing person.

  11. Thankful for everything in my life that God has blessed me with from husband to children, my dad, in-laws and out-laws, good health, a thriving business in this economy, a great school for my kids, doctors who can pinpoint exactly what is wrong with a child’s eye and the medicine to fix it, Kleenex for snotty, runny noses, so many things that are often taken for granted.

    We always give extra during the holidays, and this year is even more special because the kids are old enough to better understand WHY we do it. Donations to a women’s shelter in town, donations to the food bank, groceries for fellow church members who have lost jobs, Toys 4 Tots, and cooked meals for those who need it – youth groups, pregnant moms, etc. We are so very blessed, therefore, we must pass those blessings onto others. This makes me happy.

  12. Jane,

    I am thankful for my family and good friends…I don’t know what would bring me joy this year. I am having a hard time finding joy this year. I don’t have a specific reason…just not feeling the Christmas spirit or happiness very easily.

    I am thankful for you and your writing. They bring me joy. I am in the middle of reading Duty, Desire, and The Desert King. Love the dynamic between Zayed and Rou!

  13. Oh, Jane I’m so happy for you! Just read a few of your blog posts to catch up. So glad you’re happy and enjoying the holidays. You’re such a wonderful, giving person. Take care and have a wonderful holiday!

    (no need to enter me in contest!)

  14. Your generosity is awesome Jane. This has been a very up and down year for my family but we are all still here and together so really can’t ask for more.

  15. The innocent joy and creativity my children express during this season makes me smile. Knowing we, as a family, have made it through our struggles this year, without dampening their spirits is what I am truly thankful for!

  16. I am thankful everyday for my healthy family, a comfortable home & people who care about me. I am thankful to be a stay-at-home mom and thankful my husband still has a job too.

    I wish everyone could read your blog today. It really is the best feeling to be able to do something like you did for others. Thank you for being so generous and taking the time to share that spirit with your kids too.

    Merry Christmas!!

  17. Jane I first have to say that this letter is exactly what I need to hear to put me in the Christmas spirit!!! So thank you for always sharing form your heart. ;0)

    I am thankful for friends, family, health and how God has blessed our lives this past year.

    I know those are the normal aspects to be thankful for but…I have a few friends that are going through some really tough times – it has given me the opportunity to open my eyes to the everyday blessing that I see but take for granted….Amazing friendships – healthy family – and life full of Joy!

    We are all have so much to be thankful for!

  18. Your blog brought tears to my eyes. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I, too, have struggled with getting into the spirit. Just this week my husband and I stepped through memory lane looking at photos of our grown children when they were young and it brought back all those precious memories. And as I watched my son and husband catching … See Moreup on sports scores yesterday, I noticed my husband looking at our son with fresh eyes not just the young man who is still finding himself, but noticing the little boy still there. This is the true meaning of Christmas for me and all I could ever hope for. I have always seen the precious little boy in the adult costume, but maybe we need to be reminded from time to time.

    Have a wonderful holiday, take care!

  19. Hi Jane!
    Thanks for a beautiful post. I almost cried; really. You have such a loving heart and spirit. You really spill over to others–that’s not just lip-service. I can speak honestly since we’ve actually met and “connected”.

    I am thankful for the family that loves me. The same family that sometimes bring me to melt-down status. They are healthy and they have a home and a warm belly. All we can ask somtimes.

    Christmas Blessings to you my dear. The Christmas spirit bug bit you and you’re passing it on. A true gift to everyone.

    Are the big boys going to Hawaii with you? I hope all goes smoothly in the days ahead.

    Hugs, Shannon in Tustin

  20. I’m just so very thankful that my two girls are so healthy and happy. I’m missing my brother this year that passed away but thankful for the time we had together. Merry Christmas.

  21. I’m very thankful I was able to find a job! I was looking for a job for more than 2 months and 2 weeks ago I started a new job and I’m very happy about it.
    On top of it today is the first day of Hanukkah and I’m glad I can spend it with family and friends.

  22. I’m thankful for everything that I have and don’t have. I take the good things and rejoice and the not so good things and deal with them. I still have a job, a roof over my head, healthy children who are doing well on their own; sure I may be losing my job soon and it gets harder and harder to pay the bills and most days I want to wring my kids’ necks….but overall, I am happy, I have what i need and I am content and I am always grateful for each new day. And thank you Jane, for bringing some fun and good reads to my life.

  23. I’m thankful for the love and support of my husband John. He is not home half the time as he’s a over the road truck driver. I work part time 6 days a week and have 3 boys. We talk several times a day and we keep each other going but for me he is my rock when things go bad. He is a good listener and stands by me. He’s everything to me.

  24. I am thankful that all of my family will be with me this Christmas. Jane, I wish you and your guys the most joyous of Christmases! 🙂

  25. Your posts are always so wonderful Jane, and I’m so happy that YOU are happy. I know it was a long road with your pregnancy and after Mac was born and it’s wonderful to read how well you are all doing now.

    You are truly inspiring, in your writing and in the way you live your life and I am so thankful that I found your books this year and you!

    And after a year of job scares and health scares, I am so thankful my husband is employed and that my health scare seems to be minimal. My kids are settled into their school year and happy and we are excited about traveling to Savannah for Christmas to see both grandmas. My husband and I even get to go to several parties this month with no kids and it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to dress up and get out just as a couple.

    Have a great day Jane!

  26. Aww! That’s the greatest thing I’ve heard all day!

    Where I work, the staff has adopted 3 families of single mothers and we have a list of what they need for the holidays including food, clothing and gifts for Mom and the kids. It’s the greatest feeling. And the things that the Mom’s ask for are so basic, like towels and slippers — it just makes you want to give more!

    Thanks for the inspirational post Jane!

  27. The first year of my twins life was rough, lost my mum when they were 6months old. It took another year after that before I could say I was happy. I took up hula hooping in the backyard with my kids and now I laugh all the time. “Mummy’s happy” is a great thing to hear, because when I’m happy the kids are too.
    Great post as always Jane.

  28. Thankful for my son..Single daddy of a 8 year old boy.I love him more then anything. I never really knew that I could love anything let alone ANYONE so much until the first moment that I set eyes on him. I crave for the next new thing he does..Especially if its something I taught him… When he giggles and smiles I get the overwhelming feeling inside of my heart that over takes me, its AMAZING! I cherish every moment that I get to see him, play with him, sing to him, hold him, smell him, and teach him…i Love being his daddy.

  29. That’s a wonderful story Jane. I’m glad you were able to do that.

    I am thankful for my girls & my hubby. This year was a big change for us economically. But the kids hardly know the difference. A change in house – no biggie. There are still happy, wonderful kids. And I am so very thankful for the joy they bring to me.

  30. i am thankful for the many good things that have happened to my famly this year. we have come through a car accident, chronic health problems for me are stable for now, job loss for my daughter is temporarily solved, and relationships have been strengthened. i know the new year will bring its share of troubles and burdens, but i know somehow we will get through it and have joys, too.
    we have gotten toys together for toys for tots, gathered coats for the coat drive, and dropped off items for the families who temporarily live in the local women’s shelter. giving just to give is the greatest joy, and it makes our souls smile.. have a wonderful holiday season.
    many thanks to you for the joy you share with so many of us!!!

  31. That was a great thing you did Jane. I am thankful for my family and our good health and that we can all get together to see each other this Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  32. Over the years I have bought for someone in the nursing home from the angel tree at my husbands work. I always got the best feeling playing secret Santa to someone that has hardly any family if any.
    I am thankful that I have my great husband and family.
    I am thankful that both my daughters are healthy now.
    I am thankful that you Jane are feeling more like your old self. I know what it feels like to lose that feeling for a long time.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  33. How wonderful that someone will now have a great Christmas. This is a tough time and I know every mom whos child receives something special from an unsung hero will feel blessed. What a great gesture.

    I am greatful for for friends and family. I know it is the old stand by but how wonderful it is a constant source of love and support.

    I love your idea and think I will pay it forward with my children also. Thanks for the reminder on what this season is all about.

  34. Among other things, I am thankful because yesterday we got a hand made Christmas card from our sponsored child in Ghana and I was happy to see it. We started a couple of years ago, my husband had this wish for his birthday because he feels we are blessed with two healthy children and a lot of other things and we really want to try and teach our girls that there are a lot of children who are not as fortunate. I still remember their faces last year when we received a letter from our sponsored child in which he was thanking us for the money gift we sent and said his family had purchased a goat. They could not believe that he had used the money for that. Sometimes I feel our children are so spoilt and hope that these little things we do can help develop their empathy for other people.
    What you did for those children Jane is so great because, in the end, the real meaning of the season is giving.
    Merry Christmas to you and your.

  35. I guess this Christmas I am thankful that we still have a home to live in and that I am fortunate enough to buy books because I know not very many people can, especially now. Thanks for writing Jane, I love your books and have a great weekend. Happy Birthday Ty. 🙂

  36. If I ever came into a lot of money I would have so much fun buying gifts to donate like you just did. I would love to give to those who really need it and would be so appreciative. That would give me joy.
    I am thankful for the good health of my family.

  37. I am thankful that my husband has a job right now. That we have food on the table and a roof over out heads this Christmas because I know there are a lot of people that don’t have these things and it makes me sad just to think about it. I wish I could help these people. I am also thankful for the book authors that provide me with my intertainment! You ladies are the best!

  38. What a lovely post, Jane! To feel truly happy is indeed a blessing. I love it when I’m able to pay it forward and do something good for someone else. Teaching my children to do the same can be a challenge but I’m hoping someday they’ll realize what a joy it is!

    I am thankful for many blessings that God has provided for me, 3 children, a good husband, stable jobs, a roof over our heads and food in our bellies as well as good health.

    Thanks for all that you do! Can’t wait to read your next book!

  39. I felt all warm and fuzzy after reading your post. Thanks for bringing me some joy and making me realize that I need to slow down and enjoy the season a little.

    So I am most thankful for my wonderful husband, my parents who are healthy and happy, my sister and her thoughtfulness and to my niece who has had a a rough year but finally getting some good things happening to her. There are many more to list but happy for all the people and friends in my life.

    Happy Holidays Jane!

    Hugs, Michelle

  40. I would truly love to hear my OB/GYN tell me that my 42 yr ovaries have woken up and have decided to bless my 7 yr old with a brother or sister. I know I am asking for alot, I feel I have been pretty good this year, but would hearing ‘your progesterone levels looks great this month’ be too much to ask for?

    And if I can’t have that, then I would be happy with being with my family and watching the young kids (ages 4-7) breaking a X-mas pinata followed by them singing Jingle Bells! Out of synch of course, but don’t tell them that.:)

    Feliz Navida

  41. Jan I was so touched by your sharing what you and your boys did, how wonderful. I am I am thankful for many things this year, having my family still with me, as I have a very I’ll aunt at the end of her battle with Multiple Myeloma. I was laid off last year but now have a much better job, where they value and respect the staff, I am not in the hospital and feeling stronger, and have a favorite author with a huge heart who is so giving not just with material items, but thinking of her fans and sharing with fans.

  42. I am so thankful for my daughter and son. They are and will always be the greatest blessings in my life. I’m thanful for my husband. I’m thankful for friends. I’m thankful for good books and the authors that create them. I’m thankful that I’ve finally got all my Christmas decorations up lol. Oh, and chocolate.

    Happy Holidays Jane!!!

  43. What a lovely and generous post! I am grateful for my husband and friends and pets, a warm, cozy house with a fireplace and sleeping cats, Christmas lights, hot chocolate, a good book, a red chair, a cold, starry night. Many different things.

    Happy Holidays

  44. Jane this is a beautiful post. It was definitely uplifting. I am glad that you are feeling, genuinely, happy. I know exactly what you mean.There have been a number of years, when I didn’t feel really happy; the cloud of medication always caused me to doubt what I was feeling. But, I felt happiness for the first time this year, and I was able to differentiate between sadness and depression. Awesome feeling. Keep doing what you are doing. It sounds like you are well on your way to spreading joy and good cheer. Thank you very much for sharing with us. You don’t have to enter me in the drawing for this. Have a wonderful and safe trip to HI…Aloha!

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  45. Isn’t giving wonderful!! It makes the heart sing.

    Just today dh came home from downtown and handed me a package. Inside was a beautiful bouquet of red and white small and large Carnations and one red Rose with some beautiful green flowers and green leaves- a stunning Christmas bouquet.
    My heart sang as dh doesn’t do this very often and twice I mentioned the lovely bouquet to him. I thought “all is well with the world”. Just the littles thing can mean so much. And we’re have 3 people over tomorrow night and I as so exicted because two of them are far away from home at this time of year – one from Montreal and one from France.

    Thanks Jane for your kindness and generosity (I’ve won before).

  46. Thank you for reminding me about the Spirit of Christmas, Jane.

    What will bring me Joy: my daughter’s continued happiness, a March visit to my parents, to finally see 2012 if we can get a babysitter.

    What I feel thankful for: my space heater by my desk, the electricity we were without for three days last year at this time, the elliptical machine for not putting pressure on my bum hip and so still allowing me to exercise.


  47. I am SO thankful for my wonderful family! I feel so blessed to have such a loving, HEALTHY family. I really miss my grandparents especially around this time of year since Christmas Eve was my Grandpa’s Birthday. My Grandma always had a huge get together and did tons of cooking on Christmas Eve. I try to do a lot of my Grandma’s traditions with my children to help the memory live on.

  48. Jane I am so thankful for my kids and how their love is so unconditional. I am thankful for the warmth of the socks on my feet and all the great friendly conversations that have taken place over the course of the year.I am thankful for my job no matter how small it may seem. I am thankful for my dreams that have resurfaced. I am thankful that I was able to put a dollar in the bell ringers bucket and most of all I am thankful that I look forward to another breath when I wake up tomorrow no matter what the weather. Thank you for your blog on my darkest day I have a friend to message no matter the circumstance.Have a safe and merry holiday!

  49. I can’t seem to get into the holiday spirit. I get loaded down with all the things going on in my life: my father dying, my husband laid off, blah blah blah…and then I know what to do. I go see my 2-year-old granddaughter and all is right. I am hoping to get involved in some more activities like in the past…a bike drive, giving to others…any way I can. It DOES make you feel better and teaches your kids so much.

  50. I wish to have my health back as well as those who lost their’s and are still looking!
    I still am!! Happy Holiday’s to all!!!!

  51. I think your post sums up a quote I heard last night on the radio from Danny Thomas where he said to the effect – There are two types of people in this world, givers and takers. The takers might eat better but the givers always sleep better. There are so many, many things to be thankful for, family, friends, and the love of my children. However, I am always thankful to be an American and live in the land of the free and the brave.

  52. Wow, you put into words the emotions I have been having lately. I decked my house last weekend and I have been in such a rare Christmas spirit that I couldn’t put my finger on! You did exactly that in your words, it is happiness, peace and joy. It is so wonderful! I have been happily packaging up gifts and mailing them off. Chatting happily at the post office with other patrons as opposed to looking at my emails or listening to my head phones. Heck, I am listening to Christmas music as I type.

    I am happy to see that you have found that joy again. I could see you struggling in your posts and it gives me hope that you found your peace again. I know I’ll have days when I don’t have mine and I can go back to this post and know that it can be found again.

    Have a great holiday season and trip to Hawaii. I appreciate your gift of writing all year long…


  53. I got a glow just reading about your “action” and feeling so happy along with you and for you.

    We don’t do a lot of presents anymore either as we have gotten older and have what we need but what we don’t have is time together, so that is my Christmas joy. Our son is coming for two weeks next week, and we will have my family here Christmas Day and go to my husband’s family three hours away on the 26th. That is all and everything I wanted for Christmas!

  54. Jane,

    I’m happy to hear that you are getting back to the happy place that you love to be in. You’ve had an eventful year and you’ve got 4 wonderful males in your life that give you every reason to smile. So I am thankful you have found the peace that you have been searching for.

  55. I’m grateful that we’ll all be together this Christmas–warm, cozy, with plenty of food to eat and a fair number of presents to open! I pray that all goes well with my first grandchild who is due on February 10.

  56. Enjoyed your upbeat, happiness blog today. You could not have put things better than how you explained it. I am thankful that my family will all be together too. We too have scaled back on the gifts, and got back to what is more important and that is being together. God Bless our troops and their families too. It wasn’t that long ago that both my sons served and I am thankful they are home safely. Keep those wonderful true feelings Jane…it’s inspiring to me, Ruth.

  57. This was a tough one for me to comment on.I tried to comment last night but had to stop because the words wouldn’t come out right. I guess there are so many things that I’m grateful for but probably the guiding force behind them all is that I’m grateful that I’m happiest when I’m giving or doing something for other people. The best thing about that is that I can always find a way to be happy. Although I consider myself to be relatively normal, it’s when I make comments like these, my wonderful teenagers put a gentle arm around my shoulder, look at me with the compassion one gives a young child, and tell me (lovingly) how weird I am. But I don’t mind. Thankfully, I’m happy…really happy. Wishing all of you a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season.

  58. Jane what a great post – I’m so glad you are in a truly happy place now!!

    Well, this blog has sparked joy for this holiday season. All the good tidings have motivated me to start putting up decorations. And then to my surprise, while I was getting out the boxes … Christmas carolers showed up at my door!! :0)

    I am thankful for God, family, friends (you), my cats, camaraderie, the gift of music and the healing power of Hawaii. What would bring me joy this holiday season?? The ability to realize when the one thing I truly want is right in front of me, when it happens … and good health! (Oh! And for Navy to beat Army! – ‘Fear the goat!’)

    Jane, have a very safe trip out here ~ Happy Holidays and see you soon!

  59. I am thankful for the people who make my life complete…the 5 people I often forget about while I go crazy trying to make Christams wonderful: Rich, Barrett, Hunter, Audery & Camden. I love them & our life! And my friends and books:)!

  60. I had the same experience. My daughter’s school asks that each child send in a shoebox and if possible items to fill the shoebox (gloves, stocking hat, crayons, etc.). I was shopping on Friday for items to fill two shoeboxes (for a girl and a boy). Before I knew it I had a basket full of items. It was not until I arrived at home and began sorting through the items that it hit me how great that made me feel. I have enough items to complete 11 shoeboxes (plus a few extra items to help fill others). Giving is the true meaning of Christmas.

    I am thankful that I am able to help, even if it is not a great amount, during these difficult economic times. I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

  61. Jane, I feel the same way. This year has been so hard as I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and panic disorder. I felt my life would never be the same and I would not find my way back to myself. In addition, I found myself making a major career change and having to balance full time work with children. What I can say now that I can reflect back on the year and all its struggles and fears anf give thanks. I have learned to finally practice peace and to pace myself. I have learned to let a lot of things go and to focus on what matters…people and relationships. I was terrified of this season as I thought the anxiety would be insurmountable what I found is that God only gives what you can handle and He equips for what you think you can’t. So I am thankful first for my children, my job and for peace of mind. I feel incredibly blessed and joyful this holiday season.

  62. So glad to hear you’ve come to a good place after the difficult year you had. I wish you & your family all the best during the holiday season!

    I’m thankful for all the wonderful people in my life – family & friends.

  63. What would bring me joy this Christmas is to spend the holidays with my family without guilt and also to have my kids realize that the joy of the holiday isn’t about what you get, it’s about being together. And Starbucks makes me go “squee!”.

  64. I am so happy for you Jane! I ahve been there and I have seen you coming out of your “funk” the last couple months. I think moving back into your home helped!

    I am so blessed in so many ways. Good family & friends, friends that are my chosen family too. Healthy and smart kids who are pretty good& I enjoy them so much. I never thought I would be able to have them so I can’t take them for granted A wonderful husband who has a good secure job. A beautiful home…pretty much everything that I need.
    And I am blessed to have things that I enjoy like writing, sewing, scrapbooking and reading. And actually being able to communicate with authors — YOU JANE! Who make such an impact on my life. All of this is a blessing!!!!

    Take care!

  65. I’ve had a hard time in 2009, its been a rough year. However, after reading your post it actually brought tears to my eyes. (maybe its the PMS. who knows?) I’m glad you found that happy place and I hope to soon find it also! I’m thankful for my two best friends. Each different but amazing in their own ways. I’m thankful for my parents, especially my dad having survived a heart attack two weeks ago. And I’m thankful for quiet time to read…… and you for writing great books that I can get lost in! Thanks Jane!

  66. I am so thankful to have a warm house! It has been in the single digits here and it really makes you think of all the homeless people and how they survive. I of coarse am also thankful for my wonderful family and they are all healthy and happy. I have really started to count my blessings everyday…it is always the little stuff that means the most! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Jane!

  67. I’m glad you’re so happy Jane! That’s great that the boys got to participate in some gift giving, what a great way to give back 🙂
    I am thankful for an amazing family, a great job and friends that are there for me when I need to lean on them.
    Merry Christmas!

  68. Hi everyone,

    I am back to announce the winner of the Good Tidings blog prize and it’s #63 Kathleen.

    Kathleen, congratulations and I do hope you’ll enjoy the books, the coffee and treats. Please send me your mail address ASAP as I leave Wed morning for Hawaii and need to get it in the mail before I go.

    Thank you to everyone for sharing.

  69. I am grateful for the health of my family and friends; my job in this dismal economy; my husband; my mother; my little family; my wonderful friends; my health; my little cat; my faith, which sometimes falters but never, ever leaves me; and my love of reading, and although just one of my life’s greatest joys, brings me a great comfort–no matter where my life is!

  70. I am thankful for being blessed with a pregnancy at 42. For years I had tried, even doing in-vitro many times…and just when I had thrown in the towel and tried to get on with my life, it happened…naturally! (I had also just gotten on anti-depressants, so maybe that helped, too! LOL!)

  71. I am thankful for the food and home I am able to provide for my family during such hard times. I am also thankful for a good book like “Easy on the Eyes.” The ending left me feeling warm inside and less fearful of approaching forty. Happy holidays

  72. Hi Jane,
    I was feeling blue and just had to read your blog. I feel much better now and couldn’t agree more about making Christmas more simple. That’s what we’re doing in our household and have really limited the gift giving. I just bought your new Harlequin book and can’t wait to read it! I’m so glad that you’re feeling the spirit and are truly HAPPY! Merry Christmas and Happy 2010!!

  73. I am thankful for so much as I read of the trials and tribulations others have been through this past year – really puts those little annoyances into perspective. Thanks for offering that important perspective – its easy to get mired in the little things!

  74. I love that you filled up that basket of toys for needy kids! That is awesome! I love getting presents for the “Toys for Tots” children. I only wish I could do more. It brings tears to my eyes to think that some kids may not have much joy at Christmas. I only hope that if everyone that is able to help, will and that maybe the holidays will be brighter for many people. Merry Christmas, Jane!

  75. That was beautiful post, Jane, thanks. It’s good to hear that you’re feeling so happy. Have a Merry Christmas!

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