Slicing and Dicing (or what writers grudgingly call “Book Editing”)

Devour a Book

While contemplating and writing about my 7 New Year Revelations,  I’ve been trying not to think about the redlining, scratchy margin comments, strikethroughs and all the nasty little markings that a few no-nonsense editors are doing to my manuscript. 

As any writer will attest, it’s important to give your completed manuscript a thorough and objective (that’s the hard part) edit yourself first, but then you must hand it over to an editor who will have no qualms about ripping it to shreds,  if need be.   As a person who uses the numbers 3 and 7 all the time (it’s a spiritual thing, perhaps even a bit O.C.D.),  I always like to choose 3 editors (a professional editor, a person who has personal  experience with the subject, and a scholar/professional who is a specialist on the subject).  This gives me a nice cross-section of expertise from people whose commentary I respect and will take to heart, when producing the final copy for publication.  

I give them a timeframe and my own set of  guidelines (for them to keep in mind, while editing)  …  with the expectation that, on the end date, I will receive all their edits and comments. Some prefer to edit on a hard copy manuscript, others edit on my PDF  text. I usually give them three weeks , although it may extend further – depending upon the length of the manuscript.

My manuscript-specific  “guidelines”  vary from book to book. These include a list of questions or points that relate to specific characters or story lines that I want to receive objective feedback on.

However,  the general guidelines simply follow the standard editing process which, in turn, involves multiple read-throughs or “passes.”

1. First Pass:       A READ-THROUGH  (no editing)

It’s important for the editor to get a feel for the book first, before grabbing that red pencil!


This is the heavy, line editing phase. Sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all addressed here.  At this stage, the editor will also look at whether the book  reads  well and whether  or not a story, character, or setting may need readjustment.

3. Third Pass —  CONTENT  EDITING

This may include substantive editing (above) but focuses on the quality of the writing, the use of words, and the strength/continuity of the author’s voice.  The content editing process points its high beam on clarity and conciseness.  This is where a lot of the dreaded snippity-snip-snip comes into play. Conciseness …  the bane of my existence.

4. Fourth Pass —  COPY  EDITING

Once more, punctuation and grammar are reviewed, as well as whether or not the use of words and tense is consistent throughout the manuscript. The copy editing process serves to catch any minor or major mistakes and whether or not the perceived errors were intentional (i.e. stylistic) or not.

5. Fifth Pass —  PROOFREADING*

A final review of  grammar, punctuation and spelling. This is the polishing stage.

*CAVEAT:  Once the writer incorporates all the edits into the final manuscript, the writer must (himself/herself) do another round of proofreading — it is very important to do this carefully. Hasty proofreading will result in unwanted errors.  In the world of home renovation, the do-it-yourself folks are told, time and time again, “measure twice, cut once.”  Well, the same applies in the writing world.  Proofread, proofread, and proofread again!

Furthermore, if the writer is self-publishing, it is important to do yet another round of proofreading upon receiving the printer’s proofs (always request  to have a sign-off on the printer’s proof, prior to printing).  This is not only important for catching any errors within the text, but also to ensure that the formatting and graphics are perfect. Similarly, if using a company like CreateSpace or to publish the book, follow the same proofing/sign-off procedure as with the printer. 

By the 21st, I should be receiving all of my edits back, for my manuscript (Casualties of the Recession Depression) — redlines, scratchy margin comments, strikethroughs and nasty little markings.

I can hardly wait.


Image from

heatherfromthegrove: A Wrap-up of My 7 New Year Revelations


As I said before (on this very same day, last year):  

“For those of you who have been following, reading and enjoying each of my seven New Year revelations …. Thank You.

I would like to point out that they are not New Year Resolutions. I don’t make New Year Resolutions anymore. They are my own personal revelations. Epiphanies. Discoveries. In the past decade, I’ve faced some daunting challenges and heart-wrenching events. I’d like to think that I’ve handled them with dignity, compassion, grace, and humor. Always humor. It helps take the edge off.

So, the lessons that these “life tests” have taught me are my “revelations.” As I move forward with my life, I will use them as my guide. Wisdom has to be earned. For me, it’s a work in progress. I hope that they have inspired and even amused you. I hope that they have made you think long and hard.”

Here’s a synopsis (the numbers have a hyperlink back to each revelation post):





Revelation No. 5: NEVER, NEVER ASSUME!



And the journey continues.  I believe that 2013 will be a renaissance of sorts. I know that I’m looking forward to tying up some loose ends in my life,  having my book launched at the end of February,  and taking time out to read, sharing precious moments with the creatures (two-legged and four-legged!) I love most, and … of course … dancing in the rain!

I wish you all a blessed, healthy and happy  2013 and may your own personal journey bring you deep fulfillment and wisdom. Remember, we are all — each of us — a work in progress!


Image via

New Year’s Revelation No. 7 of 7: Take a Walk on the Wild Side


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

~ Mark Twain

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time.  I have it posted up on the wall of my study. 

180355160047677058_tbY43tyo_cWe only have one life.  We never know how much time we have left, so we’ve really got to make the most of it.  Make the time to be with the people you love. Splash around in the rain!  Throw a few snowballs. Step out of your comfort zone and try out something new.  Eat something different and more exotic. Take a walk on the wild side …  and savour every damn minute of it!

Life flies by so fast.  We’ve got to grab on tight to its wings, so that we can enjoy every adventure along the way.

I’ll leave you with the lyrics and video of a song that encapsulates what I really mean.  It’s a song by Lee Ann Womack, called “I Hope You Dance.”  Now, I’m not an avid country music fan, but I absolutely love this song.

All of her words reflect exactly what I wish for you, dearest readers. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Lyrics (partial) for I Hope You Dance (by Lee Ann Womack)

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance!
I hope you dance!

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance!
I hope you dance!

Images via (binoculars) and (dancer).

New Year’s Revelation No. 6 of 7: Understand the Difference between “Embrace” and “Tolerate”


“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

 ~ Albert Einstein

I’m going to keep this very short and sweet.  In my view, there is only one (1) race.  It is the human race.  And the beautiful thing about the human race is that we come in so many different shapes, sizes, ages, colors, creeds, cultures, languages, and personalities.

Wouldn’t it be so infinitely boring if we all looked and acted alike?  Oh, I know,  we take comfort in the people, things, and places that are most like us, most familiar to us.  But, the “fear of the unknown and unfamiliar” should not bar us from meeting new people, enjoying fresh experiences, and basking in the realization that, although we are different, we share one common thing …… humanity.

“Our greatest strength as a human race is our ability to acknowledge our differences, our greatest weakness is our failure to embrace them.”

~ Judith Henderson

To tolerate someone means that we can bear to be around them (put up with them).  In my view, the word “tolerate” denotes arrogance (i.e. “I tolerate you but, in reality, I don’t want to be around you”).

To embrace means to open your arms to someone — regardless of who they are or where they’re from. Now, this is what I’m talking about!

The choice is yours.

“We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”
~ Jimmy Carter

Image via

New Year’s Revelation No. 5 of 7: Never, Never Assume!


“We have a tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we BELIEVE they are the truth.   

We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking, we take it personally, and then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word.   

We only see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. We don’t perceive things the way they are; we literally dream things up in our imagination. Because we are afraid to ask for clarification, we make assumptions that we believe are right, then we defend our assumptions and try to make others wrong.

The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. Make sure the communication is clear. If you don’t understand, ask. Have the courage to ask questions until you are as clear as you can be. Once you hear the answer, you will not have to make assumptions because you will know the truth.”

~  an excerpt from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz


Sure, we are all guilty of making assumptions every so often and when we do, nine out of ten times we’re completely off the mark.  Sadly, people often make assumptions —not  because they are afraid to ask for clarification, as Don Miguel Ruiz suggests — but because they choose to sit in judgment.  They are convinced that they are right, despite possible evidence to the contrary or without bothering to delve a little deeper.  They are influenced by their own personal biases. Still worse, they then spread their poisonous thoughts, sometimes publicly, not caring about the damage they have wrought.  That is how reputations get ruined.  In some cases, the damage results in financial ruin and, in more extreme cases, suicide.

We see this all the time.  Public figures, like celebrities and politicians, are crucified in the media.  Private citizens are not immune from this type of unwanted attention and undeserving judgment.  Just turn on the news channel or pick up the local paper and you’ll see someone’s unfortunate personal mistake or trauma plastered all over the news.  Sadly, many people believe what they read or see on television.  Personally, I always feel very sorry for someone whose personal life challenges are made public, regardless of whether they’ve done something wrong.  I feel for them and their families and imagine what they must be going through.

Whatever happened to simple, human compassion?  We shouldn’t be so quick to bring down the gavel.

James 4:12: There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy.  But who are you that you judge your neighbor? 

Assumptions are often made based on how we look or dress. Here are a few examples of erroneous and ignorant assumptions:   If you always dress completely in black, you must be sinister;  If you wear t-shirts and jeans all the time, you probably don’t have much money;  Being fat equates to being lazy; If you wear glasses, you must be intelligent; If you have tattoos and body piercings, you’re bad news; Redheads have hot tempers;  Blonde women are airheads; and on, and on … .    

“While you judge me by my outward appearance, I am silently doing the same to you, even though there’s a ninety-percent chance that in both cases our assumptions are wrong.” 

~  Richelle E. Goodrich

Back in 1981, I attended one of my husband’s electrical engineering classes at the University.  Although I was a political science major, I wanted to “take a walk on the wild side” and learn a little about the world of engineering so that I could better understand his chosen field of study.  For the life of me, I can’t recall what the subject of the lecture was, but I do remember (to this day) something that the professor said. He turned to the class and shook his finger, saying (very emphatically, I might add): “Never, never assume!”

We have made this our mantra ever since.

Image via

New Year’s Revelation No. 4 of 7: Practice a Little Patience


“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The duck and her ducklings were not too fussed about bringing heavy road traffic to a halt.  They’re just trying to go from point A to point B safely and at their own pace, regardless of any red-faced, honking drivers who are raising their blood pressure in outrage at being inconvenienced for five minutes or so … by ducks!  The wiser attitude would be to smile, enjoy the scene and take that five-minute opportunity to sit back and relax.  No car can move on until the ducks make their way across the street, anyways.  So, isn’t it a pointless waste of energy to be angry and impatient?

When we are impatient, we act irrationally.   Then, we appear ridiculous (to others … and even to ourselves, if we’re really being honest).

Take, for example, the number of times we engage in a war of words (via email),  where we receive an email that makes us angry and we immediately write a response and press “send.”   This has happened to me a few times and I always, always regret having responded so quickly.  The end result is never what we want it to be.  It would have been smarter to chew on it for a bit and then respond sometime later, when rational thinking and proper perspective has kicked in.

When we are impatient, we make mistakes that we can’t take back.  Then, we’re forced to do damage control.  Patience is the antidote to anger and aggression.  Seethe and then breathe.  You can sit in the energy of your anger, feel the anger and then slowly let it go.

Did you ever stand in the check-out line at the supermarket and, fifth in line, you’re waiting and waiting …. and then you see the cashier having a nice chat with a customer?  Oh, they’re laughing and talking, impervious to the long line of now highly annoyed people.  Does it really hurt to share a few pleasantries?  Are we so important (in our own mind) that we need to be served immediately, chop-chop?

When we are impatient, we forget to breathe.  Just inhale slowly and, then exhale slowly … and repeat.

Patience is all about self-mastery and control.  We cannot control what people say or do to us, but we can control how we conduct ourselves and how we respond. 

In Buddhist thinking, the perfection of patience (ksanti) has three essential dimensions: 

  • The ability to endure personal hardship.
  • Patience with others.
  • Acceptance of the truth.

1. Enduring personal hardship:  Personal hardship encompasses a wide spectrum of issues, such as illness, financial problems, the death of a loved one, devastation from a natural disaster … and so on.   Patience, in these instances, comes with the acceptance that there are times in our lives when we are faced with trials and tribulations, that they are most often temporary, and that we must not let ourselves be defeated by despair.  To face difficulties constructively, rather than destructively, is to endure personal hardship with patience.  Think of the expression “This, too, shall pass.”

2. Patience with others:  Anger is a very destructive energy.  It can explode or (if we allow it to) it can fester.  The way to nip anger and impatience in the bud is by cultivating a sense of equanimity (calm and balance).  And to treat others with kindness, even if our knee-jerk reaction is to throttle them.  Think of the expression “kill him with kindness.”

3. Acceptance of the truth:  In Saint Augustine’s words, “Patience is the companion of wisdom.”   It peels away the layers of arrogance, ingratitude and judgmental thinking.  It allows us to accept the things we cannot change and to accept our experiences as they are — suffering and all — rather than how we want them to be.  This translates to people, as well as experiences.  We must be patient with people and accept them for who they are, not who we want them to be.

The lessons that we learn from Patience will have an irrevocable, positive effect on our lives.  It will lift our spirit, cultivate good character, and we will receive that end-of-the-rainbow treasure that we all seek:  not a pot of gold, but something much more precious …. Happiness.

I’ll leave you with this really sweet commercial video, called “Patience …pass it on.”

Image (ducks) via

New Year’s Revelation No. 3 of 7: Resist the Mañana Syndrome


“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it.  No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
~ Lord Chesterfield 

In theory, I completely concur with Lord Chesterfield.  In practice, however, I’ve been known to occasionally follow Scarlett O’Hara’s logic (from Gone with the Wind):  “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow …… After all, tomorrow is another day.” 

Putting things off until tomorrow — or, as I like to call it, The Mañana Syndrome …. has been a challenge for me throughout my life — not because I’m lazy, but because I always have so many concurrent projects and so many lists-upon-lists-upon-lists, that it becomes overwhelming sometimes.  And then I completely detach.  But, something changed for me last summer.  It wasn’t any specific event or drama.  I was just sitting at my computer, with Janis Joplin rasping in the background.  The song was Ball and Chain and the lyrics that spoke to me were:

“That’s what it is, man. If you got it today you don’t wear it tomorrow, man. ‘Cause you don’t need it. ‘Cause as a matter of fact, as we discovered on the train, tomorrow never happens, man. It’s all the same fxxxxxx day, man.”

And, right there and then, I thought to myself  “What if tomorrow never happens?”  I would not want to leave this world without having done the things I needed and wanted to do.  Now, I know that I’m taking the meaning of Janis’ lyrics out of context … but it just triggered something in my head.  So, then I thought “How can I complete what I need to complete?”   And the answers came to me in short staccato words and phrases:  You’re not Superwoman.  Be reasonable.  Prioritize.   Compartmentalize.  Streamline.  Keep it simple.  Stop writing lists.  Take a breath. 

Let’s be real, here.  This is not a Mensa puzzle.  I just needed to tweak my thinking and my process of multitasking.  And so I did. 

It worked. My book, Casualties of the Recession Depression, is written and currently in the editing phase.  The launch is set for the 26th of February, barring any glitches. And, I’ll soon pick up where I left off on my next book, When the Child Becomes the Parent. Everything is on track and on schedule. 

Yet, each day I make time to read a book while enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of my garden.

Speaking of thought processes, I’ll leave you with another very loosely related anecdote.  One evening, my husband and I were gazing up at the stars.  I asked him “What do you see when you look up in the sky?”  He looked at me quizzically and said “Well, there’s Orion’s Belt   ….”   He saw the starry sky in a structured, compartmentalized way.  I said, “When I look up, I see a sea of stars in an endless array of different sizes and formations …. too many to count, or even discern.  I just love to soak in the beauty of it all.”  And so I wondered whether the stark difference in the way we saw the night sky was a function of gender (i.e. ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’) or  was it simply that our personalities are such that he see things in black and white and I, in every shade of grey in between.

Which is why I tended  (note the past tense) to bite off more than I could chew. 

Lesson learned.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” 
Mother Teresa

Image via (Photo credit:  Inga Ivanova)

New Year’s Revelation No.2 of 7: Kindness is Contagious


“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”

~ Amelia Earhart

A few weeks ago, while I was waiting for the train at the Metrorail station (here in Miami), I happened to glance down at the outer main platform (one story below, outside of the turnstiles) and what I saw simply made my jaw drop.   There were about fifty or so people, either sitting down on the benches or  mulling about, and an elderly man was walking (alone) on the sidewalk.  No one took notice of him, until he fell.  Very shakily, he tried to stand up and almost succeeded but then his legs gave way and he collapsed in a heap on the ground.  No one — and I mean no one — lifted a hand to help him.  Oh, they certainly gawked at him, but apparently no one wanted to “get involved.”   I started yelling from the station above, but my voice was lost in the noisy rumble of the train that was approaching my station.   Finally, a bus driver sauntered over to the man and helped him to stand.  Luckily, he wasn’t hurt, just shaken.  I shook my head in disgust.  What in the bloody hell is wrong with people?

It never hurts to be kind.  Kindness is like the gift that keeps on giving.  It comes back to us in spades.  Some call that Karma.  I call it Humanity.  The Dalai Lama says it best:

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

Pure and simple.  Kind acts don’t have to be extravagant, nor should there ever be the expectation of reward or recognition.  The man, pictured above, is an example of the most pure and humble act of kindness (and love).  His very old dog suffers from painful arthritis.  He frequently takes his dog out in Lake Superior and the water soothes the dog’s arthritic joints,  relieving him from pain and allowing him to sleep on his “Dad’s” chest.   Strangers from far and wide, having heard of this moving story via the internet, have anonymously paid for vet procedures and more, to help the ailing dog and to relieve the financial worry from his “Dad.”   Now that is kindness in its purest form — anonymous, random acts of kindness.  I encourage you to read the full story.  It is simply inspiring.

Spending the night listening to a troubled friend.  Offering to carry bags of groceries from the supermarket to the car, for someone you don’t even know.  Giving some wildflowers to an elderly stranger sitting on a park bench.  Feeding a hungry stray cat.  The opportunities to show kindness … are simply endless.

I’ll leave you with yet another one of my own personal stories.  It’s about “Lucky” — the name I gave to the baby possum I rescued about a year ago.  In my neighborhood, Friday is the day that we can leave yard clippings out on the road, to be picked up.   My husband and I had done a lot of tree trimming, so we placed the pile out on the Thursday evening.  On the next day, the truck came and picked up all the clippings and I noticed that there was still some yard debris left.  Annoyed, I took my broom and began to sweep.  The truck driver came around again and honked his horn at me.  I looked up and then he pointed (animatedly) at the edge of the road near the sidewalk.  Puzzled, I looked down and then I gasped.  There was a shivering, wet (it had been raining earlier) baby possum, playing dead (as only possums know how to do).  I hadn’t noticed the little fella, because his color blended with that of the road.  I knew that if I left him there, a car would park and the tires would run right over him.  So, I ran into the house and got a plastic container and a sheet of cardboard.  I slipped the plastic container over him and the cardboard under him, lifted him up and brought him into my side garden.  I removed the cardboard and container and watched him for a moment.  I truly thought he was dead. His eyes and mouth were open and he would not move, even though I prodded him gently.  I left him there, amid all the grass and shrubs and then went into the house, to watch him from the window.  After about five minutes, he got up, shook his head (very similar to what my dog, Bacchus does)  and then he grazed on some grass.  After a while he went exploring.  I named him “Lucky” for obvious reasons.  He was so lucky that he didn’t get flattened by a car whose driver wouldn’t have noticed him.  Lucky still lives in my garden.  Very late at night, when I walk around — to make sure that all is well and secure — I sometimes have a chance encounter with my old friend.  He’s not so tiny any more.  I like to think that he remembers my voice (possums don’t have the best eyesight).

It gives me great joy to be kind.   We are all God’s creatures.  It would behoove us to remember that, from time to time.

Lucky (2)

“Lucky” … the day he was rescued

Image (of dog and man) via, photo by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson.

New Year’s Revelation No. 1 of 7: Love without Reservations, Conditions or Expectations


To love without condition, to talk without intention, listen without judging, to give without reason and to care without expectation.  This is the art of a true relationship”

~ Anonymous

It’s a new day and a new year, ladies and gentlemen! Yesterday is history. We can’t rewrite it, but we can learn from it. Today begins a new chapter in each of our lives. Embrace it with an open mind and a loving heart.

Love. It’s a simple word, really. Yet, sometimes we misuse it and, far too often, we (intentionally or unintentionally) misinterpret its meaning.

 Love — an over-used word?

How many times a day so we say “I love you” — to our children, as they go off to school each morning or to our significant others, and even to a family member, at the end of a phone call? I know, the premise behind the declaration is that we want our loved ones to know that they are loved. But, doesn’t the constant, repetitious utterance of the phrase somehow dilute its meaning? We say “I love you” just as often (and almost as automatically) as we say “Hi, how are you?” — to which the equally automatic response is “Fine, thanks. And you?”

Shouldn’t we savor the phrase and use it in moments that give it more meaning? Isn’t it more important to show someone that we love him/her, rather than tell him/her constantly? Incidentally, I do not mean to infer that giving someone a gift is necessarily a demonstration of love. Actions have far more impact than gifts. For example, when a mother of four is juggling multiple school/extracurricular activities schedules, keeping the house in tip-top shape, preparing home-cooked meals and managing to work from home … her husband could show his love by surprising her with breakfast in bed and taking the kids out on an excursion each Saturday, so his wife could have some quiet time to herself.

Let me share a personal story with you. Back in the first half of 2005, my mother was a permanent resident in a chronic care hospital. She was dying of cancer. Now, my mother and I always shared a special bond. I knew that she loved me and vice versa. But, one particular day stood out for me … and I weep, as I write this. She began to have bouts of dementia and she, along with some of the other patients (they all had similar illnesses) would often be seated in their wheelchairs in the lounge at certain times of the day. Many would dose off and others, like my Mum, would simply stare into space – expressionless. This one day, I visited her during one of these lounging hours. I got out of the elevator and saw her immediately, noting that her eyes had a far away look in them. When I was about ten feet closer to her, she focused her gaze on me and then, immediately, her eyes lit up. She smiled, giggled and clasped her hands in joy. And then, she said my name: “Heather!” We embraced. I stayed with her for hours and hours, just holding her hand and gazing at her, trying to memorize her face and that moment in time. No one had to hit me over the head with a bat, to tell me that my mother loved me. Just the way she looked at me, said it all.

That’s what I mean when I say “show” someone you love them. When a dear friend calls you on the phone, respond with a smile in your voice because you’re happy to hear from her. It makes a world of difference.

Love — its meaning is not that complicated, is it?

Love is not — should not — be complicated. It is what it is. We needn’t ascribe conditions, restrictions, expectations to it. That is not truly love. Some people are afraid to love because they fear getting hurt. Well, here’s a reality check: they will get hurt, we all do. However, that should not prevent us from loving. You see, only the people you love deeply have the power to hurt you, and vice versa. If someone says something negative about you, the impact of the criticism would not sting even a little compared to the hurt you would feel if the words were uttered by someone you love.

This is why we should honor the people who we love and who love us in return. It is so important to try not to abuse friendships and relationships. I say “try” because we are, after all human. We make mistakes. We say things before we think and can’t take the words back. What we can do, is say (and really mean it): “I’m sorry.”

Which leads us to another can of worms. Forgiveness. Aye, there’s the rub. True, it’s easier to love than to forgive. But, if we truly love, we must forgive. After all, isn’t that what loving without conditions, restrictions and expectations is all about? When a teenage child screams “I hate you!” with venom and blazing eyes at her parent, it feels like the blade of a knife. But, she’s your child and you love her, no matter what. You forgive her (and pray that this hateful rebellious phase will pass quickly!).

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”
~ Robert Muller

I chose “Love” to kick off the first of my 7 New Year’s Revelations this year because it is the most powerful human emotion (the other, of course, is hate … but I will not be touching that one).

So, dear readers, my wish for you, in 2013, is that you love well and with abandon (not to be confused with promiscuity!! ).


 Image via

Farewell 2012, and hello 2013!!

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
— Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Dearest readers, thank you so much for reading, following and liking my blogs!    Many blessings for 2013 and may tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebration be filled with laughter, good food, plenty of bubbly libation, and the company of those you hold dear! 

And, as always, a very special shout-out to my family and friends across the globe, but especially in:

New Zealand

Australia (Eucumbene/NSW, Sydney, Perth)


Greece (Athens, Glyfada, Kalamata, Meropi)

Malta (Il-Kappara, Madliena, Naxxar, Sliema, Senglea, Ta’Xbiex, Valletta,  … )

The Netherlands

England (Henley-on-Thames, London, Southampton, Worcestershire, … )

♦ Scotland (Laird/Scottish Highlands)

Canada (BC <West Vancouver, Victoria>, AB <Calgary>, ON< Ajax, Bainsville, Burlington,  Dundas, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa,  Pickering, Scarborough, Smith Falls, Toronto,Welland, Windsor,  ….>, and QC <Anjou, Beaconsfield, Côte St. Luc, DDO, Harrington, LaSalle, Laval, Montréal, N.D.G., Outremont, Pointe Claire,  …> )

United States (FL <Coconut Grove, Cooper City, Coral Gables, Coral Springs, Lake Worth, Miami,  Orlando…>, AL <Mobile>, KY <Winchester>, NC <Apex, Charlotte, Mooresville,  …), NY <NYC>, CT <Fairfield>, RI <Providence>, MA <Boston>, OH, IA, CO <Denver>, CA <Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek,  Campbell, Los Gatos,  San Jose, San Francisco,…>)

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first of my seven New Year’s Revelations (not to be confused with resolutions!).  And a new chapter begins ….