When Christmas Had Another Name

snowman drawing
Image by Rawpixel.com

What Did Christmas Mean to Me This Year?

I smelled it in the air, the year we struggled. It was two weeks before Christmas when we lost our place. The spiced scent of Christmas in my drink, in my food, in the air- was no more.

I saw trees lighted in people’s windows, churches sang sweet hymns to  God and everyone was bundled up in red, green and gold: the official banner for Santa and for the very first time-

I did not care.

Fast forward six years later and Christmas no longer holds the magic it used to hold.

I take that statement back, last night for the first time, a small bit of Christmas nipped me at my nostalgic nose, greeted me with a kiss. My sister came by with her sweet children and we all played Banned Words. My brother- in- law flew in to visit and regaled us with his adventures of traveling the globe and my husband and I were pleased to serve a good meal to anyone who came by.

Earlier that morning while cooking, I played the Jackson 5 Christmas songs album on YouTube. So glad my favorite holiday album can be found on social media these days.

A bit of that magic seeped into our home.

For that moment, just one moment, I was that little girl again waking up to breakfast and shiny packages to rip into.

Except for these packages were felt instead of seen.

Like I said, Christmas just isn’t the same anymore. It has been called many things:

  • Jesus’ Birthday
  • A Pagan Holiday
  • Commercialized Selling Point

Through all of the name changes, I’ve come to believe it is simply a holiday like most that did not originate from thin air.

In the beginning, it was just Christmas to me-I was a child. Then Christianity became my cloak and it became Jesus’ Birthday. Research made me see it as pagan holiday when it I held it up to Bible Scholarship and as a full-fledged adult, it became a holiday after my money

Yet, for a few hours last night, I was taught the meaning of friendship and love and how laughter can heal anything.


‘A Duke By Default’, Another Winning Romance from Alyssa Cole



The Reluctant Royals Series by Alyssa Cole is Heating Up the Winter!

Five Purple hearts by default for A Duke By Default(Book #2 in the Reluctant Royals Series)

I am serious. These books are impossible to put down and I love how each one takes place somewhere different. Read my take on the first book in a previous post.

In A Duke By Default, Portia Hobbs is in over her head with drinking, partying, and sexing random men. Even with her Master’s degrees, she is told by family and friends to grow up and get a handle on things.

Why not apprentice as a swordmaker? Portia decides to head to Scotland and create Project: New Portia. No boozing, no sexing strange men and definitely get her head on straight, but when she meets Tavish McKenzie, her boss. Drinking is definitely the last thing on her mind.

Check out my reaction to this story below:

December 21, 2018

This is a story I’d love to see on the silver screen. It is just that good. Once again, Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series has made me lose sleep.

Duke by Default is hot, passionate, and just all around feel good. There’s swordmaking, Scotland, hot Scottish accents, Queens, Dukes, royals, and pop culture galore.

As part of Project: New Portia, Portia Hobbs goes off to Scotland to be an apprentice to a swordmaker, Mr. Tavish McKenzie. She is soon curious as to how skilled he really is with his hands because Tavish is devilishly handsome and his accent is making her want to demolish her Project New Portia.

A wonderful, delightful story about how we can feel so terrible about ourselves when we compare ourselves to others.

Even with all the passion, all the romance, and an equally posh/historic setting, Portia’s background and family life tugs at your heart.- *Review found on Amazon*

I am excited about Book 3 arriving on the scene April 2019, pre-order A Prince on Paper now to continue the adventure with those who did not ask for royalty, but find the passion of their hearts instead.
~The Write Web

Presenting L.K. Rayne’s ‘Silk and Thorne’ #Books2Read

silk and thorneEvery once in a while, an author gifts me with amazing books and I feel horrible sometimes that I have sooooo many books in queue to read, that I could never read the ARCs in the allotted time… However, I deal with this by reading the blurbs and a few chapters and if I feel good about them, I present them here. For instance, today I present to you L.K Rayne’s Silk and Thorne(which I will be reading and reviewing soon), here is the juicy blurb..

Some promises are made to be broken.
Some memories are better left forgotten.
Some thorns are not meant to be touched.

What do I remember most about Ethan Thorne?
The stupid games we used to play.
His scrawny legs as he struggled to climb the old willow tree.
How we raced back to the dock from the middle of the lake on a hot summer day.

What does the world say about Ethan Thorne?
Well, the tabloids call him a playboy. A lady-killer. Some sort of maverick. 
The business circuit calls him ruthless and cunning. An unrelenting competitor. A titan of industry.

But do you want to know who the real Ethan Thorne is? 
The truth is, I have no idea. 

Fifteen years ago, we were only children. For one short summer, we were pure and innocent, unspoiled by the cruelty of the world. But the funny thing about the world is that it has a way of taking what we hold closest to our heart and tearing it away.- Blurb from Amazon

The makings of a real romance seem on the horizon with this one.

I’d like to thank the author for sending me the ARC and to my blogger friends and those reading, if you are interested in a contemporary romance about old friendships turning into new flaming passionate love- pick this one up.

Have any book recommendations for me?

Let me know in the comments below!

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving Holiday was bright with love and feasting! 🙂

Tempest Review #BeverlyJenkinsBooks

Sorry it’s been a while but I have been reading, I took up knitting recently, and I am preparing for this NaNoWriMo thing.

I finished reading the final installment in the Rhine Fontaine/OldWest Series. It was so

Tempest Book Cover Courtesy Avon Books/HarperCollins Publishers

good and it got me wondering about some of the historical events I never learned about in school.

Here’s a blurb from Amazon and find my reaction below!

“From USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins comes a new novel in a mesmerizing series set in the Old West, where an arranged marriage becomes a grand passion . . .

What kind of mail-order bride greets her intended with a bullet instead of a kiss? One like Regan Carmichael—an independent spirit equally at home in denims and dresses. Shooting Dr. Colton Lee in the shoulder is an honest error, but soon Regan wonders if her entire plan to marry a man she’s never met is a mistake. Colton, who buried his heart along with his first wife, insists he only wants someone to care for his daughter. Yet Regan is drawn to the unmistakable desire in his gaze.

Regan’s far from the docile bride Colton was expecting. Still, few women would brave the wilds of Wyoming Territory for an uncertain future with a widower and his child. The thought of having a bold, forthright woman like Regan in his life—and in his arms—begins to inspire a new dream. And despite his family’s disapproval and an unseen enemy, he’ll risk all to make this match a real union of body and soul.”

As for romance and endearing moments that is classic Beverly Jenkins, this book scores high. There were several pivotal moments that reached my heart, like when Aunt Minnie makes little Anna(Regan’s stepdaughter) believe she is the cause of her biological mother’s death.

Then there is the sad state of affairs of what happened to the Chinese in Rock Springs. The author was kind enough to offer additional information in the back of the book and she encourages us, readers, to learn more about it as well.

Overall a good book and if I were to give the series any stars at all, on average I would say about a 4.5.

Have you read any good books lately?

Tell me in the comment section 🙂

Kate Bowler’s ‘Everything Happens for a Reason’ is Sensational and a Miracle

everything happens

This book was a miracle to my thought process…

No matter how much church we have in our pockets or theological knowledge- when death sniffs us out as potential meals, who cares about the English language anymore? This prosperity teaching author drops the f-bombs freely and sweetly as she shares her life story about living with stage IV colon cancer. There are more truths I paid attention to here as well.

The book is almost a guide on how to respect the ill and dying.

Reading an account of someone living with stage IV cancer is one thing, to hear the author read her own memoir aloud is another. Kate Bowler finds out she has colon cancer at the age of thirty-five and with a little baby and doting husband, she wonders if this is something God orchestrated and she explains in her own sharp-witted way(and with candid humor), that sometimes there can’t be a reason and sometimes things are the way they are.

“Some are sinking faster than others- but we’re all sinking” (Kate Bowler, “Everything Happens for a Reason”)

The emotion behind the author’s voice brings to life the anguish and irony of living while dying. The encounters with snotty doctors, uncaring doctors, and others who mean well but just cannot help.

As an assistant professor at Duke University, whose specialty is in the Prosperity Gospel, Kate is astonished at how little prosperity Gospel actually teaches. The chapter I paid attention to most is “Magic”, where the author recounts how at church one day everyone was proclaiming God’s provision in their lives for cars, homes, and weight loss and each of them received it but she had not received her blessing. I totally empathized with her on that one. There have been plenty of times God looked out for others and I would declare to no one in particular. “Why isn’t God looking out for me too? I love Him too?!”

The author definitely keeps it real about her diagnosis: from the evaluation to the nurse calling her and telling her that cancer was all over her body and then the grueling, painful task of saying the “slow goodbyes” to friends and family.

Overall, I admire this woman’s courage to tell her truth and even though we all know to be kind to others, when in the presence of someone deathly sick, please refrain from:

  • platitudes and Scriptures
  • Prayers of healing(unless asked for)
  • trying to “make” the person well again *of course, all of these are great if asked for!

and more importantly, do not treat them as if they are already erased. Just be there. Just listen.

I think about my father when he had stage IV esophageal cancer;  I would gently hold his hands and I would whisper prayers of healing I found online. He wore the Jehovah Heals scarves, had water that was prayed over and I told him “God can do all things, even heal”

His body resides in a vault now. Six years has passed on. Nope, it hasn’t gotten easier folks.

What was running through my own father’s mind when I tried to church him to health?

He was quiet, I do remember that.

We accept life, why can’t we accept this part of it too? Maybe because we never been on that trip before and don’t want to find out. We love God but we question: does he love us enough? I understand we are mortal, so death is as certain as taxes but cancer remains a beast.

*Kate if you are reading this, your book is a miracle in writing and I will say to you that there are never perfect words of healing to say to anyone in your position, I will say to take each day as a present as we all should, and that God may be there but I believe there are times where He presses the mute button.


M Is For Mahogany #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z


Photo Credit: Nappy for Pexels.com


M is For Mahogany 

Here we are

two Jaspers in space

Meeting up for the first time with a priori

for seduction’s

Chance yet here we are wearing

prejudices placed in our minds from meditations..


I like you, you like me, this tango should be simple

I follow your lead and in turn I lead your heart back to me

Only one thing stops me from loving you,

You’re mahogany- just like me. Our sameness,

our hurts all the bitterness of these apples

were handed to us without a choice

I see you

I see someone I am supposed to loathe because of ThugBabyDaddyBabymommaDramaUnemployedSelfhate

And when you see me you see FemaleMasculinityTooIndependentButBrokeEnoughtoBeaGolddigger


Who gave you the poison? Oh, she did?

Who gave me my poison? He did, they did, we all effing did

But I’ll dance with you,

I’ll lure you with my same browness and bigness, and thick-skinnedness

As long as you do the same to me

Copyright 2018© Erica Jean Smith

*I hope you enjoyed this poem. This one was right off the top of my head when I thought of the color mahogany which is like a reddish-brown hue. We have all been bruised emotionally because of our skin-tone or hair type. One thing I learned is that “isms” never really die. Why? Because they are ideas, philosophies, prejudices, ghosts. What we can do is rise above it all and love one another on deeper terms than just what we are given. Yes, even our own experiences can cloud very good judgment.


Top 6 Reasons Anime Lovers Really Love Anime #Otaku #Anime

Hopefully, you’ve read my previous post about what anime lovers hate about anime, but overall there is a fondness we have for it. Let me share the reasons why we are addicted to Japanese animations…


Great for the Attention Span

Is it just me, or is our attention span significantly shorter these days?

Not sure, but anime in general runs about 15-20 minutes tops(unless it is an anime movie). By then you pretty much are into the show and await the next one. This generation has short attention spans now so let me get on with the next point quickly.

Something for Everyone

I did not realize this until I started really watching anime. There is literally an anime category for everyone.

Like romance? Try Maid-Sama and others like it.

Like Shonen Jump?(Action) Try Naruto, or Dragon Ball Z

Like quests with interesting characters you fall for? Try One Piece.

Want more college life or adult life stuff? Try shows such as Nana

Then there are the thrillers I absolutely fell in love with: Parasayte the Maxim and Ajin.

Like I said, young or old, there is something for you.

Addicting Storylines

Only in anime will the storylines be so crazy but you watch them anyway. I’ve read crazy books and watched silly movies but only in anime will you see this:

In Brothers Conflict, a young girl(perhaps a teen of 17 y/0) goes to live with her stepfather’s sons for a while and all thirteen of them are super handsome and each have a different personality-of course, affecting her in some way. It is hilarious how a few of them “hit” on her in many ways and I swear the show was addicting but there weren’t many episodes(hence one reason I wrote the previous post)


Also, The Devil is a Part Timer is an instant favorite for us all. Only in anime will Satan himself become a teen and have to rent an apartment, eat lackluster foods and make a living in fast food only to be the apple of some chick’s eye…but there is lots of action and maybe a hint of romance..?

Watching Anime Extends Your True Creative Self

Okay, okay- what do I mean by this?

If you go on YouTube, you will find videos by people suddenly wanting to go to Japan to learn the language(some speak it fluently too!), becoming manga/comic artists, or are famous because they post really cool stuff on YouTube like AMVs.

Me, personally, I think I fell in love with the culture as a child before really understanding why and not because of anime. Although after watching anime in 2006 I took up learning the mechanics of haiku and have an interest in learning lettering and design! 


We are called otakus(some say this is a derogatory term), geeks, nerd, crazy, and all of the above just for participating in an event where you can dress up as your favorite game/anime/comic character and join others with the same addiction as you.

I’ve never been to a cosplay, my family and close friends have, and I plan on going soon myself.


I nearly forgot to mention this. I write fanfiction often. This is where you take an anime(or show, or movie, or book) and rewrite it as your own keeping the same settings, characters, and overall mood of the anime or twisting it around. So far it is the best place for people to judge your writing abilities and make friends.

By now, I hope you at least have a clue as to why we love these darn animes. It is no different than those addicted to K-Dramas(which I am now). I’m sure after reading this you will probably not waste your time watching an anime, but now you know why we are so serious about it.

Do you like anime? Yes? No? Do you enjoy watching K-Dramas as well? Why or why not? Thoughts?

If you enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing and have a nice day!  🙂

~The Write Web