‘A Wedding in December’ by Sarah Morgan

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
Length: 384 pages
Acquired through NetGalley
Publisher: Harlequin (HQN) Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 31, 2019

Synopsis:
In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.
Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…
Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget!

My Thoughts:
**I received A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan through NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review**

A Wedding in December is a fun holiday story that captures the essence of togetherness in the midst of chaos. All of the characters have an innate sense of wanting to do the right thing, while harboring a close secret of their own. Even Rosie, the woman the White family are all gathered to celebrate, has second doubts about her impending nuptials (after a very brief courtship)!

I found the book to be delightful, as it highlights the fact that family can stay united, no matter what complications can get thrown their way. Despite challenges, true love and devotion exists among family and loved ones. The holidays can bring about lots of stress, but within all the layers of tension lies the deep meaning of togetherness.

If you’re into stories that feature family bonds with a touch of tension, then this is the book for you. A Wedding in December is a holiday story you definitely want to read, even after the holidays are over!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Blogmas Day 25: Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas! Today marks the joyous occasion of Jesus’s arrival. Many people gather to worship the birth of Jesus through song and prayer.

Christmas Day also brings family and loved ones together as they share gifts, laughter, and precious memories. However you spend this day, I hope it’s an exciting day for all!

Blogmas Day 23: Cape May Fun

Andy and I enjoyed a lovely trip to Cape May this past Saturday! Cape May is so festive during this time of year. We ventured down Congress Hall and checked out the enormous tree! We also headed down to Cape May Brewing Company and relaxed with some drinks. I made sure to bring my Christmas/Winter themed Snoopys!

Here are some snapshots of our trip. I’ll post more photos soon!

Blogmas Day 16: Favorite Drinks During the Holidays

In this post I will write about my favorite drinks during the holiday season! During this time anything with hints of Winter hits the spot. I’m only posting my non-alcoholic favorites in this post. I will share favorite alcoholic drinks in another entry!

Here are some of my faves:

Gingerbread Latte

Chestnut Praline Latte

Apple Cider

Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Mocha

Eggnog

Let me know your favorite drinks in the comments!

Blogmas Day 6: A Special Christmas Memory

One of my favorite Christmas memories has to be my family gathering during the holidays. Nothing made me happier than meeting with my grandparents and cousins during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

From left: Me, my cousins Brittany & Phillip (her brother), and Tricia (Phillip’s fiance)

Here is a photo of me and my cousins Phillip and Brittany during a Christmas gathering in 2010. I was very close with Phillip and Brittany, so I have many fond memories when gazing at this photo. Our lives may have taken different turns over the years, yet I will always cherish the Christmas memories I have with family.

What’s a favorite memory you have during the holidays? Let me know in the comments!

Time With Family Is So Valuable

This post is a Six Word Saturday contribution. Please check out Debbie’s source post here.

Thanksgiving is coming around the corner! My husband and I spend Thanksgiving with both families. During the day we spend time with Andy’s family, and the evening is spent with my loved ones. Since my grandfather is enduring some health difficulties, I’m very grateful when we get to celebrate another holiday together. I’m very excited that next weekend I’ll be seeing my grandparents and 5 year old niece. She’s quite an energetic child! While family gatherings are filled with tensions and stresses, I’m still looking forward to catching up with relatives. I haven’t been to Paterson in a month!

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend!

Books I Discovered Through iaPOETRY

     My passion for writing and poetry stems from my years in training as a Poetry Therapy Practitioner in iaPOETRY, based in New York City. iaPOETRY (International Academy for Poetry Therapy) is a strong and supportive network of teachers and clinicians founded by Lila Weisberger (now headed by Jill Teague and Geraldine Campbell). I trained as a Poetry Therapy Practitioner from 2004-2011.
Since my start in the organization 15 years ago, Lila and her supportive community paved my way in becoming a strong writer and poet. They’ve shared some valuable reading material throughout my journey in Poetry Therapy. These are just some of the books that hold a special place in my heart.

Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making by John Fox
Genre: Poetry/Education
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: TarcherPerigree
Release Date: September 1995

My first conversation with Lila Weisberger was over the phone in early 2004. During that first discussion, she shared with me the value of John Fox’s book for implementing poetry as a creative healing tool. Fox describes many ways to build your words with creativity and expression. There are many exercises in the book that allows people to use everyday items in your home and work setting to express your thoughts.

Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Genre: Education/Literature
Length: 237 pages
Publisher: Anchor
Release Date: January 1994

This book serves as a useful tool for writers/poets who wish to learn new techniques on their craft. Using her own experiences in the writing process, Lamott provides the reader multiple exercises in applying brainstorming and free writing in order to flesh out a first draft for a book and/or a collection of poetry. I appreciated the advice that a draft is a document that can always be edited later. I could greatly relate to the advice in marketing yourself…that the process of marketing is a job in itself. My first collection of poetry (A Blossoming Journey) was through a self-publishing company, and getting your work out there is truly a process you must take on yourself. As overwhelming as it seems, I continue to push along and create. The most important thing to do, first and foremost, is to write!

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh
Length: 227 pages
Genre: Self-Help/Spirituality
Publisher: RIverhead Books
Release Date: August 2001

Many of my poetry therapy colleagues apply Thich Nhat Hanh’s wisdom in achieving peace and mindfulness, yet I picked up one of his books for the first time 5 years ago. During this time, I lost my job in New York, then my apartment a couple months later (no money=no lease renewal). I moved back to New Jersey with relatives, feeling very frustrated about my life journey at that stage. It was at that point when I picked up Thich Nhat Hanh and took in his valuable advice for the soul. The words in Anger served as a soothing balm for my soul. My hurt feelings didn’t dissipate overnight, yet Thich Nhat Hanh allowed me to breathe, to think about what I really needed to guide my soul to heal.

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman
Genre: Non Fiction
Length: 390 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books
Release Date: March 2006 (2nd Edition)

10 years ago, my mother passed away from heart failure. This was no doubt the darkest moment of my life. Along with my family, my poetry therapy community was there to guide me through this difficult time. While working my way through the grieving process, some dear colleagues recommended that I read Motherless Daughters as a healing tool. This book was just what I needed in that rough time, as Edelman shared story after story of women enduring the heartbreak of losing their mothers. The pain from losing my mother never truly fades, yet reading Motherless Daughters (along with a strong support system) helped me move through this difficult stage in my life. 

And StillI Rise: Poems by Maya Angelou
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Random House
Length: 54 pages
Release Date: August 2001 (1st edition: 1978)

     Still I Rise is part of this memorable poetry collection by Maya Angelou. I first became aware of its powerful message while training in Poetry Therapy. Maya Angelou is a powerful poet and storyteller. She endured so much trauma throughout her life, yet she persevered in sharing her story with an unflinching voice as an African-American woman who created rich tales and poems to empower others. I came across Still I Rise in my studies several years ago, and I loved the strong voice it contains. Angelou’s message comes from triumph in the midst of chaos. Despite slander and hate, Maya Angelou kept moving forward in her life. I turned to Still I Rise last year, since I was going through a very rough period in my life. This particular poem helped me out in life immensely.

Summer 2017: iaPOETRY gathering at Tavern on the Green

     There are many more books that I discovered in my studies as a Poetry Therapy Practitioner, but these few were instrumental in my creative growth. Along with the guidance of my wonderful community, these books helped shine a light in my journey as a poet and writer. I will forever be thankful to my iaPOETRY community.

For more information about iaPOETRY, contact:

Jill Teague: Out of the Blue Writing

International Academy for Poetry Therapy

Memories of Mom, Ten Years Later

My mother passed away from heart failure 10 years ago, on the 22nd. I still remember that day like it happened yesterday. It was a Sunday, and I was living in Throggs Neck, NY, ready to run and do errands. My phone rang and saw it was my uncle. I loved catching up with my family once a week, whenever possible. In this instance though, he brought the devastating news that my mother passed away.

I couldn’t function, couldn’t think straight. I knew I needed to head to my family’s house in New Jersey immediately, but couldn’t bring myself to get ready. My partner at the time had to pack my luggage so I would be ready for the journey.

What followed that week was very emotional. My aunt and I did the task of updating family members of my mother’s passing. We (along with my grandfather) spoke with the funeral director about the arrangements. I searched through photos of my mother to create a collage of her memories.

I continue to keep Mom in my memories. Over the years I’ve written poetry in her name, and I’ve followed my path maintaining her mantra: ‘Of course you can do it, you’ve worked hard’. I’ve encountered some bumps in my life journey the past few months, yet her words still resonate in my soul.

It’s now been 10 years since that horrible moment, and I still miss her greatly. She’s never too far from my thoughts.

March 10, 2019: The 1st Book Series I Read

The first book series I got addicted to was the ‘Sweet Valley Twins’ series. I was in 4th grade, and I loved ordering from the Scholastic Book clubs that my grade school offered. Every month during the school year, my mom allowed me to order many stories from the Scholastic forms, and I would enjoy them. During my 4th grade year, as I was looking through the Troll form, I saw a book featuring two girls with a horse on the cover. ‘Sweet Valley Twins #8’ was on the cover. I think that I was very intrigued by the horse on the cover, since I also adored animals at the time. I was also curious what would happen to Elizabeth.

I brought it home a couple weeks later, and I was hooked! I enjoyed reading about the lives of the Wakefield twins, and their inner circle of friends. These characters lived a seemingly ‘glamourous’ life of social gatherings and spacious homes, and I didn’t have that kind of life when I was younger. So while I was reading these stories, I could escape. I didn’t just wait until it was time to order the stories in the Troll book forms…since I frequented Borders Books and Music, I naturally searched for the new selections in the Sweet Valley series.

Reading this book series was the beginning of my interest toward books in a series. A couple years later, it branched into ‘Sweet Valley High’, then later ‘The Babysitters Club’. That series introduced me to Stacey McGill, a young girl handling a life with Type 1 Diabetes. Reading about her daily struggles was key in helping me understand Diabetes when I was diagnosed with this condition during my teen years. Reading guided me toward a deeper understanding of people living through different circumstances, living their lives from day-to-day.

Blogmas Day 3: A Recent Christmas Memory

There are many memories from past Christmas seasons that stand out in a positive note. One of these moments took place about a few years ago, back in 2012. I was living in New York at the time, and my aunt invited me to come over to spend Christmas in Paterson. Since I was very busy with my job as an educator at a nursery school by Columbia University it was weeks since I spent time with my relatives. I couldn’t wait to see my family and catch up with life. I wound up spending up a few days in the neighborhood where I grew up, including heading to a party on Christmas Eve held by a good friend of the family. My cousin was thrilled that I was accompanying her to the Christmas Eve party. Christmas is a time for family to grow closer together, and they were there when I needed them most.