The Blessing of a Baby by @_NancyRadke USA Today Bestselling Author

I have a new “title,” besides that of bestselling author. My grandson and his wife just made me a great grandmother. It happened this week, so I’ll write about my precious new baby for my April blog. She’s a sweet little girl who took her own time getting here, coming on her own schedule, not her mother’s, who had it all planned out for last Thursday. The baby had other plans, almost making it to my birthday.

Baby

Babies are a delight to any family and our little one is no exception. She makes me want to include a baby in an upcoming book, just to remember what a blessing a newborn is. They were able to bring her home from the birthing center a few hours after she was born, so we all got to hold her right away.

Living Near, Living Far

When my first child was born, we were living in Hawaii and our folks were in Alaska and Washington state, and they weren’t able to be there right away. My great granddaughter lives within walking distance, so I expect to see her often.

The ladies in our church family are providing two weeks worth of meals, so I was told to wait to do that.

When my daughter was young, I used to take her to visit her great grandmother at a nursing home. It was the highlight of the week for both of them and I feel it taught my daughter to be kind and thoughtful of older people. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow up.

I feel like I’m rambling, so will mention the book I have out this weekend. Scorpion’s Trail, normally $5.99, is on sale. The story has nothing to do with babies, but it is a romance that introduces my favorite hero, Hugo, who takes delight in teasing my heroine, Perri.

Scorpion's Trail

It’s 1964 Again- #spring #memories #Inspiration @jacqbiggar

Spot the birdie?

Today is the first day of spring and it’s my birthday!

I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane and visit the year I was born- 1964

But first:

According to Siri, I’m a Friday’s child, though you’d never catch me in bloomers, lol. How about you?

In the music world, The Beatles were racking up the top 5 on The Billboard Top 100 with I Want to Hold Your Hand leading the way.

It was a feat no musical group had ever accomplished and many thought would never occor again.

The average house in the US cost 15,000 and rent was $115 a month (imagine!)

Milk was priced at $0.93.

A gallon of gas- $0.25 compared to the $1.94 a litre we currently pay in BC

Minimum wage was $1.15 an hour while ours in 2022 is $15.55

The 1964 Mustang was a mind-boggling $2300.00 (yes, I’m drooling!)

Apparently, Dragons are the most powerful in the Chinese zodiac, gifted with courage and intelligence, but are hotheads with sharp tongues (Oops!)

There are five types of dragons depending on the year you were born. For 1964, it is the Wood Dragon- introverted (yes), less enthusiastic (maybe), and lacking good relationships (not true!)

Dragons who will be engaged in creative work, literature, etc., you will have more inspiration this year of the Tiger, and maybe one day your works will become a hit. (Yes!)

Mary Poppins by Walt Disney released August of 1964 and grossed $102,272,145

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law.

Mohammad Ali became the heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

Sidney Poiter won the Oscar for his role in Lilies of The Field

Alaska suffered a 9.2 earthquake on Good Friday, March 30th

1964 was a busy year in history!

In 2022, we have war in Ukraine, a wave of hate crimes, poverty, overdoses, a pandemic… but in the midst of it all there are stories of kindness, generosity, and family values. We can do better- I truly believe humans are worth the effort.

Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.

Kevyn Aucoin

Travel to Kiev, and pray for the Ukrainians

As we follow the terrible news on TV and pray for the Ukrainians, I pulled my picture album and reminisced about my business trip to Ukraine in April 1997.

Located on the Dnieper River. Kiev (or Kyiv) is the capital and largest city in Ukraine with a population of three million inhabitants. It dates back to 560 AD and enjoys an authentic Eastern European culture.

Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) is on the historical boulevard Khreschatyky. It is the focal point of the Independence Day celebrations every August to celebrate Ukraine’s breakaway from the former Soviet Republic but it is also remembered for the Orange Revolution of 1994.
The Dnieper  is one of the major rivers of Europe, rising in the Valdai Hills near Smolensk, Russia, before flowing through Belarus and Ukraine to the Black Sea.

As the program manager for a contract in Ukraine, I flew to Kiev with three people from our lab in Ohio, and met with our Belarusian driver, Sergei, who had driven from Minsk, Belarus, with two chemists we previously trained on analytical equipment.

We spent our first evening in Kiev, strolling through the main avenues, discovering the city, and admiring the beauty of the colorful cathedrals with golden domes, churches, statues and monuments.

Marinskyi Palace that serves as the official ceremonial residence of the President. The palace lies on the right bank of the Dnieper River in Kyiv.

Some of you may remember the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Two explosions resulted in radioactive dust spread around the area, mainly to Belarus which is at 20 km north of Chernobyl and to Kiev at about 130km south of Chernobyl.

In 1997, my company was contracted by the DOD to equip and deliver a mobile laboratory to a military base in Uman, in Central Ukraine, about five hours away from Kiev. The two GC/MS—gas chromatogram/mass spectrometer—and other smaller instruments we installed would allow the detection and analysis of toxic substances in hazardous waste samples.

After a week of work installing and testing the equipment, I left the staff to continue the training and returned to Kiev to fly back to Munich, and then to New York. For my bad luck it was May 1st or Labor Day in Ukraine and Europe. Little did I know that the big avenues were blocked for a military parade with the President heading it. Sergei and I had to use the backroads. I had the chance to visit St. Sophia Cathedral and a fabulous monastery, but I almost missed my plane.

Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra, is a monastery’s cluster of gold-domed Orthodox churches built on top of a labyrinth of ancient caves. 
Closer view of the green dome church in the monastery.
Motherland Monument on the Dnieper River. We could see it from far away.
Saint Sophia Cathedral is a unique monument of
architecture and monumental art of the early 11th century having the biggest preserved collection of mosaics and frescoes of that period.

Kiev is such a beautiful city. The pastry is delicious and the amber jewelry out of this world. I bought amber necklaces, brooches, bracelets.

Pray for the Ukrainians’ safety and for peace.

HEAL MY HEART is set in Belarus. In a far away country, a baby girl, four little boys, and a handsome doctor may teach Dr. Jillian the true meaning of Christmas.

AMAZON

Family Christmas

In elementary school, one of our teachers used to ask the class to write a paper about the meaning of Christmas. What does Christmas mean to you? This sentence still echoes in my ears after so many years. I had no trouble filling the pages, writing how my grandparents organized Christmas for their family of six children and families. Christmas meant getting together with the many cousins, enjoying a fun time, a delicious dinner, innumerable cookies and desserts. “Christmas is family time,” my grandmother often repeated. Yet she always added to her guest list the friends and neighbors that were on their own on Christmas day.  

And then my grandfather passed. A year later, my mother took over. The Christmas get-together moved to my parents’ house, with my grandmother’s menu and a few new recipes. By then I was married with small children. So were the invited cousins. The reunions continued, with thirty guests attending, all related — my children playing with their relatives, creating life-long bonds of friendship within the family.

When my dad passed, Mom lost the desire and energy to prepare big gatherings. It was my turn to maintain the tradition that came with a lot of work but so much joy for children and parents. For the last thirty years, I’ve been starting the cooking and baking three weeks before Christmas. Even after we retired and moved to Florida, our children and relatives kept visiting for the holidays. This year, I will entertain twenty-five guests on Christmas Eve, relatives and a few lonely friends. My daughter will handle the Christmas Day dinner. The family reunion continues with my grandchildren befriending the cousins’ kids.

Christmas meant family togetherness for church, dinner, and play, when I was a school kid, and it still has the same meaning. My grandmother must be smiling from up there at my grandchildren and her many descendants bonding together.

Yes, the holiday preparations can be exhausting. What do you do after a long day of preparation? Wouldn’t it be nice to lounge in front of a fire or curl onto a couch or even in bed with a sweet romance novel, forget the latest lousy news and escape into a warm Christmas story that would cheer you up and reassure you there is still love in this world?
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Here are a few warm Christmas stories to lift your heart: