What I Wanted To Tell You At Christmas

What I wanted to tell you at Christmas is how spectacular the illuminations at Stourhead this year.  I wanted to show you the carpet of lights twinkling down to the lake and the Pantheon lit up like a beacon in the distance with two little boats in the water…

I wanted to tell you about The Twelve Days of Christmas lighting the path in the dark and the cold and the rain.

A partridge in a pear tree…

Two calling doves…

and Three French hens.

All the rest followed with an arch as bright as day
and musical globes by the bridge red as embers …

And at the end, the church lit up and the moon above,
white and stark in the jet-black night.

I wanted to tell you for Christmas about my book.  It is finished and out for agent submission and now I wait.

And isn’t it funny? Life, I mean. Just when you think you’re on a hiding to nothing and you wonder where it’s all going to lead, something wonderful happens, something you didn’t see coming a million miles away.

Charli Mills held her Rodeo Contest at Carrot Ranch with a team of judges from her home community in Minnesota. You know, right there by Lake Superior in the snow. Lost in submissions and a crash of confidence, I didn’t think I could or would enter. But at the last minute, something wild came over me. So I did. Just one, the last: TUFF (The Ultimate Flash Fiction) with the prompt, ‘Beans’.

I wanted to tell you at Christmas that my entry placed second and oh what a thrill to see my story with the other winning entries. The validation at any time but especially this time (for me) is a huge boost. Knock-backs take their toll.

Charli writes about the push and pull of entering contests and the fears, doubts and insecurities writers face. It’s an excellent read.

Thank you, Charli, from the bottom of my heart, for your faith in me.

Then I wanted to tell you at Christmas about the three bears bearing gifts
with plenty of ‘Grrrrr’ for the season…

And another kind of bear, that is Paddington Bear(s) in greetings from Bath

I wait while enjoying the sights…

…including some parachuting Santas.

What I also wanted to tell you at Christmas is that my blogging friend, Michael S. Fedison, author of The Eye-Dancers and its sequel, The Singularity Wheel, is now offering Freelance Editing and Proofreading Services.  I’ve known Mike and his wonderful writing for years and highly recommend him.

And also to tell you that Esther Chilton (she helped me greatly with advice and edits of my memoir manuscript) has a new book on writing tips coming out soon. Not to be missed with her writing expertise as an experienced tutor and editor.

There is an excellent writing blog I have followed for a long time: Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris. Great excitement in discovering that I once lived in the same place as Anne on the Central Coast of California. I’m her neighbour from afar! Anne has great advice in her recent post, Commenting on Blogs: The Easy way for New Writers to Build Platform.

More news I wanted to tell you at Christmas is the release of Sally Cronin’s new book, Life’s Rich Tapestry -Woven in Words, a collection of verse, micro-fiction and short stories. Author D G Kaye (Debby Gies) shares her 5-Star Review in a beautiful write-up.

For all your generous sharing and support, simply to you both:
Thank you from my heart.

And to all of you who read my blog and support my writing and for your friendship
and encouragement, I can’t thank you enough.

There is so much I wanted to tell you at Christmas.
In the crazy of this world and the darkness of these days, it is hard finding answers.

Sherborne Abbey, Dorset, England

The light of hope in the lonely hours came for me through the words of a
book for our time.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,
by Charlie Mackesy

My husband gave this to me as an early Christmas present. To encourage me, he said.

When the night is darkest before dawn.

Introduced by the author as a book for anyone from eight to eighty, its message is as exquisite as it is profound. It will floor you then fix you.

‘The boy is full of questions, the mole is greedy for cake. The fox is mainly silent and wary because he’s been hurt by life…’

Simplicity in its purest form of words and illustrations, this book will, I know, crush the hardest heart. This book is a gift of hope.

‘”What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked the boy.

“Help,” said the horse….’

Kindness, love and discovering that home isn’t always a place. And never giving up.

And that is what I wanted to tell you at Christmas.

*******

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.
See you back here in 2020!

Love Sherri x

 

 

 

 

 

About Sherri Matthews

While bringing her memoir, 'Stranger In A White Dress', to publication, Sherri's articles, short memoir, personal essays, poetry and flash fiction are published in national magazines, anthologies and online. Sherri blogs about her travels, nature and wildlife, Asperger's Syndrome and her life as a Brit ‘mom’ in America. As a regular contributer and columnist at 'Carrot Ranch', an online literary community, Sherri writes flash fiction and articles about the process of memoir for a 'Raw Lit' series. In another life, Sherri lived in California for twenty years, but today, she lives in England with her family including two black cats and a grumpy bunny. Writing stories from yesterday, making sense of today, giving hope for tomorrow.
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67 Responses to What I Wanted To Tell You At Christmas

  1. Denise says:

    Great big well done! You are so clever to have finished your book. Happy Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the mention, Sherri ❤ Greatly appreciated. It was lovely to read all your news here. Congratulations on second place. Wow! Well done, you 😊 And what stunning photos! Wishing you and your wonderful family a very Happy Christmas xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike M says:

    And I wanted to tell you your writing is precious and is a wonderful motivational and uplifting gift to all that read it! Here is to a successful and rewarding 2020, may it be a leap forward year for you in all you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mary Smith says:

    What a lovely post, Sherri. Congratulations on your story getting second place and for the book being finished. I hope you don’t have too long to wait – I want to read it 🙂
    Have a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. restlessjo says:

    I know somebody like that mole! 🙂 🙂 Many congratulations, Sherri! Smiling at you and sending Christmas hugs…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. purpleslob says:

    Happy Christmas, Sherri!! You’ve had so much happen this year!! Congrats on the second place/ and finishing the book!!Many good wishes for an agent to pick it up soon!
    Love, Melinda<3

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dgkaye says:

    That’s a lot of news Sher! The photos are gorgeous. And I’m sooooooooooo happy to hear your book is finished. Wishing you lots of luck with submissions. Look so forward to reading, And thanks for the mention. Christmas hugs coming your way! ❤ ❤ xxxx

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  8. parkermccoy says:

    Those two red boats are stunning. Excellent photography!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful Sherri… stunning photos and wishing you a Merry Christmas and fabulous New Year with your book out in the world. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have put a snippet of the post in the blogger daily this evening to share your wonderful photos and news.. and thank you so much for the mention of my book.. a lovely thought ♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday December 18th 2019 – #’U’ D.G. Kaye, #XmasLights Sherri Matthews, #Whimsy Carol Taylor | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  12. Thanks so much for the shout-out, Sherri! Much appreciated! And congratulations on your book.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Merry Christmas, Sherri. Congratulations on second place and on finishing your book. Your photos are lovely, as are your supportive mentions. Hugs and much ❤ flowing to you. Xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What fab-u-las Christmas lights, Sherri. This time of year may have long dark days and nights, but don’t those lights help us all see that even during these short days, life has so much to offer.
    Congratulations on submitting your book and for also taking 2nd place at the Carrot Ranch contest. Just goes to show that we should go with something when we think we won’t bother, but something else tells us to have a go. I wonder where that feeling comes from, or who sends it to us?
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Hugh, does that mean I get my first ‘Ten’ of the season?!! Haha…love it, thank you so much for your lovely message. And yes, like you, I love the pretty lights at this time of year, we certainly need a reminder of all the good things in life, that’s for sure, and that little voice inside leading the way…Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too, Hugh. Not long now! Big hugs 🙂 ❤ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  15. CarolCooks2 says:

    Well done on finishing your book, Sherri and thank you for the images…I love them …Christmas is not celebrated here where I live …I have the only tree for miles around …Our one shopping centre has a tree but that is where it stops because the shops are just the same as any other day of the year…For me seeing those shop windows brought back some memories although I don’t miss the frantic parts. and the queues..haha….Merry Christmas x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol, and thank you so much, I’m thrilled you enjoyed them and some happy memories 🙂 I love that you still have your tree but yes, you’re right about the manic rush…it’s crazy here, sales everywhere, no such thing as a ‘quick dash to town.’ Ha…’tis the season! Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • CarolCooks2 says:

        I loved them it’s the same with snow I enjoy the images that other bloggers post although the snow I don’t miss apart from when it is freshly laid snow that I used to love …Yep… the only decorated tree for miles but that is one tradition I am not giving up…although the palm trees do look lovely all lit up….Merry Christmas

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh I bet those palm trees look stunning. I lived in California for almost twenty years, brought up my three children there before returning to the UK in 2003. They go all out there, of course, there’s no Boxing Day. Here, as you know, everything closes down for about 2 weeks lol!!!!! I did a traditional English Christmas every year in the US but my in-laws never did take to Christmas pudding and cake! I gave up after a while as nobody ate it. Now I do a mix of both English and American, a sort of Thanskgiving rolled into Christmas but always with the turkey! As for snow, yes, I really missed that in CA too, but then we haven’t had a white Christmas here for years. Keep hoping…but think it will be just rain as usual. Snow pics do look beautiful, I agree. I will think of you with your lovely tree all it up the only one for miles. Great chatting, Carol, and once again, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! 🙂 xxxxx

          Liked by 1 person

          • CarolCooks2 says:

            Yes Americans don’t seem keen but funnily enough the Thais love Christmas pudding and cake..I make all my neighbours mince pies at Christmas and they love them…That really surprised me and one of my grandsons friends when he comes to dinner always asks Aston if we are doing roast potatoes as he loves them…and others unless it has lots of chilli in it they don’t…Merry Christmas , Sherri lovely to chat xxx

            Liked by 1 person

            • How funny…I would never have known that! Most of my American friends weren’t keen on mince pies lol! My brood love chilli on everything…just goes to show the different tastes, doesn’t it? Fascinating… lovely to chat, Carol…Merry Christmas and here’s to all those delicious mine pies…and roast potatoes but no chilli for me 😀 xxxx

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  16. Diane Box says:

    What amazing and delightful photos! Loved the line oft repested “what I wanted to tell you at Christmas.” And love the perseverance of you and all the other brave writers who continue imparting their gift to us who love to read. As for the book given to you by your hubby, just perfect! A must read for 2020. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year dear friend. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you enjoyed, thank you so much for your lovely comment, my dear friend. You will absolutely love the book, it is a must and incredibly moving read. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, dearest Diane…onward and upward it is! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤ xoxo

      Like

  17. Wishing you a merry christmas Sherri and lots of luck with your agent hunt. x

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Lots of interesting news Sherri, but I’m particularly pleased to know that the year ends with your memoir finished and out in the world. Congratulations and fingers crossed! Happy Christmas and good wishes for the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Congratulations on finishing your book, and good luck with your agent submissions! Thank you for sharing pictures of Christmas in your area of the world. It looks truly magical.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You sound so positive, dear Sherri. Congratulations on finishing your book. I wish you lots of readers in the New Year. Have a really wonderful Christmas. Loved seeing all your happy photos. 😍😘🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, dear Sylvia, you are so kind and supportive, means the world to me. So glad you enjoyed the happy pics, as I do yours which bring joy to my day 🙂 A wonderful Christmas to you and yours too, my friend, and a very Happy New Year ahead. See you in 2020! 🙂 ❤ xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Ste J says:

    Great photos, I am excited for all the things going off in your literary life. I’m excited to see what next year brings you and am honoured to be following your journey. Have a wonderful Christmas and a good rest because you deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you greatly, but the honour is all mine, my friend, I am so thankful that you are such an integral part of this roller coaster journey – though I would prefer this to a real roller coaster since I am not good on those things! Thank you as always for your fantastic support and I wish you and your lovely family a wonderful and very Happy Christmas, though I think you need that rest more than me! Take good care and see you in 2020!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Seyi Sandra says:

    Oh my dear Sherri! I have missed you so. The care you take to plan and write your post which always brim with love, and information is just so obvious. The beauty in your eyes and how to translate it to your blog. I missed it so. I am happy though, that your memoir is ready.
    I have been busy working, studying (doing an MA) and it was just a bit too much. But I am back now blogging.
    Happy New Year to you my friend. I hope this year will be full of great things for you. Congratulations on your writing. Much love to you dear Sherri.❤️❤️🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dear Seyi, how wonderful to hear from you, how I have missed you too! Thank you so much for your delightful message, please forgive me for my long delay. I am thrilled you are back to blogging and I will be over to you very shortly to read your latest post. It is so hard keeping the balance with other writing commitments (and life, of course!) in the background. Huge congratulations on your MA, that’s an amazing achievement. I am in the thick of preparing a submission package for an agent in my search for representation. It includes a proposal which seems to be required for a memoir and is very in-depth and extremely time consuming and taking all my time at the moment, hence once again being very behind online. I am not far off now from completing it and then I will be able to get back here more often at last. I have yet to get a post this year! So…in the meantime, I wish you also a very Happy New Year, my dear friend, and all blessings to you! Much love back to you, Seyi, I am beaming from ear to ear 🙂 ❤ ❤ 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Seyi Sandra says:

        Oh my dear Sherri, it’s always so great reading from you! :), thank you for your kind wishes. I understand how life can get in the way, and I wish you all the best in your search for finding the best agent that would truly represent your interest. I know how long and time-consuming that can take. All I know is, very soon, I’ll be reading your memoir. 🙂 🙂
        I hope you’re having a great Valentine’s day with your beautiful family. My love to you and all that is yours! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh my dear Seyi, I hope it won’t be too long, but we both know how long the process to publication…but I will keep you posted, for sure. I will be over to you in the week as now I can take a bit of a breather having got my submission package ready at last and I so much look forward to reading you again. Thank you so much, and I hope you too are having a beautiful Valentine’s weekend, with love to you and yours 🙂 ❤ 🙂 xxx

          Liked by 1 person

          • Seyi Sandra says:

            I know Sherri, I know how long it can take. No rush, but it would the highlight of my year whenever you release your memoir. I’ve been on the journey with you, so maybe, you’ll understand my enthusiasm.
            I wrote a new post, or let me say, I made a short film titled ‘Chasing Humans.’ I actually made it for one of my MA modules. I’ll appreciate a mention, a whisper, a word about it! Thank you. 🙂
            I had a lovely Valentine, hubby was great. I hope yours was beautiful as well? I hope you’ll have a great evening my friend. I look forward to reading from you soon.
            Much love to you and yours. 🙂 🙂 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • I can’t wait, Seyi, sounds intriguing. If not later this evening, I will be over to you first thing tomorrow morning, I promimse. And you have been been with me from the start, all these years. I will be utterly and truly honoured to share my memoir with you when it’s published, I am so happy you are back to blogging, how I’ve missed you, my dear friend. Oh your Valentine sounds wonderful, I’m so glad 🙂 I did too, thank you, hubby also treated me beautifully. So…look out for me over at yours very shortly. Much love to you and yours, lovely friend! ❤ 🙂 xxxxx

              Like

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