With Gladness: The Modern Era

with-gladness-coverWhere do we even begin to describe our modern holiday celebrations? Do we take a rosy image, ironic portrait, or cynical tone?

With no offense to anyone’s preferred ways of celebrating (and I know I’ll miss mentioning some clever and creative ideas), this blog post will attempt to leave a simplified record of Christmas in the 2010s. Please chime in with your own observations and traditions in the comment section. After all this is history that we are attempting to record as its happening.

The last short story in With Gladness is set in the current, modern era. While it features a “typical” American home setting, the story also looks back to a Christmas event in 1968 through Grandpa’s story. Continue reading

With Gladness: Vietnam Conflict

with-gladness-coverThere’s a lot of irony in that title, isn’t there? Gladness and joy usually aren’t the terms we associate with the Vietnam Conflict. Why did I even put a story with that setting in the Christmas story collection? I try to write realistically in my historical fiction. That involves research (especially in the bigger novels where there are lots of details). It also involves avoiding the cliché – at least attempting.

It might be cliché to have every Christmas story ending happily. I believe in satisfactory endings, but it doesn’t always have to be sunshine and roses. (In An Unbroken Circle, it’s evergreens and baby’s breath flowers – lots of symbolism in that choice.)

I didn’t start writing this blog post to justify my story plot choices. You’ll either like it or you’ll move on to the last story. This article will attempt to share some history on the Vietnam Conflict. Believe me, it’s a topic that can’t be fully covered even in a 500 page non-fiction book, but we’ll try to let our simplified 800 word blog post give you a little more insight to the setting of the short story. Continue reading

Crafting With Gladness: Christmas Wreath From Tissue Paper

3 of 4 crafts on Gazette665 today!

tissue paper christmas wreathWreaths are a popular holiday decoration. Whether they’re artificial or natural, they are a traditional feature on doors and walls.

They are also placed on gravestones of loved ones to remember them during the Christmas season. (An organization called Wreaths Across America helps place evergreen wreaths on tombstones in National Cemeteries across the country). In With Gladness’s short story on the Vietnam Conflict, a Christmas wreath plays a special role in the tale.

For this project, we’ll show you how to make a wreath out of tissue paper. Our test crafters had way too much fun with this decoration, and we hope you’ll enjoy it also. Continue reading

Crafting With Gladness: Christmas Angels

Craft 2 of 4 today!

Christmas Paper Angels

I’m not exactly sure what this craft has to do with the Christmas story “Stars In The Window” from With Gladness, but it sure is fun and cute. During World War II rationing and recovery from the economic depression of the 1930’s kept Christmas decorations and celebrations creative. Folks made many of their ornaments and other decorations out of items they had on hand. When looking for inspiration for this craft, I raided the wrapping paper scraps and the miscellaneous craft drawer…so I guess you could say it was created in the 1940’s spirit?

Using leftover wrapping paper, rubber bands, a wooden spoon, and a couple other items, we’ll craft some Christmas Angels. Continue reading

Crafting With Gladness: Vintage Inspirational Sign

Vintage Inspirational SignHere’s the first of four Christmas crafts for today!

During the Dust Bowl era, most folks didn’t have a lot of money. Frugal living sometimes prompts wonderful creativity. Families made little decorations out of commonplace items they found or saved. Christmas cards from years past were an easy item to transform into new decorations.

Here’s a brief description from the story “Song of Hope” in With Gladness:

“Where’s your pa?” Harper asked, as they sat around the table a few minutes later, cutting designs from the holiday cards saved from past years. (Page 78)

There are lots of fun projects to try with left-over or years-old cards. (Gift tags and ornament balls are always fun!) Today, we’ve prepared a project collage to write an inspirational holiday message. Continue reading