His, Ours, and the World’s

Photo courtesy of Don Farias Photography www.donfariasphotography.com

Photo courtesy of Don Farias Photography http://www.donfariasphotography.com

I have reserved the word miracle for very few events, very few occasions.  In fact, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have used it in earnest, when what I was describing, living, truly rose to the level proffered by the word–or at least the intent of it.

We overuse the word—It’s a miracle when we hit every green light when we’re running late; a miracle when dinner, homework, and baths go off without a hitch; when you find your cellphone your child accidentally put in his toy bin in a moment of overzealous cleaning.

But those aren’t miracles, of course.

Some say miracles happen every day, and I’m sure they do; however, as individuals we don’t always have front-row seats.  Maybe that’s why we read, why feel-good stories are so palliative when interspersed amongst the typical news of the day . . .

The article continues here on The Creative Mama.

Thank you for reading!


Another’s Loss Is My Pain

IMG_7447His fifth birthday has rendered me contemplative.  Perhaps all birthdays do to some extent.  But this one has pulled at me decidedly and fully.

At first I thought it was because he’s my baby.  The baby.  My youngest and my last.  Watching transition after transition, milestone after milestone has left me more than a little not to mention noticeably brooding.

But I realized tonight it’s not that at all.

It’s because I’m thinking about her, about his birthmother . . . and how five years ago tonight a very young woman made a very courageous decision, took an unparalleled leap of faith.

It’s so easy to get lost in the mire of stereotypes—of presuppositions and prejudice, to put birthmothers into a single, constricting category.  As a society we still have not disengaged from the verbiage that limits our thinking about adoption:  mothers giving up their children . . . the phrasing alone speaks of quitting, of desertion.

But tonight, on my youngest son’s fifth birthday, I am struck particularly by the enormous sacrifice his birthmother made, the selflessness of her decision, of my colossal luck that she chose for him this life, his life.

And I am pained by her loss tonight.

Because I know him and she does not.

Because this is suddenly so hard, and I never knew it would be.

Fabulous Fiction and a Forever Friendship

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”  –Mahatma Gandhi

Jenny TropeaSome years ago I walked into my classroom and was met by one of the brightest smiles I had ever encountered.  Her name was Miss Tropea then, and she exuded from the moment we were introduced such grace, poise, and passion.  We taught English together–and though it was not for as long as I might have liked, our bond has remained.  Her soul is gentle and kind, and her positivity is unparalleled.  I feel honored to call her my friend.

To know Jenny is to know goodness, to know thoughtfulness, determination, and empathy.  So, when she emailed me recently to share some very big news, I smiled–a lot.  My faith in the universe is continually restored when good things happen to good people.

Please allow me to introduce to you Jennifer Tropea O’Regan, author of “Confessions of a Bookaholic,” who is sharing here a dozen books that need to make their way into your beach bag this summer!

Thank you, Jenny, for sharing your love of reading with others, for your friendship, and for supporting women at every turn.

Confessions of a Bookaholic: Your Essential Summer Reading List

Dishing, musing, interviewing, and promoting the HOTTEST NAMES in women’s contemporary fiction

by Jennifer Tropea O’Regan

Whether you yearn for a tearjerker, thriller, or are simply a chick-lit devotee, my list of awesomely addictive books will keep you enthralled through Labor Day. My recommendations cover a gamut of page-turners, including Allison Winn Scotch’s soon-to-be-adapted hit and Emily Giffin’s unconventional story of love and loyalty.

Emily Giffin, the beloved author of such novels as Something Borrowed and Where We Belong, returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both. The One & Only is unequivocally Giffin’s most cinematic novel to date. Friday Night Lights meets When Harry Met Sally  . . .  (I have high hopes George Clooney will play hunky Coach Clive Carr on the big screen!) 😉

All Fall Down is the story of a woman’s slide into addiction and struggle to find her way back up again. With a sparkling comedic touch and tender, true-to-life characterizations, this tale of empowerment and redemption is Jennifer Weiner’s most poignant, timely, and triumphant story yet.

Tempting Fate has been artfully described as a Scarlet Letter for the 21st century. Jane Green expertly depicts a woman trapped between contentment and temptation, crafting an insightful look into married life . . . A spellbinding triumph!

The Theory Of Opposites follows the trials and tribulations of Willa Chandler-Golden, daughter of a top self-help book author, as her marriage, her job and almost everything else in her seemingly stable life goes off the rails. Allison Winn Scotch’s sharp and witty sensation has been picked up by Jennifer Garner’s production company. A must-read before it hits the big screen!

The Matchmaker is a touching new novel from bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand in which a woman sets out to find love for those closest to her . . . before it’s too late. Hilderbrand’s up-front style pulls the reader into the minds of her gorgeously nuanced characters leaving us longing for more.

Internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen delivers a lively, compulsively readable novel about the intricacies of marriage and commitment–and how small kindnesses can restore familial bonds after an estrangement in Catching Air. (Devoured this gem in 48 hours!)

Emily Liebert has a gift for constructing true-to-life, humorous discourse. You Knew Me When is an authentic novel full of nostalgia–the perfect read for anyone who has ever longed to reconcile with an old friend. This novel resonated with me long after finishing.

Internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie’s latest book may be her best yet. Hidden explores the interconnecting lives of a man, his wife, and a woman who may or may not be his mistress. Filled with nail-biting tension until the very last page, the ending will leave you speechless!

Someone hand me a tissue, please… Balancing sorrow and humor, In the Mirror is an exquisitely poignant novel and an evocative homage to the things that matter most: family and friends. Kaira Rouda‘s novel resonated heavily after my husband’s plight with cancer.

NYT-bestselling author Sarah Jio delivers an invigorating blend of mystery and romance! Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers an enthralling and earnest take on how the “great green room” might have come to be. Delightful and uplifting, it lingers long after the last page . . .

Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl in Tatiana Boncompagni’s Social Death, a breathless thriller about the murder of a beautiful socialite and the scandalous secret she dies trying to reveal. Money and fame can conceal all manner of deceit, but only for so long. This riveting page-turner will keep readers up well past bedtime . . .

When a 14-year-old runs away, her parents turn to social media to find her–launching a public campaign that will expose their darkest secrets and change their family forever.  Don’t Try to Find Me is a suspenseful and gripping debut for fans of Reconstructing Amelia and Gone Girl. A transfixing, emotionally enthralling, and chillingly plausible read, Holly Brown is an up-and-comer!

Additional authors I recommend without reservation: Stacey Ballis, Caprice Crane, Amy Hatvany, L. Alison Heller, Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, Jen Lancaster, and Susan Wiggs.

In addition to fostering a love of literacy within her unprivileged high school students, Jennifer has many noteworthy philanthropic accolades. During her husband’s plight with cancer – she single-handedly raised over 3,000 books for the Johns Hopkins Hospital Oncology Patient Library. Jennifer is now sharing her unbridled passion for reading via Confessions of a Bookaholic–a page dedicated to celebrating female authors. Follow her on Facebook (Jennifer Tropea O’Regan) and Twitter (@Jenny_Oregan).