Tipping the Scales toward Love

The holidays are upon us. It’s the time of year I love, and dread, at the same time. As I’ve said before, I’m not a cold weather person (dread). As I drive my children to their early evening activities, Christmas lights illuminate the houses and yards about town (love). I get to shop for the perfect gifts for my family and friends (love).  In order to do this, I might have to brave the local highway, which is always jam-packed for the month of December as everyone else is out shopping as well (dread).  I might have to drive around a parking lot for hours trying to find a spot not overtaken by the Humvee in the adjacent spot (dread).  Score: Dread – 3, Love – 2. It looks like Dread is winning by a nose.

This year, there seem to be more decorated houses. I chalk that up to several things. The weather has been so warm, people have taken advantage and hung more lights than usual because it is actually pleasant to be outside. It could be a function of the economy, the desperation of people who are seeking something positive after a year of struggle. Perhaps it is a reflection of their eternal hope, even when things are bad. Or maybe, like me, they just like pretty lights.  <grin>

I love Christmas lights. It fills my heart with joy to see so many people who want to share in the season. Each year, my family piles into the car, and we drive around town, admiring the displays while Christmas carols play on the car stereo. The lights warm the community as the weather turns colder…as it did this week, here in New Jersey. It seems winter has finally decided to pay us a visit.

I’ve already attended two holiday parties this year, both with my writing peeps. Add these to Love’s score, so now it’s 3-3.  Last Saturday, New Jersey Romance Writers had its holiday party, hosted by outgoing NJRW President Shirley Hailstock at her home. This was my first NJRW party (other than the conference, which, while not exactly a party, certainly had the feel of one at times).  It was attended by lots of terrific, like-minded writers whom I have gotten to know over the last year, and many more I hope to know better. Published, unpublished, on the way there (aren’t we all?), it doesn’t matter when you are among so many generous, warm-hearted, open women (and one man…you know who you are, J!).

On Wednesday, my other writing group, the Noble Writers, met for our holiday gathering.  This group is made up of wonderful, insightful, funny, giving women who meet every week to simply write. It is a support group of the best kind. One of the Noble Writers, our de facto leader, Ellen, asked me, “So, what are you getting for Christmas?” Well, I’ve already been given one of my presents…a big hunky man to sing for  me. No, not my husband, although he is the giver of the gift. It’s a pair of tickets to see Hugh Jackman in his one-man (sorta) show on Broadway next week. (Jumping up and down with glee!) Other than that, I don’t have a list, so I decided it’s time to come up with my writer’s wish list for this year.  And I’m going to share it with you. Because I like you. I also hope that it tips the scales to the side of “Love” and away from “Dread”.

Janet’s Wish List:

1.  Time.  It seems I am always running about, making lists, crossing things off lists, revising lists.  Throwing out the lists and starting over.  I’d like four more hours of the day in order to get more of my list done, and also have some time to spend with my family doing fun things.

2.  A vacation…anywhere that gets me away from my lists for a few days, and allows me time to relax.

3.  A dinner out with friends. They have been so understanding when I tell them I can’t meet with them because I am busy                     working  on my new manuscript.

4.  A  road map from my muse, redeemable whenever I am in my worst writing funk and need to find my way out. Maybe a Garmin would be better.

5. Faith…that one day, someone will want to publish my book.

6. Forgiveness…for those times I feel guilty because writing takes me away from spending time with my family.

7. Courage…to put my work out there, and then to embrace the feedback.

8. A beach house. Hey, if we’re wishing here, we might as well go big, right?

Are any of these things on your wish list this year? Please share…and help tip the scales in favor of Love for the holidays!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa from Violet Femme,


Leave a comment


  1. Oh, I so want a beach house, too! And a pool boy who looks like Joe Manganiello. 🙂

    Great list, Janet! Have a great time drooling over–er, watching Hugh Jackman.

    • Janet Pepsin

       /  December 13, 2011

      Joe M is great…but I’ll still take Hugh Jackman any day. Or Robert Downey Jr., b/c that would just be a laugh riot!

  2. Great post, Janet. I want all of your list and more!!! I’d add patience (which I’m seriously lacking at times), because we know this journey we’re on can take a while. And with all our friends, we’ll get there. I’m definitely ready for the vacation at the beach house with good friends, and a few pool boys (although mine would look like Hugh Dancy, not that I’d turn away Joe M). Oh, and a few bottles of vino-or maybe Prosecco.

  3. Great post, Janet! Interesting how our wishes are similar. By the way, my family has a beach house, with a pool. Now, if only we could get Tom Hardy over to skim out the leaves and serve us some sangria…

  4. hieubietusa

     /  December 13, 2011

    Your list is not too far from mine…but #7..that is the one that is the hardest.
    Plus, thank you for mentioning the holidays by name…and not the woosy calling of “Happy Holidays.”


    PS: I’ve sen Hugh in person…maybe hunky…but not that big…

    • Janet Pepsin

       /  December 13, 2011

      Joe…yeah, pet peeve of mine, I must say.

      And I’ve seen Hugh too, a few times…and he’s PLENTY BIG for me! 😉 Not to mention charming, adorable, loving, funny, and socially aware. Hmm…hard combination to beat, in my book.

      Done gushing now!

  5. Geraldine

     /  December 13, 2011

    I too think there are more Christmas lights, especially in Monmouth County. Driving down from CT this past weekend we saw a difference, even from north Jersey. Whatever the reason, I love it. It’s just uplifting to see the efforts people have made to decorate, each diffent from the others, to send out some joy to friends, neighbors and strangers. Yeah.

  6. Leigh Raffaele

     /  December 19, 2011

    Janet, your post is so uplifting! It brought a bright spot to my day. Where I live in Union County, the number of houses that decorate for Christmas has dwindled dramatically. Up until a few years ago, all but 4 houses would be ablaze with lights, blow-up lawn adornments, and some accompanied by music. This year, only 6 houses are decorated 🙂 I thought celebrating Christmas was falling by the wayside, but your post let me know that it’s a live and well in other parts of the state.
    I agree with your #s 1, 3, 5, & 6. I especially love 6. Foregiveness is such a wonderful wish because, as writers, we all hold guilt of taking time away from our families.
    To you and your family, a very merry Christmas. And may your wish of faith come true in publication this new year!


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