Merry Christmas! The BEST Holiday Gift of the Season is Teaching My Child How to Give

If you haven’t yet gotten your fill of sweet Christmas stories, check out these deals for discounted Holiday-themed ebooksHis Epiphany is among them. Find more Holiday romance here.

Frohe Weihnachten!

The following is a segment that I’ve recently shared with my mailing list subscribers. I’d also like to share my experience with you:

Our family celebrates Heiligen Abend (Christmas Eve) and Christmas Day, so our little one is truly enjoying the best of both worlds. It’s wonderful to honor family traditions, and it’s especially freeing to celebrate in our own little way. The Holidays are becoming even more beautiful as we create new traditions with my Little One (now that he’s starting to understand what all of the hoopla is about!).

It’s been especially satisfying teaching him the importance of giving. As the years progress, I’ve noticed that it’s not always going to be easy to get my child to understand how truly blessed we are. Of course, at this point, a little toddler really shouldn’t be focused on, well, anything, so I guess I still get a pass.

Nevertheless, it was a real treat the other day to buy one simple present for another child that my son had selected – and then remind him that the present was NOT for him.

Okay, you may be thinking that I was a sadistic mother at this point, but hear me out. It’s so easy to tithe and toss donations towards organizations that support what my family and I believe in, but with a click of a button, my child doesn’t see or feel the impact.

He doesn’t understand the concept of money beyond the fact that he likes the paper in his green crocodile bank, and every now and then he gets some of that paper to stuff inside it.

When he selected the toy he thought was the most exciting, naturally, he wanted to keep it. He wanted to play with it like any normal child would. Although he understood from the get-go that the toy wasn’t for him, he didn’t give up hope that I would change my mind and let him have it.

It gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about the act of giving – and how it’s important to give things to others that we would want for ourselves. At home, I demonstrated the open-palm/closed-palm mentality using his toys, and then I left the subject alone.

Over the course of a few hours, he constantly looked at the present, asked about it, and wanted to role-play that he was the child receiving it. (On the one hand, it was amusing to see how he found a way to achieve emotional gratification, and on the other hand, I felt so privileged to witness how he processed his feelings!) I reminded him that giving can actually make you feel really good. To demonstrate, we baked brownies (with LOTS of sprinkles) to give to his preschool class the next day.

The following afternoon, an amazing thing happened. This time, he wanted to pretend that he was the person giving a present, and I’ll tell you, the Grinch has nothing on the size that my heart grew in that moment.

As many of us get ready to open up our presents, I hope that you have a wonderful time appreciating these moments in the ways that make YOU feel most fulfilled and blessed. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and my most heartfelt wishes for a Happy New Year!

Sending Love & Light,

Atina

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

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– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series (described as “sweet California Romance”) and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Changes… They’re ‘a Comin’

My Website in 2020

It’s hard to believe that the year 2019 is already coming to an end. Not only that, but it also means the end of another decade! 

Right now, that’s too much reflection for me to dig into. Nevertheless, as I look at the fantastic and tragic things that took place in my life this year, I am wholly and incredibly grateful. 

Last month in November, I didn’t publish any personal posts because of an unexpected trip to Germany. We’re never ready to say goodbye to the ones we love, and for me, it was no exception. In the past few weeks, it’s occurred to me that I want to spend most of my time connecting with others in ways that feel the most impactful. As I incorporate more life-affirming choices in my everyday experience, I will also do the same with my website.

Holiday Heartbeats – and More

In the new year, my focus will be on creating new installments in the Holiday Heartbeats series, and developing concepts for upcoming series and standalone novels. I look forward to sharing more about these projects with you here. If you’ve had a chance to read books from the series, please consider leaving an honest review on Goodreads.

Thank you so much for your continued support! Join my mailing list for sneak-peek cover reveals, freebies, and exclusive content. I’m incredibly humbled knowing that my sweet California romance series resonates with so many of you!

Have a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season;
Sending Love and Light to all of you.

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©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

 

Love’s Thrill

The Thrill of Love

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“The real lover is the man who can thrill you just by touching your head or smiling into your eyes – or just by staring into space.” – Marilyn Monroe

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Love Sees ALL People

Love Sees All of Us

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“The power of love is that it sees all people.” – DaShanne Stokes

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Fresh Memories

Showing versus Telling Wins Again

One of the most beautiful things about having a little person in your life is the fact that EVERYTHING is new to them. Late Sunday afternoon, my preschooler noticed a spatula that I’d placed on the counter after pulling it from the dishwasher and asked, “What’s that for?”

Nevermind the fact that he’s seen it before, or even plays with one of his own in his kid’s kitchen. His natural curiosity and desire for an explaination warmed my “tell me about everything under the sun” heart. I took the time to lean down, give him a hug (becuase how could I resist?), and explained what the instrument is typically used for. He listened to me politely when I explained, but honestly, what’s the fun in that? It dawned on me that this moment could be so much more.

The Best Pancakes EVER

So, I pulled out the gridle – my old-fashined one that your grandma probably has – gathered a few ingredients, and whipped out a couple of mixing bowls. In just a few minutes, he and I were contentedly making 100% whole-wheat buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes!

The entire experience was precious, and we had so much fun. The end result was actually INCREDIBLY delicious, and I promise you, even the most skeptical person would enjoy the taste of these whole-wheat pancakes. Let me know if you’d like the recipie. I’m posting a picture here – and although it’s far from fancy food-blog-worthy, it’s a photo capturing a moment in time where my only child and I made a beutiful memory.

No wonder the pancakes tasted so good.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

One Soul, Two Bodies

One Soul, Two Bodies

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“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

The Art of Falling in Love by Haleigh Wenger #AtinaReads

The Art of Falling in Love by Haleigh Wenger

(This is a modified reposting from July 2019.) Just in case you haven’t had a chance to check out this amazing book, add Haleigh Wenger’s The Art of Falling In Love to your Fall reading list to keep you warm while the temperatures plummet!

If you’ve had a chance to read this coming of age, please consider leaving a review so that others have a chance to find out more about this lovely author!

This YA book goes beyond “sweet” romance by incorporating social commentary about a topic that many authors are afraid to touch.
It’s hard enough falling in love while you’re a teenager – imagine navigating those treacherous waters while being homeless:

Seventeen-year-old Claire Haynes always spends summer vacation at her family’s beach house in Florida, sketching and dreaming of art school with her biggest fan–her Opa. But when Opa dies right before summer break, all Claire has left besides her memories is a sand-sculpting contest application with her name on it and the lingering question of why Opa filled it out in the first place. Claire has never even made a decent sandcastle, but she reluctantly turns in the entry forms, hoping the contest will help her navigate the grieving process by honoring one of Opa’s last wishes.

When she meets Foster, a teenage boy with a talent for turning recyclables into abstract sculptures, the two join forces to win the contest and salvage the Summer of Art. They spend the humid summer days shoveling sand, devouring ice cream, and exploring Florida’s art scene. Just like Opa, Foster understands Claire and her overwhelming need to create, but he has a secret that threatens to ruin everything: he’s homeless and hiding from an abusive brother who would have him believe family trumps all.

When Claire’s parents find out about Foster’s homelessness, they offer him a home along with their hearts. But even picture-perfect families like Claire’s can harbor an ugly side, especially in the aftermath of Opa’s death. When someone close to Claire spills Foster’s secret, they’re both forced to choose between love and familial obligation. If Claire can’t break through long-held beliefs and prove family is more than shared DNA, she could permanently lose Foster and a chance at the sand contest to honor Opa.

– The Art of Falling in Love, back cover exerpt

Far too often, trends in Romance focus on “The Billionaire” this and that. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, kudos to Haleigh Wenger for providing us readers with a hero who forces the reader to explore the novel with both heart and reflection. I especially appreciated her vivid, descriptive writing, empathetic character development, and a great story that didn’t shy away from uncomfortable subjects – juvenile homelessness, sibling rivalry/betrayal, and coping with life after a devastating event. (On a personal note, it was also wonderful to reconnect with familiar areas in Florida.)

Order The Art of Falling in Love and add it to your TBR pile in time for the Holidays!

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

 

Is Your Dream Crazy Enough?

How Crazy is Your Dream?

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“Don’t ask if your dream is crazy, ask if it’s crazy enough.”
– Lena Waithe

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

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Love’s Been Through It All

Love’s Been Through It All

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“Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.” – James Thurber

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Take Action for Success

Action is the Key to Success

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Action is the foundational key to all success.
– Pablo Picasso

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.