Christmas is over, Hanukkah is in full swing, and the New Year is fast approaching. Whether you celebrated Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, or the pop-culture holiday Chrismukkah, giving gifts is most likely still on your mind.
And yes, there is always someone who you still need to buy for—or, if you are like me, when you see a gift you know exactly who it will fit.
As this is the time for gift giving. Remember that your purchase of my book, Pinnacle Lust, this season will be a double gift. Not only will it enrich the holidays with its story of the resilience of the human spirit, it will also help to bring a different kind of resilience to the charred landscape of Tennessee. At the end of November, fires swept through the area of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, destroying over 700 homes and buildings, over 18,000 acres and killing 14 people. Although the flames were extinguished earlier this month, the pain and horror of what happened there lives on among the charred rubble. Possessions can be recouped and lives rebuilt, but the landscape of Tennessee will be marred by this event for decades to come.
I have extended efforts to help restore the landscape that has been destroyed by the Sevier County wildfires. From November 23, 2016 through January 30, 2017 I will be donating 100% of my royalties to efforts to restore trees to the landscape in Tennessee. My goal is $25,000 and I will be disappointed if I don’t reach it.
Many people have helped to bring awareness to my efforts. I extend a heartfelt thank-you to all the bookstores that are selling my book, in particular Bookmiser in Roswell, GA and Once and Again Books in Marietta, GA. A special thanks to The Lavender Cottage & Garden gift shop in Sautee-Nacoochee, Georgia, 5 miles outside of Helen, which is also selling copies of my book to help with the relief efforts, and of course to Scott Lorenz, President of Westwind Communications, with his help in sharing my posts and giving me guidance and direction.
Mostly, I am thankful for each and every one of you who has supported me in this goal. I know that my target of raising $25,000 is just a drop in the bucket compared to what disaster relief organizations raise, but I feel compelled to help bring relief in whatever way I can. I hope you’ll stand beside me as I strive to reach my goal.
Now is the best time of all to make a difference. With every purchase of my book Pinnacle Lust, you help to replant trees that will restore the landscape ravaged by fire. This holiday season open your heart to those in need. Buy a book, give it as a gift, and know that the proceeds will help restore trees to the smoldering mountainous landscape in Tennessee. Pinnacle Lust is one feel-good present you need to buy this holiday season.
December holidays unite! I typically celebrate the eight-day event that is Chanukah and all that comes along with it: candles, dreidels, jelly doughnuts, latkes, and more.
But honestly I’m one of those people who also love Christmas festivities—that magical feeling at the end of the year—the twinkling lights, the decorations, the jingle bells… It all makes for a wonderful tradition.
Between being loyal to my roots and being a guest at the holiday that is Christmas, I feel fortunate that December is always a month full of celebrations.
But it is even more magical when Chanukah and Christmas overlap—it gives it a spark. They call it Chrismukkah, a pop-culture holiday.
This year, Chanukah’s first candle and Christmas Eve fall on the same day. Wow. This doesn’t happen often.
And when these two holidays unite, I say it’s a good reason to have a massive year-end celebration. And if we already have an official name, Chrismukkah, that combines the two, then let’s unite the celebrations of both holidays. Whether or not religious beliefs are important in celebrating holidays doesn’t matter. What does matter is the activity that is at the center of both holidays—spending time with loved ones.
What’s the best way to combine Chanukah and Christmas? Eight days of gift giving, spending time with family, and a mixture of traditional Chanukah and Christmas foods. Perhaps Santa Claus himself will deliver the last of the presents. When Chanukah and Christmas overlap, Chrismukkah makes for a fun festival that unites families with blended religions. It’s the ultimate holiday.
I’ve just returned from New York and—oh boy—let me tell you something. Chrismukkah is in full swing, especially the jelly doughnuts. It seems like jelly doughnuts have even replaced the famous New York hot dogs these days.
Wherever you are, step up and bring your traditions to the table and the party.
Now that’s what I call a blended holiday!
I wish you a Merry Chanukah and a Happy Christmas.
Or let’s say, Happy Chrismukkah.
Wherever you are in the world, preparing your home for the holidays, I hope and pray you are enjoying the comforts and treats that this holiday season brings. Good times distract us from the day-to-day problems in the world—it’s easy to forget matters that make us uncomfortable, like distant catastrophes in another state or another country...maybe even a neighbor.
Stop. Take a deep breath. Smell the Christmas trees and the Chanukah bushes. Appreciate the scent of fresh pine mixed with holiday spices. This is what the Tennessee mountains used to smell like. But now, after thousands of acres of forested land have turned to ash, all that is left behind is a bad odor—stale and stagnant. Tennessee’s landscape will never be the same. It will take decades for the land to begin to return to what it once was.
The dying embers in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains are still glowing, trying to fight back against the firefighters.
Organizations have begun relief efforts to help those who have lost their homes and possessions, and I want to be part of that effort. I am donating 100% of my royalties from Pinnacle Lust on copies sold between November 23 and January 2017 to the relief efforts to replenish Tennessee’s landscape. I have set a goal of $25,000 to be donated toward the cause which comes to about 5,000 copies that must be sold (as an average of all formats).
And I’m realistic. I know that I cannot reach this goal without your help.
But when I consider the number of trees that have been cut down to make paper for books, and now the devastating loss of trees in Tennessee, I can’t help but to think that buying a copy of Pinnacle Lust is, in a way, giving back.
By giving the gift of a book to a loved one, you will help bring new growth to Tennessee’s landscape and pay back the trees for the paper.
Please. Stand beside me as I help bring relief efforts to a land ravaged by fire.
The colors of the trees were about right for this time of the year. The raging wildfire could almost blend in if not for the smoke, the roar of the fire, out of control. And the fear and the loss.
On November 23, the Sevier County, Tennessee, wildfire started small at Chimney Tops Trail a few miles south of the town. But just overnight, 20 mph winds fanned the flames consuming the three acres to blaze through more than 500 acres. On Tuesday, the winds increased to hurricane force, as high as 80 mph. Eastern Tennessee had suffered a drought over the summer and fall, creating dry conditions ideal for the out-of-control blaze. The result was catastrophic.
In the destruction, an estimated 700 homes and structures were ruined and nearly 18,000 acres have burned. Fire crews, helicopters, and a total of 458 personnel rushed to Tennessee’s aid, but the fires were beyond control. The residents of Gatlinburg were forced from their homes as the flames raged toward them. And, while many people escaped with their lives, some were not so lucky. The death toll rose to 14 this morning.
I watched the news coverage of the people in despair, and stared in horror as the flames inched closer to peoples’ homes and the lives they had built. I cannot erase the images from my mind. I cannot imagine the terror they must have felt in having to flee for their lives, leaving their homes and possessions to burn behind them. Life for them will never be the same. Tennessee will be marred for decades to come—both in the loss of her people’s homes and also in the region’s beautiful landscapes.
The Southeastern part of the United States is my home. I have lived here most of my life. I truly have the need and the responsibility to help replenish Tennessee’s landscape, in raising money to bring trees and plants back to the areas that were ravaged by fire.
I ask you to stand beside me as I provide efforts to help Tennessee. Starting November 23, I will donate 100% of all royalties from the sale of my book, Pinnacle Lust, to the relief efforts in Tennessee. I would like to shoot for the moon and set a goal of $25,000 to be donated toward the cause—that comes to about 5000 copies that must be sold (as an average of all formats).
I envision myself traveling to Tennessee and helping to plant trees. If possible, I’d love to involve a school and the children in the process of rebuilding their state’s landscape after this disaster. Even children who are rocked by this tragedy must learn and understand that life goes on even when it seems the world has stopped turning.
As December holidays approach, people are buying gifts for their loved ones. Now, each purchase of Pinnacle Lust carries with it a promise to help restore the beauty of the landscape of Tennessee. Pinnacle Lust is a book that will be a wonderful gift this season—both with its powerful story about human resilience as well as with the good your purchase will do in benefit of this worthy cause.
Tennessee needs our help. I implore you to stand by me in reaching this goal by purchasing a copy of Pinnacle Lust today.