Monday, December 25, 2017

A Couple of Minor Christmas Miracles (and a Minor Photo Dump, Too)

Just when I thought it was about time to throw in the towel as far as being a writer, I found two very sweet reasons to keep plugging away at it.

If you're in the habit of stopping by this little old blogsite of mine, you know that my blogging output has dwindled down to almost nothing during this past year, a year of extremely busy times for our family. (I mean, five new grandchildren--including triplets--were added to our string of Pearls in 2017.  And we moved from NH to VA.  And we've been managing a vacation rental in upstate NY.  And well, excuses: I've got a million of them.)

Anyway, as I said, with all that's going on in the ever-expanding Pearl clan--with all the LIFE that needs living, leaving very little time to write about it--I thought that perhaps my writing days were kind of behind me.

Then just before Christmas, in the span of a couple of days, I got two unexpected surprises.

One was an email from a woman in Austria (Austria?!  How did she stumble upon this blog?!), who contacted me to tell me that she's been following String of Pearls for quite a while now and praying for my family (including those aforementioned triplets and their mama).  She wanted to know how she could purchase both of my novels and have them sent to her in Austria.  I was a bit blown away, I must say. Blogging has certainly given me some wonderful blessings over the years!  I have "met" so many interesting people, and I've been humbled to learn that our family has prayer warriors who live far from us, people we may never meet who care about us as if they know us.  If that isn't reason enough to keep this blog going, I don't know what is.

This Austrian reader who introduced herself to me made sure to point out that she was from Austria, "not Australia!"  Could she be a Dumb and Dumber fan?  Was she worried that I was going to reply to her email by greeting her with Lloyd Christmas's goofy, "G'day, Mate"?  If so, I like her even more than I thought I did!
Gabriela, as soon as we can get the details all sorted out, those books will be on their way across the Atlantic to you.

The second minor miracle came on the heels of my Austrian friend's email.  I was checking up on my books' Amazon pages, to see if there were any new reviews posted.  Whenever I do this, I am almost always disappointed.  Neither book has had a new review in quite some time.  But lo and behold, I was surprised to see that there was a recently posted, generous 5-star review of Erin's Ring by a Christian YA author named L. Wahl.

Lovely Historic Fiction
on December 17, 2017
Such an enjoyable historic fiction book! I really liked how the book alternates between a modern day story and the history of Irish immigrants that came to America in the 1800’s.
It begins when Molly – a modern day middle school girl, finds an engraved ring at her church. When she discovers it’s a traditional Irish ring, she decides to research the town’s rich Irish history for a school project. As she delves into her research, we are drawn into the world of the Irish immigrants that fled from Ireland during the Potato famine to find a better life here in America.
This is a fascinating look into the struggles of the Irish Catholic immigrants – many of which were single young men and women who came over to work and sent money back to their families.
The historical parts were quite interesting and thought-provoking and the storyline in the modern day chapters was very touching as well. I really wonderful story about the importance of family, friendship, and faith.

Humbled!  Grateful!  Blessed!

I have added PayPal buttons to my home page, on the sidebar on the right.  If you live in the US and would like to order a signed copy of either book (or both!), you can do so directly through me.  If you live on the other side of the ocean, contact me and we'll see what we can do.

Anyway, enough about books and writing--now on to the reason that I started this blog in the first place: to create a sort of online scrapbook where our family memories can be stored.  I have so many wonderful photos of our first Christmas together in VA that I want to share here at the blog.  We are making new memories with our kids and grandkids, and the new house is starting to feel like a real home.  At the end of our big celebration on the 23rd (which included 12 grandchildren aged 6 down to newborn, and was crazy and chaotic in the best way possible), one of our 6-year-old twin granddaughters said to her Papa, "I'm going to remember this day forever."  Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever heard?  I so hope that's true!  We want our grandchildren to have magical memories of playing with their cousins at Papa and Grammy's house.

It's Christmas Eve as I write this, and tomorrow morning my husband and I are going to be on the road all day traveling.  We went to Sunday Mass this morning and anticipated Mass at 9:00 tonight, knowing that we would have to leave early to head to the airport.  First we have to get from here to NYC, and from there we'll fly off to Poland.  We're going to spend about a week with our youngest son who is stationed overseas.  Oh, and his girlfriend, too.  

I won't be taking my laptop with me on the plane--I'm trying to travel as lightly as possible on this trip.  But I'll have my phone and I'll be posting pictures of our travels on Instagram.  Follow me there if you're interested  (my Insta-handle is @laura.h.pearl).  

In the meantime, I'm going to leave you with a Christmas photo dump.  The caption for each picture could read "We are blessed."
My guy, channeling Cousin Eddie.

The newest addition to the clan, a granddaughter born in November.

How cute is this guy?

It was a Build-A-Bear Christmas.


Can you tell I'm happy when I'm with my boys?

You get a baby.  And you get a baby.  Everybody gets a baby!

Love these smiles.

He was about three pounds at birth. And look at those cheeks now!

Papa getting a movie going for the little peeps.

Heart emojis all over the place.

Son #2 as Santa, son #3 on his lap.  These guys make me laugh.

A Christmas Eve Nativity Pageant with son #1 and his girls, narrated by his wife.
So adorable and touching.

That's it for now.  Must get to sleep or I'll never get through our tiring day tomorrow.

Well, it's not Christmas Eve anymore.  This took me so much longer to write than it should have (another reason I've been a blogger-slacker!).  So--

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and I promise you I'll be back here at the blog much more regularly in the New Year.  It'll be another Christmas miracle!


  1. Merry Christmas! I just wanted to let you know that I was able to get a signed copy of Erin’s Ring from my mother in law. My 4th grade daughter wrapped it and gave it as a gift to the school library.

    1. Oh good! I've been so busy lately--sorry I didn't get back to you about it sooner. :) Merry Christmas to you, too!

  2. It is always fun to read your ramblings! I love seeing your family grow.

    1. Thanks, Cathy. It has certainly grown fast, hasn't it?!

  3. I am glad that you are still blogging, even if only occasionally. I enjoy reading your updates! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks, Erica. I miss blogging and really want to get back to doing it more regularly. 2017 was such a crazy year; maybe 2018 will be a little calmer and I'll have time to write. :) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too!

  4. Just when I think about stopping blogging --I remember that I blog as a scrapbook too. Wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes! It's a scrapbook of family memories--that's the real reason I started it in the first place. I need to remind myself of that every time I think of stopping blogging (which I have done far too often the past few years). Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Happy New Year, Laura! Looks like you had wonderful and blessed times with your family. That's what it's all about, isn't it? :)