A Post-surgery Return Piece About Nothing In Particular (But I’d Appreciate If You’d Visit Anyway)

Lacking an impactful and attention-grabbing opening sentence or two today, I am admittedly in a bit of a quandary as to how to begin this particular piece.

After coming off the Writer’s LTIR (Long Term Injured Reserve) list, maybe I should have spent a bit longer stint in the Junior Writer’s Training League before rushing back to active duty following surgery.  Undecided as I am then, how about we change pace and begin with a question of sorts . . . .

Is it appropriate for me to begin this by saying “Welcome Back!” to readers, since everyone has really been here all along I would imagine, and I am in fact the one who left for a while to have yet another surgery, this time a rotator cuff repair on my right shoulder? Or, rather, should I perhaps begin by saying “I’m Baaaack!”, instead?

In the end, the more I think about it, the latter might be the more appropriate opening to employ since it was, in fact, me who went away for a spell. So let’s do that, shall we? Thank you for your patience while I cleared away the writing cobwebs and worked thru a momentary bit of senior befuddlement. Here goes then, as we truly begin . . . .

I’m Baaaack!

Returned from recent surgery no worse and measurably better for the experience, my story friend Little Red Bear and I are raring to get back to it! The feeling has largely returned to my hands following the dual carpal tunnel surgeries in June with both hands and fingers still improving each month. And despite six more weeks of therapy to rehab my right shoulder and arm that lay ahead,  I decided that they are both functioning well enough right now to be put back to work.

Little Red Bear and I simply cannot wait any longer to get back into the writing process once again, so let’s get to it then, shall we?

Thank you to everyone for your good wishes, patience, and kindness during the quiet period here over the past few months! We have actually added several new followers during that time, and that’s pretty cool.

Getting to it then, the following are some unassociated topics concerning the recent surgery, the coming Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the ongoing pandemic, and more . . . .


As tends to happen every year around this time, the Holiday Season is upon us! “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Time to grab the jingle bells and mistletoe!

Trudging thru our third COVID Winter, it looks like this will be the second year in a row where holiday plans are limited or altered due to the pandemic. As I write this, Broadway Shows are shutting down, NHL hockey games are being canceled, ICUs are overflowing, and more. Nevertheless, it is still a time when we can celebrate and find joy in the true spirit of the season despite how altered previous plans and traditions may be.

In that regard, I invite you to visit the many Christmas Holiday Features available here on my writing pages.

Please feel free to enjoy and share with family and friends, because sharing and spreading good cheer is what the Christmas spirit is all about. Here are just a few to get you started (hint — Little Red Bear’s “Happy Christmas” Left/Right Gift Exchange Game is always the most popular each year) . . . . .

And not to forget — Little Red Bear’s “Christmas & Holiday Season” Coloring Pages for all ages. Again, please feel free to download the images and share!


If you know someone or perhaps have a family member (or for yourself) on your gift list who, like me, has difficulty putting on their own socks in the morning due to stiffness or other issues, I can highly recommend the Sock Aid from my own personal experience the past several weeks.

I looked at these a couple years ago following another spinal fusion surgery but dismissed them as gimmicky. They are not, and are rather worth every penny and more. A real game-changer for someone with limited flexibility.

Tired of working to put socks on with a reacher and knowing that I would be doing everything solely with my left (non-dominant) hand for possibly several weeks after the rotator cuff surgery, I decided to finally try the Sock Aid.

Being unable to pull a sock on over the device with only one hand though, I actually ended up ordering two of these. A friend would pull the socks onto each Sock Aid the night before, and then I would slip each on the following morning, able to do the pulling with only one hand.

The Sock Aids are easy to use and work perfectly. You can possibly find the Sock Aid available at local retail outlets, or on Amazon complete with a demonstration video of how they work. I am not affiliated with this product at all, merely passing the information and personal recommendation along for anyone who may benefit from it. This simple device made a positive difference in my life.


Dealing with the supply chain shortages at present, just a friendly “nudge and wink” reminder that if the hi-tech stuff is unavailable for holiday giving this year, please remember that old-fashioned books make excellent gifts. And most are available for Kindle and other e-reader devices, too.

“The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!”, a collection of six short stories introducing Little Red Bear and many of his friends, is available in both print and for Kindle.

“Pine Holler Christmas”, a standalone Christmas-themed short story, is available for e-readers only at this time. Both books are available Free with Kindle Unlimited on Amazon.  A week ago, we received a heartwarming note from one of our followers concerning the “Pine Holler Christmas” story . . . .

“I’m re-reading ‘Pine Holler Christmas’ as I do every year, it really gets me in the festive mood.” 

Suitable for all ages, even for non-readers as “read-to-me” stories, I invite you to check the books out. You can check out Little Red Bear Book Reviews & Comments here to find out what others have had to say about the books.

When the pandemic began and we were all sheltered in place, I lowered the price of both books to Amazon’s minimum, eliminating any royalties so that folks would hopefully be able to afford and enjoy them while confined in their homes with family during the shutdown. The books still remain at ‘pandemic pricing’ until the end of the year!


Although not sharing new material live recently, my story friend Little Red Bear and I have been hard at work in the background preparing several new feature pages about Conservation, the Environment, and Our Children’s Future in a warming world.

Things today are clearly not the same as when I was growing up in the ’50s and ’60s. The seasons have changed with summer seemingly becoming longer each year, storms are more severe, and other impacts of climate change are being felt all over the world. Folks may still debate the cause (although I have no idea why) but the effects are all-too-real. and need to be addressed. The time to seriously confront the issue has already passed, and now we are forced to make hard choices and play catch up.

Mother Nature is a frequent mention and topic in the Little Red Bear stories, so we will be adding a good deal of material here on the writing pages after the first of the year which will be suitable for all age groups. I encourage everyone to share the pages, information, and activities with young people because they will be the ultimate ones to have to continue dealing with the issues of climate change in their lives. The Animal Alphabet Pages will continue to grow thru the year now that we are back and active again, as well.

So, just a heads-up to please watch for the new Environmental Feature Pages and posts coming in the new year!


At this point, it is understandable that so many people are worn out by the topic and feeling “so over with” the pandemic. They’re tired of wearing masks, travel hassles, standing in line for vaccine injections and tests, hearing about it every night on the news, dealing with bothersome restaurant and store restrictions, and on and on.

Believe me, I get it. But dismissing COVID because it is an inconvenience to the life we enjoyed before does not change the fact that we are still being affected by it and forced to deal with both it and the consequences.

Until the whole world is suitably vaccinated, I do not foresee this ending any time soon as new variants continue to emerge and spread. I hope I’m wrong, but am proceeding with caution accordingly.

This pandemic has been tragically life-altering and deadly for so many thousands so far, individuals and families, with over 804,000 deaths in the U.S. at this time, while adding over 17,000 new cases each day at the time of this writing as the new Omicron variant doubles every three days with the holiday season continuing and we near Christmas.

With two competing variants, Delta and the new Omicron, raging right now and hospitals’ staffs exhausted and progressively depleted, now is not the time to throw caution to the wind simply because we are tired of dealing with it all. Sometimes, as grownups, we have to make uncomfortable and hard choices. When confronted by any problem or crisis, it is best to view it realistically for what it is and deal with it. Wishing, hoping, and complaining about it will not make this pandemic go away. If things continue unabated as they are and with the grim possibility of reaching One Million deaths at some point in the U.S. alone, in my book that counts as a Crisis we can not turn our backs on in the hope it magically disappears.

I pray every day for the safety, health, and protection of my family, friends, and loved ones. And for everyone, everywhere. I hope that everyone who is able to benefit from the vaccines and boosters is able to do so. And quickly. I encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions and steps to stay safe and protect not only themselves but also their families and loved ones in the holiday season and coming months.

Taking advantage of the vaccines and boosters (which were not yet available at this time last year), wearing a mask, social distancing, and simply being smart about things are still the best ways to protect both yourself and others. It’s a bummer, but that’s the way it is right now. And we all need to do it. For ourselves and for each other.


The holiday season is always a bit stressful for many, and these COVID times are especially so. A simple kind word or gesture costs nothing and can go a very long way towards easing the stress and burdens for someone else. It may even change their day or entire life around!  I invite you to join our “Smile & Compliment” club and to share a ray of light in another’s life. The neat thing is, you will feel better about yourself, too.

As always, Thank You for taking time out of your busy day to visit with us. If you made it all the way to the end here, please Like and Comment and I will ask Santa to leave an extra Sugar Plum or two in your dreams on Christmas Eve! And if new to the site and visiting with us for the first time, please register to join our growing community and be notified of every new post and feature, as there is much more to come soon.

It’s good to be back with you!  Very best wishes for a safe, healthy, and happy Holiday Season! I am off now in search of a Snickerdoodle. ‘Til next time. – Jim  (and Red!)

(p.s. — Likes, Shares, & Comments are truly appreciated and help immensely in expanding our reach and encouraging new readers to visit! Because together we can do so much!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart”  and  Wishing You Deep Peace, Love, Happiness, and Joy –  And A Very Good Day! 

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” – Mary Ellen Chase

             “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”         – Peg Bracken


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

    “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” — Charles Dickens


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


                   “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” – Burton Hillis


Thank You for visiting with us! Please feel free to share with family and friends. Likes, Shares, & Comments are truly appreciated and help immensely in expanding our reach and encouraging new readers to visit! Because together, we can do so much! 


 

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! Sharing Writing Gifts For The Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

My story character friend and writing partner Little Red Bear and I would like to share some of our holiday season writings and activities with you to enjoy with family and friends in the coming days!

Below, please find links to our “Twelve Days of Christmas Free Holiday Reads”, “Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages”, and one of the most popular visits on the writing site this time of year — “Little Red Bear’s Happy Christmas ‘Left-Right’ Game!” to play with kids and holiday visitors.

Please just tap on any link to visit the page(s) and activities of your choice!


“The Twelve Days of Christmas Free Holiday Reads”

“It’s In The Singing Of A Street Corner Choir”  —  An ode to the “Muppet Christmas Carol” show.

A Christmas Poem – “Blue House on the Hill” — A nostalgic Christmas poem inspired by a winter painting created by artist Trisha Romance.

A Holiday Short Story – “Susie’s Bear” — The heartwarming story of a grandmother’s love and devotion during the depression, confronted with a blustery snowstorm and a very sick little girl.

“Haddon Sundblom, Coca-Cola, and Santa — A look back at how the artist Haddon Sundblom defined the image of Santa Claus for not only my generation but also for generations to come.

“Christmases of My Childhood” by Kathleen Creighton — A very special piece contributed by my dear friend and award-winning author Kathleen Creighton.

A Christmas Poem – “The General Store Christmas”  — Inspired by country artist John Sloane’s painting, a little boy shopping for family presents and gifts.

“A Christmas Tradition — Trains and Memories Beneath the Tree”  — My fondest family traditions and Christmas memories seem to run thru tunnels, over bridges, and along train tracks thru the years.

A Nostalgic Look Back – “Christmas Thru The Window Glass”  — A nostalgic look back at Christmases past, with the highly anticipated and decorated storefront windows, department store Santas, and more.

A Christmas Poem – “Fireside Questions for Santa”  — With a few questions and wondering why. So waiting up to ask the jolly elf guy.

“That’s What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown”  — Words of wisdom from Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, a simple reminder of what the holiday season is truly about — Peace, Good Will, Kindness, Generosity, Charity, Compassion, Empathy, and Love for all.

A Christmas Poem – “Love’s Candle in the Night” — Waiting for a loved one’s safe arrival thru the snow on Christmas Eve.

“Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus . . . . . . And More!”  — What circumstances or forces in the Universe worked to bring together a young girl and a cynical, childless curmudgeon to produce a timeless literary piece of Hope, Generosity, and Faith that endures thru time?

Bonus — “What to Do on a Christmas Week Night?” A fun little rhyme during the holiday time.


“Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages”

Little Red Bear’s Christmas & Holiday Coloring Pages Summary

Little Red Bear’s Special “Beary Christmas!” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Santa Claus” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Santa’s Elves & Angels” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Snowmen & Reindeer” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Ornaments, Trees & Bells” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Christmas Holiday Greetings” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Other Christmas & Holiday” Coloring Images


Little Red Bear’s Christmas & Holiday Fun Activities

“Little Red Bear’s Happy Christmas ‘Left-Right’ Game!”— An entertaining group gift exchange game to bring plenty of fun and laughter to family gatherings and holiday events featuring characters from the Little Red Bear stories.


 As always, “Thank You!” for visiting and spending part of your time with us here thru the year!
We always look forward to your visits and comments, because YOU are the reason we do it all here.
This has been a strange year, indeed, hasn’t it? If pandemic circumstances prevent us from gathering with family this holiday season, there are other ways to connect these days which will allow us to all be present together for the next one.  And regardless of technical expertise, we are always truly connected in our hearts.
Please take precautions to be safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the holiday season in spite of it all. And if staying at home not visiting with loved ones this year to stay safe, just think of how glorious next year’s holiday celebrations will be!
Sending the very best wishes your way for a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season! And a Happy and Healthy New Year!
See y’all in the New Year with more new posts and features!   — Jim  (and Red!)

              “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”             – Hamilton Wright Mabie
 
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” — Roy L. Smith

Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Find out what readers have to say about Little Red Bear and His Friends!

(Royalties from the sale of Little Red Bear’s books go directly to supporting this site.)


“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” – Mary Ellen Chase



“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” – W.T. Ellis


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


 “I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why, this is Christmas Day!’” – David Grayson