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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

December 2018 in This Awful Awesome Life

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Happy Holidays! Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

We hope you enjoyed our November issue. Many thanks to our talented writing staff for their continued excellence.

I’m so stoked to be putting out this issue because last year my right arm was in a cast, and I had very limited use of my right hand for several months. Since I am right-handed, I had to combine December 2017 and January 2018 into one issue.

The holiday season is always tough because we each have so many additional responsibilities - shopping, wrapping presents, sending Christmas cards, decorating the house, baking/cooking and throwing or attending parties. During this time, it helps to think of our families and our shared traditions whether they are religious, cultural, or even societal. It’s a time to remember those less fortunate by supporting worthy causes and organizations. Whether you volunteer, adopt a holiday family; donate food, clothing, home goods or money – thank you.


Growing up, money was always in short supply. My parents sacrificed throughout the year to put money into a Christmas fund, so we would have a special Christmas. Every year they convinced us their dream gifts were socks, underwear, pajamas or cologne/aftershave. While we dutifully covered those basics, our parents bought each other one special gift and clothes and toys for us. My mom wrapped each present with great care adding beautiful bows and ribbons in all our favorite colors. Magically, my brother, sister and I always seemed to get the same number of presents every year. After the presents and stockings were opened we had a big breakfast of pancakes or scrambled eggs with bacon or sausage and fried potatoes. My sister and I would grumble over doing the dishes while my mom started preparing our Christmas feast. My dad and my brother never seemed to have kitchen duty.

The year my dad died, we had two Christmases – one was in October. He had terminal cancer and he wanted one last Christmas with his loved ones. He passed away two days before Thanksgiving. We put on brave faces in December, but Christmas was never the same.

After I had my first son, I discovered the magic of Christmas again, and this year will be his son’s first Christmas.

In this issue, we’ll be sharing personal reflections about the holidays, some background about the season, foods, crafts, books and different holiday traditions around the world. You might recognize my article about holiday traditions from our December/January issue. I plan to make it a holiday tradition for This Awful Awesome Life. Through the years, I will update it as I discover additional traditions from around the world.

As you read the articles, please use our pages as a handy gift resource. Check out our book recommendations, reviews and our Author Page for the bookworms in your life. Linda Cahill, an independent consultant with The Pampered Chef can hook you up with almost anything for the chefs on your list. Consider gifting classes from Gypsy Artistry for your crafty friends and check out CCAC for a listing of Ann Howley’s upcoming memoir classes – perfect for the family writer and a great how-to on writing your own book of family stories for the 2019 holidays.


Winter has come to the mountain and Samantha Sayers is still missing. On August 1, she failed to return from a solo hike at Vesper Peak near Seattle, Washington. Sam is an experienced hiker who was familiar with Vesper Peak.

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The Sayers family is from Girard, Pennsylvania (the Erie area) where Sam grew up before attending the University of New York - Fredonia to study theater arts. Sam relocated to the Seattle area for work. Please keep thinking positive thoughts for Sam and her family. The Sayers are choosing hope over despair and following all available leads on and off the mountain to find their daughter.


For Sam Sayers - We Choose Hope…

With love from all of us at This Awful Awesome Life

As promised, we will be displaying a yellow ribbon for Sam on the opening page of each issue of This Awful Awesome Life until she is home. Please consider posting a picture of a yellow ribbon on the Facebook page, Ribbons across the World for Sam Sayers with your city and country. Thank you! If you are a person of faith, please pray for her safe return to her family. Because we are an online publication, we will update this article and our Facebook page with any news. You can also visit their website, for information and ways to donate to help keep search efforts going. Please be sure any comments you leave are positive and kind. This is an incredibly stressful time for her family.

Give yourself a wonderful present this holiday season - Subscribe to our mailing list and receive each new issue of This Awful Awesome Life delivered directly to your inbox.







Next Month in This Awful Awesome Life February 2019

Holiday Traditions by Fran Joyce