~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~it's all about the love~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Gratitude & Giving Day 6 - Kaje Harper

The Gift of Choice

As I get older, I've come to realize how important it is to have choices in my life.

Not that I'm good at making choices – indecisiveness is my middle name well, along with procrastination –  “Kaje Indecisiveness Procrastination Harper”. But when the future is locked in, when there is nothing left to choose, that can be such a helpless feeling. That's part of the punishment of prison – not just the confinement but the complete loss of control over one's life. Poverty, loss, separation, all can do the same.

So today, when my friend K-lee asked me for a post about being grateful, I'm going to give thanks to the people in my life who give me the gift of choices.

In holidays past, to my husband. He turned down an academic job he might have preferred for a commercial one that paid better, so I could decide to stay home most days with our kids. So many precious moments, so much fun and laughter and crafts and stories – and tough moments that I got to handle myself, not pass on to a babysitter or daycare – that were his gift to me and our children.

In holidays present, to my mother's caregiver. Nothing can cure Mum's long, slow slide into Alzheimer's. But finding a wonderful, competent and warmhearted woman who oversees my mother's day-to-day care –  who noticed when fastening buttons was becoming too difficult, who spotted that her increased disorientation was an infection –  her angel caregiver gives me the choice of how often to visit, of whether and when to drop everything and run up there for smaller concerns. She lets my mum's illness not control my whole life, and gives Mum the illusion of as much choice as she can in her declining years. Such a wonderful gift.

In the future, for my children, I hope and wish for choices. For ways to use their many talents, for jobs they can pick and not be forced into as the only way to survive. I hope they get to call me and agonize over which degree program fits best, or which city calls to them as their new home.

I'll remind them that having more than one option is a blessing; that having the back-up resources to fail and try again, to choose something based on your heart and ten years later be able to change your mind, to follow a passion and not a necessity, to have arms to hold you when something comes apart so that you dare to take chances – those are things to be grateful for indeed.


K-lee said we could do a little promo too. The book I want to promote is this year's charity anthology.  “Wish Come True” is a collection of stories about young men finding each other over the holidays. Six other wonderful authors joined me in writing stories for this anthology, edited by Susan Lee. All proceeds from this anthology go to “Lost-N-Found Youth” - an Atlanta-based nonprofit corporation whose mission is to take homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths up to age 26 off the street and transition them into more permanent housing.

"A Very English Christmas" by Keira Andrews gives us a look at the first Christmas out in the world for our favorite Amish guys - Aaron and David.
"Mr. Perfect's Christmas" by Joanna Chambers has an unexpected Secret Santa gift changing some assumptions.
"The Christmas Ship" by Amy Jo Cousins pairs a twink and a college football player, with a challenging route to a happy ending.
"That Thing" by Megan Erickson pits professional ethics against the needs of a lonely guy.
"Just Like Heaven" by Suki Fleet traps a couple of young guys in a snowstorm, where they may have to find a different kind of heat.
My own story - "Not Your Grandfather's Magic" forces Zeb to make some choices between a family tradition of power, and the sweet, awkward guy who catches his eye, and maybe his heart.
"Bottle Boys" by Anyta Sunday shows what happens when a lucky golden boy has to grow up.

As I'm being grateful for all my blessings this holiday season, I want to remember those who don't have my good fortune. Many LGBTQ people, including some teens, can't go home for the holidays. For youth on the streets, it's a dark, cold, painful time of year. Lost-N-Found Youth is one of many charities who try to make a difference. My deepest gratitude to everyone who lends a helping hand and warm heart to those young people who don't have a home or family with resources, heart, or grace to care for them.

~ For the giveaway, I'm offering a free ebook copy of the anthology (and I'll match the donation to Lost-N-Found Youth, so you don't feel like they lose out) or a free audio of my book Into Deep Waters on Audible.com. Winner's choice.

Once in a while I look back at my notes for Into Deep Waters – a story of gay men loving each other from 1942 to the present – to remind myself how far we've already come. Maybe one day, hearing about a child being pushed out of their home for being LGBTQ will be shocking and unusual, not just sad and incomprehensible. Let's all hope and work for that day, and be grateful for everyone who makes a difference.


  1. Hi Kaje,
    I loved Into Deep Waters and the anthology sounds like a great story. I think it's great that the proceeds are going to Lost-N-Found Youth, they are doing a service to many who don't get a hand at all. If I don't win the book I'd like to buy it, can you give a buy link?

    1. Thanks! This is the Smashwords link - the charity gets the most from here, but it's also on Amazon and ARe and B&N - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/596557

  2. Thank you for the post and it is such a wonderful idea to get authors together to write a book for a charity. Happy Holidays.


  3. Wonderful post. Thanks Kaje I'm a firm believer that the choices we make help make us the people we are. Thanks for the chance

  4. I've spent the last 50 days or so making a daily practice of listing 3 things for which I'm grateful. The exercise has been a real eye-opener for me. The very act of finding three things every day to post about has gone a long way to changing my underlying attitude, and for that, I am also grateful.

    It's been interesting going back and seeing what other people are writing about--I'm pleased to be taking part in this celebration of the good things in life, particularly when the news these days is so often dire. Thank you, Kaje, for reminding me the power of choice, and K-lee for hosting such a wonderful event.

  5. I hope you are right Kaje. It would be nice if someday (may it be soon) society gets beyond the hate of anything different. I have my doubts, but I live with hope in my heart. Thank you for the giveaway. I would love to win Wish Come True!

  6. That is really sweet. We had a big struggle convincing my mother she could not care for her mother (dementia). It took my grandmother overdosing on medication she kept forgetting she had already taken for my mother to realise the best care for my grandmother is with people who can meet her needs. We still had one of us visit nearly everyday and expressed our gratitude to those making her last days comfortable and happy.

    1. ((Hugs)) It's such a tough road to walk - I'm glad you found good care and were able to make those last days good. It is so difficult when we have to become parents to our parents. (My mom did the opposite - when we moved her out of her apartment, we found she'd been hiding pills rather than taking them. A good caregiver is a lifesaver.)

  7. It's true. I find myself so grateful for lots of things in my life but sometimes in the rush of life I forget to take the time to be grateful. Thanks for the reminder, Kaje.
    Ron B

  8. It's so good you found someone great to take care of your mom. One of my closest friends had a great caregiver for her mom with Alzheimers for 10 years.

    kimandpete at me dot com

    1. Bless all the caregivers and may we someday soon find some answers to this awful disease.