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Spooky Season, Part 2

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If I had a penny for every time this year that I had cause to be proud of one of my former actors, I’d be rich. Whether it is Michelle getting her degree and getting her “big girl” job, or Ethan becoming a Shafter PD and buying his own home; Emily losing a ton of weight, becoming a step-mama and getting married!… Lyndsey becoming a preschool teacher, or Morgan, who has started a small business knitting the ADORABLE beanie I’m wearing in this photo, I can’t seem to quit hearing …read more

Spooky Season

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I know it isn’t for everyone, and I KNOW that I’m getting into Halloween earlier than most people, but maybe it’s Covid or maybe it’s just inherently in ME, but I have gone crazy this year buying new decorations, starting a new Instagram account dedicated exclusively to my love for the spooky, and I even created (what appears to be) a new hashtag: #spookychristians. Funny, though, I don’t normally call myself that — I say I’m a follower of Jesus, but if you’re a regular here, then you know that …read more

A Halloween break

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Most people know I love Halloween and know I have attended haunted house conventions for years with other like-minded haunted house people. After all these years, the most lasting memory is always the friendships I’ve made. Now, with this new weird, global pandemic, the Halloween industry, while mostly unaffected in this spring, grows anxious about what the future holds for their attractions in the fall. They wonder if they will be able to open and, if so, in what capacity and to what extent with actors. Many of them also …read more

Another perspective

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Another perspective. There’s so much good going around. I learned today that my mom’s hairdresser—with no fanfare, no Facebook post, and before any quarantine dictate—told my mother that her weekly hair appointment would now be at my mom’s own house until further notice. 😭 She’s going to LEAVE her shop to go fix my mom’s hair. Thank you, Darcy, for your beautiful heart. You are SUCH a model of God’s incredible love. I’m seeing families on hikes, people out playing Frisbee golf. People are exercising outdoors, riding bikes. Earlier today, …read more

Before I was a grandma…

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This is an ode to when I wasn’t a grandma. When I wasn’t a grandma, I had all the time I needed for work. I worked at a job that took 18 hours a day, at times, and I didn’t think twice about it. I enjoyed working. I’d come home from work, and I’d work MORE on my computer, writing, marketing, social media ads. When I wasn’t a grandma, my house looked just like two empty nesters lived here. When I wasn’t a grandma, I’d been to Disneyland only four …read more

Diary of an obit writer

You didn't choose me

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Dear Families: I want you to know that I cry over your loved one. From the time I leave our interview, even if I’m able to hold it together for the 90 minutes spent talking to you, I break down the second I get alone in my car. Your extraordinary grief transfers to me. I cry hard sometimes. I release everything I held in while you were tearfully telling me about your mom, son, husband, wife—biting the inside of my cheek to keep from making a bad situation worse. And …read more

I knew I disliked January

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I spent my last post decrying NYE and wishing away the the entire month of January. To that, January replied: “Hold my beer.” By the time most people read this, the staggering headlines will have lost most of their sting about basketball’s most tragic death and the demise of the other folks who were aboard Kobe Byrant’s helicopter when it went down. And it took something like Kobe Bryant’s death to eclipse the other news story that made national headlines six days before that, when the man from Fresno, Calif., …read more

Extended December

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Anyone who knows me well knows I can’t stand NYE, or, to be honest, the entire month of January. The whole “starting over” thing is a bit overrated for me; I’d rather hit the ground running without yammering on about regrets, changes or new diets. I love the holidays, but I don’t count New Year’s (eve, day) as part of that. This Christmas was beautiful, though, and full of good humor, plenty of wine, and laughter with friends and family. I cooked a LOT, threw several parties, and played Christmas …read more

Please have snow and mistletoe….

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One of my FAVORITE Christmas songs is by Michael Bublé, his version of “It’s Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas.” Several years ago, I worked at a Christmas event, and that song kicked us off every night. Something about the way it begins… it’s magical. SO many of my happiest memories happened during Christmas (even though part of my heart will always belong to Halloween): The white chocolate peppermint mochas from Starbucks, warm beanies, furry mittens, cold noses, and, of course, decorating, baking, and listening to Christmas music non-stop. …read more

A toast to a new book!

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I took this photo in my office when I learned that my second Christmas book will be available on Amazon before Thanksgiving! This is my celebratory toast to my illustrators, who are solely responsible for making me look good in the books my company has been producing since this summer. Juan (who enjoys a good Malbec) lives in Argentina and Isabel lives in Spain, and their talent gives life to my words. As an aside, just when I stop omitting the reminder that I’m not doing resumes for a while… …read more

Dana Martin Writing

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Helping improve the world, one written word at a time.