Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Secular Holiday!

My blog has been sleeping for a while, but it’s time to wake it up. As busy as life can be, I’m going to try to keep to some kind of blogging schedule, so let’s see how it goes...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the season so far and that you’ve been spending quality time with family and friends (and pets). My family has shared in loads of Christmas cheer with wonderful people. I am grateful that my snowbird parents came home from Florida for the holidays, that my brother and sister are close-by, as well as other relatives and good friends. This year I’m particularly mindful of my blessings because I have a number of friends who are going through difficult times right now and the festive atmosphere is not necessarily helping them feel any better.  However, I hope that Christmas will still bring comfort despite the commercialism and superficiality surrounding the season.

As you may have noticed, there is a strong movement towards eradicating the word “Christmas” from the public realm.  For the sake of political correctness “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by ‘Happy Holidays,’ Christmas trees replaced by ‘holiday’ trees (sometimes banished altogether), and Christmas parties have become ‘holiday’ parties. The Christmas traditions that so many people cherish have been relegated to private homes and private Christian schools. It seems that ‘Christmas’ has become a bad, bad word.

I take issue with this for many reasons. Notwithstanding our beliefs, the holidays and festivities at this time of year all take root in the Nativity story, a story that celebrates the birth of Christ. Whether we take it literally or not, this time of year is meant to be a joyous, yet reflective time, where we consider the transformational power of a new beginning. Over the centuries, Christmas has been embellished with many festive traditions like trees with lights and decorations (borrowed from pagan practices), Santa Claus, Christmas songs, presents, and lots of good food. But at the heart of these customs is the spreading of peace, joy, and love, evoked by the story of the birth of Jesus. Whether we are believers or not, this message is at the core of what these holidays are all about. Why try to hide its historical origin by changing the title? People of all faiths are invited to join in, as I would hope they would invite others to join in their celebrations. To me, this is what it means to be inclusive.

Recently, I heard a CBC radio interview on the topic of language used in Federal government offices. It seems that if you are a federal government employee you can no longer say, “Bless you” when someone sneezes or “Oh my God!” when you are surprised by something. “Merry Christmas” is an absolute no, no. If you do say these banished phrases, the federal word police will give you a warning. I’m not sure what the consequences are for repeat offenders. When the interviewer asked the federal representative, who was emphatic in her views, what people should say instead, this was her response:  When someone sneezes, you should say, “I heard that!” to acknowledge the fact that they sneezed. As for OMG, you should say, “Wow!” as an alternative. Aren’t you glad that your tax dollars are being used for such important matters?

A few minutes ago, as I was writing this, a friend of my teenage son, who had stayed for the night, came into the kitchen to say good-bye. “Merry Christmas, Spencer!” I said. He said Merry Christmas back and then laughed and said, “I mean, Merry secular holiday!”

So, to avoid being reprimanded for using the offending word on a public site, I wish you all a merry holiday while celebrating with your family and friends, and that you enjoy your holiday meals, holiday gatherings, holiday decorations, holiday music, and holiday cheer! 

Monday, February 6, 2012


When atheism and faith meet at her mother’s deathbed, twenty-one-year-old Clare McTavish learns how opposing beliefs can bring people together.

From her comfortable home in Boston to the slums of Kenya, Clare investigates stories of clerical abuse, human rights corruption, and unforeseen loyalties that touched her mother’s life. As she continues to uncover dark secrets—her mother’s role in deposing a pedophile priest, and her absent father’s double life—Clare realizes that the world is not always as it appears and that decency is more prevalent than she'd ever imagined.

Many thanks to those who attended my book launch for "Uncorrupted" on Feb. 1, 2012. I couldn't have been more pleased with the evening - such friendly faces, great conversation, and keen readers! By purchasing the book you helped me in my writing life  and you made a contribution to "Water for Life,"a charitable organization that brings clean water to African Villages. Thanks also to friends and reading enthusiasts who could not come to the launch but bought books anyway. 

I enjoyed seeing so many people from the community as well as those who made the trek from afar. I just wish I could have chatted with you longer. You were a fantastic audience during my presentation and you asked excellent questions during the Q & A. 

I'd love to hear from you once you've read the book and to know your thoughts. Please feel free to email me at or leave your comments below. There is no shortage of perspectives when it comes to literature and spirituality!

If you wish to purchase a print copy or an e-book, you may do so directly through me or order through: or The Blurb Bookstore

Monday, January 30, 2012

UNCORRUPTED - a novel by Carla Sandrin

Dear Blog friends,

I am sorry to have abandoned this blog for so long. I am grateful to all my faithful readers and to all those who have asked me, "What happened to your blog? I used to look forward to it." Well, I've been preoccupied with getting my book ready for publication, among other things. It's been a busy period of life, filled with good, not so good, and a smattering of angst (not to mention turning 50 recently, which has created a mid-life whirlwind for me). 

I'm launching my book UNCORRUPTED in a couple of days and  my wish is that people will enjoy reading it and will find themselves thinking differently about spirituality and religion. It is a book about transformation, renewal, reconciliation, struggle, and hope. 

For those who read the novel and feel inspired to enter into conversation about it, I will soon be starting a new blog for that purpose. It will be a like an online book club, where we can share, discuss, and debate - a place where you can voice your opinions and ask questions, either anonymously or openly.

I hope you'll read the book, share your views, and keep the conversation alive!

If you are interested in checking out the book, you can review the first chapter or place an order at The Blurb Bookstore. Thanks for your support.

Many blessings and best wishes,