Archive for Christmas Posts

published in Christmas, Death, Gratitude, Grief, Humour, Inspiration, Life After Loss, Widowhood by Maryanne | December 13, 2018 | 2 Comments

This the 4th blog in the Fall 2018 Life After Loss blog series:

The Gift of Happy Memories – May a Memory of Your Loved One Make You Smile This Holiday Season


John & MA (to right) at rehearsal dinner, prior to their wedding, July 1997

“Memories are perhaps the best gifts of all.”

– Gloria Gaither

A couple of weeks ago, I had a table selling my wares at a Christmas market in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta. I had a lot of fun over those four days, meeting new people, visiting with dear friends and reconnecting with some old friends I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

One of those people was Cheryl. She’d seen a Facebook post about my table at the Christmas market so brought one of her daughters, Dani, to come by and say hi.

MA & Cheryl

Cheryl and I go way back. Cheryl’s husband, Brian, is an old friend of my husband, John (they met in Junior High). Although I hadn’t seen Cheryl in years, we’d kept in touch via e-mail and social media. But seeing her in person was different, of course. It was like no time at all had passed and the fun memories of our party-days came flooding back.

One memory in particular stood out, so I thought I’d share that with you…partly because it is a funny story 😊 but also because it is a great example of the gift of a happy memory.

The Glass of Water

Brian was the first in John’s group of buddies (“The Boyz”) to get married. John and I were in early twenties at the time and I can remember the two of us dancing at Brian & Cheryl’s wedding like it was yesterday. But it was what happened after the wedding (ahem) that really sticks in my mind.

John’s older sister, Stacey, had her own apartment but she was out of town that weekend, so John and I crashed at her place the night of Brian & Cheryl’s wedding.

I won’t divulge details but let’s just say that when Stacey came home to her apartment complex the next day (John and I, of course, were long gone), she ran into her downstairs neighbor in the stairwell. The neighbor was an older woman who stopped Stacey and said something to the effect of, “Oh my…what a night YOU had! After listening to you & whoever you were with, I had to get up and get a glass of water.”

Stacey (who, I should mention, was also the Resident Manager of the apartment complex) was mortified…and puzzled. But she quickly figured out what had happened. “That was NOT me you heard,” she said to the woman. “That was my BROTHER and his damn girlfriend.”

When Stacey later told John the story, he roared with laughter. So did I. Eventually, so did she.

MA & Stacey in Paris, Apr 2018

Now that 18 years have passed since John’s death, more often than not when I think of him, I find myself smiling or laughing at the wonderful times we shared as a young couple. For so many years, when I thought of him, I tended to focus on his death 🙁 or, when I did recall a happy memory, it often made me feel sad because I knew it could never be again.

And although that is true, that doesn’t have to be sad. Memories are a portal to the past…we can go for a quick visit any time we want. We don’t have stay long/stuck. But when we do go, WE get to decide what we are going to take from that memory…and perhaps even how we are going to feel.

The older I get, the more I choose to feel happiness when I think of all the fun & goofy things I’ve experienced with the people I have loved. For I have also learned that how I feel in this moment seems to play a role in how the future unfolds…almost as if the energy of joy and laughter attracts more of those types of experiences.

May you, too, experience the gift of a happy memory this holiday season.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To subscribe to the Life After Loss blog series, please sign up here



published in Christmas, Creativity, Inspiration, PGP Promotions by Maryanne | December 5, 2018 | No Comment

Great Gifts for the Quote-Lovers on Your List (& Other Unique Items)



Buy 4 Quote Card Sets & Get 1 Set Free!

From Dec 5th to Dec 15th, 2018, when you buy 4 quote card sets ($30 for the 4 sets), you’ll get a 5th set free.

There are 30 cards (2.5 inches x 2.5 inches) in a set (a different quote is on each card) and come in a pretty little gauze bag with matching tag.

We have 4 quote card sets to choose from (feel free to mix & match):

#1) Wise Owl Wisdom Inspirational Quote Cards
A delightful collection of daily reminders about purpose, creativity & gratitude

For further details on Wise Owl Wisdom, please click here.

 #2. Life After Loss Daily Quote Cards 
A collection of thoughtful & inspiring quotes designed to help with healing after a loss


Please click here for further details on the Life After Loss quotes.

#3) Potent Prosperity Principles

Powerful reminders about abundance, prosperity & prudent money management

For further details on the Potent Prosperity Principles quotes, here is the link.

#4. Intuitive Insights for Soul-Inspired Living

A collection of thought-provoking quotes about quieting the mind so the soul can be heard



And here is the link to further info about the Intuitive Insights quote sets.

To order your quote card sets

Please visit our on-line store and place your order for two quote card 2-packs ($14.95 for a 2-pack, so $30 for two 2-packs). When we receive your order, we will e-mail you to find out the exact 5 sets you would like to receive. In other words, you can mix & match!

Or if you prefer, you can e-mail us directly with your order 🙂

And we do still have just a few sand dollar ornaments available in these 2 sizes:

Medium ($7 each)

Small ($5): 

The sand dollars are not available in the PGP on-line store (as there are very few left after the Christmas market!) but if you would like to purchase one, please e-mail us.

Are there any owl lovers on your list?

We still have a few owl wax & tissue prints (4 inches x 3 inches) by Melanie Pope (gone are all the goldfish, poppies & bluebirds!). To view more of the owl images & find out more about the Wax & Tissue prints, here is the link.

The prints are $8 each (not in the PGP store), so please e-mail us.

About Pink Gazelle Productions

We create literary, theatrical and cinematic works that challenge, enrich and inspire the lives of both artist and audience. Our mission is to share stories & products that empower people to effect positive change in themselves and the world around them. 

Pink Gazelle Productions Inc
Authentic Lives; Authentic Works
Visit us at




published in Christmas, Family, Food, Humour by Maryanne | December 4, 2018 | 6 Comments

Christmas Cake & the Art of People-Watching


MA at the Pink Gazelle Cards & Creations table, Calgary Christmas Market

“You can observe a lot by just watching.”

– Yogi Berra

I may need to leave my writing hobbit hole more often…

My social graces seem to be slipping. Case in point was the Christmas Cake incident at the Calgary Christmas Market this past weekend. All in all, it was an excellent four days. Sales at the Pink Gazelle Cards & Creations table were strong and plenty of my Calgary peeps stopped by to say hi…it was one reunion after another as well as a few first-time meetings!

There were, however, some periods of down-time – during which I would either Instagram to my heart’s content or people-watch…which I should know, by the age of 50, is an art. Done correctly, it can be a brilliant study in anthropological behavior. Done poorly, it can quickly denigrate into just plain rudeness. I shall leave it to up to you to decide which category the Christmas Cake incident falls under ☹

Picture this, if you will: there I am, sitting at my table in the aisle, minding my own business and contemplating which snack to eat next, and up walks this beautiful bi-racial young family. The guy is black, handsome and massive. The woman is white, pretty and proudly carrying their new baby in her arms. Their 3-year-old adorable little boy toddles alongside, toy truck in hand. Another white guy, about my age, follows behind. He seems to be with them but doesn’t say much (I eventually figure out he is the woman’s father…not because I’m brilliant but because she said, “Dad, do you have seventy-five cents?”).

Anyway, they all stop at the vendor across from me and proceed to have an in-depth conversation about whether or not to buy a vaporizer. For some reason, I find this family absolutely fascinating. But I don’t want to be rude and stare too much, so I reach into my backpack and pull out a piece of Christmas cake and in between bites, sneak glances at them.

Now bear in mind, they are only two feet away from me. I suspect my fascination trumps my ability to be discreet because right after I take a very large bite of cake, the guy turns around and looks right at me. Unfortunately, I have bitten off more than I can chew (which happens more often than not, with both food and life in general), so at the very moment he turns around to look at me, there is a large piece of Christmas cake half in my mouth and half out.

Our eyes meet. I am mortified. Busted!

Then he takes a step towards me. So I bite the damn cake in half, madly chew the part that’s in my mouth and put the other half back into the plastic wrap in my hand. By this point, the guy is now standing about a foot away from me and says, in a deep rumbling voice, “Is that rum cake?”

I shake my head, wide-eyed. I can’t answer because my mouth is full (which would be rude…oh, like I haven’t been rude enough?!).

He takes a step closer to get a better look at the remnants of crumbled cake in my hand. “It looks like the rum cake we have in Jamaica,” he says.

Then the little blonde head of his tiny wife peeks around her massive husband and she adds her two bits to the conversation. “No,” she says, after a quick assessment of the situation. “That is not rum cake. That’s Christmas cake.”

Then she turns back to the business of choosing a vaporizer. The man looks at me and shrugs. The conversation is over. As are my days of staring at people…unless I’m wearing sunglasses.

A few photos of the Pink Gazelle Cards & Creations table and some of my visitors:


L to R: Ashling, MA & Rebecca


MA & Cheryl


L to R: Camille, Danielle & MA

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.