Light of the World

Then God said, “Let there be light.”

Genesis 1:3

At Christmas time, like no other season, light finds its way into our lives. Brilliantly and demurely. Quickly and slowly. Colorful and white. Twinkling and still. As I write today, I’m sitting by my Christmas tree that’s laced with tiny white lights. This morning I lit a fragrant candle. All around me the trappings of Christmas, not as many as before, but reminders of Christmas.

The wise men followed the light, a star in the heavens. The search for light in a dark time leads one on many quests. This year renders many examples of individuals seeking a bright path, a new job, a different direction, hoping to follow the way to light, to a rewarding future. Sometimes the light, the sign, is dim especially in the bustle of life, but once a soul is still in the darkness the light glows as on a tree in an otherwise dark room. That is my favorite time—at peace with the stillness bathed in the dim rays. That is my favorite time—at peace with the stillness, bathed in the dim rays.

Jesus said, “I am the light.” One does not need to follow any other way to the truth. When the way seems dark peer a little closer. Catch that flicker of peace and hope. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. Light can beam from other sources: a hymn, a word, a verse of Scripture, a gift, a smile, a shared moment.

This Christmas I seek the light, reaching for the peace of the Light of the World. “O Come, Lord Jesus.”

Do you have a source of light that draws you to rest in its glow?

Review and Giveaway Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed banner

About the Book

Book: Something Borrowed

Author: Weaver, Dawn, Boyd, Tysinger, Shiloh

Genre: Christian/Contemporary/ Romance / Holiday

Release Date: October 20

Something Borrowed Cover FINAL 6x9

Old friends, new loves, and a borrowed tiara.

Always Been Yours — Hanady’s planning her dream wedding, but her injured best friend Keenan isn’t the groom. If she can’t see she’s marrying the wrong guy soon, his leg won’t be the only thing broken.

All the Moore — Leilah Anderson has been living behind the screen to hide her disability, then she meets Reggie Moore face-to-face. Can their relationship survive the truth and distance between them?

A Holly, Bolly Christmas — A dream wedding venue at Christmas? Sign Chahna Kapoor up. Even if her fiancé doesn’t know it…

Somehow, This Christmas — When not-so-merry mishaps threaten wedding planner Cate Forsyth’s holiday wedding and reputation, will her own happily ever after with sweetheart Noah Bennett melt away?

A Promise So Sweet — Lydia Osborn hasn’t heard from her ex in ten years, so imagine her surprise when he shows up proposing marriage. Tis the season for love?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Oh, to have friends that stick close through the years. My sister has a college clan like this one in the novel. After years removed from the connection in college, my sister’s group plans not just girl weekends, but girl weeks where they meet, bringing all their lives from miles apart together for renewal and focus (usually at the beach or the mountains). The bond has not been broken even though the woes of life—physical, mental, and emotional woven with spiritual. They have something special that not everybody has or understands. It takes work and commitment.

In Something Borrowed, these friends, still in their twenties, are finding love, making career choices, facing financial and physical strains. Each has chosen a life in a different city far from the close community of college. Yet, they stay connected and share their individual and corporate struggles and joys with the reader.

At Christmas, this collection of novellas is really one great novel of truths about friendship, love, connection, sharing, and growth. It inspires me to reach out to any friends and connect or reconnect with others even the simple act of a card or a memory. Count it a blessing to have multiple life-long friends.

(As a side note, I LOVED Toni Shiloh’s story set in New Orleans. I’m from Louisiana and enjoy the references to lifestyle, accents, and setting.)

About the Author

JayceeWeaver_HeadShot

Jaycee Weaver Author
Lover of Jesus, family, books, coffee, music, and crafting (in that order), Jaycee Weaver is perpetually pursuing at least one of her passions. She writes contemporary Christian romance with realistic characters in everyday situations where they always find a happy ending. Visit her at www.jayceeweaver.com.

toni

Toni Shiloh Author
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Visit her at www.tonishiloh.com.

MikalDawn_HeadShot

Mikal Dawn Author
Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast, and military (retired) wife. When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand!) for wedding ideas for her characters.

Mikal lives in Oklahoma with her husband and two of their three children. Visit her at www.mikaldawn.com.

TeresaTysinger_HeadShot

Teresa Tysinger Author
Teresa Tysinger is a wife, mother, and communications director for a national non-profit. She writes charming Christian romance, inspired by grace. Teresa now resides in Texas, though part of her heart remains in North Carolina. She loves Jesus, coffee, and happy endings. Visit Teresa at www.teresatysinger.com.

AndreaBoyd_HeadShot

Andrea Boyd Author
Each of Andrea Boyd’s series represents a different genre but all fall into the category of romance. All offer an element of her own brand of humor. And all are a tribute to God. Besides writing, she loves spending time with her family, quilting, going to car shows, and driving around in her 1968 Barracuda convertible. Andrea lives with her husband, Tommy, and at least a couple of cats in York County, SC. Visit her at www.andreaboyd11.com.

More from the Something Borrowed Authors

Dear Readers,

Thank you for stopping by the Celebrate Lit blog tour of Something Borrowed. Before we share our excitement for the collection, we’d like to give a brief history of how it came to be.

Last year, the five of us crafted the Once Upon a Christmas collection, but Teresa needed to step down and we were blessed to have Angela Ruth Strong join us in her stead. Early this year, we rejoiced as Teresa was able to resume her place, and then our hearts broke as we learned of Angela’s breast cancer battle. Through all life has thrown our way, we’ve formed a beautiful friendship and have plans to write more collections together!

In January, we decided on a Christmas weddings theme, but we wanted it to be different and unique. Ideas sprang to life and six college roommates emerged, each from a different walk of life but bound by friendship. And then, we found ourselves missing our sixth. With prayers and a blessing over Angela’s health and a writing endeavor that’s been a dream for years (read her story on Facebook!), we found a way to include her in the form of a sixth roommate who no longer needed a love story.

Enter Ruth Ann. Married right out of college, she’s been busy cranking out babies like nobody’s business. And when the next bride, Jaycee’s character Hanady, brings them together for a girls’ reunion weekend, it’s Ruth Ann who produces the perfect something borrowed for this circle of friends.

Hanady’s planning a wedding to the wrong groom—just ask Keenan, the injured best friend who’s loved her for years. Wheelchair-bound Leilah doubts she’ll wear the tiara, but her online gaming friend might be too wonderful to resist. Chahna “Ana” Kapoor just knows she’s going to wear the tiara, so she books her dream venue—she just needs her boyfriend to propose and her parents to tone down the drama. After being engaged to Noah for years, Cate is more than ready for the tiara to be hers, but not-so-merry mishaps the week of the wedding threaten a happily ever after. And finally, having watched all of her friends marry and start their families, when Lydia’s ex shows up on her doorstep with an outrageous proposal, she finds it hard to believe her turn might finally have come.

We are so happy to present to you this collection of five interconnected stories where friendship and faith take center stage. For some, it’s new love. For others, it’s finally sealing an old one. Each tale is unique and yet together they weave one overarching message of love, joy, hope, and peace through the Christmas season.

As you read these stories, we pray they touch your heart. We pray they entertain you and maybe even make you laugh a time or two. And lastly, we pray the Christmas truths bless you this holiday season.

Blessings,

Jaycee, Toni, Mikal, Teresa, and Andrea

Blog Stops

Remembrancy, December 10

Connect in Fiction, December 10

Texas Book-aholic, December 11

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 12

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 12

For Him and My Family, December 13

EmpowerMoms, December 13

She Lives To Read, December 14

Through the Fire Blogs, December 14

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 15

deb’s Book Review, December 15

Inklings and notions, December 16

Captive Dreams Window, December 16

Artistic Nobody, December 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Livin’ Lit, December 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 18 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 19

CarpeDiem, December 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 20

Cultivating Us, December 20

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Something Borrowed Authors are giving away the grand prize package of an Amazon gift card, pens, and chocolate!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10462/something-borrowed-celebration-tour-giveaway

I’d love for you to comment! Merry Christmas to all.

One Ornament at a Time

For some reason, I am not rushing with decorating this year. I’m really enjoying the unpacking and placing of each item, letting the memories work a peaceful web around me. The boxes with ornaments are around the tree, waiting for my perusal.

The tree is up, and the white lights soothe me into the Christmas realm with rays of calmness and hope. Yes, hope that even with the changes of 2020, the celebration still is centered on the birth of Jesus. More than ever, He is the center of our home.

So, the ornaments dress the tree one at a time as I collect the memories.

…angels

…santas

…homemade

…old ones

…nativities

…funny ones

…sparkly and glittery

…breakable

…travels

…baby booties

Yes, 50 plus years of memories pour out of the boxes each year. In 2020, I’m giving them extra attention, time to absorb what they represent. Perhaps, you will do the same with your special decorations. There’s something to be gained from not being as busy this year.

Merry Christmas…

Review and Giveaway A Christmas Tale for Little Women

A Christmas Tale for Little Woman

About the Book

Book: A Christmas Tale for Little Women

Author: Linda Brooks Davis

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: September 15, 2020

A Christmas Tale for Little Women

Broadview is attired for Christmas. Oklahoma heiress, Adelaide Fitzgerald, is hosting two young girls who have chosen to celebrate Christmas with Auntie Addie rather than their family in Colorado.

Adelaide must give these girls a Christmas like no other. Has she thought of everything? What would top off this holiday in an extraordinary way?

The answer lies just the other side of Rock Creek. But what will it take for her to realize it is the Christmas topper she’s been seeking?

It’s 1912, and Adelaide Fitzgerald’s view of Christmas is about to emerge as a tale for a lifetime.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I love prequels even after reading the first novel in a series. This one is a lovely surprise during the Christmas season. The title intrigues me—Little Women. I am from a family of four girls with the glorious birth order of number one. Reading about the antics of girls opens floods of memories. In fact, we’re still creating new mischievous and productive endeavors. The bond of siblings and friends endures the years and with four the bond survives the frays and cuts of life.

Addie’s care of children in this novella inspires lives, the good of the community, the cause of Christ, acceptance, imagination. Sometimes we are at our best when dealing with the welfare of children or of others in general. Once the light is taken off us, love and generosity can abound.

About the Author

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Linda Brooks Davis is a lifelong Texan who devoted 40 years to special education as a therapist, teacher, and administrator. She retired in 2008 and now writes full time.

Linda’s debut novel, Amazon best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland, Book One in the Women of Rock Creek series, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel in 2014 and subsequently, ACFW’s Carol award for debut novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910 and is the prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, which is set in 1914, Amazon best-selling The Mending of Lillian CathleenBook Two. The third novella, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, releases in 2020 and is set in 1912. It is a prequel to Book 3 in The Women of Rock Creek series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, which is set in 1918.

Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

More from Linda

Everyone worked at my home on a South Texas farm near the U.S. border with Mexico.

My playmates were children of Hispanic laborers. Language never hindered playing la casa, making mud pies, or rocking los bebésFrijoles and tamales served from stewpots over open fires tasted delicioso in either language. I learned outside their homes a broom works great on hardened soil.

Daddy paid workers on Saturdays, some by the hour, others by production. Lining up, they extended their hands, and he laid cash across their open palms. They checked the figures they had scribbled on paper scraps, trusting el patrón to correct discrepancies. Humble, grateful people, they showed respect.

My father verified immigration paperwork for those whom he housed. Others lived in the shadows, arriving around sunup and disappearing before sundown. Each evening a car or truck would rattle alongside the field, and the shadow worker would slip inside. Then the vehicle would clatter toward the horizon. And returned another day.

Occasionally, however, an alarm shouted in Spanish would sound across the field. Dropping his cotton sack, a worker would dash toward the cotton trailer in the turn row. Like hounds burrowing under a house, he and a compadre would leap over the trailer’s sides and dig a hole in the freshly picked cotton. The first crawled in, and the other covered him.

The immigration officer making his rounds would walk into the field and occasionally stomp around inside the trailer, searching for man-sized lumps. I never witnessed the discovery of a shadow worker, but I heard about them on other farms. Worst of all, I heard about tragedies. With very little oxygen between tightly packed fluffs of cotton, a man could suffocate and occasionally would. I wondered what would lead a man to take such chances and how my law-abiding, God-loving father justified his complicity. So, I asked, and he answered, “Desperation, sugar. All they want is work. A man wants to provide for his family wherever or however he can. I can’t turn them away.”

Sounded like work was a gift. Huh? my ten-year-old brain asked itself.

Years later, I understood this principle. The second chapter of Genesis shows us that God created man not to laze around all day, but to work.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15

Therefore, not only in “the beginning,” but on our farm in 1956, a man’s strength to work was God’s gift. The opportunity to work was Daddy’s gift to the men. The fruit of each man’s labor was the gift he sent home each week and the fulfillment of his need to provide for his family.

At Christmas we enjoyed preparing bushel baskets of meats, fruits and vegetables, candy and nuts, and toys for each family. I wondered about those who stayed around for a single day. Would their children find fruits, nuts, or even a piece of candy on Christmas morning?

Answers evaded me then—-as they do now—-but as a writer in my eighth decade of life, one truth I hold onto is that the strength for each day of writing and less pain in my arthritic hands and back are gifts from God. Each opportunity to write is an opportunity not only to entertain but to inspire readers to seek God in their everyday lives. Each word, unique turn of a phrase, or plot idea . . . is my gift to Him.

Protecting our safety is a far more complicated endeavor in 2020 than it was in 1956. Threats arise like none presented five decades ago, but work is still a gift. God wired it into our DNA. Come to think of it, the ideas for A Christmas Tale for Little Women and the subsequent novel—one set in the southern tip of Texas, a story about a loving, destitute man who wants only to provide for his family—are gifts.

Those diligent workers of 1956 and other years deserve a story that honors them. My gift to them and to Him is A Christmas Tale for Little Women.

Thank you, Lord.

Note: Photos from Pixabay

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 20

Blogging With Carol, October 20

Through the Lens of Scripture, October 21

Connect in Fiction, October 21

Get Cozy Book Nook, October 21

She Lives To Read, October 22

Artistic Nobody, October 22 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For Him and My Family, October 23

deb’s Book Review, October 23

Splashes of Joy, October 23

Connie’s History Classroom, October 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 25

Mary Hake, October 25

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 26

KarenSueHadley, October 27

lakesidelivingsite, October 27

Pause for Tales, October 27

Older & Smarter?, October 28

Inklings and notions, October 28

Betti Mace, October 29

Captive Dreams Window, October 29

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 30

CarpeDiem, October 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 31

Batya’s Bits, October 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 1

Moments, November 1

Lighthouse Academy Blog, November 1 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of all 6 eBooks in the The Women of Rock Creek Series!! (The Calling of Ella McFarland, A Christmas to Remember, A Christmas Measure of Love, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, and The Awakening of Miss Adelaide)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10264/a-christmas-tale-for-little-women-celebration-tour-giveaway

Be sure to leave a comment and enter the giveaway.

Ponder in My Heart

Merry Christmas!

“Mary kept these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

IMG_3004I’ve attached myself to this verse and the word “ponder.” It makes me ask what I ponder in my heart. Also, what does ponder mean? Before, I look it up, I want to explore my definition: to ponder–to think about often, to keep safe, to treasure, to meditate on, to hold close.  Are there things that I treat this way? Quite a few. The Miriam-Webster definition is: to weigh in the mind, to appraise, to think about, to reflect on, to consider quietly, soberly, deeply.

So many things I give too much thought to. I ponder too long on things that are not important. Since this verse has entered my thoughts this season, I want to make sure the things I ponder–the things I consider quietly, soberly, deeply or hold close–merit my time and reflection.  For me those things revolve around my journey with Christ and include my family and friends, and my purpose and place in this very big world.

What things do you ponder? 

Little Advent Blessings

“Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

IMG_2999During this Advent Season, I am slowing down and concentrating on preparing for Christ’s birth. I don’t want to be so busy and so stressed that I miss the little blessings all around me. Baby Jesus was not surrounded by all the stuff and the noise that bombard my life. So, I breathe. I want to ponder the small things of my everyday Advent journey. The birth of Jesus, our Savior, was the greatest gift ever, one to never be overlooked even when the Christmas season passes.

I am thankful for many small blessings this month. Here are a few. Perhaps you can make your own list as Advent approaches Christmas Day.

  • a cup of hot tea, cider, or chocolateIMG_3004
  • a favorite ornament
  • an inspiring book
  • a warm blanket
  • Christmas cookies
  • a nativity
  • string of lights
  • wreathes
  • Christmas cards
  • candles
  • Advent wreath
  • shiny bowsIMG_3003
  • Christmas carols
  • the Christmas story
  • Christmas Eve candlelight service
  • Hallmark movies
  • my sleeping cats
  • children’s laughter
  • visits with friends and family
  • cold weather, maybe snow
  • jingle bells

I’m sure I will think of more, for little blessings are everywhere. Let’s concentrate on them this season. They bring me comfort in a crazy, chaotic world.

Merry Christmas!

 

Review and Giveaway–Christmas at Breakers Point

Christmas on breakers point

Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  Christmas on Breakers Point

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction, Christian Romantic Fiction, Christmas

One man’s last Christmas wish might change two lives forever.Christmas on Breakers Point

Mallory Barrows has one last Christmas with her uncle.  She’s determined to make it the best one he’s ever had.

She knows when she asks what he wants as his final gift, it won’t be a tie or a new mug. He won’t need those where he’s going, and he’s quite happy about that.

Mallory just didn’t think he wanted a miracle wrapped in paper and tied with a shiny red bow!

Christmas on Breakers Point is the introductory book to the Independence Islands Series.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Chautona Having has created another wonderful world where characters face lives full of challenges and opportunities of change.  And the awesome thing about this book is that the end is not the end. The series will continue with her vivacious character Mallory Barrows and other authors will add their own characters giving this island series many avenues to inspire readers.

Speaking of inspiration, Chautona allows her characters to be real with questions about faith, Christianity, worldly and spiritual issues, life, death. You name it, she is not shy at confronting what we all struggle with every day, either personally or with someone we know. I’m glad I had the chance to read this series at the beginning, knowing that there are many more books to come.

Thank you for supplying readers with a unique experience on a set of islands where we can feel at home with big-hearted characters.

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into Chautonaimaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

The book opens with a phone call that goes like this:

Her phone buzzed. Without taking her eyes from the page, Mallory Barrows fumbled about until her hand closed around it. The book held her bound in ropes of suspense as the villain slipped into the party unannounced—unseen. While she followed him around the edge of the imaginary room, her thumb swiped, tapped, and answered the call as if on autopilot.

Even as Mallory said, “Hello?” her breath caught. The guy had found his prey.

“Mallory, honey?”

Without a second look, she dropped the book and sat up, feet planted firmly on the floor and all attention on the call.  “Is it time?”

“’Fraid so, darlin’. Doc says it’s a matter of weeks or a month or two. And I promised.”

“I’ll be there Friday afternoon.”

 

Just days after I wrote those lines, I woke up to a message from my sister.  “Call Mom.”

I called.  Mom said, “I need you to come.”  That was Thursday.  I walked into Mom’s house on Saturday evening and our lives changed forever.

I don’t know if God prepared me for this change by having me write that scene just days before, but I have to say it felt like it!  Everything went crazy for over a month as I tried to wrap up my mother’s affairs in Missouri, I had to try to finish three books in a time of upheaval and turmoil.  No, it’s not the same as trying to help a young woman reclaim her True First Love so she could reclaim her first earthy love.  It isn’t the same as starting a whole new life and a new business.  But… oh, how it felt like it.

Another parallel in the story and my life was how Mallory struggles to try to get Uncle Bud to eat. I did the same thing for most of my time in Missouri.  Mom struggled and hard just to swallow and just wanted to eat.  So, while I was writing, I worked hard to come up with a recipe that Mallory might use to convince Uncle Bud to eat something.  The result were these Coconut Lime Cookies. I hope you love them as much as Uncle Bud did.

 

Coconut Lime Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups white flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup sugar

3 oz room temp cream cheese—cubed

½ tsp vanilla

Zest of 1 lime (key limes may be preferred)

½ cup (1 stick) melted butter (warm)

1 egg

1 TBS milk (whole is the most delicious… and half & half is even better)

1 TBS lime juice (again, some may prefer key limes)

½ cup powdered sugar  (reserved for rolling cookies in)

 

Directions: (oven preheats to 350)

Stir together the first five ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside

Stir together sugar, cream cheese, and lime zest in a large mixing bowl. Cream butter in. Repeat with egg, milk, and lime juice, one at a time. Make sure your ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Add dry ingredients slowly. Mix well.

Roll dough into approximately 1” balls.  Roll each ball into powdered sugar and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for approximately 11-12 minutes until lightly golden.

Before you eat, close your eyes and imagine yourself beneath swaying palm trees with warm sand between your toes.  Merry Christmas!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, December 10

Connect in Fiction, December 10

Lots of Helpers, December 11

My Devotional Thoughts, December 11

Wishful Endings, December 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 12

Stories By Gina, December 12

Quiet Quilter, December 13

Batya’s Bits, December 13

Godly Book Reviews, December 14

Emily Yager, December 14

Blossoms and Blessings, December 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 15

Back Porch Reads, December 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize of a 6 Month Kindle Unlimited subscription!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f1b8/christmas-on-breakers-point-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Please leave your thoughts here!

 

Advent Already?

IMG_2977Did anyone else think Advent came about very suddenly? It surprised me to end Thanksgiving and go directly to December 1 and the first Sunday in Advent. I wasn’t ready! I love the season of Advent as I prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. I’m just a little behind.

IMG_2976Preparing and anticipating the birth of Jesus, always gives me the opportunity to concentrate on the true meaning of this season, something I should be doing in February, June, September, etc… I love the decorations, the lights, the nativities, the carols. All of it.

So, I am going to slowly add the bits to the season that I deem necessary and not fret over my part in not realizing the season began a little earlier thisimg_2982.jpg year. Once I saw the calendar on November 30, I found my advent wreath and one candle for the first Sunday. I have yet to buy the other candles, but I will in time for this Sunday. I pulled out an Advent devotional that I had purchased last year, In the Manger by Max Lucado, and have read it faithfully so far. The Scriptures and the inspirational stories help me focus on what is truly important and amazing about this season.  “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37. Not even the birth of His Son.

I spent a few minutes in the attic and found a wreath and some garland. I already had two poinsettia to brighten my hearth and table. Next, I put out a few pieces of my Christmas china. The nativities are ready to see some action as they await the placement of baby Jesus in about 20 days.

You know, by taking things slower, I’m enjoying the process more. I’d like to not stress this season and concentrate on why there is the season of Advent. Join me in the time left to prepare and anticipate the birth of Christ.

What plans do you have for preparing for Christmas and our Savior’s birth? 

Off-season Strategy

January has become a month of semi-hibernation for me. About ten years ago, I found myself a bit depressed and unresponsive in January. One year I decided to counteract those feelings with a new strategy. What if I pulled out of a few obligations for that month only. I couldn’t quit my teaching job or ignore my children, but I decided a few organizations and commitments could survive without my presence.

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DeGray Lake Resort

I took a leave from choir, civic organization committee meetings, and Sunday school teacher. During those four weeks, I read, exercised, and caught up on some projects like writing and photo albums. When February arrived, I was ready to plunge back into my place in outside activities.

img_6510I travel as often as I can. Most of the time it is during tourist season since I am a teacher. Spring break and summer are the most opportune time for me to get away, along with everyone else. This year I tried something different. I used my strategy of doing something out of the ordinary.

Two days after Christmas, my husband and I spent three days at an Arkansas lake resort—yes, in winter. A resort known for lake activities, horseback riding, golf, hiking, nature watching, offered a warm place to sit in front of a fire, drink hot drinks, eat well, watch movies, and relax. The off season brought a few families to gather around beautiful Christmas trees and shiny winter decorations. There was no hustle and bustle in the towns or at the resort. I enjoyed the calm, semi-hibernation existence.

I give 5 stars for off-season resorts and for my January reclusive lifestyle (especially if normalcy is just around the bend). February will be here soon enough.

img_6530I’m enjoying reading and writing. And, I have 100 prints to put in my France photo album. Do you enjoy anything about an off-season vacation or time in your life?

 

Catching Christmas Review and Giveaway

I am very excited to offer my review of Terri Blackstock’s Catching Christmas. I have read so many of her intriguing mystery and suspense novels. This one looks and reads and feels like Christmas. In addition to the tour giveaway, I am giving away one copy of Catching Christmas to someone who comments on this blog.

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Catching ChristmasCatching-Christmas-210x300

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 9, 2018

This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 My Review

I have followed Terri Blackstock and her writing career since I lived in the same city as she did over twenty years ago. I even attended a workshop she taught. This novel shows a different, upbeat, feel-good side of her writing skill. If you want mystery and suspense that you usually find in many of her other books, Catching Christmas offers a different experience.

The festive cover features a little yellow taxi cab with gifts on top. This is definitely a book offering a gift of love, hope, second chances, and forgiveness through acts of giving and sacrifice.

I must admit I laughed and smiled a lot while curled up with this novel. Thank you, Terri, for a delightful Christmas–and life–tale.

I give Catching Christmas five stars.

About the Author

Terri-Blackstock-200x300Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

From Terri Blackstock

 

Enjoy this premium excerpt from Catching Christmas

https://aerbook.com/books/-128993.html?utm_source=pubpage

To get you in the Christmas mood, here’s an early holiday playlist:

“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby

“I Heard the Bells” sung by MercyMe

“Light of the World” sung by Lauren Daigle

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Amy Grant

“Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day” sung by Avalon

“Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again” sung by the Katinas

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

Genesis 5020, December 15

Back Porch ReadsDecember 15

The Power of Words, December 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 16

Among the Reads, December 17

Kathleen Denly, December 17

By The Book, December 17

Lighthouse Academy, December 17

Cultivating Us, December 18

Simple Harvest ReadsDecember 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 18

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, December 19

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 19

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20

amandainpa, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 20

Multifarious, December 21

Cathe Swanson, December 21

Stories By Gina, December 21

Connect in Fiction, December 22

Have A Wonderful Day, December 22

Splashes of Joy, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

Lis Loves Reading, December 23

Mary Hake, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Book by Book, December 24

Pause for Tales, December 24

To Everything A Season, December 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 25

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25

Vicky Sluiter, December 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 26

Inklings and notions, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 26

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 27

Captive Dreams Window, December 27

Texas Book-aholic, December 27

A Baker’s Perspective, December 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Older & Smarter?, December 28

Janices book reviews, December 28

Carpe Diem, December 28

Giveaway

1e998299-1dd7-470d-9237-3d8e3cf18173To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a grand prize of a finished copy of Catching Christmas and a Christmas Tree Ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d776/catching-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Also, when you comment here, I will enter you in an additional giveaway of Catching Christmas from me.

Merry Christmas!