Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010!


If you're like me, you're surprised at how fast 2010 seemed to pass. When I see or read retrospectives for the year it always amazes me how many notable events have occurred.




I think, if we're not careful, we can dwell too much on all the negative things and forget every beautiful sunrise, every kindness, every moment of every day that is a gift from God.






We are so used to having all we need - even if it's not all we may want - that we simply expect it as our due. Looking farther back, I can see that even the so-called disasters of my life have brought eventual peace and happiness and I like to think that's what the Lord had in mind all along. James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete and lacking nothing."


That said, I must admit that I am already looking forward to another spring, God willing, so I can once again enjoy beauty like the pictures I've included. They were taken in my yard and I have to say that the first blooms always thrill me the most. As I said above, it's easy to get used to the beauty all around us and miss each new miracle.

May we always be aware of our many blessings,
Valerie Hansen



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A New Path


Leann Harris here. I was at Walmart today and saw my new book, Second Chance Ranch. That is book 13 for me, but it is my first straight romance. This book was an amazing journey. If there were no dead folks in the plot, how was I to tell the story. But God is amazing and reaches down in us and makes the desert bloom, or a mystery writer fall in love with a story and have it carry her away.

There were days when I sat down at the computer, and started writing and the words flowed without effort. Well, truthfully most days. And when I would read what I wrote, I could only stare at it in amazement, because I saw another Greater Hand working. It was an exciting time.

This (when the book flows) is a rare treasure for sure. Not many books happen that way. It's like labor. One child might be easy birth and the next hard. Both you love both children. My hero, Zach McClure has a brother and sister. Ethan's story (his older brother) was torture to come up with the idea. And Ethan is probably one of the most dependable, steady and wonderful men I've ever written. And that probably was the problem.

Second Chance Ranch was a gift. I am grateful for it.

Christmas book in progress

I hope you all had as wonderful, surprising, and joyous Christmas as we did. Now that the house is semi-clean again, I have a book to get back to. It’s a Christmas story-book four in the Redemption River series-about a haunted hero, a Christmas crazy heroine, and a mysterious mute boy. And of course, there has to be a dog and the requisite eccentric characters of Redemption to round things out. After taking off the month of December to enjoy my favorite time of year, I have to get my nose to the grindstone to make deadline, so wish me luck, say a prayer, and keep an eye out next year for THE CHRISTMAS CHILD.

Monday, December 27, 2010

After Christmas Glow with Janet Tronstad

Hi, it's Janet Tronstad here. All the presents are opened and the Christmas ham has been eaten. I don't know about you, but I like the lazy days after Christmas just as much as the actual day. I enjoy seeing my nieces and nephews enjoy their presents and the adults are all off work so we're just sitting around enjoying family time. How about you? How are you feelling now that the big day is over? Did you get a favorite gift (my sister got me a Kindle -- yipee!)? Get to see some of your favorite people?

Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Days of Christmas-Day 8


I start my email with "Dear Daniel..." and can't go on.

Why can't I write today? Seth is kicking so hard and I've had this feeling that something is going to happen. Maybe I should call the doctor.

I take in a deep breath and let it out slowly. My sweet husband is counting on me to email him everyday. I can't let him down.

I think over the last seven days and how each day has reminded me of the Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, the song that Daniel used to show me how much he loved me.

But we never made it to eight maids a milking.
He was called up before we got to day 8.

I must focus and get this email written.

What can I write to Daniel about today? Maybe because I can't say what I want to.

I can't just say--Come home! I love you. I miss you!

That won't cheer him up.

I brush away a few stray tears. I hate being this emotional. I know that I'm not the only one missing my husband at Christmas. I have to be strong for Daniel, for little Seth. Pressing my hand over my abdomen, I whisper, "I love you and so does your daddy. You're going to be such a lucky boy." I smile and think of the future, our future.

Instead of eight maids a milking, I imagine sitting in the bleachers watching Seth in a Little League uniform.

The door bell. Oh, I'm a mess. Did I even comb my hair today?
The bell rings again.
Seth leaps within me.

Just like John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth's womb when Mary who was carrying Jesus came to visit her.

Hurrying from my desk, I pause in the hall but decide not to look in the mirror. I open the door just a bit. "Hello?"

"Joy."

The voice is so familiar but it can't be--

And then Daniel is inside and hugging me.

"I haven't even combed my hair!" I shriek.

Daniel is laughing at me, but I don't care because I'm kissing him and hugging him.

"There was a change in assignments," he explains. "I'm home for two weeks."

I can't speak. All I can do is weep.

Thank you, Father, for bringing my sweet Daniel home. And please keep his friends and comrades safe.--Joy


Well, our Christmas story ends here. Hope you all enjoyed it! You'll have to finish the song without Daniel and Joy. They are too busy to think of anything but being together! Merry Christmas and may God bless our soldiers and sailors in harms way safe. Amen.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

12 Days of Christmas...Day 7 by Lisa Mondello


My dearest Daniel,

Last night was a rough night. Seth was awake all night, kicking me and reminding me how much I'm missing you this Christmas season. As I lay awake in bed, I kept twisting my engagement ring on my finger and thinking about the day you asked me to marry you. We drove down from Maine to Boston so you could show me where you played soccer at Boston University. (Or so you said.) We walked through Boston Common and saw the Swan Boats. It was my first visit to Boston and you said that I couldn't visit Boston without taking a ride on the famous Swan Boats.

Seven swan boats were floating in the pond. As we climbed aboard one you told me the story of how the Swan Boats were started over 130 years ago by Robert Paget and his wife Julia. Robert lived only 1 year after they'd started the Swan Boat rides and left Julia a widow with 4 young children. Even though women weren't allowed to run businesses in those days, Julia held strong and preserved the dream they shared of offering rides to visitors to the Public Gardens of Boston Common. I was so touched by your story about the strong woman who kept the dream she'd had with her husband alive that I started to cry.

You then pulled the engagement ring out of your pocket. But before you could ask me to marry you, the boat rocked and the ring fell out of your hand. You thought it fell in the water so you jumped in and began frantically searching for it, screaming for the driver to stop the boat so the ripples in the water would stop and you could see better. The Swan Boat driver yelled at you to get back into the boat but you kept searching, finally diving under water, looking for the ring.

I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt, especially when the boat turned around and the sunlight hit the deck just right and I saw the ring on the floor of the boat by my feet. With tears streaming down my face I handed you the ring as you climbed back aboard in your drenched clothes. The boat was packed with people, but I didn't see them. Only you. I also didn't see that the other boats had stopped on the pond to watch what was going on. When you asked me to marry you and I said yes, everyone in the boats started clapping. It was such a magical moment. Last night the memory of the seven Swan boats "swimming" in the pond at the Public Gardens played through my mind over and over as the baby kicked in my stomach and I missed you.

My ring is tight on my finger now that I'm pregnant. But I refuse to take it off my hand. We made a promise that day to love each other and be together for the rest of our lives. Our baby, Seth, is an extension of us, a blessed gift that God has given us. I miss you more than I can say. This Christmas just won't be complete without you here with me and each day forward won't be the complete until you're back home in my arms again.

Until you're home in my arms again, keep my love in your heart.
Love Joy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas Part Six by Terri Reed






My darling Daniel,
I awoke this morning to the honk of the Canada Geese. I looked out the bedroom window to see the distinctive V formation of the birds migrating. Such a cold, bleak sky. The birds are leaving late this year. I suspect because everyone feeds them. Snow has already fallen, covering the ground in a blanket of white. I wonder if the geese I saw this morning were the same six geese we saw laying in their nest by the lake shore last spring. Do you member how beautiful and majestic they looked with their long black necks and white cheeks? And the babies! Oh, how cute they were. Just like I know our little Seth will be. He’ll look just like you, darling. I imagine him with your smiling blue eyes and strong jaw. I wonder if he’ll have your walnut brown hair or if we’ll have a red head like me. I’m sure anxious to meet this little guy. Every night I read to him before going to sleep. Last night we read from the Psalms. God’s word brings me comfort. I cling to His promises as I wait for the day you’ll return to me and our son. Oh my, Seth, just kicked. I think we have a soccer player in the making. Must be time for breakfast. Since the doctor wants me to gain a little more weight, I think I’ll make your favorite pancakes. I hope I can get the ingredients right. You always make them so perfectly. I hope you’re eating well there. I worry even though I know I shouldn’t. God’s watching over you. Hard to believe it will be Christmas eve in two days. I’ll be having dinner with your parents. I’m hoping you’ll call like you did for Thanksgiving. I so need to hear your voice. Please take care and know that you are loved and missed.
Forever yours,
Joy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas Part Five by Pamela Tracy

Dear Daniel,

I'm sitting here in the doctor's waiting room, my rounded stomach causing me to sit more sideways than straight, and I'm missing you like crazy. If I look up, there's a television, but it's turned to some medical station featuring a program about heartburn. I've a magazine in my lap - wait! I don't have a lap - I've a magazine in my hands, but I'm not reading it. Instead, I'm clandestinely perusing the room and studying all the other expectant mothers.

I feel so alone.

Across from me there's a young pregnant woman, a girl really, who already has a toddler. For the last five minutes, all I've heard is "Don't stray too far, Angel. Be careful, Angel. Angel, come to Mommy."

I'll be hearing the term angel all day.

I, of course, will be thinking about my own angel: you.

Oh, Daniel, why are you so far away? Please be careful. Please come home to me.

A few fathers have accompanied their pregnant wives. Some look scared; some look bored; a few look excited. One expectant father is busy talking to his unborn child. I can hear him telling the soon-to-be-born, "I'll take good care of you. Now, be nice to your mother and get off her kidney."

You'd be excited if you were here.

I'm finally in the examination room. Oh, Daniel, Dr. Welby says everything is just fine. Oh, and he wants me to eat more. Imagine a doctor telling me to eat more. I'm supposed to gain a pound a day. And, here's the best part. The doctor handed me his fetoscope, and I got to listen to Seth's heart.

Thump, thump, thump.

God's miracle and more. While I was listening, my necklace - the chain holding the five golden rings you gave me on our fifth date - slipped down until the rings were right over Seth's heart. I started crying, Daniel, crying, right there in the doctor's office.

It was like you were listening to Seth's heartbeat too.

And, I no longer felt alone.

All my love and prayers,
Joy

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas--Part Four by Missy Tippens

Dear Daniel,

I have a confession. I'm feeling blue today--disappointed. I've been thinking so much about our first twelve days together that today, when I heard a bird calling, I thought maybe, just maybe, you'd come home to surprise me and were making bird calls outside the window.

I know, silly of me. And actually, I have to admit it ended up being a good day. Since the Mayor declared the village Christmas theme in your honor, everyone in town has been so sweet. Today, the Lipscomb family surprised me by bringing lunch. And yes, they had remembered the story of our fourth date and were outside making the bird calls. We ate together and talked about you all afternoon. Were your ears burning?

Do you remember how you embarrassed me on that date by blowing that silly bird whistle each time the audience applauded at the concert? Then as soon as people would start looking around to see where the noise was coming from, you'd hide the whistle? I know people thought I had done it because my face had to have been beet red. You were so funny and made me laugh again.

Oh, I miss your humor so much. I miss the silly things you always do. And yes, I even miss those embarrassing moments, because I know you were stepping outside your comfort zone, trying to win me over.

You had won me over for sure by that night. And even though I was already falling in love with you, I couldn't resist teasing you, telling you that birds--such as partridges and French hens and turtle doves and calling birds-- were not the way to a woman's heart. That jewelry would be much more effective. And you looked into my eyes, so serious, took hold of my hand, and told me you couldn't possibly consider such an intimate gift until the fifth date. I don't think I've ever told you how your touch made my heart stutter. Daniel, dear, you'll always take my breath away. Even when we're old and gray and Seth is grown with his own children, you'll be the one who makes my heart beat faster.

Oh, Daniel, I'm so proud of you, but please stay safe. I can't wait until we can be together again. I know it's going to be difficult to deliver Seth while you're so far away. But I pray for the moment I can see you with our baby in your arms.

All my love,
Joy

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Amish Christmas Interview

How exciting to have John Doe, the hero from An Amish Christmas, by Pat Davids, a Dec 2010 release from Love Inspired Romance with us today.

1. John, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

That’s kind of hard to do. I know so little about myself. I’m the victim of a violent crime and I have amnesia. I guess the interesting thing is that I’m staying with an Amish family while I try to find out who I am.

2. What do you do for fun?

I do the one thing I seem to be good at. I work with horses. I don’t know how I learned the skill, but I enjoy training them. A horse accepts me at face value for who I am today not who I was before.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

The Amish don’t have electricity or computers so I have to go into town to the public library to check a website called NamUs. It’s a site for information about missing persons. I used to check it all the time, but lately I dread going there. I’ve found real happiness here in this Amish community. I’ve come to care deeply about an Amish woman. I’m afraid if I do find out about my past that happiness will be destroyed.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Two things. Never having an answer about my identity, and having an answer about my identity

5. What do you want out of life?

I want to be free to love the woman I care about more than my own life. Her name is Karen.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Answers.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

I don’t read much now. I’m not sure if that means I never did or not. I’ve been reading the Bible. I’m finding a lot of comfort in God’s word.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

This might sound silly, but I want to become part of the Amish community. I think that’s why God left me here. I’m living with people whose faith is a major part of their everyday lives. They speak of God as if He were present in every aspect of their day.
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

No pets, at least I hope not. I’d hate to think of a dog or a cat pining away for me in some apartment or back yard. It’s even harder to think I might have a family, parents, a wife and children somewhere wondering where I am and why I didn’t come home.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I’d go back to the night before I arrived in Hope Springs. I’d go back to a time when my own name wasn’t a mystery.

Thank you Pat for sharing John with us today.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: AN AMISH CHRISTMAS BY PATRICIA DAVIDS

When Karen Imhoff finds a beaten man lying unconscious by the road in her Amish community, she doesn't hesitate to help. "John Doe" needs a place to stay while he regains his memory, and she has a room to rent. The handsome Englisher proves invaluable around the family farm, yet his presence wreaks havoc with her emotions. Karen has her younger siblings to care for. She can't fall for an outsider who doesn't know his own identity. But as Christmas draws closer, the simple grace of this life—and this woman—could inspire John to make Karen's dreams come true….

Friday, December 17, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas-part three by Margaret Daley


Dear Daniel,

Ten days to Christmas and I still have so much to do. I finally bought a tree today and set it up. When I pulled out our boxes of ornament, I found those three ugly French hens you saw in that little shop on our honeymoon. I still remember how you insisted we had to have them for our first Christmas tree. I bought the last set of ornaments--twelve lords leaping--yesterday. Well, they are as close as I could get to leaping lords. That completes our set of the twelve days of Christmas ornaments. I can't wait for you to see them all on the tree. I wish you could have been there tonight when I put them on the tree. Seth got a kick out of it. Literally he kicked me as I put each of those three French hens on the tree. I wonder if he is telling us something. Do you think he is going to play football like you did in school?

Speaking of football, I saw the movie, Blind Side, again--this time on T.V. I cried and laughed through it just like the first time I saw it with you. I was so thrilled you finally wanted to go with me to a movie. When you told me it was about a football player, I thought I was in for one of those boring sports movies about male bonding, but that was all right. You were going to the movies with me. Boy, what a surprise when I saw it. I appreciated the movie again and thought of that evening we went to dinner and to the show. So when you come back, we need to go to dinner and pick another movie to see.

I can't wait to see you again. Soon Seth will be here. I need you here, too. Please come home soon. I pray for you and your company to stay safe and return to us. I love you, even when you had to have those three ugly French hens for our Chrismtas tree.

All my prayers and love,
Joy

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas - Part Two by Allie Pleiter

Dear Daniel,
Seth kicked hard today--he must be trying to say hello across the miles!  Your mother sent Christmas presents, and in the packages were two fluffy stuffed birds to put in Seth’s crib as we wait his arrival.  How special it is to await the arrival of a baby during the Christmas season!
Your mother’s gift made me wonder if you ever told her the story of our “turtle doves.”  How long you must have saved up to take me to that fancy restaurant in the city!  I felt so glamorous--no one had ever asked me to get all dressed up and go "out on the town" like that.  We didn’t have such places where I grew up, and when you arrived to pick me up in your suit I thought you were the most handsome man alive.  I still do; the sight of you in uniform can still make me swoon, dear.
Oh, but it’s your sense of humor I love most of all.  What people must have thought when the waiter brought over those ceramic bird salt and pepper shakers for us to use amongst all that fancy silver! How ever did you get him to go along with such a charade? Ah, but then again you have always been the most charming man I have ever known.  I can still hear the chuckles of the old man and woman next to us as you went on and on about our “two turtle doves,” and how we would keep these salt and pepper shakers in our kitchen when we were married.  God must have known how badly I needed happy Christmas memories, and how wonderful you would be at giving them to me!  I think that night, seeing you so handsome and yet so funny at the same time, was when I truly began to fall for you.  Yes, I know you say I never stood a chance against your pursuit--and truly, I suspect I didn’t.  How could any woman not love such attention and affection!
I’m looking at the birds now, sitting at our kitchen table.  They are together when we cannot be, aren’t they?  I love that everywhere in our home are lovely reminders of how distance can never really separate us. And now Seth will have his own soft, fluffy “turtle doves” to remind him that his father loves him even from far away.
Stay safe, my love.  Use your wonderful humor to bring cheer to all the soldiers with you--they must need you as much as I did!  I still do.  Come home to us soon, we miss you more than I can say.
All my love,
Joy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010



The Twelve Days of Christmas--
Part One--Lenora Worth

Dear Daniel,

I can't believe it's almost Christmas. Just twelve days before the big day. And we should have our own new arrival any day now. I can't wait for little Seth to be born so I can tell him all about his wonderful daddy. This is already a special time where we celebrate the birth of Christ. But to you and me, darling, this is also the time when we fell in love. Remember the first day we met in the park. I was watching the ice skaters swirling around on the lake and I turned to leave. There you stood grinning at me, your smile as bright as the twinkling lights on all the trees around the park. You actually started singing about the twelve days of Christmas. (A bit off-key, of course.) You were so adorable with your dark blue eyes and spiky brown hair. And your red ears. It was so cold that day. Everyone in the park started giggling at the way you sang about a partridge in a pear tree. Then you asked me if I wanted to see a real partridge in a pear tree. I giggled, too, but before I could shake my head and say "No, thanks", you grabbed me by the hand and practically dragged me onto the walking trail around the park. And you found a tree--not a real pear tree, but a big lovely untouched Christmas tree. And there in that tree was a fake bird!!! It took me years to get the truth out of you. I was so touched that you'd been watching me come to the park every day... and that you'd seen my tears. You told me you had decided to make me fall in love with you by Christmas and the idea of the twelve days of Christmas theme popped into your head. It also took me years to tell you that I came to the park every day because I had a broken heart. Christmas was never a joyous time for me until you came along, my love. I want you to know that our "partridge" is sitting on the Christmas tree and I'm wearing the beautiful "pear" diamond necklace you gave me for our second Christmas together and our anniversary--Christmas Eve. Daniel, please stay safe over there. I am so proud of you for fighting for our country. The whole village is proud of you. I wanted you to know that the mayor declared our Christmas theme for this season as "The Twelve Days of Christmas" in your honor. Each day, we will celebrate all the gifts you managed to give me five years ago when you "forced" me to fall in love with you. Your twelve days were a bit eclectic and interesting, but I still smile when I think about your efforts. I am so blessed to have you as my husband. And our son will be blessed to have you as his father. I wish you could be here for his arrival but I know you are working toward the greater good for our country. I love you, Daniel. Stay safe and ... even if you can't be home for Christmas, come home soon, please.

Your loving wife, Joy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nativity Collection

This is Merrillee, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. I love to decorate for Christmas, and one of the things I like to display is my collection of Nativity sets. I would have collected more, but when we moved to Florida, we downsized our house, and I just didn't have room to keep them all or display them.

When my husband and I got married, we started out with this very simple Nativity set.


After a few years, I hoped to get a really nice set, but I was unwilling to spend the money. On the day after Christmas one year, my sweet husband found one during the after-Christmas sale at a local card shop. He added the angels a number of years later. Here it is.


Over the years, I began to look for unique or different Nativity sets and try to buy them during the after Christmas sales. Then people started giving them to me as gifts. Finally, I had to ask people to stop because I didn't have room for them anymore. Here are a few more of the sets that I put out each year.















Do you have any special Christmas decorations that you put out each year? Tell us about them.

Also, I hope you will read the upcoming Christmas story written over several days by some of the Craftie Ladies bloggers.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Holiday Nanny Interview

How exciting to have _Connie Ladden the heroine from THE HOLIDAY NANNY, by Lois Richer a December 2010 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1. Connie, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I'm really just an ordinary person, but I do love to help people find the happiness they crave. I like to do that by really listening to what they say--because what they don't say is a clue to what's bothering them.
2. What do you do for fun? Right now I'm busy studying about hummingbirds. Tucson is a great spot for hummingbirds, you know. And I love to swim. My employer has a magnificent pool.
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? Oh, I detest confrontation and I'll do almost anything to avoid that--though I certainly have plenty of confrontation with my employer's step mother. She is so negative.
4. What are you afraid of most in life? I'm most afraid of never finding my father again--of never being able to tell him I love him and hear him say he loves me.
5. What do you want out of life? I want a life filled with love. I've never really been anyone special in someone's life--I'd like someone to think that I am, that I'm the most special person in their life, someone they don't want to ever leave.
6. What is the most important thing to you? The most important thing to me is to be reunited with my dad. He left me behind years ago at Christmas. I don't know why. I was taken into a wonderful foster family--but I still want to find my dad.
7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? I love books. My favorite type are mysteries. All of life is such a mystery, don't you think? I read a lot of Agatha Christie. That woman had a mind like a steel trap. And I love to read books about travel. My, how I'd like to travel around the world.
8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Oh, there are so many things I'd like to change. My hips for one! :-) And my temper. Sometimes I speak too quickly when I'm angry. I'm afraid I've done that with my employer.
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? No, I don't have a pet. I'm a nanny you see and nannies can't take a pet into someone else's home. But if I could have one, I'd like to have a parrot.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? If I could travel back in time, I'd go back to when I was eleven and my dad was leaving me in Chicago. I'd beg him to take me with him; I'd refuse to get out of the car. I'd tell him I'll never stop loving him. Not ever.

Thank you Lois for sharing Connie with us.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: THE HOLIDAY NANNY BY LOIS RICHER


Workaholic single father Wade Abbot is away on business, as usual, when he receives a heart-tugging video from his four-year-old. The little girl hopes he'll come home for Christmas—and see her in the holiday pageant. With his harrowing past, Wade has always doubted his ability to be a good father, but he heads home to Arizona, determined to try. His daughter's loving new nanny, Connie Ladden, works overtime to help turn him into the father he longs to be. And with some help from his little girl, Wade just might turn his holiday nanny into a permanent wife and mother.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

History of the Candy Cane

Kim Watters here. According to legend there was a candy maker who wanted to invent a candy that was a witness to Christ.

First of all, he used a hard candy because Christ is the rock of ages. This hard candy was shaped so that it would resemble a "J" for Jesus or, turned upside down, a shepherd's staff. He made it white to represent the purity of Christ.

Finally a red stripe was added to represent the blood Christ shed for the sins of the world, and thinner red stripes for the stripes He received on our behalf when the Roman soldiers whipped Him. Sometimes a green stripe is added as a reminder that Jesus is a gift from God.

The flavor of the cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop. Hyssop is in the mint family and was used in the Old Testament for purification and sacrifice. Jesus is the pure Lamb of God, come to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

I don't know if this is true, but it sure makes a great story; one that I tell my kids as I hand them their candy canes, because He is the reason for the season.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lyn Cote asks: Is it Pride...

if one is happy with what she has accomplished? I know I've heard--if it's true, it ain't brag. But as a Christian woman, I always feel a bit funny saying, "I'm really proud of my latest book."

This latest book is #34 for me. When I say that, I kind of can't believe it. THIRTY-FOUR BOOKS. I've written 34 books! Me? Lyn Cote?

At one time, I joked that I had been rejected by every editor in NYC. A bit of an exaggeration, but not much!

It's hard when you find yourself writing for a market that hasn't appeared yet. I was writing inspirational romance before it had found its audience and success. I'm so happy that so many other authors have found a home in this genre and with Love Inspired.

Anyway my 34th book, Her Healing Ways, debuts this week--at your local Wall-Mart or bookstore. Or if you like to order online, drop by my website.


Here's the scoop:

Unconventional. Unafraid. Unwelcome. A female physician with an adopted black daughter? The townsfolk of Idaho Bend will never accept Dr. Mercy Gabriel—even when faced with a deadly cholera epidemic. But all Mercy needs is one man willing to listen…and to trust.

Four years of war command turned Lon Mackey into a footloose gambler who can't abide attachments. Yet he can't help getting riled by the threats Mercy keeps receiving. Her trailblazing courage could reignite his faith and humanity. And his loyalty could make her dream—for the first time—of a family of her own….


Have any of you read the first two books in my Gabriel Sisters series? Her Captain's Heart and Her Patchwork Family? I loved writing this series:

"In the wake of the Civil War, three women combat injustice and find true love."

So again--is it pride? And what are you proud of?

BTW,
Drop by my blog tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec 7th. I'm making an important announcement!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Lawman's Christmas Wish Interview

How exciting to have Amy James, the heroine from THE LAWMAN’S CHRISTMAS WISH, by Linda Goodnight, a December, 2010 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1. Amy, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I live in the wild, beautiful state of Alaska! I suppose some people would also find it interesting that a young female owns an outdoor adventure company. We provide tours into the Alaskan wilderness. Oh, and did I mention that most of my tour guides are strong, handsome, single men?

2. What do you do for fun?

Lately, I’m had some exasperating fun. Now that I’m a widow, the men in town think I need a husband, and seldom a day goes by that I don’t get a marriage proposal. Most of them are after the gold they think I have. That’s the funny part. I don’t have any!

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Oh, my. That’s so hard. The town police chief, Reed Truscott, was my late husband’s best friend. Because of a promise to Ben, Reed feels duty bound to marry me and care for me and my sons. I side-step him at every turn because I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I do not want to be any man’s ‘duty’! At some point, I’m going to have to speak up, tell him how I really feel and see what happens.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

Failure - With the town and the business on my shoulders, failure could hurt a lot of good people, including my sons.

5. What do you want out of life?

To make a good life for my sons and the people of Treasure Creek. We’ve been struggling since the economic recession but we won’t give up. As long as we stick together, we’ll make it.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

The usual, I suppose - God, family, friends, and the little town of Treasure Creek. When I die and get to Heaven, which I hope looks like Alaska, I want the Lord to say “You made a difference.”

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

Books! When do I have time to read books?! Well, except the story books I read every night to my boys. Lately, Reed Truscott has been listening too. Hmm. Wonder why a grown man would be interested in hearing me read about the red-nosed reindeer?

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Sometimes I think I’m the only one who can do a job. I need to learn to delegate more. The world won’t stop turning if I take a break…Will it?

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

No, I don’t, but Reed has a wonderful Alaskan Malamute, one of those beautiful sled dogs. My boys are crazy about that animal. He’s a big, one-eyed, sweetheart who adores people, especially Dexter and Sammy.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I would go back to the day my husband died and talk him out of guiding the final wilderness tour that stole his life.

Thank you Linda for sharing Amy with us today.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: THE LAWMAN'S CHRISTMAS WISH BY LINDA GOODNIGHT


Widow Amy James can't get through grocery shopping in Treasure Creek, Alaska, without a marriage proposal. And she's hardly flattered. Most of her "suitors" are after the treasure her great-grandfather had buried on her property. But only one man promised her late husband he'd take care of her and the boys: police chief Reed Truscott. True, Reed is handsome and honest and makes her feel safe. But his honorable marriage proposal is about obligation—not love. Unless he can convince her that his Christmas wish is to join her family forever.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Valerie Hansen is reeeeaaaaally busy!



Y'all will be practically the first to know my secret. I just received a new contract for six - count 'em - six MORE BOOKS! There will be three Love Inspired Suspenses, two Love Inspired Historicals, and one LI romance like those featured on this Craftie Ladies site.






I've projected this work to take me about a year and a half, give or take. That should keep me out of mischief, huh? The first of the 6 is already scheduled for Oct. 2011 which will give me three that year. The covers of the other 2 are included here.






RESCUING THE HEIRESS is coming in Feb.






FACE OF DANGER will be the month after that, March




Added to that, I'd also like to announce that a previously published
title has been translated into German. Remember "Nowhere to
Run"? Well, it's now "Liebe auf der Flucht".
I found it on Amazon.de, if you're interested.
That's all for me for now. Whew! I'm so busy it's scary. What a blessing!!!!!
Val

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What Does a Gift Card Say?

Missy Tippens, here. Now that Thanksgiving is over, and the turkey has digested and the gravy gone straight to our hips , the Christmas season is upon us. If you haven't already started shopping, I imagine you will soon. I've done a good bit online already. But I'm in the midst of making shopping lists and would love to hear your opinion. What do you think when someone gets you a gift card? What does it say to you?

I usually buy them when I know someone likes a particular store but have no idea what to get them. I also buy them when I need to mail a gift because they're so easy! But I have to admit, there have been numerous times I've run to the grocery store or drugstore to look at the rack of gift cards and purchased one last minute for a birthday or even Christmas.

If someone gives you a gift card, do you feel like you've been a last minute thought? Do you think I should add those gift cards to my shopping list this year?

By the way, as our gift to you, we'll be offering a Christmas story with daily chapters starting in mid-December!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Color Your World

Linda Goodnight here. This post has nothing to do with the holidays. Well, maybe a little if you consider color and decorating part of the holidays. But I was wondering: Are you affected by colors in a room? Recently, we did some remodeling which included new paint in my formerly sunny yellow living room. I love color. It energizes me. Just consider my office which is yellow, orange and lime. Yep. Love that color. My husband likes browns and neutrals. Since we’ve had my colors in the house for so long, I let him pick the new shade. Now the living room is milk chocolate with sand carpet and beige and chocolate furniture—all brown and my husband loves it. It makes me feel down, drowsy, lazy. I’m trying to figure out simple, inexpensive ways to brighten it so I can stand to be in there! Any ideas?
Are you affected by color? A little or a lot? What colors “do it” for you?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lyn Cote--Question for you



Hey, blog-readers!
Will you answer a few questions for me?

1-What types of blog posts here do you like best?

a-blogs about new Love Inspired books?
b-blogs where the author shares about her personal life?
c-blogs with favorite recipes?
d-interviews with authors?
e-round robin stories by the authors here
f-write your own description of your favorite type of posts.

2-Do you leave comments so you will be entered in the monthly contest? Or do you forget? GRIN

3-Would you miss this blog if it went away? Why or why not?

So let us know what your opinions are? Curious authors want to know!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims


Janet Tronstad here. I just got back from a trip to Boston for Thanksgiving and I am reeling with grateful thoughts. We (my nieces, nephew and I) went down to Plimouth Plantation and had Thanksgiving with 'the Pilgrims' (costumed role players). Then we went over to see the Mayflower II (an exact replica of the original). Believe me, we have so much to be thankful for these days. I can't imagine crossing the ocean with 130 other people (crew and passengers) on a ship the size of my condo in Pasadena! Families were stacked on top of each other! And the voyage over was the easy part. The Pilgrims arrived in weather so cold about half of them died from pneumonia (and related things). They had little food, little shelter, and lots of fears. I wondered as I heard their stories if I would have their kind of courage. As I said earlier though it did make me very grateful I don't have their challenges. How about you? Have you ever wondered if you would have made a Pilgrim voyage back in the day?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Cowboy Daddy Interview


How exciting to have Kip Cosgrove the hero from The Cowboy Daddy by Carolyne Aarsen, a November 2010 release from Love Inspired Romance.

1. Kip, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I guess the most interesting would be the fact that I used to race chuckwagons. Used to.
2. What do you do for fun?
Yeah. That's a good one. I don't have a lot of fun these days. Except when I take my brother's boys out for an outing. But what with my mom's surgery, my sister acting up and taking care of the ranch, I don't have much time for anything else. But I enjoy my life, don't get me wrong.
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Telling the boys about their mother. How she took off on them and never showed up again. They know a bit, but they're pretty young yet.
4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Losing the boys. I love the twins and I'd do anything . . . anything for them.
5. What do you want out of life?
To be able to keep taking care of the people in my life. Someday I'd like to get married, but with the way things are going in my life, doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon.
6. What is the most important thing to you?
My relationship with my family. My faith.
7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
That's right up there with what I do for fun! Haven't read a book since my brother died and left the boys with me. But when I did read, I liked reading murder mysteries. Like figuring out the puzzles.
8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Too many things. I don't think I'm very patient. I'd like to be less frustrated with my sister and the twins.
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
The horses are more than enough. Tristan and Justin have a puppy, but that's about it.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I'd go back to that moment when my brother Scott, the boys father, climbed up on that horse. If he hadn't . . . he'd still be here. Things would be so different. For everyone. But, I can't. I just have to live with what happened. Pray that God will take away the guilt. And take care of my boys.

Thank you Carolyne for sharing Kip with us.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: COWBOY DADDY BY CAROLYNE AARSEN


Rancher Kip Cosgrove promised his dying brother he'd take care of his motherless young twins. So when the boys' estranged aunt shows up on the Cosgrove doorstep with a will and the law on her side, Kip digs in his boot heels. Nicole Williams is wonderful with the boys, but Kip is just as much their kin as she is. And until legal issues are settled, she'll have to abide by his rules. Which means visiting the twins at the ranch. Seeing how much he loves the boys. How much they love him. And maybe…staying forever.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What are you Reading?




Terri Reed here. I just finished reading The Cowboy’s Convenient Bride by two-time recipient of Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award and finalist for Affaire de Coeur’s Best Up-and-Coming Romance Author Wendy Warren.

I have to say it was a fabulous story with endearing characters that made me laugh, cry and root for them as they skirted around their feelings until finally risking their hearts to love. Wendy’s use of language and imagery really brought this story to life. Full of angst and joy, this was a heartwarming and enjoyable read.

Hungry Ranchers? Messy House? Filthy Barn? I’m your woman...
Claire Dobbs needed a job—and she needed it yesterday. But when the single mother of three arrived at Pine Road Ranch, she didn't expect to be greeted by six-foot-plus of scowling, growling cowboy….

After being injured in a bullfight, all Fletcher Kingsley wanted to do was slink home to Honeyford, Oregon, and lick his wounds. The former rodeo champ didn't need a housekeeper. He needed a wife! It was either that—or forfeit his beloved family home.

It would be a cold day in Honeyford before Fletcher ever got hitched. But having the pretty, spirited widow and her lively brood underfoot could change a man's mind in a hurry. Especially when sweet Claire started him thinking about home and hearth…and love?

http://http//www.eharlequin.com/author.html?authorid=899

Monday, November 22, 2010

God is Really Good

Pamela Tracy here, and yes, I am the mother of a five-year-old. It's exhilarating and exhausting. See, he's in kindergarten now and I'm lurking in the background always aware of the ole "How is he doing?" critiques.
Have I ever mentioned that I used to be an elementary schoolteacher? More specifically, I taught kindergarten. Since Mike's birth, I've daydreamed of his entering school already knowing how to read, with beautiful penmanship, no desire whatsoever to wriggle in his seat, and polite. Oh, yes, my son would be polite.
For the last five years, BK (before K), we've gone camping, built train worlds, loved anything Spiderman, watched a million episodes of Scooby Doo, put together puzzles, dug in the dirt, went for walks/rides/ and chased each other with nerf guns.
Whenever I brought out the handwriting papers, Mike turned up his nose. Coloring? "Here's two scribbles, Mom. Good enough?" Getting him to write his name was comparable to getting me to eat green peas: very painful.
Now, he's in kindergarten, and I'm pleased. He's writing his name, learning the ABC's and their sounds, adding outloud, and coloring.
Guess what? He's not at the head of the class.
But that class is behind a door and has twenty little people who all have mother's lurking behind them all worrying about the "How is he/she doing?" critique.
Yesterday, while sitting at the table, my son took a pencil and wrote Good.
I'm sure he saw it on a paper!
Then, he wrote God.
Okay, so I'm looking at a phrase, an interjection if you will: Good God.
He wasn't done. He wrote Good again.
I'm looking at him, and finally said. "Good God good?"
"Yup," he said with confidence. "I wrote good twice because God is really good."
I'm no longer a kindergarten teacher. I'm now an English professor; have been for years.
My son is the next John Grisham.
Ya think?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Their First Noel Interview


How exciting to have _Andy MacFarland the hero from Their First Noel by Annie Jones, a November 2010 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1.Andy, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I don’t know if you’d call it interesting but right now I’m pretty focused on restoring an old landmark here in Mt Piney, Vermont, the Snowy Eaves Inn.

2. What do you do for fun?

I don’t really have time for fun, with all the work I’m doing on the inn and taking care of my adopted little sister, Greer, while my mom helps other families bring home children from China (as she did with Greer). Family is a big deal to us MacFarlands. But if I had to say, well, I did just meet this girl from South Carolina, Corrine Bennington. She’s a baker and… well, she sure has brought an element of fun into my life lately… whether I planned for her to or not.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Nothing. I do what is expected of me and always have since my dad died when I was a teenager.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Of letting people down. That’s why I have to get the inn up and running before Christmas Eve, people are counting on it.

5. What do you want out of life?

What most Godly men want, to serve the Lord, to serve others, for my word to be my bond and to have the love of a family.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Right now, to get this inn finished and to take care of my sister.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Corrie was just noticing the books on the shelf in my office – C.S. Lewis and books on vintage architecture.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Maybe to loosen up a bit, to not have to always go by the plan. Corrie thinks people need to go with the flow, but I don’t know if I can change that much.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

No, but I have a sock monkey named Budy MonKaye that I had when I was a kid and now my little sister carries with her everywhere. I like knowing she loves that little guy even though I don’t know about her idea that I may want it back for my own kids in the near future!
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I’d go back to when the Snow Eaves Inn was built so I could figure out how to get it right. Or maybe back to when I was a kid and me and my mom and sister used to come out to the inn on Christmas Eve to be with other people who didn’t have big families. Or maybe to when Corrie’s parents met at the inn, to tell them they shouldn’t let anything come between them because they have a pretty great daughter who is going to need them. Or… Or maybe I’d stay right here in the present and see if this Christmas is the first of a lifetime to come with a certain southern baker who has never seen snow and is here to share our first noel.


Thank you Annie for sharing Andy with us.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: THEIR FIRST NOEL BY ANNIE JONES


A spunky Southern baker, Corrie Bennington has her heart set on winning a gingerbread house contest in Vermont. Her masterpiece: a replica of the old inn where her estranged parents met. And where Corrie hopes to find the father she's never known. But when she arrives in Mt. Piney, Vermont, the inn is closed—and being restored. Handsome carpenter Andy McFarland offers to help Corrie find her dad and build her candy house. But Andy's matchmaking little sister has her own sweet holiday wish—helping Andy and Corrie find a little romance this Christmas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More on the Thanksgiving Theme


Merrillee here, who is especially thankful this year that my mother-in-law will be joining us for Thanksgiving. We will be a small group--just three of us--my hubby, my mother-in-law and me. You see this year is the year that our kids are coming for Christmas, instead of Thanksgiving. Sometimes, we go to their place, if they aren't coming here, but we can't leave this year because my mother-in-law is in a nursing home. They are going to let her leave for the day to share Thanksgiving with us. That is special because she has either been in the hospital or nursing home since August 18. So we are going to have some turkey and all the trimmings, especially some pumpkin pie and thank God for our blessings.

What are you thankful for this year?

On a side note, one of my sons-in-law is a vegetarian, and I'm always on the lookout for good vegetarian dishes that I can serve when he comes for Thanksgiving. If you know any, I'd certainly love to have your recipes. Anyone?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

His goose was cooked by Pat Davids

November is here and Thanksgiving is so close I can smell the turkey roasting. Except, this year I'll be in Cancun Mexico for a wedding instead of chowing down on my favorite pumpkin pie and whipped cream. I know, poor little me. Boo hoo.

Anyway, I thought I'd talk about one of my special Thanksgiving memories. After more than fifty years it's hard to pick one Thanksgiving memory out of so many wonderful ones, but I got a chuckle thinking about this one and thought I'd share it with you.


My brothers, all four of them, were hunters. Pheasant, duck, quail, goose. You name it. If it had a season they shot it. One day, just before Thanksgiving, my brother Mark came in with two big geese. Now geese in the wild aren't like the ones that live here in the city and beg for bread crumbs in the park. Bagging a goose takes skill and luck and Mark had TWO.
Thanksgiving was at our house that year and Mom decided to cook the geese instead of the usual turkey. I admit they smelled good as they roasted throughout the morning. When everyone was assembled at the table, my mother brought them in. My brother Mark watched with pride as his trophies came to the table. After cautioning everyone to watch out for buckshot, mom carved them up.
My grandpa, as the oldest, got the first piece. He took a bite and nearly pulled his dentures out. After mulling his mouthful for a while, he gulped and looked at Mark. "You didn't shoot these.""But I did," Mark insisted. By this time we were all trying to eat the tougher-than-boot-leather birds and not having much success.
"Nope," said Grandpa, pushing his meat to the side of the plate. "This one died of old age when your gunshot scared him to death."We all laughed but I did feel bad for Mark and my mom. Thank goodness there was plenty of side dishes to go around and plenty of pumpkin pie to fill us up. No one when away hungry, but goose was never on the menu at our house again.
I invite you to share a less than perfect Thanksgiving memory. I'm sure you've had one or two.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Trials Strengthen You

Hi, this is Margaret Daley. I had rotator cuff surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago. I am now going through the long process of regaining use of my right arm, which is my dominant arm. It has been interesting trying to figure out how to do things with my left hand. I have decided I will not master writing with my left hand. I've been using a highlighter on books that I'm reading for research and my straight lines are definitely not straight. With eating I am doing better. I am actually not spilling very much food anymore. Getting dressed is another challenge that I have had to work on. I am using a voice to text program to write this blog. Learning to use the program wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but there are some bugs that I haven't been able to work out. Needless to say I will be using this experience in a story. Have you had a challenge lately that has made you stronger?

Monday, November 15, 2010

God's Beauty is Amazing


I'm just thinking today what a beautiful thing God's love is today. I'm so Thankful for all the blessings in my life and as Thanksgiving is approaching I just want to God the glory for all His blessings. This is a beautiful sunset that we took when we were on our honeymoon in Kauai. If you just look around how could you not believe in God. His beauty is just so amazing.
This is a really short post since I have been running at a fast pace ever since my wedding and missed that today was my day to post. I'm getting into a new routine and will have my act together soon!
I hope everyone will be on the look out for my book YULTIDE COWBOY it hits the shelves Dec and is the 3rd book in the Men of Mule Hollow series. This is Chance's story and I had a blast writing this Christmas story.
God Blesss and until next time live, laugh and seek God with all your hearts.
Debra Clopton

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Season for Family Interveiw


How exciting to have Heath Stone the hero from A Season for Family by Mae Nunn, a November 2010 release from Love Inspired Romance.


1. Heath, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’m an undercover narcotics officer. I’m good at the work, meaning my conviction rate is higher than normal. But I hate what it’s done to me inside. I spend so much time being somebody else that I’ve forgetting who I am underneath the disguises.

2. What do you do for fun?
Go to court and listen to sentencing. Isn’t that sick?

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Checking in with my adoptive parents always turns into an argument. They don’t really understand that I keep my distance to protect them. Someday I want to get out of this work so I can have a normal life, whatever that is. I want to live without looking over my shoulder all the time.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
My greatest fear is having my folks become targets for the people I’ve helped bring to justice.

5. What do you want out of life?
I want to reconnect with my two older sisters. We’ve been separated for twenty-five years, ever since our father went to prison for killing our mother. If I could get to know my sisters I think I might be able to get to know my real self, too.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Finding a place where I belong, where I can just be myself. I don’t know what that feels like. I’m not sure I’ve ever known.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
When I was about fifteen I discovered historical western novels in the library at school. Those stories about the men and women who settled the old west helped offset the boredom of algebra and biology. I still find that reading can help with the day’s stress and settle me down when nothing else works.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be a kinder person. I’ve recently met a woman who is so selfless and giving that it’s hard to believe she’s for real. Olivia Wyatt runs a homeless shelter in a rough part of Waco, and everybody who comes through the doors gets a big helping of faith along with the meal. If I could change, I’d be more like Olivia.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I don’t have time for pets right now, but someday I’ll have a big ole’ slobbery dog who will be waiting at home for me, no matter what kind of day it’s been.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I’d go back to the days when my old man was hitting our mother. I’d stop him from tearing our family apart. But thankfully, my sisters have done okay for themselves and I’m sensing good things in my future, so maybe God worked everything out for us after all.

Thank you Mae for sharing Heath with us today.