Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Turn off the lights the party is over for 2014…but wait!



Jolene Navarro here and I'm going through my end of year reflections and find this has been a great year for me, but I have dear loved ones that just want to close the door on 2014.

So what are my resolutions inspirations for the next year?

I could say lose weight be healthier, no impulse shopping  save money, & write more words, but I think I want a bigger life then these imply (plus I like to keep it real).
What do we need to find our life's purpose?

I thought about the lessons I try to teach my students that will take them past high school and into life. In a mirror moment I realized I still need these lessons too. A great check list for us all as we head into a new year.


Embrace Failure. Failure is an integral part of being human. Failure means you’re trying, learning, and growing. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from living fully. Do you know who Sara Blakely is? She was raised by a father that taught her to celebrate failure. That was put to the test when she failed her state bar to become a lawyer – more than once. What she became was the world’s youngest female billionaire by developing a product called Spanx. You should look up her story and all the failure she used to fuel her dream. You can’t let fear of rejection or ridicule hold you back, you might actually need to embrace it. 

Create your own community. In the mid 1800s there was a movement that changed how the world would forever look at and judge art. Impressionism was incubated at Café Guerbois.
How did a small group of people accomplish this fete? By meeting together regularly, challenging and debating with each other on the idea of art and what makes it art.
They had heated disagreements over the “rules” of art. Artist such as Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne and Degas made up this widely diverse group, and their creative energy paved the way for generations of modern artists.  
Steve Jobs said collaboration works best when ideas are met with brutal honesty and are forced to explore a deeper purpose. I doubt Degas ever patted Manet on the back and said he had pretty pictures. They didn’t just dream of being artists, they wanted to set the world on fire with their passion despite what the established art world told them.

Six years ago I made the resolution to try and write for commercial publication. I went online and found SARA (San Antonio Romance Authors), and my writing greatly improved because of their questioning and tough critique.  I also learned about the realities of being published. Like selling one book would not pay off my mortgage.
I believe I’m published today because of them. They also introduced me to others that changed my life.

In June, for the last three years I have made my way to West Texas A&M to a writers week sponsored by Jodi Thomas.
The first year I made the five hour trip alone and it was worth it. For five days, ten of us met for almost five hours a day in a class led by Alexandra Sokoloff. It can border on magical. It was a full week of brainstorming and being pushed by this small group to find that twist in my story to make it unique. I learned that the ideas are there, the details buried deep within my brain.
Side benefit? Lifelong friends that “get me” in a way no one else ever will. And most of all, urge me to get it written and put it out into the world.


Resilience – this might be the most important. The ability to keep going on faith alone when it might seem you have no reason to. 

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6. We want to know why life isn’t fair, why this or why her. We want to know why certain things have happened.  I believe in most situations it is senseless to deliberate, to spend hours pondering why. Instead, it is more powerful and ultimately healthy to trust God and use our time meditating on his word to ensure we are on a God-ordained path. A journey only He understands.

 “…Weeping may endure for a night. But joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5. Tough times hit us all and some so much harsher than others. But this too shall pass and joy will be yours. Even death has its own victory.


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. We might shut him out, but he never leaves us. God is always with me so I don’t have to submit to fear and discouragement! We were created to be courageous. So be bold in strength and courage that God will give to you if you only ask.

As you go into 2015 may you:
            1) Embrace Failure
          2) Create and Support a Community       
      3) Be Resilient

Don’t be afraid to turn on the light and expose your dreams to the world. May 2015 be your best year yet. 
We were made to be courageous -Casting Crown

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Strangers in your home

This post title sounds ominous, but read on. Years ago, my soldier husband brought home a couple of young privates who worked for him. It was Christmas Day and with two small children, we weren't going anywhere that year. It seemed logical that we would host two young men who weren't able to go home.
The day was good. The young soldiers played with our two small children, even introducing my son to an old Nintendo game one of them  brought over.
Even now, years later, I remember what a good Christmas it was.
And now, as I look upon my manger scene, I ponder how Mary must have felt. Shepherds, Magi, maybe even the innkeeper who had turned them away, all came to visit that first Christmas. Perhaps that is why we entertain, and are encouraged to be kind to strangers during the Christmas season.



And we are often prompted to set aside differences and forgive. Isn't that what God did for us?
This year, we entertained a delightful young woman whom we hadn't before met, the girlfriend of our son. And I think again on that one Christmas years ago when our son was still toddling around. Another good Christmas.
Did you entertain anyone over Christmas? Did you open your home to strangers, as Mary and Joseph did? Tell us about your experiences with that.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Countdown to a New Year

Terri Reed here trying to get back into the groove of work. I've had a house full of people this past week. It was fun and everyone seemed to have a good time. My daughter's boyfriend came over the day after Christmas and we played Telestrations. If you've never heard of or played this game, you're missing out on some hilarious fun. Do you remember the old game of telephone-where someone starts off with a whispered phrase to one person who then turns to the next and whispers what they thought they heard and so on until the last person tells what they heard? Well, this is like that only in drawing. I'm not an artist. I draw stick figures. However, all the younger people in our family are artists.

The word to be drawn started out as sheep dog but by the time it arrived to my son the word  morphed into cowunicorn.
What fun games or activities do you like to do with your family?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

From the Love Inspired Authors to You: Merry Christmas




Abundant blessings to all the wonderful friends who visit the Craftie Ladies Blog! May you be touched anew by the wonder of God's love as you celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. I'll be lifting you and yours up in prayer and asking the Lord to fill you to overflowing with His peace and hope and joy now and throughout the New Year!  Sending love and prayers and lots of hugs!
Debby Giusti

Merry Christmas to all our readers! May this be your best Christmas ever!!! 
Rhonda Gibson

Merry Christmas! Praying for a blessed Christmas full of joy, peace and love to our readers and their loved ones!
Janet Lee Barton

Wishing our readers the merriest of Christmases. May the love of Christ fill you this holiday season and throughout the coming year. Blessings. 
Mindy Obenhaus

Merry Christmas to the wonderful Love Inspired Readers who make Happily Ever After very Merry indeed.  
Pamela Tracy 

Dear Love Inspired readers, you have blessed us this year with your presence, encouragement and comments. I wish you a blessed Christmas and joyous New Year.  
Christine Johnson

Merry Christmas to all of our readers. I'm so thankful for you, and I
hope that this holiday season brings you tons of peace, joy, and love.   
Danica Favorite
I am so grateful for all of you Love Inspired readers, and I wish you many blessings and a most Merry Christmas surrounded by love, warmth and peace. May your New Year bring all that is good and precious in His sight. Warm wishes from 
the Kastner family.

Merry Christmas! May the all the joy of the season be yours.
Louise M. Gouge

Christmas wish:  Merry Christmas from the Texas Hill Country. May your holidays be filled with joy and 2015 be filled with blessings and beautiful stories. 
Jolene Navarro 

Christmas greetings to all the wonderful Love Inspired readers.  May 2015 bring you joy and blessings galore!
Carolyn Greene

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous and blessed Christmas and all of the best for 2015.
Jean C. Gordon

Wishing you a blessed Christmas full of love and joy! Thank you for reading, for visiting the blog, and for touching our lives with your wonderful letters and emails.
Missy Tippens

Thank you dear readers for taking the time out of your busy lives to read our books. We appreciate all our readers. I pray each of you will have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Blessings,
Terri Reed

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our wonderful readers. Thanks for reading our books. May you have love, joy and peace through the holidays and the coming year.
Merrillee Whren

Wishing all who read this a very blessed and joyous Christmas filled with the comforting knowledge, hope and wonder of God's love. Take care
Winnie Griggs

Wishing our wonderful readers and my fellow Craftie Ladies a blessed celebration of our Savior's birth.  I hope your New Year is filled with great stories--and plenty of time to read and/or write them.
Keli Gwyn

Wishing all our dear readers a blessed Christmas filled with love and laughter, family and friends.  
Sandra Orchard

In this Christmas season, may you find faith, hope, love, and peace in abundance. May 2015 be full of blessings. 
Rachel Dylan 

Merry Christmas to our readers. Thank you for the blessings of your notes, comments and readership this year. God bless and happy New Year! 
Lacy Williams

Thank you, our lovely readers, for bringing us joy and fun all year long. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a great 2015! I hope you visit us often because we appreciate you so much!!! Getting to know our readers is one of the best parts of this job!!!
Lenora Worth

Praying for plenty of peaceful moments to fill your house at Christmas time! 
Dana Mentink
Merry Christmas, precious readers. Some of you, like me, have a hole in your holiday this year because of loss, but let us celebrate our Savior with joy anyway, wrapped in good memories and Christ's love. The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with all of you at this holy season.
Linda Goodnight
Wishing all our readers a merry and safe Christmas and a new year filled with many blessings.
Barbara Phinney

Every good wish for a blessed Christmas to you and yours from the Pleiter family!  May your New Year be filled with great things and good cheer as well! 
Allie Pleiter

Hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas. May you find moments of peace if you are struggling, comfort if you are mourning and God's abundant love if you feel alone. From Carolyne Aarsen.

May you have a blessed Christmas, remembering that first Christmas morn, that God has a plan for us.
 Leann Harris

Yay for Christmas! I hope you all have an amazing day filled with love and chocolate.
Jessica Nelson

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Leigh Bale Blogs About Christmas

Good morning!  I'm running late this year in putting up our Christmas tree and decorations.  But we finally got our Nativity set put out.  With everything there is to do, it's easy to forget what Christmas is really about.  And honestly, I was feeling like a Scrooge.  So, I purposefully started listening to Christmas music, watched the movie "A Christmas Carol," and read about the Savior's birth in my scriptures.  Searching for that sweet feeling that I should have at Christmastime.  What about you?  Does the Christmas spirit come easily to you every year, or do you sometimes get lost in the business of your life and have to remind yourself what's really important?


And I'll be giving away two autographed copies of my new Christmas book titled "The Forest Ranger's Christmas."  This sweet story hit the Publisher's Weekly bestseller's list.  Enjoy!  And Merry Christmas!  Leigh Bale


Friday, December 19, 2014

Whose Christmas Tree is That?

Merry Christmas!!!!

Want 20 Books to Find Your Mailbox?

Here's how!
Below are the names of some of our Love Inspired Authors.  Next to those names are clues.

Under the names, you'll find the most beautiful trees (indoor and out) that grace the homes of Love Inspired Authors.

Throughout the day, the authors might be stopping by to give a few more.

In the comment section, simply number 1 - 22, write the name of the author by their tree's number, and post.

At 10:00 p.m. Mountain Time, we'll look to see who got them all right first or who got the most right first.

The winner gets a book (or two) from almost every participating author.

Jean C. Gordon - Small Packages 
Margaret Daley - The First Noel 
Pamela Tracy - There will always be a Christmas train.
Danica Favorite - Ornaments by Kids
Terri Reed - Hallmark Kind of Christmas
Deb Kastner - Angels We Have Heard on High 
Winnie Griggs - Booklover's Christmas 
Janet Lee Barton - Cranberries and Santa
Mindy Obenhaus - Traditions and Vacations
Jolene Navarro - The Reason for the Season 
Merrillee Whren - Dated Ornament
Louise M. Gouge - Birds of a Feather 
Terri Wilson - Doggy Themed
Barbara Phinney - Wicker Wonderland
Lacy Williams - Kid Decorated: Most Ornaments 3 Feet and Below
Rhonda Gibson - Tea Party
Sandra Orchard - Too Snowed Under With Deadlines to Decorate
Lenora Worth - Let There Be Peace on Earth
Sherri Shackleford - When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Christmas Tree 
Missy Tippens - Flying Angel 
Keli Gwyn - German-style Christmas
Debby Guisti - A Pretty Reflection


1. ______________________________

2. ______________________________

3.  _____________________________

4. ______________________

5. ________________________________

6.  _________________________________

7.  ____________________________

8. ____________________________

9.  ____________________

10. _____________________________

11. ________________________

12.  ________________________

13.  ___________________________

14.  _________________________

15. ___________________________

16.  ______________________

17. _______________________________

18. ________________________
19.  _________________________
20. _________________________________
21. ________________________________

22. ______________________________________



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Things Rudolph never told you...

Seven Things Rudolph Never Told You
by Teri Wilson, Author of Sleigh Bell Sweethearts



Tis the season for Christmas trees, carols, Nativity scenes, sleigh rides...and reindeer. Sleigh Bell Sweethearts, the Christmas book in my Alaska series for Love Inspired, tells the story of Zoey Hathaway, a charter pilot who unexpectedly inherits a reindeer farm. And the reindeer come with an even bigger surprise -- their brooding ranch hand, Alec Wynn.

Just in case you find yourself in Zoey's predicament, here are seven surprising facts about reindeer...

1. Both male and female reindeer grow antlers.

2. Reindeer legs make a unique clicking sound when they walk, so they can find one another in a blizzard.

3. Reindeer noses have the ability to warm the air before it gets to their lungs.

4. Reindeer can run up to 48 miles per hour. Whether or not they can fly is debatable.

5. Male reindeer shed their antlers at the end of mating season in early December, which means that Santa's sleigh is run by girl power!

6. Reindeer are the only mammals whose eyes appear to change color. In the winter, their eyes appear blue, but in the summer, when reindeer experience almost constant sunlight, their eyes are gold.

7. Reindeer feet are the widest of any deer feet. The special width of their hooves act as snowshoes for walking in Arctic snow.

On top of all that, they are adorable!




Owning her own plane is all charter pilot Zoey Hathaway's ever dreamed of. So when she inherits a struggling reindeer farm, with three dozen unruly reindeer and one dangerously attractive ranch hand, Zoey's well-crafted plans seem to fly out the window. Now she must put her trust in Alec Wynn, and hope that the troubled cowboy's past won't interfere with her plans to save the farm. Zoey knows that if she wants to succeed, she can't do everything on her own. But as she accepts Alec's help, she'll soon realize it's not just her farm that's at stake—but her heart.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Favorite Christmas Movies

Hi everyone! Christine Johnson here. This time of year I love sitting down with my all-time favorite Christmas movies. Like old friends, they warm my heart and bring a smile to my lips. I'm partial to the classics: It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street (the one with Maureen O'Hara), and A Christmas Story, but I enjoy the television movies too.

film reel


I've written books set in the early 1920s, when movies were still silent, though talkies loomed on the horizon. That got me to thinking. What was the first Christmas movie? Turns out there were several Christmas shorts produced in 1897. Wow! 1897.

Do you have a favorite movie version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol? It turns out that goes way back too, with the first movie version, Scrooge (or Marley's Ghost) produced in the UK in 1901. Here's the partially restored short:




Interesting without sound, isn't it?

Let's hear about your favorite Christmas movies. Do you love the classics or are you partial to a newer movie?

carolers


Christine Johnson
Suitor by Design (LIH, Oct. 2014)
Love by Design (LIH, May 2015)
Love's Rescue - Revell, June 2015
http://christineelizabethjohnson.com
https://www.facebook.com/ChristineJohnsonAuthor
Twitter @ChristineJWrite

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Loving the Blessings and Joys In Life!

Merry  CHRISTMAS! Debra Clopton here feeling blessed beyond measure and praying the same for you.

I'm loving this season! We went and bought our tree at the local Christmas tree farm which is right down the road from our place and had a wonderful time with the family. Then my oldest granddaughter came home with me and we started decorating the tree. What fun and what cherished memories!


My granddaughters were old enough to really enjoy it this year. I thought I'd share a picture of each of them with you of the day. 
My plan this year is to spend more time enjoying the joys and blessings of my life, to romp and run more with these sweet girls! I'm praying each and every one of you find joy in your days too and not let your blessings slip away with the business of life! May we each and everyone celebrate Christ birth this year and the Joy and Peace that only He can give.
 
I've written  a lot this year and I'm excited about what is coming in 2015 with my books and I'm hoping that something I've written brings you joy and makes you smile!
 
As I've been promising 2015 will have 4 new Mule Hollow Stories that are connected to the book that came out this year HER MULE HOLLOW COWBOY they'll be RAFE, CHASE, TY AND DALTON named after each cowboy hero of the book. I hope you'll sign up for my newsletter here so you'll be able to know when the books are available http://debraclopton.com/contest
 
But coming Febuary 17 and ready for preorder now is my 1st book in my Four of Hearts Ranch series from Harper Collins Christian BETTING ON HOPE
Description:
A bet gone wrong. A small town’s meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch.
Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it’s beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie’s bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career—and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.
Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he’d like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru’s fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do—for her own good.
In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart’s desires.

Follow me on my website, http://debraclopton.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/debra.clopton.5
 ~~~MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MY HEART  TO YOURS!~~~