Friday, August 31, 2018

10 Things I Love About Fall

Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons...here are my top ten:

1. Cooler weather.
I love the sunshine and heat, and then I don't. Enough is enough. Bring on the biting breezes and sweater weather.

2. School supplies.
Composition books for 50¢...50¢!! Aisles of pens and pencils and erasers. Paper of every kind. Glue and paperclips and binders. And it's all on sale! Swoon.

3. Color.
The fiery reds, yellows and oranges contrast with green grass and blue sky. My eyes feast on the beauty of this time of year.

4. The smell of rain after a long dry summer.

5. Harvest. My garden is bursting at the seams. I love wandering down the aisles of my personal grocery store to pick dinner...provided the broccoli and brussel sprouts aren't wormy...but that's another story.

6. Clothes. I'm admittedly fashion-impaired but there's something about dressing in the fall. I can layer and take fashion chances, albiet with mixed results - but if I'm warm, who cares?

7. Baking. After a summer of minimal cooking because it's been hot, I look forward to baking. I love to bake cookies and scones. It's been a drought of fast meals and ice cream bars for dessert. Time to turn the oven on.

8. Rain beating on the window.

9. A fire in the fireplace.

10. The new year. Not the real new year, but the new school year which has always felt more like a new year than January 1st does. It's a time of setting goals and looking back and starting fresh.
The old passes away and the new has come...as the leaves tumble through the air, that's how I feel.
I love that!

BONUS: This fall, Christmas in Time will be released! I'm very excited to hold that book in my hot little hands and read seven stories of Christmas through the ages. My story, Two Golden Rings, is one of them. It won't be long before you can order your own copy. :)

What do you love about fall?

Friday, August 10, 2018

On Motherhood...and Contentment.


When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up,
My answer was always, "I want to be a mom."
Always.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom and I never imagined doing anything else.
The value of her presence was not lost on me.
So when I became a mother,
There was no question that I would be home with my kids.

When I became a mom, it was MUCH cooler to be a working mom.
Perhaps it hasn't changed much.
Over and over, I was asked, "What do you DO all day?" 
I couldn't answer definitively.
What did I do all day?
Never what I planned to do when I woke up.
The days were a blur of meeting never-ending needs.
And snuggles.
Lots of hugs and sticky kisses.
Which made the messes and tears a lot easier to deal with.
But always the question - asked in a group no less,
"What do you do?"
"I'm a stay-at-home mom."
"Aren't you bored? I could never do that. I have to use my brain." (Yes, that was a real response.)
How does one describe a 24-hour-a-day-with-no-breaks, emotional, exhausting, hilarious, dirty, fun, smelly, sleepless, satisfying, dream job?

When my kids went to school, I had extra time during the day. 
My plan was to look for a job, but I didn't. 
I made work for myself by selling on Ebay and eventually launched a successful business on Etsy.
I made more money at home than I would have made working part-time...and I didn't miss a single track meet or soccer game.
That was the goal.
With my husband's crazy law-enforcement schedule, I wouldn't compromise being available for our kids.
But, I had big dreams for me.
I wanted to be a writer.
I tried to write when my kids were little but I felt the Lord tell me to focus on my kids.
He knew how obsessive I can be when a story takes over.
So I waited.
I obeyed.
I wrote Christmas letters but that was the extent of it.
And then the last kid graduated and I dove right in.
I don't know what will come of what I write, but I trust that God will use it.

I am so thankful that God chose to make me a mother. 
I'm so grateful to my mom for being an beautiful example to me.
I'm thankful for my husband for supporting my desire to be home with our kids.
And I'm grateful for my children - for loving me and honoring my efforts (mistakes and all) by working hard to be the wonderful, successful people they are. I couldn't be prouder.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Christmas in Time: What Will You Do by Kyle Pratt


October is coming and it won't be long before the release of Christmas In Time, Seven Stories of Christmas Through the Ages.

This week Kyle Pratt shares the inspiration for his story: What Will You Do

Pondering the Nativity
The writing of What Will You Do
Most of us are familiar with the birth of Jesus from the biblical account. In Luke, we read that on that first Christmas an angel appeared to shepherds and tells them that the Messiah has been born in Bethlehem. They run to the village and see the baby Jesus.
While that account is beautiful, in both its telling and meaning, I’ve felt for a long time that it’s merely the surface layer of a much deeper story. Why did the angel tell the shepherds? Did Satan know about the birth? Did he try to stop the shepherds or even kill the baby Jesus?
Perhaps I will receive answers to those questions when I stand before God, but probably not while we’re here on Earth. Still, I wonder and, since I'm a writer, I took pen in hand and using the talents God gave me created an answer.
My story, What Will You Do, will appear in the Christmas in Time anthology coming out this October. Between then and now you can read more about both right here. I hope you enjoy my contribution to the anthology along with the other six stories.
Kyle Pratt is the bestselling author of Through Many Fires, A Time to Endure, Braving the Storms, Through the Storm and other books. You can learn more about Kyle on his website, www.kylepratt.me or visit his Facebook home. You can also follow him on Twitter at @KyleonKindle
  


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Christmas In Time: Two Golden Rings by Heather Morse Alexander



            My great-grandfather owned a grocery store in Montebello, California in the 1930’s and 40’s. It was a difficult time in American history as the country suffered through Great Depression.
            One day a woman came into the store, did her shopping and brought the order to the counter to be tallied. When the time came to pay, she offered her engagement and wedding rings as payment. It was all she had.
            My great-grandfather accepted the rings, but he didn’t sell them to cover her bill—he kept them. He hoped she’d come back and pay him what she owed so he could return the rings to her. Unfortunately, she never did. We still have those rings today. They are a testament to my great-grandfather’s kindness and a witness to the desperation of the times. They represent honor and heartache.

            I wrote Two Golden Rings as a tribute to my great-grandfather.
            Violet Finnigan is a young widow struggling through the Depression with her parents and sisters. Her family is pulled under by a wave of misfortune in the plunging economy. The wealthy and handsome Sam Caldecott sweeps Violet off her feet with his charm, and the potential of financial security. Will Sam rescue her family from the throes of the Depression?
            Two Golden Rings is filled with the same honor and heartache of the tale that inspired it—as well as an abundance of faith and joy. It is one of seven stories in the Christmas In Time anthology coming out in October. I hope my story warms your heart this Christmas.