Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009

Can you believe the year is almost over? Seems like each year, the time goes by just a mite faster. Maybe I should just Christmas shop now for next year and be all set by the time Thanksgiving comes rolling around in just a few weeks : )

Tomorrow is the day for revolutions.

Today is the day to give thanks.

I'm thankful for:
  • family and our health. This year has seen some crazy things happen from kidney infections to hernias to dog-bitten fingers. Through it all, we kept our sense of humor along with countless prayers heavenward.
  • daughter who lives life to the fullest. Her motto: you can rest when you're dead. She has a heart of gold and a 1000-watt smile to go with it.
  • son who lives up to his nickname of Minimum Bud, even though he's the first to lend a hand fixing equipment, moving furniture or chauffeuring his friends where they want to go. Now if we can just come up with enough money to support his food budget...
  • ...good friends to laugh and cry with and who always know just what to say whether it's consolation or a smack up side of the head. Best friends don't let best friends wallow or do stupid things.
  • job that brings me endless enjoyment and the opportunity to give back to the 4-H community for all the support and love they've shown our family. Special thanks to this incredible village of families that helped raise my children and me!
  • Five Scribes buddies for creating a blogging venue so diversified, visitors learn all about romantic suspense, womens' fiction, urban fantasy, screenwriting, along with my contribution of inspirational romance depending on the day they visit. The guest interviews are fantastic and the book reviews enlightening. Thank you my good friends for joining me on this adventure into the next year.
  • Seekerville sisters. I can't say enough about this incredible group of women who bonded together out of our competition against each other in writing contests. No joy, problem or sorrow is too big or too small for the ladies who serve up fun and laughter, along with delicious treats in Seekerville each day. Life in fiction writing land would be so lonely without you guys! Empty the island by 2011!!
  • ...the honor of living in this great nation. More specifically, I love living in Colorado where the sun shines 300 days out of the year and everything you might want to do is but hours away. Our friends and neighbors are quick with a smile or a helping hand and a blessing no matter what time of year. Oh and don't let me forget the cowboys, ranchers and farmers who inspire my stories by simply being who they are.
  • ...a relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ, my God who accompanies me on my journey through life, always with me, always protecting me, always loving me. May my life reflect His love through this coming year.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm thankful for so much that if I tried to list them all, I'd spend the next year writing about all the blessings in my life over the last year : )

I'm hoping your year was filled with memorable events. Good, bad, or ugly (had to toss in a little Clint Eastwood), 2009 will live in our hearts forever.

May 2010 fill you with adventure!

Blessings to you all!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nothing Left But The Smiles

Christmas has come and gone. For some reason, this Christmas season seemed to stretch on way beyond the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each year I vow to start all my shopping, cards, decorating, etc earlier, and each year I shake my head and say, *next year, yada,yada.*

Despite all the Saturdays spent baking and weeknights spent wrapping presents, Christmas this year was fun. Traditionally, we spend Christmas Eve with my aunt and cousins in Boulder. Very festive evening. Good food, good fun, good fellowship. After the presents were opened and the last bite of cake and coffee consumed, we drove back to Longmont in time for the Candlelight Service at church. We sang holiday tradition and listened to the timeless message of the birth of salvation. Beautiful reminder of what this season of joy and giving is all about.

Christmas morning finds the Harders' family preparing for the holiday meal before opening the presents. This year, a lamb and pork roast went in the oven and a turkey breast in the slow cooker. Ahh, the smells that filled the house made our mouths water : )

Presents were appreciated by one and all, but I especially appreciated the presents MADE by my husband. Gary made all the gifts he gave this year. He is a master of creation with scrap wood. Kara and Bud and many of their friends received duck calls handcrafted by Gary. Yes, yes, yes, we listened his *testing for tone* all December long. Along with the duck calls, Kara and number of the female friends received earring presented within handcrafted acorns.

Christmas afternoon found the Harders' side of the family at our house. A buffet for 13 lined the wall of my dining room and kitchen. Everyone ate well and we still had abundant leftovers to send home. The little kids tore into presents and the adults laughed with the excitment.

My presents were the best of all. Gary and the kids know how I love receiving office supplies and gadgets any time of year. The kids fed this hunger with post-its, oversized push-pins and paper clips, and various notepads. Gary crafted a storage box for all the little supplies and a paper clip holder with a magnet set in the lid. I love them!! I love the time he took to make each gift special for the person receiving it : )

Christmas evening wound down with the wrapping paper all thrown away, the table collapsed to its normal size and the kitchen clean. By 7:00, I was ready to turn off the lights and head for bed.

What a wonderful, blessed Christmas. God is so generous, I feel incredibly blessed surrounded by the special people I call family and friends.

I pray your Christmas warmed your hearts and may the joy of the birth of our Savior live on in your hearts all year long.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Joy To The World!!

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and heav’n, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains.
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow.
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world, with truth and grace;
And makes the nations prove.
The glories of His righteousness.
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His Love,
And wonders and wonders of His love.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Timeless Story

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, becasue there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."

And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Merry Christmas!
Glory To Jesus!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

The snow is flying here in Longmont! What a beautiful setting to celebrate the upcoming festivities of Christmas!

Most of my shopping is complete. Don't you just hate that nagging suspicion you've forgotten someone important on your list? Well, that's what I'm going through. I just know I'll remember too late to do anything about it.

Presents are all wrapped and under the tree. My family has made a conscious effort this year to shop conservatively, to consider the wants and needs of each other and to search thrift shops and flea markets to get the best deals. I certainly don't mind gently used!! My husband has MADE all his Christmas gifts! He says he's created something very tempting for the writer side of me. It's hard not to go peek...

In case life gets hectic and I don't post again, I want to wish everyone a very blessed Christmas! Keep Christ first in the days ahead and remember without birth of Jesus, we wouldn't have anything to celebrate!!

God's most richest blessing be to all!!

Merrry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Christmas Reading!

As the holidays close in fast, I find I need a sanity break more often than usual. It's been cold here along the Front Range of Colorado, so along with bitter cold temps, fighting holiday crowds and complete apathy for the day job, I have cards waiting to be written, gifts that need wrapping...and the biggest dread of the house.

It times like this I need to make myself take a break. Thankfully, there are some great Christmas stories out right now, books that crept onto the shelves in November and I'm just now getting around to reading them...

I just finished reading Yule Die by Debby Giusti. Packaged with another Love Inspired Suspense, Merry Mayhem by Margaret Daley, the pair of stories can be found within the common cover of Christmas Peril.

Both stories are heartwarming, holiday reads. Here's the back cover blurb:

Merry Mayhem

When single mom Annie Coleman unexpectedly arrives in Christmas, Oklahoma, police chief Caleb Jackson suspects she's hiding secrets. He'll be watching her closely. And his protection is just what Annie and her daugher need, as danger has followed them to their new home.

Yule Die

It's hardly a happy holiday for medical researcher Callie Evans...until she discovers her ailing patient is her long-lost brother. And he's being watched by undercover police officer Joe Petrecelli. When the trio is abducted by a cadre of bad guys, Joe and Callie will have to fight to keep her brother--and themselves--alive.

What can be better than Christmas suspense, especially when the HEA comes with a Christmas blessing?

Not that you don't have anything else to do : ) I encourage you to pick up Christmas Peril and indulge in some suspenseful Christmas cheer!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

Blessings to all!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Caroling Classics

A Holly Jolly Christmas

Have a holly, jolly christmas,
It's the best time of the year.
I don't know if there'll be snow
But have a cup of cheer.

Have a holly, jolly Christmas,
and when you walk down the street,
Say hello to friends you know
And everyone you meet.

Oh, ho, the mistletoe
Hung where you can see.
Somebody waits for you,
Kiss her once for me.

Have a holly, Jolly christmas,
And in case you didn't hear
Oh, be golly have a holly jolly
Christmas, this year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BC or AD...Is there a difference?

December, 2 BC (Give or take a couple years)

Bethlehem: The streets are bustling with activity. All around, merchants and innkeepers are doing a brisk business for a census has been decreed and all must comply to registration, each to his own city.

December, 2002 AD (Give or take a couple years)
Longmont: The streets are bustling with activity. All around, mega-malls and convention centers are packed with travelers and residents alike, each conducting their own business, each off to their appointed city.

2 BC
At the time of Christ’s birth, the angels announced, the shepherds praised and sang, the wise men bore gifts, yet all across the land, the people lived their lives oblivious to the miracle which had come into this world.

2009 AD
At the time of Christ’s birthday, the preachers proclaim, the believers sing praise, congregations worship, yet all across the metropolitan area, people live their lives oblivious to the salvation offered to this world.

Some things just don’t change, do they?

What can we do to bring Christ back into Christmas? An overwhelming task to say the least, but every road is paved one brick at a time. How about this Christmas you choose an "oblivious" friend or relative and make a special effort to show them the joy of Christmas beyond the tinsel and paper. Spread Christ’s salvation by giving a special ornament or book containing the message of salvation. Send cards that speak of the true meaning of Christmas.

Or hey, how about this. . .bring a friend to a Children’s Christmas program!

Be creative in your encouragement, pray the Spirit helps you, and smile with the joy that fills your heart knowing you’re giving Christ the best present of all for His birthday.

And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 RSV.

Blessings to all!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Panic? No! How about Fun!

Where has the month gone? Last time I looked it was Thanksgiving and now it's Saturday, December 12th! I know I'm not alone in my holiday panic, but I still have shopping, cards, baking--deep breath--and writing! Why oh why can't I just take the month of December off from my day job to do all the important things in life, LOL!!?

I'm not letting myself go totally crazy though. This weekend, I'm sitting down with books from my keep shelf and revisiting old friends. I'm thumbing through:

Love Bites AND Joe's Girl by Margaret St. George (aka Maggie Osborne)

Sands of Time AND Sheep's Clothing by Susan May Warren

Letters From a Stranger by Connie Rinehold

Flowers on the Storm AND Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale

Take note, these books are not in my writing genre. They are books that captivated me long before I thought to write love stories about cowboys and unsuspecting heroines who needed a touch of God's love to help them find their way : ) The titles above offer characters that dug into my heart and intend to reside for years to come.

If you have a second, share your favorite book(s) with me. I hearing about authors that have left deep, lasting impressions on tender hearts : )

Okay, on to other things...

Have you been to Seekerville lately? You'll not want to miss the great line up of posts this week:

Monday: Love Inspired Historical author Janet Dean is our hostess today and she's giving away a copy of her February release, The Substitute Bride.

Tuesday: Love Inspired author Cheryl Wyatt shares today.

Wednesday: Our guest is multi-published Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense author, Margaret Daley.

Thursday: Love Inspired Suspense Suspense and Zondervan author, Camy Tang leads the fun.

Friday: Love Inspired debut author, Ruth Logan Herne is your blogging and baking hostess.

Enjoy the Christmas cheer and make the most of the holiday spirit!

Happy Hanukkah, too!

Blessings to all : )

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Random Thoughts

A friend sent this list of random thoughts...haven't we all scratched our heads over one or two of these ideas??

  • I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

  • Nothing is worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

  • I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

  • There is great need for a sarcasm font.

  • How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

  • Was learning cursive really necessary?

  • Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

  • Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

  • I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

  • Bad decisions make good stories.

  • You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

  • Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

  • I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

  • "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this thing I have-- ever.

  • I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Darn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

  • No one can convince me that lifting a coffee cup isn't exercise.

What do you think? Can you add more??

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Forever Christmas

I just finished reading A Forever Christmas by Missy Tippens and can't keep the smile off my face. Missy's books have a charming, heartwarming flavor to them, but this one is definitely a Christmas keeper! She takes past love, hurting hearts, untimely grief and wraps it all up in a Christmas story filled with hope and happiness.

The woman is a master of her craft!

Here's the back blurb:

Home For The Holidays

Sarah Radcliffe's quiet Christmas back in her hometown will be lost if she agrees to direct the church's Christmas pageant. But when she meets two little boys determined to gain their father's attention, Sarah agrees to help. Then she discovers that the dad in question is Gregory Jones, the man she loved and lost. The single dad is working himself to the bone to give his boys the Christmas of their dreams, when all they want is some family time. Time that includes a new mommy. If Sarah can learn to open her heart, she may receive the most wonderful present of all -- a family of her own.

If there is a Christmas story you read this holiday season, make it A Forever Christmas! You'll be filled with joy and ready to face the Christmas season with cheer.

To learn more about Missy, check out her website and blog. Missy is also part of the founding 15 in Seekerville.

A Forever Christmas
Steeple Hill Books
November 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Brrr! It's cold!

Winter has blown into the Front Range of Colorado with gusto! Last week we had a couple days where the hi temp barely reached freezing! This is the time of year I feel bad for the animals we have that live outdoors. I wish we could climate control the goat shed and rabbit hutch to at least keep the water from freezing solid!

This Christmas season finds me playing pack horse for my dear aunt Ona. Back in October she slipped and pulled muscles in both her shoulders. As we all know, as we grow older, it takes our bodies a bit more time to bounce back. Well, it so happens Ona's *wings* are taking their own sweet time in repairing themselves.


That leaves me to help aunt Ona shop. This is not a hardship in the least. But it does put me in the midst of all the holiday shoppers when I prefer the comfort of my desk chair and online ordering convenience : )

I'm happy to say that after two weekends of non-stop shopping, Ona is happy with all her purchases and can now settle down and wrap presents in the gorgeous style she is most noted for.


I'm praying my Internet orders arrive in time and hubby has a strange urge to fight the crowds and go shopping this season.

Not so bad : ) There's always a nice lunch or dinner involved : )

Happy Shopping!!