On the 3rd Day of Christmas…

…this author gave to me…
10 copies of Concealed Identity!


And 10 adorbs Christmas ornaments but that didn’t rhyme so…
I am so excited to be a part of the 12 Days of Christmas! Just look at the graphic to see how amazing it is! Each day a new author will be giving away a fun prize (books included) and YOU could win! All you have to do is enter the giveaway below!

My newest book has some Christmas elements in it. For example, my heroine, Blair Sullivan is obsessed with Christmas (she has reasons) and that’s why she’s named her antique store It’s a Wonderful Life. She even has a bell above the door so an angel can get its wings (like, she knows this isn’t real, it’s nostalgia) and her sweet little shop that’s set in the quaint and quirky small town of Hope, TN is decorated like Christmas 24/7. Yeah, my hero,  Holt finds it weird but as he gets to know Blair and falls in love with her, he discovers it’s rather endearing.

DEEP-COVER ASSIGNMENT 
After Holt McKnight’s criminal informant disappears, the DEA agent must go undercover to get close to the missing man’s sister, who may know more than she’s letting on. But when Blair Sullivan’s attacked, it’s up to him to protect her—without blowing his cover. Blair isn’t sure she can trust her new neighbor, Holt. After all, the last charming and handsome man she fell for was her late husband, and he turned out to be the brother of a ruthless drug lord. Yet when it’s clear the target on her back is somehow linked to her past, she has no choice but to accept Holt’s protection. Even if getting close is the last thing her scarred heart can handle.

Tomorrow, you’ll have a chance to enter again (enter each day if you want!) to receive Gabrielle Meyer’s, A Family Arrangement! CLICK HERE to go to her website. 

Have you missed the chance to enter to win on Day 1 or Day 2? Well, here you go! Go enter!


DAY 1 Win Hazardous Holiday by Liz Johnson 
DAY 2 Win Watercolor Dreams audio book (digital download) by Sherry Kyle

Do you have a favorite Christmas ornament? If so, share in the comments. If not, tell me your favorite Christmas song or carol!

Okay, now enter to win! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do You Hear What I Hear?

See what I see. Hear what I hear. Know what I know. Listen to what I say. 
Just a few lyrics in one of my favorite Christmas carols. 

Lots of busy going on. Rushing. List-making. List-marking. 

Are we seeing? Are we hearing? 

Do we know? Not just a timeless story. Not just a reason to celebrate with family.

Do we know Christ the Lord? Do we know how much He loves us. How much He sacrificed to rescue into His hands–hands that never let us go. Do we know the price He paid for us? Do we know how much He cared to take off His glory and come housed in a body of flesh? To dwell with us? To seek and save the lost. To gather us under Him. 

Are we stopping to listen? 

“He will bring us goodness and light.” 

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
    light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
    you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!
    Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
    sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
    all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
    as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over
Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
    along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
    a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
    the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
    the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
    Strong God,
Eternal Father,
    Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
    and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
    over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
    and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
    beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
    will do all this. Isaiah 9:2-7 MSG

I love this version by Josh Wilson. Take one little minute and see…hear…know…listen…



What  have you done this season to make time to listen to God? 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! I’ll be back on January 7th! 


Also, I’m over at Katie Ganshert’s place today talking about my FREE Christmas novella! Pop over! 

In the meantime, if you plan to cozy up and catch up on some reading over the holidays, I’d love for you to subscribe above to my newsletter and you’ll receive my FREE Christmas novella as a thank you! Straight to you inbox!

Santa, Get a Grip!

 

Santa. Maybe he deserves a stocking of coal. Is he really all that nice? 


Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer used to be one of my favorite childhood memories.
 
However, as I’ve matured (I use that term loosely) into adulthood, I’ve made a few discoveries, as many of you may have as well.
 
What I’ve discovered is…
 
Santa’s a BIG Jerk!
 
Laughing at Rudolph’s unusual gift and not seeing it as such. Listening to the Elves’ song dedicated to him and not receiving their efforts or praise. Expecting his servants to clothe him before he sets out. Only using Rudolph when he needs bailed out of a jam. And doing NOTHING when others hurt Rudolph through vicious name calling.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I love Santa and the idea of him. I really do! But this holiday season, when it can become all about gifts and Santa, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer makes me even more appreciative of the real meaning of Christmas!
 
Instead of demanding to be clothed, Jesus clothed us in robes of righteousness. “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” Zechariah 3:4
 
Instead of standing idly by while the hurting hurt, the broken stayed broken, He came to heal. To bind the broken. To comfort the sorrowful. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
 
He doesn’t tell us to do better when we sing adoration to Him. He dances over us. Inhabits our praises and takes it in as a sweet smelling aroma. The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save;  He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love,  He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.
No matter how off key and pathetic someone else (or ourselves if we know we have zero singing talent) tells us we are.
 
And He doesn’t use us to bail Him out. He needs no bailing out! He doesn’t need us at all, technically. But He WANTS us. Those things that others look at as weaknesses, He uses to show Himself strong. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 1 Corinthians 12:9
 
 
 
He can use the misfit. He LOVES to, in fact. He can use the train with square wheels, the polka dotted elephant, the rag doll that’s been used up, the toy who thinks their name is worthless (I believe He changed a few names back in the day!), the boy who has a dream to be something other than what he’s been told he has to be, and the reindeer whose quirk can bring great light, great guidance!
 
 
He can use you. He can use me.
 

 

This Holiday season, remember…He sees you when your sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been bad or good…He loves you anyway and He still wants to bring you a gift!
 
 

 

 
 
What was your favorite Christmas show as a kid? 
 

Don’t Dread December!

I love this time of year! Christmas season. I’m not a fan of the snow unless I’m watching it fall from inside, then it’s beautiful. I try not to look at this month as “all the crap I have to get done” before the BIG DAY! 

I’ve learned to pick and choose what events and parties I go to so I’m not slammed with rushing. It really is okay to say, “I can’t make it.” 

I’ve also stopped all the shopping and baked a lot of my holiday gifts. People like sweets, ladies and gentlemen. Of course if you can’t bake…I have no real advice for you. But if you can, and you don’t suck at it. Holiday treat packages when made in bulk are actually less expensive and less time consuming than going into crowded shops and trying to figure out what so and so would like then settling on automated coin holders, dancing Santas, and snow globes. Unless of course you’re friends do indeed like those things. I would rather have an assortment of fudge, cookies, and candies. Fudge is not a candy. It’s in a class of its own.

Another tip, is I try to do some of my shopping online in one place for the free shipping. Especially, if I know what sizes etc… If you enjoy crowds and lines, by all means toss out the online shopping and go join in the stampeding happy bustling. 

In the last four years, December has become relaxing and I can focus on the important things: Like lit up mornings from my tree, my hot tea since my doctor hates me and said I can’t have coffee, my Bible and the reason for this season (yes that’s a cliche phrase but it’s still true). I can bake with my kiddos, watch Christmas movies till I want to gag–which is never because I love them, cheese and all. I can read tons of Christmas stories. Which are all on my Kindle! I can have lunch out with friends and not feel pressured to be busy. 

Sometimes less really is more. Especially, when it comes to keeping your sanity and enjoying the holidays. 

And one other thing I do that makes me enjoy the season, well two really. I take my son and we do a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. It’s fun, it teaches my son to be a generous giver and I know it pleases God. Do you do this? Oh, you should. You should. It costs very little. 

And number two (yes I said number two) is we give to a ministry that is dear to our hearts. I can’t talk about it or write about it without crying. That is Project Rescue. 

A ministry to rescued trafficked women, girls really, from brothels in India. Not only do they rescue them but they provide an after care for the children of the women who are still in the brothels. If they have no place to go during “work” hours, then some of them may have to lie under their mother’s beds while they “work”!!! But Project Rescue provides a safe place where they can learn about Jesus. Have a meal. And sleep peacefully. They also teach the women how to provide for themselves! You can purchase gifts through Jubiliee Market. And they help them heal through creative outlets, like creative writing! I encourage you to give, if even $10 to this ministry. 

So scrape off the excess on your plate wherever you can, however you can and fill it with meaningful, lasting things like memories and providing hope and laughter to those who may not have a a drop of it this season. Look for ways to meet needs. Bring a smile. And show how much Jesus loves this world. Enough to die for us to give us abundant life. Let’s live it, shall we?

What is your favorite holiday dessert?

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What To Do When Your Calendar Seems Bigger Than God

I look forward to Christmas every year. I love the neighborhood lights, the music playing in the stores and the sweet commercials of little kids leaving cookies out for Santa. Kids in jammies are plain ole’ adorable.

And every year, my calendar seems to get fuller, my days shorter, my to-do lists longer. 

I want to remember “the reason for the season”, put “Christ in Christmas”, have “Ho Ho Hope for the Holidays”. 

But as the days go by, I feel like I’m running out of time. Time to meet my deadlines, fight the crazy crowds to buy a 3 inch barrel iron for my daughter, a Web-blaster for my son, find the perfect gift for my girlfriends, one they won’t re-gift. I’m running out of time to bake my famous Christmas cookies that everyone wants a bag of, get my website text to the designer, get my hair done, get my next manuscript to my agent.

I have Christmas parties to attend, programs to sit through (yes, I’m going to make fun of the children who squeak their clarinets–it’s what I do), and library books that are close to overdue. 

And in all that hysteria and feelings of walls closing in on me, I’m reminded, early in the morning–when I’m barely awake–between yummy dreamland and the first thoughts of sipping coffee that Someone wants to spend time with me, to help me organize my day, to make this season smooth and wonderful, not dreadful and busy.

I’m reminded that if I’ll give up a couple hours of sleep to sip coffee and share the breaking dawn with the Lover of My Soul, the panic will turn to calm, the walls that are closing in–removed– and the joy and peace I crave will be lavished upon my soul.

I’ll remember:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
And I’ll remember the One who took off robes of righteousness, for a robe of tender infant flesh, broke through an ordinary girl’s womb for me. I’ll remember the infant flesh that grew into a Man’s and that it was His joy to allow it to be torn and shredded…for me.
And I’ll remember the gift He gave to me. 
Salvation.  

What do you do to remember what this season is all about? Do you wake and tiptoe  into the living room before the house is up? Do you put your kids to bed and enjoy an hour or so at night? 

Come by Living By Grace, an online devotional community for women. On facebook! We’ll be chatting over there!