Thursday, December 29, 2011
I am thrilled to say my parents have finally sold their house. And they actually have equity! The sale took us completely off guard. It happened so fast. Last Wednesday, an offer was made and accepted on their house. On Friday, they drove to my home for Christmas and informed me that they needed to go house hunting in my city. I immediately found them a realtor, scheduled a meeting for them with a funding company, got them in for pre-approval, and today they found and made an offer on a house only five miles away from my home. (See the picture of their new house.) It’ll be hectic and very difficult for them to move at their age, but within six to ten weeks, they’ll be living here in my city. I’m planning to take time off work next month to go in and help them move, but we’re all so happy that things have finally fallen into place. As my parents get older, having them nearby so I can care for them is truly an answer to our prayers.
How about you? Do you live near your family members? Do you get together often to enjoy one another’s company? I sure hope so.
Wishing you a joyous and prosperous New Year!
The Forest Ranger’s Husband – Now available
The Forest Ranger’s Child – Available June 2012
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Looking Beyond the Present.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
If you have experienced a personal loss this year, I wish you relief from your grief and peace. May your memories bring you moments of joy and happiness.
|Crayton the Christmas Cat|
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The air of Christmas sweeps around us when we eat the last leftovers of our Thanksgiving turkeys. It's a special time of year for Christians as we prepare for the celebration of our Savior's birth in the lowly stable in Bethlehem.
But our focus can stray with the pressures of our prepreations for the blessed celebration. Decorating, gift buying and wrapping, Christmas cards, cookie baking, party planning, and keeping our calendar schedule straight when real life forces us to doctor appointments, grocery shopping and laundry.
Most of us realize that life's responsibilities can dull the excitement that we feel as we anticipate this special season. No matter how many sweatshirts we wear proclaiming Jesus is the Reason for the Season, sadly it's easy to let it slip away under the debris of life.
One way I keep focused on Christmas is my music involvement. Christmas music wraps my heart in emotions of the past, present and the future, reminding me of the Savior's birth, His sacrifice for us, and it folds me in memories of family and friends. Playing handbells, singing with the praise team and the choir at my church is one way I'm imbedded with Christmas. I also sing with the Detroit Lutheran Singers a renown Christian chorale in the Detroit area and one of the finest in MIchigan.
I also love to read novels that draw me to Christmas. I download them to my Kindle and then carry them with me as I wait for appointments, eat meals alone while my husband is running errands, and sometimes at the end of a busy day. I was blessed this year to have a new Christmas release--on Kindle and also mass market release. Small Town Christmas appears in the Love Inspired duet novel CHRISTMAS GIFTS with Brenda Minton.
Click to Review or Purchase
The story relates when the new second grade teacher, Amy Carroll, meets the precocious twin sisters, she knows she has her hands full, but when she learns they live on the street where she is staying with her grandmother and they have a single father who is handsome and needs help, Amy’s hands are beyond full. But Amy’s from Chicago and falling in love with a small town man is not part of her plan. Can God waylay Amy’s desire to return to the big city? Can Mike Russett open his heart to love?
Two of my past Christmas novels were released again from Harlequin Love Inspired by direct mail. Both of these novels were national award-winners and favorites among my readers. If you'd like to learn more about these novels, follow these links:
A woman whose past has nearly destroyed her finds life and love while caring for a child who no longer speaks and the little girl's father who is bound by his past. Secrets, once opened, can bind hearts and reveal a new life filled with forgiveness and love at Christmas time.
This novel is set on Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan. Two people from different worlds find what life and love really mean in this the unique and amazing setting. With no motorized vehicles on the island, the setting introduces a quieter, gentler life focused on what's important and celebrates Christmas in a special way.
Wishing you a joyous Christmas and blessings in the new year.
Gail Gaymer Martin at http://www.gailmartin.com/
Also visit me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Gail-Gaymer-Martin/1429640580
Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=110543112472
and Twistter: http://twitter.com/GailGMartin
Thursday, December 15, 2011
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Janet Tronstad's 2007 A Dropped Stitches Christmas surprised me. I didn't think I'd want to read a book about young women who had survived cancer. The BIG C can be depressing. But not so in this book of honesty and triumph. With the advent of ereaders, it becomes possible to resurrect books that have disappeared from store shelves. I've read Janet Tronstad's Dry Creek romances and yes, this story is definitely her flavor of romance. But I was enchanted by the first person narrative from the heroine and her friends. Chicklit may have died down but this author shows she can handle the subgenre with elegance and style. I loved her scrumptious hero and the beautiful but hesitant heroine. If you want a really touching Christmas read, this one's for you! Loved it!
AND don't forget TODAY-- Leave a comment about a Christmas story you've enjoyed or love and be entered into the drawing for my slightly used copy of Janet's book. BTW, offering an Amish Christmas book giveaway on my blog today http://bit.ly/gRCEBN--Lyn
View all my reviews
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
What a lovely time of year. Even though we don't have snow yet this year (unusual for Maine), it's still feeling a lot like Christmas. Wreathing season is starting to wind down as the wreaths made with balsam fir have been shipped to all corners of the U.S. Now, you see pick-up trucks loaded with trees. My daughter cut one down from the edge of our forest. A little uneven but wonderfully scented.
These are a couple of ornaments we've collected over the years.
|Partridge in a Pear Tree?|
|Balsam fir tree|
|Feb. 1012 release|
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I want to update everyone on Ollie who I blogged about in Oct. Here he is by his Christmas tree. My son showed me this picture when we went to a Christmas concert together. He's taller and a little heavier than the last time I saw him. When he's running in the backyard and brushes by you, it's like a bowling ball brushing by a pin--you're going down. If he stands on your toes--which I've experienced, there's no moving him. But can you resist that wonderful face?
I hope you smiled, because I know that for some of you this is the first Christmas that you've had since you lost a loved one, or gotten a bad diagnosis, or had some tragedy in your life. You're feeling the pain and loneliness. This Jesus who birth we celebrate is still with you and the same as He was in your joy. Allow Him to comfort you. You are in my prayers.
Monday, December 12, 2011
I love the Holidays and this year I'm finding God in surprising places. For instance, the bank where I work has a drawing contest for the bank's official Christmas card. Kids 12 and under who are related to employees can enter and there's a commitee that votes for the artwork to be used. Well, the day the winning picture was announced, I broke into tears. I still get choked up thinking about how one child's artwork has moved me.
Every time I look at this Christmas Card, I see awe in the deer's face as he gazes at the star on the tree. For me, that star is Jesus. I'm humbled by what God has done fo us. Especially, what He's done for me.
God appears in His creations, and I believe He shows up in our creations too. I'm reminded of working for Him in all that I do. But lately, I'm learning to let go when it comes to how I write. Sure, I fall short of the mark and wrestle with control issues. But like the deer in the card above, I must go to the Lord for direction with a spirit of thankfulness and awe. Who knows what He might do with my work, but I can trust Him. I'm finally getting it. It's all His, in His time.
Please share how God shows up for you this Season.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
I suppose everyone has a favorite Christmas memory. The year they got the bike they had so wanted. Or maybe a Chatty Cathy doll when those were popular.
My favorite Christmas was the year my daughter Carolyn was born.
My husband and I moved to Anchorage, Alaska when we were first married. He was a civilian engineer assigned to help the Air Force keep their missiles operating. For me, a native Californian who had rarely seen snow much less lived in a snowy climate, it was all quite exciting. And truly beautiful.
I was pregnant as our second Christmas approached. (Which, by the way, gave me an excuse not to tramp through the woods through a foot of snow to cut down our own tree and freeze my feet in the process as I had the previous Christmas.)
As I walked through town doing my Christmas shopping, I admired the decorations draped from lamp poles and the store windows painted with holiday themes. Like most first-time moms-to-be, I wanted to shout to everyone that I would soon have a baby! And thank them for decorating the whole town in honor of her upcoming arrival.
On the evening of December 23rd, my water broke. Off to the hospital we went, which was no easy trick. We’d had a Chinook, a warm spell that melted the snow during the day and turned it to ice at night. Newly-built Providence hospital was at the end of a long, dirt road, not uncommon in Anchorage at the time, and was glazed over with ice. Driving no more than 5-miles an hour, my husband managed to keep us on the road instead of in the ditch. I was so grateful we, and the baby, were in no hurry.
Baby Carolyn definitely wasn’t in a hurry. She didn’t make her grand entrance until the afternoon of December 24th. It is not possible to describe the surge of love I felt the moment I saw her. Wow! I was a mother. A scary and wonderful feeling.
And the best Christmas present ever!
What is your favorite Christmas memory?
Wishing you a lovely Christmas and many happy memories.
Books that leave you smiling......by Charlotte Carter
Big Sky Family, Love Inspired, available now
Montana Love Letter, Love Inspired, 10/2012
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
This month I have a romantic suspense book releasing with Love Inspired Suspense called The Christmas Witness. So my mind has been on Christmas much longer this year than in past years as I anticipated the release of the book. All of this got me to thinking about Christmas’s past and some of my favorite memories as a child. So I’d like to share some of them with you going way back to my toddler days.
This picture is of my family before going to Christmas Eve service at church. I’m the one on the right. Both of my parents passed away in the last few years so this picture of all of us together is very special to me. Also special in the photo are our hats. My aunt who lived cross country from us in fashionable Beverly Hills sent beautiful hats to us each year. At this age, I don’t remember enjoying them but as I got older, I really did. Especially the ones she sent at Easter time time with the gloves like my sister is holding in this picture.
Here I am on Christmas Eve after church with all of the kids in our jammies. Our church always did the Christmas pageant presented by the children at Christmas Eve service then we would head home and Santa had visited while we were at church. I’m on the left side in this photo. It was late in the evening after we’d opened a few presents and we were tired, but hanging in there. If you look real hard on the right side you can see a doll I got that year.As I look at all of these pictures there is one thing in common. Christmas though first and foremost to me is about the birth of our Savior, it's about family to me. I start baking, sending out cards, shopping and all the other busy things of the season early, but it’s only when my daughter comes home from college that Christmas begins in my heart.
SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com. Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan visit:
Her website http://www.susansleeman.com
Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanBooks
or join her on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/SusanSleeman
Monday, December 5, 2011
The Art of Fielding (baseball)
IQ84 (I had trouble even typing it. It’s about two people who need to meet each other.
What It Is Like to Go to War (by a marine and what it is like in brutal jungles)
In the Garden of Beasts (I think this is faction about the life and times of the past ambassador to Nazi Germany)
The Marriage Plot (Three women, 1980’s, their lives)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (YA, magical world, heartache, choices)
Before I go to Sleep (Suspense with amnesia)
Steve Jobs (‘nuff said)
Lost in Shangri-La (WWII, another military in the jungle)
The Tiger’s Wife (Quest for answers after a relative’s death).
At about 5:30, I found Publisher Weekly's life.
The Marriage Plot (see above)
The Devil All the Time (American rural life – albeit sensationalize - )
State of Wonder (Two females, both questing. Sounds like the movie Medicine Man with Sean Connery)
After the Apocalypse (An anthology with various offerings)
Bossy Pants (Tina Fey’s story)
Catherine the Great (Catherine the Great’s story)
There But For The (man comes for the party but refuses to go home. The blurb reminded me of Bartleby)
Hemingway’s Boat (Hemingway’s story)
One Day I will Write About this Place (Coming of age in Kenya)
Arguably: Essay ( Anthology by a political critic)
Usually, I’ve read one or two (once I managed three) of the choices. This year: none. Of Amazon’s list, the only one that even crossed my mind was Steve Jobs, and that’s because he’s been in the news so often.
Of Publisher Weekly’s, I’d considered BossyPants and probably will read it. Since the only book to appear on both lists is The Marriage Plot, I might seek it out. Then, too, I like biographies from the past. Catherine the Great is a possibility.
So, what about you? Looking at the above two lists, have you read any of them? Which ones appeal to you?
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Early forecasts for the Upper Midwest indicated that we were going to have an unusually cold and snowy winter, just as I wrote in the book, but so far we're still having lovely forty degree days (far nicer than thirty below!) and have had just a single whisper of snowflakes one day. But even though the weather is still lovely, I've got our Christmas decorations up and now need to start baking. How about you--are you set for the holidays?
I'd like to share the best recipe I've ever found for cut-out cookies, one especially great for when you're baking with small kids. As much as you work with it, reforming the odd bits and pieces into a ball and rolling it out again, it still stays nice to work with. I've used this since the early 1980's. Once, while reaching for the nutmeg, I knocked a container of chili powder into the bowl, the lid came off and the entire container emptied over the cookie dough. I removed what I could, then added ample cocoa powder to cover the taste--and everyone still loved them. Now, this is one very forgiving recipe! :)