My Favorite Christmassy Things Giveaway–12 Authors

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I’m excited to participate with these other amazing authors in a Favorite Christmassy Things giveaway.

I get to talk about My Favorite Christmas Tree.

It was be easier to describe my least favorite tree. I think my siblings would agree with me that the year our parents decided to purchase a white aluminum tree and the rotating color wheel to turn the ghastly thing into alternating red, green, and blue shiny aluminum fake branches, we all groaned.

Or maybe it was the tree a few years ago that lost all its needles–all of them–before Christmas. Poor, pathetic, not-even-fit-for-Charlie-Brown tree.

Or the year I jokingly put one lone ornament on a wooden tree because after a series of family disasters, it seemed to express the energy level I had for Christmas decorating.



My husband and I have had tiny little Christmas trees sitting up high to keep them away from inquisitive toddlers and massive trees that scraped the ceiling and blocked everyone’s view of the holiday football games.

We volunteered one of the pine trees growing on our property to friends from church who owned an A-frame house. They hung the tree upside down, with the narrow “top” brushing the carpet and its trunk high in the vaulted ceiling. A conversation piece.

For many years, we grew our own Christmas trees on our few acres. Planted, waited, waited some more, until finally they were tall enough to serve the honored role. We tromp through the snow and cut our own tree, which usually also meant working hard to hide the bare spots when decorating. Homegrown, hand-cut, and free.

Ours, but not one of the trees mentioned in this story!

Ours, but not one of the trees mentioned in this story!

Once I purchased dozens of tiny stuffed bears dressed like angels with which to decorate the tree. After a few years of enjoying that kid-friendly look, my college-age daughter and I removed the angel outfits from the bears and hand-knit tiny little wool scarves and sweaters for the bears.

But possibly my favorite tree is the one that started out rather ordinary. Mid-celebration on Christmas day, my husband asked me to leave the family room and not come back in until he called for me. When I returned, the entire tree was bursting with deep red roses. He’d placed them among the branches so their beautiful blossoms looked like layered silk ornaments.

This from a man who normally considers roses a ridiculous waste of money.

That year, part of his gift to me was extravagance. And it left an unforgettable impression.

Walking into the family room to discover a tree covered in extravagance reminded me that all of Christmas is a celebration of the extravagant love of God to send His Son to us.

What was your favorite Christmas tree? Tell me your story in a short comment below to be entered in an ADDITIONAL giveaway–from my heart to yours. It’s a sweet little Christmas ornament that will remind readers about the story Miles from Where We Started.


Don’t forget to comment with your Favorite Christmas Tree story.

Be sure to visit each stop on this My Favorite Christmassy Things journey so you don’t miss the fabulous daily giveaways!

Dec 10: Catherine West – Welcome to My Favorite Christmassy Things

Dec 10: Cynthia Ruchti – My Favorite Christmas Tree

Dec 11:  Tamara Leigh – My Favorite Christmas Carol

Dec 12: Lauren K. Denton – My Favorite Christmas Disaster

Dec 13: Ronie Kendig – My Favorite Christmas Movie

Dec 14: Jody Hedlund – My Favorite Christmas Food

Dec 15: Elizabeth Byler Younts – My Favorite Christmas Ornament

Dec 16: Beth K. Vogt – My Favorite Christmas Decoration

Dec 17: Rachel Linden – My Favorite Christmas Service

Dec 18: Courtney Walsh – My Favorite Christmas Memory

Dec 19: Rachel Hauck – My Favorite Christmas Book

Dec 20: Susan Meissner – My Favorite Christmas Vacation

Dec 21: Catherine J. West – My Favorite Christmas Gift

Enter by midnight on 12/21/18 USA Eastern time! Winners will be drawn on 12/22/18 and posted on Catherine West’s site.

Drawing open to US addresses ONLY, with apologies to our international readers.

Major Prizes:

1st: All 12 Print Novels
2nd: $50 Amazon gift card and $20 Starbucks Gift Card
3rd: $50 Amazon gift card


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Leave a comment.

Hope Became Tangible at Christmas

We’re such a “Show Me” culture.

SHOW me you love me.

SHOW me you understand what I’m going through.

SHOW me you’re sorry for what you did.

SHOW me I can trust you.

SHOW me you care. Do something!

Missouri (The Show Me State) doesn’t have a corner on the “I need to see it” market. Even those who choose to live by faith are prone to wander off into wondering.

We humans have always had trouble with intangibles in our relationships.


It’s been the same in our relationship with God. We listen to His Words, hear His stories, understand His truths. But the arrival of Jesus on the scene was, in a way, God’s response to a world that cries out, “SHOW me!” God’s divine plan all along, even before Eve and Adam gave us a reason to need a redeemer, was Jesus.

nativity-447767_1920The world had waited so long for a redeemer. Until Christ was born, hope was a promise, but an intangible.

Hope was born in a tangible way at Christmas.

Jesus’s birth proved once again that God keeps His promises—all of His promises. Hope soars when we grasp that concept.

As you walk through this Christmas season, may it be with a renewed understanding that Jesus Christ is proof of God’s love for you. And may you embrace that truth with your whole being.


If you’re looking for a Christmas gift to SHOW your love or appreciation to some in your circle, this may help. For the next five days, a special promotion offers a discount on top of a discount.

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Offer ends on Dec 11, 2018.

Spring Scavenger Hunt

So glad you stopped by today. This is my first time participating in a Fiction Scavenger Hunt. It’s an honor for me to be included with these dozens of fiction authors whom I’ve long admired. And I’m excited about the interaction with readers–both those whom I already consider friends and those new to me. The prizes will amaze you…and so will these authors’ stories!
Spring-scavenger-collageThis hunt is a virtual scavenger hunt for clues that will lead you to and through the blogs of more than thirty Christian Fiction authors! You’ll find a new clue on each blog. The hunt begins on April 4 at noon Mountain time. Some posts will be up earlier, but the loop won’t be live until noon on that day. The hunt begins and ends at  If you stopped by for another reason but want to join, start at Robin Lee Hatcher’s blog. The hunt ends on April 6 at midnight Mountain. You have all weekend to complete the hunt, so there’s no need to race. It’s a journey!
You’ll collect a clue in red at each stop, writing them down as you go. Prizes include a Kindle Fire HDX + $100 gift certificate, and two runners-up will receive all 32 of our books. This hunt with its giveaway is open to international entrants.

And now, I’ll introduce the author I’m hosting today as one of the stops for the scavenger hunt. Donita K. Paul is a prolific author whom I first met through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). One of my favorite memories of Donita is seeing the expression on her face when she was honored with the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award, a tribute to her heart for not only writing great stories but helping other writers create great stories, too.
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Donita K. Paul has been writing all her life but began to take it seriously when she retired early from teaching elementary. She’s written novels, novellas, picture books, short stories, and has contributed to craft books and compilations. What does she like best? The readers! (Donita and I share that in common! We may not write the same kinds of stories, but we love interacting with readers.)


Here’s what her recent book–One Realm Beyond–is about.

One Realm Beyond

In a fantasy world with flat planets and shapeshifting dragons, two young realm walkers try to identify evil before the wicked succeed in suppressing the people and controlling the powerful. Cantor and Bixby must count on what they’ve already learned because their trusted mentors have disappeared and those in authority are untrustworthy.

Donita sent along a behind-the-scenes look at the characters in One Realm Beyond that I think you’ll enjoy–an interview with the main character, Bixby.

Bixby, we understand that you live in a fantasy land, and we’d like to know more about your world.

Bixby:  First I better explain that I live on a system of planes. We don’t have planets. Our worlds are flat and stacked like pancakes only with space between them.  We don’t possess space travel technology so the travel between planes is left to realm walkers. 

What are realm walkers?

Portals between planes are opening and shutting around us all the time, but only realm walkers can see them and go through them.  You’re familiar with the Knights of the Round Table? Realm Walkers are like the knights, dedicated to helping the poor and defenseless, clinging to a code of honor, promoting peace, and serving their God. In our society, your God is called Primen, pronounced like “prime” with an n on the end like a prime number.

How does this have anything to do with your fame as a fashion designer?

Oh, my! Fame? I didn’t know. I just have a passion for clothes and accessories. Donita K. Paul has given me my own Pinterest board to help me keep things organized.  You can see my styles there. 

I wear my clothes in layers. The reason is twofold.  First when I go adventuring, I put on all the clothes I might need so that I don’t have to stop and unpack a hamper. I just re-layer what I have on so the suitable garment is on top.

A hamper? What is a hamper?”

The easiest way to explain a hamper is to have you think of Mary Poppins’ carpetbag when she pulls out many more things than could possibly fit. Things like hampers and the carpetbag are staples of fantasy literature.

I see. Ummm, you said there was another reason for wearing many layers.

Yes, this is one I don’t like to talk about. Like so many girls, and women in general, I have a bad body image.  I wish I could say I’m lithe or svelte, but the truth is I’m just plain skinny. I have literally slipped through a crack before. And a strong wind has picked me up and banged me against the garden wall in our backyard. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping my feet on the floor.  That’s not so bad now that I’ve learned to control floating. At first, it was just inconvenient.  Lots of layers give me the look of being more substantial.

Your backyard? Tell us a bit about your home.

Mom and Dad are the royal rulers of Richra, so our house is a palace, and the backyard is a formal garden.

You’ve lived an interesting life.

It didn’t get interesting until I met Cantor. It would take a whole book to tell that tale. Well, I guess it did.  Read One Realm Beyond to learn more about my fashions and my terrific friends.

One Realm Beyond book trailer

Thanks, Donita and Bixby. Not only would I like to read the book, but I can think of several of my grandchildren who would enjoy it, too.

Now for more on the HUNT!


Thanks for stopping by my website. Before you move on to Stop #17, Donita K. Paul’s own site  to pick up your next clue, be sure to write down this Stop #16  clue: “everyone else

If you happen to run into a broken link, here’s the place you can go to find links to all the author blogs:

But wait! There’s more! Two more important things, in fact. See below for an additional giveaway opportunity, explained in the Rafflecopter block here. Then, keep reading for exclusive information about MY upcoming release!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PLEASE NOTE: It looks like this Rafflecopter Giveaway has ended. I haven’t been able to get it to kick in again. So I am keeping record of those who becoming new subscribers to my email list (mailing list) and blog followers. You too will be added to the giveaway. I’ve attempted to let Rafflecopter know about the problem so this widget time is extended to the duration of the Scavenger Hunt. But as of now, the widget does not reflect that. But do not fear. You still qualify if you sign up for the mailing list and blog subscription. OR leave me a COMMENT and I’ll include you.

The newsletter (mailing list) sign up and blog subscription forms are just to the left in the margin near the top of this post. PLEASE consider following me on or!

Here’s an image of the bracelet:

eternally yoursNOW FOR THE BIG NEWS I’ve been eager to tell! My latest novel–All My Belongings–releases in one month! May 6th–just in time for Mother’s Day and in plenty of time for your summer reading. I couldn’t be more excited to reveal its new cover. You’re among the first to see it. Please help me spread the word about All My Belongings, which garnered a high honor as a rare starred review by PW (Publisher’s Weekly). Check out my book pages for more information. Doesn’t this cover draw you in to see what happens in that sunroom?

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You can pre-order a copy at your local bookstore or any of these sources (You’ll notice some don’t even have the new cover yet!):

Christian Book Distributors

Barnes & Noble

Family Christian Stores

LifeWay Stores


Logos Bookstores