Posts Tagged ‘Merry Christmas’

author photoWell, this has been an unexpected blast! When my new publisher at Helping Hands Press encouraged all his authors to get on the social media bandwagon, I almost despaired. I’ve been on Facebook for a while, thanks to my daughters’ urgings, but that’s it. It’s been an uphill climb, to be sure, and at times a frustrating and bumpy one, but I’ve now managed to make a nuisance of myself on Twitter, Tweetdeck, Goodreads, Pinterest, LinkedIn, GooglePlus and a couple more, not to mention a blog blitz on my website.

The blog blitz surprised even me. I began by featuring one author, as suggested by Mr. G, and since it wasn’t too difficult, I tried it again the next day. Here is a list of my December features:

December 6:    My Fiction Writing 101—#3—Genre

December 8:    Patti Smith (Helping Hands Press – HHP – author)

December 9:    Sheila Lagrand (HHP)

December 9:    Book review of The Roman’s Quest by Anne Baxter Campbell

December 10:  Andy McKell (HHP)

December 11:  Joy Ross Davis (HHP)

December 12:  Amber Schamel (HHP)

December 13:  Life intervened—not superstitious; it was my dear hubby’s birthday.

December 14:  Jeanette Hanscome (HHP)

December 15:  Linda Wood Rondeau (HHP)

December 16:  Linda Wegner (a dear friend, author and technical writer)

December 17:  Marsha Hubler (HHP)

December 18:  Mishael Witty (HHP)

December 19:  David Stearman (HHP)

December 20:  My Christmas blog (previously featured on Ruth L. Snyder’s website)

December 21:  To The New Year

Now I plan to take a break for a bit until the new year arrives. My aim (dangerous to put it out there, I know) is to tweak my approach to about once a week and include more author sites and interviews, as well as continuing my Fiction Writing 101 posts (otherwise I won’t be able to continue my fiction writing).

Until then, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope each of you will consider the Reason for the Season—Jesus, our Saviour—and let Him lead you into 2014.

Now I’m off to bake a few more kinds of cookies and prepare myself and my house for the sweet chaos of our three kids, their spouses and ten lively grandchildren. And maybe a few more guests along the way.

God bless,


Note of interest:  The third volume of my e-book, Other Side of the River—Tempered Sorrows—is set to release around December 19, so please stay tuned.

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Contrary to what you may think, I did not skip my Friday the 13th blog for superstitious reasons. Rather, real life snuck in. It was my husband’s birthday (yes, he was born on a Friday the 13th and he’s been blessed ever since!). It was also our first Christmas choir concert with St. Peter’s Chorus . After the concert about forty choir members and some of their spouses came to our house for a party. Lots of food and great fellowship.

During the evening, fellow choir member, Robert Henderson, said he has been reading these posts on my blog, so thanks for telling me, Bob, and Merry Christmas to you!

Today I’m going to feature another Helping Hands Press author: Jeanette Hanscome. I’ll let her tell you a bit about herself (taken from Jeanette’s blog):


Who I Am 

I am an author, writing teacher, occasional speaker, and busy mom currently living in California’s beautiful East Bay Area.

As an author, I have almost 20 years of experience, which includes work with Focus on the Family, The Upper Room, Standard Publishing, Walk Thru the Bible, and Guideposts magazine. I am a regular assigned contributor to Standard Publishing’s Encounter—the Magazine, and Walk Thru the Bible’s Tapestry devotional (also published as Journey), as well as contributing to Girls, God and the Good Life and the Christian Manuscript Critique Service blog I also edit on a freelance basis for publishers and individuals.

If you have ever attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, you might know me as the coordinator of the First Timers Buddy System. Overseeing this program at the conference where I first sensed God’s call to write for Him continues to be a highlight of my year. I belong to several writing and editing organizations, including ACFW, The Christian PEN, Christian Editor Network, Christian Author’s Network (CAN), and Inspire Christian Writers.

In real life, I am the mother of two incredible sons—one in middle school and one beginning the journey of adulthood. I love to cook, bake, read, knit, crochet, study the Bible, and spend time with friends and family.

It might interest you to know that I am visually impaired and have been since birth. I was born with a rare vision disorder called Achromatopsia, which means that I have no color vision, am extremely light sensitive, and have visual acuity in the legally blind range. (For more information on this interesting eye disease, visit Achromatopsia.info) People often ask me to describe what I see. Although it’s difficult to make normally sighted people understand the light sensitivity and limited vision (which changes depending on how bright it is outside), this picture will give you a glimpse into how I see the world. Think of it as living in a black & white movie—beautiful in its own way.

Here is another link to Jeanette’s website so you can learn more about her and her books: http://jeanettehanscome.com/book-corner/. Below, see the cover of her newest release.


And here’s a short note from Jeanette, complete with a tasty-looking Christmas recipe:

The past few years have brought a lot of changes, including changes to my family’s holiday celebrations. One thing has remained constant, however, and that is my baking traditions. One on-going favorite is pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins. I gave up a long time ago on designating these as a Thanksgiving treat. Late November usually marks the first of a half a dozen batches, and each batch makes a lot!

In honor of Christmas, I thought I’d share this much-loved recipe with you. I got it from a cookbook, so I can’t take full credit, but I do alter it a bit by only adding nuts occasionally. (I tend to forget them, nuts are expensive, and because the recipe calls for toasting them the risk of burning $3 worth of almonds feels like too big of a risk sometimes.) I pray that your family will enjoy them as much as much family does.

Note: The recipe suggests baking them a day or two ahead to give the flavors time to blend, but ours rarely last that long. I use mini muffin tins to make them bite-sized, but you can also use regular sized tins.



½ cup slivered almonds (optional)

1 2/3 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 T pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup plain pumpkin

2 eggs

½ cup melted butter

1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350.

Toast almonds for 3-5 minutes. (Watch them carefully.)

Wisk together pumpkin, eggs, and butter in a medium bowl. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and mix. Fold in chocolate chips and almonds.

Spoon batter into mini muffin tins, and bake for 12-15 minutes. (Larger muffins will take closer to 20 minutes.)

Let them cool. Store in a container for a day or so, if you have the will power.

Merry Christmas!

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I am pleased to feature fellow author Sheila Seller Lagrand today. Thanks, Sheila, for this great “Merry Christmas” thought.

Making Peace with Christmas

by Sheila Seller Lagrand

bio-pic-Sheila-Seiler-LagrandIn my strident youth I was a Christmas militant. I railed against the displays of candy canes and chocolate snowmen lurking about the bags of Halloween candy. I fumed as tinsel mingled with the harvest cornucopia in some kind of mall marketing miscegenation. I averted my eyes when neighbors’ Christmas lights brightened the street before we had celebrated Thanksgiving.

Not this year. Maybe it’s because I’m not as young as I used to be. Maybe it’s because the grandchild count has risen to nine—which means more gifts, more wrapping, more time to dream up selections that say I love you. Maybe it’s because I’m traveling across an ocean to spend Christmas with my daughter, her Navy-Chief husband, and their children on Guam. For all these reasons, I have overcome my Christmas-season-snobbery. Never again, Lord help me, will I judge the mom scooping up the latest Legos in October.

And never again will I jam all the gift-choosing, making, ordering, or buying into the precious few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a legalistic maneuver all along, I see now, not a decision born of grace and joy. And what is more important at Christmastime than grace and joy? As I consider it today, I can’t even remember why I thought it was such an achievement to exhaust myself by squeezing every bit of preparation into a few short weeks.

After all these hard-line years, it’s been deliciously daring to choose gifts in October, to be laying in stores of red-and-green tissue during the first crisp days of autumn.  Once I committed to changing my approach, and my attitude, about the Christmas schedule, I reaped an unexpected bonus: The rejoicing heart, the sense of blessedness as I reflect on the priceless gift of our Savior, the real key elements to the Christmas season, they kicked in early, too. Instead of three or four weeks of an overflowing heart, I’ve enjoyed the jubilation since late October.

I understand better now the friend who sings carols in March, the heart-sister who displays a Christmas tree all year long. I’ve been cheating myself out of a heap of exultation. So if we cross paths at the beach next summer, please don’t be surprised if I greet you with a hearty “Merry Christmas!”

Check out Sheila’s website at http://sheilalagrand.com

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