And a Happy New Year

Have a safe and joyful celebration of reflecting on the old year and looking forward to the new!


Merry Christmas!

May your celebration of the birth of Christ be filled with wonder and joy!


Christmas Movies

I love Christmas movies. I especially love sharing them with my family and friends. This year, I discovered that several of my friends had not only never seen Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck, but they’d never even heard of it! One of those people was my son’s girlfriend. I think she’s a fan now. Of course, she and I had a major meeting of the minds when deciding which Christmas movie we’d watch with them. When I mentioned Miracle on 34th Street, I said, “It’s the old one.”

She replied. “That’s the only one.”

I wholeheartedly agreed, for I refuse to even acknowledge the other versions! I think that was a very scary moment for my son.

So in case any of you need something new to watch this season—or just to be reminded of a movie you haven’t seen in several years, here are my top 5 Christmas movies:

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life
  2. Holiday Inn
  3. Miracle on 34th Street (original version)
  4. Christmas in Connecticut
  5. [tie] Elf and Home Alone

(Notice that the top four were all made before 1950!)

Of course there are others that my family watches every year—and this year I’ve also indulged in several sappy Hallmark channel Christmas movies—but if I can only make time for a few, those are the ones that make my short list!

What are your favorites?


Homemade Sugary Goodness

I remember the first time I realized that all marshmallows didn’t come from a plastic bag in the grocery store. We were at a fancy restaurant for our anniversary and I ordered the s’more for dessert—made with a homemade marshmallow. It was amazing! Never did I think I’d taste anything like it again.

But I was wrong. My daughter had a hankering to try her hand at marshmallow-making and I can highly recommend the results! In fact, I’m not sure I’ll be able to eat the store bought kind again. When that squishy, sugary connection sank into my hot chocolate and melted—oh my word!

Then she used them to make a “s’more” topping for her cheesecake. And while I didn’t taste those results, I’m sure it was amazing, too.

Have you ever eaten a homemade marshmallow? If not, seize the opportunity, should it arise. I don’t think you’ll regret it!


Crazy Days

The crazy days of Christmas have intersected with the crazy days of finishing up my latest manuscript.

So now you know why I’ve had nothing to say . . .


A Precursor of Things to Come

We celebrated my husband’s birthday yesterday. It was a strange celebration day in many ways, and a precursor of what is to come.

We spent the day mostly in the usual Sunday ways, but in the afternoon, when present opening time came around, we had to call up our daughter via the computer so she could join in the family circle from far away. That was good, but not quite the same.

After dinner that night, one boy went to a praise and worship youth service and one went to his girlfriend’s house. So after all our birthdaying, my husband and I were alone in the house.

Then it hit me: this is what if feels like for my parents when we all come over to celebrate something or other and then we all leave again. Nice and quiet, yes, but with a bittersweet edge. All the children have their own plans, their own friends, their own lives. And while that makes me very happy (because frankly, I’m ready to have my own life again, too), I see how strange it will feel when the quiet times are broken by the chaotic ones, instead of the other way around.


An Inkwell Inspirations Devotional

I'm over at Inkwell Inspirations today talking about the words we tend to overlook in Scripture.
Come join me!


The Violent Bear It Away

A very long time ago, I read some Flannery O’Connor short stories. A week or so ago, I read her novel The Violent Bear it Away. All I can say is wow!

As a writer I’ve often heard “show, don’t tell.” As an editor, I often say it. But rarely do I find such an incredible example of what that means than this book. Never does Flannery O’Connor say “there is a struggle between faith and reason.” Never does she say “there is a struggle between flesh and spirit.” No “there is a God and there is a Satan.” But all of these things are clearly seen on every page.

It’s a short book, the story of a boy’s journey. At least that’s what it is on the surface. But beneath the surface is the journey of everyman—toward God, away from God, acknowledging God, refusing to acknowledge God. It is a powerful story that never comes out and tells you what to glean from it, but it is full of symbolism and metaphor that is not obscure or confusing. If you have lived as a Christian, you will see pieces of your own journey in this word picture story.

I have a feeling this is one I’ll read again, because I’m sure I didn’t catch everything the first time!


Christmastime is Here

I am officially in the mood for Christmas! I admit, it took longer to “take” this year for some reason, but today I have that “I’m excited for Christmas” feeling.

Maybe it was the cold weather—and the few wet snowflakes that dotted my windshield this morning. Maybe it was grocery shopping and buying all the ingredients for the baking and making a tub of hot chocolate mix. Maybe it was a quick change of plans that means we will have our Christmas day a bit earlier. Whatever did it, I’m ready. Or at least I’m ready to get ready!

The Christmas music has been playing all day long. The decorations go up tomorrow. I even downloaded Christmas ringtones to my phone! I imagine a fire will appear in the fireplace again soon. The shopping will commence in earnest this weekend—and hopefully finish, too. The Christmas wrapping box will find a permanent home in my bedroom, along with the tape and scissors. And when my daughter arrives home next week, the house will fill with smells of baking things and Christmas movies will play on the TV.

And then of course there will be family and food and the celebration of a Christmas Eve service at church and the joy of giving to others as God the Father gave to us—generously, without reserve.

What is your favorite part of Christmas? I truly can’t decide. I love it all!