Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas is upon us. Through the eyes of a child this magical time of year is filled with wonder and awe. I can't help but think of those who are near and dear to me and realize how very blessed I am.

Last year a dear friend of mine asked me to sit down and watch the Christmas DVD she had of David Archuleta. She said he had a beautiful singing voice. Truth be told, Edith had a huge crush on him. Of course, many do, but Edith was 97. Her crush was so cute. She had pictures of him on her wall. And she was actually able to meet him last year on her birthday. I regret that I didn't sit down and watch the DVD with Edith. She passed away shortly after Christmas. When I came upon this clip on youtube, I knew I had to share it with you. Edith was right, he does have a beautiful singing voice.

In case you don't have the time to watch the above video, here's David Archuleta singing Silent Night. It's absolutely spin-tingling.

I'm taking next week off from blogging. I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

For the Love of Christmas Trains

When I saw the new picturebook by President Thomas S. Monson, it brought back a ton of Christmas memories.

When I was a child, my father would put a train around the bottom of our Christmas tree. I remember watching it go around and around. My mother had a blue parakeet and that little bird loved hitching a ride on the train as it zoomed around. Sometimes the bird would get off in back of the tree and then hop on when the train came around again.

Many years later when we could afford it, my husband bought a train to put around our tree. We wanted our children to have the memory of a Christmas train.

Sorry the picture isn't very good, but the train was going fast. The thing is, Hubby and I had no idea what fun a Christmas train would be for our grandsons. They love it.

I snapped this picture yesterday as Jonathan watched the train. He eventually laid down on the carpet and watched it until he almost fell asleep. So cute!

 Oh, and about the picturebook . . . it's a keeper. The story is wonderful for young boys and learning the lesson of sharing and giving. It's a great Christmas gift.

Do you like trains around your Christmas tree?


Friday, December 14, 2012

Seven Miracles That Saved America (picturebook)

Walking through my friendly neighborhood book store, I was drawn to a new picturebook. This is not your ordinary picturebook. No. The story of this book was actually taken from the full-length nonfiction book by the same title but condensed for a picturebook.

This is very difficult to do. Believe me, I know. I've written several children's concept picturebooks and also biography books. To take big concepts and reduce them to a picturebook format takes time and patience. But done right, the rewards can be amazing as it is in this beautiful picturebook.

I've read a lot of Chris Stewart's novels and he never ceases to amaze me. I also read the other novel Chris wrote with his brother, Ted, titled Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World, which I highly recommend. So I had great expectations for this picturebook.

My expectations were met. Seven Miracles That Saved America will become a cherished family possession. The reader learns about amazing miracles that shaped America: discovering the new world, the courageous people of Jamestown, a summer fog, the constitution, Gettysburg, Midway, and how important a fraction of an inch was for President Reagan. You really need to read these stories for I certainly haven't done them justice in a few sentences.

The paintings in this book are breathtaking. Ben Sowards, the artist, said in his notes: "When I read Chris and Ted Stewart's passionate case for American exceptionalism in their original Seven Miracles That Saved America, I knew there needed to be a way to share that message of heritage, courage, and responsibility with my children. It is my hope that this adaptation will allow us to create a visual foundation for the many questions and conversation that will follow."

Sowards paintings delivered what was in his heart.

I highly recommend this book. It would make a wonderful Christmas gift, and believe me, it will become a family treasure.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

Yesterday, Jonathan and I made gingerbread men for Christmas.

We had so much fun!!!

Of course, Jon ate most of the decorations and licked the icing from the beaters, but that's what little boys are supposed to do, right?

Why did I make them so early? Time gets away from me this time of year, so I usually start making cookies early and freezing them until the big day.

Speaking of gingerbread . . . Saturday night Canyon Creek Care Center, which is where our branch resides, had a gingerbread house auction. I took a ton of pictures and thought I'd share them with you. If you're planning to make a gingerbread house for the holidays, one of these might inspire you.

There were many more than these, but the flash on my camera was acting up.

This almost inspired me to make one, but after the gingerbread men, I'm good.

Which house was your favorite?

Do you make a gingerbread house, gingerbread men, or both for the holidays? 

I think I'll go sneak a gingerbread man out of the freezer. ;)


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jumping for Joy!!!

So I'm jumping for joy.

My editor let me know that my publisher has accepted my next romantic suspense. Yipee!!!

 I'm always on pins and needles after I send a manuscript in. Oh, I keep busy working on other stories, but in the back of my mind I worry and wonder.

If all goes well Wanted, my new novel, is scheduled for release in September of 2013. Also the title may change, but the story will stay the same. I'll tell you more about the book as the release date nears, but for right now . . . I'm jumping for joy.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Count Your Blessings

With the so much going on for the holidays, deadlines to keep, shopping to do, and such, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed. I hate it when I feel this way.

Last night I received an email that made me upset. And it wasn't really that email that upset me, but an accumulation of all the little things that had been building up inside that finally had me saying, "Why am I doing this?"

Hubby sat down beside me and tried to make me feel better. As he spoke, I was reminded of a song in the movie, White Christmas. You know the one about counting your blessings instead of sheep. Believe it or not, counting your blessings not only helps you fall to sleep, but they also make you feel a lot better when you're feeling blue.

So my tip for today is count your blessings. You'll be surprised how many you really have and how fortunate you truly are.

What do you do when you're feeling down?

Okay, speaking of sheep I remembered something I saw on youtube years ago and thought you might get a kick out of it. If you're feeling blue this will make you smile.



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