Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! In honor of this beautiful day when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, I'd like to share a few of my favorite Christmas songs with you.

I hope you have a lovely day with your family. I hope you get exactly what you want under the tree. I hope if you want a white Christmas, it's white and if you don't, it's not. I hope you're surrounded by loved ones. I hope you're able to eat fantastic food.

But most of all, I hope you're able to take a few minutes to ponder what this day is really about. On a lonely night, in a manger that I'm sure smelled and sounded like animals, a young woman went through agony and gave birth to the greatest man that would ever live, the man who would teach us, love us, and save us.

Let's not forget Him this CHRISTmas.


Sweet Sixteen Savannah

"Sweet Sixteen" is a cute term that has rarely been more accurate than it is today. Sixteen years ago today, I became the mom to this beautiful, SWEET girl.

To mark this exciting occasion, here are sixteen fun facts about Savannah.

1. Savannah is the least judgmental person I know. She ALWAYS gives people the benefit of the doubt and treats everyone kindly.

2. Savannah has her own style. She prefers shopping at thrift stores so no one else will ever be wearing the same thing she is. I roll my eyes at some of the things she buys, but then she puts it all together and she always looks great.

3. Savannah is creative. Insanely creative. She remakes clothing items, draws, paints, does pottery and ceramics.

4. Savannah is talented. She has the voice of an angel and sounds like no one else, plays guitar, writes music and is learning banjo.

5. She loves sleep. When she was little and the other kids were begging to stay up late, Savannah would go to sleep. If she was tired, she'd go to bed. She's in heaven if she can take an afternoon nap.

6. She's a funny sleeper. If she falls asleep and needs moved to her bed, you can expect to be entertained. She's turned cartwheels, walked up to walls and put her hands and cheek against them as she fell back asleep. She mumbles all kinds of hilarious gibberish. It's actually kinda fun to disturb her sleep.

7. Savannah is un-opinionated to a fault. She's always willing to let others decide what we eat, what we watch, where we go. Sometimes we force her to express a choice, just so she can practice. Agreeable is good but I don't want her to be a doormat for someone.

8. It's no secret, but a big, glaring fact about Savannah is that she doesn't like school. Gutting out the next 2 1/2 years of high school will be for Savannah like getting a doctorate for some people. It isn't that she can't do it. She just loathes the whole process. Some people don't like school, but they go anyway because of the social aspect (friends, a good crush), but not Savannah. She'd gladly forego the social part of school if it meant no school at all.

9. Savannah is mostly little--small hands, small feet, little button nose, petite height. The only big things about her are her eyes, her smile, her hair and her heart.

10. Savannah's very selective about her crying. Rarely does she cry at a sad movie or hurt feelings. But she ALWAYS cries when she shares her testimony or she finds something funny. She laughs until she cries more than anyone I know. The only exception to this is that she cries during the Fleet Foxes music video when the deer dies.

11. Speaking of deer, Savannah loves animals. It used to be dogs. She was obsessed over dogs. Now it's all kinds of animals. She loves goats and lambs and Shetland ponies and pigs and cats. And yes, she still loves dogs. Someday she needs a small farm, preferably near the mountains so she could domesticate a deer.

12. Savannah loves children and elderly people. Her little cousins adore her. The resident's at our assisted living facility love her. She goes there almost every Saturday morning with her guitar and goes from room to room singing to the cute people, who know her by name.

13. Savannah loves good food, but isn't a fan of chocolate or ice cream. If I hadn't given birth to her, this alone would make me wonder if she was really mine.

14. Savannah loves the mountains. She loves to hike or go for drives into the mountains. It would be a challenge for her to live somewhere without them. Two things I hear regularly from her are, "Aren't the mountains glorious?" and "Just look how wonderful the mountains are."

15. Her best friend is her sister, Veronica. Very few things in life make me happier than this fact.

16. Savannah is beautiful. If you look at her, you know that. If you know her, you know it even more, because she's one of those people who is beautiful to look at, but as you get to know her, she just gets more and more beautiful.

Happy birthday, Sweet Sixteen Savannah. Our family is better because of you. I love you so much.

Cover Reveal and Giveaway -- Romance Through the Ages

Romance Through the Ages

Coming February 1, 2014
Romance through the Ages brings you SEVEN NOVELS from 7 bestselling authors (including New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestsellers). Join us for a fabulous collection.

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Running Barefoot by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Amy Harmon!— Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.

Masquerade by Janette Rallison, who has sold more than 1 million books!— It’s hard for a woman to keep up the masquerade when her boss is as handsome as Slade Jacobson and the job takes her to Hawaii with him. In between handling his whirlwind four-year-old daughter and dealing with a whole cast of Hollywood personalities, Clarissa has to keep a tight hold on her heart.

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson, Amazon Bestseller!—Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Shelter’s Bachelorette, Taycee Emerson is in for the ride of her life. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it’s up to the viewers—not her—to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks, Amazon Bestseller!— Breezy Jones is crazy about the weather, rain or shine, which makes her job as the local television station’s meteorologist perfect. That’s before she meets the attractive new general manager, Noah Drake, who is determined to repackage everything—including Breezy’s down-home delivery.

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White, Amazon Bestseller!— Lizzie falls hard for Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy character and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. When she meets two men, Chad—a science teacher, and Matt Dawson—who looks and acts like Mr. Darcy, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

She Owns the Knight by Diane Darcy, Amazon Bestseller!— Why does Gillian Corbett have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?… Why can’t Sir Kellen Marshall find a lady who is obedient, submissive… or at least not trying to kill him?

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore, Amazon Bestseller!— A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life. When Eliza discovers that Jonathan Porter’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.

Happy Birthday, Lori!

See that picture? That's my sister, Lori with her third daughter. Doesn't Lori take a beautiful picture? Let me tell you something about her. She's one of the most photogenic people I know. I've seen her after days (and nights) with sick kids, no sleep, too long without a shower and no makeup. But if someone pulls out a camera, the photograph looks pretty much super-modelish. It's one of the things about Lori that makes me a tad jealous.

There are other, even more important, things to admire about Lori. She falls squarely in the middle of our family of eleven and you know what they say about middle children. She's a peacemaker. She wants everyone to be happy and get along and she's always kind and helpful.

On Thanksgiving, as we went around the circle and said what we were thankful for, her husband described her best when he said (and I'm paraphrasing): With all the stresses I get to deal with in work and church and family, Lori is never one of the causes. Never.

Lori's an amazing wife, a great mother, and a wonderful sister and friend.

Happy birthday, Lori. I'm so grateful for you and I love you!

Happy Birthday, Bruce!

Bruce had been home almost a year which means he's celebrating his 22nd birthday.


You might see a young man who's focused and ambitious and smart. You might see a man who's handsome and loves to travel. You might see a man with good taste in music who loves to look at buildings. You might see a man with style and a good smile and varying degrees of facial hair. You might see a traveler who likes to see new things and is willing to try all kinds of unusual foods. You might see a leader, a friend, a teacher.

I see a baby with huge, dark eyes who loves to laugh. I see a little boy leaning over his baby sister's carseat, making her laugh when no one else can. I see a basketball player who wasn't the tallest or quickest on the floor but who had the kind of floor vision coaches dream of. I see a basketball player who considered the game a success if he'd been able to get the ball in everyone's hands and everyone had scored at least once. I see an oldest child who set an amazing example for his younger brother and sisters. I see a man who knows what he believes and speaks up. I see a man who's willing to make sacrifices to reach his goals.

I see my oldest son.

I love you, Bruce and I'm so grateful to be your mom.

Happy Birthday, Lisa!

Today is my second sister, Lisa's birthday.

Lisa is a pretty amazing person. She was blessed with a world-class voice. I know you always hear things like that and shows like American Idol and The Voice show families who think their singer is amazing when really, they're just okay or even kinda bad, but not Lisa. She has a gorgeous voice and could have performed on Broadway if that had been her goal. Instead, she sings to her children, sings in church and will eventually (I predict) sing in The Tabernacle Choir.

Lisa is quirky and creative and has decorated her home from second-hand stores and the classified ads and she puts it all together beautifully. She's always rearranging and tweaking things and she really has a good eye for design.

Her greatest accomplishment, however, is seven of the cutest kids you've ever seen. I mean, look at that family.

I'm blessed to be able to call Lisa not only my sister, but also my good friend. She's a beautiful, selfless person. Happy birthday, Lisa. I love you!