Share Your Love

This morning, my mother began taking down her Christmas decorations. As she frequently does this time of year, she replaced the decorations on her dining room table with the tablecloth that her mother-in-law made for her as a wedding present.

This tablecloth, with hours of love crocheted into every knot and loop, is one of my mother’s most prized possessions. She lost her mother-in-law less than ten years after she and my father wed, but Grandma Mac lives on every year when that tablecloth graces my parents’ table. For fifty-seven years, this tablecloth has been not only a beautiful reminder of my grandmother but a witness to baby showers and wedding plans and family dinners and all the sorrow and joy that comes from being part of a family.

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A Little Bit More

When I was a little girl, I loved all of the Christmas specials. It was a big deal in our family when they came on TV. We all gathered in our basement recroom, the popcorn popper whirring the kernels around in the melted butter, the scent filling the air, as we waited in anticipation of shows that could only be watched when they aired that one time each year. My favorites were always The Little Drummer Boy and The Year Without a Santa Claus. I loved the latter because it proved that nothing could stop Christmas from coming–not a blizzard, not a heatwave, not a feud between two warring brothers, not Santa being sick, or lack of belief in the world. Mrs. Claus was determined that Christmas would happen no matter what.

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A Lifetime of Blessings

Last night, we had the opportunity to have dinner with our now married daughter and her husband at their new home. This is Rebecca and Anthony’s first Christmas living together and the first time they decorated their own Christmas tree. I stood for several minutes and looked at the ornaments from their combined childhoods and thought about all the years we’ve collected ornaments for our girls. It felt odd to see Rebecca’s ornaments on a tree other than our family tree, but it was a beautiful, comforting feeling to know that a big part of her childhood hangs on the tree in her new home. We are still tethered together by tradition even when miles apart.

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Be Prepared

A tree beside our house was struck by lightning the other day. It was scary. The entire house shook from the sound akin to a sonic boom, and a red-orange light filled every room, like a giant fireball hurled through the windows. We knew lightning had struck nearby, but we didn’t know where. It was raining too hard to go outside and look around, and everything in the house seemed okay, so we surmised perhaps it wasn’t as close as we thought.

That evening, we all sat down together to watch a holiday special on TV, and we had no TV… The Tivo was working. It told us what channel was on and what program we should be seeing on the screen, but all we saw was a message that there was no signal. We checked the other televisions in the house and found that we had no stations on any of them. Ken went outside with a flashlight and found that the antenna was still there, so he checked the booster in the garage where the signal comes into the house. The booster was not working.

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Whatever You Do This Holiday Season

6 days!

There are just six days left until my online launch party!

I’m so excited! On Tuesday, December 1, I hope you will join me between 4:00 and 6:00PM Eastern Time on Facebook or YouTube. You will have the chance to order Desert Fire, Mountain Rain, book one of my new series which takes place in the Ozarks. You can watch me sign your book while I answer questions and talk to readers who leave comments. It’s going to be so much fun!

I don’t know about you, but I really feel like I need something to look forward to this week, and what better thing to get excited about than a new book series? Seriously, winter is coming, fireplaces are ablaze, and those fuzzy blankets are being put to good use. This one is a gift I received last Christmas from one of my best friends, and I look forward to cuddling up with it every night! I love to cover myself with a warm blanket and lose myself in a good story. Can’t you just hear those book characters calling you?

You know what else I look forward to?

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Groundhog Day in November

Before I get to my blog…

I have an update on my live streaming event on On December 1. Because I’ve had so many readers reach out to me who do not have Facebook, I will be hosting my Launch Party on both Facebook AND YouTube! Tune in live to get your signed copy of the first book in my new series which takes place in the Ozarks! Join me from 4:00-6:00PM Eastern Time on either YouTube or Facebook Live. I’ll have copies of my new book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain, on hand for you to purchase via a special link, and you can watch me sign your book while I answer questions and talk to readers. Leave a comment with a question, and I will answer it live during the launch. Keep checking my website and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), for more information about the launch and the series. 

Do you remember the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day? Of course you do. It’s the one where Bill’s curmudgeonly character has to relive the same day over and over until he gets it right. Do you feel like we’ve all been sucked into the vortex of the never-ending story? That this pandemic just keep playing on a loop over and over again?

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Yet Eternal

As is typically the case here in Maryland, we went from sunny, balmy days, to breezy days and cold nights in the blink of an eye. One day, it was eighty-five degrees, and the next, it was fifty! Fall is certainly here, and according to the national weather map, that’s the case across the country. Along with pumpkin spice lattes and the sudden appearance of corn mazes and apple cider ice cream, we’re turning our focus to warm fires, cozy sweaters, and fast approaching holidays.

The leaves are beginning to change, and the days are growing shorter and shorter with less daylight in each twenty-four period. My evening walks are now late afternoon walks, and we’re turning in earlier than we were just a couple weeks ago.

I like to think of fall as the time of year when we recharge. It’s the chance to snuggle under a blanket, sip from a big mug of hot chocolate, and take Sunday afternoon naps. There seems to be a kind of lull between the busyness of the summer and the rush of the holidays where we can just take a deep breath and gaze at the world around us.

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Nine Days of Prayer = A Lifetime of Happiness

Here we are, four days post-wedding, and I’m feeling that letdown that happens after months of frantic activity. Since the first of July, I have followed a strict daily list – adding, rearranging, and checking things off each day. Now, I’m not sure what I should be doing with my days! Fortunately, I already have a bit of an outline (in my head, of course) for my next book, and the manuscript is formatted and ready for me to begin weaving my tale. Once my house is finally put back together and all loose ends are tied up, I will be back at my desk for eight to ten hours each day. I will still have my checklists, but they won’t be hyper-focused on wedding planning! One thing I know I will still follow from those many checklists is saying a daily novena. I’ve never been a novena person. My grandmother used to say them all the time, but I just never thought about adding one to my morning prayer time.

For those who are not familiar with the novena, it is an ancient tradition in which devotional praying is repeated every day for nine days (hence, the “nov” part). Tradition holds that the first novena was said between the Feast of the Ascension and Pentecost when the disciples gathered for nine days in the Upper Room and prayed before being sent into the world by the Holy Spirit. Most often, novenas are prayed to ask for the intercession of saints on behalf the person praying or persons being prayed for. Many Christian religions use novenas in prayer.

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That’s How it Should Be

Ken and I started our week by attending the very low-key funeral of a dear friend from our church. As I stood in the pew watching the priests process to the altar, it occurred to me that we are beginning the week with a funeral and ending it with a wedding. I thought to myself, how appropriate.

Though many see death as the ultimate ending, we Catholics see things differently. We celebrate funerals. We don’t have them. We don’t host them. We don’t do them. We celebrate them. A funeral is a celebration, not of one’s life (though we certainly do that, too), but of one’s passing on to the next life. Death is not seen an end but a new beginning. Jesus told us,  “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (Jn 14:2-3).

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I Surrender

Our daughter’s wedding is less than two weeks away, ten days to be exact! To say that planning a wedding during COVID is stressful doesn’t begin to come close to what it’s actually like. It seems like there’s a new snag to deal with every day. However, our family has come to realize that for every bad thing that comes up, something good outweighs and outshines it. And each time I become frustrated and want to scream, Ken reminds me that Rebecca’s wedding day will be a beautiful celebration of love no matter what.

No matter what.

That’s a phrase I keep repeating to myself. No matter what we face, no matter what obstacles or stumbling blocks we hurdle, no matter who is there or not there, our daughter and the love of her life are getting married in a union blessed by God. And that’s really all that counts, isn’t it? They are being married, and God is involved. All of these snags, all of these inconveniences, all of these worries and fears, perhaps they are God’s way of reminding me to stop trying to be in control, that He is involved, that He has this under control, that all I need is to surrender to Him.

I need to surrender and to remember that from the day they met, God has been involved.

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