Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Radio - ACTIVE!

The New Year opens up a brand new avenue for Marji Laine Clubine, the executive director of Write Integrity Press. She is the new host of the radio program, "Down Publishing Laine," which has its first episode at 7PM Central January 3, 2017.

Author Shirley Crowder will join her on her first show. Shirley will be discussing her latest release, PRAYER STUDY GUIDE, that is the companion to PRAYER: IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU by Harriet E. Michael.

So where are you on your writing journey? Do you have a question for a publisher? Need clues in how to proceed with your dreams of being an author or novelist? Be part of Marji Laine's first audience on the chat line or leave a question in the comment section!

Or you can listen live and chat your questions to Marji Laine at 7PM Central at THIS LINK.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

This Season by Elizabeth Noyes

A great deal of prose has been written about the four seasons, but I recently experienced my own epiphany. It came to me while touring the north Georgia mountains by bus, a day trip I took with the Senior Adults of our church on the last day of October. The sole purpose—to revel in the changing colors of the glorious fall foliage. (Oh, and buy apples.)

I’ll admit my expectations weren’t high given the long drought this year and the unseasonably warm temperatures. It’s not Vermont or Maine, after all. Despite my reservations, I set out with every intention of enjoying our time together.

The day dawned with a crispness that encouraged a light jacket, and a brightness that made me squint behind dark sunglasses. A few puffy, white clouds paraded across a sky of Robin’s Egg blue. And then we reached the foothills.

Stunning! Magnificent! Spectacular! Words are not sufficient to describe the beauty set before us, and this only a tiny sample of God’s artistic genius. We traveled along winding roads and hairpin turns, up inclines that made the bus’s engine growl, and slow descents into pastoral valleys where each turn brought new marvels. The colors boggled my imagination. Hunter Green, Fiery Orange, Blazing Red, and all those delicate, in-between shades that beg for exotic names like crimson, ocher, cerise, chartreuse, terra cotta, burnt sienna, primrose, vermillion. And when the sun set them ablaze like a hint of God’s Shekinah glory.

“Ooh” and “Ahh” became the watchwords of the day. At one point, I feared for the safety of my fellow passengers as everyone clambered from side-to-side, eager to snap yet another remarkable picture, all while the bus driver wound his way through the twisty curves.
Somewhere in the middle of all this grandeur, a profound thought took root in my mind. Autumn is the season when life wanes and death draws near … and here we sat celebrating the life and death of a dying thing.

Mankind is also a dying thing.

Instead of joy, we experience sadness when a loved one leaves this world ahead of us, but grief is a selfish emotion, one focused on the survivor.

Christians mourn and feel the same loss, but with one difference. We can rejoice over a fellow believer’s homegoing. We can celebrate his life because of the promise and hope of our faith. For Christians, winter is not the end, but a new beginning, a new spring, a new life. Eternity realized.

The Christmas holiday falls in the dead of winter, a time we remember that God sent His Only Son to us as a baby, a boy child who would save a dark world. Jesus is the reason for our hope. He is the promise of Christmas.

Elizabeth also shared a recipe for PRALINES! Whether you call them Pray-leens or Prah-leens, these are bound to be delicious!


Learn more about Elizabeth Noyes
and her books at her author page
on the Write Integrity Press site.

1½ c. Granulated sugar
¾ c. Light brown sugar (packed)
½ c. + 2 T. Half & Half cream
½ stick Butter
1½ c. Pecans
1 t. Vanilla


· Assemble all ingredients and necessary items before you start.
· Cover a cutting board or cookie sheet with waxed paper. (Mixture will be hot and could damage a table or countertop. The heat will melt the wax from the paper onto the surface.)
· Combine all ingredients except the pecans and vanilla in a heavy saucepan. Mixture will be thick.
· Stir until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to a low boil. Stir occasionally and sparingly, spooning any undissolved sugar up the sides of the pan to melt.
· Cook until the mixture reaches the softball stage, or 239° using a candy thermometer.
· Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and the pecans, and continue a slow stir until the mixture begins to thicken and becomes creamy and cloudy. Drop by spoonfuls onto the waxed paper to harden.
· If the candy begins to harden too fast while you drop it, stir in 1-2 T. of warm water to thin the mixture. Don’t add too much; just enough to allow the mixture to settle into a “puddle.”
· When cooked to the correct temperature, the mixture will harden with minutes. If cooked too long, the dropped spoonful will remain sticky and never firm up. (Pralines should be firm, yet creamy.)
· Pralines should be eaten right away, but can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of days.

May your Christmas be one filled with hope and expectation for the future the Lord holds for you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cynthia Toney is CHOSEN!

Yesterday, Kirkus Review Magazine (www.KirkusReviews.com) chose  a review on 10 STEPS TO GIRLFRIEND STATUS, by Cynthia Toney, as one of it's top reviews for this month and included it in their magazine! So cool!

Here's her article. We're so excited for Cynthia! AND for the latest book in this series: 6 DATES TO DISASTER!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winner and Special Discount

The winner of our 12 Books of Christmas is ... Lucy Reynolds!

Yea! Congratulations!

But the rest of you can take advantage of our Turquoise Tuesday! Today Only!

You can purchase these 10 books for only 99¢ each!

Monday, December 12, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: THE EXPECTANT FUTURE CHRISTMAS by Sheryl Holmes

There are just some questions that are too big to answer.  Every year at least one of my nine children asks me,
“What do you want for Christmas, Mom?”

Inevitably, I sigh, and deflect, and say,
“Well that’s something for me to think about….”

I never really give an answer to that question…except once – a few years ago, I said:
“Peace. I want Peace for Christmas.”

That year, I got a decorative pillow with the words P. E. A. C. E. embroidered on it.

Every year, I contemplate what I should say – how much do I tell? I know the kids want a tangible answer like, a new pair of slippers, or lipstick, or bottle of lotion…something easy to search for and obtain at the local mall.  Yet, what I really want can’t be found at Target.

Even to this day, I have never given voice to the words that express my deepest desire.

I do believe it is what every Jesus-loving mother wants in her heart of hearts. The desire that God places in a mamma’s heart the moment He begins to knit inside her womb.  The desire that grows stronger and more intense as the years go by and the child grows taller.

Dare I whisper it?
Child, it is love.
Child, it is salvation.
This is what I want for Christmas.
I want it for you.
There is nothing I want more than for my child to know he is loved, by me, by his father, and even more so, by the Father.

I don’t desire to get anything for Christmas 
except to know,
you, my child, know you are loved by the Author of life.
I want you, my child, to take that gift of salvation 
that was born to us all on that first Christmas.

Is this not exactly what God wants for each of us?

Is this not why He gave us Jesus in the manger?

Ask me again this year, my child.  Ask me:
“What do you want for Christmas, Mom?” 

I think, this year, I will not sigh.  I will not deflect.  I will speak an answer definitively louder than a whisper.
“Child, I want you to know you are deeply loved.”

Until you ask me, I am praying, expectantly.

IN hope, I wait.

About the Author:

Sheryl Holmes, a daughter of the King, enjoys a loving marriage with her husband of twenty-six years. She is a devoted mother of nine, currently home educating five of her children. You can learn more about Sheryl and her book, TOWDAH, at her author page on our Write Integrity Website. And below, you can enjoy her recipe for her mother-in-law's special cookies.

Grandma's Christmas Cookies:

In love, my mother in-law made these every year for Christmas. When she passed away, I continued, in love, to make these for my husband and my children every year since.  It’s the only cookie they care about having; it’s just not Christmas without them!

This cookie bar is made in three layers:

1st layer - beat ½ cup of better, 1 egg yolk, 2 TBS of water together.  Add in 1 ¼ cup of flour, 1 tsp. of sugar, and 1 tsp. of baking powder.  Press into a 13x9 inch greased pan & bake at 350 degrees for 10 minute.

2nd layer - sprinkle 1 bag of mini chocolate chips onto the hot crusty bottom layer and return it to the oven for 1 minute. Take it out of the oven and smooth the chocolate out with a frosting spreader knife.

3rd layer – beat 2 eggs, ¾ of a cup of sugar together and add in 6 TBS of melted butter, 2 tsp. of vanilla, and 2 cups of finely chopped walnuts and mix til smooth and creamy.  Pour onto the chocolate layer (optional: sprinkle with colored sugar) and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool, and cut into squares using a plastic knife.

12 Books of Christmas:

You can win a copy of Sheryl's book, TOWDAH, along with 11 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) Here's a question you can answer: What is some special or traditional that you or one of your family members share each year?

Oh, and don't forget that tomorrow this book along with 9 others will be available for 99¢. So if you don't win the contest and get them all for free, you can still enjoy some Christmas reading at deep discounts! But the price is only good tomorrow, December 13, for our Turquoise Tuesday sale!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: Two Collaborations

Not only will one of our readers (US residents only) receive 10 paperback books of some of the best of Write Integrity Press, but we'll be giving away our two Christmas e-books as well!

THE CHRISTMAS TREE TREASURE HUNT, a novella that was team-written by nine of our authors, is an Amazon best-seller that catapulted all of the authors onto the top 100 list for eight days.

Here's the Amazon short version:

Grace takes delivery of a package and her life is turned upside down by nine sealed mystery envelopes from her late grandmother. Grammie’s instructions require Grace to take the journey of her lifetime, not only to far off places, but also into the deepest parts of her heart. As she follows the trail laid out for her and uncovers her family’s darkest secrets, Grace is forced to confront the loss and betrayal that has scarred her past and seek the greatest Christmas Treasure of all.

A RUBY CHRISTMAS was a follow-up collaboration put together by another nine authors. This book is extra special this year because it will be permanently retired in January. Get it while you have the chance!

Here's the Amazon short version:

Ruby Joy Buckner, cowgirl, has never left the Lone Star State, but at her father’s request, she takes her faithful canine companion and travels the world in search of Nativity pieces. As Ruby collects the pieces, she also collects a few unexpected surprises, including an awareness of the beauty in other cultures, and quite a menagerie of new friends, thanks in part to Yippee Ti Yi Yo who charms everyone they meet.

Ruby’s budding awareness of life outside Texas opens her eyes to a world of whimsy, and the Nativity pieces she collects are unusual. Will her father approve her eclectic collection … and the changes that travel brought to Ruby’s world?

12 Days of Christmas:

You can win an e-copy of both of these books along with the 10 print books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) And while you're commenting, tell us what you look forward to most at Christmas.

Oh and one more thing! When the winner is picked on Tuesday, December 13, if you didn't win, don't worry! You've got a special coming your way - All of the books we are giving away (that are currently available) will be only 99¢. It's our Turquoise Tuesday special! But be ready for the special because all the books will only be at 99¢ for only the one day!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: CHRISTMAS MEMORIES by Fay Lamb

My children were very young when my husband and I bought our first house in our hometown. The Christmas Eve before we purchased the home, we drove through the neighborhood known for its Christmas Eve luminaries and the all-out decorations. Our boys had many friends who lived there, and as we drove through the streets and marveled at the ingenuity of the lighted spectacles, we spoke aloud our dreams of someday living there.

Our miracle on Ayshire Drive happened in June of the next year and not on Christmas Day.  My aunt, our realtor, showed us a nice little house sitting on the street facing a cul-de-sac. We toured the place. I fell in love with it, and my heart sank. The homes were just too far out of our reach. That’s when my aunt smiled and announced that the home was an assumable mortgage without qualification … and the seller was motivated.

My husband surprised me by placing an offer on the home, and the next Christmas Eve and for seventeen Christmas Eves thereafter, we lived on Ayshire Drive; we purchased our luminaries from the homeowners’ association in October; we went to the sand pile on Christmas Eve morning (read: sneaked onto a sandpit of the neighborhood golf course where folks would be hidden, their heads bopping up to look around to make sure the groundskeeper wasn’t scurrying toward us in his cart to chase us away), and we sifted sand into bag after bag for luminaries that would line our driveway and front yards. Neighbors would get an extra set of bags and candles to help out neighbors who planned to travel for the holidays.

On Christmas Eve, our family would sit outside, sometimes bundled heavily against the sixty-degree weather freezing our thin skins, sometimes in shorts and still sweating (this is Central Florida after all), and waving and calling out “Merry Christmas” while cars drove slowly by with their lights out and Christmas music blaring.

Later, when the traffic slowed, my husband and I would walk arm in arm through the neighborhood, the memories of each Christmas Eve stoking the warming fire that blazed in my heart. We live in a different neighborhood now, but not a Christmas Eve goes by that I struggle with the urge to drive to the north end of town from where we now live. Even now, tears fill my eyes because I miss that place as if it were an old friend I’d moved away from so long ago.  Yet, I know that God blessed our family with those many Christmases together. Time moves on and the memories of my boy’s laughter during the season only grow sweeter with each passing Christmas.

About the Author:

Fay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. For more information about Fay and her books, check out her author page on the Write Integrity Press website.

Before you go, you have to read through Fay's Three-Layer Brownie recipe. This dessert sounds decadent. Drool away!

Recipe: Three Layer Brownies:

First Layer Ingredients:
For First Layer (Brownies):
2 cups sugar
1  ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup baking cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

First Layer Instructions:
In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients; add oil, eggs, and vanilla; beat at medium speed for three minutes; Pour into a greased 13”x9”x2” baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes or until brownies are done. Cool completely (very important).

Second Layer Ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

Second Layer Instructions:
Cream butter and sugars in a bowl; add milk and vanilla; mix well. Slowly beat in flour. Spread over COOLED brownies.

Third Layer Ingredients:
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening
¾ cup walnuts (for what I consider a fourth layer and highly optional)

Melt chocolate chips and shortening either in microwave or on low on stovetop (preferably stovetop); stir until smooth; spread over second layer.
Optional: sprinkle nuts over glaze immediately.

Also very important: Let the glaze set before serving.

12 Books of Christmas: 

You can win a copy of the first book of Fay's Amazing Grace Suspense series, STALKING WILLOW, along with 11 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) Here's a question you can answer: Family is so special at Christmas. What is one of your favorite family traditions?

Friday, December 9, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: THE MOST SPECTACULAR TREE by Shirley Crowder

Each Christmas as I unwrap the ornaments and decorations, years of memories flood my mind. I remember countless family and friends with whom I have shared Christmas—in Nigeria, West Africa, and in the States.

When it is time to decorate, I lay out all the ornaments in color groups so I can see each one. Next I put the lights on the tree (even though the tree I have now is pre-lit, I add a bunch of colored lights).

Then I begin the several night process of putting the ornaments on the tree in the way that my big brother Tim taught me. Admittedly there are times since his death that I have fussed at him as I decorated my tree. The reason I fuss is because it wasn’t enough for Tim that I have a few lights and a few ornaments on my tree, HIS little sister had to have the most spectacular tree of all!

So, a tree must be decorated so that from whatever angle or height you look you see ornaments. Seeing all the way through to the trunk is a huge no-no! As you can imagine it takes a lot of ornaments of all kinds: fancy, handmade, expensive, cheap, old, new, pretty, not so pretty, big, little—you name it!! A tree just looks skimpy if I don’t decorate it the way big brother taught me!

After putting the last (well, maybe the last) ornament on the tree, I sit down and soak up the beauty of the lights and the ornaments while one of my favorite Christmas music boxes plays “Joy to the World.”

I reflect upon my life, God’s grace and mercy to me, and how the Lord has blessed me throughout the years. I think of the tree as representing my life. The white lights represent The Light of the World (Jesus) Who came to this earth to redeem me. The colored lights represent all the experiences that have given depth and meaning to my life, some bright and cheerful, others darker and more somber. The ornaments represent the many different family and friends who have added color and dimension to my life through shared worship, laughter, fun, sorrow, encouragement and comfort.

I thank the Lord for the rich blessings of family and friends!! And I am thankful for my family and friends, and for the wonderful ways each one has enriched my life!!

About the Author:

Born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries, Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is conducted in and through myriad ministry opportunities. She is a biblical counselor and co-host of "Think on These Things" a Birmingham, Alabama, radio/TV program for women. Shirley is commissioned by and serves on the national Advisory Team for, The Addiction Connection. You can learn more about Shirley at her author page on our Write Integrity website

And before you go, enjoy Shirley's favorite recipe for an easy version of fudge!

Recipe for Jeannie’s Microwave Fudge:

3 cups of Chocolate chips
1 can (14oz) of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
4 TBS butter (at room temperature)
1 TSP vanilla extract
¼ TSP salt
8x8 pan, line with aluminum foil, spray foil with Pam.

Put chocolate chips, condensed milk and butter in microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute (note: if butter is very cold you may need to cook an additional 30 seconds. DO NOT OVERCOOK.) Mix all ingredients until well blended. Add vanilla & salt. Continue stirring until thoroughly mixed. Pour into pan and refrigerate uncovered for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares or triangles.

Best served room temperature.

12 Books of Christmas: 

Shirley's written a companion Bible study guide for our yesterday's book, PRAYER: IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU by Harriet Michael. Available in early January, you can win your own copy of both books, along with 10 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) Here's a question you can answer: Do you have ornaments that, even though they aren't the best or nicest, you just can't release?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: A CURRY CHRISTMAS by Harriet E. Michael

Christmases of my childhood felt more summertime, or maybe spring, actually. The days were hot but the nights and early mornings could sometimes be chilly enough for sweaters. I was reared in West Africa and Christmas there falls right in the middle of the dry season, in a special part of it called, Harmattan, when the dusty winds from the Sahara Desert blow south. The world around me was dry and dusty. My missionary father always said he liked that Christmas came in the middle of Harmattan, because in some ways it felt fitting to him.

The Christmases of his childhood were spent in America where the world around him was stark and cold. Against these two backdrops—one stark and cold, the other dry and dusty, Christians celebrate the birth of their Savior with brightly lit trees, colored packages, singing, and rejoicing.

One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions was enjoying a meal of curried chicken. This tradition started in Africa where beef was scarce but chicken abundant. It was such a strong tradition among the missionaries that to this day many of my missionary kid peers still serve it at our Christmas or Thanksgiving family get-togethers.

About the Author:

Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet E. Michael is a writer, gardener, wife of over 35 years, mother of four, and grandmother of one.
She holds a BS in nursing from West Virginia University but has discovered her passion for writing. Since her first published article in 2010, she now has over a hundred and fifty published articles and devotions.

You can learn more about Harriet on her author page at the Write Integrity Press website: www.WriteIntegrity.com

Curry Recipe: 
(for 6 people)

Boil 3-4 chicken breasts in 8 cups of water along with 1-2 tsp curry powder, ½ tsp thyme, ¼ cup dried onions (onion flakes), and salt & pepper to taste.

Boil until chicken is very tender. Take chicken out and either cut it into bit size pieces or shred it. (Do not discard the water!)

Put chicken pieces back in the pot. Add a flour/cold water mixture that has been thoroughly whisked together. (This is to thicken the water. I got the recipe from my mother and she did not give specific amounts for this water/ flour mixture.)

Bring back to a boil and add 2 chicken bouillon cubes. May need to add water to keep the soupy sauce to about 8 cups.

Serve over rice with additional foods on top including: chopped fresh onion, chopped celery, chopped tomatoes, chopped up hard-boiled eggs, peanuts, friend okra, chopped oranges, grapefruit, fresh pineapple, and coconut.

We place all these other food options in small dishes and people can choose what they like for on top of their curry and rice. Though it may seem hard to believe, the combined tastes of these various foods is amazing!

12 Books of Christmas:

You can win a copy of Harriet's Bible Study, PRAYER: IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU, as part of our 12 Books of Christmas contest. Leave a comment below with your email address (US residents only). Your email address will also be added to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While you're commenting, share a memory of a unique food that graces your Christmas dinner.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: CHRISTMAS MEMORIES by Elizabeth Noyes

Elizabeth Noyes writes suspense
and romance in her Cameron series.
Learn more about her at her author
page on the Write Integrity Press site.
Christmas has always been a special time for me.  As a child, my Daddy would read the Christmas Story from the Bible to us on the night before Christmas. He had a strong voice that grew deeper as he read. It filled with reverence as he made the story come to life for us. My sister, brother, and I would crowd around him, spellbound. It didn’t matter that we heard it year after year.

Afterward, Mama would make ‘real’ hot cocoa with marshmallows, and then we’d gather around the tree to open all the wrapped presents we gave each other.  That’s because Santa left his presents on Christmas morning. He didn’t wrap them, either because he had to visit every child in the world and wrapping paper took too long.

Despite my suspicions and lots of heckling from my brother, sister, and friends, I held onto the myth of Santa long beyond the normal age. My parents, bless their hearts, never once let on that he wasn’t real. They let me come to that conclusion on my own. It was a slow process for me. There was no conscious one day it’s fantasy and then the light bulb came on. No abrupt understanding, only a sad acceptance and a loss of wonderment.

Fast forward to my young adult years and I met the love of my life. Some might think it serendipity, happenstance, or chance. Others might call it fate, but as I look back I know it was God working in our lives. All the twists and turns that led to our unexpected meeting went way beyond possibility, one of those ‘you can’t make this stuff up’ kind of circumstances.

We got married, roamed the world, had kids, and started our own traditions. We collected ornaments and decorations from all the places we visited, and kept every tiny decoration our kids made when they were little. And every year, our tree grows more meaningful. There’s a Rudolph peanut with googly eyes from our little girl in first grade, a hand-painted ornament a Korean artist made for us, a clothespin nutcracker soldier our son made in third grade, a brötchen (hard roll) that a German friend decorated and varnished (40+ years we still have it!) … and the list goes on.

We still travel and collect ornaments, and now we save those treasures our grandchildren make. You see, ours is not just a Christmas Tree – it’s a Memory Tree.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Noyes—professional writer, aspiring author, dedicated dreamer—lives in the suburbs of Atlanta with her husband and best friend, Paul, who listens tirelessly while she regales him with all the tales in her head of damaged, but very human characters clamoring to be heard.

You can learn more about Elizabeth and all of her books at her author page on the Write Integrity Press website: www.WriteIntegrity.com

Mama’s Old Fashioned Homemade Hot Cocoa:
(with marshmallows!)

¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
½ c. Granulated Sugar
½ c. Hot Water
¼ t. Salt
3 c. Whole Milk
1 c. Heavy Cream
1 t. Vanilla Extract
Marshmallows (we like the big ones!)

1. Mix milk and cream together and set aside.
2. Combine the cocoa, sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil, and heat/stir for 1 minute.
3. Reduce heat and add the milk and cream mixture slowly, still stirring constantly. Heat, but do not boil.
4. Remove from the heat and add vanilla. Stir well. 
5. Serve immediately, topped with marshmallows.

12 Books of Christmas: 

You can win a copy of the first book of Elizabeth's Cameron series, IMPERFECT WINGS, as part of our 12 Books of Christmas contest. Leave a comment below with your email address (US residents only). Your email address will also be added to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While you're commenting, share a memory of a handmade decoration!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Special News Bulletin!

We interrupt this program for a special alert ... We realize that readers are poised for another Christmas memory article from one of our outstanding authors. They will resume tomorrow, although any comments left today will also go toward entry for our contest! So leave some love!

Today is the release day of


Cynthia Toney's first two books of the Bird Face series have earned high praise such as:

… most emotionally moving … it's never easy to see someone you love lose their grip on life. Cynthia Toney does a lovely job handling this difficult topic [in 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status].”
 ~A.J. Cattapan, author of Angelhood and Seven Riddles to Nowhere

Cynthia T. Toney’s Bird Face series captures the young teenage years well. Toney weaves serious issues in with humor, mystery, and interesting storylines, making these books hard to put down. The challenges and surprises faced by the characters, especially Wendy Robichaud, help them grow and also bring to light issues relevant to today’s teens.
~Theresa Linden, author of Battle for His Soul, Life-Changing Love, and Roland West, Loner.

Book Three follows right along with the first two, giving insight into a teens life with both poignancy and humor. 

Here is the Amazon link.

Enjoy the first scene: 

People will hide just about anything inside a jewelry box—especially a secret.
As a kid, I tried saving a hard-boiled Easter egg in mine. But during a warm Louisiana spring, it doesn’t take long for that secret to get out.
Two hours on a Saturday afternoon at the biggest flea market in the parish, and I hadn’t found a single jewelry box.
My stepsister, Alice, and I hoofed from table to table, covering territory as quickly as possible. Wearing shorts … in February.
If it hadn’t been for the merchants’ canopies, we would’ve sunburned. A little more air between my body and the one standing next to me would’ve been nice, but the place was too crowded with shoppers.
“How adorable!” A lady at the next booth squealed over a wooden Easter bunny yard ornament that could be personalized with her child’s name.
I crossed my eyes. Even as a six-year-old, I wouldn’t have wanted anything in front of my house to read “Wendy.”
Enough distractions. Back to the day’s goal. Finding a jewelry box for Mom among thousands of items scattered across a hundred folding tables might be harder than I thought.
“There’s too much junk in this flea market.” I rolled my shoulders and sighed.
The booth owner stared daggers at me.
“Haven’t you spent enough time looking? Why don’t you just buy her a new one?” Alice flicked perspiration from above her lip with a fingertip. Her strawberry-blonde hair had begun to frizz, and she lifted it off her neck, fanning it behind her.
I shook my head, ponytail slapping my jaw. “Anyone can go to a store and do that. It’ll mean more to Mom if the jewelry box has history—or at least some character. I know the right one is here somewhere.”
Alice shrugged. “You should know. She’s been your mom longer than she’s been mine.” She picked up a dingy-white crocheted vest and held it against her front.
Mom and Papa D—short for Daniel—had been married almost six months. In the four months between the end of eighth grade and my first semester at LeMoyne High School, Alice had gone from being a classmate I hardly knew to being both my running buddy and my sister. We suffered through our share of quarrels, but living with each other had become easier since Christmas. And it was nice having a sister to go with me on errands. If only she would focus.
Alice sniffed the vest under the armholes. She slid her hands through the openings and shrugged the vest onto her shoulders.
My gaze traveled two booths down toward a collection of antique-looking tabletop accessories. “I’ll be over there.” I pointed.
“I’m coming.” Alice slipped out of the garment and followed me.
Rusted and tarnished items cluttered the table. A pair of wrought-iron candlesticks towered above the rest of the display.
I gasped. Beneath the candlesticks sat a large mahogany box almost the same color as our hair—Mom’s and mine.
Hands shaking, I moved the candlesticks aside and lifted the box. It contained three drawers with brass pulls. The sides and hinged top showed only a few scratches. I set the box back down and opened one of the drawers.
“See?” I whispered as though in the presence of a holy relic. “This is what I’m talking about.” I glanced at Alice to make sure she was paying attention. “Made of solid wood with red velvet inside. You can even see impressions in the velvet where bangle bracelets were stored. This is all real.”
Alice rolled her blue eyes but grinned.
“It’s the right size, too—much bigger than her old one. It should hold all her jewelry and Grand-mère Robichaud’s antique pieces. She won’t need those cardboard boxes anymore. She’ll love it.”
“Then let’s get it.” Alice reached inside her pocket for some money, which she’d never lacked since I’d known her. As part of the Rend family, Mom and I were still getting used to having extra money for luxury items.
Alice and I split the cost fifty-fifty, and I bagged the box. I’d never spent that much on a gift before, but Mom was worth it.
Alice phoned Papa D that we’d meet him and my little stepbrother, Adam, at the car. They’d found gifts for Mom, too.
This was going to be her best birthday ever.

12 Books of Christmas: 

The first book in Cynthia's Bird Face series, 8 NOTES TO A NOBODY, is part of our 12 Books of Christmas contest. Leave a comment below with your email address (US residents only). Your email address will also be added to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While you're commenting, share your favorite book from your high school years.

Monday, December 5, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: REVISING CHRISTMAS EXPECTATIONS by Marie Wells Coutu

Marie Wells Coutu's Mended Vessels series
brings biblical stories into a contemporary
setting. Look for her newest, A SECRET HEART,
coming in February, and learn more about
Marie at her author page at WriteIntegrity.com
Christmas traditions when you’re growing up aren’t always what you end up with as a grown-up. And your own traditions change as your own children grow up and move out.

In our early marriage, some years we spent the Christmas holiday with one or the other family, but most years, we didn’t have enough time off from work to travel, so we developed our own tradition. We would read the Christmas story, open presents, have a small dinner, and read or play card games the rest of the day (we didn’t even own a television back then).

When we had children, of course, that changed somewhat. Opening gifts became a bigger deal, and playing with them and their new toys consumed more of the day. In the days leading up to Christmas, we spent a lot of time decorating the house—inside and out. My husband often played Santa Claus for various events. And every few years, we managed a trip to the grandparents for the holiday—which changed everything. More people, more food, more gifts, and more celebration.

Now our traditions have changed once again. A few years ago, with both children married and living a thousand miles away, getting together became more challenging. My son’s job kept him extremely busy during Christmas, and we began a custom of getting together at Thanksgiving and exchanging Christmas presents early. We still had a large tree, but when the kids weren’t coming to our house, the decorations became simpler.

Circumstances have changed again. We live only about four hours from each of our kids, but we have no desire to stay in snowy Iowa or Minnesota until the end of December. So even though job situations are different now, we continue our celebration at Thanksgiving, then my husband and I make like snowbirds and head south.

Again, our actual Christmas Day is observed with just the two of us. Because we celebrate in two different locations, we’ve become minimalist in our approach to decorating for Christmas. We attend the Christmas Eve service at our church, and go to a potluck dinner with other snowbirds. We’ve heard of some families who take a tiny tree to the beach to open their presents. But we’ll probably continue to spend Christmas morning with just the two of us, reading the Christmas story, opening a couple of presents that we’ve saved for that day, and feeling blessed to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Because, no matter what the tradition or what the day’s activities, we don’t want to forget the reason we celebrate.

About the Author:

Marie Wells Coutu claims she has been writing all her life. Through story, she hopes to inspire women to find God's purpose for their lives regardless of where they've been or what they've done.

A writer and editor for newspapers, magazines, nonfiction books, and government agencies, she has edited devotionals and other books published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Learn more about Marie and all of her books at her author page on the Write Integrity Press website: www.WriteIntegrity.com.

White Fruit Cake:
(makes 2 small loaf cakes)

Lots of people joke about fruit cake at Christmas, but this recipe is soft and tasty. My mother always made several to give away and my husband loves it.
FOR SUCH A MOMENT is the first
book in Marie's Mended Vessels series
and is available in print and e-book at

2 sticks butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 oz. lemon extract
2 c. flour
¼ t. salt
½ t. baking powder
½ lb. candied cherries
½ lb. candied pineapple
½ lb. pecans

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Chop up fruit. Cream butter and sugar well in separate bowl. Add eggs one at a time to butter and sugar. Beat well after adding each egg. Add other ingredients in order given. Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake very slowly at about 250 degrees for 2 hours or more, until toothpick in center comes out clean.

12 Books of Christmas: 

You can win a copy of Marie's book, FOR SUCH A MOMENT, as part of our 12 Books of Christmas contest. Leave a comment below with your email address (US residents only). Your email address will also be added to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While you're commenting, share your favorite holiday drink. Is it cocoa, wassail, eggnog, something else?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: RUMI RANCHO REINDEER by Peggy Cunningham

"There really are reindeer in Bolivia,"
said Abby to her sisters, Ellie and Olivia.

"They seem to me just a little bit strange.
Aunt Peggy says it’s because they’re open range.

I’ve seen them and they are strange indeed
Because their funny antlers are red and green."

Many kids walk far to go to Rumi Rancho to play
They hear stories of Jesus and always want to stay.

They heard that Jesus was born a long time ago
Learn more about Peggy at her author page
on the Write Integrity website.
His birthday is on Christmas day and He loves us so.

Missionaries travel the whole world wide
To tell the Good News that Jesus is alive.

He was born in a manger on Christmas day
So that we might learn of all God’s ways.

The way to heaven is still the same
Believe in Jesus, He knows us by name.

We know we celebrate because you are the reason
So Happy Birthday, Jesus, this Christmas Season.

From Rumi Rancho you can hear the kids cheer
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
     who is Christ the Lord.”
About the Author:

Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck, have been missionaries in Bolivia, S.A., since 1981. They have a children's ministry and work with national churches. Peggy is also a writer and has been published online and in magazines including: Devokids.com, Focus on the Family's Thriving Family, The Christian Communicator, and Jill Briscoe's Just Between Us. 

Learn more about Peggy at her author page on the Write Integrity Press Website: www.WriteIntegrity.com

And before you go, check out this recipe all the way from Bolivia!


Buñelos are a popular snack throughout Latin America. While they can be eaten at
anytime, Bolivian tradition sees them eaten on Christmas morning with syrup and hot

Buñuelos are a soft doughy sweetbread that is deep-fried in the same way doughnuts are
made, with a similar flavor but a slightly more chewy texture, traditionally served
drizzled with a syrup or honey. The buñuelos are often puffy with a crispy crust and air
pockets on the inside.

2 tablespoons fresh yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 cups butter
Molasses to taste
1/2 cup sunflower oil to moisten hands

In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in water, add the fresh yeast, let it stand for about 7 minutes,
Dancing Like Bees, Peggy Cunningham's
newly-released devotional, is available
in both print and e-book at Amazon.
then add the salt, anise, eggs and flour, mixing it slowly with your hand until you obtain a
watery dough. Let the dough stand and rise twice before you start frying in hot butter or

To fry, first spread oil over your hands, take a handful of dough with the fingertips and
stretch it into a 4-inch round; rotating the dough occasionally to form a circle. When
about to fry, poke a hole in the middle, and put in the frying pan with a stick or the back
of a wooden spoon through the hole. Let it acquire a golden brown color on both sides
before retiring and leave in a colander to drain away excess oil; then put all in a bowl to

Serve with a jug of hot sugar cane syrup, molasses or honey for each person to add the desired amount on the buñuelo. Note: Some Bolivians prefer to eat their buñuelos covered in sifted powdered sugar.

12 Books of Christmas: 

You can win a copy of Peggy's devotional, DANCING LIKE BEES, as part of our 12 Books of Christmas contest. Leave a comment below with your email address (US residents only). Your email address will also be added to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While you're commenting, share an animal memory from your Christmas!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: DECKING THE HALLS by Marji Laine

Marji Laine is a romantic-suspense
author and the new executive
director of Write Integrity Press.
Learn more about her at her author
page at www.WriteIntegrity.com
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. Family, laughter, food, decorations, lights - I love it all. In fact, I was married in December. Sweet hubby and I celebrate 30 years in a couple of weeks.

I remember the Christmas after our first anniversary. We had a little four-foot tree that we stuck in front of a window. We splurged on a box of twinkle lights and some assorted plastic ornaments. And we had a little, gold-dressed angel for the top. She didn't even light up, but she had such a sweet face, I couldn't resist.

We also had the hurricane lamps, adorned with poinsettias, that had been carried by my bridesmaids in our wedding. They became my dining table centerpiece for several Christmases.

Every year, sweet hubby and I added a little more to our decor. A NOEL sign hung beside our door, a stuffed Santa and reindeer, and a couple of new ornaments. Before our third Christmas, we moved into our first house and got to enjoy a "real" tree. We invested in some yard art the following year, a pair of singing mice, and of course continued to build our stuffed Santa collection.

With the addition of children, our decorations focused on them - a Santa calendar, a couple of ladders
and elves, a long shelf full of various festive items, and blue jean stockings. Our tree has grown and we've even gotten a second one to display in one of our front windows while our main tree graces our family room.

And no, the sweet little angel does not grace the top of this tree. She was simply too small for such a large tree and with no lights, she didn't show up. But she looks outstanding on the new smaller tree on display in my office.

And she still has the sweetest face.

About the Author:

Marji writes what she loves to read: mystery, suspense, and romance all with a deep thread of faith and hope. A home-schooling mom of four, she's nearing retirement with her youngest two, twins, in their senior year. In addition to her writing and editing, she  is also the high school coordinator and web designer of a large co-op, and works at her church as the children's music director, a teacher in the Sunday youth classes, an assistant in the youth choir, and an alto in the adult choir.

Learn more about Marji at her author page on the Write Integrity Press website: WriteIntegrity.com

Recipe for Christmas Toffee:

My twins have figured out the easiest way to make toffee - which is good because I'm a reluctant cook! Be careful, though. The toffee is terribly addictive!

1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 sleeve (or so) Saltine crackers
1/2 bag chocolate chips
sprinkles, crushed peppermint, or M&Ms  for decoration

Apply foil to a jelly roll pan and spray it with baking spray. Spread the crackers across the jelly roll pan to cover it completely.

Heath's Point is a fictional small town
in Northeast Texas, but living there can
be ... well, murder. Book 1,  COUNTER
POINT, is available at Amazon in
print and e-book.
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Continue to stir it as it boils for 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture over the crackers and coat them evenly. Put the pan in a 350° oven for 6 minutes.

As soon as you remove it from the oven, sprinkle the hot coating with chocolate chips which will melt fairly quickly. Spread the melted chips and decorate before storing the entire pan in a freezer for at least an hour to thoroughly chill the candy. Break the pieces apart before serving.

12 Books of Christmas:

You can win a copy of Marji's COUNTER POINT along with 11 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While your commenting, tell us: What is your favorite Christmas ornament, and why is it special?

Friday, December 2, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: FAMILY TIME by Betty Thomason

Not long after my brothers and I had married, Mom and Dad began the tradition of celebrating on Christmas Eve. That way, we could spend Christmas Day with our other family. At first it was just us with our spouses, then gradually, we added grand kids.

Mom did most of the cooking, preparing all of our holiday favorites—usually a ham, crusted with brown sugar, and decorated with pineapple slices. Pecan pie, apple mincemeat pie (an acquired taste), and our favorite molasses cookies. After dinner, we’d gather around the tree and exchange our gifts. I cherish the memories of those times we spent together at their house.

My sons were still in grade school when my parents made the decision to move three hundred miles away to West Tennessee, to be near Dad’s aging mother. They moved in summer. The first thought my older brother had about the move was, “Who will host the Christmas dinner? We can’t drive down to Tennessee every year.”

So I, as the only sister, volunteered. That year, the Christmas Eve celebration took place at our house. This was thirty years ago. Even after Grandma passed away, and my parents moved back to Kentucky, I continued to host the dinner. We had added a special treat—shrimp cocktail, which Dad loved. Mom brought pecan pie and homemade German chocolate cake, a favorite with my sons. And I always baked plenty of molasses cookies.

Though this special celebration is ongoing, one member has moved to Heaven. We miss my dad so
Learn more about author
Betty Thomason Owens
at her page on the
Write Integrity website.
much, but still serve his favorite foods. I see his likeness in my sons, and when there’s laughter, I think of him, because he did laughter very well. And I suppose that’s the best part of any holiday celebration, as long as there are plenty of molasses cookies.

About the Author:

Betty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers.

Learn more about Betty and all of her books at her page on the Write Integrity website.

You can win a copy of Betty's contemporary inspirational book Annabelle's Ruth as part of our 12 Books of Christmas. Leave a comment below (and every day from now until December 12) with your email address as your entry. Your email address will also be added to our monthly newsletter list. Unsubscribe anytime.

Molasses Cookies Recipe:

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
¾ cup shortening
¾ cup butter, softened
2 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup molasses

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift (or stir) flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and butter until well blended and no lumps remain. Add 2 cups of the sugar and beat again. Add the eggs and molasses (molasses comes out of the measuring cup easier if you spray the cup with non-stick cooking spray first). Beat until blended. Add flour, use a spoon or mixer set on low to blend in the flour completely.

Annabelle's Ruth is available in both
print and e-book on Amazon.
Spread 1/3 cup sugar on a dinner plate.

Roll 2 tablespoons of cookie dough into a ball and roll the ball in the sugar. Fill a cookie sheet, placing the balls about 2 inches apart. Bake 17 to 18 minutes. Fill the next cookie sheet as the first one bakes.

The cookies will spread and have a crackled top. Cooking time makes a chewy cookie. If you’d like a snappier cookie, bake it a minute or so longer. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

12 Books of Christmas:

You can win a copy of Betty's ANNABELLE'S RUTH along with 11 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While your commenting, tell us: At Christmas, do you host or travel? Is that your preference or necessity?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: THE MAN CAVE by Cynthia T. Toney

He’d always been a saver. Not of money but of things.

He’d saved broken fixtures, unrecognizable hardware, scraps of wood and plastic and fiberglass, every old nail, bolt, and fastener.

Now he had to save whatever scraps were left of his dignity. An unexpected layoff claimed his good-paying job with bonuses. Who was he without his career—heck, without even a minimum-wage job?

Everyone turned him down, even the home improvement centers where he’d spent much of his time—and money, back when he had some. They didn’t know what an expert in building and maintenance they rejected. “Overqualified,” they said. Sure, he had a good education, but he was more than his degree. He had once helped build a fine house with his own two hands. Not the framework, electrical or plumbing, but a good deal of the interior and exterior, using the finest materials.

Lately he searched the discard piles at those same centers for pieces of two-by-fours, fractions of plywood sheets, and sections of molding too short for most builders to bother with.

When friends heard what he was doing, they searched their garages and attics. Soon he had a door, a window, a ceiling fan. A garage sale turned up a scratched sink. A family member donated some used light fixtures.

He drew up some plans and framed up a small building, using an existing slab where a rusted metal prefab once stood.

The wife spotted a neighbor’s weathered fence boards piled at the street for trash pickup. Placed at a 45-degree angle, they became a contemporary façade for the front door and a hinged window over the counter top, which he tiled from mismatched surplus, politely requested from a local flooring supply.

“What do you need for your building?” was the question from mother, wife, and children when Christmas, birthday, and Father’s Day rolled around. That got him the things he couldn’t find for free or on the clearance tables.

Each weekday morning after his wife left for her workplace, he walked out the back door of their home and traveled the few yards to reach what was now his full-time job. He found peace in the routine. 

“I’m afraid you’ll get depressed,” his wife had said at first. “You aren’t used to having so many hours to fill during the day. I don’t like the idea of you feeling sad or lonely.”

“I don’t want you to think about me while you’re at work,” he’d replied. He pointed to his project. “When I’m busy in there, I’m safe and happy.”

In his little building, he focused his energy, contained his worry, and sheltered his ego. Through hundreds of rejections of his resume, he pursued his endeavor. Each evening, he presented to his wife the small accomplishments of every stage of completion. Together they celebrated them.

The building became the place to go, whether he wanted to relax in solitude or entertain his wife, family, or friends.  It was his own creation, the nonliving thing he was most proud of.

When almost two years had passed, he received a job offer in another state. Of all the changes he had to make to take it, including a permanent move, parting with his man cave was the most difficult.

At Christmas, I look back at that period in our lives and think of that building. It reminds me of Joseph doing the best he could with what he had for Mary and Jesus. And Joseph was a carpenter like my husband.

Joy fills my heart, because God used the man cave to show me the kind of person my husband really is.

About the Author: 

Cynthia is a former advertising designer, marketing director, and interior decorator who holds a BA in art education with a minor in history. While employed by a large daily newspaper, she tried to rewrite some ad copy without permission and got into trouble for it. At that point, she knew she was destined to become an author.

When she’s not cooking Cajun or Italian food, Cynthia writes historical and contemporary teen fiction containing elements of mystery and romance. For more about Cynthia and her books, check out her Author page on our Write Integrity Press website.

And before you go, Cynthia has left a special recipe from her Christmas to yours! Enjoy!


A Recipe (sort of... I don't use measurements) for holiday parties or when you’re tired of turkey and ham.

One can 14-16 oz. Alaskan Pink Salmon,  Drained but not dry
2 Eggs
Italian Bread Crumbs
Slice of Wheat Bread or some Saltine Crackers (optional...can use less bread crumbs if using either of these)
Zatarain's Fish Fry (or other seasoned cornmeal-based fish fry—Louisiana Fish Fry, Tony Chachere’s, Cajun Injector, Bootsie’s, Cajun King)
Chopped Bell Pepper (one large)
Chopped Onion, or onion flakes
Garlic, or garlic powder
Celery (optional...would be nice if you have it, but I used celery salt)
NOTE: If you use any saltine crackers or celery salt, DO NOT ADD EXTRA SALT to the patties.)

Mix some flour with a little fish fry to give the flour a pale yellow color, and set aside.  You will use
Cynthia's first book from her Bird Face
series is part of our giveaway! Leave a
comment for your chance to win. And
come back tomorrow for another entry!
this to dredge the patties in.

Pour about a half inch depth of vegetable oil in a frying pan, and have some extra oil ready for adding later.

In a bowl, mix the eggs, salmon, bread crumbs, bread/saltines (optional), a LITTLE  fish fry (Zatarain's is very spicy), the bell pepper, onion, garlic, celery (or celery salt if you like). When all this is mixed well, add enough milk to moisten and allow you to form a meatball in your two hands with the mixture. Test cook a small glob of the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds to see if you like the taste.

Heat the oil in the pan to medium. Form one meatball at a time and flatten it and coat it with the flour/fish fry mixture. (If you make the patties too big, they will crack.)
Place in pan and continue to form patties, dredge, and fry. Turn each one when bottom looks brown. Lower the heat so that the oil does not begin to burn.
Add more oil before beginning to fry your next batch. (This recipe will make 10 or 12 patties.)
Drain patties on paper towels on large plates or a long pan.

They freeze and reheat well. (and taste even better)
Good with ketchup or tartar sauce.

12 Books of Christmas: 

You can win a copy of Cynthia's YA book, 8 Notes to a Nobody, along with 11 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) Here's a question you can answer: Grieving losses at Christmas is normal, but have you had a change in your life is stirred up in happy memories, like Cynthia's?