Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year, Seekerville!

Remember how Anne of Green Gables viewed a fresh morning? A new day, with no mistakes in it yet!

We're on the brink of a new year.... with no mistakes in it... yet.

As we look forward to face 2015, as we lay down to sleep tonight and wake up in the grace of a new year, I don't have to sing Robert Burns' Scots ballad "Auld Lang Syne" to get joyous.... or thoughtful.... or melancholy.

A year gone, but oh! What lies ahead? Faith, family fun, friends.... and that's what Auld Lang Syne is about: Celebrating the good and the bad of times gone by, and raising a cup of cheer!

How many of you love Dan Fogelberg's "Same Auld Lang Syne?"  "Saw my old lover in the grocery store...." Go ahead, go listen... I'll be here when you get back. I promise. Because that's what friends are for.

And if you're not familiar with it, it's a "story song" a song that tells an entire story in thirty bars, more or less... and when it morphs to the original ballad at the end, I tear up, knowing these two had their chance and were too foolish to take it. And now: regret....

Well, today we're celebrating the friendship part of that theme, and by celebrating, I mean:



Let's party like it's 1999! Grab your noisemakers, a dance partner, a drink from the gazebo bar (obviously I'm not setting this virtual party in upstate New York, because our gazebos are snow-covered! 

We've got a different host/hostess each hour, and each one will be giving away  two things... a bit of wisdom, shared... and a surprise package... for two! One for you, and one to share with that friend you love... or don't see... or do see, and love anyway! Each Seeker will be giving away something that says "friendship" to her, and she'll send you TWO. One to keep... and one to brighten someone else's day.

Because that's what friendship is about. Not me, but us. Not one, but more than one. Not self-focused, but focused selflessly. And that's what we want to bring to 2015! That feeling of all being in it together, of moving forward and taking folks right along with us!

Oh, happy day! Oh, glorious day! :)  Jesus didn't want us walkin' our paths alone... Look at the friends he found, gathered, cherished.... So that's our goal for 2015, to leave the world, and the world of writing, a little bit better than whence we began!

(I had to say whence because it's a Robert Burns thing, I mean have you ever READ ROBERT BURNS???? If you haven't, but you love auld Scots brogue, you must! Maybe I should give away a fifteen minute phone call with me, speaking in brogue... Now that would be a hoot!

And then tonight at midnight, with Missy Tippens as your host, we'll be drawing from the list of commenters today for an AMAZON 7" KINDLE FIRE!!!! 

And then our buddy Vince has threatened to take over and play host while I sleep. I love sleeping!!!!

A new year. A new start. A time to embrace... a time to refrain from embracing.

So my friends, let's get this party rolling! Fresh mimosas are being served by none other than Captain Jack Sparrow, and youse know Jack... he's a rollickin' sort, ain't he?

I think he went to school with Robert Burns, actually. A bonnie lad!

Roving waiters will take care of your every need, and as the hostess changes, so might the food. Relax, have fun, and celebrate a year of blessings on the Seekers and their friends, and might I raise a glass to toast you... Every one of you who means so much to us. Your joys, your sorrows, your successes, your stresses... You bless us each and every day, but I shall say no more!!! (The crowd erupts, glad she's finally quiet!!!!) Happy New Year, Seekervillagers! Let's drink a cup of kindness, yet, for Auld Lang Syne!

And no matter when you comment, you are IN for all the day's drawings that come after your comment. No need to comment every hour, although we love your company!

This is a rolling blog... the thoughts on love, life and friendship will be posted below, along with prize visuals. Not all prizes are represented exactly by the pics, and some are sweet surprises, so let's roll with the moment and the day... and the coming night!

From Ruthy for hour one...

Friends, family and faith are the rewards of Christmas, the blessings of the New Year, and the nutmeg sprinkled on the eggnog! As families mature, friendships change. The soccer games, dance competitions and fundraisers are no longer the norm. Graduations become rights of passage. As time goes by, it’s important to re-grasp those friendships, the joys of raising children together! So yes, drop off those cookies! Stop by with a bottle of wine. Grab an extra poinsettia and write a card. Don’t be afraid… or too busy… to reconnect. Feed those friendships with a whisper of time because time is precious. And not infinite!

Prizes, hour 1: The winner will receive two Amazon $10 gift cards and a $30 donation in his/her names will be made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Mission in Phoenix, AZ to help those less fortunate! 

And the winner of hour #1, the first hour of our 2014 Rockin' New Year's Eve Party is:

Jen, the Artist Librarian!!! Congratulations, Jen, you got picked from the cat dish! Go, you!

From Glynna, for hours 2 and 3... 

Once again a year is winding down as another hovers just over the horizon! While at year’s end I look back and count the blessings of special friendships, it’s often too easy to dwell on lost opportunities to communicate that appreciation, to have actively made a difference in the lives of those friends--to have given back some of what they’ve given me. I can’t time travel into 2014 for a “do over,” but I can determine to make changes right now and in the coming year. However, with the endless demands of life crowding in, that won’t happen in reality unless I prayerfully schedule it into my jam-packed calendar to write a thinking-of-you note, send a card or gift, pick up the phone with a heart that’s willing to listen, pitch in where help is needed, make plans for lunch—and take time to verbalize my appreciation and to pray for my friends. So please join me this coming year in living life deliberately and letting friends know how much they mean to you. And Happy New Year to Seekerville, which would be nothing without all our friends!

Prizes, Hours 2 and 3!!!! A luscious Lindt bar and a $10 B&N gift card... X 2, each hour! One for you... and one to share! 

And the winner of Glynna’s delicious Lindt chocolate and a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card for the 7 o'clock hour is Marianne! Chocolate and a card for her... and one for her BFF! 

Congratulations,   Marianne Barkman !!!!!!!!!!

I'm hungry.... I think we need food!!!


And punch!!!!

And the winner of the same double prize for Glynna's second hour is: AMY C.!!! One for you, one for a friend, dear girl!

Congratulations, our friend!!!!

Entering hour four with the amazing Mary Connealy... (Mary didn't write a blurb, she wrote an essay, but it was so beautiful that Audra and I had to use it...)

From Mary for hour 4:

Auld Lang Syne
Thinking about the old days brought to mind Christmas morning when I was a child.
We were poor.
One year I asked my mom how much they spent on each of us. Maybe I was growing up. Maybe I was started to realize what it must cost to buy Christmas gifts for eight kids. Maybe I was just nosy.
Mom said, “We try to spend $3 on each of you.”
At the time I just stored the knowledge away. It didn’t mean much to me.
Now I look back on that and realize how tight things much have been. There were eight of us, so $3 meant $24 got Christmas. Total.
I ran $3 though an inflation adjustor tool and $3 in about 1963 dollars equals $23 dollars today.
I spend so much more than that on each of my kids, including back when they were all young and we didn’t have much money.
But here’s the thing.
I never knew we were poor.
Mom and Dad just never dangled that over our heads. I never heard the words, “No, you can’t have that, we need to eat.”
I had a neighbor who said that, if they didn’t clean their plate, her mom often told them, “Eat it, I don’t know where our next meal is coming from.”
Her mom dangled STARVATION over her head to get her to behave. And I don’t think they were even that poor. Her mom was just dramatic.
My parents never did that to us.
We didn’t go shopping. We didn’t have much of anything honestly. Of course most people didn’t have a lot back then. Sharing a room was normal. Hand me down clothes were business as usual. No bags of chips and cans of pop in the cupboard to snack on. We didn’t ask, it just wasn’t done. We had vegetables from the garden, milk from our cows, eggs from the hen house. You can’t starve with that stuff.
Eight kids in a three bedroom farmhouse
And on Christmas we would always get up insanely early and rush for the tree…No idea how early, I’m very afraid it was 2 a.m. Yeesh, maybe MIDNIGHT. I just don’t remember. My parents may have just barely gotten to bed.
We’d all dig through the gifts and rip open ours and toss those that weren’t ours to whoever’s they were. It was chaos. Madness. Fun. Complete joy.
I have this flashing memory of Mom and Dad standing side by side in the doorway to the living room where the tree was, leaning against each other, smiling as they watched us, Dad’s arm around Mom, and so clearly having as much fun as we were.
Never once did they snarl at us to GET BACK TO BED!
I know now, as an adult, what wisdom and kindness my parents showed us by not burdening us with poverty. This is Auld Lang Syne to me. This is my foundation. Love and Christmas that was about giving and fun more than the gifts.
Parents who taught us to enjoy a Christmas morning with $3 worth of presents. They did it by leaning on each other and smiling to let us know, all eight of us, that we were considered a gift and a blessing.

Prizes for Mary's hour: Winner will get two cozy throws, perfect for reading a Ruthy book... er, of course we mean a MARY BOOK!!! :)  One for you... one to share!

And the winner of Mary’s prize of a cuddly throw – sure to come in very handy through this frigid snap -- is Deanna Stevens. You’ll be a hero in your BFF’s eyes when they get one, too!

Congratulations, Deanna!!!!!

From Janet for hour 5:

God in His wisdom did not create us to travel this life alone. He wants relationship with His children.

We have that when we spend time with Him, share our concerns, our joys, study His Word, listen for His quiet voice and praise Him for every blessing. We also have that closeness with fellow believers as we take the time to connect and be real, to share the ups and downs of our lives, our hopes and dreams. When we do, not only are our relationships strengthened, but also our faith. I’m grateful for every single friend, those nearby, those scattered far and wide, and those here in Seekerville. Each one has blessed me. My goal for the New Year is to reach out to the lonely and hurting, to be a friend, and see where that leads. With God in control, I’m expecting exciting days ahead. 

And the prize for hour 5 is a copy of Jesus Calling. Great book to read every day, filled with
inspiration to keep you going and adding an extra shine to your life!

Jesus Calling is one of my all-time favorite devotionals. I read it each year! DANA R. LYNN, you’re the winner of the book and one for a friend. WooHoo!
Congratulations, Dana!!

For hour 6, our hostess is Debby Giusti:

For me, New Year’s Eve is a time to look back and remember the special people God has brought into my life.  Each meeting, each online visit, each connection has meaning and plays into who I am today and who I will be in the future. Thank you to my wonderful Seeker sisters and Villager family for being such a significant part of my yesterdays. I thank God for the gift of each of you and hope that--together—we can discover the many blessings and joys God has planned for our tomorrows. Wishing you a Happy New Year and much love in 2015.

Now let’s ring in the New Year! I’ve found that a few appetizers and an effervescent beverage can turn even a stay-at-home night into a festive celebration. One of my favorite snacks that’s easy to fix is Brie cheese with crackers. I warm a round of Brie in the microwave for about 45-60 seconds, until the inside is soft, then top with “Hot Jalapeno Pepper Jelly” and serve on crackers. The combination of warm, creamy cheese and the spicy sweetness of the pepper jelly is yummy. To toast the New Year, I mix Sprite or 7-Up or “Bubbly” with a bit of cranberry juice and serve in a pretty fluted glass. Would love to hear what you have planned for this evening or any family traditions for New Year's Day.  

Check out the awesome prize package Debby is giving away!

The winner of Debby’s prize package of a copy of her Christmas Love Inspired Suspense anthology, HOLIDAY DEFENDERS, a God Is Always With You Journal and a God Bless Our Home wall plaque is SANDY SMITH. Of course a most dear friend of yours will also receive this marvelous prize to enjoy!!

Congrats to SANDY!

Welcome your hour 7 hostess, Myra Johnson:

Year's end is always a nostalgic time for me. While it's encouraging to look back with satisfaction upon everything I accomplished over the year, there are always things I wish I'd gotten around to but didn't, especially when it comes to being a better friend to the people I care most about. Even for introverted writer types like me, keeping connections strong is vital, because every burden is lighter, every celebration more joyful, when shared with loved ones. And when we combine the love of friends and family with a solid faith in the One who loves us best of all, we have everything we need to face life's inevitable ups and downs. Today, as we count down to 2015, I thank God for all my friends in Seekerville and the inspiration and encouragement you have shared here. But let's extend our blessings even further. Is there a faraway friend or relative who'd be cheered by a letter, email, or phone call? A shut-in who'd appreciate a plate of cookies and some cheerful conversation? Someone you've always meant to thank for a special act of kindness but you've just never gotten around to it? Whom will you reach out to in the days and months to come? Let's make 2015 a year of sharing the blessings of friends, family, and faith far and wide!

Don’t know where Myra finds these cute devotionals, but she always does! Check out the animal friendly Psalms she’s giving away – one for the winner and one for their BFF!!

We have a winner (or winners if you count the friend win, too, LOL) of Myra's Cat or Dog Psalm! And the winner is Vera Godley.

Woo Hoo! Congratulations, Vera!!!

Unending congratulations to all our winners!! The day is young and we have so much more to talk about ... and gifts to giveaway!! Remember, if your name has been drawn, please send your contact information to so we can forward the info to the proper host/hostess!!

So many great gifts being given away today. We want to make sure they all get claimed!!

Julie Lessman is our hostess for hour #8:

“Faith and Friendship” is such an appropriate subject for end-of-year reflection. For me this year in
particular, faith has become everything. But, ironically, to God, true faith without “friendship” or “community” is impossible. We have a God Who, Himself, exists in relationship through the Trinity — three Gods in One —  so it only makes sense we are hardwired the same way—for relationship with Him and with others. Friends and faith. Faith and friends. For me, over and above the writing, it’s what Seekerville is all about

So to celebrate, I’m giving away winner’s choice of any of my signed books — one for you and one for a friend, ebook or paperback — along with your choice of two books from my CBA personal library, again for both you and a friend, which means each of you win 3 books in one!

All of Julie’s books are terrific…and to win them? Even better! The winner of Julie’s prize package is KIM AMUNDSEN, and of course, there’s another prize package for her BFF!
Congratulations, Kim!!


Julie is our hostess for the next hour, too!! That means more chit-chat with Julie Lessman AND another prize package to be given away!!

Does that just rock your New Year, or what??

Julie Lessman hosts hour #9, too:

Coffee, Tea, & Me!  For me, nothing is better than sitting down one-on-one with a good friend over coffee or tea, and trust me — I wish I could do that with you!! Unfortunately, the best I can provide are two Starbucks gift cards for YOU and a friend, along with your choice of any two signed copies of my books — one for you and one for a friend —  along with your choice of one of my favorite CBA books for you and a friend. So, let’s do a little “coffee, tea, and me” this next hour and sip very slowly … 


Triple Berry Cheesecake, recipe at Yankee Belle Cafe!!!


Peaches and Cream pie!!!!! Melt-in-your-mouth-wonderful!!!!
And the winner of Julie’s prize package (in case you missed the description last hour - winner’s choice of any of my signed books — one for you and one for a friend, ebook or paperback — along with your choice of two books from my CBA personal library, again for both you and a friend, which means each of you win 3 books in one!) is Caryl Kane and one set for her BFF!

And now we bring in Pam!!!!

In years’ past when miles separated friends, they wrote letters to stay in touch. With today’s amazing technology, friends can stay in touch via Facebook, by skyping, or by simply calling each other up. Don’t let another day go by without reaching out to a long-lost friend. The two of you can chat and catch up on each other’s lives over a cup of coffee and cookies baked in these adorable little cast iron skillets, one for you and one for a friend. Have you reached out to an old (or new!) friend today? If not, give someone a call or say hi to them on Facebook. Or, better yet, if they live close enough, invite them out for coffee or over for a treat. Sometimes all it takes is an invitation to stop and take the time to savor old friendships, good coffee, and a bit of conversation.

Check out this beautiful set Pam's put together today! One for you... and one to share!

And the winner of this delightful gift is Jamie Adams!!!!!!

And now we're turning you back over to Ruthy for the next ninety minutes... and then she's going to meet her new granddaughter, Morgan Delaney Blodgett!

This week Pam sent us a prayer request for a young woman who lives near her. Bri suffered a severe brain injury while riding her horse… and in reading the beautiful testimonies to this young woman, and knowing many riders personally, and seeing her beautiful pictures on facebook,  I was reminded of how precious and momentary life can be… When you’ve put in a few decades (Close your mouth, Connealy!) and seen life and love and loss, these reminders bite hard… I love that we’re close here. That we truly care for one another. That hardships and successes can be shared, lauded or sorrowed. We are so very blessed to be here, and to have had this time. Whatever 2015 brings… I’ve loved every minute of our time together! Especially the bossy ones!

And for this double giveaway, we've got delightful tins of Swiss Colony sweets to send your way... One for you, and one to share! I love the little Chris Mouse!!!!

And the winner (and friend!) of Chris Mouse Swiss Colony treats is...... Missy Shay!!!!

Congratulations, Missy!!!!! Send us your information to our e-mail at!!! Yay!!!

And then we have this from Audra...

New Year’s Eve has always been the perfect time to reflect on the good and bad things of the past year. The good things always jump at me and make me smile as I relive the memory. Funny thing though, as I try to reflect over the not so good parts of the year, I never seem able to recall them – barring tragedy and illness. The trivial irritations that seemed so HUGE at the time no longer have the grip on my feelings and emotions as they did when the problems were unfolding before me. Funny, huh? I can recall the good times with the same smile, humor and warmth, just as if I was experiencing them all over again, I probably even chuckle out loud. But the bad? I have to work hard to recall them. Isn’t God’s grace and mercy awesome? I lift my mug of Cinnamon Spice tea to each and every one of you because when I recall the best moments of my life, you all are right there helping me re-live the moments all over again.

Is there any especially good or bad moment you’d like to share? A giggle or nod as we all remember. Or a bad moment you’d like to share that we can help mend the hurt so it can be left in the old year?

Oh my stars, here's the beautiful gift of one to wear and one to share from Audra!!!! Freshly crocheted, just for youse!!!!

And the winner of Audra’s hand-made scarf/muffler (call it what you want depending where you live) is Jeanne T. There’s one for your BFF, too!

She’s baaack! We love our Mary Connealy, don’t we?
What came to me as I was thinking about Auld Lang Syne was some of my very first impressions of
the Seekers.
Before any of us were Seekers…or maybe right after, but before I’d really met any of them face to face.
The first one that pops into my head is Julie. I think it was my first ACFW Conference and we were  sitting side by side listening to Ami McConnell speak and Julie asks a question, only it’s NOT a question it is just pure, passionate Julie talking about how she wants to reach young women who love to read and maybe are believers but aren’t trusting God with their sexuality.
Well, these are pretty surprising words in that room at that time, when Christian fiction was so pristine that Loves Come Softly and The Shunning were as edgy as it got.
And it was so fascinating to listen to her and frankly THRILLING just to hear someone with some much passion for what she was writing and the direction God was leading her.
And as my first conference I was overwhelmed and mostly hiding under cushions and being guided around by the hand by my critique partners, who occasionally paused to slap me and tell me to pay attention and quit watching my feet. So it wasn’t that easy to break through that daze and be memorable.
I’d never met her before in my life and yet, a year later, when she and I found ourselves both being Seekers, I knew exactly who she was.
Then there’s Ruthy, the other Seeker I remembered from the great BEFORE. Because she TRASHED MY BOOK IN A CONTEST! Well, Ruthy had all the courage and humor and ENERGY that she is still known for. Ten Plagues received a 98 and a 97 out of one hundred in the contest. And the third judge???? 68. Yes, Ms Logan Herne busted my book HARD. So hard in fact that her score was thrown out and a discrepancy judge was brought in and the new judge gave me a 99!!! And I won!
So Ruthy emailed me and said, “Yes, I gave you a terrible score, and I loved the book, really loved it, but you’re pitching to Christian Fiction and you will never get this published, it’s just too edgy.
Well, as always, Ruthy was WRONG, but she was so funny and great to talk to that I (yes again) REMEMBERED HER!
And the first year we were Seekers was the year I earned my first contract at the ACFW Conference. Tracie Peterson announced that I was the winner of the annual Barbour Publishing Contract.  We’d formed the Seekers earlier that summer and I’d met them all online and at the conference.
I have this vague, very blurry memory of that whole evening. One picture exists of it and I look like I’d been hit by a cattle truck and dragged for a mile on a gravel road. NOT PRETTY.
Well, they called my name and Debby Giusti and Audra Harders sort of SLAMMED into me, hugging me, so sweet. I think that happened. Ladies do you remember that happening? I seem to remember your faces.
I wasn’t sitting with the Seekers so who knows where they came from.
And on my way up to get the contract, Ruthy is suddenly in front of me, hugging me. I think.
This is all so muddled.
I also remember standing on the floor looking up at Tracie and having her say very gently, “Come up on the stage.” (At this point someone probably should have given me a seeing-eye dog to guide me, or maybe a quick shock with a defibrillator. )
Then afterward, after being invited to a party Barbour Publishing was throwing, which I know now all publishers do every year, I found the Seekers all gathered in the lobby, even back then we gathered after all the evening events, and they all wanted to hear my story, how it all happened.
We’ve been hearing each other’s stories ever since and loving every minute of it.

If you missed a chance to win one of these cute and cuddly throws the last time Mary hosted an hour, well don’t despair! Mary is giving away another pair!

And the winner this hour of Mary’s prize of a cuddly throw is Bonton! Hope it helps you stay warm and surprises your BFF!!

Audra returns as hostess for hour #15

Oh my goodness, I used up my best Auld Lang Syne memories on my last hour! LOL! Okay, I’ll play
off of Mary (Oops, I forgot to ask. Is it alright if I use you as a spring board, Mary??) and recall my best conference moments. I DO remember Mary winning her first contract and yes, I probably did do a body slam into her for all the excitement churning in me for her. I experience the same excitement every time one of the Villagers announces they’ve received The Call!! My heart leaps with gladness that we’ve all found each other to support and encourage and PRAY into publication. After all, isn’t that what Seekerville is all about? Without God’s Hand on our time with each other, we’d just be another ‘Ville. Lifting each other up for all the blessings to be reaped is one of the funnest parts of this whole gig. As far as conferences go, nothing makes me smile and feel all gooey inside than seeing the surprise and excitement on my friends’ faces when unexpected goodness befalls them.

And cookies. No conference is complete without Carol Moncado’s cookies!!

If you didn’t have a chance to share special conference moments last hour, share them now!! We all want to hear good news!!

Check out the freshly crocheted scarves waiting to find a home! Look closely at the cute photo decorations. Audra learned to dress up pictures using PicMonkey from Pam Hillman's post:
Awesome and easy : )

The winner of Audra’s hand-made scarf/muffler is Cindy W. There’s one for you and one for your BFF, too!

Welcome our next hostess, Sandra Leesmith:

Faith and friendship are an integral part of my life. My faith has brought me immeasurable blessings. Most of those blessings revolve around the friendships that I have had the privilege and honor of sharing. The friendships that have developed through Seekerville are especially sweet, because they were unexpected and delightful. I love how they have developed over the years and how I feel I know so many of you, even though I haven't met you in person. I have had the privilege of meeting many of you and that has brought such joy. So my new year's wish for all of you is that we all continue to share the journey of writing from hour hearts, growing more friendships and deepening our faith. Happy New Year!

You’ve got to love the prize Sandra has dreamed up…Build Your Dream Box of See’s Candy! Doesn’t that just sound like more fun than you can stand on New Year’s Eve!!! It does to me!

Okay, let’s stop a moment and mop up the drool. Honestly. We have a winner of Sandra’s delicious, to–die-for prize of Build Your Dream Box of See’s Candy…and that winner is… Mary Curry. Lucky BFF, they get to build one, too!

Congratulations, Mary!

Tina Radcliffe is our hostess for hour #17

An air of mystery surrounds Tina tonight…and her prize! But oh, Tina’s surprises are always worth waiting for, trust me!

My fingers are useless to name all the friends who have enriched my life this year. The new friends I have met in Arizona, the old friends from my various career paths in New York, Oklahoma and Colorado, and the always there friends in Seekerville. I had the pleasure of meeting many of you this year at ACFW and RWA. What a huge treat and heart warmer that was. How about you? Are there any friends you got to meet or renew bonds with in person this year? Are there any you long to reconnect with or meet for the first time in 2015? I’m planning to go to several conferences in 2015. Will I meet any of you there?

Don’t forget that we are still drawing names this hour for a winner of a special surprise package for one person and the friend of their choice. And at midnight we have a Kindle Fire to giveaway! What a great way to start the New Year!

And because I want to mess things up, we're drawing one more name for a commenter and a friend to win a P & P book bag of choice. 

Tina :)

And the winner of Tina’s super secret surprise box is Kandi723, and glory be! There’s one for her BFF!

AND, since Tina insists on being over-generous, the winner, and friend of winner, of the P and P book bag is Kelly Bridgewater.

Congratulations Kandi and Kelly!!

Missy Tippens is our hostess for hour #18:

As we look to the new year, we focus on putting the year behind us and looking to the future. And that's often a good thing! I love new starts and a fresh outlook. But one of the things I want to do this coming year is to make more of an effort to connect with old friends--including my sister.

I think sometimes we take old friends and siblings for granted. Back in November, we went to Kentucky for Thanksgiving. When I told my art teacher sister I was thinking of learning to crochet a bookmark to give away for the Seekerville New Year's Eve bash, she jumped right in. She started looking for patterns and then pulled out her yarn supply. She taught me to make a bookmark--which was actually kind of comical. I'm not the best at needle work! But she was patient and kept helping me rip out stitches and start again. Then she kindly jumped in to make the second bookmark (for the winner's friend). Of course, by the time I finished my one bookmark, she'd made seven! Being the generous person that she is, she packed them all up with me to bring home. So tonight I'm giving a shout out to my sister and good friend, Mindy! 

I'd love to give away two hand-made bookmarks. One for you and one to share. Can you think of a friend or sibling you want to connect with more in 2015, someone to share a bookmark with? Let me know if you'd like to be entered!

Missy Tippens' has style, beauty ... and talent. Not to mention the most lovely Southern accent on the face of this planet!! Check out the wonderful assortment of bookmarks - the perfect adornment for the perfect novel!!

Winner of Missy's crocheted bookmark and as well as one for a friend: Cindy Regnier!

And now…drumroll…

The winner of the Kindle HD 7.0 is…

Rhonda Starnes!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Thank you for celebrating with us today!!

And our final host of the evening is Vince, leaving 2014 with quotes from his eternal font of wisdom on Friendship:

“A true friendship can last a lifetime while never requiring a vow of ‘until death do us part’.

“The loves of your life may come and go but a true friend will stand by you for all of your days.”

“While few may actually know the meaning of the words to 'Auld Lang Syne', the emotions the song creates in the hearts of listeners are the same the world over.”  

Friends-to-lovers is not only a great romance theme, it’s a proven path to marital happiness.”

The best quote on Friendship can be found in this simple dedication:

Dedication: This sweet story is dedicated to the Seekers, the most dedicated, hard-working group of writers/ women I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Our pledge to pray one another into publication began a friendship that has mushroomed into a marvelous give-back to help others attain the same dream. I love you guys!

Connealy, Mary; Logan Herne, Ruth; Johnson, Myra; Lessman, Julie (2014-11-10). Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection (Kindle Locations 2224-2227).  . Kindle Edition.

Happy New Year, everyone!!


  1. Raising my mug of hot chocolate to you, Ruthy! Great hostess, great food and beverage, great wisdom. Keep calm and party on!

  2. Happy New Year! The start of a new year is always fun. It's like a clean slate and time to start over. It doesn't matter what you did or didn't do last year; it's a new year and time to make some changes. I love the gift ideas. Friends are who help you through life. I cherish the friends I've made. Each are an inspiration.

  3. I'll say it.

    I can't stand the Fogelberg version.

    The reason is woman's comment about marrying an architect who kept her "warm and safe and dry. She'd like to say she loved the man, but she didn't like to lie."

    Otherwise, we can RUMBLE. :-)

  4. Happy almost 2015!

    Pour me a hot chocolate, and we'll toast to another wonderful Seekerville year. And to friends. Especially to friends :)

    But then I'm off to bed. It isn't New Year's Eve here yet - but I'll be back tomorrow!

  5. Best Wishes. Happy New Year! I'll be back tomorrow too. I'd love that Kindle. I didn't get any Christmas gifts. That would make a perfect one.

  6. Happy New Year's Eve! Hmm ... maybe I can get my sister to post for me while I'm at work ... ;-) Anyone want a sparkling cider?

  7. Whence is a perfectly good word & look what happened, the first time I have ever used it.

    Happy New Year & cheers to words not used before.

  8. Happy New Year! Here's hoping we're able to celebrate oodles of first sales, new contracts and new releases in 2015! I'm eager to do some serious happy dancing for Seekers and Seekervillagers.

  9. Its 6 hours til new year here but I will be in bed. Will also probably be in bed when the party starts but will join in tomorrow my time

    Happy New Year

  10. I will not be partying much this year, am behind writing and of course that means things in the house break and extra dentist appts and the like....not that you need me here to party, but I've enjoyed in years past adding comments to roll it over into the thousands.

    Happy New Year! Rah! Over and Out.

  11. It's past midnight here and I just got home from a fun girls' night out with six of my local peeps. Chinese food, Target Christmas clearance (70% off!) and Extraordinary Desserts (if you come out to San Diego it's the most decadent dessert you'll ever eat). I so appreciate the support of friends during the ups and downs of 2014 and looking forward to this new year!

  12. Hi everyone! Just checking in here. It's 8pm, 4 hours until midnight. I'm allowing my girls to stay up until at least 9pm and watch the Sydney fireworks on TV. So I'll pop in and out! Though I guess most people are still asleep anyway ... :)

  13. Oh, I love waking up to all these faces/names and tossin' them in the cat dish for the seven o'clock drawing!

    Morning, my friends!!!! What a treat to share another rockin' New Year's Eve with youse!!!!!

    Going behind the curtain now (with the Wizard of Oz, of course!) to tuck in the first prize and thought on friendship... which is, of course, mine! :)

    Happy New Year!!!!!!

  14. Marianne and Sally, good morning! I love a fresh slate! Was there anything better in life than a freshly-washed blackboard????

    AND YET... those smudges and the dusty film meant a week's worth of old-fashioned school work had gone on... without Common Core! Ah, there's some Auld Lang Syne for you!

  15. Walt, LOL! That's so funny! I see the pathos in that song, the sadness of two people so caught up in material comfort/worth/success that they repeatedly chose badly... and I want to write their happy ending.

    Does the woman not love her husband because he cheated on her? Because she's a self-absorbed brat? Because he's a workaholic and is never home to lead his family? Or... are they just empty souls, with no sweet love of God in their lives, trying to fill that God-shaped hole?

    It's too late for them.

    But not for us!!!

  16. Jan, sleep well, my friend! I'll see you sometime today, no doubt!

    Anna, thank you for stopping by! Best wishes right back at you!

  17. CathyAnn, Happy New Year! I bet you gave the best Christmas gift of all, though. A great smile! Your name's in!

  18. Jen, once you comment, you're in, sweet thing, for the whole day! And I'm proud of you, working today! You rock it!

  19. Mary Preston, I'm with you! I love old English!

    Although reading Burns gives me a run for my money, the musical cadence of the lines just makes me smile!

    “O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as others see us!
    It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
    An' foolish notion.” (Robert Burns)

    LOVE IT!!!!

  20. Jenny, Happy New Year's Day to you down under!!!! Thanks for coming all this way to party wi' us! :)

    And Melissa, oh, I hear you! January will be a true work month, but we'll be fine! I'm glad you stopped in nice and early, my friend. Now, off to work wi' ye!

  21. GWYNSTER!!!!!

    Can I hear an AMEN??????


    Yes to life's good fortunes and working authors! Bless you!!!!

  22. Heidi, that sounds like so much fun!!!! I would love to be part of that kind of night, Girls Night Out!


    Here's to you and 2015, darlin'~

  23. HELEN!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

    9:00 pm?????

    Laughing! oh, you radical! :)

    Today... a turning of a calendar page...

    A fresh sheet of paper, unwritten.

    Here we go, my friends!

  24. Love the gift of a donation in th winners name. (love gift vouchers too) but donations to charities make you feel good especially when you cant afford to it yourself.

    just under 4 hours to go for me now but will likely be in bed within an hour.

  25. Hi Ruthie! Happy New Year to you too!

    Yes 9pm ... now it's nearly 10pm and they're still up! They've never stayed up this late before. I think I will put them to bed soon.

  26. Happy New Year, Miss Ruthie and the rest of the Seekers!

  27. Jenny, that's cool, right???? Sharing the love, sweet thing! I love your perspective on it!!! There's been many a year where that was my story!

  28. Helen, I love that they're chilling and partying until 10 o'clock! That's such a thrill for little kids!!!! You're the best!

  29. Amy, here, darling, grab a noisemaker! Happy New Year to you, too!!!

  30. Glynna, happy New Year's Eve to you, too!!! What a wonderful blessing, to turn this page together!!!

  31. Happy New Year, Seekerville.

    Here's to the best year ever.

    No Limits!

    Go Seekers Go for the Kingdom of God.

  32. Yeah, the Fogleberg version is depressing.

    I like the Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal version.

  33. Lookie. Lookie. The Aussies are here.

    Hey, Helen and Jenny! Good to see your smiling faces.

    Helen, what pie did you have your fingers in this year? Editing? Writing?

  34. Go write Melissa Jagears. This year's party is the Reader's Digest version. Hurrah. Someone with some sense. Ruthy and Audra.

  35. How funny and ironic that Ruthy just ordered READER'S DIGEST!!!! Dave loves it and it's got such fun, story fodder short stories... and it was to help a kid raise funds, so yes, READER'S DIGEST VERSION!!!! SUHWEEEEEET!!! :)

  36. Tina!! Hi! Happy New Year! Yes the Aussies are here :) It's nearly 11pm. Not long to go!

    Oh dear Tina, I wish I could report something exciting with writing or editing. But you know what... I don't really. It's been a big year with my kids. Eldest has just finished her first year of school, youngest started preschool. It's important for me to be available for them at this time.

    BUT ... I am currently doing an editing job! It's just a manuscript critique, but God willing it will lead to more soon. My youngest will have 2 days in preschool this year so I'll have a little more time to do these things.

  37. We're entering hour two and the winner from the overnight session....

    of the two Amazon gift cards and the donations to the Phoenix branch of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is:

    Jen, the Artist Librarian, our eclectic friend!!!!

    Turning the punch bowl and coffee pot over to Glynna Kaye!!!

  38. Quite a crowd here already this morning! Of course, the sun won't rise here in Arizona for another two and a half hours! Zzzzz! :)

  39. Congrats to the first hour winners! It's snowing here in the mountains of Arizona and could get up to 15 inches by tomorrow morning!

    What's the weather like in YOUR part of the country as you prepare to ring in the New Year?

  40. Happy New Year from Texas!
    (I don't have that much to say this early in the morning!)

  41. HELEN W -- Sounds as if you've had your hands full this year with kidlets! I can see why there hasn't been a whole lot of time for writing/editing. But what precious memories you're making with your kids. They grow up WAY too fast so you don't want to miss a moment of it!

  42. Happy New Year, Glynna! I would have never thought of Arizona having snow!..... You can keep it there though. :D

  43. Good morning, JANA! It's pretty early where you live, too, but thank you for crawling out from under the warm covers to greet us as we get started on our day!

  44. Hi, AMY C! I never new Arizona had snow either, when I lived in the Midwest. But the mountain communities here are higher than Denver--and get over 100 inches of snow a year. Crazy, huh? :)

  45. I'm in VA, no snow out there I don't think.

  46. Glynna, we're clear and cold up here! I'm working today, we're babysitting baby Morgan's big brother and sister while Mom's in the hospital with new baby, and the wood stove is toasty! LOVE IT!!!

    I'm setting up fresh coffee as we speak, and I brought a great plate of morning bagels and cream cheese from Brueggers!

  47. In keeping with my New Year's thoughts posted on the blog this morning, what are some ideas you have for this coming year to "live deliberately" and show appreciation to your friends?

  48. It's it ALWAYS cold in upstate NY, Ruthy? :)

    I know you're loving getting to keep your little ones by your side again today! And I know THEY love being there!

  49. Since I'm still up in California, I thought I'd pop back by. I blame my insomnia on the time difference. I'm a night owl by nature, but my internal clock has gotten further out of whack lately. I've been staying up way too late the past two weeks to try and catch our daughter in Europe when she's online. What's a mother to do when she wants to be sure and wish her New Year's "baby" a happy birthday?

    It's fun to see so many joining the party already. There are certainly some early birds among the Seekerville faithful. Have fun celebrating. I'm off to get a bit of shut-eye.

  50. AMY C -- I LOVE Virginia! So very beautiful!

  51. Hi Glynna!

    Yes they do grow up so quickly. You really don't get much time with them once they're at school, and my youngest only has 1 more year before she's in school too. I have plenty of years ahead when I can do the writing and editing.

  52. Good morning, Keli -- or should I say good NIGHT? You're a good Mom, making that extra effort to keep in touch with your daughter in Europe here during the holidays. SWEET DREAMS!

  53. Of all the days to oversleep...Happy New Year! My hot tea just reached the perfect temperature and I'm ready to party. Too bad my boss thinks tomorrow is the holiday and not today. (Technically he's right though, so I can't really argue.)
    I love the Dan Folgelberg version. He really pours the emotion into one song.

  54. HELEN W - How old do kids have to be in Australia to start school? Is there a "kindergarten"? Most US kids start kindergarten at age 5, but many also have had some pre-school time as well.

  55. Good morning, JACKIE! Oversleeping was probably just what you needed this morning--especially if you plan to stay up to midnight tonight to usher in the New Year!

  56. Now that the sun has come up, I can see how beautiful VA is this morning. I live on a mountain and I can see the ice and snow on the tops of the neighboring mountains. Gorgeous!

  57. It's all about the season. And this is your kidlet season. Good for you for knowing that!!

  58. Glynna, kids have to start school in the year they turn 6, but can start when they're 4 as long as they turn 5 by June (though it's rarely done). Our school year starts end of January. Kindergarten is the first year of school here, and we have preschool before that (but it varies from state to state what these are called!). So usually they do preschool for 2 years for a couple of days a week before they start school.

  59. Keli Gwynster, we moms will go to great lengths to do the Mom thing!!!

    I love that about you!

    And you just passed a tough anniversary. :( Those are hard and good at the same time.

    So that means you must come back after your nap and you should pop in late tonight when VINCE TAKES OVER!!!


    I totally insulted him with New York State of Mind timing, LOL! So he volunteered to take the West Coast shift!

    Of course you probably have a life and are doing something amazingly wonderful tonight, whereas I will be sleeping! I'm a dork!!!

  60. Every time I think I want to live on a mountain, Amy C., my children quake in horror as if a winding road or snow was a problem... For this upstate girl, if I get snowed in I get more time to write!!! YES!

  61. Good morning and Happy New Year to you all. Let it be a time of peace and celebration!

  62. Happy New Year's Eve!

    Looks like the party is in full swing. I won't want to leave my computer all day...

    Raising a mug of Joe to my sweet Seekville family! Hugs and love and all God's blessings. Glad we can say goodbye to 2014 together. I know 2015 is going to be filled with wonderful surprises that will touch our hearts and make us smile!

  63. The party hasn't even been going for an hour and I feel like I've arrived late!

    BTW-LOVE Dan Fogelberg's song and I haven't heard it yet this year so I'm going to follow your link as soon as I hit send on this comment.

    I'll do a coffee toast for 2015, so raise your cups. To dreams coming true!

    Happy New Year!

  64. We're about to roll over this hour...

    And the winner of Glynna's first two-for package of a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card and 2 Lindt candy bars is Marianne Barkman! Congrats, Marianne!!!

  65. Happy New Year to all the Seekers and their blog readers from sunny South Africa.

  66. I love Dan Fogelberg. We played one of his songs at our wedding!

    ManO and I have never been so glad to see a year go but it was full of lessons and challenges that made us stronger.

    Blessings to all this new year.

    And most of all, PEACE, Julie

  67. Helen, that's why I waited... and then life handed us some curves and I started working two jobs.... but it all worked out and if I'd tried back then, I would have been so frustrated!

    I love Ecclesiastes 3... recognizing our seasons.

  68. Happy New Year!! It's just ticked over to 2015 now. Wishing everyone God's blessing in 2015.

  69. Happy New Year's Eve Seekerville! I'm late to the party because I was given the opportunity to catch a few more hours sleep and I took it. Yes. I. Did. It isn't often I can do that.

    Congratulations to all the winners so far!

    I listened to Dan Fogelberg's song. It's a great story song but not as heart felt as the real Auld Lang Syne.

    Wow! It's going to be a terrific day for a party. It's currently only 12 degrees outside (here in Indiana) and feels like 3. The high today is only supposed to get to 19. It's a great day to get cozy and party.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  70. Tina, Ruth ... yes, it's definitely all about the seasons. Although it took me a year and a bit of frustration before I recognised this wasn't my season for writing or editing yet.

  71. I'm having some difficulties with google this morning...I have to either post a comment or log OUT and then back in to see any new comments! "Refresh" isn't working. So I apologize for being AWOL. Kept hitting refresh and not seeing anything new! :(

  72. HELEN W -- sounds as if our schools are set up very similar to yours.

  73. AMY C -- I have a beautiful view of snow-capped mountains, too -- if I go out and stand by the mailbox! :) Too many trees to see from the house, but I LOVE the trees!

  74. Good morning, LIZ! We wish YOU a very happy new year, too. A fresh start for all us!

  75. Glynna, I just dropped off a fresh bowl of punch and an array of pastries!!!

  76. Helen, I hear you completely. I had to learn that patience thing I talk about and honey, it's been a long time coming! But then I thought about pioneer families and how hard they worked and what their hard work did for others... and how blessed those families were to work together! Quality time isn't all about's about sharing goals and life!

  77. Good morning, Debby! The day is gradually dawning across our country (though not HERE yet!) and around the world. So much going on everywhere. The news programs bombard us with all the bad stuff. So it's a good time to remember as we prepare to enter 2015: "Don't fear tomorrow--God is already there."

  78. Good Morning all.
    Happy New Year. This is a time of new starts. Lets try to be a little more patient to everyone especially those that are older. As we hurry along in our life take a moment to reflect and appreciate what we have.
    I'll be back later Seekerville friends enjoy your day. Stay warm and enjoy your hot drink , as for me I'll be drinking my hot Salted Caramel Bigelow tea.

  79. ROSE -- I raise my cup of orange juice in honor of your toast to dreams coming true!

  80. Hello, RUTH ANN! So good to get a New Year's greeting from South Africa! I'd love some of your warm sunshine right about now!

  81. JULIE H.S. -- Yes, sometimes it feels especially good to wave goodbye to a previous year and look forward with hope to the next.

  82. CINDY W -- It definitely sounds like a day to cozy up inside there in Indiana! The snow continues to come down here!

  83. Good Morning, DEANNE! You're so right --patience with others and time for reflection and appreciation of our blessings is a wonderful way to start a new year.

  84. I am so looking forward to 2015. While 2014 was okay, we had some pretty rough spots at times.

    I know some people don't like to make New Year's resolutions and I have been one of those in the past. But 2015 is my year to make a resolution and to keep it. That is my goal.

    Ruthie, I agree with Jenny regarding the donation on behalf of someone else. There are so many charities out there that I would love to donate to...Wounded Warriors, Humane Society, kids in Appalachia...there are so many organizations in need and my heart breaks that I can't do enough for them. So thank you for offering to donate to charities for those of us who can't. Blessings upon you.

    I brought some Panera Bread bagels and different cream cheeses, Hazelnut coffee with whipped cream and some Earl Grey tea! Party on....

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  85. CINDY W - Yes, there are so many worthy causes, so many people in need. We can't give to all, but I'm thankful we can remember the story of the "feeding of the 5,000" to prayerfully discern where we can give and know that God can multiply it to make a difference.

  86. Ruth Ann, I've missed your wise comments!!!!!!

  87. Good morning Seekerville!

  88. wow, so much fun today, with punch and snacks at 9 a.m.!

  89. And the winner for the 8:00 hour, of a two-for gift from Glynna Kaye... A Lindt bar and a $10 Barnes and Noble card... is AMY C.!!!!


    (I'm sure the rules were explained repeatedly, I may have not been paying attention!)

  91. Good Morning....I have been up a little, I'm not divulging that, just listening in to the conversation and catching up on what happened at night. And I saw my name, and had to backtrack. I don't do candies, but I do do chocolates, and BOOKS! Thanks RUTHY!

  92. Wow, we're at almost 100 comments already?

  93. Good morning, MARY! What's the weather like in Nebraska this morning?




  95. Happy New year TO all! Weather in GA is cool, cloudy so far!

  96. Wow Mary, such a touching story! My mom grew up in the country as one of eight too and I never knew a happier group of people than my mom and her brothers and sisters. Their idea of fun was a farm meal such as yours and then they sat around and sang hymns and played the guitar. They didn't know they were poor either. The LOVE was so SATISFYING, they never missed the other stuff.
    I'm all nostalgic now and sniffing, missing my mom who went home to be with her heavenly family in 2001. Such sweet memories of her and all she instilled in my life!

    Remembering the past is a great way to prepare for the coming year.

    Happy New Year to All!

  97. Mary C. I loved your "essay". It touched my heart. I can look back now and know that we didn't have much when I was growing up. My dad was in the military and my Mom learned how to stretch a once a month pay check to not only feed our family of five but to also feed lonely airmen every Sunday. She tells me now she could have written a cookbook on 101 ways to fix hamburger.

    What I gleaned from your story Mary is the LOVE that filled your house and that is what Christmas is all about isn't it? LOVE. God gave us all the greatest gift in the birth of Jesus Christ...the gift of love.

    Happy New Year!

    Cindy W.

  98. Aw Tracey, I made you cry. Can you find some holiday candy to eat until you cheer up.

    That's what works for me.

  99. Tracey, I didn't grow up in a large family, and I can only guess how comforting a large family can be when hard times come. Mom is still with us, but I can see her aging. At 88 she's allowed to, but I miss her already, if that makes any sense

  100. Tracey, we always went outside to play. I guess that makes me laugh at all the toys kids have these days, my own had tons and my daughter with three kids has tons (far too many of them given to her by ME)
    We always just climbed trees and played on the swing in the barn's hay mow and built forts in the woods with broken branches.
    We also a horse and neighbors with TWO horses. But they were stubborn things and hard to catch. We caught them sometimes and went riding.

    LOTS of reading, the library was a world of wonder.

  101. This comment has been removed by the author.

  102. Happy New Year, everyone. Here's to a blessed year and 12 months of great writing! (And reading, of course.) :)

  103. Marianne that makes perfect sense.
    It's the TALKING I miss.
    My inlaws are both gone and we loved them so much, and my dad passed away 13 years ago.
    And I think of them all the time. Stuff I'd love to talk over with my mother in law, who was one of the smartest, funniest, kindest woman to ever walk the earth.
    And My Cowboy said he thinks of his father everyday.
    And my dad, he was so funny. I'd love to listen to his take on things. Stuff happens and I wish I could talk it over with him.

    My mom is 86 and has had a tough year, though I hope she's pulling out of it and has many years to go.
    I worry about her though and yes, I miss her already.

  104. Happy New Year, Seekerville! I am so excited to celebrate my first New Year's Eve as part of this group. This is so much fun. I am joining you with my cup of hot chocolate. Please enter me into the drawings. So many fun prizes.

    Now I am waiting for the repairman to come to find out why changing our water filter made hoses break and water come out the back!

  105. Hi Whitney, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, TOO! Thanks for stopping in!

  106. Don't think that posting a comment twice is the best way to get to our record breaking comments, though it would be easier!

  107. Happy New year all! I am feeling so blessed, and am so excited to see what God has in store for 2015.

  108. I forgot to say that Christmas for us was usually some clothes, underclothes, and one toy. We also played outside with all the neighborhood kids. When school was out, we would spend the entire day outside playing until we were called in for lunch. Then we'd go back outside and play until we were called in for dinner. Kids seemed a lot healthier then....

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  109. Good morning and Happy New Year to ALL!
    Mary C. ~ what a touching story. It warmed my heart to read about your Christmas as a youth.
    Have a blessed day y'all!

  110. Mary,
    I still have some cherry pir and I know I have chocolate pie in the freezer, so yes, I'll be better soon :)

    I remember asking my mom what she got for Christmas growing up and she said a stocking with an apple, an orange, some nuts and hard candies.

    When we visited my grandparents it was another world for me. The still lived on a farm with and outhouse and were tobacco farmers. I can still see it all in my minds eye. LOVED the whole experience.

  111. Happy New Year! Wishing you all much success in all things..
    Pleas enter me ;)
    dkstevensne @ outlook DoTCOm

  112. Happy New Year! Thank you for the great giveaways they are a nice surprise today!

  113. Marianne, I totally understand about missing your mom already. My mom will be 87 on January 15th. She's been my best friend and I look at her now and miss her. She has Parkinson's Disease and three years into the disease and she's getting my symptoms. It breaks my heart as she was always so physically vibrant. I will say her mind is sharp. Sharper than mine and for that I ave very, very grateful. So while we 'miss' them while they are still here, let's embrace them and cherish the times we do have with them. Blessings to you Marianne.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  114. Marianne,
    I understand exactly what you mean. My dad is 83, I feel like he has been "gone" from us for a long time even though he is with us. "The Long Goodbye" seems to apply. Sad stuff, saying goodbye to those that are still here.

  115. Hi Sandy, say have you heard of the Nebraska Writer's Guild? We're having a spring conference in Omaha (LaVista honestly, but right off the interstate) and you could come and we could finally MEET EACH OTHER.
    Even just come in for one day.

    It's Saturday, April 11.

    It's at the Embassy Suites,
    12520 Westport Pkwy
    LaVista, NE 68128

  116. Oh, this looks like a fun day! I hope to come back and join each hour, but for now I must get to the doctor and start my kids on their school. Blessings for a most fun day!!
    Kelly Y.

  117. Okay, I meant to say, "she is getting more symptoms", not 'my' symptoms.

  118. Marianne is that Comment Deleted post yours?

    A post that went up twice?

    I always hope someone said something a little CRAZY. But usually not, huh?

  119. Here in Nebraska we will have wind chill temps of -50 in the west to -20 in the east. Yes that is minus 50 degrees.. Brrr it is a good day to stay inside & read.. AND party! !

  120. Dana you know with all the drama in the world, and there is plenty, I just read a new article that said by all measures we are living in the safest, richest, healthiest time in human history.

  121. Cindy, I agree, now they sit for hours with their TV and their phones and computers.

    I think they are MENTALLY exhausted but physically full of energy. I think that's what's behind most ADHD. That mental overstimulation and physical under-stimulation.

    Keep in mind I have never been to medical school......just in case there was some doubt.

  122. Mom was sick 2 &1/2 years ago, she's come back... A walking miracle. She's active, and since we live in the same house, and basically do EVERYTHING together, I am enjoying this Ymir. However, she lost her oldest sister in November, and though we don't talk about it it all the time, I know she misses her...

  123. Mary, thanks for the info on the writer's conference in Omaha in April. I hope to be able to go.

  124. Deanna, where in Nebraska do you live? I live in Kearney. And yes it is definitely cold here in Nebraska this morning.

  125. And I think Moms looking more to the future life than she did when Dad passed away almost 25 years ago.

  126. Hi kandi, I warmed your heart?
    I'm so glad.....

    I don't know where you live, but it's 2 below zero here in beloved Nebraska. You want to warm something? Get a blow torch.

  127. Tracey when we were first married, which is almost 38 years ago (good grief I'm old!) we still have a few neighbors with only an outhouse. And a few with an indoor bathroom AND an outhouse.

  128. Happy New Year to my Seekerville friends! I appreciate you one and all for always being so encouraging. I especially appreciate the informative blogs and the fact that so many published authors would gather in one place to help those of us who are still trying to master the craft of writing and seeking publication. Praying 2015 is a year full of multiple new releases for all of the established authors, first sales for all of the "authors-in-waiting", and blessings beyond measure for everyone. Best wishes to you all!

  129. It's freezing cold this morning. I had to give my robe to my cats. One of these blankets would be nice right now.

  130. Deanna Stevens HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, TOO.

    Your name's in the drawing!

  131. Mary, thank you so much for sharing. I never thought about how much we didn't have growing up. Now, kids want everything and then some. Then, we knew not to ask for more. Now, it seems there are no boundaries. Very cold morning here in VA! But nothing near the wind chill temps in Nebraska. That is cold! Y'all will need that throw to help stay warm while reading a book!

  132. Samantha T We're going from 4 am EST to 12 Midnight PST.
    Two giveaways per house. that's FORTY PRIZES TODAY.

    Remember the prizes are one for you, one to give a friend. Although honestly, if you keep them both, nobodies gonna call a cop.

  133. 2 BELOW!? I'm feeling all warm and toasty now in Va. At 33. How can anyone possibly stay warm at the temp? We use a wood stove in our den and it gets so hot in there I have to leave the room and go to the other end of the house where I can feel the cooler air, lol.

  134. Hi Kelly, sounds like a busy day, we really appreciate you making SEEKERVILLE PART OF IT!

  135. I love to to read this blog! You are all so encouraging. Happy New Year to each of you.

  136. DEANNA, Wind chill! Who invented that anyway, like we don't notice it gets colder when the wind blows.

  137. Happy New Year! May God continue to bless your ministry and writing as much as this blog has blessed me. Thank you for all the hard work.

  138. SANDY they have the fall Nebraska writer's guild conference in Kearney, but I never get to is. It's always right (or almost) on top of the ACFW Conference.


    Still they are interesting I think. Very well done conferences.

  139. "I miss her already..."
    Yes, I understand! I've been in the ÈŔ all night w/my mom. Heart stuff. She's going to be OK I think. God is at work & my precious church friends are praying.
    And how Kind of God to give me a busy Seekerville day as a distraction!

  140. RHONDA STARNS YOU SWEET THING! You know, Seekerville is such a great place in large part because of you and all the people who stop in and see what we're up to everyday.

    Thank you for that nice post and thank you for hanging around Seekerville. God bless you.

  141. Wind chill in the north is equal to heat index in the south.

    My sis who lives in Florida says, Oh we never even look at that, when its 95 to 100 in the summer the heat index means nothing, haha.

  142. Janine, you gave your robe to your cats?

    Don't the cats come with the fur already attached?

  143. Your story hit home Mary. I never knew we were middle-class or poor until high school when there was an obvious distinction between the haves and the have-nots. If we truly needed something, it was there. If we didn't, it wasn't or we had to wait for it. Looking back, I can see that life was good because of the family, faith, and love that was there.

  144. I've been on a reading binge, and my eyes were tired. So I went to bed early (for me) last night.

    When I got home from the grocery store yesterday, we had no water, and the washing machine had quit in the middle of running a load.
    The service man did not call back until last night, and he's not coming until tomorrow. So today's outings include an out of town trip to a doctor's appointment for hubby and a visit to son's house for baths. :)


  145. all these prizes are wonderful !! would love to win

  146. Sally Shupe, really no one had anything. I think it taught us to take turns and share.

    I think living so close together helped rub off the rough edges of people out of pure necessity, there just was hardly such a thing as MINE.

  147. Mary Connealy, you made me tear up! Such sweet memories you have! Happy New Year!

  148. Tracey, well I survive it by staying inside, but My Cowboy is out right now checking his cattle.
    He knows how to dress to function in this weather.
    We have a saying in Nebraska.


    Again, let me repeat, I am INSIDE

  149. Hi Joyce, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, TOO!

    Does anyone make resolutions anymore?

    I need to start eating healthier, not a crazy diet, just a sensible one. I might try that.

  150. RUTHY—I used to LOVE Dan Fogelberg, and I loved that song. It's now flitting through my head, and probably will be for the rest of the day. :)

    Mary—I love your memories of Christmas. It sounds like you grew up with amazing parents. :)

    I remember gauging our finances by what we ate. My parents didn't point out to us that we had to eat everything. My mom just got really creative with the food we had on hand. And she bought stuff that would go a ways meal-wise. There were only three of us. :) We have some great Christmas memories, too, but my parents roped off the room where the Christmas tree was until they got up. It taught us self-discipline, but very begrudgingly. :)

    Looking forward to spending more time here today. We're actually home for New Year's Eve this year. :)

  151. KELLY that's so sweet.

    You don't have family quarterbacking for the Minnesota Vikings do you?

  152. We didn't have much growing up either. I think my mom got stuff all year long to ease the cost. And she always got something for my cousins who had less than we did. Christmas was her favorite. So it makes it hard since she's gone the past two and a half years.

  153. Jana! I'm so sorry for your mom's illness. God bless you both.
    You'll be in my prayers.
    Heart Stuff is never easy.

  154. Dawn high school can be brutal.

    I do my best to forget.

    We went to a one room country school house so, except for church on Sunday, we really only hung around with a bunch of other farmers and we were all kind of the same.

  155. Happy New Year Everyone! I am so grateful for each of you. I am not sure how often I will be able to be on today. We have major family (18 in all) arriving in 2 hours and staying until Saturday. Looks like there will not be much reading or writing going on. Thankful for a new year. I accomplished more writing than ever before and more reading as well. I read over 250 books. Thanks in part to all of you awesome writers.

  156. Helen, the upside is, the new year hasn't got to do a lot to be an improvement!

    Sorry about the water, girl! It stops you from doing SO MUCH!

  157. HI MIA, thanks for leaving a comment. Your name is in the drawing!

  158. Hugs, Jana....sometimes that's all we need

  159. Aw Becky, that's so sweet.

    My mom and dad were the best team. They were always a strong unit and they were people of solid faith. It gives a child a firm foundation.

  160. I remember a Christmas growing up where there was no money for Dad had just lost his job. So we all made gifts for each other. It was one of the best Christmases ever.

  161. Jeanne T, my parents SHOULD have roped off the living room. I wonder why they never cracked the whip?

    Just pushovers honestly.

  162. 250 books Wilani? wow, I'm at about 130 and I'm not a writer either. That's really impressive, but I can't figure out how you do all that. I must be a slow reader.

  163. Happy New Year's Eve, Seekerville!!! We are party animals. Kittens probably, not tigers but still hear us roar.


  164. Ann, God bless you.

    I know it took me a while after my dad died, but the day I started remembering the GOOD THINGS instead of how sad it was, I started to get better.
    It sounds like you've got wonderful memories of a strong, fine woman.
    Those are truly priceless.

  165. I thought I posted. Waves!!

    I'm listening to the end of my manuscript. I have male British Kindle voice readingBut if rather hang out with yall. Hope to be by later...

  166. Wilani I'll type FAST before you vanish.

    That sounds like a fantastic party. Enjoy the madness. God bless you in 2015!!!!!


  167. Mary Connealy I Really Enjoyed Reading Your 'Ode to the New Year'. My family upbringing was very similar to yours. We didn't have much, but we were very loved. There were 5 of us kids & we had slim pickings but never really knew it. Sometimes I wish it were a little more like the good 'Ol days--where getting fruit in your stocking and one gift for Christmas was enough.
    I have to confess, when I saw what you were giving away I just HAD to enter! Here I am all bundled up trying to get warm because our furnace is broken. (I'm calling the electrician when I get up, I'm not used to it being in the 50's in our house! Brrr!)
    Here's to you my fun loving writer friend, for a Blessed New Year Full of Love and Hope!
    Love this event!

  168. Dana it's so wonderful that you kept Christmas in your hearts and really found a way to celebrate.

  169. Carol M, hope you're coming back and bringing your cookies! I brought eggnog, a perfect fit so don't let me down, dear friend.


  170. Happy New Year. Just started my day with hot chocolate with a couple of grandsons. Great way to start a new year even if I can't read with these delightful distractions!



    Why did I write so much? Why didn't Audra and Ruthy (who are in charge of this!) slap me?

  172. SO MUCH is right, Mary. :)

    Heading out now. Will check back in later in the day.

  173. Hi Janet! This is so much fun each hour! Your prize sounds great, too!

  174. And, it's not 10 am here in California. It's barely 7 am! :)

  175. Happy New Year Seekerville friends!
    Thanks for having me as a guest this past year and I look forward to visiting again. Seekerville is as my students would say "BOSS!"

  176. Does anyone get nostalgic for old friends this time of year? I love receiving Christmas cards with a note or letter that keep us updated on their lives. Lately we've been having dinner with my dh's high school friend and his wife, all because of a high school reunion.


  177. And the winner of Mary Connealy's cuddly throws is DEANNA STEVENS!! Congrats and enjoy them!!!

  178. Hi Mary! They knew a great story when they saw it. The love for your parents just shines through. I had great parents too. We are blessed!


  179. Brrr, it's 18 below zero in Longmont and that's without the wind chill...sadly, I do see a the barren branches of trees swaying outside.

    I love the cold, but not THIS cold!!

  180. Hi Sandy, Jesus Calling is a wonderful devotional! Dear Debby gave it to me. I try to pass it along to others.


  181. Cindy W., I love that image of Christmas! Providing the necessities and something special!

    I used to go overboard with Christmas. Someone should have SMACKED ME!!!!

    But I learned... eventually... I'm drinking punch and grabbing TOO MANY SWEETS but having so much fun!!!!

  182. HI RUTH:

    I guess you didn’t hear the rest of the story behind, “Same Auld Lang Syne”.


    After his old lover drove away, the snow turned to rain. This covered all the bridge abutments in a sheet of sheer ice. When the woman, now half drunk, (she was only 97 pounds) lost control in a skid on the Tallahatchie Bridge, the car dove into the river. She is now sleeping with Billie Joe McAllister. Her husband has since remarried a fellow architect who truly loves him. In reality, Dan was happily married the whole time and was just feeling nostalgic for his lost youth as he was trying to be kind to his old lover.

    So now you know the rest of the story.

  183. Yes, the cats mostly love me...I had one that really missed me when I was gone for the winter. When I came back in Spring, he didn't want to let me work. And yes, he loved to hug and kiss me.. I've never met a dog I didn't love, either, Ruth

  184. Do you guys know that VINCE MOONEY is finishing the night for us tonight????

    After his cute whine-fest about being on New York time....

    (that's what happens when the Yank is put in charge, LOL! The Yank likes to sleep!) He stepped up to the plate (baseball talk from the Yank, of course) and said he'd do the late night stuff.



    I'm puttin' that in a book.

    I've got a cute crowd of kids playing Monopoly in the dining room, the same kids that did Help for the Homeless on 12/20... they're so cute. I can learn so much by sitting here quietly listening.


  186. Hi Jewell. BOSS is a compliment though everyone knows Ruthy's the bossy one and Tina is Boss. :=)



    My daughter was getting a new furnace YESTERDAY!

    She went to work. Where it's warm.

    Her furnace wasn't broken exactly it just had to be turned on by hand, nothing manual worked. The OFF worked. the furnace would heat the house to whatever setting they had, then switch off. They had to traipse down into their basement and switch it back on.


  188. SPEW ALERT, VINCE!!!!!

    It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty delta day....

    I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay....


    This is a Paul Harvey moment!

  189. Happy New Year's Eve, Seekerville! Just popping in to say hi, but I'll see you again at 12 EST. After two days out of town, I'm in catchup mode--unpacking, laundry, mail, loving on our doggies after their "traumatic" overnight at the kennel. (Guess which to-do item has top priority!)

  190. Tina is the "BOSS".

    I pretend to be smart.

    Mary's a brat.

  191. A broken furnace, Mary? Now? In Nebraska?? Oh my!! This is one of the few times I'll say good thing daughter had to work over a holiday!!!

    I did see a weather report promising we'd get to 14 today and 30 tomorrow.


    Sometimes, though, I think Nebraska weather men deliberately lie to us, just so we will have a reason to live.

    Also, so we won't all move to Florida.

  193. Yep, good for you, Vince.

    Now we know 'the rest of the story'.