Thursday, December 11, 2014

How Those Favorite Gifts Become the Basis for Your Story!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Mia here, stopping in for some egg nog and a few Christmas carols. You’ll have to forgive my singing—I have a decent voice but a tin ear.  :)

Anyway, Ruthy and I thought it would be fun to share our favorite gifts with you today and then open up the comments for yours. They can be tangible things or precious memories, whichever you treasure most. We’re going to get things started, and then if you join in, you’ll be entered in the drawing for our Love Inspired Christmas books.

For me, this was an easy one: my kids are the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I really enjoyed my wedding day, but when I became a mother my life changed in ways I never could’ve imagined before. I learned how to be more patient, how to plan for more than myself, and how to survive on VERY little sleep.  Now that our kids are older, I’ve discovered how inspiring it is to watch them grow into the people they’re going to be. Life with young adults isn’t always easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

For anyone who’s not familiar with my background, we have a daughter in college and a son in high school. Looking back, I see how they and their friends have helped make me a better writer. They didn’t mean to do it, of course, but their many dramas—large and small—provide me with endless fodder for the characters in my stories. Giving them real problems to solve makes them feel more real to me and hopefully to readers, as well. Without the unwitting contributions from my kids, I’d have only my perspective to draw from. I have a pretty good imagination, but left to my own devices, I’m afraid it wouldn’t take me long to run out of decent material.

Before Ruth comes in and takes over, I want to wish everyone a warm, wonderful holiday season!

Oh, Mia has me laughing, because I’m snarky enough to raise a brow when folks try to write kids and blow it! You know the original rule we all learned, to write what you know? Not a bad idea, LOL!  That doesn’t mean there aren’t different ways to approach kids, because anyone who’s got more than one kid knows they’re unique… some are bratty. Some aren’t. Some are outgoing. Some aren’t. But you know what shows me an author’s lack of experience with kids more than the kids’ behaviors, speech patterns, and actions?

 The way other characters REACT TO THE CHILD. Oh, that’s like raising a big red flag that says, “I don’t have kids, I haven’t had kids in decades, and I have no idea how they sound, or what they say, do and like!”

I agree with Mia, life is the best scene-coach of all. If you’ve lived, you have story fodder. Just change the names to protect the innocent. And the guilty!

Best gift… Well, there’s a bunch of dust collectors around the Blodgett farm that I could tease about, but youse know what I’m going to say… my faith.

My faith has moved mountains. My faith has sustained me in times of darkness and uplifted me in times of light! That sweet gift, that faith of a child bolsters me in everything I do. It puts a smile on my face, I’m like a grinning idiot!!!! And all because I truly believe God shaped me… created me…. And offered me life to the full! Thank you, God, because honestly, that gift of faith, a gift that whispered to me as a child but came to me fully as an adult.

The kids get to lay a piece of yarn on baby Jesus's manger every time they do something kind and good without being asked! They warm a baby, born to the poor, by their good deeds. By Christmas, the manger will be alive in colored yarn!
 That faith, a faith that began in a childhood hovel, is what I cling to when we lose those we love. It’s what I profess when danger looms. It’s what I teach to small children with messy faces as we make sugar cookie crosses and put yarn on Baby Jesus to keep him warm in that drafty manger... our good deeds warm that baby's heart!

Simple. Pure. Free.

It has cost me nothing and given me everything!!!

I try to infuse the blessed warmth of that faith into each story I create. Faith or lack of faith can underscore character growth and bind or sever healing threads of forgiveness and acceptance and romance. Like writing children and their foibles, the best way to write faith is from the deep emotions faith evokes within us. You and me. Simple folk of the race that knows Joseph.

And speaking of gifts!!!! Mia and I are each giving away copies of our books, so wonderful commenters are going to have their names yanked from the cat dish tonight! A copy of Her Holiday Family (Ruthy’s version, the contemporary!!!!) and “Sugar Plum Season”, Mia’s latest Love Inspired will find their way to your door! And I've thrown in complimentary copies of "Hope for the Holidays", one historical and one contemporary set for your Kindles! Let us know in the comments what you'd like!!!

Come on inside, Helen’s got the coffee waitin’ on us and there’s a whole tray of custard and strawberry stuffed croissants. You. Will. Love. Them.

I promise!




Romantic Times called these stories a compelling read... and they're filled with joy! "Red Kettle Christmas" by me.... and "Manhattan Miracle" by Anna Schmidt!!!!  Yes, jump over there now and get your .99 book... and then come on back and we'll toss your name in the cat dish for some more fun Christmas reading!

Because we love youse that much!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne lives in a rabbit hole in upstate NY and pokes her head out as needed because she loves being denned in for the winter, writing stories of faith, hope, humor and love! With some cute kids sprinkled in, of course! Hang with her on facebook or visit her at

Her buddy Mia Ross is also an upstate NY native who loves telling stories!
 Visit Mia at, friend her on facebook, 
and enjoy her stories from Love Inspired books all year round!


  1. Yep, coffee's a brewing.

    The good thing about age is that all that experience of living provides all kinds of ideas for writing.

    My kids and hubby recognize characters and scenes in my books. :)

  2. **Off Topic Alert!**
    MYRA, I Did It!!! I took your "branch out, take a risk, do something different" Christmas challenge from earlier this week!! I bought myself a Christmas Present! A Book! A Book that cost more than $1.99 even! :)

    I had gotten presents for everyone else, and I still had a 40% off coupon to blow through. I couldn't let it go to waste, so I bought Mary Connealy's "Stuck Together"! Yes, I Splurged!

    But I can't read it yet because I'm reading Ruthy's "Red Kettle Christmas" (only $.99!). Ruthy's got this girl in a world of trouble, & I've got to get her out of it & married to the policeman before I can start another book.

    Thank you Myra for the nudge! Merry Christmas!!

  3. I love the idea of placing the yarn over the manger. I have not heard of that before.

    Please add me to the cat dish thank you.

  4. just cooked some sugar cookies (need icing) but am happy to share. angels, bells and star shapes.

    I have the two collections but would love to go in the draw for the LI books.

    I don't have kids but did babysit a lot so do know a little from that experience but more as a babysitter not a mother.

    I love the yarn on the manger also remember it from you sharing on my blog last year. Hard to believe in 2 weeks it will be Christmas day (I am still to have a Christmas card to put up)

  5. Blogger consumed my first comment.


    Helen, thank you for coffee! And I have a few people who've read books and found POSSIBLE SIMILARITIES.... :)

    But Tina Martinelli in Her Holiday Family, tough, bossy, hard-working, focused, and cute as a button... SHE'S NOT LIKE ANY OTHER TINA I KNOW.

    Just for the record.

  6. Jana!!!!! Go you!!!!

    I'm so glad you went and got it, .99 is a super duper price and it's such a nice pair of stories...

    Karen and Mike... Macy's... The parade.... Manhattan... The tree at Rockefeller Center... The Booth Home for Unwed Mothers.... Oh, and life before incubators/Isolettes for needy newborns!!!

    I love that story, thank you so much for buying the book!!!!

  7. Mary Preston, you're in and the cats are mad!!!!

  8. Jenny, I'll have two stars, please! And if you need me to make the frosting, I'm ready to jump in!!!!

    Oh, I have eaten my share of cookies and sponge candy this last week.


    Jenny, I know, two weeks, right????

    So wonderful!

  9. God's grace is the greatest gift I have ever received. What's so wonderful is that gift is renewed every day!

    I would love my name to be thrown in the cat dish for Mia's LI book. I already have both collections and Ruthy's book. :)

    Have a blessed day everyone!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  10. HELEN: This coffee is just what I need! It's a blustery morning with wind howling around the windows, making everything very chilly. Thank you!

    JANA: I'm a huge fan of giving ourselves presents. Who knows better than us what we want, right? And you can never go wrong with a book from one of the Seekers :)

    JENNY: I love Christmas cookies! I'll take an angel, with lots of sugar sprinkled on top, thank you :)

    CINDY: Consider yourself entered. Good luck!

  11. So glad to see this collaboration post! What fun from two great people! Thank you so much for writing it!

  12. Mia and Ruthy, good post! Faith sustains us when all else fails...

    All this talk about Christmas books and sugar cookies is revving up my Christmas spirit. I may hang some lights today! :-)

  13. Lots of life experiences show up in my books!

    I have a friend who has told me: okay...I don't want to see this in print! Ha!

  14. My son was born December 6, so that was a pretty wonderful Christmas. He just turned 20 last weekend.

    I already have Hope for the Holidays Contemporary on kindle, but please enter me for the rest of the drawing.

  15. Good Post. Ruth, Are you getting snow? It's snowing quite heavy here and I haven't seen a plow.

  16. My favorite Christmas gift was given to me a couple years ago. I have always wanted one of those Victorian doll houses, so a couple of Christmas ago, my husband surprised me with one. I was so happy. Tears of joy.
    I would like to be entered in the drawing for The Hope for the Holidays historical ebooks plus the Love Inspired books. I already have the Hope for the Holidays contemporary ebook. Merry Christmas!

  17. Mia, you are so right! You'll never run out of story fodder with young or old kids around. OMG, my kids are so much more outgoing, confident, snarky than I ever was--or will be for that matter!!! It's a wonder God gave them to ME.


    And Ruthy? It's Christmas time so of course we expect to see some pics with a Red Kettle!! You are such a wonder, girlfriend.

    Faith in God colors my entire perspective on life. It's the greatest gift.

    You guys have put me in the mood to snuggle down with a great CHRISTMAS story, or two. Hmmm, what are the chances I can call in to work sick???

    Ha, the reading will have to wait. Have a great day all!!

  18. Mia and Ruthy, lovely post! Kids and faith--great combo. How does anyone raise kids without faith? One night I was overwhelmed with love for my two precious little girls and what ifs were filling me with fear. Knowing how much God loved them and me, I released them to God. That gave me such peace. God is good.


  19. I love this post. When children are written in books,they add so much to my joy of reading. But then I love children. It is amazing to me how many people do not know how to respond to preschoolers. Last night I was teaching my cubbies in Awanas when all of a sudden having nothing to do with the story a kid pipes up and says, "Miss Wilani you look like you are about to have a baby!" The adult helpers immediately jumped on the 4 year old telling him how rude he was. I chuckled in a happy way and lovingly explained that I am fat I just didn't realize I looked that fat and then we went on with the story. He didn't hurt my feelings at all. I love their brutal honesty.

    By the way I jotted down the comments from the kids that stood out and most likely some of these will find their way into a book at some point. I have been keeping a record for years.

    Please enter me in the drawing. I already have both Hope for the Holidays.

  20. PIPER: Thank YOU for stopping by! It's always great to see you :)

    MARY HICKS: Great idea! Be sure to post a pic of your decorations when you're done.

    ROSE: LOL--your friend is very wise ;)

    SANDY: Getting a son for Christmas is wonderful--and so is not being pregnant anymore :)

    CATHYANN40: We're in pretty good shape in our neck of the woods. If you can, stay in and read some good books :)

    KELLY: What an incredible gift! When someone makes one of our dreams come true, it's the best.

    AUDRA: I think your kids are blessed to have a mom who encouraged them to be so outgoing :) Have a good day!

    JANET: You definitely need faith when you love someone that much. Wishing you and your family a joyful Christmas :)

    WILANI: You must have great material for that future book! That's the kind of thing LOTS of people will relate to and enjoy :)

  21. Fun posts ladies and yes, you have true gifts to use in your stories.

    Ruthy is so right when she says you have to speak like the kids. When I retired, I had been teaching junior high reading and language arts and our district said we had to use g rated books in class. Well there are not many interesting g rated books, esp for boys so that was my goal. To write g rated young adult. One book they loved was Hatchet so I decided to write a survival story at Lake Powell in AZ, an area I know.

    Well, I entered it in a contest and was told my dialogue didn't sound like teens, but like two old ladies having coffee. ROFLOL and still RoFLOL

    Needless to say, that book is collecting dust. Maybe I should rewrite it and make the characters two old ladies. ha ha ha

  22. Last night I was working on my blog and reflecting back on special Christmases. My oldest son was born Dec. 29, and his daughters were born on Dec. 15 and Dec. 17. Also my husband proposed to me at Christmastime.

    If you look past the obvious that God gave us the best Christmas present ever, by giving us Jesus, these would be my favorite Christmas gifts.

    (It doesn't mean I'm not thankful for my other son and sweet daughter-in-law. They're just not December gifts.)

  23. My favorite presents are my husband and our daughter. I received both around Christmas.

    Gwynly and I had a Christmas wedding, complete with poinsettias and a footstool for the kiss. (I'm 5'2". He's 6'2".) We'll celebrate 27 years on December 19th. Yes, I'm that old. =)

    Our daughter was due December 21, but Adriana decided to take her sweet time making her arrival. She was born in a German hospital just one block from the 1,000-year-old Nürnberg castle on New Year's Day. Well. Actually it was 11:39 p.m. on New Year's night, but she made it on the 1st.

    Adri loves her special birthday, and so do Gwynly and I. Sadly we won't be helping our gal celebrate her 24th birthday in person because she went and got a job in Austria. I'm living my dream as a writer, and our German-French major is living her dream of living in Europe, where she's working as an English language teaching assistant. France last year. Austria this year. She's a gal on the go, and I couldn't be prouder of her.

    I really liked your point about writing kids, Ruthy, and how important the reaction of the other characters to them are. I'd love to see a post on that sometime. Hint, hint. =)

  24. Hi, Ruthy...I was worried there for a minute, no bold words in your comments....then they showed up. Whew.
    What a great both you ladies, as well as all Seekervillagers. It's been a while since I got a Christmas gift ... Don't feel sorry for me, I love Christmas, but with no little children in our immediate family we haven't given gifts in a long time. it I love my Jesus, and my best friend has the absolutist awesomest darling girl born on December 22 so I'm claiming that.. We're not close in miles, for Christmas, but we are in heart.
    Books? Yep, I'd love any or all of, I'm not greedy

  25. Hi Mia & Ruthy

    I'm having trouble with Blogger too. Actually I'm having trouble with the whole computer. I have to take it into the shop.

    I don't know why there aren't more Christmas stories set in the city. One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the city to shop for Christmas. Oh, it was a magical place to me with all the decorations and lights.

    Love all the wonderful Christmas stories out there this year.

  26. Wishing a wonderful Christmas, Mia.

    How do you manage everything this busy season?

  27. Happy Thursday Seekerville. And what better way to ring in the 13th day before Christmas than with the twins, Mia and Ruthy and their amazing faith and writing hints.


  28. And what happy Christmas books you two have. Mia, love your LI cover!

  29.! Gotta love the little ankle biters. They are definitely the gift that keeps on giving :)

  30. Piper, it's a TWO-FER!!!! A BOGO!!!! :)

    Better than a cents-off coupon, right???

    I love working with Mia. We go back a long way and it's pretty funny when we get together!

    Oh my stars, CathyAnn We've got snow, it's so fun! The kids will love tromping up and down plow piles today! And we're going sledding tomorrow because Monday is supposed to go up into the 40's and one day of rain will turn us back into mud-city!

  31. Mary Hicks, do it!!!!!!

    Myra gave us solid permission to live our lives as we see fit, but I find that greater effort involved = the better reward.

    I do that with Lent, too, and it helps me and the kids more fully appreciate Christ's sacrifice... and Mary's pain... as he walked the way of the cross.

    I think of Anne of Green Gables when I think about doing less, and how her optimism brought Marilla and Matthew back to life.

    I want that feeling!!!

  32. Sandy Smith, you're in!!

    And Rose, yes... LAUGHING!!!! Because now I warn my friends when they do something noteworthy or somewhat stupid that it's a gimme!!!!

    Some character will learn a life-altering lesson at their expense, LOL!

    They haven't dumped me... yet. ;)

  33. Kelly Bridgewater... that's just charming and might end up in a book because, yes... it's that adorable!

    Doll houses and tree houses and fairy houses.

    What is our attraction to tiny, cute houses and having noted that, why do we think we need to build BIG?

    We are a conundrum!

  34. Audra, we understand the call of the day job! And we lift our eggnog mugs to you!

    Janet... Well, God is the God of all... I'm not a worrier. I never have been. That doesn't mean I don't get concerned, but I've tried to separate out what I can change and what I can't and USUALLY the only thing I can change is me.

    And how I react to things. I taught myself to be strong because those were the women I admired growing up. Eleanor Roosevelt, Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman. They were my heroes and I wanted to be that strong and tough and faithful. The plus side of that was believing that God only gives me so much power... but that if I use that power fully, the world and I am better for it.

    I still believe that to this day, so I couple it with the Serenity Prayer.

    Strength... and faith. It's an amazing combo.

  35. Wilani, I love that story! Oh, from the mouths of babes, and while it can be embarrassing for parents, they're not being bad or wrong or evil, they're just sayin' it like it is, LOL!

    I remember one of my little ones who must have been staring at an old woman's legs in the grocery line years ago. As so often happens, the legs were riddled with veins going here and there, bulging and blue-gray. And he reached out and tapped her on the arm and wanted to know how she got maps on her legs, because the rivers looked SO REAL.


    I love kids!!!

  36. Sandra, LOL!!!!

    I'm rolling on the floor laughing here because this is why I have no plans to give up my day job completely.

    To emulate young families well (modern ones!) you have to be around them. Hear them. Talk with them. And not just the Sunday school variety, you have to be with real people.

    How else can you talk the talk and walk the walk?

    It's different with locations. With good research you can nail a location and with Internet, it's so much easier than it used to be! YAY!

    But, people?

    Modern culture evolves annually (just look at cell phones over the last decade) and if your characters don't fit... OOPS!

  37. Keli Gwyn, I love the image of your wedding! Oh, just charming! I will not tell you the image of mine, let's just say we were too young and fairly stupid to not be labeled one of those "seventies' weddings.


    Now I advise all brides and grooms: TIMELESS.

    Go timeless, there's less to regret later, LOL!

    A post on those reactions... Keli, that's a great idea, because it varies depending on the character's pov and experience.

    Will do! It's on my January list!!!! Now if I can just find the list in January!!!! :)

  38. Ruthy, I'm already looking forward to that post on Adult Characters' Reactions to Kids. I know it'll be great. And I'm sure you'll give it a far more exciting title. As you can tell, titles are not my strong suit. At least I'm fine with changing them, which is a good thing since I have lots of practice doing just that. =)

  39. JANA VANDERSLICE IS HERE! A big Christmas hug to you, sweetie!

  40. BTW I had to enlarge that first photo to figure out what your Casey was doing with the hair dryer.

    Brave, Ruthy.

  41. RUTHY: Of course we have snow! And a half day of school that turned into a snow day. Happy teenager home with me today :)

    JANET: This time of year, I make sure not to overschedule us. That way, we have a chance to enjoy the best part of the holidays: being together :)

    TINA: Such nice things to say! I fell in love with that cover the first time I saw it, so I'm glad you agree. And if I was going to be twins with anyone, I'd definitely choose Ruthy. Hope you and your family enjoy your warm weather Christmas :)

    SHERRI: Ankle biters--LOL. Gotta remember that one :D

  42. my favorite gift? my son. (oct baby, but still...) I really had thought the mommy thing was NOT going to EVER happen for me.

    little guy is five this year and eager to make cookies for Jesus and Santa and cards for his "bestest" friends. he gives me great fodder for the wild things kids say - like when I asked how come he couldn't remember what he learned at pre-K.

    "It fell out of my brain when I was playing on the playground Momma."
    I tried using the "it fell out of my brain" excuse on him when he told me I must remember something and he reached down to the floor and said "well, here mommy, I'll help you put it back in your head."

    Please put my name in the cat dish for the LI books.

    I already have the collections and the Christmas in the City book - but I want to purchase those for the kindle us sibs bought for my birth mom. Does anyone know the best way to buy the books to give to a kindle? I'm sort of lost on that one...

    I want my mom's kindle to be uber stocked with Seeker books when she gets it on Christmas. I'm trying to use the gift cards I won here to do this. Of course with so many awesome Seeker books, I don't know which ones best show off each Seeker. Dilemma... (not bad, just - well, I can get indecisive at times)

  43. Marianne, that's the best Christmas EVER!!!!!

    Christmas isn't about presents, we're such dorks about that! It's about taking care of others like we wish we could have done for that baby, laid in a manger...

    I love your Christmas!!!! Although I do like to trim trees and deck halls and string lights ad nauseum!

  44. Jackie, I love the thought of Christmas babies!

    We have one due in 4 weeks... Can't wait to see her!!!!

    And we have one on January 2, one on December 26th, and one on December 8th...

    So that gives us multiple present-giving opportunities besides Christmas for the kids!

    Love it!

  45. Elaine Manders, I agree!

    Especially for historical stories, that trip to the city, to downtown, covered in lights, was amazing!

    Now today's kids wouldn't relate to that in a normal sense. My oldest two kids remember going to the cool stuff downtown, but then downtown fell on hard times and all the stores dissolved... and then we built malls and now they're half empty...

    And we have stuff delivered to our doors.


  46. Gwynster, you know how my teaching posts run... I usually just YELL AT PEOPLE and expect them to listen.

    Of course they don't, but then I can figure it's their own fault! Because I told them what to do and they just didn't listen!!!

    It is remarkably similar to raising children, isn't it? :)

  47. 13 Days before Christmas...

    And I'm tucked upstairs with Beth and Dave in charge downstairs because I'm working on Wedding Blessings book one...

    And having so much fun with it!!!!

    And I am surrounded by (shh...) grandchildren gifts from Grammy and Grandpa.

    Some must be mailed this week. All must be wrapped. WRAPPING PARTY AT RUTHY'S!!!!

    Wait, where's Rose???/ She said she liked wrapping

    She's probably on meds.

  48. Tina, you mean Casey's picture on Yankee Belle Cafe????


    I did an amazing pot roast this week, and it is SO STINKIN' EASY!!!! So when you go to Yankee Belle Cafe to see what Casey is doing with the hair dryer, check out the potroast amazement!!!

  49. I loved this post, Mia and Ruthy.
    Ruthy-your words of faith brought tears to my eyes, so beautiful.
    One of my most treasured gifts is a Mont Blanc pen. It was given to me by my father after I had a short story published. This pen was a retirement gift presented to him almost 20 years. He wrote in the card, that I'll treasure forever, "This pen belongs in the hand of a writer." :)

  50. "Custard and strawberry stuffed croissants"??? Just reading about them throws all my good eating resolutions out the window! An un-iced sugar cookie would be good. :)

    One of the best gifts God sent my way was an appreciation of stillness. It inspired a short piece I wrote to read at a recent Christmas event at the public library, and I think it's the One Word I will carry with me into 2015. Psalm 46:10 seems like a good reminder to hold close.

    I'd love to have my name thrown in the cat bowl, thanks, and maybe the contemporary Kindle option, altho' either would be wonderful.

  51. MIA and RUTHY--what a team! Thanks for this inspiring post!

    JANA!!! Yay for you!!!! You'll love Mary's book!

    RUTHY, I just finished your story in Hope for the Holidays contemp this morning. Such a sweetly touching romance of hope and faith and lots of love!

  52. Jill Weatherholt, that's a Chicken Soup for the Soul story!!!!

    You need to write that, woman, and submit it for the next one it fits. Oh my stars, I can see that!

    I have one similar to that, a bust of Mary that my mother gave me... I love the warmth of that kind of passing-down!!!

  53. PS Thanks for the Guidepost link...just got my copy! Woot!

  54. I used the term "ankle-biter" in a chapter a few days ago.

    We have a BIG DOG and an ankle biter in this story... A K-9 named Rocky... and a 10 lb. Pom named Magnolia Blossom.

    GRUDGE MATCH!!!! :)

  55. That's a great idea, Ruthy! I've been watching their site lately for possible topics. Thanks!

  56. SANDRA: It's always great to see you! Enjoy your holidays :)

    JACKIE: You have some amazing Christmastime memories! Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

    KELI: Wow--Christmas has been really good to you! I can't imagine a better way to start the New Year than as a new mom :)

    MARIANNE: You're so right--geography has nothing to do with how close we feel to the special people in our lives. Enjoy!

    ELAINE: One of the best parts of the holidays is that so many people can relate to stories about family and traditions. Country or city, it's those good memories that count :)

    DEB H: Your little guy sounds a-dorable! Enjoy your holidays with him :)

    JILL: Thanks so much for stopping by! Your father's gift made me a little misty--what a wonderful memory for you to have.

    CAROL: Not many people know how to value quiet time, much less how to write about it. Good for you!

    MYRA: Thanks so much for stopping by to visit today! Hoping to see you in person again soon :)

  57. Loved seeing your books side-by-side! Mia and Ruthy...a great combination!

    You girls covered it all with your mention of the best gifts...children and faith! So, so true!

    My most special Christmas was the year I lived the Nativity with the birth of my baby boy. I named him Joseph. I always tell him only special people share a birthday with the Lord! :)

    Hugs to all!

  58. Carol Garvin!!! The custard and strawberry stuffed croissants are amazing!!!!!

    I'm not kidding.

    You take a mini-croissant and split it. Then you layer homemade custard onto the bottom. Cover that with a sliced strawberry or two. Cover with real whipped cream. Apply the top. Dust with powdered sugar.



    And so easy!!!!

  59. Oh, Deb a true Christmas baby!!!! And a perfect name for him! I love that!

  60. Jill, thank you for dashing over to get your copy of Love Finds You in the City at Christmas!!!!

    I'm putting the link here too so folks don't have to bounce back and forth. A DOUBLE BOOK FOR NINETY NINE CENTS!!!!

    Love Finds You in the City at Christmas with Ruthy's "Red Kettle Christmas"!!!

  61. I agree 100%, Mia and Ruthy! And I may or may not be training my children to brainstorm and plot inspirational novels.... :-)

    Best Christmas ever was the birth of my third daughter, ON Christmas Day!!

    Great giveaways today. Thanks for your generosity!

  62. DEBBY: Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us your Christmas story! Hoping to see you in person again very soon.

    MEGHAN: Best gift ever, for sure! Best of luck in the drawing :)

  63. One year for Christmas, my husband gave me a heart necklace that says "Mom" on it. It was a special gift.

    I have the Historical Hope for the Holidays, but would like to win the others :)

  64. Deb, I don't think you can apply the gift cards to her Kindle until it's registered in her name...

    But you can can send them to her via e-mail from Amazon and when it asks for delivery date, make the date for after Christmas.

    So they'll want her email and then (for example) on December 27th they'll send her e-mails for the books you've purchased.

    So take advantage of freebies and/or .99 (like LFY in the City at Christmas) now and they'll just hold the notification until after the holiday.


  65. BECKY: What a thoughtful gift! Consider yourself entered for the books you don't already have.

  66. Well, folks, that's it for me! Our daughter will be home from college any minute now, and I'm watching out the window for her.

    Thanks to Ruthy for tag-teaming this blog post with me and to everyone who shared their favorite gifts with us. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

  67. The gift I'm planning to add to my stories is the gift of the miracles in my life. After many years of infertility treatments, high-risk pregnancies, complicated deliveries, and newborn complications, we experienced the miracles of two sons, now adult men of compassion, love, and faith. Then eight years ago, my husband survived and recovered from being trapped in a coal mine for 22 hours. Even his doctor called him the miracle man. The gift of these miracles is the greatest of my gifts. I believe in miracles and hope!

    Mia and Ruthy, thank you for reminding me of my greatest gifts! Merry Christmas!

  68. Meghan Carver, another Christmas baby!!!!

    This tells me that Spring is very inspirational in multiple ways!!!! :)

  69. Sherida Stewart, you are a series of walking novels!!!

    I'm so happy for you! I love the miracle of birth, stories of overcoming adversity, the warmth of family growing and striving together!

    Oh, this is wonderful!!!! Thank you so much for sharing that with us!

  70. Wow, Sherida. Truth is more miraculous than fiction. You got PLOT and miracles. Praise God.

  71. LOVE this post, ladies!!!!! You both are so fun! My favorite gifts are my family - immediate and extended!
    I would love to win "Hope for the Holidays" or Mia's LI.....I already have Ruthy's book!!!! Thanks so much!!!!

  72. I almost missed dropping by today!! I don't know how. But I'm so glad I checked.

    Great post, ladies. Ruthy, your yarn on the manger is about the sweetest thing I've ever seen. What a wonderful way to teach the children.

    Mia, my kids are my greatest gift too!

  73. By the way, my middle "baby" turned 20 today! How can that be possible??!!

  74. Debby, I don't think I knew that about your Joseph! How special!!

  75. Sherida, that's amazing. I'm so glad you shared about your miracles!

  76. Oh, what a GREAT Christmas post!! You guys got me in the mood, that's for sure.

    And I agree with you both -- but I would have to go along with Ruthy and put my faith first, even before my kids because without my faith, there would be NO MARRIAGE, NO KIDS, and definitely NO BOOKS!! And heaven knows my kids would NOT want a woman for a mom without faith like I used to be. COLD CHILLS!!!

    Hugs and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

  77. ROSE SAID: "Lots of life experiences show up in my books! I have a friend who has told me: okay...I don't want to see this in print! Ha!"

    LOL, ROSE ... I'm right there with you, girlfriend -- my books are basically my life (without the gorgeous bod and face, of course, along with the SUPER hunky heroes, although my guy is seriously hunky ...). SOOO much so, in fact, that at a family reunion once, I came up to my hubby and told him I was tired and wanted to go home." My brother-in-law grinned and said, "Yeah, Keith, you better take her home -- you're chapter 16 tonight ..." ;)


  78. You two are hilarious! I absolutely loved reading your post, and super jumped on picking up Love Finds You In the City at Christmas. Thanks for the tip. My best Christmas gift ever was my son. He was born two days after Christmas, and I didn't even get one minute of labor until 1:40 AM the day after Christmas. He's always been my on-time sweetpea What a treasure he is. I love the idea of putting the little colored pieces of yarn on the baby Jesus when you do good things. What a wonderful way to celebrate Jesus. Thanks for sharing your Christmas memories. I enjoyed every moment.

  79. Hi RUTHY and MIA! This year I'm especially thankful for the gift of celebrating holidays with my Daddy (87) and Mommy (82). I am truly blessed!

  80. My favorite gifts are my family and Jesus! I've already told my family, I don't need anything this Christmas (that and good health is a gift in itself). I'd just like some time--time with my family, time with friends, and time to read! :)

  81. Merry Christmas to you! please enter me into the cat dish, some awesome books you are giving away today, would love to read all of them :) also I'd enjoy a copy of Hope for the Holidays", historical.. that is so nice! May your holidays be bright and filled with cookies!

  82. Mia and Ruthy -- finally got to read your post and totally enjoyed it. Thanks!

    Nancy C