The Best Part of Christmas 2015

The holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always chaotic for me with the cooking, making lists, shopping, decorating, wrapping, and other stuff. It all comes to a finale with Christmas dinner. Beginning about the middle of November, I look forward to the time when the last dish is back in the cabinet and I can start thinking about my next book.

But five-year-old Ella Deanne made this year special.

Ella Santa Hat

We hadn’t seen her for a year and a lot of changes take place between four and five.  She’s taller, but that’s not all. She has added about a zillion words to her vocabulary and is determined to put them on display. Talk, talk, talk. And write! I had no idea a kindergartener could write whole sentences and enjoy it so much. (I have to admit this fills my heart with joy… but there’s more!)

I gave her some books. When she climbed into the recliner with me I was more than ready to read her a story. I read the book of her choice and then she took the it from my hand. “Let me read it to you,” she said.

And I thought she would pretend to read, repeating the jest of the story I had just read.

Until she added, “In my own way.”

She snuggled against me and began adlibbing, spinning a story somewhat related to the pictures on the pages. She finished that one and was ready to start another. About half way through the third book, she stopped. “Oh wait,” she said. “Let’s start over.” And she closed the book, opened it, and began a new storyline.

We did a lot of this and I enjoyed every moment of it. If I hadn’t had to cook we would have done more. She has no idea what this means to me. When I gave her the stack of books, I wanted to share the joy of reading. I had no idea we were going to share the joy of writing and storytelling… She’s my namesake and a little bit like me. This is a good Christmas!

Favorite Christmas


Dan, Diddle (our dog), Timmy, and me Christmas 1961.

I’m trying to decide which Christmas would be my favorite. It isn’t easy when one has 75 to choose from. However, the one that stands out today is 1961.

Dan had graduated college in June 1960 and hired on with Philco Corp as a techrep assigned to oversee the installation of weather equipment on airbases located between the Canadian border and the Gulf, bounded on the east and west by the Mississippi and the Rockies. We were in a location six weeks to three months… We had bought a mobile home, but Dan decided he didn’t want to pull it behind our car and having someone else move it from Altus, Oklahoma to San Antonio, Texas didn’t fit our budget.

So, in December of ’61 we were living in a motel in San Antonio and the small tree in the corner looked pretty bleak. It was my first Christmas away from my parents and I was homesick, feeling even worse that we didn’t have anyone to share our baby’s first Christmas.

When Dan’s cousin invited us to have Christmas with them, we loaded our car with baby stuff and Christmas presents and headed for Kingsville, Texas.

Like most first-time parents, we were expecting baby giggles and coos as his little hands grabbed each new toy. But, if you have first Christmas memories, you know how that turns out. Still this Christmas was special in an unexpected way.

Timmy was three weeks past 6 months and we were quite proud that he had learned to stand alone. Of course, we had to show off his new skill soon after we arrived in Kingsville. I held Timmy’s hands while we worked on balance. When I turned loose, he stood alone and teetered a bit. Then he flashed a smile and took three steps!

After that, we helped him open gifts thinking each one might cause his eyes to light up or generate a giggle. Nothing much grabbed his attention until the gifts were all opened, then he sat on a box, clutching the wrapping paper, and tasting the ribbon. We got the first steps… what more should be expected?


Timmy standing alone showing off his Christmas outfit.

(The date on the photos is January ’62, but the first photo was taken Christmas Eve ’61, the second a few days later. Shooting photos back then included loading film, inserting flashbulbs, sending the film away for developing, and a long wait.)



[amazon_image id=”B018BEK7FO” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Quail’s Run (The Phoenix Connection Book 2)[/amazon_image]

Quail’s Run, The Phoenix Connection, Book two was released early in December and it’s high-time I introduced you to my new book.

Although Quail’s Run is book two, it doesn’t follow Wren’s Nest. The storylines happen about the same time. They both involve a surrogate mother deal gone bad, but Wren’s Nest involves the mother on the run because the mother in Quail’s Run ran away. Each book stands alone, but if you enjoy one, you’ll want to read the other.

Quail’s Run is ER nurse Tessa Paine’s story. She has a feeling the accident victim in room 326 is hiding something and may not be who they think she is. As the story unfolds, Tessa and her nephew Jackson agree to help the new mother escape whatever she fears and take her to a safe house. However, Jackson leaves and can’t come back and Tessa and her patient find themselves in a hostage situation protecting a baby who’s whereabouts is worth a fortune in ransom to his wealthy great-grandfather.

Quail’s Run is Christian suspense with a twist of mystery and a touch of romance – They’re in a safe house, but they aren’t safe!

One reviewer says Quail’s Run is “a wonderful faith based story that reflects God’s love and protection for His children. This is a one that I definitely recommend.”

Another says: “I love this book! The characters and the storyline are great!”

One more says Quail’s run “has some twist and turns that I did not expect, so I couldn’t guess the ending.”

Encouraging words area always welcome. If you read my book and like it, please consider leaving a customer review on Amazon.  It will make my day. Thanks!

[amazon_link id=”B009Q85TBC” target=”_blank” ]Wren’s Nest[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B018BEK7FO” target=”_blank” ]Quail’s Run (The Phoenix Connection Book 2)[/amazon_link]