Category Archives: Holidays


Beating the Holiday Blues by Diane Perrine Coon

Today my marvelous sister-in-law, Diane Perrine Coon, shares remedies for Holiday Blues.

imagesWhen you’re sick over the holidays and still trying to cook meals and your head’s all stuffed up and you really don’t plan to make it to midnight and celebrate the New Year because all you are doing is coughing up mucus, then you have the Holiday Blues.

Here are my suggestions of how to ward off the Holiday Blues.

  1. Share your misery with the first person on your phone callback button, especially if they are trying to sell you something.
  2. Wander in and out of the bathroom looking for something, anything, everything because you can’t remember what it was you thought you needed.images
  3. Watch college basketball and if it gets too much, watch NBA basketball. Do not watch football, there are too many players on the field and you will get mixed up.
  4. Wrap up in a sweater, a coverlet, and a quilt over the top off all and then wonder why you feel hot when you don’t have a fever.
  5. Drink fluids – soft drinks, tea, coffee, ice water, fruit juices – and stay real close to the bathroom.
  6. imagesMake the dog go outside by himself. If the dog police come get you, hand them the leash.
  7. Read lots of recipes. Think how long it will take to prepare them, and then discard all of them. But the bright photos showing fabulous meals will brighten up the room.
  8. Play computer games, many of them. Mindless almost fun even when sneezing all over the keyboard.
  9. Send your soul-mate to the liquor store to get Plum Wine. It cures everything and especially the Holiday Blues. Guarantee it.images
  10. Think back to the last time you had a great holiday. Was that twenty years ago?

Get well all of you out there with Holiday Blues.



Waiting for the Light

imagesMy dear friend Jean brought her family to the children’s Christmas Ever service a few years ago.  When the time came for the children’s sermon, Jean stood with her five-year-old great-granddaughter Mercy and accompanied her to the chancel area,  They settled on the choir bench together.  After a few seconds. Mercy decided she didn’t want to stay and ran off the platform and back to the rest of her family, leaving Jean alone.

Jean was much too poised to show embarrassment.  In fact, I doubt that she was embarrassed , this spectacular and faithful ninety-year-old woman on the platform with all the young parents and small children.  She sat calmly, listening to the minister.  It must have been one of the longest children’s sermon in the history of children’s sermons, nearly fifteen minutes long.  And through all that, with the very young children rolling around the floor and the older ones getting bored, Jean sat peacefully and confidently, waiting for the end of the story, for the announcement of the birth of the Savior.  images

As we plow through the commotion that is Advent for most of us, I think of Jean and wish I were more like her, preparing calmly for that moment when we welcome the long awaited king, sitting patiently and unbothered by the chaos around us as we await the baby Jesus who becomes the one who took on the sins of the world.   I pray that some day I will possess as deep a faith in the coming Savior,  her certainty that the Lord has come and comes now and will come.

Oh, Lord, fill me with quiet when there is noise outside and within, with calm during the clamor of the world. Let me know that when I’m alone, you are with me.  When I am unable to find you, you find me if I will sit quietly and listen.  Amen

Down many paths we travel in a lifetime by Roy N. Martin

ImageDuring my lifetime, many Biblical passages have guided me. Some have become so much a part of my thoughts that they often surface to give insight into a particular situation. Deuteronomy 30:15-20 is one such passage. This passage is near the end of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. It represents Moses’ final words to the people of Israel, where he interprets God’s will for them. The image I carry in my mind is more personal but which is consistent with the message to that ancient people. This week of Advent, I want to share my personal reflections.

In verse 15, God speaks: “.. .today … I have set before you life and death…”

Yes, today there are two paths I might follow.

God’s message is always present, for “today” is always with me. No matter how hard I might try, I cannot escape the meaning of these words. They speak to me on all past “todays.” Every “today” in the future God’s message will again challenge me.

Yes, today there are two paths I might follow.

The two paths may be interpreted in ultimate terms, the culmination of one’s sojourn, “Life and Death” with capital letters. I prefer to think of these words as referring to various paths we pursue. Consequently, my journey may consist of actions which affirm blessings in others and in myself, the paths of life. Or my actions may lead to adversity for myself and for others who are affected by my actions, the paths of death.

What actions mark the paths of life and what actions mark the paths of death are known to me, through God’s continuous messages to me throughout history, as recorded in the Bible, in the life of Jesus whom we know as the Christ, and in the living testaments of fellow travelers who have heard the same message.

Yes, today there are two paths I might follow.

God gives me the choice to make. Having provided all the data I need, God permits me to choose how I shall turn. On most days the choice is easy and does not require much thought, for I am traveling familiar territory. I trust past decisions to be sufficient for me to choose the paths of life. On some days, I must evaluate past decisions to determine whether the circumstances under which they were made still exist or whether new circumstances suggest alternate paths of life. And then there are those days, thankfully infrequent, when I am confronted with a situation which calls for painful choice-making, guided by long hours of reflection and prayer. And there are times when I am confronted with realization that I have been on a wrong path, and need to change.

No matter the circumstance, the choice is mine to make, and clearly it is my choice.

And God continues in verse 19: “Choose life…”

While I am free to choose the path I will take, I do so with full knowledge and faith that God has clearly defined what I am to do. Divine Concern cares whether I make the right choice. Divine Wisdom understands that I, a human with limited knowledge, will make wrong choices. Divine Grace forgives my transgressions, providing opportunities to return to the path of life.

Divine Love etches that Concern, that Wisdom, that Grace in my life, and in all of your lives, through the Life of him whom we call Jesus the Christ.

Advent blogs

imagesI asked two special friends from George’s and my long-ago days in seminary to write a blog for Advent for another point of view than mine.  Both of these men were George’s roommates while he was in seminary.

Wayne Barnett and George were friends from CYF Conference (summer church camp) and all through college.  Wayne and his wife LaDonna were parts of our lives for many years.  George performed their wedding and Wayne was George’s best man.   He retired from a long pastorate in Kentucky but still keeps busy.   His blog will be up this afternoon.

Roy Martin lived down the hall from me in seminary until he moved in with George and Wayne.  We lost touch but with the magic of Facebook discovered each other–and Roy’s wife–two or three years ago.  Roy retired from years of ministry but keeps busy by going back to school, picking up degrees and learning things he shares.   His blog will be up December 16.

I cannot tell you the joy I feel that these two ministers and dear friends agreed to write a blog for Advent.

Thanksgiving Day is over. What now?

leftoversWhat does one do the day after Thanksgiving?

Fix turkey sandwiches.  And turkey salad.  And turkey–just plain old sliced cold turkey.  And turkey tetrazini.  And turkey-noodle soup.

Put up the Christmas tree.

Brave the crowds in the shopping malls.  Come home exhausted, disheveled but with a couple of bargains.   Tell stories of the peril you faced.

Sleep after all the effort put forth to clean house, welcome guests, and prepare the dinner.

Watch everything you taped while entertaining.

Clean the kitchen

Take the dog who found the turkey carcass and ate most of it to the veterinarian.grateful heart

But, most of all and most important, we can keep giving thanks!

Do you have any other suggestions?  If so, please put them in a comment.  I’d love to know.

Some Holiday Sparkle

DSC01807Patricia Johns is guest blogging today.  Her novel, hisunexpectedfamily His Unexpected Family,  was published by Love Inspired this summer.   Yesterday, I posted her bio and a blurb about this novel on my blog.   Today she writes about the miracles of Christmas.   Take it away, Patricia!

Some Holiday Sparkle

My son announced to his Kindergarten teacher that Santa wasn’t real. I got a distressed email from the teacher, asking me to make sure that he doesn’t tell any of the other children, lest their Christmas magic be ruined.

I fully understood, and I didn’t want to ruin the fun for the other kids, so I had a talk with my son about playing along with the Santa Claus game. I certainly didn’t want to be the Scrooge! And our family is big on Christmas–the tree goes up right after Halloween!

But it got me to thinking. A lot of these kids were being raised without any belief in God.  Yet there is such a protective instinct around the idea of Santa, wanting these little ones to hold onto the possibility of Santa for just a couple more years.

Santa… He knows when you’re naughty or nice. He loves you, and he knows the desires of your heart. He adores children and he wants you to be good. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. You aren’t alone when there is Santa Claus.

The parents know that one day their children will no longer believe in Santa, but they don’t want to tear that away. Not yet.

I didn’t feel the need to tell my son that Santa was real. As Christians, the sparkle and mystery doesn’t vanish after the tree comes down. Christmas lasts all year when you believe in God. Miracles, angels, God dipping down and touching Earth… We live in the sparkle of Christmas magic every single day!

That’s the true gift we receive during the Christmas season–a reminder that we are not alone, that Someone knows when we are sleeping, and when we’re awake. And cares.

Merry Christmas to all of you! May your Christmas be filled with sparkle and the possibility of miracles around every corner.

Buy links: 



An introduction to Patricia Johns

Tomorrow, Patricia Johns will be blogging here on Christmas.  Patricia is a writer for Love Inspired, the line that published four of my novels.   Because she’s a writer of inspirational romance, her blog will be. . . well. . . inspirational.   Today I want to intruduce you to Patrici and have her tell you about her  novel, HIS UNEXPECTED FAMILY

About the book

hisunexpectedfamilyWhen a baby is dropped into her life without warning, Emily Shaw is overjoyed. It’s a bit odd that her distant cousin named single Emily as guardian, but she’s thrilled all the same. She never thought she’d get to be a mom. Another unexpected blessing is that baby Cora arrives in the arms of police chief Greg Taylor. Despite all three of them instantly bonding, Greg has promised himself he’ll never be a father. And now Emily’s smooth-talking relative is challenging her right to raise Cora. Will Emily have to make an impossible decision between the child she already loves and the man who loves her?

About Patricia Johns

Patricia Johns lives in Alberta, Canada, where the winters are long and cold. She doesn’t complain, though, because it leaves her plenty of time to write, enjoying that winter wonderland from the warm side of the DSC01807window.

She has her BA in English Lit and has been writing seriously ever since. She has written numerous novels in other genres, but her true love is for romance writing, where she can be the unabashedly hopeless romantic she’s always been.

Buy links: 


Things people say I’d just as soon never hear

screaming-2        Things I wish people wouldn’t say to me

“Oh, you got a haircut.”  This always means “I notice you got a haircut.  It’s not a good one.”  Always.   Sometimes, “Well, look at that,” precedes the remark and also is never good.

“How could you possibly think that was a good idea?”

“Are you wearing a new lipstick?”   Understood meaning:  “It makes you look like you have jaundice.”

From my doctor, “You know, you’re not getting any younger.”

From a male teacher with whom I was discussing a verse from Matthew, “Why don’t you go home and have your husband explain that to you?”


Happy Fourth of July–in two days

This greeting is early, I know, but since I  blog on Tuesday and Friday, I thought a mention was due BEFORE the actual Fourth.

What is your favorite part of the Fourth?  I’m sure you have many.  Mine are sort of a mix of all the past Fourths:  lots of fireworks when I was very young.  My favorites as a child were snakes.  You young people may not have ever heard of them.  They weren’t exciting.   Before being lit, a snake looked like a piece of black licorice the size of an aspirin.  When I lit the top, the snake would grow in a long, black tube of ash, coiling like a snake.  When they reached a length of about six inches, it stopped.  A light breeze would break the ashes up and blow them away.

However, snakes–boring as they were–were very safe.   When I was six, I took a sparkler and lit it.  Unfortunately, I was holding the wrong end.  I’d pick up the soft, thick end of the sparkler, believing–and, yes, I do remember this–that was the comfortable handle.  When I put a match on the other end, the heat moved down the wire section and the part I held–the “sparkler” part–burst into, well, sparkles.  I got terrible burns on my palm.   A great deal of what I remember about celebrating the Fourth has to do with pain.

Every year back then, in late June, there were explosions in stores that carried fireworks as well as the factories and transportation centers.   That’s why you see fireworks sold at stands yards away from and building and why sparklers are now so hard to light.   When I was a kid, fireworks killed people.   I feel it is my duty, as an old person, to mention history.

However, I do have good memories of the Fourth which include family and watermelon and long drives to Wichita, Kansas, and back to Kansas City in the same day.  Historical note:  this was before car air conditioning.  

What’s your favorite memory of Independence Day?

What makes me cry

War for the sake of ego or profit makes me cry and also infuriate me.  The sight of draped coffins coming home to devastated families tears me up.  The memory of planes crashing into the World Trade Center makes me want to turn away but one can’t turn away from a memory.  One can’t ignore the sight of those throwing themselves from windows ninety stories up. 

Mistreatment of animals makes me cry.   The commercial showing the innocent cratures who’ve been mistreatment makes me furious at those who hurt them but makes me sob at how those cats and dog still only want love and care. 

The book The Yearling makes me cry.  The movie Brian’s Song–the first one with James Caan–always makes me dissolve in tears.

Racism and bigotry disguised as Christianity or patriotism makes me furious at the perpetrators and makes me weep for the mistreated.  

Rodney King’s words–“Can’t we all get along?”–makes me cry because I don’t know why we, all beloved children of God, can’t.   Thinking of the insults black men in the South had to put up with makes me cry which is why To Kill a Mocking Bird makes me sad–and angry and makes me do something!. 

Hearing that the tiny bodies of the Newtown children were so badly ripped up by the bullets used by the gunman that the grieving parents weren’t allowed to see them to ID them but had to identify their babies through photographs.  Then thinking about those parents  going home  do something with the Hannukah and Christmas presents their children would never open.

So many other things:  Nelson Mandella’s years in prison, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

And when events make me cry, then angry, I have to do something.  These emotions should kick me into action to change things.

What do you think?