Only two more days until Kristin's birthday, but I guess Elli wanted her own day all to herself. After four weeks of stopping pre-term labor and bed rest, Kristin was so relieved to finally make a trip to the hospital with the purpose of coming home with a baby. Elli came into the world weighing 6 lbs 8 oz.
She managed to poo in the amniotic fluid before she was born, and then a geiser of it went up her nose and mouth when she made her way out, so her stats are a little shakey, and she'll probably be on antibiotics for 3 days. She's in the NICU - got an IV, so nursing waits, much to Kristin's disappointment, but this is NOTHING like the preemie situation last time, so all is well. A minor blip.
Elli is beautiful and perfect with tiny little girl feet, a sweet little face and dark hair.
I got a couple of gift cards, and I'm figuring out how I'm going to use them. We are still snowed in, so online shopping is the best I can manage today. What could be cooler than this? The Shoot-n-Sync memory card instantly connects and wirelessly transfers photos via your wi-fi network.
Are you satisfied with your writing accomplishments during 2009?Can you see room for improvement?2010 will turn out just like the previous year unless you take steps to make better choices and initiate changes. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.January is the month in which we set goals for the coming year, but too often, those goals are a washout by February. We tend to shoot ourselves in the foot year after year, repeating the same bad habits and perpetuating the same poor attitudes toward situations and our abilities.
CLASS DESCRIPTION:In this workshop, Cheryl will ask you to take an honest, in-depth look at your behaviors, your thought processes and the things that are holding you back. Self-examination may be difficult, but it's always necessary for improvement and growth.If you've never had a handle on goal-setting, if you find yourself falling into negative thinking, are having trouble with time management or are always disorganized, this class may be just the motivation you need to start your year in a positive light. Maybe you don't even realize the negative behaviors you've been falling into year after year.Make this your year of change. You're worth it.
Among her achievements, which include over thirty published books in both contemporary and historical genres, Cheryl St.John has received multiple Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards and three RITA nominations. In describing her stories of second chances and redemption, readers and reviewers use words like, “emotional punch, hometown feel, core values, believable characters and real life situations.” She has taught writing on local and national levels, and is in demand as a motivational speaker.
The class will be conducted via subscription to a private yahoogroup, two lessons per week, followed by questions and answers. Archived class will be available for one week after the ending date.
"Everyone has obvious junk that keeps us from achieving our goals. With Cheryl's encouragement, I discovered hidden and disguised junk and broke through for increased productivity. Excellent and thought provoking!"
~ author, *lizzie starr
"As you can see, we live in an old, pioneer built log cabin way out in the country. Great place for Thanksgiving and Christmas! My husband and I rebuilt the house and try to live simply, growing a garden, making my own soap, spinning and weaving--for fun. My daughter calls this place "Pioneer Village." Since I write historical romances, it helps me with atmosphere!"
Living in a pioneer built log cabin so far off the beaten track that she cannot see another house or a road gives Michele Stegman plenty of time and quiet to create her stories. She has published three full length novels, two with Leisure Books and one with Asylett Press. Her fourth and fifth books, both historical romances, will be released with Asylett soon. She wrote Courage Times Two just to see if she could write a short romance. She enjoyed writing it so now she is working on another one. While not creating fictional stories, Michele writes for a newspaper and indulges in her historical hobbies of spinning and weaving as well as art.
Ann says: At our house, the tree is often referred to as The World's Largest Cat Toy. Our two felines have hours of fun sitting under it and batting at the pretties. Pictured is Star, our Siamese mix. (I think the other half is moose.) We put our tree up later, in December, and leave it up until Twelfth Night, January 6th. When I was a girl, my mom gave my sisters and me a new ornament each year, which we took with us when we moved out. I continue the tradition for my hubby and girls. The only theme is our interests, so dance ornaments hang beside skates, teapots and my hubby's Star Trek ornaments. I still have the angel that topped the little tree in my parents' apartment in Munich, Germany for my first Christmas, as well as some of my Dad's ornaments from the 1940s. He says I get more excited about them than he ever did, lol.
To be Seduced
Desperate for funds to care for his sister, Lord Richard Harcourt kidnaps a country heiress. But beneath her meek, prim exterior, Richard discovers a shrewd and exciting temptress he can’t resist. After a night alone with her captor, Bethany Dallison knows she must wed him to protect her reputation. However, the quick-witted beauty is determined to turn the situation to her own advantage. Unfortunately, success depends on her ability to withstand the seductive kisses of a rake she finds all too desirable. As their nuptials approach, Bethany finds her resolve melting under his caresses, while Richard finds that fortune is the last thing on his mind.
"It's not a real tree - the cats kept drinking the water and I didn't think sap would be good for them, so we've opted for an artificial tree for a few years now. I made [the red stocking] in nursery school. I will not say what year, but let's just say, it's definitely vintage. My mother has been buying us ornaments every year since I got married. The most recent editions have been Wizard of Oz ornaments, very fancy ones that have lines and music from the movie."
"One of my favorite items on the tree is the angel at the top. My younger sister made it, so it's unique. She used lace left over from the bridesmaids' dresses she made for her wedding."
Thanks for sharing, Margaret!
The beauty...and the beast
Lady Roslynn knows not what to expect of her future husband, the infamous "Bear of Brecon." Offered in marriage to the powerful Welsh lord by the king, Roslynn fears the worst. She has no right to hope for a love match, but in her heart the lady dreams of a home and family of her very own....
One look at Lord Madoc of Llanpowell makes her blood run hot. The rugged warrior proves a passionate lover and attentive husband -- but too soon turns cold and aloof. And when secrets from Madoc's past threaten to take him away from his bride, Roslynn knows their future together is at stake. Can she uncover the truth beneath her warlord's armor and lay siege to his heart?
I found a setting on my camera that will take pretty good shots of the lights in the semi-dark. This is a small tree I decorated this year. It has mostly Santa ornaments, as well as a few special treasures. There are two my cousin Diana made for me, several the kids made over the years, and a set of bubble lights that are my husband's favorites. The bead garland is some of my favorite in red and green.
This is my friend and critique partner Eve Savage's Christmas tree. Eve grew up in England, so she has a love for all things English and Victorian. Visit her website here.
It's a fake tree, but never looks bare because I cover it in antique glass beads from Germany from my great-great grandparents, a paper chain garland (a Victorian English tradition) and ornaments. All my ornaments are handpainted by my mom as well as some antique glass ones from her childhood and mine. I've also got ornaments the children made and every place my husband goes TDY he gets me an ornament. My tree is truly a mix of antique, modern, heirloom, silly and international.
This is my friend Tricia's beautiful tree. I got to see this one in person, and the photos can't do it justice. She took both a day and a night photo so we could see the lights.
"Every year our family ventures out to find the perfect fresh cut tree. This year, it was found growing in our local do it yourself store. We generally decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving. We cover the tree with lights and then load on a multitude of ornaments. Every ornament hung is like a trip down memory lane. The kids all want to know where this one came from, or by whom that one was given. Somewhere in the tree, we hide our pickle ornament. We play "find the pickle" throughout the season. We use the season to reinforce family tradition and togetherness."
My friend Vicki just relocated and got moved into her new house, so I'm thankful she took time to take and send me a photo of her darling tree.
Vicki says: "This has been an exceptional year in so many ways, including how we're doing Christmas. This is the first year we haven't done a fresh-cut tree with 1400 mini-lights and a bazillion ornaments. It was just too much with the move and all, so instead we made a Christmas forest. There are four trees here. The biggest is decorated with 12 or so forest-themed ornaments, including a black bear, a squirrel, a rabbit and a chipmunk or two. The manger scene under the trees has a long family history and is dearly loved."
From Vicki: Kansas Courtship is scheduled for release in March 2010. I loved doing it! My heroine is a lady doctor who travels to High Plains, Kansas in 1858 to serve a tornado-ravaged town. There she meets the man who hired her without knowing her gender. The story is part of a broader series called “After the Storm.” The historical part of the continuity launches in January 2010 with Valerie Hansen’s High Plains Bride. Renee Ryan is doing the second book. Heartland Wedding releases in February 2010. Kansas Courtship is third. I’ve gotten sneak peaks at the books by Val and Renee. This is a powerful series!
Well, there is good news and bad news about my Christmas decorations.
The good news is that I truly outdid myself this year. The bad news is that I had to take them down after only two days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories.
But two things made me take it down. First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by. Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the ladder and almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). She was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.
I think I made him too real this time . But it was fun while it lasted. ;)
Here is Lenora Worth's tree in her powder room. How adorable is this?
The Perfect Gift
Steeple Hill Love Inspired
"Daddy, can we keep her?"
So asks widowed rancher Rory Branagan's six-year-old when they find a pretty stranger sleeping on their sofa. Disoriented after a car accident, Goldie Rios is definitely not staying. It might be Rory's job to rescue wildlife like armadillos and alligators, but damsels in distress are another story. Yet when Goldie's family heirloom locket goes missing, the Branagans spend the holiday season helping her search for it on the farm. And in the process they all find the perfect gift: a family that feels just right.
I've never shown you these before. In my living room, I have an antique bureau with handkerchief drawers. My mother made these crocheted trees for me, and they sit on the drawers, surrounded by tiny packages.
Here's how Charlene describes her trees: The Best Fake Tree Ever: It's always perfect and lit! It sits in our Living Room where we open presents on Christmas morning.
A Bit of Nostalgia: This is our "remember when" tree, bringing my hubby and me back to our childhood. It's decorates our TV/family room!
For Texas Cattleman’s Club member Kevin Novak, failure is not an option.
And his about-to-be ex-wife will discover that the hard way!
No one walked away from this Texas mogul…especially not his wife! So when Cara chose to leave rather than play second fiddle to his company, Kevin plotted his revenge. Four years later, she returned, intent on finalizing their divorce. But Cara had no clue that Kevin had constructed the perfect payback plan. It’s a wager she can’t refuse. The divorce would be official...if she agreed to one last week of playing house. And nothing would be off-limits.
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Thanks for sharing your trees, Charlene! Smooches.
This is my friend Ginger Simpson's Christmas tree. She decorates an adorable little tree each year, and this one is as cute as ever.
Virginia Collins fears her life is almost over. The one thing that still brings her joy is spending time with her young grandson, Davey. It's Christmas, and despite trying to view the holiday through a child's anxious eyes, Virginia still feels empty, alone and can't find her spirit. So many loved ones have passed, the yuletide is forever changed... until she receives a special Christmas Eve message.
Excerpt: Tiredness pulled Virginia's mouth into a huge yawn. Tomorrow would be hectic with everyone there, dinner to prepare-a time to give thanks. It would be a good time to let go of her anger at God, if only she could. She had to restore her faith. for Davey's sake. Somehow! With her palms pressed together beneath her chin, Virginia repeated the same prayer she chanted nightly since her mother's death. "Dear Lord, please help me find forgiveness in my heart and to understand why things happen the way they do. I know you have a plan for everything, and I ask you to watch over my little grandson, especially. Keep him safe, and please, please help me to teach him right from wrong. Amen."